Saturday, February 18, 2006

News from Douchebags

Center for Union Facts Rains on Raynor
UNITE HERE President's Words Come Back to Haunt Him in Full-Page Ad in LA Times
United business Media

Today, The Center for Union Facts continued its multimillion-dollar education campaign to expose union leaders for their countless abuses against their own members and criminal disregard for the law by placing hard-hitting, full-page advertisements in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times and the Washington Post Express.

The ad depicts North Korean president Kim Jong Il, Cuban president Fidel Castro, and UNITE HERE president Bruce Raynor beneath the headline "There's no reason to subject the workers to an election." The ad goes on to ask the question, "Who said it?"

The answer is Bruce Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE, the union representing nearly half a million workers in the hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile, retail, distribution and laundry industries in North America. He made that statement to the New York Times in May of 2003 and has subsequently led the effort to do away with traditional secret ballot elections -- which offer every employee a personal, confidential vote on whether they want to pay for union representation.

The Bureau of National Affairs recently reported that Raynor said his union organized 90% of its new members in 2005 through "alternative means" that bypass elections. The "alternative means" employed by union "leaders" largely refers to "card check" campaigns which deny the opportunity for a fair and secret vote and often involve harassment and intimidation of employees, as well as attacks on businesses.

The LA Times advertisement coincides with Raynor's nationwide UNITE HERE "Hotel Workers Rising" rally tour, which will stop in Los Angeles on Thursday. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, actor Danny Glover, mayors and other elected officials will participate in the rally.

"In a democracy, all leaders should be accountable," said Richard Berman, founder of the Center. "How can union leaders be held accountable if they won't even hold elections? It is imperative that union members be made aware that their purported 'leaders' actively preclude employees' voices from being heard."

On Monday, full-page ads appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal with a picture of a padlocked gate and text reading, "The New Union Label: 'CLOSED.' Brought to you by the union 'leaders' who helped bankrupt steel, auto, and airline companies."

To learn more visit:

The Center for Union Facts is a non-profit organization supported by foundations, businesses, union members, and the general public. We are dedicated to showing Americans the truth about today's union leadership.

First Call Analyst: FCMN Contact:

Good idea. Bet the Anarchists muck it up anyway...

La Rivolta! Anarcha-Feminist Festival, March 4th in Boston

A Radical Celebration of International Women's Day - A day of anarcha-feminist workshops, music, culture and networking...

La Rivolta! Manifesto

La Rivolta! is a celebration of the radical women of history and the battles they waged as well as a forum for solidarity among radical feminists today to continue the fight for the liberation of all oppressed people. The patriarchal capitalist system that designates women to a lesser status than men also underestimates women's capacity to challenge the existing order and improve our circumstances. We must tap into our individual and collective strengths and build support for political and cultural efforts aimed at social change.

La Rivolta! is a chance for us to meet, exchange information and ideas and to learn about each other's struggles and practical efforts to overcome them. Drawing from the incredible people committed to radical feminism in our community in Boston as well as in other cities and countries, La Rivolta! will unite individuals and groups across fields of activity from anarcho-punk rock to anti-violence against women, from anti-prison work to women's health care towards the greater empowerment of all women.


Ok. This is Kind of Boring, But Who Can Pass Up Spacechicken Articles?

A Valentine from New Orleans
By Starhawk

Saturday Night, we went down to the French Quarter and saw the first walking parade of the Mardi Gras season. The parades are sponsored and carried out by groups called Krewes, and Krewe de Vieux is known for its irreverence and satire. The theme this year was Katrina, and the satire was lively. Most memorable float—probably the last one, Mandatory Ejaculation, with a giant vagina on the cart and lots of people carrying sperm on sticks, white balls with long wiggly tales, behind.

I went down with Sue and Juniper, and Scotty who promised to desert us in favor of some of his younger friends. It was great to see the streets filled with people, to be crushed in the crowd and to hear the drums and follow the parade. The French Quarter is a perfect setting, with its narrow streets and high balconies that turn the whole city into a stage. If I ever get to design a city, I will be thinking about how to make it work for parades and processions, demonstrations and insurrections, with maybe a few hidden bowers for lovers here and there. At last I got to hear jazz, with band after band parading through the streets, trumpets and trombones and drummers with those lively, syncopated rhythms that make your feet dance. You can’t help but feel happy when that music is playing. After huge traumas and great sorrows, music knits the world together again, and that’s what the jazz musicians and the singers of blues know how to do.

After the parade, eight of us went out to dinner. Somehow, once we squeezed past the crowded, smoky bar, the restaurant was quiet, the food was delicious—gumbo and shrimp creole and good wine. Melissa, who was born and raised here, was in her element—at last our whole workaholic cluster had relaxed enough to go out to dinner and experience a bit of the culture she loves.

Monday we saw another face of New Orleans. It was the day that FEMA hotel vouchers ran out, and people were being evicted. Common Ground set up a demonstration at City Hall, prepared to put up a tent city if local residents requested it. I stayed there much of the morning, while we waited to here if an injunction would be issued to stave off the evictions. The injunction was denied. I heard some of the sad tales of FEMA incompetence and bureaucratic nightmares: the woman who had a job in New Orleans but no housing, who was offered a shelter in Shreveport by FEMA but then would lose her job, and who wanted to stay together with her family. The woman whose sign for the demonstration was a board from her house, who had a voucher from FEMA for a hotel room up until March 1, but couldn’t find an hotel in town that would accept the voucher. Later, Sue came home from a long day with the sad tale of the man who was evicted from his hotel. FEMA wouldn’t pay for a room but, in the only incidence of efficiency I’ve ever heard attributed to them. Immediately issued him a plane ticket to Illinois where he had family. It might seem that they were eager to get people out of town, were it not for their unwillingness to issue him a cab voucher or give him any help to get to the airport. Sue drove him, helping him sort out all of his worldly possessions, which were in clear, plastic bags, and fit what he could into a suitcase.

