Labor Notes 2024: Towards a United Front for the Class Union

On April 19-21, the bi-annual Labor Notes conference of union militants, will be held in Chicago. Five thousand participants are expected. This is a beautiful proof of the vitality of the American working class, on the economic and union terrain. As the international bourgeoisie re-arm across the world in preparation for renewed inter-imperialist conflict, the role of the organized elements of the working class can play in, not just defending the living conditions of the international proletariat, but in preventing an all out global war is more important now than ever. To say the least, the stakes are high and call for renewed vigor on the part of all working class militants.

We appeal to all at this year’s Labor Notes conference, to join us in our call for the establishment of a united front of all combative rank and file forces and class struggle unionists within the labor movement. As workers are faced with assaults on all sides by the capitalist class which has completely subordinated all “democratic” governments to serve its own interests, a firm unionist current beyond all electoralist methods and independent of all bourgeois political parties, must develop. Thus we call the various rank and file formations and union militants who recognize such a vital necessity, to establish and maintain ongoing contact, to begin organizing joint activity on a national scale, and to consider joining the Class Struggle Action Network. 

To bring this united effort onto the terrain of action, we call for and plan to develop ongoing organizing campaigns to align union contract expirations annually for May 1st, to enable larger numbers of unions to more easily take widespread and general strike action into the future. Additionally, we call attention to the need for the workers movement to continue to prioritize new unionization efforts over investing funds into more electoral campaigns and tactics. At a current rate of less than 10% of the working class in the United States being organized it is critical that we experiment with, develop and support those various grassroots initiatives of workers attempting to organize the “unskilled” “gig” economy workers into unions.

At a minimum we see such a united front develop based on the common recognition of the following principles as foundational to what we understand our unions must become.

  1. Strike Power: The need to spread and generalize  strike action as an indispensable tactic for the working class in their defense.
  2. Solidarity Action: The necessity of practical unity of all union forces, bringing our unions together in physical actions.
  3. Class Unity: The endorsing of demands that unify the class particularly around wages, the rejection of demands that involve work-place co-management, profit-sharing, or create differential of workers on the basis of category. 
  4. Rejection of Electoralism: We reject popular front and coalitional work with political parties and organizations. We see a need for our unions to concentrate our energies on strike action to make the change we want to see in the world, not investing in electoral strategies of any kind.
  5. Internationalism: The recognition of the international nature of the class struggle and the fundamentally antagonistic relation between the working class and employer.

As the U.S. labor movement continues to develop it’s strength, picking itself back up again, dusting itself off and collecting its forces to once again engage in battle with our class enemy unlike any time in the last half century we recognize that this gathering of union militants is a vital and historical development in the history of the U.S. working class movement recovering as it has many times in its past from a period of retreat.

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