Tuesday, March 30, 2010

[olympiaworkers] On Solidarity

On Solidarity

Down in an old buoy tender, a small ship that places buoys in the water and
repairs buoys, I am working down in a very small tank below the bilge. We
are working on rebuilding a sea water system that supplies sea water to the
ship. On ships sea water is mainly used for the firemain, cooling water,
flushing water, and ballast. The sea water comes up into the ship in what is
called a sea chest, that is an opening in the bottom of the ship that is
like a square box. Most ships will have a number of sea chests, depending
upon their needs. If the piping of the system goes above the waterline that
system will need a pump to move the water down the line. If the system stays
below the waterline head-pressure will move the water.

The system I am working on needs pumps. This means that the pumps also must
be below the water in order for them to be primed. The forward sea chest is
located down in a tank and has a 6 inch pipe coming out of it. Most piping
used is schedule 40 pipe, that has to do with the wall thickness of the
pipe, and it is good for up to 150 PSI. But on salt water pipes schedule 80,
double the wall thickness, is used because salt water corrodes steel pipe.
So 6 inch schedule 80 pipe is rather heavy. Because of where the water line
is most of the piping must be run through two tanks then up to the pumps.
These tanks are small with not much room to work and only two people can
work down there at a time. That means one pipefitter and a welder. My pipes
come down through a soft patch in to the ship, but getting them to the tank
and down through tank cover, I need help. "Hey buddy can you give me a
hand?" I ask a near by pipefitter. That worker knows that in order to get
the job done at times we need to help each other. Without question, without
having to be told by some boss, that worker helps out. You can see this on
most jobs. This is natural solidarity, the willingness to give a hand when

Wake-up in the middle of the night. Try as you may, you just can't go back
to sleep. So many worries, so damn alone. Bills adding up like maggots on a
corpse. You pay some some of the bills, then don't have the money to pay the
other bills. Do you pay your rent and not pay your lights? Do you pay the
tickets on your old clunker of a car or to you buy clothes for the kids? Do
you fix your car so that you are legal or do you buy medicine for your
aching body?

The judge asks you if you have anything to say and you tell that beast that
you only have so much money and if you fix your car, buy insurance then
other needs will go unfulfilled. The judge says, as that beast has said to
countless folks just like you, the law is the law and there are no
exceptions to the law!" But you know that the laws are all written for the
rich and damn the poor where ever they maybe.

So there you are alone worrying about the way things are. It seems you were
born into a world that ain't meant for you to ever make it. But you see on
TV all them well off people and wonder why, no matter how hard you work, you
will never be among them. They are well off because you and millions of
other folks aren't. Countless times throughout your life you are told about
personal responsibility. How what ever happens in your life you, you alone
are the one to blame.

You seek help and though there are programs, they all belittle you, shame
you for the idea that someone else has to help you out.

Charity is the act of those that have more than they need giving to those
that have less than they need. Their hearts bleed for you all the while they
make it known that they are the better people and one such as yourself
should be forever thankful. Though you are taught not to question the way
things are, can you help but wonder why most of the people are just like you
and the better off folks are so few?

The answer is greed. The rich folks believe that it is their God given right
to exploit the world and all who live upon it for their personal wealth. And
that the bad people of the world are those that seek to change that

We bleed and die for the rich, fighting their wars where we try to kill
people of other lands who are just like us. We bleed and die for the rich in
the factories producing their wealth. So what can we do about this? Line up
behind politicians and parties where we delegate to others our hopes for a
better life? That be nothing more than a fool's path for there is no one out
there we can depend on but ourselves. There is something out there that the
rich folks fear. They fear it more than an enemies army or even the wrath of
their God. That such dreadful horror of the rich is solidarity of the
exploited and oppressed. While plundering the earth and robbing the people
to amass their great wealth, the capitalist class has also wielded epic
effort historically to keep working people divided and fighting among
themselves. They know that if working people stood together in solidarity,
their way of life would end. Solidarity is more than a slogan or a song, it
is a natural instinct. Solidarity is the people helping each other fulfill
their needs.

Natural solidarity can be found throughout our society. It could be just
helping someone whose car broke down. Or in times of great need leading a
hand. I remember a few years ago when a river was flooding its banks and I
went down there to help build a wall of sandbags. I knew the people who
needed help. As I was doing my part I looked around and saw that there was a
number of people helping out that did not live there. I asked one person I
knew who were those people and he said that some of them he had never seen
before. They were just there to help out. There were even kids there helping
out. As I was working a young girl, no more than 8 years old, comes up to me
and hands me some water to drink. I looked into her eyes and I could see
that she wanted to help, no one had to ask her to do that. Natural
solidarity is an instinctive part of humans. She was no less important than
anyone else there because she, like everyone else, was doing what they were
able to do to help. Natural solidarity does not need bosses or great
philosophers, people can see what needs to be done and they do it. I later
asked around to try to find who asked that little girl to hand out water
bottles. I found out that she saw a box of water bottles and just started to
hand them out to people working to hold off the flood. That is natural

No society can function without natural solidarity. In the society we live
in we have this thing call capitalism that seeks personal profit for
services and the production of goods. This system suppresses natural
solidarity and replaces it with personal greed. Everything is looked upon by
the capitalists as how it can be exploited for profit for a few. It is for
that reason that working people are exploited, the environment is polluted
and so on. This has created a world where most people do without so that a
few can have far more than they need and is doing great harm to our world's
eco-systems. This will continue as long as we are forced to live under this
system. Capitalism cannot be reformed.

Shall we leave the survival and well-being of the people and the planet to a
system that cannot change its direction away from the exploitation of all
for the benefit of a few? It does not take a great look at our world to
clearly see that a change must take place. History has given us many
examples that changing who runs the system or even changing the name of the
system does little or nothing to change the exploitation of people and the
planet. Matter of fact some of the worst polluters have been so-called
socialist states.

The change that must take place has to, in my view, take place not only in
changing systems but also in changing the way we live. We must not longer
seek to rule over each other by competing for political power. Political
power and greed as a purpose must be replaced with a common goal, that being
the well-being of all. And for that to become a reality, solidarity must
become a way of life. Solidarity is not charity. Charity only reinforces the
class system. Solidarity is helping each other out when needed.

In order to make solidarity a way of life we need to look upon each other in
a different manner. Though we all are distinctive individuals with each
having their own desires, hopes, skills and talents, we are all in the same
social boat together. All of us who are not of the ruling or managing
classes are exploited and oppressed in some manner. Some are exploited and
oppressed more than others, but as long as there is a class system in place
there is the reality of exploitation and oppression that we will always
face. In this society it is common to look at others as lesser than we are
and not realize that only helps keeps us in our place. That viewpoint only
aids the capitalist class in their purpose and helps keep all of us
exploited and oppressed.

It maybe race or sex or religion or ethnicity, it could be what part of town
someone lives in or what their culture is, the list of reasons people use to
think they are better than someone else is almost endless. It is not a
matter of having to like everything, but rather realizing what you do like
is directly connected to what everyone else likes. There are forms of music
and culture that I don't care for. That is based upon my personal likes and
dislikes. But that does not mean that I should view what I don't care for as
lesser than what I like or that those that like other music or cultures
should be oppressed.

The only way oppression and exploitation can be challenged is to organize
against it and to stand-up to it. This needs to be done by those of the
different types oppressions who directly effect. Oppression and exploitation
strips us of control over our lives and seeks to suppress our
self-expression that defines who we are. Thus the struggle for liberation
from oppression and exploitation needs to include self-determination both as
individuals and as groups of people based upon the different forms of
oppression and exploitation.

The culture of the class system grants privileges that are denied to others.
The further up the hierarchy of the class system one is, the greater those
privileges become something real. Thus how real other privileges are is
based upon class privilege.

Such privileges as race privilege and sex privilege are designed to keep
people in their "place" and it uses other oppressed and exploited people to
enforce this. Even though at the bottom of the class system these privileges
don't amount to much, the poor folks are told that if others, such as people
of color or woman, makes gains through struggle that they will lose
something and thus those people are a threat to them. The fact is that for
those of the working class there are only real few things that privilege
grants them:

1. The right to be less oppressed. A White worker is oppressed by class but
is not oppressed by race, and so on.

2. The right to help maintain the the system and culture of oppression by
helping to enforce it.

Back in the days of the old south (that is the south of the U.S.) there was
a system and culture of segregation and heavy oppression of Black people.
Black people organized a Civil Rights Movement to directly challenge
institutionalize racism. Many poor Whites were used to try to help suppress
this movement. Some did buy into the lie that Black people were trying to
take something that they had. Some just sat on the sidelines not wanting to
get involved. But a few realized that, as being very poor, as poor whites
were, that if you ain't got nothing you ain't got nothing to lose and those
that were trying to use them were those that had most everything and thus
were the reason they had nothing at all. And thus it was not Black people
who were the threat to them but rather those that exploited them were those
to blame for their situation.

