Fear and loathing in a center near you

I got lots of jobs to low wages. Warehouseman, employed in call centers or customer service, concierge, diver, clerk, assistant cook, seller fir, House painter, speaker, name it. In all cases, I always had bosses with varying degrees of shit.

One who we called moumounes when we refused to work at 10 meters in height without harness; another who always said that it was taking too long between two surveys; one who we spied remotely via cameras; others who harassed or tolerated harassment.

My first union experience has been with the Teamsters, at the Montreal Bus Station as an attendant to information. We were a new team about 10 people hired by a outsourcing company. A summer job that finally lasted six years, at 40 hours / week at minimum wage with executives too disdainful hypocrites.

As long as having a boss, as much to defend oneself, this is which is why I later joined the IWW, a Wobblie. But initially, I was not a convinced trade unionist. This first experience with the Teamsters has me even rather disgusted with unions.

By entering, I knew my hourly rate, but not much more.  Nobody said anything to us. This is our boss, One day, who told us we would be unionized with the Teamsters. It's funny, because I don't remember ever signing a membership card. AT the time, I have found that strange, even suspicious that it is our boss who finds us a union; now I understand that we were fooled, big time.

Un an (or two) later, a colleague, no longer lit at his rights, and I started to chat . Sometimes with other colleagues. Our working conditions were really harsh. We wanted more than the minimum wage, at least 3-4$ Furthermore. Especially since half of the staff had been there since more than 10 years. Many had children. We knew that if we structured, we could go get some money. And respect.

This colleague my request if we had a copy of our collective agreement. I was not even sure what it was. We went around, no one had it. To my memory, our boss gave us a copy.

After having leafed through our convention, we understood that had to elect delegates and that many of our working conditions were not respected. We contacted Teamsters offices, so that we explains a little how it all works. We were given the number of our union advisor, the one who had to answer our Questions, help us to organize and defend our rights. Joining him was painstaking. He was very busy he said. We were obviously not on his priority list.

It looked like a whole union crooked. Not too interested in we. To send us a paid guy 3-4 times our salary, that got us made very unfriendly.

We contacted the CSN, see if we could not embark with them. It couldn't be worse and maybe the idea losing our dues would wake up the Teamsters. It was very complicated for I don't know what to have a frank response from the CSN. We were however in time for the change of accreditation. After some exchanges, it fell to the water. A young friendly adviser tells us that the plant was not very interested, among other things because would not pay much in contributions.

After this episode, our negotiations arriving, even if we didn't feel supported, we tried to organize meetings by ourselves. We had to get organized and obviously nobody would do it for us. We had to talk to our colleagues and ask questions : who stands with who? Who wants what? Who is potentially trusted, who would vote for leverage, for a strike? It was messy. What now at the IWW I call from "Restlessness, education, of inoculation, you social mapping, etc. " Unionism.

We put up posters to announce an assembly. We spent small leaflets. I was really funny to put on posters with quotes from Karl Marx. Mon boss, his, laughed less. We didn't have the right to talk about a union at work. Of their edge by cons, our bosses pretended to meet individual about the schedule for threaten colleagues, know who said what ...

They used oldest used to obtain information, to spread rumors that the company is closing and that lose our jobs if we go on strike.

Our advisor union presslessly returned our calls and was rarely, never there. At our first meeting, during which we refused the boss offer, our counselor spoke aggressively, repeated the same rumors that executives were circulating, said we should accept the 50 proposed increase signs or go out with the right pegs.

We stopped trusting him the day we saw him by chance in a restaurant not away eating with our boss, looks like two good boyfriends. I was in tabarnak.

During the second Assembly, the boss’s offer made us climb by 1,50$ (about) /h. The more combative small group but inexperienced that we were tried to push for more, but the assembly voted in favor. Our advisor says that in 3 years, we might be better ... this same guy who had more in common with our boss treated us like kids, idiots. It made me hate trade unions.

Gang of sold me said to myself. The power plants and their platform managers employees, more concerned insurance companies by industrial peace that the working and living conditions of my class.

I have rediscovered unionism in a better light meeting Wobblies. When I was told that a real union, it is the workers who train it and who give it its colors. That the legal model of insurance company, it’s a resounding failure. That it is certainly not by accepting the status quo that we will avoid the wall towards which the capitalism makes us sink.

From my first experience with a corporatist union, I’m remember this : must speak to our colleagues; ask them what they do and how to get more, know what pisses them off, remind them that a boss is a boss, even if he has a smile; understand that it will not be simple, that our colleagues (and ourselves), waves complex pathways.

Still unionized with the IWW, but also by a “legal” union, I keep in mind that we have to protect ourselves from the boss, but often also from the heavily paid union, who's afraid of losing control. Especially if we don't want to be content to sign an agreement, but put the power back on the work floor.


Un memre du SITT-IWW.

