[biztech-discussion] Re: Moving Forward #2

  • From: Al Weinrub <Allen.Weinrub@xxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 23:34:24 -0700


I would like to thank Samantha Clark for her questions, and try to 
address them.

1. Campaign Leadership:

>Who is going to run the BizTech campaign? An ad-hoc committee formed to
>throw around campaign ideas is not leadership. Someone has to run the
>campaign. I've seen no postings or support from the current BizTech
>Co-Chairs. Is the campaign going forward without their direct involvement?
>Why? Who is ultimately in charge of the campaign? What role will the EOVP
I have been tasked by the NWU National Executive Committee(NEC) to pull 
together a group of activists to work with national leadership to plan 
and  implement an NWU strategy on the offshoring issue. This discussion 
list is an effort to bring together members interested in the issue to 
talk strategy and to help formulate a campaign to propose to national 
leadership. I hope to find here activists willing to work long-term on 
the issue. I expect the leadership of the NWU's offshoring work will be 
drawn from activists on this discussion list and will also include the 
External Organizing Vice President of the union, Susan Davis, and 
possibly others.

While concern about offshoring originated in the BizTech division, which 
did ground-breaking work on the issue and whose members are most 
directly affected by offshoring at the present time, the issue impacts 
all writers. This was indicated by some of the articles in the recent 
special offshoring issue of the American Writer. Andreas Ramos, co-chair 
of the BizTech division, was instrumental in putting together this 
discussion list and supports our efforts. However, he is personally too 
buried in other work to take a leadership role at the present time. When 
I recently spoke to Andreas, for example, he was three weeks behind in 
his mail.

I also want to say that the NEC feels strongly that national campaigns 
must come out of discussions amongst activists in the union and not be 
simply ordained by national leadership, as has been done in the past 
couple years. We have learned that any campaign that does not have the 
active participation of union members in formulating and carrying out 
the campaign will not go far. This is especially true given the 
difficult financial situation the union is facing at the present time. 
We are extremely fortunate to have part-time staff support from Kenya 

So for all these reasons, I am encouraging your active participation.

2. Research: 

>why isn't the UAW research dept being asked to do our
>background research? I don't have time to write in-depth white papers as a
>volunteer. Even if I did, it would be months before I finished. 
I think Bruce and Rob have done as well as I can to address this 
question in their recent postings. We are talking about position papers 
that need to make a convincing case, have a factual basis, and be short 
enough for someone interested in the issue to read at a single 
sitting--several pages. The summaries would be a set of bullet points 
that capture the essence of the more in-depth position paper. These are 
important campaign materials.

3. Volunteer activists:

>We're also supposed to be bringing a bunch of other groups
>onboard. I don't know what other kind of volunteer help you folks have. But
>we've lost one-third of the At-Large membership in the last 6 months. Our
>current volunteers are being stretched just to handle the load to offset the 
>volunteers we've lost.
A credible campaign that can reach out to writers will help win members 
to the union and also win back members who have left. It can also draw 
in new volunteers who have a self-interest in opposing the offshoring of 
their jobs or jobs in their communities.

4. Direct Action. 

>Talking about stuff is fine. I would rather see our
>members asked to do things like a PR committee for BizTech to do the
>publicizing of our issues in connection with other groups like WashTech and
>Techs Unite. Do I have time to form and run the committee? No. I would also
>like to see plans for actual union organizing of worksites by NWU.
PR is needed as part of any campaign. But PR in the absence of a 
campaign does not help draw new people into action. Bruce's proposed 
campaign, for example, can involve members and others in very concrete 
ways. And Kenya and I are currently talking to WashTech and Techs Unite 
(initiatives of the Communications Workers of America) to see where 
there might be common  ground.

I hope these responses address Samantha's concerns.


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