Labor Advocate Online

KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, September 5, 2004
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org

Bloomberg Hates to See His Guests Go
A New York judge agreed with protester lawyers that New York City seemed determined to keep jailed demonstrators behind bars until after the Republicans were done with the GOP convention. After the city ignored earlier orders to release some 560 being held on minor charges Justice John Cataldo held the Big Apple administration in contempt of court and threatened a fine of a thousand dollars per detainee for each additional day of incarceration. All told more than 1800 arrests were made during the protests–including a Newsday photographer. Most were for "disorderly conduct," some for jaywalking. Nearly all such charges would generally be handled by issuing tickets.

New York Crime Wave Spreads to Kentucky
Seventeen coal miners were arrested by Lexington, Kentucky police for "congregating to obstruct a sidewalk," a violation punishable by up to 30 days in jail and fines of from $5 to $100. Unlike New York, however, all those arrested were released within 30 minutes on their own recognizance. The arrests grew out of a demonstration by several hundred angry miners protesting a bankruptcy court ruling that Horizon Natural Resources, the nation's fourth-largest coal company, does not have to abide by labor contracts protecting benefits for 1,000 active miners and about 2,300 retirees, including some sick from black lung disease.

Can’t Make This Stuff Up Department
Ever wonder how professional strikebreakers keep up on job openings? Well I discovered one way scabs in the nursing industry stay abreast of opportunities—they have a web site called scab.org.

Just A Bounce–Or A Coming Trounce?
The latest Time and Newsweek polls each show Bush leading Kerry by eleven points. This seems a lot more substantial than a post-convention "bounce." More like Reagan-Mondale or Bush the 41st-Dukakis. With mounting GI casualties in a war with no end in sight, and dismal economic news, you would think the guy who backed into the White House with fewer votes than his last opponent would be shaking in his tall Texas boots. But the man many call Bush Lite, and Flip-Flop, seems unable or unwilling to light a fire around the issues of most interest to those dissatisfied with the status quo. Instead of trying to convince the half of the population that seldom votes that they should turn out for change, Kerry focuses on the six percent of likely voters thought to be undecided. If labor’s "friends" continue their loser’s track record they won’t be able to blame it on Nader this time around.

Solidarity With Indonesian Workers
We pass along this appeal from Campaign For Labor Rights

The workers from PT Sarasa Nugraha in Indonesia are still struggling.  They have been without work since February, and though the Indonesia Government's Ministry of Manpower has ruled in their favor, factory management has done nothing.

 On April 29, the Ministry of Manpower issued a ruling that PT Sarasa must re-employ the fired workers and pay them their back wages since February.  This is good news for the workers, but unfortunately it hasn't been enforced yet, as management is refusing to recognize the decision.

In desperation, a number of workers have been protesting outside the Ministry of Manpower since August 18, asking the minister to do whatever is in his power to get PT Sarasa to respect the official ruling and their rights as workers.

After fourteen days of protesting, the workers need to know that their struggle is being supported around the world.  Write today to tell the workers that they are not alone!

Also, those of you who have written letters to the companies or passed out leaflets at Kohl's, please tell us your stories!  We will share them with the union also.

Email Campaign for Labor Rights, clr@clrlabor.org, with a message of solidarity, and we will forward it on to the union.  Please keep your email message simple, such as "We Support Your Struggle" or "We Stand in Solidarity with the Workers at PT Sarasa Balaraja Unit."  Anything longer would need to be translated, and therefore would be delayed.

That’s all for this week.

Regards to all