Back teaching strikes in the US

Back on last year's events

launched 22 February 2018 by teachers of high school of West Virginia, the strike of 2018 extended the faculty of Oklahoma State, d’Arizona, du Kentucky, de North Carolina, du Colorado, Washington, New York and Illinois. Although strikes waves were smaller in these 4 last states, they nevertheless allowed the movement to go beyond the limits of the trade to get them associé.es the Commowealth Virginia University and school bus Georgia.

While the White House merely repeated not have money due to the costs of old age pensions (a speech that reminds us of something?), requests Teachers were clear: better working conditions and more education funding. Or, as every time the employers or the state refuses to untie the purse strings (who filled the same work we do and the taxes we pay), it only takes to brew a little cage to finally realize that the money actually was there. Gains were massive: reinvestment in education through tobacco tax, wage increase 5% at 25% and increased salary support employé.es are just some of the gains made in 2018.


The Angels, Denver and Oakland revive the ball!

But the movement that seemed breathless since May just reappear on the radar, this time via the Los Angeles Teacher Union, la Oakland Education Association (California) and the Denver Teacher Union (Colorado). What they ask and they? The same as everyone! An increase in funding institutions to provide a learning environment without mold and where every student can boast a chair and a desk to work and books necessary for learning. decent working conditions for a job that barely keep its workers and where stability employé.es is more than necessary for the welfare of the leading intéressé.es: Children and While Quebec is on un.e enseignant.e 5 who leaves before his fifth career year, in the US we speak of a definitive abandonment rate 8% every year, across all seniority.

As in too many US and Canadian unions, one for Main obstacles auquel ont fait les enseignants face and enseignantes south of the border was tiédeur du syndical leadership here, we know it, although elected to represent their members, develops quickly on those complex and those who know better than others. These exé do not believe in fighting for their members and even they would believe, they and they do not believe that fighting can bring anything, better to avoid the worst and ask for the minimum. The strike of Los Angeles, interrupted after coitus 6 days, is a good example. So, if the central and faculty that represents can look forward to getting a pay rise 6%, a reduction in class size and hiring librarian and additional, the comments section of the Facebook page of UTLA has a bitter taste. It is mainly criticizes the Central its online voting system that, having been open only a few hours, prevented thousands of teachers from voting on the ratification of the agreement. Recall that if the 6% increase is not insignificant, Arizona and Virginia have seen their salary increased 20 and 25% Following pressure tactics performed 2018. Why leadership of UTLA was it merely a lean 6%? Mystery and gumdrop.


Needless to stress, the problem with this lack of vision on the part of the union leadership is that it creates a new standard that exceeds the limits of the agreement or the workplace. Whenever a union accepts a sellout, see the status quo or worse '' lower back '' as we begin to get used to in Quebec, it is a step towards normalization of losses. A steeper climb for those who want more. All the more so as we émoussons our weapons, the state continues to sharpen his. While Quebec begins to discover that special laws are less and less special, salarié.es the Oklahoma State are already preparing their next battle while just tabled a bill to criminalize who would do battle with their senator. An injury to one is an injury to all, a lack of fighting to One is a lack of fighting spirit to all.

Despite the cowardice of some union leaders and repression of political leaders, that the teachers in the United States have managed to prove is that it is still possible to organize with colleagues. It is possible to do locally is in worrying about a central inert organizing a walk-out completely illegal, but perfectly legitimate, as it is possible to regain control of his assembled and bring the union to take over the role that historically rightful: This not only ensure our well-being as salarié.es, but also to bring a project of greater society for everyone.



Mathieu Stakh.

Photo credit:


The male frailty and pride for use by boss

The stench WD-40 that burns in irritating the airways and making us die by inches

flat in the factory tonight. Is that my bosses prefer to use it to avoid splashing during

Steel laser cutting rather than the safe fluid especially (or less harmful, at least) designed

for that. Probably a question of price to save a few tens or hundreds of dollars

year. Worse during that time, our health, he coronation. Well yes, one is the shit, we other, we are

just working men and women.

We talk with colleagues at break. It is clear that we will do something with it, it does not stop there !

Everything is shaping up for a small single direct action, that is to say close to the cutter, which is one of

three machines or hand the job, until they have non-toxic cutting oil. Almost all

everyone agrees and stands. Yeah, all is well except for one detail : The operator of the machine not want


The champion in question is Jean (name changed). John is not a complainer ! the whiners, according to

his, it's chochottes, and be a sissy is something terrible because John, you will have it

guess, suffers from toxic masculinity. His, WD-40 toxic vapors, he says it not bother him and

he is able to endure. He even takes pride tell things like that at parties

or bar. He has a man's job, his ! Real male, was !

Sadly, Jean scrap his health and suffered as much as we. Him too, will the chopper, the cancer,

not you worry ! And probably only forty or fifty years, it will be finished and be back

three months a year off work platform worse find his life ****, so it is not really more

"Toff" than us. It's just manipulated by the bosses over his masculine fragility.

