July 30, 2013
By Patrick Martin
Obama, Congress and the political leadership of Michigan are all agreed on using the bankruptcy courts to rob workers, first in Detroit and then in other cities, of their pensions and health benefits. Obama's treasury secretary, Jacob Lew, flatly rejected any bailout of Detroit when asked on several network television programs broadcast Sunday.
The AFL-CIO has responded to the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit with a predictable combination of rhetorical appeals to the Obama administration and a refusal to lift a finger to actually defend the interests of the working class.
The union bureaucrats, enjoying six-figure salaries and guaranteed -- and lavish -- pensions, are separated by a vast social distance from the city employees and residents of Detroit. They could scarcely disguise their indifference to the social counter-revolution being inflicted on the workers who are compelled to pay dues to these pro-corporate organizations.
A statement issued by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, which met last week in Washington, DC, condemned the bankruptcy filing by the city while declaring, "The AFL-CIO will continue to support our city of Detroit active and retired members in their fight to maintain dignity on the job, a safe workplace, fair wages and benefits for their labor, and against cuts in the pensions they have paid for and earned. We call on President Obama, Congress and the leadership of Michigan to stand with us and with the people of Detroit."
The statement concludes with a call for "President Obama and Congress to commit to an immediate infusion of federal assistance for Detroit, and to demand that the federal financial commitment be matched by the state of Michigan."
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Patrick Martin writes for the World Socialist Website (wsws.org), a forum for socialist ideas & analysis & published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).