Friday, October 17, 2008

The Deregulation of Labor Circa 1970-Present

When the big unions took Solidarity and direct action in The Good Fight away, they removed the heartbeat and regulation of Trade Unionism.

Some years ago it was clear in my union - the UAW - had turned from attacking rank & filers as "dissidents" & "commies" to leaders of the now broad dissension of Bigshot Labor with Solidarity. "The UAW has become the Dissidents," Dave Yettaw said. Yettaw observed that the UAW was playing checkers while the corporations were playing chess. He also noted all the union bigs had traded in Soidarity for anything-goes-dog-eat-dog competition. They attacked the Golden Rule of Solidarity and thus de-regulated the Priority of Labor.

As the UAW leaders of my plant carry the immorality of the market like it’s supposed to run our lives and lecture us about our stupidity in not electing enough sellout democrats (who put the troops on the P-9rs?) , they have moved from not only not having the right answers to having answers that are destroying our country and world. And they are pushing these anti-answers everywhere in our local unions.

Do WE really have to go so the obscenely rich and powerful pals of the UAW big shots can be more obscenely rich and powerful?

Because the UAW’s and Labor's dictators have trashed our constitution and smashed local, council and convention democracy we have no chance to fix these bastards.

They claim they only bargain for what the members tell them to. Did any member of local ask them to open our contract and attack the retirees? Where are the members who asked them to screw new hires?

"The policy is bankrupt and we’re locked into it," said an old GM Chairman some years ago on his way out of a phony convention.

This dead-ended idiocy is not new. The UAW lobbied against fuel economy in the 70s and lost us 100s of thousands of jobs as the public bought fuel efficient cars made in Japan. And they proved their resistance to truth and reason by doing it again just a few years ago.

The UAW turned it’s back on Japanese democratic trade unionists who were then asking for our help. UAWCapsters, (the nonsense politics UAW arm) instead fostered a hysteria against people who even looked Japanese and raised funds by selling three sledgehammer swings at Toyotas for a buck. That was their answer in the 70s: beat the crap out of Japanese people and sledgehammer the shit out of Toyotas while ignoring the scab parts that filled up the corporations’ stock racks. UAW Buy American never applied to our country’s biggest importers - the Big 3. Local 879 UAW-Capsters Gene Neuman and Bob Killeen Sr. even attacked Congressman Joe Karth when he called for better fuel economy and an Americn Content Amendment to protect our jobs. We paid for this stupidity with our jobs. Some political action program.
In the late 1990s the UAW was still at it, doing he legwork for the auto giants in opposing more fuel economy in CAFÉ standards. Sen. Paul Wellstone told them to get lost.

In the early 1990s the UAW and AFL-CIA were turning its back on Ford workers in Mexico who were being beaten and shot by the company for the terrible crime of demanding their year end bonuses. They asked the UAW for financial help in supporting their strikes. Their offer to us: They would reject any US and Canadian work that Ford was moving there if we would help fund their fights. There were enough American Ford workers at the time to pay the Mexican wages while they struck by simply contributing 10 cents a month to them. The UAW instead lined up with Ford against them.

Those of us who believed that the UAW would eventually wake up and see the need to defend our work and our society against the corporations and the market were wrong. They are dug in on the side of the corporations and they are marching against us and against every principle this union ever stood for. Their empty heads and hearts have been filled with Capitalist liberalism. Where we need Common Sense and battle for what’s right, they have defined rights and justice as corporate freedom to destroy everything other generations fought for and won for us. They are more than willing to fight. But their fight is against us.

If the market needs anything it is regulation. If unions require one thing, it is the regulation of Solidarity.

The rich and powerful and their politicians are out of control, it is they who require a drastic downsizing.

It is the honest small businessman who serves the community who needs defense.

The market is flooded with products made by foreign workers who have practically nothing. And it is American, antipatriotic, transnational corporations who are insuring that these workers will continue to get practically nothing.

The UAW steadfastly defends the wrong people, and their biggest lie - that the market should be allowed to run and ruin our lives - is promoted in all our local unions. All locals are now turned to a concessionary race to the bottom. It is this race that is ruining our work and impoverishng the unemployed. That’s just the way it is according to Ron Gettelfinger and Gerald Bantam. And their lappies in our local lap that one up too. Sales are off. We’re fucked. The only thing we can do according to them, is elect more Democrats.

Sales are off because our products cost more than those built by workers who have no rights. The options are:

1. Sit on our butts until all our production is gone;


2. Help those workers equalize their wages and working conditions with ours. Equality - a real, true, trade union principle - Battle - for what’s Just for everyone by fighting at the docks and winning high quality, Guild Production at home and a Just Wage abroad.

How do we get efficient, highest-quality production?

Is it by allowing greedy owners and marketers to misrepresent quality through advertising?

Or is it by freeing up the talent to design, engineer, manage and craft the finest cars and trucks, steel, aircraft, ships, etc. possible?

Can this quality and craft production work? It works in developing and producing nuclear submarines. It works in the space program and it can work in every big production system. Mondragon Production workers for the workers, consumers and communities. Check it out. We can get it all done democratically with a true eye for quality and efficiency and good jobs for everyone in the world.

We need to continue what the Delphi workers started. Let's get to organizing democratic meetings and talking work to rule, winning strikes and sitdowns.

And we need to stop talking bullshit Porkchop politics and start talking up direct action on the ship and truck docks across our country. That’s where we solve the trade issues.

WE need the Solidarity Movement again


Larry140 said...

Hey Tom, nice to see you carrying on in a new way. Good luck! (to all of us.)
Larry C.
Local 140, UAW, retired

cs said...

Nice work, Tom.

We are in a heap of trouble, to be sure. The heat is on and that is fine by me. They are taking everything from us and the only moral alternative (whether defined by a judeo-christian ethic, or well-formed moral consciences) is to fight and fight like hell.

Your best advice to me will always be to talk things over with the guys and gals on the line. Our guys really are good people and will fight to the death for you. Thanks for your time and words.