No strike clauses and the IWW

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OliverTwister
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Dec 21 2007 07:12

there's a big difference between no-strike clauses and the repeated allegations towards JB which have been dealt with openly at 3 GAs and about which no merit was found.

severin
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Dec 21 2007 07:14
ncwob wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
Quote:
You complain about the legalistic bent of mainstream unions, you preach against little power-fiefdoms in mainstream unions, you preach against bad contracts in mainstream unions, yadda yadda yadda. Go clean your own house.

Well i'm active in trying to change things in the iww, not in other unions. Keep in mind i was the one who mentioned the no-strike-clauses in the first place. I think this stuff is a big problem.

IN other words i agree with you.

Well then don't get all sore-tushy when people bring it up.

I'm wary just to wade back into this conversation again, but you and revol are having a little wank fest over all this (complete with pictures), excuse us for the 'sore tushies.' It just seems if you were concerned with addressing these issues and had to remotest bit of faith in the IWW (or even its ideals), the dynamic of this conversation would be vastly different.

I believe that they lack faith in the organization precisely because they have faith in the ideals. Because apparently the practice of the IWW is so fucking divergent from its ideals that it cannot be glossed over or ignored.

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thugarchist
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Dec 21 2007 07:19
OliverTwister wrote:
there's a big difference between no-strike clauses and the repeated allegations towards JB which have been dealt with openly at 3 GAs and about which no merit was found.

Dude. If Alexis' books are open at any time why was it only discovered this year that the literature department hadn't collected tens of thousands of dollars on shipped literature over the corse of 5 years. All I'm saying is that if ya gotta problem then its your business, but if you spend a considerable amount of organizational time criticizing other unions then suck it up when you get it thrown in your face.

severin
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Dec 21 2007 07:24
thugarchist wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
there's a big difference between no-strike clauses and the repeated allegations towards JB which have been dealt with openly at 3 GAs and about which no merit was found.

Dude. If Alexis' books are open at any time why was it only discovered this year that the literature department hadn't collected tens of thousands of dollars on shipped literature over the corse of 5 years. All I'm saying is that if ya gotta problem then its your business, but if you spend a considerable amount of organizational time criticizing other unions then suck it up when you get it thrown in your face.

In any other organization of ANY KIND, this sort of lack of accountability would be handled with by expulsion. Period.

I'll repeat: do either of these people still hold office in the IWW?

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thugarchist
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Dec 21 2007 07:28
ncwob wrote:
I'm wary just to wade back into this conversation again, but you and revol are having a little wank fest over all this (complete with pictures), excuse us for the 'sore tushies.' It just seems if you were concerned with addressing these issues and had to remotest bit of faith in the IWW (or even its ideals), the dynamic of this conversation would be vastly different.

While its true that I don't believe in the syndicalist model (or revolutionary unionism) its not true that I don't have respect for the history and traditions of the wobs nor is it true that I don't respect most wobs. A wob cooked me dinner tonight for fucks sake. black bloc

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OliverTwister
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Dec 21 2007 07:50
severin wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
there's a big difference between no-strike clauses and the repeated allegations towards JB which have been dealt with openly at 3 GAs and about which no merit was found.

Dude. If Alexis' books are open at any time why was it only discovered this year that the literature department hadn't collected tens of thousands of dollars on shipped literature over the corse of 5 years. All I'm saying is that if ya gotta problem then its your business, but if you spend a considerable amount of organizational time criticizing other unions then suck it up when you get it thrown in your face.

In any other organization of ANY KIND, this sort of lack of accountability would be handled with by expulsion. Period.

I'll repeat: do either of these people still hold office in the IWW?

roll eyes So Alexis should be expelled because lots of people have been skint on paying what they owe?

The fact is all the uncollected money was recorded, and is accounted for, the problem is with the rest of the iww in paying their debts not with Alexis.

severin
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Dec 21 2007 07:52

that's fine.

its suddenly dawned on me..i dont give a shit anyways.

hahahha

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Dec 21 2007 07:53
OliverTwister wrote:
severin wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
there's a big difference between no-strike clauses and the repeated allegations towards JB which have been dealt with openly at 3 GAs and about which no merit was found.

Dude. If Alexis' books are open at any time why was it only discovered this year that the literature department hadn't collected tens of thousands of dollars on shipped literature over the corse of 5 years. All I'm saying is that if ya gotta problem then its your business, but if you spend a considerable amount of organizational time criticizing other unions then suck it up when you get it thrown in your face.

In any other organization of ANY KIND, this sort of lack of accountability would be handled with by expulsion. Period.

