Labor Upfront: Special New Year Edition For a New Year of Progress & Struggle

 
BY:CPUSA Labor Commission| January 7, 2009




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Special New Year Edition:
For a New Year of progress and struggle!
Dec. 30, 2008

In This Issue
2008: What a year for Labor
Autoworkers dodge the bullet
Workers Fighting Back!
Action we are following

2008: What a Year for Labor

labor santa


By Scott Marshall

Talk about a sea change. A
President-Elect who actually walks on picketlines rather than busts
unions.
Unprecedented independent labor political action that arguably made the
difference in changing the direction of our country. Stunning victories
at Smithfield
Foods in Tar Heel, North Carolina (read here), at Republic Windows
in Chicago (read here), and Boeing
in Seattle (read here). New higher levels of
labor unity –
its been a long time since the whole labor movement has been so united
on a
presidential candidate. The most unifying and far-reaching discussion
in labor of
racism as a central block to working class and trade union unity since
the 1930’s.
(read here) And important new
steps towards a truly international labor movement (read here).

Of
course it comes in the midst of the worst economic crisis for working
families
in 70+ years. A fighting labor movement, in step with our new
President, in
step with the broad coalition who powered the Obama and Congressional
victories, is critical for these times. 2009 shapes up to be a year of
big
change and big struggle. And the labor movement is powered with happy
warriors
who have the hope and determination for the change we need.

Autoworkers dodge the bullet for now…

The
government loans to the US auto industry give autoworkers a brief
breathing
spell. Still the Bush White House ‘terms’ for the loans are a
rightwing,
Republican slap at the union. The Bush conditions on the loans try and
make the
auto companies cut wages and benefit for UAW workers to the levels of
non-union
auto plants. Those kind of terms will further aggravate the overall
economic
situation. When workers can’t even afford to buy the products they
make, the
cycle of layoffs and shutdowns accelerates.

We still
need to build solidarity and with and for the autoworkers. Demand that
they
take no pay and benefit cuts. Demand that the union gets full
representation on
the boards of GM and Chrysler in exchange for the loans. And keep up
the
pressure for the Employee Free Choice Act. Raising all autoworkers to
the wage
and benefit standards of UAW workers will help the economy by putting
more
spending power in the hands of people who need it and who will spend
money on
goods and services that will help stimulate the economy.

In these
emergency times we also need to consider bigger changes to preserve the
jobs of
autoworkers and the millions of other workers who supply the industry.
We need
to consider democratic public ownership.
(read more here)

Workers. Fighting Back Striking Republic Window workers
And Winning



In 2009 the
labor movement will build on its outstanding accomplishments in 2008
(see
below). Unity, momentum and an aroused activist core in labor will
shift into
even higher gear this coming year. With big time support from the
people’s
coalition that elected Barack Obama, and the new administration,
workers will
win passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The incoming Labor
Secretary in the Obama Administration, Hilda Solis, will help lead the
effort.
(more here) (sign the petition here). Even the
New York Times supports it
(here) and understands it as an
important part of economic recovery and balance
against corporate greed.

Passage of
EFCA will open a whole new level of struggle for the working class and
the
people of this country. It will build on the confidence and skill that
labor and
its core allies have developed. Employee Free Choice is also key to
economic
recovery. The Obama administration’s ambitious plans for infrastructure
development and for green industry can potentially put millions to
work.
Employee Free Choice will help guarantee that the jobs created are
economically
sustainable jobs that put money into circulation, create demand for
goods and
services, and can support working class families. And EFCA will help
create
upward pressure on income and working conditions for all workers,
organized and
unorganized, further stimulating the economic growth, equality and
fairness.

Passage of
Employee Free Choice also sets the stage for important struggles around
healthcare, education, the environment, immigration reform, saving
people’s
homes, mass transit, aid to states, cities and rural areas, and other
critical
needs. All of these struggles blend with, and are complimentary to,
Employee Free
Choice. And in turn all of these domestic struggles are central to
reordering
our nations priorities away from war and global dominance towards world
cooperation and peaceful problems solving. Yes, we think it will be a
very good
year of struggle for labor.

Stories and Actions we’re following:

AFL-CIO Blog: Bailout Billionaires, Kill the Middle Class (read)

Colombia: Another Trade Unionist Assassinated
(read)

Russia: Stop attacks on auto workers union (take action here)

Congressman, faith and labor leaders urge release of jailed workers (read)

Home Depot CEO Attacks Employee Free Choice
(take action here)


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welcome questions, comments and stories for our next
newsletter.

Send them to us at laborcomm@rednet.org
or call (773)
446-9934

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