Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Boran Class Struggle

Employed working people who do not have the time to follow how senatorial behavior is being played out in Congress are concerned with their jobs and livelihood. It would be fair to say they want resolution from their representatives more than they are concerned about ideological battles. It would also be fair to say that employed and non employed working people are unaware of the far reaching consequences of disenfranchisement from the political process, that to ensure their interests in the policies developed in Washington are not detrimental to their interests, that political action groups who pressure politicians do not design Laws to serve the interests of one group over another. It would be fair to say that working people are above ignorance and derision. That hindsight of the Reagan, Bush-Bush policies of the last thirty years is 20/20 have been one sided and, at this point to help the Democrats to push Bills curtailing corporate abuses which serve to disenfranchise organizations and unions fighting for them in Congress, working people need to take it to the streets in massive numbers! U.S. Bureau Labor

Statistics published on March 23, 2010:
In February, employers took 1,570 mass layoff actions involving 155,718 workers. The number of mass layoff events fell by 191 from the prior month; the number of associated initial claims decreased by 26,543. Manufacturing events and initial claims declined to their lowest levels since August 2007 is illusory of the reality. The shedding of workers since the financial meltdown appears to have fallen to levels satisfactory to corporations for the functioning of the economy but not for working families and communities. The loss of incomes represented in the lack of employment depresses communities and breeds crime destroying the fabric of communities in urban and suburban life. Town and municipal budgets get stressed and suburban every under the compelling drive for corporate sovereignty and profit accumulation. As the number of workers who have been laid off or fired increases the problem of social cohesion and order are too large for the society to handle presents a glaring failure of Congress to induce investment to put America to work, produce and function!

A fundamental problem arising from a conflict of from industries of non-strategic importance to the whole of the economy either gave up looking, or exhausted the dole, or found jobs for less pay, thereby, taking up two jobs or more hurled from one labor market to another. For these workers and families the republicans or democrats who stall or fail to extend UI and Cobra benefits before this April recess goes into effect demonstrated the political maneuvering on both sides over the economic downturn’s impact on working families.

These statistics do not track or identify and include struggles of working people that are embroiled in worker-employer conflicts and one of the first signs of the class struggles centered on the global economy in the American scene to pressure wages and earnings downward and remain competitive in the world market is in mining. Mine workers are the quintessential proletariat in extractive industries and if there are strikes or lock outs by one side or the other, the documentation of the event outside of journalism.

Rio Tintos, a global goliath is a producer of raw material. i.e., key products;including: alumina, aluminum and bauxite, borates, coal, copper, diamonds, gold and silver, gypsum, iron ore, molybdenum, salt, sulphuric acid, talc, titanium dioxide, uranium and other products. Rio Tinto's activities span the world in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa. The global competition induced Borax to reach a decision to lock employees blaming five months of union representatives damaging the business and refusing to engage in meaningful negotiations.

BORON, California – After five months of attempting to negotiate a new labor agreement with union representatives who have threatened customers, consorted with competitors and refused to engage in meaningful negotiations on key issues, U.S. Borax followed through on its commitment to lock all bargaining unit employees out of its Boron Operations at 7 am today, March 23, 2010.

This decision – the first time employees have been locked out in decades – could have been avoided if union leaders would have engaged in meaningful negotiations over the past five months, or agreed to seriously consider a company offer made on Thursday, January 28, which stipulated that employees would be locked out if they did not ratify the company’s offer by Sunday, January 31. Although a union rally was held on Saturday, January 30, the offer was not presented to members for a formal vote.

Company officials say they have run out of options to get leaders of the International Long shore & Warehouse Union, Local 30, to take the negotiations seriously despite having offered to negotiate 24 hours a day, seven days a week since September 15, and making numerous concessions on issues related to seniority, overtime and wages. Union leaders have refused to bargain for more than two days a week during those five months, and have refused to make any concessions. These same leaders wrote letters to Borax customers threatening product quality and supply reliability – which resulted in $6 million in lost business – and invited employees from Borax’s leading competitor to the bargaining table, potentially giving them access to sensitive company information.

The offer union leaders refused to consider included a 2% annual wage increase, an annual performance bonus, a $4,000 signing bonus, 80% coverage of health care insurance costs and an early retirement package worth $10,000 to $40,000 to eligible employees. In exchange, the company sought to introduce modern workplace practices that will allow it to base work assignments and promotions on experience, skills and performance rather than solely on years of service. These work practices are needed to keep Boron Operations viable in the face of heightened competition that has resulted in the company losing 20% of its workforce and 25% of its global share of sales in the last decade. Boron Operations pays an average of $26.00 per hour to its represented employees, compared to its primary competitor, Eti Maden, which the company believes pays workers $9.70 per hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment