Autoworkers struggles

Companies vow no more shutdowns for COVID-19 as US auto plants resume full production

By Shannon Jones, 20 June 2020

All the major carmakers have expressed their determination to continue production without interruption even as COVID-19 cases surge in many areas of the US.

Death of two workers sparks wildcat strike by 3,200 workers at auto parts plant in Matamoros, Mexico

By Andrea Lobo, 20 June 2020

When news broke that Luciano Romero Contreras, a 48-year-old janitor at Plant 52, had died the previous day, workers downed tools and began discussions at the facility and on social media.

130,000 jobs at risk in the German auto industry

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Peter Schwarz, 20 June 2020

Although German auto companies received a lion’s share of the government’s €130 billion stimulus package, and are collecting billions more via the short-time working scheme, the industry plans to axe more than 100,000 jobs.

The UAW’s Juneteenth stunt

By Jerry White and Tom Hall, 19 June 2020

If the UAW has suddenly "discovered" its opposition to discrimination, it is only in order to use race in order to divert workers' anger along harmless, officially sanctioned forms of protests.

UAW, federal prosecutors announce talks over corruption scandal

By Tom Hall, 17 June 2020

Whatever the friction between the US Attorney’s office and the UAW, both share as their central aim the suppression of the rising tide of opposition among autoworkers.

US auto companies pushing for more production as COVID-19 cases rise in factories

By Shannon Jones, 16 June 2020

The protracted slump in sales makes further downsizing and restructuring in the auto industry virtually inevitable once the immediate inventory deficit is made up.

Striking Spanish Nissan workers boo unions and Podemos mayor of Barcelona

By Alejandro López, 15 June 2020

This points to the explosive conflict emerging between the working class and the pseudo-left and the unions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and an upsurge of class struggle.

Maquiladora workers demand release of labor lawyer arrested in Matamoros, Mexico

By Andrea Lobo, 15 June 2020

Despite our sharp political differences with Susan Prieto, the World Socialist Web Site unequivocally opposes the arrest of the labor lawyer and demands her immediate release.

VW leadership dispute prepares way for massive job cuts and austerity

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Ulrich Rippert, 13 June 2020

The current leadership dispute at VW ushers in a new phase of corporatist policy, aimed at preparing the company for global trade war at the expense of the workforce.

“They treat us like we are slaves”

Detroit Flex-N-Gate workers denounce sweatshop conditions

By J. Cooper, 12 June 2020

Workers are facing intolerable conditions after the reopening of the auto parts plants.

“Make no mistake, the union supports ramping up production”

UAW threatens job losses at Ford Kentucky Truck Plant over COVID-19-related absences

By Marcus Day and Jessica Goldstein, 12 June 2020

The UAW’s threats came the same day that Ford’s Chief Operating Officer, Jim Farley, announced that the company expects production to return to pre-pandemic levels by July 6.

As company becomes world’s most valuable automaker

Six Tesla workers test positive for coronavirus at Bay Area factories

By Jonathan Burleigh, 11 June 2020

Less than a month after Tesla strongarmed local government into allowing a premature restart of production, six factory workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Young maquiladora factory workers dying in droves in US/Mexico border towns

By Norissa Santa Cruz, 11 June 2020

Defying the myth that COVID-19 primarily kills the elderly, young people who work in US-owned maquiladora factories in border towns such as Tijuana and Juarez are dying at alarming rates.

Bridgestone tire defends safety “playbook” as infections rise at Iowa plant

By Jacob Crosse, 10 June 2020

Working with United Steelworkers Local 1301, Bridgestone has continued production despite rising infections among workers and the surrounding community.

COVID-19 spreads in US auto plants as officials hide information from workers

By Jessica Goldstein, 10 June 2020

Three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed among workers at General Motors’ assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, in recent days.

“He is trying to be a dictator and he can’t be allowed to be one”

US autoworkers denounce police violence, Trump’s moves to impose military dictatorship

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 June 2020

The multi-ethnic, multi-racial protests against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have evoked widespread sympathy among autoworkers.

