Unions Celebrate Victory over TPP

TPP

by Paul Garver

The Teamsters (IBT) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) informed their members that the long campaign against the Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP] has succeeded in blocking a ratification vote in the lame duck session of Congress.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) reported  this on the news that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal won’t be brought up for a vote this Congress.

The news that the TPP is officially dead for this Congress is welcome, overdue, and a lesson for the future. We’re glad to see that all observers finally recognize the reality that TPP will not and should not go through. For more than five years, CWA members, allies, and working families throughout the country mobilized to expose this corporate-friendly trade deal and the serious consequences for working families and communities if it did take effect. CWA members and allies long have been ahead of Washington on the issue of TPP and trade policy, and this work built a strong public base of voters who rejected what they clearly recognized as bad deal, no matter their political party.

As CWA has been stating throughout this past year, the votes in Congress simply aren’t there to pass TPP. But beyond the vote count, the very act of trying to advance the corporate-friendly TPP would have demonstrated that Washington was willfully ignoring the American public. After a 2016 election season in which anti-TPP sentiment was a rare area of bipartisan agreement and a major factor in shaping election results, trying to ram through the TPP in lame duck would have been an act in willful opposition to the American electorate’s stated wishes.

We will be ready to take on any attempt to revive the TPP in the next Congress or advance other corporate-friendly trade pacts based on the same failed and outdated model of trade.

http://www.cwa-union.org/news/releases/cwa-on-news-tpp-dead-for-congress-welcome-overdue-and-lesson-for-future

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TPP’s End is Near Thanks to Workers

After years of taking aim at the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Teamsters and their allies can finally see victory in their sights.

In the wake of last week’s election results, congressional leaders made it clear they would not press forward with considering the 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal. And U.S. trade officials acknowledged on Friday that efforts to pass this corporate boondoggle would not continue this year.

The good news is that view will not likely change anytime soon. President-elect Donald Trump was an outspoken critic of the TPP and his transition team has made it clear it will not move forward with consideration of the trade deal. In fact, it plans to drop out of it.

But this looming win is not about any one political leader. It is about the long-standing coalition of union, fair trade, environmental and health care advocates that have stood strong against efforts to craft a trade proposal that would have further fattened the wallets of the corporate elite at the expense of everyday Americans who continue to struggle to support their families.

Concerns about the TPP were first raised more than six years ago when allies gathered outside the first U.S.-based negotiation session to raise concerns that the TPP was a dramatic departure from previous trade deals that would only further the interests of big business. And it grew to become a bipartisan opposition bloc on Capitol Hill.

As Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign wrote, “Let’s make sure we’re not letting Trump steal credit for something he didn’t earn. And let’s especially make sure that the movement of movements is getting the credit it deserves. We’re heading into some very rough years ahead, and people need to be reminded of their power.”

The TPP is a scourge on society because not only would it have shipped American jobs overseas, it also would have depressed salaries at home as well. It promised to increase the amount of unsafe foods and products shipped to U.S. store shelves, worsen the global environment and drive up drug prices worldwide.

It also would have left member nations on the hook for any perceived efforts to curb the profits of multinational corporations through legislation or regulation. Pro-corporate tribunals would have heard complaints filed by companies, and taxpayers would have had to foot the bill.

That’s not right or just. But because Teamsters and others took a stand against TPP, now workers and all Americans will benefit. Thank you members for your work!

https://teamster.org/blog/2016/11/tpps-end-near-thanks-workers

Labor for Our Revolution Now

Workers Independent News Podcast

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Workers Independent News radio interviews Labor for Bernie co-founders Rand Wilson and Larry Cohen about the lessons of the Sanders’ campaign and next steps for Our Revolution.  Larry Cohen also discusses the struggle to block the TPP.

Listen to the “podcast” online by clicking here.

From Workers Independent News:

“Throughout this spring’s primary season, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ agenda of social and economic justice galvanized many in the nation’s progressive movement, including a solid contingent of labor activists focused on improving the lives of working people.  With less than a week remaining until the November presidential election, we’re taking a look at the effect the Sanders campaign has had on the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, ongoing mobilization efforts by Sanders supporters, and the future of the progressive movement in the wake of his candidacy.”

Click here to play the pod cast!

