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Guest Post: Failed Business Unionism

Josh Deeds and I are long time friends - we both are long time contributors to Gonzo Times and Josh and I have talked a few times about getting him involved with Radical Second Things. I thought one of his latest articles, for his website Angry Syndicalist, would be a good place to start:
There are unions who are opposed to making headway for the worker in terms of revolutionary struggle and operate in terms of trade consciousness as opposed to class consciousness. This is a betrayal of principles according to how unions worked before they had the National Labor Relations Board.

They operate exactly like a business does and generally have the same hierarchical organization and instead of the laborers running things in a more co-operative and democratic manner, things really don't change.

I think these unions are too entrenched in the business mentality to deliver on what they promise. In my experience, with the Teamsters, they had become management in a sense. When Local 284 voted down the most recent contract with Coca-Cola, many of the workers wanted to strike as they felt their voices hadn't been heard.

The lawyer of the union suggested they shouldn't because of scabs, however in any historical context scabs generally don't work out because they don't know the in's and outs of the trade at hand. So over time, Coca-Cola didn't come back to the negotiating table.

So because the rank and file cannot speak for themselves and the labor "leaders" acted as management in order to quell the possibility of a strike, the workers liberty was eroded and a contract was accepted later, which had good and bad things to it, which I in fact benefited from.

It took them almost 6 months until I got my regular pay from my temporary pay, which was a joke for the conditions I worked in and for the amount of product I put out as a Merchandiser.

Despite my steward ringing in my Supervisor's ear about my back pay, it was never received, likewise with a fellow worker who was illegally fired.

It is this kind of betrayal which business unions specialize in. I feel some of these terms are tyrannical especially since they sanctified them with a contract. For example, if you missed 7 days during the year, no matter if you were hospitalized, someone died or you will be a parent you will be screwed.

This is why I despise the business union. They become management and then workers get pissed.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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