John is also against it, trade unions. According to him, it protects and prevents loose as hardworking

them to progress. This leveling down. It has plenty of stories cowards workers that were told to him

by "the guy who saw the guy who saw the bear", without context, which prevent understand that

slackaient employed on the job because they were pressure tactics and the little zealous new

scrappait their job, or the inability to move in a unionized company in

most cases a response Boss and the result of "not good enough" collective agreement.

The Jean of America

We all know and all tons of Jean. It can also be Jeanne, but typically, They are

Jean, obviously. The John are hardworking and like to let us know, worse cursed the boss

appreciate people no column like them because they can take advantage of them and they will almost

thank to the. It is that the bosses are brilliant : They managed to take advantage of male fragility

and / or the pride of John of this world and to make them see everything backwards. So, rather than seeing the act

rebellion as the heroic act, instead they got them to get into the head that is, the

opposite, the act of submission that is ! John and endure anything, see self-exploit, without

flinching or complaining to demonstrate that they are true "toffs" and not cowards. how ironic,

hein ?

It's sad, basically. Because of working people like Jean, when you think, that's what we want,

because to be honest, it's true that cowards who make our job harder to do, in the same way

as roommates who never do the dishes or cleaning, it sucks ! And unfortunately, people who

think like John propagate the myth that trade unionists and other leftists are lazy and

lazy like that then that is against what we, in reality, This is not work, it is

exploitation and injustice. And the lazy and lazy, not allowed to do either. On a

just another approach : We, rather than stalling the, they are formed, we listen, trying to

and they understand why they have not wanted to go to work and made sure that they and they come

to be happy and happy in their job and in their lives and thrive. Ultimately, we are

much more useful to stop the laziness that John who think a slap behind the head or

dismissal (but no BS) is the solution against idleness.

When you look at it like that, it's us, heroes, and jeans are loose because in addition to

even have column for themselves and themselves, they and they also dissociate from their colleagues

and ensure that they and they still suffer. Short, with the world as Jean, no one wins,

except bosses. And that is why we must end this mentality then !

What do we do ?

I do not have all the answers, but I do know that our job against, when you cross a John or a

Jeanne, it is especially not to send stroll ! It is to understand what the shit or the job,

such as with everyone, crop and bring his designs with different angles for

reorient its "fighting" and frustrations.

It can be, for example, to understand that it is not against work we fight, this is against

that of being exploited. If he or let it operate as un.e no column ? He or she more

courage it, see ! It can also be to get him to realize that it is not against "team

warehouse that pogne ass "one must cry, but rather against their cynicism in the face of years of

Non-selected applications to their supervisor that makes shit and that prevents them from organizing work

as they want and they, Firstly, and have the right to meet with people working in

other departments on working hours to communicate and make decisions together that

will facilitate the job of a stage to another factory. Etc.

Because deep, Jean or Jeanne un.e applican unionism. He or she has the drive, East

often allumé.e, wants to do things he or she will be fier.e, is travaillant.e, etc. It is necessary

just talk to him and sort out his mind. Go to the source of problems, as the saying goes.

Come on everybody, it takes everyone a John or Jane and we're going to have coffee with.

Our class needs it.

Solidarity !


Max K



Montréal: Blocking Marseille Depot Canada Post

After blocking the Leo Blanchet plan and deposit the factors Bridge 10 and 12 last December, intersectoral local branch of the IWW-SITT Montreal starts over again by going this time to deposit Marseille in the heart of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.


This initiative of the IWW Montreal is part of a broader movement involving all of Canada where recall that since the adoption of a special law, charcutant negotiations and back-to-work letter carrier for Canada Post, shares of blockages and disturbances take place around the country. Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa, Mississauga, Montréal, Halifax and Sydney are just some of the cities where members of the IWW union or other citizens or groups decided to stand in solidarity with the letter carriers, giving reason to Mike Palecek, National President of the Union of Workers and Workers Post (STTP/CUPW) announcing to the CBC:


« 50 000 syndiqué.es are is forbidden to hold a picket in front of post offices, more 3 millions still have that right. We are not the willing and ready to defend our right to free collective bargaining! »



Photo credit: SITT-IWW Montreal

Mission Accomplished in precarious Community of show

The Show precarious Community, what a beautiful evening of solidarity that was for us, members of Union workers and community workers!


As union "by and for", we do not have the financial means to an employers' group, consequently, the stands to speak are not common. In fact, for speech, we can not expect that we tend, we must take. It is in this light that we wanted that runs the show and that's why we wanted to take the microphone to people, organizations and artists like us.


To express our disgust, our tiredness, our rage and our solidarity with comrades before and, it is a privilege. denouncing underfunding affects us, we burned, conditions that undermine our work, the threats of donors like Centraide put pressure on groups defending rights like the Public Organization of Social Rights of Greater Montreal (OPDS-RM), sexism social net, while laughing and listening to peers and colleagues perform on stage, That is why we organized this show.


