UAW members picketed the UAW’s 35th annual convention, in Detroit. The union is highlighting the theme of unity, as dissatisfaction with concessions made over the last several years threatens to tear the union apart. Two-tier wages are the underlying threat to unity, but the union’s ownership of stakes in GM and Chrysler have many wondering whether the UAW can even represent its constituents properly. One longtime UAW activist, Gary Walkowicz of Local 600, is even challenging the UAW’s “prohibitive favorite” Bob King for the union’s presidency having successfully defeated recent Ford concessions at his local. Another activist was briefly detained yesterday for distributing fliers outside of Cobo hall. Detroit’s government-funded comeback was only possible because of UAW concessions, and now the fiestier locals want to roll those concessions back and bring back the “fighting union.” That won’t happen as long as the UAW’s VEBA fund owns such large holdings in GM and Chrysler, but once the IPOs are over and the union has dumped its stock, look for these activists to gain more power within the union.
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