To Win the Strike, All Out to Shut Down Hollywood!
PICKET LINES MEAN DON’T CROSS!
A minute after midnight on May 2, over 11,000 Writers Guild of America (WGA) screen and television writers officially went on strike after attempting negotiations with major studios since March. It is the first strike in Hollywood since the 2007-08 WGA strike. At some points there have been pickets at 200 locations in Los Angeles, and picket lines have often been hundreds-strong. The writers were able to deal these blows to production with support from Teamsters, IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) members refusing to work and often joining strikers on the picket lines. But SAG-AFTRA bureaucrats in particular have been saying their members should cross strike lines and go to work. This is a betrayal. It is a basic labor principle that picket lines mean don't cross, period! The bottom line is the whole industry should be on strike, now! One out, all out! United strike action can KO the Hollywood cartel! To Win the Strike, All Out
to Shut Down Hollywood! (15 May 2023)
Biden, DSA’s AOC and “Squad” Vote to Ban Rail Strike
Democratic Party Strikebreakers Shackle Railroad Workers
Rip Up the Railway Labor Act with a Powerful Rail / Truck / Port Strike!
Break with the Bosses’ Parties and Politicians – Build a Workers Party!
At the beginning of December, some 115,000 railroad workers were poised to walk off the job, tying up 40% of all U.S. freight, at the height of the holiday shopping season. A majority had voted against a Tentative Agreement that outrageously did not include even one paid sick day. A major labor battle was posed. Instead, Democrat Joe Biden, who proclaimed himself the “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” signed legislation passed by Democrats in both houses of Congress, imposing a presidentially dictated contract and banning a strike. This blatant strikebreaking sums up countless reasons why the capitalist Democratic Party is a noose around the neck of labor. This underlines why workers urgently need to break with all the bosses’ parties and build a class-struggle workers party to lead the battles of all the oppressed. Democratic Party Strikebreakers Shackle Railroad Workers (29 December 2022)
Vote Yes on Illinois “Workers’ Rights Amendment”!
Amendment 1 on the Illinois state ballot on November 8 would amend the Illinois state constitution, banning any law that “interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively.” This measure amending the state’s Bill of Rights is meant to prevent the enactment of any “right to work” law that bans unions from requiring fees to be collected from non-union members covered by collective bargaining agreements. Militant class struggle is crucial when it comes to gaining and holding onto essential rights for the workers and oppressed. At the same time, class-conscious workers should support measures which simply provide some degree of legal protections, however partial or minimal, against union-busting. The straightforwardly worded Amendment 1 is clearly supportable. Vote Yes on Illinois “Workers’ Rights Amendment”! (November 2022)
For Labor Solidarity Action to
Win the UAW John Deere Strike!
On October 14, more than 10,000 John Deere workers walked off the job at the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturing company. A total of 14 plants represented by the United Auto Workers were struck, centered on Iowa and Illinois. As labor strikes are spreading in the U.S., the walkout at Deere is the biggest this year, and the largest nationwide since the six-week UAW strike at General Motors in 2019. The strikers are in a strong position. Sales are booming, the company is making record profits, there’s a labor shortage, and workers are fighting mad after laboring right through the pandemic as “essential workers,” risking their lives, while the bosses are raking it in. The Deere strikers can win, and win big, so long as they don’t play by the bosses’ rules. It’s necessary to completely shut down production, with militant mass picket lines that no one dares cross. Workers must look to exercise their own power – through labor solidarity and alliance with all those oppressed – understanding that both the Democratic and Republicans parties defend the interests of capital. For Labor Solidarity Action to Win the UAW John Deere Strike! (19 October 2021)
Cinematographer Killed on New Mexico Set After Union Camera Operators Walked Out Over Unsafe Conditions
IATSE Members Voted to Strike: Let’s Do It
Vote No to Sweetheart Deal with Motion Pictures Bosses and Prepare to Walk Out
Sixty thousand film and television workers affiliated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) were on the verge of a national strike, the first in the union’s 128-year history. In a membership vote, over 98% voted to authorize a strike. But the day before the strike deadline, the union tops struck a deal with the film studio bosses. The Tentative Agreement resolves none of the issues at stake – continuing to allow 14-hour work days, short weekends, and with a wage “hike” that amounts to a pay cut due to inflation. Then on October 21, Halyna Hutchins, a Local 600 director of photography, was accidentally shot and killed during the New Mexico filming of the film Rust. This deadly incident underscored the safety concerns that have been at the heart of motion picture backlot workers’ enthusiastic support for a strike. The IATSE ranks should resoundingly vote down this rotten deal and prepare to carry out the strike they voted enthusiastically and overwhelmingly to authorize. IATSE Members Voted to Strike: Let’s Do It (26 October 2021)
Bloody Friday and the War for Warner Brothers (October 2021)Now Is the Hour – Organize the Unorganized with Workers Power!
Amazon Union Drive in Alabama Electrifies Labor
On March 30, votes will begin to be tallied in an election by 5,805 workers at the giant Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The union organizing drive in Bessemer is being closely watched by the media, business, labor and politicians. It is an international event, pitting workers making $15 an hour against the second-largest company in the world. And it is of intense interest for Amazon workers everywhere, and those fighting for class-struggle workers action amid the deadly pandemic and coronavirus depression ravaging the capitalist world. A victory for the RWDSU would be the first successful unionization election in the United States against the Amazon distribution and e-commerce monopoly. It would provide a beacon for desperately needed union organizing campaigns at Amazon, its Whole Foods subsidiary, Walmart, and for workers throughout the U.S. and beyond. The Democratic Party is posing as defenders of the unions, with the support from the union bureaucrats, when in fact it is a party of capital.. To win real gains against this viciously anti-union company will require hard class struggle, which Democrat phony friends of labor” will seek to ensnare in a web of government control. It’s necessary to build a workers party to fight for a workers government. Amazon Union Drive in Alabama Electrifies Labor (23 March 2021)
Fight Against Racist Terror, Key to Organizing the South (23 March 2021)Vicious Anti-Union Intimidation at Yakima Fruit Packing Plant
On February 26, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a hearing on a complaint by Trabajadores Unidos por la Justicia (TUJ – Workers United for Justice) representing fruit packinghouse workers in the Yakima Valley, Washington. The NLRB found merit in the union’s charge that the employer, Allan Brothers, engaged in a long list of acts of coercion against the TUJ and its own employees. These practices were used against the Yakima strike last spring, when the mainly women workers courageously walked out at the height of the coronavirus pandemic demanding protective gear, cleaning of the plant and hazard pay. The same dirty tactics were used again successfully against the drive for union recognition in the fall. Despite the defeatist, legalist policies of the official labor leadership, the fight is not over and there may now be another chance to mobilize to unionize the valley. But that requires a very different kind of trade-unionism, one based on hard class struggle rather than the class collaboration of the present labor officialdom. Vicious Anti-Union Intimidation at Yakima Fruit Packing Plant (7 March 2021)
For Teacher-Student-Parent-Worker Control of the Schools!
Chaotic Reopening of NYC Schools:
This Is What Mayoral Control Looks Like
Use Union Power to Reopen Schools Safely!
By Class Struggle Education Workers/UFT
The deadly coronavirus pandemic led to the first-ever nationwide U.S. school shutdown. While coronavirus cases were escalating in much of the country, rates of infection and of positive tests for COVID-19 in the summer and early fall were far lower in New York City, making it possible to reopen schools. The actual reopening of NYC schools in the fall was a story of unending chaos, with changing deadlines and confusing schedules of “blended” and fully remote instruction. Class Struggle Education Workers and the Internationalist Group declared “Where Infection Rate Is Low, Schools Should Reopen Safely with Billions for Sanitation & Ventilation, Triple Classrooms Now, Hire Thousands.” Those who demanded that schools be kept closed even where virus contagion was low (and now even with vaccine becoming available) went against overwhelming evidence that “remote education” can’t work for the great majority of students and exacerbates racial/class inequalities. They play into the hands of the enemies of public education and blow the critical opportunity to win important safety measures which are also key to quality education, particularly by sharply reducing class size. The CSEW calls for union-led teacher-parent-student-worker committees at every school to inspect and sign off on reopening plans. Chaotic Reopening of NYC Schools: This Is What Mayoral Control Looks Like (23 February 2021)
Google + D.O.E. + de Blasio & Cuomo = Capitalist CHAOS (February 2021)Owners Shutter Manhattan Laundry, Try to Move Machines
NYC Labor: Stop Wash Supply Union-Busting!
In a move straight out of the union-busters’ playbook, in retaliation for immigrant women workers organizing a union, the owners of the Wash Supply Laundromat on Manhattan’s Upper West Side fired them all on February 19, then abruptly closed the shop. The next morning, as the workers were protesting, the company tried to remove the equipment. This came only weeks after the company tried to intimidate the women by firing one of them on the eve of a scheduled unionization vote. The workers courageouosly voted for the union anyway. To stop this union-busting cold calls for a mobilization of power on the streets by city labor, including unions active in industrial-laundry, restaurant/hotel, service, transport and communications sectors. NYC Labor: Stop Wash Supply Union-Busting! (20 February 2021)
Front-Line Workers: Essential, Yes! Expendable, No!
Temporary Hazard Pay: Not Enough
Food Chain Workers: $5/Hour Permanent Raise and Vaccine Now!
As Grocery Chains Rake in Pandemic Profits, Workers Face Dangerous Conditions, More Stress, Low Pay
On February 1, the giant grocery conglomerate Kroger announced it was closing two of its chain stores (a Ralphs and a Food 4 Less) in Long Beach, California. Why? Because of an ordinance passed by the city council last month requiring that grocery store chains pay their workers an extra $4 an hour “hero pay” for the next four months. This is shameless blackmail, to keep grocery workers toiling in dangerous conditions at rock-bottom wages while owners rake in billions of dollars in profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fight is not just about a particularly greedy employer raking in obscene profits while its employees risk their lives toiling in dangerous conditions – although Kroger is certainly that. It is a class battle in which the workers movement and all working people must come to the defense of the low-wage essential workers who are called heroes in the media while being treated as expendable by the bosses. Food Chain Workers: $5/Hour Permanent Raise and Vaccine Now! (February 2021)
From Amazon Union Drive to Hunts Point Teamster Strike
How the “World Scab Web Site” Aids the Bosses
There it is, in your face, so stark that you can’t miss it: as we have repeatedly warned, the grotesquely misnamed World Socialist Web Site serves union-busting bosses against the unions. The (latest) proof: on January 15, an article posted on the “World Scab Web Site” calls to “Vote ‘No’ to the UFCW-backed union at Alabama Amazon facility!” So, acting in tandem with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, the political bandits of David North’s WSWS are actively trying to prevent the organization of a union at the viciously anti-union e-commerce monopoly’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. It’s far from the first time: the WSWS has likewise opposed unionization of auto parts plants in the past. Revolutionary socialists have a diametrically counterposed position: we say emphatically “yes” to unions, while fighting to forge a class-struggle leadership. How the “World Scab Web Site” Aids the Bosses (January 2021)
A Fight for All Workers
Hunts Point Teamster Strike Shows Potential for Labor Upsurge
The week-long strike by 1,400 mainly Latino and black workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx was the first major labor battle of 2021, and it ended with gains for the strikers, members of the Teamsters union. The workers have been on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping New York City and surrounding region supplied with produce. At Hunts Point, the popular strike won gains which, although limited, could encourage labor struggle around the country. Around the U.S., many employers have been itching to use the pandemic as an excuse to bust unions, while many workers are fed up with being treated as expendable, risking their health for poverty pay, even as they are hailed as essential. An example of real class solidarity during the strike was the stopping of the freight train going into the market on Wednesday, January 20. The next night: no train. The night after that: a settlement. That’s the power of the bedrock labor principle: picket lines mean don’t cross! Hunts Point Teamster Strike Shows Potential for Labor Upsurge (30 January 2021)
Immigrant Laundromat Workers Fight Intolerable Conditions“Essential, Yes! Expendable, No!” A Fight for All Workers
“¡Union, fuerza, solidaridad!”
