Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Labor Leaders Kiss Up to Trump. Where was organized Labor at the Women's March?

Trump and Building Trades leadership. Betraying the working class
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444,retired

Below is a statement from Afscme President, Lee Saunders on Trumps freeze on federal hiring.

This is the best thing he can say heading a workers' organization with 1.6 million members in it?

Every local that has any rank and file influence at all should introduce resolutions condemning this pathetic response to Trump's assault on the trade unions and should take steps to prepare for an internal struggle to save our organizations from the class collaborators that head them. We have to do this if we are to have any unions left at all and are forced once again to start from the bottom.

The thousands of leftists, socialists and others in unions, often as officials or staff must abandon their strategy of refusing to openly oppose the present leadership, refusing to openly campaign against their policies and refusing to build fighting opposition caucuses, that in practice means them acting as a left cover for their right wing policies.  They must abandon their excuses that they are "building a revolutionary party" or that "the members are not yet there" and others. It is to the rank and file of the unions that socialists must orient, not simply to recruit them as cadre for the so-called vanguard party but to assist these workers in building these opposition caucuses on a program aimed at confronting the capitalist offensive and building a generalized workers offensive of our own. Through this process we can raise the need for a revolutionary current within the workers and trade union movement in a non sectarian way that builds the movement at the same time.

The Team Concept that pits workers in one industry (or the same industry with different employers) against another in order to help their individual employers win market share over their rivals must be relegated to the garbage can of history.  This marriage with the bosses on the basis that workers economic interests and the bosses' are the same is a catastrophe as it throws us in to competition with each other. We built workers' organizations to protect us from the market not facilitate it. T

The same Team Concept applies in the political sphere through the union officialdom's support for the capitalist Democratic Party. The trade union leadership's collaboration with capital and the bosses at the expense of workers' needs is what led to the rise of Trump. In the course of building fighting unions we must work inside and outside of them and in our communities to build an independent workers' political party and to build the same unity and solidarity internationally. Throughout the world workers' are under assault. Capital doesn't like obstacles to international markets, we shouldn't support obstacles to the international unity and action of labor.

As a retired public sector worker and union activist I am all too familiar with competition between the public and private sector unions. I worked at a water utility whose publicly elected board was dominated by candidates from one of the two Wall Street parties and big business. Huge construction and engineering firms for example. We had the odd liberal on there who would vote for us as a minority making them look good and leave it at that. They are worse than useless. Water is gold in California. The building trades union leaders joined with the contractors who have their snouts in the public trough.  The building trades union leaders with their myopic view of the world don't care about anything except jobs that keep their members employed and the dues money coming in so their bloated salaries and comfortable jobs are safe. The entire trade union leadership to a greater or lesser degree have this view.  They are quite happy with privately built prisons that house workers that have been abandoned by capitalism as long as they are built union. The public sector union leaders that support publicly run prisons support them for the same reasons.

These building trades leaders met with Trump and they referred to the meeting as "incredible".  The union hierarchy is criminal in their support of the Team Concept and this deathly embrace of capitalism's Democratic Party and anti-worker warmongers like Clinton. How disgusting that they sit with this man Trump, a hater of workers, an exploiter of workers and an all round degenerate and liar. What a betrayal that they give him any credibility at all.

The building trades leaders ignore that he's frozen federal hiring because there's "too many jobs" in government and it's not "their" members. In fact, they are assuming that more government work will be contracted out to their friends, the private contractors who will hire their members. The Carpenters leader, Doug McCarron who took home close to $500,000 in 2012 said that Trump's inaugural speech "...hit home for the people who have been hurting,"

We see the same  divide and rule tactic the bosses use to pit public and private sector workers against each other at work at this level.  Public sector jobs are in generally all round better if benefits and pensions are included. It is also a more humane work environment with more security. Union workers in the building trades are more accurately higher paid temporary employees that can be laid off whenever the boss decides. Without public sector unions, organized workers are a less than 7% of the workforce, that is why the bosses are after us. And we should think of this: Trumps freeze on federal hiring does not include workers in the defense or national security industries and two thirds of federal workers work in these industries. This will mean domestic services will suffer, not the spying agencies or the US war machine.

We cannot avoid an internal struggle to change our unions and that means removing the present, pro-corporate, pro-market, pro-capitalist clique that has the trade unions and their resources under their control. They are backed by an army of full time staff, no small number of them former members of socialist or anti-capitalist organizations as well as being products of academia even its Ivy League universities.   I find it utterly nauseating to see thee labor leaders sitting with the degenerate Trump giving him credibility. 

Here is the president of Afscme's response to Trump's federal employment freeze. Disgusting isn't it.

From the Afscme Website.
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on
Federal Hiring Freeze
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s Executive Order imposing a federal hiring freeze:

“In one of his first acts in office, President Trump is making it harder for federal public service workers to do their jobs for the American people.

“The men and women who’ve chosen public service don’t ask for much. But they do deserve basic respect, and that includes having the tools they need to do their work. Too often, they are understaffed, trying to do more with less, facing more mandates with fewer resources.

“This step will exacerbate rather than eliminate these problems. It will make federal agencies less effective, hurting people and communities that depend on efficient public services. It may mean unsafe workplaces aren’t inspected, lower quality health care for our veterans, and longer wait times at Social Security Administration offices.

“You can’t make America great by undermining those who’ve dedicated their careers to serving America."

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