Support for ‘Jena 6’ Puts Union Lackeys on Spot

SEATTLE, WA. Nov. 9 — “When you guys write your next article,” demanded a Machinist, “make sure you tell everyone that the union holds these conferences [sponsored by human rights and women’s committees] to give the appearance of doing something, not to do something!”

Like many Boeing workers, she drew this conclusion after watching the mis-leadership move the ‘Jena 6’ support resolution (see CHALLENGE, 10/13) from committee to committee, trying to stay one step ahead of irate, anti-racist rank-and-filers. At this writing the resolution has been kicked upstairs to the district human rights committee after three different struggles at various union meetings and conferences over the last month. It’s like the children’s game, “Where’s Waldo.”

Meanwhile, some union officials have changed their tune. For the first time any of us can remember, some are admitting that the union must deal with issues like anti-black and anti-immigrant racism. They cynically blame “backward” members for the roadblocks they themselves have erected over the years.

Of course, none of this has stopped the top leadership from calling the resolution-backers “troublemakers.” In fact, some lower-level officials have complained about the District President’s vindictiveness when he demands that no official talk to any in the opposition.

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