|Progressive Calendar 12.10.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] driscollgroup.com> Subject: RNC/justice/courts 12.10 11am TRUTH TO TELL WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10 - 11:00AM 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 LIVE AT KFAI.org 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. GUESTS: 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] hotmail.com> 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. http://www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com --------3 of 17-------- From: joel [at] mnhealthplan.org Subject: Health care 12.10 4:30pm Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan We CAN Provide Health Care For ALL Minnesotans! COME TO THE FIRST MEETING OF THE TWIN CITIES HEALTH REFORM TASK FORCE! December 10 4:30-6pm 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 are paying. WHY DOES IT NOT HAPPEN? 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 legislature. 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 cost. - Nationally, over half of all bankruptcies are caused by high medical bills. - 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, 2004-2007. Contacts: Joel Clemmer, 651-442-7639, joel[at]mnhealthplan.org Laura Blubaugh --------4 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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] umn.edu or http://igs.cla.umn.edu --------5 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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. http://www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com --------6 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> 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] umn.edu or http://igs.cla.umn.edu --------7 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> 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] aol.com 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] aol.com. --------9 of 17-------- From: "Minnesota Renewable Energy Society" <mnrenewables [at] gmail.com> 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 MAP http://www.csp.edu/AboutUs/maps/color_campus_map.pdf December 11, 2008 6-9pm 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 RSVP. Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (612) 308-4757 info [at] mnRenewables.org www.mnRenewables.org --------10 of 17-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> 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] antiwarcommittee.org> 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] unamn.org> 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 future. 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] populationconnection.org -- From: mjshahidiusa [at] aol.com 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 world. 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 annually. 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 public. 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] aol.com . --------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 broadcasts. 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' money. 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] charter.net. 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 By LEE SUSTAR and NICOLE COLSON CounterPunch 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 Chicago. 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 BoA. 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 institutions. "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 & Doors." 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 records. 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 "echowindows.com" 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 up. 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 http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/08/lichtenstein.chicago.labor/index.html Portside 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 flowing. 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] tc.umn.edu Wed Dec 10 05:54:02 2008 Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 03:40:50 -0600 (CST) From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> To: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> 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 http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=433 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!' http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=434 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. <http://www.ueunion.org/respform.htm?ueweb> -- How You Can Help * Send a support message .. <http://www.ueunion.org/republic_main.html> . * Donate (very much appreciated) through PayPal ... <https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=OdP4I-_233ECqsBZXLIIGUpewy5mHL8L-pX71zh2Zr0wDZTZx56Uomoj6vG&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f9fecf49521b3f5af727cc8f9db6c1fecf4abf56207eb6b8e> ... 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) <http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/bankofamerica> * In Chicago? Stop by the plant: it's at 1333 N. Hickory * Download flyers <http://www.ueunion.org/php/phpdnld.php?page=republic_bailedripped.pdf> --------17 of 17-------- PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE 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] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.