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  • authored by news
  • published Tue, Apr 23, 2002

Good reading: Biz Unionism vs. Revolutionary Unionism

This insightful and hardhitting article was forwarded to us by David Clay, an IAMAW reformer. It explores the distinctions between biz unionism which according to the author, David Neal, is already dead but just doesn't know it yet, and revolutionary unionism which Neal tells us is the only real avenue for working people who want a say in what goes on a work. An excerpt:

Unions are a modern concept, a product of industrial society. The idea is a simple, but important one -- namely that the weak majority must organize collectively to battle the powerful minority -- the capitalist, whose will is backed by the power of the State. The individual worker is almost powerless in a non-union workplace, with the choice of obeying the boss or quitting their job for another one.

Unions upset this blissful state of affairs, when these weak, individual workers banded together against the boss, they had considerable strength indeed. Note that this right to collectively bargain was hard-won by workers -- much worker blood was spilled by capitalists (through their lap-dog, the State), in order to protect their privilege, power, and profits, which depended on a disorganized, and above all, weak workforce.

Make no mistake: unionism was a powerful, effective social force, and it has always been reviled by capitalists and management, because it cuts into their absolute workplace authority, which they seem to feel is theirs by right, in the style of kings of times past.

The whole thing.

  • posted by sleK
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 7:13pm

quote:


Good reading:


I'd go so far as to call it a "must read".

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Apr 23, 2002 7:28pm

Without a doubt, it's great. I printed it and dropped it off in the staff room. By the time I go back, everyone at work will be in the know.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 6:38am

It was an interesting read, and has some facinating conjecture. I see it was written in 1999, which means it's now three years old. Given the passage of time, are we closer to this being a reality or further away?
More significantly, in the US, the birth of biz-unionism has been attached to the point when the communists and the socialists were expelled from the labor movement(1948). If that's true, and the 'radicals' are gone from the labor movement, who will lead that charge into this new frontier. It appears his theory is based on no leadership, just an overall worker revolt or rebellion. All of this begs the obvious question, are union activists(unionists without affiliation) born or are they created?????? If they are created, how and by whom?????? Better yet, if there is no need for leadership, does it matter if there are activists or are we just assuming all workers will just be committed to one another for the common good?

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 6:17pm

K .. New rule. There will be no thought provoking comments before 4 p.m. It is hard to do a good job when your mind is not on your work

quote:


It was an interesting read, and has some facinating conjecture.


After your post I was forced to read it 2 more times to see if I missed something. Nope!.

It was more than interesting, but I failed to see the conjecture, wishful thinking on my part I guess.

When I read it, it just rung true, everything I know about what all has happened was in this paper.

quote:


I see it was written in 1999, which means it's now three years old. Given the passage of time, are we closer to this being a reality or further away?


IMHO much closer. Was the kind of exodus we are witnessing from biz-machines as evident 3 yrs ago as it is today? Given the speed of any real change I don't believe three yrs is all that long and I feel the change in my workplace. There is a buzz. (no pun intended ).

quote:


More significantly, in the US, the birth of biz-unionism has been attached to the point when the communists and the socialists were expelled from the labor movement(1948). If that's true, and the 'radicals' are gone from the labor movement,


Thought he said the Knights of Labor and the Industrial Workers of the World met their demise, didn't say radicals were gone.

quote:


who will lead that charge into this new frontier.


Do you have some free time?

quote:


It appears his theory is based on no leadership, just an overall worker revolt or rebellion. All of this begs the obvious question, are union activists(unionists without affiliation) born or are they created?????? If they are created, how and by whom??????


It has to be a bit of both IMHO.

Born with an attitude and then run over by a machine.

quote:


Better yet, if there is no need for leadership, does it matter if there are activists or are we just assuming all workers will just be committed to one another for the common good?


That's the ideal and probably part of why it is still "remains the great untried experiment".

But it's in the lab and as soon as the glitches are out.

In the workplace is where you'll first notice the change, just like Neal said "people are being screwed right and left" and they aren't happy with the status quo, or the machine/management quid pro quo for that matter, and are looking for an alternative. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 6:58pm

Bill, A while ago, we had some pretty deep discussion on the subject of leadership and the role of the rank and file/Power Source in the unions of the future.

You can find what some contributors have already had to say in these threads: world without wires and networks.

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

For what it's worth, to me leadership is about helping people get to where they want to go.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 10:25pm

RV: This is one of those topics that always leaves me a little drained. I followed this thread in feb, and i kept scratching my head saying these guys are either really smart or the're just talking through their ass. No offense to anyone, but most of the members i work for don't think in these terms. They talk about the problems in the workplace , or their health insurance , or their work schedules or what they are going to do this weekend. I'll come back to this point later.

"Leadership is about helping people get to where they want to go." Now thats something i understand. The real trick for any leader is to know where they(the members) want to go. With the pathetic participation, it's often easy to misread what the masses want. Too often, we only hear from the vocal minority. Should we then assume what they are clamoring for is what we seek? Should we only care about those that show up and speak out? I understand, the premise is that once all workers are connected, there will be this massive infussion of member participation. IF IT WOULD ONLY BE THAT EASY.

To tie this all together, lets go back to the opening paragraph. Perhaps the biggest mistake i've made as a leader, is to tell members the decisions i make are because of the BIG PICTURE. Because i see things they don't, i have a better handle on the solutions. That's a common fault of many leaders. Members care about what's right in front of them. That's not intended as a critisizm, it's just reality. Their lives are centered on issues that are important to them. Keeping it simple has always been the concept that's been most successful. When i read the head stuff, it wears me out. I don't think i'm a whole lot different than most of the people i represent. While the dicusssion is interesting, you'll never draw the masses with it.

In the end, you've got to ask some pretty basic questions about the article that started this thread and the points RV made:
1).Where are all these non-leadership types going to come from, when you can't even get members interested in coming out to vote on their contract.
2).Assuming you turn out huge numbers of angry workers to this giant web site in the sky, how are you going to get to concensus, without someone taking a leadership role.
3). Once you get them there what are you going to do to keep up their interest level and intensity? Over the years, i've found there is a constant churning of commitment. Even the most dedicated fall away when their song isn't being sung.
4).Nothing in life is free, so at some point, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. To do that, you'll have to start thinking and acting like a business.Then will you become a cyber-biz-union?

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 10:40pm

quote:


Because i see things they don't, i have a better handle on the solutions.


Really!

quote:


That's a common fault of many leaders. Members care about what's right in front of them.


Really!

quote:


That's not intended as a critisizm, it's just reality.


Really!

quote:


Their lives are centered on issues that are important to them.


