Brother and Sister Carpenters, you deserve better!
As union carpenters fed up with erosion of your benefits and wages, you have rejected four unacceptable offers from the Alliance of General Contractors (AGC) that are well below other trades. We’ve been proud to join your strike lines over the last 2.5 weeks. Your demands for a fair share of the huge profits that these contractors and their clients like Microsoft, Amazon and Google are making, resonate with working class folks across the region.
For example, Amazon delivered a record performance in 2020, with annual revenue up 38% to $386 billion. Net profit for Amazon was up 84% for the year. That is more than Amazon’s profits from the previous three full years. (Forbes, Feb 2, 2021)
Given these enormous windfalls, the demand by carpenters for an increase of $15 an hour over 3 years, plus decent parking reimbursements, is a miniscule portion of the profits your labor is generating.
Should the carpenter membership turn down the most recent offer, then labor, the community, carpenter families and retirees will be motivated to turn out in solidarity to join the picket lines. All that’s needed is an invitation. The teachers’ union strikes not long ago were a good role model on how to mobilize community support and pressure the employer at the bargaining table.
Setting up a hardship fund for workers in affected trades would also build solidarity, bring in donations and escalate morale among those striking and those honoring the lines.
Your courage is contagious
Your fight for a just contract as carpenters across Western Washington is part of a broader strike upsurge across this country – and what stand you take matters. Many rank-and-file carpenters have shown they know how a strike can be won. They demanded expanded picket sites and times, targeted key mega-construction sites like the huge Microsoft complex and called for an end to no-strike agreements.
In every labor dispute, employers will claim that strikers are being unreasonable and that jobs may be lost. Even a handful of labor leaders have fed into this by deploying the tired old red-baiting refrain that “outside agitators” are the reason behind union members holding firm for a decent contract.
Rank-and-file members are the union. Your voices and bold ideas for conducting a successful strike are what will win the day and build a powerful labor resurgence.
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
Freedom Socialist Party Seattle/Puget Sound Chapter
5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98118
For more information email SeattleFSP@socialism.com.