Today, Valentine’s Day, I spent taking samples of soil from some of the most toxic sites in New Orleans—a romantic occupation if ever there was one! The EPA tested most of the neighborhoods here, but is refusing to go back and retest, a pretty standard procedure, saying that access is too difficult. Juniper and Jen combed through the EPA data to actually identify twenty or so of the most toxic sites, and trained a group of us to take the samples. The sites are street corners, peoples’ back yards, schoolyards. We wear protective boots and carefully keep the soil we scoop up from getting contaminated and record all the necessary data. I am the photographer and recorder on our team. Mark, the driver and chief sampler, is an experienced biologist who has done this before, so it goes quickly. The samples will be sent back to Washington DC, where the National Resource Defense Council will at some point hold a press conference and present the samples to the EPA.

I am overwhelmed at the scope of the destruction I’ve seen. We go into areas I haven’t visited, and I hadn’t realized what vast sections of the city are still deserted, still in ruins, still fully of collapsed homes and sediment covered yards. Miles and miles of desolation stretch out from the city’s core. Block after block of public housing, still standing but boarded up and shuttered. Someone went to a lot of trouble to board each door and window—I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t spend the same energy to fix the places up and bring people home. Street after street is still empty. Here and there a FEMA trailer sits in a yard, but most are deserted, at least during the week while their owners are elsewhere trying to hold down a job, coming into the city on weekends to work on gutting the house. Vast stretches of strip mall leading out of town are in ruins. And the lower Ninth Ward is a shambles of wrecked homes and cars. Little has changed since we drove through in October, except that now a huge mound of garbage sits on the streets in front of every house still standing: the whole contents of a family’s life mixed with the broken sticks of their structure. Stir with mold and let sit for weeks: a recipe for despair.


Anarchism Unleashed!

Shoelacetown ABC vegan pancake fundraiser, Ridgewood, NJ

Shoelacetown ABC is an affiliate of the Anarchist Black Cross Network and was formed to support members of our community facing state repression and
continue to support them throughout the legal process.

Vegan Pancake Breakfast.
Saturday, February 25th
noon to four.
Unitarian Society of Ridgewood.
$3-10 sliding scale.

Shoelacetown ABC invites you to a vegan pancake breakfast on Saturday,
February 25th from noon to four pm. The breakfast will take place at the
Unitarian Society of Ridgewood located at 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, NJ
07650. A sliding scale donation of $3-10 is asked, however, no one will
be turned away due to lack of funds.

Shoelacetown ABC is an affiliate of the Anarchist Black Cross Network and
was formed to support members of our community facing state repression and
continue to support them throughout the legal process.

Driving Directions:
The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood is five blocks from the Ridgewood train
station on the Main and Bergen County Line and four blocks from the
Ridgewood Bus Terminal.

Shoelacetown ABC - - po box 8085, paramus, nj
07652 -

Labor Movement Gives Anti-Union Forces The Ammo... Again

The AFL-CIO sweatshop
By Rick Berman
The Washington Times

They work outside in the middle of February at poverty-level wages. They don't have health benefits or regular hours. Their pay is docked for taking bathroom breaks. And they have no one to speak up for their needs.

Ask a labor leader if these workers are in desperate need of a union. Then see if he'd like to revise his thought when he learns they're employees of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

With a ringing endorsement from AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney, the Carpenters have taken to hiring the homeless to picket construction sites. Needless to say, there's no health care or pension plan contributions for these folks.

In Las Vegas, the temp workers hired by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to protest outside Wal-Mart were paid a grand total of $6 an hour. The union was generous enough to cover bathroom breaks, but in the middle of a scorching desert summer with picketers dropping out from the heat, perhaps these part-time employees would have preferred health care.

The union's attack on Wal-Mart includes the usual gripes about the so-called wage gap between corporate executives and hourly workers. But in 2004, United Food and Commercial Workers paid its former president more than $700,000. Apparently, unions are willing to pay top dollar--with dues from grocery store cashiers--to construct their glass houses.

Speaking of glass houses, the AFL-CIO recently took out a $25 million loan to spruce up its lavish headquarters across from the White House. Regrettably, a quarter of the labor federation's staff won't be around to enjoy it. In May, the AFL-CIO announced that it was "defunding" their positions.

Remember that the next time unions run up a company's labor costs and then complain about the decision to lay off workers.


The New Allinace of Solidarities

Statement of Change to Win Chair Anna Burger on Launch of National Hotel Workers Campaign
CTW Federation

"Today, thousands of hotel workers across the country are joining together to improve their working conditions, their lives and their communities.

"The hardworking women and men who clean and maintain our hotel rooms, serve our meals, and welcome us when we visit their cities, are uniting in an effort to win the things that most business travelers and tourists take for granted -- wages that allow them to support their families, safe working conditions, access to healthcare and a chance for a secure retirement.

"While hotel rates have risen and travelers' expectations of luxury and service have increased, most of the men and women who make these hotels work are struggling just to make ends meet for themselves and their families. In many cities, and at many of the world's biggest hotel chains, workers are being asked to work harder, faster and without the protections, benefits and wages earned by similar workers in other cities.

