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World Socialist Workers - October 8, 2019

"The study concluded that the three most powerful institutional investors “occupy a position of unrivaled potential power over corporate America,” and that there is “a concentration of corporate ownership not seen since the days of JP Morgan and JD Rockefeller.” The top three “have the potential to cause significant changes to the political economy of the United States.”
That is exactly what Wall Street is seeking to accomplish through the GM contract."

Workers must draw strategic conclusions from these facts.

General Motors’ decision to double down on demands to expand temporary work, quintuple workers’ health care costs and keep wages growing below the rate of inflation marks a major offensive not only by GM against 48,000 striking autoworkers, but by all of corporate America against the US and international working class.

The ruthlessness of the corporation shows that if the strike is to succeed, workers must take control out of the hands of the UAW and expand the strike. The UAW has isolated workers and weakened their position, paying them $250 in strike pay and keeping Ford and Fiat-Chrysler workers on the job to help the auto industry withstand the impact of a continued strike.

The strike is causing significant disruptions in international supply chains. Yesterday, GM furloughed 415 of 2,100 workers at its Mexican V-8 engine and transmissions plant in Ramos Arizpe in the northern state of Coahuila. The 6,000-worker Silao, Guanajuato plant remains shut down. Over 10,000 non-UAW members have been laid off at parts and other related facilities in the US as a result of the strike.

The outcome of the strike will determine conditions of life for millions of workers across not just the auto industry, but all workplaces for years to come.

What is involved is not just a dispute with one powerful company. Through this contract, the ruling class is conspiring to dramatically alter class relations and transfer trillions of dollars more from the working class to the financial aristocracy. Autoworkers are taking a stand for the entire working class.

What GM is trying to force upon its workforce is corporate America’s dream vision of the future: an army of temporary workers with no rights who can be thrown onto the street at will; factories that can be shuttered by the company as it wishes; the elimination of employer-provided healthcare; rising productivity through speedup with lower wages and higher injury rates.

GM’s demands are an effort by Wall Street to “uberize” and “Amazonify” the international workforce, ensuring the highest possible level of exploitation to increase profits and inflate the stock market. Just yesterday, General Electric announced an end to pensions for 10,000 workers. It is a plan for mass poverty. If successful, the ruling class’s strategy will push millions of workers past the brink of physical and mental exhaustion for generations to come.

GM’s ruthlessness is not merely the product of corporate “greed,” although there is plenty of that to go around. The greed flows from the demands of the capitalist system and the material interests of GM’s powerful shareholders. ...
Read full article at WSWS