In the U.S.
Rally calls or immigrant rights..............................1Challenging Detroit restructuring........................…. 2What the health care bill means or workers.................3A travesty or women and the environment.................4Grocery warehouse workers on strike.......................4Community group honors women organizers...............5Remembering Clara Zetkin .................................5Georgia students fght back ................................6Comedian’s plans or Cleveland not unny ..................6San Francisco protest targets health care or proft ..........6NC youth and students demand jobs, no segregation . . . . . . .7NY transit authority orced to meet with students...........7
Around the world
Mass protest in Panama targets regime’s policies............8Latin American labor leaders start U.S. tour .................8Protests denounce U.S. occupation o Iraq ..................9From Mumia Abu-Jamal: ‘Earthquakes’.....................10MIR: Seismic and social atershocks rock Chile .............11Donors plot, misery continues or Haiti quake survivors ....11‘Where’s Haiti relie money?’ ...............................11
An unwelcome visitor .....................................10
Noticias n spañol
1937: Cómo las mujeres trabajadoras abrieron el camino...12
Workers World55 West 17 StreetNew York, N.Y. 10011Phone: (212) 627-2994Fax: (212) 675-7869E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.workers.org Vol. 52, No. 12 • April 1, 2010Closing date: March 23, 2010Editor: Deirdre GriswoldTechnical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell,Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead,Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John ParkerContributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe,Greg Buttereld, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel,Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales,David Hoskins, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash,Milt Neidenberg, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette,Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria RubacTechnical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger,Bob McCubbin, Maggie VascassennoMundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez,Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez,Carlos VargasSupporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinatorCopyright © 2009 Workers World. Verbatim copyingand distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the rst week of January by WW Publishers,55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: (212) 627-2994.Subscriptions: One year: $25; institutions: $35. Lettersto the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W.17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individualarticles are available on microlm and/or photocopy from University Microlms International, 300 ZeebRoad, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive isavailable on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription.Subscription information is at www.workers.org/email.php.Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y.POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., 5th Floor,New York, N.Y. 10011.
Unions, community groupschallenge Detroit restructuring
By Abayomi Azikiweditor, PanAfrican News WireDetroit
During the week of March 15, corporate interests un- veiled several initiatives to further usurp local control of Detroit.Robert Bobb, the Detroit Public Schools emergency nancial manager, announced that 45 school buildings would be closed by June. Bobb, an appointee of Gov.Jennifer Granholm, announced the plan at RenaissanceHigh School to an invitation-only audience. The address was broadcast live over a number of major corporate ra-dio and television outlets.More than 100 activists and school employees pick-eted outside and then marched into the Renaissanceauditorium, chanting, “This is our school!” Some pro-testers denounced the Skillman Foundation executives who were present for their role in dismantling Detroit’spublic school system. According to the New York Times, the plan to close the45 schools “would eliminate as many as 2,100 jobs, in theface of a decit expected to peak at $316.6 million and adwindling student population.” (March 17)The Detroit Federation of Teachers immediately re- jected the plan. At a March 17 community meeting, theCoalition of Detroit Public Schools Unions called for amass march from DFT headquarters to DPS headquar-ters on March 23. A city with an ofcial unemployment rate of approxi-mately 28 percent, a foreclosure problem that worsensevery year, and city governmental leadership that worksexclusively on behalf of corporate interests, Detroit will be further weakened with the privatization of public edu-cation and the ring of workers.However, the attacks are not conned to this majority African-American city. There have been large-scale cut- backs and layoffs of public sector employees throughoutthe southeastern Michigan region. Schools will be closedin several suburban communities.Nationally, the trend is also toward school closingsand downsizing. The Kansas City school district an-nounced the closing of 28 schools this year.Educator Carol Dantzler-Harris wrote: “These schoolclosings usually happen in areas that can least afford it.Some of the schools were in trouble prior to the country’seconomic woes; low performing schools result in parentspulling their children out to seek a better education.These schools have a difcult time attracting the bestteachers and lack the resources they need.” (advance- web.com, March 22)
Unions threaten to strike
In Detroit, city employees represented by the Ameri-can Federation of State, County and Municipal Employ-ees have protested Mayor Dave Bing’s attempts to im-pose a 10 percent wage cut and slash benets. On March16 AFSCME workers picketed outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. More than 500 workers thenattended a public hearing with the Detroit City Council’sInternal Operations Committee.The proposed benet cuts include the requirement thatemployees purchase generic drugs; the elimination of paid lunch breaks; the suspension of tuition reimburse-ments; and the reduction of the age limit for dependentscovered by health care, from 22 to 19 years of age.Chants of “Strike!” emanated from the crowd. “Wehave no choice but to shut the city down this time be-cause we are not going to take these concessions,” saidMichael Mulholland, AFSCME Local 207 secretary-trea-surer. (Detroit Free Press, March 18)Richard Mack, an attorney representing AFSCMECouncil 25, called the proposed cuts “an effort to break the union, to break all these unions.”Meanwhile, the Bing administration is moving for- ward with schemes to “rightsize” the city, in line with acorporate community agenda. A private foundation, theKresge Foundation, is paying a so-called urban plannerto implement plans to recongure the city. This will re-sult in the mass dislocation of residents.Even the Detroit News acknowledged that Kresge’sparticipation “underscores the inuence of private foun-dations in Mayor Dave Bing’s downsizing initiative.Foundations, including Kresge, helped fund Data DrivenDetroit’s block-by-block study of vacancies and housingconditions that could serve as a blueprint for neighbor-hood consolidations.” (March 18) A spokesperson for Mayor Bing said that the city’sdownsizing team “will expand as the effort progresses.”
Plans to slash pensions, axe Medical Center
Plans were recently announced for a state legislature bill that would effectively eliminate the elected munici-pal pension board, which oversees in excess of $5 bil-lion in funds contributed by city workers. The legislation would transfer control from the pension boards to theMunicipal Employees’ Retirement System, which facesan underfunding crisis.The corporate media have accused the pension boardsof making questionable investments. However, mostemployees and retirees feel that the city pension systemis run efciently.In addition, the nonprot Detroit Medical Center hasannounced a proposal for Vanguard Health System toacquire the institution. DMC board chairperson SteveD’Arcy called the proposal “the biggest private invest-ment in the city of Detroit in history.” (Crain’s DetroitBusiness, March 21)Detroit Receiving Hospital, a component of the DMC,provides health care to uninsured people. The takeover by Vanguard, a Tennessee-based rm, could change theentire character of the DMC and its policy on treating un-insured patients.
Fightback eorts continue
On March 23 a mass protest will take place outsideBing’s “State of the City” address. The MoratoriumNOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions andUtility Shutoffs and AFSCME locals are mobilizing forthe demonstration, which will demand a freeze on layoffsand pay cuts along with a moratorium on debt servicepayments to the banks by the city of Detroit.The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is demanding thatMayor Bing declare an economic state of emergency inDetroit and that Gov. Granholm enact a halt to all fore-closures, evictions and utility shut-offs. On March 27, thecoalition will hold a Town Hall meeting to strategize aghtback and call for a massive federal public works pro-gram to put people back to work in Detroit and aroundthe country.
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