austerity / labor / US Politics

As Anti-Worke​r Attacks Escalate, United Labor Fightback Needed More Than Ever!


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As Anti-Worke​r Attacks Escalate, United Labor Fightback Needed More Than Ever!

source: Labor Fightback Conference

The Labor Fightback Conference to be held May 10-12 at Rutgers University is only four weeks away. Trade unionists and community activists will convene to discuss and decide on the most effective strategy to counter the severe assaults against the working class majority and labor’s allies.

A special focus of the conference will be helping to organize the most massive opposition possible to prevent threatened cuts to safety net social programs, which includes the Obama administration’s call for cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Workshops at the Labor Fightback Conference in Rutgers will also address the fight to defend labor’s rights; building labor-community coalitions and mobilizing in thestreets; guaranteeing access to quality education, while opposing privatization; labor’s stake in organizing the South; immigrant rights: a working class approach to deportations, legalization, and a path to citizenship; redirecting war spending to meet human needs, while stopping unjust wars and occupations; and what it will take to make labor more effective in the political arena.

The workshops and the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning plenary sessions will provide lots of time for discussion and input from the floor.

Speakers for the Friday and Saturday night sessions include:

Brooks Sunkett, CWA Vice President for Public, Heathcare and Education Sectors

Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union (via Skype)

Kevin Gundlach, President, South Central Federation of Labor, Wisconsin

Ken Riley, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO, President, ILA Local 1422

Larry Hamm, Chairman of the New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress

Ashaki Binta, UE Field Representative

Nancy Wohlforth, Vice President, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

Diane Mohney, Board member, Philadelphia CLUW, retired school nurse, PFT (AFT Local 3)

Eduardo Rosario, Executive Board, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCAA), National Jobs for All Coalition

Carol Gay, President, New Jersey State Industrial Union Council

Dennis Serrette, Retired Education Director, CWA

Donna Dewitt, Retired President South Carolina AFL-CIO

Saladin Muhammad, Coordinator, Southern Workers Assembly; Black Workers for Justice

Charity Schmidt, Co-President, University of Wisconsin-Madison Teachers Assistants’ Association (TAA); Executive Board, South Central Federation of Labor, Wisconsin

Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)

Shanell Williams, President, Associated Students of City College of San Francisco, Ocean Campus

Dante Strobino, Speaking for the Poor People’s Campaign March

The New Jersey State Industrial Union Council Solidarity Singers will entertain

Early this year, labor organizations in Wisconsin and South Carolina issued an “Open Letter to Concerned Trade Unionists” urging attendance at the Rutgers conference. Since that appeal was posted, the situation facing the organized labor movement and the working class as a whole has gone from bad to worse.

The number of newly created jobs has plummeted to the lowest level in decades; the sequestration has gone into effect with disastrous consequences, especially for low-paid workers and the poor; teachers’ unions are under relentless attack, as is public education, while community schools are closing and the number of charter schools is expanding; as noted, the president is calling for cuts in Social Security and Medicare, despite a 2008 pledge during his election campaign not to do so, while the Republicans are demanding even more Draconian cuts; a “right-to-work (for less)” law was passed in Michigan, and anti-labor bills have been introduced in some two dozen other states; women’s right to choose is being decimated in state after state; and profit-hungry employers in the private sector continue to escalate their drive to cut wages and benefits, while using fewer workers to produce more.

The question is no longer which trade unionists are “concerned,” but rather are there any trade unionists who are not outraged by what is taking place?

This is a time to recall the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Justice” during which Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech before more than 250,000 civil rights supporters.

We warmly welcome the call by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the King Center for an August 24, 2013 March on Washington and applaud the AFL-CIO’s endorsement of this event. This will provide a much-needed occasion for a united labor movement, together with our allies and community partners, to join together to build this demonstration and to advance the goals of a full-employment economy, the eradication of poverty, an end to unjust wars and occupations — which King so vocally spoke out against — and other progressive measures, including defending and expanding our cherished safety net programs.

If you have not yet registered for the conference, we urge you to do so now. A registration form is attached.

A reminder: the lower rate for staying at the union hotel ($109 for a room, with that rate unchanged if more than one person occupies it) is guaranteed only until April 19. Call 866-609-4700 and designate “Group Attendance Code 207124” to get the reduced rate.

We look forward to seeing you in Rutgers on May 10-12.

— Issued by the Labor Fightback Conference. For further information, please call 973-944-8975 or email conference@laborfightback.org or write Labor Fightback Conference at PO Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836 or visit our website athttp://laborfightback.org/conference/

Contributions to offset the cost of organizing the conference would be greatly appreciated. Please send checks made payable to Labor Fightback Conference to the above PO Box or contribute online (see our website). Thanks!

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