Is your life not centered on what is important to you?

quote:


Keeping it simple has always been the concept that's been most successful


This one you'll have to explain. I would hate to think you are being judgemental and condescending.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 11:26pm

Siggy: Read the sentence before regarding the big picture, i think you missed the point.

What's been important in my life has been my work,that's why people tell me to get a life. For most members, they don't want to live and die for the union. They want life to be more than work, thank God there's normal people out there.

Keeping it simple is hardly being judgemental or condescending. It's one of the priniples i live by. All i'm saying is it works for me personally and when i incorporate it into my leadership style, its worked there also. The more big picture i get, the more i lose what matters to members.

I find it curious, every time i put out a comment that challenges the concepts of this new cyber unionism, your response is to take sentences out of context and to ignore the bigger questions. I could have swore RV asked my opinion of the thread, so why are my answers threatening? Or demeaning?

  • posted by sleK
  • Wed, Apr 24, 2002 11:30pm

quote:


With the pathetic participation, it's often easy to misread what the masses want.


Pathetic participation:
Don't blame the members for that. That's your fault and your responsibility to fix.

The apathy you're experiencing within your membership is a reaction, not an action.

This "passing the buck" syndrome is pathetic.

quote:


Perhaps the biggest mistake i've made as a leader, is to tell members the decisions i make are because of the BIG PICTURE. Because i see things they don't, i have a better handle on the solutions. That's a common fault of many leaders.


You should consider taking the time and spending the resources necessary to explain the "big picture" to your members. Educate them. It's what they pay you to do. If that means that you personally have to go into each shop and spend a hour or two, one on one, with each individual member to explain the implications of any particular action, than you do it.

Innovate! Try something different! Experiment! Lord knows you have the resources to try!

quote:


Their lives are centered on issues that are important to them.


It's your job to explain what, when, how, where, and why the "big picture" must become more important to them.

I'm pretty sure you don't want to leave it up to us but, if you (and others in your position) don't take the bull by the horns, we will - and you're not going to like it.

Do not underestimate the vision of your membership. Nurture it instead. Plant the proverbial seed and watch it grow.

Don't shirk your responsibility because of supposed "realities" and other baseless assumptions.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 12:27am

Slek: I thought the point of this format was to answer the questions.Is that true for everyone but the webmaster and his wife? I guess they get to sit back and just take the cheap shots. Funny how you accuse the trolls of not answering the questions, and then you use the same technique.

As far as shirking my responsibilities because of baseless assumptions and suppposed realities, you don't have a clue. You love to critisize leaders, but what's the depth of your experience? What have you done? For every keystroke you've made, i've fought some asshole trying to screw a member. Of course that doesn't mean anything, because if it did you might have to concede the UFCW isn't as bad as you want to paint it.

Finally, how would you have any idea where the apathy comes from in local 789? Do you have any idea how much there is? Do you have any idea what we've done to change it? Of course these are all questions to be ignored. Once again the webmaster gets to just say things without any basis or foundation of facts.

  • posted by sleK
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 12:53am

quote:


I thought the point of this format was to answer the questions.


You never asked me any questions dumbass.

quote:


Is that true for everyone but the webmaster and his wife?


Cluestick x 4 - She's my Mother.

quote:


I guess they get to sit back and just take the cheap shots.


That wasn't a cheap shot. It was advice. Advice from an ex-member. A member able to understand the "big-picture" and see through your rhetoric.

quote:


Funny how you accuse the trolls of not answering the questions, and then you use the same technique


As I stated, you never asked me any questions. You laid out another "what I think" - "what I do" crock - therefore leaving it open to commentary.

If you don't want people to comment and criticize what you say you should shut up.

quote:


As far as shirking my responsibilities because of baseless assumptions and suppposed realities, you don't have a clue.


Well, if you're so enlightened, tell me where the apathy comes from?

quote:


You love to critisize leaders, but what's the depth of your experience? What have you done?


What have I done?

I've put my ass on the line so YOUR members can have a place to talk freely.

I'm getting sued by YOUR superiors, remember!

What personal risk have you taken for the membership Bill?

Let me guess - Nada! Nothing! You just keep on feigning compassion in order to gain more members. You're so wrapped up in yourself that you can't even see how typical you are!

quote:


Finally, how would you have any idea where the apathy comes from in local 789?


Likely the same place it does in local 1518 - from bad leadership.

Am I wrong?

What's the right answer then?

And what are you doing about it?

quote:


Do you have any idea how much there is?


Likely just as much as there is in local 1518.
Too f**king much!

Am I wrong?

What's the right answer then?

And what are you doing about it?

quote:


Do you have any idea what we've done to change it?


Ya, you've built a website. Whoopty-doo. Hell, even I can do that!

quote:


Once again the webmaster gets to just say things without any basis or foundation of facts.


You need to work on your comprehension buddy. I wasn't even criticizing you.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 7:18am

quote:


1).Where are all these non-leadership types going to come from, when you can't even get members interested in coming out to vote on their contract.
2).Assuming you turn out huge numbers of angry workers to this giant web site in the sky, how are you going to get to concensus, without someone taking a leadership role.
3). Once you get them there what are you going to do to keep up their interest level and intensity? Over the years, i've found there is a constant churning of commitment. Even the most dedicated fall away when their song isn't being sung.
4).Nothing in life is free, so at some point, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. To do that, you'll have to start thinking and acting like a business.Then will you become a cyber-biz-union?


1. Where are the new leaders going to come from? I think they will come from the ranks of the membership. They are already out there. Some are activists who are involved in social justice and community issues and are not active in their unions because activism is discouraged or misunderstood. Some are workers who have their own ideas about how things should be but are not articulating those ideas because they may feel that no one will listen to them. Some may be workers in non-union workplaces who want representation but are not interested in representation on the terms that most of the mainstream unions are willing to offer them ("we lead, you follow"). Some may be younger people not yet in the workforce who have their own ideas about the kind of workplace they want and will, hopefully, do more than just think about this once they begin working.

The challenge for today's leaders is to get these people involved - to tap the potential that's out there. How to do that? Well, lamenting about their apathy isn't going to solve the problem. If today's leaders are to tap the potential, they need to encourage workers to look at and talk about the big picture and to do this in a way that asks "What do you want? What kind of workplaces do you want? What kind of communities do you want? Everything is achievable if we really want it" rather than "there's not much we can do, best to concentrate on what little we think we can get. Be realistic. Don't expect too much."

