Organizing Workers

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throwhen
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Jan 21 2007 16:22
Organizing Workers

There is alot of discussion on this board about THOUGHT and very very little about organizing.

1. How do you as an activist move a none political worker to action.

2. How do you move a worker that is scared through their fear.

3. How do we develop move working class people to take leadership roles in their unions, political organizations or community groups.

Just some questions in mind about the logistics are building working class organizations.

posi
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Jan 21 2007 16:35
throwhen wrote:
1. How do you as an activist move a none political worker to action.

Find issues they care about, and barriers to action. Build a relationship. Start with very small bits of action. "listen, explore, equalise, elevate"; "Anger, Hope Action", blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. Be careful not to burn people out.

throwhen wrote:
2. How do you move a worker that is scared through their fear.

Assuming that the only thing they have to fear is not, as you suggest, fear itself... acknowledge their concerns. Don't push them. Give them the chance to interact with more confident workers.

throwhen wrote:
3. How do we develop move working class people to take leadership roles in their unions, political organizations or community groups.

Part of this is said organisations being involved in struggles that are relevant to people, so that the institutions engage and become relevant to people. Also, there should be a concerted effort to develop people - with good, practical organising training and (in the most basic and least scary way possible), political education. If necessary and appropriate, attendees time off work should be subsidised. But mostly it's just good organising - along the lines of #1, with time devoted to involving people in ways that don't exclude others.

p.s. Chuck. Is it the case that you were involved in breaking the staff union of the union you work for?

throwhen
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Jan 21 2007 16:49
posi wrote:
p.s. Chuck. Is it the case that you were involved in breaking the staff union of the union you work for?

the union still has a collective bargaining agreement with the employer.

i am a member of both the "real" union, here referred to as the employer; and i am a member of the "staff" union, here referred to as the union.

i organized a dissident group within my union to pressure through actions and organization the existing union leadership in their course of actions during contract negotiations.

our dissident group counted 40% of the membership of the UNION at it's height starting with a core group of six of us.

at the end of the contract negotiations a fair contract was reached and voted for by over 75% of the membership.

members of the same staff union that worked at various local unions around the country decided that they did not like the tactics of the union leadership (meaning staff union leadership, not of the employer) and decided to decertify the union forming their own staff associations.

wouldn't you consider this a great exercise in union democracy? and organizing against the union leadership?

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little_brother
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Jan 21 2007 17:05
throwhen wrote:
Just some questions in mind about the logistics are building working class organizations.

I think is worth looking at the history of 'rank-and-filism' to help answer some of these questions, although bear in mind that the tactics of these movements have traditionally been used by Leninists to install 'The Party' rather that 'the working-class' as the leadership, and so the AF has generally been critical of such initiatives (which includes the idea that anarchists shouldn't be promoting the taking of leadership roles).

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 17:11
little_brother wrote:
which includes the idea that anarchists shouldn't be promoting the taking of leadership roles

To be fair to chuck, I think that by "leadership" he means taking the initiative and trying to push things forward, not formal union posts per se. I can't see why anybody such have a problem with that, other than mental anti-organisationalists.

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 17:23

Personally, I don't think it's necessarily valuable to focus on building mass working class organisations at a national level from the word go. If you can get an organised group at your own workplace going and in a few victories, then you can start talking about networking with other groups, seeing how you can coordinate for larger actions and building up contacts in other shops. Any other way is looking at it bass-ackwards, IMO.

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little_brother
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Jan 21 2007 17:46
madashell wrote:
little_brother wrote:
which includes the idea that anarchists shouldn't be promoting the taking of leadership roles

To be fair to chuck, I think that by "leadership" he means taking the initiative and trying to push things forward, not formal union posts per se. I can't see why anybody such have a problem with that, other than mental anti-organisationalists.

Well chuck did say 'take leadership role in their unions'. It's a point of debate even in AF where some members have had shop steward roles. The point of my contribution to this thread was to say that a look at previous experiences of struggle with rank-and-file movements might be useful. Since these were used by leftists to change the union leadership more to there liking - rather than to empower working class unions members - there is also a sober (non-mental) lesson of warning from this history.

posi
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Jan 21 2007 17:58
throwhen wrote:
wouldn't you consider this a great exercise in union democracy? and organizing against the union leadership?

I am withholding judgement on what it was. It depends on such things as what the demands of the respective groups were and what arguments and methods you used to gain support and win. There's not enough information there to decide.

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 18:36
posi wrote:
throwhen wrote:
wouldn't you consider this a great exercise in union democracy? and organizing against the union leadership?

I am withholding judgement on what it was. It depends on such things as what the demands of the respective groups were and what arguments and methods you used to gain support and win. There's not enough information there to decide.

I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

Dundee_United
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Jan 21 2007 19:29
Quote:
I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

The comrade merely said there's not enough information Duke; I think reserving judgement until you have a full grounding in what has happened is a good principle - and one I'm personally wont to forget.

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Jan 21 2007 19:43
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

The comrade merely said there's not enough information Duke; I think reserving judgement until you have a full grounding in what has happened is a good principle - and one I'm personally wont to forget.

I was just making a comment on my experience with other anarchists on this subject. I remember a heated discussion on the old Friends of NEFAC list that began by attacking anarchists taking staff positions and somewhere in the middle everyone began attacking Chuck and I because we said staff should work harder for less money. All the folks that began with the position that staff positions are bad started arguing that union staff are exploited. It was incredibly wierd.

throwhen
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Jan 21 2007 19:57
thugarchist wrote:
posi wrote:
throwhen wrote:
wouldn't you consider this a great exercise in union democracy? and organizing against the union leadership?

I am withholding judgement on what it was. It depends on such things as what the demands of the respective groups were and what arguments and methods you used to gain support and win. There's not enough information there to decide.

I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

Issues:

Staff should have free cars
Staff should have the right to have their sex changes paid for
Staff should have union paid for credit cards
Staff should have weekends off
Staff should have limited hours during week days
Staff should have their meals paid for
Staff should have to pay for their personal use of their car.
Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.
Staff should get a 7% pay raise each year

Those were the big issues.
Same staff went to the press, leafleted and picketed union headquarters, staff visited workers, staff leafleted union shops (like hotels/casinos), staff contacted bosses of union properties, staff did a work stoppage in 3 locations, one during a strike by the membership.

Staff set up anti union websites like www.unitehere_watch_dawgs.typepad.com and www.hendrixchafe.typepad.com

Staff did a delegation to a union president on a hotel picketline, where workers were holding their 2 year strike anniversary rally. the staff highjacked to make it their issue. the press and the hotel bosses we were fighting watched the whole thing.

I'm glad I organized against FOUR and helped save the union for the real workers, housekeepers, dishwashers, laundry workers, etc. the union is not about fattening the staff's paychecks, FOUR thinks it is. That's why I fought them, and that is ultimately why they lost their fight.

it is one of the proudest moments i have had in my time in the union. the right and good won.

throwhen
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Jan 21 2007 19:58
thugarchist wrote:
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

The comrade merely said there's not enough information Duke; I think reserving judgement until you have a full grounding in what has happened is a good principle - and one I'm personally wont to forget.

I was just making a comment on my experience with other anarchists on this subject. I remember a heated discussion on the old Friends of NEFAC list that began by attacking anarchists taking staff positions and somewhere in the middle everyone began attacking Chuck and I because we said staff should work harder for less money. All the folks that began with the position that staff positions are bad started arguing that union staff are exploited. It was incredibly wierd.

seriously, if staff are not part of the working class why would anarchists want them to have a better lot. Since all it means is more dues for the members and less servicing and organizing.

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 20:04
throwhen wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
posi wrote:
throwhen wrote:
wouldn't you consider this a great exercise in union democracy? and organizing against the union leadership?

I am withholding judgement on what it was. It depends on such things as what the demands of the respective groups were and what arguments and methods you used to gain support and win. There's not enough information there to decide.

I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

Issues:

Staff should have free cars
Staff should have the right to have their sex changes paid for
Staff should have union paid for credit cards
Staff should have weekends off
Staff should have limited hours during week days
Staff should have their meals paid for
Staff should have to pay for their personal use of their car.
Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.
Staff should get a 7% pay raise each year

Those were the big issues.
Same staff went to the press, leafleted and picketed union headquarters, staff visited workers, staff leafleted union shops (like hotels/casinos), staff contacted bosses of union properties, staff did a work stoppage in 3 locations, one during a strike by the membership.

Staff set up anti union websites like www.unitehere_watch_dawgs.typepad.com and www.hendrixchafe.typepad.com

Staff did a delegation to a union president on a hotel picketline, where workers were holding their 2 year strike anniversary rally. the staff highjacked to make it their issue. the press and the hotel bosses we were fighting watched the whole thing.

I'm glad I organized against FOUR and helped save the union for the real workers, housekeepers, dishwashers, laundry workers, etc. the union is not about fattening the staff's paychecks, FOUR thinks it is. That's why I fought them, and that is ultimately why they lost their fight.

it is one of the proudest moments i have had in my time in the union. the right and good won.

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/822/2049/1600/FOUR%20Flyer.0.jpg

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 20:09

Not that this sort of thing can tell you anything about the nature of paid officials and unions as institutions wink

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 20:12
madashell wrote:
Not that this sort of thing can tell you anything about the nature of paid officials and unions as institutions ;)

What do you think about the flyer I posted below chucks last response?

throwhen
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Jan 21 2007 20:12
madashell wrote:
Not that this sort of thing can tell you anything about the nature of paid officials and unions as institutions ;)

which part?

1. that leftist students think they should attack a union of working class immigrants

or

2. that the leadership of the real union doesn't want to waste dues on free cars and food for its already well paid staff.

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 20:21
thugarchist wrote:
What do you think about the flyer I posted below chucks last response?

It's pretty funny, and it makes a good point. But decent folks who happen to be paid officials managing to beat down the careerists in one instance doesn't change the fact that mainstream unions are almost entirely run by careerists and pretty much beyond recovery.

And chuck, I'm not a student. Wish I still was, mind you, it pays better than the dole and nobody expected me to fill out any forms.

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 20:27

By the way thugarchist, don't suppose you were one of the officials who met up with the T&G delegates to Las Vegas a year or two ago, were you?

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 20:37
madashell wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
What do you think about the flyer I posted below chucks last response?

It's pretty funny, and it makes a good point. But decent folks who happen to be paid officials managing to beat down the careerists in one instance doesn't change the fact that mainstream unions are almost entirely run by careerists and pretty much beyond recovery.

And chuck, I'm not a student. Wish I still was, mind you, it pays better than the dole and nobody expected me to fill out any forms.

Chuck wasn't calling you a student. Often times the union staff that fight for more gains for union staff against the interest of the union and union members have never been workers. They became union staff straight out of college. Chuck was commenting on that. There is also a different class-distinctions around higher-education in the U.S. and your country.

There are three main types of union staff generally I think:
1. The old school that are there to maintain the status quo in terms of institutional hierarchy
2. The new progressives that think they're saving the working class like some sort of fucking charity work and they want to make serious money for it
3. Folks that are fighting to build a movement

I made that flyer by the way. I'm a member of my staff union, deliberately organized the young organizers to elect impotent officers who wouldn't be able to fuck up the real union, had conversations leading people to think the staff agitating for more money were dishonest (even though they weren't) and am totally happy with it. When Chuck asked me to make a hit-piece for his fight I was happy to do it for him and the workers.

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 20:42
madashell wrote:
By the way thugarchist, don't suppose you were one of the officials who met up with the T&G delegates to Las Vegas a year or two ago, were you?

We had a big CTW convention in Vegas last year where some english union guy came and spoke at. I usually go play videogames on my phone in the bathroom during boring speeches. If what you're talking about was more than two years ago I was still based out of Baltimore back then.

Also, I'm not nearly important enough to meet with "important" people. I'm a lead organizer and a chief negotiator. I spend all my time with workers.

Dundee_United
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Jan 21 2007 20:44

The discussion depends upon how you view unions. As I'm sure you know unions like Amicus in the UK make more from Credit cards and insurance sales than they do from dues - they certainly aren't there as an organisation of resistance to the boss class. 'Unions' like the RCN (nurses union, which is in favour of privatisation) actively further the interests of the boss class in opposition to the interests of their members.

I think every case has to be assessed on its merits, based on what we're actually dealing with. I think given what little I have seen of this the UniteHere example of breaking the staff union is justifiable - it wouldn't be for a union like the RCN which is frankly just an insurance business which also produces rightwing propaganda and carries out some vistigial union functions.

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 20:55
thugarchist wrote:
Chuck wasn't calling you a student. Often times the union staff that fight for more gains for union staff against the interest of the union and union members have never been workers. They became union staff straight out of college. Chuck was commenting on that.

Ah, gotcha.

Quote:
There is also a different class-distinctions around higher-education in the U.S. and your country.

So I've heard, is there any kind of state provision for students in general in the US, or is it just a case of whether or not your parents can afford the fees?

Quote:
There are three main types of union staff generally I think:
1. The old school that are there to maintain the status quo in terms of institutional hierarchy
2. The new progressives that think they're saving the working class like some sort of fucking charity work and they want to make serious money for it
3. Folks that are fighting to build a movement

Yeah, that's pretty much the case over here, I think. Though IME, the first two types always outnumber the third, which makes things more than a little difficult. Personally, I don't see the point in trying to reclaim the unions, it's virtually impossible.

Quote:
I made that flyer by the way. I'm a member of my staff union, deliberately organized the young organizers to elect impotent officers who wouldn't be able to fuck up the real union, had conversations leading people to think the staff agitating for more money were dishonest (even though they weren't) and am totally happy with it. When Chuck asked me to make a hit-piece for his fight I was happy to do it for him and the workers.

Fair dos. I couldn't really give a toss about staff unions, tbh, which ever way you look at them, they're just confirmation of how depressingly shit the unions are.

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 21:05
madashell wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
Chuck wasn't calling you a student. Often times the union staff that fight for more gains for union staff against the interest of the union and union members have never been workers. They became union staff straight out of college. Chuck was commenting on that.

Ah, gotcha.

Quote:
There is also a different class-distinctions around higher-education in the U.S. and your country.

So I've heard, is there any kind of state provision for students in general in the US, or is it just a case of whether or not your parents can afford the fees?

Quote:
There are three main types of union staff generally I think:
1. The old school that are there to maintain the status quo in terms of institutional hierarchy
2. The new progressives that think they're saving the working class like some sort of fucking charity work and they want to make serious money for it
3. Folks that are fighting to build a movement

Yeah, that's pretty much the case over here, I think. Though IME, the first two types always outnumber the third, which makes things more than a little difficult. Personally, I don't see the point in trying to reclaim the unions, it's virtually impossible.

Quote:
I made that flyer by the way. I'm a member of my staff union, deliberately organized the young organizers to elect impotent officers who wouldn't be able to fuck up the real union, had conversations leading people to think the staff agitating for more money were dishonest (even though they weren't) and am totally happy with it. When Chuck asked me to make a hit-piece for his fight I was happy to do it for him and the workers.

Fair dos. I couldn't really give a toss about staff unions, tbh, which ever way you look at them, they're just confirmation of how depressingly shit the unions are.

1. Good. Chuck's not very bright and its often difficult to uderstand what he's actually trying to say.

2. Higher ed is very expensive here. Generally there is easy access but if you have to pay for it through loans so an average poor kid that goes to college leaves it with 30 or 40 grand in debt with the likelyhood of a lowpaying job to pay it back with.

3. I love unions. Even our shitty one's.

4. I agree that staff unions are examples of the shitty state of unions.

posi
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Jan 21 2007 21:11
thugarchist wrote:
I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

I'm not an anarchist. I agree that anarchists are generally politically inneffectual. That is why I stopped being an anarchist. I see the need for paid staff positions (as long as they're organisers, not administrators). The few people on this board who know me will find thugarchist's interjection ironic.

throwhen wrote:
Staff should have free cars
Staff should have the right to have their sex changes paid for
Staff should have union paid for credit cards
Staff should have weekends off
Staff should have limited hours during week days
Staff should have their meals paid for
Staff should have to pay for their personal use of their car.
Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.
Staff should get a 7% pay raise each year

Those were the big issues.
Same staff went to the press, leafleted and picketed union headquarters, staff visited workers, staff leafleted union shops (like hotels/casinos), staff contacted bosses of union properties, staff did a work stoppage in 3 locations, one during a strike by the membership.

Staff set up anti union websites like www.unitehere_watch_dawgs.typepad.com and www.hendrixchafe.typepad.com

Staff did a delegation to a union president on a hotel picketline, where workers were holding their 2 year strike anniversary rally. the staff highjacked to make it their issue. the press and the hotel bosses we were fighting watched the whole thing.

I'm glad I organized against FOUR and helped save the union for the real workers, housekeepers, dishwashers, laundry workers, etc. the union is not about fattening the staff's paychecks, FOUR thinks it is. That's why I fought them, and that is ultimately why they lost their fight.

I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume for the purposes of this conversation (though not alot else) that you are representing things accurately.

FOUR's position sounds largely unreasonable, and its tactics irresponsible (given the issues at stake, especially so). However, I disagree with you on these points:

Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.

Obviously it would be possible to use these rights irresponsibly. But that is not a good enough reason to remove the general right. I also think that normal, non-organiser, staff shouldn't be expected to work more than a standard working week, for standard pay. For organisers it goes with the territory, shouldn't have to for admin staff.

thugarchist wrote:
I made that flyer by the way. I'm a member of my staff union, deliberately organized the young organizers to elect impotent officers who wouldn't be able to fuck up the real union, had conversations leading people to think the staff agitating for more money were dishonest (even though they weren't) and am totally happy with it.

The flyer... whatever. You should have fought on the issues, not bullshited the people you work with.

posi
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Jan 21 2007 21:18
thugarchist wrote:
3. I love unions. Even our shitty one's.

I don't get why understanding the need for organising unions, and the need for people to get involved in them, means that people have to suddenly jetison all critical faculties. UNITE-HERE has done some great things. It has also done some shit things. Same goes for SEIU. Why do people find it so fucking difficult to hold both those thoughts in their heads at once?

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 21:19
posi wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
I'm constantly intrigued when anarchists (who generally think staff positions are wrong) then find it odd that union staff might be against staff unions milking the real union for more money.

I'm not an anarchist. I agree that anarchists are generally politically inneffectual. That is why I stopped being an anarchist. I see the need for paid staff positions (as long as they're organisers, not administrators). The few people on this board who know me will find thugarchist's interjection ironic.

throwhen wrote:
Staff should have free cars
Staff should have the right to have their sex changes paid for
Staff should have union paid for credit cards
Staff should have weekends off
Staff should have limited hours during week days
Staff should have their meals paid for
Staff should have to pay for their personal use of their car.
Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.
Staff should get a 7% pay raise each year

Those were the big issues.
Same staff went to the press, leafleted and picketed union headquarters, staff visited workers, staff leafleted union shops (like hotels/casinos), staff contacted bosses of union properties, staff did a work stoppage in 3 locations, one during a strike by the membership.

Staff set up anti union websites like www.unitehere_watch_dawgs.typepad.com and www.hendrixchafe.typepad.com

Staff did a delegation to a union president on a hotel picketline, where workers were holding their 2 year strike anniversary rally. the staff highjacked to make it their issue. the press and the hotel bosses we were fighting watched the whole thing.

I'm glad I organized against FOUR and helped save the union for the real workers, housekeepers, dishwashers, laundry workers, etc. the union is not about fattening the staff's paychecks, FOUR thinks it is. That's why I fought them, and that is ultimately why they lost their fight.

I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume for the purposes of this conversation (though not alot else) that you are representing things accurately.

FOUR's position sounds largely unreasonable, and its tactics irresponsible (given the issues at stake, especially so). However, I disagree with you on these points:

Staff should not be able to organize against the leadership of the union.
Staff should not be able to talk negatively about the union to the press.

Obviously it would be possible to use these rights irresponsibly. But that is not a good enough reason to remove the general right. I also think that normal, non-organiser, staff shouldn't be expected to work more than a standard working week, for standard pay. For organisers it goes with the territory, shouldn't have to for admin staff.

thugarchist wrote:
I made that flyer by the way. I'm a member of my staff union, deliberately organized the young organizers to elect impotent officers who wouldn't be able to fuck up the real union, had conversations leading people to think the staff agitating for more money were dishonest (even though they weren't) and am totally happy with it.

The flyer... whatever. You should have fought on the issues, not bullshited the people you work with.

1. This is talking about field staff. Clerical and office staff actually are workers. Field staff aren't. They're soldiers and should shut up, work harder, and be happy they can pay rent, eat and fight.

2. Why the fuck should paid staff have anything to say about eleceted leadership? The members should. Paid staff should just fight and win. Leave democracy to the members where it belongs.

3. That flyer is hilarious but I'm not a member of that staff union.

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thugarchist
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Jan 21 2007 21:20
posi wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
3. I love unions. Even our shitty one's.

I don't get why understanding the need for organising unions, and the need for people to get involved in them, means that people have to suddenly jetison all critical faculties. UNITE-HERE has done some great things. It has also done some shit things. Same goes for SEIU. Why do people find it so fucking difficult to hold both those thoughts in their heads at once?

I agree with you. Maybe I'm missing your point?

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 21:23
posi wrote:
I don't get why understanding the need for organising unions, and the need for people to get involved in them, means that people have to suddenly jetison all critical faculties. UNITE-HERE has done some great things. It has also done some shit things. Same goes for SEIU. Why do people find it so fucking difficult to hold both those thoughts in their heads at once?

That's not really the point though, it's about the broader role of the unions. Any rank and file Tory can tell you something they like about a certain union or an action they thought was worthwhile, and the most hardcore Trostkyite trade unionist will be able to tell you about something shit their union has done.

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madashell
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Jan 21 2007 21:28
thugarchist wrote:
We had a big CTW convention in Vegas last year where some english union guy came and spoke at. I usually go play videogames on my phone in the bathroom during boring speeches. If what you're talking about was more than two years ago I was still based out of Baltimore back then.

Also, I'm not nearly important enough to meet with "important" people. I'm a lead organizer and a chief negotiator. I spend all my time with workers.

Just curious really, I know a few people who went over, is all.

posi
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Jan 21 2007 21:34
thugarchist wrote:
1. This is talking about field staff. Clerical and office staff actually are workers. Field staff aren't. They're soldiers and should shut up, work harder, and be happy they can pay rent, eat and fight.

They should have enough to keep themselves and their dependents (this is important) in a decent way. I appreciate the sentiment, but that's taking it too far - you're putting forward the old macho Alinsky model of the organiser. Doesn't work long term.

thugarchist wrote:
2. Why the fuck should paid staff have anything to say about eleceted leadership? The members should. Paid staff should just fight and win. Leave democracy to the members where it belongs.

I'm not saying anyone should necessarily care what they say - that depends on the issues. I'm saying they shouldn't be gagged. They may have important things to say. Even if unions were genuinely democratic pure-class institutions, I stil wouldn't agree with you, and since they're not, I really, really don't.

thugarchist wrote:
3. That flyer is hilarious but I'm not a member of that staff union.

I know. I'm talking about your comments on lieing to people in your staff union about others being dishonest, etc.

thugarchist wrote:
I agree with you. Maybe I'm missing your point?

Oh. What shit things would you say that SEIU has done? Wait! Didn't you, a staff member, just criticise your union leadership? Off with his head!

madashell wrote:
That's not really the point though, it's about the broader role of the unions. Any rank and file Tory can tell you something they like about a certain union or an action they thought was worthwhile, and the most hardcore Trostkyite trade unionist will be able to tell you about something shit their union has done.

Sure, sure - definitely see the need for a structural analysis of the role of unions, can't just reduce it to a question of leadership... my formulation was more making a point about what I see as Thugarchist and Chuck's overly uncritical positions. We can't get into all that again here though! Just resurrect the unions and communists thread, or start another one if you want to have that conversation.

Edit:

To flesh out further the issue of 'should union staff be gagged'... it's obviously a concern, especially in an anti-union environment like America, that infighting will hurt the labour movement. I understand that. But are you seriously saying (to take an easy example) that if there were a case of discrimination within the union offices, the worker, or their elected officer, shouldn't be able to speak up about it?