OWC Coordinators Call
on Working People to Mobilize to Defeat CAFTA
to March 20th Antiwar Protests
Bank Study Found to be Flawed Wrong Data Leads to Erroneous Conclusion
on Caribbean Workers Conference in Solidarity with the People of Haiti and
Against the FTAA
Report on Sao
Paulo Anti-FTAA Conference
Miami FTAA Summit:
U.S. Retreat or Trap?
Nine Years of The Labor
Side Agreements Show the Real Effect of NAFTA on Mexican Workers -- by
More on Labor
Campaign to Stop the FTAA
Labor Campaign to Stop
NAFTA at Ten - by David
Conference (Nov. 2003)
Support the Anti-FTAA
Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil!
New Date for Western
Hemisphere Conference in Brazil
AFL-CIO Campaign to
Stop the FTAA
San Francisco Labor
Rights in Colombia and the Fight to Stop the FTAA Presentation
delivered by Alan Benjamin on September 20, 2003 in Washington, DC
to the Fifth National Convention of Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)
Appeal for a
Western Hemisphere Conference
Against the FTAA!
Excerpts from the Call for the Ninth National Convention Against the FTAA
and for Labor Rights for All (Oaxaca, Oax., November 16, 2002)
Fast Track Vote in Congress by
Urgent Appeal: Tell Your Senators to Stop
Open Letter on
FTAA from Brazilian Unionists to the U.S. Labor
Open Letter on FTAA from Mexican
Rally at Diane Feinstein's office against Fast Track
Dear Supporters of Labor and Democratic Rights:
Last December, the U.S. House of Representatives -- under intense pressure
from the Bush administration, which used the Sept. 11 tragedy to advance
its "free trade" agenda -- voted by a margin of one vote to
support "Fast Track" authority. President Bush wants Fast Track
authority to expand the failed NAFTA treaty to 31 countries in Latin
America with a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Now, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has promised his business
buddies and fellow congressional "free traders" that he will
have Fast Track through the Senate by May 15. Debate on this question has
already started in the Senate.
The Continuations Committee of the Open World Conference joins the
national AFL-CIO, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch and countless
community-based organizations across the country in urging you to call
your Senators to urge them to vote NO on Fast Track!
We ask you to read -- and distribute widely -- the Open Letter from
Brazilian Unionists to the U.S. Labor Movement [see below] in which they
explain some of the compelling reasons you should join the nationwide
effort to Stop Fast Track. Let there be no doubt about it: Fast Track
railroads democracy and promotes an openly anti-worker agenda.
Thanks to millions of working people in this country, all previous
attempts by the politicians to win support of Fast Track authority have
failed. But now we have the battle of our lives ahead of us: We have to
stop them again!
Your Senators must hear from you!
* Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Fast Track. Ask for a written
response to your call.
* Send in letters to the editor about Fast Track.
The national AFL-CIO has launched a toll-free number to call Senators on
Fast Track. That number is 877-611-0063.
Unionists and activists in the San Francisco Bay Area should also call the
field representatives of Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
Their offices in D.C. are getting lots of calls, but their representatives
here in the Bay Area are reporting very few calls. They need to hear from
-- so that they can send the message back to Washington that their local
phones are ringing off the hooks. These local calls are urgent!
Please call these numbers:
* John Ormsby, Field Representative for Barbara Boxer, at 415-403-0100;
fax: 956-6701. You can also reach Mr. Ormsby at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
* James Molinari, State Director for Dianne Feinstein, at 415-393-0707;
fax: 393-0710. You can also reach Mr. Molinari at <Jim_Molinari@feinstein.senate.gov>.
Unionists and activists in other cities can call Ken Grossinger or Bill
Samuel of the national AFL-CIO for the local telephone numbers of the
field representatives of the U.S. Senators in their states. They can be
reached at 202-637-5393 or 202-637-5320.
Please make sure to send us copies of your letters or statements.
Thanks for joining in this effort to Stop Fast Track!
Alan Benjamin and Ed Rosario,
on behalf of the Continuations Committee
of the Open World Conference
Dear sisters and brothers:
We are writing to urge you to redouble your efforts to stop the U.S.
