Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Friday, June 24, 2011

What kind of "labor solidarity" rally has been planned by the AFL-CIO in the name of "Hands Across Borders?"

A letter to a Canadian trade union friend.

There are all kinds of ironies in life.

Here is one of these ironies---

The International Labour Council will be meeting at the scab Grand Portage Lodge & Casinoin Grand Portage Minnesota July 15 thru 17th holding a "Hands Across the Border" international labor solidarity rally in a non-union facility rented by a leader of the United Food and Commercial Workers union who doesn't care about the Draconian conditions casino workers are forced to work under.

I wonder if Canadian labour leaders understand that the workers at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino in Grand Portage, Minnesota are forced to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws without protections and rights extended to all other workers under the National Labor Relations Act as a result of "Compacts" explicitly created to deny workers their most basic human rights in the so-called Indian Gaming Industry where not one single slot machine is owned by any Native American or Tribal Council?

Does Ken Georgetti know that U.S. labor "leaders" secured this scab facility? Does Ken Lewenza know? Does Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour know what he is being dragged into? Does Sid Ryan understand what is taking place here?

I remember when some people invited me to speak at a meeting at the Wheels Inn in Chatham, Ontario. Upon getting to the motel I found CAW pickets. I didn't speak at the meeting and I didn't cross the picket line. Later I participated in a demonstration organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour at the Wheels Inn.

I hope you Canadian trade unionists are going to be asking questions about why U.S. labor leaders see fit to rent the scab facilities of the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino in Grand Portage, Minnesota for a "labour solidarity action."

It is disgusting and shameful, but not atypical, for U.S. union leaders to have no sense of solidarity with workers struggling to organize and this is why labor membership in the United States is at an all-time low.

The blatant racism in using this scab facility knowing the conditions workers are forced to endure is most shameful and disgusting.

The International Labour Council President, Jim Gleb from United Food and Commercial Workers, rented these scab facilities. His number is 218-728-5174. How does Jim Gleb explain inviting Canadian trade unionists to such a scab facility under the theme "Hands Across the Border." Would Jim Gleb rent facilities from any of the scab hotels/motels on Canal Park in Duluth?

One can't help but ask why Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson did not inform Jim Gleb of the consequences of such action.

And what about Richard Trumka, the big-mouth who heads up the AFL-CIO?

And what about Leo Gerard, the USW President with the potty mouth?

All these U.S. labor leaders who talk about "solidarity" are now using the dues of their members to rent the scab facilities of the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino and dragging Canadian trade unionists into a dirty, racist, anti-labor activity in the name of cross border labor solidarity. Why hasn't Jim Gleb apprised Canadian trade unionists of the most Draconian conditions the workers at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino are forced to work under and endure without any voice or rights at work?

Did Jim Gleb tell Canadian trade unionists of the dirty relationship between the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association?

I would suggest that this "Hands Across the Border" solidarity action be moved to a public facility where workers are union members working under a union contract--- like a Minnesota State Park; but, then again, AFSCME members might not have a contract, right?

I wonder if the banners for this "solidarity rally" will be printed by the same outfit who printed James Oberstar's yard signs and other campaign material--- by John McCarthy's "Tony Doom Enterprises?" John McCarthy is the racist rich white man who heads up the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association. John McCarthy hands out campaign contributions on behalf of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and then with his other hand takes this money back through his business, "Tony Doom Enterprises." 

It's no wonder the United Food and Commercial Workers haven't been able to organize Wal-marts with staff people like Jim Gleb.

In a phone conversation I had this morning (6/24/2011) with Jim Gleb he told me he is not aware of the Draconian working conditions imposed on casino workers through these "Compacts" created by the Democrats in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Like we say here in Minnesota, "Ya, sure; you betcha." 

Yours in struggle and solidarity,

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council