The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 35           September 19, 2005  
San Francisco: SWP candidates
back Northwest Airlines strikers fight
(front page)
SAN FRANCISCO—Three Socialist Workers Party candidates—Romina Green for San Francisco Treasurer, Laura Anderson for City Attorney, and Gerardo Sánchez for Assessor-Recorder—launched their election campaigns here this week by building support for the 4,400 striking mechanics, cleaners, and custodians at Northwest Airlines organized by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA).

Supporters of the campaign have joined the picket lines at the San Francisco airport and helped sell 138 copies of the Militant with the editorial urging “Solidarity with the Northwest strike.”

“The number one task of every trade union and every unionist today is organizing solidarity actions to help the strikers beat back the company’s offensive,” said Romina Green, a garment worker. “The road to strengthening the union movement is for workers to enlist support from their locals for the strike and help bring fellow union members and others to the picket lines. To allow the bosses to pit the International Association of Machinists (IAM) against AMFA over representation of mechanics and other workers is the road to disaster for labor. Every working person in North America and worldwide should honor the Northwest strikers’ picket lines.”

On Friday, August 26, workers at the large United Airlines maintenance base in San Francisco purchased 63 copies of the Militant at the afternoon shift change. Another 15 workers bought the paper at the night shift change on August 30. Several said everyone should go on strike.

On August 27, airline workers bought 25 copies of the paper on the picket line and at the parking lot across from Northwest Cargo.

Many workers at Northwest, United, and other airlines who are members of the IAM told the socialist campaigners they were opposed to the stand taken by top IAM officials against the strike.

Kathryn Sides, a Northwest ticket agent and long-time IAM member, said she plans to attend the rally to build solidarity for the strike at the airport on Labor Day. Her view of the brutal attack on mechanics and other airline workers was expressed in a button on her uniform that said in big letters, “It Ain’t Right!”

Workers were glad to see the coverage in the Militant of the recent strike in the United Kingdom where airline workers shut down British Airways in solidarity with fired caterers at Gate Gourmet (see article on page 9). “What they did was great,” said Northwest mechanic Jim Erb. “This should be happening here.”

Erb, a veteran of the 1989-91 Eastern airlines strike, had to move to San Francisco from Atlanta to keep his job after Northwest shut down the maintenance base there in 2001. Now he says he faces losing his job here.

A United Airlines ramp worker, on a break at the international terminal, expressed dismay that the IAM and AMFA were not united against company attacks. He pointed to an area in the front of the terminal where he said he remembered joining in a solidarity demonstration with other United workers and Eastern strikers, both baggage handlers and mechanics.

Two American Airlines mechanics, members of the Transportation Workers Union, were especially welcoming of the Militant editorial calling for a united stand against Northwest. They made that remark when asked if they had refused to do struck work.

A number of workers made donations to the paper or bought multiple copies to pass along to co-workers and friends.

Workers at the Local 10 hiring hall of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expressed pride in their unions’ staunch support of the Northwest strike. Several said they had joined the picket line at the airport.

At the center of the Socialist Workers campaign is supporting struggles to organize trade unions and to mobilize and extend union power to defend working people against the bosses’ attacks on wages and job conditions. A leaflet passed out by the SWP campaigners here invites workers to a Labor Day weekend “Meet the Candidates” open house, on Saturday, September 3, where discussion over how to resist the employers’ attacks will continue.


Socialist Workers Party candidates and their supporters have been campaigning similarly and selling dozens of copies of last week’s Militant to airline and other workers. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, SWP campaigners sold 78 copies of the paper the last five days; and in Chicago they sold 66 copies of the same issue.
Related articles:
Northwest strikers seek solidarity to beat back union-busting attack  
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