Fight for workers control of production

February 19, 2024

Fighting for workers to take control of production and transportation, including the railroads, is vital to protecting our lives and limbs and extending that protection to all who live near the plants, rail tracks and mines where we work.

In their relentless drive for profits, bosses have no consideration for workers’ well-being. Cutthroat competition compels the bosses to push back-breaking speedup, ignore workers’ safety and impose ever-longer schedules to crush their competition. Government “regulation” agencies work hand in glove with them.

Rail bosses will create more  disasters like the derailment and fire of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, one year ago. Working people there face ongoing health problems and an insecure future.

Bosses in the airline industry are no different. Five years ago Boeing rushed to get its new 737 MAX in the air without necessary testing and training. Two of the new planes crashed with the loss of nearly 350 lives. Last October the Federal Aviation Administration certified the “airworthiness” of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9. In early January a door panel ripped off at 16,000 feet. Pilots and flight attendants were able to bring the plane down safely.

Unions on the railroads and airlines have a vital place in fighting to change the perilous conditions created by the bosses, whose push for profits is backed to the hilt by the Democratic and Republican parties.

Rail and airline workers are both saddled with the notorious anti-labor Railway Labor Act, restricting their right to strike. Flight attendants fighting for a new contract are protesting at airports worldwide Feb. 13.

The working class is the only force with the power to enforce safety on the job and in all aspects of production. All work can be performed safely.

The fight for workers to wrest control of production and transport from the bosses is the road to preventing more injuries, deaths and catastrophes. To advance that struggle, unions need to demand bosses open their books for inspection by workers on the job and in the surrounding community. The fight to ensure that no worker dies or is maimed on the job is intertwined with extending working-class solidarity and strengthening class consciousness.

Only by organizing in our millions can the working class take political power into our own hands and establish a government we can call our own. The working class in power would mobilize to nationalize the bosses’ factories, banks and land and begin to run them ourselves to meet human needs worldwide.