The origins of Solidarity Unionism: Minority report 3

In this section, and other opportunities, I wrote about the major advantage enjoyed by the ISTC-IWW compared to corporatist unions. Particularly with respect to our approach allows any worker or workers to get involved and to find meaning to his involvement with the union, and that a majority of colleagues has demonstrated his desire or not to negotiate with the boss. I named the minority unionism.

There are other benefits to SITT-IWW — we believe in the principle of one vote per member. Any and all responsible and representative and union representative is elected-e and see these posts frequent turnover. Any structural change of the union is subject to a vote, including the amount of contributions and constitutional amendments : democracy. Our members are very motivated es to fight to win better working conditions. The Wobblies are often the first and first to arrive on a picket line and the last and last to leave, even when the action does not affect them directly : militancy. These elements should not make us unique, but it is unfortunately too often the case.

A growing militancy and democracy can only benefit every worker organization, especially corporatist unions and there are people who work very hard for such reforms. These remain good minor reforms to the unions that remain quietly within the Labor Code.

Since I wrote the first edition of this topic, I realized how much the idea of ​​minority unionism disturbs the pattern of major unions, especially when it comes to court. Let's look at a hypothetical example:

Alice, an employee of the loading dock at Best Buy, is told that she has to buy his own safety shoes. It is legal. She does not pay, these shoes are expensive. Let's, for the need of the cause, that most of his colleagues feel the same. The Directive, which was forwarded them to be applied in two weeks.

Alice speaks with an electrician who came to install a new gadget store. He is a member IBEW (The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and told him, if it were unionized, she would not have this problem since the union would ensure that the company pays for safety equipment.

Alice calls IBEW and says it wants to join the union. It is sheer madness to his interlocutor ears. It would have to follow the apprenticeship program and the waiting list is long. Furthermore, there is not enough work in the area to justify new members. Alice hangs up, baffled by this contact with the craft union.

She speaks with a truck making a delivery. The driver is a Teamster. He also told him to form a union is the right way to resolve their situation. Alice therefore calls the Teamsters and request to join the union. Let's say we have here is a section that is experimenting a bit with the minority unions as they are campaigning in Overnite (transport company) and have had to develop a strategy allowing them to hold a union presence in the workplace (Note that I say this to the discussion purposes — it's not something that really happened). The Teamsters answered him, "Yes, join us."

However, a colleague Alice has a brother who works in the public sector, also on loading docks, and is represented by SEIU (Service Employees International Union). This colleague becomes SEIU member.

the UFCW (United Food & Commercial Workers), representing retail industry workers, Wind of what unfolds and requires the transfer of these two members in name, that the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations) grant them. Neither union members do not want to be affiliated UFCW saw their inability to adequately represent workers in supermarkets across the country. Instead, they decide to buy their own safety shoes and give up the idea of ​​a union.

Although the above scenario is fictional, I think it illustrates the problems that would surface area in the event that the corporatist unions adopt a minority unionism strategy or a direct affiliate program. The reason I think the situation would unfold well — maybe not every time, but often enough to make it problematic — is that the corporatist union abandoned the minority unionism 1935 and when they pleaded es for the Wagner Act.

The Wagner Act — well what offer some protection to workers involved in minority unionism campaigns through its clauses protecting the concerted action — was greeted with open arms by the union leaders. Indeed, it guarantees exclusive bargaining rights to unions won powers of representation, while facilitating the management of the clauses related to members, such as collecting contributions. The AFL-CIO has pushed even further with, within its structure, anti-poaching judicial language and having protected the worst affiliates, preventing workers accentuate the democratic aspects activists and union representatives.

In Australia, the government, accredited and bosses have cut workers' industrial landscape jurisdictions countries unions. The unions have exclusive rights trading industry standards such as leave, salaries, the safety standards, hours and working conditions. They have the right to negotiate whatever members density, but the results of these negotiations affect all and all workers and industrial workers, union members or not. When a worker or a worker becomes a member or, it is usually to tackle a problem on their own workplace. A worker can become a union member and used to agitate for its own sake or for the workplace full. Given the history of American unions fighting for legal rights, I can imagine a system based on that of Australia, but without the right to represent an entire industry.

This would be implemented by the AFL-CIO that would cut the jurisdictions and approve that only unions having a presence in some industries may be a member or working there. The majority of this work has already been done, it has only been sidelined with the latest most difficult years. The Australian system was put in place because the working activity was up. Many moved from one union to another, changing organization as it saw them looking for a maximum level of militancy. Rather than encouraging devotion, the choice was made to control the workers by not allowing them membership in specific circumstances.

interesting note : the Australian system is not actually an industrial unionism. for example, there is a union secretaries. The secretaries are an indispensable part of almost any industry, but rather than being members of the union that represents them, and they are represented by an art-craft union. Ironically, although the vast majority of secretaries are women, the union is controlled by anti-feminist men, mainly because of some union members have the right to vote. The union is very little actually to organize the people it represents and even tries to counter any attempt at reform by members. The union can behave that way since it can retain its bargaining despite a very small amount of members, allowing a very small group of individuals unpopular among secretaries to be the sole representatives.

