At a rally on Monday, Seattle’s newly-elected Socialist councilwoman, Kshama Sawant, accused Boeing of “economic terrorism” should the company decide not to build the new 777X in Puget Sound and urged the union members to “take over the factories.”
Her comments follow the members of the Machinists’ union in Puget Sound rejecting a Boeing offer that had been negotiated secretly with the company by IAM international officials from the union’s headquarters near Washington, DC.
IAM officials reportedly negotiated the tentative deal with Boeing in an effort to ensure the assembly of Boeing’s new 777X in Puget Sound.
In exchange, Boeing wanted a long-term contract without having to face frequent strikes, that would also reduce members’ pensions among other things.
The backroom deal angered many of the Machinists, some of whom are now circulating petitions to decertify the Machinists’ union.
On Monday, Seattle-area labor activists held a post-rejection rally in Seattle. Hundreds of activists were in attendance, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Councilwoman-elect Kshama Sawant.
At Monday’s rally, according to KIROTV.com, Sawant told hundreds of union activists what they should do if Boeing does indeed build its 777X elsewhere:
“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night.
This week, Sawant became Seattle’s first elected Socialist council member. She ran on a platform of anti-capitalism, workers’ rights, and a $15 per-hour minimum wage for Seattle workers.
Sawant is calling for machinists to literally take-possession of the Everett airplane-building factory, if Boeing moves out. She calls that “democratic ownership.”
“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” she said.
Ms. Sawant told KIROTV.com that, once the factories are seized, the workers could retool them to produce mass transit buses.
While Ms. Sawant’s ideas are not new and have been tried (and failed) in the past, a majority of Seattle’s voters approve of her Marxist ideas.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com.