By JONATHAN KISSAM
UE Local 221 Financial Secretary
On June 10 and 11, members of Locals 221and 267 joined
UE International Labor Affairs Dir. Robin Alexander in Montreal
for a conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Center for
International Workers Solidarity (CISO).
Supported by trade unions and community organizations
throughout Quebec, CISO has worked to foster international solidarity
for twenty-five years. Following an unplanned encounter in Mexico four
years ago, UE and CISO organized joint worker-to-worker delegation to
Mexico for three consecutive years. CISO activists attended last years
UE National convention in Burlington.
The UE members compared notes with the Quebecois
unionists on bargaining in the education sector, welfare reform, and
resisting corporate globalization.
CISO activists urged UE members from Vermont to come to
Quebec City next April, where a summit of the Free Trade Area of the
Americas (a proposed NAFTA-like agreement) will be met with protests
like the November 1999 protests against the WTO in Seattle and the April
2000 protests against the IMF in Washington, D.C.
UE members from Vermont hope to host a delegation from
CISO to Vermont in the near future, and to strengthen ties between the
UE and like-minded unions in Quebec.
Joining Alexander were Pat Foley, Local 221; John
Payne, Head Start chief steward, Local 221; Norma Sprague,
Chief Steward, Local 267, and Jonathan Kissam, financial
secretary, Local 221.