Wednesday, April 28, 2010

[olympiaworkers] 1st of May in Cascadia

Info from Cascadia in Anarchy!

Cascadia goes down in anarchy for May 1st...

Tacoma May Day

Starting 3:00pm at Lincoln Park 37th & Thompson (near Lincoln
High School on east side)

Marching toward downtown Tacoma

Arriving at Tollefson Plaza

This will sound very Tacoma-centric since this is written from Tacoma. One
thing that people were saying after the recent black bloc actions in
Olympia in April was that there needs to be more communication to prevent
misunderstandings and unanticipated outcomes. if you want to participate
in a black bloc at Tacoma, the aim is to be a "social black bloc" from
those of us in Tacoma. The march is for us to get to know other people, to
share ideas, knowledge, etc. to exist in the open space. The entire event
is organized by anarchists, and is open for people from all the
neighborhoods (and other cities too of course) for participation. Come &
kick it with us.

If you have a distro to represent, there is space at Tollefson Plaza for
lots of that. But you'll have to bring your own table, etc. You could
also bring...

- banners that make the cops, media, and doucheoisie shit their pants

- an extra car battery for our sound system, OR bring another boom box

- drums & buckets, musical materials

- black flags REPRESENT

- fliers, Spanish ones too

- rage

- passion

Here is info about the other Cascadia May 1st festivals

The Seattle May Day

march & festival is organized by El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria Y
Justicia Social

Starting 12:00pm at Judkins Park

Marching down toward downtown Seattle (int'l district)

Arriving at Occidental Park (apprx 2:00pm) for rally

This march is usually pretty big and is organized as a "regional event".
Their message is "Stop the repression of immigrant community, we march for
an immigration reform with justice: Education, Healthcare and Jobs with


Portland May Day

Portland May Day is kind of a hodge podge of different groups
doing lots of different shit. But this is the most interesting
invitation came across was:

R2S (Right 2 Survive) cordially invites you to our first *FESTIVAL OF
RESISTANCE* as we celebrate and prepare to take back our rights as a
community. We stand firm in our example to city council of how improvement
to our circumstances is possible without their greenbacks or
permissions.We celebrate skill shares that accommodate alternative
lifestyles and choices. We celebrate the right to sleep undisturbed, to
survive without legal
impediments, and we celebrate our right to not be criminalized for being
who we are: Unhoused, unfettered, and free.

When: May Day!
Saturday May 1st, 2010

Gathering at 5PM

Where: SE 12th and Stark
(Park in front of Washington High School)

What: Food, music, skill shares, conversation, fun 'n games. With
workshops by Rose City Cop Watch, Reclaim!, and Rosehip Medic Collective

Vancouver May Day

After Party (could not find info on a march)

Workers Control not Border Controls

Saturday May 1 @ 7:30 pm.
Free! Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway.
Performances and speakers, followed by DJs.

Join us this May Day, as we join with workers around the world in
celebrating the militant tradition of May 1 as a day to oppose the
exploitation of workers. Hard-won wages, benefits, and social services
continue to be eroded as Canada joins other imperialist countries in
forcing increased labour flexibility in the name of 'free trade' and the
capitalist neoliberal agenda. We are also continuing the courageous
struggle of immigrant and migrant workers across North America against
increasingly repressive and racist immigration controls, as we join
together to assert our dignity and affirm international solidarity.
Dedicated to the memory and revolutionary legacy of Hari P. Sharma.
Supported by Justicia for Migrant Workers, No One Is Illegal Vancouver,
Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice, Rhizome Cafe.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Oakland Teachers Set to Strike April 29th After Board Imposes Contract Apr 26th, 2010

Oakland teachers have worked over two years without a contract. In
order to push negotiations along, a three-person panel was convened to
resolve financial and other disputes between the Oakland Unified
School District and the Oakland Education Association. The panel
reviewed the budget and related issues and made recommendations that
included a 2% pay increase for teachers. The District Board and
Superintendent, however, chose to completely ignore the 28-page report
and scheduled an emergency hearing to vote on imposing their "last,
best, final offer" onto Oakland teachers which includes no pay raise,
claiming the district could not afford any increases. Teachers and
their allies packed the Board meeting on April 21st to object to any
imposition of a labor contract without the Oakland Educator
Association's consent. [Full audio below.]

