GM hiring scabs to replace strikers at Missouri and Texas assembly plants

By Tom Hall
17 September 2019

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Social media posts by autoworkers throughout the day have exposed that General Motors is hiring scab labor to operate its key assembly plants in Arlington, Texas and Wentzville, Missouri.

A flyer distributed by temp agency Stride Staffing advertised a job fair held in a Dallas suburb late Tuesday morning for “temp to hire” assembly technicians on three shifts. Any strikebreakers who are hired will earn the poverty wage of $12 to $12.35 per hour, less than some fast food workers in the Dallas area. The UAW local president at Arlington Assembly reportedly confirmed that the company was hiring scabs in an emergency meeting held this morning.

A WSWS Autoworker Newsletter reader in Missouri also reported that the UAW local president at Wentzville Assembly has informed striking GM workers that the company is hiring strikebreakers at their plant as well.

GM met with UAW negotiators for the second day in a row Tuesday in order to hash out a way to shut down the strike on the company’s terms. The UAW side is being advised by none other than Region 5 Director Vance Pearson, who was arrested last week for embezzling union funds, according to press reports Monday.

Politico also reported on Tuesday that the Trump administration is also involved, as yet behind the scenes, to end the strike. Trump has threatened to bring in a federal mediator and to broker a deal to re-open the shuttered Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant in exchange for what would be huge concessions handed over by the UAW.

However, the hiring of scabs suggests that GM is not assuming that either the UAW or the Trump administration will be able to shut down the strike and push through such a deal any time soon. It is a sign that the giant company and the Wall Street investors that stand behind it are digging in for a drawn-out fight with autoworkers.

The exposure of the strikebreaking operation comes the day after the company cut off medical benefits for striking workers, jeopardizing access to healthcare for tens of thousands of workers. The company was originally set to provide benefits until the end of the month. Workers are forced to obtain healthcare from the starvation ration they are being paid by the UAW strike fund, which provides medical and prescription drug coverage but not dental, vision, hearing or other benefits. Workers will not begin accruing strike pay until next Monday, when they will make a paltry $250 a week.

General Motors can ill afford lengthy stoppages at the Arlington and Wentzville plants because they are the only facilities producing some of GM’s most profitable pickup trucks, SUVs and vans. Arlington produces the GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Wentzville produces the Chevy Colorado, Express and the GMC Canyon pickup trucks and the GMC Savana full-size vans.

GM has also sought to increase production of its highly profitable Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks at its plant in Silao, Mexico, but workers are refusing to take on extra workloads during the US strike and have defied threats and victimizations by management and the company-controlled union.

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