The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 4 #11


November 20, 1988

[Front page: Down with the anti-abortion fanatics!--Defend the rights of working class women!]


The St. Louis Chrysler strike and the UAWs "New Directions Movement".......... 2
Red Dawn on Swedish elections............................................................................. 4
News briefs from the "war on drugs":

Boston MBTA suspends motorman who saved woman's life................................. 5
A glimpse at "employee involvement" in postal route revision............................. 6
Will working longer and harder stop piece-meal privatization of the postal system?................................................................................................................... 7
The struggle against GE's "worker involvement group"........................................ 7

Down with the anti-abortion fanatics! Defend the rights of working class women!

And what of the "New Directions Movement"?


At the Wentzville, Missouri plant


"Red Dawn" on the Swedish elections:


Boston MBTA suspends hero motor man who saved woman's life:


Route revisions in a New York postal station:




Down with the anti-abortion fanatics! Defend the rights of working class women!

From the Oct. 25 issue of Boston Worker, voice of the MLP-Boston:

With a lot of fanfare from the media of the rich, the anti-abortion fanatics of "Operation Rescue" are trying to rescue and revive the antiabortion movement as part of the November elections. They have brought foot soldiers from five States to block the entrances of abortion clinics and to harass, insult and assault women going to the clinics. The media said that "equal numbers" of Reagan warriors and counter-demonstrators showed up last Saturday [Oct. 22nd], but the anti-abortionists were outnumbered two-to-one despite support from Cardinal Law and local politicians. The activists drowned out the holy hypocrites with chants such as "Right to Life is a lie, they don't care if women die!" The anti-abortionists are planning another attack on a clinic on Saturday, October 29th.

The demonstrators' were boiling mad against the anti-abortionists, who claim that they are trying to defend the right of unborn fetuses to life. What hypocrisy! They don't give a damn about the rights of babies, born or unborn. Their hero is Ronald Reagan, whose Justice Department has been trying to overturn state laws protecting pregnant women from being fired. They are not bothered by the fact that 22% of children in Dorchester suffer from malnutrition due to low wages, high rents, and Reagan administration cutbacks. They are not bothered that Detroit has a higher infant mortality rate than Honduras, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The anti-abortion fanatics in the Michigan legislature were the first to vote against aid to poor pregnant women and their newborns. They don!t even dare that poor and working class women will be driven to back alley abortions that have resulted in countless deaths!

The leaders of the anti-abortion movement are the staunchest defenders of the Reagan cutbacks of programs for women and children in order to finance the biggest military build-up in history. A military build-up for such "pro-life" activities as supporting the contras, who bomb health clinics in. Nicaragua, and supporting the death-squad Regime in El Salvador, which murders thousands of workers and peasants to preserve the rule of a handful of rich men. The anti-abortion movement leaders are not pro-life. They are anti-woman, anti-child, anti-working class thugs.

Abortion is a birth control method of last resort. It is a basic democratic right of women to decide for themselves whether or not they shall have a baby, whether or not they can support or raise a child. This is especially important for working class women who are being driven to the edge with low wages, expensive and lousy day care, and the burden of keeping house on top of working. But the anti-abortionists, like their hero Ronald Reagan, have no concern for the plight of working women. Most of them are religious zealots like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart who believe in the fairy tale of Adam's rib, "a woman's place is in the home", etc. They are fighting to oppress women, to keep them from raising their heads and fighting for a better life. They are paving the way form more attacks on the rights of working class women.

And indeed there are such attacks in the works, such as the new welfare, reform bill supported by both Dukakis and Bush. The bill requires that 22% of women be thrown off welfare and into training programs, but provides no funds for the training! This will throw thousands more poor women into minimum wage jobs and into the ranks of the homeless. The anti-abortion movement is helping along the crusade of the rich to drive the whole working class down into the worst poverty.

