Nationalism and the union bureaucracy

US unions back Trump’s ultra-right “America First” program

By Jerry White, 23 February 2017

It was the socialists who opposed nativism and racism and waged a struggle to unify all workers, black and white, native-born and immigrant, against the divide-and-conquer strategy of the employers.

210 Unions and Trump

22 February 2017

Union seeks to block strike, impose givebacks on Rockford, Illinois school employees

By George Gallanis, 21 February 2017

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is attempting to force a sellout contract on the 900 bus drivers, paraprofessionals and food service workers.

As Trump promotes America First nationalism at South Carolina Boeing plant

UAW to launch “Buy American” campaign

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2017

The UAW is ramping up its promotion of economic nationalism in line with the reactionary America First demagogy of the Trump administration.

Harley-Davidson execs, union leaders meet with Trump at the White House

By Jerry White, 3 February 2017

The public relations exercise was a further demonstration of the complete prostration of American unions to the corporations and the government.

California state workers voting on new contract

By Dan Conway, 13 January 2017

More than 96,000 state workers are voting this week on a new contract between Service Workers International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 and the state government, led by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

UK rail union TSSA and pro-Corbyn Momentum stoke up anti-European sentiment

By Paul Mitchell, 10 January 2017

A video posted by the pro-Corbyn Momentum organization seeks to portray the population of Europe as benefitting from the privatization if the UK’s rail network.

US unions praise Trump and his “America-First” nationalism

By Jerry White, 12 November 2016

It did not take long for the executives that run the trade unions to offer their loyal services to President-elect Donald Trump.

Unions at Germany’s TUIfly airlines act as strikebreakers

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 October 2016

The workers at TUIfly are putting up fierce opposition to a restructuring plan accompanied by extensive job and wage cuts.

French unions join far-right movement against refugees in Calais

By Anthony Torres, 12 September 2016

The CGT is inciting nationalist hatred to divide the workers and disorient their opposition to the wars and social cuts of the French government, which it helped elect.

IG Metall trade union backs Volkswagen board

By Dietmar Henning, 28 June 2016

IG Metall sprang to the support of management, which is exploiting the emission scandal to impose the biggest ever attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.

German unions call for steel trade war against China

By Jan Peters and Dietmar Henning, 16 June 2016

In a new burst of reactionary economic nationalism, the Social Democratic Party and German trade unions are calling for US-type trade war measures against China.

Strikes against austerity in France and Belgium defy union pressure for sellout

By Alex Lantier, 9 June 2016

Garbage workers took strike action in several cities across France, joining rail, port and oil workers in France and rail workers in Belgium.

030 Unions push for sellout of rail strike vs French labor law

8 June 2016

“It’s reached a point where we had to stand up to them, and we are”

Striking Verizon workers speak out in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York

By our reporters, 21 April 2016

Hundreds of Verizon workers on Wednesday picketed a Verizon facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is being used to coordinate the company’s strikebreaking operations.

Rail unions declare support for UK exit from the EU

By Michael Barnes and Julie Hyland, 19 April 2016

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union and the train drivers union ASLEF claim EU membership is “bad for Britain in general and bad for the railway in particular.”

Economic nationalism and the global steel crisis

By Nick Beams, 14 April 2016

The program of economic nationalism promoted by the steel bosses, political leaders and the trade union bureaucrats leads to depression and ultimately war.

Steel day of action: IG Metall, employers and German government demand trade war

By our correspondents, 13 April 2016

The German metalworkers union IG Metall organised the rallies as a backdrop for management and government representatives to demand protective tariffs and trade war measures against China.

French unions seek to suppress opposition to Hollande’s labour reforms

By Stéphane Hugues, 25 February 2016

Opposition is growing among workers and students to the state of emergency and the Socialist Party’s historic attacks on the working class.

UAW President Dennis Williams denounces role of “outside groups” in 2015 auto contract negotiations

By Shannon Jones, 13 February 2016

The remarks expressed the concern of the UAW leadership over growing signs of militancy and social anger in the working class in Michigan and throughout the country.

National teachers’ union leader seeks to smother Detroit protests

By Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover, 11 February 2016

The American Federation of Teachers is seeking to divert opposition into fruitless appeals to state Democrats and Republicans—the very forces seeking to dismantle public education.

Mobilize the working class to defend public education in Chicago!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party

4 February 2016

A real struggle to defend public education must begin with an understanding that teachers face in the Chicago Teachers Union an enemy no less bitter than Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

National union leader tries to corral protesting Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 15 January 2016

After three straight days of “sick-out” protests, hundreds of determined teachers attended a union meeting Thursday, where officials tried to smother resistance.