"Through this campaign, the first joint effort of the Change to Win labor federation, the almost six million members of our affiliated unions are sending a message to the hotel industry and the major U.S. hotel chains that these disparities must end.

"We are committed to supporting the aspirations of hotel workers and all others striving to build an America that works for everyone."


Thursday, February 16, 2006

P-CRAC 2 Day Hiatus

Dear Comrade-Enemies,

P-CRAC will not be publishing until Saturday due to Nurse Organizing Conference.

Our apologies,


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

College Journalists are Funny

Radicalism at Home
By Chris Kulawik
Columbia Spectator

Her name is Lauren Weiner, she’s 20 years old, she went to my high school, and she’s a terrorist.

The FBI recently arrested Lauren for her involvement in the planning and preparation of a series of domestic attacks under the auspices of the Earth Liberation Front, a recognized terrorist organization. They sought the destruction of cell phone towers and U.S. Forest Service labs, among others. Lauren’s FBI report highlights her preference for “direct-action”, as well as her support for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. An eco-anarchist, Lauren “expressed her desire to create a state of martial law and undermine corporations.” Mind-boggling hypocrisy aside, bomb-making materials were purchased at Wal-Mart and Kmart.

Admittedly, had this been any other person, I would have never given the article another look. While no rational individual could even attempt to defend these actions, we instinctively rush to minimize such radicalism; we call it a “negligible minority,” the work of a few “twisted minds,” but never do we find fault within ourselves. This was different—I knew her, not well by any means, but a senior class of 200 can do that. More importantly, I knew the school, I knew her teachers, I knew the ideas instilled and reinforced, and I knew her friends and mentors. Only two years out of high school, probably her sole formative intellectual experience, memories of the recent past could not be far off. ,I found myself revaluating my own high school experience. How did those four years shape who it is that I would become? How did I become an exception?

The answer frightened me; two years of a Columbia education had provided much-needed hindsight and clarity. The rampant progressivism and muddled indoctrination bestowed by ivory tower elites with the “education” moniker is not limited to those hallowed institutions of higher learning. While I may only speak from a personal, East-Coast experience, the trend toward liberal and progressive thought in all such vestiges of academia has long been accounted for and documented. In a county that calls itself home to noted Republicans Sue Kelly, Jeanine Pirro, and George Pataki, the Fox Lane High School faculty boasted only a handful of openly conservative or Republican teachers. Often ostracized by their peers for their beliefs, they were indeed a rare breed. Unfortunately, it would take some 12 years of schooling before I met them.


Ich Bien Ein P-CRACer

Critical documentary on Wal-Mart stirs Berlin fest
By Erik Kirschbaum

A documentary on the perils of runaway capitalism that spotlights Wal-Mart screened at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, and interest among European distributors and television networks has been strong.

The feature-length documentary focuses on working conditions at the U.S. retail giant and argues that the company treats its employees shabbily in pursuit of maximum profit.

"Wal-Mart is the poster child for the worst in corporate behavior," U.S. director Robert Greenwald said in an interview after his film, "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," screened to a large and appreciative audience.

"But it is not only Wal-Mart, it is these issues that affect all of us all around the world."

Wal-Mart, based in Betonville, Arkansas, has criticized the film by saying it is not an accurate portrayal of the company.

"Let's be clear about Mr. Greenwald's intent: it is not to present a fair and accurate portrayal of Wal-Mart," the retailer said in a statement last year. "It is a propaganda video -- pure and simple -- designed to advance a narrow, special-interest agenda."


Non-Profits N Union Busting

Derailing union drives? Nonprofit, SEIU clash in Lowell
By Darren Garnick
Boston Herald

In the ongoing propaganda wars between labor unions and management, it’s often tough to determine who’s David and who’s Goliath.

Consider the case of LifeLinks Inc., a Lowell-based social service agency that is now trying to shove the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) off its turf.

With an annual budget hovering around $12 million, the nonprofit agency is hardly the Wal-Mart-esque behemoth that union activists compare it to on their “Take Action” Web site.

But LifeLinks, which operates group homes and a community center for the developmentally disabled, isn’t going to battle with a makeshift slingshot. It prefers Adams, Nash, Haskell & Sheridan, a high-profile Kentucky law firm that bills itself as “America’s Leading Union Avoidance Consultants.”

About 200 LifeLinks direct- care workers, who earn between $7 and $11 an hour, plan to vote on Friday on whether or not to join the SEIU Local 509. They, too, have a powerful ally. Representing 10,000 workers in Massachusetts and 1.8 million nationwide, the SEIU wields tremendous political clout especially here in the bluest of the blue states.

It seems like an even standoff. Regardless of what happens in Lowell this week, the SEIU and the union-busting law firm will routinely fight again and again like the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. proxy wars in Central America. Yet, the home-field advantage eventually tilts to management.

For the past month, LifeLinks workers have been paid to sit through weekly PowerPoint presentations explaining why unions will ruin their lives. For obvious reasons, there are no alternative viewpoints presented. The pro-union message gets shared through whispers at lunch and impromptu meetings at Dunkin’ Donuts after work.

During these mandatory indoctrination sessions, union organizers say, LifeLinks hires temp workers at $18-$20 an hour to replace staff.


Hell Yeah!

Two Trade Unions Break Away From Alliance

In a new sign of dissatisfaction within organized labor, two national trade unions broke away Tuesday from an alliance affiliated with the AFL-CIO after complaints about declining membership and misplaced priorities.

