Labor Upfront – April 21, 2008

April 22, 2008
Vol. 1,
Issue 7

goal of Labor Upfront is to provide members and friends with news,
information, and general ways to stay connected with the on-going
struggles of workers. You can also visit our
for further information on the stories in this newsletter and much more!
feel free to forward this to anyone
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Scott Marshall,
Labor Commission Chair

Melissa O’Rourke, Labor Commission Coordinator, Labor Upfront editor

In This

Calls for May Day Work Stoppages Against the War

Action Alerts: FLOC, No Colombia FTA

important step towards global unionism

TU finally released

Loss of
factory jobs=more on food stamps

Week of
action unites students, workers

challenge Bush ‘no match’ plan

Join McCain
Revealed team

Union Jobs
(still more

ILWU Longshore Coast
Caucus Calls for May Day Work Stoppages Against the War
from the resolution passed
recently (full text can be found here):

WHEREAS: On May 1, 2003, at the ILWU Convention in San Francisco
resolutions were passed calling for an end to the war and occupation in
Iraq; and
WHEREAS: ILWU took the lead among labor unions in opposing this bloody
war and occupation for imperial domination; and
WHEREAS: Many unions and the overwhelming majority of the American
people now oppose this bipartisan and unjustifiable war in Iraq and
Afghanistan but the two major political parties, Democrats and
Republicans continue to fund the war; and
WHEREAS: Millions worldwide have marched and demonstrated against the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but have been unable to stop the wars;
That it is time to take labor’s protest to a more powerful level of
struggle by calling on unions and working people in the U. S. and
internationally to mobilize for a ‘No Peace No Work Holiday’ May 1,
2008 for 8 hours to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation
in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U. S. troops from the
Middle East; and
That a clarion call from the ILWU be sent with an urgent appeal for
unity of action to the AFL-CIO, the Change to Win Coalition and all of
the international labor organizations to which we are affiliated to
bring an end to this bloody war once and for all.

Submitted by ILWU Local 10, passed overwhelmingly after
thorough debate.

If you need any further information or wish to send messages of support
and solidarity please contact Bob McEllrath, International President,
ILWU, 1188 Franklin Street, San Francisco, California 94109.
Tel: (+1 415) 775 0533 Fax: (+1 415) 775 1302. Email:

Website for the May Day event is here; you can also find a fast-growing list of endorsers and
letters of solidarity from many labor unions here.

Other articles and further information can be found here,
and here.

return to top

Action Alerts
FLOC/Central IN JwJ
One year ago, on April 9, 2007, Santiago Rafael Cruz, an organizer for
the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC), was found bound
and beaten to death in the group’s Monterrey, Mexico, office. FLOC had
opened an office in Monterrey next to the U.S. Consulate in 2005 to
help members coming to North Carolina as guest workers in processing
their visas, to fight corruption in the recruitment process and to
develop leaders and train members. The office previously had been the
target of break-ins with files and equipment destroyed.
send an email letter today
to the President of Mexico. Ask him to
have the Government of Mexico take over the investigation of the murder
of Santiago Rafael Cruz, which it is entitled to do in a human rights

to top

Colombia Free Trade Agreement
When Bush sent the Columbia FTA agreement to Congress recently, Labor
and human rights organizations went all out to make
sure that the murderous
bill won’t pass. The
, Change
to Win
Working Families activist network
Rights at Work
and Jobs with Justice were just some of the
organizations that sent action alerts to their membership.  Here
the Jobs
Justice action alert
and click on each organization listed above to
be directed to their own action alert:

“Colombia’s government has thwarted workers’ right to organize and
bargain collectively—by weakening labor protections, refusing to
register legitimate unions and failing to enforce the law against
anti-union discrimination.  The Colombia FTA extends NAFTA and
so-called ‘free trade’ agreements that have already undermined workers
rights and environmental protections for U.S., Canadian, Mexican, and
Central American workers.

U.S. and Colombian workers need agreements that guarantee the right to
organize and improve living and working conditions for all
This agreement does none of that.  Join Jobs with Justice in
fair trade and an end to the global race to the bottom.”

to top

International Labor News
Another important
step towards global unionism

The Communications Workers union (CWA) has joined forces with the
largest union in Germany (ver.di) to establish the first trans-Atlantic
telecomm union. Lothar Schroder, head of ver.di’s telecomm section
said, “(German) Management must get used to the idea that we are
representing the interests not only of German workers but of American
workers as well. This is the right response to globalization.” The
German union ver.di represents workers at Deutsche Telekom the parent
company of T-Mobile.

CWA president Larry Cohen called the new affiliate of both unions a
“new step in global solidarity.” The move by CWA comes on the heels of
a recently announced “strategic alliance” of the CWA and the
Steelworkers (USW), along with Autoworkers (UAW) and the International
Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. The Steelworkers
are also working on finalizing a trans-Atlantic union merger with Unite
UK the largest industrial union in Britain. Interesting interactions
and developments. For the CWA story, go here.

to top

Iranian TU finally
released from prison

the IUF
: Mahmoud Salehi, leader of the unofficial bakery workers’
union in the city of Saquez, was released from prison on April 6.
Salehi’s one year sentence for his trade union work – one of a series
which have seen him repeatedly arrested, imprisoned, released and
re-imprisoned over 4 years – was completed in March but the authorities
refused to release him despite the grave condition of his health.

