There’s a labour dispute erupting at Porter Airlines. Porter staff who are responsible for refuelling the planes joined COPE (Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union) last August- since then, negotiations haven’t gone well. Porter offered its staff a 25% increase in their minimum hourly wage from $12.50 to $14.50. On January 10th Porter refuellers walked off the job. Porter had trained other staff and managers how to refuel the plane- according to their press statement, their training was the equivalent of what they teach new-hires. No flights were delayed.
Back in the days when people trusted their union executives, and felt genuine solidarity for their fellow workers the solution to this problem would have been easy. All they’d have to do is make a call for workers to show up and barricade the airport. If not enough workers showed, or they felt the need to be particularly forceful, the union executives would call-in their friends in the Mafia.
Today, in modern Canada, things are quite different. First, the union’s rank & file aren’t so motivated to help their fellow workers- and they’re particularly reluctant to put themselves at risk of arrest if it doesn’t affect their own bottom line. Next, the Mafia have mostly outgrown this sort of work- they’re too busy fixing construction contracts and shipping drugs to do this kind of dirty work now. There was a period during the late 60’s to 80’s where the biker gangs could be called on- but they too are focussing their efforts on the drug trade.
So what’s a shit-disturber like the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Sid Ryan to do? According to reports, there are only 22 Porter employees involved in the collective agreement, that’s hardly enough to shut-down the airport. Sid Ryan, the Canadian Auto Workers ans CUPE have come up with a new solution- bring in the anarchists!
So, bring in the anarchists Sid did. In fact, the unions shipped them in on the CUPE 966’s big purple flying squad bus- they weren’t at all discreet about it. And, neither were the anarchists, one of them published a pretty damning article on Linchpin- a radical anarchist website. It’s unknown if they were trying to torpedo Sid Ryan and his union cohorts or not but they certainly seem to have done a good job at it.
The article explains how CUPE provided the transportation and how the action provided a unique opportunity for anarchists to build and solidify relationships with militant unions. The writer tries to paint a picture that the refuellers and COPE are militant and this makes for a perfect partnership. But if you read closely you’ll quickly see the hypocrisy:
“This time, with encouragement from the Porter workers, we fully blocked the only road into the airport causing serious disruption. The picket line was mostly anarchist and other militants, with workers wishing to avoid the legal ramification they might face, but cheering us on from the sidelines“
The anarchists have taken the traditional labour role taken by the Mafia and biker gangs in the past- they’re simply criminal muscle to do the dirty work the rank and file don’t have the resolution to do themselves. The only real difference between what happens now and the tactics of the past is that the optics are different. In an increasingly transparent deception, anarchists use phrases like ‘social justice’ or ‘anti-fascist’ to cover the dark aspirations of their leaders.
Many unions hide behind a the same veil of cognitive dissonance . It’s not the rank & file- most of them would be seriously shocked and angered if they knew what’s happening with their money. It’s the Trotskyite and other pro-violence executives who are behind the problem- they all too often use union resources to promote their partisan political activities. In January Sid Ryan, who’s closely tied with the NDP, openly admitted this- saying that the labour movement will no longer have peace with Ontario Liberals.
At Thursday’s Rally Sid Ryan, Tony DePaulo of the Steelworker’s Union, and Ken Lewenza of the Canadian Auto Workers all made very passionate speeches, and all three yelled out complaints that the cops were doing their jobs- Ryan, in particular, has a history of angry tirades towards the police. But then, only moments later, Ryan and Lewenza start getting into a pushing match with the police- screaming at them while trying to block a privately owned road.
An event like this is the perfect melange for the anarchists and militant unions. The union execs get to look like they did their jobs filling the crowd with angry people, the rank & file get to (cowardly) outsource arrestable rabble-rousing, and the anarchists get a chance to get into street battles with the police. It’s win-win for everyone except for the lawful public.
This isn’t the first time Ryan’s pulled anarchists into increasing the size and veracity of his crowds. The same thing happened last month at the OFL’s protest against the Ontario Liberal convention when Mark Brill and the bullies at OCAP showed-up. And, last year, Ryan got the organizers of Occupy Toronto to trick anarchists and homeless protesters to travel to Ottawa and act as the backdrop to one of his rallies.
As a person close to the Occupy Toronto activistocrats recently told me, the hijacking of Occupy did a lot of good for Ryan- all of the attention Occupy brought helped him get re-elected. The unions used the Anarchists at Occupy as they are using them now- all it takes is a bus ride, and perhaps a warm meal, and they’re as good as bought.
It will be curious to see the anarchist’s reaction when they start realizing that union executives are using them to improve the lives of the middle-class. The irony of this is delicious- let’s hope for the union exec’s sake that the anarchists don’t get to angry with them when they figure it out…
Here’s a video of the union execs making fools out of themselves- have a look, it’s good for a laugh!