What: Crisis of Disinvestment: Organizing to Rebuild Our Communities
Where: St. Paul, Minnesota
When: May 30 & 31, 2008
More info see Conference Web Site: http://reinvestnow.org/
Note: Click on any picture to see labels and greater detail.
St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... its future hangs in the balance---
Will the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant be turned into a pile of rubble?
This is an interesting conference taking place in the Twin Cities at the University of Minnesota.
The cost of the conference is a little pricey if the organizers are sincere about really doing anything... obviously, those who are now working in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws... many of the members of the sponsoring unions have come to work in the casino industry after their mines, mills and plants closed will find the price of the conference an obstacle.
No doubt the intent of the conference organizers will be to "rally the troops" to support DFL candidates on Election Day.
In spite of the limitations imposed on such a conference by those organizing it who have never welcomed rank-and-file participation... there is the possibility of turning this conference into something that could become a strong voice in defense of saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. Of course it would help if one of the Johnny-come-lately sponsors, UAW Local 879, were to bring the issue of the need to save the Plant and the jobs of its two-thousand members forward before this conference in a vigorous way.
Chances are, that if this conference is anything like most such conferences these unions and the Labor Education Service sponsor, most of the unions' rank-and-file members will never even know the conference is taking place. We can all help to change this by getting the word out.
Workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant tell me they haven't even been told about the conference. There are no leaflets or posters up around the Plant, nor in the UAW-Ford-MnScu Training Center.
The following unions have endorsed this conference, "Crisis of Disinvestment: Organizing to Rebuild Our Communities:"
MN Association of Professional Employees
IBT Joint Council 32
Steelworkers District 11
UAW Local 879
Saint Paul Federation of Teachers Local 28
Labor Education Service
SEIU Local 113
IOE Local 49
MN School Employees Association
MN Nurses Association
HERE Local 21
Minneapolis Building Trades
Saint Paul Building Trades
Saint Paul Trades and Labor
Southeast Area Labor Council
IBEW Local 110
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees
Growth and Justice
UFCW Local 789
Perhaps what is most interesting is the pending closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is not even mentioned.
How can such a conference take place in St. Paul, Minnesota at the state's most prestigious university, the University of Minnesota; initiated under the auspices of the University of Minnesota's outreach program to labor, the Labor Education Service--- and there is not a mention of the pending closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... not even brought forward by United Auto Workers Local 879.
Here is what the conference organizers have placed on their web site:
This one-and-a-half day conference at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus will bring together union members, staff and officers with allies and friends to expose decades of deliberate disinvestment in our state and our country and to begin building toward reinvestment and renewal. We'll take an in-depth look at how we've gotten where we are - rising unemployment and health care costs, struggling schools and communities, broken levees and falling bridges - and expose the economic models, cultural values and messages that brought us here.
This conference is designed for rank-and-file union members, as well as experienced union leaders and activists, and our friends in the community. Participants will learn how to tell the disinvestment story and ways to share what they've learned with their fellow union members, families and neighbors. Offering a range of workshops, speakers and activities, the conference will foster a sense of hope about our ability to organize and develop tools for rebuilding our state and communities.
"Crisis of Disinvestment: Organizing to Rebuild Our Communities" is sponsored by the Labor Education Service with support from the labor movement and allied organizations.
Check out the site: http://reinvestnow.org/
I would think this conference would be the perfect venue from which to bring forward a clear statement from organized labor in Minnesota to mobilize all out support for S.F. 607. The time has come to tell State Senator Jim Metzen to get on the ball and get S.F. 607 through his Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs... note the word "jobs" is part of the Committee title.
Perhaps participants at this conference would like to discuss the following resolutions passed at MN DFL Precinct Caucuses:
Participants in the February 5, 2008 Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party Precinct Caucuses unanimously passed the following resolutions:
Resolution in Support of Senate File 607
Whereas Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Senator Richard Cohen has authored, together with his DFL Senate colleagues--- Senate File SF 607---legislation which would keep the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the hydro dam which powers the manufacturing operation for free, together as an industrial unit for at least two years after Ford ceases production until a plan can be devised for its continued operation;
Whereas DFL State Representative Tom Rukavina successfully steered companion legislation to SF 607 through a House Committee with bipartisan support;
Therefore, be it resolved, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party supports the efforts of MN DFL State Senators James Metzen and David Tomassoni to have SF 607 reconsidered in the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs;
And, be it further resolved, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party uses its majority status in both the Senate and the House to bring forward legislation as provided for in SF 607 aimed at saving two-thousand jobs by keeping the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the hydro dam together as a manufacturing unit until a solution is found to re-open the Plant.
Resolution 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs
Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation from the workers, the community, or local and state governments;
Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;
Therefore, be it resolved, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is for public ownership being used to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, hydro dam, and two-thousand jobs.
