Sunday, April 26, 2009

Plans for May Day 2009 in Chicago...


Here are all the details about plans for May Day 2009. First is info on the immigrant rights march...

Call to March and Endorsements:

10am: Rally in Union Park (Ashland and Washington)
11:30am: March to Federal Plaza*

In commemoration of the International Day of the Working Class, this May 1st, march for jobs and the right to unionize for all workers, and the legalization of more than 12 million undocumented immigrant workers in the U.S.

Join us to stand up against the attempts to make immigrants and working families pay for the economic crisis and war. We demand greater and equal access to education, healthcare, affordable housing and jobs for all! We demand an end to raids and deportations!

The March 10th Committee welcomes everybody to march behind our banner: “Without Legalization There Can Be No Equal Labor Rights”. In the spirit of making our march lively and energizing we have gathered a few props that we invite you to look for at Union Park. We’ll have giant puppets from The Backbone Campaign, Korean Drummers from KRCC, a sound truck that will lead the contingent and 1,500 signs with the same slogan as our banner.

How To Donate: To donate for the May Day events, write checks payable to Comite 10 de Marzo, and contact Victor Cortez at

For more info about the march and rally call 312-738-6100.

For a flyer click below...

For a Spanish version, click below...

* Due to talks with the City of Chicago we had to start the march earlier; we must leave promptly at 11:30 am.

Also happening on May Day...
May Day Rally
May 1, 2009 - 4:00 p.m.
Haymarket Square (Randolph & Desplaines Streets, Chicago)
A representative from the national AFL-CIO will attend to speak and to present a plaque to be installed on the Memorial.
Co-sponsored by Chicago Federation of Labor and Illinois Labor History Society.

At 4:00 PM, workers, trade unionists and others will gather at the Haymarket memorial at Randolph and DesPlaines for the annual May Day Commeration. For more on that event you can contact the Illinois Labor History Society (ILHS) at (312) 663-4107 or President of ILHS, Larry Spivak at (312) 641-6060. Or checkout ILHS web page were you can download a flyer...

And don't forget, one week later on March 9th, the Labor Notes Workers School...

Please join us for the 2009 Chicago Troublemakers School

Layoffs. Concessions. Benefit cuts. Corporate America has created the biggest crisis for workers in decades, and we are paying the price.

How do keep what we've got while building power to fight for more?

If you've already registered for this one-of-a-kind event, thank you. If you haven't, register today!

When: Saturday, May 9
9 am to 4:30 pm

Where: Malcolm X College
1900 W. Van Buren
Chicago, IL. 60612

Frequently updated information available at

Opening plenary: Fighting Through the Economic Crisis in Chicago
Labor activists are digging in their heels as the economy pelts workers with everything its got. Get equipped with an analysis of the economic crisis, and hear from workers throughout the city who are fighting cuts and concessions.

Closing plenary: You Gotta Fight to Win: Building on Our Victories
Chicago taught the nation a lesson this winter when Republic Windows and Doors workers reminded us that we can't win if we don't fight. Celebrating the victory of the sit-down, along with other victories in Chicago, we'll look at how we won, what to do to win more, and lessons for the day after a victory.

Workshops include:

Organizing in the Crisis
The need for organizing is greater than ever as unorganized workers feel some of the harshest effects of the economic crisis. What new pitfalls and opportunities has the economic crisis presented for workers’ organizing efforts? Is the crisis making workers more or less likely to organize? Is it changing what they are fighting for? Worker centers and labor unions will discuss the lay of the land for organizing and tactics and strategies for organizing in the crisis.

Changing your Union
How can you get involved in shaping the future of your union? Does your union leadership need some "encouragement" from the members? Hear from union members who are taking charge of their unions through union reform caucuses, and those that have run for office--and won. Reformers will discuss how to build support among members and will share some of the tough lessons learned from reformers in office.

