[biztech-discussion] NWU Strategy, Organizing Plan

  • From: Al Weinrub <Allen.Weinrub@xxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 00:47:37 -0800

Dear Folks,
I attempted to post the following email on this list a week ago before
going away for several days, only to find out later that it never seems 
to have been posted. So after doing serious battle with the technology, 
I believe that this one should actually reach you.


Dear Folks,

First, thanks to all of you who have subscribed to this list with an
interest in helping formulate a strategy for the union on offshore
outsourcing and coming up with an organizing plan for carrying out that
strategy. A big challenge.

Second, I want to apologize for taking so long to organize a more
structured discussion on this list. After sending out our invitation to
join this list, Rob Ramer and myself--though not Andreas--went sort-of
dormant. Just too many demands, I guess, on members of the National
Executive Committee these days. Not to mention the regular
support-the-family kind of work.

Third, in case you don't already know, the American Writer coming out in 
April will highlight the offshore outsourcing issue. Articles will 
describe the issue, what it means for writers, how it is an extension of 
other globalization efforts, and also some current responses to the 
issue. It's not comprehensive, but will provide a good mix of articles 
to help educate NWU members. And to show to other writers.

I am attaching a .pdf of one of the American Writer articles, since it 
talks about how the NWU biz-tech division has taken up the offshore 
outsourcing issue, and it provides a few of the strategic perspectives 
that have characterized that work so far. I've copied the last part of 
the article into this message, below.

What we'd like to do on this list is to firm up and extend some of these
strategic perspectives, talk about how to organize our own constituency,
decide which aspects of offshoring to agitate around publicly, and what 
kind of campaigns would be the best vehicles for such agitation. This is 
hard to do on an email discussion list, but we will try.

There are a few NWU folks who have been active on this issue who I don't
think have yet subscribed to this list and I will try to round them up.
But to get things started, here is an excerpt from the attached American
Writer article:


While a full strategy has not been developed, a number of strategic
perspectives have guided BizTech work on the offshoring issue to date:

- The NWU does not see foreign workers as enemies, but rather as
potential allies in opposing the prerogatives of multinational
corporations. An improvement in the economic and working conditions of
our foreign counterparts would be to our mutual advantage.

- Political opposition to offshoring can slow it or soften its impact.
Some seek to ban off-shoring and others want to make it prohibitively
expensive. This could be done through legislation that forces offshoring
companies to pay the social costs of those whose work is being shipped
abroad. Other approaches focus on removing tax incentives for
offshoring, highlighting the risks to security or personal privacy in
work being done abroad, or calling on the U.S. government to stimulate a
competitive tech industry in the U.S.

- The NWU can't fight the impact of offshoring alone. Any campaign
should include alliances with other groups concerned about the issue.
The CWA has been quite outspoken, as have other unions and workers
organizations, and various privacy groups and think-tanks are taking up
the issue.

- Any work the NWU does on the offshoring issue should have an
educational component providing information about offshoring and how it
affects writers in particular, and incorporating ways to bring that
information to the attention of other writers outside the union.


Hope to hear your thoughts...

Al Weinrub
(Bay Area)

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