Workers' Resistance an Invaluable Asset of the Working Class Movement for Its Rights and Dignity

One of many solidarity rallies on the ABI picket lines, March 23, 2018.

During the 18-month lockout, ABI workers and their union were tireless in mobilizing the organized support of workers in Quebec, Canada and several other countries. They made an immense effort to counter the power of the Alcoa/Rio Tinto global cartel and its political representatives in government. The global cartels have access to massive social wealth and production facilities throughout the world, which they brandish as weapons against the international working class to attack their rights and dignity and extract concessions on their working conditions and standard of living.

Rio Tinto Alma workers at May 25, 2019 rally supporting ABI workers.

Building on the tradition established by the struggle of Alma aluminum workers during the Rio Tinto lockout in 2012, the ABI workers and their union mobilized support, including financial support, from approximately 500 union locals in Quebec, Canada, and elsewhere including the United States, Australia and Guatemala. In many cases this was done through holding general membership meetings at which workers were informed of the ABI dispute and subsequently voted to support the workers financially, often in regular donations until the end of the lockout.

Union-trained representatives journeyed to address workers throughout the world, including Australia and Belgium to explain the conflict and mobilize support. Workers and unions from across Quebec, and from many places in Canada, the United States and other countries, came to the ABI workers' picket lines to express their support. This greatly encouraged the ABI workers to hold firm during the lockout despite the difficulties. The many activities engaged in during the lockout and the relations that developed with other workers are a valuable asset of the workers' movement, which can be further developed and made even more effective in the fight in defence of workers' rights.

The global social love and solidarity of the working class was on full display at the powerful family march of over 5,000 people demonstrating their enormous spirit of resistance and dignity in the streets of downtown Trois-Rivières on May 25. The struggle of the ABI workers and their community and global solidarity throughout the lockout reveal the enormous potential of the working class to defend itself.

The resistance of the ABI workers and the support of their allies throughout the world exposed the subservience to global private interests of neo-liberal governments such as in Quebec in opposition to working people and their communities. The lockout shows the necessity to hold those governments to account and confront them with the practical politics of the working class in new ways that have to be explored and developed.

Board at picket line thanks all those who supported the ABI workers. Shown above, delegation of Unifor Local 1980 workers from Markham, Ontario, visiting the picket line June 17, 2019.

(Photos: WF, Metallos)

This article was published in

Number 25 - July 18, 2019

Article Link:
Workers' Resistance an Invaluable Asset of the Working Class Movement for Its Rights and Dignity


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