The Laborers International Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers, representing more than 1 million members, are breaking away from the umbrella group known as the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO as of March 1. The umbrella group still has 11 unions representing about 2 million workers.

The Laborers and Operating Engineers will join with four other unions in the construction business -- the Teamsters, Carpenters, Iron Workers and Bricklayers unions -- to form the National Construction Alliance, a confederation aimed at expanding union membership in the construction field. The new alliance will focus heavily on building union strength in almost 30 states where the construction business has low union membership.

''While the construction economy has grown, living and work standards for construction workers have fallen,'' said Terence O'Sullivan, Laborers' president. Union representation among construction workers has fallen from 40 percent in 1973 to 13 percent now, he said.

O'Sullivan and Operating Engineers President Vincent Giblin said they were frustrated with the umbrella group's lack of action to reverse declines in membership, outdated rules and priorities more focused on Washington politics than membership recruitment, workplace safety and job security.

Sean McGarvey, secretary-treasurer of the umbrella group losing two members, said: ''It's unfortunate they chose this time, with a great opportunity for the union construction trades to take advantage of this huge construction boom over the next five to 10 years and regain hundreds of thousands of members. We work best when we work together.''

The two trade unions remain in the AFL-CIO, which has seen a half-dozen of its unions break away from the federation over disputes about political priorities and organizing strategies.

O'Sullivan said the Laborers' decision about whether to leave the AFL-CIO is ''not a matter of if but when.'' Giblin said ''the jury is out'' on the Operating Engineers' future in the AFL-CIO.

When the AFL-CIO formed 50 years ago, union membership was at its zenith, with one of every three private-sector workers belonging to a labor group. Now, about 12 percent of all workers are unionized, but fewer than 8 percent of private-sector workers belong to unions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wayne Newton Strike! Las Vegas Rules!


Attention: Wayne Newton (dba Erin Miel, Inc.) has been placed on the AFM's International Unfair List (posted on the AFM website and in the January 2006 issue of the International Musician), this prohibits all AFM members from rendering services for Newton performances.

The Musicians Union of Las Vegas, Local 369 AFM, remains on strike against Newton over serious labor issues. A non-union band replaces our members!

Local 369 Website

Faxed Announcement Not on Web:

To All Southern Nevada Central Labor Council Affiliates:

The Musicians Union of Las Vega, Local 369, after 11 months of good faith bargaining, had no choice but to initiate a strike against Wayne Newton (dba Erin Miel, Inc.)

The Union did everything in its power to reach an agreement time after time trying diligently to accomodate Mr. Newton's concerns. All of our efforts apparently weren't enough. Mr. Newton insists that he has the right to have his employees work OFF THE CLOCK. This is where we had to draw the line and are asking all AFL-CIO affiliates to draw the same line by boycotting his show. Please let your friends, family and associates know just how "Mr. Las Vegas" has gone including his hiring an all non-union SCAB pick up band.


Thom Pastor

Anarchists Continue To Foolishly Take Anarchists Seriously

Open letter to the Green Anarchy Collective

Today we are writing to you in hopes that you, the Green Anarchy Collective, will take a good look at the theoretical direction of Green Anarchy magazine and how it relates to action. We also would like you to step out of the Anarchist frame of reference to see why you are marginalizing yourselves into an abstract reality.

After receiving issues #1-21 there doesn’t seem to be a coherent vision of action that can be linked up with the theoretical aspirations written in your publication. Lots of writing but no concrete action that would actually serve as an example to build upon. Perhaps you would point to Wild Roots or the feral visions gatherings. We do not discount these efforts but these are not A to B examples; these represent Temporary Autonomous Zones at best. Examples are one of the ways that makes Anarchy accessible to people by showing them that there is indeed another way. We want to stress that most of what is written in Green Anarchy is not accessible to most people and does not serve to promote a greater understanding of one another and our struggles. The rejection of civilization or technology with in G.A.’s pages is fine except that no viable alternative is offered in the face of an obviously terrible dystopia. The only reason why Anarchy even exists is because it does have practical applications in this modern world. Without the ability for theory to be put into practice it remains an abstract knowledge relegated to cliques and intellectual study groups. Hopefully Green Anarchy aspires to be more than a lifestyle movement instead of its current state of theoretical discourse. .

Anarchy exists today because some people find it useful in the struggle for a different way of living. Let us step out of the Anarchist milieu for just a moment as it can give you a much-needed perspective. When people are first approached with the idea of Anarchy and class struggle and ecology and all the other things that go along with it, they are often repelled by a lot of the things that Green Anarchy magazine can sometimes exemplify. Green Anarchy does have some good aspects with the occasional importance critique, but the way in which they are presented and how they would play out in real life is a different story. For someone that works in a furniture shop or is homeless or is a radical, most of the ideas are presented in such a way that it is almost a joke to them because of the tone, the attitude, and general fetishization of anti-social violence that occurs with in the pages of this magazine. Also, the fact that G.A. denounces everything from paper to writing doesn’t stand-up well for a magazine that is made with paper and words. Further more, a lot of people in America find it very hard to imagine a real functioning world without the state, pesticides, cars, and police. Perhaps Green Anarchy could be more constructive in its proposition to these people. People aren’t going to huddle in the corner tonight because they are cold; they are going to turn on their nuclear powered electricity that in turn will heat their place. They also aren’t going to huddle in the corner cold or go hungry because of Green Anarchy magazine and its rejection of civilized life. For some reason this falls out of the Green Anarchist thought process. Word to the wise, don’t start shutting off the fossil fuel that powers the heating systems until you know that people are going to be warm at night by another means.

