“Here is a check for $300 to build the party, the indispensable instrument needed to lead the working class and its allies to power,” wrote Tom Fiske, a worker at LSG Sky Chefs at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Fiske gave the blood money—from a so-called performance bonus and a one-time contract signing bonus—to the Socialist Workers Party’s Capital Fund to help finance long-range work of the communist movement.
An important foundation of the Capital Fund are contributions of “blood money”— bonus payments and other bribes from the bosses that are part of trying to get workers to accept speedup, wage cuts, concession contracts and dangerous working conditions.
“Normally we have to be without a ‘lost time injury’ for the month to get the performance bonus,” Fiske continued. “This past month the general manager announced there were really two lost time injuries, but they were being ‘forgiven.’” The bonus came one day before workers were to vote on a new contract.
Walter Blades in Atlanta contributed a $50 holiday bonus from his job at a nonunion industrial bakery. “The only raise I have received in three years was 35 cents per hour last year,” he wrote. “We just got hit with an over 30 percent raise in our employee contributions to health insurance.”
“Right after receiving this blood money, said Willie Cotton, who sent in a holiday bonus of $346 from a farm implements factory in Iowa, “the company started mandatory 10-hour shifts. Shortly after we had a week of mandatory 12-hour shifts and seven hours on Saturday. With one 15-minute break.”
Tom Baumann in Miami works in a warehouse, where workers get a quarterly “gain share” check. “How much you get depends on how little you call out and how much overtime you work,” he said. “Temps like myself get $50. I tell my coworkers I’m giving my ‘gain share’ to the communist movement.”
Since December the Capital Fund has received more than $15,000. To make a contribution, contact Militant distributors listed on page 6.