Sunday, December 30, 2007

UPS and Hoffa Don't Deliver for Workers...


Teamsters Trade Gains of 1997 UPS Strike for Deal to Organize Members at Freight Division
— Mark Brenner


In mid-November Teamsters (IBT) at United Parcel Service approved a controversial five-year agreement, more than eight months before the expiration of their current contract.

The new contract will pull 44,000 Teamsters out of the union’s multi-employer Central States pension plan, and end conversion of part-time into full-time jobs at UPS. It also widens the gap between full-time and part-time standards, freezing part-timers’ starting pay and forcing new part-timers to work for a year before they are eligible for health care coverage.

These givebacks were accepted in spite of the company’s healthy bottom line, UPS reported more than $4 billion in pre-tax net income last year...


READ THE REST AT THE LABOR NOTES WEBSITE...



Check out the opposition to this concessionary contract here...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Important new works on labor history, past and present...





As discussed on the Labor Express radio program, here are some important works of labor history and analysis released in the past few months.

Kim Moody has long been an insightful analyst of developments in the labor movement as a former union organizer and one of the founders of Labor Notes. His new work - U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition: The Failure of Reform from Above, The Promise of Revival from Below – takes a look at the reasons for organized labor’s precipitous decline in membership and power over the past few decades, and provides solid advice on what is necessary to turn the situation around. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK…
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1844671542/ref=s9_asin_image_1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1PRY0CX1MFXW8KT8N51D&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=320448701&pf_rd_i=507846


Kim Moody also has another important book out on the economy and labor in New York city since the mid-1970’s…
http://www.amazon.com/Welfare-State-Real-Estate-Present/dp/1595580883/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198432133&sr=1-2




Historian Peter Cole has just published a new book on the IWW called - Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia. The book not only discusses a fascinating period in the history of this most important and heroic of American labor unions, but alludes by example to some of the same proscriptions addressed by Moody in regards to how to empower today’s labor movement…
http://www.amazon.com/Wobblies-Waterfront-Interracial-Progressive-Era-Philadelphia/dp/0252031865/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198433837&sr=1-1

Links to Labor Express Radio interviews with both authors will be posted in a few days.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

1-888-DIGNIDAD & Making Chicago a No-Match Free Zone...


Some of the most innovative and essential work being accomplished by both the labor movement and the movement for immigrant rights is, once again, happening right here in Chicago. The Chicago Committee Against No-Match Letters and the Rapid Response Network, lead by the UE (United Electrical Workers Union), Chicago Workers Collaborative, UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Local 881, Interfaith Worker Justice and other Chicago area workers centers, has organized a fight back against Social Security “no-match” letters and ICE workplace raids in an effort to make Chicago a no-match and ICE raid free zone. The goal is to make the economic, political and social costs of terrorzing immigrant workers through no-match letters and workplace raids so high for employers and their friends at DHS (Department of Homeland Security) that they will be forced to back off.

This is an extremely important effort, as no-match letters and ICE raids are a key strategy of the anti-immigrant forces who are pursuing what they call an "Attrition through Enforcement" strategy (for more on this see the last link on this page). Those who oppose rights for immigrants and working people have mobilized behind their strategy – we need to counter their attack with a strategy of our own, based on mobilizing our communities and hitting them were it hurts – their corporate bottom line. Unscrupulous employers have already used no-match letters, often illegally, to intimidate workers who are trying to organize or improve conditions in their workplace. But the Chicago Committee Against No-Match has successfully assisted hundreds of workers organize in their workplaces and beat back the employers assault. At the heart of the effort is UE’s innovative 1-888-DIGNIDAD hotline number, where immigrant workers can call for information and support.

Read the following article on the Labor Notes website for more…
http://labornotes.org/node/1446

Listen to the following Labor Express Radio programs with interviews from leading activists in the Chicago Committee Against No-Match Letters…
http://www.archive.org/details/LE12-9-07

http://www.archive.org/details/LE11-25-07

Here is an article with more info on how the anti-immigrant forces are planning out their strategy (note, I am not all that familiar with this organization, and many of their policy positions listed on their website, I am not in agreement with, but this is a very interestingly article)…
http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4816


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Video from Obama Visit...


Yesterday (12-15-07) the newly formed Chicago Trade With Justice Working Group, held their first public action - a visit to the Chicago campaign HQ for Sen. Barack Obama. On the campaign trail, Obama has criticized those who supported NAFTA and CAFTA and promised to take a different direction in regards to trade policy if elected President. Yet he expressed publicly that he supported the recently passes U.S./Peru Free Trade Agreement and did not show up to vote against it when it was voted on by the Senate on Dec. 4th. The Working Group delivered a letter to Obama stating our disappointment with his decision not to take a stand against this dangerous extension of NAFTA to yet another country, and calling on him to oppose an upcoming trade deal with Colombia.

