Report: Unions Discuss General Strike If Trump Refuses To Accept Biden Victory
According to The Guardian, unions in the U.S. are tossing about the idea of a general strike if President Donald Trump loses to Joe Biden in November and refuses to accept the result.
This would be an unprecedented move in the modern era, the publication noted, as the last general strike in the U.S. occurred in 1946, “and that was restricted to Oakland, California.”
The local labor federation in Rochester, New York, was the first union group to officially support the idea. Union federations in Seattle and in western Massachusetts have followed suit, approving resolutions saying a general strike should be considered if Trump seeks to subvert the election outcome.
On 8 October, the Rochester federation voted to support preparing for and holding “a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 presidential elections.”. The union leaders voted to stand “firmly in opposition to any effort to subvert, distort, misrepresent or disregard the final outcome” of the election.
The Rochester move spurred discussion and debate of a possible general strike in union after union, even though some labor leaders see it as a drastic, hard-to-pull-off action. “The idea has gotten a lot more legs than I ever thought it would,” [Dan Maloney, president of the Rochester-Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation] told the Guardian. “Our democracy is in jeopardy of a wannabe dictator. It’s time to be counted and do whatever it takes to remove him from office if he attempts to retain power against the will of the American people.”
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told The Guardian that protests during off-work hours will not be enough to move Trump should he refuse to accept a Biden victory:
“What we’ve seen is people going about our business during the day and conducting mass protests at night, and that’s not going to be enough to make this president move,” Nelson said. “He will use those protests to further divide the country. We will have to do the one thing that takes all power and control from the government or anyone with corporate interests in keeping this person in office, and that is withholding our labor.”
Nicole Grant, who heads MLK Labor, a Seattle-area federation of local unions representing nearly 200,000 members, said the threat of a strike is not so much a plan right now as a warning shot.
“This is a break-in-case-of-emergency kind of demand,” Grant explained. She said labor leaders hope they do not have to reach such a point, “but at the same time, when we consider the potential of a coup, that’s not something we’re going to stand for”.
Union leaders told The Guardian “they hope college students, Blacks Lives Matter activists, women’s and environmental groups and many others will join in” if a general strike becomes necessary.