Labor Advocate Online

KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, October 3, 2004
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org

Hotel Battle Engaged
The first skirmishes in hotel labor struggles began last week in San Francisco. To get bosses off the dime UNITE HERE called a two-week strike at four hotels. Employers promptly locked out the union at ten other establishments. Strike watches have been declared for nine Los Angeles hotels and fourteen in Washington, DC.

‘Nobody’s Talking About Leaving–We’re Talking About Winning’
That was the sound byte I heard on National Pentagon Radio being gushed by the "peace candidate." The junior Senator from Massachusetts was feeling pretty cocky after focus groups proclaimed him the winner of the big high level "debate" Thursday night. Clearly whether Mr Flip-Flop or Mr Flop emerges victorious we can look forward to protracted war/occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq as the next President searches for victory for corporate interests.

Brighton Looked A Lot Like Boston
The British New Labour Party held its annual conference in Brighton last week. While Margaret, whoops, excuse me, make that Tony Blair may be Bush’s junior partner in globalization he turns to another American model for running his party. Like the Democrat conclave in Boston the big majority of Labour delegates were staunch opponents of the Iraq war. They even embarrassed their leader by forcing an agenda point on the issue.

But, like their American counterparts, the top trade union officials are scared to death of a return of the Tories. Four unions control about forty percent of conference votes. Showing more spunk than their American cousins they extracted some "left" concessions from Blair including a call for re-nationalization of the railroads and a government pledge to try to save jobs at a Jaguar plant being closed by Ford. In exchange, the unions helped trounce the antiwar resolution, instead crafting a statement calling for British withdrawal only if a democratically elected Iraqi government asks them to leave.

‘Has Secretary Norton decided to declare war on the Indians in this litigation?’
The question was asked by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth. After officials in the Interior Department discussed cutting off federal checks to American Indians suing the government, Indian lawyers asked for an emergency hearing before the judge.

The department sent out the correspondence Thursday, a day after Lamberth ordered Interior to keep the Indians informed anytime it tries to sell or exchange their lands or other assets. That the department might have used one of his orders to justify stopping the payments drew an angry response from Lamberth.

"To stop them, and to say you're doing it because of my order, is a flat-out lie. A lie!" he bristled. "I've never said stop any checks. It's Interior that does that and blames it on the court."

Russians Push Over Threshold
Just when it looked like the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses would go the way of the Equal Rights Amendment it got a reprieve from an unlikely hero–Russia. Especially since their conversion to capitalism, Russia is not noted for its green outlook. But, for whatever political reasons, Putin’s signing on to Kyoto shakes things up. After his Duma’s expected approval, the Kyoto treaty will take effect 90 days later in 126 countries, including the European Union, Japan and Canada. Under its terms, the 33 industrial countries that have signed will have to cut emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent between 2008 and 2012, compared with 1990 levels.

Another Bush bluff has been called. One of W’s earliest actions was withdrawal of Kyoto from Senate consideration. Not a single regulation to comply with Kyoto has even been considered during this administration. He was confident that this mission too was accomplished. Now American bosses, operating in isolation from the rest of the industrialized world, are getting nervous.

As a matter of fact Kyoto is certainly too little, too late. Much more aggressive policies are required to lessen human impact on global warming. Nevertheless, we are certainly better off building on this modest commitment to do something than having to completely reinvent the wheel at a later date.

As a spokesman for Greenpeace put it: "As the Earth is battered by increasing storms, floods and droughts, President Putin has brought us to a pivotal point in human history today. The Bush administration is out in the cold and the rest of the world's governments can move forward as one to start tackling climate change, the greatest threat to civilization the world has ever seen."

Our Budget Status
A couple of weeks ago we sent out an e-mail appeal, A Report, Some Plans and a Plea. I want to thank those of you who responded. With the help received so far we can maintain the site at its present level for the time being. We also received enough to cover travel expenses to be able to report on US Labor Against the War, and Labor Party leadership meetings coming up in December.

Unfortunately, we are still short of what we would need to cover the Million Worker March, coming up October 17 in Washington, or to launch our envisioned Internet radio project. If you can help you’ll find PayPal donation and subscription buttons on the KC Labor home and news pages.

Coming Up Soon…
An Open Letter to Margaret Kimberley, of the Black Commentator, concerning her article about the November 3 Movement.

An article about the Kansas City area Bistate Tax ballot issue.

Coming Up Later…
KC Labor is sponsoring a forum on the meaning of the election to working people. It will be held Saturday, November 6, 1PM, tentatively scheduled at the Westport Library, 118 Westport Road, Kansas City–more details posted soon.

We are still working on our project comparing worker and democratic rights in the USA and Canada.

As usual, much of the material in this Week In Review is based on stories posted on the Daily Labor News Digest.

If you want to regularly receive the Week In Review by e-mail send a message with "subscribe" in the subject line to: list@kclabor.org.

That’s all for this week.

Regards to all