Monday, April 24, 2006

May Day Olympia - Primero Mayo

May Day - Primero Mayo
"Hands Off" Immigrants, Workers and Families 
Join Us Monday, May 1st 3 pm Sylvester Park
Olympia, WA

We Stand in Solidarity with the 40 Million + Immigrant Worker General

"Un Dia Sin Immigrante" (Seattle Statement)
IWW (Industiral Workers of the World)
Bread and Roses
UCAN (United Communities AIDS Network)
WROC (Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition)
TSTSCA (Thurston-Santo Thomas Sister County Association)
Schools for Chiapas
Alternatives to CAFTA in Nicaragua
Resist the Grand Jury

Fast Rattler
Citizens Band (IWW)
Rosaura Segura (TSTSCA)

-Interactive Tables-
Rec the Place - make your own buttons -
Yes Yes - Art for Social Change -
Last Word Books
...and more community organizations...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Meatpacker Wildcat in Kansas

Workers won't face penalties for protests at Excel plant
Associated Press

Several hundred workers briefly walked off the job at a Dodge City meatpacking plant Tuesday after company officials disciplined employees for missing work to protest proposed federal immigration laws a day earlier, union leaders said.

Just before the lunch hour, about 600 workers left the line and filed into the Excel Corp. cafeteria, saying they would not work if the company sanctioned some employees for attending Monday's immigration rally, an official with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2 said.

Excel spokesman Mark Klein said he "didn't want to get into" whether the company had attempted to discipline or suspend employees at the southwest Kansas plant. He and union representatives said that after several hours of negotiations, the two sides agreed workers wouldn't be penalized for skipping work to demonstrate against legislation that would make it a felony to illegally enter the United States.

Ford County Sheriff Dean Bush said the plant's security director called earlier Tuesday requesting help. Three officers were sent to the plant, and dozens of highway troopers assembled to handle any possible disturbance, law enforcement officials said.

Union officials said members walked off the line because they felt some workers were being unfairly punished, since Excel had stated publicly that workers wouldn't be penalized for attending the protests.

Excel, the nation's second-largest beef processor, said the plant was fully operating Tuesday afternoon.

"We had a number of discussions today to work through," Klein said. "As we move forward we're going to work together to handle any future events around immigration reform."

Klein said the company's contract with the union allows Excel to sanction employees for taking a personal day if they exceed their allotted number of absences. He said Monday the immigration rally in Dodge City had contributed to a slowdown in production, but that the company would take no adverse action against its workers.

Several meatpacking plants across the country - including Creekstone Farms Premium Beef in Arkansas City and three Tyson plants in Iowa and Nebraska - shut down production lines or closed entirely Monday because workers went to the rallies.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Los Angeles: Port Truckers Set to Strike May 1st

For the past 20 years port truckers in Los Angeles have been organizing for employee recognition, respect, dignity, and decent wages.

Port Truckers Set to Strike May 1st
By John Riley, Si Se Puede Collective
April 11, 2006

For the past 20 years port truckers in Los Angeles have been organizing for employee recognition, respect, dignity, and decent wages. Their struggle has past through various ups and downs, but this May 1st might just be the beginning of a new wave or radicalism for Los Angeles port truckers. If all goes as planned LA Harbor, the biggest port on the west coast, will come to a screeching halt on May 1st.

Unlike the common vision of a trucker, an old white man wearing a cowboy hat drinking a big gulp full of coffee, most truckers in LA are Latino, some are women, and most speak Spanish. They call themselves troqueros. They work an average of 60- 80 hours a week, and are often forced to drive under dangerous and illegal conditions. Many of them have histories as organizers or radicals in their home countries. And now they are making history organizing in the U.S.

Troqueros, or owner operators as the trucking companies call them, are denied benefits given to most employees because the companies contend that they are independent contractors and thus not entitled to collective bargaining rights. Trucking companies have also used this loophole to set up dubious insurance scams. Instead of offering insurance plans from private HMOs like most employers do, the trucking industry has been charging truckers high premiums for a company health plan, and then buying a cheaper plan from an HMO, and pocketing the profit. And the money trucking companies are making from this scam is substantial. One company, Pacer, made over three million dollars in a period of ten years with this insurance scam. On top of this, wages for truckers has stayed stagnant for years, and with the cost of diesel rising to almost 3$ a gallon, it is the truckers who are feeling the pinch.

But the tide may be turning for the troqueros. Recently the International Longshoremans Union along with the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters have committed to supply serious time and resources into organizing the 50,000+ truckers in the LA area. The Teamsters have tried before, without much success, but some hope that now with the support of the ILWU, the truckers might have another shot at organizing.

