|LABOR VOICES FROM THE STREETS OF SEATTLE
Note: Following are brief excerpts from statements by trade unionists
participating in the anti-WTO actions in Seattle at the end of
The first sections contains excerpts from interviews with
rank-and-file trade unionists conducted by Labor Video Project
producer Steve Zeltzer at the November 30 labor demonstration. The
second segment contains brief excerpts from presentations by officers
of the United Steel Workers of America at a November 29 forum on
"Global Union Solidarity."
* Bob (member of ILWU Local 19)
Our fate is with the working people of the world.
* Irene (member of AFSME from Ohio, carrying a picket sign that
reads: "Stop Privatization" while union delegation chants "Hey, Hey,
Ho, Ho, the WTO Has Got to go!")
We're a labor family. Labor has to stick together. People are finally
standing up to the corporations. It's about us, not profits. Our
kids, our retirees. This is very exciting.
Why are we here? Because globalization is changing all the rules and
laws. The WTO will walk all over everything we have won -- our jobs,
our security. We're being swallowed up by corporate greed.
* Ron (UAW Local 509 Ford worker)
All of us here from our Local are concerned about corporate greed;
the greedy are getting greedier.
Take a look at NAFTA. What a lot of bull shit. They promised a lot.
Well, what did we get? Screwed. They are all just a bunch of liars.
What will be the future of my children and their children if all the
good jobs are taken out of this country. We risk losing everything
we've gained over the past 100 years. Workers aren't getting
represented in any fair way.
* Juan (Steelworker from New Mexico)
We drove 1400 miles over the past two days with all our families.
We've seen globalization at work in the maquiladora sector along the
Workers are being exploited in the maquiladoras. Companies are moving
to Juarez [Mexico]. No one is benefiting from this except the greedy
corporations, at the expense of the people. Workers on both sides of
the border are getting screwed.
Kaiser Corporation supports the WTO. This way they can do away with
our safety and regulations. They can get around our environmental
laws. People died for the rights we have now. We've got to fight to
keep them. No organization is more harmful today than the WTO.
* Frank (farmer from North Dakota)
NAFTA has only benefited the corporations. Clinton and now Al Gore,
they are all for NAFTA, GATT and the WTO. I don't like being in this
pickle. Gore vs. GW Bush! I don't like it at all.
Where I come from, people are real concerned. Farmers are being
destroyed. If we could vote on whether or not we should have the WTO,
I can tell you this much: The WTO would be defeated in North Dakota.
What's happening is a spin to the bottom, not to the top, as we were
* Jim (member of the Santa Cruz., Calif., Labor Council)
Already we are having a success. More people are going to be talking
about the WTO and globalization from now on. What's also clear is
that labor has to have its own party. A Labor Party is long overdue.
We need a party that is separate from the Democratic Party.
These politicians are giving our country away. We need to get a
baseball bat and drag the corporations out in the street and tell
them, "Okay," what's this about taking our jobs overseas?"
ECHOES FROM STEELWORKERS' RALLY FOR GLOBAL UNION SOLIDARITY
* Dave Foster (President, District 11, United Steel Workers of America)
No organization is more harmful to our safety net - in fact, to
everything he have fought for - than is the WTO.
* Gerry Fernandez (International Relations of the United Steel
Workers of America, speaking at the November 29th Forum on Global
Union Solidarity sponsored by the USWA)
We need international labor solidarity. The fact of the matter is
that international solidarity works.
The WTO talks about core labor standards. They say we should support
the incorporation of the ILO core conventions into the WTO. They talk
about social clauses, social mandates, labor standards.
Let me tell you about the ILO: Unions have won only two cases in the
ILO over the past 18 years. We can't count on these folks, just as we
can't count on the WTO. The WTO is run by the corporations.
The only thing we can count on is ourselves.
With the global corporate economy, we can no longer win on the picket
line. We have corporations - and politicians - who close down
factories and move overseas if we strike. These same folks push for
striker replacement. These are the people who run the WTO.
Are they really going to give us a seat at the WTO table? I say they
When we have a strike here, we need to have actions in 20 countries
or more. We have to internationalize our labor movement.
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