Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24, 2007 - No Working Class Solidarity Here Guys!

According to this article in the Washington Post, a carpenter's union local outsourced their picket line to paid local homeless types in order to raise its numbers. Sheesh. Not much working class solidarity here, you guys. Outsourcing your own labor struggle is kinda of a tip-off that you either don't have much support for your actions within your own base or the membership feels itself too good for such tasks. Either way though...

"Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters" says the article, "they are not union members. They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs. ‘It's about the cash," said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women's shelter and has walked the line at various sites. 'We're against low wages, but I'm here for the cash.' Carpenters locals across the country are outsourcing their picket lines, hiring the homeless, students, retirees and day laborers to get their message across. Larry Hujo, a spokesman for the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, calls it a 'shift in the paradigm' of picketing."

Unions suck in this country. They actually operate more as labor agencies whose sole purpose is fiduciary; that is to say, to get their members the best possible deal on wages, benefits, and working conditions, and give short shrift to the concept of class struggle and labor solidarity. That however should be their main purpose; elevating the condition and power of the working class. And which is how the unions act in Europe and most other places. In America though the political dimension of class struggle has totally escaped the often corrupt and always politically oblivious labor union leadership.


D. Greene said...

I just found your blog googling "even a blind pig finds the occasional acorn" and was intrigued by it, so I'm subscribing.

Hope you keep writing.

- D. Greene, audendi.com

Seth Crownover said...

The reason unions "suck" in this country is because the federal and state governments have made them superfluous and greedy. Of course, as you and I seem to share the catch-all label "anarchist," I can only assume that you and I would agree that UNIONS should render the GOVERNMENT obsolete.

Interesting blog, btw. I look forward to reading more from you.