I announce my candidacy for vice president of IATSE Local 28 with a sense of urgency and commitment. I do so at this moment when our Local, our Union, the labor movement in general and all working people are facing tough times. We need a fighting leadership, and I believe I can help build that.
For starters, I know the ropes. As most of our members know, I’ve been an active member of the Local including organizing IATSE contingents for May Day. I’ve served on committees and as a delegate to the Oregon AFL-CIO Convention in the past. I’ve attended labor law, organizing, and unionism workshops. I’ve served as a union steward and I’m well versed in Robert’s Rules of Order and our Constitution and Bylaws.
I believe our membership is our most valuable resource and we should organize ourselves accordingly. We should do away with secret negotiations and act with transparency and democracy. Our disciplinary policies should reflect our relationship to each other as sisters and brothers in this alliance.
Beyond that we need a strategy for labor that will fight to organize the unorganized and unite across craft, trade, and jurisdictional lines. I have advocated for and participated in our Local aiding organizing efforts as at Burgerville and elsewhere. We also need to lead the struggle against sexism, homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bigotry.
As a supporter of Class Struggle Workers – Portland, I have helped build labor solidarity against union-busting on the waterfront and labor contingents against racist police murder (May Day 2015), in defense of abortion rights (January 2016) and of “hard hats for gay rights” (June 2016), actions in which a number of our Local members proudly participated. Today it is urgent that we use our strength in defense of immigrants, Muslims and the rights of us all. Our rallying cry must be “An Injury to one is an Injury to All,” and we must make it real.
For decades our unions have been chained to the Democratic Party. Look where that has gotten us! Now a lot of union leaders want to make nice with Trump. That’s another ticket for defeat. A class-struggle strategy for our unions must rely on workers power, independent from the state, the political parties of the bosses, and not on the courts. The government of Taft-Hartley and union-busting “right to work” serves the bosses. It’s that simple. So we need our own party, a workers party, that can defend all those ground down by the power of capital.
We are facing hard times in the labor movement and at this pivotal moment we need a solid, class-conscious strategy to defend ourselves against the hailstorm of attacks coming our way. We have the power as workers not just to resist but to defeat these attacks, but we need to use that power or we will certainly lose it.