Progressive Calendar 12.10.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 04:50:14 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   12.10.08

1. RNC/justice/courts  12.10 11am
2. Student walkout     12.10 12:10pm Duluth MN
3. Health care         12.10 4:30pm
4. MidEast/colonizers  12.10 5pm
5. CIA interventions   12.10 7pm Duluth MN

6. Arab/Jew/books      12.11 12noon
7. Eagan peace vigil   12.11 4:30pm
8. Northtown vigil     12.11 5pm
9. MRES renew energy   12.11 6pm
10. Democracy/film     12.11 7pm
11. AntiWarMN          12.11 7pm
12. Population/economy 12.11 7pm [6pm??]

13. Lee Sustar    - Republic: a rallying point for labor
14. Ron Jacobs    - UE Local 1110 - think like them
15. Sustar/Colson - Republic: a classic battle for workers' rights
16. Lichtenstein+ - Chicago factory sit-in fits nation's mood
17. ed            - Pledge of Resistance

--------1 of 17--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: RNC/justice/courts 12.10 11am

JUSTICE AND THE RNC AFTERMATH: Clearing the Courts...and Our Consciences

NOW 900 WATTS STRONG: FM 90.3/Minneapolis-106.7/St. Paul and STREAMING

Trials move at a snail's pace; charging officers fail to appear;
postponements that put off resolution of disputed arrests. What sort of
justice is this? What is the status of the umpteen charges leveled at
Republican National Convention demonstrators and bystanders?

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with lawyers, defendants
and, perhaps, even judges in dissecting the body of cases and trials still
under way three months after the fences came down and cops disrobed from
their Darth Vader-like armor.

 LARRY LEVENTHAL, Attorney representing RNC 8 defendant Max Specktor
 GENA BERGLUND, Attorney representing RNC arrestees
 MICHAEL FRIEDMAN, Executive Director, Legal Rights Center & Member,
National Lawyers Guild
 OTHERS TBA, including invited members of the RNC8

And we want your thoughts and questions about the RNC aftermath. CALL
IN: 612-341-0980

--------2 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Student walkout 12.10 12:10pm Duluth MN

Wednesday, 12/10, 12:10 pm, student walkout against the war and for human
rights, in the Kirby Plaza of UMD and in the downstairs lobby of Tower
Hall at the College of St Scholastica, Duluth.

--------3 of 17--------

From: joel [at]
Subject: Health care 12.10 4:30pm

Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan We CAN Provide Health Care For ALL

December 10

We know that comprehensive health care could be provided to all
Minnesotans. We know that the cost to do so need not exceed what we now

Overcoming the obstacles requires citizen involvement and engagement with
our legislators.

At this meeting, we will discuss a strategy directed to-ward our Twin
Cities neighbors and legislators. Your ideas and preferences among the
options for action will determine our program.

The Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition and re-lated groups have
formulated a common strategy, called the Campaign for the Minnesota Health
Plan, which pro-vides a framework for our efforts. We are part of a
state-wide movement!

Place: Coffee Bene, Party Room, Saint Paul
Coffee Bene is at 53 Cleve-land Avenue South, south of the
Cretin/Vandalia exit of I94. It adjoins Davanni's Pizza. The Party Room
is between the two on an in-terior corridor. See the Bene Web site for a
map or click here. Park in the Da-vanni's lot off Grand, along Cleveland
or at the empty gas station across the street.

For Background:

Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition The MUHCC Community Organizing
Com-mittee coordinates our local organizing throughout the region.

Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan The information hub for the MHP.

The Minnesota Health Plan (MHP) Our initiative in the Minnesota

Fixing A Sick System
 - 1,300,000 Minnesotans spend more than 10% of their income on health
care. And most of those already have health insurance!
 - Over 400,000 Minnesotans are without health insurance, because of the
 - Nationally, over half of all bankruptcies are caused by high medical
 - The U.S. pays half again as much for health care as the average of the
ten next most expensive countries.
 - In spite of our high expenses, at least 20 countries rate better than
the U.S. for life expectancy and infant deaths.
 - Compared to Europe, Canada and advanced Asian countries, U.S. citizens
make fewer doctor visits and have shorter hospital stays. We do NOT
overuse our health care.
 - 18,000 Americans die every year for lack ofhealth coverage.
 - The savings from eliminating insurance and bureaucratic overhead in our
system providesresources to cover everybody.
 - Health insurance increased three times faster than workers' earnings,

Contacts: Joel Clemmer, 651-442-7639, joel[at] Laura

--------4 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: MidEast/colonizers 12.10 5pm

Wednesday, 12/10, 5 to 7 pm, Macalester College sociology prof Khaldoun
Samman speaks on "The Colonizer's Time Machine and the Remaking of the
Middles East," examining the influences of Turkish Kemalism, Israeli
Zionism, Arab nationalism and Islamism, Social Science Building room 710,
267 - 19th Ave S, Mpls.  seif0056 [at] or

--------5 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: CIA interventions 12.10 7pm Duluth MN

Wednesday, 12/10, 7 pm, forum of the history of CIA interventions around
the world, rom 333 of the Kirby Student Center, UMD, Duluth.

