What is a revolutionary union?
A union that is at the same time an organization of workers to improve wages and working conditions, and a revolutionary organization to emancipate workers from wage slavery to the employers. To improve working conditions the preferred method of struggle is direct action against the employer: the strike in its many forms, the work-slowdown, all culminating in the general strike against all employers and occupation of the means of production. To emancipate the workers, the revolutionary union prepares the workers to run industry themselves by running the union democratically, educates workers in strategy and tactics to fight the bosses and the science and technology to transform industry, and prepares them for the class struggle.
Why do we call the unions of the AFL-CIO and their kind “business unions”?
There are two reasons for this. Firstly business unions are not democratic but bureaucratic. They are run by union professionals, mostly lawyers, who are not workers but middle class managers who because they spend all their time doing the union business are entrenched politically and able to keep the rank-and-file in line. Like salesmen, they sell their services to workers like insurance as protection from the boss and to employers as protection from their workers. Secondly. we call them business unions because they believe in capitalism. Just like the right-wingers, the business unions believe that capitalists are “job creators” and that capitalists are necessary. To believe in capitalism is to believe in wage slavery. Such unions can never emancipate workers.