Nissan confirms job cuts as strike against Spanish plant closures continues

By Alejandro López, 6 June 2020

Thousands of Nissan workers, their families and sympathisers are striking, protesting and blocking roads to protest the automaker’s decision to shut down its Barcelona plant.

999 strike in Spain

5 June 2020

UAW withholds information six days after Louisville Ford worker tests positive for COVID-19

By Steve Filips, 4 June 2020

Workers were outraged at the United Auto Workers union for concealing information about the spread of the deadly disease at the Kentucky Truck Plant.

“They are willing to trade lives for auto parts”

As full operations resume, North American auto companies keep silent on spreading COVID-19 cases

By Shannon Jones, 1 June 2020

Full production resumed Monday at many auto plants even as major companies seek to suppress information on the spread of COVID-19 in the plants.

“The system is suffocating the life out of the working class”

Autoworkers denounce police murder of George Floyd, express support for protesters

By our reporters, 1 June 2020

Autoworkers rejected efforts to brand the protesters as “violent” and said the real violence was being perpetrated by police and National Guard troops.

Detroit autoworkers report unexplained illness at Jefferson North Assembly as COVID cases mount

By Shannon Jones, 30 May 2020

Several B Crew workers at Fiat Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit fell ill from unknown causes during work on Thursday.

Automakers expand US production, even as COVID-19 cases increase

By Shannon Jones, 29 May 2020

The almost daily exposure of new COVID-19 cases in auto plants has not slowed the rush to increase production by North American carmakers, who face enormous pressure from financial markets.

UAW official seeks to defuse worker anger as more infections reported at US auto plants

By Shannon Jones, 27 May 2020

A token grievance by a low-level UAW official at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant is being heavily played up by the media.

After French bailout, Renault-Nissan announces global jobs massacre

By Alex Lantier, 26 May 2020

Four plants in France, three in Spain and tens of thousands of jobs worldwide are targeted amid a savage restructuring of the global auto industry.

“This is not a game that I want to play with my life”: US autoworkers denounce premature return to work

By our reporters, 26 May 2020

In the last week alone, cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at several auto plants in Detroit, Chicago, Kentucky, New York and Indiana.

Automakers, Unifor and Ontario government push plant reopenings as COVID-19 continues to spread

By Carl Bronski, 26 May 2020

The premature back-to-work drive in Canada’s auto industry is being spearheaded by hard-right Ontario Premier Doug Ford, in concert with the automakers, the financial oligarchy and the union Unifor.

“The company is covering up the situation to keep the plant from closing, while they are killing us”

Maquiladora workers expose deadly COVID-19 outbreak in Matamoros, Mexico

By Andrea Lobo, 25 May 2020

A worker from a US-owned battery charger factory told the WSWS that management is forcing them to work despite a contagion outbreak at the facility.

Auto companies continue opposition to mass testing as COVID-19 spreads in factories

By Shannon Jones, 23 May 2020

As more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are discovered at auto plants, the drive to restart production is being exposed as a reckless course of action that will inevitably lead to the needless deaths of workers.

Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant remains open as autoworker tests positive for COVID-19

By George Gallanis, 22 May 2020

In the absence of testing, it is likely that many more infected workers are in the auto plants, unaware that they are carriers.

“We need our jobs, but our lives and health are more important”

COVID-19 cases at Ford plants in Detroit, Chicago as anger grows over inadequate safety measures

By Jessica Goldstein and Jerry White, 21 May 2020

New infections have emerged at Ford plants in Dearborn, Michigan and Chicago and also at supplier plant, just days after the reopening of the North American auto industry.

Pandemic crisis: Tens of thousands of UK job losses announced

By Margot Miller, 21 May 2020

The jobs cull in the UK began in April as firms in retail and hospitality collapsed into administration after the imposition of lockdown, accelerating an already existing trend towards recession.

Ford Chicago worker tests positive for COVID-19 after North American auto plants reopen

By Shannon Jones, 20 May 2020

The Trump administration is spearheading a campaign to force a return to work, eliminating all pretense of combatting the spread of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 spreads among Ford workers in Turkey

By Ulas Atesci, 20 May 2020

Unsafe and even deadly conditions during the pandemic are an international issue facing workers of every country.

