What is Socialist Industrial Unionism? PDF Print E-mail



A Union for All Workers

Whether you are a fast food worker or a heavy machine operator. A library worker or a machinist in a factory. A waitress or a school teacher. All workers are included in the industrial union organization.

However, industrial unionism organizes differently from the trade unions. Instead of being organized into a union which is specifically for your type of job (carpenter's union, pipefitter's union etc.) you will be organized based on your industry. For example, if you are a waitress you will be part of a union that includes all food service workers both locally and nationally. This would also include cooks, busboys, cashiers and all workers whose product is to prepare and serve food. In the WIIU organizational structure this would be called Industrial Union P4 or Restaurant, Hotel and Building Services workers. Workers in these types of jobs would also be part of a larger union subdivision which is called a Department. These workers in food service would be organized into the Public Services Department. The Public Services Department also includes workers in Health Services, Educational Workers, Recreational Workers, General Office Workers, Municipal and Utility Service Workers, Household Service Workers and Sex Workers.

The other Departments include:

Agriculture and Fisheries

Building and Construction

General Manufacturing and Production

Mining, Minerals, Metal and Machinery

Transportation and Distribution

All of these departments and their subsidiary industrial unions are united into the One Great Union of all workers, the WIIU. So, no matter what your job or what department or industrial union you are organized into, you are part of a larger whole. The WIIU is a working class union and it includes all workers no matter what their skill or trade.

The purpose of this type of organization is obvious- There is strength in unity. For instance, lets go back to our waitress example. Suppose at a particular restaurant the busboys were unhappy with their hours or wages or perhaps they are denied health benefits. They would voice their problem at their regular workplace meeting, which would include all organized workers at that particular restaurant. If management refuses to address the problem after meeting with the restaurant worker's elected representative and a strike is called by a vote of all the employees, it would not just be the busboys who strike, it would be ALL of the workers at that particular establishment. The cooks, waitresses, hostesses etc. would all take part since they are all union members and since they are all WIIU members they would be duty bound to support their fellow workers.

If the busboys were organized into a regular trade union, they would be on their own while the rest of the employees, probably organized with a different union if they could find one to represent them, would continue to work. Alone, the busboys would have little chance of having their demands met, but with the unified strength of their fellow workers in the WIIU behind them it would be very hard for their employers to hold out for long. In the WIIU an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

The day to day battle over wages, working conditions, benefits etc. is not the only purpose behind the WIIU. We have a higher goal in mind. We are organizing to build a new system, a system that will put an end to the oppressive profit driven system we now toil under and replace it with an economic democracy, a true democracy where we the workers, the people, will have full voice and vote in every facet of operation in our society. Production for profit will be replaced with production for needs and wants. All the instruments of production will become the property of the people and our product will belong to us all.

Take that first step toward putting an end to wage slavery. Join the Union of your class, join the WIIU today.