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Electro-Motive Shutdown, and related issues

oldgoat
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Joined: Jul 27 2001

Continued from here


Comments

Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

It would be nice if we could talk a little more about the questions directly surrounding the EMD closure and how the workers and their allies are responding to that - rather than whether Karl Marx saw this coming and what Karl would have said. And it would also be nice if we could hold back on attacking the union for "putting on a show" at a time when it is itself under severe attack and needs our support.

 


Todrick of Chat...
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Joined: Dec 10 2009

 

In situations like this, does the company leaving Canada take most of the machinery and other infrastructure and ship it to the new country?

 

If not, it would this could be excellent chance to start a new company from scratch controlled by the workers and some limited investors.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Unionist wrote:

It would be nice if we could talk a little more about the questions directly surrounding the EMD closure and how the workers and their allies are responding to that - rather than whether Karl Marx saw this coming and what Karl would have said. And it would also be nice if we could hold back on attacking the union for "putting on a show" at a time when it is itself under severe attack and needs our support.

 

Marx would have said to organize into worker's unions and collectives and protest and even seize the factories.

One problem, the E-M-Caterpillar factory and the owners of the means are now or will be physically located in the newly created RTW state of Indiana. 

The workers need someone in the union to orient themselves and go protest on goddamn Parliament Hill and Queen's Park.

That's where the fucking picket line is now. They should setup a picket line post their efforts on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etecetera, and raise hell about it.


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

Fidel wrote:

The workers need someone in the union to orient themselves and go protest on goddamn Parliament Hill and Queen's Park.

That's where the fucking picket line is now. They should setup a picket line post their efforts on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etecetera, and raise hell about it.

What would the workers do without your sage advice? Where should thank-you notes be addressed?

Maybe they're worried about their life plans right now. Maybe they're trying to figure out how to get decent severance. Maybe their first priority isn't to put on a political show. Who knows?


epaulo13
Online
Joined: Dec 13 2009

..how can the workers get to a point where they envision a solution begining at the local level? maybe they already do but there is no outlet. how can the broader left produce a vision that a radicalization needs to take place and then bring it to the table as a coalition partner in a shared struggle? we need to get here or someplace like this. an issue like this has the potential to grow and grow some more. a bold action by the workers could be the spark that inspired community support. this is the best i got unionist.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Unionist wrote:
Maybe they're worried about their life plans right now. Maybe they're trying to figure out how to get decent severance. Maybe their first priority isn't to put on a political show. Who knows?

 

If they are going to capitulate like this, then there isn't a real problem, is there? They don't need the NDP or anyone else fighting against Ottawa's rubberstamp approval of thousands more foreign takeovers and absentee corporate ownership of Canadian companies and good paying union jobs associated with them, or at least they were at one time. The more the merrier. This could be a monthly ritual as corporate America pulls back hundreds of jobs to newly created right-to-work states on a regular basis.

And 450 former E-M-Caterpillar workers can start flipping burgers, pumping gas, and greeting WalMart customers even sooner. It's easy-peasy when Canadian workers lay down for the stoogeaucracy and corporate America like this.

We don't need to make anything in Canada anymore. We can import what other countries manufacture and live on credit until such time as the workers are prepared to make like Greeks and protest. We'll end up like the former Yugoslavia without jobs and banksters imposing even more neoliberal austerity.


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

epaulo13 wrote:
..how can the workers get to a point where they envision a solution begining at the local level? maybe they already do but there is no outlet. how can the broader left produce a vision that a radicalization needs to take place and then bring it to the table as a coalition partner in a shared struggle? we need to get here or someplace like this. an issue like this has the potential to grow and grow some more. a bold action by the workers could be the spark that inspired community support. this is the best i got unionist.

I agree with all those questions, epaulo. It's the best I've got, too. But the workers still need to take the lead. Doesn't mean allies can't talk to them (and their union) and ask about ways to help. And it doesn't mean other struggles have to take a back seat while waiting for them to lead. They may not be ready to broaden the parameters, but there are no shortage of other battles which will go on anyway.