Which brings us to the main point of this letter

Green Anarchy has had a wonderful opportunity to explore a number of subjects that could only add to the knowledge of Anarchy, but they have chosen to piss that away with a dismal view of our very existence. Unfortunately, the Green Anarchy Collective has also chosen to publish articles that include extreme sectarianism and character assassinations, among many other undesirable characteristics.


HERE side better than UNITE side. Hands Down

Hotel workers union plans rallies
Chicago Sun-Times

In what's billed as the biggest single year ever for collective bargaining in the hotel industry, the union representing thousands of workers at hotels in downtown Chicago and nationally said it is kicking off a campaign this week to boost pay and benefits and spotlight safety issues.

More than 500 hotels employing more than 50,000 workers in seven major key markets, including Chicago, will be involved in contract talks this year, according to UNITE HERE, the merged union of the Union of Needletrade, Industrial and Textile Employees and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Union.

Locally, talks will affect roughly 7,000 housekeepers, bell staff and restaurant workers at 30 hotels in downtown Chicago and near O'Hare airport, where workers in 2002 narrowly averted a strike.

Nationwide "Hotel Workers Rising" rally tours with participation by former U.S. Sen. John Edwards and actor Danny Glover will begin in San Francisco on Wednesday with a stop scheduled for Friday in Chicago, where contracts expire in August. Stops are also planned in Los Angeles and Boston.

Besides those cities, contracts will be negotiated this year in Toronto, Honolulu and New York.

The talks will put the spotlight on UNITE HERE, one of four unions that split with the AFL-CIO last year to help form a new labor federation because of disagreements over organizing, leadership and strategy.

The talks are "an opportunity for us to talk to the hotel industry about creating middle-class jobs," said Henry Tamarin, president of UNITE HERE Local 1 in Chicago, where the average hourly wage of hotel house- |keepers is $11.75. "What we're talking about is how we make these jobs good jobs, jobs that support families.

". . . The issues of affordable quality health care, of retirement with dignity. These are the issues we'll be pursuing in Chicago."

He added safety will also be a priority. As hotels have added more amenities, including heavier mattresses and linens, that has led to worker injuries, union representatives say -- assertions that have been disputed by the industry.

Francine Jones, who has worked for 15 years as a housekeeper at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, said those are among her concerns along with work loads and staffing levels. She said the additional amenities mean it takes longer than the 30 minutes each allotted to clean the 16 rooms she's assigned, and makes it difficult for her and co-workers to meet their room quotas.

"We went from two pillows to eight. More linens, sheets, blankets," she said. "It requires more time in the room."


Wow! The Boss Sounds A Lot Like Most Anarchists

New group launches anti-union drive

A new anti-union group backed by U.S. businesses began a multimillion-dollar campaign Monday attacking the organized-labor movement as corrupt and outdated.

The Center for Union Facts took out full-page ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and put a 15-foot dinosaur outside the Washington headquarters of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation.

"The way unions are presently structured is often anachronistic," said lobbyist Rick Berman, who started the group. "They don't want to recognize that the world has moved on. Management isn't treating employees like they were in the 1930s or '40s."

Berman said he's raised about $2.5 million from companies, trade organizations and individuals, whom he declined to identify.

Berman has run similar types of campaigns to defend his lobbying clients in the food, tobacco, beverage and restaurant industries. Those campaigns included criticism of studies linking diet to obesity and drunken-driving laws that he sees as ineffective.

The campaign Berman unveiled Monday is an attempt to educate union members and the general public about the ineffectiveness of unions as well as what he claims is a large amount of "criminal activity" among labor leaders, Berman said.

The creation of the center comes as labor groups have scored recent victories in getting companies to pay higher wages and provide more health care benefits. In Maryland last month, labor groups won passage of a law that will require Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big companies to pay for workers' health care.


Farmers suck

Farmers avoid migrants' union contract
Growers look outside of N.C. association to find workers
Kristin Collins
The News & Observer

Two years ago, a labor union swept into farm country, promising big changes for the migrant workers who tend and harvest many of North Carolina's crops.

Now, the agreement that unionized thousands of Mexican field hands is in danger of collapse. Many farmers in this, the state with the nation's lowest rate of unionization, simply aren't willing to abide an organized work force.

"This is a right-to-work state, and people shouldn't be forced to hire union labor," said Larry Wooten, president of the N.C. Farm Bureau, a trade group that is helping farmers find nonunion labor.

The agreement, signed in September 2004, compelled the approximately 1,000 farmers who hired legal seasonal workers through the N.C. Growers Association to use unionized employees. The association agreed to recognize a union, the Ohio-based Farm Labor Organizing Committee, allowing workers to file grievances and demand benefits.

At that time, the association brought in about 10,000 seasonal workers each year -- nearly all the state's legal migrant workers. But in the two growing seasons since the agreement, farmers have abandoned the association in droves.

Some have found other ways to get legal workers, while others have opted to use the illegal immigrants who make up the vast majority of the state's approximately 80,000 seasonal laborers.

This year, the association is down to about 500 farmers and will bring in only about 5,000 workers, director Stan Eury said. He said that if membership dips below 350 farmers, the association probably will shut down.


Monday, February 13, 2006

As Real As Any Other Anarchist News

Captain Planet Resurfaces As Leader Of Clandestine Eco-Terrorist Group

Captain Planet warned in an videotape aired Monday that his eco-terrorist fighters are preparing new eco-attacks but offered the American people a truce on the condition that they begin “respecting the environment.”

