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THE AMERICAN WORKER / Westfall Archive

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AMERICAN WORKER LABOR PAPERS

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Mike Westfall


BIOGRAPHY … MIKE WESTFALL

Mike (Marshall) Westfall was a blue-collar assembly line worker at General Motors in Flint from 1964 until 1994. Between 1976 and 1991, he became a labor leader and activist who organized several worker groups whose purpose was to address the social impact of corporate restructuring. The Westfall groups produced and printed monthly newsletters that were sent across the country. The newsletters brought community attention to the corporate restructuring and proclaimed that it was a privilege to do business in America and that business should be conducted with social responsibility and a respect for national loyalty, not just the rules of the market place jungle.

These groups proclaimed that it is the American worker, our people and our communities that are our most prized national assets. They also warned that the middle-class wage reduction and job elimination strategies being conducted by large corporations would ensure that future generations of young Americans would be denied a middle-class standard of living.

In 1976, Westfall’s group questioned the vast amounts of job evaporating new automation entering the workforce. His subsequent groups addressed all elements of corporate restructuring including concessions, foreign sourcing, downsizing, multi-national worker exploitation, corporate pollution, factory property tax assessment reductions at the expense of communities, apartheid, and many other related issues. No other group was equally sounding this alarm. His groups expanded to other industrial cities and states, ranging in size from a few workers to several hundred. Some of the rallies they were involved in contained thousands of people.

Westfall served on the boards of various national organizations, his groups debated CEOs at stockholders’ meetings, he lectured at major universities and his groups conducted significant conferences, seminars and rallies. They used television, radio and the written media to explain how this transfer of wealth and disregard for working families would domino into all industries in the decades to follow, as it has.

Because Westfall’s activist worker groups dared to speak out on unbridled corporate, governmental and union authority, as evidenced by the articles on this site, they were labeled as mavericks. Top union officials would have been smart to listen closer to the message of these workers given how absolutely correct they were. Just look at the American manufacturing workforce today compared to forty years ago. The weakened position that organized labor finds itself in today and America’s ongoing ailing state of the economy is largely caused from the issues that the Westfall rank-and-file activists addressed, and those union officials and politicians ignored.

Westfall had close and influential colleagues in many arenas. People such as Ralph Nader were collaborators and universities including the University of Michigan, Michigan State, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and others worked with his groups. He served as a consultant on regional and national TV programs and was an advisor on many books.

He was one of the originators and a board member of the Flint, Michigan Work Center, which dealt with middle-income job loss. About that time, he developed proposals and fought for union contractual changes to protect middle-class manufacturing wages and jobs.

In the late 1980s, General Motors and the International UAW enlisted Westfall to develop and write a contractual retirement program to help soften restructured job loss. His proposal was negotiated in the 1990 automotive agreements and immediately became the blueprint for similar retirement programs at all domestic automotive as well as many other industries. This program saved thousands of younger workers whose jobs were slotted for extinction due to corporate restructured job elimination because it allowed older workers to voluntarily retire early.

Westfall was elected chairman of the controlling union caucus in power at the cavernous General Motors, Flint Truck and Bus Assembly. At that time it was the largest truck capacity factory in the world which employed 7,200 workers.

Westfall was chosen to be one of six people in the United States to serve on an advisory board for Technivision, Inc. in Alexandria, Virginia which was a U.S. Department of Education project. The board worked on the impact of corporate restructured job loss and developed educational films. He brought film crews to Flint from Washington DC and elsewhere to film examples of the devastation that manufacturing towns had come to experience due to corporate restructuring.

In 1987, his group conducted the large historic Flint rally, where unionists and leaders traveled from all over the country to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the UAW. He brought in, as keynote speaker, his colleague Victor Reuther, a key sit-down strike organizer and UAW founder. Mr. Reuther was also critical of our government leadership and the then current UAW officials’ failures in addressing serious worker issues.

The vast collection of Westfall’s and his various groups’ work is now archived at some of America’s most prestigious libraries including large amounts of video and audio tape of their activities over the years. Multiple clips of his film footage appeared in the 2007 film Manufacturing Dissent, which questioned the ethics of Michael Moore. Their work has also been used in films, documented in best selling books, copied in educational text and viewed around the world on the Internet.  

