This flier was written by an Advance the Struggle comrade in San Francisco in light of the ongoing school bus drivers strike in New York City. Transit workers play a central role in the reproduction of our labor-powers on a day-to-day basis by moving working-class people to and from the sites of production and reproduction like our workplaces, schools, hospitals, groceries and other spaces we frequent to meet our needs. The current crisis of capital demands the continued disinvestment of the state in public commons like transportation, schools, and hospitals in favor of their destruction or replacement by privatized entities that provide the same services but at higher costs and lower quality. Since unionized workers continue to be a significant factor in these industries, the ruling class is on an offensive to remove these working-class organizations in so far as they represent an obstacle to continued capital accumulation, all at the expense of drivers, teachers, students, custodians, fast food workers, and all workers in general.
From NYC to SF!
Many transportation workers are facing bosses that are attacking their benefits, eliminating seniority, adding restrictive work rules, speeding up the pace of work and so on. One way to respond to this is to roll over and keep quiet, accepting it without a fight. Another option is to organize and go on strike, which is exactly what 8,800 school bus drivers of Amalgamated Transit Union 1181 in New York City are doing as of Wednesday, January 16 at 6:00 am.
The Department of Education in NYC wants to contract private companies to run 1100 of the bus routes, eliminating seniority for the operators that currently do those runs and with no promise that operators currently driving those runs will retain their jobs. “The union representing the schoo lbus drivers, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, is asking for Employment Protection Provisions to be included in the new contract to protect workers from losing their jobs to newer, cheaper labor.” (The Nation, NYC Bus Strike Kicks Off to Fight Privatization of Yellow Buses, January 15, 2013) Instead of infighting between senior workers and younger lower paid workers, lets unite all workers against the bosses! All power to rank and file groups of multiple sectors, and don’t trust the forked tongues of the democratic politicians and union bureaucrats!
Our contacts in New York will be supporting the strike on the picket line, and they requested that we ask rank and file MUNI operators in SF for a statement of solidarity that they could distribute to the striking members of ATU 1181. This is an important opportunity to boost the morale of striking transit workers in New York and establish a line of communication between rank and file transit workers in different cities, which is a key step towards being able to win these struggles against the bosses and the big capitalists that benefit from all of our hard labor. One idea is that MUNI operators ask the ATU members to host a Skype session where MUNI operators could ask questions of the striking drivers in New York in order to get a better understanding of why they decided to strike, what obstacles they are facing, what successes they have had, and how we can build towards meaningful collaboration.
Without an organized resistance, we and our children face a grim future where the super wealthy have total power, poverty abounds, and the destruction of the environment continues unabated. To really win we need connections between rank and file workers groups in multiple cities and multiple industries that can develop action plans, share information, and put a message out to the public. If you are interested, please contact us!
Advance the Struggle and the Underground Railroad
January 16, 2013