Over 45 teachers and their allies in the community took turns voicing
concerns and expressing dissent about imposition of a contract. One lone
speaker praised the growing number of anti-union charter schools in
Oakland. After everyone who had filled out a speaker card had their time
at the microphone, members of the Oakland Unified School District Board
took turns justifying the vote they would soon take to impose a contract,
several of whom strangely spoke of future unity and collaboration with
Oakland's teachers, which their bad faith vote would do absolutely nothing
to help foster. In what appeared to be a pre-determined show of strength
by the Board, the vote was unanimous to impose a contract that denies
raises, increases class sizes, and lays off teachers. Those who had filled
the room to defend Oakland teachers then stormed out of the building and
immediately began to organize for the city-wide strike coming this

Oakland teachers are asking all citizens of Oakland to stand with them in
solidarity on April 29th -- and beyond as the struggle for a fair labor
contract will undoubtedly continue.

[olympiaworkers] Political Artists From Vancouver at Northern

Hi Olympia Workers,

Just wanted to let you know about an art exhibit opening this Saturday, May 1 in Olympia. It features a large 3 panel painting by me that is a tribute to the Industrial Workers of the World. The painting is called The Lynching of Wesley Everest. Hope you can make the opening. Cheers, David Lester

David Lester and Jean Smith of the rock duo Mecca Normal co-curate a month-long, group art exhibit at Northern: The Olympia All Ages Project

The Black Dot Museum: Political Artists From Vancouver -- art by David Lester, Jean Smith, Brian Roche and Gord Hill.

Saturday, May 1 - Friday, May 28, 2010
Northern: The Olympia All Ages Project

321 4th Ave, Olympia, WA

May 1, 2010 -- Free opening Night Performance by Mecca Normal at 7 pm. Free. Opening reception: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Gallery Hours: most Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment

The Black Dot Museum of Political Art functions online with touring exhibits focused on political art and music.
The Black Dot Museum of Political Art on FaceBook

Monday, April 26, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Taiwanese workers protest dismissals Apr 25 2010

Workers at Young Fast Optoelectronics (YFO) in Taiwan have urgently
requested solidarity actions for their struggle to defend their union and
basic labor rights against the company's union-busting actions and the
Taiwanese government's negligence of the law.

YFO is a Taiwan-based producer of touch-sensor used on high-end mobile
phones such as iPhone. It is a major supplier to brand names such as
Samsung, LG, HTC, Qualcomm and so on. Google is to become the major buyer
of YFO products through subcontracting the manufacturing of Google Phone
to HTC and Qualcomm. YFO has three plants in Guangdong, China, one in
Hanoi, Vietnam, and one in Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, and a combined workforce of
more than 10 thousand.

Working conditions for the 1,300 workers at YFO Taoyuan Plant is worse
than most people expected. Aside from low wages, high work intensity,
forced overtime without pay, and poor health and safety conditions that is
becoming rampant in the so-called high-tech industries today, YFO also
hired 200 migrant workers and 400 high school "interns" (some of them are
below the age of 16, which is the legal criteria of child labor in Taiwan)
and pay them less than the legal minimum wage. And this happened despite
the fact that YFO has posted a record-high profit last year.

Workers duly organized a trade union, Young Fast Optoelectronics Trade
Union, or YFOTU, in December 2009 to address their problems. The
management promptly dismissed five union officers and more than ten active
union members in March 2010, under the pretense that their production line
will be moved to China. Trade unionists in Taiwan believe that this is a
deliberate union-busting action and gross violation of the Labor Union

Workers in the YFOTU and National Federation of Independent Trade Unions
(NAFITU), which YFOTU is affiliated with, have waged a campaign since the
illegal dismissal. Aside from the negligence of government in enforcing
labor laws in Taiwan, YFOTU and NAFITU especially stress the negligence of
the brand name companies in enforcing their Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) standards. HTC, the fast expanding Taiwan brand name,
is especially under fierce protest.

HTC itself, on the other hand, has commercial cooperation with many
well-known telecom corporations which sell its mobile phones: Vodafone,
Verizon, Chunghwa Telecom, and Taiwan Mobile are just among the top of

The demands of YFOTU and NAFITU are:
1. Reinstate the illegally-dismissed union officers and members;
2. Resolve labor dispute through dialogue with YFOTU and NAFITU;
3. The government shall form a joint-committee from different ministries
and take thorough investigation about the working conditions and labor
rights abuses, and prevent repetition of labor rights abuse in YFO.

What you can do to help:
1. Sign our petition and send back to us.
2. Sign the on-line campaign on LabourStart
3. Write to the management of Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Qualcomm,
Vodafone, Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile to pressure, telling them to
set up code of conducts for their suppliers (if they don't have it at all)
according to the International Core Labor Standards advocated by ILO, and
to monitor and demand YFO to reinstate the union officers and members, to
obey the suppliers' code of conducts (if they have it) and the local laws;
4. Write to the Taiwan government to protest and demand a thorough
investigation on YFO and enforce the law[1];
5. Distribute this mail to your affiliates, members and friends, encourage
them to write to pressure;
6. Cooperate with us in our future actions that might need your solidarity
and assistance;
7. Any other ways that could help us for this campaign.

