Labor Advocate Online

KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, October 24, 2004
by Bill Onasch, webmaster,

Cruising For Health Care
Among recent Canadian news stories sent to us by our friend Rod in B.C. was one entitled, Come for the flu shot, stay for the beauty. Perhaps taking pity on their poor cousins south of the border, Clipper Navigation has put together a day cruise Seattle to Victoria package which, for 105 dollars, includes a flu shot. A company official says the "phones have been ringing off the hook."

Todayís Kansas City Star reports on an uninsured American in need of heart surgery who traveled to India for the operation beyond his means at home. His total cost, including round-trip airfare, was ten thousand dollarsĖabout five percent of the price here. Guess Indian doctors donít have to worry about junk lawsuits.

The Weirdest Election Ever Update
Ralph Naderís running mate, Peter Camejo, has asked that his name not appear with Naderís on the New York ballot line of the Independence Party. This right-wing flotsam fragment, recently taken over by a bizarre cult, the New Alliance Party, joined with the Reform Party, abandoned by H Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan, in endorsing Nader. Nader was happy that he could use their ballot access. The lonely rightists hope Nader will get enough votes to keep their line on the ballot. Democracy in action.

Socialist Worker, perhaps Naderís most energetic campaigners, condemned Naderís deals with the loony right as a "wrong turn." However, they continue to say, "The independent campaign of Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo represents the only significant and uncompromising left-wing alternative to the Washington status quo in Election 2004."

Russian Courts Put Pushy Guests In Their Place
Free enterprise recently took another giant leap forward in the former Soviet Union as judges in Omsk outlawed a labor union. Their basis for doing so was that most union members were "guest" workers from China. Being foreigners they were not entitled to the paper rights Russian citizens supposedly enjoy. There are 800,000 Chinese guests currently working in Russia. That such numbers of Chinese have chosen to immigrate to a country where millions have not been paid their wages for months also says something about the current situation in that other former workers stateĖand now "most favored nation" trading partner.

If Youíre Black, Drop Back
Probably no body was surprised that a study of the Wealth of Hispanic Households showed hard times for Latino working class families. Perhaps more shocking was this finding: "A similar picture emerges for Black households in recent years. The differences are that the net worth of Blacks is even less than that of Hispanic households and that it fell by more from 1999 to 2002. At the same time, the wealth of White households continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than before the recession."

The reason for this reversal of status for victims of discrimination is that millions of Blacks lost well paying union blue collar and public sector jobs that are now gone for good. Traditional Latino employment in service and agricultural sector jobs, though poorly paid and unpleasant work, are more stable.

The twin problems of discrimination and globalized economic restructuring mean a bleak future for both Black and Brown workers. While these challenges have been thoroughly studied and well documented they remain largely absent from the American political agenda. The working class as a whole needs to make these issues the concern of all.

Event Calendar
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Thatís all for this week.

Regards to all