imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

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




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities 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 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

Unite/Here Members Rally in San Francisco

by Richard Mellor Thursday, Jan. 07, 2010 at 7:45 PM

The turn out at the Unite/HERE rally was good but the rank and file were well contained and the same old tactics and methods that have failed us for so long are still there.

Richard Mellor

AFSCME Local 444, retired

Oakland CA


About 1500 San Francisco hotel workers, members of Unite/HERE Local 2, turned up for a rally in the city last night. They started at 4th and Market then split in to two separate marches meeting back up outside the Hilton where 100 or so of them sat down outside as they called for a boycott of the hotel.

Much like the strike and lockout a few years ago, the strategy of the Union leadership was not to seriously prevent people from entering. During that strike/lockout, a “safe” area was sealed off with tape and workers were contained so that picketere didn’t impede the scabs. This strategy, not to hurt business in any way, was a deal sealed between the hotel owners, the police and the Union leadership and was so effective, some Union members, many of them fairly recent immigrants and not fully aware of their 1st amendment rights, thought it was illegal to picket on a pubic sidewalk outside a business.

The event last night was similarly well orchestrated. When I asked one Local 2 staffer if he was not a bit cautious about the massive police presence he said that he was not worried because, “We helped them get a Union”. “They won’t f*^ with us” he added with confidence, “We helped elect 11 of the thirteen supervisors.”

Another admitted that the event was carefully planned and agreed to by the police and the Union.

But this was obvious to any rank and file Union activist that has been around for any length of time as among those sitting down and getting arrested were Union officials or former Union officials from the California State Labor Federation as well as San Francisco supervisor Aaron Peskin. You rarely see these people and they are not going to get arrested in a serious clash with the police.

This scenario has been played out time and time again over the years. Rank and File Union members are brought out in numbers to let off a little steam and to put increasingly ignored pressure on the employers. Union officials at the highest levels of the AFL-CIO hierarchy come out of their offices and, along with their friends from the Democratic Party, get arrested in a photo-op to show their militancy and dedication to the working man and woman, the rank and file Union members that pays the dues.

Perhaps no better evidence of the staged nature of the event was The Hilton management’s response to it in the media this morning:

“A hotel spokesman said the Hilton did not make any attempt to have the protestors arrested if all they did was sit, but protestors demanded to be taken into custody.” (My added emphasis). When a top Union bureaucrat and a big business politician are pleading to be arrested the rank and file should be wary.

Fear of the Troops

Despite the staged nature of the even,t the mood among the rank and file was upbeat and positive. The police presence was huge with hundreds of officers present and the march and Hilton rally was accompanied by a lot of Union staffers in their blue coats. The sit down at the Hilton was obviously agreed to but its clear that while Union officials have to call out their members in order to pressure the employers a little, they are equally afraid that the ranks might get out of control. I recall this happening at a rally for the Greyhound strikers in 1980 (I think it was 1980 as there were two Greyhound strikes). A crowd of about 2000 of us were being lectured to by Willie Brown, the former San Francisco mayor when suddenly, the crowd just turned, left the lecture, and headed down to the Greyhound building. I remember some of the workers shouting “vote for me, vote fore me” as they turned their backs on Brown, indicating that this was all his speech was----an election appeal. We amassed outside Greyhound and some of the workers tried to enter. The police were caught unawares as they rely on the Labor officials to keep events like these within limits set by the authorities and the Democratic Party; this wasn’t planned. Eventually though, and with the help of Labor officials, workers’ efforts were shifted to picketing around the building, a long block which strung out the numbers, until more police reinforcements arrived.

An occupation of the Greyhound building would have given a great boost to the striking transit workers.

This is why, despite agreements made between the parties, the authorities feel the need to have sufficient police presence and the top Union officials do their best to keep a tight reign on the troops so that everything goes according to plan. There is always a danger that the intense anger that exists beneath the surface in US society, the anger that workers feel at the increasing disparity between us and the rich, will break through the surface, crash the barriers set by others and take a much more militant form. The line between sitting outside the Hilton calling for the hotel customers to boycott and two or three hundred moving a few feet in one direction and sitting down inside is a very thin one.

There is nothing more frightening to the Union hierarchy than losing control of the members. This is why they can’t raise expectations, why they call for “fair” contracts rather than raise demands that would inspire people to fight for. The official policy of the trade Union leadership is the Team Concept and concessions; so angry, active, conscious members threaten the relationship they have built with the employers and the Democratic Party around this view; they will demand what they need rather than what the employers say they can give.

But this dam will be breached at some point in the future. The Union leaders have to call out the troops to a point, and the present crisis, severe as it is, is forcing more workers to question the system and their activity in it. The Local 2 march and rally showed that the Labor leaders can still get people out; this should be a lesson to the student movement as it is why top Union officials have endorsed its call for on March 4th as opposed to a strike which is what the Union leaders should do, an action can be wearing a pink armband. The Union officials have far more numbers and resources to make a strike on March 4th a broad and successful one. That’s the problem----calling thousands of people in to activity is one thing, controlling what they do is another.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

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