WIN Week In Review January 25-27, 2008
By Doug Cunningham
Ford and the UAW drove another nail into the coffin of good middle-class U.S. auto jobs Thursday with the announcement of a buyout offer going to all 54,000 UAW Ford workers. Ford is offering the one-time cash lump sums to get rid of well-paid autoworkers so they can be replaced with workers earning half the wages. Ford says it lost $2.7 billion in 2007. The Ford buyout offer comes on top of GM’s similar new buyouts this year – part of a strategic plan by the automakers to destroy good wages and benefits won through decades of struggle by the UAW rank and file. Similar buyouts were offered in 2007.
Forty years after his death, we should remember Martin Luther King Jr. not only for his “I Have a Dream” speech and his leadership of the civil rights revolution, but for his quest for economic equality.
In a Point of View column on the AFL-CIO website, historian Michael Honey says what’s missing from the discussions of King’s life is the fact that he always stressed economic equality and workers’ rights up until his last day on earth. Click here to read “Forty Years Since King: Labor Rights Are Human Rights.”
What the nation mostly remembers about Memphis in 1968 is King’s death there, but few seem to know that he died in the midst of a struggle for the right to belong to a union, which the mayor and the City Council resisted at all costs. Unionization, they feared, would open up the floodgates of demands by African Americans, who constituted nearly 40 percent of the local population of 500,000 in the mid-1960s.