[Hpn] Social Justice E-Zine #41

Kim or Ray Goforth goforth86@home.com
Wed, 06 Dec 2000 01:55:06 -0800


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"Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their
strengths."- Lois Wyse


                  SOCIAL JUSTICE #41
                   December 6, 2000
                      Ray Goforth
                      Kim Goforth


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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) USA: REGRESSIVE BARGAINING CONFRONTS PUBLIC SECTOR
UNION COALITION

2) SOUTH AFRICAN MUNICIPAL WORKERS UNION APPEALS FOR GLOBAL
SOLIDARITY

3) AUSTRALIA: HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MARCH IN SOLIDARITY WITH
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

4) CHILE: PINOCHET ARREST HAILED

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Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE. The
name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people
everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government,
economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental
protection, and human rights.

Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. SJ now reaches
approximately 10,000 e-mail recipients in eight dozen
countries. Stories from SJ are then broadcast on radio stations
throughout the world. Feel free to make copies and share with
friends (or enemies). Think of this as a regular magazine without
the recycling. If there's nothing you want to read in this issue,
just hit delete.


Those wishing to be added to the subscription list (or
conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:

sjzine@netscape.net
http://members.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html

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USA: REGRESSIVE BARGAINING CONFRONTS PUBLIC SECTOR
UNION COALITION

Dear Labor Movement Supporter:

The following is a short request for you to send an e-mail in support
ofworkers in King County Washington, USA.

A coalition of unions (International Federation of Professional &
Technical Engineers Local 17, Teamsters 117, and Service Employees
International Union 519) have been in wage negotiations with King County
for the past two years. Over an 18 month period, slow but steady
progress was made which was memorialized in a series of tentative
agreements.

In July 2000, a new lead negotiator took over for management. Things
went downhill quickly. At this point, the employer has repudiated the
tentative agreements, engaged in direct dealing by sending wage
proposals directly to union members, and embarked upon a belligerent
regressive bargaining campaign including:

*stripping overtime eligibility from hundreds of employees; and
*increasing the work week 15% without a corresponding pay increase.
*cutting pay rate increases by 50%.

Many may remember that this is the same employer which engaged in a
brutal series of unfair labor practices against IFPTE Local 17 shop
stewards and then sought a judicial gag order to try and stop Local 17
from publicizing those abuses. At the time, the thousands of e-mails
from our supporters was instrumental in getting the gag order request
rescinded.

Today we are requesting that our supporters send polite but firm e-mails
saying:

"Stop the regressive bargaining, give them a fair Class/Comp
settlement."

Please send your e-mails to:

SAM.PAILCA@METROKC.GOV
and CC: them to solidarity2001@netscape.net

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SOUTH AFRICAN MUNICIPAL WORKERS UNION APPEALS FOR
GLOBAL SOLIDARITY

SAMWU condemns Global Privatisation Summit starting Monday in
Capetown,South Africa.

SAMWU condemns the Global Summit on Public-Private Partnerships and
Private Finance Initiatives, which starts in Cape Town on Monday. The
Summit is hosted by Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel and Minister of
Local Government Sydney Mufamadi at the Cape Sun Hotel. In attendance
are privatisation ministers from 14 countries, as well as international
financiers that only give money to local government when it promises to
privatise, such as Bank of America, European Investment Bank and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa, a public finance institution
which refused to lend Nelspruit TLC money to upgrade its water
infrastructure but then lent a British multinational R150 million to
privatise the water is attending the conference, and has clearly taken
on the role of a private bank. SAMWU objects strongly to this.

SAMWU is disgusted that international consultants which only advise
municipalities to privatise, such as Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG and
Investec, are speakers. Consultants have already milked our
municipalities of well over R200 million in the last two years - money
which is desperately needed for service delivery.

The union believes that the concept of Private Finance Initiative (PFI),
which was introduced in Britain in the early 90's by the Conservative
government, has no relevance at all to South Africa and the developing
world.

It has already been rejected by one million public sector workers in
England. Under PFI, private companies take over services for as long as
60 years. Instead of the municipality borrowing money to finance
services,they are forced under the PFI to pay a hefty annual fee to the
private company.

Under PFI, the future provision of public services is determined by what
the private consortium wants rather than what the public needs. The
lengthy contracts mean that elected councillors lose control completely
of any influence they have over service delivery. Entire councils can be
replaced yet service delivery remains tied into a contract.
International experience shows that PFI projects profit from paying
lower wages than municipal
employers and by cutting back on health and safety standards.

There are many examples of PFI contracts failing, such as the British
pass port office where the private company failed to provide a computer
system that worked, leading to huge delays in processing passports, huge
queues at passport offices and more expensive passports. The cost of PFI
arises from the "buy now pay later" financing of projects. The long term
costs of PFI are much higher than in publicly financed projects because
of the high
setting up costs of a PFI contract. Costs escalate further with high
interest that the company pays private banks on loans, lengthy
negotiations involving solicitors and consultants, and the profit margin
that must be built into the cost of the service - PFI consortia demand
an excessive rate of return of over 20% on their investment.

It is a mark of disrespect that Ministers of Finance and Local
Government are hosting a conference to effectively determine the future
of services in South Africa during elections, when ordinary people are
voting for councillors who are supposed to be the ones deciding with the
community on service delivery. "The PFI mechanism also seriously
undermines delivery of free basic services," said SAMWU General
Secretary Roger Ronnie.

