[biztech-discussion] collective action/trade

  • From: "Samantha Clark" <sclark.abq@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 08:32:50 -0700

The national leadership of the large unions like the UAW, and of course the
AFL-CIO, have been hard at work on the issues of trade and jobs going
overseas for a long time.

At last year's trade talks in Miami unions had a strong showing of protest,
and are still protesting the violent way the Miami police handled their
members. The treatment of non-union, unorganized protestors was even worse.
I've heard stories of the "direct action" non-violent free trade protesters
being sprayed with gas, not necessarily tear gas, being shot by rubber
bullets, being clubbed, being stung by "phasers" now in the shields of Miami
riot police, and even being blocked from using the potra-potties. Some young
people were there from Albuquerque. One woman still couldn't describe what
it was like to see her fellow protester get his ear shot off by police
during the trade talks.

I suppose this is a long way of saying there's an entire organized movement
out there already. We don't seem to have started formal discussion of NWU's
possible campaign. But I would like see us figure out how to build on what's
already happening instead of trying to start a campaign from scratch. It
would be a full time job just to stay on top of what's already happening and
getting NWU invited to participate. Plus, we have a vast resource of
media-savvy members that could help publicize what's already going on.

The talk I heard in Albuquerque about the Miami free trade protests was
good, but the speakers could have used some help in fine-tuning their
messages to get media coverage. I think working with other groups,
especially unions, getting their message out is important. So often most
unions rely on their national PR dept instead of approaching the media
themselves. The AFL-CIO is particularly bad about this.

Last fall I gave a media training workshop at the South Carolina AFL-CIO
state convention at the invitation of their president. It was quite well
received by the rank and file members. Some folks told me later they felt
empowered by the knowledge an ordinary person can get on TV or in the paper.
They just didn't know how to go about it.

I would ask us to think about our unique skills as a union that we can bring
to the existing movement. What can we do that other unions can't very


> Should we sign online petitions, start email campaigns, have a slew of
union leaders descend on the White House?  It's time for a "collective
action", I think - way overdue, in fact, but what?
> As always, I welcome any comments or attempts to educate me if I've
misstated or misinterpreted - I hate this feeling of being on a runaway
> Terry
> All For The Birds
> www.allforthebirds.com

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