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(en) Canada, Ontario, Strike! Vol.1, Issue #4 October 2005 anarchist news and commentary

Date Wed, 05 Oct 2005 10:27:43 +0200


Contents:
Roadkill! Big 3 Auto Runs Over CAW
Hunger Strikers at Metro West Detention Centre
Air Rail Link P3: War Pigs Profit of Public
IGA Grocery Store Workers Locked Out
McMaster - Union Busting University
Three Cheers for Engineers at Hydro One
Fundraiser for Jeffrey Reodica Memorial
Pickets Get the Goods: Amato's Pizza cuts a cheque!

Roadkill! Big 3 Runs Over CAW by Jeff Shantz

Generally speaking, you might expect any union executive wrapping up
negotiations that will see the loss of around 3500 members to be feeling
as though things had gone dreadfully wrong. Yet there was Canadian Auto
Workers (CAW) leader Buzz Hargrove announcing the loss of almost 1500 GM
jobs (following losses of 1100 at Ford and at least 1000 at
Daimler-Chrysler) by claiming: “I’m absolutely elated.”

The Ford deal will have a devastating impact on Windsor which will see the
closing of a casting plant and reductions at the city’s engine plant,
while St. Catharines too will suffer another severe blow with over 700
jobs lost from parts operations. The CAW exec has tried to soften the blow
of the Chrysler cuts by once again delivering the tantalizing promise of a
$575 million paint shop in Windsor. The paint shop was used by the union
to sell the previous agreement with Chrysler which left hundreds of
members on regular layoff. Yet as residents of Windsor know the shop was
built and then dismantled without a single autoworker stepping inside the
place.

Hargrove has built his reputation on a supposed refusal to negotiate
concession contracts and perhaps the 0.9% wage increase Ford workers will
be looking at in the last two years of their contract will allow him to
cynically continue that claim. Yet as CAW members in Windsor have related
to Strike these latest contracts continue a long line of union losses that
have left in their wake job cuts, layoffs, health and safety atrocities
and increased company surveillance and disciplining of workers.

These same rank-and-filers suggest this flows from the entrenched business
unionism of a CAW leadership in auto that sees itself as fixers for the
missteps of company management. The watchword is ‘working together to find
solutions for improving production efficiency’ (as if this is a union’s
job). “There’s a good mood,” Hargrove said. “People know the union, and
the company, by the way, have done an excellent job in terms of dealing
with what was a very difficult situation.”

While some might think that such cuts would be cause for a strike it
should be remembered that there hasn’t been a strike against any of the
Big Three in nine years (almost 20 years for Chrysler). For many
rank-and-filers there’s a sense that that weapon has been permanently
retired (“Partners” don’t strike ‘partners’ after all).

“Instead of solely resisting change, we’ve put the focus on managing
change in a compassionate way.” So I guess the 3500 folks who will soon be
former autoworkers --and their families and communities-- can consider
this a big ol’ hug from Buzz.
--------------------------------------------------

Hunger Strikers at Metro West Detention Centre
by Mac Scott

Recently, a lot of attention has been centered on the issue of security
certificates since two men, Mohammad Mahjoub and Hassan Almrei being
detained based on these certificates held hunger strikes demanding such
radical things as being able to see their families and receive proper
medical care.

Though it seemed as if the state was prepared to let them die, both men
ended their hunger strikes feeling optimistic, Hassan naming the huge
popular support as his main motivation for ending, while Mohammad ended
after finally receiving assurances that he would receive proper care for
hepatitis C which he contracted in jail.

Neither of these men has had nor ever will have a trial nor a chance to
defend themselves. Neither has been able to see the evidence being used to
justify their detention, neither has been convicted of a crime. Both can
potentially be held forever in the name of national security. And they’ve
not even been allowed contact visits with their children.

They’re being held under orders of a “security certificate” issued in the
name of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of
the Border Protection Services Agency where they feel a person is a threat
to national security. The certificates are issued and then reviewed in
Federal Court, where the judge sees all evidence, but any evidence deemed
to be dangerous to national security if revealed is withheld from the
person who the certificate is issued against and their counsel.

This is in an era when the capitalist empire is consolidating power
through military might in Iraq, Haiti, Afghanistan and other areas. At the
same time, they are militarizing the borders as right wing militias hunt
so-called “illegal” immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico
or Canada. These racist “Minutemen” are even planning to patrol Vermont!
As capital stops the movement of poor people and working people around the
world, they increasingly impose draconian conditions on workers and the
poor here. As they attack people of colour and Muslim people in other
parts of the world to justify their military expenditures and to
consolidate their hold on the middle east, they need to vilify the same
populations here.

