imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

AFL-CIO’s John J. Sweeney Fears “an American Nightmare!”

by William Hughes Thursday, Apr. 17, 2008 at 3:42 AM
liamhughes@comcast.net

On April 8, 2008, John J. Sweeney said in Baltimore, MD, that the country is going down the tubes and dragging working class people with it. He’s the head of the national AFL-CIO. He added that in November: “We have an opportunity to reverse these awful trends.” On May 1, 2008, West coast dockworkers are calling a work stoppage to protest the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps, Mr. Sweeney will join them on the picket line. Stay tuned.

        AFL-CIO’s ...
john_j._sweeney.jpg, image/jpeg, 556x487

“Labor can not stand still. It must not retreat. It must go on, or go under.” - Harry Bridges

Baltimore, MD - On April 8, 2008, the President of the AFL-CIO, John J. Sweeney spoke at the U. of Baltimore Law School, as part of its inaugural “Leaders in Labor” lecture series. He said that, as he travels around the country, he finds more and more people are “worried to death about the economy and tired of spending too many hours on the job for too little pay.” Mr. Sweeney underscored that the folks he has been speaking with “are distrustful of government and....see the American dream as a fading hope.” He said: “If we don’t take control, we will all be living out different versions of the American nightmare.” Mr. Sweeney emphasized: “Our country is headed in the wrong direction!”

A native of the Bronx, New York, Mr. Sweeney spoke to the audience about the influence his immigrant Irish parents, his Catholic education and union experiences had on him as a young man. He told how his father had worked as a bus driver out of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, then headed by the legendary Mike Quill. Mr. Sweeney recounted: “I grew up going to union meetings with my father and getting involved at a very young age in so many different activities as a volunteer.” At Iona College, he said he learned from the Brothers, [Congregation of Christian Brothers], “that economic and social justice are the goals we must all fight for, and that is what drew me into the Labor Movement.”

Before he delivered his prepared remarks, Mr. Sweeney lashed out at the pending U. S. Free Trade agreement with Columbia. (The AFL-CIO is strongly opposed to the measure). (1) Mr. Sweeney expressed his concerns about the gross “human rights” violations in that country, the threatened status of its unions, and the “murders” of those fighting for workers’ rights. At press time, it was revealed that former President Bill Clinton has received over “0,000 in speaking fees” from a group that advocates a Free Trade pact with Columbia. As President, Bill Clinton was a willing shill for the GATT, NAFTA, CAFTA pushers, which led to the out sourcing of millions of middle class jobs. As a result of all the negative publicity over this issue, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was forced to come out against any deal with Columbia. (2)

Mr. Sweeney said that the U.S. has been headed in the wrong direction “for more than 30 years. Workers’ productivity has increased by about 75 percent, but workers’ wages are frozen right where they were in 1973.”

Some pundits believe that one of the turning points in the ongoing saga of Labor was in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan crushed the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers (PATC0) workers. If Labor would have then taken a strong stand against Reagan--an arch pimp for Deregulation--including using the full arsenal of its power, it’s possible the country wouldn’t be in the sad predicament it is in today. (3) But, Labor didn’t take a stand. And, things have just gotten worse, with the fox taking over the chicken coop.

“Last year,” Mr. Sweeney continued, “even household income declined and many families had to draw down equity in their homes to make ends meet exacerbating our housing and credit crisis. Where did all the dough go? It went into swollen corporate profits and skyrocketing CEO’s salaries, while the pocketbooks of the middle class and the poor were pinched. Several years back, one of our most prominent economists called it, ‘the greatest transfer of wealth without a revolution in history.’” Meanwhile, according to a 2004 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, “61 percent of U.S. corporation paid no taxes.”

The AFL-CIO is a federation of 56 national and international labor unions, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sweeney has been its chief executive since 1995. He was formerly the president of the SEIU. The SEIU is a public service workers union with 1.9 million members. (4) It is supporting Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for president. Its current leader, Andy Stern, led the SEIU out of the AFL-CIO federation back in 2005, in a heated dispute with Mr. Sweeney over policy. Also leaving the big tent, were the Teamsters, headed by James P. Hoffa, the son of the late Jimmy Hoffa. (5) The AFL-CIO currently has about 13 million members, which is about the same total it had in 1970. It has yet to announce its endorsement for president. I was shocked when Mr. Sweeney said that “twenty-five percent” of his members are Republicans.

“On Bush’s [President George W. Bush] watch,” Mr. Sweeney said, “poverty had increased 25 percent, the price of gasoline has risen from a gallon to a gallon, and it is sure to make it to --a price our president wasn’t able to comprehend. Now, our nation is almost as squeezed as working families themselves. [It has been] financing tax breaks for the wealthy and a war that is costing billion a month, yet neglecting the priorities of our people.”

