No strike clauses and the IWW

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severin
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Dec 16 2007 06:39

that's kind of a douchebag comment..um, that is a douchebag comment.

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MJ
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Dec 16 2007 06:44

Just kidding, I actually have no idea who he is. It just sounded real paranoid. Sorry.

severin
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Dec 16 2007 06:47

don't apologize to me, bro. apologize to fnbrill.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 06:50

I think the IWW as a whole should apologize for everything they've ever said about mainstream unions.

BTW, do any of these contracts have grievance procedures?

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MJ
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Dec 16 2007 06:56
severin wrote:
don't apologize to me, bro. apologize to fnbrill.

I just assumed he'd take it as a joke (unless he was actually super paranoid). (he?)

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 07:01
MJ wrote:
severin wrote:
don't apologize to me, bro. apologize to fnbrill.

I just assumed he'd take it as a joke (unless he was actually super paranoid). (he?)

You're interupting my enjoyment!

BTW, are there tiered wage provisions in any of these contracts?

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MJ
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Dec 16 2007 07:02

thug, I'm sorry.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 07:05
MJ wrote:
thug, I'm sorry.

No problem.

BTW are there any management rights clauses in these contracts?

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Nate
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Dec 16 2007 07:20

Duke, yes mgt rights, I think grievance procedures and I think tiered wages. Don't know about the rest.

Booey, disregard my other message. Hit the red button.

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fnbrill
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Dec 16 2007 07:39
Nate wrote:
Brill, that nefarious internal faction has that long of tentacles? That's why the most recent no strike clause was in the social service shop in your branch like this year and why you couldn't stop it? That sounds a bit dubious to me. I think "faction" is a misleading term here, more like "mindset."

Nate - you're my favorite naif in the IWW. beardiest

The way it works is if you start off with a crappy contract it's really hard to get rid of the crappy parts later. A member of Portland IWW - let's call him BB - served as a mentor for a number of folks who wanted to take the IWW in a more 'realistic' direction. I joke about that because one of the things i was accused of was being "unrealistic" while they were negotiating contracts with terrible grievence procedures, no strike clauses, etc.

Was it a 'faction'? Again, my dry sarcasm undercuts my meaning. I was accused of heading a 'faction' and thus a "political enemy who must be marginalized" - true quote.

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Devrim
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Dec 16 2007 07:46

This is more unbelievable than the Scottish parliament farce.

Devrim

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gurley
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Dec 16 2007 08:18
newyawka wrote:
gurley wrote:
Many of the ILWU locals have contracts which are over 50 years old. Theres allot of weird ass shit in there, some good, some awful and its really hard to get the rotten stuff out when its been in there since 1945. .

eek

?

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 10:13
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
Yeah, I'm not sure about Bay Area because it's not a branch I have a lot of contact with but some of the social services shops that are under contract in Portland have no strike clauses.

OK so not some stupid hippies in a vegan food co-op we can laugh at then.

What's the ODB?

EdmontonWobbly wrote:
TBH I probably should fight the urge to get too defensive about this with you catch because I actually agree with you that no strike clauses are bad news.

I think a lot of the problem on here is people getting defensive about their organisations on issues they'd be pretty strident on otherwise, so I appreciate your directness.

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 10:18
pghwob wrote:
The IWW's Bylaws prohibit branches from signing clauses which obligate union members to cross other workers' picket lines, which most no-strike clauses permit. However, under the By-laws an IWW job branch can sign away its right to strike in on its own behalf. That has been the common interpretation of this:

ARTICLE XI
Agreements
Sec. 1. Each Industrial Union shall have
power to make rules relating to agreements
between its job branches and the employers.
Sec. 2. No agreement made by any component
part of the IWW shall provide for a
checkoff of union dues by the employer, or
obligate the members of the union to do work that would aid in breaking any strike.

Note that Industrial Unions can completely prohibit contracts.

OK that's what I thought you were talking about, but wasn't sure. Over here, if members of a union go on wildcat, then the shop steward (unpaid rep, sometimes with no facility time) upwards are required to condemn it publically. Otherwise they're personally liable, and union funds can get sequestered. These are often the same people organising the wildcat. That would certainly fall under the bylaws.

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 10:26
Weaver wrote:
To the best of my knowledge, most in the IWW look down on no-strike clauses as not the type of unionism we want to build and the result of poor organizing. But, as others have said, whatever prohibition we used to have, it no longer exists (we used to prohibit participation in the NLRB too).

Currently, I believe the Portland social services shops *do* have no-strike clauses, but the Bay Area branch's two recycling shops *do not* have no-strike clauses and a pretty good union cluture of stopping work when grievences arise, holding stop work meetings and marching on the boss. There is even one case of the African-American workers deciding they should have MLK day off and simply leaving at noon, then when Ceasar Chavez Day came, the Latino workers did the same with the backing of the African-American workers. These holidays were later added into their contracts (a small blurb appeared in the IW on this, but I can't find it on the internet).