For more information on how to support these workers, see the China Worker

Friday, April 23, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Wildcat strike in Diyarbakır ends with victory Apr 22 2010

Wildcat strike of brick workers in Turkey wins pay increase.

Brick workers in several factories in Diyarbakır (the biggest city in
the southeast Kurdish region of Turkey) went on a wildcat strike in a
dispute over wages.

Working for a fixed wage for 4 years (around 350 euros and 16 hours of
work in a day) without any pay rise, workers of the 11 brick factories in
the city went on an unofficial strike on 16 April. It seems that the
strike expanded "spontaeously".
Negotiations between workers' delegates and bosses under the supervision
of jandarme general ended when the bosses proposed a 7.5% wage increase.
The workers threatened to march towards the governorship 19 April if their
demands were not met. Apparently after getting a 28% increase workers went
back to work on April 21.

[olympiaworkers] Update: back to work Teamsters Sanitation Workers

OWLS is an open, multiracial, multicultural group of labor activists
formed to forge solidarity across union lines, and to promote the
unionization of all workers, especially the lowest paid.

For more information:

Date: Fri, April 23, 2010

APRIL 23, 2010

Dear friend,

You have probably already read or heard on the news that Teamsters 174
members who work at Waste Management are back on their jobs after a short
strike action. This means OWLS will not be picketing with Teamsters this
Saturday as it won't be necessary! But do stay tuned and we will continue
to post updates.

Apparently, WMI has promised to come back to the table to negotiate after
failing to ram through a "last and final" contract offer. Clearly, the
community/labor support and power of the sanitation workers to withhold
their labor has made WMI blink. We will all be watching as the next round
of negotiations begins. Until a fair contract is signed and ratified by
the sanitation workers we will remain vigilant and ready to support them
in their efforts to win fair wages and benefits, and safe conditions.

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity will STILL HOLD OUR MONTHLY
Seattle). Join us for discussion on the Teamsters and efforts by grad
students to win a fair contract, as well as why privatization of public
services is a ripoff of public wealth.

Also, while Teamsters may be back at work, there are still ways to support
them -- and prepare your neighbors and co-workers should they ultimately
have to go on strike again or face a lockout.

In struggle,
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity


Support Teamsters Local 174 in their battle with Waste Management to get a
fair contract! The following are things you can do to support area
sanitation workers:

1. Join the Neighborhood Trash Watch program by visiting

2. All concerned citizens should call 1-800-976-0071 (set up by the
Teamsters). Upon calling the number, you will get patched through to your
local elected officials where you can deliver the message: "We need to get
the issue with Waste Management and the Teamsters resolved quickly."
Demand that Waste Management bargain in good faith, return to the table,
and offer a fair contract to its workers.

3. Report missed garbage pickups to 1-800-976-0071. It is important to
report missed pickups; Waste Management will get fined for these service
failures. This reporting of missed pickups will increase pressure on Waste
Management to return to the table.

4. Put up a yard sign up expressing support and advertising the 800 number
to your neighbors. Talk to others about the strike and ask them to report
missed pickups and sign up as a supporter on the website. To request a
yard sign, call 206-441-6060.

Community pressure is the best weapon to help these workers get a fair
contract. Do your part to help resolve the strike today by signing up
online and calling 1-800-976-0071.

Please distribute this email to your networks. Thank you for your support!

Paul Zilly, Communications Coordinator

Teamsters Local Union No. 117

14675 Interurban Avenue South, Suite 307

Tukwila, WA 98168

Office: (206) 441-4860 Ext. 1269

Toll Free: (888) 872-3489 Ext. 1269

Fax: (206) 441-3153

For Teamsters 117 news, visit our website at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Support striking sanitation workers

OWLS is an open, multiracial, multicultural group of labor activists
formed to forge solidarity across union lines, and to promote the
unionization of all workers, especially the lowest paid.

