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News :: Labor
Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
19 May 2006
Workers at Standard Thomson in Waltham, Massachusetts united in their union (IUE-CWA Local 274) to fight the company's concessionary demands and preserve the good jobs our communities need.
After several weeks of stalemated contract negotiations, more than 150 members of IUE-CWA Local 274 who work for Standard Thomson met to consider management’s “final offer.” Standard Thomson, a British subsidiary of Tomkins PLC, manufactures thermostats for the auto industry in Waltham.

The company demanded major concessions on health insurance, vacation and holidays, and offered only skimpy pay raises. Management further sought to combine almost all job classifications into one “assembly operator” title, while retaining the right to disqualify members for 18 months with only limited resort to the grievance procedure. And it proposed instituting 24 – 7 operations with grueling 12 hour rotating shifts.

“In the past, our union committee has always been divided,” said newly elected local union President Ben Torres. “We had some members only looking out for themselves and some that took private matters back to management. That hurt us badly. As a result we’ve given up a lot over the last few years.”

At a meeting on May 13, Torres and the Negotiating Committee presented the details about the proposed three-year contract and unanimously recommended a strike vote. In the face of the usual company threats to close their plant, members voted 149 to 6 to reject the company's takeaway contract offer.

“This year, management couldn’t break our solidarity,” said Torres. “If we disagreed with one another, it stayed private. We showed management we were really united!”

The Local 274 members were not alone. Ric Casilli, a Business Agent from IUE-CWA Local 201 in Lynn, MA pledged to provide financial and political support to back up the members’ decision. Also attending to show solidarity were Local 201 Organizing Committee member Norm Hirschfeld, CWA District 1 Reps Steve Early and Paul Bouchard, members from the local Carpenters’ union, and Jobs with Justice Director Russ Davis.

“Local 201 members who work at GE have a lot in common with S-T workers in their fight to preserve good jobs and their dignity,” said Hirschfeld. “We manufacturing workers need to start sticking together.”

With the overwhelming strike vote and community support behind them, the union committee resumed negotiations with the company. In just two days it succeeded in getting the company to drop almost all of the take aways and make improvements in wages and pension. On May 16, Local 274 members ratified the new “final offer” 137 to 12.

Like Standard Thomson, many other employers are trying to exploit divisions in the workforce and increased globalization to take away the good jobs that our families and communities depend on. Local 274 members showed the power of sticking together to fight back and win.
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Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
17 May 2006
I worked for Standard-Thompson in Waltham. Back in 1993. Worked like a slave. Crappy pay. And union. I can remember management telling us they were going to move to Mexico. Cheaper labor. So I found another job, and quit.
You'd be better off to find a better paying job. (Like I did.) If you're going to work for CORPORATIONS? My as well, whore it up. Make as much as you can. (Before the revolution.)
Exploitation is common. Open your eyes.
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
19 May 2006
I have an idea... People with manufacturing skills should take advantage of the availability of credit to fund a start-up company where they are their own bosses and get to keep the product of their labor. Sure, that means accepting a standard of living that depends solely on how hard they work and not on the willingness of GE to share its illegal profits from oil and war industries, but if they are united they will be able to share costs like housing and food, etc. and probably in a short time be reasonably profitable.

Or, they can continue to pay off their union bosses' cadillacs while threatening to stop working if they don't get their "fair"share of GE's blood money. Hmmmmm.

19 May 2006
The sniveling bureaucrats who run most Unions think like Capitalists and wish they were Capitalists. They spent 40,000,000 dollars on John Kerry's "Bush Lite" campaign. We could have Unionized Walmart for that kind of money.

There is a seething anger at the base of America's Unions. Workers want to fight for their living standards and working conditions. But the gutless, flag waving, misleaders say it is illegal to fight to win.

The only strike that is illegal is one that looses.

If we mobilize the Power of Labor, the millions and millions of us who are ready to fight, we can shut every work site in this country down - and Unionize all the Scab companies in the process. What is missing is a leadership that reflects the members interests.