Workers and activists, there is only one way that these right-wing zealots can be put in their place and that is with militant mass struggle. Unfortunately the "official" leaders of the women's movement, such as NOW, think that the way to fight the anti-abortion fanatics is to avoid any big counter-demonstration on the 29th. They were against having the counter-demonstration on the 22nd [where "Operation Rescue" was defeated, as mentioned in the first paragraph]. They are saying just vote for Dukakis and all the nasty rightwingers will go away. They are even telling the hundreds of people who call them to stay away from the clinics where women will be harassed by the Reaganites and just hold signs along various roads. This only gives the anti-abortion leaders a free hand to build up their anti-woman, anti-working class movement. This we cannot allow. We must show that they are a tiny, pro-Reagan minority. The Boston Branch of the MLP calls on all workers and progressive people to counter-demonstrate against the anti-abortion fanatics.

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And what of the "New Directions Movement"?


The following two articles are from the Oct. 28 issue of the Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Detroit:


For over two and a half weeks 3,200 workers at the St. Louis II plant struck Chrysler.

This fight was a continuation of the battle begun in 1985 when they struck over Chrysler's demands for a "Modern Operating Agreement" that included job combination, cuts in job classifications, reductions in seniority rights, and outsourcing. During the strike in 1985 the workers at Plant II were able to win back a number of job classifications.

This time Chrysler was out for blood. The workers waged a tenacious fight. But in the end were sold out by the leadership of the UAW.

The conditions for the workers in St. Louis II are getting increasingly worse. They are similar to those in most auto plants across the country.

As part of the "Modern Operating Agreement", the company is demanding further, work rule changes, reduction in job classifications and more job combination.

* Chrysler is increasing the "outsourcing" of work to outside companies, usually to low-paid nonunion shops. When the plant was retooled for the mini-van, the workers came back to find the cushion line was gone and 100 jobs were lost. There are plans to outsource the instrument panel assembly as well.

* Chrysler also practices "insourcing"--contracting outwork inside the plant to low-paid nonunion workers. They do various work such as inspection of small parts, janitorial work and some skilled trades work.

All of this has resulted in more layoffs and increased work for those left in the plant. The hell hole conditions in the plant, combined with the extreme heat this summer, resulted in the death of one worker in the plant.

UAW's loyal opposition-- New face, same old sell out

From the beginning, the workers made it clear they wanted to fight against the job loss due to "outsourcing", and other grievances.

And from the beginning the UAW hacks, both locally and nationally, refused to deal with outsourcing. They claimed that it was a national issue and was dealt with in the last national contract. The hacks did everything they could to kept the strike restricted to health and safety issues, flexibility of vacations and the use of part-timers.

When it appeared that things were getting out of hand, and the workers rejected Chrysler's first offer that the local hacks had recommended, then the newly elected regional director Jerry Tucker stepped in.

Tucker is part of the New Directions Movement which has claimed to be opposed to concessions, team concept and outsourcing. This bunch of hacks are nothing but the loyal "opposition". Tucker's militant posture during the elections for director for Region 5 has disappeared. During this strike he showed his true colors, he sided with the UAW national leadership, and he shoved through a lousy contract.

St. Louis workers waged a militant fight

The St. Louis workers had to battle both Chrysler and the UAW leadership in their fight against outsourcing. While Chrysler went to court twice to try to get an injunction against the strike, the UAW hacks were calling for ratification. Despite the pressure, the workers overwhelmingly rejected the company's offer twice. Workers got on local TV news and denounced the UAW leadership for being on the board of Directors of Chrysler and for not supporting them in the fight against outsourcing.

The second time the workers rejected the rotten contract, they made their own picket signs to push for another no vote with slogans like "YOU SAID NO ONCE, THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE YOU MEANT IT, JUST SAY NO AGAIN!" When the vote total was announced to reject the contract, it was greeted with cheers and shouts of "Down with Bieber!" When one local hack tried to tell the workers that they should have voted yes, he was booed and ridiculed. One 11-year Chrysler worker said "we are hostile to the international [the UAW top apparatus] for not backing us. The company and the international are sleeping together."

