Friday, July 31, 2009


The following item, originally from the CBC News, came to Molly's attention via the strike solidarity site Fair Deal Now set up by the workers on strike in Ontario against Vale Inco. As has been mentioned before on this blog the contract between Vale Inco and workers at Viosey's Bay in Newfoundland is expiring soon (tomorrow actually), and there is little doubt that the Newfie workers will be on strike soon. The more general the strike is, the more likely that the company will be pressured to settle. One can only hope that, as the strike drags on, that workers at other facilities owned by Vale Inco will find ways to put pressure on the company (work to rule ?) even if they are not in a legal strike position. One can also hope that workers employed by Vale Inco in other countries will see fit to carry out such solidarity actions as well.
As the reader can find out from the Fair Deal Now site there is now a court injunction prohibiting more militant picketing in Sudbury and Port Colborne. Just a little word to the wise here. This injunction, in its present form, applies only to the United Steel Workers. It says nothing about what a group of non-union members may undertake on their own initiative. take this as you will.

Voisey's Bay union in legal strike position:
More than 200 workers at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador are preparing for a possible strike on Saturday.

Members of the United Steelworkers union are in a legal position to strike as of midnight Saturday. Unionized workers have voted 90 per cent in favor of job action.

Negotiations between the union and Vale Inco, the company that operates the Voisey’s Bay mine, broke off in June. Workers have been without a collective agreement since March.

The United Steelworkers union has said Vale Inco wants to roll back an employee bonus based on the price of nickel. The company also wants to impose a three-year wage freeze.

The union has accused the company of using the global economic slowdown to try to roll back bonuses and freeze wages.

"We do realize that we were in a very bad economic situation," Darren Cove, spokesman for the union local, told CBC News on Friday.

"Right now we’re in recovery mode, and we don't think that we should base a three-year collective agreement on the recession that we’re recovering from right now," he said.

"The only way right now to avert a strike would be for the company Vale Inco to inform us that the concessions that they're asking are off the table and that they are willing to bargain in good faith towards a fair collective agreement for the membership,” Cove said.

The nickel bonus was at the centre of a strike that shut down production at Voisey's Bay for eight weeks in the summer of 2006.

Unionized workers at Vale Inco’s nickel mine operation in Sudbury, Ont., have been on strike since July 13.

No one with Vale Inco was available for comment.(I wonder why-Molly)

Molly has blogged on the subject of this factory occupation in Korea several times before, even making the mistake once of assuming that because the police had made an all-out assault on the workers that the occupation was finished. happily I was wrong. This group of workers have greater intelligence and staying power than the average summit-hopping anarchist- by a factor of 100 at least.
Here's the latest (yesterday) update on the situation from the LibCom site.
Ssangyong occupation update: day eleven, July 30, 2009:
Negotiations have occurred several times throughout the day. The major hurdle is layoffs: management says they're necessary; strikers won't budge and demand that no one be laid off, even if it requires less hours for everyone and work furloughs. For the government and management it is crucial to break the strike so that austerity can be imposed on other autoworkers, as well as in other sectors needing restructuring due to the crisis. The biggest creditor of Ssangyong is Hankook Bank, which is government owned.
***Update July 30, 2009***
The strikers are making I.W.W.-like demands that no one be laid off; they're willing to agree to a reduction in hours, including unpaid work furloughs, to protect the job security of all workers. Creditors are using the threat of bankruptcy and liquidation to pressure the strikers to end the occupation; the government is in collusion with management in wanting to crush the strike (and the union) and for production to continue with a smaller workforce.

Since government-owned Hankook Bank is the biggest creditor to Ssangyong Motors, it is important for them to have production resume with a weaker union and a leaner, more flexible workforce in order to find buyers for the remaining shares of the company. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) of China presently has a 51% share, but their main interest was technology transfer as they had no interest in investing capital in Ssangyong to resume production. This is all complicated because Korean courts currently control Ssangyong under the terms of court receivership.

The resolution of this strike has direct bearing on future attempts at restructuring by management at Kia Motors, GM/Daewoo, and the industry giant Hyundai Motors. Some of the fiercest struggles in the class war of the past have occurred at the various industrial subsidiaries of the Hyundai group. Ruling class interests hope to crush the Ssangyong occupation to dissuade other workers from following suit.
From Korea Times:
07-30-2009 18:10Breakthrough Expected in Ssangyong Negotiations
By Park Si-sooStaff Reporter
PYEONGTAEK, Gyeonggi Province ― Representatives of fired workers and the management of Ssangyong Motor met Thursday amid a warning from creditors that the troubled carmaker will be liquidated unless the factory is normalized by Aug.5.

Unlike in previous talks, hopes for a peaceful settlement are growing as the two sides are getting closer to narrowing their differences on key issues, officials from both sides said.

"We expect the two sides to reach a conclusion through the meeting," Choi Sang-jin, the spokesman for Ssangyong management, said at a makeshift press center set up in the factory's parking lot. Choi refused to elaborate on the agenda, but implied that progress had been made. "We don't know when an agreement will be made,"

The two sides said the negotiation would be the "last" to hammer out a conclusion.

"No matter what the conclusion will be, no further talks will take place afterward," said a leader of the laid-off workers. An accord might lead to the reinstatement of a portion of the dismissed workers.

