Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Remarks of Anna Burger, Chair of Change to Win, to Labor and Employment Relations Association
For Labor Day 2006, Change to Win conducted a survey on the American Dream for American workers in the new U.S. economy. Did the American Dream have meaning today's workers? Did working families believe the Dream would be there for their children? What is the American Dream for workers in the 21st century?
What we found was that the American Dream is universal and the most powerful, expression of the hopes and aspirations of working families. We also found that the Dream is not about great wealth or material possessions. The American Dream is a set of values almost an article of faith that defines what it means to be an American.
Hard work, personal responsibility, and providing a better future for the next generation are the core values of the Dream. The fulfillment of the Dream is work that is respected, wages that can support a family, health care, retirement security, and a chance for a better life for your children.
In some ways, it does not seem like a very big Dream, but it is our Dream as a people, it is our Dream as a nation. It is the Dream that has made us a beacon of hope for workers around the world -- and, when you talk to immigrant workers, the phrase American Dream rolls off their tongues in a dozen different languages.
But we also found that workers believe the American Dream is at risk. For the first time, working families -- regardless of income or education level -- believe that the next generation will NOT be better off. They believed the economy was headed in the wrong direction, and believed, no matter you might hear in the media or from government, that working families are worse off today.
Loss of faith in the American Dream -- loss of faith in the future is a bigger threat to our country than any foreign enemy.
What has put the American Dream at risk? What can we do about it?
We just conducted another survey -- the Working American Dream Agenda.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Change to Win Appoints Political Director
Chris Mather Will Lead a Massive Grassroots Effort to Help Restore the American Dream
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Workers in U.S. and China: Promoting Global Prosperity through Global Solidarity
The following is a statement delivered in Beijing by Anna Burger, Chair of Change to Win, on the new labor movement's historic visit to China:
This is the first Change to Win fact-finding mission to China. Some of our leaders have visited China before; for others, this is their first trip. But the spread of globalization and its impact on workers everywhere ensures it will not be the last.
We came here because seven unions and six million members united in Change to Win to restore the American Dream in the 21st century. To share in the prosperity of the global economy, workers and their organizations must build strong links of solidarity around the world.
Geographically, China and the U.S. may be a world apart -- but, economically we increasingly live in the same neighborhood. We are concerned about what's happening around the corner, because Chinese and American workers face similar challenges in this new era, as economic inequality rises.
Trade between our two countries has created great wealth -- but has not brought general well-being to workers in either nation.
Suppliers in China made the Walton family among the richest in the world, but did not produce affordable health care for Wal-Mart employees. The skyscrapers of Shanghai and other great cities are a testament to the country's economic growth, but over 180 million are still unemployed.
Multinational corporations roam the world in a race to the bottom, competing solely on which can pay their workers the least -- and far too many have settled here. What were once good-paying American jobs with benefits are now too often underpaid Chinese jobs in poor working conditions.
The same American corporate interests that are spending millions to combat workers' efforts to choose a voice at work in the U.S. are lobbying against important labor reforms here that would help protect Chinese workers on the job.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Building Global Solidarity: Change to Win Leaders Visit China
WASHINGTON DC -- To help create good jobs in the global economy, a delegation of leaders from Change to Win and its partner unions are visiting China over the next two weeks to meet with workers, academics, activists, and leaders from labor networks, NGOs, business groups and government organizations.
Nearly 70 percent of American workers surveyed in a recent CtW poll said they feel their economic security is threatened in the global economy, a finding that underscores the need for this solidarity-building mission amongst U.S. and Chinese workers at a critical turning point:
* Globalization has become an ever present force in the U.S. economy, with China emerging as the economic powerhouse that increasingly sets the norm for working standards around the world.
* Chinese imports to the U.S. has swelled to $300 billion and growing, filling the stores of America's retailers. If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be China's 8th largest trading partner.
"We are ready to build a new generation of solidarity to lift labor standards around the world," said Anna Burger, Chair of Change to Win, an alliance of seven unions representing six million workers which came together to transform the jobs that are forming the basis of the new American economy. "We must ensure that all workers, not just corporations and CEOs, can share in the benefits of the global economy."
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Statement of Debbie Schneider, Representative of Change to Win and Director, Global Organizing Partnerships, SEIU, at a Protest Against the Colombian Free Trade Agreement
I'm here on behalf of the 6 million workers in the Change to Win Federation, standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement in Colombia.
We are deeply humbled by the profoundly dangerous conditions that we heard about from Gerardo and Marino, which union workers and citizens face in Colombia every day. Murders, death threats, arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, and harassment are an every day reality there. Such brutal suppression of basic worker rights tears at the fabric of families, communities and unions.
More union leaders are killed each year in Colombia than in the rest of the world combined. Just since Colombian President Uribe took office in 2002, there have been 400 murders of trade unionist. Of these 400, the administration has made only 10 convictions. Uribe's administration admits that it is incapable of enforcing even basic labor rights law.
Adding insult to such injustice, the Bush Administration wants to reward the government responsible for letting those conditions persist by signing a so-called Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.
Change to Win unions have had enough of the killing of trade unionists in Colombia. And we've had enough of job killing trade deals negotiated by the Bush and Clinton Administrations and approved by Congress.
It is unthinkable that the Democratic Congress would even consider a trade agreement with Colombia right now given the horrible abuses of human rights and workers' rights there. The Colombia FTA never should have been initiated. It is time to terminate it.
President Uribe, when you can show us that your government has severed all ties with paramilitary organizations, which have strong links to your military and politicians, then maybe we can talk about negotiating a FAIR trade deal.