Verizon: union win

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Mon Aug 21 13:04:50 PDT 2000

On Mon, 21 Aug 2000, Chuck0 wrote:

> Doug Henwood wrote:
> >
> > - August 21, 2000
> >
> > ~~~~~~~~~
> > Zap! Union Win at Verizon Jolts the New Economy
> Yawwwwnnn. Wake me up when the Verizon workers kick out management and
> start running the business as a worker-owned collective.

Yawnn...wake me up when self-indulgent anarchists accomplish anything other than pissing on other workers struggles and movements.

These are the attitudes that make some parts of the Left look so irrelevant. 86,000 workers sacrifice pay for over two weeks, mostly in order to help expand the benefits of union protection to non-union workers, and this kind of crap gets spewed.

It always amazes me that folks can blow up the importance of relatively small demos involving the "usual suspects" of core activists, while ignoring core radicalization of folks that happens through union struggles. Heck, the recent Verizon strike probably tops Seattle and DC on physical destruction and sabotague by rank-and-file activists - where one union member is now in the hospital because he accidently electrocuted himself slashing a cable.

What folks are not seeing is the real shift in strike goals in recent years. Where the 1980s saw unions sacrificing long-term survival of the union (through two-tier wage structures and agreements for subcontracting in exchange for security for present members), recent strikes across different industries have had union members making organizing and expansion of union membership the prime goal. "Bargaining to Organize" has become the key strategy in negotiations and this is a seismic shift for the union movement, since instead of organizing being a peripheral activity, it becomes part of the day-do-day education of all members and something they all take responsibility for achieving.

Notably, one of the big results of last year's Boeing strike in Seattle has been the subsequent unionization of technical workers in the company's Wichita division. These agreements by CWA are taking these same strategies to the national level across the industry.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this agreement, both as a model of organizing and its model for workers specifically in the technology industries.

Don't celebrate Dems winning elections, but if you are any kind of socialist, do celebrate this basic victory for worker power.

-- Nathan Newman

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