His release follows bakery and other workers’ demonstrations outside
his prison and global union action on March 6 as part of the worldwide
campaign in solidarity with Salehi, Tehran transport workers’ leader
Mansour Osanloo and other jailed Iranian union activists.

The campaign
for the release
of Osanloo and other imprisoned activists continues
– for the latest news/actions click on ‘Solidarity
with Workers in Iran’
on the IUF home page.

to top

U.S. Labor News
28 million surviving on
food stamps

By John Wojcik
CHICAGO — Human suffering, more than Wall Street indicators, tells us
the world’s richest nation is plunging into its most severe economic
crisis since the Great Depression, while the Iraq war continues to
drain the nation’s Treasury. As Congress heard the Bush
administration’s top general and ambassador in Iraq argue for
continuing to pour billions into an open-ended occupation there, news
reports showed an all-time record of 28 million Americans now survive
only because of food stamps.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that as many as 30 million
Americans will, by October, be using food stamps to buy their most
essential foods. That will be the highest number in U.S. history
relying on what has traditionally been considered the symbol of poverty.

The food crisis is nationwide, but it hits particularly hard across the
Midwest “rust belt.” Recent layoffs in the auto industry in Michigan,
for example, helped drive up the percentage of people in that state on
food stamps. Before the layoffs, 1 in 9 Michigan residents were on food
stamps. Now the number is 1 in 8. A year ago, Maureen Sorbert, a
spokesperson for the state’s food stamp program, was telling the press
that she expected the number of recipients to level off soon, but early
this month she said the increase has been even more dramatic in recent
months. Article continues here.

Editor’s note: You can read more about the crisis working families are
facing and the increasing income gaps between the rich and poor here.

to top

Week of action
unites students, workers

By Pepe Lozano
Imagine a world where everyone who chooses to can go to college. A
world where workers on school campuses and in communities have a voice
about their working conditions, where the fruits and vegetables that
people eat are picked by workers who earn a living wage. Imagine a time
when students and others can proudly wear university apparel, knowing
the workers who made the clothing were paid fairly with basic rights
including breaks, safe working conditions and an eight-hour workday.
And finally, think about what it would be like when jobs not only
support workers but also protect the environment.

These aims were demanded by thousands of youth and student leaders on
over 100 campuses in more than 30 states during the ninth annual
Student Labor Week of Action March 28-April 4. The Student Labor Action
Project (SLAP) and dozens of other local and national student-worker
solidarity groups sponsored the events.

The AFL-CIO co-sponsored the week of action to highlight the fight for
fair wages and the freedom to form unions among low-wage workers. The
anniversaries of Cesar Chavez’s birth and the assassination of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. were also recognized.

“This was a national movement to connect campaigns for a broader unity
between youth, students and workers,” said Carlos Jimenez, SLAP
national coordinator. Story continues here.

to top

Unions challenge Bush
‘no match’ plan

By John Wojcik
The United Food and Commercial Workers has stepped up its fight against
Bush administration use of “no match” Social Security letters against
workers whose on-the-job identification doesn’t match what’s in
government files. The government uses the program to pressure companies
to fire employees and to force workers to prove “legal” status or face

The UFCW, joined by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the
American Federation of Government Employees and various business and
community groups, is saying it will renew the fight against the
Department of Homeland Security in court on this issue. The renewed
court battle is necessary, the UFCW and its allies say, because of
recent DHS action.  Article continues here.

to top

Election ’08

Join the McCain

Across the country, working families have been getting the word out
about John McCain’s sorry
record on working family issues
like the economy, jobs, trade,
health care, retirement security and the freedom to bargain.

Many people are stunned to hear the facts about McCain’s economic
record–making it all the more important that we continue to expose
McCain’s plans to continue the failed economic agenda of George Bush.

But we need your help to keep up the momentum.

Click here
to join the McCain Revealed Rapid Response Team.

Click here
to read about union members across the country uniting to beat McCain!

We still need to know….
We still need to know…where are people involved in campaigns, both in
labor for Obama or Hillary committees and also key congressional races,
and where can we build support where it isn’t yet.  E-mail us to
let us
know, and send us periodic updates.

to top

Union Jobs (We need more

We’ve gotten an increasing number of responses in the call for union
job listings, more than we can list anymore. For the sake of space and
ease, we’ll list cities and industries, and for further information
please contact me,
Chicago: IBEW: further info is available at
Chicago Education-to-Careers:
Dallas: Jobs at IBT and UAW represented facilities

There is also a website, that
lists union
jobs, including staff, trades and apprenticeships, by state.

Keep them coming!!!!
  In an effort to assist young
workers in finding decent-paying union jobs, I’m requesting that anyone
who knows of job openings or apprenticeships, in all fields and across
the country, please forward that information to

To remove your name from our mailing list, please e-mail

We welcome questions, comments and stories for our next
.  Send them to us at
or call (773)
446-9920, ext. 212.



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