Supervisors

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R Totale's picture
R Totale
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Nov 28 2019 21:13
Supervisors

This is kind of a really vague and ill-defined question, but something I kind of find myself wondering about is... what about supervisors/line managers/team leaders and so on? All those people who are one pay grade above the bottom rung, whose job role is mostly the same as everyone else, but includes some kind of disciplinary and managerial role? How do unions, militant workers and so on relate to them? There's this from Notes from Below which I thought was pretty good, but I've not really seen much else in the way of discussion from any kind of like syndicalist/autonomist-type perspective on the subject. Anyone got any recommendations, or thoughts of their own?

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fingers malone
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Nov 28 2019 21:57

Solfed position is that you can't join if you have power to 'hire and fire' but you can join if you have supervisor responsibilities. Based on practical experience in mainstream unions, supervisors often join unions and this is always going to be sticky as this creates issues for workers who want to bring up an issue at a union meeting but their supervisor is there in the room. Some people are understanding about the issue and are happy to absent themselves from a union meeting if their presence inhibits other workers, most in my experience are not and will get offended in this situation.However supervisors can be solid union members in their own way. Line managers joining strikes can be helpful as they are often people who actually know how the job works so they are effective as scabs, in a way senior managers or people brought in from outside are not. So we want them to strike which means they have to be members of the union.

In cleaners unions sometimes people are sought after as reps for the same reason they are promoted to supervisors, such as speaking good English, having higher literacy skills etc. People on the lowest pay grades are often not union reps in my experience. In my branch there were at maximum two people on zero hour contracts on the union committee at once, and usually only one. Similarly for Learning Support Assistants, there are very few of them as union reps, nearly all the reps are teachers.

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R Totale
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Nov 28 2019 22:13

Thanks!

Spikymike
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Nov 29 2019 14:04

There was some, perhaps not obvious, overlap with the contentious arguments over 'pro-revolutionaries' in academia and 'professional' jobs etc. Too lazy to dig out all my attempts to address broader issues of 'supervisory' roles in the workplace in past discussion threads but my posts #115, #121 and some others on that long thread are relevant here.
If this works it starts as https://libcom.org/forums/theory/pro-revolutionaries-academia-15102011?p...

zugzwang
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Nov 30 2019 19:42
Quote:
This is kind of a really vague and ill-defined question, but something I kind of find myself wondering about is... what about supervisors/line managers/team leaders and so on? All those people who are one pay grade above the bottom rung, whose job role is mostly the same as everyone else, but includes some kind of disciplinary and managerial role? How do unions, militant workers and so on relate to them?

It depends on their loyalty to a company and how inclined they are to working class ideas. A supervisor whose job involves hiring, firing, and ordering workers around I'd usually not communicate working class ideas to... Team leaders, if I understand it, who are still paid an hourly wage and work alongside workers, ensuring whatever task is performed correctly etc., can usually be trusted a bit more, though it always depends. I'd say as you go up the ladder loyalty generally increases, as does pay. However there can be workers with the same pay rate as you who can't be trusted; the working class don't all think the same. Just talking with people is a good way to get an understanding of where they stand.

Exchange and the laws of capitalist production ultimately dominate everyone in the hierarchical capitalist workplace, employee and employer alike.