Friday, November 29, 2013

The power of the strike

Governments and employers are terrified of workers collective action. That is why so many governments seek to limit the ability of workers to strike.  Such is the case in Alberta, where the government is seeking to limit the ability of public sector workers to strike.

Yet, the strike itself is a powerful weapon for workers.  Illegal strikes are even more powerful, as they often take on a life of their own.  While wildcat (illegal) strikes are rare these days, the spontaneity of such actions speaks to the power of class solidarity amongst workers.  Walmart workers are certainly taking this approach in the United States.  So are dock workers in Halifax.  While the origins of the Halifax wildcat are depressing, the workers themselves are taking power back by challenging the bullying of management.  Chinese workers are taking similar actions, challenging the powers government and employers.  Good for them.

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