I think the reason that workers are so focussed on the micro workplace issues, is that's what they're encouraged to think about. It's not easy getting people's thinking from micro to macro, but that's the challenge for today's leaders. Engaging people can be difficult in the beginning but once they are engaged, you'd be surprised how quickly the dialogue progesses. You also have to be prepared for where the dialogue takes you. In the end, its the empowered workers who will decide how they want things to be. The leaders will be the ones who will help them get there. That's a problem for many of today's leaders: they want to steer the dialogue towards where they want to go. People don't respond well to that.

2. How to get consensus especially when consulting with a large constituency? The first step is for the leaders to develop consensus-builing skills. In the new era unions that I foresee, leaders will be faciliators of discussion and builders of consensus rather than guys who charge boldly forward dragging their ambivalent members behind them. There are a lot of consensus building models out there that can be used and nothing says different groups can't develop their own. For large groups, why not tap the untapped potential of the Internet? It also helps if we approach consensus-building with the belief that given the right venue, the fullest information the opportunity for free and wide-ranging dialogue and sharing of ideas, people with shared interests can and will reach consensus. In the very least we need to give them the opportunity.

3. How to keep their interest and maintain the intensity? Let them speak, exchange ideas, go off in the directions they want to go. provide them with information, high light the progress they've made, celebrate breakthroughs large and small, have some fun, be supportive particularly through difficult issues, constantly draw in new members or participants, speak in words that are empowering rather than disempowering, encourage them to create their own identity...

(Look at the sustained interest and intensity that is evident of the MFD contributors. What's happening on this web site that is causing that to happen?)

4. Biz-unionism is not the product of unions having bills to pay - it's a philosophy, a belief system that anchors everything to $$$. Every organization, whatever its goals has some level of administration and some expenses. That doesn't make it a business. It's the values of the people running the organization that make it a business. The operating expenses of a cyber-union will likely come from membership dues, maybe community contributions, fund raising or other such sources. The expenses will quite likely be far less than those incurred by existing unions. Since the people running the union will then truly be the members, the union will not become a business unless the vast majority of the members - by consensus - decide that's what they want. Not likely to happen.

  • posted by Troll
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:02am

Bill P wrote:

quote:


"Leadership is about helping people get to where they want to go." Now thats something i understand. The real trick for any leader is to know where they(the members) want to go.


Bill agrees with concepts that are foreign to so many union leaders. I think that is what sets Bill apart from the so-called leaders who are running other locals.

One guy in Manitoba said that leadership was taking the members where "they didn't want to go".

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:07am

slek; As you can see immediately above, there were questions to be answered, you decided to pick flyshit.

To a couple of your points.

What personal risk have you taken for the members? In 1994 i ran against the seated president, most of the staff and the bulk of the e-board. I also managed to get into it with the international at the same time. If i had lost, i would have been out of the job i love, that i had given my whole life to. Good enough?

Where does the apathy come from? Organiztions all across the land are trying to answer that question. In the end, people are too busy. There's mountains of statitics on peoples attention spans . They cover everything from what people will read to how much they'll scrowl on a web page. Then when you understand the demographics of our membership, you realize we have lots of young members who are just passing through. Between school and work or work and their families there's not enough hours left in the day to become another Norma Rae.

Finally, What have we done about it? No, we didn't just build a website. We actually have two of them. One for our members and one for non-union. Then we took our negotiations and opened them for the world to follow. We built a communications committee with 500 members and an e-mail list of 300 people who would deceminate information when we got done with negotiations. AS soon as negotiations concluded we went back and copied everything we gave the employer or they gave us. Members down loaded and printed it and it was in the stores before mgmt walked in the next morning. Then to top it all off, when we were done, we posted the entire settlement on the net so members knew what they were voting on. But that wasn't good enough, we (the staff and i) visited every store to answer questions and insure workers knew about the 5 ratification meetings we scheduled. I could go on about the hundreds of members who got involved in our retail campaign by visiting non-union stores. Or we could spend several paragraphs talking about the fight to put as much money at the bottom of our contracts as we did at the top:but would it be enough to be just more of my tired old rhetoric.

My apologies to your mother. You should be careful or she might have to wash your mouth out with soap.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:13am

quote:


My apologies to your mother. You should be careful or she might have to wash your mouth out with soap.


*snicker*

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:17am

quote:


Siggy: Read the sentence before regarding the big picture, i think you missed the point.

What's been important in my life has been my work,that's why people tell me to get a life. For most members, they don't want to live and die for the union. They want life to be more than work, thank God there's normal people out there.

Keeping it simple is hardly being judgemental or condescending. It's one of the priniples i live by. All i'm saying is it works for me personally and when i incorporate it into my leadership style, its worked there also. The more big picture i get, the more i lose what matters to members.

I find it curious, every time i put out a comment that challenges the concepts of this new cyber unionism, your response is to take sentences out of context and to ignore the bigger questions. I could have swore RV asked my opinion of the thread, so why are my answers threatening? Or demeaning?


In context? horse pucky!

quote:


Is that true for everyone but the webmaster and his wife?


Your response here bothers me. If you had taken any concern regarding your union suing it's members, it is fair to say you might have read the documents and resulting comments.

However the fact that you were not considerate enough to at least get a grasp on the defendants' relationship, begs the question: Did you even read it?

  • posted by Troll
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 8:47am

quote:


Where does the apathy come from?...In the end, people are too busy.


I don't think people are apathetic. Many union members are enthusiastic, but in fact their enthusiasm is focused on their mistrust of their union. Too many union leaders either over promise or collude (partner?) with management.

Too many union leaders misjudge the intelligence and will of the Power Source. When they do that, they mislead the Power Source. The leaders don't level with the Power Source because they don't trust the Power Source to do what the leader thinks best for the Power Source. When things go well, the leaders credit good leadership. When the plan bombs, the leaders say, "The membership has spoken. Ultimately, it was the membership's decision."

For example, how many striking Saskatchewan UFCW members have a clue about what was said and done in the meeting held between the Canadian Director and Loblaws? The deal was cut behind closed doors and then the UFCW says in effect, "We were really unhappy about the six-year deal, but the members have spoken and they are happy."

What a bunch of crap! The members aren't happy. The UFCW has Westfair by the short and curlies, but they didn't exercise their power. Similarly, Safeway is on strike in Thunder Bay. What does the UFCW do in support? They fly some of the strikers to BC to tell the people that they are dumb for not authorizing a ancilliary strike find. Meanwhile, Manitoba runs to an arbitrator to settle Safeway's contract. Now Safeway will suffer no loss of business in their profitable Manitoba operations. Saskatchewan is in bargaining with Safeway and so is Alberta. Will they take Safeway down? Not on your life.

When you join a union that sells itself on "strength and power" and it doesn't even attempt to exercise strength and power, why on earth would a union member come running to get involved?