Finally, on the 3rd vote the union leaders apparently stuffed the ballot box. The union hacks were able to get the vote count the way they wanted it. They forced the workers back to work. Several issues of health and safety and some "curbing" of "insourcing" were won. But this was only due to the workers' struggle. On the larger issues of outsourcing and loss of jobs in general, the UAW hacks sold them out. With the experience of this strike under their belts, auto workers everywhere will be in a better position to take on the company and the UAW hacks next time.

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At the Wentzville, Missouri plant


On Friday the 14th of October, 500 workers at the Wentzville, Mo. GM plant held a rally inside the plant. With picket signs and banners made from stock material (cardboard and markers) they protested in support of the nearby strike at the Chrysler plant in St. Louis. They also protested against conditions in their own plant.

The Chrysler workers had been on strike against outsourcing, job combination and layoffs, problems that the GM workers have also been fighting. The placards read "NO OUTSOURCING" AND "SUPPORT LOCAL 110" (local at Chrysler's St. Louis 11 plant).

GM has been outsourcing some of the work at Wentzville such as the repair work and interior modeling for the touring model. GM has declared that it plans to cut the work force at this plant by 9.5% each year for the next 3 years. In addition, it announced, that it is outsourcing the cushion line to an outside company this year. This will mean layoffs of 150 Workers, 75 per shift. Right now GM is using 60 workers from that company in order to train them to do the job.

Local UAW hacks denounced for not supporting rally in plant

The week following the rally, on Wednesday, 200 workers rallied outside the local union hall. This time they denounced the hacks for not supporting their protest on Friday in the plant. One hack had said that "the organizers of the protest had done a disservice to the rest of the workers." He implied that not all the workers supported the rally. But the reply by the protesters was to explain that the company had scheduled 12 minutes overtime in order to prevent workers from coming.

Tucker denounced for defending outsourcing and team concept

At the union meeting that night Tucker showed up to calm down the GM workers. Many of the workers were excited, expecting Tucker to support them and the Chrysler workers on the issue of outsourcing and team concept. Instead Tucker explained that he had taken outsourcing off the table at Chrysler saying it was a national issue. The GM workers were outraged!

They asked about his stand on team concept at GM; he said he supported it; that both the team concept and outsourcing were needed to stay competitive with Korea. He went on to tell the workers that rallies wouldn't do any good and told them to stop harassing the union plant chairman for supporting the team concept. At this point he was booed by the rank and file.

Weekly rallies against "team concept"

What Tucker is worried about at the GM plant is the weekly rallies that have taken place for the last month or so against the "team concept". Every Thursday at 1 p.m. there are "team meetings" held in the plant. But instead of going to them, as many as 500 workers have been holding rallies against team concept. These rallies have been held outside the office of the union plant chairman, in the plant, to denounce him for supporting the "team concept".

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"Red Dawn" on the Swedish elections:


Recently the social-democratic government of Sweden was reelected. Below is the lead article from the October 15 issue of Rod Gryning (Red Dawn), journal of the Norrkopings Kommunistiska Forening (Communist League of Norrkoping), No. 7, 1988:


So elections have been held again. The Swedish people have gone to the ballot-boxes to vote for one of the offered alternatives for which way the capitalist system is to be administered. Because this is precisely what, it is about--the difference between social-democracy and the openly bourgeois parties is of a tactical character, it is about how the burden of the crisis is to be put on the backs of the working masses, not whether that should be done or not. Neither is there any perspective reaching beyond the framework of the system in the Green Party, or in VPK [the Swedish Euro-revisionist party]--the appendix of social-democracy--or in any of the small "left" parties participating. No, not a single one of the alternatives which were offered on the election day stands for the real class interests of the workers!

The state is a tool of class rule. Its task is to administer the society in question and--above all--to uphold the power of the ruling class by all means, violent or "peaceful". This is the ABC of Marxism-Leninism, despite the fact that reformists and revisionists of various colors deny it, directly or indirectly. But this means that the working class can't take over the existing state machinery to have it working for, its own purposes--the parliamentary way to socialism is an unrealistic utopia. So elections under capitalism free can never be! They might, at most, be a measure of the degree of the political maturity of the working people--provided there is a slate representing the genuine class interests of the workers. That is, even in a coming day when a red tribune enters the parliament of the bourgeois state, the emphasis must nevertheless still be put on the struggles outside the parliament, the independent struggle of the working class. Only the unity of action of the masses in the community, in the factories, and the streets, can gain real changes and, when the conditions are ripe enough, overthrow this system of exploitation in order to build workers' power and socialism on its ruins.

