September 9, 2017 - No. 27
Round Two of
NAFTA Renegotiations Concludes
of Their Country
Anti-NAFTA rally, Mexico City, September 1, 2017.
Demands to Expand Institutions
- Enver Villamizar -
• Areas of Collusion and Contention
Labour Day Not Liberal Day
• Develop the Independent Politics of the
- K.C. Adams -
• MANA Still
- USW Local 1005 -
Airport Workers Hold Spirited Action at Pearson Airport
• Successful Labour Day March and
Celebration in Prince George
• Photos from Across Canada
• People's Forces in Action to
Defend the Bolivarian Revolution
• World Summit and Days of Solidarity in
Defence of Peace
Democracy in Venezuela September 16-17
• People's Empowerment Through the Work of
• Dirty Work Against Bolivarian Revolution by
Regime-Change Forces Continues
- Margaret Villamizar -
Round Two of NAFTA Renegotiations
Mexican People Oppose Sell-Out of Their Country
Rally of tens of thousands of supporters of Mexican presidential
candidate Andrés Manuel
López Obrador, where NAFTA was also opposed, September 3,
Official negotiations on the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) resumed in Mexico from September 1 to 5. Reports
state that on September 1 the trade unions held
a rally to oppose NAFTA and that the rally, attended by tens of
thousands of supporters of Mexican presidential candidate Andrés
Manuel López Obrador, also opposed NAFTA. At the rally
Obrador expressed the Mexican people's opposition to the sell-out of
their country and vitriolic attacks against their dignity by U.S.
Disinformation about Progress and Roadblocks
During this round more than two dozen working groups,
comprised of trade experts and technical officials, met.
Generally, news reports and official statements seek to embroil
the people in discussing what the rulers claim are areas of
"progress," "possible roadblocks to an agreement" and sensational
statements, especially from the U.S. President. This
disinformation, similar to celebrity gossip, seeks to channel
everyone into taking the side of one contending section of the
ruling class against another. The statements of collusion or
contention amongst the rulers are meant to make it difficult for
the people to grasp what is really happening and to
discourage and divert them from investigating the facts of the
A trilateral statement
released by the three countries was
vague, stating nothing of substance: "In several groups, this
engagement resulted in the consolidation of proposals into a
single text upon which the teams will continue to work throughout
the following negotiation rounds." The statement continued in
this vein stating the three countries are committed to "an
accelerated and comprehensive negotiation, with the shared goal
of concluding the process towards the end of this year."
The Globe and Mail reports that according to
with knowledge of the closed-door talks in this round, "The
United States has signalled it will demand an American-content
requirement in autos manufactured in the NAFTA zone; demanded
that Canada's protectionist system of supply management for milk,
eggs and poultry be loosened; and pushed for the gutting of the
Chapter 19 dispute-resolution system that Canada and Mexico
insist on. "The round ended without the United States providing
specific numbers on the American-content requirement, detailing
exactly how it wants supply management loosened or proposing an
exemption for "Buy American" laws from government contracting
rules, the Globe reports "the sources" saying.
These "signals" from the U.S. are presented as the main
"roadblocks" to Canada in the negotiations, which the Trudeau
government is supposedly facing. In fact, through the
government's previous support for and signing of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership, which contains similar measures, it
has already shown a willingness to submit to these U.S. demands.
The central issue of economic sovereignty is never addressed.
Also hidden in the highlighting of contention is the
of the three executives' congruity. They agree that
significant matters of decision-making over the economy and
territories of the three countries should be further "harmonized"
to meet the demands of the monopolies.
The next round of the renegotiations is scheduled to
place in Ottawa from September 23 to 27.
Duplicitous Demands to Expand Institutions for
Anti-NAFTA rally as second round of renegotiations begin, Mexico,
September 1, 2017.
