Wednesday, September 24, 2008

[olympiaworkers] Arrests of Korean trade unionists continue

Following a wave of strikes, the South Korean government has unleashed a
massive attack against the Korean Metal Workers' Union targeting more than
75 of the union's key leaders for arrest or investigation.

SOUTH KOREA: With the recent arrest of Hyundai Motor Branch First
Vice-President Kim Tae-gon on September 16 and the arraignment of Jung
Gab-deuk, president of the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU), on
September 18 on charges of obstructing business, members of the KMWU are
bracing for more assaults. Leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade
Unions have also been targets of arrest.

Arrest warrants were issued on July 24 for KMWU President Jung Gab-deuk,
KMWU Vice-President Nam Taek-gyu, KCTU President Lee Suk-haeng, KCTU First
Vice-president Jin Young-ok, KCTU General Secretary Lee Yong-shik, and all
six of the top elected officers of the Hyundai Motor Branch namely; Yoon
Hae-mo, Kim Tae-gon, Kim Jong-il, Jung Chang-bong, Joo In-koo, and Jo
Chang-min. Search warrants were also issued for their homes.

Reports from KMWU indicate that Vice-President Nam Taek-gyu and the
remaining five Hyundai Motor Branch elected officers are currently in
hiding, while another 70 of KMWU's national, regional and local leaders
are targeted for investigation. KMWU President Jung Gab-deuk has been held
at Youngdeungo Detention Center since his arrest on August 20. On July 27,
KCTU First Vice-President Jin Young-ok was arrested and held before being
released on bail in the first week of September.

Meanwhile, police forces have surrounded the building where KMWU
headquarters and the headquarters of the KCTU are located. All visitors to
the building are searched and interrogated. The government has also
announced audits of the two legal centers used by the KMWU and KCTU.

The government crackdown stems from the union's participation in a July 2
general strike called by the KCTU and the KMWU's strike action in demand
for national-level industrial collective bargaining.

The International Metalworkers' Federation is urging IMF affiliates to
join the International Trade Union Confederation, KCTU and KMWU in
denouncing the South Korean government's actions and demanding that basic
internationally recognized labour standards and worker protections are

Thursday, September 11, 2008

[olympiaworkers] Turkish Union Worker Meryem Özsöğüt finally released!!

Meryem Özsöğüt finally released!!

8 September 2008 - After more than eight months in prison Meryem
Özsöğüt has finally been acquitted and released after her trial on
Friday 5 September. Despite worries about her safety, Ms Özsöğüt is
in good health and will shortly be able to return to her duties.
Ms Özsöğüt was arrested last December following her participation in
a Press Conference on behalf of her union, SES, PSI's affiliate in Turkey.
She was facing charges on two accounts, the first for "being a member of a
terrorist organisation" and the second "for making propaganda in favour of
the terrorist organisation".

On the first charge the Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence
and Meryem Özsöğüt and other defendants in the case were fully
acquitted. On the second charge, however, the court ruled that Ms
Özsöğüt had indeed been using the Press Conference to "make
propaganda in favour of a terrorist organisation" and sentenced her to
15-months of prison - the maximum for this kind of "crime". The court
agreed to release her as she had already served 8 months of her

Ms Özsöğüt's lawyer will be appealing to the high court of Yargitay
on this second charge. PSI will continue to monitor the situation and
support Ms Özsögüt's appeal.

In a message to PSI on Ms Özsöğüt's behalf, SES thanked the
international community for its support and solidarity via the Labourstart
campaign as well as PSI affiliates, the ILO, the EPSU and ETUC, and the
European Union Commissioners. PSI especially thanks EU Parliamentarian Mr
Joost Langedijk, Chairman of the Turkey delegation to the European
Parliament who had personally handed over the campaign signatures to the
EU leaders. See SES website.
Turkey: 8409 messages calling for Meryem Özsögüt's release

4 September July 2008 - Meryem Özsögüt's trial is due to be held tomorrow,
Friday 5th September. This is the fifth trial date to be set - Ms Özsögüt
was arrested on 14 December 2007 while attending a press conference and
charged of terrorist activities. PSI remains convinced that her arrest and
continued detention is further evidence of the Turkish Government's
hostility to trade unionists. Please support the LabourStart Act NOW
campaign that PSI has launched for her release.
PSI campaign collects 7000 signatures calling for Meryem Özsögüt's release

On Sunday 13 July, PSI appealed to the EU leaders gathered in Paris
discussing the Mediterranean Union to urge the Turkish government to
release Meryem Özsögüt. Two days previously, PSI handed a total of almost
7,000 messages of support from around the World to EU parliamentarian
Joost Lagendijk, chairman of the Turkey delegation of the European
Parliament. Peter Waldorff, general secretary of PSI, welcomes Lagendijk's
actions to raise the unacceptable detention of Ms Özsögüt within the EU
and with the EU presidency currently held by France.