Continuing Mr. Sweeney asserted: “Nowhere is the damage to our society more evident than in health care. And the threat to our country and to our way of life is so big and so dangerous, that it compels us to work together with great urgency.” Citing all of the damning statistics, he added: “Health care should be a right.”

There are a lot of fine activists in the AFL-CIO at the federal, state and local levels. One of them was in the audience listening to Mr. Sweeney’s talk. I’m referring to Fred Mason, President of the MD/DC’s AFL-CIO. He has been a strong opponent of the Iraq War and a regular speaker at Peace rallies in the D.C. area. Mr. Mason was recently on the picket line, in Baltimore, MD, supporting the then-striking members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). (6)

On another Labor front, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) plans to “shut down” all the West coast ports on May 1, 2008, to demonstrate its moral outrage and opposition to the U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (7) I’m not surprised to note that Local 10 of the ILWU, based in San Francisco, is leading this charge. (8) Local 10 represents all the finest qualities of what a progressive union should look like in the Age of Bush and Cheney. It would surely please the ghost of the great Harry Bridges, one of the founders of the ILWU, to see Messrs. Sweeney, Stern and Hoffa, and other Labor chieftains, as well, on that picket line, on May 1st.

As for Labor itself, its story over the years reminds me in some ways of the tragic history of Native Americans and their bitter struggle against the early English settlers in this country. In the beginning, the Native American leaders thought they had time on their side and that they could easily, at their choosing, defeat the settler movement. They were wrong! The longer they waited to strike a decisive blow, the stronger the settlers became and the weaker their position grew, particularly in the region of the Chesapeake Bay. (9) Tribal rivalries also permitted the settlers to play one group off against another. In the end, the Native Americans lost and they paid a horrific price for their failed strategy. Will that eventually be the fate of Labor, too? Its past tendencies towards divisive splits, which has allowed the globalist schemers to dominate the playing field, doesn’t speak well about its future. Stay tuned.

Finally, Mr. Sweeney said there has been a “calculated war on workers” by corporate America for nearly 30 years. He insisted that this year, in the November election, “we have an opportunity to reverse these awful trends.” (10)

Notes:

1. http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr04092008a.cfm

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-clinton-colombia-conn_b_95929.html

3. http://patcodocumentary.com/ and

http://www.socialistworker.org/2001/374/374_10_PATCO.shtml

http://www.economyincrisis.org/

4. http://www.seiu.org/index.cfm

5. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/25/AR2005072500251.html

6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0cPLFkQYWA

7. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/03/01/18482849.php

8. http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/10588

9. http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/05/360056.shtml

10. To view excerpts of Mr. Sweeney’s remarks, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5b2M2lIVCI; and to listen to his comments, in the Q&A period, on the AFTRA/SAG dispute, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5aWGoArqiE. To view Mr. Sweeney taking a stand on behalf of locked-out Canadian workers, TNG-GWA, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMjqIJdfp1Y

©2008, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.

William Hughes is a video and print journalist. His videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2.

Email Contact: liamhughes@comcast.net.

Report this post as:

Local News

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Pot-pourri des carcans culturels M25 7:36AM

Shame on Portland Indymedia M24 9:16PM

USA, A Nation On A Collision Course With Its Own Decadent Values M24 6:43PM

The Shortwave Report 5/25/18 Listen Globally! M24 5:10PM

32 page newspaper on Appalachian States continues M24 10:25AM

They Knew What They Did: Texaco in Ecuador M24 9:31AM

[FREEE] Dungeon Hunter Champions Hack M24 5:55AM

The real mission of fbi and cia M24 1:28AM

New York Singer is 'Lost in a Dream' After Winning ,000 Prize! M23 3:08PM

The Corrupted Nature Conservancy And Ecosia Search Engine M23 1:43PM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence M23 9:42AM

Fish Can't Scream. Their Decaying Flesh Is Neurotoxic, Radioactive, And Carcinogenic M23 7:37AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, And Fruitarians M21 4:03PM

Work and Digitalization and A Corpse Governs Society M21 3:14AM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

In praise of indigenous people M20 1:46PM

,000 Reward to Catch My Child's Killers M20 5:35AM

Hikikomori capitaliste M20 1:57AM

Psychonaut Michael Pollan And Psychedelic Therapy M18 1:47PM

Déstabilisation, infiltration, intoxication M18 1:06AM

The Shortwave Report 05/18/18 Listen Globally! M17 4:40PM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

Trump is Old King Coal.. Multiplying Harm M17 11:46AM

Schutzstaffel le monde nazifié M17 1:42AM

Pentobarbital de sodium M14 8:43AM

Bioeconomical resilience M14 6:27AM

The Endless War M14 3:08AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy