I was witness to one of the greatest forms of democracy recently at the 1219 UAW Hall on Bible Rd in Lima. Two hundred union members with their family and friends were there for a well-attended rally and information session. Union officials from the region and locals were there, along with Mayor Sheretta Smith, to promote solidarity for a very important cause.
Ford Motor Co. has been making billions in record profits from the hard work and dedication of these skilled union members. The UAW is their democratically earned bargaining unit and it has become clear that they are not getting their fair share of the profits. From the facts and figures, it is a wide discrepancy. There has been some bargaining but Ford has yet to come up with enough benefits and cost-of-living allowances to last until the next contract. If Ford does not come up with a fair contract by Sept. 14 then there will be a strike approved by 98 percent of the union.
Their theme, “I don’t want to strike but I will,” was on every shirt in the hall and the momentum was at a fevered pitch during the regional director’s and mayor’s speeches. United for a strong contract, Saving the American dream, record profits equal record contracts were some of the placards. These assembly line workers work hard all day every day, take serious pride in their work and continue that sustained work for over 30 years. The abuse on their bodies and well-being can take a toll on a person. They feel that they are part of that company and they expect to be compensated as partners. This is the American dream and those who do not know a union’s power, look now at the UAW in contracts attempting to stay just inside the middle class.