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Letter of Solidarity to the Workers of JeffBoat from the IWW

By Joshua Freeze, Chair, IWW General Executive Board and Alexis Buss, General Secretary-Treasurer, IWW, May 7, 2001

The IWW declares our complete support for the workers of Jeff Boat in Jeffersonville, Indiana in their fight against both their employer and their union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

We condemn the company and the union for demanding that the workers accept an inferior contract. We clearly understand this position from the company. The primary interests of an employer will always be opposed to those of the workers. The company will always do everything in its power to squeeze every last dime out those who produce their wealth. So the IWW stands with the workers.

Unfortunately, the position of the Teamsters is not a new one either. Almost 100 years ago, the IWW was created because of business unions that believed that by cooperating with owners and managers, really surrendering, they could somehow win the battle. The actions of the Teamsters Union support only Jeff Boat, not the workers. The union has betrayed the members. By acting in accord with Jeff Boat, the Teamster leaders have become bosses as well. But the IWW stands with the workers.

Make no mistake: this is a battle. There is no common ground between those who rule and those who work. Until the workers bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole, employers will continue to profit off of our injuries at work, our death at work, and simply off of our labor.

So while we condemn the actions of Jeff Boat and the Teamsters, we come with praise and congratulations to the workers. They have taken the ultimate action of a strike against the company and against a corrupt union. By taking control into their own hands, they have demonstrated that at the end of the day, the workers control the job, whenever they choose to flex their muscles.

This battle has only begun. Neither Jeff Boat nor their allies in the Teamster leadership will give up easily. Remember the power you have - the power to produce and the power to stop production in its tracks. So remain strong, and know that by standing together, the ultimate victory will belong to those who work.