To return to the Alice scenario, that would SITT-IWW in this situation? We occupy ourselves with immediate safety shoes. Alice would initially contacted either with an intersectoral local or regional industrial council, an organization that serves to unify workers regardless of their industry. It would be in contact with other members, would provide training and would find solidarity. She would learn how to organize themselves to achieve gains as well as how to build a trade union presence in the workplace.

The SITT-IWW is open to all workers and all workers and our system of industrial unions is designed to increase our strength report. The only reason would have to wonder what industrial union join is to give us the best possible negotiating power, not to protect territory. The SITT-IWW opposed the Wagner Act when thinkers who created it made him the first draft. This is because we have seen the danger of the fact of relying on laws to organize the working class in our place and we did not want the cumbersome bureaucracy, the short-sighted and methods of separation of the corporatist unions.

Building our movement in this way makes us deeply only. We choose to experiment with new methods of organization, methods that have the potential not only to successfully provide for smaller claims, but also the potential to create a movement that can make a real difference.


The series of “minority reports” was written and published in 2002 on the website of the IWW, by Alexis FW Buss.

Link to original article:

Culture of intoxication and radical unionism

Note: Les views expressed in this article are those of the author-e and should not be considered as official statements of the IWW-SITT.

Ceux et celles qui me connaissent ne seront pas surpris et surprises d’apprendre que je consomme beaucoup de marijuana, je suis ce qu’on appelle un utilisateur fonctionnel élevé. Ma consommation est liée à mes problèmes d’image personnelle, mon anxiété sociale et mon trouble de stress post-traumatique. Je sens que j’ai besoin d’en consommer avant de sortir et de parler pour concentrer mes pensées et ne pas être un imbécile incohérent. Je sens que j’ai besoin de consommer pour rendre mon corps acceptable du moins dans ma tête pour la société. Je dépense beaucoup d’argent sur mon automédication et je panique lorsque mes moyens d’automédication sont bas ou épuisés. Ça veut dire que j’ai le choix entre arrêter de m’automédiquer et plonger dans une profusion de stress et d’anxiété interne, ou alors de casquer pour continuer.

Ceci est une facette de la culture de l’intoxication; c’est une bête qui se consume elle-même et qui avale les interactions sociales et les force à se développer dans le contexte de consommation de drogues. Dans notre syndicat, c’est principalement porté par l’alcool; nous allons prendre un verre après une réunion, nous allons prendre un verre après une réunion de branche, nous allons prendre un verre après une manif, nous buvons beaucoup, nous buvons une quantité alarmante d’alcool. Nous dépensons beaucoup d’argent, ce qui nous plonge collectivement dans le trou de la culture de l’intoxication, et nous faisons peu socialement qui n’inclut pas d’alcool.

Non seulement cela crée des espaces très peu sécuritaires, mais ça rend aussi inaccessible à ceux et celles qui ont fait le choix de ne pas boire ou qui ne le peuvent pas de sympathiser avec nous.

Écoutez, je n’essaie pas de casser le party. Parmi tous, je suis le premier à prendre quelques pintes après une longue réunion. Je suis le premier à consommer. Je fais partie de ce cycle, je vis dans la bête, j’ai eu un long passé à tourner les coins ronds pour me geler, j’ai séché le travail, planté des ami-e-s, laissé tomber des responsabilités pour continuer à consommer, en partie à cause de tout ce que j’ai mentionné, mais aussi parce que je me sentirais seul et incapable de faire face à mes responsabilités une fois sobre. C’est quelque chose avec quoi je lutte toujours, et j’ai tourné tellement de coins ronds que le gros de mon travail finit par ressembler à un cercle.

Lorsqu’une organisation de personnes nourrit cette machine, nous changeons, nous avons des standards plus bas, nous nous abandonnons à la bête et tout ce que nous faisons deviens assujetti à l’intoxication. C’est la différence entre accomplir quelque chose et accomplir quelque chose pour pouvoir aller boire. In my opinion, nous sommes meilleur-e-s que ça. Ça veut dire qu’aussi forts et fortes que nous sommes, aussi critiques que nous sommes, nous sommes toujours des esclaves à la boissons et au pot, et je crois que nous sommes bien meilleur-e-s que ça. Je n’ai pas les réponses à ce problème, j’ai mes propres démons, mais ensemble, y’a rien qu’on puisse pas faire.