Last two paragraphs...any suggestions on how to get them to walk the walk on them; if so Sept. 2 - Dec. 3 could get real interesting...I got a call from a guy at local 751 asking for any boeing dirty laundry; offsets, OPIC info etc. he also asked me to pass on some info on the King County/WA state labor convention held last weekend regarding a crucial vote regarding the state's union members views on the WTO. Word is they sent the AFL-CIO reps. who came from DC, home with a real strong mesage. Apologies for length...
International Labor Rights The IAM believes governments and employers around the world should recognize and support the basic labor principals as defined by the International Labor Organization. These principals include freedom of association and the right to organize; the right to bargain collectively; prohibitions on forced labor; equality of opportunity; and minimum age for employment. The IAM comes to the aid of workers worldwide when these principals are violated or threatened.
Looking to the future, the greatest international challenge facing IAM members may come from the complex problems presented by China's integration into the global economy. The terms and conditions under which China enters the world trading order will directly affect hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers. In 1994, International Department Director Barbara Shailor represented the IAM on the First Trade Secretariat's Mission to China to extensively research developments in aerospace, steel and aircraft maintenance facilities.
The Twenty-first Century While free trade policies are being implemented around the globe, workers need to fight for fair trade policies that raise, not lower, labor standards and workers' wages. The International Department believes that IAM members should not have to choose between their jobs, degradation of the environment in which they live, ill conceived trade agreements or concessionary labor contracts.
Standards for workers are certainly as important as standards for capital. The conflict is not between free trade and protectionism. It is rather between a set of trading rules that benefit a few or rules that will allow the majority of the world's working citizens to share the benefits of global trade.
Copyright 1996, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
WA. STATE LABOR CONVENTION SEES STRONGEST RESOLUTION TO DATE ON SEATTLE WTO MINISTERIAL
CELEBRATE THE VICTORY!
Supporting Enforcement of Workers Rights Through the World Trade Organization/Resolution #38 Submitted by the King County Labor Council Executive Board on 8/16/99** Passed Unanimously With Amendments at the WA. State Labor Convention 8/21/99 (See below for some interesting background to how this resolution and its amendments got passed, including summaries of the floor discussion) ____________________________________________________________________ WHEREAS, workers in every nation are entitled to basic human rights such as a minimum age for child labor, freedom from forced or compulsory labor, a workplace free from discrimination, freedom of association and the right to join together and bargain collectively to balance the overwhelming power of global capital; and
WHEREAS, a global economy that fails to protect these basic rights, that fails to honor the values and lift the living standards of working men and women around the world, is a global economy that does not work for working people, and will not work at all; and
WHEREAS, trade laws should be used to empower workers, protect the environment and foster sustainable, equitable and broad-based development; and
WHEREAS, the current international trading system rewards corporations and governments that abuse workers' rights rather than reinforcing respect for human rights; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, support an overhaul of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to guarantee workers' basic rights and reverse the inequities in the current global economic system, ensuring that the benefits of global growth are shared by all; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that if the WTO does not begin making decisions favorable to the environment, food safety, and workers rights at the Seattle Ministerial, the WSLC will appeal to the national AFL-CIO to lobby Congress to withdraw the US from the WTO, unless and until such time as the WTO does begin to make such decisions; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC join the 700 labor, environmental, consumer and social justice organizations from 73 countries in a joint declaration to "oppose any efforts to expand the powers of the WTO"; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the WSLC shall engage in immediate and direct organizing efforts to mobilize the rank and file to impact the WTO by: 1) educating about the effects of free trade and WTO policies on labor rights, the environment and social programs; 2) supporting and encouraging the autonomous development of local plans and actions pertaining to the WTO, and 3) going on record in support of the planned day of action called for by the AFL-CIO on November 30, l999 and, to work with all affiliates to ensure maximum turn-out of labor for this most important event, including encouraging union offices to close to allow staff to attend. ___ Background: ** The KCLC Executive Board submitted a late resolution to the WSLC on Monday, August 16th, after delegates to the State Labor Convention expressed concern that no WTO -related resolution appeared in their pre-Convention packet of materials and resolutions.
The 2nd and 3rd resolves were added as amendments on the Convention Floor and approved in unanimous floor votes with no opposition.
The 4th resolve was amended with new language preceding point 3) which existed in the original resolution and was passed unanimously.
Summary of Floor Discussion:
Summary of 2nd Resolve: The track record of the WTO has been extremely detrimental to the environment, food safety and worker's rights. The Seattle Ministerial will see an expansion of the WTO's dragnet across sector lines. The same unelected corporate lobbyists and trade representatives who introduced NAFTA and the MAI - among other trade agreements - will be doing the negotiating at the Seattle Ministerial. This resolution asks the AFL to examine this fact more closely.
Summary of 3rd Resolve: The rationale for bringing this resolution forth was two-fold: 1) The AFL-CIO has been exceedingly slow in producing and distributing educational materials to locals and rank & file in the Puget Sound and Washington State, as well as nationally. The AFL only began mobilizing via its field mobilization department in late July. By early August, most unionists in the Seattle area were still unclear of just what they would be doing. At the State Convention's WTO Workshop, it was recommended that locals mobilize without seeking approval from the National AFL-CIO and be free to develop their own strategies and messages apart from the AFL's primary theme:"A Global Economy That Doesn't Work for Working People Doesn't Work".
Summary of 4th Resolve: There are over 700 - at last count - labor, environmental, consumer and social justice organizations that have jointly declared their opposition to any efforts to expand the WTO's powers. The rationale that saw this resolve pass with unanimous floor approval, was information learned from one of Canada's "free trade" experts, Ellen Gould. One of the things which the millennium round (November's Seattle Ministerial) will focus on, is opening up all services to foreign competition and trade. The entire public sector, as well as all services such as: medical and dental services, education, distribution, construction, engineering, financial services, banking and insurance, real estate, tourism and travel, hotels and restaurants, electronic technologies, environmental services, sewage disposal, water delivery, to mention but a few - will be open to "foreign" competition. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (the GATS), which will be negotiated in late November, is the first multilateral agreement of its kind to provide legally enforceable rights to trade in all services.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th amendments added to this resolution, rank it, by some accounts, as one of the most significant and strengthened resolutions that the Washington State Labor Convention has seen in some time. The "official" resolution will not be made available by the Washington State Labor Council in Seattle until early September.