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(en) US, Montpelier, Vermont, Union + Town Meeting = Democracy Workers of Montpelier Step Forward - History Calls! by GMAC

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 4 Jan 2004 21:45:20 +0100 (CET)

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Email: greencollective (at) chek.com (unverified!) Current
A message from the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective (Vermont-NEFAC)
There is perhaps one or two moments in an individual's life
where they find themselves immersed in what rightly can be
considered an historical moment; a moment where their very
own decision to act or not to act may determine the future
outcome of not only their immediate surroundings, but that of an
entire people, and history itself. It is just such a position that
the workers of the Vermont city of Montpelier find themselves in today.

For more than three months a union drive has been underway in
Vermont's capital. However, this Union drive is not the kind that
we have come to expect. Instead of targeting a single factory, or
business, the goal, from the onset, has been to organize the
entire city into a general union of workers. This has not been
remotely attempted in North America in many, generations. This
project was initiated by area employees, the Vermont Workers'
Center, and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
(of whom the Hunger Mountain employees are members), and
has been carried forth by a volunteer organizing committee of
rank and file workers from dozens of distinct city shops. To date
(October 25th, 2003) management at Charlie O's tavern has
said that they will voluntarily recognize the union. Also,
recognition at the Savoy Theater is looming. Workers at La
Pizzeria, Karma Imports, and other shops are organizing. At J.
Morgan's, a restaurant that employs more than 40 people, a
majority of workers have come forth in support of the union. To
date, J. Morgan's has refused to recognize the union and has
created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation on the shop floor.
Management beware! Union busting will not be tolerated
in our community!

What does the Unionization of Montpelier mean for the city's

With a Union, workers will receive a contract through which
they can attain job security (bosses will no longer be
empowered to fire people without just cause, and bosses will be
forced to follow an agreed procedure if they seek such action),
increased wages and/or a guarantee that wages will not be cut
(the Union seeks to gain fair wage increases for all, and has the
goal of winning an eventual livable wage), and, with the
organization of a union, workers will have a legitimate chance of
winning decent benefits (i.e. Medical coverage). However, more
importantly than these concrete gains, the unionization of
Montpelier will result in the expansion of democracy in that
workers will now have a citywide organization, through which
they will be able to meet, and discuss all pressing issues that
effect them on a local, national, and even international level.
They will be in direct possession of a democratic organization
that has the capacity to take a position, and to take action, in
the interests of the Montpelier and Vermont working class, and
other laborers, wherever they may be, and wherever such acts
of solidarity and mutual aid are shown to be both desirable and
necessary. For example, if the city or state government was to
enact laws or regulations that are counter to the interests of
working families, or conversely, if resolutions stemming from
this worker's organization and/or Town Meeting day are not
enacted by the related authorities, the workers will now be able
to call for a meeting of representatives from each city shop. At
such a meeting they, through a democratic decision making
process, will be able to organize the united response of all city
employees. Such united and organized action, regardless of the
particularities that such will ultimately entail, will result in the
applying of a strong and united pressure on those who seek to
block or manipulate the will of the people. After all, it is the
workers who make Montpelier and Vermont as a whole
function; it is they who, among many other things, clean the
offices, work the cash registers, count inventory, serve and
cook the food, provide childcare, maintain the roads, construct
buildings, give medical care, and mill the lumber. If the workers
build such a strong and democratic organization through which
their common interests, visions, and goals can be articulated in
a united voice, backed by a commitment to action, than they will
be in a position whereby they can put the agenda of the common
Vermonter first. The laboring classes make Montpelier function,
and, if united, they, at will, can decide otherwise! There is power
in labor!

Let us be clear about something. Montpelier could be just a
beginning. After this campaign has won a citywide recognition,
other Vermont towns may follow its example. And if the
workers of such towns (both large and small) come together
into strong organizations, and as these organizations build
strong ties between each other, the Vermont working class as a
whole would no longer be at the heals of politicians who have to
answer to the bosses (be them the IBM CEOs or out of state
logging interests). If this time comes, these strong and
democratic organizations of various city and town workers, in
collaboration with farmer's organizations such as the Dairy
Farmers of Vermont, and taking into account the general will as
organized through the more than 200 Town Meetings, would
now be in a position to put forth a united and legitimate voice of
all these working persons who make Vermont what it is! We
will win!

And again, as goes Vermont, other regions in North America
could follow. For if we, as working Vermonters, can show
people that it is possible to band together to receive a wage that
one can live a dignified life by, and as it is demonstrated that
democracy does not start and stop in a voting booth, but that it
is a real everyday practice of workers which must be won and
protected by our own collective efforts, than we can rightly say
to our natural allies across the continent and beyond that
“we stand in solidarity with your
particular struggles, and we offer you a proved model that you
too can utilize for your own empowerment

The question that every worker in Montpelier must be prepared
to answer is "which side was I on when we, together, stood at
the historical crossroads of class struggle? Did I stand with my
fellow workers, and therefore strive towards the further
democratization of my community, or did I fall back inline, into
the stagnate waters of the status quo? Did I take part in the
historical emergence of an empowered working class, or did I
support the poverty wages, and dictatorial control of the bosses,
the wealthier, the big money politicians, and all those who would
seek the stifling of real everyday democracy" Just as our
ancestors who rebelled against the tyranny of British
imperialism had to decide which side they where on, so too must
we. To support the Union is to support further democracy. To
support the bosses who are against the union is to support the
status quo which feeds us on poverty wages, and keeps us
tethered to a political machine which is fed by little more than
capital. In the spirit of the Green Mountain Boys, and with the
goal of democracy and social justice, the Green Mountain
Anarchist Collective calls on all fellow workers to step forth
into the light of history, and seize the opportunity that the
moment holds! Union Yes!

Workers of Montpelier Unite!
The Green Mountain Anarchist Collective
a member of the Northeastern Federation of
Anarcho-Communists (www.nefac.net)
Email: greencollective (at) chek.com
PO Box 76
Montpelier, VT, 05601

If you are a Montpelier worker and wish to join the cause, form
a Union committee at your workplace and get in touch with the
Vermont Workers Center at: 802.229.0009 Or stop by their
office located at: 7 Court Street, on the forth floor, Montpelier. If
you are a worker from outside Montpelier, but also wish to form
a Union, you too are encouraged to call the Workers' Center.

*This document is not intended to definitively represent the
views of any organization other than the Green Mountain
Anarchist Collective. We do not speak for the UE, the Workers'
Center, or the Montpelier Citywide Organizing Committee.

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