Fighting Back in the Pubilc Sector
As the recession hit, falling tax revenues have lead to cuts in government spending and services. Hear from union activists who are fighting cuts by saving city run Mental Health clinics, workers resisting speed ups at UIC Medical Center, and teachers and community organizers that rallied to save 25 schools from the Chicago Public Schools’ restructuring plan, and others. Developing community-labor alliances will be discussed as a strategy.

Also: Lessons from labor's history, Defending immigrant workers, Preparing a grievance for possible arbitration, and more.


Go to to register online, or call 313-842-6262.

For a flyer click below...

For a spanish flyer, click below...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Neoliberal privatization Chicago style...

I just heard a great piece on Public Radio (WBEZ). Here is a link to the story...

The gist of the story was that Daley’s privatization of parking meters might have “an unexpected consequence”. The story focused on the reactions of Northside Alderman Scott Waguespack and Tom Tunney when they “realized” that they could no longer simply pass an ordinance regulating hours for parking meters without paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion money to Morgan Stanely, the financial services giant (aka robber barron, aka another AIG, Bear Sterns etc, etc, etc), who now owns the meters and the revenue they generate. I laughed out loud when the WBEZ reporter quoted Tom Tunney as stating that Morgan Stanley can’t take away his legislative power. But that is precisely the point of neo-liberal economic measures like privatization plans and “free trade agreements”. They are all about taking power out of the hands of the public and turning it over to corporations. Sorry Tommy Boy, I can’t wait till he tries to convince his best buddy Richey Daley that the city should cough up a couple hundred thousand dollars for Morgan Stanely so he can maintain the appearance that he still has legislative authority on parking meters.

Here is the comment I posted on WBEZ’s website…

“unexpected consequence”! It should have been totally expected! Don’t you guys understand what privatization is all about? I would expect that allegedly educated “public servants” like Scott Waguespack and Tom Tunney, who voted in favor of the privatization plan, would understand what privatization really means. Privatization, like all other aspects of neo-liberal economics is as much about a transfer of power as it is about making money. The whole point is to remove formerly public sectors of society from public power and control and to transfer those sectors into the hands of private corporate power. This is the same tactics and logical that operate under NAFTA & CAFTA rules. In 1999 Methanex Corp. sued the U.S. government for $970 million because of a California law phasing out the sale of MTBE, a gasoline additive that is harmful to the environment. They did so through NAFTA’s secretive court system which is outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. our any governments legal system, setup under the Chapter 11 investor to state rights provisions of NAFTA. Metalclad, a U.S. company sued a small community in Mexico for 16.5 million dollars when Mexican citizens tried to pass and ordinance preventing the company from creating a toxic waste dump in their back yard, once again using Chapter 11 provisions of NAFTA. And there are dozens of other examples. I recommend Bill Moyers NOW Program episode entitled “Trading Democracy” if you are in the dark about this stuff. So it made me laugh when the WBEZ reporter quoted Tom Tunney as stating that Morgan Stanley can not take away Alderman’s legislative power. Sorry Tommy Boy, but that is exactly what privatization is all about. That is why it represents such a threat to democracy. Wise up people.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Steelworkers Local 2154 members protest racism in their workplace…

Audio from Sunday night’s program is now available...

The employees of Commercial Forged Products on Chicago Southwest side have long endured racial intimidation and harassment at their workplace. A few years ago, former plant manager John Tobias held up a hangmen’s noose in front of a black employee and stated… “This is what I used to do when I lived in Mississippi.” During contract negotiations last fall, the new plant manager Steve Schreiner told the bargaining committee that he planned to eliminate Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday and disband the company’s Civil Rights Committee. Steelworkers Local 2154 represents workers at 12 facilities around the Chicago area. Yet over 65% of the grievances handled by the union in the past three years have come from Commercial Forged Products, and the vast majority of those have been related to harassment of pro-union Black and Latino employees.

The workers at Commercial Forged Products have had enough and held a rally outside their plant on Friday. You can hear more about the rally by listening to tonight’s episode of Labor Express Radio.

To see pictures from the rally, go here…

To support the workers at Commercial Forged Products, contact the company and express your concerns over harassment of Black and Latino pro-union employees…

Sunday, April 12, 2009