Stop auto layoffs: A job is a right!

first_imgFiat Chrysler Automobiles announced April 6 it would indefinitely lay off 1,420 workers at two Detroit-area plants. The indefinite layoffs will begin July 5 when the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant eliminates one of two shifts.The other 1,900 workers in the plant will be employed sporadically. Workers who build FCA’s Chrysler 200 car have spent most of 2016 on “temporary” layoffs with a return-to-work date. However, the call-back dates are postponed or workers return for a week or two and then are laid off again.The layoffs will also affect Sterling Stamping plant, the assembly plant’s main supplier of doors, roofs, hoods and other stampings.This is the auto industry’s first mass indefinite layoff since the 2009 General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies. Chrysler streamlined its operations then by closing six plants and several warehouses. The company exploited workers’ fears of an uncertain future, scaring thousands of them into quitting or taking buyouts and retiring. When sales rebounded, Chrysler replaced these high-seniority workers with new hires who received substantially lower pay and benefits under the two-tier pay structure.The two-tier payment system was introduced in the United Auto Workers 2007-11 contracts with the Detroit Three automakers and was then expanded as a condition of the bailout during the bankruptcy. Subsequent contracts have raised lower-tier workers’ wages, with the latest contract allowing many of them to eventually make top pay. Yet with an eight-year wait to get the maximum wage, pay gaps still exist.Based on seniority, lower-tier workers are the first ones laid off and the last to be recalled. Michigan workers can only collect 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits.In the 1950s the UAW negotiated Supplemental Unemployment Benefits. When combined with state unemployment checks, SUB allows workers to take home more than 70 percent of their weekly pay and makes up the difference when unemployment benefits stop.However, second-tier workers with one or more years of service can only collect 13 to 26 weeks of SUB, while “temporary” workers and those employed for under a year do not get any SUB. “Traditional” workers with less than 10 years of service are also limited to 26 weeks.Time to raise hellThe UAW should be raising hell about these layoffs and their resulting hardships. Instead, Norwood Jewell, UAW vice president assigned to FCA, stated, “While today’s announcement of a shift reduction at Sterling Heights Assembly is unfortunate, it is not unexpected. FCA is not the only company experiencing a slow market for small cars.” (, April 6)This is pure hogwash. The 2015 Chrysler 200 is not a small car but a midsize sedan. Sales in this segment industry-wide are only down 2.2 percent from a year ago. Auto journalists call the vehicle lackluster, but the 200 was hyped two years ago by Chrysler officials when it debuted at the Detroit auto show.FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has allowed its “flagship” 200 cars’ sales to plummet as part of its plan to eliminate car production in UAW plants, only building in the U.S. large trucks and sport utility vehicles with the highest profit margin.Marchionne claims that a “permanent change” has occurred in automotive buying patterns, but facts do not support his stance, as many variables influence this market. The CEO is gambling with workers’ livelihoodsEchoing the company line, Jewell stated, “On a bright note, there is a strong demand for larger-sized vehicles. The company has been planning to increase its capacity to build more trucks and SUVs. … [T]his move will be a positive one for our members and the company.”This corporate strategy will not help workers when they run out of SUB and unemployment benefits, especially those who are the lower paid. Many of them are African-American youth from Detroit, whose jobless rate is astronomical.FCA plans to increase the Sterling Heights plant’s workforce when it begins building the Ram pickup, but that is 18 months from now. Now the Ram is built at Detroit’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant. The retooling will cost the Detroit area 750 jobs, says FCA.This over-reliance on the large-vehicle market is the very strategy that, compounded by a crisis of capitalist overproduction, nearly ruined Chrysler in the last auto recession. Inflated gasoline prices and a construction slump reduced sales in this segment.Moreover, large vehicles have the highest carbon footprint. Marchionne’s strategy, which the UAW leadership shamelessly endorses, displays a reckless disregard for the planet.Fiat — now merged with Chrysler — was the beneficiary of the 2010 state-orchestrated bankruptcy, gaining a 35 percent stake in the company at no cost and then gaining full ownership on the cheap. Threatened with Chrysler’s liquidation, the UAW made major concessions. Contract language limiting layoffs to 48 weeks over the life of the four-year contract and SUB for the entire layoff period were eliminated. Now the most exploited workers will pay the price.Capitalists put profits before people“Slow sales” are presented as the root cause of layoffs, as if market cycles are as natural as weather cycles — and workers must live with the consequences.The corporate media claim that union wages and benefits are killing autoworkers’ jobs. That is the gist of the April 10 Detroit Free Press editorial on Ford’s announcement that it would invest $1.6 billion in a new plant in Mexico employing 2,800 workers. Ford is moving production of its small car, the Focus, from Michigan to San Luis Potosi. The newspaper blamed the UAW’s “ballooning contract demands” and moaned, “Without the tiered wage structure, Ford doesn’t have much of a choice where it manufactures small cars.”The contracts ratified last year were not expected to significantly increase labor costs. “This agreement provides a good foundation for Ford Motor Company, our employees and our communities,” said John Fleming, Ford’s vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs. (New York Times, Nov. 20)Punishing the workers for winning a bigger share of the wealth they produce is rampant. Nabisco/Mondalez has announced plans to shift production of Oreo cookies to Mexico from its unionized Chicago factory.The real threat to workers’ jobs, beyond corporations’ heartless decisions, is the capitalist mode of production that puts profits before people. This system can’t be “fixed” to prevent layoffs and plant closings. What can workers do?Property right to a jobDuring the 1935-37 wave of sit-down strikes — which lasted from less than an hour to more than two months — a widespread belief arose that workers have a property right to their jobs. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and Michigan Gov. Frank Murphy echoed that worker sentiment.In 1987, as GM closed a record number of plants, the Job Is a Right Campaign asserted that a job is a property right and demanded a moratorium on plant closings. This mass movement helped to strengthen job security language in UAW contracts.Discussing the right to a job leads to this conclusion: If workers have a property right to their jobs, they have a right to prevent their property from being taken away. This was the key legal defense of the sit-downs, when GM management howled that seizing the plants violated the sacred right of their ownership. Autoworkers, however, have sweat equity in the plants and have the right to occupy them in their own interest.FCA’s layoffs and the auto industry’s flagrant disregard of global warming prove that capitalists cannot be entrusted with our future. Workers must seize the means of production — not only to defend their jobs — but to ensure the planet’s survival.Grevatt is a 28-year Chrysler worker and UAW member.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Management confident winter vomiting bug is contained

