LaborNet - Internet Board
Global online communication since 1991 for a democratic, independent labor movement
Home | Current Blog | News Archive | Video | Resources | Back Links | About LaborNet

image image

UBC Millwright-Open Letter to the ND Skilled Trades
Source Mike Griffin
Date 16/09/21/20:32

UBC Millwright Retiree Mike Griffin-Open Letter To The Skilled Trades On Getting In "bed" With Rightwing North Dakota Governor Against Native Americans

I FIND IT ABSOLUTELY deplorable that skilled trades has gone to bed with a right wing Governor in bringing in the national guard to use against Native Americans who are peacefully protesting to save valuable resources that our future generations must have if our nation, our futures, and our survival depends on. While I am deeply angered that union skilled trades mis-leadership would side with a right wing Dalrymple in bringing in the guard as thugs, the same guard that would be used against union members on a picket line, I am not surprised.
In labor history, it was the skilled trades who attempted to keep industrial workers from forming a union that resulted in a split that resulted in John L Lewis punching the Carpenter's Union President, Hutchenson, in the nose. The elitism of skilled trades is legendary as they believed industrial workers were not skilled enough to deserve union representation. It is that false premise that trades use to cross every picket line at industrial union work sites.

It is the corruption of their leadership that has stripped union members in all unions the right to choose who will represent them and has devastated union values and made phony leadership to side with the employing class. It has been a steady crooked rode downhill for union workers in all unions and has decimated union membership since the days of Ronald Reagan. Employers and their corporate prostitutes on both sides of the aisle, along with cowardly union leadership that has destroyed the American economy. The lack of solidarity with fellow unions and the refusal build coalitions with community organizations and the failure to join working class struggles has done more damage to the entire AFL-CIO than America's number one enemies, Corporate America and the National Chamber of Commerce.

In the mid-nineties here in Decatur IL, 4000 workers were under attack at A E Staley, Caterpillar Tractor, and Firestone. Skilled tradesmen flocked across all picket lines and aided the employers. In the end, even though hundreds of thousands of union activists world wide supported the struggles, it was the betrayal of the International Unions and newly elected AFL-CIO so-called leadership that defeated rank and file workers. It was a blow that sent a powerful message to union members world wide.

The betrayal on Native Americans is no surprise that union dues is more important than the lives of Native Americans or working Americans. I have been a union member for fifty years, a Viet Nam veteran, and in all those years I have never been more ashamed than I am today. Native Americans survived Ulysses Grant's genocide, relocation after relocation, forced into poverty, and now the destruction of the precious resources needed for their survival.

Mike Griffin
Decatur IL
War Zone Education Foundation

[View the list]