Monday, December 08, 2008

it's working 

Direct action gets the goods. In addition to Obama's very encouraging sympathetic statements on the Chicago strikers there comes this news from Chicago city council. From the United Electrical Workers' website:

A contingent of 15 Chicago aldermen said today they will introduce an ordinance to require the city to stop doing any business with the Bank of America.


“Under the law, the City Council has the authority and responsibility to take into account the interests of Chicago and its residents when deciding which banks to do business with,” said Alderman Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward). “Bank of America profits handsomely from the business it gets from the City and other governments. We have a right to demand that workers are treated fairly.”

New York's own Daniel Gross also has short piece up on Counterpunch:

Direct action, undertaken by the grassroots, will only increase as the recession continues and government unaccountability becomes more and more obvious. (Look at the marvelous efforts of the young people in California who recently used civil disobedience to disrupt the Northern California headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in response to horrifying immigration raids).

The first recorded sit-down strike was conducted by members of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1906 at a General Electric plant in New York. The tactic shot to lasting fame with the great UAW automobile workers’ sit-ins in 1930s Michigan. While there have been labor sit-ins in the United States since then (civil rights sit-ins in the 50’s and 60’s were frequent and effective), they have not been a prominent tactic in our labor movement for decades.

The action of these strikers is profound. By occupying their plant and refusing to be swept under the rug, the workers have both deployed an effective tool to reclaim their money and challenged the sacredness of corporate property. They have set an example for all of us to bring back to our workplaces and communities.


To help out, please log on to www.ueunion.org for details on how to provide financial and moral support to the strikers today. Next, I imagine if victory is not achieved quickly, the union may call on supporters to take peaceful yet assertive actions at Bank of America branches across the country. Local groups and coalitions might want to start researching and planning actions should the UE strikers call on us to escalate pressure. Finally, it looks like the workers are now contesting the very closing of the plant and maybe they’ll even seek to run the plant themselves without bosses, both moves which will require a long-term and steady commitment of solidarity from supporters.

As big business indulges us with more sleepless nights worrying about how bills will be paid and the government steals more of our money, let’s make the Republic sit-down strike the spark of energy we need to begin liberating our lives from corporate dominance for good.

On the site they have a link to send the strikers a message, as well as a petition you can sign to send a message to Bank of America. You can also donate! If you gave for the election, consider digging some more for the rank-and-file. If this strike is successful, it will have made the election even more so.


Oh snap!

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced Monday that he is asking all Illinois government agencies to suspend business with Bank of America. Blagojevich contended that Bank Of America received a multi-billion dollar bailout from the government and should accordingly restore credit to the Republic Windows & Doors company in Chicago.



Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on criminal charges on Tuesday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said.

Ah, Chicago.


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