--------6 of 17--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Arab/Jew/books 12.11 12noon

Thursday, 12/11, noon to 1:30, Macalester College sociology prof Khaldoun
Samman speaks on "Why Jewish and Arabic History Books are Stacked in Two
Different Sections of the Library Stacks," Nicholson Hall, room 135, 216
Pillsbury Dr SE, Mpls.  mediter [at] or

--------7 of 17--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 12.11 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------8 of 17--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 12.11 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------9 of 17--------

From: "Minnesota Renewable Energy Society" <mnrenewables [at]>
Subject: MRES renew energy 12.11 6pm

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) is celebrating its 30th
Anniversary year, and we hope you'll join us!  We'll begin the celebration
at our Annual Meeting at 6:00 p.m.on Thursday, December 11, 2008.

Concordia University, Library Technology Center, Room LTC
214-215, Building 23
December 11, 2008
Parking:  Lots A, B and E shown on the map

We have an fun-filled and exciting agenda planned:
Musical Entertainment by Michael Monroe
Saving the Planet through Sustainable Architecture: An architects' panel
on solar energy and sustainable architecture led by Loren Abraham, AIA, of
Abraham & Associates

Free food and drinks
Networking and socializing
Elections for members of the MRES Board of Directors
Members must be current with their dues to vote in the elections.
If you'd like to renew your membership or join, you can do it on the MRES
website now by clicking: Join/Renew

Please RSVP ASAP, if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting. You may tell
us you're coming by sending us an email or call us at: (612)  308-4757 to

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
(612) 308-4757  info [at]

--------10 of 17--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: Democracy/film 12.11 7pm

Independent filmmaker, Keya Lea Horuchi, interviewed people in ten
countries in order to let U.S. citizens see ourselves through the eyes of
the world. Please join us on Thursday, December 11th, 7 PM, at the Parish
Community of St. Joseph, 8701-36th Ave. N., New Hope (corner of Boone) to
see and discuss the remarkable film, "Considering Democracy: 8 Things to
Ask Your Representative."  Free and open to all; sponsored by NW Neighbors
for Peace.  FYI Carole, 763-546-5368.

--------11 of 17--------

From: Jess Sundin <jess [at]>
Subject: AntiWarMN 12.11 7pm

ORGANIZE WITH THE A.W.C.: The Anti-War Committee always need help
organizing protests and educational events. Join us at our weekly meetings
(Thursdays at 7pm, 1313 5th St SE #112C, Minneapolis).

--------12 of 17--------

From: The United Nations Association of Minnesota <info [at]>
Subject: Population/economy 12.11 7pm [6pm??]

Please join Population Connection and the United Nations Association of
Minnesota for a conference on "Family Planning in Age of Economic Crisis"
this Thursday.

Despite the current global ecomomic crisis, the United States needs to
increase funding for international family planning. Learn why $1 Billion
for international family planning is a sound investment in our shared

Featuring John Seager
President and CEO of Population Connection
and a panel of experts on the benefits of family planning to families,
communities, states and countries

Thursday, December 11, 2008 from 7 - 9PM
First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis
free and open to all

For more information please contact:
Rebecca Harrington, Naitonal Field Coordinator, Population Connection
202-974-7738   rharrington [at]

From: mjshahidiusa [at]
Subject: Population $$ Campaign in MN  [has 6pm time...]

Family Planning in the Age of Economic Crisis
A national campaign is set to begin in Minneapolis on 12/11/08.

The "Global Gag Rule" which President George W. Bush re-imposed as his
first official act upon taking office in January 2001, reduced the U.S.
funding of international family planning programs which has now resulted
in millions of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in many parts of the

The United Nations Association of Minnesota and Population Connection,
based in Washington, D.C., have joined forces to start a national campaign
to urge President Obama and the new Congress to immediately remove the
Global Gag Rule and double the U.S. contributions to the international
family planning organizations from the current $460 million to $1 billion

A Kickoff Conference has been planned in Minneapolis on December 11,
2008, 6-9 p.m. to start this national campaign. The location of the
conference is the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis at 900 Mount
Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55441. It is open and free to the

Congressman Ellison, the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, the
Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota, Sierra Club, and the
Institute for Global Citizenship of Macalester College are co-sponsors.

