Nationalism and the union bureaucracy

Who is UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada?

By Tim Rivers, 6 August 2018

In a career spanning two decades, Estrada, hailed in 2014 as the first Latina woman to join the union’s elite executive committee, has demonstrated that she is a typical bureaucratic hack.

Teamsters union blames opposition to sellout contract on “internet trolls”

By Will Morrow, 30 July 2018

The union’s campaign recalls the United Auto Workers’ denunciations of exposures of its 2015 sellout contract as “fake news.”

Mobilize the working class behind Indiana autoworkers

Kokomo Fiat Chrysler workers: Form a rank-and-file strike committee to fight for jobs and safety!

By the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter, 30 July 2018

If autoworkers are to prevent another sellout by the UAW, they must take control of the struggle into their own hands by electing rank-and-file strike committee.

UAW corruption scandal reaches the top

By Shannon Jones, 27 July 2018

The revelation that the just-retired UAW president authorized the illegal use of money from company-funded joint training centers demonstrates that the organization is engaged in a criminal conspiracy against auto workers.

Top aide to former UAW vice president makes plea deal

By Shannon Jones, 25 July 2018

Nancy Johnson pleaded guilty to charges related to the illegal payout of more than $1.5 million by Fiat Chrysler aimed at securing favorable contract terms from the United Auto Workers.

Argentine unions and pseudo-left scrambling to prevent social explosion

By Andrea Lobo, 22 June 2018

While the Macri administration deploys its armed forces to repress an upcoming upsurge in workers’ struggles, the trade unions, Peronism, and the Left and Workers Front have formed new coalitions to betray the working class.

“Everything they took from us needs to be returned, plus the money they stole”

Growing outrage from autoworkers over UAW bribery scandal

By a WSWS reporting team, 15 June 2018

Autoworkers at Fiat Chrysler’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit spoke to the WSWS about the naming of the UAW as a “co-conspirator” in the corruption scandal.

UK: Bureaucrats walk out of University and College Union congress

By Alice Summers, 8 June 2018

Union leaders walked out of the UCU congress after motions were put forward criticising their sell-out of the lecturers’ strike.

Opposition mounting to Teamsters deal to cut pensions at ABF Freight

By Steve Filips, 27 April 2018

Workers are denouncing the five-year tentative deal signed by the Teamsters, which imposes more concessions on 8,600 drivers and other workers at the trucking company.

UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel will not seek re-election

By Jessica Goldstein, 20 April 2018

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel made the abrupt announcement this week that he will not to seek re-election amidst an ongoing federal probe into rampant UAW corruption.

Teachers unions intensify efforts to suppress growing class struggle in the US

By Jerry White, 20 March 2018

A recent article by a former top executive at the American Federation of Teachers argues that the unions exist to “maintain labor peace” and “tamp down rank-and-file gripes and discord.”

As teacher struggles spread, unions redouble effort to suppress class struggle

By Jerry White, 9 March 2018

In the aftermath of the nine-day strike by West Virginia teachers, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said that the unions are necessary to contain opposition.

Union lawyer tells US Supreme Court: “Union security is the tradeoff for no strikes”

By Joseph Kishore, 28 February 2018

In Supreme Court arguments, a lawyer for the public-sector union AFSCME argued that without the trade unions there would be “an untold specter of labor unrest throughout the country.”

Workers discuss UAW corruption scandal at WSWS Autoworker Newsletter call-in meeting

By our reporters, 2 February 2018

Autoworkers discussed the significance of the scandal and the Autoworker Newsletter’s call for the formation of rank-and-file committees, independent of the United Auto Workers union.

Fiat Chrysler workers file class action against UAW demanding return of union dues

By Jerry White, 31 January 2018

A legal complaint by three autoworkers charges the union with colluding to destroy wages and rights, and defrauding workers of hundreds of millions of dollars in union dues.

