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.
union experience has been with
the Teamsters, at the Montreal Bus Station
as an attendant
to information. We were a new
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
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
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
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.
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.
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. "
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 ...
oldest used to obtain information,
to spread rumors that the company is closing and that
lose our jobs if we go on strike.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.