Will Lehman Calls for Support Following His Nomination for UAW President: ‘We Can’t Fight for What We Need Without Organizing’
The WSWS supported Will Lehman’s campaign for UAW President. For more information, visit WillforUAWpresident.org.
On Wednesday, Will Lehman, a Mack Trucks employee of Macungie, Pennsylvania, had been named to the United Auto Workers convention to run for president of the UAW. The election will take place in October and November.
On Friday, Lehman released a statement addressed to all UAW workers, calling for support for his campaign.
The text of the declaration follows.
I’m Will Lehman, a Mack Trucks employee running for president of the UAW. Yesterday I was nominated at the UAW Convention. That means I’ll be on the ballot for president this fall.
This is a major victory for our campaign to build a grassroots movement against the entire pro-corporate UAW apparatus. I want to thank all the workers who made videos and wrote to demand that your delegates nominate me. This wouldn’t have happened without your support.
The next step starts now.
My campaign is about building a grassroots movement of UAW workers to fight for what we need, not what UAW corporations and bureaucrats say is possible. We need massive wage increases to make up for decades of concessions; adjustments to the cost of living to deal with runaway inflation; full pensions and high-quality health care for workers and pensioners; the restoration of the eight-hour day and the end of working hours and forced overtime; and more.
I address this appeal to all sections of the working class. UAW bureaucrats view young workers earning poverty wages the same way the old AFL viewed industrial workers: as “garbage on the doorstep of work.” But they have the same contempt for older workers who have seen their wages stagnate for decades, and for retirees they don’t even allow to run for office.
My campaign is not about replacing one bureaucrat with another. We cannot fight for what we need without organizing ourselves.
This means rank-and-file committees in every workplace to put power where it belongs, with workers on the shop floor. It means establishing true unity among all UAW workers by breaking the isolation imposed by Solidarity House.
It means linking our struggles to the struggle of railway workers, dockers, teachers, health workers, service workers and all sections of workers who are in the same fight.
It means connecting with our class brothers and sisters all over the world – in Canada, Europe, India and Sri Lanka, all over Asia, Africa and Latin America, in all countries. Together, the working class is the most powerful force on the planet.
Such a fight cannot and will not be fought by corporate scoundrels earning six-figure salaries at Solidarity House. The bureaucratic apparatus that only exists to repress our struggles cannot be reformed. It must be swept away.
I can’t do it alone, I’m not a miracle worker. This campaign is not so much about me as it is about you. It will succeed as long as you get involved, that we develop through this campaign the organization and the initiative to fight and win.
I call on all workers to sign up to build this movement. Make it known as widely as possible. Discuss it with your colleagues. Set up electoral committees. Organize meetings. Make statements on social media. Spread the word any way you can.
The working class is on the move and we must move forward. By taking the initiative and organizing ourselves, we can fight and build a society based on our interests, and not on the profits and wealth of a few. In the words of a worker I spoke to at Warren Truck this week: “Let’s do it.”