Unions are organizing Labor Day marches, rallies and picnics around Sept. 5 across the country, an important opportunity to spread the word about union struggles and build solidarity that is vital to bringing home victories.
Workers today face a wide range of attacks by the employers and their government in Washington. The crisis of the propertied rulers’ capitalist system — wracked by skyrocketing inflation at the same time as a slowdown in production — drives them to target workers and our unions to try and protect their profits and power. This has led to a growing number of strikes, battles that have big stakes for all working people.
Labor Day actions provide us an opening to better prepare to join these struggles. One key nationwide conflict pits tens of thousands of freight railroad workers against the nation’s biggest rail bosses, backed by the government and its notorious anti-working-class Railway Labor Act. This conflict calls for the attention — and active support — of all working people. While we can’t predict what will happen, these unions on Sept. 16 will be free to strike should workers decide to do so.
Labor Day events also provide an opportunity to meet other workers, discuss what we all face, and prepare for battles today and to come. You can help get out the word about the 16-month-long strike by the United Mine Workers of America at Warrior Met in Alabama; the strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers at Corn Nuts in Fresno, California; by United Auto Workers union members at Case New Holland in Iowa and Wisconsin; and other union struggles. Make plans with fellow workers and unionists to send messages of support, contribute to strike funds and visit the picket lines.
As these fights continue, the bosses turn to their government, the National Labor Relations Board and the courts to attack our unions. The UMWA faces a $13.3 million fine by the NLRB for the “crime” of exercising its right to strike. Defeating this assault is in the interests of all unions.
Employers are determined to make workers bear the brunt of the crisis of their system. Bosses face sharpening competition, driving them to squeeze more out of us, through longer workdays, shift schedules that trample on family life and by cutting jobs. Striking mental health care workers at Kaiser in California are demanding bosses hire more workers to provide the care patients require.
Bosses do everything possible to turn workers against each other, looking to divide and conquer. They try and set workers with jobs against those without, native-born workers against immigrants, Black against Caucasians, women against men, workers in the U.S. against fellow workers abroad. We are all part of the same working class and must stand together. Today’s battles are class against class.
Despite the hefty resources deployed by the bosses, and the support they get from the government, we can be victorious. We have the advantage of our far greater numbers and our power to bring production to a halt. Labor produces all wealth. We win when we are united, disciplined and organized, and have the backing of our entire class and our natural allies — farmers, immigrants, independent producers and more. At the heart of that is using working-class solidarity — no worker fights alone.
The labor movement needs to break with the Democrats and Republicans — the parties of the bosses and bankers. We need our own party, a labor party, to chart a course forward toward taking political power into our own hands. To form a workers and farmers government and take control over the mines, mills, fields and factories and run them ourselves.
All out Labor Day!