For all the above, we need e-mails of solidarity. Please send to all
these addresses: samwu@sn.apc.org; gendero@samwu.org.za;
interno@samwu.org.za

We need letters of protest to Council bosses. These are the names in
Joburg:

EXCO Chair Kenny Fihla afihla@gjtmc.org.za
Co-ordinator in office of the Mayor pmoloka@gjtmc.org.za
Acting CEO Mavela Dlamini mdlamini@mj.org.za
Graeme Reid, Inner City Manager greid@mj.org.za
Ketso Gordhan, City Manager kgordhan@mj.org.za
Makgane Thobejane, Labour Relations mthobeja@mj.org.za (former General
Secretary of Public Sector Union NEHAWU)
Roland Hunter, Chief Financial Officer rhunter@mj.org.za
Pascal Moloi, Transformation Project Manager pmoloi@gjtmc.org.za
Phindile Nzimande, Legal Adviser pnzimand@mj.org.za
Anthony Still, Transition Manager of Water Utility astill@mj.org.za
Rest of the councillors: pandrade@gjtmc.org.za; busnet@mweb.co.za;
mmokoena@gjtmc.org.za; imogase@gjtmc.org.za; jbriggs@gjtmc.org.za;
pbuthele@mj.org.za; jbriggs@hixnet.co.za; fkendall@global.co.za;
iisaacs@gjtmc.org.za; cfortuin@gjtmc.org.za; mm44@pixie.co.za;
pdewet@gjtmc.org.za; rdubazan@gjtmc.org.za; donaldforbes@yahoo.com;
mmoriarty@gjtmc.org.za; smgidlana@gjtmc.org.za; ymakda@gjtmc.org.za;
smabuza@gjtmc.org.za; emabe@gjtmc.org.za;
panda@mweb.co.za; mlombard@gjtmc.org.za ; alewis@gjtmc.org.za

We also need letters to the South African Press. Here are their e-mail
addresses:

alive@safm.co.za; xundux@tml.co.za; phumzile@kaya-fm.co.za;
raborokj@sowetan.co.za; editor@kaya-fm.co.za;
belnews@wn.apc.org; israel@sapa.org.za; sapa@iafrica.com;
mahap@woza.co.za; lungile@yfm.co.za; haffajeef@bdfm.co.za;
alackay@beeld.com; tcelean@tml.co.za; bramdawn@tml.co.za

Letters to the Editor should be sent to:

Please send letters to the Editor on the situation to these newspapers:
The Sowetan mangaa@sowetan.co.za
Mail and Guardian editor@mg.co.za
The Star newspaper sma@star.co.za
Business Day busday@bdfm.co.za;
Sunday Times suntimes@tml.co.za

Please send copies to the SAMWU addresse (samwu@sn.apc.org) so that we
can upload to our website.

Yours in the struggle against privatisation,
Anna Weekes
SAMWU Media Officer
http://www.cosatu.org.za/samwu/private.htm

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AUSTRALIA: HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MARCH IN SOLIDARITY
WITH INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS

On December 3rd in Melbourne Australia an estimated 400,000 people
joined a walk to show their support for Reconciliation with indigenous
Australians. This follows a walk in Sydney during May this year which
also saw hundreds of thousands of people come out on the streets in
support of this issue.

These numbers are highly significant in a country with an overall
population of only 19 million. All the other state capitals have also
seen marches with turn outs larger than have ever been seen on any issue
before.

The hugely significant people's movement for reconciliation has been
sparked by outrage at the conservative Federal Government's refusal to
apologise to its indigenous population for the atrocities that were
committed against them during the process of white colonisation over the
last 212 years.

In contrast large numbers of marchers carried posters or wore T-shirts
emblazoned with the word SORRY. People are especially sorry about the
policy of removing indigenous children from their families and forcing
them to be brought up in mission dormitories and white foster homes. A
recent report entitled The Stolen Generations sparked popular outrage at
genocidal practices.

Despite such widespread public sympathy and concern the living standards
of most Aboriginal Australians are still atrocious and far below those
of non-indigenous Australians. In fact they are often described as 4th
World.

Contributed by Chris Sitka csitka@jeack.com.au

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CHILE: PINOCHET ARREST HAILED

(New York, December 1, 2000) Human Rights Watch hailed Friday's decision
by a Chilean judge to arrest and try former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Judge Juan Guzman indicted Pinochet on a charge of kidnapping, asking
that he be held under house arrest and ordering him to face trial in
connection with the "disappearances" of prisoners in the first months
his 17-year dictatorship.

"This arrest is a great victory for Pinochet's thousands of victims,"
said Josť Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch's
Americas division. "It does credit to Chilean democracy and to its legal
system. Judge Guzman has conducted a very thorough and careful
investigation."

Human Rights Watch noted that today's action would not have
been possible had British courts not held that Pinochet was not immune
from justice.

The cases in Chile against the former dictator gained momentum after
U.K.authorities held him for seventeen months under house arrest in
Britain while four states sought his extradition. Although Pinochet was
returned to Chile in March 2000 on medical grounds, he found himself in
a very different country than the one he had left. After years in which
justice was a rarity, during 1999 the Chilean courts opened a spate of
prosecutions of former generals and lower officers for human rights
violations.

In July 2000, in another important decision, they sentenced a former
secret police agent to life imprisonment for murder. In August, Chile's
Supreme Court rejected Pinochet's appeal against a lower court ruling
stripping him of his parliamentary immunity.

Argentina has requested the extradition of Pinochet for his suspected
role in the 1974 car-bomb murder of Chile's former army chief, Carlos
Prats, who opposed Pinochet's coup.

Judge Guzman has ordered medical and neurological tests to determine
Pinochet's fitness to stand trial.

www.hrw.org

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For those who have inquired: Kim and Ray Goforth hold
undergraduate degrees in political-economy from The Evergreen
State College and law degrees (juris doctor) from the University
of Washington. Ray works for a labor union and Kim advocates for
victims of domestic violence. Ray and Kim are active in a wide
variety of progressive causes and live a happy life in Seattle,
Washington USA.

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