There is a common notion in the United States and other powerful Western nation that the process of deindustrialization is complete and total. According to many, this process has left the workplaces of American merely small hubs of service work, totally unorganizable and not worth our time. However, along many industrial lines there remain a number of mass workplaces, especially along the supply chain. These circuits of capital flow every day and night and create huge logistical challenges – the permeation of warehouses has been one way for companies to cope with the difficulties of logistics. With the creation of these hubs, capital creates a dangerous situation for itself, because if these chokepoints are organized they can severely cripple the flow of goods. The recognition of this fact has spurred many revolutionaries to organize in these sectors. In this essay, IWW organizer Coeur de Bord analyses the first year of organizing at a United Parcel Service hub in Minneapolis outside of the preexisting trade union structure. They show how even a small core of organizers can engage large numbers of workers and mobilize them around concrete demands.
Port of Metro Vancouver Workers Protest
This is the first part of a series of concrete examples and very brief summaries of organizations that have some component of direct action and a form of collective bargaining that operate outside the labour relations framework. The first series are entirely owner operator associations in Transportation. There is a conventional argument, bolstered by employers, that these folks are not workers but rather small business people. Of course that’s nonsense, being a worker is not determined by the form of wage you take and being paid piece rate is as old as payment itself. Owning your own tools does not make someone a business owner, if that were the case many tradesmen wouldn’t be workers. These workers have responded to a unique situation that opens up positive examples for organisers all over and should be watched.