Rich Feldman Reader
Rich Feldman is a Community and Labor Activist, Board Member of
the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
(www.boggscenter.org) the Huntington Woods Peace, Citizenship and
Education Project (www.hwpeace.org) and committed to the
inclusive education movement and the Disability Rights and
Pride Movement. www.danceofpartnership.com. He co-edited the book:
End of the Line: Auto Workers and the American Dream.
FIRST THEY CAME FOR DETROIT…
I am angry, I am scared. Who will help me?
What happens after the bailout or after bankruptcy?
By Rich Feldman
Everywhere I go, everyone wants to know: "What do you think about the future of GM, Chrysler and
Ford Motor Company? What will Congress do? Will they get the bailout, I mean a bridge loan, or will they declare bankruptcy? What will happen to the middle class? Why does Congress give hundreds of
billions of dollars so easily to the banks but not the U.S. auto companies? "
I just returned from my mom's 90th birthday party celebration in Florida where senior citizens,
retirees, young cousins and others approached me and shared their anger at the auto executives for flying to D.C. in their corporate jets and at the silence of the southern Senators who give multi-million
tax abatements to Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, VW, BMW and Mercedes. They kept asking, "Why did the bankers not have a public plan or come before Congress?"
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I watched the last Ford Expedition roll off the assembly line at the Wayne Michigan Truck Plant where I worked for 30 years. The Michigan Truck Plant was my life
from 1971 to 2002. I worked the line for 20 years and was an elected union representative for ten. In 1988 I co-edited the book, End of the Line: Auto Workers and the American Dream. In the 1980s it did
not take an economic Ph. D. genius or a rocket scientist to see the handwriting on the wall.
Many of my co-workers have since retired; some receive pensions of $3,000 per month which
includes their monthly social security. Others took buyouts and returned to school. Some will transfer to the truck plant in Louisville, KY or Dearborn, MI and still others will begin working on the Focus
assembly line at our sister plant, the Wayne Assembly Plant. A few co-workers said "I will keep on working, so at least I can help my two kids and their families because they are not working" or "I need
to be able to help my son or daughter when they return from Iraq. They will need my support when they come home."
Back in the mid-1990s, the Michigan Truck Plant produced in one year more than 300,000 large
SUVS (Navigators and Expeditions), earning more than 3 billion dollars profit for Ford Motor Company. Some profit-sharing checks were larger than my dad's annual income $5,200; he died in 1970.
This crisis did not start yesterday. It has been almost 40 years since the auto-industry, the middle class and the hopes and dreams of American prosperity left Detroit, MI, Youngstown, OH, Gary, IN,
Flint, MI, and so many other towns and cities between upstate New York and Iowa. This started in the 1980s; in 2007 and 2008 we have seen the 1980s regional wake-up call become a 21st century national and global wake-up call. read more
Open Letter to Huntington Woods: Golf Course Relations with Detroit
An Open Letter to the Residents of Detroit and Huntington Woods:
By Rich Feldman, June 20, 2006
We need a community meeting and an open discussion. Let's
slow down the sale and the purchase of the Rackham Golf Course and have a conversation. We need a joint community meeting between Huntington Woods and Detroit. Selling public lands to
private investors or selling Detroit assets to the suburbs is not answer to this issue. We have more fundamental questions to address.
Critical Moment Newspaper issue 17
The Spirit of Hope Subtitle: Community Theatre in Detroit
By: Rich Feldman Intro:
As the 1980s and 1990s saw the disappearance of the US-dominated auto industry from Detroit and as the mass media headlines focused on the continued industrial decline and violence in our
city, a new world of hope was being born: community-based efforts such as Detroit Summer, Artists and Activists for Social Change, Back Alley Bikes, The Greening of Detroit Movement, the Mosaic Youth Theatre and the Matrix Theatre Company...
Conversations in Maine
by Jimmy & Grace Lee Boggs
Lyman & Freddy Paine - 1977
Introduction by Richard Feldman