In talks last Saturday, the sides were unable to reach a settlement, with the union demanding an immediate cancellation of the layoffs.

Following the breakdown of the talks, a representative of the creditors announced a plan to liquidate the company, thus forcing the two sides to engage in last-ditch talks to avoid liquidation.

In a phone interview with The Korea Times, Wednesday, Choi Byeong-hoon, spokesman for the creditors, said they have reached an accord that liquidating the firm was a better option than waiting until Sept. 15 a court-set deadline for the company's management to submit a self-rescue plan to avoid liquidation.

The occupation began when 36 percent of the workforce was dismissed. So far, the firm has sustained $243 million in losses.

It can often be hard for those of us who live in the civilized world (ie industrially developed countries and many who are not so developed) to comprehend the situation surrounding health care in the USA. Despite spending more per capita on health services than any other country in the world the outcomes,as measured by such things as life span, infant mortality rates, maternal mortality,etc.,etc.,etc. are far behind many other countries in the world. One of the problems in the USA is that health care is covered by a patchwork of insurance plans with a minimal participation on the part of government in a few aspects. The result has been extreme cost overruns for numerous reasons. One reason is that the patchwork of insurance companies has led to the growth of numerous bureaucracies, all of whom have to take their cut, that provide living proof that "private" managers are at least as bloodthirsty as public ones. The other is that the proportion of the population who are covered under public plans are covered by a number of different agencies which also increases the costs of bureaucracy. Finally, and perhaps this is inherent in American culture, those who do have the means-and the legal clout to make insurance companies compliant- demand stupendously aggressive medical interventions of dubious social, or even individual, value. Everybody goes along with this. Insurance companies are reluctant to challenge those who have easy access to lawyers. The medical industry will rapidly rush to fulfill whatever demand, with great financial rewards, that such people generate.
Meanwhile a large proportion of the American population is not covered at all by health plans. Those who are are subjected to continued uncertainty as most are covered by employer provided plans that depend upon a)the financial stability of the employer and b)the willingness of the employer to play by the terms of the social contract and not attempt to cut the coverage back at any convenient opportunity. The following from the website of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) tells of one such instance. This is the case of the Starbucks corporation who are attempting to cut the health benefits, such as they are, of their employees. They are opposed by the IWW affiliated Starbucks Union, recently in the news here in Canada for having organized and gained bargaining rights at a Starbucks outlet in Québec City. Here's the story from the point of view of the Starbucks Union.
IWW Starbucks Union Condemns Starbucks Doubling Health Insurance Costs:
For Immediate Release:
IWW Starbucks Workers Union
Media Contacts:
Aaron Kocher - 612-220-6454
Liberte Locke - 917-693-7742
July 28, 2009
IWW Starbucks Union Condemns Starbucks Doubling Health Insurance Costs Health Coverage Cuts Come Amidst Soaring Profits
Starbucks, amid massive profits, announced on Monday that it will slash at employee health care benefits. The company announced that premiums for its most economical employee health care package will nearly double, along with across the board increases in out-of-pocket expenses. This slap in the face to workers comes just one week after the announcement of $256 million in profits for the quarter, far exceeding internal and Wall Street expectations.
These cuts are an insult to Starbucks workers, and the thousands of workers who have been laid off in the last year. The increased costs of health benefits will be a barrier to many workers thinking of enrolling, forcing them to make the hard decision between health care coverage and feeding their families.
We expect more from Starbucks as a leading Fortune 500 company that builds its brand image on its treatment of its "partners", what it calls employees. Starbucks has a responsibility to provide affordable, quality healthcare to its workers, who are responsible for its enormous profits. Instead, Starbucks continues to use health care benefits as a marketing tool, while actually covering a lower percentage of its workforce than the notoriously unethical Wal-Mart.
Starbucks has repeatedly shown that it cannot be trusted to compensate us fairly. We believe as workers we must organize together to hold Starbucks accountable, and give us the respect and dignity we deserve.
About the IWW Starbucks Workers Union:
The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is an organization of over 300 current and former employees at the world's largest coffee chain united for secure work hours, a living wage, and respect on the job. The union has members throughout the United States and Canada, fighting for positive change at the company and defending baristas treated unfairly by management.

