The Picket Line
People often have in mind that a strike only ever ends up in a picket line that doesn’t really disturb production. However, there are many ways by which to disrupt the bosses’ peace. Here are 12 ideas on means of action for the national day of strikes and disruptions of May 1st 2015!
Probably the easiest method: support the strike without disrupting production of a workplace. Carry a symbol of solidarity: a t-shirt, a hat, pins, or the famous red square. Organize pickets until starting times, hold a demonstration at lunch hour – make sure to emphasize visibility and awareness!
According to the Québec Labor Code, a legal strike can only take place at the end of a collective agreement, and then only when it has been at least 90 days since a notice of negotiation was sent. Many unions will be in this situation by May 1st 2015, especially those in provincial public service. In this context, any member of a union can call a general assembly and demand a strike vote applicable on May 1st 2015.
Like the legal strike, it only takes a general assembly to vote it, but its illegality must be recognized. If it’s an action that can face repression, it’s also going to be one of the stronger ways in which workers can fight back!
Work to Rule
All it takes is working directly to the letter, to exaggerate all procedures, tasks, collective agreements, and security measures. The result: slower production, of course! Why clean a counter in a few minutes, when you can really make it spotless for a good hour?
Call in Sick
Easy and safe for those who aren’t unionized, this method doesn’t impact the boss directly, unless coworkers do the same. In any case, at least you’ll have the time to block, to demonstrate, and to participate in the strike of May 1st.
Strike and disrupt through misinformation ! Imagine an email sent from an address similar to the boss’s that tells workers to not only take the day off, but attend demonstrations and participate in the strike of May 1st. That’d get people talking !
This method is used in most strikes that are respected. It involves blocking all access points to one’s own workplace. Picket lines, locks and chains, glue in keyholes, heavy materials in front of doors, etc.
Several community groups support the strike of May 1st 2015, but it would be useless for them to block a food bank of community center. However, they could block a bank, a politician’s office, a job center, government offices, etc. Or else, a union that can’t block its own workplace could very well block another workplace in solidarity with workers there.
Who knows a workplace better than the employees working there ? An unplugged cable, a loose bolt, a ‘frozen’ computer system, a machine that suddenly creaks…these things can really ruin every-day production.
More risky, and often used by affinity groups, this action implies disrupting regular activities in an area where we don’t generally have any leverage, by means of sabotage. Breaking windows to denounce gentrification, dousing government buildings in red paint to contest austerity, etc. Whatever people say, this has the advantage of both general disruption and symbolic impact.
Many companies make a lot of money through Internet, and it is possible for us to resist at this level. The idea is simple : block all the target’s means of communication by taking them over as much as possible, whether it’s telephones, emails, fax, etc.
Blocking means of transportation is one of the most efficient means of more widely disrupting the economy, which is ideal during a general strike ! The idea is to block access to important means of transportation : bridges, railways, the metro, bus depots, harbors, main roadways, access to industrial areas, etc.