Union busting in the USA is capitalists' strategic objective... NFL players' union warns players of lockout beginning March 2011

For those who think the plans of the ruling class to bust unions is somehow limited to teacher unions (and what's left of unions representing private sector workers), consider the current situation facing some of the highest paid union members in the USA — professional football players. As delegates to the 2010 convention of the American Federation of Teachers were warned in Seattle in July 2010, a lockout of the NFL players is expected after the current football season ends. Even though the various NFL franchises are making money (lots of it), the strategy of the ruling class is now to take away all union rights currently held by workers, whether those workers are teacher assistants in Chicago making $25,000 a year or top professional quarterbacks — the idols of millions — making millions a year.

NFL players union leader gave a speech at the 2010 convention of the American Federation of Teachers. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.A few weeks before the winter holidays, professional football players received a stark warning to save their dollars in case the lockout begins as early as March, a month after the Super Bowl.

Many readers (and even some union members) across the USA are going to have to become familiar with labor terminology again. Chicago is not the only town where strikes were unheard of because public workers unions, led by people like Marilyn Stewart, sold out every union right that union workers once held. (Think of this: As late as 20 years ago, Chicago teachers had "recall rights" during lay offs. Nothing like happened in the summer of 2010 was legal, because the Chicago Teachers Union contract stated that assigned teachers and FTBs who were laid off had to be recalled before others could be hired. Who surrendered those rights? And when and why? Stay tuned at Substance...).

A strike is when workers stop working until they can negotiate a fair contract.

A lockout if when the employers simply refuse to talk, bar the workers from working, and proclaim that they can sit it out (while using corporate media to blast out their "side" of the story over and over and over).

In the coming months, Substance will share some history of Chicago's teacher strikes. By 1987, when the ruling class realized it could destroy the union best from the inside out, Chicago teachers had struck nine times, eight of them under union leadership and once in a massive "wildcat." (More about all that in the future).

The following article was provided to Substance by Portside, a labor news service that others should read regularly (information at the end of the article):

NFL union: Prepare for pending lockout, news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The NFL players' union has advised its members to prepare for a lockout it expects to come in March, telling players to save their last three game checks this year in case there is no season in 2011.

In a letter to the players that was seen by The Associated Press, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union had an "internal deadline" for agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement.

"That deadline has now passed," he wrote. "It is important that you protect yourself and your family."

The letter was dated Wednesday [December 1, 2010], and copies were strewn across a table in the New England Patriots locker room during the media availability on Saturday.

After a reporter asked players about the letter, a Patriots spokesman flipped the copies face-down.

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah declined to elaborate on what effect the passing of the self-imposed deadline would have on negotiations, saying the letter was an "internal communication."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello called the union's deadline "disappointing and inexplicable, especially for fans."

"We hope this does not mean the union has abandoned negotiating in favor of decertifying and litigating," he said. "We are ready to meet and negotiate anytime and anywhere. But it takes sustained effort and shared commitment to reach an agreement. One side can't do it alone.

About an hour after telling the AP, "We don't comment publicly on our internal communications with players," Atallah did just that on Twitter.

"Today's memo to NFL players was an internal deadline to prepare, not for CBA negotiations," he wrote, following up with two more tweets: "The NFL knows that we have exchanged correspondence and met regularly," and "To spin this as an end to the NFLPA's negotiating

is dumb. Perhaps the outrage can be directed towards preventing a lockout."

The NFL has not missed games due to labor strife since 1987, when owners responded to a player strike by continuing the season with replacement players. But the prospect of a lost season in 2011 intensified when owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2008.

Smith has said that he believes the owners opted out with the goal of locking the players out. The NFLPA's home page features a "Lockout Watch" that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the CBA expires on March 3 [2011].

The one-page letter on NFLPA stationery said the union expects the lockout on March 4, and that players should work with their advisers to prepare for an impending lack of income.

It also said the league threatened to cancel the players' health insurance.

The union said it is filing a grievance to contest a cancellation of health insurance, citing a section of the collective bargaining agreement...

[The original article continues. Readers who wish to read more, please go to Portside].


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December 6, 2010 at 5:42 PM

By: JS Whitfield

26-34-46 Hike !

Twenty-six, thirty-four, forty-six, Hike !

And it's one, two, three,

What are we fightin for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn,

Next stop is Iraq, or Afghanistan.

And it's five, six, seven, eight,

Open up the purly- gates,

Ain't no reason to wonder why,

Whoopie ! We're all gonna die.

Now come on mothers throughout the land,.

Send your boys off to Iraq, or Afghanistan,

Come on fathers before before it's too late

Be the first one to wonder why

To have your boy come home in a box.

Chorus: And it's one two, three,

What are we fightin for,

Don't ask me I don't give a damn,

Next stop is Iraq, or Afghanistan

Come on Wall Street don't be slow,

Man these wars, a go , go,

There's plenty a good money to be made,

Supplyin the military with the tool and trade.

Don't be afraid to drop the bomb,

and blowim all to kingdom com

Chorus: and it's one, two three,

what are we fightin for,

Don't ask me I don't give a damn

Next stop is Iraq or Afghanistan

And it's five, six. even , eight

Open up the purly' gates

Ain't no reason to wonder why,

Whoopie ! we're all gonna die.

(Needless to say, a take -off on Country

Joe MACDONALD'S ("Fixin to die rag")

The song begins with a "Fish Cheer", in which the band spells out the word "F-I-S-H" in the manner of cheerleaders at American football games ("Give me an F", etc). The "Fish cheer" later gave way to the "F__k cheer", winning widespread approval from their audience and disapproval from others.[4] In 1970, Country Joe was arrested for giving the "Fish Cheer" in public, and was charged with obscenity.

The text of the song is an ironic invitation for young and able men to join in the Vietnam War; it culminates in urging parents to send their children to war as soon as possible, as to have a chance to be the first in their neighborhood to see their son coming back "in a box". It also features a signature chorus of

“ And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

Don't ask me I don't give a damn

Next stop is Vietnam

December 9, 2010 at 3:06 AM

By: John Whitfield

"Hold that line ! "

Eisenhower, as you know, having been a World War 2, General stated:

"American sports are nothing more than preparation for war" (violent American football?)

Hey, my senior year I spent much time in a hospital, and wasn't able to graduate after gfetting hurt in a small town football game

and Lennon said:

"They keep you doped with religion, sex, and TV,

And you think you're so clever and classless and free,

But you are still just like peasants as far as I can see,

A working class hero is something to be

Yes, a Working class hero is something to be.

If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.

There's room at the top, they are telling ylou still,

But first you learn how to smile as you kill

If you want to be like the fool on the hill.

A working class hero is something to be

Yes a working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero will just follow me.

Check out the John Lennon piece on the cover of the new "Rollingstone."

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