Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Afscme/EBMUD workers. Unite the two locals, fight the Team Concept

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I wanted to address my former co-workers here but of course the general points I raise apply to any of us who work for a wage, union or non-union.  I will apologize again for the video, I am not great at this nor used to speaking in to a camera. Still, I think the situation is such that we cannot continue to avoid conflict forever.  Not just the conflict that we are forced in to with the employers, but the internal struggle that has to take place within the union. Workers have lost a lot of our history here in the US. We are not accustomed to the struggles and great social movements that have taken place in our history. 

I remember a vote that was taken in negotiations once and I was in a minority. I have been in similar situations on the executive board. Once the vote was taken I was told we have to go to the membership united as a leadership. I opposed this view. Just because a person's position is a minority position does not mean that the winning position is unchallenged when it comes to the membership of an organization.

This is undemocratic and a bit of a trick. It is undemocratic because it denies the membership the right to hear both sides, or three sides if they exist. It is a trick as well because what it is really saying is that the majority's position is all the membership hears and the minority has to give up theirs.

The membership get to hear both sides and the chips fall where they may. Then the majority decision carries the day. The minority still has a right to campaign for its position but the majority position is the position of the organization. Objective developments will determine which is the right one.

Members cannot just complain about the union they have to become involved in it. And those who have different positions than the leadership are obliged to express them and make sure the membership are aware of them. Otherwise you can't blame them for not being active. Anyway, I hope what I have to say here makes the young workers think a bit about the future.

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