For more information:

Date: Thu, April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010

Dear Friend,

Teamsters 174 members are striking Waste Management, affecting about
one million customers in the region. No one wanted to strike, just as
no one wants to have their garbage sitting on the curb for weeks on
end. This crisis is a crisis of the private sector system. Workers are
expected to produce more and more for less and less in order to drive
profits up. Waste Management pulls in $1 billion in PROFIT (that's
after payroll, after taxes, after expenses) and expects their drivers,
the people who generate all that profit, to sacrifice the health care
of current drivers and retirees so they can make more profit. That is

Thank goodness the Teamsters have the courage to stand up to this
assault and defend what they've earned on the job, what they've fought
for at the bargaining table, and what other drivers are getting for the
same work. Waste Management isn't just attacking their workers-- they
are attacking all of us. They are attacking everyone with employer paid
health care (63% of Americans), everyone who faces hazards on the job,
everyone who has to work for a living. The Teamsters need our support.
We aren't protecting their benefits-- we are protecting our own, and
fighting for a future where all people have a living wage and health
care not only while working, but after retiring.

Please join OWLS on the picket line on Saturday, April 24, at noon, at
8605 1st Avenue South. We stand with the Teamsters, with working
people, and against corporate greed. We will also be sending along
other ways you can help and support the Teamsters.

And please plan to attend our April meeting. On Tuesday, April 27, at
7pm, we'll gather to discuss what's happening with the Teamsters'
strike, and how we can all support it. We'll also get a report from
OWLS members about the dangers of privatization. As the Teamsters'
fight with Waste Management illustrates very clearly, when companies
weigh the health of their workers again the bottom line, the workers
always lose unless they fight back. We meet at the Seattle Labor Temple
at 2800 First Ave in hall 6. We hope to see you!

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity

Friday, April 16, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Solidarity Action with Sanitation Workers

OWLS is an open, multiracial, multicultural group of labor activists
formed to forge solidarity across union lines, and to promote the
unionization of all workers, especially the lowest paid.

For more information:

Date: Thu, April 15, 2010

Dear friends,

We know you support the efforts of sanitation workers in King County to
gain a fair contract with Waste Management. Below is an event to show your
support and help out if you can. If you can't make it (or even if you
can!) please also help spread the word.

You can also learn updates and actions at,
or OWLS will also continue to send updates and post them
on our website. If you want to get a call in the event picket lines are
needed, just send us an email at or call Linda at 819-2279
or Mike at 354-8753. Also let us know if you can help make calls!
In solidarity

Yard Sign Solidarity Action Day

Last Sunday, we made thousands of yard signs that say, "Tell Waste
Management to Stop Trashing our Community." Now we need your help to put
yard signs up in the front yards of thousands of residents of King County
and southern Snohomish County. Volunteer to put up yard signs this Sunday.

What: Deliver Waste Management Yard Signs to Residents
Where: Teamster Union Hall
14675 Interurban Avenue South
Tukwila, WA 98168
Date: Sunday, April 18, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m.

[olympiaworkers] Where Shopping is Oppression: The Coalition of Immokalee Workers take on Publix

Written by Dawn Nadiye
Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a grassroots, Florida-based
farmworker group, largely comprised of Mexican, Guatemalan and Haitian
immigrants. In recent years, by way of high-profile consumer campaigns,
the CIW has compelled the world's four largest fast food companies, among
others, to concede to demands for better pay and unprecedented labor
rights. This time, beloved Sunshine State darling Publix Supermarkets is
in the tomato pickers' sights.

Why? Here are 5 secrets Publix does not want you to know:


Despite its sterling rep as your charming neighborhood grocer, Publix is
massive, ruthless and powerful. Forbes Magazine, capitalism's trusted
scorekeeper, weighs Publix in as the 9th largest private corporation in
the United States. Publix exudes family-friendliness exquisitely. But
when presented with the opportunity to more fairly compensate desperately
impovershed farmworker families at minimal cost to its profit line, they
reacted like any other modern for-profit pulling in $24 billion a year


The CIW is demanding that Publix join Whole Foods, Burger King,
McDonald's, Taco Bell and other major retailers in paying a penny more per
pound for its tomatoes to directly increase farmworker wages.

Tomato picker wages in Florida have remained stagnant since 1978 -- more
than 3 decades of an essentially unchanged pay rate: 40 to 50 cents per
32-lb bucket of tomatoes. To make just the equivalent of minimum wage in
a typical 10-hour day, a worker must harvest 2.5 tons of tomatoes, one by

Say Publix is selling a pound of tomatoes for $2.49; not even 2 cents for
that full pound goes to the laborer who actually harvested and hauled it.
The extra penny for workers won't break Publix's bank: indeed, the roots
of opposition aren't economic but ideological. Publix fears organized
labor, it shrinks from the prospect of future accountability for the cheap
cost of the products they sell.


When facing heat from the CIW about the need to sign an accord for better
wages and working conditions for tomato pickers, Burger King hired a spy
to infiltrate teleconferences of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a key
ally group to the CIW. Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser outed the
espionage on the pages of the New York Times, and BK was forced to
immediately fire a complicit vice president and give in to all of the
CIW's demands. A lesson to others, perhaps?

