Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Finding new ways to fight back

Read this article in:

15 May, 2020Even during the best of times, going on strike can be difficult. Even more so after your local area is hit by tornados and the Covid-19 outbreak. But despite all the obstacles, in April, members of UAW Local 1407 stood united and fought for a fair contract at Cummins Filtration in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Measures were taken to protect the membership as they performed their strike duty each week; the number of members on the picket line were limited, strike duty shift hours were reduced, social distancing, gloves, hand sanitizer and other measures were implemented to keep everyone safe.

The problem of not being able to hold a ratification meeting and vote, an innovative idea was developed for a three-area drive through process. First the ratification packet handout, then a question area, and finally a drive through voting area.

If there were any questions, members raised their hand outside of their car window and a bargaining committee member went to answer.

In a statement on their website, UAW says:

“With the support they received from Region 8 and the International UAW, this membership was able to stand together and let the company know they would not just lie down and take whatever the company wanted.”

Valter Sanches, IndustriALL secretary general, congratulates UAW Local 1407 and says that during the pandemic, unions are finding innovative ways to fight for their members and safeguard their rights.

Many unions in Brazil have negotiated collective agreements that set out alternative solutions protecting workers' lives and rights. Most of them have been negotiated through virtual assemblies, allowing members to debate and vote on proposals remotely, guaranteeing participation, democracy and social isolation.

At a recent virtual assembly held by Sindicatos dos metalurgicos do ABC (SMABC), part of the national confederation of metal workers (CNM-CUT), members voted in favour of an agreement with Mercedes-Benz in São Bernardo.

The agreement guarantees that workers will be paid between 80-100 per cent over two months and secured the jobs of all 8,400 workers until 31 December.

Sindicato do metalurgicos do Soracaba (also part of CNM/CUT), it has held many virtual assemblies approving collective agreements guaranteeing wages and benefits, in addition to job stability in companies like Bosch, Toyota, Emerson and Schaeffler. For example, workers from Schaeffier agreed on the reduction of working hours and wages for 90 days, and suspension of contracts for 60 days. In both measures, workers have guaranteed job stability until 30 November.