“Americans must change their polluting ways or suffer the consequences,” said Planet. “We’re planning more attacks, but will cancel these if Americans all promise to start respecting the environment. The power is yours!”

The cartoon videotape, portions of which were aired on CNN, was the first from Captain Planet in 10 years, since his show “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” was cancelled in May of 1996. It came only days after an eco-terrorist attack on a car dealership in Seattle that destroyed 15 Ford Excursion SUV’s.

“Either America stops driving sports utility vehicles peacefully,” threatened Planet, “or it will be engulfed in flames. Which will it be America? The power is yours!”

According to CNN, Captain Planet became leader of the Earth Liberation Front (E.L.F.) eco-terrorist group shortly after losing his cartoon show in 1996. Since that time, he has boldly spear-headed several eco-attacks against America, including a spate of natural disasters which ravaged the United States in 2005. Editors at CNN said they could not comment on how they knew all these things.

Captain Planet said he decided to make a statement to the American people because he said President Bush “wasn’t doing enough to save the Earth from pollution.”

“I offer the American people a truce,” said Planet. “Stop polluting, stop littering, and start cleaning up pollution, and we’ll stop planning eco-attacks. The power is yours!”

The White House rejected the truce.


Damn Reds Without the Black

Communist Participation in the Zapatista Rainbow
“The Other Campaign Will Not End Until Capitalism Ends”
By The Party of Mexican Communists

Struggle by struggle, visiting different groups in resistance, listening to the stories of confrontation with the system, “Delegate Zero’s” tour marches on, followed by a caravan made up of alternative media and leftwing social and political organizations who have adhered to this movement that is now shaking the entire country.

Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, Veracruz, Oaxaca… and the struggle continues. But the basis of a transformative process that begins by breaking with the capitalist system now has such an important foundation that it is possible to announce that the people will be victorious. The Indian peoples, the peasant farmers, the agricultural workers, the fishermen, the women, the multicultural youth movement, the working class, the revolutionary left, the environmentalists, all together, little by little, are forming the sociopolitical force that will cause Mexico to be reborn.

In Bekal a Question, In Candelaria the Answer

We had just arrived in Campeche, and the combativeness of the local artisans was showing itself. A demonstration was held under the harsh sun, in the community’s main plaza, which features two giant cement sombreros symbolizing the townspeople’s main product. They weave the hats by hand, spending as long as two days on each but receiving a miserable price from middlemen or “coyotes” who resell them marked up by 150 to 200 percent in the cities. The assembly is participative. Those interested obtain publications from the improvised information booths, be they Revista Rebeldía magazine, the newspaper Machetearte, Marxists books, protest music, communist, socialist or anarchist pamphlets. The people want information; students from a nearby public school ask for books by both Lenin and Che.

One compañero asks why there are parties there, if the Sixth Declaration says it wants nothing to do with them. It is an interesting discussion, which allows us to point out that the Zapatista’s call excludes registered parties. We further clarify that although these are called “parties,” they are really electoral instruments of the ruling class; that the PRI, PAN and PRD are like slot machines that reproduce bourgeois democracy; that all these parties have one single program, the “Chapultepec Pact.” We also explain that the organizations present at the event are revolutionary parties, similar to the Flores Magón brothers’ Mexican Liberal Party as instruments of struggle for the workers, maintained by the voluntary donations of party members and those who buy our newspapers, magazines or books; that we do not accept government campaign funds because that would be like selling our souls to the devil.

Another compañero says that he is a socialist, but that he does not agree with the communists and their foriegn ideas. He says he belonged to the Socialist Workers’ Party in the 1980s. This same compañero asks for the floor during the assembly and speaks out against the presence of red flags with the hammer and sickle. He asks Subcomandante Marocs if he is a communist, because these ideas have nothing to do with the people of Campeche. The EZLN delegate explains that every struggle is associated with a symbol, and that the red star on the Zapatistas’ black flag is deeply associated with the Mayan people – the image of the star that comes to announce the dawn. Marcos gives a powerful description of January 1, 1994, telling of how after the military operations that day had ended, he was called over to deal with someone thought to be a foreign journalist but who turned out to be simply a frightened tourist. As he answered the tourist’s questions about how to get out of Chiapas, members of the actual press began to approach and listen. And that is how he became the spokesman for the EZLN, and how his black ski mask became the most famous symbol of the rebellion. Marcos explained that in the struggle he is only a subcomandante, and that the leaders are the comandantes and comandantas, simple and humble men and women like the late Comandanta Ramona.

In another town, the question asked in Bekal receives an answer. This is in Candelaria, a place where the agrarian struggle is organized by communists. When Marcos arrives he is surrounded by communists waving red flags. These are not the proletarians, factory workers or teachers; they are agricultural workers, fishermen, elderly communal farmers, people who live off the land. For several decades a communist who came from Nayarit had been organizing them and building up a social movement and party. This comrade, Ignacio Magdaleno, died last August. Elderly compañeros explain with pride that they belong to the Communist Party, and that their struggle has been under that banner for years. Workers and indigenous people say the same. A teacher named Gladis presents a number of proposals to move the process forward.



Who is Joseph Smith (aka Joe Carr)?
ISM “activist” with no job but dual identities tours America
By Lee Kaplan

“I am an anarchist; I seek to tear down hierarchies in my personal interactions, organizing structures, & society at large. I am a revolutionary; this US-dominated global capitalist system is inherently flawed & I aim to help accelerate its inevitable collapse & create a truly sustainable & egalitarian society. I work for peace in my personal interactions and I oppose all wars waged by governments to ensure their dominance, but I am NOT a acifist; I find nonviolent tactics powerful and effective, but violence & property destruction have always been an essential part of revolutionary movements & support everyone’s right to self defense.”

