Workers are showing growing confidence today in using our unions to fight against the attacks of the bosses and their government. This is an advance for all working people, including workers yet to be organized, farmers and all those oppressed and exploited by the capitalist rulers. More workers are walking picket lines, battling bosses’ moves to impose two-tier contracts that widen divisions in the plant, wages that fall farther and farther behind rising prices, cuts in health care and retirement pay, and grueling schedules that wreak mayhem with family life.
United Mine Workers of America members at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama, have been on strike since April to win back what the bosses wrested from them in previous steep wage and benefit cuts. To help them persevere in their long battle, the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council sent dozens of Christmas toys and bikes for the children of the UMWA members. The union lists every one of the contributors on their national website.
Working-class solidarity is a formidable weapon against bosses who think they’re all powerful. More is needed. Expanding support for labor struggles can affect their outcome. Workers see they are part of a national — and a worldwide — common class struggle. Strike victories boost the confidence of all working people. They provide a powerful example of what courageous and united action by working people can accomplish to millions who face the crushing effects of the capitalist social and economic crisis. They help us rebuild and grow the labor movement.
Hundreds of sanitation workers in Southern California went on strike Dec. 18. Some 650 locked-out oil refinery workers in Beaumont, Texas, continue to fight the bosses’ drive to decertify and break their union. Defending safety on the job and the surrounding community is a key part of both these struggles.
On strike for nearly 10 months, nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been fighting for more hiring to assure better conditions and care. They will vote on a tentative agreement Jan. 3.
Each of these battles is in the interests of all working people. Visit their picket lines and win contributions to their union strike funds. Join labor support rallies. UMWA officials have announced a rally for striking miners called by the Alabama AFL-CIO on Jan. 12.
Union solidarity isn’t limited to picket lines. Film crew workers in New York, members of Teamsters Local 817, raised funds to fill a truck with vital supplies and drove it to Kentucky to aid workers there left to fend for themselves by the bosses and their government after recent deadly tornadoes.
Through using our unions and building solidarity workers discover the immense power our class can wield.
Karl Marx, the founder of the communist movement, explained in 1866 that unions need to act as “organizing centers of the working class in the broad interests of its complete emancipation.”
“They must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of the downtrodden millions.”
In struggle and building solidarity, workers deepen their consciousness that our class interests are irreconcilable with those of the bosses. And also with their political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, and the entire system of exploitation and oppression the rulers defend. This is the road to prepare for the bigger battles the crisis of capitalism will produce in the years ahead.