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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book by and for the 99%, March 5, 2012
This review is from: Autoworkers Under the Gun: A Shop-Floor View of the End of the American Dream (Paperback)
I'm grateful that there is a publisher like Haymarket Books that is willing to publish a book like this. The author, Gregg Shotwell, a United Auto Workers member employed at Delphi and GM, participated in the rank and file activist group Soldiers of Solidarity and produced a newsletter titled Live Bait and Ammo. This book is selections from that newsletter. It is essentially a recent history of the UAW and the auto industry. It chronicles the collusion between the UAW bureaucrats and GM management through the fraud of the Delphi spinoff and bankruptcy, and then again through the bankruptcy and bailout of the big 3. While all we heard from the media was about greedy auto workers and their "legacy" costs making US auto companies uncompetitive, Autoworkers Under the Gun, tells a completely different story. Shotwell cuts through the BS, and exposes how the companies took profits and invested overseas, leaving domestic operations short on cash. But when it came time for bankruptcy, those offshore investments are protected by law. Not to mention the poor choices by management to keep producing gas guzzling vehicles while the competition moved to more fuel efficient vehicles that became more attractive to the customer. But as it turns out, GM has been selling roughly same amount of vehicles every year, with less and less workers every year. We heard nothing of this increased productivity when learning of the greed of UAW workers and their unaffordable contracts. The fact is, auto workers agreed to have pensions as opposed to increased wages, but the the Big 3 failed to invest the money for those pensions. They essentially lied to their workers, and then made taxpayers bail them out. In a world where the media is owned by the 1%, it's nice to have book like this by someone in the 99% who has been fighting back. The book isn't just about exposing the facts and corruption, it's about tactics union members can take to fight back. And because Shotwell has a talent with language, it's also a joy to read. The only drawback is that because each section is part of a newsletter that were published separately, it does repeat itself at times. But the shocking repetition is how the auto industry gets away with same scam time and again to screw over it's workforce. Read the book, learn it's lessons, apply it to your own workplace struggle.
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