On November 25, defenders of labor and immigrant rights rallied to support the workers of the Wash Supply Laundromat on Manhattan’s Upper West Side as they delivered a letter of demands to management. Wearing aprons reading “We Are the Union,” this courageous group of Mexican immigrant women gave voice to the struggle against the intolerable conditions, wage theft and abuse faced by many thousands in laundry sweatshops across the city. The action, called by the Laundry Workers Center (LWC), highlighted the workers demands for an end to wage theft and discrimination, the right to a break and paid sick leave, better health and safety conditions – including providing PPE needed during the coronavirus pandemic – as well as earning the city’s minimum wage. They are also demanding recognition of the union they are in the process of forming. The Internationalist Group (IG) and Revolutionary Internationalist Youth (RIY) joined in the action, emphasizing the need to mobilize the power of NYC labor to defend immigrant workers. Immigrant Laundromat Workers Fight Intolerable Conditions (November 2020)
Prepare a Joint UFT/AFSCME/TWU Strike Against “Doomsday” Cuts
NYC Teachers: Use Your Union Power to Make Schools Safe to Reopen
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to reopen city schools on September 10 sparked widespread unrest among teachers and other school employees. The pressure from the ranks was so strong that, on August 19, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) leader Michael Mulgrew held a press conference in which he said the union would be prepared to strike if union demands for a checklist of safety conditions are not met. As the deadline approached, Mulgrew and de Blasio announced a deal to delay reopening until September 21, but the union tops abandoned their demands for testing of everyone entering NYC school buildings. Class Struggle Education Workers calls on the union and teachers to ensure that every classroom in New York City is made safe, every school building has to be approved by a committee of educators and families in that school, thousands of new teachers and educators should be hired, and a joint strike against layoffs together with transit workers and all city employees be prepared that can shred the no-strike Taylor Law. NYC Teachers: Use Your Union Power to Make Schools Safe to Reopen (6 September 2020)
A Class-Struggle Program to Reopen New York City Schools Safely (6 September 2020)Defeat the Bipartisan Capitalist Attack on Public Education
The Fight Over Reopening Schools Is a Class Battle
On July 7, Donald Trump held a series of White House events to demand that schools be reopened throughout the U.S. for in-person instruction in the fall, after they had shut down in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The presidential diktat was part of his reelection drive. But while Trump’s aim was transparently political, where transmission rates are low, schools should be reopened, safely, in view of the damage to the education, development and well-being of children resulting from keeping them out of school. “Remote learning” is an oxymoron, and greatly intensifies racial and class gaps in education. This article is a detailed analysis of the issues and class forces behind the battle over opening schools. Calls by various liberals and reformists to keep schools closed until COVID-19 is no more are deeply reactionary and play into the hands of enemies of public education, both conservative and liberal, who want to replace public schools (and teachers) with remote instruction, as part of their agenda to privatize public education. What’s needed is to bring out the power of labor together with all the oppressed to push through longstanding demands for quality education which are now key to safely reopening the schools. But that requires a revolutionary leadership that breaks with all parties and politicians of the ruling class to wage a class offensive. The Fight Over Reopening Schools Is a Class Battle (6 September 2020)
Cops Out of the Unions – Now!
By Class Struggle Workers – Portland
The racist police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others have highlighted why police of all kinds have no place in the labor movement. The demand “Police Out of the Unions” is a crucial aspect of bringing the power of the working class into the fight against racist oppression today. The labor bureaucracy has brought the class enemy‘s thugs into our labor movement through many doors. Major unions including the SEIU, Teamsters and AFGE include thousands of police in their cop affiliates. Moreover, policing is not solely relegated to police departments. It is also carried out by prison guard and security guards. Class Struggle Workers – Portland demands that ALL police “unions” and locals or affiliates of other unions be removed from the labor movement. In addition, defenders of labor and the oppressed must demand that prison guards and security guards should also be removed from the unions. Cops Out of the Unions – Now! (7 July 2020)
Mobilize Labor/Black/Immigrant Power Against Cop Terror!
ILWU Shutdown of West Coast Ports Points the Way Forward
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced that it will shut down all 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast on June 19, in honor of George Floyd and to protest “police brutality and systematic racism.” This is a big step forward, as daily and nightly mass protests of thousands continue across the United States weeks after Floyd was brutally murdered by a Minneapolis cop. From the outset of the protests, the Internationalist Group has called to mobilize labor/black/immigrant action against racist police terror. In addition to the outrage over the police murder of Floyd, the initiators of the ILWU port shutdown were impelled to take action by President Donald Trump’s threats of gunfire against protesters, and Democratic and Republican governors calling in the National Guard to suppress demonstrations. The ILWU action has been called for Juneteenth, which celebrates the day – 19 June 1865 – that slavery was formally abolished in Texas, the last of the Confederate slave states to be occupied by the Union Army, bringing the Civil War, the second American Revolution, to a close. The only way to break the death grip of the killer cops today is to smash the whole racist police/prison/judicial apparatus of the capitalist state through socialist revolution. ILWU to Shut All West Coast Ports Against Racist Police Brutality (16 June 2020)
Shipbuilding Workers in Maine Fight General Dynamics Union-Busting
Victory to the Bath Iron Works Strike!
On Monday, June 22, some 4,300 members of Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America/IAM Local S6 went on strike at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard in Maine. BIW, which produces destroyers for the U.S. Navy, is owned by General Dynamics, one of the largest military contractors in the world. Amid record unemployment, a global pandemic and mounting pressure from the military as BIW’s order backlog grows longer, the shipyard workers have shown they are ready and willing to fight. In mid-March, 3,000 called out sick demanding the company sanitize the site. What they are up against now is “flat-out union-busting,” said the international president of the IAM, as the company “is exploiting the current pandemic to attempt to outsource work.” The BIW workers’ strike must be taken up by the entire labor movement – a victory here could set the stage for a wave of labor struggles nationwide. Victory to the Bath Iron Works Strike! (29 June 2020)
Why Cops and Their “Unions” Have No Place in the Labor Movement
By Becca Lewis
Amidst nationwide protests ignited by the racist police murder of George Floyd, union members everywhere are asking: how can labor throw its weight into the fight to uproot racist repression? We have the power to shut down factories and docks, farms and urban transport, food plants and phone service. And now is the time to use it. But it’s also high time the labor movement cleans its own house. In fact, it’s long overdue. As mass anger at police killings shines the spotlight on police forces’ role as enforcers of racist repression, the time is now to carry through the demand long raised by class-struggle unionists: “Cops out of the unions.” Despite recent efforts by the Writers Guild of America, East and others to rightly call for the expulsion of the International Union of Police Associations from the AFL-CIO, the push has been met with resistance from the the AFL-CIO. When labor officialdom tries to stop or divert this vital fight, they are wielding the very outlook and policies that have drastically undercut and weakened our movement for years. Why Cops and Their “Unions” Have No Place in the Labor Movement (June 2020)
Fruit Packinghouse Workers Stand Up for Their Rights
Yakima Strikes: The Battle Has Just Begun
After 22 days on strike, workers at the Allan Bros. packinghouse in Naches, Washington, celebrated an agreement with the company and returned to work on Monday, June 1. By Friday, June 5, the other companies settled, leaving Columbia Reach in Yakima as the last ongoing strike. But as many strikers commented, the struggle has only just begun. Over the course of the strike movement that broke out at Allan Brothers on May 7 and spread to eight area packinghouses, many people commented that nothing like this had been seen in the Yakima Valley for decades. As the year began, could the arrogant bosses who own the valley have imagined that “their” workers would dare to defy them by walking out – in the middle of a pandemic! – and force them to the negotiating table? For the strikers, who started with zero, the fact that their struggle made some gains can be a first step on the road to winning a union. Now come negotiations over demands for a pay raise. The courageous Yakima strikers, mostly women, must not stand alone. Action by the entire labor movement is key to achieving a solid victory in Yakima. Yakima Strikes: The Battle Has Just Begun (5 June 2020)
Workers Courageously Fighting in Coronavirus Hot Spot
Victory to Yakima Packinghouse Strikers!
Amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of workers in Yakima Valley, Washington, are courageously fighting for their livelihoods, and their lives. On Thursday, May 7, dozens of workers at a packinghouse in Naches walked out. The workers, mostly Latina women, are demanding cleaning and disinfectant, “social distancing” safety measures, personal protective equipment , a minimum of 40 hours work weekly and a “hazard pay” bonus to their poverty wages. Within days, workers at a half dozen other packinghouses joined the strike movement. By Monday the management at one packer conceded a $100 per week bonus. But other employers are resisting even such a concession, evidently playing for time to wear down the strikers, hoping that economic desperation will force them back to work. Meanwhile, the bosses are no doubt conferring with their union-busting lawyers on the swiftest and most economical way to return to “normal” conditions of profitable exploitation. This will be a hard fight. Victory to Yakima Packinghouse Strikers! (17 May 2020)
MTA Bosses’ Coronavirus Disaster
For Workers Control of NYC Transit!
Right up at the top of the list of unsung heroes of the pandemic are New York City transit workers, at least 120 of whom have died of COVID-19. Transit workers are disproportionately falling victim to the disease because many are in close contact with large numbers of people, and because of perilous work conditions fostering lung disease, but also because of criminal actions of the employer. The Metropolitan Transit Authority refused to hand out personal protective equipment which had been stockpiled for a pandemic, even as workers were being infected. MTA managers, and their bosses in the State House and City Hall, have amply proven that they are incapable of producing a safe, efficient, clean and comfortable mass transit system – and certainly not one that would be in the interests of the workers who run it and the poor and working people who use it. From the “deferred maintenance” of the 1970s to the subway crashes and ever-worsening performance of the 2010s, the subway bosses focused on paying off Wall Street. The only way to clean up the subway mess is for the workers to take charge. MTA Bosses’ Coronavirus Disaster: For Workers Control of NYC Transit! (13 May 2020)
Shutting Down 24/7 Service Is No Answer to NYC Subway CrisisLet Cruise Workers Off Death Ships Now!
