Opinion: United Auto Workers should endorse USMCA
As a 23-year hourly UAW-Ford worker at the Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, I am saddened, but not surprised, that Labor Day comes in the midst of such worker shock and anger with the UAW.
Fury within the rank and file has been building for well over a decade when workers voluntarily gave up much of their negotiated benefits to save the auto companies from disaster. Now, the homes of former president Dennis Williams, along with current president Gary Jones, were raided by the FBI as part of a growing corruption scandal that has now reached the very top of the UAW executive ladder.
A year ago, I called for Jones to resign, but his selfishness has now led to an unmitigated disaster for autoworkers as they lose the trust in their officials so necessary for a strong union.
President Lincoln famously said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. The corruption by UAW executives has done more to divide the union than anything else imaginable.
The union is desperate during the current negotiations to show they have strength and value to workers. Unfortunately, their actions have created that most loathsome of situations during any negotiation. They have lost the high ground, and it is the rank and file who will suffer for it.
But while we wait worriedly for the conclusion of this year’s negotiations, the UAW is missing out on an opportunity to show value to workers. While marching in the Labor Day parade, the union could set aside their outdated partisan politics and publicly back the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Heavily steeped in President Trump’s “American Jobs First” policy, the USMCA will be a boon to the American economy, replacing the hated NAFTA, and focusing on the American worker.
Unfortunately, the UAW continues to show their chief priority is not to their own rank and file, but to the leaders of the Democratic Party. If the USMCA had been negotiated by a democrat, union executives would be doing cartwheels in excitement for the agreement. But just because President Trump is a Republican, UAW officials and their democrat bosses in Congress will not endorse the agreement. Afraid to give President Trump a “win” before an election year, union officials ignore the benefits to their workers and instead place more importance on the democrat party -- a party dedicated to the auto industry destroying Green New Deal.
The UAW however wants more out of the USMCA, claiming it does not give everything they want. This all-or-nothing strategy would be devastating at the negotiating table yet is somehow justified when the president is not from the party the union gets its marching orders from.
While President Trump succeeds by placing American workers first, UAW officials continue to stumble inside their own corruption-filled organization, and by simply missing a chance to endorse the pro-worker USMCA. Autoworkers deserve so much better.
For all the autoworkers out there worried about the strength of our union, we see real leadership and concern for the American worker coming from the White House. Our union officials claim to march in unity but fail us in every single step they take.
It’s time for the UAW to take a leap forward and put workers first by endorsing the USMCA.
Terry Bowman is a 23-year Ford-UAW worker and the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.