It isn't apathy; it's a sense of distrust and hopelessness.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:09am

quote:


RV: This is one of those topics that always leaves me a little drained. I followed this thread in feb, and i kept scratching my head saying these guys are either really smart or the're just talking through their ass.


I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd like to think I do a bit of both sometimes.

But I still think the networking thread is extremely important. It's not the only conversation going on on this site but it's one of the underlying ones. I think it helps locate this particular project (the MFD) on the continuum of everything else that's going on in our movement, and what various social thinkers are telling us is going on in our society, too.

Maybe not all the members can relate to this conversation at an academic level. (I don't believe they can't, btw, I just think they might not be interested.) But I think many of the issues raised in the theoretical discussion also actually come up in people's practical experience, too. So maybe we can have a conversation on that level, too. There's a lot of things to talk about, and the best thing about this discussion format, I think, is that there's no shortage of time or places to do it.

For example I think what you're doing in Minnesota is part of the cyber union trend, too, whether you acknowledge it or not. You said:

quote:


Then we took our negotiations and opened them for the world to follow. We built a communications committee with 500 members and an e-mail list of 300 people who would deceminate information when we got done with negotiations. AS soon as negotiations concluded we went back and copied everything we gave the employer or they gave us. Members down loaded and printed it and it was in the stores before mgmt walked in the next morning. Then to top it all off, when we were done, we posted the entire settlement on the net so members knew what they were voting on. But that wasn't good enough, we (the staff and i) visited every store to answer questions and insure workers knew about the 5 ratification meetings we scheduled.


I think your reliance on dispersed, open communications, supported by substantial use of the web, is part of the Cyber-Unionism we are envisioning. Its certainly a step in the right direction. It also makes a lot of other union leaders who fail to follow your example look real bad. Like the guys bargaining with Westfair in Alberta, for example. What are they afraid of?

Adding a discussion forum to YOU ARE WORTH MORE, I believe, is another step in the right direction, because it initiates the formation of an online community. How you develop this community, and where you take it, will be crucial. I think that as time goes on, you're going to need to ask yourselves some important questions.

1. What will be the relationship between the membership of this online community and your union's actual bargaining unit membership? How much do or will they overlap?

2. Are you interested in providing more services to your online community membership? What kind? What would be the relationship between these services and the traditional services you provide in the stores and the plants to your bargaining unit members? How are you going to pay for all of this? Will you charge some of your online members dues? Or perhaps fee-for-service? How much should they pay compared to bargaining unit members?

3. To what extent might this project encroach upon the limits of jurisdiction and authority the UFCW allows you as a local union? If (when) conflicts arise, how will you resolve them?

You probably can't answer these questions yet. But I raise them because I think they're worth thinking about. There are probably quite a few other questions worth thinking about, too. Take the time to think about it.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:35am

I'm posting again just to emphasize that my above questions relate more than tangentially to the original topic of this thread. I'm convinced that new technology like the internet, and the complex web of inter-relationships it creates, will be a basic building block of the new revolutionary unions I hope and believe are emerging. As for who the "leaders" will be, I think they're out there right now, and are just now discovering the role they are going to be able to play.

Bill, it seems to me you are the right sort of person, in the right place at the right time. I'm directing my comments at you in particular because I'm hoping that you will prove me correct and take up the challenge I foresee. But I certainly don't think you're the only one. I don't even think you're the only one reading this website.

P.S. I don't mean to sound all pretentious about this. I'm not a prophet, and I could be dead wrong about this. But I am just calling things like I see them.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:42am

Quit trying to silence me by telling me I don't see the big picture. It's a weapon leaders have used for too long to keep their false argument of apathy alive.

Consider instilling confidence and encouraging me to move forward within my vision of the big picture especially when it differs from your vision.

Use your experience to enlighten me not to guide me. Use your knowledge to empower me not to control me.

Let all parts of dictatorship die.

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 10:17am

Siggy, you are a true leader.

You, and slek, and others have kept the MFD alive and growing in the face of tremendous obstacles. This is more than "just" a website. Its a finger on a major pressure point of the organized labor bureaucracy - a shameful legacy of corruption and dictatorship, characteristic of biz-unionism, and evidenced not just in the UFCW but many other unions. Each day this website is up and running, you push a little harder, and the bureaucracy creaks and groans. Some day soon, its going to fall down.

You folks lost the local 1518 elections, fairly or not. You were beaten pretty soundly in that battle. But you're going to win the war. That's what the UFCW is so afraid of. That's why they're suing you. It's because you're not going away, you're getting stronger every day. They're in trouble, and they know it.

Keep up the courage of your convictions. And keep holding onto your vision of the "big picture". Develop it. Share it. Because some day, you're going to be called on to implement it.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 10:30am

QUOTE BY GT

quote:


Siggy, you are a true leader.


SIGGY YOU ARE A TRUE LEADER AND A TEACHER TO US ALL.



aboutunons

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 10:43am

Alright already, enough mushy stuff, lets get on with changing our destinies.

Business unionism or Revolutionary Unionism

After searching several UFCW sites, I find statements like, "Where working families matter" at Local 56, "We are more than a union, we are a family" local 1036. Local 7 web site "The workers voice.com" Local 789 "You are worth more".

Do all these UFCW locals belong to business unionsism? How can we really tell who is who, when they all sound the same? It sound like big time corporate advertizing to me. Is General Motors interested in its customers first and formost or are they interested in saying and doing anything to make the customer believe they are what it is all about?

aboutunions

  • posted by globalize_this
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 11:22am

quote:


How can we really tell who is who, when they all sound the same?


Actions speak louder than words. I've said before and I'll say again that I've generally been very impressed with what I've seen and heard UFCW Local 789 doing. I've been less impressed with what I've seen and heard are being done by Locals 1000A, 1977, 175, 832, 1400, 401, 1518, and 777, to name a few names. I don't know enough about a lot of other locals to comment.

Maybe some people other than Bill will step forward and tell us what great things their unions are doing. Maybe some people from the other locals I've mentioned will step forward and tell me that I've misjudged them. Maybe pigs will fly.

I'm not holding my breath. But maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. It's happened before.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 11:23am

K .. Now you guys have embarrassed me. Thanks?
I don't think I've been very clear. We have enough leaders, I prefer to remain and only believe I am a participant. I have no desire to lead anyone.

I despise everything going in the same direction and everything lined up in a row. There is room for diversity isn't there? Leadership denies diversity, takes on a uniformity that ain't natural.

To move on with the concept of revolutionary unionism.

IMHO no one person should ever be more than a participant. Anyone with a particular skill would be ethically obligated to act as facilitator. We all know that whatever our background, we are all blessed with at least one special skill.

Cream rises to the top if you stop stirring?