Solidarity with the Trapped Seamen: We Demand Testing, Treatment, Housing, Union-Scale Wages and the Right to Repatriation!
Maritime workers are among those who have been hit hard by the cornoavirus pandemic. Particularly vulnerable have been crews on giant cruise ships, not only deck hands and engine room workers but also hundreds of food service, cleaning and maintenance personnel and others. With up to 3,000 passengers and over 1,000 crew members crammed together in tight spaces, “social distancing” is impossible. The densely packed vessels act as incubators, greatly accelerating the transmission of COVID-19, turning these party ships into death ships. When cruise liners have finally been able to dock, passengers have been allowed to disembark, but the crews have been confined on board and the ships ordered out to sea to circle for weeks as the disease spreads. In the San Francisco Bay Area, trade unionists and community groups have protested in solidarity with the crew of the Grand Princess. As the giant cruise companies fly “flag of convenience” and pay crews poverty wages, there should be a massive campaign to organize the crews in real unions, but that will require replacing the moribund leadership of the trade-union movement with class-struggle leadership. Let Cruise Workers Off Death Ships Now! (22 April 2020)
For Class-Struggle Unionism! Organize the Unorganized! No Safety, No Work!
As the COVID-19 Pandemic Rages, Workers Fight for Health and Safety
As the deadly coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout the United States, some 95% of the population is under “stay at home” orders by state governments and local municipalities. At the same time, millions of workers continue to go to work, performing vital tasks while facing grave risks to their health and lives. Nurses, doctors, orderlies and other health-care workers are in the front ranks of this battle, heroically treating the sick, often in horrendously overcrowded medical facilities. In addition, the frontline workers include public transit workers, postal workers and delivery workers, as well as grocery store, drug store, deli, food service, cleaning and other service workers. Even in these jobs that truly are essential in providing basic necessities, the bosses’ criminal disregard for workers’ health and safety has led to widespread protests, walkouts and strikes. What can and must emerge out of this crisis is a newly invigorated labor movement. But a continuation of the same old legalistic “business unionism,” such as has been practiced by the AFL-CIO trade-union bureaucracy for many decades, is a dead end. What’s desperately needed is a labor movement based upon the program of class struggle, of the working class mobilizing its own social power of behalf of all the oppressed, in a fight leading to international socialist revolution. As the COVID-19 Pandemic Rages, Workers Fight for Health and Safety (13 April 2020)
Chelmsford, MA UPS Workers:
No Safety, No Work!
Job actions, walkouts and protests are breaking out in many workplaces around the U.S. against employers’ brutal indifference to elementary health and safety during the coronavirus crisis. At the Chelmsford, Massachusetts UPS facility, union officials and workers have denounced the fact that, while management plays company videos boasting about making lots of money during the crisis, the bosses at the round-the clock facility did not inform the 1,500 workers about COVID-19 cases there, nor did they provide any forms of protection for the workers. We print here a flier by Mike Gath, an activist in Teamsters Local 25 who has worked at the UPS facility in Chelmsford, Massachusetts for over a decade. No Safety, No Work! (3 April 2020)
CSWP Calls for Workers Action in Coronavirus Crisis
Our brothers and sisters in Class Struggle Workers – Portland have issued a call for action by the unions and workers organizations in the face of the current coronavirus/economic crisis. Working people – and particularly those who live paycheck to paycheck – are being pushed into unbearable situations. The CSWP raised a series of demands including that all workers unable to work because of the virus should get full pay for time missed, all workers should be provided with needed personal protective equipment as they determine, all testing and medical treatment should be free and available on demand. Additional calls included for health and safety committees, to be elected at every workplace, free childcare facilities for all who need them, stopping the raids and deportations, shutting down the detention centers, as well as others. While the ruling parties are exploiting this crisis, with the lives and livelihoods of so many workers and oppressed people in the balance, the only way forward is class struggle. CSWP Calls for Workers Action in Coronavirus Crisis (18 March 2020)
Almost 50,000 General Motors Workers Walk Out
For a Big 3 Nationwide Auto Strike!
Spread the Strike – Shut Down GM, Ford, Chrysler – Bring Out Unionized Parts Plants
The strike by some 48,000 General Motors workers at 33 manufacturing plants and 22 distribution warehouses is the largest industrial strike in the U.S. in over a decade. GM workers are pissed, as the company demands more concessions and announces plant closures in order to cut costs even as it rakes in billions in profits. But the business-as-usual approach of the United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership cannot win this key battle. The union ranks know perfectly well that what’s needed is to get rid of the whole “divide-and-conquer” tier set-up. GM’s obscene profits are a direct result of the two-tier work force that the UAW tops agreed to in the 2007-09 economic crisis, cutting wages for new hires by more than half, with no pension and inferior health care. In 2015, a third tier of even lower-paid “temporary” workers was created. To win, the GM strike should be turned into a nationwide auto strike to shut down the Big 3 and bring out UAW-organized parts plants. Tiered labor should be ended, and all workers in the plants should be covered by the GM contract. Above all, this strike must be waged politically. Democratic presidential candidates are grandstanding on the picket lines. But it was the Democratic Obama administration that bailed out bankrupt GM in 2009 and engineered the giveback contracts. The only way to take power, and put the wealth built up from our labor to serve human needs, is to build a class-struggle workers party to lead the fight for a workers government that would expropriate GM and all of the capitalist exploiters. For a Big 3 Nationwide Auto Strike! (25 September 2019)
Harlan Miners’ Fight: Inspiration for Workers Everywhere
Updated. Coal miners from Harlan County, Kentucky stood in the railroad tracks outside the Cloverlick #3 mine last Monday and stared down a CSX freight train laden with stolen coal. The miners have been laid off – and ripped off – by Blackjewel LLC, the sixth largest coal producer in the U.S, which filed for bankruptcy on July 1. The news from Harlan County has spread across the world. It strikes a chord with workers all over who know how the owners get away with murder, while they get lied to, ripped off and thrown on the scrapheap by the bosses’ profit system. To help win victory for the Harlan miners’ fight, the power of workers solidarity must be brought to bear to stop Blackjewel in its tracks. A massive union turnout in support of the Blackjewel miners that got their jobs back would shake the region and could spark an organizing drive as far away as Wyoming. After years of setbacks, it’s high time for a union counter-offensive. Harlan Miners’ Fight: Inspiration for Workers Everywhere (3 August 2019)
We Need to Win This Strike!
Mobilize Labor to Shut Down Stop & Shop!
After much delay and with much anticipation, tens of thousands of workers at the supermarket chain Stop & Shop organized in five different locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union have gone on strike in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The company is threatening to bring in “replacement workers” – scabs – in an attempt to break the strike. Across the country, the largest wave of strikes since the 1970s is in progress, beginning with teachers and other education workers in West Virginia, and moving on to Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado, and this year in California. Stop & Shop workers need a huge raise; all workers need full health-care coverage, paid for by the employer. No concessions! No givebacks! No divisive two-tier contract! What’s needed to stop these arrogant and greedy bloodsuckers in their tracks is to mobilize all of New England labor, and their allies, to build mass picket lines that nobody dare cross! All workers and their allies among the oppressed must rally behind the embattled UFCW workers and shut down Stop & Shop. Mobilize Labor to Shut Down Stop & Shop! (12 April 2019)
Massive Work Stoppages Impose Workers’ Demands On Corporatist “Unions,” Employers Respond with Layoffs
Matamoros, Mexico: Workers in the Maquiladoras
Battle Against Corporatism
Break the Shackles of State Control and Build Genuine Workers Unions!
Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party!
In recent weeks, Mexico has experienced an explosive wave of worker insurgency in the maquiladora (free trade zone) factories of the northeast border as has not been seen in decades. The epicenter of the workers’ mobilizations has been the city of Matamoros, where in January, more than 40,000 workers staged walkouts (paros) and launched a strike to demand – and win – a 20% wage increase and an annual bonus equivalent to half a year’s wages. Our reporter-activists traveled to Matamoros to join the strike picket lines and talk with the workers in struggle. It was a rebellion against the pseudo-unions of the CTM, corporatist labor outfits integrated into the capitalist state apparatus, whgo serve the bosses as labor cops to prevent the rise of genuine workers unions. This legacy of thge 70-year rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) outlived the demise of the PRI regime because of the need of the bossen and their government, as lackeys of imperialism, to maintain iron-fisted control over the vibrant Mexican working class, especially in the border region. Today we are in the initial stages of what could be the biggest workers struggle to shatter the remains of the corporatist regime that has enslaved the Mexican proletariat for three-quarters of a century. In Mexico there are more than 2.5 workers in the maquiladoras, mostly women, a key sector of the proletariat which is deeply intertwined with the U.S. economy. The key is to forge revolutionary leaderships of the working class, based on the Bolshevik program of Lenin and Trotsky, to struggle for international socialist revolution. Matamoros, Mexico: Workers in the Maquiladoras Battle Against Corporatism (February 2019)
Powerful L.A. Teachers Strike Was Betrayed in Settlement
Draw the Lessons: Class Struggle Leadership Needed
Leadership Rammed Through a Sellout – UTLA Membership Should
Demand the Right to Debate and Vote on the Final Agreement
By Class Struggle Education Workers
On the sixth day of the powerful teachers strike that electrified working people across the U.S., the president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), stood with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent and the L.A. mayor at a City Hall press conference to announce that a strike settlement had been reached. Far from being a “historic agreement,” the deal maintains the intolerable conditions which UTLA tops have agreed to for years. Barely a couple of hours after the terms were announced, a “streamlined voting process” was held at school sites during rush hour; a half an hour after it ended the UTLA leader declared that a “supermajority” had voted “yes.” The whole business made a mockery of union democracy. The UTLA Facebook page exploded with thousands of angry comments complaining about the terms of the deal and the rushed vote before teachers and parents could even figure out what all the legalese meant. In line with its policy of class collaboration, the leadership never had a strategy to win the strike: what they sought was to pressure the Democrats. The opportunist left, for its part, dutifully proclaimed the betrayal a major victory. Union militants need to oust the bureaucrats, break with the Democrats and forge a class-struggle leadership. Powerful L.A. Teachers Strike Was Betrayed in Settlement (23 January 2019)
Teachers, Students, Parents, Workers – All Out to Defeat the Privatizers and Union-Busters!
Victory to Los Angeles Teachers Strike!
Picket Lines Mean Don’t Cross!
