[biztech-discussion] Moving Forward #2

  • From: Al Weinrub <Allen.Weinrub@xxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 06 Jun 2004 19:17:15 -0700

Dear Folks,

A few weeks ago Bruce Hartford proposed a concrete plan of action to 
this list. In it, he called for a staged approach to taking up the 
offshoring issue within the union in this election year. Very few have 
commented directly on Bruce's proposal.

I would like to address Bruce's proposal in light of some of the 
comments that have been made on this list.
But first, as a reminder, Bruce proposed an NWU offshoring campaign as 

Stage 1: Prepare summary and in-depth position papers on two issues upon 
which to base anti-offshoring legislation:
        - Tax incentives and public agencies are subsidizing or 
encouraging the offshoring of high-tech and related jobs, thereby 
undermining U.S. worker's livlihoods at taxpayers expense.
        - Offshoring of high-tech work involving personal medical and 
financial data poses a broad personal privacy threat to U.S. citizens.

Stage 2: On the basis of these positions, launch an effort to gather 
support from union members, other writers, the high-tech community, and 
other unions and organizations for legislation addressing these two 
issues. This is an organizing-recruiting effort, that can be taken up 
locally and coordinated nationally.

Stage 3: Organize delegations to Congressional and Senatorial 
candidates, presenting petitions, and asking for these candidates' 
support before the elections. The union will subsequently publicize 
their positions.

Stage 4: Past November, we continue to work for passage of  the above 
legislation and to organize writers and others behind this effort.

Bruce's proposal is the only concrete organizing proposal that has been 
made on this list so far. Some here have pointed to the high economic 
stakes involved in the offshoring issue. That information is important 
to winning union members and others to taking up an anti-offshoring 
campaign, and could be used in campaign materials. Others have argued 
for or aginst the importance of media publicity, but have not related 
their comments to any organizing activity nor to Bruce's specific 
proposal. Others call for action, but have not related that call to any 
specific proposal.

Bruce's campaign proposal has many strengths. It focuses our efforts to 
a couple key areas that would have broad appeal, even among people who 
do not feel immediately in jeopardy of losing their jobs. It proposes 
concrete organizing activity. It details specific work required to 
prepare for and implement the campaign. And it provides an avenue for 
working with other unions and organizations to build political pressure.

Kenya and I have begun meeting with CWA representatives to understand 
their strategy on the offshoring issue, including their WashTech and 
TechsUnite initiatives. This exchange seems promising. CWA, for example, 
has one campaign to pressure congressional assistance for those who are 
having  their jobs offshored, and in the short term, we could support 
such efforts, as suggested by some on this list. However, such 
legislation addresses the impact of offshoring--it does not build 
opposition to offshoring. The CWA has also done some research on 
existing legislative initiatives, which we could probably leverage for 
an NWU campaign.

In the meantime, we need to hear who is willing to work on putting 
together the kind of campaign proposed by Bruce, or to hear other 
campaign proposals. Our goal on this discussion list is to suggest a 
strategy and organizing campaign to the national NWU leadership as soon 
as possible, and to begin moving on such a campaign.

Concretely, who on this list is willing to help research and write up 
the following campaign materials:
1. One pager and more in-depth analysis of governmental support for 
offshoring (tax incentives, contracts to offshored verdors, and the like)
2. One pager and more in-depth analysis of the personal privacy threats 
of offshoring
3. One pager and more in-depth analysis directed to high-tech workers 
(and writers) about the threat of offshoring to their livlihoods and 
communities, both immediately and in the future
4. Info about existing legislation addressing the governmental support 
for offshoring and the threat to personal privacy.

I want close this email message by saying that the above work cannot be 
done by the national leadership or staff of the union. We can help 
organize, coordinate, and build support for a campaign, but we do not 
have the resources to do the kind of research and writing referred to in 
the paragraph above. This is work that needs to be done by activists. I 
hope that some of you, at least, will volunteer to do this work, do part 
of it, or find it, if it already exists somewhere else. (One person has 
already volunteered to work on one of the four items above.)

Please call me or Kenya if you have any questions or comments, or post 
them here.

Al (510-531-6692)
Kenya (510-839-6092)


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