|District 11 Pres. Carl Rosen (photo at
left) and Local 1111 members Tim Burzynski (with flag), Marilynn Jones, Tom
Ciula (waving banner), Mary Larsen, Marilyn Petlewski, Al Harhay (with UE
T-shirt) and Mario Taormina.
Close to 1,000 union members rallied here April 21 in
opposition to plans to impose the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) on
workers throughout the Western Hemisphere. Nine UE Local 1111 members traveled
by van from Milwaukee, Wis. to join the protest.
The FTAA, often described as "NAFTA on steroids,"
would make corporate power sovereign over the protective laws and regulations
of nations from Canada to Chile.
Timed to coincide with the mass demonstrations in Quebec the
same day, the rally took place across the street from Henderson Spring, a
plant on Chicagos South Side scheduled to relocate next year to Canada and
Mexico. Two hundred union members will be left jobless. The rally heard
testimony from some of those NAFTA victims, before the assembled members of
the labor, environmental and religious communities marched to a nearby park.
AND 'A RACE TO THE BOTTOM'
The forward column of the march had the solemnity of a funeral
procession, as protestors carried cardboard tombstones representing plants
closed because of NAFTA. Otherwise, the marchers sang and chanted their
opposition to "free" trade and its devastating effects, for the
length of their route.
The rally in McKinley Park included a simulated "race to
the bottom," with runners representing the Western Hemisphere nations
whose living standards would be under threat because of FTAA.
Among the speakers was U.S. Rep. Lane Evans (D., Il.),
who came in response to an invitation from UE members.
The Local 1111 participants were Bob Granum, Marilyn
Petlewski, Tom Ciula, Marilynn Jones, Al Harhay, Mary Larsen, Mario Taormina,
Tim Burzynski and Jim Lemke. They met with District 11 Pres. Carl
Rosen, Field Org. Sam Smucker and retired Intl. Rep. Terry Davis.
UE News - 05/01