Senate from adopting "Fast Track" of the Free Trade Area of the
Americas (FTAA). Such "Fast Track" authority would give
President Bush the go-ahead to negotiate the FTAA with all countries in
The issue has reached a critical stage given that the House of
Representatives -- not long after the attack on the World Trade Center in
New York -- voted by a margin of one vote to support "Fast
Track." Now Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) is threatening
to push "Fast Track" through the Senate by May 15. It is vital
for you to send a loud message to your Senators to vote against "Fast
Why are we issuing this appeal from Brazil?
The implementation of FTAA is of great concern to all working people --
indeed to all peoples -- throughout the Western Hemisphere. Such a treaty
would negatively impact the lives of all workers. It represents a threat
to our sovereignty. It is a threat to our unions. It is a threat to our
rights. Thus by working to stop "Fast Track" of the FTAA, you --
unionists and activists in the United States -- are helping all working
people across the Americas.
FTAA -- as we all know -- is an extension of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) to the rest of Latin America. What has been the
experience of workers in Canada, Mexico and the United States under eight
years of NAFTA?
You in the United States have felt the devastating effects of NAFTA in
your own flesh. You have spoken out against this full-fledged disaster.
You have denounced NAFTA in your media and in your union forums and
demonstrations. You have pointed out that NAFTA has been aimed primarily
at (1) increasing the profits and power of the multinational corporations,
(2) limiting the power of governments to improve the lot of their
citizens, and (3) pitting workers in one country against workers in other
countries so as to erode the rights that workers have fought and died for.
These hard-earned rights are being jeopardized in all the three signatory
countries of NAFTA.
There has been a tremendous loss of jobs in all three countries under
NAFTA: Close to one million good-paying jobs have been lost in the United
States; 270,000 have been lost in Canada -- and in Mexico the maquiladoras
(or so-called "free enterprise" zones), where workers are
deprived of all rights to form unions and where the sweatshop conditions
are intolerable, have been extended from the border region to the rest of
the country. Privatization of the publicly owned enterprises and services
has been fueled by NAFTA. This, in turn, has promoted further policies of
deregulation and the total destruction of hard-won workers' rights.
In addition to accelerating the processes of austerity and
disenfranchisement inherent in a globalized economy, the FTAA would exert
further pressures toward dismantling the nation-states in Latin America
and the Caribbean, thereby reducing the countries of Latin America to
simple appendages, or colonies, of the hemisphere-wide "free
trade" market controlled by the multinationals and the governments
and institutions in their service.
We want you to know that we across the Americas are in open opposition to
this "free trade" and privatization agenda -- and we are against
the adoption of the FTAA!
We in Brazil are developing a mass campaign against the FTAA among the
unions and community-based organizations. We have collected more than 1
million signatures and sent them to Brazilian President Fernando Henrique
Cardoso demanding that the government withdraw from further participation
in FTAA negotiations and discussions. Mass actions have been organized to
say "NO to the FTAA!"
In fact our campaign has had such a wide appeal -- with such powerful
repercussions -- that the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies -- the equivalent
of your House of Representatives -- adopted a motion last December
demanding that the Brazilian president no longer participate in the FTAA
That is why we say that it is time to reaffirm the independence of our
working class organizations -- primarily our trade unions. We need such
independent unions to fight uncompromisingly for our rights and gains and
to defeat the corporate "free trade" agenda. It is time to give
a strong voice and support for our demands for democracy, sovereignty of
our peoples, and workers' rights.
We must join together -- working people and their unions from all the
Americas, North and South -- to resist and beat back NAFTA and to stop the
FTAA! We can and we must reach out across borders to build this worker
resistance and solidarity!
This Open Letter was adopted at the Report Back Meeting of the Brazilian
delegates who participated in the International Conference Against
Deregulation and For Labor Rights for All, held in Berlin at the end of
February 2002. The Report Back Meeting took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on
April 5, 2002.
Signatories of the Open Letter:
- Mazé Favarão, City Council member for the Workers Party (PT) of Osasco,
Sao Paulo, and Member of the Continuations Committee of the Berlin
- Julio Turra, Member of the National Executive Board of the United
Workers Federation of Brazil (CUT)
- Demerson Dias, Director, FENAJUFE union federation
- Jefferson Oliveira, Director, SINDAGUA union federation, Federal
- Luiz Bicalho, Director, SINDSEP union federation, Federal District
- Misa Boito, Committee in Defense of the Rights of Working Women
- Markus Sokol, Member, National Directorate, Workers Party (PT)
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