The Oregon AFL-CIO, local affiliates of the AFL-CIO, local unions in the Change to Win federation, the Sierra Club, Jobs with Justice, the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)/Cross Border Labor Organizing Coalition (CBLOC), Cascadia Rising, Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering (NWRAGE), Oregon Fair Trade Coalition and other unions, environmental and community groups are organizing for a major march and rally against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in support of the right to organize unions.
The mobilization and march commemorates International Human Rights Day, and will protest the erosion of workers' right to form unions. Every 23 minutes, a U.S. worker is fired or discriminated against for union activity-a right enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights.
The event also coincides with The World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong on December 13th -18th where the WTO will attempt to implement anti-labor, anti-environmental and anti-democratic policies. Widespread global opposition to these policies has derailed past WTO meetings in Seattle, WA 1999 and Cancun, Mexico in 2003. The people of Portland and Vancouver will be marching in solidarity with the thousands who will be protesting in Hong Kong and around the world.
According to Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain, "Without the right to organize, there cannot be fair trade, and without fair trade, there cannot be a real right to organize in the U.S. or in any other country."
The march will pass by significant landmarks for local labor and environmental campaigns in order to highlight the local impact of anti-union and free trade policies. These landmarks include a building owned by Melvin Mark, a local building owner who contracts with non-union janitorial companies. Presently local janitors are asking him to contract with responsible janitorial companies. The march will also pass by the Federal Building, todraw attention to the fact that federal workers are being denied the right to unionize and to demonstrate against the free trade double standard that allows corporations to move across borders, yet penalizes human migration. Passing by the Forestry Building, marchers will speak out against the corporate giveaway of our national forests.
A key goal of the march is to urge our congressional delegation to support the Employee Free Choice Act and to oppose the WTO and other upcoming free trade deals like the Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and Fast Track. We will also scrutinize the Oregon congressional delegation's pro-free trade voting records. As we recently saw at the Summit of the Americas in Mar de Plata Argentina, governments and people throughout the world are demanding an end to the so-called "free trade" agenda and are calling for a just global economy.
Speakers will include Stuart Acuff, national AFL-CIO Director of Organizing. The following Saturday, December 17th, hundreds of Portland and Vancouver community members will gather from 10-4 PM at Portland State University (PSU) for a teach-in on the WTO and the global economy.
link to www.jwjpdx.org