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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-15-09 10:49 AM
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Democracy Now! excellent today with Naomi Klein
Even more excellent than usual IMO: /

Fire the Boss: Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis on "The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago"
Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein and Al Jazeera host Avi Lewis discuss the workers who are taking over their factories and plants rather than lose their jobs, some to owners who owe money to bailed-out banks. They also address the latest news in the nations global economic collapse amidst the White House and Democratic-led Congress rejection of single-payer healthcare.

Chicago Window Factory Reopens with Occupying Workers Back on the Job
Workers at Chicagos Republic Windows and Doors factory occupied their plant in December after the plants owners gave workers just three days notice of the plants closure. They
won a settlement, and now the factory has remained open under new management. We speak to Armando Robles, a maintenance worker at the factory and local union president.

Argentine Journalist Sergio Ciancaglini on "Sin Patron: Stories from Argentina's Worker-Run Factories"
Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein documented the struggles of Argentine workers occupying their factories in the 2004 film The Take. We play an excerpt of the film and speak to Argentine journalist Sergio Ciancaglini, co-author of Sin Patrn: Stories from Argentinas Worker-Run Factories.
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clear eye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-21-09 09:06 PM
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1. It's happening in the U.S., too
Tom Crofts of the Steel Valley Authority has helped broker a few deals like that for plants in PA and OH when all else failed. It's risky for the workers, so other options are tried first. Most of the Argentinian worker buyouts, product of Argentina's economic collapse in the late 1990's, unfortunately ended up failing.

An offshoot of the SVA (and Crofts' determination to increase employment) is The Heartland Fund. Its purpose is to use union pension money to invest in or help promising, job-creating enterprises.

The Heartland Labor Capital Network, has proposed national capital pools for the U.S., financed by multi-employer pension funds, selected union affiliates and other financial entities. These national 'Heartland Funds' would make direct investments in smaller manufacturing and related enterprises that are worker-friendly. This fund coalition would also provide an 'umbrella' for shared marketing, due diligence, deal flow, and pre- and post-investment and monitoring activities in cooperation with a regional labor capital network in the U.S. focused on reinvesting in America's high road workplaces, to build sustainable regional economies.

Tom Crofts is an unsung hero who began his career offering social service referrals to unemployed workers for local governmental agencies, then sought employment in economic development agencies when he saw that what these people needed most was jobs. At some point he was recruited into Robert Reich's Labor Dept. under Pres. Clinton, and began developing a program for local gov't economic development groups to follow on strategies for job retention. He stayed for a while under Bush, but when the planned publication of his program manual was scuttled he left to direct the SVA. The Bush Labor Dept., true to form for the Bush administration, told him that the manual their property, and if he published it outside the agency, terrible things would happen to him. He published it anyway.

In the SVA he implemented all his strategies and devised new ones to prevent employers from shutting their doors, whether it was helping the owners find subsidies, or finding a buyer when the owner was bailing out, or finding profitable new directions the company could go in. And, as I said above, a few times he was involved in worker buyouts. He always worked in concert with the unions, and never thought of cutting workers or going below a living wage as an answer. The reputation of the SVA grew outside of its traditional area, and he was in demand throughout the Rust Belt and beyond. In the last couple of years he's emphasized energy-smart and sustainable choices. I don't know how much of what he did survived the banking crisis, but the website seems to indicate that he's still directing the SVA. I do know that large numbers of people have owed their livelihood to his work.
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