Monday, May 01, 2006

Letter from John Reimann, UBCJA wildcat '99

Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006
To: dave
From: John Reimann
Subject: Re: BC Update
It's sad to hear these things, but it makes me recall a discussion I had with a young carpenters' union organizer up there the time I visited BC (1999 I think it was). I think his name was Josh something. Anyway, we were talking about the possibility of the BC Fed. leaving the UBC. As a union person all my work life, my first instinct was for "unity" and to stay and fight, but as we talked I could see that maybe I was wrong. The thing that seemed to me to be central was the issue of union/employer "cooperation". As you know, the UBC has the position that we have to "recapture market share". This means that we are little but an employment agency and we work with the contractors. If we can keep them happy, then they will sign union contracts and the dues money will keep flowing in. It amounts to the same thing as what the entire union leadership is talking about - competitiveness. This means, in reality, union workers competing with non-union workers for who will work cheapest. This destroys the very purpose of having a union. It means the ongoing downward cycle of wages and conditions.

This organizer and I talked about this, and he agreed with me in principle. It seemed to me that the real principled issue was for the BC Fed to fight this company unionism approach, and if it was easier to fight it by leaving the UBC then that was fine. But this meant engaging with union carpenters elsewhere in order to wage a campaign against this approach.

My impression is that this never happened in BC.

So what is happening as far as the membership? What kind of active movement is going on to oppose what is happening?

Here, not a whole lot is happening. To tell the truth, I'm not that much in touch with things since I can't go to union meetings.

John refers to the BCFed and means the BCPC; he visited the Council and Local 2300 several years ago. He was expelled from the UBCJA for *leading* a wildcat strike at the SF airport job. Here are two archive pages I built on the history of that strike and his kangaroo trial by EST Draper, Prez McCarron et. al.

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