The quote above is from a self-description posted on his website by ISM member Joseph Smith.

Who is Joseph Smith? He first came to light in March of 2003 when Olympia , Washington student and anarchist Rachel Corrie was accidentally killed by an Israeli bulldozer that Corrie chose to interfere with by being a human shield while it was clearing suspected weapons smuggling tunnels in Gaza . Smith, who is another anarchist and ISM member who knew Corrie at Evergreen College , professed to being an eyewitness to Corrie’s death. However, his eyewitness accounts on more than one occasion did not match up. He also alleged he took photographs of the area and Corrie just before her death that also later did not match up.

The ISM released those photos on their own website maintaining they showed Corrie with a bullhorn confronting the bulldozer that killed her, then moments later after being struck. However, a careful examination of the photos showed that scenes were staged with different tractors and at different times. One photo with a superimposed tractor in the foreground and Corrie superimposed with another ISM activist in front of a “doctor’s house,” when enlarged, not only revealed the superimposition techniques, but that the ISM (or PLO photographers who doctored the photos) left off the feet of the two ISM activists.

Joseph Smith has always been the main “eyewitness” for the ISM describing Corrie’s death as deliberate murder and maintaining the bulldozer driver, an Israeli soldier nicknamed “Doobie, ” actually saw the Evergreen College coed before she was struck. Smith’s description of events may have changed, but American media never really caught on—until now. The Israeli army maintains cameras on tall poles in certain military zones and actually videotaped Rachel Corrie’s death. Stop the ISM obtained the actual footage up to the last few seconds before Rachel Corrie was killed that reveals she was seated in a trench and out of the bulldozer driver’s view. In addition, Smith claimed he and other ISM activists had yelled at the driver and given him advance warning of Corrie’s presence—none of which can be seen in an exclusive video that Stop the ISM will publicly release soon.

The fact that Joseph Smith is a liar for the ISM, an organization that relies on lying (“by any means necessary”) to advance its entire agenda of supporting PLO efforts to destroy Israel while claiming (again by lying) to be a “nonviolent peace organization,” is nothing new or exciting. But there’s more to the Joseph Smith saga.

Tom Hurndall was another ISM anarchist and activist from the UK who was also killed in Gaza . Hurndall, 22, had just left Iraq where he served as a human shield for Saddam Hussein before war broke out in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hurndall also spent the last few minutes of his life with Joseph Smith before Hurndall was killed while interfering with an Israeli tank in a combat zone. The IDF found a Bedouin Scout guilty of discharging his weapon without authorization in an action that killed Hurndall, but the question remains if Smith put Hurndall up to being in a combat zone where he could be killed or injured in the first place. Smith was photographed with Hurndall just minutes before his death. Hurndall later helped erect a tent in the path of a tank in a hot military zone.


Interesting Stuff

Four Waves of Terrorism
By Everett A. Vieira III
SDS Universe

Professor David C. Rapoport of the University of California, Los Angeles, defined the mechanics of modern terrorism for more than 250 people in the Hardy Tower auditorium for last Thursday's lecture, the second in a semester-long series on terrorism.

Rapoport's lecture examined the lack of historical analysis in terrorism scholarship and his classification of the four waves of modern terrorism, including each wave's associated tactics and goals. Rapoport also pointed out the irony that more terrorists have won the Nobel Peace Prize than have U.S. presidents.

By defining a "wave" where a number of groups engage in violent activities around a similar timeframe, sharing a similar ideology, Rapoport argued that there have been four waves of international terrorism in the modern times. Terrorist groups can often bring about large social changes.

According to Rapoport, most people are not aware that the Sons of Liberty (1765-76) can be credited for igniting the American War of Independence and that the Ku Klux Klan (1867-77) was directly responsible for ending Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War. These two groups are considered 'pre-modern' terrorist groups in that they utilized the principal weapon of the mob mentality in order to increase their victims' anxieties.

Rapoport also discussed President George W. Bush's declaration of war on terrorism and the international attention associated with it. Few people realize that President Theodore Roosevelt, upon the assassination of his predecessor President William McKinley in 1901, some 100 years before the events of September 11, called for a similar assault to eradicate terrorism everywhere.

Rapoport said the four waves of modern terrorism are each composed of organizations, with different life rhythms: the Anarchist wave which started around 1879; the anti-colonial wave that began around 1920; the New Left wave that emerged in the 1960s; and the religious wave — the wave that we are living in today — that kicked off in 1979.

Rapoport said that each wave lasted about a generation, with only a handful of terrorist organizations able to transcend multiple waves. (The Irish Republican Army being one of the few groups to do so.)

The Anarchist wave utilized assassinations of political leaders designed to create anarchist societies. The anti-colonial wave rejected political assassinations and instead concentrated their efforts attacking police forces to further its agendas. The New Left wave hijacked airplanes and created hostage crises, while the current religious wave uses suicide attacks.


Ruling Class Still Rules

Judge OKs bonus plans for Delphi execs
Associated Press

A federal bankruptcy court judge Friday approved Delphi Corp.'s plan to re-institute a bonus program for its top executives despite criticism from the bankrupt auto parts maker's creditors and the unions that are fighting job cuts at the company.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain approved awarding up to $21 million to the company's executives in a six-month incentive plan, one of two bonus programs that were dropped when the company filed for bankruptcy protection in October. A longer-term incentive plan remains shut down.

