In a summer of rising labor and strike activity, the eyes of the world are now turning to Michigan. The
UAW (United Auto Workers) are engaging in a novel “stand up” strike campaign where workers will
effectively shut down production on their employers at specific factories and job sites, known to
strike coordinators and not to the bosses.
They are demanding a 40% wage increase- not an arbitrary number. It roughly coincides with the
wage increases of “The Big 3” ‘s CEOs. It reveals an emergent class consciousness in a long staid union
that has, at times, not made radical enough demands for its rank-and-file. They also are demanding
an end to the two-tiered pay system that pits new workers and experienced workers against each
other, and wages that will track with the rising cost of living.
We also should take heart in the Union’s evocation of the 1937 “sit-down” strikes, an appeal to some
important and oft-forgotten labor history that had a seismic impact here in Michigan and around the
country. The working class is remembering the fire of those who came before us, and bringing that
energy to bear on a neoliberal status quo that sees those at the top making upwards of 300:1 on the
wages of an average auto worker.
The Socialist Party of Michigan calls for social ownership and worker control of the automotive
industry to make vehicles for the use and human need of workers and consumers, rather then private
profit of a tiny few. We stand for the right of workers to reap the full value of their labor and all that
they produce. The Socialist Party of Michigan further calls for publicly-funded universal healthcare
for all, a 100% capital flight tax on plants and corporations that attempt to leave the state, and a 30-
hour work week at no loss of pay or benefits. We support militant, united labor action including hot
cargo agreements and boycotts, factory committees, secondary and sympathy strikes, sit-down
strikes, general strikes, and ultimately the expropriation of workplaces. We encourage all UAW
workers who agree with these demands to join us today!
The Socialist Party of Michigan lends our support and solidarity to the strike, and we encourage our
members and fellow travelers to keep track of the strike and its needs. While the “stand up” tactic
creates certain logistical difficulties in joining our fellow workers on the picket lines, there will be
opportunities to support autoworkers in person and afar.
We encourage you to sign up for updates on the UAW website, and we will be providing material in
the coming weeks that reports on the current strike, analyzes the class politics, and provides
historical context for why this strike is so important.