[biztech-discussion] Re: Moving Forward #4

  • From: Bruce Hartford <bruceh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 11:38:55 -0500

At 10:14 PM 6/26/04 -0700, Al Weinrub wrote:
>Dear Folks,
>I have prepared the following description of the anti-offshoring 
>campaign we have begun working on. This preliminary campaign plan is to 
>explain what we have been doing to the National Executive Committee, 
>chapter chairpersons, and other NWU activists.

Over-all, I think your draft looks fine. Though as you know I disagree with
a hard differentiation between the issues that appeal to our core
constituency and those aimed at the general public. As you know from our
conversations I believe that the "general-public" arguments will have
greater influence on our core constituents than the "my job at risk"
approach you favor. No doubt this will worked out as the campaign evolves. 

As I've worked on drafting the "no government-support" materials I found I
could not write them without first shaping my thoughts around the campaign
as a whole. So it turns out we've both been on the same wavelength. Below
is a list of the materials I see the campaign needing. Attached (in
virus-free text-only format) is a draft explanation of the campaign as a
whole. While yours was aimed at explaining the campaign to the NEC, mine
was aimed at explaining it to the membership. 


Draft List of Campaign Materials 

0. Email announcement of the campaign to all NWU members and 
supporters and former-members. Brief overview of the campaign, 
urge them to go to website for more info, ask them to get 
involved, strong pitch to sign the petition. 

On the Website

1. Offshore campaign home page. (posted as the initial page on 
the website, with links to all the other pages) 

2. The petition

3. The BizTech Offshore Campaign (campaign overview)

4. Offshoring issue general background paper 

5. Frequently stated misconceptions about offshoring

6. Personal privacy threats -- overview (one pager)

7. Personal privacy threats -- white paper

8. Personal privacy threats -- FAQ and talking points

9. Stop government support for offshoring -- overview (one pager)

10. Stop government support for offshoring -- white paper

11. Stop government support for offshoring -- FAQ and talking 

12. NWU locals and the offshore campaign

13. How you can get involved

14. How to set up and prepare for a meeting with a legislator or 

15. Summary of current federal and state legislation and our 
positions. (frequently updated)

-- Attached file included as plaintext by Ecartis --


The main campaign of the BizTech Division this Fall is opposing 
the transfer of BizTech jobs to countries overseas. Known as 
"offshoring," an increasing number of professional jobs -- 
including writing jobs -- are being sent to low-wage nations such 
as India, China, Russia, and elsewhere. 

The Issue

According to a recent study by UC Berkeley, the United States 
could lose as many as 14 million white-collar jobs as a result of 
the new outsourcing trend. Moreover, the study adds, "Jobs that 
remain in the U.S. could be subject to pressures to lower wages."  
For a more detailed overview of the offshoring issue in general 
see [link to --> the offshoring issue background paper]

Offshoring affects us as NWU members and writers because there is 
usually a writing component to offshored work. When projects and 
departments are sent oversears the work we used to do on 
procedure manuals, tech specs, business plans, environmental and 
other kinds of reports, user documentation, admin manuals, and so 
on, is also offshored. More and more we are seeing jobs that used 
to go to NWU members being done in India and elsewhere at one-
sixth the wages that used to be paid to us.

Offshoring also profoundly affects us as citizens living and 
working in a community and economy that is being deformed and 
sabotaged by corporate greed. For generations the general, long-
term, multi-generation trend in this country has been a gradually 
rising standard of living, and increased opportunities, for 
ordinary American citizens. But in recent years with oursourcing, 
offshoring, tax-cuts for the rich, and an ever widening gap 
between CEO and employee pay, that traditional hope of a better 
future is being replaced by despair. Entire local communities are 
being devestated by the offshoring of manufacturing jobs to 
slave-wage countries, and now for professionals instead of moving 
up an increasing number of us are facing a grim future of being 
forced down. Being forced out of professional-levl careers into 
low-wage, dead-end jobs. 

The Strategy 

Because offshoring affects the entire professional sector we 
cannot focus specifically on opposing just the transfer of 
writing jobs to low-wage countries and ignore all the other 
professions. If projects, departments, and services are sent 
overseas, the associated writing jobs will go too. Therefore we 
have to work with the rest of the labor movement to stop 
offshoring in general, not just writing work. 

We cannot be successful by narrowly focusing only on BizTech 
writers, we are too few and too peripheral to generate any 
effective force. Therefore, we need to phrase our organizing 
campaign in terms of all high-tech workers (writers, engineers, 
marketeers, tech-support, managers, etc) against offshoring of 
professional-level jobs. 

Only public opinion and legislation can limit the offshoring of 
our jobs. Appeals to industry leaders have proven ineffective. 
Strikes and job actions will accelerate rather than slow the 
transfer of jobs overseas. Therefore this campaign has to focus 
on public opinion and legislative lobbying. 