Supreme Court hears arguments in union dues case

By Shannon Jones, 12 January 2016

The lawsuit targets millions of dollars in union revenue from labor agreements that compel public employees to pay a fee to a union even if they choose not to be a member.

Teamsters union pulls stunt strikes at southern California ports

By Marc Wells, 13 November 2015

The Teamsters have organized eight bogus strikes of truck drivers in two years at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in pursuit of increasing union membership.

Australian unions peddle anti-Chinese chauvinism as they enforce job destruction

By Mike Head, 30 October 2015

The union campaign seeks to blame Chinese workers, and Chinese companies, for the growing unemployment in Australia.

LA unions hail pension “reform” to legitimize attack on working class

By Adam McLean, 2 October 2015

Unions collaborated with the Los Angeles City Council to impose measures that will hang retirees out to dry.

Detroit teachers union removes local president despite majority vote by membership

By Sheila Brehm, 22 September 2015

The executive board of the Detroit Federation of Teachers pushed through the removal of Steve Conn on trumped-up charges.

The UAW and the Democratic Party

By Tom Mackaman, 22 September 2015

For all of the US labor movement’s militancy, self-sacrifice and social power, its Achilles heel has been its failure to free itself from the political domination of capitalist parties and politicians.

What is the UAW?

By Shannon Jones, 11 September 2015

The UAW is basically a business entity run by wealthy parasites that have no accountability to the membership.

US unions promote Democrats and corporatism on Labor Day

By Shannon Jones, 8 September 2015

After decades of corporatist degeneration, the unions neither want to nor are able to mobilize much of anyone outside the upper middle class strata that mans their apparatuses.

The economic nationalism of Bernie Sanders

By Tom Hall, 1 July 2015

The “socialist” senator and Democratic presidential candidate's nationalist appeals are designed to head off the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.

The issues in the US auto contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 26 June 2015

With the formal start of talks set for July 13, auto workers are being kept in the dark, fed bits and scraps of information filtered through the corporate-controlled media.

Where did half a billion dollars from the UAW strike fund go?

By Jerry White, 9 June 2015

UAW local officials have told auto workers to save money from their meager earnings and be prepared to rely on charity in the event of a strike this summer.

How Moratorium NOW! facilitated the Detroit bankruptcy

By Lawrence Porter, 1 April 2015

Moratorium NOW! worked to conceal the role of the courts and promote the trade unions and Democratic Party as part of the political conspiracy against the workers of Detroit.

US auto union hails $5 billion GM stock buy-back

By Shannon Jones, 11 March 2015

The deal funnels money into the pockets of wealthy stockholders and, not coincidently, into the retiree health care fund controlled by the UAW.

Wisconsin Governor Walker, American workers and terrorism

By Patrick Martin, 2 March 2015

The Wisconsin governor has repeatedly said that the struggle against the working class at home is a critical component of Washington’s militarist policy abroad.

New figures show continued decline in US union membership

By Shannon Jones, 28 January 2015

The unionization rate in America is at its lowest point in 100 years.

Ex-Australian union boss Paul Howes handed top corporate post

By Terry Cook and Mike Head, 26 July 2014

Howes is treading a well-worn path, taken by a host of union bureaucrats, into the financial elite and the political establishment.

What was US teachers union president Randi Weingarten doing in Kiev?

By Jerry White, 26 March 2014

The president of the American Federation of Teachers traveled to Kiev to praise the Western-backed regime installed through a fascist-led coup.

The US State Department’s “labor man” in Ukraine

By Jerry White, 26 March 2014

The KVPU, whose headquarters served as an organizing center for the right-wing Maidan protests, has long been financed by State Department money funneled through the AFL-CIO’s American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

Australian union calls for auto funding switch to military spending

By Terry Cook, 8 January 2014

Under the AMWU’s plan, the very future of thousands of workers is to be tied directly to the war aims of Australian and US imperialism.

Michigan’s right-to-work law

By Jerry White, 13 December 2012

The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations.

An exchange on “Reject TUC’s phoney war”

21 April 2011

Published here is correspondence on the SEP statement on the Trades Union Congress March 26 demonstration in London, entitled “Reject TUC’s phoney war.”

