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IKEA Workers Locked Out, Boycott IKEA and Expand the Strike!
by Steven Argue
Sunday Nov 24th, 2013 7:04 AM
[Photo of picketing workers at the Richmond B.C. IKEA store. Credit: Jeff Vinnick / Globe and Mail]
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IKEA Workers Locked Out, Boycott IKEA and Expand the Strike!

On May 9th 86% of IKEA workers were at British Colombia stores voted to strike. Since May 13th they have been locked out from their jobs. Three hundred workers are locked out.

One key issue is a two tier wage system and performance pay that would take workers 20 years to reach top pay. These two tier wage setups are attempts to divide older and younger workers while also cutting pay. They are unacceptable.

In the face of this important strike, the BC Federation of Labour is calling for a boycott of just a couple IKEA stores in BC. This is not adequate. Since the parent company owns all IKEA stores, this strike needs to be expanded to all IKEA stores possible as should be the boycott. In addition, mass non-porous picket lines (defying the cops and court injunctions as needed) should be organized to the extent possible. Against such a powerful and wealthy company, the strike needs to be expanded beyond IKEA as well. Solidarity should be sought from powerful unions outside of IKEA, like the ILWU (Longshoremen) who could stop shipments of IKEA cargo.

Enough is enough of the failed conservative tactics of the union bureaucracy! A strike is class war and we need to use winning tactics!

-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency

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Statement on the British Colombia Federation of Labour website:

Do not patronize IKEA in Richmond or Coquitlam

On May 13, 2013 management at the Richmond IKEA locked out the nearly 350 members of Teamsters 213 who work at that location.

IKEA has shown its determination to succeed and a willingness to break labour law, having already been found in violation of Labour Code provisions preventing the use of replacement workers.

IKEA is not a franchised company. The Richmond and Coquitlam IKEAs are both owned by the parent company, whose owners are among the wealthiest 100 families in the world.

I am writing today to make it be clear that customers choosing to patronize the Coquitlam location, while the strike is on at the Richmond location, are assisting the company in breaking the strike.

The issue is the imposition of a tiered wage structure. Despite the Richmond location being highly profitable, management is seeking to impose significant wage cuts on the majority of its work force. Five years ago, the Teamsters fought the tiered wage structure and won.

Tiered wage structures such as the one proposed by IKEA poison work sites, creating resentment between co-workers. Moreover, they contribute to the part-timing of work, as management seeks to take advantage of the new, lower wage categories.

Please inform your members of this ongoing dispute and ask them to not patronize either BC IKEA location until the dispute is resolved fairly and to the satisfaction of the Teamsters and its IKEA members.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Just saying
Monday Nov 25th, 2013 3:40 PM
"The BC Federation of Labour is calling for a boycott of just a couple IKEA stores in BC. This is not adequate. "

There are only two stores in BC. It's not just a couple of IKEA stores in BC. It is all of them.

While that is a line in this particular statement, the line in their other statement about the boycott reads:

"The lockout at IKEA continues. We are encouraging you not to shop at IKEA, regardless of the store or online."

There are plenty of things to criticize about leaders of the labour movement so you might as well pick the ones based on fact.

Here is some more information on the international campaign that the BCFED is helping to organize in support of IKEA workers.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152012155618281.1073741830.358082838280&type=1

(And yes, longshore workers are quite involved in this dispute, the first vice president of longshore spoke at the most recent rally in Vancouver. You can criticize the nature of the support that ILWU choses to provide or the Teamsters choses to ask for, but you can't criticize the BCFED for not involving these unions as it isn't true)
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Nov 26th, 2013 8:36 AM
An anonymous coward by the name "Just saying" claims that "Ultra leftism not a substitute for facts"

LOL.

Fact is, denunciations of the co-called "ultra-left" are no substitute for a winning strategy. Especially when the labor bureaucracy is continuing its same old tired losing strategies.

In addition, everything I said was factually correct.

The statement I posted from the BC Federation of Labour site is only calling for a boycott of BC IKEA stores:

"Please inform your members of this ongoing dispute and ask them to not patronize either BC IKEA location until the dispute is resolved fairly and to the satisfaction of the Teamsters and its IKEA members."

I call for a boycott of IKEA everywhere and welcome a clearer statement from labor bodies calling for the same. I also welcome attempts by the high paid union bureaucracy to spread the word of the boycott as I have done. Yet a boycott alone will not win the strike.

There is also nothing in the BC Federation of Labour statement calling for mass non-porous picket lines. The strength of a strike is in its ability to shut down operations. A union that doesn't even seek to use that strength is greatly weakening its ability to win.

In addition, there is no appeal in that statement for transportation workersw to hot cargo IKEA products or for transportation workers to take any other action.

No twists and contortions of these facts can change the fact that the union bureaucracy, if it stays the course, is likely leading another labor struggle to defeat and disaster using the same old losing strategies it has employed for the past several decades. Denunciations of those of us who propose winning strategies as "ultra-left" does nothing to finally turn the tide in favor of labor. I suggest "Just saying" stop making excuses and join the fight for an effective and winning labor movement.