The upcoming 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympics are drawing nearer, and the cost overruns are also becoming clearer. In the meantime the organizers of Olympic protest are continuing their efforts. Here's the latest news from the Olympic Resistance Network (see also their No2010 site).
Upcoming meetings and events:‏
Upcoming ORN general meetings: (Every 2nd Sunday)
Sunday, Aug. 2, 6pm @ Spartacus Books, 684 E. Hastings (The first meeting of each month includes time for new member orientation and Olympic issues background.)
Sunday, Aug. 16, 6pm and Sunday, Aug. 30, 6pm @ Spartacus Books, 684 E.Hastings
** If you are interested in ORN, but unable to attend Sunday meetings,consider getting involved in one of the subcommittees planning popular education/outreach, legal defense, fundraising, communications, etc. and contact for more information.
---------- Upcoming events of interest in Vancouver: ----------
Sunday, August 9 ORN at UNDER THE VOLCANO: 19th Annual Festival of Art and Change Sun., Aug. 9, 12pm to 9:30pm
@ Cates Park, North Vancouver,
Tsleil-Waututh territory
Under the Volcano is a progressive musical and community festival at Cates Park. 30+ artists, 4 stages, workshops, artisans market, community info fair, and more - rain or shine! (No alcohol, no pets – except guidance/assistance dogs. Wheelchair accessible.)
ORN will have a table in the info fair, as well as members participating in some of the workshops. Please come out and visit our table while enjoying the day!
**2:15-3:45 (90 mins): Resisting 2010 - Chris Shaw, ORN, Dustin Rivers +Micheal Vonn (BCCLA)
**4:00-5:15 (75 mins): Gaza 2 Gustafsen - Hanna Kawas, Gord Hill + Invincible
**5:30-7:00 (90 mins): People's History of Kanada - Mona Oikawa, Kat Norris, Hari Sharma, Chin Banerjee
Gates open at 12pm.
General admission by donation: $10-20.
Low-income admissions by donation: $5 at Main gate ONLY
Free Shuttle bus from Broadway/Commercial Skytrain Station starting at11am (roughly every 30 minutes).
Valet Bike Parking – at the top gate (west gate) from 12pm onwards. Directions:
(** Extremely limited parking! Please do not drive. **)
Take the 2nd Narrows Bridge towards North Vancouver; take the first EXIT, Dollarton Hwy; follow Dollarton East until you see signs for Cates Park (right side of the highway).
Sunday, Aug. 16 and 23
Sun., Aug. 16, 12-4pm at the Main Street Car-Free Days
@ Location TBD
Sun., Aug. 23, 12-6pm at the Commercial Drive Car-Free Days (last one of the summer!)
@ Charles and Commercial intersection (next to Granview Park)
The Vancouver Renters At Risk group want to collect stories and interviews about some of the housing impacts of the Games; anyone with contacts, personal stories, ideas, etc., please send to: "Renters At Risk Campaign
- Subject: renters on video
I'm looking for BC renters who have been affected/experienced evictions, renovictions, and/or huge rent increases in the lead up to the Olympics. If that's you, are you willing to allow me to film you in a short 15-45 sec segment? If you're interested in hearing more, please write:
Olympic Resistance Network: contact -
The Olympic Resistance Network is primarily based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories and exists as a space to coordinate anti-2010 Olympics efforts. In doing so, we act in solidarity with other communities across 'BC' - particularly indigenous communities who have been defending their land against the onslaught of the Olympics since the bid itself. Our organizing is largely being done under the slogan of "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land," while creating an opportunity for all anti-capitalist, indigenous, anti-poverty, labour, migrant justice, environmental justice, anti-war, and anti-colonial activists to come together to confront this two-week circus and the oppression it represents.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Since the recent certification of the Starbucks Union, a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), as the official union for one Starbucks outlet in Québec City it appears that the coffee giant is not as invulnerable as was once thought. Previous attempts, on the part of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) in British Columbia failed back in the 1990s. As far as Molly can determine there is only one other unionized Starbucks in the world. This lone example is in Regina, Saskatchewan where the workers are represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union- Saskatchewan(RWDSU). This particular RWDSU has no connection with the RWDSU International with whom it split back in the 1970s. Since that time the RWDSU has gained a reputation as one of the most progressive and militant unions in North America. In the past they have used workplace occupations as part of their strike tactics.
Both the RWDSU and the IWW ,which has spearheaded recent drives to unionize Starbucks, are small unions. The RWDSU has the advantage of geographical concentration over the dispersed IWW, and it is more effective for that. The major unions and union federations won't touch Starbucks, or any related workplace such as fast food joints, unionization with a ten foot pole. In the days when the CAW attempted their drive in BC they were a much different union then they are today. Having split from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) they were willing to take on every possible organizational effort in what was a quest to become a multiindustry alternative to the CLC. They are a much quieter beast today, and it would be hard to imagine them attempting organization in such places as Starbucks at the present time.
Which leads us to the most recent question in Molly's Polls; "Is It Possible to Unionize Places Such as Starbucks?". See our sister site to register your opinion. There are immense difficulties that any union that attempts to organize in places such as Starbucks have to overcome. This is even more so in fast food joints such as McDonalds. If there are only two unionized Starbucks in the world that is still 200% better than the zero McDonalds that are organized. Molly is agnostic about the prospects insofar as I think that such organization is possible , but only in certain locations where both the laws and the local culture are such as to facilitate such efforts.
Québec today has a long standing tradition of militant unionism far greater than almost anywhere else on the continent. In Saskatchewan unions such as the RWWDSU thrive in the lengthening shadows of what was once the most left wing community on the continent. Saskatchewan socialism has, today, been corrupted beyond all recognition, but the populist tradition still lingers. Should young workers there be privileged to have known their grandparents or grand uncles/grand aunts about 50% of them would have had a family member who was a convinced socialist, one not shy of stating their views. Presented with the option of unionization- with a radical rhetoric thrown in- the old "lefty genes" have a tendency to reactivate. Perhaps many parts of Newfoundland, Minnesota and Wisconsin are the same.
One thing that I do think is that such vague radicalism is insufficient for unionization to take a general hold outside of isolated branches of such enterprises as Starbucks. In order for the efforts to expand beyond isolated instances a community as well as a workplace mobilization has to occur. The example of a large proportion of the population of a city, even one so small as Québec City (or even Regina-much smaller), organizing a boycott of recalcitrant companies would bring the bosses to heel much faster than simple organization of workplaces, one by one, could do. Such a campaign would also reverberate worldwide and make unionization much easier in other locations.
Am I too pessimistic in my assessment that unionization in places such as Starbucks will proceed very slowly in the foreseeable future ? Time will tell. In the meantime visit Molly's Polls to express your own opinion. I hope to comment more on this matter over there.

