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For the second part of our series on rank and file movements of the 1970s, we cover the militant workers of the UAW and the CWA. Both these unions faced similar trends of class collaborationist leadership more focused on enforcing existing contracts than resolving problems faced by union workers. Movements like the United National Caucus and the Bell Workers Action Committee arose in response, fighting for democratic control both on the shop floor and within their unions themselves. This era saw both explosive wildcat strikes and oppressive responses from leadership to movements they saw as attacks on their power. While many of these movements were short lived, there’s so much we can learn from their fights to inform our practice today. On the third and final part of this series we will cover rank and file movements by nurses, teachers, flight attendants and the formation of the longest lasting and most successful of the 70s rank and file movements, Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
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