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LORDSTOWN: ITS MEANING TO AUTOWORKERS AND ALL WORKERS

 LORDSTOWN: ITS MEANING TO AUTOWORKERS AND ALL WORKERS
 CLEVELAND, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Following is a statement issued by Warren Davis, director of United Auto Workers Region 2. Davis is a member of the International Executive Board of the UAW and was the ranking union representative in the Lordstown negotiations:
 Recently, 42,000 American autoworkers returned to their jobs after a strike at Lordstown Local 1714 was settled and a strike at Lordstown Local 1112 was averted.
 Strikes, like politics are often viewed as sporting events. However, Lordstown was not a championship bout between the United Auto Workers and General Motors.
 To characterize it as such has trivialized key elements of the settlement and has caused the significance of Lordstown to escape otherwise capable editorial writers and reporters upon whom the public is dependent for fair and accurate interpretation of important events. KEY ELEMENTS OF LORDSTOWN SETTLEMENT
 KEEPING JOBS IN THE U.S.: Lordstown Assembly Plant, Local 1112, up against a strike deadline, with its bargaining power enhanced by the strike next door at Local 1714's Fabricating Plant, has won the most far-reaching protection against the movement of work to Mexico that any union ever negotiated.
 This precedent-setting local victory comes at the precise moment that the North American Free Trade Agreement threatens the loss of millions of industrial jobs in the United States.
 Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunbirds are assembled at Lordstown and at Ramos, Mexico. The Mexican plant has been supplying the Canadian market, which traditionally had been totally integrated with U.S. manufacturing. As a result of the Lordstown agreement, an unusual rearrangement of the work will occur.
 First, settlement over working conditions, substituting rotating relief for rest-period line shut downs, will result in a 10 percent increase in production at Lordstown. The 10 percent increase in volume equates to 600 manufacturing jobs.
 Second, Lordstown workers are guaranteed that there will be no reduction in volume unless their output exceeds the total demand of the U.S. and Canadian markets. Cars assembled in Mexico may be sold in Canada only when Lordstown's full capacity output is being absorbed by the U.S. market.
 Lordstown workers will have the exclusive right to supply the U.S. market and have first claim on the Canadian market. Consequently, UAW Local 1112's assembly plant has won a measure of job security at a time when diminishing job security has been accepted as a fact of life for millions of American workers.
 The issue of the planned closing of the die construction shop in the Fabricating Plant 1714 is more complex. The agreement stops this move, at least until the end of 1993, and guarantees jobs and retraining to anyone who may be displaced if die building is subsequently moved from Lordstown.
 In addition, other elements of the settlement will add more than 450 jobs in the Fabricating Plant.
 In all, we were successful in rescuing more than 1,000 jobs for the Lordstown complex. LORDSTOWN: FACT AND FICTION
 While the UAW, through its local unions, worked to establish job security against outsourcing to Mexico and job protection against outsourcing to non-union supplier plants in the U.S., several misconceptions about the local unions' action at Lordstown have arisen:
 A TEST OF FUTURE CONTRACTS? Those who attempted to dismiss the importance of the local issues at Lordstown have asserted that the strikes were simply intended to set the tone for future negotiations. There was no such strategy at work here. Local issues of job security were of paramount concern. The question was not one of future contracts. The question was why would GM risk a strike at Lordstown over the outsourcing of our work, particularly when they were dealing with two hard-nosed local unions determined to enforce their existing contract?
 ROLE OF NAFTA? Our UAW Region 2 went on the record a year ago, in testimony to the Bush Administration's Trade Policy Staff Committee on the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. We stated unequivocally that we would vigorously oppose the movement of any of our work to Mexico. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone, therefore, that when a contract issue arose which related to the movement of jobs to Mexico, that local unions would take a stand. (See Davis' NAFTA Testimony, Trade Policy Staff Committee, North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Cleveland, Ohio September 9, 1991.)
 LOSS OF DUES-PAYERS? It has been suggested by industry analysts that the union's primary concern is to protect its membership numbers in order to obtain membership dues. Such a cynical view could serve for an almost comic misreading of our historic mission to protect the total interests of our membership.
 LORDSTOWN, A "LOCAL" STRIKE? Yes, Lordstown was a local strike. It was originated and carried out by union membership and leadership at the plant level, in response to grievances at the plant. The status and livelihood of 240 tool and die makers were a concern at Lordstown Local 1714, just as last year's attempted movement of 479 jobs from UAW Local 1045 at GM's Euclid Plant was a local concern, and a definable strike issue over outsourcing. (See Davis' NAFTA Testimony.)