And we could not have hoped for better reception, so many people. It was for us a success!

A bit of humour

The Community precarious the show began with the solid performance of Colin, the son of Christian Vanasse, that seemed 20 years of experience to give to public shows. Precarious community were able to discover the next prodigy of Quebec humor. Then it is the father who made his entrance by chaining jokes against people who exploit us and contradictions that capitalism imposes on our lives. Thereafter came the two leftist par excellence of the Quebec humor : Colin Boudrias and Fred Dube. Colin gave us several jokes of his political repertoire, including that on the false veganism. While qu'Anarcho-teasing (Fred) We had arrived with his jokes and anti-capitalist activists of the extreme left. Finally, Catherine Ethier ébloui.e.s us again its incredible verve questioning several problems of our society.



After humorists, for the music!

The duo Acoustic Assonance, accompanied by their daughter, we offered a breathtaking performance! The choice of songs, sweet and melancholic, sung by the rousing voice Izabelle has conquered the room and after laughing a bit, bring us into melancholy of this work and this struggle of ours. Assonance Acoustic then made up the Union Thugs, who launched their part with a heartfelt speech about the injustices that plague the business for too long.



As approval, spectators and spectators quickly abandoned their seats to sing in heart Heroes and Martyrs, a resumption of Parisian band Brigada Flores Magon that honors all the men and women in combat If the end of the concert was trying for their guitarist who turned 25 years and seen so each song be interrupted by a new round of shooters led by its, for many and many in the room resumed I Am the Son of Corrigan Fest finished setting the table for the punk of The Awkwerz. Person arriving in the middle of the afternoon could not have imagined that the small bar of Stand-Bars would be transformed into a dance floor for a frenzied trash just hours later! Geneviève a, like always, was first order frontwoman. Spitting his words and occupying the front of the stage with an unparalleled presence that night at Building 7, the perfect recipe for a perfect community precarious show was officially completed and we can say : Mission accomplished!


All funds raised during the evening were donated to L’OPDS-RM.

Solidarity forever!

The Origins of Solidarity Unionism: Minority report 1

These last years, I have occasionally contributed to a section named "Wobbling the Works”, which put the & rsquo; focus on & rsquo; impact of laws governing the world of work on & rsquo; union. I will continue to write about it from time to time, but recently my attention was focused on a concept that I designate as "minority unionism", is a way of describing a method of organization that does not wait after the majority of workers d & rsquo; a place of work to earn the legal right to negotiate. This month, I will share some aspects that have sparked my interest and led me in this direction.


Recently, j & rsquo; I had to rewrite the constitution SITT-IWW for our comrades Regional Organizing Committees, who were tired es of US spelling mistakes such as "labour and "organising”. Scrutinize the Constitution made me think of the idea of ​​the branches job. A job sector is a group of five or more members of the IWW-SITT in the same workplace and to meet at least once a month. This implies a more or less implied that them discuss their grievances, that & rsquo; he creates them strategies to address and establish a union presence in their work.


I am working on a project that was intended to be a video version of the classic pamphlet IWW, “A Worker’s Guide to Direct Action”, but has gained momentum after it began. By making the search for the video, I saw Miriam Ching Yoon Louie talk about his book, Sweatshop Warriors, which provides excellent examples of how the centers of Immigrant Workers es have helped many workers understand their rights and organize themselves around various problems at work and in the community. I also had the chance to interview Barbara Pear, a maid at the University of North Carolina and president of the EU branch number 150, When & rsquo; she visited the maintenance staff at Swarthmore College, leading a campaign for living wages for more than six years. The University union has no legal right to negotiate, but has nevertheless been successful thanks to the & rsquo; use of pressure tactics aimed at bringing administrators at the negotiating table and d & rsquo; secure improvements for workers and the least-paid workers are.


I often think of ways that workers, who do not have the legal right to negotiate or who have no collective agreement, can put the & rsquo; before to act as a union, using the law to amplify their work. This came to mind because Staughton Lynd asked me to repeat our pamphlet "Labor Law for the Rank and Filer"At a time when I had become particularly cynical with regard to the use of laws governing work in & rsquo; union. I was returning from a weekend with the family Lynd, the people "Youngstown Workers Solidarity Club"Disruptors and their cohorts, interference, veterans and vétéranes activism and d & rsquo; d & rsquo organizers, organizing student-es, from d & rsquo; across the US.


