by Bill Yates
Puget Sound DSA
Legislation granting Fast Track trade authority to President Barack Obama was introduced in the U.S. Senate today. In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
At a time when workers all over the country are standing up for higher wages, Congress is considering legislation that will speed through corporate-driven trade deals. For decades, we’ve seen how fast-tracked trade deals devastated our communities through lost jobs and eroded public services. We can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs.
Call your senators—855-790-8815—and tell them to say no to Fast Track.
See article here. http://www.dsausa.org/greasing_the_fast_track_to_global_catastrophe_dl
Fast Track would make it easier to ram through complicated trade deals without significant oversight from members of Congress or the public, just a simple “Yes” or “No” vote with no amendments allowed on trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Continue reading
Filed under: Economy, Fair Trade | Tagged: AFL-CIO, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party (United States), Elizabeth Warren, Fast track (trade), North American Free Trade Agreement, Ron Wyden, Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, United States | Leave a comment »
by Paul Garver
Boston launched the April 15 global day of action for higher wages a day early. Not out of competitive fervor, but because April 15 is reserved in Massachusetts to celebrate Patriot’s Day. As I write this today, drums are drumming, pipers piping and muskets firing in the towns around me as suburban Minutemen assemble and march towards the Old North Bridge in Concord to reenact a confrontation with the Redcoats.
In Boston yesterday, a diverse throng of several thousand people of all ages and colors assembled and marched past numerous institutions that underpay their workers, whether cleaners in office buildings and theaters, burger fryers at fast food joints, or adjunct faculty at universities. The unifying demand was the fight for $15 an hour. But the speeches, banners and chants expressed a hunger for a movement that goes far beyond reenactment. Even if some of these same marchers had previously participated in the equally spirited, though smaller and less diverse marches of Occupy Boston, they were not merely reenacting Occupy. Here is what democracy looks like.
Yesterday’s action in Boston was all about improving the real present conditions of the 99%, and building a future that includes all of us and our children and grandchildren. We are not Minutemen fighting Redcoats or a distant monarch, but struggling for the more difficult task of achieving greater economic and social justice in a sustainable world. This is not the work of Minutemen, but of long distance runners. Yesterday showed that the movement in Boston is advancing in that direction.
Thousands of people across the country will be taking part in a huge strike for better pay and working conditions on April 15. From fast-food to home care, airport, construction, and Walmart workers to adjunct professors and other underpaid workers, folks from every corner of the country and the globe will be joining together across industries on Tax Day, April 15th, for the Fight for $15.
Will you stand with them this Wednesday? Find an action near you.
You and I know that it’s inevitable in the capitalist system for bosses to exploit workers. But it’s not just happening at the level of individual workplaces. Corporations must compete with each other or die, and that means avoiding expenses as much as possible. Low-wage workers struggle to make ends meet and, if they can navigate the deliberately complicated application process and the constant shaming that comes with public assistance, they get the support they need from taxpayers while their employers get off the hook for paying higher wages. That’s what I call corporate welfare.
All workers deserve a union to demand their fair share of the fruits of their labor, but in the meantime, let’s demonstrate that collective action can be society-wide, not just in one workplace. It’s good practice for building a movement for democratic socialism. Continue reading
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Economy, Immigrant Workers, Low wage workers, Organizing, Politics, Strikes and work action, The enemy | Tagged: Earned income tax credit, living wage, McDonalds, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Wage, Walmart | Leave a comment »
See the excellent piece by John Nichols on building a new movement from the Garcia race in Chicago at the Nation. http://www.thenation.com/blog/203777/chicagos-chuy-garcia-lost-election-won-movement
DSA Brings Fight for $15, CSU -Sacramento
Working Class Under Siege:
Organized labor and students fight for a brighter future.
Forum: April 16, 2015. 3 PM.
Speakers, video, dialogue. Join us.
Fabrizio Sasso; Executive Director of Sacramento Central Labor Council.
Kevin Wehr, President, California Faculty Association. Paul Burke, Sociology, Ian Lee, the Fight for $15, Robert Longer-CWA, Citizens to Trade Campaign TPP, Zobeida Menez, Victoria Ordorica Yanez, SQE, Andee Suderland. DSA Student Debt Campaign Leisa Falkner- exploitation of adjunct faculty. Continue reading
by David Bacon
[ed. note: In my experience as a labor organizer at the global level, international labor solidarity was often more rhetorical and moral than it was practically effective for workers on the ground. In this exceptional case dock workers in Panama did not only receive effective support from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), but became members of that union’s local branch in Panama].
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (4/2/15) — You see a lot of parked taxis in the parking lot at the Panama Ports terminal here. They’re not waiting to give rides to longshoremen. Dockworkers themselves are the drivers. Longshore wages in Panama are so low that after a shift driving a crane, a longshoreman has to put in another shift driving a taxi, just to survive.
At Panama Ports, however, this situation has begun to change. A few weeks ago the union signed a new contract with raises totaling more than 27% over the next four years. One factor that made this agreement possible was support from a U.S. union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. That agreement will have a big impact on the lives of longshoremen and their families.
In Panama they call longshore pay “hunger wages.” Workers’ families live below the government’s own poverty line, and some families literally go hungry. Continue reading