Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lock outs. Bosses offensive rolls on. Union leaders keep retreating.

We have always explained on this blog that we live in a period of a capitalist offensive when capitalism is trying to take back what was won by the working class over the past 70 to 100 years. We have explained that the union leaders, rather than cooperating with this bosses' offensive, which is what they do through the team concept and concession contracts, should be mobilizing the working class to halt and throw back this offensive.

To do this the union leaders need a program of increasing wages and benefits, free education and health care for all, a guaranteed job for all at union wages and benefits, a $20 minimum wage or a $5.00 and hour raise whichever is the greater, affordable housing, no foreclosures, an end to all wars and occupations, make the rich and the corporations pay and end the dictatorship of big business over society. We have argued that the battle for such a program has to be carried out by mass direct action, that is mass strikes, occupations of workplaces and business and government centers and mass militant street actions. And also by breaking from the big business party the Democrats and building a mass workers party to fight to change society.

Our position that the bosses are on the offensive is confirmed in the New York Times of January 23rd, 2012. In a front page article headed: "More lockouts as companies battle unions." they explain how they see things. This heading is a bit inaccurate as the union leaders will not "battle" the bosses, but it is accurate in the sense that the bosses are on the offensive and attacking the unions and the working class.

The article lists lock out after lock out from the Cooper Tire Factory in Ohio, to a country club in California to the New York City Opera. The article quotes a professor of some kind as saying that the lock outs are a :"sign of increased employer militancy." I wonder how long he had to study to be able to come to this conclusion. A labor lawyer explains:"Employers are using lockouts because unions are reluctant to do what the employers consider reasonable in terms of compromising. Employers are looking to reset their collective bargaining relations." That is cut workers living standards and break the unions.

One of the most intense battles is being fought at American Crystal the nations biggest sugar beet processor. In spite of the fact that the company was making record profits it demanded that the 1,300 unionized workers pay more for health care, accept more outsourcing and other concessions. The workers voted no and the company locked them out. This is more than five months ago and many of the workers locked out now face foreclosures and utility disconnection. The scab American Crystal company has hired 900 workers to keep their plants going.

Last year at least 17 different employers locked out their workers. You did not hear anything about this or the employers offensive or the US working class being put on rations in Obama's state of the union address. No it was all the old crap, let us work together all will be great.

The US employer class have $2 trillion dollars which they are hoarding. They are refusing to spend it to rebuild the economy and provide jobs. They are on a strike of capital. Locking out workers and holding on to their capital and this after they had to be bailed out by tax payers at the time they took the economy to the brink in the crash of 2008.

The Union leaders have to get a grip on themselves. They are a disgrace. They are forfeiting the right to be in leading positions. They hold the working class down while the employers rob them. They cooperate with the employers offensive. What is needed is an offensive of the working class to halt and throw back the employers offensive and open up a new mass working class movement which would put all the issues of inequality, ownership, capitalism, socialism back on the agenda of the working class once again. As I say the union leaders have to get a grip. And at the same time as raising this we on the left and the radical and activist movement have to build fighting united fronts in the work places, the unions at all levels and in the communities.


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