I'll repeat: do either of these people still hold office in the IWW?

roll eyes So Alexis should be expelled because lots of people have been skint on paying what they owe?

The fact is all the uncollected money was recorded, and is accounted for, the problem is with the rest of the iww in paying their debts not with Alexis.

Don't you elect a treasurer to, I don't know, collect the money and stuff?

Edit -> If it wasn't Alexis' fault why did philly stonewall for months an audit of the literature department's books? Why didn't they simply mail invoices? Why didn't they report the growing loss to the Eboard so they could deal with it? Why hide it? If it was just about people not paying then all the bad debt would have been reported openly. I mean, thats how you collect in lefty groups right? Shame? So it went five years in secret and then came out when she was no longer GST. Fascinating stuff.

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Steven.
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Dec 21 2007 11:27
thugarchist wrote:
So the building was donated to the wobs for free. He bought it from the wobs. Who was GST who sold it to him? Anyhoo, so he bought the free building from the wobs and now rents it to them?

Is this first bit in bold true?

revol68 wrote:
fnbrill wrote:
revol68 wrote:
of course far be it anarcho syndicalists to suggest this shit is what happens when 'revolutionary unions' jettison any sort of politics or principles in favour of oppurtunistic 'recruitment'.

I think this is rather unfair. The IWW didn't agree to these no strike agreements they were negotiated in secret by individuals and agreed upon by new members who didn't understand the ramifications. Yes, the IWW needs to be responsible for this failure, but it is a failure of hyper-democracy and the ideology of "autonomy" which allows opportunists to take advantage of the IWW's structure.

It's bullshit, it comes from the fact i could sign my fucking dog up to the IWW, aren't your new members able to read the fucking preamble or something?

It's funny you've argued against me every time I said this would happen. And despite you keeping on in discussions with me about how you don't need a tight political line on things, in your posts to everyone else you keep saying you need a tighter line. roll eyes

Mike Harman
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Dec 21 2007 12:42

So how exactly do you propose that mass revolutionary organs will arise unless there's a high level of open class conflict occurring? (note, I didn't say "revolutionary times" since I don't think it's possible to agree on what constitutes those).

And do you think they'll stay the same size, and as revolutionary, when it either subsides or is crushed by reaction?

I agree with you on this bit:

revol68 wrote:
The major problem is that the IWW are going about it arse about tit, their approach is 'build the union and the struggle will come'

and this bit:

revol68 wrote:
politco fuckwits who imagine it is their role to go out there and organise workers for struggle and that workers can and will not ever move towards revolutionary positions, so best to hide what actual politics and principals you have.

(A couple of present exceptions included, who I hope will split or kick the idiots out.)

But this doesn't contradict what either myself or John. has argued elsewhere.

petey
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Dec 21 2007 16:30
thugarchist wrote:
A wob cooked me dinner tonight for fucks sake. black bloc

hmmmmmmm ...

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gurley
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Dec 21 2007 18:37
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I think there may be two buildings being confused. The old HQ in Philly used to be in a fairly dilapidated structure, and it moved around late 2002 if I recall correctly. I have never heard of any ABCF donation, and I would have definitely heard if it the most recent HQ in Philly was donated to the IWW. I just don't see that happening.

Folks are actually confusing three buildings. The Ben Fletcher Center was an old building in North Philly that never went anywhere. Some folks from ABCF and the wobs bought it and were gonna let the wobs (and others?) use it as a community center. Remember that this is Philly, the town where you can buy a 3 bedroom house for $1.00. I have no idea who owns it now.

The wobs used to rent an office near downtown Philly that was in an old dilapidated building. They moved when Bekken and Alexis got their building in West Philly. I think many people have commented on this.

I can find out about the Friend's center no-strike clause etc... An ex of mine was fired from the Friends center during that campaign. For the record, they were not organizing the non-profit kids...they organized the janitors and front deck clerks.

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Nate
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Dec 22 2007 00:41

[Edit: never mind.]

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Nate
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Dec 22 2007 00:54

Back to no strike clauses:

The majority of new IWW organizing to the best of my knowledge is not focused on winning contracts. I don't know how many contracts there are and I don't know the %s of contracts with no strike clauses. I'd bet that Catch's estimate of 30% or so is right. I don't know what % that is of over all IWW organizing. It's low I think, but it's still a real problem. I think no strike clauses are a bad idea for the IWW and in general.

On the other hand I think splitting over them or kicking people out or whatever would be stupid though. That'd make for more pure organizations, but accomplish little else. Instead, it's important for wobs to argue this stuff out internally and try to move people. That has happened on some campaigns. Training helps too. The current training program in the union is not focused on contracts but on winning shopfloor improvements through building shopfloor power, and using those improvements to build more power.