Resolution on Bush’s Economic Stimulus Plan and Initiative
Whereas George Bush’s “economic stimulus plan and initiative” is based upon 150 billion dollars---tax-payer dollars--- being used to bail out a failing economy which includes subsidies to private industries;
Therefore be it resolved that the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is for tax-payers owning the industries which tax-payer dollars subsidize in proportion to what they subsidize.
Another interesting resolution has come from the Communist Party in Michigan calling for jobs not war:
People in Michigan say, "We want jobs, not war!"
Friday, April 4, 2008
Resolution on Saving Manufacturing Jobs
Note: As I recently traveled through Wisconsin and Michigan many people wanted to know about our struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant through public ownership.
This resolution aimed at Presidential candidates is excellent and should be circulated at campaign rallies and meetings everywhere. This resolution should be posted in every union hall all over the United States... please feel free to copy and post widely... you might want to copy and post this to your blog and ask friends to do the same.
For additional resolutions checkout:
With the continued attacks on workers and the endless layoffs and closings of plants, people in Michigan have followed the example of Minnesotans trying to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant through public ownership and put together this resolution to use during this election season:
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Support Manufacturing Jobs!
Resolution on Saving Manufacturing Jobs
Whereas our manufacturing base is steadily being eroded and
Whereas this loss of jobs is harmful to our nation and the communities we live in and
Whereas those good paying jobs are frequently replaced with lower paying non-union ones that are driving down the standard of living for all working families and
Whereas the loss of our core manufacturing industry will mean the
loss of our technological edge and vital skills and reduced tax revenues for schools and public services and
Whereas every manufacturing job creates seven others and supports small business, directly and indirectly related to manufacturing and
Whereas the $170 billion we are annually spending on the war in Iraq takes away money that could be better used to rebuild our industrial base and retrain workers
Therefore in rebuilding our industrial base primary attention needs to be placed on locating these new facilities in communities with high unemployment and historic manufacturing centers, such as Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids and Flint and
Therefore by rebuilding our industrial base and with it the construction of mass transit, environmentally friendly autos, affordable and energy efficient housing, and the modernization of our infrastructure, we will create jobs, provide cleaner air for all of us, lower individual family's energy bills, and allow greater energy independence for America
Therefore be it resolved that we call on the Presidential candidates to state their support for taking one-half of the money currently being spent in Iraq to be used instead to rebuild industry and provide jobs in the United States.
Taken From: Labor Up Front
There are two great books that contain a lot of good information about the capitalist crisis of "disinvestment." "Always Bring A Crowd; the story of Frank Lumpkin- steelworker" by Beatrice Lumpkin; and, "Working Class USA; The Power and the Movement" by Gus Hall.
Both of these books can be obtained from members of the Communist Party USA who are members of the sponsoring unions:
Dean Gunderson, Chair Of the St. Paul Club of the Communist Party USA is an active member and elected official of MN Association of Professional Employees
Mark Froemke, a District Organizer of the Communist Party USA from the AFL-CIO
Erwin Marquit who is a distinguished professor at the University of Minnesota and is active in the AFL-CIO retirees. Marquit is on the Economics Commission and International Affairs Commission of the Communist Party USA.
Lynn Hinkle a retired member of UAW Local 879 has pointed out that "labor creates all wealth." To let a bunch of real estate speculators demolish the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant would be a tremendous waste of this wealth... Hinkle repeatedly points out the need to go "green." Looking at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant really brings home these points made by Lynn Hinkle... just consider the natural resources and the human labor required to obtain the natural resources and turn these resources into building materials from which additional labor was required to build the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... only a fool would suggest we relegate this kind of tremendous wealth created by labor to become a pile of rubble when this perfectly good plant could be used by workers continuing to create even more wealth by creating socially useful products for society, be these some kind of "green" vehicles, wind generating equipment, equipment for mass transit, or equipment to bring drinking water and irrigation equipment to communities around the world suffering the consequences of drought.
Working people have had no say regarding the future of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... what good does it do to hold a conference on the "crisis of disinvestment" if one aspect of the conference is not geared toward empowering working people to force their way into the decision making process concerning the future of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant?
Actually, the place where this conference should have been held is in the UAW-Ford-MnScu Training Center so all participants could get a good look at what is at stake---
Tax-payers will be left holding the bag for over thirty-million dollars of debt for building the UAW-Ford-MnScu Training Center once the Plant is turned to rubble.
Who will make the decision over the future of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... working people in a public forum; or the Wall Street coupon clippers behind the closed doors of the corporate board room?
Clean "green" manufacturing? It doesn't get much cleaner or "greener"
An industrial plant in the center of a huge residential community alongside a shopping district and a grocery store next door with huge city parks adjacent, complete with baseball fields for the youth.
All powered by clean "green" hydro...
With rail shipping facilities to bring supplies in and ship manufactured goods out...
With the price of gas and diesel fuel sky-rocketing, it only makes sense to maintain an existing plant with rail shipping facilities in good operating condition.