Radical media, politics and culture.


U.S. Labor Is in Retreat as Global Forces Squeeze Pay and Benefits

David Streitfeld,
LA Times

Workers at auto parts maker Delphi Corp. will be asked this week to take a two-thirds pay cut. It's one of the most drastic wage concessions ever sought from unionized employees.

Workers at General Motors Corp., meanwhile, tentatively agreed on Monday to absorb billions of dollars in healthcare costs. Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler employees are certain to face similar demands.

The forces affecting Delphi and GM workers are extreme versions of what's occurring across the American labor market, where such economic risks as unemployment and health costs once broadly shared by business and government are being shifted directly onto the backs of American working families.

Forty-Three Percent of U.S. Workers Called in Sick With Fake Excuses in the Last 12 Months

An annual survey of absenteeism at the office revealed an increase in the number of workers who have called in sick with bogus excuses. Forty-three percent of workers said they called in sick when they felt well at least once during the last year, up from 35 percent in the 2004 survey. The survey also revealed that some hiring managers were less tolerant of workers playing hooky with 23 percent stating they had fired an employee for missing work without a legitimate reason.

The CareerBuilder.com survey, "Out of the Office 2005," was conducted from August 10 to August 22, 2005 of more than 2,450 workers, including 875 hiring managers.

Peter Waterman writes:

"AFL-CIO and the White Man's Burden"

Peter Waterman

[Originally written in 2002 but unpublished at that time, this piece seems to me to have again become relevant in the light of the AFL-CIO's last (latest?) convention. Here its international relations came to be challenged on a national stage for the first time. Not for the last time. The 'boxes' referred to in the text have disappeared in the transmogrification from Word to this site. Interested readers or publishers can obtain the orginal from me. PW. September 1, 2005]


Kim Scipes, a former trade unionist now living in Chicago, has been campaigning over the last years for an opening of the books on the international policy of the 'old' AFL-CIO, with respect to the Pinochet coup in Chile, 1973. Now he is questioning the policy of the 'new' AFL-CIO with respect to the attempted coup in Venezuela and, most-recently, to Cuba. (Scipes 2000, 2002a, b).

In response to such challenges, Stan Gacek, a leading International Department officer, issued a public response which later appeared on the AFL-CIO website (AFL-CIO 2002). The speed of this response, and its reproduction on the website is, in my experience, an innovation. But, apparently, an innovation of restricted application. In a further reply to Scipes on the Cuba funding, which has not been publicly circulated, Gacek declared that

'In response to…your e-mails, you should know that the Solidarity Center is NOT receiving any funding under the USAID/Cuba Program of May, 2002.' (Forwarded email, June 26, 2002)

Puzzled by this odd formulation, and wondering whether Kim might have maybe made a loose accusation, I re-read his email but then realized that the problem was not a loose accusation but, rather, a tight answer – a legalistic formulation which did not address the substance of Kim Scipes' question — or even the detailed US state funding data Kim had provided!

76 Arrested Protesting N.Y.U. Cutoff of Student Union

Karen W. Arenson

The president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the secretary-treasurer of the
United Auto Workers and a state senator were among nearly 80 people
who were arrested yesterday during a protest of New York University's
decision to end dealings with a union of graduate student teaching and
research assistants.

The protesters linked arms and sat down in front of the university's
Bobst Library, despite warnings from the police that they would be
charged with disorderly conduct.

Anonymous Comrade writes
A death in the family...
but we carry on.

On August 7, 2005, Walmart LP (Loss Prevention) workers in suburban Houston killed Stacy Driver who left the store without paying for diapers.

This is not a shock. It is the logical result of a massive illogical conspiracy to profit from our needs (and desires). We only have to look back to the 1992 L.A. riots to see when the system, in an immense social crisis, was forced to reveal its brutal, property-first ideology as police shot dozens of unarmed looters on sight. In these quieter times, a dead shoplifter here and there can be passed off as an accident. We are hardly fooled.

hydrarchist writes....The SEIU split from the AFL-CIO to establish the Change To Win group during June raised surprisingly little discussion on left radical sites. Below you'll find an article written by a trade unionist in Oregon with a very polemical and ideological tone. I post the link to the full article on Anarkismo here because it attracted interesting comments (attached to the article) from libertarians active within trade unionism in the US, which are more nuanced and articulate the problematic in more practical terms. Given that there are important similar discussions taking place in Europe, Australia etc in relation to precarity/casualization and biopolitical organization, this piece is germane to both contexts.