The UAW corruption scandal: The case for workers’ committees

By Joseph Kishore, 26 January 2018

Fiat Chrysler’s bribery of UAW officials involved in contract negotiations exposes the anti-working-class character of the entire trade union apparatus.

Germany: IG Metall seeks to impose new contract

By Gustav Kemper, 24 January 2018

The IG Metall leadership, which supports the formation of a new grand coalition government, is opposed to a broad mobilisation of workers against job cuts.

Growing numbers of US teachers abandon unions

By Nancy Hanover, 7 December 2017

The historic decline of union membership among teachers highlights the extent to which these unions exist only at the behest of the government.

“This is one smart guy”

US teachers union chief Randi Weingarten held secret meeting with Steve Bannon

By Jerry White, 4 November 2017

For over six months, the AFT president sought to conceal her meeting with Trump’s fascistic aide who was at the time the top White House strategist.

AFL-CIO leaders offer demagogy, nationalism at convention in St. Louis

By Trévon Austin, 27 October 2017

A signification section of the union bureaucracy is openly allied with Trump on the basis of “America First” nationalism.

New Zealand rail union blocks struggle against attacks on conditions

By our reporters, 13 October 2017

A two-hour work stoppage was called to lay the basis for another union-employer sellout deal.

Former UAW official pleads guilty as corruption scandal threatens top union executives

By Jerry White, 31 August 2017

The plea deal by United Auto Workers Associate Director Virdell King could open the way for the indictment of other senior union officials.

“Everyone high up in the UAW must have known what was going on”

US autoworkers react to new UAW corruption indictments

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 August 2017

US autoworkers contacted by the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter expressed disgust and anger over the results of a federal investigation into allegations of bribery of top United Auto Workers officials by Fiat Chrysler executives.

AFL-CIO president leaves Trump’s Manufacturing Council: An exercise in hypocrisy and damage control

By Shannon Jones, 17 August 2017

Trumka left the panel as a face-saving measure, following the departure of several corporate CEOs.

New Zealand rail union seeks to renew pay deal with private operator

By our correspondents, 7 August 2017

The RMTU is collaborating with multinational private operator Transdev to impose a new agreement which will continue to attack workers’ conditions.

UAW debacle at Mississippi Nissan plant

By Jerry White, 7 August 2017

Workers have drawn conclusions about the UAW after decades in which it has focused all of its efforts on suppressing the class struggle and partnering with the auto companies to destroy jobs and living standards.

As Wall Street demands new auto job cuts, UAW rants against Mexico and China

By Jerry White, 26 July 2017

General Motors has announced plans to reduce production as US automakers prepare a new onslaught on jobs.

Illinois unions endorse billionaire J.B. Pritzker for governor

By Kristina Betinis and Alexander Fangmann, 12 June 2017

Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, has been enlisted by the Democratic Party to take on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, another billionaire, whom the Democrats are attacking as “bad for business.”

New evidence of UAW vote-rigging in 2015 Ford contract

Part One

By Eric London, 9 May 2017

Information provided to the World Socialist Web Site shows a UAW conspiracy to silence autoworkers with evidence that the UAW committed election fraud to pass the 2015 Ford contract.

Unions collaborate with Trump to push trade war and militarism

By Jerry White, 21 April 2017

The anti-working class AFL-CIO is providing the deeply hated president with critical political support as he prepares for war and a massive assault on jobs and social programs.

Burqa ban included in German union contract

By Marianne Arens, 20 April 2017

Five unions in the German state of Hesse have accepted a burqa ban in a public sector contract.

UAW executives get pay raises as worker pay tumbles

By Shannon Jones, 14 April 2017

An analysis of its 2016 US Labor Department filing makes clear the UAW is not a workers’ organization but a business largely funded by the auto bosses.

US unions deepen ties to Trump administration

By Jerry White, 7 April 2017

The American trade union bureaucracy spent much of this week praising Trump and bolstering the billionaire president’s claim that he is champion of American workers.

The UAW’s corporatist alliance with Trump

By Niles Niemuth, 17 March 2017

UAW President Dennis Williams’ appearance Wednesday with President Donald Trump and the Big Three auto bosses to promote “American First” nationalism is further confirmation of the anti-working class character of the unions.

Auto bosses, UAW join Trump at Michigan event to push nationalism and militarism

By Niles Niemuth, 16 March 2017

While signaling his readiness to boost company profits by weakening fuel economy standards, Trump called for the unity of employers and workers on the basis of economic nationalism.

US unions back Trump’s ultra-right “America First” program

By Jerry White, 23 February 2017

It was the socialists who opposed nativism and racism and waged a struggle to unify all workers, black and white, native-born and immigrant, against the divide-and-conquer strategy of the employers.

Union seeks to block strike, impose givebacks on Rockford, Illinois school employees

By George Gallanis, 21 February 2017

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is attempting to force a sellout contract on the 900 bus drivers, paraprofessionals and food service workers.

As Trump promotes America First nationalism at South Carolina Boeing plant

UAW to launch “Buy American” campaign

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2017

The UAW is ramping up its promotion of economic nationalism in line with the reactionary America First demagogy of the Trump administration.

Harley-Davidson execs, union leaders meet with Trump at the White House

By Jerry White, 3 February 2017

The public relations exercise was a further demonstration of the complete prostration of American unions to the corporations and the government.

California state workers voting on new contract

By Dan Conway, 13 January 2017

More than 96,000 state workers are voting this week on a new contract between Service Workers International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 and the state government, led by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

UK rail union TSSA and pro-Corbyn Momentum stoke up anti-European sentiment

By Paul Mitchell, 10 January 2017

A video posted by the pro-Corbyn Momentum organization seeks to portray the population of Europe as benefitting from the privatization if the UK’s rail network.

US unions praise Trump and his “America-First” nationalism

By Jerry White, 12 November 2016

It did not take long for the executives that run the trade unions to offer their loyal services to President-elect Donald Trump.

Unions at Germany’s TUIfly airlines act as strikebreakers

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 October 2016

The workers at TUIfly are putting up fierce opposition to a restructuring plan accompanied by extensive job and wage cuts.

French unions join far-right movement against refugees in Calais

By Anthony Torres, 12 September 2016

The CGT is inciting nationalist hatred to divide the workers and disorient their opposition to the wars and social cuts of the French government, which it helped elect.

IG Metall trade union backs Volkswagen board

By Dietmar Henning, 28 June 2016

IG Metall sprang to the support of management, which is exploiting the emission scandal to impose the biggest ever attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.

German unions call for steel trade war against China

By Jan Peters and Dietmar Henning, 16 June 2016

In a new burst of reactionary economic nationalism, the Social Democratic Party and German trade unions are calling for US-type trade war measures against China.

Strikes against austerity in France and Belgium defy union pressure for sellout

By Alex Lantier, 9 June 2016

Garbage workers took strike action in several cities across France, joining rail, port and oil workers in France and rail workers in Belgium.

“It’s reached a point where we had to stand up to them, and we are”

Striking Verizon workers speak out in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York

By our reporters, 21 April 2016

Hundreds of Verizon workers on Wednesday picketed a Verizon facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is being used to coordinate the company’s strikebreaking operations.

Rail unions declare support for UK exit from the EU

By Michael Barnes and Julie Hyland, 19 April 2016

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union and the train drivers union ASLEF claim EU membership is “bad for Britain in general and bad for the railway in particular.”

Economic nationalism and the global steel crisis

By Nick Beams, 14 April 2016

The program of economic nationalism promoted by the steel bosses, political leaders and the trade union bureaucrats leads to depression and ultimately war.

Steel day of action: IG Metall, employers and German government demand trade war

By our correspondents, 13 April 2016

The German metalworkers union IG Metall organised the rallies as a backdrop for management and government representatives to demand protective tariffs and trade war measures against China.

French unions seek to suppress opposition to Hollande’s labour reforms

By Stéphane Hugues, 25 February 2016

Opposition is growing among workers and students to the state of emergency and the Socialist Party’s historic attacks on the working class.

UAW President Dennis Williams denounces role of “outside groups” in 2015 auto contract negotiations

By Shannon Jones, 13 February 2016

The remarks expressed the concern of the UAW leadership over growing signs of militancy and social anger in the working class in Michigan and throughout the country.

National teachers’ union leader seeks to smother Detroit protests

By Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover, 11 February 2016

The American Federation of Teachers is seeking to divert opposition into fruitless appeals to state Democrats and Republicans—the very forces seeking to dismantle public education.

Mobilize the working class to defend public education in Chicago!

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party

4 February 2016

A real struggle to defend public education must begin with an understanding that teachers face in the Chicago Teachers Union an enemy no less bitter than Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

National union leader tries to corral protesting Detroit teachers

By Jerry White, 15 January 2016

After three straight days of “sick-out” protests, hundreds of determined teachers attended a union meeting Thursday, where officials tried to smother resistance.

Supreme Court hears arguments in union dues case

By Shannon Jones, 12 January 2016

The lawsuit targets millions of dollars in union revenue from labor agreements that compel public employees to pay a fee to a union even if they choose not to be a member.

Teamsters union pulls stunt strikes at southern California ports

By Marc Wells, 13 November 2015

The Teamsters have organized eight bogus strikes of truck drivers in two years at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in pursuit of increasing union membership.

Australian unions peddle anti-Chinese chauvinism as they enforce job destruction

By Mike Head, 30 October 2015

The union campaign seeks to blame Chinese workers, and Chinese companies, for the growing unemployment in Australia.

LA unions hail pension “reform” to legitimize attack on working class

By Adam McLean, 2 October 2015

Unions collaborated with the Los Angeles City Council to impose measures that will hang retirees out to dry.

Detroit teachers union removes local president despite majority vote by membership

By Sheila Brehm, 22 September 2015

The executive board of the Detroit Federation of Teachers pushed through the removal of Steve Conn on trumped-up charges.

The UAW and the Democratic Party

By Tom Mackaman, 22 September 2015

For all of the US labor movement’s militancy, self-sacrifice and social power, its Achilles heel has been its failure to free itself from the political domination of capitalist parties and politicians.

What is the UAW?

By Shannon Jones, 11 September 2015

The UAW is basically a business entity run by wealthy parasites that have no accountability to the membership.

US unions promote Democrats and corporatism on Labor Day

By Shannon Jones, 8 September 2015

After decades of corporatist degeneration, the unions neither want to nor are able to mobilize much of anyone outside the upper middle class strata that mans their apparatuses.

The economic nationalism of Bernie Sanders

By Tom Hall, 1 July 2015

The “socialist” senator and Democratic presidential candidate's nationalist appeals are designed to head off the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.

The issues in the US auto contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 26 June 2015

With the formal start of talks set for July 13, auto workers are being kept in the dark, fed bits and scraps of information filtered through the corporate-controlled media.

Where did half a billion dollars from the UAW strike fund go?

By Jerry White, 9 June 2015

UAW local officials have told auto workers to save money from their meager earnings and be prepared to rely on charity in the event of a strike this summer.

How Moratorium NOW! facilitated the Detroit bankruptcy

By Lawrence Porter, 1 April 2015

Moratorium NOW! worked to conceal the role of the courts and promote the trade unions and Democratic Party as part of the political conspiracy against the workers of Detroit.

US auto union hails $5 billion GM stock buy-back

By Shannon Jones, 11 March 2015

The deal funnels money into the pockets of wealthy stockholders and, not coincidently, into the retiree health care fund controlled by the UAW.