The most important hindrance in the way of the independence of the working class is social-democracy. This is shown already during every concrete action on the part of the working class--as soon as one rises in the slightest way, one beats one's head on the ceiling. This, ceiling is the "Swedish model"--the system of class collaboration with significant corporativist features, that above all is a creation of social-democracy and is upheld by social-democracy through both the government and the trade-union bureaucracy. The "wildcat" strikes are a typical example of this--even relatively simple day-to-day demands thus get a political dimension. And, concerning the large number of scandals dominating Swedish politics for some time, they too clearly indicate that it's completely impossible to overthrow capitalism without smashing social-democracy. [For example, see the May 15 issue of the Supplement which reprints from Rod Gryning concerning Swedish arms trade scandals, in violation of Swedish law and the supposed stand of the social-democratic government, carried on both by the private firm Bofors and the government-owned firm FFV.]

The elections are over. But the class struggle is going on all the time, openly or in the dark! The task of defending the standard of living against attacks from the class enemy remains--as well as the task of developing the struggle for immediate demands into one day becoming a struggle against the capitalist system itself. But for that, it's necessary to build a conscious vanguard--a communist party!

Other articles in this issue of Rod Gryning include:

A front page graphic showing a so-called "employee's representative" in the managers' boards of a medium or big enterprise -- he is standing there blindfolded and gagged. Rod Gryning believes that not everyone elected is necessarily an outright sellout, but even so they are irrelevant in practice, since the "representative" is simply an "observer". There is a slogan under the graphic: "Fight against class collaboration--Class against class!"

There is an article "Some Remarks Concerning the Analysis of the Degeneration of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Victory of the Counterrevolution in the Soviet Union". This article reflects a marked change from certain of their former views. Rod Gryning informs us that it plans to translate this article into English soon and will then send the translation upon request.

The correspondence column contains material from two small groups with which the NKF has had some debates. One of these groups in particular has broken off with NKF, denouncing its stands on Nicaragua, Palestine, Albania, etc. as insincere on the grounds that NKF combines solidarity with public criticism. NKF replies on the importance of an independent proletarian class stand.

There is a translation from Red Chronicle of Spain on the revolutionary uprising in Asturias of 1934.

And there are several pages of news briefs from the class struggle around the world.

To contact Rod Gryning write: [Address.]

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Boston MBTA suspends hero motor man who saved woman's life:


From the Oct. 21, issue of Boston Worker, paper of the MLP-Boston:

Both the Republicans and the Democrats have made the "war on drugs" a major issue in the presidential campaign. The Congress has passed a very repressive "anti-drug" bill in the midst of this hysteria. But underneath all the talk about a war oh drugs is the reality that what is being planned is a war on the rights of the working people. A good example of what the government is really up to is the treatment of an MBTA motorman who was recently praised in the newspapers for preventing a serious accident on the Orange Line.

Three weeks ago a woman was waiting for a train on the Orange Line platform at Downtown Crossing. As a train pulled into the station a mentally disturbed man pushed her in front of the oncoming train. Fortunately the motorman on this train reacted quickly, threw on the emergency brakes and brought the train to a halt in time to prevent it running over the woman. The motorman then got out of his train to help the woman out of the pit. As a result of the motorman's quick action, the woman suffered only minor injuries, mostly from her fall.

You would think that the MBTA would give this worker a commendation. But no! They immediately ordered him to take a drug test under their policy of forcing operators involved in accidents to take drug and alcohol tests regardless of whether there is any reason to believe that the operator was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or was even at fault in the accident.