Workers Independent News (or WIN radio) is a great source for labor news across the country.  WIN provides short “daily reports,” more in-depth reports and the “week in review.”  You can subscribe for free by clicking here.

Get Out and Vote!

hillaryandtrump

By John O. Mason

You simply MUST get out and vote this November 8; the stakes have never been higher for this country for a long time. Donald Trump is simply unfit to be President of the United States. His calling to build a wall against Mexico, characterizing all Mexicans as criminals, rapists, and drug dealers; his call for a ban on Muslims entering this country; his contempt for women in any capacity but subordinate to him; his associating with the most infamous racists like David Duke, and aligning with the racist “alt-right” movement; his encouraging assaults on protesters in his rallies; his willful ignorance about foreign affairs and the launch system for nuclear missiles; his refusal to say he would abide by the election results, win or lose-all these indicate the kind of President he would be, a dictator.

A myth in our politics says that “If we give the running of our government over to businessmen, they’ll run it as a business, efficiently and cost-effective.” Well, let’s see how businesslike Trump has been-Trump steaks, Trump vodka, Trump Shuttle airlines, trump magazine, Trump World magazine-all failed business ventures. Trump University-charged with fraud. His casinos and hotels-bankrupt. He has been able to negotiate his way out of trouble, since the bankruptcy laws are so weighed in favor of corporate types like him; but does he think that Putin, Kim Jong Un, or the Ayatollahs of Iran would cut him any breaks, give him any favors?

And Hillary-there is no other choice but to vote for her. Hillary Clinton DOES have political and governmental experience, albeit too much playing safe on the side of corporations. I fear that if we the people don’t constantly monitor the Clinton administration 2.0, it would be just like Bill’s regime, too much in favor of the corporations and shying away from those “nasty unions,” signing such trade deals as NAFTA in Bill’s time, and TPP, which lies dormant in Congress like a disease. Continue reading

Stop the TPP Now: Restoring Trust in Trade Policy

by Stan Sorscher

  • TPP won’t work. The process that gave us TPP won’t work. TPP would lock in bad policy for a generation. That approach has lost legitimacy and it has lost trust.

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I’m in favor of trade. I don’t know anyone opposed to trade. A better question is, “How should we manage globalization?”

We’ve lost trust in our approach to globalization. The Brexit vote in Europe was a vote of no confidence. Millions of voters in our presidential campaigns send a similar message. Globalization is not working for us.

We should rethink our approach to globalization if we hope to restore trust.

Strike one for trust in “free trade” – gains go to the top.

Under our trade policies since NAFTA, the gains from trade have gone to a few at the top, while workers and communities have lost out – even after counting the cheaper goods we buy from low-wage countries.

The US has lost millions of good jobs, and entire industries have disappeared from our economy. This would be OK if we had created millions of new good jobs. But we haven’t.

Workers in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia are still waiting for their gains from trade. NAFTA, CAFTA and other trade deals disrupted their economies. Millions of workers lost their jobs, their social support structures were weakened, and violence increased. Thousands of workers and unaccompanied minors were forced to leave their villages and migrate in search of work.

The issue is not workers in the US versus workers in Central America. The issue is workers in every country versus the 1% in every country.

Strike 2 for trust in “free trade” – bad power relationships

Mistrust reflects the bad power relationships in the policies we’ve chosen to manage globalization. Our trade policy helps global corporations move jobs and production from the US to Mexico. The same dynamic then applies when workers in Mexico see their jobs going to lower-paid workers in China. Workers in China worry about their jobs going even lower-paid workers in Vietnam. Workers everywhere lose bargaining power.

Continue reading

Dining Hall Workers at Harvard Win Strike

by Paul Garver

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Harvard University Dining Hall workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 26, will return to work in two days following the successful resolution of a 3-week-long strike.and an expected member ratification vote.

The new contract will include a guaranteed annual salary of $35,000 and no increase in health insurance payments.

The workers enjoyed considerable support from Harvard students, from the local community and from other labor unions.   More than a thousand rallied and marched in support on 22nd October.   As a participant, I found the lively and racially diverse support march from Cambridge Common to the Cambridge City Hall to be a most spirited and upbeat labor demonstration.

Members of other UNITE HERE locals from as far away as Philadelphia and Atlantic City took part, as did Boston-area SEIU locals.   Young Democratic Socialist (YDS) members like Tom Dinardo from Philadelphia accompanied UNITE HERE delegations.

