No strike clauses and the IWW

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EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 17 2007 03:44
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Unions in North america don't run campaigns in non-union workplaces except to get contracts?

What I mean is that we organize workers to deal with union issues on the shop floor as a union without neccessarily going for certification. Of course unions run other campaigns, that isn't what I meant.

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Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 03:56

i agree with thug on this one.

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thugarchist
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Dec 17 2007 04:16
ncwob wrote:
That's funny then Thug, I specifically bring up the opportunity for you to do that exact thing and instead you're a jackass about it? Makes a lot of sense to me. Excuse me for not knowing your history with the IWW (and you can check all my posts I have never once made reference to your involvement with business unions), but when I try to address an issue that seems pretty damn important--one you evidently feel you could offer some insight on no less--and you're snarky to me about it, it seems pretty damn partisan to me.

Not that I particularly want to engage your arrogant ass, but if you hadn't been such a prick I'd want to hear about your experiences organizing as a radical inside the mainstream unions and hear valid, constructive criticisms of the IWW. But seeing as how this conversation has gone so far, I don't think you have much to offer.

1. It was originally intended not to be snarky towards you but really just a "duh" factor in general. Frankly, the core of my views on industrial organizing and the genesis of my views on the natural tension between industrial vs local democracy within unions is straight out of the old school IWW playbook. So forgive me a little frustration that this seems to be a brand new problem since you guys have some serious writings on the subject dating back over a 100 years that are no less relevant now than they were then.

2. I don't really think I'm a radical inside mainstream unions. I did at one point and then figured out over time that the average worker is much more radical than me or my fringe politico ideals I identify with. At least they are when given the opportunity to not scramble over their coworkers lives for who gets the 10 cent merit raise and can actually see collective action work. Not to say there isn't a lot of reactionary views as well.

3. I agree that I have little to offer.

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 17 2007 04:17

The Mechanics Educational Society of America was a machinists' union, it was a competitor to the IAM. When the Cleveland stove factory workers left the IWW, they went to MESA.

I think having a prohibition of no-strike clauses in the union constitution is a good idea. But if you do this, you'd need to prohibit mandatory arbitration also because the courts have interpreted that as equivalent to a no-strike clause.

Glaberman's discussion about World War 2 isn't really relevant. That's because you have to consider the context. There was literally zero unemployment in the U.S. during the war. This was a huge increase in worker bargaining power. That's why the employers and the federal government and FDR wanted no-strike pledges. But workers who'd been thru all they'd had to put up with during the depression years were in no mood to not take advantage of that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

gurley:

Quote:
Plus you have a number of organizations which get a *ton* of backing from unions and are essentially front groups but don't organize explicitly to get a contract. I'm thinking of groups like Young Workers United and EBASE (East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy) who organize working people around economic justice issues. More on this later...i'm going out for dinner.

Young Workers United does organize workers on the job, to gain concessions from management, if not contracts. I was recently talking with a young woman who used to be in YWU. She's now doing salting for HERE local 2 in the restaurant industry. Her view is that not being a dues-based organization makes workers centers like YWU less directly controlled by the members.

I agree with Duke that the local union needs to stay in tune with the industrial program of the larger federation BUT I think it's equally important how that program is decided. If it's not decided by the workers in that industry, then that's a problem.

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Devrim
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Dec 17 2007 06:43
ncwob wrote:
Note I mean this to be a legitimate discussion, please respond as such. In fact, why don't serious responders--wobblies and others who want to see us succeed as a union--hop on over to this thread to answer:

Does this imply that those who don't believe that it is possible for the IWW to succeed as anything other than a 'yellow union' are not serious?

After the initial shock has worn off non off, this is really very surprising. This is how unions behave, and the IWW must behave like this in order to act like a union.

Devrim

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Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 08:00

wait till Organise! gains relevance and see what how many eejits you get in your org and what fuck ups like this they create.

Mike Harman
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Dec 17 2007 08:10
thugarchist wrote:
Unions in North america don't run campaigns in non-union workplaces except to get contracts? Thats just not true. Look at the Manor Care campaign for a most recent example. Its all about stopping equity funds from buying healthcare companies. Not about organizing a union. There's plenty of other examples but thats the biggest most recent in international news.

Oi! I'm not talking about unions running obbying campaigns, I'm talking about workers who happen to be members of unions organising informally on the job when there's no representation.

Mike Harman
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Dec 17 2007 08:17
ncwob wrote:
Jesus, you and Catch with the demeaning tone... Anyway, I brought this up as a point of discussion to be worked out and dealt with. Hence my little disclaimer about hoping to solicit serious responses. And the issue brought up in the IW is the role of centralized union brass in making decisions that undermine the basic autonomy of local branches. The point that I raised, on the other hand, is about the balance of power in a non-hierarchically organized, democratic, rank-and-file union (the IWW or otherwise) regarding local autonomy and national or international union democracy.

