Monday, May 05, 2008

[olympiaworkers] Pittsburgh: Solidarity With Locked Out Calgon Workers POG bringsdinner for Mayday-eve potluck in support of Calgon workers

from infoshop news

At midnight on February 29 Calgon Chemical locked out 63 members of United
Steelworkers Local 5032 based at the company's Neville Island facility.
Rather than let work continue under an extension of the previous contract
management locked out the workers, barring them from the plant. Workers
are struggling to maintain affordable family healthcare coverage and
pensions in the face of continual management efforts to cut benefits and
crush the union.

On April 30, a dozen members of Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) decided
to show their solidarity and support of labor by bringing the workers
dinner and standing with them on another cold night of the camp-out. POG
brought them home cooked meatball sandwiches, pasta, chips, and cake. We
talked with workers, thanked them for their dedication, and discussed some
of our ongoing work.

immersed in conversation 2

Since the lockout began workers have maintained a 24-hour camp outside the
plant gates (there are two main facility entrances.) Private security
goons are also on hand, video-taping, and otherwise seeking to maintain an
intimidating presence. Local police have also made their presence felt,
protecting management and the scab labor being used to operate the plant,
most recently issuing a citation to a steelworker for "swearing." During
the dinner security harassed a member of POG who took a picture of a car
from the sidewalk, demanding to know who he was, refusing to say where the
Calgon property line was, and then stating the local police had been

We live in a world where capital continues its endless march to globalize,
to externalize all costs, and to crush all mechanisms of community
accountability and control. Laws and borders criminalize the movement of
people, while the powerful operate as they please, hidden actors within

With a National Labor Relations Board stacked in favor of corporations,
and a legal system that severely limits unions' abilities to confront
employers, these struggles often come down to the question of local
community action and utilization of the main weapon at our disposal,

Solidarity is more than a principle, more than an ethic; it is an
imperative for social change advocates. It is simply recognition that ours
is a collective struggle, and our fates are tied to the fates of others,
and that no one can afford to go it alone. In this interconnected web of
struggle, a defeat for labor at Calgon is a defeat for workers everywhere.
Members of POG may not see eye-to-eye with the United Steelworkers on all
issues, and many of our members likely have differences of political
vision with many Calgon workers, yet we are united in the joint belief
that workers are entitled to be the beneficiaries of their labor and that
they have an unalienable right to organize for the betterment of
themselves and others. We are workers and allies in the struggle.

Stated directly, it is an affront to our group's values and aspirations to
allow the continuation of a situation where locked out workers and their
families suffer while scab labor and management operate with impunity. We
are considering calling attention to those individuals (such as Calgon CEO
John S. Stanik of Venetia) and companies responsible for the current
suffering of workers and their families through the diversity of legal
means at our disposal- protests at Calgon or it's customers and suppliers,
home demonstrations, flyering, petitions, etc. We will be watching this
situation closely.

Pittsburgh was, is, and will always be, a labor town.

In solidarity with the workers at Calgon, and all those experiencing the
class-war that is being waged on workers.

Pittsburgh Organizing Group

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