Apparently not everyone. An unknown man with camera in tow attended the
CIW's first Publix picket -- Oct. 17th in Naples, FL -- and told several
present that he was "an old hippie" making a documentary about social
movements. Asked multiple times by multiple people (including a Lutheran
minister), he insisted he did not work for Publix.

In Naples, and other SW Florida towns playing host to CIW pickets that
weekend, he closely filmed protesting farmworkers without saying a word to
them. He did, however, periodically chat with Publix management posted in
front of the grocery entrances. These well-dressed men -- a PR team
dispatched from corporate headquarters to nearly all Publix pickets to
date -- communicated directly to picketers that no one could film on
Publix's premises. The "old hippie" nonetheless always did, unperturbed by
the suits.

Sketchy? You bet, thought Andrea Ortiz, a New College student. Andrea
asked the cameraman for his and his film company's name, as well as his
phone number. "Tom" he answered, scrawling out his digits and "Southeast

A senior reporter for the Ft. Myers News-Press investigated further: no
film company is registered under that name. The number belongs to Thomas
McGuigan of Tampa -- none other than an employee of Publix's video
division. The reporter called McGuigan who affirmed that he filmed the
protests. From the News-Press article:

Asked why he didn't tell the coalition he works for Publix and if he was
filming at the company's behest, the call was disconnected. Repeated calls
weren't returned.

After months of absence following the front-page expose, Tom the hippie
returned to a picket in St. Pete – this time sporting an "I (heart)
Publix" button on his chest.


The CIW has helped to successfully prosecute 6 separate slavery cases in
Florida agriculture in the last dozen years. The most recent case
involved tomato pickers in Immokalee who were locked in a cargo truck by
night and taken to work in tomato fields by day. For punishment,
crewleaders slit the belly of one worker with a knife and chained others
to a pole. In Dec 2008, the crewleaders pled guilty on slavery charges in
federal court.

The fields where the enslaved workers harvested tomatoes belong to two
large tomato growers: Six L's and Pacific. Both are major suppliers to

Publix competitor Whole Foods also bought tomatoes from Six L's and
Pacific. Upon learning of the slavery conviction, Whole Foods was
obligated to honor the code of conduct jointly drafted with CIW which
outlines zero-tolerance for slavery-tainted growers in its tomato supply
chain. Accordingly, Whole Foods cut their purchases.

Publix, however, refuses -- apparently seeing no cause for concern with
buying from growers corrupted by proven slave labor in their fields.



The CIW has announced a major march -- three days, 22-miles -- between
Tampa and Lakeland, home of Publix Headquarters, under the banner: Freedom
from Forced Labor, Freedom from Abuse, Freedom from Poverty and

(For a sense of some of the political climate near where Publix decision
makers live, consider Lakeland's neighbor 30 miles southeast, Lake Wales.
In 2008, John Paul Rogers -- longtime grand dragon of the United Klans of
Florida, a KKK faction -- was elected to its city council.)


To show precisely the nature of growers' operations where Publix
unblinkingly buys its tomatoes, the CIW has developed a museum focused on
the evolving history of slavery in Florida agriculture: its roots, the
reason it persists and its solutions. The museum aims to relay the
following: Slavery does not occur in a vacuum; it flourishes in industries
where workers are dramatically poor and powerless, and farmworkers have
always been among the poorest, least powerful laborers in Florida.

The museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the one in
which tomato pickers in Immokalee were enslaved during the most recent
case. The truck's design is based on the expertise of the men actually
locked inside it, whom are now CIW members and active participants in
Publix actions. Educational displays supplement the recreation of the
crime scene that served as the men's quarters, the combined scholarship of
leading academics in the study of slavery and Florida's farm labor

For the six weeks preceding the Farmworker Freedom March, the CIW will
have toured the museum across the state.

The museum will accompany the Farmworker Freedom March until its arrival
at Munn Park in downtown Lakeland. There Publix executives, along with
their family, friends and neighbors, will have the chance to see firsthand
the living conditions of those forced to work in their tomato suppliers'

Monday, April 12, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Six killed in Peru miners strike clashes Apr 12 2010

Six people were killed on April 5 when police attacked a roadblock set up
by miners on a wildcat strike.

Officials claimed that the workers were protesting at the government's
push to impose environmental controls on them, although one observer
commented that it was more likely that the government was motivated by
financial interests than saving the planet.

Reuters reported that violence broke out on Sunday in the southern
province of Arequipa, injuring 20 protesters and nine police near Chala,
600km (372 miles) south of the capital, Lima.

Two of the dead were bystanders, including a taxi driver struck by a stray
bullet and a woman who suffered a heart attack.

Peru miners lift roadblock for talks after clashes

April 7, 2010

LIMA, Peru (AP)– Independent miners agreed Wednesday to end road blockades
that led to clashes with police and the deaths of six miners, responding
to a government promise to form a joint commission to study the dispute,
an official said.

Emerging from three hours of talks between miner leaders and officials,
Cabinet Chief Javier Velasquez said the new panel will include miners in
its effort to develop a national plan for regularizing wildcat mining.

The clashes began after the government moved to impose rules on
unregulated gold mining that it says is ruining the environment in Peru's
Amazon jungle.

Miners began the highway blockade Sunday, stranding more than 1,000
vehicles in southeastern Peru. Attempts by police to force the protesters
off the road sparked clashes in which six miners were shot to death.

Velasquez said the formation of the comission will ensure that miners will
be heard.

"This strengthens democracy. There are no winners or losers," he said.

[olympiaworkers] For Worker Safety

For Worker Safety
The undeniable reality under the capitalist system is that the lives of
workers only have value based upon the wealth they can produce for the
employers. In general society if a person causes the death of someone by
means of willful negligence they are charged with murder. But in industry if
an employer causes the death of workers by means of willful negligence, even
after they have been fined by inspectors for safety violations, the most
they are faced with is another fine. In most cases the fines are so low that
they are looked upon as just another business expense. Though the government
has laws that cover safety, often these laws are violated if they in any way
interfere with profit. There is no doubt about it, as the IWW puts it: "The
working class and the employing class have nothing in common."

Many times I have had to work in tanks knowing full well that the company
was violating state and federal law as to confine spaces. By law there must
be a holewatch when working in tanks. Few times over my many years in
shipyards have I seen that law followed. Heck they don't even put up a
notice that there are workers in a tank. Some tanks are deep and others are
very long and the worry is always that someone will put the tank lid on
while you are in there and you get trapped. I know at one shipyard they
killed two workers by closing the lid and filling the tank full of water. It
did happen to me once while working in an aft tank and the tank was being
closed for the painters. I just happened to be very near the hole and I
guess you could hear my response a mile away. I hit that damn lid with my
two pound hammer with everything I had.

Since I have no faith in either the employers or the laws, I try to take
direct steps to protect myself. In the case of working very far into tanks I
will take a padlock and lock it into one of the holes on the lid so that the
lid cannot be placed upon the hole.

Throughout our lives in this society, we are told about such things as
liberty, freedom and justice. We are taught that we are responsible for our
actions. If we harm or kill others do to direct intent or clear negligence
we will be held accountable for our actions. Fact is this only applies to
the common people of this land. It does not apply to the owners of industry.
If it did then Don Blankenship, CEO of the Massey Energy Company, owner of
the Upper Big Branch Mine where 29 miners were killed, aong with his
managers, would be sitting in a jail cell, without bail, charged with 29
counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The reality of this society, as it now exists, is that we have been lied to.
As every worker knows the social responsibilities that we must live with are
not the same responsibilities that the employing class have when it comes to
their relationship with their employees. If any worker caused the death
directly or by clear negligence of some boss, we would be arrested. But the
employers can commit mass murder of workers by clear negligence and all that
our political system does is cry crocodile tears of sympathy for the dead
and their families.

The evidence against the murderer Don Blankenship is overwheming. In the two
months before the murder of the miners the mine was evacuated three times
because of dangerously high methane levels.

The mine had been sited many times for ventilation problems and it received
two citations on the day of the murders. Last year the mine was issued over
500 citations. The company was even fined $382,000 in the last year. But
clearly $382,000 is but pocket change to Massey Energy Company which has 2.2
billion tons of coal reserves in three Appalachia states and ranks among the
U.S.'s five top coal producers and is one of the most profitable coal
companies. Since 1995 this mine has had more than 3,000 violations. And what
was murderer Don Blankenship's response to all these violation? He stated,
"Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process." Rather
than being arrested for murder, when murderer Dan Blankenship showed up at
the mine he was "escorted by at least a dozen state and other police
officers" who were there to protect him.

The government states that over 104,000 miners have died in coal mines. One
inspector stated that, "many, if not a majority of those "accidents" should
not be considered mishaps, but acts of negligent homicide."