CPC(M-L) has stated in the past, "The entire field of
regulations and what is being done with them requires the serious
attention of the working class and its allies. It is the domain
which has to do with discretionary powers, formerly dealt with by
the civil servants and government agencies with definite mandates
to uphold public right. When it comes to the
interpretation/implementation of laws, if the laws are premised
on serving the public good, it is one thing; if they are premised
on favouring the monopolies and providing them with impunity, it
is another. Who decides and who controls the decision-making
process is crucial. Decisions permitting torture, such as those
enacted by the Bush and Obama administrations, were all made by
executive decree and have regulations attached to them! When
these regulations no longer defend the citizen or resident but
violate her or his rights, a real problem is created for
The Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was
part of the Beyond the Border agreement to establish a North
American Security Perimeter. Through the RCC, the monopolies of
North America were given a direct say over the North American
economy through various sectoral councils. Those councils tell
governments what to do to ensure North American competitiveness.
Through this mechanism the monopolies carried out a coup against
the national and what are called sub-national governments of the
three countries. They have been able to decide what laws should
be enacted and where laws need to be changed to enhance the
monopolies' free operation.
All Ministries and
government bodies, which oversee all
aspects of Canadian life, were made to integrate with their U.S.
counterparts and meet regularly so that decisions could be made
as one in the service of the North American monopolies.
The Harper government, for example, even passed new
legislation regarding governmental approval of regulations. This
legislation permits Canadian government decision-making bodies to
delegate and sub-delegate regulatory powers to other bodies. In
this way, decision-making over all aspects of Canadians' lives can
be tied to those of U.S. decision-making bodies. Once tied
together, if the U.S. regulation changes, this automatically
changes the Canadian regulation.
Regulatory Cooperation Councils already exist between
and the U.S., and between Mexico and the U.S. There can be no
doubt that a trilateral council would be desired by all three
countries. It appears Canada is taking the lead in bringing it
forward. A likely concern is that it not appear to be
coming from the United States.
The monopolies are not against the enforcement of laws
regulations so long as they are designed to uphold monopoly
right. Canadian governments have dismantled many of the
arrangements in laws and regulations that upheld public right and
have constrained the arbitrary powers of Ministers and officials
in various ways. With public right out of the way, so to speak,
the government now wants laws and regulations upholding monopoly
right to be strictly enforced so as to permit the monopolies to
do as they please, while criminalizing any opposition or blocks to
them being able to do so. An example now used frequently is the Companies'
Act (CCAA), which
enforces monopoly right in a most brutal and arbitrary way. Talk by
both the Trump and Trudeau governments that they want to
ensure labour and environmental laws are enforced is an expression, in
fact, of their desire to enforce laws that uphold monopoly right.
1. See "New Plan for Regulatory
Alignment" TML Weekly,
October 18, 2014.
Government Seeks to Change How Regulations Are Made
and Who Can Make Them" TML Weekly
April 20, 2013.
Areas of Collusion and Contention
A number of reports indicate that the NAFTA talks are
going slowly and are at an impasse on big issues for all the
parties. This does not jive with the fact that many of the new
issues within NAFTA have already been negotiated through the
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP will likely
act as the framework for "modernization" in many areas.
CTV quotes Robert
Holleyman, an Obama-era deputy U.S. trade
representative, "I think Canada is being quite smart.
[Minister of International Trade Chrystia] Freeland understands that 80
per cent of what is going
to be in the renegotiated NAFTA has already been agreed to when
the three countries, in October 2015, concluded the Trans-Pacific
A commentary by Peter Clark, president of Grey, Clark,
and Associates and an international trade strategist, states that
the U.S. Trade Representative is keen on using the TPP texts, as
the only way to finish in time. Clark says, "Canada and Mexico
are not so anxious to rely on texts largely dictated by the U.S.
