Employees barricaded their bosses in an office to demand new negotiations as a result of 733 layoffs at a factory in Grenoble (Southern France). A manager of a factory, run by U.S. pharmaceutical company 3M, was held hostage for more than 24 hours last week. The boss of Sony France was detained overnight on March 12 by workers seeking better redundancy packages. The CEO at Gucci was recently trapped in a makeshift prison that consisted of four walls that workers built with garbage cans.
Labor unions worldwide have responded with thunderous applauds on these French union takeovers and captures. As unions feel more and more empowered in the United States and across the globe they are exposing their desire to control industry by any means necessary.
In 1996, I was part of a delegation of unionists charged with a mission to France and to take part and learn from the national strike and attempt to shut down of the government. We knew that only a complete shut down and/or control of U.S. industry and/or government services was going to force companies to give into our demands. Our motto was, “they control the factories and hospitals but we control the streets”. We came away with a clear understanding and respect for controlled chaos; we saw a roadmap to realizing our goals of overpowering our enemies by connecting our stated goals and building a direct link to union members and supporters through support group fronts that would both take away any influence of reluctant union officials who are scared of repercussions and also providing cover for active union officials.
Since then the unions have used civil unrest to push its agenda like the WTO Ministerial Conference protest of 1999, the immigration marches across the country in 2006, and more recently, the protest over AIG bonuses a few weeks ago. This policy of controlled chaos is being refined and is advancing at every opportunity. Like the AIG protest, they display perceived outrage to bring the masses to the point of violence. This goes way further then healthy indignation over an injustice, their intent is to build up mob frenzy and seek street justice. Like any mob or gang, the rule of the day is “might means right”.
The real question about the newly found bravado in the union ranks abroad is: Will all this lead to more violence and similar actions in the United States?
“I absolutely believe that you might see U.S. workers take more drastic actions,” said David Gregory, a professor of law at St. John’s University in New York.
As in 1996, unionists from the U.S. and all over the world are in France to support and learn from the French strikers. The move to become more militant is clear, over the past years we have seen a bottom up push by unions to demand more from both employers and government. We have seen a clear trend of mass protest.Violence on strike lines has risen. Pressure on politicians has become intense. Unions are building their war chests. You see traditional union leaders being pressured and challenged within their own organizations makinghostile union takeovers a common theme.
I gave an interview to the Industrial Worker Newspaper in 1996 as a strike coordinator and stated, “The lessons of strike disputes, where thousands of locked out workers are ensnared in legal rulings over whether they can reclaim their jobs demonstrates the only way people in this country are going to win a struggle is by massing all the workers around the country and all around the world then mass in force against the ruling power to become the ruling power”
This shows not only my theory at the time but more important it shows the goals of organized labor and gives an insight into the lengths they will go to obtain these goals. As a union official, my goals were always the same no matter what position I was in. My job was to beat management by any means necessary.
The unions look at management as the enemy. In 2008, when speaking about the union’s internal battles for health care workers, AFL/CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka made his point very clear when he stated,“Unfortunately, these issues have been submerged by an increasingly vicious turf war that is dividing and weakening the ability of health workers to fight the real enemy - management.”
In this economy it is vital that management teams stay abreast of union tactics and strategies. Union’s have a heartbeat that refuses to flatline. They will attempt to steal the pulse out of an organizations lifeline. You cannot let them steal your organization’s soul – your employees’ sense of belonging and well-being. Permanent Solutions can provide training to your management team to keep unions out of your facility. We also provide in-depth vulnerability and security audits to ensure that your management team can run your operation effectively and safely without union interference. Feel free to contact us to see how we can help you remain union-free!