Wednesday, October 9, 2013

USW Official condemns Boston Bus Driver's Wildcat Strike

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
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A regional director of the United Steel Workers Union that represents the bus drivers working  for the notoriously anti-union Veolia corp has made his and the union hierarchy's  position clear.  The public statement below sounding very much like a police communication or a memo from management wants the workers not to rely on their own strength but the generosity of the NLRB and the "proper avenues." He condemns the wildcat strike as the bosses have done.

This is the voice of the 1% inside our organizations and it is up to the rank and file to rid ourselves of these class traitors. "Proper avenues" never led to the formation of the workers' organizations. "Proper avenues" never led to the abolition of Jim Crow in the South.  "Proper avenues" never lead to the formation of the United States of America as a modern nation state.

I love the way he announces what the majority of "our members" think.  If he had any connection to the rank and file of the Unions other than when they want their Democratic Party friends elected or to impose concessions on them, or collect revenue in the form of dues, he'd know that the vast majority of the rank and file of organized Labor despise the stifling bureaucracy that sits atop it.

We have always said on this blog that we are waging a war on two fronts, one against the bosses and the other against their agents within our movement.  The fight against the likes of John Shinn is a more complicated struggle and one that many socialists and other anti-capitalist leftists in our movement avoid.  But we cannot transform the union movement without an open struggle against the class collaborationist policies of the bureaucracy that heads organized Labor including its left wing.

Go to the USW website.  With any Union leadership worth its salt there should be a massive campaign to  support the striking Boston drivers against a vicious anti-worker corporation.  There is nothing.  The present leadership of organized Labor sees the unions as employment agencies with them as the CEO's.  They are merely Labor Brokers.  They will not organize a response to the capitalist offensive.  The rank and file cannot continue to sit by while gains that took 150 years to win are being handed over to the bosses by the trade Union hierarchy.  They must act.  They must build fighting caucuses within the unions that can transform them and liberate them from the class collaborationist policies of the present leadership.

John Shinn has an e mail and phone number below and we should let him know through mass e mailings and/or calls what we think of his disgusting betrayal of working people at a time like this. *

Contact: John Shinn, (716) 565-1720,
BOSTON (October 8) – The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today from USW District 4 Director John Shinn in response to an unauthorized work stoppage by members of USW Local 8751 employed by Veolia Transportation as drivers for Boston Public Schools:

“The USW does not condone the current action, or any violation of our collective bargaining agreement, and has instructed all members of Local 8751 to immediately cease this strike against Veolia Transportation and resume work as soon as possible,” Shinn said.

“This activity does not represent the majority of our members, who believe that our issues with Veolia Transportation must be addressed through proper avenues including our contractual grievance procedure and the National Labor Relations Board," Shinn said.

The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

* Facts For Working People sent the following to John Shinn

Dear Mr. Shinn:
The Facts For Working People Blog condemns the action you and the leadership of the USW have taken in response to the strike by USW local 8751 against the notoriously anti-Union company, Veolia Corp. In the middle of a war between labor and capital you have chosen to openly to support the latter.  It is not the "activity" of the members of 8751 that does not represent the mood of the majority of your members or the working class as a whole, as you write, but your response to their action. At a time  like this, when working people are taking the courageous step of withdrawing their Labor power, you openly betray them by condemning them for relying on our own strength and instead to rely on the institutions of Labor's enemies, a strategy that that will lead to another defeat. You Mr. Shinn, and those other members of the trade union officialdom who refuse to fight, who refuse to even defend union members and all working people, have relinquished your right to lead.

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