Make Detroit the Engine of a Green New Deal

Detroit Coalition For A Green New Deal

January 16, 2019

GM recently announced that it plans to close five North American manufacturing facilities, including two in Metro Detroit. This shameful announcement comes at a time when the company is reporting record profits and its CEO, Mary Barra, makes $22 million a year. Meanwhile, as GM proclaims its commitment to a “zero emissions” future, it has decided to pull the plug on the hybrid Volt, which is manufactured at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, so it can focus on gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs. GM has no right to displace over 14,000 workers, their families, and their communities. These facilities are not just the “property” of a corporation. They belong to the workers who have contributed their labor, and the taxpayers who have provided enormous tax breaks, public subsidies, and bailouts to GM.

We are launching a coalition of labor, environmental, and community groups to resist this outrageous action, and push for a just, green economy, starting here in Detroit. Our first planned protest will be held at the International Auto Show (at Cobo Hall in Detroit) on Friday, January 18, from 5:30-7:30pm. Our rallying cry is “Make Detroit the Engine of Green New Deal.” Our list of demands is as follows:

1. GM must honor its labor contracts and its legal and moral commitments to the places in which it has done business. This means keeping all the plants open, creating more union jobs, and ensuring they contribute to the building of a green economy.

2. If GM does not agree to keep the plants open, we demand that they be seized via eminent domain and put to public use. If eminent domain was used to take property from the residents of Poletown in the early 1980s to build the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, it can be used today to take the assets back. Public hearings on this issue are vital.

3. We demand a Green New Deal that takes us on a path to rapid decarbonization of the economy, implements a federal union jobs guarantee, and ensures a just transition for workers, people of color,...

Autoworker Caravan
January 16, 2019

The Autoworker Caravan (AWC) began in December 2008 as a rank-and-file effort by autoworkers to oppose concessions and advocate for a working-class solution to the crisis of the auto industry in the Great Recession. In spring 2009 GM and Chrysler declared bankruptcy. The Obama administration bailed them out and in doing so imposed harsh concessions on autoworkers as a condition of the bailout.

AWC supporters caravanned to Washington, D.C., to lobby for taking the auto industry into pubic ownership...

Labor Notes Interview with Tony Lea
January 16, 2019

General Motors has announced it will end production at five North American plants, just a decade after the company received billions of dollars in U.S. and Canadian taxpayer money and won sweeping concessions from auto unions as part of the bailout.

All told, about 6,700 hourly and salaried employees stand to lose their jobs as the lines stop at Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Michigan, and Lordstown Assembly in Ohio. Meanwhile the company is posting billions in...

Toni Gilpin
January 16, 2019

Move over, Mr. Grinch: the executives at General Motors have you beat.

Just after Thanksgiving, GM declared that in 2019 it will close three major assembly and two smaller transmission facilities in North America. The bombshell announcement, which came despite GM’s recent robust profit reports, ensures unhappy holidays for some 6,000 production employees and their families, along with the communities where the assembly plants are located: Detroit-Hamtramck; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario....

The Editors
January 11, 2019

CAN IT ALL really be Donald Trump’s fault? Do the antics of the worst, most malicious and willfully ignorant president in modern U.S. history serve to explain the spread of authoritarian regimes, racist and anti-immigrant parties, and rightwing fake-populism across much of the planet?

In some cases, to be sure, Trump is...

Ben Beckett and Ryan Haney
January 2, 2019

The federal government shut down
on December 22, locking out almost 400,000 workers and forcing another
400,000 deemed “essential” to show up to work without pay. Many of these
workers are union members, affiliated with the American Federal
Government Employees (AFGE). The union is rightfully suing......

Executive Bureau of the Fourth International
January 3, 2019

Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as president of Brazil on January 1, 2019. His government, an expression of the worldwide upsurge in authoritarian rightwing populism, is a menace to workers and the oppressed in Brazil and everywhere.

The Executive Bureau of the Fourth International (FI) adopted the following declaration on December 5, 2018, to help organize resistance by FI supporters and others in Brazil and around the world.

Rosalind P. Petchesky
December 25, 2018

For the past nine months, controversy and obfuscation concerning allegations of anti-Semitism and complicity with Louis Farrakhan have surrounded the 2019 Women’s March and its Women of Color leaders, especially Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour. The complaints rage on, leaving a trail of divisiveness and malice in their wake. This is an appeal to the white Jewish women who have participated in this barrage, or stood idly by while...

David Finkel
December 21, 2018

Militarist hawks and liberal pundits alike are up in arms (figuratively speaking, of course) over Donald Trump’s “victory” proclamation and announcement of U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Syria. Howls of Republican outrage may signal a further deterioration of the big twit’s shrinking political support on the home front. The Trump gang’s crisis of legitimacy deepens by the day. But what does it actually mean for the cascading disasters in the Middle East?

The main point to understand is that...

Dianne Feeley
December 19. 2018

The October 2018 report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), a UN body made up of scientists, confirmed the need to limit the rise in CO2 to 1.5 degree Celsius. This point, suggested in the Paris Agreement, had been demanded by island countries that faced obliteration with a two-degree rise. In reviewing recent scientific studies scientists concluded that we have a dozen years to cut the use of fossil fuels in half, and reduce them to zero by 2050.

Although alternative energy...

Wendy Thompson
December 18, 2018

What would it take to keep these assembly and transmission plants open?

As autoworkers have begun to formulate demands for the opening of the 2019 contract negotiations, GM upped the ante by announcing the loss of 14,000 jobs with the closure of three assembly plants and two transmission plants to add to the two million manufacturing jobs already lost...

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