 Indeed, the United Auto Workers is made up of hundreds of locals nationally who are similarly effected by outsourcing. This is why the action of Local 1112 and Local 1714 is no doubt heartening to our brothers and sisters across America. But our members understand that while our victories are local, our defeats become national.
 Each time a local suffers a cutback in wages, it hurts workers everywhere. Each time a local's benefits are cut, working conditions made adverse, job security curtailed, not only auto workers, but all working people everywhere are affected, by a downward movement of wages, benefits and job security.
 Lordstown as a local victory. But the willingness of the workers at Lordstown to take a stand represented a moment and a place where the economic and moral high ground was reclaimed, at a time when many of our working brothers and sisters are seeing their jobs evaporate, their wages diminished, their job security stripped. BEYOND LORDSTOWN
 The UAW faces consequential negotiations with the "Big Three" auto makers next September. Consequential not only for our union and our industry, but for all workers and the American economy.
 Our national negotiations impact on all unions. It is well established that the bargaining patterns set by the UAW tend to have an impact on the bargaining strategies in other unions. Other unions follow us. The bargaining patterns of major unions complement each other.
 Our wage scales are also used as a measuring stick in the large, non-unionized sector of the American economy, which is why what happens to the autoworkers really does effect all Americans.
 One of the gurus of auto industry analysts, Arvid Jouppi, of Keane Securities, in commenting on the dispute at Lordstown over outsourcing, has been quoted as citing the cost advantage of foreign manufacture, asking: "How can American workers compete with $2.50 an hour?"
 It is a worthwhile question which we have asked many times. The answer is obvious. It is also worth asking, "What worker in what country can buy the car that he produces on a $2.50 an hour wage?" Or, "What American can be expected to support himself, herself or their families in an environment of low wages and diminishing expectations?"
 Mexican workers make as little as 10 percent of what American workers make. GM expects to save up to $1,100 per car by manufacturing in Mexico. Last year the average American household income shrunk by $1,100. Two million more Americans were pushed into poverty, bringing the national total to over 35 million.
 General Motors, pursuing a strategy of movement of work to Mexico to increase their profits, has already shipped south 60,000 jobs, making General Motors the largest private employer in Mexico. Worse, GM wants to cut an additional 80,000 jobs in the United States over a three year period. This is intended to create additional pressure for wage and benefit reductions.
 For a brief time, America had both adequate wages and high profits, until policies took root which raided our standard of living to fuel rising profits to cover falling market shares due to the failure of both government and business to adequately defend our national interests.
 The responsibility of defending the standard of living of the American worker is the obligation of organized labor. What is at stake at the bargaining table is not simply the interests and standard of living of autoworkers, but of all workers.
 If, as conservative politicians have said, organized labor is a special interest, then we are the broadest special interest in America. We represent the economic interests of the average American. There are thousands of locals, coast to coast, which make up the union movement.
 In those locals you see the faces of millions of American workers who are proud of their contribution to the American economy, proud of what they have been able to do for their families, their community and their country.
 You may know some of those faces. Remember them when you hear about the UAW and its negotiations next year. Because in the faces of those people who make up many locals is reflected the hopes, the dreams and the fate of our nation. WARREN DAVIS: UP FROM THE RANKS
 Warren Davis, director of UAW Region 2, is a member of the International Executive Board of the UAW and was the ranking union representative in the Lordstown negotiations.
 He began his career as a foundry worker at Ford. After serving as a committeeman in Local 1250, he moved on to successive offices: Recording secretary, vice-president and president of one of the largest locals in Ohio. Davis also served as chairman of the plants-wide negotiating committee.
 In 1968 he became president of the 50,000 member UAW-CAP (Community Action Program), the powerful political arm of the union. He has served as secretary-treasurer and chair of the 200,000 member Ohio UAW-CAP. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UAW Pennsylvania Political Action Council.
 Davis is a member of the Democratic National Committee and is on the executive committee of the Ohio Democratic Party.
 UAW Region 2 includes areas in northern and southern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Davis was recently elected to his third term as Regional Director with more than 95 percent of the vote.
 -0- 9/14/92
 /CONTACT: Warren Davis, UAW Region 2, 216-447-6080/ CO: UAW Region 2 ST: Ohio IN: AUT SU:


BM -- CL019 -- 9290 09/14/92 16:29 EDT
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Date:Sep 14, 1992
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