imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Another Opportunity To Halt The Employers’ Offensive Arises

by richard Mellor Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005 at 5:08 PM
aactivist@igc.org

New York Transit workers take a step in the right direction but must broaden their demands and link with wider sections of the working class

The employers' judges have slapped a ,000,000 a day fine on the NYC transit workers for going on strike. It is against the law for public sector workers to go on strike in New York State. Well, unions were against the law. We broke the laws en masse and won the right to organize. At one time in this country if a couple of workers got together to discuss wages they were busted under the conspiracy laws, laws set up by the greatest conspirators of all, the capitalist class. They were then tried in courts and by juries that had property qualifications, as a condition for sitting on them. Having no "property" except their labor power to sell, workers were then found guilty by the very people they were trying to organize against in order to raise themselves up from their miserable condition. The judge, the police, the juries; all a set up, just like today. The capitalists fear the potential power of the organized working class.

It brightens my day that the transit workers in NYC have defied their laws. If we had obeyed the laws in this country we wouldn't have a country and we certainly wouldn't have had unions. Women wouldn't be voting and blacks would not be citizens. Laws were broken in the southern states that should have been broken, just like all the anti-union laws including the law denying us the right to strike.

I am a retired AFSCME member. My union, AFSCME has its largest and potentially most powerful council in NYC, AFSCME DC 37. It has some 121,000 members. On its website it describes itself as: "a mighty and powerful force to be reckoned with. We’re also part of AFSCME—the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—with more than 1.4 million members like us nationwide."

DC 37's website also claims that, "we also work for them (our members) in their communities. We believe social justice is a union issue. Through activism and coalition-building, DC 37 is reaching out in the communities of this city to fight for a better future for our members and our children."

But this is potential power only. If it is not used, all the talk of power and numbers is empty rhetoric. In addition, all the talk of working in the communities and building a better future for our members and are children is not enough in two aspects. Firstly, unions should not just fight for "their" members and "their" children but all working people; this is the best organizing tool. This narrow self-interest strategy is part of the reason organized labor has failed to halt the employers' offensive. Secondly, all this language is also empty rhetoric as the union leaders' method of defending the interests of their members is to throw millions of dollars of our hard earned money away each election cycle. In 1996 some 0 million in cash and kind, our hard earned dues money, was given to the Democrats. The union leadership is nothing but a huge lobbying firm in many respects. But we can't compete with the capitalist class in this arena; they have more money than us. But we have our hands on the forces that make their system function.

The transit workers are on the right track. AFSCME boasts of its 1.4 million members as if the employers care about such a passive mass. The labor officials simply see it as a huge financial resource and voting bloc. The response of the AFL-CIO to the employers' fines should be for AFSCME to use the power of 121,000 of its members in NYC and walk of the job. The teamsters are also powerful in NYC and should follow suite. Stop the empty posturing and the macho talk. Use the power of the members.

The union leadership should call an immediate general strike in the city of NY in support of the transit workers and demand the fines be revoked. In addition the demands should be expanded to counter the hardships felt by many lower waged and non-union workers due to the strike and who would initially be hostile to it, a hostility flamed by the big business media. It is no coincidence that one quote in the paper likens the strikers to terrorists; that is really what anti-terrorist laws are for, domestic labor unrest. Demands must be raised for a massive increase in public spending to improve social services and create public sector union jobs in NYC and for or a per hour minimum wage. Health care, education, the re-building of the gulf coast, all these issues are on the minds of American workers and now is the time to bring them to the fore and use the power of the working class to win them; the money spent destroying Iraq can be better spent rebuilding it and the US as well.

Only an hour or two to the northwest the workers in Delphi and GM as well as the retirees are being savaged by the same forces. The airline workers have already suffered this fate. Links can be made there to strengthen a labor offensive. The resources of the labor movement, which are considerable, should be used to link with the workers, youth and unemployed in the inner cities who are the victims of racism and police abuse. This is an opportune moment and another missed opportunity will result in further defeats and will increase the confidence of the employers, their courts and their police.

The transit workers have defied the most powerful, corrupt state on earth. They are taking a heroic step. The labor leadership will most likely try to derail this movement but where we have oppositions in the unions and have caucuses we must take the need to fight directly to the leadership. We can let them know just like the transit workers have the employers today, that there will be no business as usual if a fight back is not launched. Mere pickets and protests are not enough. The transit workers are using methods of the thirties that built the unions in the first place, violating anti union laws through mass action. We can use the same tactic in the struggle against the union leaderships' policies, disrupt their meetings, and disrupt their agenda.

The employers will use all the means at their disposal to teach the transit workers a lesson. They must inflict a defeat on them but if they are successful the responsibility for it lies on the shoulders of the union leadership. The leaders of the TWU must learn the lessons of the Hormel and other defeated strikes. They have to wage a struggle against the leaders of the AFL-CIO whose policies have lead to one defeat after another and have strengthened the resolve of the employers'. And to be successful, it must be somewhat along the lines outlined above.

In his opening address to the 20th bi-ennial convention of the California State Labor Federation in 1994, then Executive Secretary, Jack Henning said:

"The two party system can't give relief because capitalism in large finances both parties. In one way or another. We may say it finances the Republican Party more. But have you ever known Democrats en masse to turn down the enticements of capitalism?

"There should originate, in the leadership of the AFL-CIO, a call to the unions for the only answer that is noble: global unionism is the answer to global capitalism.

"We were never meant to be beggars at the table of wealth. We were never meant to be the apostles of labor cannibalism on the world stage. We were meant for a higher destiny. We were never meant to be the lieutenants of capitalism. We were never meant to be the pall bearers of the workers of the world."

This would be a good time to give these words some substance and start to turn the tide.

Richard Mellor

AFSCME Local 444 Retired

Oakland CA 12-20-05

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy