Monday, March 27, 2006

CAW To Leave CLC?

CAW leadership urges members to abandon NDP

This is the syndicalism of Sam Gompers; reward your friends and punish your enemies.

Mr. Hargrove said a CAW council decided that the union should endorse strategic voting. Jim Stanford, an economist in the CAW research department, said many members felt it was inevitable that their organization would part ways with the NDP. Recent consultations showed that members wanted the CAW's political action to be driven by issues rather than by party affiliation, he said. "If you force people to choose between their union and a party, it's the union they'll choose. It's the union that delivers their bread and butter.

The CLC is aligned to the NDP as are its affiliates. The only union that isn't is the real heirs of radical Canadian syndicalism is CUPW.

CUPW is one of the most radical unions prepared to back up its demands with the mass strike, wildcats and direct action. Whose president showed what militant leadership is when he went to jail on behalf of his members who staged a strike despite a Federal Government ban.

Something Buzz has never done, gone to jail for the rank and file. And so his syndicalism is that of Gomperism, bread and butter issues, his politics of strategic voting is to reward his friends, the Liberals and NDP while punishing the Conservatives. This is a step backwards politically.

It also allows for right wing locals to become non involved, and really in the CAW was predicated upon the shift to the right by the Oshawa local which under the tutelage of the right supported the Reform party federally.

Something that Buzz avoids talking about.

Just like he refuses to accept that his strategic voting politics won nothing last time around. His political acumen is as limited as his nationalist left trade unionism.

Is this part of a Buzz plan to create a seperate Labour Federation in Canada?

I have speculated on that before.

And it is begining to look like a battle royal in the House of Labour and on the Labour Left.

Where is the CAW Going (Buzz Hargrove and Sam Gindin Exchange Views)

Which is why it is time for One Big Union, not through mergers and acquisitions like USWA and IWA, nor through misanthropic attempts to create yet another Labour Federation. No its through revolutionary syndicalism. The IWW shows the way this can be done historically and currently.

Buzz and the CAW show that the days of the trades unions and their industrial union counterparts are now to be spent in retirement from the Class War. Despite their comments to the contrary they are off the social battlefield while immersed in internecine ego-trips of building Empires as their's crumbles.

In the early 1990s, the CAW responded to management's notions of work reorganization with their own agenda for defending workers. Today, the union sounds uncomfortably like management as it reinforces GM demands for 'flexibility'.* In 1996, the CAW struck GM - successfully - over the very outsourcing issue it was now giving up in the middle of an agreement (endorsing the loss of some 400 janitors - preferred work for some senior workers - and indicating more 'flexibility' as needed). Since the breakaway from the UAW the CAW consistently fought for improvements in work time. Now, in spite of added pressures on workers and an older workforce, relief time is being surrendered.

The leadership's defence has echoed the earlier refrain of the UAW (not to mention the familiar mantras of Thatcher then Blair): 'The world has changed', 'there is no alternative', 'expectations have to be lowered'. These lame phrases reveal a sad memory loss of the risks and uncertainties of that earlier time when the union resisted in spite of global and national trends, the warnings of its American parent, double-digit unemployment rates in the economy, and concerns about industry trends that were at least as great as today's. The world had changed back then and it is continuing to change today, but the lesson to be learned is not that becoming a spokesperson for the companies or forging closer ties to Liberal politicians will save us. Nor that our expectations should be lowered as technology develops and the economy becomes more productive. The question rather is whether unions are up to changing their own structures, building the appropriate allies, and developing a vision that can excite and mobilize their own members as part of challenging, rather than giving into, corporate power.

Mar 22, 2006 Sam Gindin Concessions in Oshawa: The End of an Era?

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