The club was developed as a parallel trade union center that filled a missing when the local plant could not provide adequate support for a strike. Hold me with these people was the antidote to the cynicism that I felt; it's not that I have more confidence in the law, but I now feel able to see the possibilities ... There's a month I saw a documentary, American Standoff, on the shore of the trucking company Overnight, I have criticized in the latest issue. “Standoff"Illustrated many problems that the working class has not adequately confronted. How can we organize ourselves in companies that are so anti-union they are willing to spend millions of dollars just to keep worker-are far from the negotiating table? The campaign Teamsters in Overnight, which is currently in a difficult situation that it is not even certain that it can be taken in hand, is the latest example of a long list of campaigns that left the trade union left scratching their heads wondering how to deal with self-destructive employers and labor laws completely backward. Sure, the answer, it is not to give up. But it s & rsquo; is not to simply d & rsquo; a clique of agitators and d & rsquo; agitating minority on each workplace. It s & rsquo; is to create real solidarity networks that are organized and able to win improvements in individual workplaces, through industries, and for the benefit of the international working class.


And, finally and especially, several comrades on the other side of the Atlantic sent me an article on minority unionism that appeared in a recent edition of the magazine The Nation. L’article, written by Richard B. Freeman et Joel Rogers, argues that theAFL-CIO should develop a d & rsquo plan organization that does not depend on recruiting the majority of d & rsquo workers; a workplace. What was amazing to receive multiple copies of this article in my emails was not the astonishment of American trade unionists who sent. The quite upside which we do chaisons is absurd. Few countries practice trade unionism as we do in the US (and Canada) with the union as the sole bargaining agent of a declared majority. I think it would help a lot if a majority of workers with whom I discuss were aware of how things are done elsewhere, and it would also be nice if people d & rsquo; elsewhere could see the consequences of the way we & rsquo; organize.


Now, that is the purpose of this section. I want to share these stories and experiences. I want to connect my classmates with resources that others have found useful in their union work. I can not offer a recipe for success. These examples will not always suitable for everyone. But an intelligent reflection on a way forward is not only a possibility, it s & rsquo; is something that is already short. And developing resources to try these ideas, we will give us the confidence to turn comments like "what a great idea!"To" I'll try it!”.


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:

Union under the radar

The visible successes

When talking about unions, whether the IWW or elsewhere, it is generally thought to large visible banners. With us, names that strike most as success stories are probably the Starbuck’s Workers Union which put the IWW on the map in the early 2000 or the recent campaigns by the Union of Workers of Frite Alors and that of Workers in the voluntary education environment, both affiliated with the Montreal Local.


The tip of the iceberg union

But if this was only the tip of the iceberg? In organizational training 101, it leads us to discuss and debate the most inclusive definition it would be possible to give a union. After attending three times as participant and 5 both as trainer, I can guarantee you that almost every time we come to the same answer : a union is when two workers or workers or more join forces to improve their working conditions and those of their colleagues.

Looking at the side of the Union of Workers of Frite Alors Rachel Street, for example, we note that industrial action began long before the S-word is pronounced. By spring they and they put forward collective action to qualify for air conditioning in the restaurant, a request which was followed by some actions, then by new claims.

Recently, Combat Trade Union published an article about employee-es of the 3D animation industry who have managed to substantially improve their working conditions, but the editorial team might also have to look at many other local examples. The employee-es of the delivery industry who have managed to obtain better tools to work and a salary increase 20 %, the employee-es of health that have managed to limit the damage of the Lean model at their facility, es employee of the restaurant who got pay raises and repairing many of their tools, es employee of a call center who got them and also a raise.. These are examples of a successful solidarity and mostly nevertheless remained in the shadows. They are the result of the union of concerned es workers, many hours meeting requiring the participation of all and each, and often several actions, short of union action in due form!


In the field

Another example to which it is possible to rotate is that of Stardust Family United (SFU) At New York. Although their union, whose existence was made public in August faced a monster repression, we can see two things. The first is that despite the dozens of dismissals that followed the public release of SFU, this is only the visible part of the union were dismissed. If it kept up the pressure by holding daily picket lines after day, other Workers at Stardust, on their side, continued to work under the radar and go for many gains. Moreover, we learned recently that two veterans and returning players to the campaign of New York-based organization continued to operate elsewhere. Es forced to desert the picket lines to find other work, headings entre elles of society in a manson refus de signer une nouvelle politique de disciplines here is draconian littéralement, while the other coordinated a kind of rotating operation on the boss, about credit card stolen and left tips for waiters and waitresses. The victory was immediate. At the IWW, we often than not say the workplace that we organize, but soon the workers directly. One of the main objectives behind our organizing campaigns is to create more and more organizers organizers who will lead the fight on their current workplace like any other and that they will cross over their life.


public release or no public release?

There is something very media, very glamorous to make a public appearance, but this is not the only way to organize as a union and win as a union. Help colleagues to become fully aware of the power that our boss has on our lives, then bring them to realize all the strength he can have when we unite, then take the necessary actions, it is a victory in either! These are examples of workers and workers who have empoweré es, have seen their working conditions improve and are equipped es to be able to start to fight or they and they are! In a word : of Unionism.


