Verizon: union win

Chuck0 chuck at
Mon Aug 21 20:29:00 PDT 2000

Nathan Newman wrote:
> 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.

Oh great, the list's biggest Gore supporter is going to lecture me on labor solidarity.

How in the hell am I a self-indulgent anarchist pissing on their struggle? I've been very pleased to see them on strike. I walk past their picket line every day on my way to work. I laughed when one of their more vocal picketers was heard during a meeting that took place 12 stories above.

My criticism was about the fact that winning a contract, while something rewarding to Verizon workers, is small potatoes compared to what they could be asking for. And let me go a little further on the limb. What's the point of winning better conditions for what are basically shitty jobs? In the short term, yes, better conditions are worth striking for, but in the end, who wants to spend their lives working in a customer service center?

> 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.

What, the reformist policies of the CWA business union are beyond criticism? Shit, I was thinking about bringing the strikers on my block some bagels, but they seemed rather well cared for.

> 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.

Hello? When did I put down the radicalization of these workers? I've been following the Verizon sabotage campaign and have been joking about it with my buddies.

> 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.

Yep, its about time. There's also a lot of rank-and-file rebellion against union management too.

> 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.

Sure, it's a start. The other nice things about it are that it is happening in the high tech industry and it's really cool to see a picket line on the streets.

<< Chuck0 >>

This was the year *everything* changed.

-- Commander Ivanova, 2261

Mid-Atlantic Infoshop -> Alternative Press Review -> Practical Anarchy Online ->

Homepage ->

"A society is a healthy society only to the degree that it exhibits anarchistic traits."

- Jens Bjørneboe

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