All of that said, I fail to see why no strike clauses are really such a big deal to some folk. I mean, I don't like them and I oppose them inside the IWW and we shouldn't have them. But this whole "betrayal of the class" thing is stupid. I think libcommies would make a better impact on the working class by working to help win a mediocre union contract (which includes a no strike clause but also higher pay, better conditions, and better benefits) than by going to a reading group on Bordiga or Bakunin or whoever. I don't think those exhaust the range of options, of course, and certainly no strike clauses are a serious issue, but the tone of some of these posts makes it sound like workers are better off without the contract and with lower pay, benefits, and conditions. If people really do think that, that's stupid.

I also think that this thread has offered very little to help rid the IWW of no strike clauses. Like, the wobs here who oppose that stuff, any of you better off now? I understand that this forum's goal isn't to help the IWW, but again, what is this accomplishing? Venting outrage? Doing a sort of "I told you so" about how the IWW couldn't have done anything but make this sort of mistake? Something else I'm missing?

rata
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Dec 22 2007 01:19
Nate wrote:
All of that said, I fail to see why no strike clauses are really such a big deal to some folk.

eek confused

Preamble to the IWW Constitution wrote:
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

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Bubbles
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Dec 22 2007 01:41

yea nate, where did that come from?

Mike Harman
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Dec 22 2007 02:03
Nate wrote:
On the other hand I think splitting over them or kicking people out or whatever would be stupid though. That'd make for more pure organizations, but accomplish little else.

Then why not work for the SEIU, or Unite HERE or some other organising union? Seriously.

Nate wrote:
I think libcommies would make a better impact on the working class by working to help win a mediocre union contract

Well working to help a mediocre union contract would describe the action of the CPs during the '30s - who then spent the '40s breaking strikes to enforce, well, no strike contracts. It certainly had an impact on the working class, possible not the sort you had in mind but stil, an impact nonetheless.

Quote:
than by going to a reading group on Bordiga or Bakunin or whoever.

I have responded to this on the flaming thread, shame on you.

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Nate
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Dec 22 2007 02:28

Catch, that wasn't meant as a dis. Sorry if it came off that way. I meant it as part of a serious question which I don't think I managed to say right. I clearly didn't say what I meant very well.

No strike clauses are a serious problem. For the IWW and elsewhere. I agree. The IWW shouldn't sign them. Clear?

Now. There's a second issue. It seems to me that some posters here sound like they think no strike clauses are worse than nothing. Like that the no strike clauses make anything else not worth it. I think this is related to how to relate to organizations as libcommies. My thing about reading groups wasn't intended as a dis (I like reading groups, I'm in some, I think they're useful). But like - is it worth it in some contents to build compromised stuff if it appears that the net balance is positive? That's what I meant. Is that clearer? The thing about reading groups was meant to stand in for small stuff that involves less compromises, is ideologically purer. (Also not a dis, has it's place.)

Mike Harman
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Dec 22 2007 02:54

Nate, I think you need to compare like with like. So for example TreeofJudas's attempts to start some very minimum job control at his work, or redyred's refusal to do illegal lifting at his, or the article I put in the library on my last job, or maybe Dispatch (not that we got that far with it this time around but it's got potential). Note that apart from Dispatch, these are individuals working alone with (afaik) no protection. Now I'd say mine at least is not a great example of how to do stuff to say the least, but I made an effort to explain what I thought the weaknesses were, the contradictions etc. in the article itself.

And yes, in general, I think doing something shite is worse than doing nothing.

severin
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Dec 22 2007 04:26

...getting a little hot in here...
eek

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Dec 22 2007 05:34
Quote:
Well working to help a mediocre union contract would describe the action of the CPs during the '30s - who then spent the '40s breaking strikes to enforce, well, no strike contracts. It certainly had an impact on the working class, possible not the sort you had in mind but stil, an impact nonetheless.

actually the contracts negotiated by the new industrial unions in the '30s in the U.S. typically did not have no strike clauses. they also typically did not have dues check off or "union security" (requirement of joining the union to keep your job). these things came along during World War II. they were part of the concessions to the union bureaucracy brokered by the New Deal to gain agreement to the no strike pledge.

Mike Harman
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Dec 22 2007 11:26

syndicalistcat: the organising was done in the '30s, the no strike agreements came in the '40s. That's what I meant, but I realise it was a bit vague.

You're right though, the CIO wasn't agreeing to no strike clauses when it was still establishing itself and even when it had massive density and numbers before the war, so it's almost possible to do a favourable comparison against these locally autonomous branches of the IWW neutral

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Dec 22 2007 20:09

yeah, and the IWW did not necessarily have this attitude about local autonomy before World War 2, in the era of its heyday. it's a reflection of the increased anarchist influence on the IWW.

anarchists did not play the major part in actually creating the IWW originally. many of the key activists in the early IWW came out of the leftwing of the American Socialist Party, people like Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Bill Haywood. At the time of the split in the IWW in 1924, the Communists failed in their attempt to capture the IWW largely due to an alliance between the Left Socialists and the anarchists. The biggest union in the IWW in the World War I period was the Agricultural Workers Organization. This organization was in fact largely autonomous of the headquarters, but it wasn't autonomous as a local branch but as a national industrial union.

The so-called "Emergency Plan" group who gained control of the IWW lumber workers union in 1924 -- often incorrectly referred to as anarchists -- were trying to re-org the IWW into a federation of autonomous industrial unions, analogous to the AFL. in fact the main leader of that tendency later became a business union bureaucrat in the corrupt Laborers union. His issue was that he wanted undisturbed control over his particular union fiefdom. But his attempt to re-org the IWW failed.

booeyschewy
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Dec 23 2007 17:53

This conversation is totally counterproductive. It's hard to see how anything good can come of this sort of discussion, and I'm glad to see such cheerful alliances. motley crue indeed.

FNBrill's born again marxism is again distorting the issue. The no-strike clauses to my knowledge were not bargaining in secret, or maybe philly was, but in his branch they weren't and he was aware of it. The contracts also were openly touted throughout the union.

Autonomy isn't the problem, and isn't even a factor I'd say. Its more that some in the IWW don't have a developed praxis around contracts and contractualism. So of course this shit's going to happen, and people will call it revolutionary too. The US is a weird place, people call getting jobs in bureaucracies revolutionary. People call getting a raise revolutionary. I know FNBrill, who is a friend and a mentor, isn't anti-contractual in the way many of us are.

The reason I continue to be in the IWW is that there is a sizeable body of people who organize using workplace resistance group type tactics. There are whole branches who never have or will bargain contracts. I learn from being in the organization, there are good people doing good work, and movement away from these tactics we criticize. A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to say this. Maybe down the line it would be different, but I don't know of anywhere else in the US where I could organize in the way I do, and do so collectively with others. If y'all know of a place tell me.

booeyschewy
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Dec 23 2007 22:32

FNB and I discussed the background for a while, and I learned some about the context.

So out of 4 contracts with no strike clauses, it is true that 3 were bargained without full knowledge of the union. In portland, the person who bargained two of these and told the branch later as an afterthought was expelled permanently (though not for the no-strike clauses, he was expelled for sketchier stuff than that sadly). Sorry for any misunderstandings there. This stuff happened before I joined, which was almost 6 years ago.

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Nate
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Dec 24 2007 01:10

Revol you're a piece of shit and I hope you die. That goes for all of your "organization" too, they're failure to check you speaks to their bankruptcy.

Catch, the stuff you describe sounds a lot like stuff we do trainings on in my branch. I think we have some real disagreements but I think to some extent we're misunderstanding each other. I'll have to think more about this.

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Bubbles
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Dec 24 2007 01:17

eek

Dundee_United
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Dec 24 2007 02:41

This thread is a concrete example of why it is impossible to have a real discussion on libcom. Reality must be a very scary place for some libcom posters, I warrant.

No strike contracts are shite. The IWW has signed some. There is a clear procedural problem. You're all tilting at windmills.

As for what should be done about it - that is an internal matter, and shame on those for raising the issue first on libcom without raising it internally and trying to get the matter sorted out properly. Some would say there are political agendas at work there.

Dundee_United
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Dec 24 2007 02:45
Quote:
Also the idea that the IWW leftist fuckwits 'do trainings' to educate workers is beyond a joke, maybe they need to educate them fucking selves, like on little things like allowing bosses into branches, being used by said bosses in a politically motivated 'workers campaign', and last but not least not signing over workers entitlement to strike.

How many workers have you organised Revol? You're an elitist internet persona, full of pomp, piss and anarchoid religiosity. You are not however in any position to comment on anything to do with organising.

rata
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Dec 24 2007 02:47
revol68 wrote:
Nate wrote:
Revol you're a piece of shit and I hope you die. That goes for all of your "organization" too, they're failure to check you speaks to their bankruptcy.

Oh be nice, can't we come to some sort of agreement, y'know put our differances aside for an agreed peroid of time?

Like, agree to disagree? twisted