Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unity is our strongest weapon

Solidarity Counts

Managers, company presidents and supervisors have numerous resources available to them to accomplish their goals, they belong to associations and coalitions that help advance their objectives. Workers, on the other hand, have only their numbers to protect them, and the numbers by themselves do not insure success. It requires that the workers act in unison to achieve better wages, hours and working conditions.

The union is only as strong the members who make up the unit. The best negotiator in the world cannot achieve a good contract without the support of the members. If you look at the structure of most organizations and analyze the source of power, the importance of mobilization and participation becomes clear.

Before they were protected by labor laws or a grievance procedure, workers found that they were able to accomplish their goals through “ concerted activity.” concerted activity was deemed destructive, therefore, both labor and management agreed to abide by collective bargaining, mediation, grievance, and arbitration procedures to insure highly competitive and productive companies.

Unfortunately, management’s attitude toward the very procedures that were designed to keep workplace conflict peaceful has deteriorated. A central tactic in their strategy to undermine the strength of organized workers is delay. Delay in bargaining, delay in grievance handling, delay in mediation, delay in board hearings, and delay in addressing crucial safety and security issues.
Sometime, the only way to demonstrate to management the importance of following the proper procedures in a timely manner is to show what happens when workers flex their muscles or use concerted activities. Acting together can be done in a number of very creative ways as long as the group activity is well planned, well supported and part of an overall strategy.

(source: GCC/IBT Literature)

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