in TPP -- and which Canada accepted based on improved access to
That the U.S. was able to largely dictate the agreed
the TPP but is now supposedly opposed in the renegotiations with
NAFTA seems to be lost on Clark. The Canadian negotiators knew
from the beginning of the TPP that whatever they agreed to in
those negotiations, as well as in the CETA agreement with the EU,
would set the new baseline for what the U.S. would want in
Demands to Expand Institutions for Regulatory
World Trade Online
notes, "The Canadian government is
pushing for stronger regulatory cooperation provisions during the
second round of NAFTA renegotiation talks, hoping to move beyond
the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council established by the
Obama and Harper governments in 2011, according to Canadian
stakeholders. Canada is looking to include in NAFTA requirements
for a regulatory cooperation council that is led at the political
level, meets regularly and establishes agendas for future
outcomes." (See TMLW item
"Demands to Expand
Institutions for Regulatory Harmonization" above.)
Locking in Mexican Energy Reforms to Ensure Mexico
Affirm Its Rights
Reports indicate that one of the areas of agreement of
monopolies and the governments who serve them is to lock in Mexico's
privatization of its energy sector through NAFTA. Reuters reports
that according to Mexico's chief negotiator Kevin Smith: "U.S.,
Canadian and Mexican negotiators are zeroing in on ways to
enshrine Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's sweeping energy
reforms into a modernized North American Free Trade
"The 2014 reforms wrung control of the country's oil
sector from state hands, opening it up to private investment, and
incorporating them into the 23-year-old NAFTA is seen as a way to
help preserve them for the long term."
Reuters adds: "When NAFTA
was enacted in 1994, Mexico's
energy sector was closed and Peña Nieto's reforms ended a
decades-long monopoly for national oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL]
and ensured competitive oil auctions. Incorporating them into
NAFTA would help shield them from any future governments that may
want to reverse them... Increasing energy trade and investments
through NAFTA would help reduce the $64 billion U.S. trade
deficit with Mexico that irritates U.S. President Donald Trump,
partly through increased U.S. gas and oilfield equipment sales to
quotes Mexico's chief negotiator Kevin Smith: "We're
working in this sense, analyzing all of the elements that need to
be included in the energy discussion to reflect the reform Mexico
the Mexican Secretary of the Economy stated,
"There are no points of difference or controversy" [regarding
NAFTA renegotiations]. The main question appears to be whether
energy should have its own chapter or be spread across all
openly indicates that the push to lock-in
Mexico's reforms is aimed at preventing any future Mexican
government from affirming its national sovereignty: "Investors
[in the energy sector] have become concerned that leftist
candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the early
next year's presidential election, will seek to undo parts of the
overhaul. Incorporating it into NAFTA and making it subject to
international obligations would add an extra layer of
Reports also indicate that associations representing
gas monopolies operating across North America have stepped up
their interventions in the negotiations. Bloomberg reports
those monopolies are, "securing formal roles on committees advising
the process, unleashing lobbyists to influence it and outlining
their priorities for the administration."
report gives the example of Chevron, which
secured a seat on a U.S. "energy focused committee of NAFTA
advisors." In Canada, Sophie Brochu, the President and CEO of Gaz
Métro, sits on the official advisory committee to Minister
Chrystia Freeland, while Lorraine Mitchelmore, the former
President and Canada Country Chairman of Shell Canada Limited, sits
on Canada's NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment.
A letter from the American Petroleum Institute, the
Association of Petroleum Producers, and the Mexican Association
of Hydrocarbon Companies indicates they are all seeking "more
regulatory certainty and the harmonization of industry standards,
something factored in to other trade accords."
may use the
negotiations to push for more predictability surrounding the
approval of pipelines and power lines crossing into the U.S.,
following years of squabbling over TransCanada Corp.'s proposed
Keystone XL project.
"Energy companies also are lobbying aggressively to
-- and even strengthen -- the investor-state dispute settlement
provisions in NAFTA that empower businesses to challenge other
countries for discrimination.
