Here, a few column inches below my preface — the short article, on organizing, tied to, well, the wimpy American broke-back mentality that we have to ask for fairness, beg, negotiate with felons, murderers, the corporate elite and their wannabe followers and side-lined thugs.
You know, even DV publishes articles by fellows who have their say elsewhere, e.g., at Counterpunch, sometimes, and even that weird site, Alternet. The idea that what happened with the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee is tied to the pathetic nature of unions, their messaging flakes, the titillating mess of their big wigs and strategists, mostly white, certainly Eastern Coast bred, their DNA wrapped in the same mitochondria of those who love lawyers on any side of the fence, who think debate is all about rhetorical finesse and a grip on the zeitgeist of our times.
The union lost because unions are putrid, middling, openly hobbled by their own fear, their own ballot counting lust, their dues paying schizophrenia. The VW plants in Germany, unionized, now what are they doing about the scabs of the South? You think they will work in solidarity to force the Tennessee two-stepping fools running the VW factory (read, Hitler-Zionist plant) to stop the bleed, the profit margin obscenity for the few and the pure lack of security for the workers?
Unions are losing it ALL, and then, they have the best of excuses, believing that the lost vote was so close that it means a win! Wow, bred from the belly of Democrats. A win? Here, a typical southerner thinking that the bosses are just the best things since Mother Teresa. Sure! This is the shape of unionism in 2014. We can laugh at the redneck boots, here, but in the end, Unions can’t beat themselves out of a wet ballot box. We have generations of people who think collective action and our collective work somehow is wrong, and everything the bosses do, the stockholders, too, somehow THAT is benefiting them.
There is very little interest in Union representation in Tennessee. Most people don’t give a hoot about the Unions or what they supposedly have to offer. They’d rather just be left alone to do their own thing.
I always laugh when I hear the Union use the excuses for losing a vote. They said that there was “interference” from the Union opponents. So what would be fair? The Union gets to spew their positive propaganda, and the Union opponents have to remain silent? Not hardly. Facts and details have to be allowed from both sides.
More companies will move South now with this latest anti-Union vote. It safe now………COME ON DOWN! BRING THOSE JOBS WITH YA.
Oh, yeah, more of the muddled graphical crap that is America, now! This as the redneck’s sign off jab. You know, if it were only true — Obama on the coupons for housing, food, health care, civic engagement. Wouldn’t that be cool, but instead, Obama is one of THEM — USA Minted Leader for the Corporate Elite!
This is how we fight these days. Let Google and Comcast, two pig monopolies, fight it out for more petrabyte territory, more capitalizing on markets. Let the pigs of Walmart, the pigs of Target, all those chipper chip makers and big companies like Nintendo who just love those conflict minerals for our little toys, the tools of technology, let those pigs win, gather up all the money, sell all the junk, determine food, art, culture, education, fleeting community life. It’s a new urbanism for the elite, hipster, punks in paunchy software-robotics-cloud server lust. Let them determine the playing field and the teams and the rules. Let’s just follow . . . . Unions, sort of lock step too, now, aren’t these fakers? Unions are making themselves irrelevant because they do not know how to build through grassroots, through the precarious pathway. I see it everyday with Washington state faculty — the majority, i.e. at will and just in time precarious, having to somehow in 2014 justify to full-time union represented faculty that we need pay raises separate from their COLAs, that we need to be a large part of governance, that we need to be protected by the Full-Time unions through grassroots training, job center models, and take-it-to-the-streets protection. Instead, we are losing more daily and the full-timers are circling their Priuses and praying for retirement.
Unions, you say, will win the day? They are modern day data collectors, limping along, not making the big move toward protecting the weakest. Just how many liberals and democrats are actually wanting equal pay for equal work, or pay equity, or reshaping the landscape of who gets who and who lives and doesn’t live. You think the unions have protected their own class, or stopped the closures of their own union history schools?
But in the world of the ameliorating creeps of this country, the UAW is somehow good, and the loss is somehow indicative of goodness and closeness and the near acceptance of the UAW as a negotiator. Read the real news fit to print:
Workers need an organization to unite them against multinational corporations and the big business politicians, which serve them. But the UAW is not an organization of struggle. It long ago abandoned any connection to the militant traditions of the past. In place of working class solidarity the UAW is dedicated to solidarity with the auto corporations in their international campaign of cost cutting.
Rather than uniting workers, the UAW works with management to divide workers. In the factories, the UAW pits “first tier” workers against “second tier” workers, forcing them to do the same work for lower wages. It sets workers in one factory against those in others, and makes workers in the US compete against their class brothers in other countries to see who will work for the lowest wages and worst conditions.
On this basis, the UAW has surrendered all of the gains workers wrested from the auto bosses over generations of struggle. Today a second tier worker in Detroit is making less in real terms than his great-grandfather did in 1914.