Break with the Democrats – Build a Class-Struggle Workers Party
By Class Struggle Education Workers
Some 34,000 educators in the second-largest school district in the country are poised go on strike in Los Angeles on January 14 for the first time since 1989. This is more than just a contract fight. It is a battle between capitalist union-busters hell-bent on privatizing schools, and the unions defending public education. The supporters of privately managed “charter schools” who run the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are hard-lining it, to the point of forcing a walkout. But the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) has the massive support of its membership, and from students, parents and unionists throughout L.A. It is necessary to shut the schools down. To build massive picket lines that no one crosses, the active support of the entire L.A.-area labor movement is needed. Supporters of Class Struggle Education Workers and the Internationalist Group have fought for concrete unon action in solidarity with the UTLA strike. The teacher revolt which swept across the United States last spring has reached L.A – but with a key difference. Those strikes and walkouts were in Republican-governed states. UTLA, in contrast, is fighting the assault on public education where all major officials are Democrats. Calling to break with all the capitalist parties, the CSEW calls to build a class-struggle workers party. Victory to Los Angeles Teachers Strike! (8 January 2019)
The Tragic Death of Byron Jacobs, Hero of the EGT Longshore Struggle
By Jack Heyman
Byron Jacobs, a fifth-generation longshoreman, was killed on the job in the Columbia River port of Longview, Washington this summer. At the age of 34, Byron was a courageous young union leader and former secretary-treasurer of Local 21 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). He will be remembered for the exemplary leading role he played in the struggle in 2011-12 against union-busting at the Export Grain Terminal (EGT) facility being built in Longview. That battle reverberated across the country as longshore workers, men and women, fought tooth and nail with mass actions in a class war like those in the 1930s that built the union movement. This is the story of that monumental struggle that faced a hard-nosed employers’ cartel, the bosses’ state and a top union leadership that when the going got tough lined up against the militant union ranks, negotiating a concessionary contract when a decisive victory was possible. The entire ILWU paid the price for that. Byron’s example must be an inspiration to fighters for the cause of the working class everywhere. The Tragic Death of Byron Jacobs, Hero of the EGT Longshore Struggle (28 November 2018)
When the Lumbee Indians Ran Off the KKK (28 November 2018)Drivers of Yellow and Green Cabs, Black Cars, Uber, Lyft and Others:
Taxi Workers Unite Against the Wall Street Attack!
Demand $25 Per Hour Minimum Pay
Only an Alliance of all Taxi Drivers of all Branches in a Single Union Can Give a Class Leadership to Our Struggle
No Confidence in Bosses’ Politicians
On August 8, the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve two measures regulating “app-based” companies such as Uber and Lyft that have flooded NYC in the last three years. This has led to a drastic fall in income for drivers of traditional taxis (yellow cabs) and livery/black cars, as well for Uber/Lyft drivers. These measures have been hailed as the first action in the U.S. to crack down on the largely unregulated Wall Street-backed companies that seek to monopolize the taxi industry. However, with 100,000+ app-based vehicles already clogging the streets, these measures won’t substantially raise drivers’ incomes. On the eve of the City Council vote, Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas/Class Struggle International Workers leafletted rallies called by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance advocating a guaranteed $25 an hour minimum pay for all taxi drivers, in order to cut across divisions being exploited by the taxi bosses to set one group of drivers against another. At the same time, we emphasized that any real fight against the taxi monopolists requires sharp class struggle against the parties of capital who back them. Taxi Workers Unite Against the Wall Street Attack! Demand $25 Per Hour Minimum Pay (August 2018)
Teacher Revolts Across U.S.
Needed: A Class-Struggle Leadership
Beginning in mid-February, a series of statewide teachers strikes broke out, first in West Virginia, then in Oklahoma and Kentucky followed by Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina. They are all states where teachers unions have historically been weak and where salaries and school funding have been at the bottom of the scale nationwide. After years of cutbacks and falling pay, the rebelling education workers (including staff and bus drivers) had had enough and walked out. In each case, the strikes were sparked by rank-and-file teachers holding school-wide meetings and using social media, while the leaders of the state affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers had to scramble to keep up. And when NEA and AFT tops in West Virginia and Oklahoma settled for token gains, the strikers voted to continue the walkouts. The strikes won important but limited gains, in itself a rare event in recent decades of union defeats. But they lacked a leadership capable of waging hard class struggle and an organizational framework to counter the sellout labor bureaucracy. Central to the lessons to be drawn from these important struggles is the need to break with the bosses parties and fight for complete independence of the unions from the capitalist state. Teacher Revolts Across U.S. (11 March 2018)
Capitalism Is Wrecking Mass Transit
NYC Transit Summer of Hell? What about Winter, Spring and Fall?
New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared it would be a “summer of hell” for commuters, due to closures to repair tracks at Penn Station. But New York City subway riders have been enduring hellish conditions year-round with derailments and infuriating delays as the antiquated equipment of the largest subway system in the world breaks down at an accelerating pace. The bosses of the Metropolitan Transit Authority spend billions borrowed from Wall Street banks to build elegant stations that raise real estate prices but do nothing to fix the disastrous state of the NYC mass transit system. The sorry state of New York subways has been exhaustively studied, the solutions are known. They would cost tens of billions of dollars that the capitalists will not fork over because their system is bankrupt. A mass transit system serving working people rather than capital could be achieved in relatively short order, but the transformation would require nothing less than a revolution – a workers government to replace the capitalist system with production for social need, not profit. NYC Transit Summer of Hell? What about Winter, Spring and Fall? (7 August 2017)
Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack
The bosses’ Pacific Maritime Association wants to extend their contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for an additional three years, making it an eight-year contract. Under the current contract employers have already eliminated hundreds of longshore jobs through all-round automation of marine terminals. Prolonging it to 2022 will cost thousands of jobs. The maritime employers are pulling out all the stops to push through this job-killing contract extension, including enlisting so-called “friends of labor” Democratic Party bigwigs to threaten dire consequences if the workers don’t buy it. No matter who leads it, the Democratic Party represents the employer class, Wall Street on the waterfront. In resisting the push for this contract extension and fighting for a short workweek with no loss in pay, ILWU waterfront workers can stand up for all workers. Class War on the Waterfront: Longshore Workers Under Attack (20 July 2017)
You Can’t Fight Trump with Democrats – For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
NYC Transit Workers: Fight for Track Safety and Free Mass Transit!
Transport Workers Union Local 100 is the powerhouse of New York City labor. Its three-day 2005 strike paralyzed the center of world finance capital. But the union leadership played by the bosses’ rules, and after three days called off the strike. With the union contract due on January 14, track safety is a major issue. Every day an average of five transport workers are injured badly enough that they have to miss work. The union should demand worker safety committees with the power to shut down the system for unsafe working conditions and that the MTA install track safety technology to ensure no track worker would die on the job again! Every year, police arrest tens of thousands of people for fare beating, the vast majority of them African American and Latino. We say rip out the turnstiles and make public transit free! In order to win, the union has to go up against New York’s no-strike Taylor Law. To do so successfully requires that the entire NYC labor movement come out. In order to wage a successful fight against the labor haters, it is necessary to break with the Democrats and oust the bureaucrats who chain labor to this party of capital. NYC Transit Workers: Fight for Track Safety and Free Mass Transit! (14 January 2017)
Victory to the SEPTA Strike!
Mobilize All Of Philly Labor To Win!
At one minute past midnight on November 1, some 5,000 Philadelphia transit workers, members of TWU (Transport Workers Union) Local 234 walked out. The strike comes on the heels of months of “negotiations” between the union and management, in which transit bosses have been stonewalling, demanding increased healthcare and pension contributions by workers (up to $400 dollars per month for family coverage) and other givebacks. In the second-largest city on the Eastern seaboard, this strike has the potential to be very effective – if all Philly transit workers go on strike. But SEPTA regional rail workers represented by IBEW and BLET are still on the job, stabbing the TWU strikers in the back. In 2014, the reverse happened. Democratic Party bosses, including former governor Ed Rendell, are talking about outlawing the strike, and already an injunction has been issued against picketing regional rail. Court orders can be shredded by labor action, but to do so it is necessary to break with the parties of capital and mobilize the power of all of Philadelphia’s workers. Victory To Septa Strike! Mobilize All Of Philly Labor To Win! (5 November 2016)
Stop Union-Busting at Bröd/Hot and Crusty, Part 2
On February 19, over 300 people, including members of some 20 NYC unions, labor and community groups, turned out to protest union-busting at Bröd Kitchen. Addressing the crowd were fired Hot and Crusty Workers Association president Mahoma López; B&H Photo warehouse workers, and workers from the B&H store in Manhattan who four days later voted by 46 to 14 in favor of union representation. Also speaking were representatives of the Laundry Workers Center; Verizon phone workers (CWA); United Steel Workers; Teamsters Local 814; GSOC and UCATS at NYU; Domestic Workers United; Metro Postal Workers; Class Struggle Education Workers, CUNY Internationalist Clubs and Internationalist Group and activists who worked intensively to build the rally. Members of DC37, Local 768, TWU, Workers Center Federation and other unions and groups also came out, helping fill the streets with chants and speeches. See link below for a video of the February 19 protest.
Video: Stop Union-Busting at Bröd/Hot and Crusty (29 February 2016)Company Threatens to Close Restaurant, Fires Union President Mahoma López
All Out to Stop Union-Busting at Bröd/Hot and Crusty!
In a blatant escalation of the anti-union campaign launched earlier this month, on January 29 Bröd Kitchen management fired Hot and Crusty Workers Association president Mahoma López and union activist Marcelino Cano. This retaliation came less than 24 hours after a mass protest in solidarity with the Bröd workers, where 200 unionists, immigrant rights activists and students demanded “Stop union-busting at Bröd Kitchen!” The company has announced its intention to shut down the store (formerly called Hot and Crusty) on Manhattan’s Upper East side, a tactic the owners also used in 2012 when immigrant workers waged a historic struggle that won union recognition and a contract including a union hiring hall. The turnout of union and student support at repeated protests at the company’s second, non-union, location shows that the Bröd/Hot and Crusty workers are far from isolated. In the face of the aggressive drive to destroy this combative union, all defenders of worker and immigrant rights must take up this vital struggle. All Out to Stop Union-Busting at Bröd/Hot and Crusty! (29 January 2016)
Video: Stop Union-Busting at Bröd/Hot and Crusty (3 February 2016)Overwhelming Vote Gains Union Recognition
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! B&H Workers in Big Win for Labor and Immigrant Rights
Hundreds of immigrant warehouse workers in Brooklyn, New York, won a historic victory on November 4 when their year-long organizing campaign brought a landslide unionization vote at the nationally known B&H Photo Video professional supply firm. By 200 to 88, the combative workers voted for the United Steelworkers as their representative. Facing dangerous working conditions, discrimination and grinding exploitation, the organizing effort, begun over a year ago by the Laundry Workers Center, built exemplary unity and determination among the workers. Now they face the next stage of the struggle: a contract fight to win their demands. At a victory celebration two days after the vote in a packed hall, B&H workers, their families, organizers and supporters gathered to salute their achievement and all those who made it possible. The victory at B&H, in this ongoing struggle, has the potential to spread the fight to the vast numbers of low-wage and immigrant workers in New York City and beyond.B&H workers can also spark and lead struggles of the entire working class in the NYC area. To win, the workers must rely on their own class power, not on the institutions, media and politicians of the capitalist system. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! B&H Workers in Big Win for Labor and Immigrant Rights (8 November 2015)
Victory to the B&H Photo Warehouse Workers’ Struggle! (19 October 2015)Liberato Lashes Out as Restaurant Workers Fight for Their Rights
On June 22, some 70 demonstrators came out for an emergency rally to defend three immigrant workers fired for leading a bitter fight against wage theft and sexual harassment at the Liberato Restaurant in the Bronx. At the protest, Mahoma Lopez, co-director of the Laundry Workers Center and leader of the successful struggle of workers at the Hot and Crusty bakery in Manhattan, received a death threat. The Liberato bosses are lashing out after suffering legal setbacks in their attempts to stop the workers’ campaign. Speaking of the struggles at Hot and Crusty and Liberato, an Internationalist speaker emphasized the need to bring out the power of all the workers to win these fights. Liberato Lashes Out as Restaurant Workers Fight for Their Rights (25 June 2015)
Drop the Charges Against Steve Kirschbaum,
Reinstate Fired Boston School Bus Union Activists!
