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Presentation of Mercedes Daimler Stuttgart Worker Tom Adler At Freightliner Five Rally
Date 08/05/15/02:29

Presentation of Mercedes Daimler Stuttgart Worker Tom Adler
At Freightliner Five Cleveland, North Carolina Rally on 5/9/2008

Brothers and sisters,

FIRST OF ALL LET me thank you for the overwhelmingly warm welcome you gave me ¬- and I am sure: this is a welcome from all our German colleagues and rank-and file unionists of Daimler committed to international solidarity with your struggle for justice for the freightliner5!

Workers are shocked about the arbitrary acts of Freightliner management and they do understand very well: this is not one of the ordinary daily conflicts at the shop floor that happen as long as big business squeezes more and more profit out of our labour. This is a fundamental attack by Daimler top management on our trade union rights, on workers rights that has to be fought back!

Some people may think, that the violation of your basic rights as workers and trade unionists is something like a „mistake“ or overreaction of some local management. Brothers and sisters, I am convinced it is not! It is neither a mistake or an overreaction!

No, it is part of Top managments coordinated strategy für enorme Profitsteigerung! Maximation of profits at all costs. To realize these targets, management by stress has become the guideline and working conditions shall be attacked including our health and safety degeneriert zur Kostensenkungsstrategie, work is organized in a way that workers get reduced more and more to an Anhängsel der Maschinerie or workers are treated as machines, and wages are under permanent attack, less workers for more production and plant shutdowns!

This is an overall international strategy of Daimler, in German Mercedes factories, in the Brazil Daimler truck- and bus factories in Sao Paulo as well as in the factories located in the United States and in the future factory that Freightliner is now building in Mexico!

Brothers and sisters, if we change our perspective only for a minute - which obstacles do they have to overcome to be completely successfull in speeding up the lines, reducing wages and the workforce?

The main obstacle is an organized workforce, the main obstacle are strong unions based on conscious workers, who are willing to defend their Anspruch auf „our right“ to good working conditions, good wages.
Daimler top management is fully aware of that. And they have their strategy to overcome these obstacles: by weakening the strength of organized workers, by weakening the power of trade unions especially where conscious and credible union activists can be identified.
Thats what we experience in Germany,thats what you experienced in the Cleveland truck plant in North Carolina.

The second thing we have to face ist hat they try to present a different face to the media, to journalists and to the broad public.
The pretend to be a face of responsibility and fairness for the workers and of respect for the workers right to organize and to go on strike. Only 5 years ago, CEO Mr.Zetsche signed a code of social conduct codifying this, since then proudly presented to the media:


But: the way management acts in trhe case of the strike in the Cleveland plant is a permanent and arbitrary violation of these self-imposed social principles!

Today the 24 hour shutdown of the plant costing millions of dollars and hurting the workers of Freightliner is a irresponsible and dangerous tactice. They are trying to blame the Freightliner Five for their own misdeeds and encouraging some workers to divert the blame from the company. These tactics will only backfire.

This is and this has to be completely unaccetable for Unionists, be it the rank& file at the shopfloor or elected leaderships at all levels of our organisations:

„an injury to one is an injury to all“ is not rhetoric Floskel für Sonntagsreden, is has direct impact on the situation of our brothers and sisters at the workplace, and it has direct impact for the union as a whole, if the company does not receive the answer it deserves for violation of your rights :

- it has impact for our brothers and sisters at the workpost, because the rerinstatement of ther freightliner 5 shows that fighting for our rights is successfull!

Second, this has enormous impact for the tade union movement as a whole, because a success fight for threatened and arbitrily sacked workers is a signal like the light of a lighthouse for workers even in unorganized factories Showing there is hope and protection if workers dare to speak up!

We have heard that over 20,000 workers a year are fired in the US for simply trying to organize a union. Unfortunately by the tactics at Freightliner Daimler is encouraging that and it is a violation of the Diamler international code of conduct.

And last but not least: even the media should not keep silent facing Daimlers violation of workers rights, facing this evident slight of it’s own guidelines on social conduct.
The media and reporters must report this violation of human and labor rights since it is not only about the Freightliner Five but also affects media workers themselves.

Brothers and sisters,
because this is at stake for us all, in german, Brazilian and US plants,

because we have to defend our rights and our achieved standards,

because we know that this is a multinational compoany
in a globalized economy , and that one day after they hit you, they will come and hit us,

We will have to learn our lesson and stand together overcoming national boarders

Divided we will fall, but united we can stand against managements internationally coordinated attacks on workers rights and unions!

Of course this is not a simple thing to do, we have to deal with many obstacles including corporate media censorship.

But, brothers and sisters, it is not a dream ! There have been and will continue to be successful Steps of int“l solidarity between german, brazilian workers and US workers. Our bosses are the same and our needs are the same.

In Germany, we refused overtime, when the company threatend to shift production to crush a strike in brazil, and vice versa

Brothers and sisters,

may this international struggle for justice for the freightliner 5 be the beginning of a new chapter in int“l rank and file and union solidarity!

Ledt me bring you this message from workers, workscouncilmembers and unionists from the german factories an from our brazilian brothers and sisters in Sao bernardo!
We are comitted to put pressure on Daimler Top management in its home country until
Glenna Swinford, Allan Bradley, Robert Whiteside, Franklin Torrence, David Crisco can return to their factory and do their job as workers and trade unionists with full rights!
Victory to our international struggle for justice and human rights.

By Tom Adler, Works Council Daimler

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