I've often suspected that there was some "cooking the books" involved in the reported CrimeStats provided by the Winnipeg City Police and dutifully reported by the local media. The decreases in some categories of crime have seemed to be too good to be true. If one were to extrapolate from what has been published one would hazard a guess that in 5 years the city police would have little else to do besides hunt down all those vicious jaywalkers and those who spit on the street. The reality is something different than the picture portrayed by the CrimeStats.

There are many ways of lying with statistics. Perhaps the most common way for such projects as CrimeStats is to change definitions in midstream. This can work both ways. Not only can numbers be erased by removing certain acts from the definitions of incident (to make the police look good). Should there be sufficient political pressure and the promise of increased funding other categories can be artificially inflated. The issue of "street gangs" which is in the news recently here in Winnipeg would be an easy target. How many kids are in "street gangs" depends upon your definition of such, and by manipulating the definition you can easily produce a number 10 times higher than the previous one (and, of course, show success in subsequent years-after the money has been doled out- by gradually shrinking the definition).

Here is one example from the Winnipeg Copwatch site of how one category of crime, sexual assault, has had its definition altered. There is also a link to a petition to change the definition back to the previous one where when the victim knows the attacker it is still considered sexual assault. It's an interesting and actually troubling way for stats to be cooked.

CrimeStat no longer recognizes sexual assault where the attacker is known to the victim:
The M.s. Citizenship Feminist Collective is encouraging people to sign a petition to return the definition of sexual assault on the police’s CrimeStat service to one that includes attacks where the perpetrator is known to the victim.

“As of January 1 2008, Winnipeg Police Services’ CrimeStat service changed the definition of sexual assault to ‘an offence that combines the components of assault with circumstances of a sexual nature where the suspect is not known to the victim’ (emphasis added) from the definition based on the Criminal Code which includes sexual assaults where the suspect is known or unknown to the victim. Over 78% of assault in Winnipeg is perpetrated by a suspect known to the victim (Statistic found in ‘Mean Streets?’ Comak, Chopyk and Wood, p.7). This definition change is not in line with Crimestat’s stated principles of disseminating accurate information and promoting transparency and accountability. Winnipeg is the only Canadian city which reports on sexual assaults in this way (As reported by Gabrielle Giroday in the article “ Board wants police website to report all sexual assaults” in the Winnipeg Free Press, May 29, 2009).

We believe that finding holistic and effective solutions to domestic and sexual abuse begins with being given accurate information.
Please go to the Winnipeg CopWatch site to add your name to the following petition.
We the undersigned, demand that Crimestat and Winnipeg Police Services restore the original definition to include those sexual assaults perpetrated by someone known to the victim. We believe that finding holistic and effective solutions to domestic and sexual abuse begins with being given accurate information.



This is the sort of lawsuit that springs either from malignant optimism or, more likely, a simple desire to use the courts as an instrument of harassment. Either that or it was thought up at a "too many martinis lunch by Walmart's lawyers. For some time the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada have had a website Walmart Workers Canada. To say the least the site is critical of Wal-Mart. The Big W, rather than answering the criticisms, or perish forbid actually make their workers' lives better and allowing them to unionize is trying to kill the union's freedom of speech by using the courts. What they want to censor will astonish you. Personally I hope against hope that the judge levies all costs against the plaintiff in this obviously vexatious lawsuit. Here's the story from the Wake Up Walmart site.
Stop Walmart's War on Free Speech:‏
Remember when Walmart tried to restrict usage of the ubiquitous yellow smiley face? Well, the company's legal team is it again.

Walmart has filed an injunction against a website critical of its Canadian business practices, and their "legal basis" will outrage you. Walmart wants to stop from using the word "Wal-Mart" either "alone or with other words... in a color scheme of blue, white and gold." Even more ridiculous, the company wants to restrict the usage of circular shapes on the group's website!

If Walmart has its way, "an oval, circular or semi-circular design" will be off limits to groups critical of its business practices. We're sure you agree--this is simply too bizarre for words.
You can take a stand against Walmart's censorship threat. It takes just a few seconds to put the pressure on Walmart to respect freedom of expression.
Tell Walmart to respect free speech: sign our petition today

If we let Walmart set the standard for free speech online, there is no telling where the company's absurd demands will end. Can you imagine a world where Walmart has exclusive rights to blue, white, gold, and abstract geometrical shapes? Rest assured that Walmart can.

Please take a moment to show your solidarity for the activists at Sign our petition today, and don't forget to show your support online by hosting a banner on Facebook, MySpace, or your blog.
Help stop Walmart's war against the freedom of expression online
Thanks for all that you do,
The Team,
Yup, that's the honest truth. Walmart would like to be able to control not just the ubiquitous smiley face but even colour schemes and geometrical shapes. There is now a Facebook group dedicated to opposing this bizarre attempt. See the Save the Circle facebook group. Yes folks the circle will become an endangered species if WalMart has its way. If you like sign the following petition against this act of corporate craziness by going to THIS LINK.
We, the undersigned, jointly demand that Walmart adhere to the ideals of free expression.
Walmart must respect the sanctity of free speech, and must not unduly interfere with groups expressing their views with regard to Walmart, though they may be critical of Walmart's business practices.