Mathieu Stakh



Return on Capital and Labor: class collaboration in the labor movement

Salaries, for workers of a society dominated by the liberal or neoliberal economics, have represented and never will represent nothing more than a fraction of the value of our work once the capital has taken its share of social production(1). The capital reserves this before hand to redistribute the rest to employees as compensation which will vary according to the criteria of the "labor market" that seeks to impose a market value to jobs and self-employment (and thereby to employees and self-employed worker) as if it were a commodity. Although safe capitalism, that works only if it is constantly growing, use this share to grow and enhance the capacity to appropriate an ever greater share of this social production, making it a wealth concentration system that leads to the results that we know : a ridiculous number of individuals sharing a huge chunk of wealth, private means of production and therefore decide the directions that take this production (power). the haves, in this economic doctrine, So get the share of labor not obtained by workers. Since a long time, unionism is presented as a means to remedy this situation. Today, for example in Quebec and Canada, the unions have acquired the means and a number of members that go far beyond what would have wished the workers' organizations of the past. However, it seems more than ever an unlikely transformation of the social organization of scale (revolution) from these entities. Why is that? here , I leave you with a part of a text that offers an answer to this question and come back with my views on the issue.

Capital and labor : class collaboration in the labor movement
by : Victor Levant (doctoral candidate in political science at McGill University), publishing spark, 1977

chapter V11 : the class character of the union "in good faith»
work organization was illegal in its infancy but was finally obliged to grant a "right
association "because of the revolt of the working class. The concept underlying the definition
legal union activity, however, was derived from the vision of the capitalist world and reflect the interests of
the capital class. This "right" was granted reluctantly, conditional and only after
watered down the essence of the labor movement : a political movement to fight for the emancipation of
Working in an economic movement to fight for higher wages and better conditions
working. This "right" was finally granted once the content of this legal activity (the goal,
the principles, the strategy and tactics of syndicalism) reduced to harmless state. It manages to blow
brute force, judicial repression, corruption and ideological mystification.
Our analysis will show that the "right" of association is the right to organize some
way, in the interests of capital, i.e. in order to ensure continuity of the current mode of production,
Consequently, the exploitation of labor.

The legal definition of the activities of bona fide union proved to be nothing more than
class collaboration in the form of "respect for the law and authority". This meant that the work
recognized the legitimacy of the state apparatus. It maintained its domination - domination
in the Criminal Code of Canada, the Civil Code of the Province of Quebec and the labor code
of Quebec, dominance also ensured by the class nature of governments, of bureaucracy, of the
courts, Police and army, alternately, legislate, run, consider and enforce
lois. The essence of this device, is the dominance, political domination of capital over labor.
The Criminal Code of Canada and the Civil Code of Québec ensure the exploitation of labor by
legalization of private appropriation of social production, maintain the current mode of production
by legitimizing the work contract and defend the existing social structure in prescribing any
transformation of the state apparatus that protects this structure.

The Quebec Labor Code ensures the domination of capital over labor by prohibiting the fight
militant mass, en régularisant, "Routinisant" and individualizing the class conflict; he rocks
partial integration of the union in the state apparatus in making the legally responsible
the application of the collective agreement, finally, it ensures the dissemination of liberal mythology
implicit in the capitalist code : equality of the employer and the employee ("Equal rights"), society
classless ("the public") and state above classes ("Equality before the law").

That said, observing the current situation, it is obvious that this description of unionism corresponds to that of the major unions in Quebec that fall into this category and watered toothless version of what we can not even call a labor movement. The filing of a single special act of the Liberal government enough to return to work thousands of workers in the construction voting es for the strike and, in the virtual absence of protest. Current Unions have become so integrated into the state apparatus, that the state no longer needs to call its repressive forces to enforce the rules that the government invents progressively to the detriment of the working class. The union elites have enough power on their members to enforce laws, the more harmful they may, for workers.

Revolutionary syndicalism must resume its place in the landscape trade because trade unionism "in good faith" (in good faith) current is not suited to fight neoliberalism has accepted or been forced to be regulated to acquire legal status as suggested by the author of capital and labor. It was also developed in a political context in which it was popular to want to build, all together and coughs, together, "Social democracy" that will benefit all and all without having to question the social structure and the state apparatus that protects (ideological mystification?). This revolutionary unionism must exert pressure that will intensify son years by issuing a credible critique of the current unionism by texts, actions and mobilization of employees in job areas forgotten by the current unionism (restoration, retail, troubleshooter, self-employed, Community etc.). It must also as with e Mapei and Canada Post employees support the union members of victims union practices in line of class collaboration. Short, he must push the unions to regain its essence : produce movement leading to the emancipation of labor to eliminate the dominance of holders of capital and means of production and also eliminate the domination of the state that defends the legal structures that allow the private appropriation of social production. This, rather than lead a strictly economic struggle to ensure that these proprietors are willing to accept to be more "generous" in the redistribution of social production over wages. That's why I consider syndicalism is more relevant than ever and that his positions, its principles and its actions, can make tracks for the reappropriation of work solution (power) by the world's workers.



