WASHINGTON, D.C. — The battle against the Metro transit bosses and sellout union leaders is heating up. PLP members at Metro used a union-called town hall meeting for workers and riders “to get input” to expose the sellouts and have radical conversations with fellow workers about the need for communist revolution.
Party members testified that a strike at Metro would help all D.C. area workers, including Metro riders, resist today’s racist offensive against workers. Those statements from both Metro workers and riders got the loudest applause of the meeting, and helped build an attitude of rebellion that opens the door for building the PLP at Metro and throughout the community.
Although support for a strike to resolve our contract dispute is wide spread among riders and drivers, the union leadership is strongly opposed to any work action by members of ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 689.
Since strikes by transit workers in D.C. are illegal under the bosses’ laws, the union president is afraid to lead a strike. She fears it would bankrupt the union and she would wind up in jail. Without a plan to win a strike, many workers are afraid of losing their jobs if it fails.
Many workers have illusions about what a strike can accomplish. Some believe that if we strike, the bosses will be on their knees begging us to come back to work. This is an unlikely scenario. They will try to hit us hard, and we must be prepared to hit back!
PLP’s job is to help people overcome their fears of a strike as well as give a realistic estimate of what it takes to advance our interests under current conditions.
Part of helping workers overcome their fear of striking is having a party organization which has the support of the workers and a plan to move forward. Most of the groundwork for this has been done. Now it is time to consolidate this base into the Party by helping our brothers and sisters gain a clear vision of a lifetime struggle to destroy capitalism and replace it with OUR power, workers’ power.
A strike will not end the bosses’ domination of us, but a strike can give us good training in how to fight. Workers are terminated all the time without just cause at Metro. There is no reason to expect Metro would not attempt to continue these policies during a strike. The difference is that we will be fighting back in a mass way to advance our goals. Through sharper struggle against the bosses, we will be able to see the need to build a new kind of society where workers collectively run things — communism — so that we can get off the treadmill of constant attacks from bosses.
For a strike to be successful, strengthen the union, and build greater class consciousness, the racist divisions that exist in our union must be overcome. Black, Latino, Asian, and white workers standing side by side in a fight against the bosses will be a strong signal of our ability to win against the bosses in the long run.