Long ago when I lived in New Orleans a Black veteran of the Civil Rights
Movement told me that economically poor Whites gained more from the Civil
Rights Movement than did poor Blacks. The reason was that when the rich
White power structure, as seen in the White Business Councils, mostly
collapsed, that gave room for poor Whites to make gains. Though the system
of oppression and exploitation continued, and racism was still a part of it,
the struggle of Black people was no threat to poor Whiles but they also
benefited from it in real terms.

All resistance to the way things are is connected in two ways. First, all
oppressed and exploited people are that way because of the class system and
capitalism. Next, the privileges granted by the system are only a means to
help keep the system in place. Thus, all the resistance benefits all of the
oppressed and exploited. And the only protection against you or I from
oppression and exploitation is to get rid of all oppression and

We need to respect the importance of self-determination and not interfere
with that process. Some may point out that self-determination does not
always go where they would like it. But we all must realize that all
struggle for liberation from oppression and exploitation is a continuing
process, even among high minded anarchists. If we believe in the idea of
true liberty and self-management being the only means to get rid of the
class system then we must understand that others will reach the same
conclusion in time.

For example, the Black Panther Party was a self-determination organization
and was a progressive step in the process of liberation. It collapsed
because of government repression and the conflicts created by a hierarchical
structure. Learning from that a number of former Black Panthers became
anarchists. Along with other people of color, people of color have organized
together as anarchists and for them anarchism has become a part of
self-determination organizing.

Though we need to respect self-determination organization, but we also need
to realize that we do have connections and how well our liberation goes
depends on all of us. Thus, though we do not seek to control or interfere
with self-determination organizations, but in times of need and when asked,
we do need to stand in direct solidarity with them.

Forms of oppression do overlap. For example Woman may organize Women's
groups that include Women of color. So those self-determination
organizations would overlap with self-determination organizations of people
of color.

The largest area of overlapping is with working class self-determination
organizations. Yes such organizations as the IWW or anarcho-syndicalist
unions are self-determination organizations. The reason why this is true is
because they seek to organize working folks to the point that they can take
control over their labor and determine for themselves how they labor will be
used. That is called worker self-management.

Like all forms of oppression and exploitation, class oppression and
exploitation is directly connected to all other forms of oppression and
exploitation. And thus the working class directly benefits by standing in
solidarity with other self-determination organizations. This is important
for three main reasons:

1. All oppression and exploitation is connected and none can be liberated
without liberation for all.

2. By standing together in solidarity people learn about the cultural
oppressions that exist even in self-determination organizing. For example
there is still racism and sexism within the working class. Black
self-determination organizing could free Black people from the White power
structure, only to find some Black people replacing the White bosses.

3. The capitalist class is very powerful and well organized with its control
over governments. It will take even greater power to free ourselves. Thus
there needs to be united solidarity action by all oppressed and exploited

Solidarity should become a way of life for us all. It should be as much a
part of our natural life as is eating, sleeping or anything else. From
giving a helping hand to the person next to us when they are in need, to
standing in direct solidarity with other oppressed and exploited people, to
walking a picketline in support of striking workers, to standing together in
direct action against the dirty rotten system, solidarity needs to become
our reality of living and in that way we are creating a new world for the
well-being of all.

In Solidarity

Arthur J. Miller

Monday, March 29, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Trolleybus Drivers have Wildcat Strike in Kiev

Libcom.org Mar 29 2010

This morning trolleybus drivers went on strike in Ukraine.

About 100 drivers went on strike this morning. Their union does not
support the protest and considers the strike illegal. The management of
the depot forced some drivers from the second and weekend shifts to come
in to work, where the found they were to act as strike breakers.

The drivers went on strike because they are owed back pay and are
demanding immediate payment. They also protested against the liquidation
of bonuses and deteriorating work conditions.

As a result of the reaction of the existing union, workers from the strike
decided to form a new, independent one.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Local garbage haulers approve strike authorization

Hundreds of unionized garbage haulers in King and Snohomish counties voted
Sunday to give their top negotiator the authority to call a strike if a
contract dispute cannot be settled later this week.

By Amy Martinez

Seattle Times business reporter

Hundreds of unionized garbage haulers in King and Snohomish counties voted
Sunday to give their top negotiator the authority to call a strike if a
contract dispute cannot be settled later this week.

The authorization means a strike could be called as soon as midnight on
Wednesday, when contracts covering garbage haulers for more than 1 million
local homes and businesses expire.

"We do not believe a strike would be good for the Local or members of the
community," said Michael Gonzales, spokesman for Teamsters Local 174,
which represents more than 450 garbage haulers for Waste Management and an
additional 100 or so for Allied Waste.

"But at this point, it seems to be where the companies are pushing us,"
Gonzales said.

If Local 174 strikes, so would about 300 members of Teamsters Local 117,
which won't cross the picket line.

Local 174 has asked for a federal mediator to help in its contract talks
with Waste Management and will begin another round of negotiations with
Allied Waste later Sunday afternoon, Gonzales said.

Friday, March 26, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Labor Center News: Upcoming Special Events


Upcoming Special Events



1.      WE ARE ALL WORKERS! IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW! RALLY AND DEMONSTRATION FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN SEATTLE, SATURDAY MAY 1, 2010. Rally at Noon, March begins at 12:30 at Judkins Playfield, behind St. Mary’s Church, 611 20th Ave S. Sponsored by El Comité Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social; Washington Immigrant Rights Action Coalition (WA-IRAC); and many others, including The Labor Center! Volunteers are still needed to work security. If you are interested, email to WashingtonIRAC@gmail.com

20, 000 activists, including many from the labor movement, are expected to attend. The USSF is an important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement. For information about the Forum, including registration; presenting a workshop; where to stay; how to get there; and how to volunteer for local projects while in Detroit, visit http://www.ussf2010.org and http://abc.ussf2010.org.

Get ready for the 2010 USSF in Detroit by holding or attending a People’s Movement Assembly (PMA) with your union, organization, community, or region! The Assembly process offers the opportunity to collectively create action plans and political directions for our movements. PMA’s are community meetings where the goals are to identify community issues, discuss solutions, and commit to actions. Communities make commitments at the Assemblies about what to bring to the Forum, and what to bring back. Throughout the 5-day Forum, organizations will hold Assemblies and on the last day, there will be a national Peoples Movement Assembly. In the NW so far two PMAs are scheduled: Portland OR, May 8, 2010, http://pma.creatingdemocracy.org/ and Olympia WA, May 8, 2010, contact yacks26@yahoo.com for more information.

Labor Center Staff & Contact Information:

Peter Kardas, Director

Nina Triffleman, Assistant Director

Juan José Bocanegra, Labor Educator for Unions and Immigrant Workers

Sarah Laslett, Labor Educator for Union and Community Women

The Labor Center has a Facebook page! Go to www.facebook.com and log in or join, then search for “solidarity works” and you will find the link to our page. Enjoy!


Want to know more? For more information about our programs, see our Labor Center newsletters. Check out our website at http://laborcenter.evergreen.edu.  Feel free to call or email us at any time with questions or ideas.



From: "Triffleman, Nina" <trifflen@evergreen.edu>
Date: Wed, March 24, 2010


Upcoming Special Events

2010. Rally at Noon, March begins at 12:30 at Judkins Playfield, behind
St. Mary's Church, 611 20th Ave S. Sponsored by El Comité Pro-Reforma
Migratoria y Justicia Social; Washington Immigrant Rights Action Coalition
(WA-IRAC); and many others, including The Labor Center! Volunteers are
still needed to work security. If you are interested, email to
WashingtonIRAC@gmail.com <mailto:WashingtonIRAC@gmail.com>

20, 000 activists, including many from the labor movement, are expected to
attend. The USSF is an important step in our struggle to build a powerful
multi-racial, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist
movement. For information about the Forum, including registration;
presenting a workshop; where to stay; how to get there; and how to
volunteer for local projects while in Detroit, visit
http://www.ussf2010.org <http://www.ussf2010.org/> and
http://abc.ussf2010.org <http://abc.ussf2010.org/> .

Get ready for the 2010 USSF in Detroit by holding or attending a People's
Movement Assembly (PMA) with your union, organization, community, or
region! The Assembly process offers the opportunity to collectively create
action plans and political directions for our movements. PMA's are
community meetings where the goals are to identify community issues,
discuss solutions, and commit to actions. Communities make commitments at
the Assemblies about what to bring to the Forum, and what to bring back.
Throughout the 5-day Forum, organizations will hold Assemblies and on the
last day, there will be a national Peoples Movement Assembly. In the NW so
far two PMAs are scheduled: Portland OR, May 8, 2010,
http://pma.creatingdemocracy.org/ and Olympia WA, May 8, 2010, contact
yacks26@yahoo.com for more information.

Labor Center Staff & Contact Information:

Peter Kardas, Director

Nina Triffleman, Assistant Director

Juan José Bocanegra, Labor Educator for Unions and Immigrant Workers

Sarah Laslett, Labor Educator for Union and Community Women

The Labor Center has a Facebook page! Go to <http://www.facebook.com/>
www.facebook.com and log in or join, then search for "solidarity works"
and you will find the link to our page. Enjoy!

Want to know more? For more information about our programs, see our Labor
Center newsletters. Check out our website at
. Feel free to call or email us at any time with questions or ideas.

[olympiaworkers] Pearl Continental Workers End Sit-in, Hunger Strike as Crisis Forces Management Response

Libcom.org Mar 24 2010

Two hundred union members occupying the basement of the Pearl Continental
Karachi Hotel ended their 25-day sit-in on Saturday night, March 20 when a
direct representative of the hotel's owner directly intervened in the
conflict for the first time ever in the more than 8-year history of the

Pressure had escalated with the March 19 declaration of an indefinite
hunger strike by two union members.

The two hunger strikers – who had already spent over three weeks in the
hotel basement – became seriously ill, prompting the Pakistan Medical
Association to send a doctor who insisted on entering the hotel. Only at
this point did the representative of Sadruddin Hashwani agree to reinstate
the 4 union officers whose illegal dismissal on February 24 triggered the
mass protest. Hashwani chairs the influential Hashoo Group, the
conglomerate which owns the hotels through Pakistan Services Ltd.
Operations were able to continue at the Pearl Continental through the
emergency hiring of agency workers and the import of workers from the
Karachi Marriott.

One of the ill hunger strikers and 3 other union members were hospitalized.

In addition to the continuous support actions outside the hotel, the Pearl
Continental Karachi workers received support from the Pearl Continental
union in Rawalpindi, which is also a member of the IUF-affiliated hotel
workers federation. The Rawalpindi workers held regular daily rallies and
last week boycotted all meals in the workplace in solidarity with the
Karachi struggle.

The union has thanked the IUF affiliates and the many thousands of
supporters around the world who sent protest messages in support of their
struggle. On Friday, following the declaration of the hunger strike, the
IUF wrote the company and the Federal Labour Secretary, holding them
jointly responsible for allowing the situation to escalate into a
potentially life-threatening situation through over 8 years of brutal
repression by the company and the government's systematic failure to
respond to serious breaches of Pakistan and international law. The Pearl
Continental Karachi case will again be discussed at the ILO's
International Labour Conference this June

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Spring wave of strikes hits Greece

Libcom.org Mar 23 2010

Lawyers have called a 3-day long strike and doctors continue withdrawing
their labour against the austerity measures, train workers halt their
locomotives, while four different labour marches are to be performed
within the day by judicial officers, firemen and pensioners in Athens,
along with a central public sector march in the afternoon.

Just a few days before the long holiday season of the greek easter, which
is the government's main hope for easing tension, a new wave of strikes
and protest marches against the austerity measures is hitting the country.

Lawyers have declared a three day strike against the austerity measures
for the 23, 24 and 26 of March (the 25th is a national holiday). Meawhile,
doctors are continuing to withdraw their labour from the country's public
hospitals in demand of the immediate payment of all their owed salaries.
Athens doctors will be seeing the Minister of Health today, although their
Salonica colleagues refused to see the Minister for negotiations a few
days ago. Yesterday doctors across the country performed a coordinated 6
hour stoppage and a demo outside the Ministry of Health in Athens. It must
be noted that talks between National Electricity (DEH) workers and the
Minister of Labour are in progress. The DEH union has declared that if the
talks fail it will move to rolling 48h strikes that will plunge the
country in darkness.

At the same time, train and suburban train workers are performing a 4 hour
stoppage today against the measures, during the noon peak-time that will
see all trains come to a standstill. Judicial officers continue their
daily 2-h work stoppage campaign against the measures, which has brought
chaos to the greek courts. The judicial officers will gather today at
10:00 at the Eirinodikio Courts and march to the Parliament. Meanwhile,
firemen have called a demo at Omonoia for 11:00 intending to march against
the measures to the Ministry of Finance. A little later pensioners have
called a march against the measures to the Ministry of National Economy.
They will be joined by National Telecommunications, National Railway and
National Post workers also protesting against pension cuts. Later in the
day, at 18:00, ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union, has called a
central protest march against the measures from Propylaea to the
Parliament. At the same time, anarchists are calling for an anti-racist
demo at Amerikis square, an hang out area of African immigrants coveted by
neon-nazi groups.

The continuous protest marches are expected to keep the centre of Athens
off limits for cars throughout the day. The government is meanwhile
launching a mixed campaign of rumors and declarations against these very
rumors concerning the country seeking IMF help, or going bust, or changing
back to its old national currency. This strategy of confusion is
supplanted by newspaper talk of secret printing of old currency notes in
the Treasury vaults, and about the 25th of March being a "critical day"
for the currency. At the same time the government is trying to let some
steam out of radical protester's anger, by promising an immediate reversal
of the anti-hood law and an immediate ban on CCTV in public spaces.

Monday, March 22, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Turkish court sentences trade unionist Seher Tümer to seven years in prison

19 March 2010 world-psi.org

International solidarity needed to press for expedited appeal

Lawyers have filed an appeal seeking to overturn the conviction of trade
union activist Seher Tümer. Late in the day of 18 March, the Ankara High
Criminal Court in Turkey declared Tümer guilty of belonging to an illegal
Kurdish organization, and "making propaganda" through participation in
public demonstrations, and sentenced her to more than seven years in
prison. Tümer has already spent close to one year in prison. Her lawyers
maintain there is no evidence to back these charges.

The global union federation Public Services International (PSI) contends
that Tümer has been targeted for her activities in the labour and women's
movements in Turkey. Tümer is branch secretary of Saglik ve Sosyal Hizmet
Emekçileri Sendikasi (SES),the trade union representing public employees
in health and social services.

"We are deeply concerned by what appears to be a travesty of justice in
Tümer's case, and numerous recent cases like it," says PSI general
secretary Peter Waldorff.

"We are seeing a pattern of political persecution of trade union activists
in Turkey. We believe national 'security' laws are being used as a pretext
to silence union leaders. This abuse of human rights must stop."

Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, general secretary of the European Federation of
Public Service Unions (EPSU) adds, "Our affiliate members in Turkey have
asked us to call on trade unionists world-wide to continue to raise their
voices on Tümer's behalf.

"Please write letters to Turkey's prime minister, president, and justice
minister demanding open examination of Tümer's case record in an expedited
appeal process."

Because of the backlog in cases, it could take longer than a year for
Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals to consider Tümer's appeal. Tümer's
lawyers maintain that her house was searched by police when she was not at
home, in contravention of the Turkish criminal code, and charges should be
dismissed on this basis alone. Texts printed from her computer were used
as evidence in court, despite arguments for consideration of freedom of
expression. Further, it was noted in court that demonstrations that Tümer
participated in were peaceful and related to trade union and women's
rights. PSI and Turkish trade unions gathered more than 8000 signatures in
a petition demanding justice for Tümer that was presented to authorities
earlier this month.

Send a letter of protest on line and for more information contact

Latest update in English (pdf)

Latest update in Turkish (pdf)

9 March 2010
Turkey: Continued detention of Ms Seher Tümer
International solidarity action needed

Send a protest letter on-line

Seher Tümer appeared in court in Ankara, Turkey on 9 March. A total of
8000 signatures - 3000 of trade unionists from around the world and 5000
from Turkey - had been collected at that point and presented to the
Ministry of Justice on 8th March, petitioning for her immediate release.
Nearly five hundred people had gathered both inside and outside the
courtroom to express their solidarity. Her trial has now been postponed
until 18 March. Ms Tümer's lawyers are optimistic that she may be released
at that time. Meanwhile, keep sending letters and signing the petition.
Tümer continues to need international support in her bid for freedom.

