As Labour Day approaches, left union activists have been organizing to help build the fight ahead, for a people’s recovery to the pandemic and current economic crisis.
At the end of June, nearly 60 union members participated in an online meeting organized by the Action Caucus. For many years, the Action Caucus has brought together left thinking activists at conventions to help promote progressive policy and push for labour to implement strong action plans. The Caucus provides a forum for trade unionists to work together to achieve these gains, and to strategize about resisting capital’s attack on the working class. In the words of one member, “the Action Caucus allows us to push boundaries—while working together.”
Participants at the June meeting discussed how to push their unions in a left and action-oriented direction. Many spoke of the isolation within their unions and the dominance of a “business unionism” approach.
They also spoke about opportunity that exists to unite a broad section of union members who are active on a variety of social issues. The current struggle against anti-Black racism is just one example of vital current struggles that are helping to deepen political consciousness. There is a need for the Action Caucus to engage more Indigenous and racialized workers, as well as precarious and part time workers – a majority of whom are women.
Workers need to promote social unionism with class struggle positions. The Action Caucus is working to solidify the left, win over the centre forces and isolate the right wing in the labour movement. The key to this is building militancy and action in the trade union movement, in alliance with social movements.
Across the country, the labour movement has generally adopted strong policies, but the leadership is often unwilling to take action to implement them. This is one of the biggest problems with the labour movement today, and why the focus for progressives needs to be on building independent labour political action.
The Caucus agreed to organize a larger conference in the fall and struck an ad hoc planning committee that includes labour activists from Quebec, BC, Ontario, Alberta and the Atlantic.
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