Glory Days: In Michigan, nostalgia for the romantic past outweighs the reality of economic renaissance

In the midst of economic upheaval, these workers say they have found stability in union activity, which they believe has boosted workers’ wages across the economy.

“I think these unions will raise wages,” Hauck said. “And the rest of the companies without unions have to comply within reason, because otherwise they cannot hire employees. It’s playing its part.”

But they feel even their safety is threatened as the local workforce slowly dwindles, both through worker relocation and opting out of unions in states with labor rights. I was.

“I want our politicians to know, I want them to do something to eliminate the right to work here in Michigan,” Evans said. “I don’t think so. I think it’s destroying what we stand for, but we don’t need it. We’re in a rebuilding phase, so we’re trying to get this back to how it was before. , the right to work was like a punch in the jaw.”

“Where else do you offer a service that I decide what I don’t want? I want to use your service, but I don’t want to pay for it. So I opted out of the union.” “I’m going to do it,” Hawke agreed. “It’s just ridiculous. The whole concept was introduced to break the union.

I can’t say Dan Kildee went to the coast in the Washington era. He’s big, affable, and outspoken, so he could be the manager of the local Flint UAW as easily as the Democratic deputy in Congress. But his demeanor is as practical as his hands-on experience. Kildee comes from a family of politicians and his uncle Dale Kildee served this seat in Parliament for his 11th term.

“Oh, I always vote for Kildee,” said the gray-haired woman during a campaign outside Bay City as a bemused congressman rang the doorbell.

But Kildee, like Slotkin, was frustrated with his new constituency in the July campaign loop. A self-proclaimed pragmatic progressive — a member of both the Progressive and Problem Solver caucuses in Congress — is as likely to emphasize divisions with his party as it is to advance their priorities. was. His ads touted his support for a gas tax holiday and police funding, and his first stop in Saginaw, a small former auto town north of Flint, was the city’s police officer. was.

At a coffee shop in downtown Bay City, a small town 50 miles north of Flint, Kildee is sabotaging his law restricting the price of insulin, along with Build Back Better’s other health-care provisions, as he says. Said package unleashed on members of his own party.

“It makes a difference what your health care priorities are,” Kildee said after a rally one day. Some, not because it was too expensive to make, but because they had to ration it, and they could see the insulin vials on the other side of the pharmacy counter. And while it was literally within reach physically, it was out of reach economically.”

If the Democrats fail to pass some bailouts before the midterm elections, Kildee will survive and lose his name and community prominence. But if he loses, he said, “there is no doubt” that his fellow Democrats, who maintained filibusters in exchange for passing aggressive policies, would be held accountable.

“I don’t understand how you can see yourself as a conservative or a moderate when you’re trying to use the power of government to prevent the will of the people from being made into policy,” he said. Told. “That’s a radical view. Is there anyone out there? I don’t think so.”

Like many UAWs, David Michael Union members in Michigan are more worried about policy than politics. While touring the newly refurbished Lake Orion electric vehicle plant, he spoke about details of union agreements and complex trade deals, such as the one with South Korea that kept the plant alive in the 2010s.

But when I asked if the man working the line wearing a “Let’s go Brandon” shirt was a Trump supporter.

“Tim is a Trump pro. How – how did you make that correlation? It’s weird because he’s a hardcore Trump.”

I skimmed through the “Let’s Go Brandon” story that originated with NASCAR. This is a more polite and conservative alternative to the actual message “Fuck Joe Biden”.

Michael laughed. “Oh, I’m late for that joke,” he said. “Brandon is in the school district here.”

Both the UAW and GM rank the Lake Orion plant as one of the early success stories of America’s manufacturing renaissance. Michael said he feels his employees are earning enough to support their families. Do not respond to their romantic recollections.

For decades, its history has run against the tide of America’s mainstream economy. The factory, which opened under President Ronald Reagan, was slated to close in the early 2010s until a trade deal with South Korea gave it a new market for small cars and revived the facility for several years. Now, the plant is being converted to be GM’s first all-electric vehicle assembly plant, replacing the internal combustion engine’s old transmission with a massive battery pack to load into the chassis of a Chevrolet Volt EV. increase. Currently, he has 1,200 employees.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *