In times of adversity, the power of solidarity shines through. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Ohio State Legislative Board is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow workers from the United Auto Workers (UAW) who are currently on strike at various facilities across Ohio. The connection between the automotive and railroad industries runs deep, and it is in this spirit of unity that we lend our unwavering support to the UAW strikers.
The automotive and railroad industries have a long-standing history of interdependence. Trains are a crucial part of the automotive supply chain, transporting parts and vehicles to and from manufacturing facilities. When the UAW showed their support for rail labor during our contract negotiations last year, it was a testament to the mutual respect and understanding between our two industries.
Now, as the UAW members walk the picket lines, they have our full support. This week, BLET members have joined UAW Local 12 in Toledo at the Jeep plant and Local 674 in West Chester at the GM Parts Distribution Center. We stand with our UAW sisters and brothers because we recognize that their fight is our fight. Their concerns about job security, offshoring of jobs, and automation resonate deeply with us. We understand the importance of preserving good-paying jobs and protecting workers’ rights.
The UAW strikers are not merely seeking a better deal; they are fighting for their livelihoods and the future of their industry. Their demands are rooted in genuine concerns that have been festering for years. Here are some of the key issues they are addressing:
- Job Security: UAW members are worried about the constant threat of layoffs and job cuts. They deserve job security and stability in an industry that they have dedicated their careers to.
- Offshoring of Jobs: The outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries has been a recurring issue in the automotive industry. UAW strikers are demanding an end to this practice to ensure that jobs remain in our communities.
- Automation: Automation and technological advancements have the potential to improve efficiency but also pose a risk to jobs. UAW members want assurances that workers will not be left behind in the age of automation.
- Wage Freeze: Many UAW workers have not seen significant pay increases since the 2008 auto industry bailouts, despite their hard work and dedication. They are asking to be made whole and to receive fair compensation for their efforts.
- Wage Tiers: The UAW is determined to put an end to the divisive practice of wage tiers in the automotive industry. These tiers have created disparities in compensation, with newer hires earning significantly less than their more experienced counterparts for performing the same work. The UAW strives to secure equal pay for equal work, ensuring that all workers are treated fairly and with dignity.
The reasons for our solidarity with the UAW strikers are clear. We understand that when workers come together, they can achieve meaningful change. By standing with our fellow union members in the automotive industry, we send a powerful message: we will not tolerate the erosion of workers’ rights, job insecurity, or unfair treatment.
As the UAW members continue their strike for a better future, we will be there, side by side, supporting their cause. Together, we are stronger, and together, we can build a brighter future for all workers in Ohio and beyond. Solidarity is not just a word; it’s a commitment to each other’s well-being and a testament to the power of collective action.