I am very upset today over the Northwest Airline debacle. That Northwest could bust a strike by bringing in scab mechanics was bad enough. But now it seems that they are also simply going to eliminate 1,200 plus union jobs. Indeed, the airline’s spokesperson said,
the airline is considering the legally thorny question of whether to make the 1,200 replacement mechanics it hired to keep flying through the strike into permanent employees.
In short: if you are a worker you have no right to freedom of speech, freedom to collectively bargain, or freedom to protest working conditions – your company can simply dismiss you, eliminate your union job, and hire someone else.
I suspect the NLRB will let them get away with it, too. Under Bush, the NLRB has been extremely pro-strike-busting and anti-workers’ rights. They even recently upheld a company rule that banned employees from “fraternizing” away from the job, denying workers the freedom of assembly.
The corporate heads want to keep workers down, want to keep them separate and isolated, and want to keep them from collectively asking for fair wages and benefits.
Although my money is with Change to Win’s focus on organizing new workers, its events like the Northwest strike that remind us how much new labor legislation we need and that perhaps there is room for Sweeny’s agenda as well.