Workers angry, concerned as US auto plants reopen

By Jerry White, 19 May 2020

Tens of thousands of workers returned to factories across the US Monday in a major test of the Trump administration’s plans to restart the flow of corporate profits even as the death toll of the pandemic continues to rise.

North American auto industry reopens amid mounting opposition by workers

By Marcus Day, 18 May 2020

Roughly 133,000 workers are expected to return to automotive assembly plants this week.

999 Autoworker interviews on reopening

18 May 2020

“There will be a human cost from this. Everyone knows that.”

Drive to reopen auto plants in North America threatens thousands of lives

By Shannon Jones, 16 May 2020

As the Detroit-based auto companies prepare to restart their North American factories, opposition is growing among workers to a deadly return to work.

“I am not going to die for this company that only thinks about the millions they have in the bank”

Mounting opposition among autoworkers on eve of industry restart

By Marcus Day, 16 May 2020

New cases of the virus have already emerged at FCA’s Sterling Heights Assembly this week, even before the plants officially reopen Monday.

“We are not going back to unsafe conditions”

After FCA Sterling Heights Assembly workers contract COVID-19, anger mounts over premature return to work

By Shannon Jones, 15 May 2020

Anxiety over a premature return to work has been heightened after reports that several workers in the Detroit area have already been sent home with suspected COVID-19 infections.

German auto bosses demand government subsidies and job cuts

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 15 May 2020

The German auto industry is using the coronavirus crisis to implement its long-planned transition to electro-mobility and digitalisation. Its main partner is the company union, the IG Metall.

Anger simmers over restart of production by Detroit automakers

By Shannon Jones, 13 May 2020

The reckless attempt to restart the North American auto industry is meeting with determined resistance by workers unwilling to risk their lives for corporate profits.

“The company and the union are trying to pacify us, but they don’t care about our lives”

Detroit autoworkers oppose rush to reopen plants as COVID-19 death toll rises

By Jerry White, 12 May 2020

Auto parts suppliers reopened plants in Michigan and other states Monday as GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler prepare to recall nearly 200,000 autoworkers to their North American factories by May 18.

In criminal pursuit of profits, Tesla CEO Elon Musk restarts production at California facility

By Evan Blake, 12 May 2020

In open defiance of local public health authorities, Musk sent 10,000 workers back to work Monday, dramatically increasing the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Automakers continue production restarts as US death toll tops 80,000

By Marcus Day, 11 May 2020

Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to withdraw the company’s US operations from California Saturday unless the company is allowed to immediately restart production.

Appeal demands the defense of “non-negotiable human rights”

GM workers in Mexico call for an international struggle to keep plants closed during pandemic

By Andrea Lobo, 11 May 2020

Asked about how workers should respond across North America, a worker said: “Through a strike protest to demand no reopening until it’s safe and the virus has been eradicated.”

Democratic governor and UAW collude with auto bosses to force return to work in Michigan

By Jessica Goldstein, 9 May 2020

Michigan still remains the fourth highest state in the number of deaths in the US, and the Detroit metro area is among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

German auto companies demand even more state money

By Ulrich Rippert, 7 May 2020

Along with hunting for government stimulus packages, the auto companies are ramping up production again despite the dangers to workers' health and lives.

UAW gives its blessing to reopen auto plants as pandemic rages on

By Jerry White, 6 May 2020

UAW President Rory Gamble said the company had the unreserved right to decide when and how the plants open.

Global automakers press ahead with reopening in midst of coronavirus pandemic

By Marcus Day, 5 May 2020

Auto production is already reopening in Europe, while the corporations are readying their supply chains in North America.

Germany: Daimler trains managers to kick out workers

By Ulrich Rippert, 2 May 2020

Daimler department heads and other managers are being trained to put pressure on individual workers to “implement the job cuts as smoothly as possible.”

