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    Gulf War Veterans Association ..., 2002-11-20 02:00:00 | Main | "Anti-Europeanism" on rise in ..., 2002-11-20 02:00:00

    A brief history of the past year: Bush the Seconder declares war on: Osama Bin Laden; American Civil Liberties, Afghanistan; Venezuela; Saddam Hussein. This week (10/8) it's re-declaring war on the American Working Class.

    In response to an alleged slowdown by the ILWU, the PMA started a lockout on 9/29/02 - creating a phony crisis, leveraging a suspension of wages against the workers in order to gain an upper hand in contract negotiations that have been in dispute since July 2002. The ILWU cites safety concerns and mismanagement as the cause for the slowdown, but what seems clear is that a core issue behind the negotiations has been the PMA's efforts to undermine the ILWU by making new technological positions non-union. The PMA is backing out of the landmark 1960s Mechanization and Modernization Agreement that allowed the shipping industry to replace labor with machinery, but granted the new jobs created to the union, thus allowing labor to stay organized and industry to become more efficient - all without creating the kind of conflict we are seeing now. The PMA would like to see the union phased out, to cease to exist, poof, so that the interests of working men and women dissolve in a cloud of profits. This particular case is a crack in the damn. The Bush administration is more than happy to join in the effort.

    Bush has imposed the Taft-Hartley Act, the first such use of the act to end a lockout, to put the workers back to work under the terms of the previous agreement for 80 days (after which the same act can be invoked again, and again, as a so-called "cooling-off period" during which employers can escalate the conflict, as has happened over and over again in the past 50 years). While the workers were stuck out in the cold, the PMA was packing heat, and the union bosses are forgetting about the rank and file. For a debate on the economics involved check with Max, or just note that cheap labor means poor consumers - which is to say destructive economics.

    From yahoo: "Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation, said: 'The President has shown political courage and leadership.'" apparently by giving into the "many business groups" that "lobbied for him to seek an injunction". What a hero. Bush's anti-union mission is hardly unique.


:: posted by buermann @ 2002-11-20 02:00:00 CST | link





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