People gathered outside the courtroom before the trial on 9 March
to express their solidarity with Seher Tümer

26 February 2010

Union activist Seher Tümer, Branch Secretary of PSI affiliate SES (the
trade union of public employees in health and social services), will spend
International Women's Day 2010 in prison.

But international solidarity action could open the door to freedom for her.

Ms Tümer has now been detained in an F-type prison for almost a year, with
no clear charges being brought against her. PSI is convinced that her
arrest is linked to her activities in the labour and women's movements in
that country, including participating in International Women's Day
activities last year. Tümer, who is Kurdish, was arrested and imprisoned
in April 2009. Her case mirrors that of fellow union leader Meryem
Özsögüt, who faced similar charges of belonging to a terrorist
organisation. (Özsö&#287;üt was released after eight months in prison
following a major international protest campaign led by PSI.)

PSI has been closely following this case. Ms Tümer's next court appearance
is planned for
9 March, PSI and EPSU have sent a joint letter of protest to the Turkish
Prime Minister demanding that all charges be dropped and that she be
immediately released.

PSI urgently calls on trade unions and concerned organisations to write
similar letters of protest. Join the Labourstart Campaign and send a
letter of protest now. For more information please contact

Ms Tümer has the support of fellow trade unionists.
Photo taken during the recent nationwide demonstrations on
February 21 in Turkey - courtesy of SES

Related Files
Download the model protest letter (Word Document)
View PSI/EPSU Joint letter of protest (PDF File)
Turkish court sentences trade unionist Seher Tümer to seven years in
prison (PDF File)
Türkiye'de mahkeme, sendikac&#305; Seher Tümer'i 7 y&#305;l hapse mahkum
etti (in Turkish) (PDF File)

[olympiaworkers] Nestle workers in Russia need our help today

Nestlé workers in Russia need our help today

Last November, workers at Nestlé Waters Direct near Moscow joined together to do something about eroding real wages and deteriorating working conditions. They formed a union. 

Management responding by harassment, discriminatory work assignments, cutting drivers' wages by half and sacking the union vice-chair. The workers are determined to defend their union and win their rights. 

Please support them by sending a message to Nestlé.

To learn more about Nestlé's serial violations of workers rights, check out the IUF's Nespressure website  and Facebook group

Turkish trade unionist sentenced to 7 years

Seher Tumer.A Turkish court has sentenced trade unionist Seher Tümer to seven years in prison, despite world-wide protests by trade unionists.  (For full details, click here.) 

Over 3,400 of you have already sent out messages of protest. 

We need thousands more to participate in this campaign to send a clear message to the Turkish government. 

Please take 30 seconds of your time and send a message now.

$80,000 prize for promoting union rights

A Norwegian union (Industri Energi) has announced an award worth more than $80,000 to be given to "a person or organisation for outstanding contributions made to promoting union rights and/or strengthening trade unionship at an international or national level". 

Learn more here.

Union video competition - 9 days left to vote

Finally, 2,500 trade unionists have already voted in the first-ever global Labour Video of the Year competition -- have you? Voting ends on 31 March.

Click here to vote.

Thanks -- and pass this message on!

Eric Lee.

Eric Lee






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From: ericlee@labourstart.org
Date: Mon, March 22, 2010

Nestle© workers in Russia need our help today
Last November, workers at Nestle© Waters Direct near Moscow joined
together to do something about eroding real wages and deteriorating
working conditions. They formed a union.

Management responding by harassment, discriminatory work assignments,
cutting drivers' wages by half and sacking the union vice-chair. The
workers are determined to defend their union and win their rights.

Please support them by sending a message to Nestle©

To learn more about Nestle©'s serial violations of workers rights,
check out the IUF's Nespressure website <http://www.nespressure.org>
and Facebook group

[olympiaworkers] British Airways strike enters 3rd and busiest day

By JANE WARDELL, AP Business and anti-union Writer March 22, 2010

LONDON – British Airways and the union representing its cabin crew were no
closer to resolving a dispute over pay and conditions Monday as a strike
that has grounded thousands of flights entered its third — and busiest —

Operations at the airline were put under more strain Monday than over the
weekend as there are far more flights packed in to normal scheduling.

The airline said it operated 273, or 78 percent, of its long-haul flights
and 442, or 50 percent, of its short-haul flights over the first two days
of the strikes. It is yet to release details for Monday.

But it has warned effects of the walkout will be felt throughout this
week, and workers are scheduled to strike again for four days, beginning
Saturday, if the dispute is not resolved.

At Heathrow's Terminal 5, German couple Carolin and Stefan Marquardt had a
seven-hour wait for their flight home to Stuttgart, after being forced to
cut their vacation in India short because their original flight from
Bangalore was canceled.

"I've been stressed by it all," said Carolin Marquardt. "It's not a very
nice end to our vacation, we haven't had any sleep."

"I understand both sides of the disagreement, but it's bad for people like
us," she added.

The Unite union and BA have both claimed victory over the walkout that has
caused the airline to cancel over half its 1,950 flights normally
scheduled over the period.

BA reported that nearly 98 percent of staff reported for work at Gatwick
and more than half showed up at Heathrow, allowing it to reinstate a
number of canceled flights.

However, Unite said that only 300 of its 2,200 cabin crew scheduled to
work over the weekend turned up, and accused the airline of counting
inbound crew to inflate the numbers of staff on duty.

BA stressed that it was legally obliged, as a listed company, to release
accurate figures.

The acrimonious dispute with its workers is expected to be financially
crippling for BA — analysts forecast it could cost the airline more than
the 63 million pounds ($95 million) that Chief Executive Willie Walsh is
trying to save through the changes to workers' pay and conditions.

BA said Monday that it estimated the three-day strike would cost it around
7 million pounds per day, less than the airline initially thought. It
declined to forecast the cost of the next walkout, but said that its
full-year profit outlook was currently unchanged.

The airline is on track for a record loss this year after reporting an
operating loss of 86 million pounds for the first nine months, compared to
a profit of 89 million pounds a year earlier.

The walkout is also bad news for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour
Party, which relies heavily on funding from the country's labor unions,
and a gift for the main opposition Conservative Party, which is leading
opinion polls ahead of a general election due within weeks.

The Conservatives are seeking to evoke memories of the difficulties the
Labour government had in the 1970s, culminating in the mass strikes that
became known as Britain's "winter of discontent" and led to the election
of Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

Business group London First, whose members include many of London's
internationally based businesses, warned on Monday that the capital's
reputation as a center for global trade was being damaged by the strike.

"Despite the best efforts of BA management and many staff to continue to
put the interests of passengers first, the strike is reminiscent of a
best-forgotten era," said London First Chief Executive Jo Valentine.

There was little sign of appeasement from either side on Monday as Unite
joint leader Tony Woodley told a rally of striking workers at a football
ground near Heathrow to stand strong against BA's attempts to "blackmail
and browbeat" them into accepting worse pay and conditions.

The airline on Friday offered a compromise on a proposed pay freeze this
year, offering a 3 percent rise next year and the year after and then an
inflation-linked increase in 2013/14 capped at 4 percent. The other
changes include a switch to part-time work for 3,000 staff and a reduction
in cabin crew sizes from 15 to 14 on long-haul flights from Heathrow.

Woodley said that BA was employing the "economics of the madhouse" by
spending tens of millions on contingency plans for the walkout, including
leasing planes and crew from rival airlines.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

[olympiaworkers] From Tacoma LPSG

please post widely

From Tacoma LPSG

Greetings All,

The struggle to free Leonard Peltier has been a long hard struggle. We are coming up on another very important campaign in that struggle. The renewed Campaign for Exective Clemency for Leonard Peltier (for more information please go to: www.whoisleonardpeltier.info). One very important part of this is active public support. In order to help build this active public support in our region the Tacoma LPSG is seeking to reactivate the Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Network (NWLPSN).

As in any human long term activity, there will be differences both political and personal. We are not saying that none of that is baseless. Rather we are saying here and now that differences should be put aside so that everyone who supports freedom for Leonard Peltier can aid this campaign. If everyone who supports freedom for Leonard helps out we have no doubt our effords will help free him.

Our campaign will include: education, petitions and letter writing, and when the time is right a Regional Leonard Peltier Clemency March and Rally in Tacoma.

We are looking for people who can help out. There will be many needs: getting out petitions, getting people to write letters, getting articles printed in papers, forwarding e-mail statements to friends, organizations and e-mail lists, handing out and/or posting fliers, fund raising and donations, caravans for justice (car pools), video taping the march and rally (that would be used to help support the campaign in other places), artwork, banner making and so on.