If we are to build a better world, we need to build a world where poor and
working people can decide where they want to live not states and large
corporations. If you want to get involved with the fight to stop
detentions, deportations and security certificates contact: No One Is
Illegal [nooneisillegal@riseup.net], or the Campaign to Stop the Secret
Trials [tasc@web.ca].
--------------------------------------------------

Air Rail Link P3: War Pigs Profit off Public
by PJ Lilley

You’d think with the high gas prices these days that politicians might
start to consider working families will increasingly need better public
transit options. This makes sense to us, and when we heard the GO Train
might expand and improve service to our neighborhood, we were initially
pretty excited.

Then we discovered that the Liberals (Federal and Provincial governments)
and GO Transit are moving along quickly with their proposal to use public
money to build a high speed rail link that will be privately owned and
operated. According to the plans, it won’t even stop in our area, AND
it’ll cost a person $20 one way to breeze through here from downtown out
to the airport.

A subsidiary of SNC Lavalin won the P3 deal (public-private-partnership)
which would route along some existing GO train tracks. The ‘Blue 22’ is
the proposed private train, connecting the downtown with the airport,
exclusively for business travelers. In the neighborhoods of Weston, Mount
Denis, and the Junction, many people are concerned about the environmental
damage wrought by the new routings, the speed and number of trains — which
won’t service these areas – and of course, the desperate lack of public
study or debate on the plan.

Besides the controversial Highway 407 (which is by now widely considered
to have been a huge public rip-off), SNC Lavalin has its snout in several
other public money troughs. In Vancouver, it’s won a bid for another
Air-Rail Link between Richmond and Vancouver airport worth millions.

Transit isn’t SNC’s only interest however. This huge multinational is also
a major war profiteer, part of a consortium selling bullets made in Canada
to the US military, (as well as local cops and 70% of all Canadian armed
forces ammunition.) These bullets are used in Iraq - bullets that are
killing and wounding thousands of innocent people. The US-led invasion and
occupation of Iraq has already killed more than 100,000 civilians and
continues to destroy Iraqi lives. SNC’s International arm also has several
highly profitable contracts with direct interests in the occupations of
Haiti, Afghanistan and Palestine. And, of course, SNC is one of the
federal Liberal Party’s top 10 donors, so clearly, the push for
“public-private partnerships” is really working for them.

But where does that leave the rest of us? We are stuck between the price
gouging at the gas pumps and the rising costs of the slow bus service —
which takes us over an hour just to get downtown when the train can do it
in 11 minutes. We want to see the end of the war and occupations and all
the profiteering that comes along with it. And, we want eco-friendly,
non-profit, public transportation systems accessible to working families!
For more info, or to back the petition to Labour Council against BLUE 22,
go to http://www.westoncommunitycoalition.ca
--------------------------------------------------

Grocery Store Workers Lock Out

TORONTO - 90 unionized employees represented by Local 175 of the United
Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) have been locked out since August 25th.
This IGA at Runnymede and Dundas St. West has been a staple in the
neighbourhood for the past three decades. The store has now been closed
for over a month with only security guards remaining on duty stationed at
the front doors, making it very difficult for many seniors in the area to
get their groceries.

“They’re trying to take everything away from us. . . things we’ve
negotiated for over the years,” says Negotiating Committee member Sandra
MacEachern.

The scrooge-like employer wants to reduce pensions, eliminate paid sick
days, cut the daily rest period to one half-hour unpaid break, reduce
vacation time and weaken union seniority. The company is also demanding
that workers now pay half the cost of their uniforms – and is refusing to
grant even minimal wage increases.

“The employer wants to gut the collective agreement,” says union
representative Linval Dixon. “And that’s clearly unacceptable to these men
and women who work hard to support themselves and their families. They’re
prepared to fight for a good contract, and the Union will support them for
as long as it takes.” Workers at a number of other Sobeys-owned stores in
the GTA have been forced out to the picket line before achieving fair
contracts.
--------------------------------------------------

McMaster- Union Busting University
by Wesley Morgan

HAMILTON - Casual custodians at McMaster University hit the picket lines
Thursday, September 29th, fighting for a first contract and their jobs.
Earlier this year, the administration attempted to force through major
concessions in bargaining with the SEIU local representing full-time
custodial staff, resulting in an overwhelming strike vote. The university
administration backed off of concessions in bargaining with the full-time
workers; but when the part-time custodial staff organized with SEIU, the
administration attempted to break the back of this new local, representing
the most marginalized group of workers on campus. Just before the
certification vote, the administration fired the entire group, who then
voted unanimously to unionize with SEIU. While it has since officially
reinstated these workers, the university has contracted out their jobs,
refusing to schedule the majority of these workers, who have not been paid
in months.
--------------------------------------------------

3 Cheers for the Engineers

Hydro One had many concessionary demands, but most important was their
insistence on a discriminatory, separate and inferior wage - benefit
programme for all new hires. It would have left an entire generation, for
their full working lives, earning 20% less in wages and 50% less in
benefit and pensions. This proposal was designed to save money by
literally taking it away from all new employees without regard for their
qualifications, experience or their performance on the job. The fact that
the new generation of engineers is more and more multicultural and
includes more women also seemed irrelevant to Hydro One.

Hydro One made three strategic errors. They forgot they were a publicly
owned company subject to political control. They counted on workers
endorsing a discriminatory proposal because it would not affect their own
paycheques and they believed the Society of Energy Professionals/IFPTE was
outside the mainstream of the labour movement and could therefore be
easily isolated and beaten. They were wrong on all three counts.

<http://www.fairnessforh1professionals.com/news/striker.html>

Here is an excerpt from a poem by a member of the Society of Engineers who
just won their 105-day ‘solidarity’ strike against Hydro One...

Cast off that white collar, we’re no longer chained.
Chained to our desks we haven’t complained.
Worked through our breaks to make the deadline,
the thanks that we got was a trip to the line.
Backed into a corner we had no choice,
The only way out was to fight with our voice.
We stuck to the high road, we would not succumb,
to the gutter tactics of those management scum.
We didn’t back down and we didn’t cave in.
Through the waves of emotion the verdict came in.
Fought for the future, fought for what’s right.
Victory is ours lets dance through the night.
Mike DuBroy Sept. 14,2005

--------------------------------------------------
Pickets Get the Goods: Amato's Pizza Cuts a Cheque

Amato owners felt the pressure of pickets (including a spirited one on
Labour Day co-organized by Punching Out), phone calls that jammed the
delivery line, and letters demanding that they pay up. Finally they agreed
to pay Michelle’s owed back wages with certified cheques. September saw
one, yet still one to go. Failure to pay the second cheque will be met by
a lively picket.

But what about other Amato workers?

Employers can break the law without consequence because labour laws are
not enforced. The Workers Action Centre is going after bosses like Amato!
They're also pressing the Ministry of Labour to enforce basic employment
standards and penalize bad bosses.

For more info: contact Mary at 416-531-2411 ext. 246 or
[gellatlm@lao.on.ca]

-------------------------------------
Strike! anarchist news and commentary

a publication of: Punching Out, an autonomous member collective of NEFAC:
Northeastern Federation of Anarchist-Communists an organization of
revolutionaries comingfrom different movements of resistance who identify
with the communist tradition within anarchism. The federation's activities
are organized around theoretical development, anarchist propaganda, and
intervention in the struggle of our class, be it autonomously or by direct
involvement in social movements.
-------------------------------------

Help distribute and write for Strike!

Strike! is distributed in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Guelph, Belleville,
Sudbury, Peterbourgh, and other parts of Ontario.

We want to expand where the newsletter is distributed, as well as gain
anarchist writers from across of Ontario to write on local, provincial,
and national issues.

If you're interested in helping distribute Strike! please contact us.

We try to focus our coverage on Labour, Community, and anti-border
struggles from an anarchist-communist perspective. We print both hard news
reports as well as opinion pieces.

For length we're looking for articles of roughly 250 words or less.

Please contact us in advance if you're interested in writing an article as
space in the newsletter is limited.

We are also seeking artists who would be able to draw topical editorial
cartoons for publication.

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to be able to pay our
contributors.

For distribution, we produce and upload Strike! as a 4-page pdf file which
can be downloaded, printed out, and photocopied for distribution. Due to
our limited time and funds this is the best method to help distribute
Strike!

That said, we are willing to ship small quantities of the newsletter to
people to distribute - just send us your mailing address and we'll send
off a small bundle for you.

Any donations to help cover the cost of postage and printing would be
appreciated but not required.

We seek to have Strike! widely distributed in working class neighborhoods,
as well as on picket lines, at demonstrations, and among labor, community,
and other activists. We want Strike! to have as broad of an appeal and
distribution as possible.

Please contact us if you are interested,

Punching Out (Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists, Toronto)
P.O. Box 79538
1995 Weston Rd
Toronto, ON
M9N 3W9

email: punchingout@nefac.net
web: http://www.nefac.net


Download and distribute! http://www.nefac.net/files/october.pdf

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