“They are willing to kill us for their profits”

US autoworkers oppose early return to factories

By Shannon Jones, 2 May 2020

Detroit auto companies are pushing for a May 18 restart but workers are resisting this attempt to force them into the factories during the uncontained COVID-19 pandemic.

As millions face destitution gravy train continues for US auto execs

By Shannon Jones, 29 April 2020

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was among the top 20 highest paid executives in 2019 with Ford and Fiat Chrysler execs not far behind.

Germany: IG Metall and works council force Volkswagen workers back despite coronavirus danger

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Peter Schwarz, 28 April 2020

Production is starting up again at Volkswagen ’ s main plant, the largest car factory in Europe with 63,000 employees , as the company plays roulette with the health and lives of its workforce.

Canadian autoworkers resist Unifor and Detroit Three rush to restart operations

By Carl Bronski, 27 April 2020

While Unifor has been meeting with the Detroit Three to plot a return to work, autoworkers have deluged social media sites with messages opposing a precipitous reopening of the plants.

“Would any worker want to put his or her child back in the plant?”

GM contract worker victimized over COVID warning speaks about his case

By Sheila Brehm, 27 April 2020

Travis Watkins, a contract worker and local United Auto Workers bargaining chairman was fired March 18 after he made a Facebook post alerting workers to possible infections at his plant in western Michigan.

Germany: Daimler and VW boost production and demand billions in taxpayers’ money

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 27 April 2020

Although around 2,500 people in Germany are being infected with the coronavirus every day, Daimler and Volkswagen both restarted car production this week.

GM threatens to end medical benefits for temporary workers at parts depot

By Shannon Jones, 25 April 2020

Workers at General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales in Burton, Michigan are being told to report to work April 27 or face losing their medical benefits.

999 Daimler and VW boost production and demand tax billions

25 April 2020

“Trump is more interested in getting the economy going than he is in our lives”

US autoworkers oppose rush to reopen plants

By Jerry White, 24 April 2020

The automakers and the United Auto Workers union are moving rapidly to reopen the auto industry even though it would accelerate the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

German automakers, unions and government collaborate to restart production

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 18 April 2020

Germany’s automakers and the IG Metall trade union are demanding that production be restarted.

Three years since Indian court ordered 13 framed-up Maruti Suzuki workers jailed for life

By Kranti Kumara, 13 April 2020

The World Socialist Web Site urges workers around the world to redouble their efforts to free these class war prisoners, whose only “crime” was to challenge a brutal work-regimen, cheap-labour and precarious contract jobs.

“This is forced labor”: Six GM workers stricken with COVID-19 at parts warehouse

By Sheila Brehm, 11 April 2020

While GM assembly plants remain shut, the company's Burton, Michigan parts warehouse is operating with 200 “volunteers.”

Auto companies plot out plan to restart production in North America despite coronavirus pandemic

By Jessica Goldstein, 10 April 2020

Both the auto corporations and their lackeys in the auto unions are demanding that workers risk their lives to go back to work in the factories in order to satisfy capitalist profit interests.

250 Three Years Since framed-up Maruti Suzuki Workers jailed for life

10 April 2020

US automakers planning return to work before coronavirus danger subsides

By Tom Hall and Jessica Goldstein, 8 April 2020

Automakers are planning a return to work that would endanger workers and their families.

US auto companies push for return to work at parts distribution centers

By Debra Watson, 6 April 2020

Auto companies continue to pressure workers to staff the auto giants’ vast warehouse distribution centers with the collaboration of the UAW, which has fully accepted the claim these are essential operations.

Letter from a Caterpillar worker in Illinois: “This is class biological warfare”

By a reporter, 4 April 2020

A Caterpillar worker writes about the dangerous conditions workers face during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the complicity of the United Auto Workers union.

More Ford, FCA workers die from COVID-19 in Detroit area

By Tim Rivers and Marcus Day, 3 April 2020

The workers were hourly employees at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant and FCA’s MOPAR parts distribution center in Center Line.