If you are willing to join with us please contact Tacoma LPSG at bayou@blarg.net. Thank you.

In Solidarity

Arthur J. Miller Tacoma LPSG, P.O. Box 5464, Tacoma, WA 98415-0464, bayou@blarg.net

Those who wish to sign up on the NWPeltierSupport e-mail list can do so by sending an e-mail to: nwpeltiersupport-subscribe@lists.riseup.net


Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee

PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106

Phone: 701/235-2206

Fax: 701/235-5045

E-mail: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info


Friends of Peltier

Tacoma LPSG

P.O. Box 5464, Tacoma, WA 98415-0464


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Class struggle in Claremont

Libcom.org Mar 15 2010

Pomona College is the site of active class struggle. The food service
workers of Pomona College are now in open conflict with the corporate
administration of Pomona College over their attempts to organize an
independent union. They fight for dignity, justice and respect. Their
employer, Pomona College, seeks only the ability to continue its
exploitative practices. The College rejects even their basic demand for an
agreement against intimidation. We, as Claremont Solidarity, stand with
the workers, and against the interests of capital and the corporate

Partnership! Well, labor and capital may be partners in theory, but they
are enemies in fact. – JOHN L. LEWIS; President, United Mine Workers of
America; 1936

If you contract out, union-bust, or otherwise make it impossible for
workers and students to have an organized voice, you don't shut them up,
you just get collective bargaining by riot. – ELAINE BERNARD; Director,
Harvard Law School Labor & Worklife Program; 2002

On Monday, March 1, 150 students and workers entered the office of David
Oxtoby, President of Pomona College, to deliver their demands for a fair
unionization process to him. Hundreds of signed petitions were stacked in
Oxtoby's hands, petitions signed by 90% of the food service workers at
Pomona College, demanding that Pomona College agree to a card check
neutrality agreement with the dining hall workers. If the College were to
accept this card check neutrality agreement, they would pledge to not
engage in any anti-union intimidation of workers and recognize the
workers' union as soon as a majority have signed union authorization
cards. On Saturday, March 6, workers came forward to speak to students,
addressing a rally of more than 400 students assembled in the rain,
speaking to their situation and efforts at creating a union.

The Pomona dining hall workers are organizing to establish an independent
union in order to collectively fight for a contract and better working
conditions. In the Pomona College dining halls, where workers are denied
year-round employment, where more than 80% report having been injured on
the job, where workers are at-will employee and are routinely fired for
being worked to the point where injuries prevent them working any more,
where decades of employment provides only the opportunity for decades of
poverty-level wages, where legally required breaks have been denied with
uniform consistency for years, where the managers compel workers to
perform unpaid labor off the clock, and above all, where workers have been
robbed of their power, their voice, and their dignity. To the
administration, they are merely part of the faceless human capital that
greases the wheels of the educational institution, regardless of the fact
that they contribute far more to the College than the comfortably
positioned PR office bureaucrat who makes certain that every letter
published by the College uses the approved font, or even the faculty
member who teaches students how to continue reproducing our oppressive
social relations

Pomona College is the second wealthiest liberal arts college in the
country, with an endowment of $1.8 billion. An endowment of $1,160,000 per
student, with a tuition of $50,000, and Pomona College pays its dining
hall workers as little as $10 an hour. With the lack of reliable work that
the College offers, many workers – who tend to be the primary breadwinners
for their families – come out making between $10,000 and $15,000 per year.
Pomona College's endowment has grown by 240% over the past 10 years. What
does that vast increase in wealth mean for the workers? It means
absolutely nothing; wages have been stagnant for decades, just keeping up
with inflation and lagging behind the cost of living. No matter how much
money Pomona College has, it will pay its employees as little as it can
get away with.

After years of paternalistic negotiations, after bureaucratic do-nothing
committees, after proposals for an ombudsman, after a failed unionization
campaign with an outside union, after years of proper channels and no
improvement, the dining hall workers are certain that the only means to
gain dignity and respect at their work is to organize and create their own

The workers have chosen to create their own independent, worker-controlled
union and to not relinquish control to a self-interested outside union.
They have been failed by the national unions in the past and now they have
made complete autonomy and local control an absolute condition of any
union organizing. It will be difficult for an independent union of a few
dozen workers and scant resources to challenge the billion dollar
corporation that is Pomona College, but with student solidarity it is
possible, and it may be preferable to a few dozen workers challenging a
union that either outright ignores workers who aren't in thousand-person
bargaining groups, or seeks 'mutually beneficial partnerships' with

The response from the College administration to all of this? President
Oxtoby decalres his support of workers' right to unionize! Simultaneously
he rejects all of their demands and refuses to negotiate on the issue of
card check neutrality. Oxtoby will allow only for talk of a unionization
process that follows the model of National Labor Relations Board vote, a
process that is the graveyard of democracy and unionization attempts.
Oxtoby demands that the College reserve the right to intimidate its
workers, to retaliate against organizing workers, to delay the
unionization vote for years, and to appeal any unionization vote for yet
more years. These are the points of difference between the process
demanded by the workers and the process offered by the College. Unless the
College was planning on utilizing some of these anti-union tactics allowed
under the NLRB process then there would be no reason in rejecting the card
check process.

Oxtoby has revealed the true anti-worker position of the College in
statements that deny any need for workers to be concerned with the
benevolent, protective employment of the College, even going so far as to
call workers 'naïve':

The assumption, often, with a union is that everything that you have
now you will keep and you will get more — you will have all of the
channels of communication and ways of working with the college which
we've developed over the years, I think that's not correct. I think
it's a little naive.

The workers know the liberal bullshit of the administration when they see
it, and have responded with a hardening commitment to the fair process
that 90% of them had originally demanded, in direct rejection of the
anti-worker NLRB process that Oxtoby holds to. The orange armbands are
staying on in the kitchens of Pomona College.

Meanwhile, out of the public arena, the College has already forced the
dining hall workers to attend anti-union meetings where they illegally
promised concessions if the workers stop their organizing efforts
(covering up their illegal activities with the blatant lie that they
implemented these concessions months ago, without any of the workers
noticing). The deans, so fond of the liberal college activist who poses no
challenge to their own comfort and security, sat one student organizer
down to threaten him with the loss of his job with the College if he
continued devoting his efforts to the union.

Alongside the administration, numerous supposedly leftist faculty at
Pomona College have belittled the workers' attempts at forming an
independent union, apparently unable to believe that workers are capable
of organizing themselves without the leadership of decayed professors or
bureaucratic outside unions. To them, we repeat the words one worker spoke
to the faculty: "We're not asking for your advice, we're asking for your
support." At the very least, 90% of the workers have decided that this the
course of action they want to take, and the only justifiable action for us
to take is to respect their decisions and lend them our solidarity, not
our paternalism.

It is no surprise that an elite liberal arts college supposedly committed
to social responsibility responds to the organization of its workers in
the same fashion as any profit-driven corporation, because that is exactly
what the modern college has become through a long process of
corporatization. The only structural difference remaining between college
and corporation is that as 'non-profits' colleges need make only enough
revenue to break even, a difference in scale only. The condition of the
workers at Pomona College is a result of this corporatization of the
college; a result of transformation of Pomona College into Pomona College,

As students at a corporate college we are now mere consumers of the
education commodity. So workers are mere human capital, rather than
dignified and respected members of our community. They are expected to
have the same relationship with the College community as McDonalds fry
cooks have with their customers. What should be a community of equals who
are valued for their contributions to the collective education of everyone
in our community is instead debased to a rude system of commodities,
consumers, producers and exploitation.

Our friends from Direct Action Claremont have participated in occupations
at the public universities, and we see this struggle at Pomona College as
an extension of that struggle. Both the battle for public education and
the unionization efforts at Pomona College are manifestations of
resistance to the neo-liberal corporate model of higher education that
simultaneously dispossesses students of an education, and workers of
dignified labor.

Claremont Solidarity exists to escalate the class struggle at Pomona
College. The interests of the workers and the interests of the corporate
College are directly opposed to each other; one seeks justice and
fairness, the other seeks profit through exploitation. The College will
not choose through its own enlightenment to act against its economic
interest and allow the workers to organize. It can only be forced to do
such. In order to realize progress, we must create a situation of
conflict, where the power of the administration is challenged by the power
of the workers. And we must make certain at the same time that students
understand this conflict, and choose to cast their lots on the side of the
workers. We cannot wait for this situation of open class conflict to
emerge; time is the College's most potent weapon, and they intend to delay
justice until it is terminally denied. Pomona College will attempt to
batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to blow over; we pledge
that this storm shall only strengthen until the workers at Pomona College
have justice.