first_img Twitter Guidelines for reopening of hospitality sector published Management at Letterkenny General Hospital says they are confident that measures introduced have contained the small outbreak of the winter vomiting bug in the hospital.A number of cases of Noro Virus were confirmed in patients who have gastroenteritis in the Orthopaedic Ward of the hospital leading to visiting restriction being introduced.Assistant General Manager Paddy Rooney says the situation would appear to be now contained:     [podcast][/podcast] WhatsApp Twitter Calls for maternity restrictions to be lifted at LUH Google+ Previous articleFianna Fail Councillor questions calls for Donegal by-electionNext articleGardai make large drugs seizure in Carrigans News Highland WhatsApp Facebook Management confident winter vomiting bug is contained By News Highland – January 14, 2010 center_img Pinterest LUH system challenged by however, work to reduce risk to patients ongoing – Dr Hamilton Need for issues with Mica redress scheme to be addressed raised in Seanad also RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Business Matters Ep 45 – Boyd Robinson, Annette Houston & Michael Margey News Google+ Facebook Pinterest Almost 10,000 appointments cancelled in Saolta Hospital Group this week last_img read more

‘FCV Gladiators Football Camp to Unearth Fresh Talents’

first_imgDirector of UK-based FCV Academy, Martin Harris, has said that  the second edition of the FCV Gladiators Football Camp holding in Port Harcourt next month will help to unearth talents for Nigeria.Harris, who described Nigeria as a nation with talents said creating connection between sports and education is one of the core values of the camp.The annual camp is being organised by the Dynaspro Sports Promotion and Advanta Interactive Ltd, in collaboration with the UK-based Football CV Academy and will be hosted by Bloombreed Schools, Port Harcourt. “We want to continue to create connections for children, parents and schools through football, providing an environment for them to thrive and drive a passion of learning both on and off the football pitch.“Following the success of our camps earlier this year, we expect the same high standards to not only be met but exceeded.  The camps will help to discover and develop talent, provide a viable platform for Nigerian children to showcase their ability and open up educational pathways for talented footballers including within our own program in England,” Harris said.With successful staging of the maiden edition of the camp in Lagos and Abuja, Harris said he is looking forward to the Port Harcourt leg of the camp.“Alongside supporting the players, our coaches are also FA coach educators and during their time in Port Harcourt will look to mentor a number of Nigerian coaches.“This shared knowledge will enable our Academy to have an even wider reach within the community, as the local coaches can then impart the new skills acquired into their own schools and clubs,” he added.For Efe Ojigbede of Advanta Advanta Interactive Ltd, the hosting of the camp in Port Harcourt was part of the plans to expand the exercise. “Port Harcourt will be unique mostly due to the world class standard facilities being provided by the host school Bloombreed Schools as they have gone all out to ensure that their sporting and boarding facilities are in excellent shape in readiness for the camp,” Ojigbede said.He however, expressed optimism that this year hopes to be exciting. “We expect a lot more in terms of higher levels of management of the camp. We expect higher numbers of registrations of players and visit of families as the camp will be held in the yuletide season,” he added.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more