Boston: A Crucial Battle Against Racist Union-Busting
In Boston, a union leader is going on trial March 3 for the “crime” of holding a union meeting, and four union activists are fighting for their jobs. The Democratic Party establishment of Boston is pressing on with its years-long drive to break the school bus drivers union, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 8751. The felony charges against long-time union activist Stevan Kirschbaum, on top of the firing of him and the other union activists, stem from an October 2013 lockout of the drivers for protesting company contract violations, harassment and abuse. In response to a strike by the drivers the year before, the city hired a notoriously anti-union company, Veolia. This union-busting attack goes hand in hand with the drive by capitalist politicians in Boston to eliminate the last vestiges of busing for school integration. All of labor, education workers, supporters of racial integration and defenders of black rights have a stake in this fight. We urge unions and others to demand that the frame-up charges be dropped and the union activists reinstated. Boston: A Crucial Battle Against Racist Union-Busting (February 2015)
A Victory for Workers Solidarity
Flash: Wyatt McMinn Not Guilty!
At a trial today, June 27, in Clark County District Court in Vancouver, Washington, Wyatt McMinn, the vice president of Local 10 of the Painters Union and a class-struggle trade unionist, was found not guilty of first degree criminal trespass. He stood up to an anti-union lobbying outfit which under the phony slogan of “right to work” would take away workers’ right to unionize. This is a victory for labor rights, democratic rights and workers solidarity. Wyatt McMinn Not Guilty (27 June 2014)
Obama s Back-to-Work Order Is a Trap
SEPTA Workers: Strike Together to Win!
Just past midnight on Saturday, June 14, over 400 unionized workers of the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority walked off their jobs, following four years of fruitless contract negotiations with the SEPTA administration. But within a matter of hours, the Democratic administration of Barack Obama issued an executive order forcing the strikers back to work and barring IBEW and BLET from striking for 240 days. Obama s back-to-work order was a body blow to SEPTA unions. Yet it was hailed by the leadership of the striking unions (BLET/Teamsters and IBEW). The union tops had repeatedly called for increased government intervention in negotiations with SEPTA. SEPTA workers have enormous power in their hands, but they are stymied by a leadership that divides the workers and looks to the bosses government rather than the power of workers solidarity. To overcome this, Philly mass transit workers should elect a joint strike committee and prepare for industrial-strength action against SEPTA and the federal straightjacket. SEPTA Workers: Strike Together to Win! (June 2014)
Don t Fall for Democrats Campaign Promises
Fight Low-Wage Slavery, Mobilize Workers Power
For Class Struggle Against Capitalism, Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!
We are well into the sixth year of a capitalist economic crisis with no end in sight. The bosses are making money hand over fist, while we the workers pay the price low-wage workers most of all. The fight against poverty wages must be the fight of all working people and it must be waged first and foremost against the Democratic Party. In recent months there has been a groundswell of calls to raise the minimum wage to $15. That is still a poverty wage. Beyond the numbers, the rulers will use every trick in the book to whittle it down, delay it and load it up with all sorts of exemptions. Yet the various campaigns all focus on pressuring the Democrats. Even when led by ostensible socialists, they are basically electoral gimmicks. The strikes that have been called are purely symbolic. What s needed isn t appeals to elected officials but to mobilize union power. A class-struggle fight against poverty wages would seek to build fighting unions, beginning with assemblies of low-wage workers. It would insist on mass mobilization and independence from the Democrats and all capitalist parties and politicians, and would not limit itself to narrow bread-and-butter economic demands. Fight Low-Wage Slavery, Mobilize Workers Power (June 2014)
Seattle s $15 Later Law A Historic Victory ? Hardly (June 2014)Labor Activist Faces Jail for Protesting “Right to Work” Union-Busting
Drop the Charges Against Wyatt McMinn Now!
Portland Labor Activist Goes on Trial Feb. 6 – Join the Wyatt McMinn Defense Campaign
On September 5, Wyatt McMinn, vice president of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 10 in the Portland, OR-Vancouver, WA area and a longtime fighter for the cause of workers’ rights and oppressed people, was arrested while taking part in a labor protest at a Vancouver meeting of the Freedom Foundation, an anti-union lobbying outfit that is putting “right to work” initiatives on the ballot in Oregon and Washington this year. Wyatt goes on trial February 6. Already a number of unions, labor councils and defenders of labor in the area and nationally have taken up his defense. A defense campaign meeting will be held on Portland on January 25. Find out more about this important case and join the Wyatt McMinn defense campaign. Drop the Charges Against Wyatt McMinn Now! (January 2014)
Labor Activist Faces Jail for Protesting “Right to Work” Union-Busting
Defend Wyatt McMinn, Defeat “Right to Slave”!
No More Wisconsins! Defend Our Unions!
This past September 5, Cross Trade Solidarity, a labor group in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, called a rally to protest a meeting of the union-hating “Freedom Foundation,” which has launched a drive to enact deceptively named “right-to-work” laws in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to strip away basic union rights. The labor-haters showed their idea of “freedom” by calling the police to kick the union protesters out, and within seconds Wyatt McMinn, vice president of Local 10 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was arrested on charges of “trespassing” in this public meeting. Instead of forthrightly opposing the “right-to-slave” forces, the AFL-CIO officialdom has sought refuge in lobbying and pressuring Democratic politicians. The way to stop the union-busting assault is to organize the unorganized by using workers’ power to withhold their labor, defying anti-labor laws and defeating outfits like the Freedom Foundation. With a trial coming up early next year, we urge all supporters of union rights to take up the defense of Wyatt McMinn. Defend Wyatt McMinn, Defeat “Right to Slave”! (November 2013)
Mobilize Portland/Vancouver Labor – Stop the Lockout, Scabs Out!
For International Labor Solidarity – Defend the ILWU, Defeat the Grain Bosses!
Anti-Japanese Rhetoric Is Ticket for Defeat – Join with Workers Worldwide
The international grain cartel is on a union-busting tear. At the end of February, United Grain in Vancouver, Washington locked out Local 4 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The bosses are now operating the terminal with scab labor and armed guards. In early May, Columbia Grain in Portland, Oregon locked out ILWU Local 8, using the same scab-herders. They must be stopped, by powerful union action. Union leaders have focused on denouncing the Japanese owners of the companies, while praising the U.S.-owned company that agreed to an interim contract” containing big concessions by the ILWU. Yet the entire grain cartel is behind the attack on the union. Flag-waving appeals undercut international labor solidarity which is key to defeating the war on the workers. For International Labor Solidarity – Defend the ILWU, Defeat the Grain Bosses! (May 2013)
Scabs Loading Ships – Grain Shippers Declare War on Union
ILWU Locked Out in Vancouver, WA For Longshore Solidarity Actions!
Defend the Union Hiring Hall – No Concessionary Contracts!
Scab Cargo – Too Hot to Handle! For Mass Pickets on the Docks!
On February 27, the United Grain Corp., owned by Mitsui, locked the members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 out of its Vancouver, Washington terminal and began operating using management personnel and scabs. This is the first time in decades that a West Coast port facility has worked a ship with scabs. Two months earlier, the grain shippers had imposed a union-busting contract. From that moment, there should have been mass pickets shutting down all the terminals of the grain monopolies, with the threat to close every port on the West Coast – as well as East and Gulf Coast ports – if there was any attempt to operate with scabs. Now that this has happened, a call should go out from the union for dock workers everywhere to refuse to unload the scab cargo. All Mitsui cargo ships must be treated as strikebreakers and union-busters! But instead, the ILWU leaders ordered the membership to work under the imposed contract, negotiated a concessionary deal with one of the shippers (Cargill/Temco) and now they are making flag-waving appeals against the Japanese-owned company. This is a dead-end. International workers solidarity and a class-struggle program are key to winning this crucial battle. ILWU Locked Out in Vancouver, WA – For Longshore Solidarity Actions! (12 March 2013)
There Are No Neutrals In the Class War on the Docks
Why We Defend the ILWU and All Workers
…Including Against the Sellout Labor Bureaucracy
In recent weeks, a showdown has loomed on U.S. docks between the shipping bosses and port workers that has rattled the capitalist ruling class. On the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, the International Longshoreman’s Association prepared to strike container shipping while the employers threatened to lock out 14,500 ILA members. On the West Coast, the grain shippers been demanding a giveback contract from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which would effectively bypass the union hiring hall, slash workers’ vital safety protections and gut union power. Yet in the midst of the Northwest grain battle, an Occupy activist Peter Little publishes an article vociferously arguing against the call to defend the ILWU. While posing as ultra-left, this policy if actually carried out would aid the employers who are hell-bent on destroying ILWU union power on the waterfront. And blaming sellouts on the nature of unions lets the bureaucrats off the hook. We in the Internationalist Group say: all those who stand with the exploited and oppressed must come to the defense of the ILWU in this fight. And that defense includes forthrightly opposing the capitulations and betrayals by the labor bureaucracy which sells out vital union gains in the vain hope of an impossible “cooperation” with capital, endangering the workers organizations they preside over. Why We Defend the ILWU and All Workers (5 January 2013)
Labor Misleaders Bank on Democrats’ Flim-flam
The Betrayal of the NYC School Bus Strike
Needed: A Class-Struggle Union Leadership
Fighting for a Workers Party
On Friday, February 15, the month-long strike by the 8,100 school bus drivers and matrons of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 was called off by the union leadership. There was no vote by the members, the decision was announced in a 45-minute teleconference call. The media proclaimed a “win” for NYC mayor Bloomberg. Although relieved to be earning a paycheck again after weeks of watching bills pile up, many strikers were angry about being sent back to work with empty hands. ATU leaders said in “suspending” the strike they were honoring the request of a letter from the five Democratic mayoral candidates. Actually, the union leadership requested the letter, to give them a face-saving way to end the strike. The defeat of the strike is a bitter pill for the workers to swallow. Yet for union militants, this underlines the need to draw the lessons of this strike, in order to prepare a battle plan for victory in the future. There must be a fight within the mass organizations of labor, the unions, for a revolutionary program to wage all-out class war, which is what we are facing. To win this fight it will take solidarity action by teachers, students, parents, transit workers and all NYC unions to shut the city down. The key lesson of the strike is the need to build a class-struggle leadership to fight for total independence from the capitalist state and the capitalist parties. The Betrayal of the NYC School Bus Strike (February 2013)
A Test for the Left (February 2013)
Stop Union-Buster Bloomberg: Shut the City Down!
