[biztech-discussion] BizTech campaign direction

  • From: "Samantha Clark" <sclark.abq@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 08:40:35 -0600

> If we could be on a panel without laying out a lot of dough, that would be
> fine. But the IEEE position on off-shoring is quite lame and timid in my
> opinion, and I doubt they would welcome firebrands from the NWU. That
> aside, what would our representative put forward as the NWU view? So far,
> don't see any conclusion to the desultory comments on this list. And is it
> this list who decides on the NWU position and strategy (I doubt it) or the
> officers?
> --bruce

Bruce brings up a critical point about moving any BizTech campaign forward.
Who is going to spearhead the effort? I have avoided posting anything
recently to this list as I would rather see ANYTHING happen than the most
well-thought campaign plan that never gets implemented. Al Weinrub noticed
my absence and called me yesterday to ask that I participate more again.
Since he was willing to call me and find out my opinions, I'm back on the
list. I believe Al was going to post his timeline for developing the
campaign and implementing start dates. Now that we have staff time from
Kenya, more can get done.

I agree also with Bruce about IEEE's lame and timid position. They're a
professional organization that can't do the work of a union. I don't think
we're going to get our membership numbers back up until we do the difficult
organizing work that no non-profit or professional orgs can do. That
eventually means collective bargaining. It's corporate campaigns, protests,
and general muck-raking. It's putting ourselves on the line to stand up to
abusive corporate treatment of workers. If people want to be in a "nice"
organization, there's plenty of groups like the IEEE already out there.
Better legislation is never going to happen simply by putting together
proposals and polite lobbying. If lawmakers don't see wide support for new
legislation, it will just die in committees. Lawmakers need to be pressured
into protecting workers.

I would like us to put NWU's name and public support with all the other
like-minded groups such as WashTech and Techs Unite! Just getting press is a
start. But then what do we do with the public exposure and momentum when we
get it? That's where NWU tends to argue among ourselves and no follow up

I know others disagree with me. But I think only geographically-based
organizing is ever going to build NWU beyond a small core group.
Internet-based organizing just leads to high membership turnover and lack of
cohesion. Call it the Howard Dean mistake. You can put together impressive
membership numbers for a short while, but you don't have anything to build
upon. I advocate we pick a target. probably the Bay Area, and create an
organizing model there.

I don't know if everyone on this list has heard-- but Lance Sentman died of
cancer in April. None of us found out until the end of May. I can't tell you
how much this has upset me. He was a great volunteer for the At-Large. I'm
very bothered that when he was ill, then his family was grieving, we were
oblivious to it. For me, it really hits home how little connection we have
to each other in NWU.

The internet isn't building the kinds of bonds between people needed to run
a successful organizing campaign. Time and time again unions have learned
only one-on-one organizing works in the long run.

Samantha Clark
At-Large Organizing Co-Chair

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