Lede: The global ruling class is determined to prevent mounting protests against
social inequality from employing the weapon that can bring them down.
The ruling oligarchs are terrified that, for tens of millions of people, the
economic dislocation caused by inflation, stagnant wages, austerity, the
pandemic and the energy crisis is becoming unendurable. They warn, as
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, have done, about the
potential for social unrest, especially as we head towards winter.
Social unrest is a code word for strikes - the one weapon workers possess that
can cripple and destroy the billionaire class's economic and political
power. Strikes are what the global oligarchs fear most. Through the courts and
police intervention, they will seek to prevent workers from shutting down the
economy. This looming battle is crucial. If we begin to chip away at corporate
power through strikes, most of which will probably be wildcat strikes that defy
union leadership and anti-union laws, we can begin to regain agency over our
The oligarchs have spent decades abolishing or domesticating unions, turning the
few unions that remain - only 10.7 percent of the workforce is unionized - into
obsequious junior partners in the capitalist system. As of January 2022,
private-sector unionization stood at its lowest point since the passage of the
National Labor Relations Act of 1935. And yet, 48 percent of U.S. workers say
they would like to belong to a union.
As a result of crushing conditions workers have been subjected to for years, the
nation is facing its first major rail strike since the 1990s. The transportation
industry, of which most rail workers are a part, has a higher than average union
density compared to other parts of the private sector. A rail strike could mean
a loss in economic output of $2 billion a day, according to a trade group
representing railroad companies.
It was announced by the Biden White House, which hopes to avoid the optics of
forcing striking workers back to the job, that the leaders of the Brotherhood of
Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), International Association of Sheet
Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Transportation Division (SMART-TD)
and Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS), among others, reached a tentative
agreement with major freight companies, including Burlington Northern and Santa
Fe Railway (BNSF) and Union Pacific. The tentative agreement was made amid
intense pressure from the Biden administration.
Union officials stressed that the wording of the agreement is yet to be
finalized and workers may not see the details of the agreement for three to four
weeks, after which point union rank-and-file members will still have to vote on
the proposed settlement.
-- Cont'd at https://scheerpost.com/2022/09/19/chris-hedges-strike-strike-strike/