Independent Trade Unions

How can they democratize your workplace?

Shain Slepian

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Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

Why do so many of us work in unions that don’t seem to fight for us? Sometimes, being in a union feels like having another job and still no say in your professional life. The CEO of a union no more represents an entry-level employee or a blue collar worker any more than the CEO of a corporation.

Business Unions operate under the founding premise that unions ought to be run like businesses. Business Unions often have strong threads of influence from the employer, rather than being completely controlled by workers. Business Unions are technically outlawed in the United States by the National Labor Relations Act, but we know that illegality does not always translate in practice. In the same way the National Labor Relations Act hasn’t eliminated coercion and influence by employers, bad representations can make its way into any union where workers don’t have power.

Fighting Unions, or more formally known as Independent Trade Unions, are organized by workers, for workers, to fight for things like safe working conditions, living wages, better benefits, social and economic justices outside of the workplace environment, and more. These unions are organized from the bottom up, with workers making decisions about their benefits, rather than these benefits being gifted to them by wealthy union CEOs.

Fighting Unions can FIGHT

The Democratic Party has a long history of feeding off of the energy of pro-labor movements, all while defanging and usurping budding unions for clout and profit. Many unions have come to resemble corporations in structure, with high earning CEOs at the top and little voting power at the bottom. Members of the union are treated more like employees: expected to strike when told and to be silent at all other times. Though the Democrats betray working class people at every turn, they manage to neutralize our immense collective power over and over again with the consent of passive unions.

This is why we cannot just form unions — our unions need to be willing to fight for our ideas. Unions that are not fully democratic, will not strike on behalf of POC or LGBTQ workers, or that engage in behavior that betrays their working class members are not our allies: they are…

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Shain Slepian

Shain is a screenwriter and screenplay editor. For more content, follow their blog and check out their YouTube channel, TimeCapsule. shainslepian.com/