"Oil companies are asking negotiators to make it easier
oilfield workers and equipment to move across the U.S. border
with Mexico and Canada. The top oil and gas trade groups from
Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are jointly advocating a new "NAFTA
visa program to provide access for skilled energy
Outlining the significance of energy, Bloomberg says,
"[NAFTA] serves as the legal pathway for rising gas sales to
Mexico -- 4 billion cubic feet a day last year, or about 60
percent of U.S. natural gas exports."
Speaking about U.S. interests to lock in Mexican energy
reforms, the Bloomberg report
adds, "In Mexico, U.S. businesses
captured five of the eight deep-water oil and gas blocks awarded
during December 2016 bidding. Andeavor, formally Tesoro Corp.,
just opened its first ARCO-branded filling station in
northwestern Mexico -- with plans for more as the company
leverages refineries in El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles to
provide fuel while using newly contracted pipeline capacity to
Fight Over Workers' Rights
Reports say Canada is seeking to push the U.S. and
the question of labour rights during this round of negotiations.
Both Canada and the U.S. have officially indicated their desire
to have labour standards brought into the main agreement as
opposed to a side agreement. According to anonymous sources cited
by the Canadian Press, Canada
specifically wants the U.S. to sign
a series of international labour agreements it has so far refused
to approve and to change labour laws in Mexico to increase the
salaries of auto workers.
Adrian Morrow in the Globe
reports that regarding
labour rights, "Canada wants the United States to pass a federal
law stopping state governments from enacting right-to-work
legislation; the source said the United States has not agreed to
such a request. Canada believes that lower labour standards in
the United States and Mexico, including right to work, give those
countries an unfair advantage in attracting jobs."
According to Morrow, Unifor leader Jerry Dias met with
Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul and members of the
team working on labour matters the day they were to come up in
the negotiations. Morrow reports that Dias said Canada's
negotiators are "pushing Mexico on its corporate-sanctioned
unions, which are accused of negotiating collective agreements
unfavourable to workers; agitating for both countries to offer a
year of paid family leave, as Canada does; and targeting American
right-to-work laws that allow workers in unionized shops to
refuse to pay dues, draining money from unions."
According to a Unifor news release, Dias is an advisor
Canadian NAFTA negotiating team. "I'm very pleased with the
position the Canadian government is taking on labour standards,"
Dias told reporters outside the talks. "Canada's got two
problems: The low wage rates in Mexico and the right-to-work
states in the United States," he said.
Dias also participated in a rally for workers' rights
the negotiations and participated in a conference of Los Mineros,
the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Similar Workers of
the Mexican Republic. During the conference, Dias called for the
return of the President of the Los Mineros union, Napoleón
Urrutia, who has been living in exile in Canada. "The attack on
freedom of association and on workers' ability to organize must
stop," said Dias. "We will not be broken and we will not be
Dias also told delegates that a united labour movement
ensure that workers' needs are brought to the NAFTA renegotiation
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters
President François Laporte issued a joint statement following
talks which stated: "We applaud the Canadian delegation for
insisting on truly high-standard text -- especially as to labour
issues, which were relegated to unenforceable side agreements 25
years ago. Despite a lack of transparency from the U.S.
government, we know that the Canadian proposals could do more to
protect workers' rights in North America than any previous trade
"We agree with our governments that a modernized NAFTA
be a model for future trade deals. That's why crafting a chapter
that protects workers' rights is central to the success to the
renegotiation and a precondition for Teamsters' support.
"On labour, we agree that the substantive protections
be grounded in the ILO conventions,
work' laws depress wages and thereby arguably
constitute an export subsidy to U.S. exporters who move
production to those jurisdictions.
"We commend Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland
her team for their ambition. We are hopeful that the U.S. and
Mexican negotiators will give the Canadian proposal the
consideration it deserves. It should be the starting point for
continuing a conversation that is premised on the observation
that, in the integrated supply chains of North America, the wages
and working conditions of all workers always affect trade."
1. Mexico is signatory to 79 of
the 179 conventions, including seven of the eight fundamental
conventions. Mexico has not signed the
convention on the right to organize and collective bargaining.