But in this case the motorman had not really been involved in an accident. He had through very quick thinking prevented a murder. But still the MBTA insisted on the drug tests. This motorman complied with the urine test, but when it came to taking a blood test he just refused to take any more humiliation and wouldn't give his blood. In response the MBTA suspended him from his job.

This kind of harassment is just a small example of the kind of police state intimidation of workers that is developing under the hoax of fighting drugs. Congress' new drug bill provides for heavy fines, revoking of drivers' licenses, denial of veterans' benefits and kicking people out of public housing for infractions as small as the possession of a single marijuana cigarette. At the behest of the federal government thousands of employers are instituting compulsory drug testing of employees involved in accidents or who talk back to foreman. If you smoked a joint a month ago, if you ate a sesame seed bagel in the morning or if you are dark-skinned (melanin, the pigment which causes dark skin, is often mistaken as marijuana) you can fail the drug tests which are often as bad as 33 per cent unreliable. And if you fail the drug test you can be fired.

But meanwhile the drug kingpins and people like Oliver North, George Bush and other top U.S. officials who helped the contras run guns and smuggle cocaine into the U.S. go free. In fact, Oliver North is making millions from his book and speaking tours and George Bush will probably be the next President.

Clearly the war on drugs is not intended to solve the terrible problem of drug abuse and drug trafficking which is destroying lives of so many working class youth. Capitalism will never stop the drug trade. It is too profitable. Instead the war on drugs is just another excuse for repression and intimidation against the working people.

Workers should stand up to the intimidation tactics of this phony war on drugs, and in some places this is already happening. Workers at Amtrak staged a wildcat strike four months ago when the management tried to force a car cleaner who sprained his leg walking in the railroad yard to take a drug test before receiving treatment.

The drug problem will only be solved when the working people begin to rise up against the oppressive system which is offering our youth no future and driving people to despair. Only when people fight for and win a socialist future where the working majority will be the masters of society, not the slaves, will we do away with the drug problem.

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Route revisions in a New York postal station:


Excerpted from the October 14 New York Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-New York:

Route 32 at FDR Station underwent "observation" last week. Four supervisors, including a Tour Superintendent, stood directly behind the carriers throughout the entire day on Tuesday, and through most of the following three days. What on earth did these carriers do wrong to deserve this kind of pressure and intimidation?

But there was something else unusual in this affair: route 32, which had two shop stewards working on it that day, was fully cooperative. In the morning there was practically no conversation between the carriers, and most of them were working faster than usual. And contrary to what one has come to expect of carriers in such situations, the delivery wasnot done by the book. For example, a supervisor actually helped drag bags in one case. And the carriers did not work out of relay boxes in situations where proper delivery would require it.

As a result, two of the carriers came back considerably earlier than usual, while two others were delayed by problems with a freight elevator (otherwise all four would have finished early).

As it turns out, nothing wrong was done by these carriers at all! At least from managements point of view. A shop steward, who is a regular on this route, had agreed to the procedure. The Tour Superintendent had asked him to cooperate; allegedly, they would use the "observation" to demonstrate the need for more carriers in the station.

Likely story! And since when does one prove one needs more help by working faster than normal, by cutting corners during delivery and returning early?

In fact management would like to use this method to speed up the carriers, to get more concessions from them. On route 32 "adjustments" have already been made which are not to the liking of the carriers.

Partly because of the changes, these carriers decided to stop cooperating. They started working by the book after Tuesday. But the question remains: Why did the shop stewards ever agree to this?

The answer lies in the overall policy of cooperation with management which the NALC follows. And it lies in the recent emphasis at all levels of the union on the so-called "Employee Involvement" process and on' union-management cooperation in general.

Work with management was the watchword at the recent NALC national convention, where Postmaster Anthony Frank, the top boss, spoke and got a standing ovation from the delegates. Work with management was the entire theme of the recent meeting held in Connecticut between Branch 36 shop stewards and New York postal management. And working with management is the heart and soul of managements and the NALC's ongoing campaign to push "Employee Involvement" at FDR station.

Work with management is what the union leadership has been telling FDR shop stewards they should do. And it is exactly what the stewards did on Tuesday of last week.

