In the short run, it is obvious that the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Canada Auto Workers (CAW) are not causing this situation. Neither is the $4 an hour GM autoworker in Mexico or the UAW GM autoworker in those five plants.
The call for the unity of American and Canadian autoworkers made by Jerry Dias, the president of the CAW, is a beginning. That Rich Rankine, the director of the UAW Region 2b, made the call for the unity of not only the UAW but also the unions across the United States and Canada and the communities in both countries is a beginning.
2019 contract negotiations in the United States and 2020 contract negotiations in Canada are part of the battle against these plant closings. Will the leadership of both unions win? Will they keep these plants open? We do not know yet.
But should they fail, and should any or all those plants close, what is the next step?
In the case of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the first thing that should happen is Eminent Domain (the power of a government to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent, provided just compensation is given) should be employed to take the factory and the acreage it sits on away from GM.
Once the plant and the acreage are the public property of the government then it can be developed for public use. For instance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can turn the factory into housing for those in need or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can turn the factory into a public hospital, or the U.S. Department of Education can turn the factory into a campus for the Wayne County Community College.
The result is that the factory and acreage it sits on will be the public property of the citizens to fulfill their social needs. Right now, it is the private property of GM and GM has no use for it.
The unions and in fact all the people of United States and Canada must come together because five empty factories and the land that they sit on are useless. We need to take them away from GM and make those factories and the land socially useful for all of us.