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Sunday, December 07, 2003

From the picket line
AKA "The Central Front in the War on Corporatism." I just spent an hour and a half on the picket line in front of Borders. The strike will be one month old tomorrow. While business seems to be down, quite a few people still cross the picket line, which is depressing. Even in supposedly liberal Ann Arbor, the "I've got mine, screw you" mentality is rampant. I was getting a little bitter, and started haranguing people leaving the store with purchases with some variation on: "Happy holidays to you, sir (ma'am) for choosing to support a criminal corporation over the workers. You are destroying America by helping the corporations turn it into a sweatshop. Because of your purchases, your children and grandchildren may be working for $2 an hour with no benefits, if they can find a job at all."

You can support the strikers in several ways. If you're in or near Ann Arbor, come downtown and join the picket line for a while, and/or bring them some food. Don't shop at Borders or Waldenbooks, or at Go to the Borders Readers United web site and sign the petition and make a donation. They also have flyers that you can print out to hand to people outside your local Borders. Calling your local Borders and telling the workers about the strike is also suggested (only the Ann Arbor store is on strike, and only it and one in Minneapolis have unions).

Workers and unions spent a century of blood, sweat and tears to bring basic rights to working people, and many of us enjoy those rights (weekends, holidays, overtime pay, health insurance, etc.) even if we don't belong to unions. The "cheap-labor conservatives" have spent the last quarter of a century chipping away at these rights. It is coming to a head now; if the current strikes are lost and aWol gets reselected, America WILL become a sweatshop.