Of course, the ends pursued by the new administration and the modes of organization and decision-making were far removed from those of the previous employers. This was not lost on the media, which systematically opined and wrote against the hotel workers (and against the working class in general):
Through contacts with the delegate on line E, Roberto Pianelli, the picketers floated the idea of holding assemblies and press conferences in the hotel Bauen. Since a worker cooperative is in charge there, the BAUEN became the place for political meetings. Few marches are decided on outside of that place. The unemployed, union leaders, parties on the left, and human rights organizations find a natural meeting place there.1
The description comes from a story in the newspaper La Nación, which gave an account of the processes of struggle and organization that, in February of 2005, united leaders of different political and social organizations in the fight that carried forward the “metrodelegados” (“a grassroots union more inclined to the left than Peronismo,” according to the characterization by the same journalist), a body of delegates of subway workers that were organized outside of the bureaucratic Unidad Tranviarios Automotor (UTA), and which gave rise, through a prolonged struggle, to the current Union Association of Workers of the Subway and the Premetro. Notwithstanding, the story in La Nación slipped in a lie, saying that “since a worker cooperative took charge, the BAUEN has become a place for political meetings,” overlooking the innumerable meetings and events held there by the major political parties under employer management. That is, when businesspeople were in charge, the BAUEN already was a “place for political meetings.” What has changed is the composition and class orientation of those who hold their meetings there, and the type of objectives that the respective alliances pursue.
Still, La Nación was not at all wrong about the characterization. In the specific case of the metrodelegados, the BAUEN was, in fact, a key place to facilitate their organization. “Beto” Pianelli, Néstor Segovia, and other activists who made up the subway workers’ first attempt to build their organization, autonomous of the bureaucracy of the UTA, repeatedly affirmed the role the BAUEN had is providing space for the meetings and assemblies through which was organized the new union. A UTA mob even attacked delegates within the hotel, causing injuries to workers and property damage. But it was all was vain: the metrodelegados did not give up on their intentions, they did not panic when faced with these events, and they were able to form their group.
Since then, the bonds between them and the BAUEN workers are so solid that they have even threaten to bring the subways to a halt when the ccoperative has faced threats of eviction. This is class solidarity in action.
- Daniel Gallo, “Picketers accompany the strike,” in La Nación, 10 February of 2015. Recovered from http://www.lanacion.com.ar/678461-los-piqueteros-acompanan-la-huelga↩