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Many union meetings are cancelled during December, but the pace of action hasn't slowed. Here are some upcoming events where you are needed!
Dec 14, 5:30 PM: Rally for Wal-Mart workers at I-20 and Wheatland Rd in Dallas. Contact Rudy Anderson of UFCW
Dec 16: 9-11 AM: Leaflet for Goodyear (Badyear?) strikers in Tyler. Check www.usw.org for sites, which includes Ft Worth, Rockwall, and Dallas.
Dec 17: 3 PM.Voices for Immigrants will present annual "Day of Immigrants" event at Rosemont Christian Church, 1304 South Hampton Road, Dallas, TX 75208 (214) 339-9343
Dec 20, 3-6 PM: Open House at Representative Lon Burnam's new headquarters,
1067 W. Magnolia (5 blocks east of former Ft Worth office). Contact
Jan 10, 7 PM: Jobs with Justice meeting at Oak Cliff Methodist, Marsalis & Jefferson in Dallas. Entrance in rear. Contact me
Jan 13, 9 AM: Line up at Dallas City Hall to march for Martin Luther King, peace, justice, and unionism!
Here are two North Texas leafletting targets for Dec 16:
Goodyear Auto Service Center
630 I-30 East
Rockwall, Tx 75087
On I-30 east of Lake Ray Hubbard exit 67C on the north side.
Parking at McDonalds next Door. (Our Staff Rep Roy Robinson will be at this location)
Goodyear Auto Service Center
13331 Montfort Dr.
Dallas, Tx 75240
On 635 west of 75 in between two malls, Galleria and Valley View, on the north side of 635.
Parking in the shopping center next door. (Larry Smith, Steelworkers Organizer, will be at this location) For map:
By Gene Lantz
North Texas Jobs with Justice held its December meeting on the 10th in honor of International Human Rights Day. Dr. Ron Wilhelm led off the discussion with an overview of the Latin American countries who are rejecting NAFTA, CAFTA, and the other so-called "free trade" secret investment pacts.
Gene Lantz then reported on a trip to Venezuela to check on the elections that they held on December 3. He said that his delegation was very confident that the elections were honest. In fact, they were startling! People were so enthusiastic that they waited in line all night to vote the next morning.
The well-informed audience agreed that the one thing that the Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian, Brazilian, and Venezuelan elections have in common is a total rejection of what they call "neoliberalism." Big corporations call it "free trade," but Jobs with Justice calls it "Gobblelization." Vote totals in those countries show, too, that people in Latin America are sick of having their wages and benefits reduced, just as we are. They are also sick of being forced to emigrate or starve!
In Texas, the chief source of information for this battle continues to be the Texas Fair Trade Watch in Austin. Jobs with Justice will re-install our annual membership to that group and help them in any way possible. The Fair Trade Watch people project going on the offensive in the 2007 Congress. "Fast Track" legislation, which allows President Bush to shoot trade deals through, has to be renewed in 2007, and Fair Trade Watch thinks it can be stopped!
The crowd took up a voluntary collection of $92 to be split between Oak Cliff Methodist Church and the striking Steelworkers in Tyler. Donations can go to "Worker Assistance" at USW Local 746 or to "Smith County Labor Council Christmas Fund" in care of John Nash, 19968 FM 3079, Chandler, Texas. National JwJ is conducting its "Grinch of the Year" election. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which is trying to close the Tyler plant, is one of the nominees.
Our next meeting is planned for 7 PM on the second Wednesday in January at Oak Cliff Methodist, 500 E Jefferson at Marsalis in Oak Cliff. Please come. It will be only a few days before the January 13 Dallas Martin Luther King march, where we invite all union folks to join us!
SPECIAL EDITION - RETIREE HEALTH CARE AT STAKE
"DAY OF ACTION" PLANNED FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16
Steelworkers on Strike at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Need Your Support
Over 15,000 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) have been on strike at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for two months, fighting to protect retiree healthcare benefits and to keep good union jobs in America. These workers, at 15 plants across the US and Canada, are fighting for their livelihoods, their families, and their union brothers and sisters.
USW active and retired members bent over backwards to help the company in 2003, when Goodyear was on the brink of bankruptcy. The negotiated contract allowed Goodyear to cut wages, health care and pensions and to close the Huntsville, Alabama plant. The USW then worked closely with the company at every plant location to increase productivity and enhance production efficiencies.
Now Goodyear expects USW members to accept additional plant closures and more wage and health care cuts, while other stakeholders reap in the rewards of the company's turnaround. Goodyear's stock is worth almost five times as much as it was in early 2003, and top executives have awarded themselves millions of dollars in bonuses.
"When Goodyear laments its 'legacy cost,' what it's really saying is it intends to walk away from its commitments for medical care to both active and retired workers. The plain message to Wall Street is that Goodyear is getting out of the retiree health care business," said Edward Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. "Goodyear's issues in North America are not operational. The company has balance sheet problems that were created when top management did not fully fund its workers' pension and retiree health care - multiple times - when it had the money to do so," Coyle continued.
Added Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance, "There are more than 30,000 retirees across the U.S. who gave their working lives to Goodyear. Their retiree health benefits are not a gift. They earned those benefits, and they would be devastated to lose them."
"The Steelworkers need to know they are not alone in this fight, that millions of union members, retirees, and their families are at their side and standing with them, against Wall Street, to protect their jobs and benefits," said George J. Kourpias, President of the Alliance.
What You Can Do
On Saturday, December 16th, USW is planning to leaflet over 100 Goodyear distributor/retail stores across the county. While USW will take the lead in organizing many locations, they have asked the AFL-CIO to lead the mobilization effort in a number of key states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Retiree participation will be critically important to ensuring the success of these events, where the goal is for a minimum of 15-20 activists to meet at the stores to leaflet customers, inform them about the strike as well as the actions of the Goodyear CEO, and ask them to talk to the store manager about their concerns. Going directly to consumers sparks quick reactions from corporations. Send the message to Goodyear that the USW workers have an army of supporters behind them.
Alliance members can begin preparing for Saturday's Day of Action by calling
toll-free 1-877-511-8792 to find an event near you. You can also find you local
labor contacts on the web at www.aflcio.org/aboutus/unioncities.