The following was distributed as a leaflet throughout May and June to mass meetings and protests of Detroit city workers by members and supporters of the Detroit Unit of the Workers Party in America.
Brothers and sisters! If you haven’t by now, you will soon receive the ballot sent to you by officials from the “emergency” dictatorship now running this city. This den of thieves and financial thugs will be asking you to vote to cut your own throat in exchange for empty promises and emptier wallets, courtesy of the bosses, bankers and political barbarians of the Republican and Democratic parties.
From the moment that Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson told public school teachers gathered at Cobo Hall last Sunday that he and his fellow officials would not fight for a better deal if the tentative contract they presented at the meeting was rejected, the DFT ceased to exist as a labor union.
In its place is a collection of well-dressed and well-paid enforcers of the demands of “Emergency Manager” Robert Bobb and the corporatist Board of Education.
The 7,000 educators who looked to the DFT officials to represent them in contract negotiations at this critical moment are now left more or less disorganized, facing off against not just the school board, but local, state and federal officials, including Barack Obama’s White House. And now the DFT stands against them too.
The courageous stand taken by workers at Ford Motor Company against both the bosses and the UAW officials has been cause to celebrate. For the first time in decades, workers have been able to effectively draw a line in the sand and declare they will go no farther with accepting concessions and givebacks.
Moreover, the effort to defeat the proposed concessions contract was not organized from above by labor union officials seeking to use our brothers and sisters as a battering ram or bargaining chip. This was a genuine membership-led effort, with workers using both classical and modern organizing techniques to win the day.