Autoworkers eager to support Will Lehman’s campaign for UAW president

For more information on Will Lehman’s campaign, go to WillforUAWpresident.org.

Autoworkers across the country sent messages of support for Will Lehman, a worker and Mack Trucks socialist, who was nominated as the United Auto Workers presidential candidate at last week’s UAW convention in Detroit.

UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman speaking to a Warren Truck worker, July 25, 2022 [Photo: WSWS]

In a statement released after his appointment, Lehman said, “This is a major victory for our campaign to build a grassroots movement against the entire pro-corporate UAW apparatus. I want to thank all the workers who made videos and wrote to demand that your delegates nominate me. This wouldn’t have happened without your support. »

Rick is a worker at Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia, and a rank and file committee leader who fought both the company and the UAW bureaucracy during the five-day strike. weeks of last year. He said, “I think it’s good that we have someone from the base committee of Mack Trucks to show up as he is, putting himself out there. It just shows that if people get involved in these grassroots committees, they can make a difference.

“I’m glad someone nominated him at the convention and stuck his head out. It’s an incredible achievement, and it shows how far we’ve come this year that people change their minds and fight back. “I just hope we can keep the momentum going! When bureaucrats changed their minds on strike pay, that was typical,” he said, referring to the vote at the convention. ‘UAW reversing a strike pay increase.’They’re making a lot of money and the workers are suffering as usual.’

Tina works at the Ventra parts plant in Evart, Michigan. Ventra workers have set up a rank-and-file committee to fight the conspiracy of the company and the UAW, which is trying to impose essentially the same contract workers voted down 95% last month.

Tina

“Will Lehman is a candidate we can count on to put the needs of our brothers and sisters first! Tina said. “As a fellow auto worker, he’s lived in our place and sees the need for change!”

A worker at the Stellantis Sterling Heights (SHAP) assembly plant in suburban Detroit said: “Tell Will that I and others are running his name around the plant. This is an attempt to delete [incumbent UAW President] Curry and change the entire elected factory team. Right now, full-time workers have to work six days to get 40 hours. They are sent home once the company has reached its production target. Even with $8 billion in revenue for six months, the company won’t buy much-needed equipment. Local 1700 President and Vice President use TPT [temporary part-time] workers to get re-elected, but they cannot help them.

A young TPT employee at the Flint GM Assembly Plant said, “I am very pleased to see Will Lehman successfully nominated to run for UAW President in the upcoming election. As a TPT worker at GM, I saw firsthand the utter uselessness and incompetence of the UAW as a supposed labor organization. Lehman’s campaign appeals to me because he rejects the union as reformable but instead wants to build a labor movement independent of it. Workers must understand Lehman’s insistence on breaking with UAW bureaucracy and forming rank-and-file committees opposed to the nationalist orientation of the union. Automakers are fully international organizations and to fight them and win concessions, workers must also fight internationally. I agree with his demand that autoworkers, not only in the United States but in all countries, must link their struggles through the creation of rank-and-file committees.

A worker at the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan said, “Will seems to suit our president. Someone who is actually for the workers and not in the pockets of the companies. He wants to fight against the corruption that has existed for years.

A worker at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant said after the appointment, “This is great news. It’s a second chance. I hope he goes all the way and shows them people who are really in charge. Fingers crossed my wife and I will vote for him. Thank you and the WSWS for all your help. Thank you for me and all the UAW members who don’t yet know what could and should be done for us.

“It absolutely has to happen! They [union] don’t have our best interest,” said a Dana parts worker from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Tammie

Tammy, the wife of an autoworker who lives in Flint, Michigan, added, “I support Will Lehman. From what I’ve read and watched, he seems like the right fit for UAW President. He fights for unity and higher wages. Come on, Will!

Lehman has also won support from retired autoworkers.

Bill, a retired GM Pontiac Truck & Bus employee, said, “I watched Will’s video and subscribed to his YouTube channel. In my opinion, workers have been beaten enough by the ruling class and kept there by union scoundrels enough that he is sure to get the support he needs. Will is a Facebook friend so I congratulated him on his nomination. I also told him that I would help in any way I could. This video went on Facebook!

“It’s great that Will is on the ballot,” said Lyle Roussey, who retired in 2009 after working at four General Motors plants in Michigan. “He can get a lot of support from working and retired people.

“The workers have been hired on low wages and work side by side with workers who earn twice as much. At the UAW convention, delegates voted against abolishing the two-tier system. This shows you that they are on the management side. The same bureaucracy is still in charge.

“We need the change that Will is fighting for. He can’t do this alone. We need a basic movement. The ranks should lead the union, not the national leaders. The power should be in the base. Workers begin to form rank-and-file committees. It is through these committees that workers can talk to each other directly and fight for what they want and need.

Lyle Roussey [Photo by Lyle Roussey]

“Retirees now make up the majority of union members. They remember the fights of the past and how the UAW gave up what we fought for. Will is the only candidate who comes from the ranks and believes in the ranks.

“Will sees that the issues we face in the United States are the same as workers around the world. Workers everywhere want wages and the cost of living to protect them against inflation. They want medical benefits and pensions. They want peace, not nuclear war with Russia and China. The working class represents 90% of the world’s population or more. Why shouldn’t we all come together, as Will says, to fight the corporations? Businesses don’t care about borders. It is time for the working class to act internationally.

Lehman fights to mobilize workers to abolish UAW bureaucracy and establish power from below. He is fighting for massive pay raises to make up for decades of concessions; adjustments to the cost of living to deal with runaway inflation; the abolition of the two-tier system and the rotation of all part-time workers; full pensions and high-quality health care for workers and pensioners; the reinstatement of the eight-hour day and an end to grinding schedules and forced overtime.

Calling on workers to support his campaign, Lehman said last week: “I can’t do this alone, I’m not a miracle worker. This campaign is not so much about me as it is about you. It will be crowned with success to the extent that you commit, that we develop through this campaign the organization and the initiative to fight and win.

“I call on all workers to sign up to build this movement. Make it known as widely as possible. Discuss it with your colleagues. Establish election committees. Organize meetings. Make statements on social media. Spread the word any way you can.

“The working class is on the move and we must move forward. By taking the initiative and organizing ourselves, we can fight and build a society based on our interests, and not on the profits and wealth of a few. In the words of a worker I spoke to at Warren Truck this week: “Let’s do it.”

For more information on Will Lehman’s campaign, go to WillforUAWpresident.org.

About Michael S. Montanez

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