July

You get what you pay for

The power of money, both in campaign contributions and in lobbying, made itself felt on two issues in the last few weeks as Congress “debated” providing prescription drugs under Medicare and putting some restraints on the use of stock options to mask their bottom line. In both instances success is measured more in terms of what Congress didn’t do than what it did do.

Enron hearing exposes big banks

Corporate corruption that has made headlines since Enron’s collapse took on a new dimension last week when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) found that two of the nation’s largest banks were involved in accounting schemes that allowed Enron to list loans as business income in its balance sheet.

AFL-CIO to Wall Street: No more business as usual

Call for Bush-Cheney probe George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney faced sharp new questions about their role in Enron-style corporate fraud as the stock market continued to plummet and WorldCom went belly-up July 22, the largest corporate bankruptcy in history.

Youth gear up for 2002 elections

Commentary All across the country youth are gearing up for the November elections. They are forming broad-based coalitions on campuses and working with community, religious and labor organizations to register students and young workers to vote.

Supreme Court backs OSHA scofflaw employers

A recent Supreme Court decision has given employers a free hand in excluding workers who may have a preexisting health condition. In this case the preexisting health condition would be one which might become worse given the chemicals that the employing company may be exposing workers to.

Janitors win with picket

ST. LOUIS – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 50 recently won another victory against Mitch Murch Maintenance Management (4M), a member of the Contract Cleaners Association (CCA). Local 50 has been in contract negotiations with CCA, an association of eight cleaning companies, since November 2001, and has targeted 4M because they are one of the largest janitorial employers in St. Louis. Local 50 represents 3,000

Laundry workers demand justice from BBJ

CHICAGO – “What’s disgusting? Union Busting! What’s outrageous? Sweatshop wages!” chanted 100 BBJ Linen workers and their supporters. The protesters were picketing at the main gate of the Lincoln Park Zoo July 12, while wealthy patrons in their finest sheepishly slipped from stretch limousines to attend the Annual Gala Ball.

International notes

Ecuador: Banana workers fight for union/Vietnam: Gov’t sets 2003 social & economic agenda/Burkina Faso: Thousands march vs. privatization/New Zealand: Unions say overwork hurts families/Cuba: Education a continuing priority

Wo-Chi-Ca book offers glimpse of camp

There have been a number of books published in recent years that have surveyed the role of the “Left” in the pre- and post-war periods – some in critical, anti-communist tones, and others, like Red Diapers, the collective memoir of children of Communists, in a more positive and rounded view.

FARC responds to terrorist designation

In a July 18 statement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) expressed great appreciation for the European Union’s role in the now-interrupted peace process between the FARC and the Colombian government, as well as profound regret that the EU has now excluded itself from the process through its recent listing of the FARC as a “terrorist” organization.

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