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Organized Labor to Take Part in Democratic Convention Protests

by D2K Labor Organizing Committee Saturday, Aug. 12, 2000 at 5:34 AM
ia728@primenet.com 310-394-2596 855 3rd St., #209, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Organized labor has announced plans to take part in the D2K protests.

August 10, 2000

Organized Labor Announces Plans to Take Part in Democratic Convention Protests

LOS ANGELES --- In the wake of the drafting of a Democratic platform that rejects key components of the labor agenda, and accompanied by growing indications of an anti-labor stance by the Gore Democrats, organized labor has announced plans for mass mobilizations in the streets of Los Angeles as part of next week's Democratic Convention protests.

"The Teamster/Turtle alliance is alive and well," declared D2KLA labor organizer Michael Everett. "Labor has not and will not withdraw from the Seattle coalition, regardless of the wishful thinking of some." "The Democratic party can exclude our agenda from the convention floor, but they cannot exclude it from the streets."

Unions and labor organizations that have announced official support for the Democratic convention protests include the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), the California Nurses Association (CNA), the AFL-CIO San Francisco Labor Council, the Film & Television Action Committee (a coalition of Hollywood entertainment unions protesting the NAFTA export of entertainment jobs), P.A.C.E. Local 8-675 (Los Angeles oil workers), P.A.C.E. Local 8-0052 (cement workers), Laborers Local 724, AFSCME Local 1108 and rank and file activists from countless other unions. United Steelworkers of America will join the protests by sending their horse drawn Wells Fargo stagecoach replica to take part in the 2:00pm August 14th "Stop the WTO March". The Steelworkers will be dramatizing their struggle against Wells Fargo's union busting complicity in the Oregon Steel lockout of 1000 steelworkers. Wells Fargo is a major contributor to the Democratic party. Thursday's closing march on the Staples Center will be led by the powerful Justice for Janitors. Other unions staging labor actions during convention week include UTLA, SEIU Local 660, and H.E.R.E. Locals 11, and 814.

Plans for labor participation in the protests accelerated as news reached trade unions of the draft Democratic platform adopted at hearings in Cleveland July 29. The platform calls for giving the President fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements and creating a costly missile defense system. In addition, Democratic party delegates voted to reject three key labor planks that would have put the Democratic party on record as favoring a living wage, universal health care, and fair trade.

Relations between labor and the Democratic party continued to deteriorate in the wake of plans to break union picketlines by lodging the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Santa Monica Loew's Hotel, site of a bitter union-busting campaign led by Loew's owner Jonathan Tisch. Tisch is a close friend of Al Gore and a major contributor to the Democratic Party. Los Angeles Professional Musicians Local 47, American Federation of Musicians is angry with the Democrats as well and have complained that out of 100's of lavish fundraising parties during convention week, many with bands, only 3 events are taking place under union contract. For many unions the final blow was the appointing of Senator Joseph Lieberman as Al Gore's running mate. Senator Lieberman is an advocate of school vouchers and an outspoken opponent of fair trade.

The reaction of labor to the rightward drift of the Democratic party was summed up in an August 1st statement by ILWU International President Brian McWilliams in which he declared, "…we are pleased to help bring the spirit of Seattle and the coalition formed there to Los Angeles to let the Democratic Party and the nation know we will not allow the interests of working people to be ignored."

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