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 12:35pm

I don't see a leader as taking anybody anywhere.

A leader should be a visionary. A leader should be able to articulate her or his vision in such a way that others embrace the vision and then call it their own.

People follow the vision, not the leader. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. His dream lives on even though he has departed to a greater calling.

The dream is always more important than the dreamer.

  • posted by <dreamer>
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 1:09pm

this guy must be smokin some nasty weed or trippin on acid. reality is where I live, not on some planet in lala land. Get real........

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 1:36pm

quote:


this guy must be smokin some nasty weed or trippin on acid. reality is where I live, not on some planet in lala land. Get real........


Smoking is an excellent example of how one person can change the reality. (not in the context you suggest however ).

Wasn't long ago most of the world viewed smoking as an inevitable reality, something we must learn to live with, like it or not. It went from acceptable to unacceptable in only a few short yrs. One persons' vision to make a difference is responsible for changing that reality.

I think reality is in the minds of those who don't believe they have the power to change anything.

  • posted by weiser
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 1:38pm

Reality is more often than not the result of a dream. Sittin' on a rock (today's reality) gets you nowhere. Following a dream/idea(tomorrow's reality) gets you everywhere.

If you don't have a dream, you don't have much of a life. Unions were started with a dream/idea of a better work life.

  • posted by siggy
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 2:08pm

Exactly weiser, but I had the impression dreamer was referring to a staid reality, something that s/he believes could never change.

See I don't believe anything is forever, everything is possible and there is no staid reality in siggy land. (sorry )

(The comment about lala land was my clue. Has anyone ever been there? Is it a bad place? )

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 2:34pm

quote:


this guy must be smokin some nasty weed or trippin on acid. reality is where I live, not on some planet in lala land. Get real........


It's a damn good thing that the millions of people who, over the past several centuries, fought to end slavery or to bring democratic governments to countries ruled by kings, dictators or other tyrants, didn't think like you "dreamer". I'm sure there were many who told them they were in lala land as well. Good thing they didn't listen. We won't either. If you are happy in your reality, by all means enjoy it. But if you aren't, get up off your butt and change it.

  • posted by retailworker
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 2:38pm

The big picture that most people have is that they are powerless to resist the big pictures projected by their employers and their unions.

We are spectactors. A leader is not the person with the big vision who sees the big picture, but the person who sees the *blind spot* -- and walks through it.

quote:


4).Nothing in life is free, so at some point, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. To do that, you'll have to start thinking and acting like a business.Then will you become a cyber-biz-union?


Seems obvious: the union should bill the employer for all expenses.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Thu, Apr 25, 2002 9:44pm

Some pretty good stuff posted since the testiness of last night. I especially appreciate the answers to my questions and the suggestions for our website. I will take some time to consider the suggestions. I've said all along the stuff going on here has enormous potential to be used in a little different way.

It's always interesting to me to see how things go full circle. About two months ago i asked if you guys(no gender implied) considered yourself leaders. The responses varied from umbrage to admission. There was a reason for the question. In my experience, i've found those who wanted to hear about or understand the big picture, were ultimately those who were interested in assuming leadership roles. That's never been the majority. However, that does'nt mean it was limited to elected officers, staff or even just stewards. All kinds of members have been willing to take on some limited leadership. The challenge has been to increase those numbers without asking too much. Those are the ones who want to talk about problems and then help find the solutions. Think about it in terms of this site, who wants to engage in these heady debates and discussions. Who wants to hear about the big picture? It's those of you who want something better or different for the labor movement, and are willing to do something about it.

The other issue i was trying to impress upon you was the challenge to endure over time. Almost anyone can do something for a short period. How do you sustain intensity for a year, five years, ten years or even a lifetime. Again, think about this site. How many people have come and gone? How many superstars have just disappeared? The answer will only increase over time. It's just how it works. Will new people join who are interested in what you've done or will they want to rebuild it? Will you be willing to let them? Will it all be achieved by simple majority or will concensus work. My experience has been that it's not very effective.

My cyber-biz-union was tongue in cheek, but sooner or later, the bill comes due. If i told you some of the stuff we've been able to do are because i ran the union like a business, would you be critical of that? RV's answers began to acknowledge you have to plan for the future by at least accepting there are costs associated with almost anything you do. Obviously Troll's comments about the union billing the employer were t-i-c also, but i've fantasized about there being no dues but the government foots the bill for unions to function. Imagine the potential to change outcomes at that point.

Finally let me comment on weiser's post. Leaders should be visionary. His analogy could'nt have been anymore powerful. It was MLK goals that people were inspired by. Leadership should never be about the leader. They die, retire or quit. Should everything end at that point. It's been noted here the best leaders teach, share, empower and inspire those behind them to carry on. I feel sorry for those who can't dream of a better tomorrow, and even more for those who can but are too lazy to make it happen.

  • posted by sleK
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 3:24am

quote:


slek; As you can see immediately above, there were questions to be answered, you decided to pick flyshit.


When you say something stupid, I'm going to catch it. Get used to it.

quote:


What personal risk have you taken for the members? In 1994 i ran against the seated president, most of the staff and the bulk of the e-board. I also managed to get into it with the international at the same time. If i had lost, i would have been out of the job i love, that i had given my whole life to. Good enough?


There's no comparison between you possibly losing your job and the potential consequences of losing our lawsuit to the UFCW.

IOW, nope. Not good enough.

quote:


Where does the apathy come from? Organiztions all across the land are trying to answer that question. In the end, people are too busy.


People are busy?

Why do you suppose that is?

Do you think they might be trying to make ends meet working two, maybe three, jobs because their unions can't negotiate a fair contract and a living wage?

You're still passing the buck AFAIC.

quote:


There's mountains of statitics on peoples attention spans.




Oh! I see, so it's the members mental faculties that are at fault here! /sarcasm

quote:


Then when you understand the demographics of our membership, you realize we have lots of young members who are just passing through. Between school and work or work and their families there's not enough hours left in the day to become another Norma Rae.


So you admit that your goals are *not* to create and/or enforce a living wage and advancement for your members?

You complacency and willingness to accept the status quo of a condition that your organization helped create and continues to perpetuate sure seems to point in that direction!

quote:


Then we took our negotiations and opened them for the world to follow. We built a communications committee with 500 members and an e-mail list of 300 people who would deceminate information when we got done with negotiations. AS soon as negotiations concluded we went back and copied everything we gave the employer or they gave us. Members down loaded and printed it and it was in the stores before mgmt walked in the next morning. Then to top it all off, when we were done, we posted the entire settlement on the net so members knew what they were voting on. But that wasn't good enough, we (the staff and i) visited every store to answer questions and insure workers knew about the 5 ratification meetings we scheduled.