Well that covers the form, what about the content?

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But thank you for sidestepping a legitimate issue for your own partisan ends.

You're welcome.

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Dec 17 2007 08:24
revol68 wrote:
it would take a serious about turn for Organise! to sign no strike contracts.

or just some eejits to do it behind the entire organizations back

Bubbles's picture
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Dec 17 2007 08:33

practical? no. its just a shame that its taking so long to rebuild the internal structure and discipline within my union.

severin
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Dec 17 2007 08:42
x357997 wrote:
wait till Organise! gains relevance and see what how many eejits you get in your org and what fuck ups like this they create.

So who are the 'eejits' in your organization, oh pompous imbecile who keeps sending me obnoxious private messages?

Will you name them? These people who you are supposed to stand in solidairity with?

What is your role in the IWW, what do you do? Are you an organizer? Are you the fucking bouncer or something? The butler? The drooling mascot?

Do you 'administer discipline'? Decide who is 'vanguard' or not?

Bubbles's picture
Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 08:56

omg you couldnt get better...or could you?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=U6I-jSiBqUs

dont forget to sing along

Life couldn't get better
(oh yeah yeah yeah)
Life couldn't get better
You came into my life from afar
Like a big shining star
(without you baby)
Boy you really made me laugh
When you claimed
to collect cars
(baby)
Whoa step into your world
of miracles
Pink charming prince
come and rescue me right now
Life couldn't get better (hey)
Unless you're by my side
When I see your smiles (ho)
That's when I know you're all right
Life couldn't get better
(hey)
The number thirteen just feels right
Even princess rella agrees with me

severin
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Dec 17 2007 09:02

roll eyes

Whatever. Didn't expect an answer the question of what exactly you 'do' is....because I am sure there is none.

Don't get too comfy in that armchair, douchebag.

Seriously name the 'eejits' in your org. Say it to their faces.

Bubbles's picture
Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 09:04

and why should i tell you? arm chair? sry, i found this chair with no arms....but it does spin and has a stub!

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Dec 17 2007 09:31
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I don't think that a revolutionary organization should negotiate with bosses at all, frankly.

I agree with this too.

Bubbles's picture
Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 09:33

even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

OliverTwister's picture
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Dec 17 2007 09:41
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even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

Evidence?

The CNT-E does not negotiate with bosses, and they call for all negotiations that take place to be done through a general assembly of workers and not through unions.

severin
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Dec 17 2007 09:42

A revolutionary organization's role in the workplace is to coordinate expropriation. Period. In the short term, and in the long term. Individually and en masse. It must educate itself, tactically, so that it has a solid basis in this path, and share its justifications.

Its role is not the development of new recuperative structures. Not 'mediation'.

Fuck mediation, contracts, 'politics'- this is war.

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Dec 17 2007 09:45
severin wrote:
A revolutionary organization's role in the workplace is to coordinate expropriation. Period. In the short term, and in the long term. Individually and en masse. It must educate itself, tactically, so that it has a solid basis in this path, and share its justifications.

Its role is not the development of new recuperative structures. Not 'mediation'.

Fuck mediation, this is war.

Definitely.

Bubbles's picture
Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 09:47
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

Evidence?

The CNT-E does not negotiate with bosses, and they call for all negotiations that take place to be done through a general assembly of workers and not through unions.

thats what i meant...

the assemblies are the union....

Bubbles's picture
Bubbles
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Dec 17 2007 09:50
severin wrote:
this is war.

when and where are we handing out guns? do i get one of those neat pick-ups with a belt machine gun welded to to roll frame in the bed of the truck?

severin
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Dec 17 2007 09:51

wall

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OliverTwister
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Dec 17 2007 09:51
x357997 wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

Evidence?

The CNT-E does not negotiate with bosses, and they call for all negotiations that take place to be done through a general assembly of workers and not through unions.

thats what i meant...

the assemblies are the union....

Exceot that what i said is that the CNTe do not negotiate with bosses, they are explicit that the workers must do that on their own terms and reject union sabotage.

Bubbles's picture
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Dec 17 2007 09:54
revol68 wrote:
x357997 wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

Evidence?

The CNT-E does not negotiate with bosses, and they call for all negotiations that take place to be done through a general assembly of workers and not through unions.

thats what i meant...

So by negotiate with bosses you mean they aren't on strike until libertarian communism is achieved?

im sry, im a bit confused by this...

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Dec 17 2007 09:55
OliverTwister wrote:
x357997 wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
even the IWA negotiates with bosses.

Evidence?

The CNT-E does not negotiate with bosses, and they call for all negotiations that take place to be done through a general assembly of workers and not through unions.

thats what i meant...

the assemblies are the union....

