Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Labor's main weapon is the strike or at least the credible threat to withhold labor. England is seeing a national rail strike this week. This is from ABC News:

LONDON -- Britain faces the second of three national railway strikes Thursday after new negotiations between union and employers ended in deadlock.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union accused the government of “wrecking” Wednesday’s talks and said the 24-hour walkout by 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and station staff would go ahead as planned. The union's action this week is Britain's biggest and most disruptive railway strike for 30 years.

Rail infrastructure company Network Rail said it was “disappointed that the RMT have again chosen to walk away from negotiations. We remain available for talks, day or night.”

The union held a daylong strike on Tuesday that brought the U.K. rail network to a crawl, with only a fifth of passenger services running. Another walkout is planned for Saturday.

The dispute centers on pay, working conditions and job security as Britain’s train companies aim to cut costs and staffing after two years in which emergency government funding kept them afloat.

The strike pits the union against 13 privately owned train-operating companies and the government-owned National Rail. While Britain's Conservative government insists it is not involved in the dispute, the union notes that it plays a major role in the heavily regulated industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put blame for the strike squarely on the union.

The railway union's leader, General Secretary Mick Lynch, said the government had “wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members.”

The final paragraph of this piece is very interesting to me:

Unions have told the country to brace for more as workers face the worst cost-of-living squeeze in more than a generation. Lawyers are planning a walkout, and unions representing teachers and postal workers both plan to consult their members about possible actions.

 You can read more in the Guardian.

Also, look at

We could talk for hours about the causes of this, but the simplest is that, in the negotiation over who gets the wealth we all produce with our work, bosses and owners are getting more and more, and workers are getting less and less. And the simple reason for that is that fewer and fewer of us are members of trade unions, and fewer and fewer of us are organised enough to go on strike.

It looks like the teachers could be next up for industrial action in the UK:

This is from The Guardian:

Leaders of the country’s largest teaching union say they will ballot their members on strike action later this year unless the government agrees to an “inflation-plus” pay rise.

The joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU) said in a letter to the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, that they would campaign in favour of industrial action if the government persisted in its current plan for a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England, after the latest figures showed the consumer price index rising 9.1% last month.

“You must respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat this poses to teacher living standards. We call on you to commit to an inflation-plus increase for all teachers,” the letter stated.

3% increases aren't going to cut it with UK teacher unions. 2-3% is basically what NY public sector workers are being budgeted for.

Maybe some of that labor militancy will cross the Atlantic from the UK. 


Anonymous said...

NYC teachers are not going to strike for 2 reasons: 1) The UFT will never endorse a strike, so it would need to be a wildcat strike which is hard to organize. 2) A recession is about to hit and the mostly young NYC teacher workforce needs money more than ever.

Anonymous said...

The UK inspire a UFT strike? "Not bloody likely!"

Anonymous said...

ANy questions?

The Public Employees Fair Employment Act (the Taylor Law) is a New York State statute, named after labor researcher George W. Taylor. It authorizes a governor-appointed State Public Employment Relations Board to resolve contract disputes for public employees while curtailing their right to strike.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, in a few months if current trends continue, we're going to have a revolutionary situation on our hands, inflation food and fuel shortages etc, brace yourself. Teachers choice won't be between strike and no strike but between economic strike and political strike.

James Eterno said...

A UN agency called the International Labor Organization ruled that the prohibition against strikes is a human rights violation.

Anonymous said...

Tony Siragusa passed away today at the age of 55. For those of you who may not know Siragusa he was an NFL player who was also a broadcaster and had charisma not many other NFL players share.

This passing is another reminder to us all to be thankful for what we have been blessed with and to enjoy life to the fullest - expect things to not always be peachy rosy - and always stand strong behind our UFT baby - our back bone. Peace.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:15 did anyone vote for that UN Agency? does that matter to ypu?

James Eterno said...

The US is a part of the UN. The UN created the ILO so yes it is important.

Anonymous said...

Well if the ILO says so then surely Adams and other NY democrats won’t invoke the Taylor Law if we strike. Nobody gives a flying fuck what the UN or the ILO or any other international organizations has to say. You globalists are laughable. You use foreigners to bolster your claims but ignored the fact that foreigners warned a global lockdown will result in poor countries starving. Well they’re starting to starve right now. And it’s on you phonies who pretend to care about “people of color.” It’s mostly the people of color who are going to starve to death.

James Eterno said...

NY is supposed to be a progressive state. The ILO ruling should be used to pressure the Legislature to reform the law.

Anonymous said...

They did not strike against the mandate for the experimental drug, why whould they strike now?
Unless it is to protect their right to kill unborn.
Teachers are brsinwashed.

Anonymous said...

James - what is it about your always calling for a strike. Granted, it's a bargaining chip that unions hold, but it's a huge risk, the reasons for striking should be very clear to all members, and there's no guarantee you will get what you're striking for. ALL members should get a vote on whether we strike or not. I don't want to go out on somebody's whim "just walk out". That's ridiculous. You're a two income household and are probably in a better position to strike than a lot of people. You wanted people to strike during the beginning of COVID even while saying that there's no telling if the city would invoke the Taylor law.

I worked in a place with a powerful union where the workers struck for months. It was brutal for those working the overtime, and the workers who had run out of resources, got very ugly and when it was all said and done there was a lot of bitterness and resentment between management and the workers. And don't think that the city will not bring in scabs from other places to fill in as subs or whatever. I doubt very seriously that the schools would close down.