The Wisconsin struggle and collective bargaining

By Jerry White, 22 February 2011

In the course of the struggle in Wisconsin, the trade unions are focusing on the right to “collective bargaining,” even as they openly declare their willingness to accept all the concessions demanded by the Wisconsin governor.

Spanish unions and middle class “left” back state repression of air traffic controllers

By Alejandro López and Paul Stuart, 22 January 2011

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s government imposed a “state of alarm” on 2,200 air traffic controllers December 4, subjecting them to military discipline to force them back to work.

British trade unions hold secret talks with government

By Robert Stevens, 28 August 2010

With the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government planning the most drastic attacks on the working class since the 1930s, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is working to ensure they are imposed without opposition.

Canada: Vale-Inco strike now longest in Sudbury Basin history

By Carl Bronski, 15 April 2010

As the strike at Vale Inco’s Sudbury mine and smelter operations enters its tenth month, the transnational mining conglomerate is stepping up its scabbing operation.

Greece: The pseudo-left and the trade unions

By Ulrich Rippert, 20 March 2010

The petty-bourgeois political groupings that present themselves as “left” in Greece are, through their efforts to subordinate the working class to the trade union apparatuses, demonstrating their crucial political role in facilitating the drive of the European and international financial elite to impose historic attacks on working people of every country.

Greek trade unions close ranks behind PASOK austerity measures

By Robert Stevens and Marcus Salzmann, 17 March 2010

As the Greek government begins implementing its austerity measures, the two major trade unions federations, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the public sector confederation (ADEDY), are systematically demobilising opposition to PASOK’s assault on the jobs, employment conditions and living standards of working people.

The European strikes and the trade unions

By Ulrich Rippert, 5 March 2010

The response of the trade unions in all countries to the wave of strikes and protests across Europe has been to isolate and suppress the workers’ resistance to austerity measures, block the development of a European-wide movement, and close ranks with their respective governments and the European financial elite.

AFL-CIO pledges all-out backing for Democrats in 2010 elections

By Patrick Martin, 5 March 2010

The AFL-CIO Executive Council announced this week that the union federation would provide even more financial and organizational support for Democratic Party candidates this year than in 2008, despite the anti-working-class record of the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Britain: Post union president resigns from Socialist Workers Party

By Chris Marsden, 3 December 2009

Britain’s Socialist Worker newspaper acknowledged on November 29 that Jane Loftus, president of the Communication Workers Union, has quit the Socialist Workers Party.

Britain: Behind the disciplinary action in the Unison trade union

By Julie Hyland, 28 September 2009

The disciplinary action taken by the public sector union Unison against several of its members raises important issues of political perspective.

Britain: Nationalist campaign by Unite union bureaucracy over Vauxhall-Opel takeover

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 25 September 2009

The sell-off of General Motors’ European operations, Opel and Vauxhall, to the Canadian-Russian consortium Magna has elicited a poisonous “us first” response by the trade unions involved.

What is the AFL-CIO?

By Barry Grey, 18 September 2009

At its convention this week, the AFL-CIO chose a new president. One measure of the decrepitude of the union federation is the fact that the leadership change barely registered on the public consciousness, least of all among workers.

Vale Inco strike: Labour bureaucrats promote nationalism

By Carl Bronski, 10 September 2009

As the strike at mining giant Vale Inco enters its ninth week, union leaders continue to promote the illusion that the attacks launched by the transnational corporation on the 3,300 striking workers is due to the fact that the company is headquartered in Brazil.

Britain: Total Oil sacks 647 striking workers at Lindsey Oil Refinery

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2009

On June 19, 647 construction contractors were sacked at the Lindsey Oil Refinery construction site, in Lincolnshire, England.

Britain: Van maker LDV sacks more than 800 workers

By Robert Stevens, 16 June 2009

Last week, administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers announced that nearly all 850 workers employed by the Birmingham-based van maker LDV are to be made redundant.

Britain: RMT Tube workers face union busting and organised scabbing by drivers’ union ASLEF

By Paul Mitchell, 12 June 2009

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union workers yesterday ended a two-day strike on the London Underground against plans by the company and its parent body Transport for London to cut over 1,000 jobs.

The Opel fraud

Opel: Magna deal means layoffs, wage cuts and splitting of the European workforce

By Dietmar Henning, 6 June 2009

The German government, the IG Metall trade union and company works councils are attempting to portray the deal struck by General Motors, Magna and the Russian state bank Sberbank as a success, although 11,000 jobs are to be slashed, a number of European GM plants closed down, and drastic wage cuts imposed on the remaining workforce.