(1) I mean social production, all work performed by a company considering that each economic sector, functions and activities
are interdependent including e.g. : student work(sharing, acquisition and improvement of knowledge), student internships, Household work, education of children, autonomous work, citizen participation etc..

, , , ,

Panorama of past struggles and future Gaspésie

1909- Everywhere in Gaspésie, fishing is conducted by foreign companies of & rsquo; Jersey, with the head Charles Robin, Collas and Co. Charles Robin is by far, the worst employers ; Indeed it puts up the "Robin system" : it ensures loyalty forced the fisherman to the retailer. To do this , s & rsquo; he wants to pay his debt accumulated during the & rsquo; winter in the general store run by the same trader, the fisherman can not see a solution : increase the amount of cod caught the next season. However, as is Robin decides the price of products and sockets, repayment is, every season, far from complete.

September 1909, fishermen learn that merchants set the price of cod quintal 3,50$ so that & rsquo; they expected 5 piastres. The situation is clear : we must act collectively in & rsquo; interest of everyone. It is with in fear, but raised fist, fishermen begin their claims on the fourth day of September. Starting from small villages near Rivière-au-Renard, the population began a march that leads the up & rsquo; the place where traders located ,with the intention of ending more & rsquo; d & rsquo a century; operating.

Following the & rsquo; history is predictable, Merchant appeal to the armed forces to ensure their safety, Punishment is implemented, there will be death, wounded, imprisonment among fishermen and claims will be rejected. However, several years later, fishermen will be organized into cooperatives to break the monopoly in place and will become available as the direct influence of traders. The revolt of the fishermen was the first step towards their emancipation from unscrupulous employers. Through this collective movement, fishermen n & rsquo; not learned that & rsquo; to demand better terms from their bosses, but especially, they understood that & rsquo; they had s & rsquo; organize to be able to pass d & rsquo; them.

1957- Best known recently highlighted due to its 60th anniversary : the strike of miners in Gaspésie Murdochville . The main cause of the strike was the refusal of employers & rsquo; affiliation of workers and ourières a more combative union versus the company union and Catholic whom he was affiliated-the-art. The strike was also heavily repressed and no direct gain was obtained by strikers. Two d & rsquo; them died during the conflict, about 500 were dismissed and replaced by scabs. However, recognizes aujourd & rsquo; hui this uprising, in the reign of Duplessis, was the trigger many other social movements. He forced the implementation of some reforms towards the & rsquo; partial improvement of working conditions and above, to the right of workers to choose the union of their choice instead of & rsquo; a system of representation of men and women workers. This system of representation, often set up by employers, indeed favored a permanent peace between the two parties. Despite this victory, this union culture inherited from the Catholic unions still persists.

So, behind a holiday destination image, Gaspésie, through its history since colonization, is d & rsquo theater; major battles between productive forces vs. the owners of capital and means of production. Of course, this relationship of domination of the latter on the first is always d & rsquo; news.

Speaking holiday destination, seasonal work related to the & rsquo; tourism industry here is a prime economic sector. Small traders, in the field of food e.g., must enjoy the summer windfall to accumulate the necessary capital to keep afloat their business and their rate of consumption in the & rsquo; year, while the employee hopes to accumulate enough & rsquo; hours to collect his unemployment to his layoff once the season or, if he or she is a student-e, to try & rsquo; accumulate the necessary to survive a school year. So, the seasonal-eras employees must produce intensively during the summer and it, despite the weak received salary. The shopkeeper will say then have to offer small salaries during the & rsquo; was to garner sufficient economies and low wages remains the & rsquo; year, to take up & rsquo; in the next season.

This is what m & rsquo; leads to speak of & rsquo; first difficulty in the field of & rsquo; organization and claim. C & rsquo; is that & rsquo; it seems difficult, in this context, to demand better working conditions without being accused of s & rsquo; take "small businesses that sustain the & rsquo; local economy". The pretext of "economic insecurity" of small businesses seems to justify Gaspé, the eyes of many, precarious workers, workers and students with Gaspésie-nes. So, people working d & rsquo; hard in the kitchen, dining rooms, cafes, various shops for tourists to feel es received as king and queen, forever play the role of disposable economic support and cheap serving patrons and tourists.

Another difficulty d & rsquo; here in the same field towards the fact that in this environment where everyone knows, conflict situations seem to be avoided at all costs, for fear that & rsquo; they affect social relationships outside work and that the names of the persons concerned do not become synonymous with "trouble maker" and so they lead to some exclusion from the labor market, problem less present in the & rsquo; anonymity of large urban centers.

A third difficulty is the short-term nature of the season in which these jobs abound. Cultural change is long to perform and requires constant involvement of many people. Many of these workers n & rsquo; is that passage, they and they leave behind them and the same working conditions that & rsquo; they arrive, thinking that anyway it n & rsquo; is only temporary. The winter season would be a good time to s & rsquo; organize those who inherit this precarious situation in & rsquo; year.