The Conference will set the stage to begin an intensive national campaign
to urge President Obama to remove the "Global Gag Rule" or, Mexico City
Policy, immediately upon taking office on January 20, 2009. The "Double
the Money Campaign", which has already been endorsed by 25 organizations,
is soliciting individual and group participation in a massive "citizen
advocacy" project to convince the President and the U.S. Congress to
increase the U.S. financial contributions to organizations which provide
family planning services.

At a time of economic down-turn, increasing poverty and global pessimism
about the future, it is vital to pay serious attention to the persisting
problem of rapid population growth. The gap between the rich and the poor
has increased considerably within nations and internationally in recent
years. Although income and wealth distribution remain major obstacles to
development, the core problem remains to be too many people and too few
resources. The result is scarcity of necessities in overcrowded
communities, food shortage, hunger, infant mortality, maternal death,
communicable diseases, violence and breakdown of law and order.

U.S. funds cannot be used in any way to provide abortions. Under the
Mexico City Policy the Administration has withheld funds allocated by
Congress to be given to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the past 8 years because such
organizations use other funds from non-U.S. sources to provide advice on
abortions. It is estimated this policy has increased unwanted pregnancies
by 5.6 mil.

For further information, contact M. Jay Shahidi at 612-328-1913,
mjshahidiusa [at] .

--------13 of 17--------

A Rallying Point for Labor
by Lee Sustar
December 9th, 2008
Dissident Voice

A factory occupation in Chicago that began as a show of defiance by 250
workers has been transformed into a focus of national and international
labor solidarity.

Grassroots activists, rank-and-file union members, labor leaders, members
of Congress and Rev. Jesse Jackson have all come to Republic Windows &
Doors factory just north and west of the city's downtown to show their
support for the overwhelmingly Latino workforce.

In a matter of a few days, news of this fight has spread far and wide -
even gaining the attention of President-elect Barack Obama, who declared
that the workers' struggle was just.

The occupation of the Republic factory began December 5 when workers on
the afternoon shift voted to stay in the plant rather than accept a
shutdown on just three days' notice - and without the vacation pay or
severance money mandated under federal and state law.

The workers, members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers
of America (UE) Local 1110, were prepared to be arrested to make a
statement about the Republic owners' violation of the law - and about the
refusal of the company's main creditor, Bank of America (BoA), either to
extend credit to the company to keep it operating or to make good on
management's obligations to workers.

Republic workers are angry that BoA received $25 billion from the U.S.
government as part of the Wall Street bailout - taxpayer money handed over
to banks specifically to stimulate lending. Instead, the bank's Chicago
managers were sitting on the money while Republic prepared to toss workers
into the street and cut off their health insurance.

As a result, workers said, the decision to occupy was an easy one -
whatever the consequences. Suddenly, an American factory occupation -
something usually relegated to dusty labor history books about the 1930s
and nostalgic speeches at union conventions - was a reality.

If Republic's owners considered calling the cops to evict the workers,
they perhaps thought the better of it given their own obvious violation of
the law.

Within a few hours, said UE International Representative Mark Meinster,
the company reached an "understanding" with the union: Workers would keep
the plant clean and safe, and a handful of company security guards would
stay away from the cafeteria where the workers have set themselves up.

Workers have another very practical reason for guarding the plant - to
make sure that management would no longer be able to move out critical
equipment. In recent weeks, important and expensive gear had disappeared -
including brand new presses that showed up on the loading dock one day,
but were never installed.

T"hey said we were cross-docking," said Local 1110 Vice President Melvin
Maclin, referring to the practice of taking delivery of items and shipping
it out the same day. "In more than 20 years, they've never cross-docked".
Maclin and other workers suspect that the owners are either selling off
equipment or preparing to restart production in a separate, nonunion
company - a practice perfected in the trucking industry in the late 1980s
and adopted by other employers since.

Republic workers were determined it would not happen this time - not
without a fight.

Hours into the occupation on Friday evening, local labor and immigrant
rights activists began turning up at the plant's entrance with bags of
takeout fried chicken, coffee and soda. Others who rushed over without
stopping for food dug into their wallets instead, handing cash to union
organizers to get more supplies. Meanwhile, more than a half-dozen TV news
vans crowded the street outside as reporters prepared to do live

E-mail alerts, text messages and reports from the mainstream and
independent media circulated around Chicago to promote a vigil to be held
at Noon the next day. At the appointed hour, there were more than 300
union members and supporters on hand, as prayers gave way to an exuberant
solidarity rally and fundraiser.