Wisconsin Governor Walker, American workers and terrorism

By Patrick Martin, 2 March 2015

The Wisconsin governor has repeatedly said that the struggle against the working class at home is a critical component of Washington’s militarist policy abroad.

New figures show continued decline in US union membership

By Shannon Jones, 28 January 2015

The unionization rate in America is at its lowest point in 100 years.

Ex-Australian union boss Paul Howes handed top corporate post

By Terry Cook and Mike Head, 26 July 2014

Howes is treading a well-worn path, taken by a host of union bureaucrats, into the financial elite and the political establishment.

What was US teachers union president Randi Weingarten doing in Kiev?

By Jerry White, 26 March 2014

The president of the American Federation of Teachers traveled to Kiev to praise the Western-backed regime installed through a fascist-led coup.

The US State Department’s “labor man” in Ukraine

By Jerry White, 26 March 2014

The KVPU, whose headquarters served as an organizing center for the right-wing Maidan protests, has long been financed by State Department money funneled through the AFL-CIO’s American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

Australian union calls for auto funding switch to military spending

By Terry Cook, 8 January 2014

Under the AMWU’s plan, the very future of thousands of workers is to be tied directly to the war aims of Australian and US imperialism.

Michigan’s right-to-work law

By Jerry White, 13 December 2012

The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the anti-worker legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations.

An exchange on “Reject TUC’s phoney war”

21 April 2011

Published here is correspondence on the SEP statement on the Trades Union Congress March 26 demonstration in London, entitled “Reject TUC’s phoney war.”

The Wisconsin struggle and collective bargaining

By Jerry White, 22 February 2011

In the course of the struggle in Wisconsin, the trade unions are focusing on the right to “collective bargaining,” even as they openly declare their willingness to accept all the concessions demanded by the Wisconsin governor.

Spanish unions and middle class “left” back state repression of air traffic controllers

By Alejandro López and Paul Stuart, 22 January 2011

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero’s government imposed a “state of alarm” on 2,200 air traffic controllers December 4, subjecting them to military discipline to force them back to work.

British trade unions hold secret talks with government

By Robert Stevens, 28 August 2010

With the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government planning the most drastic attacks on the working class since the 1930s, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is working to ensure they are imposed without opposition.

Canada: Vale-Inco strike now longest in Sudbury Basin history

By Carl Bronski, 15 April 2010

As the strike at Vale Inco’s Sudbury mine and smelter operations enters its tenth month, the transnational mining conglomerate is stepping up its scabbing operation.

Greece: The pseudo-left and the trade unions

By Ulrich Rippert, 20 March 2010

The petty-bourgeois political groupings that present themselves as “left” in Greece are, through their efforts to subordinate the working class to the trade union apparatuses, demonstrating their crucial political role in facilitating the drive of the European and international financial elite to impose historic attacks on working people of every country.

Greek trade unions close ranks behind PASOK austerity measures

By Robert Stevens and Marcus Salzmann, 17 March 2010

As the Greek government begins implementing its austerity measures, the two major trade unions federations, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the public sector confederation (ADEDY), are systematically demobilising opposition to PASOK’s assault on the jobs, employment conditions and living standards of working people.

The European strikes and the trade unions

By Ulrich Rippert, 5 March 2010

The response of the trade unions in all countries to the wave of strikes and protests across Europe has been to isolate and suppress the workers’ resistance to austerity measures, block the development of a European-wide movement, and close ranks with their respective governments and the European financial elite.

AFL-CIO pledges all-out backing for Democrats in 2010 elections

By Patrick Martin, 5 March 2010

The AFL-CIO Executive Council announced this week that the union federation would provide even more financial and organizational support for Democratic Party candidates this year than in 2008, despite the anti-working-class record of the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Britain: Post union president resigns from Socialist Workers Party

By Chris Marsden, 3 December 2009

Britain’s Socialist Worker newspaper acknowledged on November 29 that Jane Loftus, president of the Communication Workers Union, has quit the Socialist Workers Party.