Ahh, shoot, socialists, as in the World Socialist Web Site: so I suppose it all is irrelevant to Yankees, Southern racists, the very prime-time core of Democratic party Hollywood-loving millionaires who laugh at the poor, the sick, the old, the infirm, and the powerful but non-mainstream.
That is why the struggle for the industrial organization of the working class must be tied to the building of an independent political party to fight for a workers government to end the dictatorship of the banks and corporations over society.
Workers face a struggle not just against one employer but the entire economic and political system—capitalism—that enriches a tiny handful through the impoverishment and exploitation of the vast majority. Today, social inequality is worse than ever, with 85 billionaires controlling more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion people on the planet.
The irrational system must be ended and capitalism replaced with socialism. Economic and political life must be reorganized in the interests of the working class, which produces the wealth, not the bankers and millionaire corporate executives. This includes the placing of the auto industry under the democratic public ownership and control of the working class.
Yep, it is capitalism, yessirree, and Americanism, and exceptionalism, and supply and demand, and free-wheeling and free-shooting markets, and casino capitalism, disaster and shock to the system capitalism, the very idea of trickle down and giant corporate welfare, socialism for the few.
So, on that note, I have a lot of writing to do. New things on the adjunct faculty front, as in more stories on NPR, in the NYT, etc. I’ve said this in the past, several times at DV — story-telling and the commentary madness of the blogsphere, and all this awareness, and these hipsters and Jon Leibowitz Stewart types yammering away, exposing another expose, showing us the pain, giving us these four-minute stories, now, just WHAT has all that done? Raise awareness? Given us 15 Andy Whore-all minutes of fame?
The revolution is not going to be televised, Tweeted, put on Fuck-You-Zucker-Book. Not sent into a cloud server in heaven run by GoogleGlassAsses, or delivered to your front door by Zionist fascists like Jeff “Princeton” Bezos. All the Bloombergs and Gates and rotten decaying-from-the-soul-out folks working as middle men and women, speakers, communications wingdings, writers, authors, researchers, legal louts, what have you, even think tanks on the left divide of the truly RIGHT wing of anyone who thinks Capitalism works, well, all of them are not saviors, each and everyone of them will never do a single thing for the worker, the weakest, the most vulnerable, the truly heroic in our society. Poor and persistent.
Billionaires are professional mafia. Millionaires want to be the Godfather. And, the media are faltering and shills, selling nothing but Botoxed journalism, gutless, emotionless, anti-worker/anti-humane stuff. I have a piece to write about my trip to Los Angeles, and, well, so-so much more. For now, those people reaching out to me, via that web, through all those digital synapses which are sparking interest in DV and expression, well, I give you my thanks: Thanks to the many folks out there who have connected and are connecting. Here is a story, sent to me, via friend of a friend vis-a-vis tin cans strung together with kite string.
Going for the Jugular, or There Will Be Blood — Ours, the Worker, On the Hands of UAW!
By R. Ioseliani
The toughest part of any union organizer’s job is to explain to workers why they are losing something. The union organizer makes every attempt to make the union seem stronger than anything else in a given situation, either in the strength of their argument or in the strength of their presence, so it’s very tricky to admit that things aren’t going the way we’d like. When jobs are lost because of layoffs or closures, the answer is usually that the union can’t stand in the way of management making business decisions.
Workers – not all, but some – will then sometimes ask what the point is of having a union if it can’t affect these sorts of business decisions. This is a healthy response, in my view. After all, high wages and benefits are business decisions. But when a plant closes, the union is supposed to negotiate the terms of that closure; the closure itself is not up for debate. This is where the Grover Norquist ads, plastered all around Chattanooga in the last months, had such a terminal affect on the failed UAW drive. UAW could not promise it could keep Chattanooga from becoming another Detroit, and the politicians were there to fill that awkward silence with more threats to pull and keep other plants from opening.
Likewise, the argument about the UAW’s political game was fair and terminal as well. Labor has been so close to the democrats, smiling through the pain of the Obamacare reforms for example, that this has lost them credibility among the rank and file. Though labor turns out more than ever to work on behalf of Democratic candidates, pensions are evaporating as part of bankruptcy deals, and Wisconsin – a traditional labor stronghold – became a right-to-work state overnight. The economy continues to spiral out of control, and the class of people who cannot afford to feed their families without food stamps is growing. What’s the use of having a union when labor endorses and supports candidates that stand in such opposition to working class interests? Why should the rank and file vote democrat when they see only dwindling union density and impoverishment as a result?