Rev. C.J. Hawking of the Chicago-based Interfaith Worker Justice committee
led prayersand - revved up the crowd with her fiery pro-worker message.
Several Republic workers spoke, explaining to the crowd why they decided
to draw the line.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who had tried to broker a meeting between
Republic management, BoA and the union - the owners didn't show - was the
featured speaker.

"Somebody said to me, 'Those windows don't belong to them. What do you
mean they're staying with them?'" Gutierrez told the crowd. ".It seems to
me that it was [the workers'] labor that put together those windows. It
was their creativity, it was their work, their commitment to quality that
made this company successful. Those windows belong to the workers until
they are paid for".

Veterans of other labor struggles spoke - such as Rich Berg, president of
Teamsters Local 743, who took office earlier this year after a long fight
for democracy in a union notorious for corruption. Other speakers included
James Thindwa, executive director of Chicago Jobs with Justice, and Jesse
Sharkey, a delegate in the Chicago Teachers Union and member of the Caucus
of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE), a union reform group. UE Western Region
President Carl Rosen closed out the rally.

By that afternoon, the Republic occupation was international news. The
mainstream media, usually clueless where labor issues are concerned, got
the essentials across: BoA has $25 billion of taxpayer money but it wants
to cut off credit to a viable company and toss more than 250 workers on
the streets.

Sunday morning saw Jesse Jackson bring 200 turkeys to workers as UE staff
set up a food distribution system. "These workers deserve their wages,
deserve fair notice, deserve health security," Jackson said at a press
conference. "This may be the beginning of [a] long struggle of worker
resistance, finally". U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky also arrived to tour the
plant and pledge her support.

Barack Obama felt compelled to address the Republic struggle at his own
press conference. "The workers who are asking for the benefits and
payments that they have earned," Obama said. "I think they're absolutely
right, and understand that what's happening to them is reflective of
what's happening across this economy".

While the political figures have dominated the media's attention, the
crowded foyer of the plant has become a rolling solidarity meeting
involving union members, social movement activists and students.

On Sunday, a young Chicago bus driver and union activist was there to show
support - and make activists aware of the Chicago Transit Authority's
attempts to eliminate mechanics' jobs.

Rich De Vries, business agent for Teamsters Local 705, visited the plant,
as did Gerald Colby, president of the National Writers Union, who came as
part of a delegation from the U.S. Labor Against the War national
leadership meeting, held just outside Chicago over the weekend. "This
struggle shows that working people are not going to be pushed around -
that they are going to stand up for their rights - and that they have
rights at the point of production," Colby said.

James Thindwa of Jobs with Justice made a similar point. "This is the end
of an era in which corporate greed is the rule," he said. "This is the
start of something new".

Lee Sustar writes for Socialist Worker. Read other articles by Lee, or
visit Lee's website.

This article was posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 at 10:01am and is
filed under Activism, Corruption, Labor.

--------14 of 17--------

UE Local 1110 - Think Like Them
by Ron Jacobs
December 9th, 2008
Dissident Voice

I have to be honest here. I don't understand all the stuff coming across
the news media about short selling and bank collapses, but I do understand
this. There is a lot of money somewhere in the world and it is produced by
the people who work, not the people who own the places where we work.
Another thing I understand is that the people who work (taxpayers) just
had several hundred million dollars that they paid in taxes lifted from
the treasury and handed to a few banks and corporations. Now, mind you,
that money wasn't given to the people who work in those banks or for those
corporations. No, it was given to the owners and top executives of those
banks and corporations so that they could get the economy going. How I
understand this little money motion is that banks loan money to
corporations so they can make their payrolls and other such debts, which
in turn guarantees continued production which in turn allows for continued
consumption by people around the world who have money and credit to buy
the goods produced.

Yet, for some reason the money isn't moving and people are losing their
jobs right and left while the owners and executives of the banks and
corporations are whining in the media and crying to Congress that they
need more taxpayer dollars. Why isn't that money moving? Because the banks
are holding on to it instead of lending it. So, after years of
manipulating money and credit lines, the banks that got rich from the
unregulated free market trough set up by Congress and the rest of the US
government are now begging Congress for taxpayers' money so they can keep
it in their vaults and make interest off it. Meanwhile, companies that
operate because of money loaned by the banks are unable to make payrolls
and are shutting down.

Fortunately for working America, some workers recently refused to leave
after their company's last Friday closing time. That's right, around two
hundred workers at Republic Windows and Doors are sitting in the factory
that they work at even though the company has shut down because Bank of
America (the recipient of $25 billion in federal bailout money so far)
refuses to lend Republic the money needed to continue its business. This
action by the Republic Workers, who are members of United Electrical,
Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1110, is the most
appropriate response to the latest capitalist crisis manufactured by the
capitalists. If the government is going to take workers money and give or
lend it to the banks and corporations, then those who made that money must
demand that it reaches them. Otherwise, it seems to me that the banks and
corporations (and the owners and executives that own and run them) will
take the bailout money and keep it until the crisis runs it course. Then,
they will not only be sitting pretty, they will be even wealthier than
they are now and control even more, thanks to interest earned and assets
they will have received due to foreclosures and business failures. Of
course, this assumes that capitalism has not reached its final crisis.