9 July 2008 - Meryem's Özsögüt's fourth trial date was set for today,
Wednesday 9 July. Despite the strong presence of many members of her
union, SES, she has still not been released. A new trial date, the fifth
since January, has been set for 5 September. Please support the
LabourStart Act NOW campaign that PSI has launched for her release.
Trade unions branded as terrorist organisations.

4 June 2008 - In a strongly-worded letter to the Turkish government PSI
has once again called for the immediate release of Meryem Özsögüt. The
Turkish government had responded to PSI's initial letter of protest (see
below) claiming that Ms Özsögüt had been arrested in connection with
"being a member of a terrorist organisation" and "for making propaganda in
favour of the terrorist organisation".

PSI remains convinced that the arrest of Ms Özsögüt and her continued
detention in an "F-type' prison is further evidence of the Turkish
Government's hostility to trade unionists and its determination to use
whatever means at its disposal to repress the legitimate activities of
trade unions in Turkey.

PSI will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Meryem Özsögut remains under arrest

7 March 2008 - PSI recently wrote to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan expressing concern at the arrest of Ms Meryem Özsögüt a
management board member of the SES – the trade union of public employees
in health and social services. PSI believes that her arrest was motivated
solely by her activities as a trade union leader. There are also concerns
for Ms Özsögüt's safety whilst in police custody.

Following letters from PSI and affiliates and the EPSU, Ms. Özsögut's
trial was unexpectedly brought forward to 22nd February instead of the
expected five-month delay. However, although seven of the 12 defendants
were recently released, the trials of Ms Özsögut and four other defendants
were deferred and they remain under arrest.

A new trial will be held on 25th March. PSI will continue to monitor the
situation closely and has already sent a further letter of protest urging
the Turkish government to release Ms. Özsögut and to take any necessary
steps to guarantee her safety.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

[olympiaworkers] Machinists at Boeing Set to Stike

Date: Fri, September 5, 2008

Dear OWLS supporters,
Saturday, September 6, 11am
Support striking Boeing Machinists — meet at 6726 Corson Ave S

Despite record profits Boeing is offering a concessionary, two tier
contract to IAM members. A strike HAS BEEN CALLED for September 6 at 12:01
am (Midnight tonight!). Join us for a sign making party in Georgetown.
Then OWLS will head for the picket lines. An injury to one is an injury to

The following is from the IAM Web site at:

Machinists at Boeing Set to Strike

September 05, 2008 - Leaders of the International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced that a strike will
begin at 3:01 am EST despite extraordinary efforts by the union to reach
an agreement with the Boeing Company.

"The absence of job security language was a key reason why members
rejected the company's earlier offer and it is why Boeing is now facing
the second major strike in three years," said International President Tom
Buffenbarger. "We've learned it's not enough to have a good-paying job if
that job can disappear at any time."

The strike will involve 27,000 Machinists at Boeing facilities in Kansas ,
Oregon and Washington . Details about the strike will be posted at and

The IAM is among the nation's largest industrial trade unions,
representing over 700,000 active and retired members in airline,
aerospace, manufacturing, railroad, woodworking and shipbuilding

Mike for Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity

Monday, September 01, 2008

[olympiaworkers] IWW Denied Access to Mall of America by Riot Police, 8/31/08: Video

Indybay Sept 1, 2008

View Video and Pictures at:

Starbucks workers at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota,
unionized with the Industrial Workers of the World about a month ago. One
worker, Erik Forman, was wrongly fired due to his union organizing. With
pressure from the IWW, Starbucks reinstated him and he was set to return
to the job today. Riot police at the Mall of America turned back the IWW,
but Erik was still able to make it to the job. Jake Fell (pictured below)
was interviewed about the day's events and the future plans of the local
As an act of solidarity, several dozen local IWW members and supporters,
along with National Lawyer's Guild observers, intended to peacefully
escort the reinstated Erik Forman to the Mall of America. In line with
recent police aggression in the Twin Cities related to the 2008 RNC in St.
Paul (see,
police massed at the IWW rally point at the light rail station at Lake &
Hiawatha. Initially, police refused to allow the IWW access to the light
rail station so that they might escort Erik back to the Mall of America.
Later, the IWW was allowed to proceed. Two stations from the mall, police
again seemed to be ready to prevent the group's access to the mall yet
then allowed the train to proceed. Finally, at the mall itself, a line of
riot cops from Plymouth, MN in full riot gear refused to allow the IWW to
disembark from the train. Other unrelated passengers, including one
diabetic in need of insulin, were also not allowed to leave the train as
it was held with the doors closed. Eventually, the train was just sent in
the other direction, away from the mall, with no one allowed off. At the
first stop in the other direction, Erik Forman got off and walked to his
job at the mall. Jake Fell was interviewed right after the IWW returned to
the original light rail station.

Wobblies Welcome Mall of America Starbucks Baristas to the Union!

8/31- Day of Action Against Capitalism: All out for the IWW Starbucks

Starbucks Barista's Everywhere Can Sign Up:

Those Local to Twin Cities Can Call or Email:
twin-cities-iww [at]