Andre Gunar Frank & Marx

George Pennefather poseidon at
Mon Nov 1 02:41:35 MST 1999

I thought this was interesting... enclosed is a statement released by
John Sweeney, head of the AFL-CIO (the federation representing the
bulk of organized union labour in the US) on the WTO & Workers'

The main criticism that I have of Sweeney and the official AFL-CIO
stand is that they have agreed with Clinton to negotiate their way
*into* the WTO through a "working group on trade and labor", rather
than fully challenging the validity of the process and the WTO
itself. American members of this list will be more than familiar with
Sweeney -- he is often known to talk "left" (I saw him speak in
Everett, Washington at a 30,000 person-strong rally in support of
striking Boeing workers four years ago, within weeks of his being
first elected to the presidency of the AFL-CIO on a platform of
organizing the unorganized, civil disobedience, and defeating the
Republicans, but he soon came out as a big Clinton booster), but act
essentially in the interests of big business & capital.

Many of us in Vancouver, by the way, have been spending a good deal
of time organizing towards a large mobilization in Seattle during the
"ministerial conference" of the WTO in late November -- presuming
that we're able to get across the border at that time, we expect to
be joined by tens of thousands of folks on that mobilization (see for more info on the WTO, the mobilization
in Seattle, etc.)

  - tony


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   For information:
Naomi Walker   202/637-5093

Statement by AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney on Workers' Rights and
the WTO October 28, 1999

The current system of global trade and investment rules has failed
miserably on many counts. It has weakened the bargaining power of
workers all over the world, has undermined legitimate national
regulations designed to protect the environment and public health,
and has exacerbated financial instability and growing inequality

We need a rules-based global trading system that protects workers'
and human rights, the environment, communities' priorities, public
health, and consumers. The system that sets and enforces these rules
must be open, transparent, and accountable to workers and other
citizens, and it must reflect democratic principles. We need a
trading system that works for working people.

That is why the AFL-CIO, along with union leaders from all over the
world, and our allies in environmental, religious, and community
organizations, is planning a mass mobilization in Seattle on November
30 during the World Trade Organization's first ministerial to be held
in the United States.

Tens of thousands of workers, environmentalists, religious leaders,
and community activists will come together in Seattle to tell the
assembled ministers, the WTO, our own government, and the American
public that it is time to put first things first - the rules need to
be changed to see to it that globalization works for working people
everywhere. Until these concerns are addressed, the WTO should cease
the headlong rush toward ever greater trade liberalization.

Recently, the U.S. government indicated it will ask the WTO to
establish a working group on trade and labor. We have long urged such
a step and support the administration's proposal. We hope that other
countries will support the U.S. proposal and are working with unions
in other countries to urge them to do so. But the working group is
only a small step in the right direction, and much more needs to be


For a detailed description of the AFL-CIO's postion on the WTO see:

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