We’ve been talking for weeks about this no vote on a bullshit UAW contract that would not only effectively cut pay in real terms for GSIs, readers, and tutors, but would also demonstrate that the careerist bureaucrats who run the local can disregard the will of the membership without penalty. We are here to show these functionaries that union power is rank-and-file power: we will take back our union.
The time has finally come to get out the vote. This means that not only do we — rank-and-file members of 2865 — need you to come out and send this insult of a contract back to the bargaining table tomorrow, but we need you to bring all of your friends and colleagues out to do the same. We know that as things stand, we have Berkeley and Santa Cruz on lock, and our comrades at Irvine are building quite the caucus as well. However, who knows what kind of dirty shit the leadership is going to try to pull? We didn’t expect them to call a statewide meeting just to spite rank-and-file organizers, so we need to be on guard against whatever these politicians try to pull on us. Our best protection against this kind of authoritarian ploy is our strength in numbers. That means that we need you and yours to come out and vote between Monday, November 29 and Thursday, December 2. Three polling stations will be open each day during that period, with two permanent locations and one roving location:
- Monday-Thursday 8am-4pm: North Gate and Sather Gate
- Mon 10am-2pm: Barrows Hall
- Tues 10am-2pm: Evans Hall
- Wed 10am-2pm: Moffitt Library
- Thurs 10am-2pm: Kroeber Hall
Let’s send this bullshit contract back where it came from!
Union power is rank-and-file power! UAW bureaucrats collude with management!
Are you thinking, “Alright, I’m down with rank-and-file power, but isn’t a no vote effectively an anti-union vote? That’s what I’m hearing from the union leadership.” That is what you’re hearing from the union leadership. Self-interested bureaucrats like local 2865 VP Daraka Larimore-Hall are feeding campus media lines like:
Members of the bargaining team that voted no on the issue weren’t present at a majority of the negotiation meetings and resurfaced in this reform movement that’s urging people to vote against the contract. If this contract isn’t ratified, we may either resume negotiations, or the university could impose an impasse on us and we could ultimately end up with a worse contract.
Right. This is the same logic you can hear our local’s President Christine Petit spout off to Irvine rank-and-file when she argues that in the given context — one in which our membership is the strongest in its history and undergrads and workers are mobilized in solidarity across the state — a strike is an inherently dangerous tactic. This from union leaders? Are they serious? This is why we call them collaborators with management. When these fools are arguing that even a no vote is dangerous, you know something’s up. What’s the risk? We could (in the abstract) wind up with an inferior contract, Larimore-Hall tells us. Why? If management sees that membership will keep voting down this bullshit contract until they give us what we want; if they see a UC-wide strike as a viable threat instead of window dressing for a faux radical email from the UAW leadership; if they know that we won’t sell out our comrades for a few lines on our CVs like our current elected officials, then why would they be more likely to give us a subpar contract? We already have a subpar contract, and it exists precisely because we these bureaucrats didn’t actually challenge management, let alone even attempt to engage the rank-and-file membership.
[Update: The Santa Cruz section of AWaDU just came out with an incredible response to this ridiculous fear-mongering by the union bureaucrats. Don’t miss it! As its authors point out, the leadership’s line is a blatant lie; of course the members of the e-board know that regressive bargaining is both illegal and grounds for filing another unfair labor practice complaint with PERB. Anything to keep the rank-and-file in check, huh?]
What would it look like to truly engage the membership? Members of the bargaining team devise “actions” in the abstract and then expect them to be implemented at the drop of a hat. At one point, they wanted grad students to bring their babies to Labor Relations and do something approximating a sit-in. Great. Only problem? We don’t have a single member with a child who comes to our membership meetings. Even worse, UAW International rep Mike Miller has (we assume jokingly) suggested on multiple occasions that membership should organize a building occupation. Many of us already have over the course of the past year, and we’d love to see this materialize once again. But when it comes to actually getting this off the ground, Miller conveniently disappears. Unsurprising. The bureaucrats always disappear when it comes to actually fighting management. We challenge you to find an exception, and a half-assed “report card” with fake signatures doesn’t count.
So why is it so important to vote no this time around? Does it really even matter? We urge you to check out the following links and read up for yourself:
- “Why We Are Voting No” by AWaDU at UC Berkeley
- letter from UCI head steward Cheryl Deutsch
- letter from 5 members of the bargaining team
- letter from the Ethnic Studies Graduate Alliance
- letter of solidarity from the CUNY Adjunct Project
- “Don’t Vote Yes out of Fear” by (G)SOC/AWaDU at UCSC
Wondering how the bureaucrats might respond to this campaign? Wonder no longer. You can find a statement from the comprador elements of the bargaining team here. Note that they tout a pay cut in real terms as “a contract without concessions” and “remarkable gains.” Note too that they pat themselves on the back for engaging membership. Right. Those of us who actually go to membership meetings have only come into contact with these functionaries as they attempt to stifle the will of active members and criticize us as a small clique. Before AWaDU existed, we were lucky to have a half dozen people show up at the monthly meetings; due to the efforts of the opposition caucus, we now have 50-70 turning out on a regular basis, with only 50 percent or so showing up every time. In other words, far from a closed clique, we have finally begun to see a vibrant, rank-and-file based membership meetings. At the last unofficial meeting, 75 people showed up to a barely advertised meeting, more than 2 dozen of whom had never before been to a union meeting. That’s why we scoff at these bureaucrats when they claim that they engage the membership. Here at Those Who Use It, we’ve only come into contact with these careerists when they are patrolling our halls asking for more Jerry Brown money. What about money for actually mobilizing the membership? The most anti-labor Democratic gubernatorial candidate in years apparently mobilizes the membership according to these idiots.
No worries, though. We are mobilizing rank-and-file. If we wanted, we could easily recall some of these scumbags. Why not go straight for Petit and Larimore-Hall? We probably will, but one thing at a time. So let’s get this no vote off the ground and take back our union!
All power to the rank-and-file!