Poor workers from other countries are not scabs, they are our fellow workers. Only when they actually cross a picket line are they scabs. And when the strike is over, they stop being scabs and we need to get back to trying to organise them.
Migrant workers are our fellow workers, exploited by capitalists in both multinational corporations and in domestically-owned businesses. They are not crossing picket lines and we never can fall into divide and rule arguments advanced by those whose interests are served when we are divided by colour, by gender, by ability, by sexual preference, by country of birth. United we fight, divided we crawl!
Our enemies are not our fellow workers that are being exploited, our enemies are the ones that are destroying our incomes, endangering our lives through the elimination of health and safety legislation, those that insist that "we" cannot compete against workers who are being grossly exploited due to low wages and bad working conditions. It is not workers overseas that are responsible for the destruction of jobs and cuts in incomes and benefits. That is those who are in power both economically and those that serve their interests politically and mainstream economists who sole role is to provide the justifications for the destruction of the social welfare state and workers conditions of work and income standards. Do not fall for divide and rule!
One of the reasons why the labour movement collapsed was because workers decided that they were "partners" with their employers and the "foreign workers" were their enemy. As a result, the company "negotiated" one give-back after another, stuffed it all into their pockets--then moved all the factories anyway.
The unions should have remembered what the word "solidarity" means. The entire idea of a nation-based labor movement is now outmoded, ineffective and obsolete. In a corporate world, we must instead become company-based rather than geographically-based. In a world made up of multi-national companies who owe loyalty to no government and have no nation, there simply is no such thing anymore as an “American worker” or a “Chinese worker” or a “Somali worker”. There are only “Ford workers” or “Honda workers” or “British Petroleum workers”—and they all do the same work for the same employer and have the same interests, whether their factory happens to be located in Tennessee, Tibet or Timbuktu. And if a Ford worker in Detroit gets X dollars an hour to do a job, then a Ford worker in China or Thailand had better be getting the same X dollars an hour for doing the same job—because if he's not, then guess where the factory will be going?
It’s an lesson that the unions ignored. Instead of organizing all Ford or steel workers across the world to face their common employer, the unions have ignored foreign employees completely or even treated them as enemies; instead of raising the foreign wages to match ours. What the labour movement must do is to follow the companies wherever they go, to any country, and organize all the workers there. One company, one union, one contract, one wage scale—no matter where you are. That cannot happen until workers give up their attachment to outdated nationalism. The only way the corporate bosses can be beaten is if all their workers stick together, organise together, and fight together, no matter what country they happen to be located in. That is what “solidarity” means.
It used to be that “workers of the world, unite!” was just an aspirational political slogan. Today, it is our survival strategy.