WASHINGTON — Messages like Gail Keen’s e-mail to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) are signs of grassroots fightback against a menacing extremist agenda pushed by President Bush and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. It includes the fight to block Bush’s nomination of John Bolton as UN ambassador and a looming battle against the Republicans’ drive — via the so-called nuclear option — to pack the judiciary with ultra-rightists by ending the Senate’s filibuster rule.
In an unpublished memoir, Jim West, a lifelong Communist Party organizer, wrote that he “was prepared to go wherever the Party or YCL thought I might be helpful … I had decided to dedicate my life to working for the ideal of socialism.”
Action movie star Jackie Chan has called for a global landmine ban at the start of a three-day visit to Cambodia. Chan, who is scouting locations in the country to make a film on the subject, said, “I have to stop them. They are hurting so many children.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Legendary gospel singers are voicing their support for a greener planet Earth. Not since the recording of “We Are the World” 20 years ago has the music industry come together for such a global issue.
The 32nd Constitutional Convention of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) two weeks ago came at a critical time for the union and the labor movement. With 50 steel companies in bankruptcy in the last few years, times have been tough. Jobs have been lost. Contracts have been shattered. Pensions and health care have been lost or sharply cut for thousands of retired steelworkers.
With the complex internal discussion occupying the entire labor movement today, I can’t help but add another dimension to the conversation. Within the AFL-CIO, many constituency groups are valiantly fighting for the interests of women, people of color, same-gender loving and other historically underrepresented workers … and are doing it so that these voices won’t be muted in the inevitable reorganization of organized labor. After all, nearly 30 percent of union workers are people of color, according to an article by Dwight Kirk in Black Commentator, and women now make up 42 percent of union membership. These workers clearly have much at stake as so many of them have lost their stable union jobs.
With the tide turning on some issues, it’s time to step up the struggle for peace abroad and civil liberties at home. Two Bush administration priorities gravely threatening these core values are the USA Patriot Act and the drive to develop new nuclear weapons.
The battle for time; May Day: Made in the USA; Chicago labor reclaims May Day
Citing worker and consumer safety concerns, the nation’s largest industrial union, United Steelworkers (USW), announced that it has launched an inquiry into the use of a Teflon-related chemical by hundreds of food packaging and other paper manufacturers across the country.
Workers Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance, held on April 28, the day the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970. That day, people gather in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and more than 29 countries worldwide to honor those who have lost their lives as a result of work-related injuries or illnesses.