This is going to be a long tough fight. The business lobby & 
power-structure strongly favor offshoring and are dead set 
against any government restrictions on it. The corporate mass 
media echoes their position. Industry allies in goverment parrot 
the neo-conservative mantras of "free-enterprise" and "free-
market" and the myth that offshoring is "good" for everybody. For 
more on this, see [link to --> frequently stated misconceptions]. 

On the other hand, we are not alone on this issue. The entire 
labor movement and many progressive organizations are fighting 
offshoring. There are at least nine bills pending in the U.S. 
House and Senate, and a wide range of legislation pending in the 
majority of states. We need to build support for passing this 
legislation, and where necessary amending it to making it 
stronger. See [link to --> summary of legislation]

However, both Democrats and Republicans are financially dependent 
on corporate campaign contributions, so this will be a tough 
fight which can only be won by focusing such massive public 
pressure on the issue that the politicians fear losing popular 
votes more than they fear losing corporate donations. To do this, 
we have to pose our questions and demands in ways that 
politicians pay a heavy political price for siding with the off-
shoring corporations. 

To mobilize public support we have to educate and appeal to our 
members and the public in terms of their own self-interest. We 
have to make the public understand why off-shoring is bad for 
them (as well as us). But attempting to simultaneously combat all 
forms of outsourcing and offshoring is too broad a target and 
beyond our resources. This means that we need to lead with our 
strongest arguments on the clearest issues to first convince 
people to question, and then oppose, at least some form or aspect 
of off-shoring. Then build on that base to opposing broader 
aspects of offshoring. 

The First Phase

We will begin our campaign by addressing two specific areas:

     1. Personal Security. Our sharpest and strongest argument is 
     the personal security dangers of high-tech offshoring. 
     Offshoring of personal financial and medical data raises 
     serious and credible threats to the security of individual 
     American citizens. See [link to --> personal privacy threats 
     one-pager and white paper] for more information. 

     Objective: Legislation that prohibits any offshoring of 
     personal information to locations that are not covered by 
     enforceable privacy laws that equal or exceed the protection 
     offered by U.S. law. 

     2. Stop government support for offshoring. Begin with the 
     simple proposition that the taxes we pay should be used to 
     benefit us, not multi-national corporations who pay little 
     or no taxes at all. Work paid for by our tax dollars should 
     be done here, by us, not overseas. No government subsidies 
     to companies that use economic development or R&D grants to 
     move jobs to other countries. Stop the use of H1B and L1 
     visas to train workers here for the purpose of later moving 
     projects and departments to other nations. 

     Objective: State and federal legislation requiring full 
     disclosure of any offshoring by recipients of government 
     grants. Legislation prohibiting offshoring of work paid for 
     by our tax dollars. Regulation to prevent use of visas in 
     aid of offshoring. See [link to --> stop government support 
     for offshoring one-pager and white paper]. 

The Plan

Before we can educate the public and sucessfully lobby 
legislators, we need to first educate and then mobilize our NWU 

1. Early Summer. 

Prepare campaign materials and place them on a campaign website. 

2. Late Summer.

     a. Promote and circulate a web-based petition focused on our 
     two initial issues: personal data security and no government 
     support for offshoring. This to be a classic "petition for 
     redress of grievances" supporting specific legislative 

     b. Mobilize our members and locals to sign the petition and 
     get others to do so. 

     c. Promote and publicize the petition via email and other 
     methods throughout the economic communities we have contact 

3. September-October

     a. Request meetings between local delegations of NWU members 
     and the political directors of election campaigns for U.S. 
     Senate & House seats in states and congressional districts 
     where large numbers of our members live. Present them the 

     petitions and ask them for a committment to support each of 
     the legislative goals in the petition. 

     b. National NWU officers do the same for the presidential 
     campaigns. If a meeting cannot be arranged, press the issue 
     by letter. 

     c. Send letters containing the petitions to the political 
     directors of election campaigns for state Senate and 
     Assembly seats in where large numbers of our members live. 
     Ask for their committment to support our legislative goals 
     at the state level. Post their stand on the website and 
     publicize it via email. 

     d. Post each candidate's stand on those issues on the 
     website, and publicize it via mass email. 

4. Post election. 

     a. On the local level, NWU delegations meet with state 
     Senate and Assembly members from districts where large 
     numbers of our members live to continue pushing our 
     legislative agenda and to lobby for (or against) specific 

     Each NWU local to appoint a legislative strategy committee 
     to take positions on individual bills and guide lobbying 
     strategy and tactics under the overall authority of the 
     local Steering Committee. 

     b. On the national level, NWU leadership will work with the 
     UAW CAP and Lobbying operations to push our agenda on 
     Capitol Hill. 

     The NEC to adopt NWU positions on specific Federal 
     legislation, and appoint a national legislative steering 
     committee to organize and guide lobbying strategy and 
     tactics. The national committee to request and coordinate 
     lobbying by NWU locals of U.S. Senators and Representatives 
     in those districts where we have concentrations of NWU 

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