Jan 8, 2006

More Images Of NAIAS Auto Worker Protest

Left: Delphi CEO Steve Miller was the focus of the ire of many protesters; all photos by historymike

A crowd number up to 1,000 people gathered outside Detroit's Cobo Convention Center Sunday to protest the concessions being demanded of Delphi workers as the company winds its way through bankruptcy court.

Protesters were forced to remain about 150 yards away from the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) so as not to obstruct attendees of the event.

Left: The UAW-Ford training programs headquarters on Jefferson Avenue

There was a certain irony, though, in herding the protesters along Jefferson Avenue. One of the buildings outside of which protesters milled about was the UAW-Ford National Programs Center, where current and laid-off workers can get training.

Some of these protesters might one day need to take advantage of post-employment training programs as their jobs are eliminated or outsourced.

Left: The protesters marching up Jefferson Avenue toward the Renaissance Center

The turnout was an encouraging sign that the American labor movement is not dead, and yet one wonders how many workers will have to accept the type of severe concessions being demanded of Delphi workers before enough people will demand real change.

How many companies like IBM - with its announcement that it will begin de-funding its pension program in 2007 - will have to renege on pension plans before enough Americans lift their heads from the sand in which they seem to be collectively buried?


Lisa Renee said...

Very thorough coverage Mike, nicely done.


liberal_dem said...

The rust stains dripping down on the photo of the UAW-Ford sign is quite meaningful.

You know, though I have sympathy for the UAW workers and support their demands for a living wage, I often question their political choices. Many in this same union turned their backs on the Democratic Party and voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and again in 1984. Quite a few voted for Bush 41 and Bush 43.

Did they not realize that the underpinning function of the Republican Party is to promote corporate interests and shareholder interests? Apparently they slept through high school civics class.

McCaskey said...

HM.....thanks for your coverage of this. And liberal dem is spot on with his comments. Many union people, especially Catholics, were distracted enough to vote GOP because of the so-called "moral" issues....abortion rights, support for our president in a "time of war", etc. And now, it's too late to undo the damage.

historymike said...

Thanks, Lisa, liberal dem, and McCaskey.

Still trying to get a major media to bite on the coverage and interviews; a couple expressed some interest, but nobody has coughed up any promises of cash yet. I may end up having to dish it off to a lower-budget (or worse, no-budget) journal to get it published.

Sigh. I need to spend more time cultivating connections with bigger national periodicals and less time getting in flame wars with Nazis.

Yes, I too am puzzled with blue collar types backing the neo-cons. I can understand how upper- middle and upper class voters voters can throw their lot in with the GOP in terms of economic self-interest, but it is odd to run into somebody struggling along making $11 an hour and voting Republican.

I am not sure if this portends a long-term shift to social conservatism, or if the Democrats have just done a lousy job of positioning themselves.

I guess we will see in 2006 and 2008.

McCaskey said...

I personally know a couple dozen middle-class ($30K-100K a year) types who voted for Bush strictly on "moral issues" I addressd earlier. At least some of these were union people. How many "Catholics against Kerry" signs did you see in front yards? I saw lots. I'm sure it trended out nationally. It's sickening, because these people were used and it's how Bush won the election.

Hooda Thunkit said...

The question I have about all of this is, Does anyone really think that a D in the whitehouse could have prevented all of this?

I don't think so, what say you?

historymike said...

Not me, Hooda. Clinton was as gungho for NAFTA and CAFTA as any neo-con Republican.

Live for today, let someone else worry about tomorrow...

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

"I am not sure if this portends a long-term shift to social conservatism, or if the Democrats have just done a lousy job of positioning themselves."

1) Yes, a lousy job of positioning themselves. The Congressional Dems were in power for so long that they forgot how to do anything but be incumbents. Lewis Black said it best when he called them the "party of no ideas" (and the GOP, the "party of bad ideas").

2) I don't know that it's a conservative shift per se; I think most of them were out there already but they found their collective voice when the furthest right wing of the GOP hijacked the party.

McCaskey said...

Hooda, HM: Yes, it's hard to admit: Ross Perot may well have been right all along about NAFTA. It can certainly be argued it's drastically hurt the American worker.

But believe me, unions suffer the most when Republicans are in power. Bush has stacked the National Labor Relations Board with people of a definite pro-company bent. It was the same under Bush I and Reagan. This tone filters down daily in hundreds of union-company grievance hearings and contract negociations across the country.