From Murder in Mexico to Solidarity

On January 8, 1990, Ford Motor Company bussed in hired goons to attack lineworkers at its Cuautitlan, Mexico Assembly Plant (just outside Mexico City). Nine autoworkers were shot and one, Clito Nigmo, died from a gunshot in the back.

In historic cross-border Solidarity efforts, Canadian and U. S. Ford Rank & Filers worked to support the Mexican Ford workers. The Solidarity work included organizing meetings of real workers in all three countries to demand support for the Mexican Ford workers from the “International” United Auto Workers. They declined.

Today, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger continues to murder Solidarity for Ford and the rest of the auto corporations. As part of his drive for lower wages, fewer skills and fewer plants, he has attacked strikes by his own members. He has recently refused to answer questions about whether he will re-open auto contracts to make more concessions – something the Union’s Constitution says requires membership approval. Rest assured he will step us all backwards soon. Again.

The problem for real autoworkers is the UAW’s concessionary program is bankrupt but we can do nothing about it within the UAW’s sham democracy. And, I don’t mean to single out the UAW here as anything like a unique problem. All of America’s big unions are hardly worthy of the name. They are not really Trade Unions at all. They are Corporate Unions, playing the lead role for cutting jobs, wages, working conditions and plants. They bear huge responsibility for the growth of the American underclass numbered now buyt eh Catholic Bishops at 37 million!

When our Mexican Brothers were being mass-fired, disappeared, beaten, shot and even murdered, the UAW took the side of the corporations. So did the AFL-CIO. And the Mexicans lost the battles, strikes and the battle against NAFTA and American and Canadian workers lost – and continue to lose – their wages and jobs.

Hardly anyone asks these days why Mexicans come to the States to work? It’s very simple: They need to feed and clothe their children and keep their families together. They cannot do that in their own country because the corporations do not pay a living wage. The corporations do not pay a living wage because the American Corporate Unions want American Corporations to have cheap labor to be more “competitive”. And, the Corps want poor laborers coming to the U.S. to drive down U.S. wages.

Gettelfinger and his partners in crime force round after round of concessions. They battle against the Good Fight, at home, across our borders and abroad. And they just make matters worse. Dog-eat-dog does not work for most of us. Dog-eat-dog gives us murder and mayhem in Mexico and hopelessness at home. Labor bosses like Gettelfinger stop working people from organizing in The Good Fight and press dog-eat-dog competitiveness in our shops, between cities, states and countries. Jobs disappear. Skill disappears. Products disappear. Quality disappears but we get the Big Lies from Madison Avenue.

Nothing works now but we can change that. We need a return to the virtues of the real Trade Unions. "There is only one thing that stands in our midst, attenuated and threatened, but enthroned in some power like a ghost of the Middle Ages: the Trade Unions, “ said G. K. Chesterton.

In every workplace in the world are people who form deeply profound relationships with coworkers. For most of us, the workplace is the friendliest place out side our families. In all these places there are good people standing up for each other every day. They are the Solidarity basis of the Trade Union comeback. They are beginning to make themselves heard.


Richard Aleman Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 9:03:00 AM CDT  

Hi Tom,

Wonderful article and we are glad to have you aboard!

Danby Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM CDT  

Wow. Conservatives that don't dump on Labor. Refreshing.

Unions have become a joke.They no longer look out for the interests of the workers, but for the interests of the union bosses. An old motto from my days as a member of the SEIU:

"You work for your boss. You belong to the SEIU."

Athanasius Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 4:07:00 PM CDT  

Hah, look at the teacher's union! There was a shake down if there ever was one.

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