I'll give you full credit for that!
Seriously!
Good work!
Keep it up!

Now, why don't you do something for the hundreds of thousand of union members who aren't so lucky as to have a prez' as "revolutionary" as you?

What kind of pressure are you putting on neighbouring locals to grow and progress?

quote:


My apologies to your mother. You should be careful or she might have to wash your mouth out with soap.


They don't make a soap strong enough. Pure potassium hydroxide on the other hand...

.
.

Bill I applaud your initiative but I don't trust your intentions - nor have you given me any reason to trust your intentions.

As long as there are leaders, there will be critics. Since you've joined our forum your responses to my criticism have shown that criticism isn't something you're used to - and that's typical of the current crop of folks in your position.

You'd better get used to it.

This sentiment rings especially true if you do decide to put a discussion forum on your site (you did get my email I presume?) and plan on running it freely.

The very second you lock down a critical thread unjustly, I am going to be all over it like white-on-rice.

Guaranteed.

Do it right and I'll give you front page pimpage the likes of which no UFCW local has ever seen before! (Imagine that! Us saying something positive about the UFCW!?)

  • posted by weiser
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 6:41am

sleK said to Bill:

quote:


As long as there are leaders, there will be critics. Since you've joined our forum your responses to my criticism have shown that criticism isn't something you're used to - and that's typical of the current crop of folks in your position.


I've read lots of UFCW troll stuff on this site, and UFCW trolls (some of which I truly belive are bona fide machine heads)go ballistic and dissappear. If they ever come back, they only do it again. That's 'cause they don't take criticism at all and they don't have a valid point to make.

I think Bill has taken criticism as good as any of us. We've heaped praise on Bill and fired abuse on Bill that made (whaterver her name is) on "The Missing Link" look like Ms. Manners. We've told bill what we like, and we've told him where whe think he's off-track. Considering all this, I think Bill takes criticism pretty damned well.

As for the other "crop" that sleK referrs to, I agree that they aren't open to criticism. Heck, Mikey won't even use e-mail. They not only don't take criticism well, they call their lawyers at the first sign of hurt feelings. They don't even show up at meetings if the call meetings at all.

  • posted by Bernie Hesse
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 7:08am

Slek, Siggy,Anti_Corruption people, and Fearless Leader (you know who you are) we have so much in common and it always interesting to note that the forces of evil always seem to come out on top when allies are beating each other up.

I'm not suggesting a general truce, but maybe the fact that we build critical mass in our workplaces, engage (initially ) in simple victories and build. The struggle is long and as Saul Alinsky one said,"A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." We need to give workers - hope and out of that will come energy and perhaps a rebuilding of the movement.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 7:51am

Quote by Bill Pearson

quote:


My cyber-biz-union was tongue in cheek, but sooner or later, the bill comes due. If i told you some of the stuff we've been able to do are because i ran the union like a business, would you be critical of that?


quote:


My cyber-biz-union


quote:


because i ran the union like a business


quote:


i


One of the first things I was taught as an union activist was to be aware of how a president speaks. If he/she uses the works "my" and "I" replace him/her for they have lost prospective. If you are a true revolutionary in the name of all union members, you will take this to heart without prejudice.

I also believe that had you been upfront and stated that you were a cyber-biz-union leader leading a cypber-biz-union you may not have taken as much flack. That is not to say I would not have confronted you on issues, but I may have been less harsh. Now I see why you were so upset about my mention of people walking in the dark. If you are the real President of Local 789, I look forward to your response.

aboutunions

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 9:26am

About Unions: Yes i am the real president of ufcw#789. My reference to cyber-biz-unions was early on in this thread. It was in reference to a series of questions i asked, #4 being about how you will ultimately finance this giant union in the sky.

As far as writing in the first person, second person, third person or just "we", I tend to write in the first person. I understand what you are saying about leaders speaking as if they have done it singularly, but writing ,to me, is personalized. I don't give our opinions, i give my opinion.When i'm on this site, i'm not trying to speak for local#789 or the UFCW, i'm giving you my feelings. I don't know how else to write. Sorry if that sounds like i over impressed with my position, but if you go to UFCW789.org and look up the personal information, you'll see i could care less about titles or position. All that matters is outcomes.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 9:42am



CYBER PRESIDENT OF UFCW lOCAL 789

FAIR ENOUGH BILL

P.S hope hope you don't mind this picture of this debonair leader being posted, if so I will get slek to delete it. Trying to learn new things with HTML.

BILL DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO PLACE YOUR PICTURE HERE?

VOTE HERE

YES

NO

ABOUTUNIONS

aboutunions

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 4:45pm

Bill it's your choice. Do you want the pic gone?

When conversing with someone on a forum I think a picture of only one participant is not fair.

[print]goes to get darts[/print]

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 4:58pm

Siggy: It doesn't matter one way or the other. As long as all people throw at me is darts, it's okay.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 5:14pm

You are better off with Bills picture. I would say he is a lot more handsom than this "Nebraska boy". If you print my picture, it will Make Bill look even more handsom. Lets not make this guys head swell too much.



aboutunions

  • posted by retailworker
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 5:35pm

not enough jowls to be a union prez.

if you want to maintain your authenticity, you better take up heavy drinking.

  • posted by siggy
  • Fri, Apr 26, 2002 8:39pm

quote:


As long as all people throw at me is darts


Darts it is, I'm glad you chose darts. Tomatoes are too hard to clean off the screen.

Awhile back Bill mentioned that it was obvious I had an aversion , or words to that effect, for machineheads. After some thought I will concede he has somewhat of a valid point.

Tho the aversion is not directly pointed at *the person* but rather the title.
I hate the words Mr. President. It brings out the worst in me, but more importantly it brings out the timidity in many others.

Is that fair? What if the person (Mr. President), whom the members pay to do their bidding, took on a less intimidating title? One that denotes at least equality? Wouldn't that be one step closer to democracy?

  • posted by harvardman
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 11:30am

Bill I find your comments very disturbing!!!!!
You complain about apathy and lack of intrest and you know better because you see the big picture!!!! Well why don't you try letting the little member in on your big picture maybee they will be more intrested, or are you afraid that they will find out the big picture is only about what you want after all you are the one talking about being centered on ourseleves and paying the bills. As for you questioning leadership of siggy and slek , at least they provide a forum for people to discuss without being persecuted. Do you allow your member to speak freely without being branded as troublemakers at you meetings?

