but to address and develop questions and themes that are relevant to the union in the present." (vii) In particular, Gindin wants to explore the reasons for the CAW's 1985 decision to break away from the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and to examine the demands that historic event placed on the Canadian union.
The Canadian UAW drew renewed strength and vigour from the social movements that in the 1960s challenged the postwar order, while the calcifying American UAW "proved incapable of tapping into [the movement's] energy and potential." (166) The Canadians were thus prepared to fight back when capitalists and their political allies viciously turned on organized labour in the late 1970s.
Gindin makes a critical point as he traces the long-standing differences between the Canadian and American UAW. But he stops short of probing the source of those differences.
"You can call it industrial treason," said a worker from another Flint UAW local scheduled to lose at least 3,000 members.
These strikes are also a test for the UAW. Clearly, the union has the ability to close GM down rapidly by striking only a couple of key plants.
Is the UAW prepared to lead a social movement by carrying this strike through to a victory, or will it just settle for a few jobs in remaining units and the chump change that goes with resolving the grievances that are the official reason for the strikes?