I really fail to see what outlawing "no-strikes" clauses in contracts would do that providing people with more skills in bargaining and better organizing wouldn't accomplish better. Often when 'no-strike' is added into a contract it reflects a lack of strength in the fight over bargaining, rather than members and organizers just caving in to pragmatism from what I've seen. There are also a great deal of other problematic parts of contracts as pgh mentioned such as discipline clauses that can sometimes be worse. If we provide more education and training and from our persective of building worker power, I think we'll be better off.

The issue here is not whether you might be able to negotiate better contracts in certain conditions, it's whether you should be putting yourselves in the position of signing no-strike clauses (and binding arbitration sounds potentially as bad) at all. It goes to the fundamental issues of the role of trade unions in negotiating the price of labour and shits on the history of those, whether wobs or not, who fought no strike clauses during the last century - whether politically or by simply downing tools. It's the exact counter argument to the mass organisation/political organisation discussion - if you really are a real union then why not do what other real unions do?

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 10:32
fnbrill wrote:
My concern has been there has been no discussion in regards to no-strike in the US context. The Mechanics Educational Social Association was a autoworkers union which was allowed to strike legally during WW2 because the constitution forbaid no strike clauses. Is something like this - or something similar - possible in the US? There needs to be some creativity in addressing the issue.

iirc, they didn't strike as much as the workers who had to fight their own unions in order to do so. And that the rank and filists campaigning against the no-strike clause were striking less than those who didn't even bother to vote.

From Glaberman's description of MESA it hardly sounds like a model to follow - the real lesson of that period was the workers who ignored the union apparatus entirely and struck anyway, rather than trying to create a 'better' unionism.

Mike Harman
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Dec 16 2007 10:37
Nate wrote:
Brill, that nefarious internal faction has that long of tentacles? That's why the most recent no strike clause was in the social service shop in your branch like this year and why you couldn't stop it? That sounds a bit dubious to me. I think "faction" is a misleading term here, more like "mindset."

Sounds like a mindset that wants the IWW to be a 'real union' and a 'mass organisation' to me.

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Steven.
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Dec 16 2007 11:59

I cannot believe this... Well actually I can. But you would think that a radical union would at least reach a decent size before it started emulating the behaviour of business unions.

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the button
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Dec 16 2007 12:10

Here's a story about Amicus ditching no-strike clauses in 2002: -

Quote:
No strike "sweetheart" deals are to be scrapped by the new leftwing leader of Britain's main manufacturing union after complaints from members, including workers at the Nissan car plant, that they put too much power in the hands of managers.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of 1.2 million-strong Amicus, said he would sign no more of the agreements and would seek to renegotiate existing ones if the membership voted to terminate them.

Amicus, he said, would also refuse to enter "beauty contests" in which employers pick a union to represent the workforce and dictate on what terms it operates.

"Sweetheart deals and beauty parades work in favour of the employer and not the employees. I want to represent employees more effectively and will have no truck with such agreements," said Mr Simpson.

The leader of the Amicus-AEEU engineering section said his union was a signatory to a "significant" number of no strike deals and one senior official said 32 had already been identified, including a series at electronics plants in south Wales with any renegotiations to be triggered by a ballot of the employees involved.

No strike deals were greeted as the way forward for unions by Margaret Thatcher and yesterday's announcement suggests "partnership", championed by the TUC, is to be redefined by Britain's second biggest union.

For a bit of historical context, this is after the AEEU (one of the constituent parts of Amicus) had spent years pimping its member to companies such as Nissan on the basis that they wouldn't go on strike.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/unions/story/0,,788467,00.html

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Red Marriott
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Dec 16 2007 12:32

Comrades, if we want to build an effective fighting mass organisation we have to make some tactical compromises along the way - how else can we fight anti-working class measures such as no-strike agreements except by making them on our own negotiated terms when necessary? For today's Wobblies, workers obviously need union representation more than they need the right to strike - it's the new realism of the times.
IWW 1906; "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common" . 2007; "(except their no-strike agreements)".

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 14:10

I just love it how people assume the IWW pushes for these things, rather than it not being important to workers to toss out a no strike clause because few people actually want to go on strike and there are almost always other ways of dealing with the situation, from sick-outs to living up to the book of rules.

I think the most important thing is that workers in the same industry have the ability to coordinate the setting of conditions and go out together if necessary. This is why the IUs have the right to set their own rules, including no contracts all together.

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 14:25

"Originally the IWW had put no restrictions, except requiring GEB approval, on contracts, and much of the discussion at the founding convention as to what constituted an industry proceeded on the assumption that industry-wide action would depend on the structure of the industrial union making contracts. The tradition of no contracts with specified duration had come from the Western Federation, and persisted until changed in 1938 to permit each Industrial Union to make its own regulations on the matter. Some Industrial Unions have persistently forbidden such agreements. Provisions adopted in 1946 ended the requirement of GEB approval, but stipulated that no agreement should provide for a check-off or obligate members covered by it to do any work that would aid in breaking any union's strike."
--From The IWW - Its First Fifty Years pp. 45-6, or The IWW: Its First 100 Years, pp. 37-8.

petey
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Dec 16 2007 16:29
gurley wrote:
newyawka wrote:
eek

?

maybe not too starling on second thought: bits like wage amounts get changed, other bits don't. what sorts of clauses have survived?