Is it possible that your members are not intrested because you don't give them anything to be intrested in? They won't follow if you won't lead.
SIGGY and Slek good work of keeping and open forum open to people.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 11:58am

harvardman: We put more of the big picture info in our members hands than any union i know of. Between the two web sites we run, an incredibly good bi-monthly newsmagazine, (its on-line at ufcw789.org), our e-mail contact list(about 250 members) and our regular stews news releases,we give them all the info we have. This saturation has produced significant increases in participation. The trouble is, it's still not enough. There's just a whole lot of them who have little or no interest.

We are in the process of developing a more interactive site, similar to this. Conceptually, we are trying to create a giant union in the sky for non-union retail workers. It's in it's formative stages, but it has some fascinating potential.

Take a deep breadth, i'm not the enemy. While i do'nt agree with everything on here, i am interested in seeing the labor movement becoming so much more than it currently is.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 12:09pm

quote by Bill Pearson

quote:


While i do'nt agree with everything on here, i am interested in seeing the labor movement becoming so much more than it currently is.


Have you ever thought of writing something a little more in depth, perhaps an article stating your viewpoints on said topic. I am not saying that you will convert me, but I surely would take the time to read in depth what you had to say.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 9:02pm

I don't expect to convert anyone on here. I think the point of this site is to get us talking about the big picture. Unfortunately, it will take more than talk. The best thing that can come out if this site and others like it is action. That's probably where we will disagree. I am afraid the end product here is to see the ufcw gone and that's not my interest.

Let me respond to about union with a brief story. During the 80s, i was forunate to take several classes at the U.M. They were put on by labor education services, and were called Effective Union Leadership. I learned more in those classes than from anything i had ever done. About that time i found out they were teaching the same classes at the Meaney Center in Maryland. These were the only two places it was taught. I got on a campaign to have the ufcw international teach the sessions at conferences. Unfortunately, no-one would authorize it as a class. What was fascinating was the international officers were taking the classes. They knew the value.

About ten years ago, i went to an officers training program. Coming away from it, i found myself fairly frustrated by the agenda. I got back to the local and wrote a six page letter to one of the leaders who helped run the international. It was a blueprint to revitalize the ufcw. It was a ten year plan to immediately intitute Effective Union Leadership classes all across the U.S. I went into a lengthy description on why it was necessary and what would happen by adopting this program. I never got so much as a response or even someone telling me it was none of my business.

Here's why they would'nt teach it. It taught activists how and what to expect from their leaders. It made it clear, the elected officers did'nt own the job. It was a crash course in running a local. It taught workers about themselves and how to interact most effectively with others. It was a self help book for unionists. Frankly, it scared the shit out of the leaders. They knew if it was featured around the country, there would be a spate of elections where the old guard would be swept out of office.

My frustation is this. Those ten years are now just passed. If someone had listened, there would be a whole different attitude across the ufcw. We would have either made leaders more effectivee, or they would be gone. What would have been more important, is the fact that the locals would have been training the future leaders a whole different leadership style. One where the membership was the key to the future.

Local 789 has picked up the cost of these classes for any member who wants to go to LES. In addition, we taught Eff. Union Leadership to about 35 of our long term care stewards in the mid 90s. They were the ones who led the fight when we took over the local. They realized the power they had.

The point of this story is i still think education of the rank and file is the at the core of rebuilding the movement. The problem is we don't have ten years to rebuild. The problems we face need immediate attention. Unfortunately, today decisions are made for reasons that have nothing to do with making us more viable in the future. Things are done to preserve the status-quo. That won't work.

That's why the internet has so much potential. I believe we can accelerate the learning process for workers. I am confident that once leaders see members being self taught, they will do the same kinds of education, if for nothing more than self preservation. With accelerated learning and new leaders emerging, the international unions will have to change, or they will be disbanded. Way too much money goes to the support the structure and not enough to support the membership. Organizing by building coalitions with like minded social groups will be one of the ways. We need to stop the jurisdictional disputes and start figuring how to get workers into unions. If the stuctures that are in place can't become more responsive to these kinds of issues, then we just don't need them at all.

The most important thing we can do in the next year is worker/member education. That encompasses any number of topics. Whether its the internet, with-in our own locals, through the internationals or whatever other means, we need to increase communication and education. And, it can't be the feel good press releases, it's got to be honest, open, objective and interactive. Then maybe, we have a chance.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 10:00pm

quote:


I believe we can accelerate the learning process for workers.


I am not sure what the leadership classes would involve (I belong to 1518 ) but what would prevent us running a series like that over the net? Could it be done?

ed = I know a good webmaster

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sat, May 4, 2002 10:10pm

Bill, I think the main point I tried to express was for you to do exactly what you just did. Perhaps I did not communicate my point effectively? What are the chances of having you put that course material on line here. It would be a great learning tool for many of us.

I also went to U of M Canada version, but the one thing that I remember a law professor telling us was this. He said "If you remember nothing else from this course, always break things down, build them back up and see why they work or don't work. Never accept something just because someone tells it is so."

It sounds like your course teaches the same principle. Sometimes people like me have to see things in print before it sinks in. How aboutit?

I can not agree with you more that education of members is very important, so long as the material being taught actually is relevant and up to date, and comprehensive.

Courses with the simplicity of Little Bo Peep are insulting and a real waste of time. I am sure by now you know that a lot of unions do not educate all members for many reasons which I interpret that to be self serving in maintaining the status quo. Why does every union have to have a separate school? Labour education is labour education regardless of the name of the union.

I know I have asked you this before, but why do you believe in a name of a union rather than a universal ideology? Why is the name United Food and Commercial Workers so important to you? Would your local not be as effective if it was any other name, or a no name brand? I have said this many times here that I am a unionist first and in my political opinion, I believe the labour environment would be far better off, if one was an unionist first and foremost. Fighting over a union name is a waist of good energy when the security of all members is really the goal. Who created this war like arena? I believe the reluctance of unions to accept members right to change union names for better representation. I admit that I am not up on your rules in good U.S.A. but up here in Mexico north, we need new legislation that gives the power to the members.

quote:


The most important thing we can do in the next year is worker/member education.


Bill how do you think we can force big union names to teach all union members? Perhaps if enough presidents thought like you, that a united front would effect some change! How many presidents are going to risk their position by ruffling the status -quo? From my experiences nothing is changed unless there is a heavy counter reaction. The stonger the hold to the status quo the stronger the push will be needed to implement change. Even thow you have said this site is just a bunch of disgruntled angry members, but is has motivated many a people. It has been said that people are moved either by inspiration of desperation. I think I feel both.

  • posted by sleK
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 5:07am

quote:


I think the point of this site is to get us talking about the big picture.


Precisely.
To facilitate discussion.

quote:


I am afraid the end product here is to see the ufcw gone and that's not my interest.