Sell Out Labor Leaders - give it up and join the Capitalists. You won't be missed.

We need Union leaders who are not afraid to stand up to the Capitalist. We need Union leaders who are not afraid to go to jail. Labor has the power to defend immigrant rights.
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
20 May 2006
Labor bureaucrats spent half a billion on the Dems in 2004

it's sadly true
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
21 May 2006
If you have to demand it, then it's not a right.
Which Side Are YOU on Liam?
21 May 2006
"Labor has the power to defend immigrant rights". I noticed you slipped that in your phony appeal to workers to fight despite sellout union leaders. Who paid you to make that irrelevant comment? It's the illegals who are yet one more weapon for bosses to slash Americans' wages. And then of course the bosses can threaten to move to Mexico, etc. Gee, Mexico is a pain in the American workers ass in two ways: we either pay their scabs low wages here and you defend the scabs, serving the bosses you pretend to attack, or the jobs go to Mexico so Fox's bureaucrats get payoffs and Mexican workers get exploited while we Americans are thrown out of work.

The elimination of Mexicans on both sides of the border would be a useful sign to indicate the danger of screwing the American worker. Phillipines and other tropical worm holes would get the message as would our Ivy League "boys" who run US companies.

Are you an Ivy League "boy" Liam?
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
21 May 2006
See? Who needs solidarity when you have racism?! Let's not blame the system, just those who are exploited by it! I mean honestly, listen to yourself! Your animosity makes no sense whatsoever. Perhaps instead, you should blame the bosses. What would you do if you had no other options and a family to feed? Oh wait, you probably do! So instead of squabbling amongst each other, don't you think it's time to work together?
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
22 May 2006
"If you have to demand it, then it's not a right."

name one right that has never been denied (and thus in need of demand). Life? nope. Freedom? nope not even in the narrowest sense of nonslavery.
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
22 May 2006
- your right to free health care (example: Canada)
- your right to excellent quality public higher education (example: France, Sorbonne U.)
- your right for your vote to count in direct elections (example: all Latin American countries)
- your right to be free from spying or wiretapping
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
26 May 2006
Jon, you may not have intended to, but you made my point.
Re: Standard-Thomson workers stand up to concessions to win better contract
28 May 2006

I agree with you to a great extent. I think a lot of what we are lacking in labor in this country is that the union bosses are corrupt. I feel like we almost have to invent a new word for what they are doing... they have co-opted the labor movement by shedding it of all it's radical roots and have re-introduced it with the searing, still bleeding, brand of the United States. Everything about it reaks of butressing capitalism...

The left ends up supporting labor like the AFL-CIO because they are really the only large organized labor force in the country- but the right doesn't mind them, that much, because they don't stand for any structural changes anymore...

End note: labor, generally, has lost sight of the longterm goals and have adopted a very short sighted- approach for one reason: monetary benefit.... but how quickly will this fade.
It would be a good idea for us to try and organize a syndicalized union within the unions against the capitalist bosses.
29 May 2006
Forty million people in this country say they would join a Union if they could. Average people know the first thing a Union worker expects and gets is higher wages (even counting the Union Dues.) That's why Bosses don't like them. They like dealing with one weak individual worker at a time. It's the only way a small number of Capitalists can keep the lid on their unjust system.

This is well known by the bosses, as their own power rests uneasily upon the disorganization of the workers. They will do anything they can to prevent workers’ organization and class consciousness from growing.

Unions could show their strength and win broad concessions from the Bosses if they went on strike against the Iraq Occupation. Scare the Bosses - Unleash Labor's power.

Labor Unions have the social power to bring the country to a stand still. They have the power to halt the profits the capitalists make off their labor. The working class of must take responsibility and run the country for the good of all.

Such class-struggle actions display the enormous social power of the proletariat. By having their hands directly on the means of production - the factories and mines, as well as transportation and other industries that make society run --workers have the power to cut off the flow of profits to the capitalists by withholding their labor. No other sector of society has that power