The frivolous demands levied against, restricting the use of color schemes and shapes, are contrary to our most basic ideals, and must be retracted at once.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The following appeal for online solidarity comes from the Jobs With Justice coalition in the USA. It seems that even the Toyota company which is far from being bankrupt wants to use the opportunity to shed workers.

No "Jobless Recovery" -- put workers first in auto retooling:
Once again, a major corporation -- this time Toyota -- is threatening to cut thousands of jobs in the name of 'competitiveness.'

Don't let banks and corporations get away with a "jobless recovery" that restores profits and bonuses, but leaves workers behind. A real recovery puts workers and communities first, providing good jobs, affordable housing, retirement security and health care for all.

As part of the complicated auto industry bankruptcy process, Toyota is considering shutting down its only unionized workforce, the highly efficient partnership with GM called "New United Motor Manufacturing Inc." (NUMMI) in Fremont California. Shutting down the plant would cost 4,500 good autoworker jobs, not to mention tens of thousands at dependent companies.

The "Motors Liquidation Corporation" (the new name for the pre-bankruptcy GM), Toyota and the bankruptcy court, influenced by the US government's auto restructuring task force, will be deciding the fate of this plant and these workers.

Take action to save jobs at NUMMI and to put Congress on notice that we need a new economy with new rules embodying worker and community interests and economic fairness.
Please go to THIS LINK to send a nessage to the US Congress about this situation.
The possible loss of 4,500 good jobs at the NUMMI plant in California will have another negative ripple effect, adding to the economic crisis. The government's auto restructuring task force should ensure that workers and the economy come first as the auto industry is retooled for sustainability.

I urge you to do what you can to encourage fair negotiations with NUMMI, Toyota, the former GM and the bankruptcy court.

Beyond saving these thousands of jobs, I ask you to take bold measures that will transform our economy for the long haul in a more just and sustainable way. It's time for Congress to break the grip of the big banks, create millions of good new jobs (with the right to organize without intimidation), stop evictions and ensure retirement security and health care for all.

Here straight from the demon horse's mouth are upcoming video showings down Toronto way from Satan Macnuggit. Catch em if you can.
* * * * *
DVD Release Party
Thursday, July 30
7:30 pm (doors @ 7)
Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto
2 Sussex St. (at St. George)
Admission $5
Or free with purchase of DVD ($20)
The Toronto Video Activist Collective (TVAC) is proud to present THE BEST OF VIDEOACTIVE - a compilation of the very best direct-action short videos from the seminal "VideoActive" video zine.
Come celebrate the tenth anniversary of "VideoActive" with our first-ever DVD release - featuring highlights from Reclaim the Streets to the Pope Squat, from Pussy Palace to TTC subway parties - and from Quebec City to Argentina. For more information and interviews, please contact .
* * * * *
Trash Palace presents
(Daniel Petrie, 1973)
Friday, July 31
Doors @ 8:30 - films @ 9:30
Advance tickets at Eyesore Cinema, 801 Queen St. W
Secret location (address on the ticket)
Continuing my semi-regular showcase of all-Canadian fromage, this week we offer a screening in the true spirit of Toronto Summer '09 - a big pile of waterlogged trash! The main event is THE NEPTUNE FACTOR.
Ben Gazzara, Walter Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine and other thespian luminosities head into the unknown depths off the coast of Halifax, in order to rescue the wayward Oceanlab II from the watery depths. There, the intrepid crew is threatened by...poorly matched closeups of tropical fish!
Can you spell 'fun'?
Director Petrie is better known for high-minded fare like "A Raisin in the Sun"and "The Bay Boy". So make no mistake, the auteur here is really money man Harold Greenberg, the Kingfish in the puddle of Canadian disaster movies (Cityon Fire, Death Ship) and the mastermind behind the Astral Films colossus. This was Greenberg's first film as producer, and his work lives up to his usual standards! You gotta see it to believe it, people - but to give you a taste, here's a hilarious writeup from our friends at Canuxploitation:
And that's not all! In the spirit of the evening, we're kicking things off with a classic short from underwater cineaste Jacques Cousteau - the memorable "Night of the Squid"! Ride along with Jacques as he frolics with the creatures of the deep. Add 'em up and you got a night at the movies you won't soon forget.
See you there kiddies.
* * * * *
And if that ain't enough, details are firming up on yet ANOTHER screening in the coming days, this one in'll be worth the drive...even if you're in Saskatoon(Hey, if you're in Regina anything is worth the drive-Molly) Stay tuned - we're just getting started!!
Jonathan list worker,