By the way, I'll be surprised if we don't at least see something like an occupation here - but that's a guess, not advice. It's not my place.

ETA: Fidel, his attacks on me, his attacks on workers, his provocation, his nonstop propaganda for the NDP even where the NDP has no involvement in the situation - are now on "ignore". He can carry on to his heart's content.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

The NDP protested against the scrapping of FIRA, NAFTA, and the resultant hollowing out of Canada since Mulroney and Chretien and now the Harpers. 

Not attacking you so much as what youre saying. There is a difference. I have said nothing of what I think of you personally. Nice try though.

And I don't think much of workers being satisfied with pursuing "severance pay" and capitulating to McWage slavery when the focus is off Ottawa and the Harpers - mere human rubberstamps of approval for even more US takeovers of Canadian economy.


josh
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Joined: Aug 5 2002

I don't know why it's an either/or proposition.  Both the political tract and the street tract.  But I would agree that at this point, with elected governments in North America dominated by reactionary governents, and non-reactionary parties more concerned with "positioning" than with confrontation, it's up to workers, unions and their supporters to take the lead through direct action, such as occupation. 


epaulo13
Online
Joined: Dec 13 2009

Unionist wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:
..how can the workers get to a point where they envision a solution begining at the local level? maybe they already do but there is no outlet. how can the broader left produce a vision that a radicalization needs to take place and then bring it to the table as a coalition partner in a shared struggle? we need to get here or someplace like this. an issue like this has the potential to grow and grow some more. a bold action by the workers could be the spark that inspired community support. this is the best i got unionist.

I agree with all those questions, epaulo. It's the best I've got, too. But the workers still need to take the lead. Doesn't mean allies can't talk to them (and their union) and ask about ways to help. And it doesn't mean other struggles have to take a back seat while waiting for them to lead. They may not be ready to broaden the parameters, but there are no shortage of other battles which will go on anyway.

By the way, I'll be surprised if we don't at least see something like an occupation here - but that's a guess, not advice. It's not my place.

ETA: Fidel, his attacks on me, his attacks on workers, his provocation, his nonstop propaganda for the NDP even where the NDP has no involvement in the situation - are now on "ignore". He can carry on to his heart's content.

..i'm a big fan of workers taking the lead. 2011 brought interesting in your face struggles like wisconsin that tend to inspire creative thought. the company on the other hand will be looking to trade off a bit more money for a quiet escape.


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

josh wrote:

I don't know why it's an either/or proposition.  Both the political tract and the street tract.  But I would agree that at this point, with elected governments in North America dominated by reactionary governents, and non-reactionary parties more concerned with "positioning" than with confrontation, it's up to workers, unions and their supporters to take the lead through direct action, such as occupation. 

Gotta agree with all that. It's not either/or. It's "who".

 


Gaian
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Joined: Aug 5 2011
Here's what the company is up to, as explained by Martin Regg Cohn from Queen's Park: "Cleaver multinationals - and this is one cunning Caterpillar - don't spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a factory only to shutter it. "S what was the plan?"? Never mind Caterpillar's chold-hearted gtactics. Its clear-eyed strategy exposes our own blindness. The bid bad Americans saw past our myopia - beyond the cash value of the plant's physical property to size up and seize the company's intellectual property: the innovation, trade secrets, manufacturhing processes and research and development residing in London. "It won't just relocate the heavy equipment on the factory floor, but harvest the technological know-how subsidized with government incentives and writeoffs. This wasn't bullying, it was highway robbery - with out politicians watching from the sidelines. "Cater;pillar kicked those workers in the teeth, but we should be kicking ourselves for letting it acquire the legal right to do as it please when purchasing the old locomotive plant...A locomotive factory is gone. Now the tech gtrain is leaving the station - with a free pass from our policicians." This guy is a pocket conservative, so he just uses "politicians" in the usual, rabble-rousing, populist fashion. Anyone listening in on Parliament knows this. And since the train has left the station, occupation would be just another "show." But perhaps the Liberals and Conservative voters among the workers will be looking for more answers. If this doesn't waken then regarding the meaning of defending national industries and technology, nothing will. They would not have been alerted to this earlier because of the necessarily politically conscious demands facing the leadership. It's not like the old days, when one decided between communist leaders and social democrats. :)

Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

Gaian, yet again, with his scorn for workers and their union, has made my "ignore" list. I'm sure it won't hurt much, but hopefully it will make for a more respectful conversation when dealing with the EMD closure.