[Meanwhile] carriers, at FDR are not about to accept the Tour Superintendents ploy. Already many carriers are vowing to work by the book if management decides to "observe" them. And this is a good sign and absolutely necessary.

But to stop management in its tracks, resistance has to be organized on a wider scale, involving at least several routes at once.


Resist management's forthcoming campaign of "observation", intimidation; and speed-up! Link up with other routes in order to do this!

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From a mid-November issue of Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Detroit:

The Postal Record, magazine of the letter carriers' union (NALC), has been praising Postmaster General Anthony Frank as a fighter against privatization. But Frank's own statements and plans show otherwise.

Quoted in the May '88 Frontrunner (Detroit divisional newsletter), Frank says he supports a form of privatization that means promoting efficiency in the US PS through worksharing with major mailers and outsourcing to private companies for certain services. Frank's game plan is "automation, worksharing and contracted services."

So maybe Frank doesn't favor the immediate wholesale dismantling of the Postal Service. But he does favor chopping off bits and pieces. There's the contracting out of window services to places like Farmer Jack, Meijer's, and Chicago-area Sears. He aims to have major mailers do more presorting by adding the 9-digit bar code themselves, projected to eliminate the need for 125,000 USPS jobs. And he's enlisted the help of H. Ross Perot to step up automation.

Not so long ago, the Postal Record was warning that worksharing and contracting out are dangerous steps toward privatization (see April '87 and Feb. '88 issues). But now president Vince Sombrotto and co. are trying to line up the workers behind Frank by painting him as an opponent of privatization.

While total privatization may be fairly remote at present, management uses the threat of it like a club. They say that if we just work harder and faster, we may be saved from privatization. But at the same time, management itself is engaged in piecemeal privatization." This is what is costing jobs and causing job combination and speedup. Postmaster General Frank is leading this, and the NALC top leadership is betraying the workers by creating illusions about Frank and refusing to organize a fight against his programs.

Watch out! Frank is no friend of postal workers. We must dig in our heals to fight the speedup and job combination which are coming from piecemeal privatization.

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From the October 18 issue of Boston Worker, voice of the MLP-Boston:

GE has just started up a 13-week SPC course on second shift for buildings 74 and 40. SPC is Statistical Process Control, whereby production problems are statistically analyzed and a team works out a solution to the problem, which increases production, reduces costs, etc. The bottom line in SPC is helping GE make more money by eliminating jobs. Right now we are in the middle of 3,000 layoffs. And GE has the nerve to ask us to help them keep the profits rolling in by laying off the most possible!

10 of the 15 workers in T700 area who. had volunteered for the course before they knew what it was have quit already. They originally boycotted it to protest the threatened suspension of a co-worker. But now that reports have come back from the class on what the course is about, the boycott is aimed against the whole SPC course itself.

What goes on in an SPC course? The class is broken down into teams of a few workers and a foreman. After 8 weeks of indoctrination, each team chooses a project on the floor to solve. The dimension or process under investigation is charted for each piece and the team works out a solution to speed things along. The project is then presented to a sub-section manager and the workers are given a dinner at The Ship as a bribe.

SPC courses are Worker Involvement Groups. In Japanese sweatshops, they are called Quality Circles. They are designed to promote labor-management cooperation to make maximum profits with the least number of workers. Plant Manager Noonan admits this quite freely and says that this is what is needed at GE, just like it was done at Ford.

And what has happened at Ford that gets Noonan so excited? Massive, layoffs have wiped out whole towns, while the remaining workers are sped up like animals to keep up with the automation.

Two years ago, we busted up the Worker Involvement Groups. We must do the same now.

Instead of cooperating with the layoffs, we must organize against speedup and against farmout. The union officials are dead silent about fighting layoffs. They have agreed to every move by GE to eliminate jobs over the past ten years. We on the floor must organize the fight independently from the sellouts down the hall.

Spread the word about SPC! Get those who are attending to drop out! Don't cooperate with the SPC projects! Organize every department against any cooperation at all! This is part of building up militant rank-and-file struggle against layoffs.

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