06 December 2008

Chicago Strike

Well, maybe there is more to the analogy between our current economic crisis and the 1930s than we might think! Michael Franklin just forwarded to me news about a sit-down strike that started yesterday in Chicago. In the background to this localized labor dispute is the inability of the employer, -Republic Windows and Doors - to obtain financing from Bank of America. You can find the report from CHI*TOWN DAILY NEWS here. The problem is that the workers, if they get anything, are likely only to get federally mandated severance pay. What they need is for the company to continue to provide them with jobs. That said, this is a signal of labor militancy of the sort that might pressure the Obama-ites to address the economic crisis. (Thanks Michael!)



Blogger Public Squalor said...

Perhaps it's telling that the militant action is sponsored by the UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America), an independent union NOT affiliated with the AFL or the SEIU's Change To Win.

Those labor federations seem paralyzed by their endless practice of contributing millions in cash and thousands of hours of labor to elect Democrats, only to get shit on again and again once the donkeys are elected.

Anyway, the UE was affiliated with the AFL, but was red-baited out in 1949. To get a sense of their history & militancy, check out their 1946 film at the Internet Archive, "Deadline For Action" - http://www.archive.org/details/Deadline1946

peace -

07 December, 2008 14:55  
Blogger Public Squalor said...

I neglected to mention though that there is a fundamental difference between sit-down strikes of the 1930's and the current Chicago action.

The 1930's strikes were direct actions which intentionally interrupted production - hitting the owners where they lived.

In the current case, we have laid-off workers occupying a shuttered factory. This isn't to dismiss these workers, but the Chicago occupation is fundamentally symbolic. It does nothing to interrupt production. As an action it's the equivalent of a ramped up informational picket.

peace -

08 December, 2008 10:01  
Blogger Dawei_in_Beijing said...

This story has me conflicted. On the one hand, I feel for the workers who've been denied their severance pay, on the other hand, though, I feel BoA has no obligation to extend credit to a failing business. The reasoning which concludes that because BoA received $25 billion dollars of tax payer funding, they should throw good money after bad, is to completely misunderstand the point of the bailout.

A solution would have been for Republic Windows and Doors to sell off some assets and cover the workers' severance pay. Let's be honest, they only pay up to $14 an hour, so covering the severance pay of some 300 works is pittance to them.

Sadly, BoA has been bullied into providing credit, by that loser crook of a governor, who tried to score some populist points by threatening to force state agencies to stop doing business with BoA if they don't finance a shitty company, in a collapsing real-estate sector. I hope this is not a hint of what's to come under Obama.

09 December, 2008 17:38  

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