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 16:39
Nate wrote:
Duke, yes mgt rights, I think grievance procedures and I think tiered wages. Don't know about the rest.

Booey, disregard my other message. Hit the red button.

Ok. I'm not trying to be a dick here, I'll save that for some future moment when I get called a business unionist by some goatee wearing college student who pays his six bucks a month and owns one of those fucking IWW yoyos, but what exactly is the difference between the IWW and any other union except for being miniscule?

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 16:56

Asked and answered 100 times, Duke. As for tiered wages, I am not so clear there is any provision for such.

P.S. Let's define our terms. When I think of tiered wages, I think of the union agreeing that workers hired after X point in time will receive less pay, rather than pay differences based on just seniority. Thus, under a tiered system, even workers who put in 20 years could make much less than a worker who had been present at the time of the signing of the agreement and working there 20 years and 2 months.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 17:05
pghwob wrote:
Asked and answered 100 times, Duke. As for tiered wages, I am not so clear there is any provision for such.

P.S. Let's define our terms. When I think of tiered wages, I think of the union agreeing that workers hired after X point in time will receive less pay, rather than pay differences based on just seniority. Thus, under a tiered system, even workers who put in 20 years could make much less than a worker who had been present at the time of the signing of the agreement and working there 20 years and 2 months.

Asked and answered? I must have missed the 100 answers then, because clearly the only difference is tiny size and lack of effectiveness.

Define terms? So a two-tiered wage and/or benefit system is what you're describing. A tiered wage system rewards seniority more for the same work than it does for a newer employee doing the same work. I was involved in negotiating a UAW specialty wallpaper factory some 10 years or so ago, they didn't have a tiered wage. Everyone made the same amount of money and everyone got the same raise regardless of whether you were there for 20 years or 20 minutes.

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 17:29
Quote:
I'm not trying to be a dick here, but what exactly is the difference between the IWW and any other union except for being miniscule?
Quote:
because clearly the only difference is tiny size and lack of effectiveness

Why do you ask questions you so unmistakably think you have the answers to? Go fuck yourself.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 17:31
pghwob wrote:
Quote:
I'm not trying to be a dick here, but what exactly is the difference between the IWW and any other union except for being miniscule?
Quote:
because clearly the only difference is tiny size and lack of effectiveness

Why do you ask questions you so unmistakably think you have the answers to? Go fuck yourself.

I'm more than willing to have my interpretation of observable data challenged. If you can't explain the difference just say so.

pgh2a
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Dec 16 2007 17:38

"Everyone made the same amount of money and everyone got the same raise regardless of whether you were there for 20 years or 20 minutes"

Right, that's what I'm talking about when I say differences based on seniority. The only way seniority factors in is in terms of raises, and date of hire would not effect base pay rate. That is different from the multi-tiered contracts some unions sign -- for example, the UFCW.

As for no strike & union scabbing clauses (the latter of which is explicitly prohibited by the union's bylaws), the Ecology Center's contract is online and has a good example of language which can be used:

SECTION G. UNION SOLIDARITY
It shall not be a violation of this Agreement, and shall not be cause for discharge or disciplinary action in the event an Employee refuses to enter upon any property involved in a labor dispute or refuses to work behind any primary picket line including the primary picket line of the Union party to this Agreement.

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thugarchist
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Dec 16 2007 17:49
pghwob wrote:
"Everyone made the same amount of money and everyone got the same raise regardless of whether you were there for 20 years or 20 minutes"

1. Right, that's what I'm talking about when I say differences based on seniority. The only way seniority factors in is in terms of raises, and date of hire would not effect base pay rate. That is different from the multi-tiered contracts some unions sign -- for example, the UFCW.

2. As for no strike & union scabbing clauses (the latter of which is explicitly prohibited by the union's bylaws), the Ecology Center's contract is online and has a good example of language which can be used:

3. SECTION G. UNION SOLIDARITY
It shall not be a violation of this Agreement, and shall not be cause for discharge or disciplinary action in the event an Employee refuses to enter upon any property involved in a labor dispute or refuses to work behind any primary picket line including the primary picket line of the Union party to this Agreement.

1. I'd say most rather than some. Nearly every contract I've ever seen pays people with seniority more. I'm not sure singling the UFCW as an example of a union with bad contracts makes sense in terms of this issue. Normally I'd agree. I tend to refer to them as the United Front to Cut Wages. However, tiered wages is a standard in union contracts in most of the US and Canada certainly, and its existed in all of the contracts I've seen from other countries, but I jst haven't seen enough to feel comfortable stating it stronger.

2. Link?

3. Not bad. I'd be a little wary of the "primary picket line" terminology though.