by Shannon Jones, WSWS
On Wednesday morning, United Auto Workers officials from Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan physically ejected two WSWS Autoworker Newsletter reporters from a press conference and forcibly took a cell phone being used to record the incident. A video recording was automatically uploaded.
The press conference that WSWS Autoworker Newsletter editor Jerry White and another reporter were prevented from attending was addressed by UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles. It was called in response to growing opposition to the UAW-Ford tentative contract. On Tuesday, workers in Louisville, Kentucky delivered a stunning blow to the contract, voting overwhelming against the agreement.
Settles was joined by Bernie Ricke, president of Local 600, which covers the Dearborn Truck plant, Dearborn Stamping and several other smaller facilities. It is one of the last and largest union locals to vote on the contract and could determine whether the agreement is ratified or rejected.
Upon entering the union hall, the World Socialist Web Site reporters were stopped by a UAW official who demanded they identify themselves. After learning they were with the WSWS, the official told them they would not be allowed to attend the press conference.
What followed is recorded in the accompanying video. After White protested the anti-democratic action, more than a half-dozen UAW operatives surrounded the reporters. One official grabbed the cell phone and manhandled White and the other reporter out the front door of the union hall. The UAW officials refused a request to return the stolen cell phone.
The forcible removal of the WSWS from the event exposes not only the UAW’s opposition to the Autoworker Newsletter, but its fear and hostility to the workers the UAW claims to represent. The WSWS has attracted a broad readership among auto workers because it has articulated the widespread opposition to the UAW’s efforts to push through sellout contracts at Fiat Chrysler, GM and Ford.
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