Friday, October 11, 2013

BART Strike: Union leaders place all their eggs in the bosses' basket

So the leaders of the unions representing BART workers are putting their faith in "legislative leaders" now. The Union officials are going to remain in negotiations until "an agreement is reached."  Not an agreement that will win BART workers and the riding public any gains, or any significant gains but simply "an agreement".  Well, the bosses have all their heavy hitters in there now, a mediator, the GM, Board members and legislators, the same legislators that have presided over savage attacks on workers, the poor, social services etc.

Instead of organizing to win a strike and demanding what workers and riders (and society) needs. They've sat in there chatting away wasting valuable time.  The objective situation has been very favorable. The bus drivers, members of ATU like train operators, have rejected two concessionary contracts brought to them by their leaders.  City of Oakland workers had a one day strike, they are also members of SEIU like some BART workers.  The water utility where I once worked for almost 30 years is still in negotiations, way past the contract expiration date.

What good belonging to national organizations if we don't use that power? Unfortunately, the union leaderships in these instances accept that concessions must be made, support the Team Concept which is the most destructive policy within organized Labor today, and have the same world view as the bosses.  They will all blame the members for their inactivity and refusal to fight when it is them that refuse to do so, refuse to offer anything to fight for; refuse to mobilize the power of organized labor and the communities in which we live and work.  Refuse to demand what we need.  Why would they?  It can only lead to chaos.

As I have said before, as have others, the rank and file cannot avoid a major struggle against the policies of the present leadership who accept the bosses' austerity agenda designed to place the US working class on rations. Any union leader, opposition caucus or individual that claims to want to change the union,  to drive back the capitalist offensive and asks for the members' support, the first question that must be asked is: What are you going to do differently?  Pledges of fairness, justice, democracy etc. in the abstract are meaningless. Here is their announcement.

BART’s Unions Extend Contract Talks Beyond End of the Cooling-Off Period to Avoid Strike

Bargaining teams for BART’s unions, SEIU 1021, ATU 1555, AFSCME 3993 released the following statement on the state of negotiations:

“Tonight we’ve had two significant changes at the bargaining table: elected BART Board members are now involved and engaged in negotiations in addition to Bay Area legislative leaders who agree on the need to avoid a strike. The Unions expect that the BART General Manager will sit down and bargain with workers beginning tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., and will remain there until an agreement is reached. We believe that these developments can only help bring a resolution to these drawn-out negotiations and for this reason, we will continue bargaining through the weekend.
However, we feel we have to notify the public because the cooling-off period ends tonight at midnight. We are therefore giving notice that if there is no agreement by midnight on Sunday, October 13th, workers will be forced to strike.

Let there be no misunderstanding, that with the Board getting involved, the legislative leaders assisting, and the General Manager willing to sit down at the bargaining table, the Unions are continuing to negotiate and hope to avoid a strike. We remain hopeful that our good faith effort will be met with their good faith effort.”


Anonymous said...

Some people are glad just to have jobs...ever thought about that. If Unions had their way the price of everything will go up. Now , Demo-rats, they like this and anything that generates more money. However, as a consumer. I see this insane need for growth. What is driving up the cost of doing business? Is it cost of materials? Is it population growth? I leave this question open because what is inflation but a theory based on money supply that is manipulated by the FEDS!

Richard Mellor said...

Why would prices go up simply because unions "had their way" as you put it?

As for growth, profits are generated in a capitalist economy through the labor process, from the portion of the working day that is unpaid. Commodities contain both paid and unpaid labor time. The added value from worker's unpaid labor cannot be realized without the sale of the commodity and the never ending repetition of this process. That's growth to them.