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Indybay Feature

The Bay Area Battle in Transport - Business Unionism vs. Class Struggle Unionism

Sunday, November 10, 2013
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE: Black Repertory Theater 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley


This forum will not be meeting in Oakland after all, but in Berkeley. Please note correct location and address below, as well as added speakers.

The Bay Area Battle in Transport:
Workers Face Employer Onslaught

No More
Defeats Like Wisconsin!
Business Unionism vs.
Class Struggle Unionism

          Public Meeting:
 November 10 (Sunday) 2:00 PM
Black Repertory Theater
 3201 Adeline Street, Berkeley

Although BART workers marched through downtown Oakland in August and October chanting "Strike, strike, strike!", union officials shackled them with a concessionary contract.

Why did BART workers settle for a concessionary contract after fighting for four months -- striking twice, staging militant mass rallies in downtown Oakland, and inspiring AC Transit bus drivers and mechanics to twice vote down concessionary contracts -- each time overwhelmingly? 

Why did BART workers vote so resoundingly to approve the concessionary contract (more than 85% of those voting voted "Yes")? Was this the best they could do? How could they have won a better contract?

Why didn't BART union leaders mobilize the rank and file (for example, through democratically elected strike committees?) Why wasn't there a joint strike committee of the BART unions (ATU 1555, SEIU 1021, and AFSCME 3993) and the AC Transit union (ATU 192)? Why did ATU 192 president Yvonne Williams denounce a joint strike of AC Transit workers and BART workers as "Armageddon"? 

Why did BART and AC Transit union officials put their faith in Democratic politicians rather than reaching out aggressively to labor and the community? Why did ATU 1555 leaders call on Jerry Brown to invoke a 60-day cooling-off period to suspend the right to strike? How can we defend the right to strike for transit workers, when Democratic state politicians are drafting legislation to make such strikes illegal?

Why did ILWU officials turn their backs on their union's militant history and direct their members to cross a picket line of port truckers and community supporters? How can ILWU members reclaim the solidarity their union badly needs. Longshoremen are locked out at two northwest ports. Scabs are doing their work. And negotiations for the ILWU's master contract for all West Coast ports is just around the bend.

Has the labor movement lost its class struggle moorings?  In its heyday unions fought for the unemployed and underemployed, for immigrant workers and youth, against racism and home foreclosures. What can be done to ignite such struggle today, forge real solidarity, and beat the bosses' barrage of union busting?

Come hear speakers involved in these worker struggles:

George Figueroa- Strike Coordinator of the successful July BART strike for ATULocal 1555*, now being victimized by BART.

Clarence Thomas- Co-Chair of the Million Worker March, Executive Board member of ILWU 10*

A Member ATU Local 192
* (AC Transit worker)

Yemane Seium, Frank Adams- Organizers, Oakland Port Truckers' Association*

Jack Heyman- Chair of TWSC and an organizer of the 1984 longshore anti-apartheid ship boycott, the May Day 2008 anti-war West Coast port shutdown and the 2010 Bay Area ports protest for justice for Oscar Grant

(*for identification purposes only)

This forum is organized by the Transport Workers Solidarity Comittee (

Added to the calendar on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 6:44PM
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