Labor Advocate Online

KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, April 9, 2005
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by Bill Onasch, webmaster,

Road Trip Recharged Batteries
We missed doing last week’s review column, and a few days of updating the Daily Labor News Digest, because we were on the road. I was invited to observe the founding convention of Youth for Socialist Action (YSA), held in Minneapolis. I’m glad I was able to make it.

Largely based in the Upper Midwest, this serious group of college and high school students, and young workers, mostly from working class or family farm backgrounds, came together to address the war, the environmental crisis, sexism, racism, and the other great questions not being answered by the boss parties.

It was refreshing and inspiring to again see young people beginning to mobilize around working class principles. Our unions–and the Labor Party–need to do much more to reach out to such youth who represent our future. We wish the YSA all the best.

KC Conference Getting Wide Response
Activists from California, Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois have confirmed they will be attending The Future Of American Labor conference in Kansas City April 22-23. If you haven’t yet registered please do so now to assist the planners in their preparations.

Nurses Union Brings Six Credit Continuing Education to KC
The National Nurses Organizing Committee, an arm of the California Nurses Association, has been presenting a CE class on Collective Patient Advocacy: Strategies to Promote a Single Standard for Safe Patient Care in cities around the country. They’re coming to Kansas City April 15. CNA, an early Labor Party
affiliate, led the fight to obtain California’s exemplary nurse/patient ratio law–and have been fighting even harder to defend it from attacks by Governor Terminator. They are also, of course, interested in organizing nurses everywhere.

Heartland Labor Forum Now On Internet Radio
Heartland Labor Forum, a Thursday evening fixture on KKFI for more than a decade, is now being re-broadcast on the Internet through Radio Labourstart.

A May Day Program We Can All Agree On
Kansas City Labor Party expects there will be enthusiastic unity around the core program of its May Day celebration–brats (or veg alternative), beans, and beverage. It’s a picnic to mark the traditional worker holiday that is a big event in most parts of the world but long neglected in the USA. Check out the details by clicking here.

Iraq’s Hungry Kids
While we celebrate with a picnic we will also rededicate ourselves to solidarity with fellow workers around the world who don’t get enough to eat. One group that we should take special notice of is the children of Iraq. Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food, recently reported that serious, chronic malnutrition among those under the age of five has nearly doubled during the U.S. occupation. Of course the main reason for high pre-invasion levels of hunger was the UN sanctions against Iraq enforced by Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Another reason for redoubling efforts against this war.

Can USLAW Regroup, Restart the Antiwar Movement?
In our last column we commented on the sad state of affairs in the U.S. movement against the Iraq war. The movement has been plagued with sectarian divisions and has retreated from a mass action perspective. Recently the Leadership Council of
US Labor Against the War unanimously approved signing on to a call for a mass national demonstration this Fall and will attempt to jump-start a unity committee to build the action. This decision was in response to appeals by the Ohio State Labor Party and the Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition, along the line of an earlier statement by the Ohio LP.

An Unhealthy Situation In Missouri
Despite strong protests from labor and health care advocates the Missouri General Assembly has finalized draconian cuts in Medicaid expected to totally eliminate this safety net for 100,000, and sharply raise out-of-pocket expenses for those still covered. The majority of those affected are children, elderly, or disabled.

Community health care clinics and emergency paramedic services, facing elimination as a result of budget shifts by City Hall, were saved from extinction only by voter approval of a dedicated 22-cent levy on Kansas City property taxes.

A new state worker comp law going in to effect in August will eliminate repetitive motion and most other incremental injury and disease claims.

My home state now qualifies for prime poster child for the Just Health Care campaign.

That’s all for this week.