We pledge an escalating campaign of confrontational action, as this is the
only way to force the College to recognize the workers' demands. Pomona
College cannot run as though everything is normal when the College is
refusing to consider the demands of 90% of its food service workers. There
is an active labor conflict in Claremont, and we will not let the College
forget it. No business as usual!

Claremont Solidarity
Audacity! Audacity! Ever more audacity!

Friday, March 12, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Battle Ground Athens: second general strike leads to pitched battles

Libcom.org Mar 11 2010


More than 150,000 people took to the streets of Athens against the
austerity measures in a mass protest marches that have led to extended
battles in the greek capital.

On Thursday March 11 all Greece came to a 24h standstill as a result of
the second general strike to be called within less than a month (not the
third as reported by foreign media, as the first strike in February only
concerned the public sector). As a result of the strike called by GSEE
(private sector union umbrella) and ADEDY (public sector union umbrella)
as well as PAME (the Communist Party union umbrella) no buses, trams,
metros, trolley buses or suburban trains exited their stations, while due
to air-traffic control workers' strike no flights are being realised
within or in and out of the country. Only the electric train will function
for 4h in Athens in order to facilitate people's participation in the mass
demo at noon. In the health sector, all hospitals are functioning with
emergency personnel only, as all doctors, ambulance drivers and nurses are
striking. All banks are closed to the public, and all public and municipal
offices and services have been shut by the strike. The Corinth Canal has
also been shut by the workers controling it, allowing no ships to make the
vital crossing. All boats have been immobilised in the harbours and no
inter-city trains are running. Post offices remain closed, while National
Electricity, National Waters and National Telecoms workers are taking part
in the strike with all offices and factories of the above industries
closed for the day. All schools and universities remain also closed as
teachers and academics are partcipating in the strike. Office workers,
factory workers and contruction workers are also participating en mass in
the strike. Firemen and policemen are also performing walk-outs, with a
policemen demo at the National Police HQ planned for the afternoon. Due to
the participation of the TV, radio, electronic news websites, and the
press in the strike, there are no news broadcasts for 24h. Thus the
information gathered here will be completed by means of Comments after the
end of the General Strike when more information become available. In total
more than 3 million people (out of a total population of 11 million) are
expected to having taken part in the general strike today.

The General Strike comes as a new climax to labour struggle against the
new austerity measures the greek government has announced in response to
its notorious credit crisis. In the days before the General Strike, stage
workers have occupied the Ministry of Labour on Peiraeos street, while the
continuing occupation of the General State Accountancy by layed-off
Olympic Airways workers has caused the intervention of the state
persecutor who has demanded their arrest. No such move of repression has
been made yet by the police, and Panepistimiou street remains cut in two
by the protesters for more than a week now. In Salonica, the General
Industrialists Bureau was occupied yesterday by workers, while radicals
from the left dropped a huge banner in the Acropolis reading "take the
measures back". Troughout the week, tax officers performed a 48h strike,
school traffic wardens in Northern Greece performed a 3-day strike, while
judges and other judicial officers performed 4-h work daily stoppages. No
garbage has been collected since last Saturday in Athens, Patras and
Salonica as refuse collectors have blockaded the great garbage depot of
the three major cities. Finally, in the city of Komitini ENKLO textile
workers are mounting an ever more intense labour struggle, with protest
marches and strikes: two banks were occupied by the workers last Monday.

The Demos:

The first demo in Athens was performed by PAME, the Communist Party union
umbrella, just before noon. PAME allied workers first formed small demos
across Athens, then marched to Omonoia square and all together in a 50,000
strong march to the Parliament. At the same time, people started gathering
at Patision and Alexandras junction for the demo called by GSEE and ADEDY.
The demo which soon gathered over 100,000 people set to march to the
Parliament at 12:30 when just outside the Polytechnic riot police forces
tried to cut-off a large anarchist block from the march by brutal force.
Clashes ensued with extended use of tear gas and molotov cocktails.
Despite the air being thick with smoke and CS gas, the march continued its
way along Patision avenue and on to Stadiou street where many corporate
shops came under attack. After reaching the Parliament, the march turned
to Panepistimiou street where renewed clashes erupted at the height of
Propylea. With the march coming to its final distination, protesters who
continued their way to Omonoia where attacked by Delta team motorised
forces. The Delta-team thugs tried to hit the protesters in full speed
sparking more pitched battles with police squads encircled and beaten by
the angry crowd and several Delta-team motorbikes destroyed. At the time
of writing, the battles have moved to Exarcheia where protesters have
erected flaming baricades and are confronting riot police and Delta force
cops by means of rocks and molotov cocktails. Many protesters have sought
refuge at the Polytechnic from which they are confronting police forces on
both Patision and Stournari street. During the clashes many protesters
have been wounded with one reported to be in intensive care with heavy
wounds on the chest. The number of people arrested remains unclear but
there are about 16 people detained and 13 cops hospitalised.

In Salonica 6 different marches took place by different unions and
umbrella unions. Protesters of the Worker's Centre march, which numbered
7,000 people in total, attacked corporate and church-owned shops on
Egnatia avenue, while two super-markets were looted with the commodities
distributed to the people. Despite the police firing tear-gas, the march
continued and attacked the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace with paint and
rocks before reaching the Worker's Centre.

In Ioannina despite the pouring rain around 1.500 people marched against
the measures with no news of clashes. Similar protest marches took place
in Sitia, Naxos, Veroia, Patras and other cities. In Heracleion, Crete,
shops that did not allow their workers to strike were blockaded and
several banks came under attack by protesters. In Volos, protesters
blockaded the gates of the METKA factory not allowing security-staff (i.e.
scabs) to enter the premises, with many more corporate chain shops that
did not allow their workers to strike blockaded and shut by the
protesters. The official union-bosses of Volos were forced to leave the
march after mass heckling by the workers.

Despite anti-strike war waged by the bourgeois media, amongst which the
more bloodthirty ones like Kathimerini is urging the government to crush
the protests "even if some protesters die", the Athens march is estimated
to be the largest in 15 years, and has demonstrated the resolve of the
working class to fight back against the capitalist onslaught.


According to all information available 9 people appear to be arrested in
Athens during the protest march. They will appear tomorrow before the
state interrogator.

Friday, March 05, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Mass Strikes in Greece in response to new measures

Libcom.org Mar 4 2010

protesters confront riot police outside Athens EU Commission building

Mass strikes with only hours prior warning are unfolding in greece after
the government announced new crippling measures for workers

The government's announcements of the new austerity measures dictated by
the EU have rendered the greek PM's talk of a "state of war" concrete. The
new measures include a 30% cut in public workers' 13th and 14th salary, as
well as 12% cut in all salary subsidies, which in reality amounts to a sum
of more than 1/12 of the total annual salary. In addition the government
has announced new taxes for alcohol and cigarettes, as well as a universal
VAT of 21% that is considered crippling by shop-owners and small
free-lance enterpeneurs. Not one measure is however targeted towards the
construction-banking-press-shipping trusts that plague the country.

The reaction to the measures has been immediate and acute:

Just hours after the announcement of the new measures, layed-off workers
of Olympic Airways attacked riot police lines guarding the State General
Accountancy and have occupied the building, in what they call a open-ended
occupation. The action has led to the closing of Athens' main commercial
street, Panepistimiou, for long hours.

On Thursday morning, workers under the Communist Party union umbrella PAME
occupied the Ministry of Finance on Syntagma square (which remains under
occupation) as well as the county headquarters of the city of Trikala.
Later, PAME also occupied 4 TV station in the city in Patras, and the
state TV station of Salonica, forcing the news broadcasters to play a DVD
against government measures.

On Thursday afternoon, two protest marches took to the streets of Athens.
The first, called by PAME, and the second by OLME, the teachers union and
supported by ADEDY. The latter gathered around 10,000 people despite less
than 24h notice, and during its course limited clashes developed with the
riot police which was pilled with rocks outside the EU Commission
building. Also two protest marches took to the streets of Salonica at the
same time.A protest march was also realised in the city of Lamia.

Finally, the party offices of PASOK in the town of Arta were smashed by
what it is beliaved to be people enraged by the measures

For Friday:

ADEDY and GSEE (public and private sector union umbrellas) have declared a
4h stoppage of work across the country for tomorrow and a central demo
outside the Parliament at noon. The two giant unions are hinting at a
general strike for the 11th of March.

PAME has declared a 24h strike in all sectors for Friday.

