Socialist Workers Party statement

Defend the right to strike, picket!

November 15, 2021

Statement by Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers Party Texas state campaign chair, Nov. 3.

The court order banning picketing and all union activity within 300 yards of entrances to Warrior Met coal operations in Alabama is an assault on striking United Mine Workers members, all working people and our unions. It’s an attack on the right to free assembly, a threat to the labor movement and a naked move to back bosses’ efforts to use scabs to break the strike.

It must be denounced and vigorously combated, as well as coupled with a step up in vitally needed support for the UMWA’s fight.

Get out the word, organize solidarity and join the battle to help the miners win their strike. Join their picket lines and rallies. Send messages of support and contributions from your co-workers and unions. Their fight sets an example for millions of working people facing bosses’ demands for concessions.

More workers are using our unions to stand up to the employers’ drive to gut gains won in previous labor battles, deepen divisions among workers with multitier wages and benefits, cut health care and pensions, and impose pay rates that don’t match rising prices. Mounting determination to carry hard-fought struggles through to victory is shown by the vote of United Auto Workers members on strike at John Deere to reject a second contract offer and continue their fight. Their slogan is “equal pay for equal work.”

The court order reveals the class character of the capitalist “justice” system. Like the cops and the terroristic death penalty, the capitalist rulers use their courts to tie workers up in government regulations and red tape, to try and limit our ability to rely on ourselves and our allies to fight effectively in the arena of the class struggle. Any study of the great labor battles of the 1930s shows it is only when workers band together in large numbers that we can win. The fight of labor must be a social movement.

In 1943 miners waged four national strikes to oppose the imperialist government’s wartime wage freeze and coal bosses’ efforts to impose deadly speed up and disregard for safety. They rejected the government’s no-strike demands. In the face of government threats to use troops to replace the strikers, the miners replied, “You can’t mine coal with bayonets!”

A win for the miners at Warrior Met will put all workers and farmers in better position to defend our class interests against the bosses, backed by their twin political parties — the Democrats and Republicans — and their state. Join the fight!