OWLS is an open, multiracial, multicultural group of rank-and-file labor activists, committed to education and action with the aim of building solidarity and fighting spirit in the labor movement.
We are dedicated to: 1) forging solidarity across union lines; 2) developing labor-community alliances; 3) promoting the organizing of immigrant and unorganized workers, especially the lowest paid; 4) building a union movement that will take the offense on behalf of the entire working class against the employers and a ruthless economic system based on profits and exploitation; 5) building labor and community support for all workers on strike or fighting for union recognition.
The most oppressed workers – women, people of color, lesbians/gays/bisexuals/transgenders, immigrants, people with disabilities, youth and seniors – are often the best and most intransigent fighters, and we champion their leadership.
We are organized along principles of democracy, debate, mutual respect, majority rule, and unity in action.
WHAT WE DO
- OWLS is an education and action organization. We support strikes, join picket lines, and mobilize for workers’ organizing and defense campaigns.
- OWLS members work together to coordinate actions and campaigns in our unions, across union lines, and in labor councils and other labor bodies.
- We share strategies and develop our knowledge on how to build union militancy. We teach ourselves how to be more effective in our unions and how to stand up and fight for our rights on the job.
- We educate ourselves on labor history and tactics, and on issues of concern to the working class.
POINTS OF SOLIDARITY
FOR INDEPENDENT WORKINGCLASS POLITICAL ACTION
We believe labor needs its own political party, independent of the corporate-controlled Democratic and Republican parties, that will champion the needs of all working people.
The political agendas of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win need to be based on the interests and demands of the entire working class – including the fight for living wage jobs, quality housing, universal healthcare, childcare, education, reproductive freedom, an end to all forms of discrimination, a clean and sustainable environment.
FOR INTERNATIONAL WORKINGCLASS SOLIDARITY
We believe the future and wellbeing of U.S. labor rests in the ability to build a movement is based not on chauvinism or national superiority, but on the principle that workers of the entire world unite across borders to advance our common interests.
Labor must vigorously oppose the open-ended “war on terrorism” and the ongoing covert and overt U.S. wars waged at the expense of working people in the U.S. and internationally. Labor must also oppose neoliberal free trade agreements like CAFTA and NAFTA.
FOR A FIGHTING DEMOCRATIC LABOR MOVEMENT
We believe that the right to strike and engage in mass picketing is still labor’s most powerful negotiating tool and weapon. This is how the labor movement was built. To rebuild labor’s muscle we must expand and exercise this most basic right, even when it means defying anti-labor laws and injunctions. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act and all laws that gut labor’s ability to strike effectively!
Labor’s reliance on “win-win” negotiations, binding arbitration, pleas for labor-friendly decisions from the government, and support for the Democratic Party is self-defeating and a dead-end. To reverse labor’s decline, the millions of dollars and labor hours currently funneled to Democratic Party candidates should be redirected into advancing workers’ rights: i.e. organizing the unorganized, building strike funds, training shop stewards, and educating rank-and-file workers and the community on the critical role that labor plays in building a more humane and livable society.
Labor’s strength comes from the bottom up; encouraging open, democratic discussion and debate in unions and labor councils is crucial to building a strong and inclusive labor movement.