The future of the USA Labor Movement

Patrick Star, Northwest Anarchist Federation

The proposal for restructuring the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organization

This decline in union membership across the USA is being felt through the decline of the standard of living. Wages have not kept up with the increased cost of living. There is a crisis in the labor movement and workers are going to have to devise strategies that will lay the foundations for the eventual upsurge in organizing at work.

100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE WOBBLIES: A New York City IWW Centenary Celebration

The hundredth anniversary of the Industrial Workers of the World will be celebrated by artists, historians, musicians and today's Wobbly activists. The event will feature performances, talks and a slide show commemorating the Wobblies role in Labor history.


DANIEL GROSS (Starbucks Workers Union, IWW)

PAUL BUHLE (historian; Senior Lecturer, Browne University; co-editor of 'Wobblies! A Graphic History')

HENRY FONER (Labor activist, musician, historian)

JOHN PIETARO (protest musician, Labor organizer, writer)

PETER KUPER (artist)

NICOLE SCHULMAN (artist, activist; co-editor of 'Wobblies! A Graphic History')

SABRINA JONES (illustrator)

SETH TOBOCMAN (comic book artist)

This event will also be the official release party of the new CD 'I DREAMED I HEARD JOE HILL LAST NIGHT...A CENTURY OF IWW SONG' by John Pietaro & The Flames of Discontent



365 5th AVENUE (at 34th St), NYC


for more info call 212-817-8215 or write to continuinged@gc.cuny.edu website: http://web.gc.cuny.edu

Fire the Boss! !Echan los Patrones! (español abajo)

Recuperated Factory Workers and Unemployed Worker Movements in Argentina come to share experiences with workers in North America.

From November 6 to the 18th, 2005 members of Argentina’s Recuperated Factories Movement and Unemployed Workers’ Movement (piqueteros) will tour North America speaking with local unions, independent workers’ organizations, day laborers, community organizations, and students.
Workers from Argentina and North America will share their
experiences on
the shop floor, in their communities, and in the streets. We hope to
create a space where we can learn from each others struggles, find
ground, and forge strategies for building international solidarity.

Chaos as BA flights grounded

Mark Milner and Mark Honigsbaum

Friday August 12, 2005

The Guardian

Thousands of passengers, many of them holidaymakers, saw their travel plans thrown into chaos yesterday after a walkout by British Airways baggage handlers and loading staff at Heathrow.

Five other companies - Sri Lankan Airlines, Finnair, GB Airlines, British Mediterranean Airlines and Qantas - suffered delays because they are serviced by BA ground staff. The action came at one of the busiest times of the year with BA running 550 flights a day in or out of Heathrow.

About 1,000 baggage handlers and loaders took unofficial action in support of workers at catering company Gate Gourmet who were sacked in a row over working practices. Terminals 1 and 4, those most used by BA, were the worst hit.

BA was forced to ground more than 100 short and long haul flights while a number of inbound flights were diverted to other airports. Thousands of passengers were stranded overseas by the chaos, which looks set to continue today. The airline said last night it had cancelled all flights into and out of Heathrow until at least 6pm tonight, affecting up to 70,000 passengers.

"Info-Labour and Precarisation"

Franco Berardi (Bifo), Generation online,

"We have no future because our present is too volatile. The only possibility that
remains is the management of risk. The spinning top of the scenarios of the present
moment." — W. Gibson: Pattern recognition, tr. It. L'accademia dei sogni

In February 2003 the American journalist Bob Herbert published in the New York
the results of a cognitive survey on a sample of hundreds of unemployed
youths in Chicago: none of their interviewees expected to find work the next few
years, none of them expected to be able to rebel, or to set off large scale
collective change. The general sense of the interviews was a sentiment of profound
impotence. The perception of decline did not seem focused on politics, but on a
deeper cause, the scenario of a social and psychical involution that seems to
cancel every possibility of building alternatives.

The fragmentation of the present time is reversed in the implosion of the future.


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