New York Times on the UAW’s corporatism: a rewriting of history

By Tom Eley, 4 June 2009

A recent column by New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse portrays the UAW as an antagonist of the Big Three, capable of advancing the interests of its workers. The organization’s history over the past four decades proves otherwise.

UAW, Inc.

By Jerry White, 23 May 2009

The transformation of the United Auto Workers into a business entity is the culmination of decades of betrayals and degeneration in which the UAW apparatus developed material interests separate from, and hostile to, the “members” it claimed to represent.

The ETUC’s Days of Action—a cynical manoeuvre by Europe’s trade union bureaucracies

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 May 2009

ETUC protests on Saturday aimed at covering up their nationalist tracks. To this end, the union bureaucrats are quite prepared to utter denunciations of the finance markets, but these criticisms should not be taken seriously.

The Unite trade union “March for Jobs”

A PR stunt in the defence of British economic nationalism

By Robert Stevens, 19 May 2009

On Saturday, Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, organised a demonstration in Birmingham in the West Midlands which was attended by about 5,000 people.

Unions, Democrats sponsor reactionary “Keep it Made in America” rallies

By Jerry White, 15 May 2009

This week’s “Keep It Made In America” rallies were aimed at diverting popular anger over mass layoffs and concessions in the auto industry and channeling opposition down the reactionary path of economic nationalism and militarism.

Britain: RMT rail union launches nationalist platform for European elections

By Julie Hyland, 7 April 2009

The No2EU platform of populist nationalism is the outcome of the protracted degeneration of the labour and trade union bureaucracy and its incorporation into the capitalist nation state.

Britain: No2EU and its rightwing bedfellows

By Julie Hyland, 7 April 2009

While the specific origins of No2EU are unclear, its pedigree is firmly on that wing of the political spectrum associated with the Conservative Party and “little Englander” nationalism.

Report exposes false claims of British unions’ “Britons First” campaign

By Robert Stevens, 21 February 2009

A report from the industrial tribunal ACAS into the dispute at the Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire has exposed union claims that British workers’ wages and conditions were being undercut.

German union seeks to divide European and North American GM workers

The reactionary politics of economic nationalism

20 February 2009

The actions of the Opel shop stewards and IG Metall bureaucrats exemplify the reactionary logic of economic nationalism.

Trade unions extend nationalist campaign to defend “British jobs”

By Robert Stevens, 18 February 2009

Recent unofficial strikes at power stations and oil refineries across the UK and an official walkout on February 11 were conducted on the basis of the nationalist demand of “British Jobs for British workers.”

The “Britons first” dispute: What constitutes a progressive defence of jobs?

7 February 2009

The Socialist Party and Morning Star have claimed victory in the “Britons first” refinery dispute. But at what cost?

Nationalism and the British trade union strike

5 February 2009

The strike at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire, Britain, on the basis of a nationalist program of defending “British jobs for British workers” raises fundamental issues for the working class internationally.

Britain: Refinery dispute becomes focus of shift to protectionism within Labour

By Julie Hyland, 5 February 2009

The refinery strikes over jobs for “Britons first” have become the focus for a shift to protectionism by the trade union bureaucracy, which is also finding expression within the Labour government.

Socialist Party offers yet another apologia for “Britons first” refinery dispute

By Robert Stevens, 4 February 2009

The Socialist Party’s demand for “Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members” is only window dressing for a “Britons first” policy.

Stalinists and Socialist Party defend “Britons first” refinery protest

By Julie Hyland, 3 February 2009

The Stalinist Communist Party and the Socialist Party are seeking to defend the demand for “British jobs for British workers” at the centre of the oil refinery dispute.

No concessions! No job cuts!

Canadian auto workers must join with US and Mexican workers to advance a socialist alternative

By Socialist Equality Party, 19 December 2008

Seventy years ago auto workers in Canada and the US joined forces to found the UAW because they recognized that to fight the giant auto companies they needed to unify their struggles across the Canada-US border. Today in the area of integrated global production--where the transnational corporations systematically seek to pit workers against each other, placing production wherever the greatest profits can be wrung from the workers--auto workers cannot take a step forward unless they consciously organize themselves as an international force, organizing industrial and political action across national boundaries and continents.

Why the UAW and the Democrats are pushing economic nationalism

18 December 2008

With anger among auto workers against the politicians, the companies and the UAW leadership growing by the day, both the Democratic Party and the union are attempting to whip up economic nationalism as a reactionary diversion.