We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
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

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

Employers and Labor Leaders Pressure Muni Drivers to Reverse Vote

by Richard Mellor Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2010 at 10:21 PM

The collaboration between employers and the heads of organized Labor is forced more in to the open as the polarization between the classes grows. There is no room for pretense anymore.

Today’s Wall Street Journal had a short piece about the growing militancy of Chinese workers. There have been increased strikes and other disruptions as workers seek more pay, better conditions, and more control over their lives. There have been a number of well publicised suicides at one factory which, coupled with the increase in strikes and a tight Labor market, has forced employers to make some minor concessions, particularly on wages but also with regard to Labor law and worker’s rights.

The employers are trying to head off further worker militancy especially when it is expressed through independent organization as opposed to the official state sponsored Unions. The heads of organized Labor in the US are very quick to criticize the Chinese for their lack of independent Unions but when it comes down to it, although US Unions aren’t “state sponsored”, the trade Union officialdom might as well be.

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle reports on the situation with the Muni drivers, who operate the public transit system. These workers rejected a concessionary contract and are facing pressure from so-called Labor friendly politicians to re-consider their vote. San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom has urged the workers to take another vote and accept the concession or “face real consequences”.

Last year, San Francisco city workers, represented by SEIU Local 1021 also rejected a concessionary contract. These stands by rank and file workers are the first step on the road to confronting the capitalist offensive, to rejecting the idea that we have to pay for their crisis. But in both these instances the top leadership of the Labor movement joins forces with the employers and their political representatives to pressure the workers to take the concessions.

Last year when Local 1021 members rejected concessions, SEIU officials accused them of being “confused” and eventually wore them down, forcing a concessionary contract down their throats. They had help from Tim Paulson, head of the San Francisco Labor Council, “Ultimately, the rank and file will make the right decision to save as many services as we can during these difficult times.” he assured the employers back then. According to today’s Chronicle, the national leadership of the Transport Workers Union and the right wing bureaucracy in the San Francisco Labor Council are joining with the employers and their political representatives to get the Muni drivers to give up their hard won gains. This is a formidable combination.

There is no pretense anymore; this is one positive aspect of the heightened class struggle. The Labor officialdom do not even pretend to be defending worker’s living standards, they are forced defend the employers more openly. The response of the leaders of the San Francisco Labor movement to Mayor Newsom’s threat of “real consequences” should be some threats of our own. It is their support for capitalism that is at the root of this betrayal. It is their worship of the market and lack of an alternative. Their obscene salaries and perks are an issue, but secondary to their ideological bankruptcy. Tim Paulson of the SF Labor Council for example is on the executive board of the California Democratic Party as elected chair of the Labor Caucus. Contrast the comments of US Labor officials in times like these urging workers to make sacrifices to the striking workers at the Honda factory in China, "We call all workers to maintain a high degree of unity and not allow the capitalist to divide us.”, one of their announcements reads.

Were there a serious fighting left wing in the Labor movement sparks would have been flying in bodies like the Central Labor Councils long ago. Open campaigns would be waged within Union bodies and on the job against the cuts and the leadership’s support of them. This would galvanize workers and show them that a real fighting alternative exists.

A combination of the employers and Labor officials is a formidable barrier but the ranks are stronger and more numerous and it is to them, over the heads of the right wing leadership, oppositionists must turn. There has to be an open campaign against the collaborationist policies of the leadership within the official structures but also outside them in the workplaces and wherever workers and Union members gather. Unfortunately, too many left activists in the Unions are dependent on the right wing bureaucracy for their positions. They have not built a strong base within their locals, among the rank and file from which to fight and struggle against the collaborationist policies of the right wing bureaucracy.

There has been some talk on the Internet about assisting the Muni workers in their struggle against the employers and their allies in the leadership of our organizations. This is something we should take up. There are thousands of activists in the Bay Area that consider themselves leftists or anti-capitalists of one type or another, or just militant workers. This could be a significant force that, by linking with the communities in which we live and work can help an increasingly angry rank and file wage this war on two fronts, a war that can transform the Unions and drive back the capitalist offensive.

Report this post as:

© 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