Verizon: union win

Jeff Walker jkw1199p at
Tue Aug 22 06:59:48 PDT 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "Chuck0" <chuck at> To: <lbo-talk at> Sent: Monday, August 21, 2000 11:29 PM Subject: Re: Verizon: union win

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

So what, specifically, are you saying they should have done? Following your logic, what they really should do is just quit, since what's the point of having a shitty job. Or maybe they should have thrown up the barricades and taken over the Telcos and run them as anarchist collectives. I'm sure the ruling class wouldn't do anything to interfere with that.

The problem I see with your thinking is that it's all or nothing. The point, as I see it, of contract fights like this is that they open up an opportunity to sharpen the contradictions of capitalist society and open up an opportunity to radicalize a group of workers. Most importantly, if it's done right, workers can learn through a fight like this that the source of their power comes not from the law, etc., but from their own collective action. That lesson you can only learn from being in a fight.

Clearly there needs to be some sort of vision to work towards, but pissing on the incredible victory these workers acheived is not helpful toward that end. You can cast aspersions on the "business unionism" of the CWA all you want, but the fact is 87,000 workers sacrificed and fought for the ability to organize non-union workers. It says something about the level of awareness these workers have that they did this at all, that they understand the only way things are going to improve for them is to expand the struggle and make the fight bigger.


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