General Motors imposes wage cuts and layoffs on Brazilian workers with aid of unions

By Tomas Castanheira, 3 April 2020

GM announced mass layoffs along with a wage cut of up to 25 percent in wages at all its Brazilian plants.

Airlines, auto companies cut pay even as US government bails out corporations

By Shannon Jones, 1 April 2020

While prepared to pocket tens of billions of dollars in federal bailout money, US airlines and automakers are imposing pay cuts and furloughs on employees.

Four deaths over the weekend raise COVID-19 death toll among US autoworkers to nine

By Jessica Goldstein, 30 March 2020

The primary and immediate responsibility for these deaths lies with the Detroit automakers and their lackeys in the United Auto Workers, which conspired to keep workers on the line as long as possible during the pandemic, without even minimal sanitation and safety measures

Following deaths of three autoworkers due to COVID-19

Fiat Chrysler and Ford set April 14 target to re-open US plants

By Tom Hall, 27 March 2020

The rush to re-open the plants collides with elementary public health considerations and will expose tens of thousands of autoworkers to the risk of infection and death.

Two Fiat Chrysler workers die from COVID-19 in US

By Marcus Day and Shannon Jones, 25 March 2020

The deaths, at FCA Sterling Heights Assembly in the Detroit area and at Kokomo Transmission in Indiana, are the predictable outcome of the combined effort by the auto companies and the UAW to keep the plants running up until last week.

Michigan issues statewide lockdown, exempting auto industry as “critical infrastructure”

By Tom Hall, 24 March 2020

The order exempts “critical manufacturing” as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security, setting the stage for a return to work in the plants weeks before the lockdown order expires.

Fiat Chrysler skilled trade contractors in Detroit walk out as workers demand total auto shutdown

By Shannon Jones, 21 March 2020

The workers took the action after management demanded they stay on the job, even though FCA production workers have been sent home over coronavirus concerns.

Kentucky auto parts worker denounces continued plant operation as coronavirus spreads

By Clement Daly, 21 March 2020

Referring to the role of the UAW union, the worker said: “They say our security is their number one goal, but it’s not.”

Mexican autoworkers appeal to US, Canadian workers for support in closing plants over COVID-19

By Andrea Lobo, 21 March 2020

A worker at the GM Silao Complex wrote: “I see the trade union as being totally indifferent to this issue, that is why I ask for your collaboration brothers.”

Citing “national security,” John Deere keeps US plants open amid pandemic

By George Gallanis, 21 March 2020

The United Auto Workers union, which covers Deere plants, signed a joint statement with the company enforcing continued production.

Some US auto companies announce plant closures, others remain open in wake of worker job actions over coronavirus

By Shannon Jones, 20 March 2020

Following work stoppages over coronavirus concerns Wednesday by Fiat Chrysler workers, many major North American carmakers have announced the temporary closure of their factories.

Ontario Toyota worker describes company inaction in the face of coronavirus pandemic

By Carl Bronski, 20 March 2020

Toyota announced closures throughout North America, which will not take effect until Monday, only after the sudden growth of wildcat actions in the United States and Canada to force a halt to production.

Media blackout of wildcat strikes in US auto industry

By Tom Hall, 20 March 2020

Within hours after wildcat strikes in Fiat Chrysler plants in Michigan and Ohio forced a temporary shutdown of much of the North American auto industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the corporate media entered into full cover-up mode.

US autoworkers take matters into their own hands

Auto plants shut down throughout North America in response to wave of wildcats over coronavirus

By Tom Hall, 19 March 2020

Thousands of autoworkers throughout the US Midwest downed their tools Wednesday morning, the latest in a worldwide wave of wildcat strikes against the continuation of non-essential production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers shut production in auto plants throughout Michigan and Ohio, in defiance of UAW and management

By Tom Hall, 18 March 2020

Workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Sterling Heights (SHAP) and Jefferson North (JNAP) assembly plants in Metro Detroit took matters into their own hands last night and this morning and forced a shutdown of production to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“These companies are willing to kill us on the line”

As UAW keeps plants open, Indiana Fiat Chrysler and Lear workers take action over deadly coronavirus

By Jerry White, 18 March 2020

The UAW announced Tuesday night that it had agreed to keep the Big Three plants open on a “rotating partial shutdown” basis, as the COVID-19 disease continues to spread.