Video of our visit to Obama campaign HQ can be viewed at the following links, thanks to the work of Larry Duncan from Labor Beat T.V…

http://blip.tv/file/544160/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBw3IVwd58w

You can view a copy of the letter to Obama here…
http://www.laborexpress.org/PDFs/Letter%20to%20ObamaFINAL.pdf

Monday, December 10, 2007

Peru Trade Agreement Action at Obama HQ Dec. 15th!


Where are our Senate and Congressional leaders when it is time to oppose unfair trade? Press conference to be held outside Obama for America HQ.

Labor activists, fair trade advocates, Latin American solidarity activists, environmentalists, immigrant rights organizers, people of faith, and others are concerned with the recent lack of interest of our U.S. Congressional and Senate leaders when it comes to stopping un-fair trade deals - as evidenced by the recent House and Senate votes on the US-Peru “Free Trade” Agreement. We find it very troubling that one of our Illinois Senators, Barack Obama, a current candidate for President of the United States, skipped the vote on the Peru trade pact, missing an important opportunity to stand up for working people and the environment both here and in Peru. We are even more concerned that Obama, along with Sen Hillary Clinton, made public statements supporting the Peru Trade deal and that our other Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin voted in favor of the trade pact. At a time when Democratic candidates for president, including Sen. Obama, are making stump speeches about the disaster wrought by NAFTA, it is surprising and distributing that these same candidates are not ready to take a stand against future NAFTAs. The Chicago “Free Trade” Working Group, a recently formed network of activists from the labor, religious, immigrant rights, environmental, Latin American solidarity and peace movements is delivering a letter asking Sen. Obama for an explanation of his position on the U.S.-Peru “Free Trade” Agreement. A press conference will be held outside Obama’s campaign HQ at 300 W. Adams at 1:30 PM.


WHEN: Saturday, December 15th – 1:30 P.M.

WHERE: Obama for America - 300 W. Adams St., Chicago, IL.

WHO: Members of the recently formed Chicago "Free Trade" Working Group




















For more info on the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement, check out the following links...

Statement of Lori M. Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Division, following the Senate’s passage of the U.S.-Peru “Free Trade” Agreement. Wallach has been one of the most knowledge and consistent critics of the neo-liberal “free trade” agenda…
http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2558

Here is an excellent analysis of the U.S.-Peru “Free Trade” Agreement from United for a Fair Economy (UFE). Note the fact that this analysis points out the weakness of the much touted improvements in labor and environmental protections that many Democrats used as political cover when they voted yes on the deal. Also note the broad range of organizations that signed on to this statement…
http://www.faireconomy.org/activist/fair_trade/vote_on_peru_open_letter.html

Excellent article on the dangers of the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement...
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/11/05/the_hidden_costs_of_free_trade/

Article in the The Nation about the Democrats unprincipaled about face on the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement and the reasons for it...
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?bid=15&pid=250042

Article from Peruvian newspaper about protest organized by the CGTP, Peru's largest union federation, opposing the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement. Unions in Peru have been vehment in their rejection of the trade pact...
http://www1.elcomercio.com.pe/ediciononline/HTML/2007-12-05/la-cgtp-anuncia-protestas-contra-tlc-estados-unidos.html

International Trade Union Confederation (ITCU) statement on the poor state of labor law in Peru...
http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article1499

10 Reasons to oppose the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement from Peruvian civil society leading the fight against the trade deal in Peru...
http://www.perufrentealtlc.com/10razones

OXFAM America's statement opposing the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement. Note OXFAM's concerns over the effect of the trade deal on poor farmers in Peru is not resolved by the supposed improvements in the labor and environmental protections in the agreement...
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/press_releases/archive2006/press_release.2006-07-27.6089858017

Change to Win, the U.S. trade union federation's statement opposing the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement...
http://www.changetowin.org/no_cache/issues/trade-and-globalization/change-to-win-letter-to-the-us-senate-opposing-the-oman-and-peru-free-trade-agreements.html?sword_list%5B%5D=peru

AFL-CIO statement on the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement. Note that even though the AFL-CIO recognized some improvements in the agreement's labor and environmental protections in October, these relatively minor changes did not change the agreement's central character. In particular, note that the investor-to-state dispute resolution mechanisms in the agreement continue to be a real threat to democracy in the U.S. and Peru...
http://www.aflcio.org/issues/legislativealert/alerts/upload/us_peruftaSenate1007.pdf

Statement from the President of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney. Though much was made by the Democrats and others in regards to the AFL-CIO's lack of effort to defeat the U.S.-Peru "Free Trade" Agreement, the following statement makes it clear that the union federation still opposed the neo-liberal principals upon which the agreement is based...
http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr11082007b.cfm