The following item comes from the A-Infos website. It has Canadian relevance because of the continuing refusal on the part of our Harper Conservative government, in terms of its refugee program, to recognize that the Roma people face persecution in Europe. Of course they do. Here is an example, one amongst many, of people demonstrating the sort of thing that government claims doesn't exist.
Czech, Svitavy, East Bohemia, Media, Some 70 anarchists and other activists attended a one-hour protest against mounting neo-Nazi activities in the Czech Republic Saturday:
They paid tribute to all victims of neo-Nazi violence since the fall of the previous regime in late 1989.
---- "The police were monitoring the march, we dealt with no misdemeanour during the event," Svitavy police spokeswoman Anna Stegnerova told journalists.
---- The activists carried posters reading "No to further neo-Nazism victims" and "No to xenophobia and racism."
---- An anarchist claimed in his speech during the event that there have been more than 30 victims of neo-Nazis in the country.
--- The march was joined by about 20 Romanies from the association We Want to Live!
--- "We have arrived from Brno, we have come to pay tribute to Ota Absolon," a member of the association said.
--- The march of neo-Nazism opponents was held on the day when in the past years skinheads used to stage marches in support of the convicted skinhead Vlastimil Pechanec.Pechanec was sent to prison for 17 years for a racially-motivated murder of a 23-year-old Romany man in 2003.

The following appeal for solidarity comes from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.
Turkey: Free jailed trade union leaders:
Recently, the Turkish government has been systematically pressuring KESK (the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions) with banishments, dismissals, investigations, detentions and arrests. The operation against KESK started on 28th May 2009 in the early hours (about 04:00 AM), and 22 trade unionists including KESK women's secretary Songül Morsümbül, former General Secretary Abdurrahman Daşdemir, women's secretary of EĞİTİM-SEN Gülçin İsbert and former one Elif Akgül Ateş were arrested and the number of KESK arrested members increased to 32. These people are now in "F-Type", or small group isolation prisons. On 28th May 2009, the headquarter of KESK, its branches in İzmir and Van and houses and workplaces of the detained members were raided and searched by the Gendarmerie. In the search of the office of Songül Morsümbül in KESK all official documents, national and international documents about women's issues and trade union activities were seized as evidence of crime. These proceedings took place in contradiction of the Code of the Constitution and Criminal Procedure. In Turkey, collective "talks" by which the living and working conditions of public employees are to be determined, are going to be launched on 15th August. KESK took the first step of our struggle for transforming Collective Talks into Collective Agreements on 15th May. KESK had organized a great demonstration against the effects of the economic crisis in Ankara on 29th November and in İstanbul on 15th February with the participation of more than 100.000 people. On May Day KESK demonstrated in Taksim Square. On 5th June 2009, the march of Eğitim-Sen (the biggest teachers’ union) was prevented by the police using very extreme violence. KESK calls on the Turkish government to secure the immediate release of all trade unionists, to take any necessary steps to guarantee their safety and to abide by the international norms ratified by Turkey.
Please go to THIS LINK tos end the following letter to the Turkish authorities.
I have learned of the operation against KESK started on 28th May 2009, in which 22 trade unionists including executive committee members were arrested and the number of KESK arrested members increased to 32. The living conditions in the prison are very bad and one of the trade unionists is now ill. The basic principles of law were violated as the headquarters of KESK was raided and searched by the gendarmerie, and many documents were seized. This anti-trade union attitude, and these detentions and raids are the clear violation of ILO Convention No. 87 that was signed by Turkey in 1993. The rights of the workers can only be exercised in an atmosphere that is free of violence, pressure and threats. Therefore I firmly condemn this anti-union attack and I urge you to release all KESK members immediately and unconditionally.

The following letter was recently published in the Sudbury Star. It comes Molly's way via the strike support website Fair Deal Now set up by the Steelworkers to support the strike against Vale Inco.
Steelworkers fight important to all:
Sudbury was built on mining and there is no doubt it is a valuable asset to our community. The economic spinoff for the city has been tremendous; Sudbury has prospered.

There have been difficult times for sure, but Sudbury and mining survived. The strike today between Vale Inco and the Steelworkers is about a different survival. I respect the "hard fight" of the union and am mindful of the tremendous gains and efforts made.

Mining is a dangerous profession and the workers earn every dollar they make.

The proposed Vale Inco pension, transfer rights and nickel bonus changes were reasonable business initiatives and open for discussion between both sides; bargaining in good faith and a deal would be made. There is a sense there was no bargaining of any kind, no real discussion of the issues. Then there is the 200-plus staff/management cuts of highly skilled mining employees, which is suspect.

This fight is much bigger than your typical labour dispute, it is about the survival of our community (mining contractors, service and supply companies), our resources, our people.
When the strike is over, the fear is, who will run and work the mines when all the skilled workers have been let go, what will this company look like and how many workers will die? Make no mistake, that will happen.

We cannot sit by and watch them dismantle our mining assets and what belongs to this city. I do not blame Vale Inco, I blame the government for letting them in. It's about respect.
C. Venturi Azilda

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Since the uprising of last winter the authorities and Greece's large and influential anarchist movement have played a cat and mouse game. While the anarchists failed to break through and inspire the general population to revolt they, in turn, were not crushed by the government. This is a situation that the authorities find most unsatisfactory, and since the failed insurrection they have increased their efforts, aided by neo-fascist allies, to reduce the influence of the anarchists as much as they can- often by what seems like a calculated campaign of terror. What the rulers fear is not so much the anarchist movement in its present state but rather its potential to trigger another revolt that the majority of the population might join should economic times be tough enough.
The following, originallyfrom Athen's Indymedia, has been edited for English grammar and published at the Anarkismo site.

