Ford Auto Workers in Turkey who are in the process of contract negotiations have sent a message of solidarity to the striking General Motors workers in the USA: “The rights won in one country are a source of hope for workers in other countries”.
A Ford Otosan Worker
We would first like to offer our greetings to the striking workers at General Motors in America. We thank them for the message of support that they sent to us metal workers within the MESS (Metal Sanayicileri Sendikası, or Metal Industrialists Union) group contract. We believe that they will win all the rights they are entitled to, including fair wages and job security.
The problems faced by the workers of the world are the same everywhere, no matter where they are, regardless of language, religion, and color. They face many different problems, like struggling for fairer wages, worker health and security, mitigating the turn to subcontractors, and unemployment. The process of collective bargaining is an important issue for us as workers. For this reason, positive results can only be achieved with solidarity, unity, and cooperation. We believe that the workers at General Motors in America will attain significant victories over the course of their strike through unity and cooperation. Because in our country, we have the right to strike, but in name only; in practice, this right is always forbidden and deferred, and workers’ rights are always stolen away by the High Council of Arbitrators.
Wherever we may be, we workers and laborers must join forces. The rights won by workers in every part of the world have been and will remain a source of hope for workers in other countries. We as metal workers have already spent a month on the collective bargaining process. There has still been no progress. We as metal workers know that when workers mobilize their union, they must constantly maintain a steady stream of information, and they must be disruptive. It is only by expending labor that victories can be achieved.
To our worker friends on strike in America;
We achieved this process of unity and cooperation during the ‘metal storm’ resistance in 2015. We achieved significant victories then by joining forces. A strike is a tough process, it is a difficult time, but when unity, cooperation, and class solidarity are achieved, a conscious working class with a strong will to fight in public space, no matter rain or shine, will always prevail. Our families, workers in other sectors, the media, and tradespeople have provided the necessary support over this rightful process, and as a result, even though sacrifices were made, great victories were achieved.
We have full faith in you. Through unity and cooperation, you will achieve the victories you deserve for a humane quality of life. We too will show the same resolve in our collective bargaining process, and we will find a path to a successful contract. At the same time, we will continue to follow your rightful strike process and we hope to celebrate your good news. As workers at Ford Otosan, we extend our greetings to all our striking friends and comrades.
“WE HOPE YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU DESERVE”
Forty nine thousand workers at 31 factories and 21 other facilities across nine states have participated in a strike organized by the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union in the United States against automotive giant General Motors (GM). The workers want higher wages, comprehensive health insurance, and an end to the temporary worker program. Workers waiting in front of the GM Parts Distribution Center in Philadelphia sent a message through our reporter to the MESS workers in Turkey who are in the process of contract negotiations. The metal workers in the United States wrote “Good luck Turkish steelworkers!” on the bottom of the union’s strike banners, and their spokesperson offered this message for the article we published on 30 September: “We are standing up for fair wages. We’re standing up for job security. We’re standing up for affordable, quality healthcare. We’re standing up for our temporary employees who are being taken advantage of. I heard that the steel workers of Turkey are also going through a collective bargaining process, and I want to let you know that we stand together with you. We hope that the collective bargaining process comes through for you guys. And we hope you guys get exactly what you deserve.”
(Translated by Nick Glastonbury)