If you've ever been subjected to an anti-union talk from a manager or supervisor, you've probably heard a variation of the "third party" argument in which a union will interfere, poison or halt direct relations between you and managers. This is usually bullshit.
However, there's a truth to this argument when a union has no workfloor presence with effective, trusted unionists. In a workplace like this, an appearance by a union rep is strange and alienating and mgmt can stoke anti-unionism, intimidate, and even organize a decert campaign.
Similarly, ineffective union stewards and lazy well-paid union reps responsible for steward training and recruitment means the union is just another bureaucratic hassle for workers. Some stewards are literally selected to discourage grievances so union rep workloads are lighter.
Solving 3rd partyism is not just about structural union changes or better reps. It's also about principled pro-union workers seeking training and support to build shopfloor strength independent of reps and stewards. This is where the labour left needs to build infrastructure.

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More from @StandingTheGaff

27 Oct
The Saskatchewan NDP just got 112k votes. It's the 3rd lowest since its predecessor CCF won 82k in 1938 while fending off the Social Credit insurgency, and just above their first result in 1934 (103k). The decline parallels other provincial NDPs which have won office since 1990.
Here's the Saskatchewan CCF/NDP in defeat:

1964: 269k
1968: 189k

1982: 201k
1986: 248k

2007: 169k
2011: 128k
2016: 130k
2020: 112k

After the 1991 avalanche of 276k, the Sask NDP has not cracked 200k votes. Douglas did it 5 times, Blakeney twice out of 3 elections.
One could blame the pandemic on record low voter turnout of 47 percent. But it has also fallen 10 points each election since 2007. But it's worth noting the Sask Party's vote totals have stayed above 230k in every election since they first won in 2007. It's the NDP that's losing.
Read 16 tweets
25 Oct
Solved? Awesome.

We should be asking ourselves on whose backs these "progressives" believe the climate crisis will be solved. It's worth recalling the Miller regime's labour relations during his 2nd term as Toronto's NDP mayor (2006-2010). Image
April 2008
Within 48hrs of legal transit strike against concessions, Miller and two NDP councillors Giambrone (TTC chair) & Mihevc (TTC commissioner) are among the city officials requesting & securing provincial strikebreaking law from majority Liberals. Ontario NDP votes for it.
June 2009
Amidst Great Recession, 20,000+ city workers strike against concessions (CUPE 79 & CUPE 416). The strike lasts 39 long hot July days. The Miller regime argues the city can't afford the union demands and attacks the union for hurting the working poor.
Read 12 tweets
16 Oct
The Newfoundland grocery strike against Loblaws & billionaire Galen Weston Jr. is part of a 100+ year war against Weston greed.

In 1897, Galen's great grandfather George Weston opened his "model bakery" in Toronto, and got busy fixing prices and breaking unions.

Read on...
I found the Bakers' Strike advert reprinted above in several 1905-1906 issues of The Tribune, "The Official Organ of the Toronto District Labor Council". Seeing "Weston", I investigated further. Here are some of the actions and views of George Weston between 1905 and 1908:
In spring 1905, the 2-year union agreement with Toronto's "master bakers" was expiring. The master bakers chose not to meet collectively with the union as they had in 1903. Individual agreements were signed with all but three master bakers. George Weston was one of the three.
Read 13 tweets
26 Sep
I guess we have paid sick days but the NDP was never going to trigger an election over it. After Singh curiously claimed he had won paid sick days in May, the Liberals twice committed to them: in mid-July, and again in Aug after proroguing.
Since May, the NDP and specifically Horgan has sought PSD through EI. Horgan's business-first re-election strategy is served by EI premiums covering PSD costs, allowing him to avoid the ON/QC/PEI precedent and have business shoulder 100% of PSD costs under a provincial law.
With no apparent challenge from Singh, the Liberals will not be raising EI premiums either after relentless cuts at the request of businesses for at least two decades. This is a commitment the Liberals made in August alongside their announcement PSD would come through EI.
Read 9 tweets
22 Sep
A frank discussion of bourgeois class strategy by Ibbitson in the Globe - with the big Fraser Institute assist. You can see how they're clarifying their perspectives and generalizing a line of march as they jockey, stoke and manage the crisis to their advantage.
Ibbitson plays the hits from the 90s:
debt-to-GDP ratio
pension bomb
long healthcare wait-times (privatize!)
higher taxes are self-defeating

With new bangers:
structural deficits
deteriorating infrastructure (P3s!)
overcrowded classrooms (P3s!)
low interest rates for how long?
Ibbitson is well-positioned to do this. He's a student of the 1990s "austerity drive". He wrote a book on the Common Sense Revolution, which covers the rise of the Ontario neocons, how they conquered the Ontario PC Party, rebuilt the shattered party and developed the CSR.
Read 9 tweets
14 Sep
I see no compelling evidence that NDP extracted CERB, "paid sick days" from unwilling, inflexible Liberal govt - esp. when NDP aligned with CFIB for wage subsidies. Given their 2008 coalition & Notley/Horgan/Trudeau love triangle, I'd wager there's a top-level Lib-NDP agreement.
The Liberals have always shown incredible flexibility in making populist left pivots. Recent examples include Trudeau's performance in 2015 which @Martin_Lukacs documented so well in his book the Trudeau Formula. Freeland, author of Plutocrats, is well-versed in this, too.
After Liberals made the greatest health & social cuts in Cdn history in 1995, Chretien/Martin won in 1997 on modest social reinvestment (which panned out during the Clinton Boom). They even got Romanow (Judas of Sask socialism) to mollify popular anger over their own health cuts.
Read 13 tweets

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