[Marxism] PG&E electricity shutdown in N. California

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Fri Oct 11 08:56:40 MDT 2019


Andy, unfortunately, while the union is key in keeping job numbers up, thus
their defense of tree trimmers and the unionized tree trimming companies,
it generally is very right wing. There is agreement that neither the union
nor the company will attack each other in public or oppose the demands of
either party when discussions over rate increases, public power proposals
and so on come up in the State. Thus, the union deploys its staff to lobby
to support rate increases even as the company and union bargain for a new
contract every 3 or 4 years. One will never find the union attacking the
Company in public unless a Company action directly negatively effects the
membership.

With the spate of proposals for *Municipalization* in San Francisco and
other communities, the union mobilizes resources to oppose it, like they
did in 2000 when two similar proposals for a buy out of the grid occurred
in SF.  I see no change in this class collaboration.

Understand, Local members are paid far in excess of similar employees at
Public Power entities like SMUD or the DWP in LA. There is likely no
question that had the proposals gone through in 2000, which I worked for as
it happens, ex-PG&E and now public power workers would of taken  a big hit
eventually. Of course that would depend as well on the dynamic of fighting
to maintain high wages and could of been taken up by other SF employees to
raise standards to what the PG&E contract had in it. It is hard to tell
what would of happened.

Additionally there was an "institutional" prerogative against this as
public employees are not part of the NLRA and thus representation if 100%
based on City laws, in this case the San Francisco, or State, Charter. With
2000 employees in SF it would of meant the possible loss of these 2000
employees to other unions already established in City.

Lastly, to give you an idea of my unions collaborationist perspectives, in
the 90s I went to a pre-negotiation union conference for all shop stewards.
The Assistant Union manager got up and first thing he does is "do you want
to negotiate or do you want to strike?". Amazingly every one bought into
this nonsense except for a few socialists and ex-socialists who were there.
The unions *brags* about never having gone on strike. That is what we were
up against and what rank and file militants are still up against.

David Walters

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 7:44 AM Andrew Pollack via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Would like to hear more about the union's position and activities, as well
> as of communities.
> This is important not only for energy workers and consumers but for climate
> change activism as well -- i.e. if we are to get past the (hugely
> impressive) street rallies the question of worker/community control will
> have to be posed at specific strategic sites.
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