Exceot that what i said is that the CNTe do not negotiate with bosses, they are explicit that the workers must do that on their own terms and reject union sabotage.

the workers are the union...no?

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Dec 17 2007 10:06
jef costello wrote:
In principle yes, although if there is a contract that I'm happy with I'd agree to no strikes during the contract because obviously if they stick to an agreed contract then there's no need to strike (usually) and if they break the terms then they can't bitch about workers breaking the no strike clause.

jef, the problem is contracts aren't formed on a level playing field. They're an indicator of the balance of power between workers and bosses at any one point. If the workers get weaker, bosses will attack their wages and conditions, even if they're in a contract. If the workers aren't strong enough to defend them, they'll lose out. Maybe some court arbitration could settle a couple of issues for a small minority of workers - at great expense - but most won't. So workers shouldn't be bound by contracts either. If workers are strong enough to get shorter hours or higher wages, they should demand it, and fuck the contract.

x357997 wrote:
wait till Organise! gains relevance and see what how many eejits you get in your org and what fuck ups like this they create.

Organise! doesn't pretend to be a union so this isn't relevant. It's open about being a political group so they don't have to let in people who don't agree with their politics (despite what revol always says - even though he's always harshest on people with different politics to him)

OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
I don't think that a revolutionary organization should negotiate with bosses at all, frankly.

I agree with this too.

I think I'd probably disagree with severin on a fair bit, but this is true. This is the job of workers assemblies, not revolutionary groups.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 17 2007 13:38
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In principle yes, although if there is a contract that I'm happy with I'd agree to no strikes during the contract because obviously if they stick to an agreed contract then there's no need to strike (usually) and if they break the terms then they can't bitch about workers breaking the no strike clause.

In practice though, the existence of a no-strike part to a contract is as much a divisive measure as it is a straight deal.

If a company breaks its word and throws out part of the contract, it is automatically doing so as a united entity and will be pre-geared to then defending itself from reprisals.

The workforce however is responding against an additional barrier because of that deal, which can put off wavering individuals, give a smart company boss extra ammunition and (as there's no expectation of conflict) could mean that organisation and readiness for conflict is at a low ebb shuld the worst happen.

As a tactic, allowing such deals is over time inviting a reliance on your bosses to keep their part unless you retain a clandestine level of readiness against them - difficult to achieve without potentially alienating weaker sections of the workforce, getting snitched on, getting organisers isolated more easily etc.

syndicalist
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Dec 17 2007 15:13

I would be curious---and someone can PM if you wish---which IWW shops or inductries/services have the no strike clause.

Within the context of the reformist unions,usually no-strike clauses, managment rights and so forth are exchanged for the union shop and other "pro-union" or "pro-worker" stipulations. Health & safety matters come to mind in the industrial sector.

It's not unuusal when there's a weak membership for such clauses to also be agreed to. Now I don't know if this was the case in the IWW shops----or just some folks who wanted to be trade unionists under the IWW banner.

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Dec 17 2007 16:21
Severin wrote:
A revolutionary organization's role in the workplace is to coordinate expropriation. Period. In the short term, and in the long term. Individually and en masse. It must educate itself, tactically, so that it has a solid basis in this path, and share its justifications.

Its role is not the development of new recuperative structures. Not 'mediation'.

Fuck mediation, contracts, 'politics'- this is war.

I don't particularly like when political arguments become personal, but Severin, by your own admission you are not a part of any organization and I've yet to hear you discuss anything of relevance, only revolutionary slogans. Who is sitting in the arm chair exactly?

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Dec 17 2007 16:31
Quote:
the problem is contracts aren't formed on a level playing field. They're an indicator of the balance of power between workers and bosses at any one point. If the workers get weaker, bosses will attack their wages and conditions, even if they're in a contract. If the workers aren't strong enough to defend them, they'll lose out. Maybe some court arbitration could settle a couple of issues for a small minority of workers - at great expense - but most won't. So workers shouldn't be bound by contracts either. If workers are strong enough to get shorter hours or higher wages, they should demand it, and fuck the contract.

This is a really good analysis. If you want to hear my honest opinion, I think the reason the IWW is entering into contracts now is an attempt to claim our legitimacy. Organization is an uphill battle, nevermind revolutionary organization, and since many of us believe (myself included) that realizing collective power is a first step toward realizing revolutionary consciousness, I think it is easy to jump the gun and say, 'this one contract will help put the IWW back on the map and from there we prove there is some concrete benefits to our organization and can begin to spread revolutionary propaganda.' Failings, yes, but I think a bit of sympathetic contextualizing is warranted. The logical criticisms of this are that we need to develop better propaganda and better structures to organize outside of the 'standard' channels.