1

Leid Stories – 10.27.15

Happy Motoring?: Behind the UAW-GM Tentative Agreement

The Benghazi Hearings: What Gave Hillary Her Big Break (Part 2)

Averting a midnight-Sunday threatened strike by mere minutes, the United Auto Workers union and General Motors announced a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract for 52,700 workers. They now must vote on the deal. Veteran auto worker and bargaining committee member Gary Walkowicz says worker solidarity is keeping both union leadership and corporate bosses in check.

We pick up from where we left off with the discussion on Hillary Clinton’s “triumph” at last week’s hearing on the attack on two mysterious U.S. “diplomatic” compounds in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012that left four Americans dead—including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, foreign service information management officer Sean Smith , and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Leid Stories listeners ask questions about Clinton that committee members never intended to.

1

Alternative Visions – Chrysler Auto Workers Fight To Resurrect Union Bargaining and Their Union – 10.16.15

Jack Rasmus welcomes long time UAW auto worker rank and file activist, Gregg Shotwell, to discuss the current negotiations between UAW and Chrysler Fiat. Gregg explains why the first proposed contract was rejected 2 to 1 by auto workers, and the issues remaining with the pending re-vote on a second proposal. Gregg explains the importance of the fight to end two tier second class worker citizenship in Auto, where 45% of the workers at Chrysler today are temp and receive half pay without retirement or health benefits. Key issues are discussed, including ending two tier, getting a raise after 10 years without any, demands for overtime pay after 8 hrs work, ending alternative work scheduling, preventing management from passing costs for the health care tax (Obamacare) onto workers, and other issues in the first rejected contract recommended by UAE ‘concession caucus’ leaders. Gregg explains how Chrysler was bought by Fiat without paying anything, and how managers, salaried workers and stockholders have gotten big payoffs the past decade while workers have been frozen in pay and benefits, despite Chrysler sitting on a $4 billion cash hoard and Chrysler workers have taken a 24% pay cut since 2007. The second contract proposal about to come up for another vote is discussed by Gregg. Both Jack and Gregg discuss the potential significance of the Chrysler contract for reversing trends that have devastated auto and other workers in the US and decimated US unions and collective bargaining. As Shotwell explains succinctly: US workers everywhere have been “working longer, harder and for less money”, not just in auto. Can Chrysler workers begin a ‘march back’ for US workers? Listen to the discussion by long time rank and filer, Shotwell, with decades and deep roots in the UAW.

1

Leid Stories – 10.05.15

Auto Workers Say ‘No’ to Contract; Put Union, Fiat Chrysler on the Ropes
Whole Foods’ Version of ‘Conscious Capitalism’: Cut 1,500 Jobs
With two-thirds of about 40,000 workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rejecting a tentative contract last week, both the automaker and the United Auto Workers leadership are reeling from the stunning defeat—a harbinger of what might happen with contractions at General Motors and Ford Motor Company. The Big 3 employs 141,000 workers.
Alex Wassell, a veteran auto worker and member of Local 869, explains why the rank and file voted against the new contract.
Over the next two months, Whole Foods Market will cut 1,500 jobs—a move, it says, is necessary to bring down costs to consumers and to fund an upgrade in its technology.
Leid Stories in a commentary on Whole Foods’ recent questionable business practices asks: Is this what co-CEO and co-founder John Mackey means by “conscious capitalism?”

1

Leid Stories – 09.29.15

Fiat Chrysler Workers in Detroit Reject Contract; Strike Ahead?

Obama Goes Professorial, but Gets Read, at 70th U.N. General Assembly

A four-year tentative contract negotiated between the auto workers union and Fiat Chrysler appears headed for recall. More than 40,000 members of the United Automobile Workers currently are voting on whether to ratify the contract, but so far the UAW’s largest locals have voted against the deal.

Greg Gardner, labor reporter for the Detroit Free Press, explains why workers are against the contract and whether their thumbs-down on it is a harbinger of contract negotiations with Ford and General Motors. The Big 3 auto manufacturers employ about 141,000 workers.

At the opening of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday, President Barack Obama was in full professorial mode, lecturing world leaders about international affairs. Several of them conducted teach-ins of their own that corrected the teacher’s syllabus.

1

Leid Stories – 09.23.15

Auto Workers Begin Voting on New Contracts. Deal or No Deal?
Starving for Education in Chicago: Hunger Strikers Fight for A School
About 40,000 workers are voting this week on whether to ratify a new four-year contract their union, the United Auto Workers, has worked out with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. All eyes in the auto industry are looking for the outcome, which might predict how contract negotiations with General Motors and Ford Motor Co. will go as well. The industry employs 141,000 people.
Two longtime union workers discuss their concerns about the contract-negotiation process, the concessions they say the UAW has made, the definitive change in workers’ rights and benefits, and the outsourcing of jobs.
It took a 34-day hunger strike by 15 activists to force Chicago Public Schools to reopen the historic Dyett High School, shut down last year. But the fight’s just beginning, say the strikers, who envision the creation of the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School, and the rebirth of community control over education in the City of Chicago.

1

Economic Update – Precarious Work = Capitalism’s Inefficiency – 09.13.15

Updates on economics of refugees, Ford buys French political wife, LAs homeless, Labor Day history, Seattle Teachers strike, and Japan’s jobs ever more precarious. Response to listeners on why rising wages need NOT mean rising prices. Interview with Dr. Harriet Fraad, mental health counselor, on the psychological pains, personal suffering, and huge social costs of imposing uncertainty and precarity on job security, hours and days of work, benefits, and wages.