 


welder
Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2009

Unionist wrote:

Fidel wrote:

The workers need someone in the union to orient themselves and go protest on goddamn Parliament Hill and Queen's Park.

That's where the fucking picket line is now. They should setup a picket line post their efforts on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etecetera, and raise hell about it.

What would the workers do without your sage advice? Where should thank-you notes be addressed?

Maybe they're worried about their life plans right now. Maybe they're trying to figure out how to get decent severance. Maybe their first priority isn't to put on a political show. Who knows?

 

That's pretty much it...

 

Protest???

 

BFD...The horse has left the barn and the door has been closed.The real question is about the future,and tacticly,how does organized labour truly fight the NAM/Koch Bros. faux "freedom" onslaught and how do we stop RTW from infecting our workplaces in this country???...

 

 

And even better....

 

 

How does organized labour go after a massive union organizing effort in RTW states and stop this crap dead in its tracks?

 

 

And beyond that,this has now basically become open class warfare from above.I realize conservative types never want to talk about this stuff,mainly because it shines a light on one of the things they hold sacrosanct,but the fact remains it is happening with frightening regularity.And it's no longer about union or non union....It's about a wealth redistribution excercise that's being undertaken to satisfy an economic theory that says open ans free markets will raise the standard of living for all...

 

This is clearly Friedmanite/Von Hayakian hogwash,but those that are funding politicians of many stripes are geting their economic/legislative way with little or no thoughts on the future consequences of thier current actions.To me,all  global free trade is is a redux on 17th and 18th century European Mercantilism,but done on a global scale.History tells us that this horrendous economic plan had disastrous effects AND brought about equally horrendous economic counterbalances (namely Marxism)...


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

welder wrote:
How does organized labour go after a massive union organizing effort in RTW states and stop this crap dead in its tracks?

Ottawa. The new picket line is Ottawa and Parliament Hill. They have allowed thousands of foreign takeovers of Canadian corporations over the years and no oversight whatsoever in about 98% of these predatory takeovers, like Electro-Motive in 2010. The Harpers, like a string of Liberal governments before and Mulroney before them, have been one long-running yes aye-aye may we have some more approval agency for these takeovers.

The Harpers and Liberal Party could all be replaced with one big-giant rubberstamp of approval that says Made in USA. Come and takeover more Canadian companies and then close them down whenever there are hard times in the imperial-master nation ie. corporate America. The Liberals-Tories same old stories will continue betraying Canadian workers in future, too. It's a pattern established over several decades.

And now the cold reality of those takeovers is setting in for Canadian workers realizing now that control of their working lives resides in corporate board rooms somewhere in America where record job losses have occurred in recent years. And now they will sacrifice Canadian jobs to bring them home to right-to-work states where trade unions are anywhere from highly discouraged to completely frustrated.

Canada's two oldest political parties, the Tories and Liberals, have betrayed Canadian workers time and time again. It's time for workers in Canada to get behind the NDP. Jobless Caterpillar workers should be camped-out on Parliament Hill and demanding that their do-nothing governments stop selling them and their families down the Mississippi River.


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

Fidel wrote:

It's time for workers in Canada to get behind the NDP.

Vice-versa, more like.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

M. Spector wrote:

Fidel wrote:

It's time for workers in Canada to get behind the NDP.

Vice-versa, more like.

 

And there will be an excellent opportunity for you and everyone to show some solidarity for Canadian workers by voting NDP next election. 

