Under these conditions, the pseudo-left International Socialist Organization (ISO) has jumped to the defense of the CWA and IBEW, in the hope of blocking a rebellion by workers against these discredited organizations. Whatever mild criticisms the ISO offers of the CWA and IBEW leaders are more than offset by their underhanded but relentless insistence that workers have no choice but to accept the framework of the existing unions. This is a right-wing policy, which, if followed, would have disastrous consequences for wide layers of the population.
In an August 21 article, “Why did the unions retreat at Verizon?” the labor editor of the ISO publication Socialist Worker, Lee Sustar, provides an apologia for the unions’ stab in the back and argues that workers should look to the CWA and IBEW to defend their interests.
The language employed in the article is revealing. The unions, the headline informs us, have made a “retreat” at Verizon. Later, Sustar complains about the unions’ “cautious approach,” adding that the CWA and IBEW “shied away from” conducting a wholehearted struggle. The unions, we are told, “cut short a promising strike.” The theme of the article is that by “renewing and rebuilding the union’s muscle,” as Sustar puts it, i.e., applying pressure on the union officialdom, the present situation can be remedied.
The sudden calling off of the strike with no contract in place, begins Sustar, has left “strikers and supporters asking ‘why,’ as they debate how to continue the fight for a good contract while back on the job.”