The UFCW is doing this to themselves. If indeed the UFCW does ever disappear, it won't be due to to us, or any other group like us. It will be due to their own mistakes and misdeeds.

You don't blame the messenger for the contents of the message unless the message can be proven to have been altered en route.

None of our "messages" have been disputed, with any credibility, by you or anybody else. As such, it would be wise to refrain from pigeon-holing the sites' contributors as "destructors" of the UFCW until you can prove our "message" false.

Your statement quoted above is an ad-hom of the highest degree. Instead of attacking the "messages" this site provides you are attacking all the people participating on this site that have a point of view that doesn't synch' with yours.

That's neither fair nor logical and, IMO, unbecoming of a local union president.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 6:00am

slek: I'm not attacking the posters or the posts. It was my opinion that what some of the posters want from this site and what i want to see, are completely different( i also think there are a lot of similarities). My position has been right up front that i want to try and change the ufcw. I've tried to do it on my own and it has'nt worked. As far as printing the truth, i have said to several people, the worst thing you can do is post a bunch of lies. It would destroy your credibility. There have been some posts where they had nothing to do with truth. Demeaning photos of union leaders who have given their life to the labor movement is'nt about change, it's meant to embarass.
Here's how i view this site. The bulk of the information that is posted is intended to educate. For too long, the negative stuff has been swept under the rug. There's way too much at stake to continue to pretend everythings okay. If i was concerned about what you were saying, i would have stopped coming here long ago.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 6:17am

siggy: Much of the Effective Union leadership classes would work well on the internet. The book behind the classes was: Effective Guide To Union Leadership(i think). It was from the mid 80s and will be a little dated by now. The authors were 4 labor educators; Roberta Rentz, Tony DeAngelis, Gene Daniels and Larry Casey. The pieces that do'nt translate well are the situational leadership chapters. The intraspective learning process was critical for me. They used two tests; Personality Profile and Myers Briggs to get us to understand what made us tick and why. It's kind of heady, but its really good. It changed me from a bull in a china shop, to a bull in a china shop that knew what he was doing and where he was going.

The book is out of print, so you'll probably only find it in a used book store.If you can't find it, let me know and i'll see what i can do.

To About Union: I'm out of time, but as an officer, i am sworn to uphold the office of President. That includes not doing things to hurt the ufcw. I now i'm walking a fine line by even posting here, but i think the value is worth the risk. More later, my wife is ready to kill me.

  • posted by siggy
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 8:25am

sleK, Bill, it's probably fair to say that some are too critical about the ufcw and some are too sensitive about the ufcw.

The idea now might be to produce the information, good and bad, and let the folks decide for 'emselves.

quote:


It changed me from a bull in a china shop, to a bull in a china shop that knew what he was doing and where he was going.


I could use a pound of that.

quote:


The book is out of print, so you'll probably only find it in a used book store.If you can't find it, let me know and i'll see what i can do.


Will hold you to it, assuming the book is somewhat generic. Alot of union information I read is so flavored with biases I block it out. As I said before leader is not me, but I am interested in giving what I have and making sure people, who do want to know, have all the tools.

Prosperous, happy friends and neighbors takes the pressure off siggy.

  • posted by lefkenny
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 11:30am

quote:


To About Union: I'm out of time, but as an officer, i am sworn to uphold the office of President. That includes not doing things to hurt the ufcw. I now i'm walking a fine line by even posting here, but i think the value is worth the risk


by Bill Pearson

Perhaps Bill the oaths of office of union officials should be changed. It is my political opinion that such oaths are so designed to cultivate cult loyalty. What type of union, regardless of the name and that includes mine, from allowing freedom of speech. I doubt that there is anyone here that is against unions, just how they conduct their affairs. Without freedom of speech, we including you, have no means to effectively effect lasting change. In my political opinion your union's oath and that of many others are discriminatory.

Just imagine how a man of your character could change the landscape if our civil liberties were not handcuffed by self perserving self regulating constitutions of unions. It is sad that even you fear the ramifications of speaking out about your union, UFCW. We must persevere against great odds.

  • posted by retailworker
  • Sun, May 5, 2002 4:56pm

navigation of the space between law (oaths) and freedom is politics.

  • posted by BillPearson
  • Tue, May 7, 2002 9:42pm

Siggy: Let's try this again,(i've got that old people's problem, crs). Here's the name of the book: Labor Guide To Local Union Leadership. The authors were right except for Roberta Till-Retz.
I thought it might be helpful to post an excerpt from the book. This is from chapter 3 Managing Unions. The following paragraphs come immediately after two organizational flow charts of typical biz-unions.
" More questions could be asked, but these few get the point across. The point is that organizational charts such as these reveal little that is true about the units being described. Unionists schooled with these charts often leave with the idea unions are structures that stand alone in society and, being as stalwart as they are , are rarely subject to change. Nothing could be farther from the truth and more damaging to the perceptions of local union leaders. Unions that stand alone eventually die a solitary death. Secondly, unions are in constant change, at least informally. The problem is that most union managers and administators have their head in the sand waiting for someone to magically lead the glorious countercharge. These officials fail to see the power that is within. The members rant and rave or emotionally resign in disgust as their officials appear dazed. Events in the 80s just are not working out according to the charts.
Labor officials are conditioned to think of their union in terms of hierarchy and bureaucracy. Structure charts reflect the top-to-bottom order of belonging and function and hint at the maze of bureaucratic controls built in at each level. Each chart reflects the contradictions the members know to be true.
Contradiction 1. The union is only as stong as its membership; yet members are at the bottom of the organizational structure-and they know it.
Contradiction 2. The local steward is the backbone of the local union management; yet American stewards are often reduced to poorly trained complaint takers with no commitment to the job.
Contradiction 3. Union officials are responible to their members. Since when?
The list can and does go on.
Unions are actually open natural systems, not the closed hierarchy of boxes the charts indicate. Local union managers and members alike need to know and understand thhe relationships their union has with other organizations and the political, economic and legal climate that affects the local's ability to achieve its goals. These same people need to know and understand the needs of the membership. No union official owns her position. Be it by election or appointment, the position is given. One of the constant problems has been, however, the notion that once in office, that office is owned. In a natural system, there is a constant flow of of change as members come and go and as needs change. Nowhere in the charts does a potential manager or leader learn of the change and the conflict that is inherent in the organization. As a consequence, most of these people either fail or serve less effectively than they could otherwise. Our education of leaders is deficient."
This book was published in 1986.It was written generically for all unions. It was so far ahead of its time, it never caught on. It also was brutally honest and thats never been one of the labor movements best assets. The entire book comes from the aspect that what we are doing as leaders isn't working. God, they were right on.

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