Mobilize Labor's Power to
Win NYC School Bus Strike!
Finally! New York City labor leaders have called for a “Union Unity March and Rally” for Sunday, February 10 to support the striking school bus drivers and matrons of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181. With the backing of major city unions, they could bring out tens of thousands of protesters, enough to really occupy Wall Street and shut down the center of international finance capital. But it’s no accident it’s being called on a weekend instead of a regular workday. The demonstration is clearly intended as a show of sympathy for the strikers rather than deploying labor’s power to actually win the strike. Moreover, the sponsors include the Democratic Party in various guises. The strategy of the union leaderships is to wait out Bloomberg’s final term in hopes that a Democratic successor elected in November would be more “labor-friendly.” To win, the school bus strike should be escalated. We have the power – “union power.” Now’s the time to use that power to shut the city down.Mobilize Labor's Power to Win NYC School Bus Strike! (7 February 2013)
School Bus Drivers, Teachers, All City Workers Are Under Attack –
For Mass, Militant Workers Action to Shut Down Wall Street!
Bust Bloomberg Union-Busting!
On February 1, the National Labor Relations Board rejected a complaint by New York City school bus companies to declare the strike by over 8,000 drivers and matrons illegal. But this didn’t faze Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is refusing to negotiate and clearly hopes to bust the union. That’s what this strike is all about. This strike is not just about the school bus workers, or even just about education, it’s part of a fight, nationally and globally, against the offensive against labor by the forces of capital. The claim that the strike is “illegal” is just a naked assertion of the “rights” of capital against labor. It has to do with the power of one class against another. This is a war, a class war. These attacks are coming straight from the top, it’s not only the Republicans like Bloomberg, it’s also coming from Democrats, from Cuomo, from the Obama White House. What’s necessary is to mobilize the working class, which needs to have a class-struggle leadership. Politically it’s necessary to break with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, we need a workers party that fights for a workers government. Because right now we have the dictatorship of capital. Bust Bloomberg Union-Busting!(2 February 2013)
Stop Union-Buster Bloomberg! NLRB: Hands Off!
School Bus Drivers' Strike: Mobilize NYC Labor to Win!
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a union-busting binge. The tycoon who proclaimed himself the “education mayor” is determined to eliminate any vestige of job security for any and all workers in the city’s school system. First in line on the mayor’s hit list are the 8,100 drivers and matrons of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, who were forced out on strike last week. Next up are the teachers who are being threatened with massive cuts and layoffs in an attempt to blackmail them into accepting management “evaluations” that will put thousands of veteran educators’ jobs at risk. Union-buster Bloomberg must be stopped, and we have the power to do it. But the school bus drivers today and teachers tomorrow can’t do it on their own. To win it is necessary to bring out city workers’ unions, backed by parents, students and supporters in a massive mobilization against union-busting to shut the city down. School Bus Drivers' Strike: Mobilize NYC Labor to Win! (21 January 2013)
Class Struggle Education Workers: Bring Out NYC Labor to Support School Bus Drivers Strike (20 January 2013)
Workers Must Rely on their Own Power, Not Capitalist Parties
Fast Food Workers Need a Whopping Raise And a Fighting Union!
Recently, some 200 workers carried out a first-ever strike at New York City outlets of McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Domino’s Pizza. Demonstrators chanted, “We can’t survive on $7.25,” the minimum hourly wage nationally, and in New York state. This was the kick-off of a campaign for a $15 an hour wage. Fast food workers are certainly not going to be unionized by the losing tactics the labor bureaucracy has relied on for years. But they won’t win by relying on legal gimmicks, favorable media coverage and “support” from Democratic elected officials. Organizing fast food workers to win a huge wage increase will take militant union action defying the bosses’ anti-labor laws. This requires total independence from the capitalist parties and politicians. Fast Food Workers Need a Whopping Raise And a Fighting Union! (5 December 2012)
It’s Showdown Time on the Portland Docks
We Need to Win This One!
Bring Out Workers Power to Defend the ILWU!
The global grain cartel, made up of some of the world’s biggest, greediest and most secretive monopolies, is gorging on record profits while hunger stalks millions of poor and working people. Now these profiteers are gunning for the hard-won gains of the working class. Their target is the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and ground zero is the Portland docks. On November 29, the Northwest Grainhandlers Agreement between the ILWU and the agribusiness/shipping cartels expired. The employers are demanding huge givebacks from the ILWU, and they are preparing to use force to do so. They want to impose the terms of the concessionary contract at the new EGT grain terminal in Longview, Washington, which the ILWU bureaucracy and many on the left wrongly hailed at the time as a victory. Now we are seeing the consequences. This is class war: there are no neutrals here. Unions should prepare now to stand with the ILWU in building mass picket lines that scabs won’t dare to cross. In case of a lockout, all U.S. ports should be struck, and there should be solidarity action around the globe. All working people must come to the defense of the ILWU.Bring Out Workers Power to Defend the ILWU! (29 November 2012)
Walkouts Show Potential for Class Struggle
Walmart “Black Friday” Strike Actions, Protests Called at Stores Across U.S.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States, Mexico, all of Latin America and the world, with a total of over 2 million “associates” around the globe. It is also almost completely non-union. Walmart management has been found guilty of systematically keeping women and racial minorities in low-paying positions, locking night-shift workers in its stores, bribing governments, exposing workers to serious health hazards, paying less than the minimum wage and keeping workers in part-time positions to avoid paying for health care. Life on the Walmart plantation is hell. Now on “Black Friday,” November 23, the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year, protests have been called at up to 1,000 Walmart facilities around the U.S. The hidebound labor movement so far has failed miserably to unionize the retail giant. A real strike would aim at Walmart’s supply chain, and would require solid mass pickets that no one dares cross. You can’t do that playing by the bosses’ rules, and Walmart workers can’t do it on their own, but a class-struggle mobilization of union power can. Walmart “Black Friday” Strike Actions, Protests Called at Stores Across U.S. (19 November 2012)
“Anti-Austerity” Protest in Portland
Capitalism Can’t Be Reformed: The Only Solution, Workers Revolution
No Vote for Obama, Romney – For a Revolutionary Workers Party
On Saturday, November 3, a “Solidarity Against Austerity” protest was held under the auspices of a number of Portland-area labor, community and left groups, including offshoots of the Occupy movement and several trade unions. The endorsers are politically diverse, some proclaiming “Our dreams don’t fit in their ballot boxes” wwhile many of the unions are supporting Barack Obama and other Democrats in the elections. But independent of their formal positions, the protest amounts to pre-election pressure on Obama and the Democratic Party. A favorite demand of the reformist groups is “tax the rich,” which is also the program of Democratic Party liberals and even multi-billionaires like Warren Buffet. Yet taxing the rich won't stop austerity, because the attacks on poor and working people and the oppressed have nothing to do with a lack of dollars in government coffers. Many also want to return to Keynesian Keynesian “welfare state” policies. But the source of the war on workers, the poor and oppressed is capitalism, not a set of economic policies that can be changed at will. The Internationalist Group calls instead for a class-struggle fight against capitalist austerity. Capitalism Can’t Be Reformed: The Only Solution, Workers Revolution (3 November 2012)
UFT Censors Opposition to Obama Endorsement
On October 17, the United Federation of Teachers in New York City voted on a leadership motion to endorse Democrat Barack Obama for president. Randi Weingarten, national president of the American Federation of Teachers came in to explain why teachers should vote for a candidate who has been at the forefront of the attacks on teachers unions. But when a delegate and supporter of Class Struggle Education Workers attempted to present a resolution against the AFT/UFT endorsement, the bureaucracy refused to let the body hear the opposition motion, much less vote on it. Moreover, when the leadership motion was presented, no opposition speakers were allowed. The labor bureaucracy chains workers politically to the bosses’ parties, and union reform groups go along, underlining the need for a class-struggle opposition. UFT Censors Opposition to Obama Endorsement (October 2012)
Rip Up the Sellout Contract – Mobilize to Stop Layoffs, Racist School Closures
Chicago Teachers: Strike Was Huge, Settlement Sucks
Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama Are No Lesser Evil
Break with the Democrats – Build a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
The strike by 30,000 teachers and school personnel in the country’s third-largest school district electrified educators and union militants across the U.S. It was the first strike nationally against the teacher union-bashing corporate education “reforms” pushed by both Republicans and Democrats, from the White House and Congress on down to the state house and city hall. Teachers struck against the policies of Wall Street candidate Barack Obama and stood up to his former chief of staff, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. The outcome, however, is something else entirely. The reform leadership of the CTU agreed to a contract that caved in to the bully boy mayor “Rahmbo” and the education deformers on every key point, selling out vital union gains while preparing the way for mass firings and the loss of hundreds, possibly several thousand teachers’ jobs. The union membership should turn down this giveback contract. The rotten settlement underscores that union “reform” caucuses based on simple labor militancy and “union democracy” end up reproducing the bureaucracy they replace. Only class-struggle unionism that openly fights against capitalism can defeat the class war on workers and the oppressed. Chicago Teachers: Strike Was Huge, Settlement Sucks (23 September 2012)
Teacher Evaluations and Illinois Law (23 September 2012)After 55 Days on Picket Line, a Solid Labor Victory Including Union Hiring Hall!
Hot and Crusty Workers Win With Groundbreaking Contract
After months of struggle, immigrant workers at the Hot and Crusty bakery/restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side have made big news for the workers movement. A solid union victory – including a union hiring hall and benefits virtually unheard of in the industry – has been achieved. Dramatic ups and downs marked the campaign from the start. But fed up with abuse and workweeks in some cases of up to 72 hours without overtime pay, the workers’ determination to stick it out, come what may, was crucial to winning this battle. A lockout and threats of migra action did not deter them. Instead, determined efforts were made to win support from NYC unions, as well as students. Hot and Crusty workers did not fight alone. The inspiring outcome has the potential to spark further, wide-ranging efforts to organize low-wage immigrant workers throughout the food industry in New York City, “the restaurant capital of the world.” Hot and Crusty workers showed what class-struggle unionism can achieve. Hot and Crusty Workers Win With Groundbreaking Contract
“Hot and Crusty Workers’ Fight Is Every New York Worker’s Fight!”