Arson attempt against Fabricka Yfanet:
Fabricka Yfanet is a former 19,500 m² factory in Thessaloniki (Greece) that has been occupied by people demanding their freedom from political and economic oppression since 20 March 2004.
On Saturday morning, 25 July 2009 at 5.05, arsonists attempted to put our squat on fire by lighting barbecue tanks at the main iron gate. They left a bag containing six gas cans, one 4-litre petrol canister, and a box of fire-starters.
The explosion could not escape the attention of squatters on standby inside the occupation for its protection (such measures were taken after the government threats against free spaces). With the help of neighbours we put down the fire, and fortunately absolutely no damage was done at all. Of special interest was the ‘quick mobilization’ of the police: just six minutes after the explosion they came with three patrol vehicles, a car with civilian number plates, and a jeep.
Cops came out from the latter with hostile intentions. 20 minutes later two riot police squads, attempting to provoke us, were seen at the corner of Katsimidi Str. and Egnatia Str.. Comrades were called and came quickly to help defend our squat in case of attack.
This was the second attack against a free space in Thessaloniki within the last four days (the first attack was against Radio Revolt, a radio station in a retired railroad car within the city's major university).
Nothing will overcome our determination to defend our squats—the places where we live and breathe. *
This is a refined translation of this Athens Indymedia post, with the help of two other posters who wrote the draft translation:

The following appeal to support workers faced by layoffs by the Triumph multinational comes from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
'Triumph' dismissals in Asia attempt to get rid of unions.:
Triumph workers in Bangkok demonstrated earlier this month against the planned close down of their factory by throwing bras in the air in front of the District labour office.Lingerie producer blames global recession for factory closures.

The German/Swiss lingerie multinational Triumph seems to use the pretext of the global economic recession to close down factories in the Philippines and Thailand. A number of these closures are irregular.
On June 29, Triumph's producer in Thailand, Body Fashion Thailand, announced that around half of its 4200 workers would be out of their jobs by the end of August. Earlier this year, another Thai Triumph producer, Worldwell Garment Company, was closed down on Labour Day (May 1), and the entire work force sent home without their last salaries or the legally-required severance compensations.
In the Philippines, 1660 garment workers will loose their jobs by the end of August when Triumph International (Philippines) Ltd. and Star Performance Inc. will close down. Neither in Thailand nor in the Philippines did the Triumph management conduct timely and transparent negotiations with the factory workers' unions as required by international labour standards.
Support these Thai and Filipino workers in their struggle. Send letters to Triumph's headquarters in Switzerland today and forward this message to your friends. Your actions will make a difference!
Take action now!

Triumph cites the global recession as a major reason for downscaling their production. It is clear, however, that Triumph's actions are aimed at hampering the unions in their factories. They are closing those departments and those factories where the unions are strongest. At the same time, they are expanding a new factory in northern Thailand.
Workers unions in Thailand and the Philippines have been organizing picket lines and other forms of peaceful protest against these dishonest practises. We demand from Triumph International that they pursue any major restructuring of their factory operations in cooperation with the established factory unions, rescind the dismissals, disclose the full information that led to the planned retrenchments and closures, generally operate in line with ILO core conventions as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Triumph has a history of ignoring labour-rights violations in the Asian factories where they outsource the production of their luxury lifestyle products. Last year, the Swiss multinational was accused of harassing union leaders in the same factories: see
In 2002, Triumph was also one of the last international firms to withdraw production from Burma (Myanmar). The Burmese military government has been accused of gross political repression and massive human rights violations.
Please go to the link cited above to send the following letter to Triumph management.
Dear Mr. Spiesshofer,
Re. Triumph's reduction plans in the The Philippines and Thailand.
Through the Clean Clothes Campaign I learned about Triumph International's intention to considerably reduce the workforce at its subsidiary Body Fashion Thailand (BFT) as well as in the Triumph International (Philippines) Ltd. and Star Performance Inc. factories in the Philippines.
I also read that these retrenchments and other major restructurings were done without proper consultation with the workers' unions. The fact that the management did not engage in open and timely negotiations with the union prior to the planned dismissals is a breach of the international standards such as the ILO convention 158 and the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
I am also concerned about signs of union-busting in Triumph International's reduction plans since Triumph International seems to primarily reduce the workforce in unionised factories. In my opinion these moves could be interpreted as anti-union acts and as such could be considered as breaches of Triumph International's Code of Conduct, ILO core conventions and the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises.
I was further informed that another Thai factory that produced for Triumph International, Worldwell Garment Company Ltd., was closed down in May this year and the workers have not yet received their last salaries and their full severance compensation fees that they are legally entitled to.
I am writing to you to express my serious concern about these practises. I urge you as the responsible CEO on behalf of Triumph International to intervene at your subsidiaries and to use your influence at the factories where Triumph International has been outsourcing the production in order to guarantee that the unions and workers are treated fairly.
I request you to:
***present full documentation to TITLU and the Triumph workers union in the Philippines, BPMTI, on why Triumph International has opted for the current plan to reduce the workforce in the said factories.
***restart the process of reduction of the workforce in close co-operation with TITLU and BPMTI and in accordance with current CBA, the ILO-conventions, as well as the OECD guidelines.

