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.