SOLIDARITY CYCLE 2013 | June 29-30th
A two day bike tour of east King County
Cycle in Solidarity! Stop Privatization of Public Resources in El Salvador and Worldwide!
The U.S. is pushing economic policies such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Public Private Partnership across the globe, and these trade and privatization deals are no more than partnerships between U.S. power moguls and transnational corporations! Let’s stop the cycle of oppression that leads to massive unemployment, poor environmental and working conditions, and general poverty that leads to massive forced migrations in the first place! Let’s ride together for an alternative tomorrow, with livable wages, fair trade, and fair treatment!
- A two day bike trip through east King County. Participants are protected by a county ordinance limiting law enforcement collaboration with immigration officials.
- Raise money to support grassroots organizing in El Salvador
- Enjoy the camaraderie of a fun, low-key group bike ride!
- $40 registration + $125-$300 fundraising goal per person. No one turned away for lack of funds.
LABOR SOLIDARITY DELEGATION REPORT-BACK THURSDAY MAY 16TH FROM 7-9PM AT WASHINGTON STATE LABOR COUNCIL!
SeaTac airport worker Socrates Bravo, Seattle U student and Casa Latina volunteer KC Bridges, and Seattle CISPES Coordinator Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm will be reporting about their meaningful labor solidarity trip to El Salvador at the Washington State Labor Council building on Thursday, May 16th from 7-9pm. Email email@example.com for details.
May 3, 2013
SAN SALVADOR – An estimated 80,000 Salvadorans representing a wide array of labor organizations, university students, women’s organizations and anti-mining activists, among others, as well as the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) political party, took to the streets Wednesday for the largest May 1st march since the election of President Funes in 2009.
“We’re really happy to have had such a diverse and strong showing of the working class on May 1st,” said Vilma Vásquez, one of the leaders of the Salvadoran Union Front (Frente Sindical Salvadoreño, FSS). “It takes a lot of work to mobilize that many people but the working class and the popular movement in El Salvador have always carried out our struggle with love.”
A main theme of the march was opposition to a bill before the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly that could lead to the privatization of a broad array of economic sectors, including ports and airports, healthcare, education, and other government services. The Public-Private Partnership Law (Ley de Asocio Público Privado) was written with the assistance of the US Treasury Department under the framework of the US State Department’s Partnership for Growth initiative in El Salvador. The proposal, which creates lucrative incentives for large corporations to exploit the country’s resources, is widely recognized among Salvadoran social movements as a threat to wages and working conditions, as well as to the government’s ability to provide essential public services.
Fourteen members of a recent labor delegation led by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) marched with fellow workers from the Salvadoran Union Front. “Privatization and subcontracting are damaging to people’s rights wherever they’re imposed,” said Socrates Bravo, who works at Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle. “I have seen hundreds of fellow workers work in horrible conditions and have pay that barely covers the cost of living, while the airlines and companies are making billions of dollars in profit. Meanwhile, the state earns nothing.”
Members of the delegation recognized striking similarities between the attacks on Salvadoran and US workers and their right to organize, especially in the private sector. “What we see is that we’re dealing with multinational corporations so we have to in turn fight internationally. This is not about one country to the next, it’s about an international working class struggle,” said Jamie Thompson, from the Northern California airport division of SEIU United Service Workers West.
Representatives of the labor delegation met with John Barrett, economic counselor at the US Embassy in San Salvador to deliver letters from the AFL-CIO, the Utility Workers Union of America, United Electrical Workers and other US labor organizations denouncing US pressure on the Salvadoran government to adopt the law. US Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte has made multiple statements to the Salvadoran press indicating that privatization is a prerequisite for further US investment through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
During the group’s press conference outside the Embassy, Julia Kann from the Washington DC Metro Labor Council said, “Our government has tried to argue that so-called ‘public-private partnerships’ will be beneficial for the Salvadoran people. But the people we have met with have been clear that this is a law that clearly favors transnational corporations and foreign companies at the expense of the Salvadoran people.”
SEATTLE LABOR DELEGATION TO PROTEST PRIVATIZATION AT U.S. EMBASSY IN EL SALVADOR
May Day Solidarity Delegates will report-back on May 16th from 7-9pm at the Washington State Labor Council offices.
Labor activists, union members, and workers across the U.S. are preparing to go to El Salvador for the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador’s (CISPES) May Day delegation from April 27 to May 4th. Labor organizers and workers who are organizing for their rights in the Pacific Northwest will be joining forces with union members in El Salvador to speak out against corporate shortcuts across the globe and the U.S.-backed Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Four delegates from the Seattle area, including a Sea Tac airport worker who is organizing for a union, will be joining 13 other U.S. delegates and taking off for the Central American country’s capital city, San Salvador. The delegates will be reporting about their time in El Salvador on Thursday, May 16th from 7-9pm at the Washington State Labor Council building, 314 1st Ave W Seattle, WA 98119.
The delegates will be presenting to the U.S. Embassy and labor groups in El Salvador on the impact of privatization on workers’ rights. The delegation is designed to highlight the kinds of wage cuts, union busting, and rising costs to consumers that people in the U.S. have seen because of privatization of basic human rights such as education and water and to bring that to El Salvador as a trade of solidarity. Earlier in February, Salvadoran union leader Alex Gomez toured the U.S. and spoke out with Seattle workers at the Sea Tac airport. At the date of the airport workers’ union campaign launch, Sea Tac airport worker and May Day delegate Socrates Bravo turned to Gomez and said, “We are struggling here and you are struggling there…hopefully we can help each other.”
United States Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte has threatened to withhold U.S. aid if El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly does not pass the PPP, which would privatize the country’s airports, water, electricity, and higher education, among other public sectors. According to Seattle CISPES, the United States is pushing this law because it would open El Salvador up for exploitation by transnational companies who could disregard human and environmental rights easily under the PPP.
In the past, El Salvador has been able to defeat privatization of healthcare in 2002 and water in 2007, for example, and CISPES hopes to replicate the labor solidarity model that has worked in the past alongside the strong social movement in El Salvador. Several labor groups throughout the U.S., including Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will be including their own statement against the PPP in the Salvadoran media on May Day, while the delegates will be marching with over 75,000 people for international worker’s day.
For more information please contact Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm, Seattle CISPES coordinator, at (206) 325-5494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.