Statement by Malcolm Jarrett, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Pittsburgh mayor, May 19.
“Our strength does come from our sticking together,” Dave McCall, international vice president of the United Steelworkers, told a May 15 rally of striking steelworkers and their supporters in Louisville, Ohio. The support steelworkers are winning gives a glimpse of the potential for strengthening their strike against the union-busting bosses at ATI.
Solidarity can make a difference in their fight, as well as the strike of miners at Warrior Met in Alabama and other union battles. Workers in the mines, mills, factories, transportation and retail industries all face bosses trying to boost their profits off our backs.
Use the Militant to help get the word out about these strikes. Send messages of support and bring fellow workers to join strikers’ picket lines and rallies. Press your union to weigh in and to help turn today’s labor battles into a broader social cause. This is in the interests of all working people.
I use my campaign to help in every way I can. I’ve gotten word out to my Walmart co-workers and to area unionists I’ve brought solidarity to in the past, helping win contributions and messages of support.
Some 2,500 iron ore workers at ArcelorMittal, also members of the United Steelworkers at two plants in Quebec, are striking for a new contract. Oil refinery workers at Marathon in St. Paul Park, Minnesota, and at ExxonMobil in Beaumont, Texas, are fighting boss lockouts to defend safety for themselves and those living near the refineries. Bosses count on keeping these struggles isolated from each other, knowing they can count on the capitalist-owned media to keep word about them from reaching other workers. The courts readily grant bosses injunctions to limit picketing in an effort to blunt the effectiveness of our strikes. Ultimately, our power is the power to stop production.
Bosses always say that to get ahead, you should worry about number one, yourself and your family. But we learn through bitter experience that it is only by joining together and standing up to those who exploit us that our class can make gains.
Whatever the immediate results of today’s union struggles, workers involved become stronger. We learn what we can accomplish as part of a class, and what our class can accomplish through courageous, united and disciplined action. We learn to rely on fellow workers and the potential for working-class solidarity, not the bosses and the Democratic and Republican parties that serve them.
Along this road we will chart a course to organize independently of the exploiting class and build our own political party, a labor party.
The mighty revolution made by workers and farmers in Cuba, and defended from the U.S. capitalist rulers’ economic, political and military assaults since, is a powerful example. It shows how in struggle we can forge the working-class leadership we need and build a millions-strong movement to overturn capitalist rule, establish a workers and farmers government, and join fellow toilers to change the world.