All buses, trolleys, the metro, intercity trains, and trams as well as
most flights of Aegean and Olympic Airways apart from a few security
flights been be halted, as workers in means of mass transport have called
a 24h strike. The strike will immobilise the country.

All schools will remain closed, as teachers have called a 24h strike.

All public TV and radio, as well as the Athens News Agency, all municipal
radio stations and the Ministry of Press have declared a 24h strike and a
demo in front of the Journalist Union building in Athens.

All hospitals across the country will be serving only immergency cases, as
doctors have declared a 24h strike.

No garbage will be collected on Friday, as refuse collectors have declared
a 24h strike, while they have also announced another strike and a protest
march for March the 10th.

Pensioners will be performing a protest march in Salonica on Friday morning.

Students are holding assemblies in their schools to decide their
participation in the struggle, with many schools already having decided to
move to occupation and participate in the marches.

It is indicative of the climate of public rage that even cops have
announced a demo outside the Athens Police Hq for the 11th of March.

Tax officers have also announced a 2day strike starting on Monday, while
school traffic wardens in Northern Greece have announced a 3-day long
strike starting on Monday.

The people's reaction to the austerity measures are expected to further
explode as the EU Commission is pressuring for the implementation of
similar measures for the private sector. It is believed that such a move
could bring the country on the brink of social insurrection.

Long battles erupt in Athens protest march
Submitted by taxikipali on Mar 5 2010

Long battles erupted today at the Athens protest march against the
measures. The GSEE union boss was heavily beaten by protesters while
battles with the cops developed for 3 hours all across the centre of the
city after riot police attacked anti-Nazi resistance symbol Manolis Glezos

The demo called by ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union, and GSEE, the
private sector umbrella union, started gathering at 12:30 in Syntagma
square, after another 10,000 strong demo by Communist Party umbrella
union, PAME had ended its own demo and marched to Omonoia square. Soon
around 10,000 people gathered in Syntagma, a large number considering
there is only a 4 hour stoppage and not a strike today.

All was quiet until the GSEE union boss Mr Panagopoulos took the
microphone to address the protest. Before managing to utter more than five
words, the hated union boss was attacked by all kinds of protestors who
first heckled him and threw bottles of water and yogurt on his face and
then attacked him physically like a giant swarm. With bruises, cuts and
his clothes torn, the PASOK lackey struggled his way towards police lines,
as the people attacked again and again. Finally he managed to hide behind
the Presidential Guard and up the steps of the Parliament where the hated
austerity measures were being voted. The crowd below encouraged him to go
where he belongs, to the lair of thieves, murderers and liars.

What the bourgeois media call the "lynching" of the union supreme boss
became a prime subject of infight within the parliament with the
government accusing the Radical Left Coalition that the attackers
originated from its block (GSEE itself blaming KOE, a Maoist group of the
Coalition), a half-truth at best. The Communist Party has refused to
condemn the attack, only noting it disagrees with it. This is the first
time such a high ranking union boss is attacked at a rally that its union
has called, and the act is widely believed to mark a new era in union
history in greece. The initial phase of the attack against the union boss
can be seen here:

Soon after the beating of Panagopoulos, small skirmishes started between
protesters and riot police forces in the form of body-to-body battles in
front of the Parliament. During one of these incidents, riot cops attacked
Manolis Glezos, the heroic anti-nazi resistance fighter who had lowered
the nazi flag from the Acropolis during the german occupation. The elderly
man was trying to help a man from being arrested at them time and had to
be removed from the battle scene in an ambulance as tear gas fired
directly on his face caused him serious pneumonic problems and he remains
in serious condition in hospital (for a video of the attack see

The attack on Glezos gave the signal for a general attack of thousands of
people against the cops, many of who were wounded during the battles which
included rocks, sticks but no molotov cocktails. During the clashes 5
people were arrested, 2 of who are accused under the anti-hood law, while
the rest with small non-criminal breaches of the law. During the clashes
many riot shields and helmets were taken from the cops and burned along
with other flaming barricades on the streets. 7 cops are reported by the
police as heavily wounded, some with knee-cap and other bone breaks.

Due to extended use of tear gas at around 14:00 the atmosphere in Syntagma
square was so unbearable that among chanting "the cops are not the
children of the workers, they are the dogs of the bosses", the demo turned
into a protest march with the direction of the Ministry of Labour, half a
km south of Omonoia square. At reaching Propylea more clashes with the
police took place, while a sole high-ranking cop was isolated and beaten
by the crowd. Further down on the way to Omonoia, protesters attacked a
riot police squad that was guarding the National Legal Council. The riot
police squad was cornered and attacked by means of sticks rocks and
flares, before being forced to retreat inside the building after one of
its members was captured by protesters and repeatedly trampled by the
angered crowd.

The march then continued to Omonoia and from there down Peireaos street
where banks, economic targets and expensive cars came under attack, before
the march reached the Ministry and the protesters tried to break its
central doors. More clashes with the police ensued and the march turned
back to front and decided to march once again to the Parliament. On the
way, cops came once again under attack by protesters with many riot
policemen wounded and retaliating by means of tear gas. After reaching the
Parliament, the march refused to desolve and took once again to the street
in a bravado of resolve, until it reached Propylea where it came to an
end. After the end of the march 6 more people were detained while taking
refuge to the Social Security Headquarters, but have been released without
any charges against them.

In Salonica, upon reaching the gates of the Ministry of Thrace and
Macedonia protesters pulled down the heavy iron fences of the Ministry and
moved into its front yard where they were confronted by riot police who
made use of tear gas amongst flaming barricades.

Finally, the workers of the National Printing Units have occupied the
premises and refuse to print the legislation imposing the austerity
measures. Unless the legislation is printed there, it is not legally
valid. Meanwhile the occupation of the State General Accountancy by
layed-off Olympic Airways workers continues. The workers have also
permanently closed off Panepistimiou street (the equivalent of Oxford
street in London), at the heigh of the building, with all traffic diverted
by side-roads.

A general strike by ADEDY and GSEE has been called for March 11.

[olympiaworkers] March 4: Strikes and Occupations in California and across the US

Libcom.org Mar 5 2010

Students and workers struck and occupied across the state of California,
as did their counterparts at colleges in New York and 30 other states,
defying efforts to corral the movement into after-work rallies or
"dialogues" at the Capitol.

One of the most striking facts about the breadth of the action on March 4
was the popularity of radical action in areas with very little history of
struggle. Students across the UC system were consciously referring to
their activity as a strike and attempting to shut down their campuses, not
just at the "activist" campuses of Berkeley, LA, and Santa Cruz, but also
at San Diego, Irvine and Riverside (all in the heart of suburban Southern
California), Santa Barbara (notorious as a party school) and Davis (the
agricultural campus, located in "The Tomato Capitol of the World").

According to Occupy California (occupyca.wordpress.com), each of these
campuses saw at least several hundred students attempting to shut down the
functioning of the university and, in many cases, to spread the disruption
off campus. At Santa Cruz pre-dawn picket lines closed the entrances to
the campus and were held even against violent attempts by drivers to break
through, including one attempt by the driver of a Prius that broke a
picket's leg. Many campus workers, instead of getting angry at another
"student protest", respected the strike by joining the picket lines or by
defying supervisors (and police escorts) and claiming that they couldn't
get through the picket lines. In Oakland, around 1000 students from
Berkeley joined students and teachers from public schools, community
colleges, and CSUs for a mid-day rally at City Hall. The marchers managed
to get onto Interstate 880, a freeway going through the most working-class
sections of Oakland, where 150 were arrested. At Irvine and Davis hundreds
of students shut down their campuses and then moved to shut down
surrounding traffic - in Davis the marchers then moved to occupy
Interstate 80 (the main artery to nearby Sacramento), but after overcoming
several lines of police using batons and shooting pepper balls, were
eventually prevented. Similar strike attempts occurred at other UC
campuses, as well as many campuses of the California State University.

There were simultaneous actions at universities in 31 other states,
including at several branches of the CUNY and SUNY systems in New York.
Take The City reports an occupation at SUNY Purchase, as well as
demonstrations and walk-outs at Brooklyn College, CUNY Hunter, and the
CUNY Graduate Center.