NYC Unions Back Hot and Crusty Workers at Labor/Immigrant Rights Solidarity Rally
On Thursday, October 18, one hundred union, immigrant rights, student and community activists came out to the “Labor/Immigrant Rights Rally in Solidarity with the Hot and Crusty Workers.” The immigrant workers have been on the picket line for 50 days after the old owner closed the restaurant on August 31 in reprisal for the workers organizing their union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association. In line with an agreement signed with a prospective new owner early last month, the workers are fighting to win their jobs back with union recognition and a union hiring hall, crucial to their job security. The event featured speakers and delegations from some of the city’s largest and most powerful unions, including TWU Local 100, Utility Workers Local 1-2, CWA Local 1101, AFSCME DC 37, UFCW Local 1500, PSC, LIUNA Local 78, as well were delegates, organizers and activists from the UFT, UAW, ROC-NY and other labor groups. Activists from community, immigrant rights and left groups also made up a key part of the rally. The impressive turnout showed that the workers have broad support, and reflected the growing recognition that the Hot and Crusty workers’ struggle is a key battle for New York City labor. NYC Unions Back Hot and Crusty Workers at Labor/Immigrant Rights Solidarity Rally (19 October 2012)
Defeat Lockout, Win Union Recognition... and Agreement to a Union Hiring Hall
“Hot and Crusty” Workers Show the Way
A groundbreaking and potentially historic step forward has been taken by immigrant workers in NYC’s food industry with the announcement by the Hot and Crusty Workers Association (HCWA) that bakery workers on Manhattan’s Upper East Side have prevailed against an employer lockout. A statement by the HWCA on the tentative agreement with the store’s new owners reported: “The Union announced that the company has agreed to recognize the union immediately and commence negotiations towards a collective bargaining agreement. In addition,the union has negotiated the institution of a hiring hall through which all employees must be referred by the Hot and Crusty Workers Association.” Workers at today’s rally expressed their determination to consolidate a solid union victory that can serve as an inspiring example to the many thousands who face starvation wages, employer abuse and anti-immigrant discrimination in “deli-sweatshops” throughout the city. Activists from several area unions participated in the daily pickets, as well as a number from the Occupy movement. The CUNY Internationalist Clubs, Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Education Workers have also been working with the HWCA and Laundry Workers Center activists. “Hot and Crusty” Workers Show the Way (8 September 2012)
Victory to the Electrical Workers! No Wisconsins in NYC!
Turn Up the Heat on Con Ed!
Bring Out Workers' Power to Knock Out the Lockout!
The lockout of 8,500 workers by the Con Edison utility monopoly is a crucial battle for all New York City labor. A lockout is always a threat to break the union. Con Ed has assigned 5,000 managers to work as scabs and brought in strikebreakers from Virginia and elsewhere. The profit-hungry Con Ed bigwigs may think they can imitate Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in ripping up labor’s hard-won rights. We need to show them that there will be no Wisconsins in New York. The union has been looking to the state Public Utilities Commission and to federal mediation, and to Democratic Party politicians to rein in Con Ed. But bourgeois politicians will not win this fight for Con Ed workers. Democrats from Barack Obama in the White House to Andrew Cuomo in the State House on down have repeatedly sided with the bosses. The fight at Con Ed is a key battle against the capitalist assault on the unions. If the unions are to survive to fight and prevail in the sharpening class struggle it is urgently necessary to break with the Democrats and build a workers party to fight for a workers government. Bring Out Workers' Power to Knock Out the Lockout! (17 July 2012)
Portland “Community Assembly to Create a People’s Budget”
Why Negotiating the Bosses’ Budget Doesn’t Work for Workers
By the Portland Trotskyist Study Group
Often in protests you hear the chant, “Workers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.” But the question is how, and here there are big differences. In late May, teachers in Reynolds, Oregon struck for five days and won; teachers in nearby schools who didn’t walk out got stuck with concessionary contracts. Earlier, a number of labor unions, community groups, trade unionists and leftists organized “Community Assembly to Create a People’s Budget.” The notion of a “participatory” budget process is based on the false concept that “the people” can all get together, that the solution is more democracy, when in fact there are fundamental class issues at stake. Suggesting to the bosses’ government how to raise money or what its priorities should be is a dead end. It’s not “our” government but theirs. By accepting budget “constraints,” various sectors try to defend their mouthful of bread. This sets one group of workers against another and makes them complicit in cutbacks. Instead what’s needed is a program of demands going beyond empty reforms in order to turn defensive struggles into a workers counteroffensive against the collapsing capitalist system.Why Negotiating the Bosses’ Budget Doesn’t Work for Workers (July 2012)
Gofers for the ILWU Bureaucracy
SL’s Wrong Lessons of Longview
In a recent article, the centrist Spartacist League joined reformists including the International Socialist Organization and Socialist Workers Party in acting as apologists for the bureaucracy of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The SL goes even further, defending an attack by ILWU bureaucrats against ILWU speakers at a January 6 Occupy forum in Seattle to build solidarity with Longview longshore. We warned that the ILWU tops had made major concessions in the contract that capped that key struggle. Now that the terms of the concessionary contract (which has never been voted on by the Local 21 membership) have become known, it is even worse than feared: it allows the company to choose its workers, and a key clause threatens the very heart of ILWU power, the union hiring hall. SL’s Wrong Lessons of Longview (March 2012)
Bloody Bogalusa, 1919:
When Four White Unionists Died Defending Their Black Comrades
In November 1919, black and white workers joined in struggle for their rights at the Great Southern Lumber sawmill in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The company, founded by Northern investors, was determined to defeat unionization at all costs and keep the predominantly black workers down. When a posse of lynchers came for the leading black organizer, Sol Dacus, he escaped and the next day marched down the main street of town accompanied by two white unionists with shotguns. The company dispatched a horde of 150 gunmen from its private army who attacked the union offices, killing four white members of the Carpenters union, J.P. Bouchillon, Stanley O'Rourke, Lem Williams and Thomas Gaines. The company won, but the example of black-white labor solidarity set the background for the rise of the Deacons for Defense and Justice in the 1960s and continues to inspire today. Labor cannot unionize the South without rooting out the bloody legacy of slavery and the Confederacy. Honor the heroes of Bogalusa 1919!! Bloody Bogalusa, 1919 (February 2012)
Scabs Are Out, But ILWU Concessions
Longview: EGT Union-Busting Beaten Back, At a Cost
The drive to break International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) jurisdiction on Pacific Coast grain shipping has been beaten back after months of explosive labor struggle. A multinational consortium, EGT, built and began operating a new $200 million grain terminal with scab labor. Last week, EGT recognized the union as bargaining agent and on Thursday the membership of ILWU Local 21 approved a contract. But this has come at a cost, as the union leadership made significant concessions in the bargaining. This could set the stage for future battles as other shippers demand similar terms. Nevertheless, ILWU workers are in the plant and the scabs are out. Credit for this is due to the militancy of Longview and other longshore workers and their supporters who would not be intimidated by the capitalist courts and cops. The showdown in Longview is a harbinger of sharp class battles to come. Longview: EGT Union-Busting Beaten Back, At a Cost (12 February 2012)
Open Letter to Supporters of the ISO
“Socialist” Excuses for Disruption of Labor Solidarity Forum
“Socialist” Excuses for Disruption of Labor Solidarity Forum The January 6 furor in Seattle has highlighted the increasingly charged relationship between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the official leadership of trade unions. The violent disturbance by officials of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) was directed not only against Occupy Seattle but particularly targeted ILWU militants speaking at the forum. Outrageously, several self-described socialist groups took up cudgels for the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy. The egregious apology for the bureaucratic disrupters by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) has caused an uproar, including inside the ISO. Basically, there was a clash of opportunisms: two different “constituencies” the ISO was tailing after (Occupy and labor leaders) came into conflict. The ISO came down on the side of the labor bureaucracy. From Wisconsin to Washington, these social democrats seek to push the bureaucrats ever so slightly to the left. But when the capitalists and the pro-capitalist bureaucracy crack the whip, the ISO obeys. “Socialist” Excuses for Disruption of Labor Solidarity Forum (February 2012)
ILWU Bureaucrats Target Union Militants, Attack “Occupy” Solidarity Meeting
January 6: An Outrage in Seattle
On January 6, 2012, a labor solidarity forum called by Occupy Seattle was held to support International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 (Longview, Washington) in its battle against union-busting by the giant EGT consortium. However, a couple dozen right-wing bureaucrats and hangers-on from the Seattle, Tacoma and Portland ILWU locals physically disrupted the meeting with yelling, pushing, shoving and punches, in attempt to prevent its democratic functioning. The bureaucratic union misleaders seek to intimidate solidarity actions by claiming they would violate the slave labor Taft-Hartley Act, which outlaws most effective strike tactics. Some Occupy activists falsely portrayed this attack as demonstrating the bankruptcy of unions. However, speakers and many in the audience made clear that these bureaucratic thugs did not represent the ranks of labor, chanting "ILWU, ILWU" against the disrupters. The meeting ended with an appeal for all supporters of labor rights to come to Longview to protest the anticipated arrival of a ship to load the scab grain. January 6: An Outrage in Seattle (January 2012)
Video: Seattle Labor Solidarity Forum Disruption (12 January 2012)
Solidarity with Longview Longshore Workers
Protesters in New York Slam Military Union-Busting
Chanting “What’s disgusting? Coast Guard union-busting,” some 75 protesters demonstrated for an hour and a half in soaking rain in front of the Federal Building in downtown New York City on January 23. The united-front protest brought together supporters of a number of area unions, student and left groups. They were denouncing the government’s announced plan to use the U.S. Coast Guard against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in Longview, Washington. For the last year, the ILWU ranks have militantly fought against an attempt to break their union by a giant consortium, EGT, which has opened a new $200 million grain export terminal in the West Coast port which it is operating with scab labor. This government/employer attack on the strongest and most combative union in the U.S. is a threat to all labor. Protesters in New York Slam Military Union-Busting (23 January 2012)
Exchange with Spartacist League on the January 23 Protest (23 January 2012)
Following December 12 West Coast Port Blockade
Longshore Workers, Truckers: Shut the Ports, Coast to Coast!