If workers see themselves as part and parcel of the union (which is what any good union organizer seeks to convince), but the union is unable to favorably change conditions, then the rank and file are reinforced in the belief shouted daily from every media outlet in this country that they do not hold much power at all. The boss and the state still hold the guns and the purse strings. The resurgence of syndicalist nostalgia in this country is timely in this current economic climate, as it’s an institution most Americans can recognize as being a somewhat militant way to gaining power on the job, but what happens when this institution is situated within, and dependent on, a system that exists to extract the maximum amount possible from the working class?
The power does exist within the rank and file, but I’m not convinced today’s unions are the best place to focus our energies as radicals. These are institutions that have stopped short of changing the system that closes shops and coddles capitalists at the NLRB. It’s never been fair to expect poorly-funded and understaffed labor to sit at the table as equals with multi-nationals that have effectively robbed the public treasury. But then why are we persisting in this fantasy ourselves?
It’s time to go for the throat or go home – if unions can only draw breath by playing nice with the very politicians and bosses that are antithetical to working class interests, why not go down swinging as an obligation to the workforce? If a worker is asking an organizer why the union can’t keep shops from closing, that’s an excellent instinct. That means a worker sees herself as part of the process, sees himself as holding the keys to power. And when the organizer responds by making excuses for capitalists, that’s when the union loses its appeal to such a worker, and when you’re getting a “no” vote come the NLRB election.
Did anyone say salaries, dues, the old broken red-neck and Jewish and East Coast way of running the unions, certainly not Sal Alinsky style. I have run right into this as an adjunct faculty union organizer, an actual adjunct low-paid, permanent temp, just-in-time, precarious freeway flying academic worker. SEIU with its Obama blitz-love, the careerists, the union folk making $80K for just moving names across a page, getting $50 a month dues here, $100 there. It’s all about this rotten chess game, business types, not revolutionary. Did I say the unions closed their school?
We are supposed to be members in this outfit? National Labor College can’t even stay open? Wow, unions!
Faced with a continuing tide of red ink, no endowment, and constant turnover at the top, the National Labor College‘s board voted Nov. 12 to close the college. No date was set, but the closure is expected soon.
“I am deeply saddened to report that yesterday the Board of Trustees directed me and the college’s officers to develop a plan to close the college,” the institution’s president, Dr. Paula Peinovich, said in a statement posted on its website.
“The college has been facing significant financial difficulties and the board reluctantly decided to accept the inevitability of our closure. We do not have a specific date for closure yet, but will provide information as soon as we can, detailing how the shutdown will proceed. This process will likely take many months,” she said.
Peinovich said the remaining faculty and administrators would develop “a concrete timeline with multiple options” for current students to finish their course work and get their degrees. She was not specific.
“It’s a real tragedy. This is something the labor movement absolutely needs,” said one former top college employee.
The college’s closing is important because it is virtually the only entire institution in the U.S. that has labor studies – everything from history to organizing techniques to collective bargaining – at its center. Over the years, thousands of unionists came to the college to study those fields and others, from labor’s point of view.
By contrast, most major colleges and universities have business schools, teaching corporate techniques and schemes. Those schools ignore workers-at best – or offer “efficiency” courses in how to “use” workers. And state universities with labor studies programs find their programs under political or financial fire, or both. The latest threat, a fiscal one, is at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
The National Labor College grew out of the George Meany Center for Labor Studies. In 2012, trustees put the campus, in Silver Spring, Md., a D.C. suburb, up for sale and planned to make the college an entirely online institution. A recent possible sale of the campus, which also includes a memorial to workers killed on the job, failed.
Meanwhile, red ink grew to some $30 million. Federation President Richard Trumka told his AFL-CIO Executive Council colleagues at a meeting at the college several years ago that the fed could not continue subsidizing the NLC. Trumka also chairs the college’s board.
The problem worsened when the Change to Win unions left the AFL-CIO in 2005. Without an endowment, the AFL-CIO and individual unions are the college’s main financial support. The fed had provided bridge loans.
Now is this not, below, representative of the whole rotten decaying-from-the-soul lot of them?
The UAW is not concerned with defending VW workers, but only with getting millions more in union dues to boost the salaries of the business executives who run the organization. As a reward for overseeing the ripping up of the wages, benefits and work standards, the Detroit auto companies gave a union-controlled trust billions in corporate stocks. The UAW already has assets of more than $1 billion and more than 400 UAW officials earn salaries and expenses in excess of $100,000 per year. UAW President Bob King tops the list at over $153,000 in salary alone.
Here, below, just an example of the corporation the unions seemingly are fighting, but in fact, they are lock stepping into supporting Walmart, as a corporation. The unions are business as usual, but with some pugnacious posturing, for sure. The Obama-Clinton-Sewer Society that protects this corporation, and does business with it. And unions are going to do what for abused, used, and stomped on employees? Just imagine this image, time lapse, and then multiple that by a number around 10,000 other strip mall, fast-food, flinching, bilking, rotten companies, to the 30th power. That’s our little window into a withering world!