Over the years, Westfall purposely remained blue-collar. Although he was offered multiple high level appointed jobs from General Motors, the UAW and others in Washington DC and elsewhere. He deliberately kept his worker identity.  He retired in 1994 after working for General Motors for 30 years.

For the next 15 years, he became a freelance writer and did writing for multiple online magazines covering assorted political, conservative, faith and labor related issues reaching millions of readers. He did this until 2009  when he began having serious vision issues and then cancer.

                                        OVERVIEW

Forty years ago, back in the 1970s, American based multi-national corporations began using new restructuring strategies to garner larger pieces of the economic pie at the expense of the working class. This led to an evaporating middle-class, betrayed retirees, confused political leaders, an artificially manipulated economy, polluted manufacturing towns and a deeply damaged nation.

While there were endless numbers of industries affected, America’s domestic auto industry, because of its shear size, is a prime example of the original blueprint for this massive corporate restructuring that lacked any concern for societal impact.

The domestic auto industry was America’s foremost manufacturing business. One of every six American jobs was auto related. General Motors was America’s largest automaker, and Flint, Michigan contained the world’s largest concentration of GM workers. Flint was the founding home of both GM and the United Auto Workers (UAW). During this time, the auto industry offered good wages and benefits. It set the benchmark for middle-income compensation across our nation. This once fair distribution of wealth translated into plentiful well paying jobs where working families, communities, small businesses and our entire nation benefited as these companies prospered. This all came to an end beginning forty years ago.

                                                FLINT

During the 1970’s Flint was the home to many large factories including Buick, AC Spark Plug,Turnsteadt, Fisher Body #1, Grand Blanc and others that employed tens of thousands of people. Those people are now all foreign sourced, automated or restructured away and the factories are gone.

During the 1970’s Flint was populated with over 80,000 auto workers. In 2017 Flint had around 10,000.Those numbers are horrific and directly relate to the projections the Westfall groups made forty years ago.

.During the 1970’s America’s Auto workers numbered 1.5 million strong. Today they are dwindling and the number is less than 390,000.




INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM & 
LABOR HISTORY

CONTACT & COMMENTS 

REACHING OVER 1.5 MILLION PER MONTH
GM's Environmental Shame
Corporate Pollution by Mike Westfall / Edited By Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author Edwin Black

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Maquiladora! Multinational Slavery

America's Toxic Timebomb
America's Toxic Timebomb

The Poisoning of America by Industrial Pollution
Poisonous Industrial Pollution

ARCHIVED WESTFALL LABOR PAPERS
ARCHIVES @ UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN - FLINT FRANCES WILLSON THOMPSON LIBRARY

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WRITINGS @ KHEEL CENTER, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK

ARCHIVES @ THE WALTER REUTHER
ARCHIVES @ THE WALTER P. REUTHER LIBRARY, DETROIT

Cornell University
AUDIO-VISUAL LABOR COLLECTION @ CORNELL UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK

Cornell University
PHOTO COLLECTION @CORNELL UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK

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Alicia Patterson Foundation's Award Winning Piece

Top UAW Officials Lost Direction and deserve Blame
UAW Officials Lose Direction..Flint Journal's Ron Fonger

He's a Rebel Darlene Love / Mike Westfall
He's A Rebel ..Darlene Love.. 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

MAQUILADORA ..US EXPORTED SLAVERY
Maquiladora.. US Exported Slavery

Westfall/Father George Schultze Interview
Malcolm A. Kline / Director of Accuracy in the Media

Karen Covell Hollywood Interview
Karen Covell .. TV Producer / Director ..Hollywood Interview

UAW Officials Lose Direction
UAW Officials Lose Direction

David hardy / Mike Westfall
Best Selling Author David T. Hardy Interview

David Hardy and the Second Amendment
Canada Free Press ... David Hardy and the Second Amendment

nader.org
nader.org

Spero / Maquiladora Slavery
Spero / Maquiladora Slavery

Mike Westfalls chapter in Michael Moores bio
Mike Westfalls chapter in Michael Moores bio./ Impact Wire

UAW Black October  @ UAW-NDM
UAW Black October @ UAW-NDM

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AUTO INDUSTRY CANCER

World Intellectual publisher
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Extensive Westfall writings in text books targeting Mexico, Maquiladora & N.A.F.T.A.

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Maquiladora Slavery / Energy Publishers

Who is Mike Westfall?
Who is Mike Westfall?

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Westfall, Reuther, Tucker




 


 

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