The movement is spreading and echoing quicker than anyone expected.
Capital demands its pound of flesh and, in so doing, creates its own
gravediggers. The students are not relying on any existing organizations
for leadership but are spontaneously creating General Assemblies to
strategize. By consciously referring to the movement as a strike and by
attempting to spread off campus students are showing an implicit
consciousness that this is not simply about 'defending education', but is
about refusing to pay for the crisis created by the contradictions of
capitalism. In order to move forward, the strike movement is going to have
to spread - students will have to make links with workers, such as the
15,000 municipal workers who are receiving pink slips in San Francisco
today, and they will have to encourage the workers to form general
assemblies or general strike committees, instead of relying on the
established unions that will divide the workers and prevent a general

More to come...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Global Women’s Strike! March 13, 2010

International Women's Day Event!


Saturday March 13, 2010

Mothers March & Speak Out
Marking the 11th Global Women's Strike!

MOTHERS, this march is for you who oppose war and occupation; who are
caring for Vets; who have lost children unjustly taken by LA County; who
are grandmothers, non-biological mothers and other women doing caring
work; who are denied welfare and other entitlements; who are doing the
double day; who have a disability, are students and others impacted by
State budget cuts; who want justice for victims of South LA serial
murders; who have been criminalized by poverty; whose families have been
separated as a result of immigration laws…

11AM Gather at the park on 4th St near Shatto Place, LA 90020

March down Wilshire to

Rally in MacArthur Park w/ music, food and children's activities
All women, youth, men, children welcome. A women-led march.

Parking 6th & Vermont; Metro Wilshire/Vermont & Alvarado/MacArthur Park

WE ARE MOTHERS OF DIFFERENT RACES, ages, passports, incomes, sexual
preferences and occupations. Many of us work a double and triple day of
waged work on top of our unwaged work as mothers. Those of us who are not
biological mothers do a lot of mothering too, sometimes for children and
also for friends, colleagues, family, neighbors and others in the
community. The March will make this work visible also.

MOTHERS MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND, but we get neither recognition nor
resources, only blame when things go wrong. The work that mothers
contribute to society entitles us to every support, including financial.

OUR CHILDREN COUNT! The relationship between mothers and children is not
viewed by policy makers as vital, making it easier for children to be
taken from mothers and placed with strangers. And, caring for children is
not valued as work by those who govern, but any job outside the home is.
Our children deserve loving care, we will not tolerate them being treated
as obstacles that get in the way of something more important!

caregivers who support mothers will join the march.

Planning Group thus far and growing: Alexandria House, Black Coalition
Fighting Back Serial Murders, California Partnership, DCFS Give Us Back
Our Children, Every Mother Is a Working Mother Network, Haiti Vigil,
Military Families Speak Out, Mujeres de Maiz, South Central Farmers.
Called by Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike and the GWS/LA.
Contact us to join the planning group and/or to lend your support!

For more info go to www.globalwomenstrike.net or contact us

at 323-276-9833 la@crossroadswomen.net

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

[olympiaworkers] International Women's Day Concert March 7

Celebrate International Women’s Day! The Labor Center is co-sponsoring a performance by the Evergreen Singers and the Seattle Labor Chorus on Sunday, March 7th at 4:00 pm in the Communications Building Recital Hall on the Olympia campus of The Evergreen State College 2700 Evergreen Pkwy NW. This event is free and open to the public.


From: "Triffleman, Nina" <trifflen@evergreen.edu>
Date: Tue, March 2, 2010

Celebrate International Women's Day! The Labor Center is co-sponsoring a
performance by the Evergreen Singers and the Seattle Labor Chorus on
Sunday, March 7th at 4:00 pm in the Communications Building Recital Hall
on the Olympia campus of The Evergreen State College 2700 Evergreen Pkwy
NW. This event is free and open to the public.

[olympiaworkers] Chile: private property and the rule of law take priority over human life in the post-earthquake chaos

Libcom.org Mar 2 2010

One man has been shot dead by the military and over 160 arrested for
expropriating necessities in parts of northern Chile, which are suffering
a near total lack of basic commodities following a massive earthquake on
Saturday morning.

Various voices are starting to emerge from the devastated region,
denouncing the urgency of the Chilean government - under the control of
left-of-centre Michele Bachelet until she hands over to right wing
Sebastián Piñera on 11 March - in deploying thousands of soldiers and
police blockading supermarket entrances against 'looters' instead of
initiating a comprehensive aid effort.

Many groups, in calling for civil disobedience against the machine-gun
wielding military on their rubble-strewn street corners, have drawn
comparisons with the military dictatorship of 1973-90. Some parts of the
country, such as the rural area around Concepción (Chile's second city),
are completely devoid of even the most rudimentary services, implying that
Bachelet et al are prepared to let their citizens starve in order to
assert the "rule of order".

The chaos in the quake zone has been further compounded by contradictory
statements from on high: while one missive ordered supermarkets to
distribute basic foodstuffs for free, a regional military commander
promised a "severe response" to looting. And as the desperate and the
hungry start to target smaller, less well-protected businesses,
authorities in Concepción - as well as the regions of Maule and Bio Bio,
amongst others - have imposed an indefinite, military-enforced curfew from
9pm-6am. The efficiency of the military in protecting shopfronts is in
marked contrast with the clumsiness of the relief effort, which has
already seen disaster in the crash landing of a plane on its way to
Concepción, killing six aid workers.

Meanwhile, in Santiago, the nation's capital, two occupied social centre
reported material damage to their buildings, with others yet to make
public pronouncements. Inmates in one Santiago area prison took advantage
of the chaos following the 8.8 Richter scale quake - which currently has a
death count of well over 700 nationally - to initiate a large-scale
escape, with over 200 prisoners breaking free. Around 130 individuals are
still at large. The physical well-being - and location - of a number of
'anarchist' prisoners in the Santiago region are still yet to be

News is also nervously awaited from a number of groups and initiatives in
the north of the country. Updates will be posted to Libcom as and when
they emerge.

[olympiaworkers] "State of war" declared by Greek PM

Libcom.org Mar 2 2010

The greek PM, Giorgos Papandreou, has declared the country in "a state of
war" after extended meetings with the EU economics commissioner Mr Rehn,
leading workers to declare more strikes.

After two days of council with the EU commissioner Mr Rehn, the Greek
Prime Minister and President of the Socialist International, Mr Giorgos
Papandreou has announced that the country is in a state of war against its
economic predicament. The anouncement was made in the Socialist Party's
Parliamentary Committee Assembly, which bourgeois media describe as
particularly bitter and stormy with many top PASOK members resenting the
PM's austerity decisions. In an earlier declaration to the press, he had
claimed that the state has money for no longer than a week to go. The
meaning of the PM's dramatic words might be no more than another effort to
mobilise public defeatism and national consensus around the crippling
austerity measures. Despite claims by local and international media, based
on data from ill-reputed public opinion companies, the vast majority of
the greek people are bitterly against the demanded sacrifices. A more
darkly scenario circulating in Athens is that the "state of war" rhetoric
is in fact a prelude to a "state of siege" which will suspend the articles
of the constitution protecting striking and protesting.

Angered by the aggressive moves of the government which in effect go back
on all its pre-election program, ADEDY, the public sector umbrella union
has announced a 4h stoppage for next Monday and a 24h strike for the 16th
of March. The union is holding talks with the GSEE (private sector
CGT-type umbrella) for a new general strike soon. At the time of writing
kiosks across the country remain closed due to a 24h strike, while taxi
drivers have gone on a 48h strike across the country with motorised demos
in Salonica and Athens. In Athens taxis formed a 5km long demonstration,
while a scab spotted near the mobilisation was attacked by strikers.
Yesterday the EU commissioner Mr Rhen had to visit the Ministry of Labour
from the back door as clashes were developing between riot police and
protesters who had managed to destroy the medal rolling bars of the
Ministry in an effort to storm the building. Meanwhile tax officers have
announced another 48h strike for the 8th and 9th of March.

The labour struggle of the Egyptian fishermen in Michaniona has come under
renewed bosses attack, when yesterday night 60 thugs payed by the fishboat
bosses attacked the houses of the Egyptian workers and beat them brutally.

Meanwhile, in the city of Yannena the headquarters of PASOK were occupied
by anarchists protesting against the arrest of 11 protesters during the
Byronas march last Saturday. All of the arrested have been released today,
one of them on the conditions of not leaving the country.

Mar 2 2010 19:21

Update: School teachers have been the first to react to the new austerity
package which will be officially revealed tomorrow and is believed to
include a freeze on pensions and a curtailing of salaries. Tomorrow
teachers have called for a demo outside the Ministry of Finance, while
they also called a protest march for Thursday afternoon in Athens. The
teachers' union (OLME) has also called for a demo outside the State
Accountancy for the 10th of March and a 4h stoppage for both the 3rd and
10th of March. At the same time, the nurses national union has called for
strikes and demos for the 4th and 18th of March.