Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Victory for Reform at Teamster Local 743!!!...


It may have taken them years, but all the hard work of Richard Berg and the other members of the reform slate at Teamsters Local 743 has finally resulted in a long over due and well earned victory. The 743 New Leadership Slate swept the elections, winining 6 of the 7 contested positions, including President, Vice-President & Secretary-Treasurer. This is not only a victory for the members of Local 743, but also a victory for the reform movement in the Teamsters and a major plus for the democratic, progressive labor movement in Chicago.


Find out more here...

And look for more about this landmark victory on an upcoming episode of Labor Express Radio.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shotwell & Tucker on the New UAW Contracts...



Last night on Labor Express Radio, I focused on analysis of the new contract between the UAW and GM, the tentative agreement between the UAW and Chrysler, and the contract negotiations between the UAW and Ford. I aired an interview conducted on Oct. 11th with Greg Shotwell and another recorded on Oct. 13th with Jerry Tucker. The audio of those interviews can be found below.

Greg Shotwell is a GM worker, a member of Local 1753 of the UAW, and a leader in the Soldiers of Solidarity (SOS) organization within the UAW. SOS opposes the cooperative relationship between the UAW leadership & the auto industry management that has developed in the past few decades, blaming this cozy relationship for concessionary contract after concessionary contract in which workers wages, working conditions and benefits have continually declined. They argue that a militant fight back strategy against the boss is essential if the industrial working class in this country is not going to be reduced to 19th century like conditions. In this interview, I talk with Shotwell about the 2007 contracts between the UAW, GM, Ford & Chrysler. The version I aired on the Oct. 14th episode of Labor Express Radio was heavily edited. Here is the full version. I start the conversation by asking Shotwell if he was surprised that 66% of the UAW membership at GM voted in favor of the contract (because this was a phone interview, the audio quality is not perfect)…

http://www.archive.org/details/GreggShotwellUawContracts07

Jerry Tucker is a former director of Region 5 of the United Auto Workers union (UAW), former International Executive Board member, and was one of the leaders of the New Directions reform movement in the UAW. He is the co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. In this interview, I talk with Tucker about the 2007 contract negotiations between the UAW, GM, Chrysler & Ford. Tucker is very critical of the concessionary contracts negotiated by the current UAW leadership. The interview starts with Tucker talking about the Center for Labor Renewal (this is another phone interview, but with slightly better sound quality)...

http://www.archive.org/details/JerryTuckerOnUawContracts07

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Concessions, concessions, and more concessions…


As goes GM, so goes the U.S. auto industry – On the heels of a 66% in favor contract ratification vote of UAW members at GM, it looks like the UAW is pushing another concessionary contract at Chrysler, with Ford negotiations next on the agenda….

Chrysler Workers Wary of New Contract
By DEE-ANN DURBIN and TOM KRISHER – DETROIT (AP) —
As they assembled cars Thursday, workers at Chrysler's Sterling Heights assembly plant were talking about their new labor contract, wondering if Wednesday's six-hour strike was enough to get a good deal from the company. Even as they waited to hear the details, industry analysts were predicting crosstown rival Ford will try to get more concessions than Chrysler.

Some workers were skeptical about job security promises, one worker said.
"A lot of people are sort of surprised that we only stayed out that long," said Brett Ward, a forklift operator at the Sterling Heights plant and a member of a group that's often critical of the union. "They're thinking that it might have really not gotten us that much."…

Read the rest here…http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iGb3e554ZIoaHipJevFbe6vQ85jAD8S7AJGO0

Listen to Labor Express Radio this Sunday night for interviews with Gregg Shotwell (UAW Local 1753 member and one of the founders of Soldiers of Solidarity) and Jerry Tucker (Former Director, Region 5 - UAW and Co-founder - Center For Labor Renewal) about what this all means for the UAW and the labor movement in general.

On the Radio in Chicago - 88.7 FM - 7:00 P.M.
Everywhere else - http://www.wluw.org/ - live streaming audio

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Rally to Support Fired Ballco Workers...

Join Ballco Workers as they call on FMC Technologies to support justice and fairness!

When: Tuesday, October 9th at 12 noon
Where: FMC Offices at 200 E. Randolph in Chicago (Aon Center)
Join us as we call on FMC Technologies to cease doing business with Ballco Manufacturing. Ballco employees have suffered for years under abusive and discriminatory conditions. When eight of their coworkers were unfairly targeted and fired on September 19, workers said “enough is enough” and walked out on a one-day protest strike. Ballco responded by firing 25 more employees. Employees have filed charges for unlawful discrimination and retaliation, and have remained on the picket line for the past two weeks. FMC Technologies is a major Ballco customer. We are calling on FMC to cease doing business with Ballco until this dispute is resolved.

For more information call Mark Meinster at (312) 829-8300, United Electrical Workers (UE)

(from Oct. 5th Chicago Jobs with Justice E-Update)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More on UAW contract...

Perhaps I am spending too much time on this story, but it is likely that the outcome of this contract fight will have an impact on the working class movement, far beyond the 73,000 workers at GM or the 640,000 members of the UAW. Just as the UAW plant occupations of the 30's were a key element of the working class fight back that gained so much for the class in those years - so too the concessions of the past couple decades have played a significant role in the declining power and living standards of the industrial working class in the United States. And perhaps as a member of UAW Local 1981 (the National Writers Union), I feel a special obligation to covering this story.

In any case, here is an excellent summary of the tentative contract from Labor Notes. It is actually worse than what I said in my R.I.P UAW entry. Only 3,000 temporary workers will be made full time employees (I know I read 6-7,000 somewhere earlier, but I can't remember where at this point). And rather than solid guarantees of job security (supposedly the strength of the agreement), it looks as if there are 15 more plant closings coming down the pike...
http://labornotes.org/node/1347

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Malcolm Suber runs for New Orleans City Council...

A former Labor Express Radio interviewee is running for a City Council seat in New Orleans. I interviewed Malcolm shortly after the Katrina disaster about the race & class dimension of this “natural” disaster. You can hear that program here…
http://laborexpress.org/page7.html

Here is a link to Malcolm’s website…
http://malcolmforcitycouncil.com/