Build solidarity with union struggles today

October 17, 2022

Statement by Joanne Kuniansky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress from New Jersey, Sept. 30. Kuniansky is a member of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union.

Working people confront both deteriorating living standards caused by soaring prices and the growing likelihood of rising joblessness as the capitalist economy contracts. More workers recognize we need unions today and more of us are on strike. Expanding solidarity with these struggles is crucial for fighting the bosses’ drive to unload the burden of the capitalist crisis on our backs.

Rail workers face concerted efforts by the bosses, abetted by the Joseph Biden administration, to force debilitating schedules, onerous attendance policies and dangerous reductions in crew size. BCTGM union members on strike at Corn Nuts in California, and United Auto Workers members on strike at Case New Holland in Iowa and Wisconsin are fighting boss attacks.

United Mine Workers at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama have been on strike for more than 18 months, battling to reverse concessions on wages, benefits and working conditions that were forced on the union.

Spread the word about these labor struggles! Win contributions from your union, friends and family for strikers to help put these workers in a stronger position to win. Every union victory sets an example and strengthens the labor movement.

To advance the unity, self-confidence and fighting capacities of working people, our unions need to fight for demands that offer a road forward for workers and our families.

We need cost-of-living clauses in every union contract, as well as Social Security and pensions, so our wages rise automatically to cover the complete cost of inflation.

Unions need to fight for 30 hours work for 40 hours pay to prevent layoffs, and for a federally funded national public works program to provide millions of jobs at union-scale pay to build houses, hospitals and the other things working people need.

The labor movement must ensure that everyone has the right to a job. Millions today are forced to work two or three jobs, or debilitating overtime, leaving next to no time for family life. Our unions should fight for a basic income for all families that guarantees we can work, cover all necessities, and engage in political and union life.

These demands highlight the fact that the interests of working people cannot be reconciled with the bosses’ relentless drive for profits. Workers need to organize independently of the bosses and the Democrats and Republicans — the political parties of the bosses. Just as we need our unions, we need our own political party, a labor party based on the unions. Such a party can be built in the course of broader union battles and social struggles. We advance this day coming by using our unions right now to defend ourselves on the job and to extend solidarity with those fighting against the exploitation and oppression of capital.