If capitalism has reached this rubicon, the possibilities for the future
expand tremendously. Imagine working in a place where there is no owner
and no management other than you and your fellow workers. If one recalls
Argentina in 2001, they will remember television video of young people in
the streets of the country's cities blocking traffic and liberating food
and other supplies. They will recall a government collapsing under the
weight of its own lies and belief in the IMF model of capitalism. They
will also remember scenes of panicked middle-class Argentinians lining up
outside banks in the hope that their money would be returned to them and
that it would have some value if it was returned.

These scenes were only one part of the story in the wake of Argentina's
economic collapse. There were other tales of people setting up their own
methods of food distribution and resource management. There were tales of
popular assemblies organizing the delivery of essentials like fuel and
shelter. There were questions in the international capitalist media of how
the global capitalists would recover their losses and if the collapse
would spread to other nations that subscribed to the same debt-laden
economic model. This same media had little sympathy for the plight of the
working Argentinians, only concerns for the plight of the capitalists'

Or, as the Lavaca Collectiva writes in its poetic introduction to their
book Sin Patron: "In ages favorable to impostors, it's prime time for
business interests to masquerade as public opinion. Lobbyists honk their
own horns in hopes of blocking news traffic.. And the media we have to
help us interpret (these times) is really a pill that causes impotence..
They continue writing, encouraging the reader to reject this formula. 'The
limit of all predictions,' they write. 'is what people are capable are
doing'. This is the crux of this book and the stories therein. Just as the
Argentinian collapse of 2001 should have been a lesson for the capitalists
on Wall Street and other money capitals, the response of the workers in
Argentina and their brothers and sisters in Chicago's Republic Doors and
Windows are equally instructive to those of us earning a living by working
for someone else anywhere on the planet.

If you wish to write a message of support or financially support the
members of UE Local 1110, please go to UE's homepage.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the
Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is
published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:
rjacobs3625 [at] Read other articles by Ron.

This article was posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 at 10:00am and is
filed under Activism, Argentina, Capitalism, Corporate Globalization,
Economy/Economics, Labor, Neoliberalism, Poverty.

--------15 of 17--------

A Classic Battle for Workers' Rights
Raising the Stakes at Republic
December 9, 2008

Day four of the Republic Windows & Doors factory occupation in Chicago saw
another surge in labor solidarity - plus a rare boost from the media and
politicians trying to outdo one other in showing support for the struggle.

Just hours after the Chicago Tribune published a December 8 report
apparently verifying workers' suspicions that production had been moved
from their now-closed factory to a nonunion facility in Iowa, Illinois
Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrived at the plant just north and west of downtown

The governor announced that state agencies would suspend their business
with Bank of America (BoA), which triggered the closure of Republic's
plant by cutting off its line of credit.

"During these times of economic turmoil, we must ensure that workers'
rights are protected," Blagojevich said, adding that the Illinois
Department of Labor would file a complaint in federal court if
negotiations between the factory's owners, the workers' union and BoA
officials didn't provide the approximately $1.5 million that workers are
owned under federal and state law as well as their union contract.

The 250 workers, members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine
Workers of America (UE) Local 1110, are demanding that BoA either resume
making loans to Republic to reopen the plant or help the company make good
on its obligations to workers. The workers are angry that BoA received $25
billion in taxpayer bailout, but won't lend to viable companies.

Blagojevich vowed to help. "We're going to do everything possible here in
Illinois to side with these workers," he said.

Also on hand was Sen. Dick Durbin. "Over the last several weeks, we have
been debating in Washington how to spend hundreds of billions of dollars,"
he told reporters afterward. "We have been sending billions of dollars to
banks like Bank of America. The reason we sent them the money was to tell
them they have to loan this money to companies just like Republic."

Soon after the politicians' limos left the plant, a scene more familiar to
labor activists took shape. Amid the forest of mobile TV satellite feed
dishes, some 20 burly members of the International Union of Operating
Engineers Local 150 installed giant inflatable rats on either side of the
plant entrance and took up positions near the door.

Local 150 Business Manager/President Jim Sweeney explained the motivation
for this delegation in one word: "Solidarity." Why the large delegation?
"We heard they [management] were going to try to move them out," he
explained, adding that his locals' members would be on hand for the
duration of the occupation.

