LOS ANGELES, December 30 — The UAW ended a seven-week strike against International Truck and Engine Corp. (ITEC), betraying the company’s 3,700 workers. ITEC, a unit of Navistar International, based in Warrenville, Illinois, imposed increases in workers’ out-of-pocket healthcare costs, as well as a new-hire package lowering wages and benefits.
When the Navistar contract expired October 1, the union refused to call a strike, even though workers were ready to go. The UAW leaders postponed the walkout until October 23, enabling the company to send the work to non-union plants in Mississippi, Texas and Mexico. This helped the company and its imperialist masters build the armored vehicles they needed to send immediately to the war in Iraq. In delaying the strike, the union leaders continued their role as junior partners of the bosses and their contempt for the workers’ conditions. Their failure to reach out to workers in the non-union plants in the U.S. and Mexico exposes their pro-boss outlook as well.
However, PLP built strike support from Chicago to Southern California. We walked the picket lines. We passed out thousands of leaflets to workers calling for support for the strikers and for unity between workers in the U.S., Mexico and Iraq, between union and non-union, citizen and immigrant, black, Latin and white. Our leaflets explained that a revolutionary party is needed to answer the bosses’ growing attacks on workers, which are part of widening imperialist war and deepening attacks on war-production workers. Workers need one international revolutionary communist party fighting to destroy the rule of profit and to establish the rule of workers.
Hundreds of workers showed their support by buying CHALLENGE and revealing the similarity of their own conditions with the Navistar workers. These discussions included some sharp struggle about racism. A few citizen workers wanted to blame immigrants for worsening conditions in the war-production plants, but PL’ers made it clear that it’s capitalism’s need to force workers to shoulder the bosses’ drive for super-profits and for war, not immigrant workers, that is to blame.