QR Code

SEPTEMBER 22—For decades, the auto bosses have waged war against workers and made life hell for the people of Detroit—one of the most segregated and poorest cities in the U.S. Right now, the city’s population is on edge and has its eyes sympathetically set on the UAW’s next moves. At a basic level, everyone knows that a victorious outcome in this battle against the auto bosses would be a victory for them, too. Municipal services like street lights and garbage collection have been slashed, and whole chunks of the city’s infrastructure and housing are completely crumbling. Factories that could provide thousands of jobs stand empty and in ruin, while basic human needs like food, housing, medical care, transportation and education go unfulfilled, all because it is not profitable for the bosses. The UAW strike cannot afford to be limited to just an economic struggle, as Fain is doing. It must be a battle for all of Detroit and the whole Michigan region!

The bosses’ war against the workers and the oppressed extends well beyond Wayne County—from shuttered auto plants across the Midwest to Dow chemical spills in Midland to drugs and poverty in Saginaw to poisoned water in Flint. The situation is dire and someone needs to fix things. Workers must take matters into their own hands, rebuild the Midwest and make the bosses pay for it. To win this strike, the UAW needs to organize the masses of Detroit, all Wayne County and beyond on the front lines with them. It is necessary to call on all workers and the black community to join the UAW in a general strike to end tiers, reindustrialize and fight for black liberation. Shut down Motor City!

In order to mobilize the broadest possible forces for a general strike in Detroit, UAW members must elect strike committees to prepare this battle. UAW delegates must be sent to city workers, teachers, health care and other unions to mobilize their workforces to go out. All of Detroit—the unemployed, the unorganized, every union and even small businesses—have an interest in joining this strike and can be mobilized to do so on the basis of a program that actually speaks to their needs. To that aim, we are putting forward the following plan of action to organize this struggle:

  • Organize the unorganized, all those who are subcontracted out by the auto bosses must be brought into the UAW
  • Organize the unemployed, jobs for all with training and hiring programs that spread the available work among all at no loss in pay
  • Fight for the highest union wages for every worker in Detroit, cancel all personal debt
  • Fight segregation on and off the job, for integrated low-­cost housing and decent living conditions for all
  • Rebuild industry under workers’ control

This article also appeared in: