State of the Movement this Labor Day?
Dismal but salvageable. Working people will always need unions, but maybe not exactly the unions we’ve got now. Here are 4 steps union leadership might take on this Labor Day –
Go to the Stewards. Hundreds of thousands of women and men carry the fight everyday with all types of bosses in every kind of workplace. Why not a series of all-union joint stewards’ meeting in every section of our country for a brief presentation by a national union leader on the problems we face, and a lengthy response from union stewards on what they think needs to be done.
10c for a new labor party. Announce that for every $1.00 spent to elect Dems and Reps, unions will contribute 10c to build a new working people’s party. Some of the first contributions can go to the Labor Party in South Carolina . Invite unions to propose places where independent candidates running on a working class program can win a meaningful office, and fund the campaigns.
Forget the NLRA. Return to labor’s traditional position that our rights to speak, associate and bargain rest firmly on the U.S. Constitution, cannot be denied by private or public power and are not subject to majority votes or employer veto. And begin to act like we believe it and mean it, including violations of NLRA orders and injunctions.
Summon up the will to defy the upcoming Kentucky River decision. Pledge that we will not allow even one existing bargaining unit to be weakened or destroyed as a result of this Board order, and back it up with a mutual aid pact for both members ready to picket and money.
Happy Labor Day
Ed Bruno is former Director of Organization of UE; Labor Party organizer with Tony Mazzocchi; and currently the National Organizing Coordinator of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/CNA.
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