The U.S. is signatory to 14 of the 179 International Labour
Organization conventions including two of eight of the "Fundamental
Conventions." This non-compliance comes at a time that slave
labour in prisons is legal and many states have right-to-work
laws that prevent the formation of unions, and others are passing
new laws making strikes illegal.
Canada is signatory to 36 of the 179 conventions,
all eight of the fundamental conventions. Canada only signed the
final fundamental convention on the right to organize and
collective bargaining on June 14 of this year, despite it being
adopted in 1949 by the ILO. The convention however does not come
into force until June of 2018.
Meanwhile, the Federal Liberal government has not said
about the Liberal government of Nova Scotia imposing contracts
onto all its public sector workers without contracts in the midst
of bargaining, something Liberal governments across the country
have done in recent years. Successive Canadian and
Ontario governments have refused to ensure that migrant workers
from countries such as Mexico have the same labour rights on
paper as Canadians, including the right to organize, strike and
have access to proper workplace health and safety. And at the
same time they violate many of these same rights as concerns
2. The eight fundamental
1. Freedom of Association
and Protection of the Right to
Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)
2. Right to Organise and
Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)
3. Forced Labour
Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
4. Abolition of Forced Labour
Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
5. Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No.
6. Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)
(Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)
Labour Day Not Liberal Day
Develop the Independent Politics
of the Working Class!
The working class has scant opportunities to present its
own independent views and agenda. The Anglo-American imperialists
established Labour Day as an official holiday in opposition to
May Day, the International Day of Working Class Unity and
Struggle, in the hope that workers would forget about communism
and social progress and adopt Canadian chauvinism. But the
material conditions are such that no matter how much the ruling
class tries, it cannot get rank and file workers to celebrate the
attacks launched against them as if they are positive in any
As the essential human factor in the socialized economy
producer of all value needed for society to survive, the working
class has much to say about its particular situation and its
agenda for the future, free from imperialism and class privilege.
The working class does not appreciate that the little official
space it has been given is hijacked to promote the Liberal agenda
and personalities and to sideline its own demands and struggles.
Labour Day is not Liberal Day. Many workers are resolved not to
allow this subversion of their space to continue!
This year a pronounced
attempt was made to push aside the
independent views of the working class and its pro-social agenda
on Labour Day, in favour of inappropriate cries of relief that at
least Harper is gone. This clash, between the reality the workers
face and the progress which is claimed, did not make many sections
demonstrating to uphold the dignity of labour at all happy. At
this time, the social contract lies in tatters. Most sections of
the working class, organized as well as unorganized, are not able
to bargain freely for wages and working conditions which benefit
them and the work they do. Governments and state agencies and the
courts are intervening with legislation that imposes an austerity
agenda as well as decisions which deprive the workers of what
belongs to them by right, such as pensions. The $15 minimum wage
and the ban on asbestos are used to suggest that all is well and rosy
in Canada and the anti-social offensive has been stopped in its
tracks with the victory of the Trudeau Liberals. The ruling
imperialist elite takes comfort in smashing the political
movement of the working class in defence of its rights. It wants the
people under its sway and control. The working class movement
has made "significant strides... so we feel pretty good with
where we're at," one liberal labour leader declared on Labour
But the working class does not "feel pretty good with
it's at" precisely because spreading illusions about the Trudeau
Liberals and others in the ruling elite undermines the fighting
spirit and strength of the working class and leaves it vulnerable
to attack. Every effort is made to block the working class from
building and strengthening its own independent voice and
organizational presence in Canada, weakening its defence of the
rights of all and sidetracking it from preparing itself for
empowerment in a democracy and nation-building project of its own
Canadian workers are vulnerable to attacks so long as
not safeguard the independence of the working class movement. The
movement faces serious problems which are of concern to the
entire movement, not just this or that section of the working
class. More than 50 members of USW Local 1005 have been locked
out of their jobs at MANA in Hamilton for more than four years,
not to speak of the open assault on their pensions, benefits and
employment. So too scabs are used by the Swissport monopoly at
Canada's airports and the workers have no means whatsoever
provided to them by the system to protect their wages, working
conditions and very jobs. Part-time and contract workers feel
even more vulnerable, with no collective expression or voice of
their own that is independent from their employers and the state,
which is not neutral and does not defend them in any way.
