And here's a link to the first half of the interview transcript: Accompanying vs Organizing as a Mode of Activism and Change: Transcript of an interview with Staughton Lynd
Thanks to Don Caldarazzo for doing the transcript.
We pick up from the first half of the interview:
Staughton Lynd: I believe that once the company was handed this power - nothing in the law required it - once the workers were required to surrender their only practical weapon to do something about it, namely the right to strike, it was all over. Yes, there was McCarthy, yes there was etc., etc., etc., but I think the die was cast from the CIO's very beginnings.
Rob Kall: Now, you say in your book that collective bargaining agreements were, for these men, an obstacle. That's what you're talking about here, that once they...
Staughton Lynd: Well, I don't mean the workers should never enter into a contract, I don't mean that at all; that may be the right thing to do. I'm talking about the substance of what has been the typical trade union contract in this country since 1937, and if any of your listeners are covered by a union contract that doesn't require surrender of the right to strike during the life of the contract, I'd like to hear from them, because (laughs) I don't think are many such contracts.
Rob Kall: And you say that once the have such a contract, the shop steward becomes a "cop for the boss."
Staughton Lynd: That's right; and that I learned from another rank and file worker named Marty Glaberman, who was not a steelworker, he was an autoworker. There is a pamphlet that he helped to write not long after WWII in which he described the trajectory of the man or woman who is chosen by his or her fellow workers to be their representative, to get in the foreman's face, to be the person who wasn't afraid to speak up, and they thought that the way to do that was to elect that person shop steward. Well, the problem was that if you have a contract that says the workers can't strike, then the next time the people in your local "wildcat," you've got to stand at the plant door and pretend to be telling them to go back to work. I think it's an accurate analysis. The pamphlet is called Punching Out, and you can find it in a collection of Marty Glaberman's writings published by the Charles Kerr Publishing Company in Chicago.
Rob Kall: OK. What you're saying in your book is that unions became top down, the unions deals that they signed basically emasculated and eviscerated the power of the union, and that once the deal was signed, the leadership of the unions became the police for the employers!
Staughton Lynd: That's a fair summary.
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