Origins of the Foreign Investment Review Agency and the NDP ... and scrapped by Brian 'On the Take' Mulroney in the 1980s

New Democrat motion will fix foreign investment act 2010

Open up secretive reviews to ensure foreign takeovers benefit Canadians

Quote:
OTTAWA - On the heels of the government's tentative rejection of the Potash Corp takeover, New Democrats have introduced a motion in the House of Commons to ensure these secretive takeover reviews are opened up to the public...

2010? Hey, that was the exact same year Electro-Motive was snapped-up by Caterpillar based in the imperial master nation, that country next to us where good paying unionized Electro-Motive jobs have disappeared to.

Was it David Copperfield who made these Canadian jobs disappear? NNNNO! It was our long-time stoogeaucracy in Ottawa who sold us down the Mississippi many years ago. And the chickens are coming home to roost as a result.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

And what a beautiful sight.

If this Greek person can do it, so can Electro-Motive workers. Follow his lead. This is democracy in action.


Gaian
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Joined: Aug 5 2011
Thanks again for the factual backgrounders on NDP attempts at putting legislation through, Fidel. We can only hope that the selective memory of some - bordering on dementia - improves.

welder
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Joined: Dec 1 2009

Fidel wrote:

welder wrote:
How does organized labour go after a massive union organizing effort in RTW states and stop this crap dead in its tracks?

Ottawa. The new picket line is Ottawa and Parliament Hill. They have allowed thousands of foreign takeovers of Canadian corporations over the years and no oversight whatsoever in about 98% of these predatory takeovers, like Electro-Motive in 2010. The Harpers, like a string of Liberal governments before and Mulroney before them, have been one long-running yes aye-aye may we have some more approval agency for these takeovers.

The Harpers and Liberal Party could all be replaced with one big-giant rubberstamp of approval that says Made in USA. Come and takeover more Canadian companies and then close them down whenever there are hard times in the imperial-master nation ie. corporate America. The Liberals-Tories same old stories will continue betraying Canadian workers in future, too. It's a pattern established over several decades.

And now the cold reality of those takeovers is setting in for Canadian workers realizing now that control of their working lives resides in corporate board rooms somewhere in America where record job losses have occurred in recent years. And now they will sacrifice Canadian jobs to bring them home to right-to-work states where trade unions are anywhere from highly discouraged to completely frustrated.

Canada's two oldest political parties, the Tories and Liberals, have betrayed Canadian workers time and time again. It's time for workers in Canada to get behind the NDP. Jobless Caterpillar workers should be camped-out on Parliament Hill and demanding that their do-nothing governments stop selling them and their families down the Mississippi River.

 

Well,that's one method...

 

But I'm far more interested in the issue of Right to Work,and stopping it in Canada (see the "Merit Shop" movement and groups like CLAC) and going after it head on in the US...

 

I mean,the Dem's backed away from Card Check because they were afraid of Corporate USA,and now we have Republican Presidential hopefuls openly talking about a National Right to Work bill.

 

The immediate issue for organized labour on this continent is to attack RTW in it's heartland and stop this attack on the middle class ASAP...

 

Organized labour has to make the case that RTW is bad for everyone (both union and non union workers).The question is how and how to organize in that very difficult environment where the law is stacked against you?


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

In situations like this, does the company leaving Canada take most of the machinery and other infrastructure and ship it to the new country?

If not, it would this could be excellent chance to start a new company from scratch controlled by the workers and some limited investors.

If this is not implicit already:

The company is legaly free to move the machinery. They likely will not want to move much of it. And the Muncie plant may be ready to go, just need to hire and train more workers.

Even if they were kept from getting the equipment [if they did want it], it would not phase them.

And even if there was a way for a worker owned plant to get away with violating patents and sell the locomotives [we're not talking pirated jeans or CDs here]... they would never be cost competitive.


