Cohoosion. An unwitting neologism slipped from, the tongue of, a brother at an union meeting. He has been mocked for it, though, he realised at the moment of the awkwardness. But, he was right. The word merged ‘collusion’ and ‘in cahoots’. He was making the accurate charge, that, the union administration and the contractors were in league against the union membership.
A milder term would be ‘accommodation’, a stronger term would be ‘collaborator’ in the quisling fashion. They, often, use the term ‘coöperate’ as would a team. This sounds reasonable to some: the gullible and the comfortable. In their faulty argument, which they aggressively accept for you, as a priori, they posit the unionised sector versus the non. Yet, for some years now, they promote the taking in of scabs as members with accrued benefits. This last bit, I do not have firm details, but it is galling. The main electrical construction workers (wiremen) union is a part of the IBEW, and its leadership (guffaw) wants capita and not conditions.
The point is, that, union officer’s chief duty is to advocate and defend union members. To-day only the police, and the AMA, do this. To act, only, as a labor agency for employers is dereliction and betrayal. We become day laborers, some treated well, others poorly. The union officer’s pay comes out of working assessments and dues of the laboring brothers. The union officer is paid by his brothers, who, he is to serve.
Scab labor, even when unionised, because of its internal acceptance of anti-labor practices and psychology, often continues to act as it did before, but better paid with benefits. It then will, often, do “whatever it takes” to keep a job. By this, I mean, backstabbing, cheating and dilution of working conditions, in order to please his employer. The employer will act in his economic, mercenary interest, and favor him. In construction, the work site location changes, the size and scope of the work changes, and jobs begin and end. The work crew waxes and wanes. Many jobs end with layoffs, and the next job, may be, a short or long, or very, long time coming. The scab wishes to remain employed, and has no interest in the good of the union, or in union brotherhood. The scab is a social darwinist.
The capitalist rabble, and their dupes, bewail unions. They use the worst possible anecdote, often riddled with inaccuracies, and use it axiomatically. Union membership, as a percentage of total workers in the US, is pitifully low. Ronnie Reagan, a former union president, gave unionism its greatest blow since Taft-Hartley Act (1947). The PATCO (air traffic controllers) president, Robert Poli,* was taken into court in chains and shackles. This was on the evening news, and it shriveled the testicles, of the near entirety, of union leadership. This was a black flag in a decade of unrelenting greed. Corporate America had license without restriction. An open attack on labor in the US, while Poland was working on freedom with the formation, of the free labor movement, of (Solidarność) Solidarity.
This gave employers the go ahead in hiring scabs, as permanent replacements, for union labor. The greatest weapon, and freedom of labor, to strike, was crippled. To strike, in the US, was to be arrested or to have quit: while in Poland, strajk, was a path to political freedom, and the end of totalitarianism. Labor without a right to strike, to refuse to labor, is slavery.
Well, to-day, during our lunch half hour, we were presented with pr bs, boilerplate inanities. On our unpaid time, in the presence of management: the contractor, his son, representatives of a large corporate customer, and general contractor, we were told by our elected business manager (son of a former business manager) about “the code of excellence ”. This propaganda, we were not able to freely discuss, on account of the interlopers. And it was to the benefit of the interlopers, and not to us. We were to be docile, and dutiful, and self policing in the interest of the customer. We earn our pay, not directly, from the customer. The customer pays for the job to the contractor, the contractor pays us for our labor. The union is our representation to the employer/contractor, not, the customer. Our proper definition of terms have been replaced by the jiggered, definition of terms of our adversaries. We were sold.
*August 3, 1981 the union declared a strike.
August 5, 1981 Reagan fired over 11,000 strikers.
US marshals brought in several men in this manner.