Resolution 11:18:01 To Pursue a Rank-and-File Labor Strategy

Authors: Olivia Harding, Bill Bradley, Paul Prescod

Co-Sponsors: The Labor Branch of Philly DSA


Whereas Workplace struggle is critical to any fight for socialism and it is through the labor movement that workers build and exercise their collective power in their workplaces while connecting workplace struggles to broader struggles for justice like anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-war fights, such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, Fight for 15, and Abolish ICE; and

Whereas the labor movement is critical to the struggle for socialism because 1) it is where unionized workers gain critical, direct experience in class struggle through fights against individual employers and 2) it can be turned into a tool against the capitalist system as a whole when it moves beyond demands on individual exploiters and starts to make broader demands and fight for the whole working-class; and,

Whereas, established unions are the most powerful existing base from which to organize workplace struggles and greater organizing of the unorganized will come through transforming existing union locals into more militant, democratic class-struggle-focused organizations,

Whereas, Rank-and-file union jobs typically provide a degree of protection, job security, and material well-being often not found in non-union jobs. This gives rank-and-file union activists the stability to engage in deep, long-term organizing in their workplaces and unions,

Whereas, All workers deserve justice and a union, but this does not mean that all sections of the working-class have an equal capacity to exercise social and political power; indeed strategic industries include, but are not limited to, education, logistics, healthcare, transportation, local, county and state government, and communications and in Philadelphia, many of these sectors are highly organized,

Whereas, unions are the largest, most well-funded and diverse working-class institutions in the country. Joining unions will open up opportunities for DSA members to work in a milieu that is far more diverse in every respect than DSA’s current membership, and to hold union leadership accountable,

Whereas, Most DSA members work in non-unionized workplaces. Organizing these unorganized workplaces is also a crucial task for the labor movement to which DSA can contribute;

Therefore be it resolved, that Philly DSA members interested in building the labor movement should, wherever feasible, seek employment in unionized workplaces, thereby becoming union members; they should do so in groups where possible to maximize the impact of their political work within unions, and they should do so in strategic industries that hold significant power in our economy; members should take on this task with the primary goal being to help build the labor movement, not just to recruit union members to DSA; and

Be it finally resolved, that the Philly DSA Labor Branch at its next meeting form a dedicated subcommittee to coordinate with, and make strategy and resources available to members seeking to organize their non-union workplaces; to serve as a point of contact to help interested members find such jobs; to coordinate with other members to form groups in particular sectors; to connect with experienced rank and file activists; and to assist Philly DSA members attempting to organize their non-union workplaces.

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