Tag Archives: Boeing

Bosses’ Imperialist Dogfight Sets Stage for Boeing Contract Fight

The July 16 strike sanction vote means the Boeing contract battle is in full swing. For nearly a year, the International Association of Machinists (IAM) leadership has been pushing the slogan, “It’s Our Time, This Time.” They say that if workers in union plants stick together, they can negotiate a contract to increase our wages, benefits and job security. Workers on the shop floor are not so sure. As one machinist puts it: “What part of capitalism don’t they understand?!”

In this struggle, illusions won’t serve us. Currently, Chinese, Russian and European capitalists are economically challenging the U.S. bosses, undermining U.S. rulers’ political clout. War to maintain the empire is pushed to the forefront, with both presidential candidates offering plans for a “better” war. In this climate, the U.S. bosses are rebuilding their industrial military base on the backs of the working class, particularly those of us in basic industry. Racism and sexism lead the attack. Black and Latin workers — women and men — in the subcontractor plants were the first and most brutally attacked. (The subcontractors are non-union, low-wage plants to which outfits like Boeing farm out work formerly produced by higher-wage union plants — domestic outsourcing.)

The bosses use racist super-exploitation as a wedge to attack all industrial workers: 140,000 unionized senior autoworkers will be replaced by 77,000 new workers at half the wage. The UAW carefully isolated American Axle strikers for 83 days this spring, and then railroaded a contract through that cut 2,000 jobs and wages by a third to a half. The Nucor company is building the first integrated steel plant in the U.S. in four decades right outside Katrina-ravaged New Orleans to take advantage of some of the country’s lowest, non-union labor. No matter what eventually happens with the tanker contract, the bosses, with the Pentagon’s blessing, are determined to erect a “southern aerospace corridor” in non-union, low-wage Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. The system depends on this kind of racist exploitation to build profits.

The Boeing bosses have no illusions about the times — or their ruling-class needs. In late June, they eliminated defined pensions (ones with guaranteed specific benefits) for all non-union new hires, demanding the same of union workers when the old contract expires on September 3. They’re pushing healthcare cuts disguised as a “wellness-based healthcare system.” They’ve said our wages are “above the market rate” after they slashed the “market rate” through racist outsourcing — which they’re accelerating. In order to afford to attack the world’s workers, the bosses must attack us here at home — and Boeing bosses are doing their (very profitable) part!

Fight The Bosses’ Ideas  Within Our Ranks

Relying on deals with the company bosses — never wise — and believing their lie that “what’s good for the company is good for the workers” is increasingly delusional in these times. The bosses’ imperialist plans call for more war, nationalism, racism, sexism and attacks on our standard of living. The only viable answer is to smash the capitalist system with communist revolution — no easy, short-term task. We’ll never succeed without waging a long-term fight against the bosses’ ideas.

When union members struggled for our locals to participate in the immigrant rights May Day marches to fight anti-immigrant racism, they were building the class-consciousness we’ll need this fall. When workers raised money for the Jena 6 on the shop floor and fought the union misleadership to protest this racist outrage, we were laying the anti-racist groundwork for the class struggle ahead. When we exposed the Pentagon’s role in promoting aerospace wage-cuts, we took aim at the dead-end flag-waving of the union sellouts.

In this vein, PLP is sponsoring Summer Projects in the Seattle area and among L.A. aerospace subcontractors. Building anti-racist, international solidarity between union workers and non-union super-exploited subcontractor workers takes aim at the bosses’ divide-and-conquer strategy.

We face a tough battle, and may not win this round, but we can build our offense with strike preparations. We can struggle for the kind of class-consciousness and solidarity that teach us about workers’ power. We can build forces among those already in basic industry and young revolutionary workers just entering the factories in order to eventually destroy this bosses’ nightmare.

Support the Seattle and Los Angeles Summer Projects

The Progressive Labor Party is organizing Summer Projects in Seattle and Los Angeles to both learn from workers’ experiences and bring revolutionary ideas to workers, soldiers and students.  We urge you to join us in going to factories, military bases, visiting with workers, and studying the science of revolution — Dialectical Materialism — as well as hearing from the experience of revolutionary workers themselves.  Volunteers will learn first-hand from their class sisters and brothers and share experiences, which can lead to a lifetime of serving their class and fighting for a communist revolution. Please join us for a great revolutionary time! Make a donation and support a Summer Project volunteer.

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May Day Spirit Spurs Seattle Summer Project

SEATTLE, WA., May 3 — “The world needs communist politics now more than ever,” declared a young Party worker, our keynote speaker, at tonight’s May Day Dinner. He followed an Iraq veteran who urged all to continue fighting U.S. imperialism’s Mid-East occupation at the upcoming “Winter Soldier” events. Finally, a student leader invited the multi-racial group of students, educators, campus workers, military veterans, active-duty soldiers, Boeing workers and families to join our July Summer Project.

The keynote speaker outlined the brutal attacks from U.S. bosses preparing for wider wars, eventually World War III, how they need to attack workers at home in order to attack workers abroad. Fascist intimidations cited included 2.4 million now languishing in prisons, neglected Katrina survivors, the assassination of Sean Bell, the brutal exploitation of Latino immigrants in war factories and government immigration raids.

“Ultimately,” our speaker said, “this racism is used to divide us and hide the fact that wage slavery is the curse of all workers regardless of ‘race’ and gender.” Just ask the striking American Axel workers how the wage system “serves” them!

Many volunteered for our July Summer Project as we fight for “the hearts and minds” of Boeing workers whose contract expires this fall, and of soldiers at nearby Ft. Lewis (one in attendance) and McChord Air Force base.

One friend brought her husband, who “loves to talk politics.” He was not disappointed. Between mouthfuls of food, we discussed how communist society could and should function, how to make communist politics primary, and how to have confidence that our Party and the working class can lead society.

Between the dinner and Thursday’s May Day immigration march we distributed EVERY CHALLENGE in the city to readers and sellers. A thousand leaflets about the communist international spirit of May Day and another about Sean Bell circulated among marchers, in Boeing shops and other workplaces, homes and classes. Friends gave generously as we passed the hat to help pay for all the literature.

A Boeing retiree we’ve known for over 30 years made a special contribution and then took extra literature for a mosque and a mostly black church. “I’m glad to see you passing the hat,” he said. “This good stuff costs plenty.”

On weekends prior to May Day, a team visited Boeing readers and sellers at their homes to discuss the ideas our friends were already reading in CHALLENGE over coffee (a Seattle obsession!). This helped make our dinner a modest success.

Class struggle and agitation are crucial, but without these personal ties, we will remain stuck in neutral.
We’ll expand these team visits between now and the Summer Project to bring the communist class-consciousness expressed by our young keynote speaker to many more in the area.

“Today on May Day,” he concluded, “we remember that it’s the working class who built this world; we planted every field and laid every brick. All the wealth of the world was created through the labor of the working class. This world is not for us to slave in, but to master and to own. We have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to win.”

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