Workers Strike Against War Profiteer Ends in New Contract

January 5th, 2008 - by admin

Sue Davis / Workers World & Revolutionary Communist Blog & – 2008-01-05 21:24:03

Workers Strike War Profiteer
Sue Davis / Workers World

(January 5, 2008) — Some 4,000 members of 11 Auto Workers’ locals in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas who build MaxxPro engines for blast-resistant Navistar trucks used by the US military in Iraq conducted an unfair labor practice strike for nearly two months ending Dec. 17, when the workers ratified a three-year contract. International Truck and Engine, which tried hiring scabs to maintain its war profits, initially took a hard line but eventually gave in to the strikers’ demands.

The most important aspect of the new contract, which includes an immediate $2,500 payment and a 6 percent pay raise over the course of the contract, pension upgrades, and health care protections, is a moratorium on plant closings and outsourcing during the life of the contract.

“While it is not a strike against the war, it is still significant that workers have struck a war profiteer in the midst of war,” noted Larry Goldbetter, member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, in an e-mail to US Labor Against the War.

Auto Workers Strike Navistar War-Truck Production
Challenge / Revolutionary Communist Blog

CHICAGO, IL, Nov. 25 — Since Oct. 23, about 4,000 workers, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), have been striking over unfair labor practices against Navistar. Over 500 of those workers, in UAW Locals 6 and 2293, work just outside Chicago building the MaxxPro engines for the blast-resistant trucks used by the US military in Iraq. The MaxxPro chassis is built in Garland, Texas, and the trucks are assembled in West Point, Mississippi. Both plants are non-union.

Navistar is using scabs at the Melrose Park engine plant here, with a wink and a nod from the UAW leadership that boasts, “Our commitment has always been to both the membership and the company because we, the UAW, know we need each other to be successful, but I am not sure the company agrees.” No solidarity rallies have been organized or attempts made to stop the scabs.

In fact, the company was able to increase output and meet its October production targets despite the strike, delivering 140 MaxxPro blast-resistant trucks for the Pentagon’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle program. Navistar has orders for almost 3,000 MaxxPros, more than any other supplier, and plans to build 500 a month by February.

Navistar, encouraged by the massive concessions just granted to GM, Ford, Chrysler and Delphi, is taking a hard line with the workers and the union leaders.

As with the other recent contracts, the union is asking for some “guarantee” of work over the life of the new contract, but Navistar is forming a joint venture with a major auto producer in India and is unwilling to grant guarantees.
PLP will be organizing support for, and attempting to build some ties with, Navistar workers on strike against this war profiteer.

One good way to solidify ties would be uniting to physically stop scabs from entering the plant.

Blast-resistant Trucks Deal Goes to Navistar; Marines to Pay $623 Million
Edmond Lococo / Chicago Sun-Times

(June 1, 2007) — Navistar International Corp. won a $623 million award from the US Marine Corps to make blast-resistant trucks that better protect troops in Iraq.

It’s the largest contract for such trucks to date. The award covers production of 1,200 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, Marine Corps spokesman Bill Johnson-Miles said Thursday. The trucks will be delivered by February 2008.

“These additional vehicles will help support the increasing requirement for MRAP vehicles in theater with their proven capability to save lives,” Johnson-Miles said.

The Navistar vehicle is a new truck called the International MaxxPro. Roy Wiley, spokesman for Warrenville-based Navistar, declined to provide details on the vehicle.
“While it’s not battle-tested, it certainly has been field- tested,” Wiley said. “It came through all those tests with flying colors.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on May 9 quicker acquisition of blast-resistant vehicles to improve protection of US troops in Iraq is the Pentagon’s top procurement priority. American forces in May suffered their deadliest month in Iraq since November 2004, with at least 123 killed, according to Pentagon data. Homemade bombs have accounted for 61 percent of the 2,793 US combat deaths in the conflict so far.

The Marine Corps has said the new trucks, which deflect explosive force with V-shaped hulls, are four times safer than flat-bottomed Humvee transports. The Marines are leading efforts to buy the new vehicles and may spend $8.4 billion over two years for as many as 7,700 trucks. The US Army said this month it might need 17,000 of them valued at $19.4 billion through 2009.

Navistar will do the assembly and armor plating at its International Truck and Engine Corp. plant in West Point, Miss.

The contract exceeds the $481.4 million order given to Force Protection Inc. for 1,000 vehicles in April and smaller awards to four other manufacturers.
Shares of Navistar rose $2.50, or 4 percent, to $64.89.

Navistar International Corp., the world’s fourth-largest truckmaker, said it will file financial results for the 2005 fiscal year within four months.

The company also said it will release restated financial results for the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years in that period. The 2006 fiscal- year report will be issued early next year.

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