For Sweeney, the struggle "summarizes where we are as a movement," he
said. "We've come full circle. Seven percent of the workforce is unionized
[in the private sector], and we're back to sit-down strikes like in Flint,
Michigan," he said, referring to the famous factory occupation of 1936-37
that forced General Motors to recognize the United Auto Workers.

"We need a catalyst," Sweeney said. "And this may be what starts it for
the American worker again."

Alongside the operating engineers, a delegation of more than a dozen
nurses from Cook County Stroger Hospital stood behind their banner,
carrying signs in support of the Republic workers and chanting, "The
workers united will never be divided."

"This is important, because this is a form of union-busting," said Diane
Ellis, the chief steward for the National Nurses Organizing Committee at
Stroger. "Their contract was violated. Workers' rights were violated, when
the company just shut them out. It's happening to them today, and it could
happen to us tomorrow. You've got the fat cats walking away with the money
and leaving all the workers here with nothing."

As the chanting resumed, union members, community activists and students
threaded their way through the reporters crowding the building foyer,
making now-routine deliveries of food and beverages. Cameras crowded the
inner door to the plant, as journalists strained to capture images of
workers seated near stacks of recently manufactured windows as a handful
of children played nearby.

* * *
MEANWHILE, ANOTHER group of politicians assembled to turn up the heat on

At a press conference at City Hall, Alderman Ricardo Muoz announced a
proposed ordinance that would shift city funds from Bank of America to
other banks, require City Council approval for any BoA underwriting or
marketing of city bonds, and force the bank to bring any proposed zoning
changes on property directly to City Council.

"Under the law, the City Council has the authority and responsibility to
take into account the interests of Chicago and its residents when deciding
which banks to do business with," Muoz said. "Bank of America profits
handsomely from the business it gets from the City and other governments.
We have a right to demand that workers are treated fairly."

Following a three-hour meeting on Monday afternoon between union, company
and bank representatives, it was announced that no settlement had been
reached and the sit-in would continue. A new round of talks was slated for
the next day - and if the workers don't get satisfaction, a big protest is
planed for 12 noon the following day at BoA's Chicago-area headquarters.

Will BoA buckle under the pressure? "Obviously, there's tremendous public
support for the workers here, and for the sense that workers need to have
jobs, said Carl Rosen, western region president for UE. "I think there is
a lot of pressure on the bank with regard to this, but banks have their
own agendas, and they're not the peoples' agenda." He added, "Anyone who
has the ability to let Bank of America know they want something done
should go ahead and do that."

Activists did do that in the largely Mexican-American community of Little
Village. After a picket at BoA's large 26th Street branch organized by the
March 10 immigrant rights coalition and other groups, participants made
their case against BoA in a press conference.

According to labor organizer and journalist Jorge Mjica, immigrants rights
activists supported the Republic workers not only because they are mostly
Latino immigrants, but because they are literally fighting the same

"There are dozens of shops that have closed down in the last month and a
half," Mjica said. "Why? Because of the same reason - lack of money, lack
of credit, lack of resources....So we are going to demand from Bank of
America to keep open the line of credit from Republic, but also to open up
the credit for 26th Street, so we don't keep losing more jobs."

Ricardo Caceres, a 15-year worker at the plant and a union shop steward,
used the press conference to remind the media that the boss shut the plant
on two day's notice as the holidays loomed - and to express gratitude to
the solidarity movement that's sprung up. "I want to say to your
organizations, unions and communities, thank you so much for everything -
for the food, and your support," he said.

One of the speakers at the press conference was Rev. Jos Landaverde of Our
Lady of Guadalupe Mission, a church centrally involved in the local
movement against immigration raids and deportations.

"People are losing their jobs because businesses are closing, and the
banks won't support the needs of small business and the workers," he said
as he walked the picket line. "They just want to support themselves. And
this we see also with the government, with the Bush administration and the
Obama administration. It's about saving Wall Street and the banks, but
it's not saving the peoples' economy."

* * *
FOR REPUBLIC'S managers, the objective seems to be saving themselves at
workers' expense. Confirmation came on Monday that - as workers
suspected - Republic is not, in fact, shutting down operations, but
planning to move production to Iowa under a new name, "Echo Windows &

Reports indicate that Echo would be nonunion, pay only $9 an hour, and
offer workers limited benefits and no vacation pay for the first three
years - a drastic cut compared to the average $14-an-hour wage and health
and retirement benefits that Chicago Republic workers had been getting.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

People who apparently have ties to the financially strapped Republic
Windows formed a limited liability corporation in Illinois last month,
Echo Windows & Doors, that has bought a similar plant in western Iowa.