Besides this, sing here often promise better days thanks to the & rsquo; arrival of big industry : Pulp (Gaspésia), cement (McInnis cement in Port-Daniel), oil (Pétrolia), the industry & rsquo; wind (LM windpower)etc. These industrial giants, in collaboration with the & rsquo; State finance, are as the safeguard for the region. "They would bring jobs and prosperity", so that & rsquo; many times, this type of economic model that generates unemployment and devitalized. Indeed, except in the case of LmWindpower that engages hundreds of workers and workers, these industries advocate the & rsquo; purchase & rsquo; automated equipment and n & rsquo; brings and some jobs that will disappear as soon as the & rsquo; business will suffer the jolts d & rsquo; any economic crisis on Wall Street or d & rsquo; administrative decisions taken far d & rsquo; here. So, they will leave behind people without income and polluting ruins. Short, it seems to me that & rsquo; work organization by and for workers in the & rsquo; optical d & rsquo; an improvement of all the quality of life and all would probably be greater than a distribution of work by d & rsquo leaders, businesses and d & rsquo; state, deciding to produce any and n & rsquo; anything, provided that & rsquo; there is a profit to be drawn for each other and for their campaign promises to create jobs seem to be held, the risk of & rsquo; d & rsquo add, other social and environmental scars in the region.

To conclude, throughout their history, people d & rsquo; here have endured d & rsquo; intolerable treatment by d & rsquo; economic and political elites, as the sea that & rsquo; at the bottom of the mine through the & rsquo; factory. On the other hand, l & rsquo; popular history also shows us that when it's time to stick together among peers to improve our conditions, passion, l & rsquo; organization and & rsquo; action are waiting for you. A long work remains to deconstruct the prejudices that divide the working population, especially for those without jobs, or between permanent es and seasonal workers (unemployed and seasonal es chômeuseuses). Also, with a new "chapter" of the d & rsquo group The Pack extreme right in Gaspésie, the issue of racism and fascism becomes a priority, without forgetting the struggles against sexism, l & rsquo; homophobia, Aboriginal struggles etc.. The SITT-IWW account here very few members currently, but its development in the area seems to me very relevant and even urgent. So, s & rsquo; there are people interested to come "salter" in the corner, embarrass you not!


Photo credit: Camping Québec.

The origins of the Solidarity Unionism. First part: a Bibliography


The Solidarity trade union movement is a term that was mainly led by Alice Lynd Staughon, inspired by the organizational model of the first campaigns of the IWW happened to get gains without legal bargaining unit or even without being recognized by the employer (collective agreements are not legally binding in the United States since the signing of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, the Canadian equivalent could be the application of the Rand formula dating 1946). If the principle was also inspired by the work of Martin Glaberman, C.L.R. James et Stan Weird, the use of the Solidarity Unionism as understood today SITT-IWW appears for the first time in June 2002 in an article in The Nation magazine called Open Source Unionism: A proposal to American Labor, Joel Rogers and Richard B. Freeman.

The idea was then developed largely by the efforts of Alexis Buss, who served as General Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Union of Workers (SITT-IWW) from 2000 at 2005. It is in giving him the name of minority unionism, he explained the concept in a column published by the industrial worker called Minority Report.

Francophone literature is still thin on the subject, but for those of you with the chance to understand English, various books published, inter alia, by Charles H. Kerr Company and Labor Notes are still considered key works. The Headquarters of the ISTC-IWW listed in 9 among the most important:

  1. Punching Out & Other Writings – Martin Glaberman; edited by Staughton Lynd; Charles Kerr, 2002. 250 pages. 
  2. The New Rank & File -Édité par Staughton Lynd and Alice Lynd, ilr Press, © 2000. 288 pages.
  3. Solidarity Unionism: Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below – Staughton Lynd; Charles Kerr, 1993. 128 pages.
  4. Democracy is Power: Rebuilding Unions from the Bottom Up – Mike Parker et Martha Gruelle, Labor Notes, © 1999. 262 pages.
  5. Class War Lessons; From Direct Action on the Job to the ’46 Oakland General Strike (Unions With Leaders Who Stay on the Job) – Stan Weir; Insane Dialectical Editions, 2006. 48 pages. 
  6. Singlejack Solidarity – Stan Weir; University of Minnesota, © 2004. 408 pages. 
  7. A Troublemaker’s Handbook, How to Fight Back Where You Work–And Win! – Edited by Dan LaBotz, Labor Notes, 1991. 262 pages. 
  8. A Troublemaker’s Handbook 2, How To Fight Back Where You Work and Win! — Edited by Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes, 2004. 372 pages. 
  9. The Politics of Nonviolent Action – Gene Sharp, by Gene Sharp, Porter Sarg. © 1973. 913 pages.