WILL UNION BUREAUCRATS BLOCK A GENERAL STRIKE?
We currently have a unique opportunity to work towards a general strike in the East Bay. A significant number of unions are working without a contract at the present time. Under the Taft Hartley Act that leaves us free to strike in unison and to coordinate our actions to maximize Labor’s power. So what is preventing us from moving to coordinated action rather than the current approach of separate, isolated negotiations and, in some cases, actions? I submit that it is the labor bureaucracy, Labors’ “generals” if you will, who not only refuse to fight but neutralize Labor’s potential power through dividing us into separate struggles. Whenever rank and file members speak of acting in solidarity with striking brothers and sisters the leadership raises the legal obstacle of the Taft Hartley Act’s prohibition of sympathy strikes. Now, however, that prohibition does not apply, and there is no excuse not to call for all Union members without a contract to go on strike together. We hear the Union bureaucrats at pep rallies talking about class warfare but when it is time to make real strategic decisions to win the war they are nowhere to be seen. The working class is being held hostage by the very individuals we pay to represent us, individuals who are financially comfortable, who make deals with the politicians and bosses they associate with, and maintain their positions of power by placating the class they represent. The rank and file’s enemy within are our compromised International Presidents, the leadership of the AFL-CIO and all those officers and bureaucrats below them who view their duty to be keeping the rank and file in line and not on the picket line. Any student of Labor history knows this was not the kind of behavior which won us the right to organize. Split heads and jail time awaited the old guard and their followers, not expensive cars, banquets with politicians and the prospect of political appointments. The Union rank and file are losing the war with each concessionary contract despite the fact that they are heralded as victories by the business agents who signed off on them. Our wages are stagnant; our benefits are shrinking although we pay more for them. Yet, the leadership supports the very politicians who are crushing us, such as Mayor Quan, Governor Brown and President Obama. Union bureaucrats are little more than opportunistic flunkies for the Democratic Party. The “leadership” thinks fighting means lobbying, phoning, voting, petitioning, walking for and supporting Democrats. The leadership acts as lapdogs to those who betray the working class’s interests. It is time we, the rank and file, demand that our “leadership” coordinate a sustained General Strike Now! Strike now while the iron is hot!
United Public Workers for Action UPWA.info