On the US attack against Oshawa auto workers

In the same breath as they pass brutal anti-worker legislation to criminalize the postal workers, the cartel parties ooze sympathy for the auto workers in Oshawa. The pundits are brought to the fore by the media to cynically tell the workers “to move on” and “prepare for the new economy” featuring robotics and automated cars. The president of Unifor is right when he says this is an attack on both the workers and the nation but is not he the one who cast his lot with NAFTA and split the CLC and now fulminates how he has been “betrayed” and will “fight.” That will be a good thing!

The global oligopolies like GM, Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler control auto production in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. That General Motors Canada plans to shut down its decades-old Oshawa Assembly Plant, affecting thousands of jobs in the city of roughly 170,000 and surrounding communities such as Ajax and Whitby. It reflects this control without zero concern for the working class, community or economy wherever they operate. To think that the sellout federal and provincial governments will stand up for the workers’ interests in this situation is frankly delusional.

Consider the final government subsidy numbers for just the 2009 bailout of Chrysler and General Motors. The public lost a net $3.7-billion, just under $900-million to Chrysler and $2.8-billion to General Motors.

The oligopolies control trade to the point that much of the trade exists internally within a particular ownership group. The working class does not control the auto sector or any other sector. The oligarchs own and control all basic sectors and control the trade. They seize the objective value workers create in all three countries and dictate where that value ends up and how it may be employed. Much of the value in the auto sector has been marshalled into robotics to decrease the amount of work-time necessary to produce vehicles. This has put enormous downward pressure on the working class of all three countries.

The Auto Pact cannot be “fixed”, just as NAFTA cannot be “fixed.” A fresh start is needed. The auto workers and other working people must soberly and calmly discuss, investigate, organize and fight for a new human-centred direction for the economy where the actual producers of social product and its objective value control production and importantly control how the value that they create is distributed and employed.

Let all workers firmly denounce this anti-worker, anti-Canada attack and express their support for the auto workers’ just struggle.


GM President Mary Barra makes $28 million a year.

With a file from Dougal MacDonald

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Filed under Canada, Working Class

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