Thursday, October 17, 2013

ILA local 333 strikes the port of Baltimore

This is a nice little video about the Baltimore Longshore strike. An official for the bosses says that Baltimore, the 11th largest port in the US is the only port working from Maine to Texas and expresses his disappointment. The reality is, it shouldn't be. If the strike is to be won, none of them should be working. The bosses mean business these days and so should we; we have to have the long view of society.

The contract covers all the ports from Maine to Texas and already, Mazda Corp and BMW imports are affected and Chrysler is watching it closely. A third of Daimler Mercedes Benz sales are processed through the port of Baltimore says a spokesperson. It shows the potential power of Labor on a national level, even in our diminished state. The weak link is the leadership of organized Labor from the top on down. We are left to fight isolated battles disconnected from each other and our communities, individual locals, small groups against the bosses who mobilize their media, the police, the courts, and the military if necessary to keep profits flowing.

The politicians are already claiming it will hurt the economy and that's true, this is our strength, that we can stop their economy from functioning. This disrupts all our lives to a certain extent not just those on strike but the bosses don't care about that except for propaganda purposes and to turn one group of workers against another as the brother in the video says.

Here in the Bay Area, the leaders of the transit unions are trying desperately to get out of the mess they're in and walk away with a concessionary contract that they can get their members to accept. As I said in an earlier commentary: what good belonging to national organizations if we don't coordinate our struggles nationally/internationally and also include the unorganized and the communities? Using this potential power not to simply defend our immediate interests (union members) but society as a whole, the youth, the poor, the incarcerated and all victims of the market would broaden our struggle against global capitalism, against the 1% and the disruption would be short lived and worth it.

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