Only hours after the Michigan Legislature voted in favor of a union busting “right to work” law on Dec. 6, a “Committee to Beat Back ‘Right to Work’” started circulating an appeal to the major labor organizations in the state to consider a general strike.
Citing the need for “decisive action,” the leaflet quotes the United Autoworkers Constitution, Article 50, Section 8, which authorizes the International Executive Board to call a general strike “in case of great emergency, when the existence of the International Union is involved, together with the economic and social standing of our membership … for the purpose of preserving and perpetuating the rights and living standards of the general membership.” Article 50 requires a referendum vote of the union membership before such an action is taken.
The committee also calls upon the Michigan state AFL-CIO to “urge every affiliate to initiate discussions and hold referendums to authorize a general strike.” Realizing that education and careful preparation must precede this unprecedented action, the leaflet calls for discussion “with every worker at every work place.”
The leaflet points out that “we can be sure that the entire crowd of Wall Street bankers and corporate bosses, including GM, Ford, Chrysler and the billionaire Koch brothers, are behind the push to break us … after years of concessions.” They need to see that labor “can bring everything to a standstill.”
The committee also reminds union workers that the only road to success includes bringing in all workers and community organizations. This means “unorganized, retired, young, immigrant … church leaders, people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, the education community, foreclosure victims, the unemployed, Occupy Wall Street movement … and all others who are under attack.… Demands must be shaped to make the largest majority of the people of the state understand that we are fighting for everyone.”
The appeal ends with the suggestion that labor and community groups convene a huge assembly of the people that can “represent the 99%” and have the clear authority to organize a general strike to roll back the right-wing attacks.
In a state where local and state politicians only represent the 1%, an assembly of the 99% will have commanding authority!
For more information, go to Facebook group — Committee to Beat Back “Right to Work,” email BeatBackRTW@gmail.com or call 313-680-5508.