In the end however, the fate of the troqeros lies in their own hands. The Troqueros are organizing themselves, mostly over via two-way and CB radio. If you happened to tune into one of their conversations these days, the radio is filled with talk, in Spanish and English, of the Huegla General the General Strike on May 1st. The planned strike is part of a larger general strike called for in support of immigrant rights, but the truckers are also calling for their own demands including a 25% wage increase.

In Long Beach a small band of truckers and supporters stands across one of the major freight lines with a sign that reads: Huegla General, 1 de Mayo. Trucks pass by with drivers leaning out their windows to see the sign, most raise their thumbs or their fists in support, some honk and smile. The rumor is that truckers in ports across the United States may join the LA truckers in striking on mayday. The extent to which the strike takes hold is yet to be seen, what is certain is that if these truckers and successful, they will do some serious economic damage to the international commerce, and if the truckers are able to successfully organize, either through official union recognition or otherwise, it will be a serious victory for workers in Los Angeles and across the country.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Immigrant Rights Now! National Day of Action *Monday, April 10*

 Please print out and distribute the flyers at .

No meeting this week. See everyone in Seattle.


Immigrant Rights Now!
National Day of Action
*Monday, April 10*

Protest Anti-Immigrant Laws! Don't Criminalize Our People! Don't Break-up
Our Families!
The federal government is considering racist, anti-immigration laws that
would criminalize all undocumented immigrants and anyone who "aids,"
helps, lives, or works with undocumented immigrants. Under the new law we
would become felons and subject to imprisonment and even the death
penalty. 12 million immigrants would face mass imprisonment or deportation
and the break-up of millions of families.

2:00pm - Student Contingent
Gather at 4th Ave S and S. Jackson St., then march to St. Mary's
Sponsored by: Latino Liberation Movement, Youth Against War and Racism
Endorsed by: Freedom Socialist Party, Radical Women, and Socialist
For more information contact:, or Or call Joaquin 253-334-7261 or Carrie 206-963-4873

3:30pm - Community Rally
Saint Mary's Church, 611 20th Ave., off Jackson St.

4:00pm - March to Federal Building
2nd Ave & Marion St, downtown Seattle
Rally and March endorsed by: El Comité Pro-Amnistia General y Justicia
Social, Radical Women, CASA Latina, LELO, Centro de la Raza, Inglesia Sta.
Maria, Southwest Family and Youth Services, SEIU Local 6, Centro Latino De
Tacoma, M.E.Ch.A.-SVCC, M.E.Ch.A.-UW, M.E.Ch.A.-TESC, Cascade People's
Center, Arab American Community Coalition and much more.
For more information call El Comité Pro-Amnistia General y Justicia Social
at 206-324-6044.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Laborers start week of protests against McDonald's

By Dominick E. Tao
Alligator Writer

The same group of farm workers that succeeded in a boycott against Taco Bell in 2005 is now targeting McDonald's, and their first protest was under the golden arches on Northwest 13th Street.

On Sunday, more than 50 members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization of Florida farm laborers, demanded increased wages for workers who pick tomatoes for McDonald's.

"The CIW influenced Taco Bell. If McDonald's doesn't heed the warning, another national boycott might change things," said Jonathan Skeet Surrency, 19, a protester from Gainesville.

The coalition is on a weeklong, nationwide tour calling for McDonald's to pressure its tomato suppliers to pay its workers "one cent more" per pound for the tomatoes they pick.

They hope this tour will be as successful as their 2005 Taco Bell boycott, which resulted in an agreement with Taco Bell's parent company to raise workers' profits from 40 cents to 72 cents for each bucket of tomatoes.

Even though the protesters' chants were in Spanish, their colorful signs were clear.

"Sub-poverty wages make me grimace," was written across the chest of a distressed-looking cutout of Grimace, one of McDonald's mascots.

"I'm not lovin' it," read another.

Translated, one of their chants was "The Clown. You're lying. You're buying cheap tomatoes."

But representatives from McDonald's Corp. said the company is not contributing to unfair labor practices.

"The coalition needs to take a hard look at what our suppliers are doing," said William Whitman, McDonald's Corp.'s director of media relations.

Whitman said the company's suppliers abide by standards that already meet or exceed the coalition's current demands.

Most of the protesters are Hispanic farm workers from Immokalee, Fla., an agricultural community near Alligator Alley.

They are taking time off work to picket in the weeklong tour, said Julia Perkins, one of the coalition's organizers.

"It's important for the workers to come out and have their voices heard," Perkins said.

"They chose to leave work to do this."

Protester Michael Phelan, a part-time Florida resident from Maine, said McDonald's is targeting college students with its products.

"Students should know where their money's going," he said.

On Saturday, the coalition plans to picket outside the rock 'n' roll-themed McDonald's restaurant in downtown Chicago. The coalition will be joined by several other groups, said Calendario Vasquez, one of the coalition's organizers.