By Felipe V. Martinez
President Trump has made it clear that he may not respect the outcome of the election. Advocating for workers – like the Uber and Lyft drivers my union is working to represent – is already hard enough. If we let our country slip into authoritarianism, it will be ten times more difficult.
Labor bodies around the country are preparing to defend democracy, announcing their plans to launch general strikes if Trump does not accept the election results. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Greater Boston Labor Council, and all Massachusetts locals must pass similar resolutions this week. We can pray that we will not need to implement them, but we must prepare as if we will.
The Rochester Labor Council set the tone on October 8th when they passed a resolution calling for a general strike to oppose any effort to subvert or disregard next week’s election results. The Western Mass Area Labor Federation passed a similar resolution, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association has done the same. And last week, a panel by the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee featuring Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson called on all union members to organize now for strikes by moving resolutions and talking to coworkers.
My friend Steve Tolman, President of the MA AFL-CIO, should immediately call for an emergency meeting of his Executive Council to resolve to launch a general strike to defend democracy. Progressive labor leaders on that body including Merrie Najimy, Max Page, Darlene Lombos, Jessica Tang, Brian Doherty, and Al Vega must immediately organize their colleagues to pass such a resolution. And Darlene Lombos, Jessica Tang, Brain Doherty, and Al Vega should move an identical resolution at the Greater Boston Labor Council.
Additionally, all leaders of local unions should hold emergency executive meetings to pass individual resolutions pledging their support for a general strike, and calling on their national bodies to do the same. I will be moving such a resolution this week in my union.
Act now by calling the MA AFL-CIO (781-324-8230), GBLC (617-723-2370), and your local union leadership demanding an immediate resolution for a general strike.
Labor has the power to bring Massachusetts and the nation to a halt. 245 years ago, the ordinary people of Massachusetts put their bodies on the line for the principles of democracy. Now history calls on us to do the same.
Felipe V. Martinez is the Board Chair of the Boston Independent Drivers Guild.
Photo Credit: JARED RODRIGUEZ / TRUTHOUT