Keenly awaiting your response and action on these matters,
Yours sincerely,

Monday, July 27, 2009

As I mentioned before on this blog I was wrong in assuming that the police invasion had managed to dislodge the workers occupying the SSangyong Motor factory in Pyeongtaek, Korea. The workers involved retreated to the plant paint shop where they have continued to hold out despite repeated assaults on the part of the police. Here is the latest news from the Korea Times. The following comes to Molly via the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.
Ssangyong Union Proposes Talks:
Management Demands Union Stop Call for Withdrawal of Layoffs
By Park Si-soo
Staff Reporter
Laid-off union members of Ssangyong Motor said Monday they are open to talks with management to end their occupation of a building in the company's factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
The remarks came two days after management refused to hold talks. Ssangyong executives are far from positive about the proposal, saying it was a union tactic to buy time and take the upper hand in negotiations.
Representatives of around 600 striking protesters occupying a paint shop for more than two months held a press conference on its rooftop using a loud speaker.
``From now on, we will engage in any talks with the government and management to end the deadlock as early as possible,'' union leader Han Sang-gyun said. ``If they refuse, they should be held liable for any problems to the company including its bankruptcy.''
Han urged police to end their bid to disperse protesters with negotiations underway.
The union wants the firm to rehire laid-off workers immediately, which management says cannot do.
Ssangyong management is refusing to return to the negotiations. ``We told the government that we will not have a meeting with them for a while,'' a Ssangyong executive said following the press conference. ``This is to buy time. We will not fall into the trap they set up.''
Labor Minister Lee Young-hee denounced the striking workers for their indifference to the firm's possibility of bankruptcy in the wake of the protest.
``It's sad to know that hundreds of workers had been laid off. But it was inevitable to revive the ailing company,'' Lee told reporters at his office in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. ``They should keep in mind that their sacrifice will help normalize the company and, in the long run, they will get an opportunity to return to their workplace.''
Police confronted laid-off union workers inside the factory for the eighth consecutive day on Monday.
Here is a further report, also via Labour Start, from the American Chronicle about what the Korean workers are facing in their struggle.
Korean Workers Defy Police and Continue 2-Month Sit-in at Auto Plant:
Harry Kelber
July 26, 2009
Hundreds of discharged workers from South Korea´s Ssangyong Motors have continued to clash with police as they resist efforts to end a two-month siege at the company´s main factory. Up to 600 workers have been occupying the paint shop part of the factory in protest against massive job cuts that are part of a company restructuring plan.
Around 3,000 riot police have been deployed to the factory and on July 22, police helicopters dumped tear gas into the plant in an effort to force the discharged workers to leave. A company spokesman said the protesters are believed to have stocked up on enough food and other necessities to hold out for a considerable time. A police officer said " We´re fully ready to move in, but haven´t set the timing, because a lot of flammable material, such as paint and thinner, is scattered in the paint shop. For now, it is difficult to move in."
Lee Chang-kun, a spokesman for the union, said "If police decide to move in, then it would mean they don´t care, even if dozens die." The protest began on May 21 and has paralyzed production at the plant. Ssangyong's labor union rejected a compromise offer from the management in late June. Since then, there has been no contact between the company and the strikers.

Molly had no idea that at least part of her favourite industry, the booze industry, was so cartellized- as the list of the following brands for Diageo makes plain. Ah, the sadness, and even sadder that the company is thinking of terminating the jobs of so many who have done so much to bring pleasure to the masses across the world. Here from the international union, the IUF, is an appeal for solidarity against these cuts.


Unite Fights Back as Drinks Giant Diageo Celebrates Good Times by Axing 900 Jobs in Scotland:
IUF UK affiliate Unite is campaigning in response to the announced destruction of 900 jobs across Scotland by transnational drinks company Diageo. Diageo, whose spirits, beer and wine brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Baileys, J&B, José Cuervo, Tanqueray, Guinness, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines, and Bushmills Irish whiskey, is hugely profitable, with rising sales and margins by all its leading brands. Total profits for 2008 were over 3.6 billion USD, the company spent nearly 1.5 billion buying back its own shares and the CEO pocketed over USD 8.2 million in pay.
To squeeze yet more money for shareholders and top executives, the company has announced the elimination of 900 jobs through closure, outsourcing and redundancy at the John Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock, Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow and three other sites.
Few if any other jobs are on offer in the communities targeted by Diageo for closure and redundancy.
Unite is vigorously fighting back, with marches, rallies and pressure on politicians.
To support their struggle visit the Unite campaign site for the latest campaign news and click here to send a message to Diageo CEO Paul Walsh through labourstart's support page.
Please go to the Labour Start link above to send the following letter to Diageo management.
Dear Paul Walsh
We are deeply concerned to learn of the major job losses you have recently announced as a result of the proposed closures of both Kilmarnock packaging plant and the Port Dundas distillery and cooperage, together with rest of the package of redundancies and outsourcing on other sites at Shieldhall, Hurlford and Elgin. With profits in excess of £2bn last year, there can be no justification for these measures which will decimate the affected communities in Scotland and by so doing, will cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the Johnny Walker brand. We therefore urge you to reconsider your proposals and to work closely with the trade unions to agree an alternative business plan that will guarantee a sustainable future for all.