Gaian
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2011
quote: "In situations like this, does the company leaving Canada take most of the machinery and other infrastructure and ship it to the new country?"
Gaian wrote:
Here's what the company is up to, as explained by Martin Regg Cohn from Queen's Park: "Cleaver multinationals - and this is one cunning Caterpillar - don't spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a factory only to shutter it. "So what was the plan?"? Never mind Caterpillar's cold-hearted tactics. Its clear-eyed strategy exposes our own blindness. The big bad Americans saw past our myopia - beyond the cash value of the plant's physical property to size up and seize the company's INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: the innovation, trade secrets, manufacturhing processes and research and development residing in London. "It won't just relocate the heavy equipment on the factory floor, but harvest the technological know-how subsidized with government incentives and writeoffs. This wasn't bullying, it was highway robbery - with out politicians watching from the sidelines. "Cater;pillar kicked those workers in the teeth, but we should be kicking ourselves for letting it acquire the legal right to do as it please when purchasing the old locomotive plant...A locomotive factory is gone. Now the tech gtrain is leaving the station - with a free pass from our policicians." This guy is a pocket conservative, so he just uses "politicians" in the usual, rabble-rousing, populist fashion. Anyone listening in on Parliament knows this. And since the train has left the station, occupation would be just another "show." But perhaps the Liberals and Conservative voters among the workers will be looking for more answers. If this doesn't waken them regarding the meaning of defending national industries and technology, nothing will. They would not have been alerted to this earlier because of the necessarily politically conscious demands facing the leadership. It's not like the old days, when one decided between communist leaders and social democrats. :)

M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

Caterpillar Won Because Nobody Fought Hard Enough
by Shawn Whitney

Quote:
It doesn't have to be this way. We built this country, this economy and this world. We don't have to mourn the loss of more jobs, this time sent to a union-busting "right to work" state, Indiana, for half the wages.

It isn't inevitable that our wages, pensions, benefits---or social programs for that matter---are cut. Caterpillar didn't have to happen. It was a choice.

First and foremost it was a choice by Caterpillar. Let's be plain and honest here: Caterpillar bought the Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) plant for one purpose only: to asset strip it. In this case, the most valuable assets were the intellectual property (IP) owned by EMD. IP is big news and big business these days....

There can be no doubt that Caterpillar are terrible. But they have been aided and abetted by government at every turn and every level. This too was a choice. They could have fought for these jobs, demanded that Caterpillar not shut the plant down or seized their assets. They didn't and they won't....

Knowing that there will be no help from any of the political parties will be important for workers in the present climate of public and private sector austerity that has seen big battles in recent times....

In this battle workers only have unions to defend them. But the trouble is, the unions aren't doing very much at all. Certainly, some union locals are waging brave battles---the workers at Stelco braved picket lines for months.

But lost have been the traditions that built the industrial unions in the first place---militant tactics, including sit-ins and picket lines that did more than hand out information to those that crossed them.

The sort of passivity and reliance on polite bargaining in hotel rooms that has typified the union movement on this continent for so long worked (sometimes) in the 1950s and 1960s when the post-war boom kept the economy expanding and able to provide wage raises and benefits to workers....

What this reveals more than anything is that workers have a twofold battle. Not only must they fight the employer, more often than not they must also fight their union leadership who are interested in negotiating "in good faith" not in kicking greedy boss ass.

But the lesson that ought to be clear by now is that the bosses will keep on taking and taking and taking until they've squeezed every drop of blood from working people.

The only thing that they are interested in is profits and until workers start to hit them in their profits---and hard---they will ignore all the niceties: the conciliation reports, the negotiating meetings, the grievances, even the rallies by thousands of supporters that are held miles from the site of the conflict.

In Egypt they didn't negotiate the end of the dictatorship---they fought for it. And workers in Egypt's privatized industries haven't won the re-nationalization of their companies by mediated settlement---they went on strike and then won in court...and have had to strike to get the court decisions implemented.

In China auto workers won big raises in recent years, not by waiting for employers to grant it to them but by staging a series of wildcat strikes in conditions where independent unions are illegal along with strikes.

The lesson we ought to draw from Caterpillar and EMD is this: unless we fight like our lives depended upon it, they will take our lives away from us. That doesn't mean our side will win all the time but at least we'll know that if we lost we gave them everything we had.