Spencer Brown,  a member of the Young Democratic Socialists at Wesleyan University, stated that he was also there to support food service workers organizing at Connecticut universities.

The Harvard-based Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) played a leading role in strike support, organizing large-scale student walkouts from classes and a 250 student occupation of the lobby of the Harvard administration building where contract negotiations were in their final phase.

As a long-term labor organizer, with whom the concept of an alliance between students and campus workers was first discussed during the Harvard strike of 1969, I observe that the strength and depth of alliances between students, even at elite universities, with campus workers of many types (even contingent faculty members!), is becoming more natural and organic as many students expect to be also subjected to precarious employment.

And the dining hall workers have are crediting the success of their struggle in part to the support they received from students, community members and other labor unions. But, of course, the workers themselves, their families, and their UNITE HERE local remain the bedrock.

Orwell Misunderstood- Right Wing Radio

By Brett Taylor

orwell I feel the subject of Right Wing Radio is an important one because it has such a profound impact on many working class people. Having worked in many blue collar jobs, I know that many workers rely on this source for their information about politics. I feel it is important to combat misinformation as much as possible.

Living as I do in a depressed region of the country, otherwise known as rural Appalachia, it is always a surprise when literary classics are casually mentioned in conversation. So I took note when two separate mentions of George Orwell’s work came up in a short span of time. The first was at a fairly menial job, where a rather eccentric coworker varied from his usual complaints about the current state of affairs to drop this literary reference: “I read 1984 in school,” he said, “but I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have to use it as a survival guide.” Aside from a certain amount of dubiousness about the parallels he was drawing between Big Brother and the Obama Administration, I was surprised at his familiarity with this literary work. A famous novel true, but I didn’t know him to be much of a reader but did know him to stretch the truth. I suspected he was quoting something he’d heard on Right Wing radio, which was usually booming from the lab in which he tested automotive materials. A few weeks later I was visiting the nearest library, which is a small one, and usually inhabited by a local retiree who makes frequent use of the Internet. This retiree, a former engineer I think, has a habit of loudly lecturing the librarian on the usual hot topics of the crackpot fringe, chem. trails and the Moon hoax and the like, the same topics regularly discussed on Alex Jones’ crackpot program. On this occasion he offered some advice to the librarian’s daughter, who looked to be Middle School age. “What books are they teaching you to read?” he asked. “Have you read Animal Farm? You need to read Animal Farm.” Again, I have never known this gentleman to read anything other than Internet news, so I suspected he was getting his literary opinions straight from his favorite radio hosts and their related websites.

Michael Savage has been known to reference Animal Farm on his popular Right Wing radio show. This is perhaps not too surprising, as the former Michael Weiner is simultaneously the vilest and the most literary-minded of the radio blowhard. The official Savage website includes a rather incoherent summary of Orwell’s book, presumably transcripted from the Savage Nation show. In this excerpt, Savage drags in Orwell in order to justify his belief that Obama is manipulating the turmoil surrounding attacks on Dallas police officers as an excuse to kill his opponents, apparently. “The Jim Crow laws are long dead,” according to Savage, “but Obama keeps referring to them.” Then Savage rhetorically asks, “Why does Obama keep referring to them?” The explanation is surprising and a little confusing: “If you read Animal Farm, you’ll find the answer.” The confusion is made worse by the fact that Savage keeps confusing the Bolshevik Revolution with the French one. Insisting on being an ardent student of the French Revolution, Savage describes Socialism as one long bloodbath: “Don’t you see what socialism is? It’s leading us to the guillotines.” This would be a surprise to the supporters of Bernie Sanders, who are largely more concerned with raising the minimum wage and combating social justice than in setting up guillotines in the streets. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Faculty on Strike

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the union that represents 5500 faculty and coaches at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities took to the picket lines this morning, Oct. 19.

APSCUF President Kenneth Mash wrote to reporters, “At 11:35 p.m., we made a last attempt to negotiate through back channels. We waited until 5 a.m. We are headed to the picket lines, but even on the picket lines, our phones will be on, should the State System decide it doesn’t want to abandon its students.”

He added, “They’ll know where to find me at 5:30 a.m. I’ll be outside the chancellor’s office at the Dixon Center on the picket line.” Continue reading