The strike of Western Washington carpenters is the most important strike in America today. There are quite a few other trikes, including the Nabisco strike, that involve a lot more workers (for now). They are all important and all deserve support, but the carpenters strike is the most important. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it is not. Here’s why:
This strike has happened despite the determined opposition of the union leadership. It’s not that the leadership says its previous four tentative agreements (TA’s) which were voted down were the best it could get; it’s that they openly said that they didn’t want to get more. They argued that they had to regain “market share”, meaning that the union carpenters must compete with the non-union carpenters for who could work cheapest. When they couldn’t get those cut-rate contracts passed, they were forced to call a strike.
Their strike strategy is intentionally designed to fail. They are only picketing four job sites.
Now, after rebelling against the cut rate pro-contractor contracts, members are starting to rebel against this pro-contractor strike strategy. This will drive the members to confront the entire union leadership’s “market share” strategy.
Lead by an opposition caucus called the Peter J. McGuire Group, the members are organizing themselves. This caucus is setting an example for what can and should be done in every union. Hopefully, that example will be followed elsewhere.
The huge log jam in the US working class, which is the log-jam in US society as a whole – is to a large degree caused by the union leadership. In one way or another, every union leadership takes the same position as the carpenters leadership. Some are more subtle about it, but at the end of the day it’s all basically the same. That is what’s causing the confusion. Now, carpenters are threatening to break that log jam. This could spiral out of control for the entire labor movement.
This is why Oaklandsocialist has been publishing so many articles about the strike and articles and speeches by the strikers. We urge our readers to check them all out and, most important of all, to support the strike and help spread the word.