Article 43

 

Sunday, July 09, 2023

To Scab or Not To Scab

image: union workers
 
A good contract for UPS workers adds pressure for improvements at these competitors, some of which are non-union.
- UPS and Teamsters negotiations matter to us all.
 
“Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and warfare.” Incidentally, the latter term is a euphemism for mass murder.
- Twilight of the Psychopaths, 2008

---

Rarely a political thought goes through my head without thinking about OCCUPY WALL STREET.

It really was a MOVEMENT TOO BIG TO FAIL. But it did.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to clean the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional liberal establishment has steadily refused to do - fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase - too big to fail.

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nations children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized. There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

It layed a lot of ugly things about my country - our country - out in the open, and along with America’s favorite politician - BERNIE - opened what I THOUGHT was a door for that “POLITICAL REVOLUTION” Sanders has been talking about for most of my life.

Then we tried to roll out the President’s chair for him in 2016, and again in 2020.

But Sanders walked away both times.

The political revolution NEVER HAPPENED.

It’s a sad day to wake up and realize Sanders may have sold us out.

Was his betrayal just part of the GAME OF POLITICS that keeps us going around in circles while clinging to a little hope something will stir enough of us up to really change things for the good of the people, the planet, and all it’s life?

If so, then I consider the guy a psychopath no different than the OTHERS in the PARASITE CLASS of government and runners of big business.

In 2016 the universe delivered us President Trump.  A lot like Sanders with his talk of “making America great again”.  At first I thought he was pretty cool killing the TPP.  And he got people out in the street.  Everybody know what happened January 6, 2021.  It should be a wake up call to things other than an a big, bad insurrection of democracy, but we need to FIGURE THAT OUT FOR OURSELVES and recognize FASCISM hiding in PLAIN SIGHT.

And now we have President Biden BETRAYING THE WORKING CLASS worse than his mentor Obama.

After a 3-year saga of stalled contract negotiations between the country’s freight rail carriers and the 12 unions representing over 100,000 railroad workers, “pro-union” President Biden and Congress last week averted a national rail “shutdown” by overriding the democratic will of rail workers and forcing a contract down their throats.

That’s a lot of old men giving all old men a bad name.

NO WONDER younger people hate us.

In 2009

I heard on the grapevine AT&T is looking for people with DS1/3 testing experience to possibly SCAB if the CWA does strike. I know a lot of desperate people they layed off years ago that need money so bad, they may be willing to swallow their pride, and hurt the American labor movement - for a couple of quick bucks.

Can you blame THIS GUY?

I have been working for the last two years as a TELCO CONTRACTOR on piecework.

I have enough for the rent on the 1st if I don’t eat.

I have done a couple odds and ends but there is absolutely NO WORK out there.

Even minimum wage jobs are hard to find. So should I go do some strike work or go to a homeless shelter next month?

I mean IF THESE GUYS don’t want to WORK I do.

I have NEVER CONSIDERED anything like this before or thought I would be in THIS SITUATION.

I hate myself for the few times I scabbed.  It felt like selling my SOUL to the devil. 

This time me and my spotless driving record aren’t going to try to get a temp job scabbing for UPS drivers if its members GO ON STRIKE NEXT MONTH.  Instead you can find me picketing the neighborhood UPS building.

The Teamsters have said they want an agreement that “guarantees better pay for all workers, eliminates a two-tier wage system, increases full-time jobs, resolves safety and health concerns, and provides stronger protections against managerial harassment.”

The Teamsters are still pushing to raise wages for part-time workers at the company, with union leaders pointing to UPS’ rise in profits during the pandemic.

A line needs to be drawn, and elders like me need to show our kids we haven’t lost our morality.

The Teamster’s x-boss JIMMY HOFFA may be just as bad as the CWA’s RALPH MALY by not looking out for their members as much as expected - but the issue now is people power and solidarity of the 99%.

Imagine if working class people everywhere - pilots, bus drivers, railroad workers, retirees, etc - all walked out together in support of the UPS folks.

My bet is a lot of boomers already retired, or a few years from retirement, aren’t ready to draw a line and join a massive general strike.

Too selfish.  Too afraid.  Too busy drinking pina coladas at the pool.  Or maybe a CRUISE SHIP.

It gives us a bad name.

---

‘Get Back to the Negotiating Table,’ Says Teamsters as UPS Trains Scabs for Strike
“UPS is making clear it doesn’t view its workforce as a priority,” the union said. “UPS should stop wasting time and money on training strikebreakers.”

By Jessica Corbett
Common Dreams
July 14, 2023

After negotiations between the United Parcel Service and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters BROKE DOWN last week, UPS on Friday ANNOUINCED “business continuity training” to prepare for a POTENTIAL STRIKE by 340,000 union members next month.

“We remain focused on reaching an agreement with the Teamsters that is a win for UPS employees, our customers, our union, and our company,” the shipping giant said. “While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike.”

“Over the coming weeks, many of our U.S. employees will participate in training that would help them safely serve our customers if there is a labor disruption. This temporary plan has no effect on current operations and the industry-leading service our people continue to provide for our customers,” UPS added, claiming that such activities “will not take away from our ongoing efforts to finalize a new contract” with union workers.

Meanwhile, the Teamsters told The Associated Press on Friday that “UPS is making clear it doesn’t view its workforce as a priority.”

“Corporate executives are quick to brag about industry-leading service and even more quickly forget the Teamster members who perform that service,” the union said. “UPS should stop wasting time and money on training strikebreakers and get back to the negotiating table with a real economic offer.”

As the Teamsters EXPLAINED earlier this month, the union is fighting for a deal that “guarantees better pay for all workers, eliminates a two-tier wage system, increases full-time jobs, resolves safety and health concerns, and provides stronger protections against managerial harassment.”

Last month, 97% of UPS workers represented by the Teamsters voted to strike if there is no deal by July 31. The union has been holding practice pickets, including one in Brooklyn, New York on Friday that was joined by SEAN O’BRIEN, the Teamsters general president.

“For too long, this multibillion-dollar corporation has padded its bottom line with the unpaid wages of our members who sacrificed themselves and their families during the pandemic,” O’Brien said at the event, according to the union. “UPS is not ready for the fury of 340,000 Teamsters.”

After the Friday rally, O’Brien made clear that the union is still prepared to negotiate with UPS, telling Reuters that “the clock is on our side, not theirs. I assume at some point they’ll be reaching out looking to try and get a deal.”

The last strike by UPS workers represented by the union was in 1997 and is considered a major labor win in U.S. history. As Labor Notes recalled in 2017: “For 15 days, Teamsters shut down UPS nationwide. Managers struggled to make even a tiny fraction of deliveries… Out of options and running out of time, management surrendered on every key demand.”

If the looming strike happens, “things could be a lot worse this time around, putting even more pressure on companies, consumers, and UPS. That’s because the ECONOMY a quarter-century ago is entirely different than now - one where package delivery is more important than it’s ever been,” Vox REPORTED Friday. “While competitors like FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service could pick up some of the deliveries, experts said logistics networks are too strained to fill many of the gaps that would be created.”

“A 10-day strike would cost the economy more than $7 billion and be the costliest work stoppage in at least a century, according to a new STUDY by Anderson Economic Group, which researches labor disruptions,” Vox noted. “That includes $4.6 billion in losses to consumers and businesses that rely on UPS, as well as more than a billion in lost wages and $800 million in company losses.”

About Common Dreams: Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

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Posted by Elvis on 07/09/23 •
Section American Solidarity
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