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

Quote:
"The lesson we ought to draw from Caterpillar and EMD is this: unless we fight like our lives depended upon it, they will take our lives away from us. That doesn't mean our side will win all the time but at least we'll know that if we lost we gave them everything we had."

One little way to fight the transnational corporations we can do very easily and our lives don't depend on it.

We should try not to feed the data miners.   I did not comment on xray.ca's site because it requires everyone to submit their comments via data miners like Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft (hotmail).   It's impossible to comment on the site any other way.

Babble uses a much better model.   We can debate issues and individuals can be completely anonymous if they choose and multinational corporate data miners are not fed more of our personal data.

We also should not lend credence to the corporate propaganda term "intellectual property"...the idea that copyright, patent and trademarks should be lumped together into a single ball of wax and then give corporations the same "rights" of ownership as for physical property.

Having gotten that out of the way, more to specifics on the Caterpillar situation and the state of the labour movement.

As "outsiders" to the particular struggle, the best thing we can do is to lend support to the actions that the CAW membership decides to take.   Some of us might feel that the CAW should have done certain things or should do certain things.   In the end it's the CAW that decides what to do and how to carry the struggle forward.

What I can draw on are some of the things that have been happening in Toronto, not because Toronto has done better than anyone else, but simply because it's what I know best.

It was the Toronto & York Region Labour Council (TYLC) that spearheaded the campaign to increase the minimum wage in Ontario a few years ago.   That effort meant doing massive outreach to some of the poorest neighbourhoods of the city. They held about half a dozen very well attended "town hall" meetings to build the campaign.   In the end, the campaign was a success and the province increased Ontario's minimum wage at a much faster rate than they otherwise would have.

The campaign also helped lay the groundwork for various other labour/community campaigns that followed.

The "Made in Canada Matters" campaign helped provide work for hundreds of manufacturing workers at the Bombardier rail plant in Thunder Bay by pressuring Toronto city council into buying Canadian made transit vehicles.

The labour movement was also heavily involved in the successful community campaign to stop Walmart from building a mega store in Toronto's film industry district.

Also the honeymoon is over for Toronto's ultra right-wing mayor Rob Ford.   Some of the worst of his budget plans were defeated and his public transit agenda has largely been derailed.

So some small lessons that we can learn are that the labour movement has to not just be involved in traditional "union issues", but also in broader community issues.    The community will support the labour movement when the labour movement is seen as supporting the community.

Yes the percentage of the workforce that is unionized has been shrinking.    The thing that needs to be done is to organize everyone that needs to be organized.   It's not going to be an easy task by any means.   The laws are pretty much stacked against organizing unions.

In the 1930's the CIO was created in the U.S. and Canada to organize workers in mass production industries.   It was obvious that a new form of organization needed to be created to do the job.

We're in a new era where manufacturing jobs are being destroyed daily.   At the same time all kinds of precarious low wage, part-time and temporary jobs are being created.   Temp agencies are multiplying like cockroaches.

Perhaps a very old idea from the craft unions...the union hiring hall ... needs to be made new again.   This is being discussed as part of the CAW-CEP merger discussions as I understand.   I think it's a good thing.

Another interesting organization here in Toronto is the iTaxi Workers Association  It's a voluntary association of taxi drivers that does two things...provides services to taxi drivers like discounts on auto insurance and things like that.   The other thing they engage in is political action around taxi driver issues.   I understand that they've signed up about 10% of the cab drivers in Toronto and the association has a close connection with the Steelworkers Union.

From the members of iTaxi that I've talked to, there's no doubt that the long term goal is to form a union, but the workers in the industry aren't quite there yet.  

The labour movement can't just work to protect relatively high wage jobs.   We also have to find ways to organize and increase living standards amongst low paid workers.   Otherwise the ruling class simply tries to pit one group of workers off against the others.

In Israel, the Histradut labour federation managed to win some small victories for outsourced workers in the public sector after a four day general strike.   Yes I know that the Histadrut has a checkered history in relations with Palestinian workers. But it's good to see that they put the issue of contract workers on the front page of the Israeli labour movement's agenda. 