Sharon Gillman, who shares an address with Republic President and CEO Rich
Gillman, is listed as an officer of Echo Windows & Doors LLC, which was
incorporated in Illinois on November 18, according to secretary of state

Neither she nor Rich Gillman could be reached for comment on Sunday. A
secretary who answered the phone at the Iowa plant purchased by Echo said
Rich Gillman was not in on Sunday, and that she did not know when he would
be in.

An "" Internet domain has been registered, but no content
has been placed on the site. The administrative contact on the domain
registration is Amy Zimmerman - the same name as the vice president of
sales and marketing at Republic...

Echo Windows officials told employees at the former TRACO manufacturing
plant in Red Oak, Iowa, on Thursday that the workforce would be doubled
from the current 50 employees because they have production orders lined

None of this surprises Melvin Maclin, vice president of UE Local 1110, and
Ron Bender, a union shop steward.

"I don't think they want to stay here, period," Bender said. Maclin added,
"It was never the owner's plan to save the plant. And the bank was aware
of it. I don't know that for a fact, but it seemed like the bank was aware
of what's going on. They were just running a game."

Whatever Republics' owners and BoA had planned last week, it's a different
world now. By trying to add to the misery of laid-off workers by stealing
their severance pay, they've managed to demonstrate to the world the
inequity and double standards of the Wall Street bailout.

And now they've discovered that workers are capable of demonstrating
something else - resolve, struggle and solidarity in what has become a
classic battle for workers' rights.

Lee Sustar and Nicole Colson write for the Socialist Worker.

--------16 of 17--------

Chicago factory sit-in fits nation's mood
By Nelson Lichtenstein and Christopher Phelps
Special to CNN -
updated 7:40 a.m. EST, Tue December 9, 2008

Editor's note: Nelson Lichtenstein teaches history at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of
Work, Labor and Democracy. He is the author of "Walter Reuther: The Most
Dangerous Man in Detroit." Christopher Phelps teaches at the Ohio State
University at Mansfield and is writing a history of strikes in American
social thought.

(CNN) -- The factory occupation by 200 workers at Republic Windows and
Doors in Chicago, Illinois, recalls one of the most storied moments in
American history, when thousands of Depression-era workers took over their
own workplaces, seeking union recognition and better wages.

The pivotal battle began on the morning of December 30, 1936, when shop
activists shut down a General Motors factory in Flint, Michigan, to
restore the jobs of three of their workmates fired by the company. From
the windows, they sang in rowdy camaraderie:

 When they tie the can to a union man,
 Sit down! Sit down!
 When they give him the sack, they'll take him back
 Sit down! Sit down!

When GM agreed to recognize the United Automobile Workers, all sorts of
workplaces, from dime stores to shoe shops, caught the spirit. Pie bakers,
seamen and movie projector operators sat down. Even before Flint, there
had been occupation strikes at Hormel in Austin, Minnesota; Goodyear in
Akron, Ohio; and Bendix in South Bend, Indiana. As often as not, they won.

There are big differences between those events and the occupation at
Republic Windows and Doors. The Chicago workers already have a union. They
seek severance pay, not a raise. Theirs is a protest, not a strike. Rather
than disrupt production, they refuse to vacate a closed plant. And their
numbers are minuscule in comparison to the half-million American workers
who sat down in 1936 and 1937.

Some of the underlying issues, however, are the same: preservation of
jobs, economic fairness and the meaning of democracy itself. Even if this
occupation is quickly settled, it has exposed perfidy and dramatized
justice, as did the sit-downs of the 1930s.

Factory occupations are rare because they violate the everyday laws of
property, and for the most part American workers are law-abiding people.

They occur only when workers feel morally aggrieved, when they sense that
ownership has itself violated the law, when the boss has become the outlaw
in their eyes and in that of the community as well.

This was the case in the winter of 1936-37 when corporations such as GM
and U.S. Steel defied the newly enacted Wagner Act, which President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed to encourage labor unionism and raise
purchasing power.

Just a couple of months before, tens of thousands of autoworkers poured
out of factories to cheer Roosevelt as his motorcade made a slow tour of
Flint and other industrial cities. "You voted New Deal at the polls and
defeated the auto barons," organizers told workers after FDR's smashing
re-election victory. "Now get a New Deal in the shop."

Will history repeat itself? The Chicago factory occupiers, overwhelmingly
Latino, don't have much clout, but they rightly sense that the national
mood is with them.

Just as FDR once told reporters, "If I worked in a factory, the first
thing I would do is join a union," so too has President-elect Barack Obama
declared the Republic workers "absolutely right" in their quest for
remuneration. More importantly, Obama observed that the Republic factory
closure "is reflective of what's happening across this economy."