Just days before the murder of 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine out
here in Washington State 5 workers were killed and two are still in critical
condition from a fiery explosion at the Tesoro oil refinery in Anacortes. In
2008 a several month investigation turned up 17 serious safety violations
(defined as those that can cause death or serious injury) in which 150
instances of deficiencies that included the company did not "ensure safe
work practices." Last year the Tensoro Anacortes refinery was fined $87,500
but later the fine was reduced to $12,250. Less than one hour of profit made
by a finery that refines up to 130,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

This seems to be the point where the question should be asked, if this has
been going on for so long why is it that our laws do not prevent such
murder? First because there is little real enforcement and when fines are
assessed they are so low that they are looked upon as just another cost in
the accumulation of profit.

I once worked for Bunker Hill Mining Company as a zincstripper and in 1973 a
fire badly damaged the baghouse, where smelter emissions were filtered
through cloth bags before being released into the air. Rather than close
down the smelter and repair the damage, the employers ran the smelter
bypassing the baghouse and the built-up lead rained downed upon the
surrounding towns. The families, and most tragically the children, were
poisoned with lead.

The family of miner Bill Yoss, who had worked underground for 25 years at
Bunker Hill, was tested by doctors from the Center for Disease Control. His
daughter, Arlene, was found to have more than four times the threshold then
considered dangerous. The lead had settled in her bones and her legs grew
twisted. Only hot soaking baths would ease her continuous pain. Her mother
was told, after the tests on Arlene and her two other children, that she had
"three walking dead babies." In 1975 Bill Yoss went to see an attorney in
Spokane to see what could be done. While he was away he was fired. The Yoss
family filed suit against Bunker Hill. The information gathered for the suit
told a story of corporate crime almost beyond comparison. Bunker Hill
settled with the Yoss family and the families of 35 other children in 1981.
All records and information gathered was sealed by the court, and it was not
until 1990 that the records and the story that the suit revealed of the
poisoning of the people of the Silver Valley became known.

Within the unsealed documents was found a two-page memo in which the vice
president of Gulf Resources and Chemical Corp. (the company that owned
Bunker Hill at that time) calculated an estimation on how much Gulf would
have to pay if it continued to expose children to lead emissions rather than
shut down the smelter and repair the baghouse. His estimate came to $6 to $7
million for poisoning 500 children. He also examined the possibility of
discrediting the doctors who warned of the dangers of lead poisoning. At the
time, prices for lead ore were high, so Gulf decided that the profits were
far greater than the "costs" of poisoning children and over than 56% of the
workers at Bunker Hill. That year Gulf raked in $25.9 million from lead ore.

The reality is that so-called health and safety laws are only a smokescreen
to cover-up the killing. injuring and sickening of workers by the employers.
I have worked in the hard rock mining industry, in shipyards (14 shipyards
all together) for many years, as a port and long haul trucker, and as an
environmental technician and have been a wage worker for over 40 years. I
have yet to see a workplace where the employers gave a damn about safety or
even about following health and safety laws.

In the shipyards the employers seem to always know in advance when
inspectors are going to show up. I remember once when all production work
was shutdown for a day so that the shipyard could be cleaned up the day
before an inspection. I have been told many times not to speak to the
inspectors unless they speak to me first, and then only answer their direct

Often the laws that we think protect us they find ways to get around them.
Once I had to remove some valves out of a barge that hauled caustic soda,
real nasty stuff. The foreman told me to just use rubber gloves and that it
was not a real problem. I noticed when I got down into the tank, where the
valves were, that there was a decontamination station and warning signs. I
looked at the piping system and saw that all the valves were closed and that
two pumps had been removed. That told me that the system had been closed
down, since all the valves would not normally be closed and that it was
possible that caustic soda was still in the pipes and since the valves to
the tanks were closed the piping system could still be under pressure. I
also heard stories about serious burns to workers in the past at this
shipyard due to caustic soda. I then found the man responsible for safety
and asked him if I could see the MSDS for caustic soda. By federal law every
worker has a right to read the MSDS on any hazardous substance they work
with or are around. The safety man started to look for the MSDS when my
foreman came up yelling about why I was not taking the valves out and I told
him what I saw and that I was going to read the MSDS. A supervisor came up
and I guess he realized that the foreman was directly violating federal law
and he shut the job down. After that happened there was a lay-off of
pipefitters that included me. When I went back to work at that shipyard,
after that job was done, I found out that the workers were never told about
the hazards and that there was still caustic soda in the lines.