I don't lay claim to having all of the answers, but one thing I do think is that the current situation calls for new forms of organization and new ways of doing things.






Slumberjack
Online
Joined: Aug 8 2005

Unionist wrote:
Gaian, yet again, with his scorn for workers and their union, has made my "ignore" list.

I guess that leaves me on deck. At this juncture in the grand scheme, what is your take on why the various union bureaucracies wouldn't band together and put some of those hard earned workers dues to better use, other than using it to fund conferences, junkets and golfing excursions, and instead fund and transport any from the entire dues paying working class, any and all who would like to participate, to Parliament Hill for an occupation of their own? Invite the poor, the homeless, the McSerf worker, anyone and everyone who are not as fortunate as the bureaucracy itself that is, and camp out around bonfires or whatever.


Grandpa_Bill
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Joined: Apr 25 2009

radiorahim wrote:

Another interesting organization here in Toronto is the iTaxi Workers Association  It's a voluntary association of taxi drivers that does two things...provides services to taxi drivers like discounts on auto insurance and things like that.   The other thing they engage in is political action around taxi driver issues.   I understand that they've signed up about 10% of the cab drivers in Toronto and the association has a close connection with the Steelworkers Union. . . .

The labour movement can't just work to protect relatively high wage jobs.   We also have to find ways to organize and increase living standards amongst low paid workers.

Interesting info about iTaxi Workers Association.  Thank you!

Does your remark at the end about organizing and increasing living standards of lower paid workers lead you to believe that the union acceptance of two-tiered contracts is wrong-headed?

 


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

radiorahim wrote:

Quote:
"The lesson we ought to draw from Caterpillar and EMD is this: unless we fight like our lives depended upon it, they will take our lives away from us. That doesn't mean our side will win all the time but at least we'll know that if we lost we gave them everything we had."

One little way to fight the transnational corporations we can do very easily and our lives don't depend on it.

We should try not to feed the data miners.   I did not comment on xray.ca's site because it requires everyone to submit their comments via data miners like Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft (hotmail).   It's impossible to comment on the site any other way. [...]

Having gotten that out of the way, more to specifics on the Caterpillar situation and the state of the labour movement.

As "outsiders" to the particular struggle, the best thing we can do is to lend support to the actions that the CAW membership decides to take.   Some of us might feel that the CAW should have done certain things or should do certain things.   In the end it's the CAW that decides what to do and how to carry the struggle forward.


Thanks for your analysis on both those issues, rr.

I didn't much appreciate the article from xray magazine, written by a "Toronto-based screenwriter, story consultant and sometimes activist". I imagined an article by someone like that lecturing to the people of Attawapiskat that they didn't fight as if their lives depended on it, and they didn't fight against their own band leadership. My gut reaction to the article was, "thanks for the lecture".

Lecturing the EMD workers, or their union, as to what to do, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Not only is it to blame the victims and interfere in their struggle - it is to abandon responsibility on the part of all workers, all Ontarians, all Canadians, to defend ourselves in solidarity against these attacks by rapacious multinationals.


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005

Yes, trade unions are above criticism. They are all-seeing, all-knowing. Only a scoundrel would dare criticize, offer advice, or attempt to draw lessons from a trade union debacle.


Unionist
Online
Joined: Dec 11 2005

Strange mind glitch - that article reminded me of Barry Weisleder's article here, about a year ago, saying Canada should demand opening Libyan borders so that the rebels could receive arms. I guess the idea was that we should encourage them too to fight as if their lives depended on it.

I didn't appreciate that interference (and have continually raised it here, hoping for a response from Weisleder), and I don't much care to criticize the EMD workers or their union right now. Nor the people and leaders of Attawapiskat. You get the idea.

I always thought it was preferable to discuss what we should fight for, and how we should do it, rather than criticizing and advising those who are actually doing the fighting from what is appropriately known as the sidelines.

 


Fidel
Offline
Joined: Apr 29 2004

They'd best stop voting for the two old line parties that betrayed unionized workers in Canada for the last 30 years and continue to do so. I think that would be a good place to start.


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