New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Solidarity on the Border

June 10, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Bacon, Economy, Politics

Cooperative Efforts Link U.S.-Mexico Labor Movements

by David Bacon

The growth of cross-border solidarity today is taking place at a time when U.S. penetration of Mexico is growing — economically, politically, and even militarily.  While the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has it’s own special characteristics, it is also part of a global system of production, distribution, and consumption.  It is not just a bilateral relationship.

Jobs go from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico in order to cut labor costs.  But from Mexico those same jobs go China or Bangladesh or dozens of other countries, where labor costs are even lower.  As important, the threat to move those jobs, experienced by workers in the U.S. from the 1970s onwards, are now common in Mexico.  Those threats force concessions on wages. In Sony’s huge Nuevo Laredo factory, for instance, that threat was used to make workers agree to an indefinite temporary employment status, even though Mexican law prohibited it. (more…)

A Fair for What’s Fair

May 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy, Politics

Labor, Solidarity, and the Future of Public Education

by Diane Lefer

Two weeks ago, I walked into an alternate universe. While the rights of American workers are under attack all over the country, I found myself at the 3rd Annual Labor, Social & Environmental Justice Fair — a whole-day event at California State University Dominguez Hills where students have been able to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Studies since 1977.

Hundreds of community members and students heard speakers and live music, attended film screenings and standing-room-only workshops, and visited more than two dozen booths set up along the East Walkway in front of the Loker Student Union.

They could register to vote, learn about community gardens, protest the sale of sweatshop clothing in the university store, learn how the UFCW can fight to protect workers in the food industries, support health care for all, sign postcards to Senators Feinstein and Boxer urging a vote against the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia (where 51 union leaders were assassinated in 2010), petition the university for a Women’s Resource Center (for a campus where 70% of the students are women), and meet a beaming Madelyn Broadus who is now a proud member of Sheet Metal Workers, Local 105, thanks to the apprenticeship she was able to access through the efforts of the Black Worker Center in South LA. (more…)

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