Socialist Worker

GM auto strikers debate new deal, while Chicago teachers take action

Issue No. 2677

Strikers in the UAW union

Strikers in the UAW union (Pic: UAW)

Workers at General Motors (GM) plants and factories across the US began their sixth week of strikes this week, as they voted on a tentative deal.

The new contract put to members of the UAW union would include a pay rise for all workers, and limited opportunities for temporary workers to become permanent.

The deal includes plans for plant closures including in Lordstown, Ohio. The plant will be sold off to electric truck manufacturers the Workhorse Group—a move that will see less than a tenth of Lordstown employees keeping their jobs.

Workers striking in Ohio are not satisfied by the proposed deal—and it could be rejected.

Tommy Woliko was forced to move to Michigan after working at the Lordstown plant for 11 years. He said, “It’s a good experience working there. But it’s not home.

“I’m looking for something that says we’re not losing our jobs. It’s not there.”

It’s not just car workers who are fighting for better conditions. Some 32,000 teachers and members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) are on strike over class sizes and availability of support staff.

Last Sunday evening it was announced that teachers had been offered a pay rise of up to 14 percent. But the CTU said that there was still more work to be done before a settlement.

The strike has been slammed by the media. But CTU spokesperson Chris Geovanis told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had an inspiring groundswell of support.

“Parents have visited pickets with their children to show that they back our fight against bosses to make education better for students and teachers.”

The latest teachers’ action is inspired by the CTU’s strike in 2012. Then, 28,000 teachers walked out over mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempts to smash union organisation and throw out existing contracts.

The 2012 strike ended in victory. There has also been a number of education strikes over the past year.

Teachers and students in West Virginia struck over privatisation last year, inspiring a wave of solidarity strikes in schools across the US.

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