Britain: Behind the disciplinary action in the Unison trade union

By Julie Hyland, 28 September 2009

The disciplinary action taken by the public sector union Unison against several of its members raises important issues of political perspective.

Britain: Nationalist campaign by Unite union bureaucracy over Vauxhall-Opel takeover

By Robert Stevens and Julie Hyland, 25 September 2009

The sell-off of General Motors’ European operations, Opel and Vauxhall, to the Canadian-Russian consortium Magna has elicited a poisonous “us first” response by the trade unions involved.

What is the AFL-CIO?

By Barry Grey, 18 September 2009

At its convention this week, the AFL-CIO chose a new president. One measure of the decrepitude of the union federation is the fact that the leadership change barely registered on the public consciousness, least of all among workers.

Vale Inco strike: Labour bureaucrats promote nationalism

By Carl Bronski, 10 September 2009

As the strike at mining giant Vale Inco enters its ninth week, union leaders continue to promote the illusion that the attacks launched by the transnational corporation on the 3,300 striking workers is due to the fact that the company is headquartered in Brazil.

Britain: Total Oil sacks 647 striking workers at Lindsey Oil Refinery

By Robert Stevens, 22 June 2009

On June 19, 647 construction contractors were sacked at the Lindsey Oil Refinery construction site, in Lincolnshire, England.

Britain: Van maker LDV sacks more than 800 workers

By Robert Stevens, 16 June 2009

Last week, administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers announced that nearly all 850 workers employed by the Birmingham-based van maker LDV are to be made redundant.

Britain: RMT Tube workers face union busting and organised scabbing by drivers’ union ASLEF

By Paul Mitchell, 12 June 2009

Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union workers yesterday ended a two-day strike on the London Underground against plans by the company and its parent body Transport for London to cut over 1,000 jobs.

The Opel fraud

Opel: Magna deal means layoffs, wage cuts and splitting of the European workforce

By Dietmar Henning, 6 June 2009

The German government, the IG Metall trade union and company works councils are attempting to portray the deal struck by General Motors, Magna and the Russian state bank Sberbank as a success, although 11,000 jobs are to be slashed, a number of European GM plants closed down, and drastic wage cuts imposed on the remaining workforce.

New York Times on the UAW’s corporatism: a rewriting of history

By Tom Eley, 4 June 2009

A recent column by New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse portrays the UAW as an antagonist of the Big Three, capable of advancing the interests of its workers. The organization’s history over the past four decades proves otherwise.

UAW, Inc.

By Jerry White, 23 May 2009

The transformation of the United Auto Workers into a business entity is the culmination of decades of betrayals and degeneration in which the UAW apparatus developed material interests separate from, and hostile to, the “members” it claimed to represent.

The ETUC’s Days of Action—a cynical manoeuvre by Europe’s trade union bureaucracies

By Stefan Steinberg, 19 May 2009

ETUC protests on Saturday aimed at covering up their nationalist tracks. To this end, the union bureaucrats are quite prepared to utter denunciations of the finance markets, but these criticisms should not be taken seriously.

The Unite trade union “March for Jobs”

A PR stunt in the defence of British economic nationalism

By Robert Stevens, 19 May 2009

On Saturday, Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, organised a demonstration in Birmingham in the West Midlands which was attended by about 5,000 people.

Unions, Democrats sponsor reactionary “Keep it Made in America” rallies

By Jerry White, 15 May 2009

This week’s “Keep It Made In America” rallies were aimed at diverting popular anger over mass layoffs and concessions in the auto industry and channeling opposition down the reactionary path of economic nationalism and militarism.

Britain: RMT rail union launches nationalist platform for European elections

By Julie Hyland, 7 April 2009

The No2EU platform of populist nationalism is the outcome of the protracted degeneration of the labour and trade union bureaucracy and its incorporation into the capitalist nation state.