How to fight the COVID-19 pandemic: A program of action for the working class

By the National Committee of the Socialist Equality Party (US), 17 March 2020

The essential principle that must guide the response to the crisis is that the needs of working people must take absolute and unconditional priority over all considerations of corporate profit and private wealth.

“They will keep doing this unless we stop production on our own”

US autoworkers demand industry shutdown to fight coronavirus

By Tom Hall, 17 March 2020

Autoworkers continued to flood the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter with comments denouncing the decision by the companies and the UAW to maintain full production in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

Canadian workers launch work-safety job actions amid rapid spread of coronavirus

By Carl Bronski, 17 March 2020

While workers are being forced by employers in the private and public sectors to labour under dangerous and unsafe working conditions, the Trudeau government is moving to provide the financial and corporate oligarchy unlimited financial assistance.

US automakers, UAW deploy threats and lies to keep workers on the job during pandemic

By Tom Hall, 16 March 2020

Ignoring the dangers facing autoworkers, the United Auto Workers union has set up a joint task force with the automakers to keep production and profits flowing.

“They don’t care if you die. All they want is output”

Autoworkers denounce official coronavirus response, call for plant shutdowns

By Marcus Day, 16 March 2020

Autoworkers have flooded the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter with messages in recent days, calling for the shut down of factories and measures to stop the further spread of the coronavirus.

Workers halt production at Fiat Chrysler Windsor Assembly over coronavirus danger

By Shannon Jones, 14 March 2020

Some 6,000 workers stopped production Thursday at FCA Windsor as autoworkers across North America take up the demand to halt production in the face of the global pandemic.

Global auto industry in downward spiral as coronavirus spreads worldwide

By Jessica Goldstein, 14 March 2020

Even prior to the outbreak, automakers had announced hundreds of thousands of layoffs and many plant closures.

Mexican National Guard deployed against Matamoros auto parts workers

By Andrea Lobo, 14 March 2020

The National Guard confronted 500 parts workers occupying the local labor court to demand the right to leave a pro-company union as a similar operation unfolded against teachers blocking a railway in Puebla.

Shut down the auto industry to halt the spread of coronavirus!

the Socialist Equality Party, 14 March 2020

At plants across North America, support for a mass walkout is growing. Workers must act now to save their lives and the lives of their families by forming rank-and-file committees.

“It’s like the workers are second rate citizens”

Fiat Chrysler keeps Indiana plant running after worker tests positive for coronavirus

By Jerry White, 13 March 2020

The decision by Fiat Chrysler, which has been backed by the United Auto Workers union, is imperiling the lives of workers.

Faurecia workers in Spring Hill, Tennessee reject UAW

By Zac Thorton, 13 March 2020

The vote is the latest in a string of defeated unionization votes by the UAW in Tennessee, including Volkswagen in Chattanooga and Nissan in Smyrna.

“They’ll sit in the office while you die”

Autoworkers condemn lack of response by union and management to coronavirus emergency

By Shannon Jones, 12 March 2020

The rapidly emerging coronavirus crisis is exposing the criminal contempt on the part of both the United Auto Workers and the major car companies for health and safety.

New report finds Tesla withheld workplace injury data from government

By Jessica Goldstein, 7 March 2020

A key factor in the dizzying growth of Tesla’s profits is management’s blatant disregard for workers’ safety and health.

Former UAW President Gary Jones indicted as federal prosecutors raise prospect of government takeover

By Shannon Jones, 6 March 2020

In a press conference following the unsealing of the indictment of Jones, US Attorney Matthew Schneider indicated that the government was still considering a federal takeover of the United Auto Workers.

Ex-United Auto Workers official pleads guilty to corruption charges

By Tom Hall, 4 March 2020

The plea deal means the noose tightens further around disgraced ex-UAW President Gary Jones, who finally resigned last November.