Class War on the West Coast Docks
Ports up and down the West Coast were blockaded, from Seattle to San Diego. Despite a barrage of hostile propaganda in the media, opposition from union bureaucrats and heavy police repression in some places, overall the blockade was successful – this time. The blockade was called in solidarity with longshore workers fighting a union-busting assault in Longview, Washington and with port truckers seeking union recognition in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. This support should have been greeted. Instead, the union bureaucracy attacked the port blockade, although longshore workers respected the picket lines. But now the class war on the West Coast docks is coming to a head, and it can’t be waged from the outside. Bay Area labor has called for a caravan to Longview. The goal should be a real occupation of the terminal by the workers to prevent the loading of the scab cargo. Longshore militants have called on the longshore unions to shut down every port on the West Coast, and the East and Gulf Coasts, to smash EGT’s union-busting. Can it be done? Yes, but only though sharp struggle against the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy. Longshore Workers, Truckers: Shut the Ports, Coast to Coast! (28 December 2011)
Militant Class Struggle Like You Haven’t Seen in Years:
ILWUers Defy Federal Injunction, Block Train, “Storm” Scab Terminal
Showdown on West Coast Docks
The Battle of Longview
Since early this year a bitter struggle has been waged in the small West Coast port of Longview, Washington. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is fighting a vicious union-busting attack by a new grain shipping conglomerate. The battle got national attention when on September 8, some 800 union supporters “stormed” the new Export Grain Terminal, as the big business press put it. As security guards cowered, thousands of tons of grain were dumped on the tracks and railroad cars disabled. That morning more than 1,000 longshoremen refused to show up for work, shutting down the major ports of the Pacific Northwest. The day before, hundreds of ILWUers blocked a train carrying grain to the scab terminal and held off police. So far there have been more than 200 arrests in Longview. It all harked back to the militant union action that built the labor movement and which has seldom been seen in recent years. It gave a taste of workers’ power that needs to be mobilized in sharp class struggle today. This battle affects the entire maritime industry: to win it, the dock unions must prepare to shut down ports on all three coasts. The key is to build a class-struggle leadership. Showdown on West Coast Docks: The Battle of Longview(4 November 2011)
Oakland Port Shutdown
Workers Refuse to Work the Docks
Today thousands of working people are refusing to go to work in response to a call for a “General Strike” by Occupy Oakland. This includes many port workers who, in response to an appeal from rank-and-file members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, refused to load and unload ships, effectively crippling the port. Many will be joining the late afternoon march on the port denouncing the brutal police attack on Occupy Oakland demonstrators last week, ordered by liberal Democratic mayor Jean Quan. Report from longshore activist Jack Heyman at the Oakland docks. Oakland Port Shutdown: Workers Refuse to Work the Docks! (2 November 2011)
Break from the Democrats and All Capitalist Parties!
Unchain Labor’s Power – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!
What It Will Take to Defeat the War on Public Workers Unions
Against Mass Layoffs: Labor and Students, Shut NYC Down!
Across the United States and around the world, labor is under frontal attack by capital. In the worst economic crisis since the last depression, the bankers and capitalists who set it off are trying to make their victims pay. Wisconsin teachers and most government workers have had their right to collective bargaining canceled. This marks a decisive moment for unions across the country, equivalent to Ronald Reagan’s destruction of the PATCO air controllers union in 1981. And it is not just coming from the far right: in New York, liberal Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo is spearheading attacks on public sector unions. On May 12, a march on Wall Street was called by NYC labor, but while protesting threatened teacher layoffs and budget cuts, its political message was to support the DemocraticParty. The labor misleaders back the capitalist system while the entire capitalist class is waging war on labor. In Wisconsin, the union tops squelched momentum for a general strike. It is necessary to break with the Democrats and oust the bureaucrats, to forge a class-struggle workers party. In the face of mass layoffs, labor and students should shut NYC down with a citywide strike, and shred the no-strike Taylor Law. What It Will Take to Defeat the War on Public Workers Unions (12 May 2011)
Defeat Governor’s Legislative Coup d’État
Wisconsin: For a General StrikeNow!
Break with the Democrats, Republicans and All Capitalist Parties!A law challenging the very existence of unions of government workers has just been rammed through the legislature in Wisconsin. In addition, wages have been slashed by up to 10 percent to make up for cuts to health insurance and pensions. The labor movement and workers nationwide and internationally are vividly aware of the stakes. There has been a lot of talk in the last three weeks about a general strike. The Wisconsin South Central Labor Federation even voted to authorize one. But now that the moment of truth has arrived, the union bureaucrats have gotten cold feet. They are doing everything to prevent strike action and instead to divert anger at this vicious law into a drive to recall Republican senators, to be replaced by Democrats, whose “alternative” budget bill would also have drastically slashed wages and benefits. There should be no delay: this is the hour for powerful labor action. A general strike is needed to shut down Wisconsin now! Wisconsin: For a General Strike Now! (13 March 2011)
Build a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
Republicans, Democrats Are the Parties of Capital
We Need a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
Wisconsin: Mobilize Workers’ Power to Defeat Union-Busting Bill!
On February 17, thousands of protesting workers and students occupied the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison while tens of thousands surrounded the building for the third day in a row. They were seeking to block the vicious “budget repair” bill being rammed through the state legislature by Governor Scott Walker, which would eliminate the right to collective bargaining for almost all public employees. Similar measures are in the works in Ohio and elsewhere. The assault on labor is not just some right-wing Tea Party affair – it is a bipartisan capitalist attack. But it’s being met by the most massive labor mobilization in the United States in years. What’s happening in Wisconsin shows that the working class is mad as hell and ready to fight. It will take nothing less than a statewide general strike to defeat labor hater Walker, yet union leaders block militant action as they chain workers to the Democrats. We have the power to stop Walker in his tracks. To mobilize that power it’s necessary to break with the parties and politicians of capital and build a workers party that can wage this class struggle through to victory Wisconsin: Mobilize Workers’ Power to Defeat Union-Busting Bill! (18 February 2011)
(19 February 2011)
Report from Madison: To Win, Prepare to Strike Wisconsin! (20 February 2011)
Report from Madison: Wisconsin Unions Vote to Prepare a General Strike – The Time to Act Is Now (22 February 2011)
Lessons of Chicago CORE
CTU “Reformers” Bow to Democrats, Accept Layoffs – Build a Class-Struggle Opposition!
On July 30, a national “Save Our Schools March” was held in Washington, called by a host of liberal education luminaries and both national teachers unions. As the unions (AFT and NEA) go along with the corporate education “reform” program, at most seeking to limit the damage, a number of dissident groups have sprung up. The model is the Community of Rank and File Educators (CORE) in Chicago, which ousted the notoriously corrupt incumbent union tops in June 2010. Yet once in office, CORE has followed the same script as its predecessor, doing nothing about mass teacher layoffs except a court suit on procedural issues. This spring, the Chicago Teachers Union president endorsed an Illinois law gutting teachers’ right to strike. Such sellouts are not isolated incidents but universal for reformist opposition groups who have won office in various unions. While leftists often play a key role in organizing them, their program of simple trade unionism is impossible in this epoch of capitalist decay, when union gains, and unions themselves, are being systematically destroyed. It is necessary to build a class-struggle opposition to take on capitalism and the capitalist parties which are waging a class war on public education, now spearheded by Democrat Obama. Lessons of Chicago CORE (30 July 2011)
Courageous Strikers Could Have Won – Class-Struggle Leadership Key
Lessons of the Battle for Stella D’oro
After a struggle lasting more than a year, the mainly immigrant workers at the Stella D’oro bakery in the Bronx, New York lost their jobs in early October , when the owners closed the plant. The 15-month struggle at this small factory became a cause célèbre because it symbolized workers’ endurance and courage in defense of the most basic rights of labor. As the fight grew ever more bitter, conflicting strategies and political conceptions were brought to the fore. The closing of the plant was a real defeat for the labor movement as a whole. But the Stella D’oro strike could have ended in victory – and the company’s plan to break the union and then to shut down the plant could have been stopped. To do this would have required a massive mobilization of labor’s power. Instead, the labor bureaucrats let these courageous workers go it virtually alone, because of the union leaders’ subordination to the bosses’ rules, institutions and parties. Many left activists who participated in strike support activities tailed the union misleaders’ losing consumer-boycott “strategy,” with the usual popular-frontist rhetoric about how “the people united will never be defeated.” Internationalist Group supporters instead worked intensively among area unionists with the call for using labor’s muscle to get the scab products off the supermarket shelves and to block the flow of products into the struck plant. Lessons of the Battle for Stella D’oro (November 2009)
Hard Class Battle Coming
Puerto Rico: All Out to Defend the Teachers’ Struggle!
We are on the threshold of a major class battle in Puerto Rico. Every day new preparations are announced for the coming strike of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR). With 42,000 members, a majority of them women, the FMPR represents almost all of Puerto Rico’s teachers and is by far the largest union on the island. The Shock Force of the Puerto Rican Police and National Guard are being readied to go after the strikers. The struggle of the Puerto Rican teachers affects everybody. The working class as a whole, students and parents, teachers and defenders of workers’ rights around the world must come out in defense of the FMPR! If there are mass arrests, the response must be massive blockades and spreading the struggle to the point of shutting the island down. In order to win this strike, it is necessary to prepare for a struggle not only of the teachers but within the whole workers movement against the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy that sabotages the workers’ struggle. Above all, it is necessary to fight against illusions in and ties with bourgeois parties and politicians. It’s high time to begin building a revolutionary internationalistworkers party. Puerto Rico: All Out to Defend the Teachers’ Struggle! (14 February 2008)
Report from San Juan
Tens of Thousands March in Puerto Rico on Eve of Teachers Strike
“La huelga va, la huelga va” (the strike is on the way), sang thousands of teachers as they marched through the streets of Puerto Rico’s capital today in preparation for the massive strike that is shaping up as a major class battle. Victory to the Puerto Rican teachers!
Tens of Thousands March in Puerto Rico on Eve of Teachers Strike (18 February 2008)
Craft Divisions Endanger Labor: Build a Single Media Union
Don’t Let Writers Stand Alone – All Media Workers Should Join the WGA on Strike!
As the strike by film and television writers nears its two-month mark, the 12,000 members of the affiliated East and West Coast Writers Guild of America have shown determination and kept up morale at picket lines and mass rallies in Los Angeles and New York. Late-night TV viewership is down, networks have to return millions of dollars to advertisers. Yet even as the WGA strike begins to bite economically, the media moguls are refusing to negotiate. The Hollywood bosses figure they can play one craft union off against another. By themselves, writers are at a great disadvantage. To win this important labor battle, it is necessary to extend the strike to include all media industry workers, particularly blue-collar workers without whom the studios would go dark. Ultimately there should be one union of all media workers. Instead of looking to millionaire Democrats like John Edwards, strikers can make a start by aggressively picketing scab talk show and “reality” TV programs. All Media Workers Should Join the WGA on Strike! (22 December 2007)
The World Socialist Web Site, a/k/a Socialist Equality Party, is trying to attract WGA writers. What the WSWS/SEP doesn’t mention is that they oppose unions, even telling auto workers to vote to keep unions out. Far from being some kind of ultra-leftists, these scab “socialists” are doing the bosses’ work. SEP/WSWS: Scab “Socialists” (22 December 2007)