Delphi attorney Jack Butler said re-instituting the plan, which would expire June 30, would allow the company to keep important executives through the bankruptcy restructuring process. However, Drain's decision also raised the possibility of deepening labor unrest that could lead to a strike by Delphi unionized workers.

Delphi's move to reinstate the bonus plan had been roundly criticized by Delphi's workers, who are up against a Feb. 17 deadline to either negotiate steep wage cuts with Delphi, or face the possibility of having their collective bargaining agreements voided by the bankruptcy court. After that, Delphi could unilaterally impose salary cuts or slash jobs.

The timing of Delphi's plan also was harshly criticized by both the court-assigned bankruptcy trustee and Delphi's unsecured creditors committee, both of whom otherwise supported the plan's structure and payments.

"Our conclusion is that it is not a reasonable exercise of business judgment to go forward with an executive compensation plan one week before a motion (to abrogate collective bargaining) dealing with one of the main issues of this case, which is labor peace," said Robert Rosenberg, the attorney representing Delphi's creditors.


Stupid Think Tanks

Change to Win What?
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
By Thomas W. Washburne

The AFL-CIO’s troubles continued this month when the United Farm Workers became the latest labor organization to sever ties with the powerful union. The unraveling began last summer at what should have been the AFL-CIO’s glorious 50th anniversary convention. James P. Hoffa and his Teamsters spoiled the party when they officially withdrew from the AFL-CIO and formed a new coalition, Change to Win.

Instead of weakening unions, this split could invigorate the labor movement. But that will require abandoning old habits and the outmoded thinking that have guided union activities for so long.

The Teamsters’ letter of withdrawal showed promise in that direction. Hoffa stated that "Our differences are not about words, but are deep and fundamental. They concern the future of the labor movement in this country." Joining the Teamsters at Change to Win’s founding convention on Sept. 27 were several former AFL-CIO affiliates, with a total membership of more than six million.

Robert Reich, President Clinton’s secretary of labor, sees the AFL-CIO split along functional lines. In an article on labor’s division and decline, Reich suggests that those unions staying with the AFL-CIO, predominantly in the airline, auto and steel industries, will continue to focus on influencing politics in Washington, D.C. These unions are "intent on getting Democrats back in power so labor laws can be strengthened," according to Reich.

So how will Change to Win be different? The coalition’s constitution and bylaws shed little light on where Hoffa and his fellow union leaders intend to take organized labor, but it is clear that recruiting new members is key. Indeed, Change to Win dedicated three-fourths of its budget to this cause.

Reich sees Change to Win’s mission "less as preserving good jobs in danger of disappearing, and more as boosting the prospects of people trapped in lousy ones. They’re less interested in gaining political clout because the fate of their members is not closely tied to votes taken in Washington."


More Home Child-Care

Unions surge in low-paying child care industry
By David Crary
The Associated Press

The living room teems with toys and picture books; six small children are snacking around a tot-sized table. Yet Norma Tetrault's home, as much as any union hall or picket line, represents a pivotal front for America's embattled labor movement.

Women like Tetrault, working from home, have become foot soldiers in a difficult but potentially momentous nationwide campaign to unionize hundreds of thousands of low-paid child care workers.

Unprecedented breakthroughs have come recently in Illinois and a few other states, while in Rhode Island -- despite a strong union legacy -- there were painful setbacks last year. Tetrault, echoing the resolve of union leaders nationwide, vows to persevere.

"We're in this for the long haul," she says, standing with feet in two rooms so she can grant an interview and still keep watch on her charges. "Every time you take five steps forward, you take 10 steps back. But I'm not quitting."

Nationally, child care providers are among the lowest paid of U.S. workers, often earning less than $10 an hour. A recent federal survey listed only 18 other types of jobs, out of 770, that paid less.

The low pay, lack of health insurance and other benefits, and a sense of being disrespected has produced a legion of workers open to unionization as the most viable strategy for gaining clout. Faced with declining overall membership, major unions see child care providers as a vital source of potential growth.

"This is a very untraditional area in terms of organizing," said Anna Burger, secretary-treasurer of the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is at the forefront of efforts to represent the providers.

"It's mostly women, working in their own homes," Burger said. "The fact that they're wanting to come together and have a collective voice is remarkable. It shows their determination and creativity."

Reliable nationwide statistics are elusive when it comes to child care employment, partly because of high turnover and because many providers are unlicensed and care for just a few children. The Center for the Child Care Workforce estimates about 550,000 people are employed by child care centers and another 650,000 home-based providers; the portion of them who are unionized recently has surged past 10 percent.

The biggest breakthrough came in Illinois, where SEIU last year won the right to represent 49,000 in-home providers serving children whose fees are covered by state and federal funds. In December, after Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered the state to negotiate, SEIU obtained a $250 million, 39-month contract that will raise providers' daily rates an average of 35 percent and eventually bring them health coverage.

It was the first such statewide contract. Even at a time when many states are struggling to cut costs and meet rising health care bills, it sparked hope among union leaders of similar gains elsewhere.

In Washington state, about 10,000 in-home providers voted last year to join SEIU. They hope to gain collective bargaining rights this year.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

P-CRAC Falls Down on the Job

Dear Comrade-Enemies,

Yesterday's edition of P-CRAC was suspended due to a workday running straight into a union fatcat drunken fiesta involving passed out union bosses, naked drunken organizers, and live frogs.

Today's hangover is not making today's edition look much more likely.