Principles Of Labor Solidarity
workplace struggles |
opinion / analysis
Sunday May 15, 2005 20:15 by Arthur J. Miller bayou at blarg dot net P.O. Box 5464, Tacoma, WA 98415-0464
A call for principles of labor solidarity.
Principles of Labor Solidarity
By Arthur J. Miller
The employing class is getting richer and more powerful while at the same time the working class is getting poorer and weaker. The reason for this is that the employing class has organized in its common interests through trade associations from industrial associations all the way up to the World Trade Organization.
Using their wealth and power the employing class has most governments in their pockets working for the direct interests of the employing class. These governments pass anti-labor laws, and repress labor struggles that weaken the power of organized labor while at the same time support the organization of the interests of the employing class and make international trade deals that profit the employing class at the expense of the environment and the working class.
At the top of the hieratical class system are the multinational corporations that seek total economic control over the world’s production of goods and services and exploitable resources. The drive for total domination of the world’s economies by the multinational corporations is a process that is stripping the working class of its human rights and is turning the working class into indentured servants under the iron heel of corporate fascism.
The organizations of organized labor, here in the U.S., have almost become powerless by the passing of anti-labor laws that outlaw such things as sympathy strikes and secondary boycotts. The Taft-Hartley Act allows the president to suppress a strike for a so-called “cooling off period”. The U.S. Courts are used to issue injunctions against the number of people on a picket line thus limiting the power of a union to keep scabs out of a shop on strike.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which oversees union certification and decertification elections and hears unfair labor practice charges, is a roadblock in the way of organizing working people. First its members are appointed to five-year terms by the president and thus are often anti-union. The NLRB takes job organizing out of the hands of the workers on the job and gives it to lawyers and professional union officers and thus making the unions into service organizations rather than a bonding of workers on the shop floor. Even if the union wins an election the employers can delay certification, sometimes for years, by appeals. Finally after a union is certified all that means is that the union is the bargaining agent, it does not win the workers even one red cent.
The government has tried to segregate some workers who own or lease some of their tools away from the rest of the working class and classified them as independent contractors and has brought them under anti-trust laws that do not allow them to act or organize together for better payment from their employers.
So far the labor movement has not put up much of a fight against the anti-labor laws and the NLRB. Rather than use their power of direct economic action, the unions have tried to get elected to national office politicians who may act for working people. So far this tactic has produced nothing for the dominant political parties work primary in the interest of the employing class. All this has done is to force working people to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Because of these conditions working people are becoming poorer, those that have health coverage find that coverage threatened while millions of working people have no coverage at all, many of our jobs have moved away to countries where workers are forced to work for next to nothing. Our working conditions are becoming a greater threat to our health and safety. And our ability to do anything about these conditions has become greatly weaken.
The employing class is incapable of controlling its greed and thus our very environment is threatened. If the march to corporate fascism is not stopped the existence of life on this planet will be threatened and the employing class will not turn away from its greed in order to protect the environment. In this modern world the class struggle of working people is not just about more pay and better conditions, it is also about our very survival on this planet.
The labor movement must change its direction and it must do it soon. The labor movement should look back to the Civil Rights Movement and how it took direct action through civil disobedience against segregation laws and do the same against anti-labor laws and the NLRB. We, as a class, need to openly defy anti-labor laws to the point that those laws become impossible to enforce. We must act in direct solidarity with those working people who do defy anti-labor laws and make the slogan. “No Justice, No Peace” a reality.
All working people need to adopt the following:
Principles of Labor Solidarity:
I. Every worker on every job throughout the world has a right to organize with their sisters and fellow workers in their common interests.
II. Every worker throughout the world has a right to a living wage, safe and healthy working conditions and health care coverage.
III. Every worker throughout the world has a right to labor free of harassment and discrimination based upon race, sex, nationality, religion, or any other form of bigotry.
IV. Every worker throughout the world has the right to refuse to partake in or support wars where working people of one country are used to fight and kill working people of another country.
V. Every worker throughout the world has the right and responsibility to protect the environment of this world.
VI. Every worker throughout the world has the right to withhold their labor as the means advance the above principles.
VII. No worker throughout the world should ever be a scab.
A. No worker should ever cross the picket line of striking workers.
B. No worker should ever supply a shop on strike with goods or services.
C. No worker should ever handle scab goods.
D. No worker should ever consume scab goods.
E. No worker should ever do the work that striking workers would have done if they were not on strike.
F. When ever workers are faced with government repression because of their right to organize and strike then all workers have the right to withhold their labor from the companies and industries profiting from that repression and a universal boycott should be in place of all goods going to that country, coming from that country and on the companies profiting from the repression in that country.
VIII. Every strike or job action is a class action and should be support with direct solidarity unless that action violates the Principles of Labor Solidarity.
Labor Solidarity needs to become a part of international working class culture and practiced on a daily basis.