Even when you have the union rep. there with a safety inspector that can
sometimes be nothing more than creating an illusion of safety. I once was
working on boilers in a fireroom on a ship. The stream pipes and the boilers
were wrapped in asbestos lagging. Every morning the inspector would test the
air for asbestos. We were working a 12 hour shift with no night crew because
of the nature of the job. That meant that the inspectors were testing the
air after 12 hours of no work and the blowers off. On some days the union BA
would be there watching the inspector and I asked him why? He said to make
sure that the inspection was being done. I then asked him why was the air
not tested again a few hours after working had begun and the blowers were
on? He looked pissed off at me and sneered, "just be happy that you have
this work".

Many workers are killed, injured or sicken every year because of the
employer's greed. This is the nature of capitalism, this cannot be reformed
without changing the fundamental purpose of capitalism, which is to produce
great wealth for the few at the expense of the many. Almost from the very
beginning of capitalism there have been those that sought to reform
capitalism through governmental action. But still the worker's dead pile up.

Maybe if the employers were held to the same standard as the rest of society
is and they are thrown in jail under murder charges when they cause the
death of workers due to clear willful negligence, things would be different.
But that will never happen because we workers are only a means to profit for
the few in this society.

The only answer to this grave situation is for us working people to realize
that we, as workers, are the only ones who are going to look after our real
interests. We must go beyond the traditional union movement and create a
worker's survival movement, for it is our right to live that we need to be
fighting for. We must organize and stand together all the way to a Social
General Strike for Safety. If not that then what? When will we decide that
enough workers have died and that the political/economic system will not and
can not do anything about it and only by our actions, as working people,
will there ever be safe work for all.
Arthur J. Miller

Friday, April 09, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Carlsberg workers walk off job to retain right to drink beer at work Apr 9 2010

On April 8 2010, 800 Carlsberg factory workers walked off the job after
new management policies tighten restrictions on beer drinking at work.
Carlsberg's truck drivers have followed in sympathy.

Scores of Carlsberg workers walked off their jobs in protest Thursday
after the Danish brewer tightened laid-back rules on workplace drinking
and removed beer coolers from work sites, a company spokesman said.

The warehouse and production workers in Denmark are rebelling against the
company's new alcohol policy, which allows them to drink beer only during
lunch hours in the canteen. Previously, they could help themselves to beer
throughout the day, from coolers placed around the work sites.

The only restriction was "that you could not be drunk at work. It was up
to each and everyone to be responsible," company spokesman Jens Bekke

Carlsberg had considered a stricter drinking policy for years and finally
decided to impose the new rules on April 1, prompting protests from the

Bekke said around 800 workers went on strike Wednesday and around 250
walked off their jobs Thursday, resulting in interruptions to beer
transports in and around Copenhagen.

Carlsberg's truck drivers joined the strike in sympathy — even though they
are exempt from the new rules, Bekke said. The truck drivers are permitted
to bring three beers from the canteen because they often don't have time
to have lunch there.

The trucks have alcohol ignition locks preventing the drivers from driving
drunk, he added

[olympiaworkers] Olympia Anti-Police Brutality March Arrested

Around 10 pm on Thursday, about fifteen participants of an anti-police
brutality march were arrested by Olympia police at Adams St. and State Ave
in downtown Olympia. An eye witness said the arrests were for jay-walking
or marching in the street. About 30 people are there watching the police
surround and arrest the estimated fifteen people. Police vehicles are
diverting car traffic off of State Ave. It is not clear if jail support is

This protest was in solidarity with similar protests this weekend against
police brutality in towns and cities on the west coast.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Oakland Teacher Strike! April 22


Oakland Teacher Strike!

START DATE: Thursday April 22
TIME: 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Location Details:

Join the pickets at your Oakland neighborhood public school from
6.00-11.00am. March to the nearest BART at 11.00 and rally at Frank Ogawa
Plaza in downtown Oakland at 12.00 noon.

Email Address oaklandcoalition [at]

Rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza at 12.00 noon!!

We are tired of the mismanagement of the Oakland Unified School District.
A few years back, we were put under state control due to bankruptcy, and
the state ran the district even further into debt. Now the district is
back into 'local control,' but our students continue to suffer from lack
of resources. We are told the funding problem lies at the state and
federal level, but we know that is not the truth.

The budget is a disaster. Our teachers and support staff are being laid
off and our Adult Education programs are severely threatened by next
year's budget cuts. The district favors paying for top-heavy
administration and private contracts over classroom size reduction and
equitable academic programs for our students. Our school facilities are
crumbling. The district is violating the California Education Code by
allocating on 45% of the budget to compensation for classroom teachers and
aids, rather than the 55% required by law.

Join us as the union shows its strength to demand improved learning
conditions for our students! We will not take 'the recession' as an
excuse! The money is there for all of our demands; we've seen the budget!
It's a matter of making our students the priority!