Indeed, it is not just that workers are suffering during a severe
recession, but that the owners of capital, both large and small, are
morally compromised in the crisis that besets the nation.

Bank of America, the giant lender, played a large role in the Republic
factory closure when the bank, noting a decline in Republic's sales, cut
off the company's line of credit. In normal times, this would have been
considered prudent banking practice, but just last month Bank of America
received $25 billion in a financial bailout meant to keep loans and credit

But Main Street managers have dirty hands as well. According to the union,
the owners of Republic Windows and Doors failed to give their workers a
legally required 60-day notice that they would close. And the Chicago
Tribune reports that in the weeks before the factory shutdown, people with
apparent ties to Republic formed a corporation that bought a similar plant
in western Iowa.

It is hardly surprising that Republic's workers have laid temporary claim
to the factory in which some have given decades of their lives. Its owners
and creditors have forfeited their own claims, both moral and legal, to
rightful stewardship.

As Sen. Robert Wagner said in response to the 1937 sit-downs, "The
uprising of the common people has come, as always, only because of a
breakdown in the ability of the law and our economic system to protect
their rights."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Nelson
Lichtenstein and Christopher Phelps.

From shove001 [at] Wed Dec 10 05:54:02 2008
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 03:40:50 -0600 (CST)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Republic Sit-In Talks Continue in Chicago, latest news, demonstrations,
     solidarity (fwd)

>From Portside

Republic Talks Continue in Chicago - 10:00 p.m. CST
09 December, 2008
CHICAGO - 10:00 p.m. Tuesday

Negotiations that began today at 1:00 p.m. between the UE Local 1110
bargaining committee, Republic Windows and Bank of America are still in
progress.  No settlement has been reached.

Yesterday, Bank of America issued a statement that it was willing to
provide a "limited amount" of additional loans to Republic Windows and
Doors to help resolve the plant occupation.

Late this afternoon some news organizations published stories, based on
the bank's statement yesterday, that were factually incorrect. Bank of
America informed us their statement from yesterday was released in error.
Democratic Vote

When the meeting concludes, the UE committee will return to the factory
and report on any progress. Because UE is a democratic organization, only
the 200 plus workers currently occupying Republic Windows and Doors will
decide if a settlement is acceptable by a democratic vote. Chicago Rally

Meanwhile, tomorrow's Chicago rally will proceed as planned.

Demonstrations Wednesday, Friday: Solidarity & 'Bail Out the Rest of Us!'

Workers Fight Back at Republic Windows
A bid for fairness draws worldwide support

CHICAGO RALLY: Wednesday, Dec 10, Bank of America Headquarters
Noon, 231 S. La Salle St (downtown)

NEW YORK - Wednesday, Dec. 10, 12:00 noon - Bank of America, 261 Broadway
Sponsored by: Bail Out the People Movement & the May 1st Coalition for
Worker and Immigrant Rights

DETROIT - Wednesday, Dec, 10, 12:00 noon - Protest Rally at Bank of
America, Guardian Building, Congress at Griswold, downtown Detroit

RALEIGH, NC - International Human Rights Day March from the Legislative
Building on Jones Street to Bank of America. Gather at 11:30 a.m.

BUFFALO, NY - Wednesday, Dec, 10, 4:30 p.m. - Bank of America branch,
downtown Sponsored by: WNY Peace Center, International Action Center, and
the Coalition for Economic Justice

NEW YORK - 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Bank of America at SW corner of Union Square
(University Place just south of 14th St). Sponsored by: Young Democratic
Socialists and Jobs With Justice

BOSTON - Friday, December 12, 12:00 noon at Bank of America regional
headquarters Sponsored by UE Northeastern Region and Jobs with Justice,
100 Federal St., Boston

Around the country, demonstrations are rapidly being organized to show
solidarity with the UE members sitting in at Republic Windows and Doors.
People also want to express outrage at Bank of America's role in forcing
the plant to close and demand that the U.S. government stop aiding the
rich bankers who caused this economic crisis and instead, start protecting
jobs and bailing out the rest of us.

Here are the actions we have been able to confirm. We believe there are
other actions going on as well, and urge you to let us know about them.

How You Can Help

    * Send a support message ..
    * Donate (very much appreciated) through PayPal ...

      ... or by Mail:
      UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund, UE Western Region,
      37 S. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60607

    * Tell Bank of America to do the right thing (a
    national email campaign by Jobs With Justice)

    * In Chicago? Stop by the plant:
    it's at 1333 N. Hickory

    * Download flyers

--------17 of 17--------


 I pledge resistance to the flag
 of the Corporate States of Capitalism
 and to the Empire for which it stands,
 one abomination, under rod, divisible,
 with bondage and injustice for all.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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