Workers can only find
security if they consciously
participate in the defence of their rights within the context of
defending the rights of all. Security lies in their fight for the
rights of all, not in illusions that ruling elites have workers'
interests at heart. It is irrational nonsense. In the immediate
sense this means opposing liberal illusions and working out a
line of march which favours them.
The modern world belongs to the actual producers who
determined to change it and move it forward through their own
efforts in opposition to those who are happy with the cozy lives
they lead as a result of being bestowed with class privilege.
Workers must occupy the space for change with their own
independent views, institutions and agenda that favour the
working class, its active defence of the rights of all and the
birth of the new, a humanized society where the rights and
well-being of all are guaranteed.
MANA Still Running Using Scabs!!
Benefit Dance for Locked-Out MANA Workers
Hall, 1031 Barton St. East
Tickets $10, all money raised will be donated to Hamilton area food
When the German company Max Aicher Corporation bought
and Bloom Mills off U.S. Steel (USS) in 2010, it was called a
"rejuvenation" of the steel industry and a "great economic story
for Hamilton" by Ontario's then Minister of Economic Development and
Sandra Pupatello. What it became is an ongoing tragedy for the
workers, the City of Hamilton, the United Steel Workers, and the
whole Trade Union movement. To the shame of all levels of
government, yet another foreign corporation has bought a Canadian
manufacturing asset and been allowed to thoroughly trample on the
rights and livelihoods of Canadian workers.
U.S. Steel had taken over Stelco in 2007 and in a short
proven to be a brutal, profit-greedy employer, locking out Lake
Erie Works (LEW) in 2009 and the Hamilton plant in 2010. (USS would
lock out LEW again in 2013.) So it appeared to be a blessing when
Max Aicher took over the Bar and Bloom Mills. Such would not be
Max Aicher North America (MANA) had been interested in
a plant in North America to supply its customers in the auto
industry. Negotiations with USS had progressed through 2010,
closing with a sale on November 12th. At the time MANA STATED
THEY HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THE 2006 CONTRACT WITH Local 1005.
Hamilton Labour Day 2017
U.S. Steel had idled both mills in January 2009, the
dispersed to other USS divisions. When the deal closed, 59 former
Bar and Bloom Mill workers were SOLD as a part of the asset sales
agreement and ORDERED to report for work on November 15th, 2010.
THEY HAD NO CHOICE! USS was no longer their employer. Eight days
before, on November 7, USS had locked out the Hamilton plant,
and it appeared that these 59 (plus an additional 54 retirees and
4 apprentices) had won the lottery, having escaped the brutality
of U.S. Steel.
The Mill was up and running by the end of 2010 and ran
through September 2011, when MANA stopped production. In June
2011, 40 workers were laid off and by November only a little over 20
workers remained in the plant.
The laid-off workers were called back to work in April
Only 3 workers took a severance package. Many of the rest were
short of the 35 weeks in a 52-week period to qualify for
severance. This was a pattern that would be repeated until all of
the work force was laid off by December 2012.
MANA played a USS style of hardball in negotiations
with Local 1005. Their first and final offer included a 30% WAGE CUT,
NO COLA, REPLACING the Defined Pension Plan with a Contribution Plan,
MAJOR REDUCTIONS IN BENEFITS, and a general GUTTING of the
basic agreement. The workers turned down this offer by a vote of
73 per cent in June 2012. With the entire work force laid off in
2013, they rejected another offer by 86 per cent.
MANA would not consider any counter-offer by Local
the union seemed to be the intent of its strategy. The second
rejection of its offer led MANA to lock the union out on June
23, 2013, 6 DAYS BEFORE SOME OF THE WORKERS WOULD QUALIFY FOR
In October 2013, assets paid for by Canadian taxpayers
removed to the European Operations of MANA while the lock-out
continued. The Ontario government helped finance this new
equipment with a $9 million loan, and the City of Hamilton
contributed $200,000 to dispose of 18 PCB laden transformers.
MANA began bringing in scabs to do bargaining unit work
in May 2014, signed a collective agreement with the Building
Union of Canada (BUC), a rogue outfit not affiliated with the CLC
and with a history of raiding unions and providing scab labour
Since January 2015, MANA has been running the mill
scabs. They wound up the workers' pension, which has been
challenged by Local 1005. MANA has continued to trample on the rights
of workers to this day.
Respect Local 1005's Picket Line! This
Striking Airport Workers Hold Spirited Action
On September 3, close to 300 striking workers who
to Teamsters Local 419, their fellow airport workers and allies
from other unions and political groups, including a contingent
from the Workers' Centre of the Communist Party of Canada
(Marxist-Leninist), took part in a militant Labour Day rally and
march at Pearson International Airport. The action was organized
by the Toronto Airport Workers' Council. Workers converged at
Terminal 1 and marched to Terminal 3 for a rally, shutting down
traffic between the terminals.
The striking workers are ground crew, cargo handlers,
handlers, cabin cleaners and those who do other
work that enables the airport to run safely and smoothly. Thirty
airlines are serviced by the workers, employees of the monopoly
Swissport, which is contracted to the Greater Toronto Airport
Authority to do this work.
The workers have been on strike since July 27 to back
demands for an increase in wages, benefits and respect for the
work they do. On August 23, nearly 700 of the workers voted 98 per cent
in favour of continuing their strike. They have twice turned down
company offers, rejecting Swissport's
attempts to impose a three-year wage freeze on the majority of
its workers, cut benefits, and give itself the right to change
schedules on short notice.
The majority of the workers earn less than $12 an hour
slightly more than Ontario's current minimum wage of $11.40 an
hour. In May, Swissport hired 250 temporary workers, in part to
put pressure on the workers who were in contract negotiations at
the time. These workers remain as strikebreakers -- something the
workers demand must end.
The striking workers and other speakers from the
Airport Workers' Council expressed their determination to carry
on their fight until they win their just demands. They expressed
the importance of their fight to airport workers across the
country that they not agree to the deterioration of the working
conditions and the use of poorly-trained temp agency workers,
which endangers both workers and airline passengers. They pointed
to numerous serious accidents which have occurred during the
strike, and the fact that these temp agency workers are working
without standard security clearance, something demanded of other
airport employees. Workers also reiterated
their demand that airports not be privatized.
Successful Labour Day March and Celebration
sponsored by over 30 unions, labour organizations, businesses and
community groups. The overall theme was: Labour movement --
past, present, future: Fighting for the rights of all!
and information-sharing with those in attendance and handed
out free hotdogs, popcorn, fruits, juices, fudge, cookies,
candy and other treats.
and friends, who performed several traditional songs.
rights of all in our society, two aims
that give the movement the strength and resilience of steel cable.
well-known and respected president
of the city's inside workers, who tragically passed away recently.
100 years, employers have continually tried to divide workers
in the province on the basis of skin colour, country of origin,
language and sexual orientation. This continues today with temporary
foreign workers being subjected to modern-day slavery and indenture
that deny them fundamental rights. He concluded by pointing out that it
incumbent on the labour movement to stand in solidarity with and ensure
the inclusion of all workers, whether they belong to a union or not,
whether they are from this country or not.
labour movement in Prince George and region, one that stands and
fights for everyone's rights.
Photos from Across Canada
North Bay; Barrie
People's Forces in Action to
Defend the Bolivarian Revolution
Demonstration opposes U.S. threat of military intervention, Caracas,
Venezuela, August 14, 2017.
On August 14, thousands of Venezuelans filled the
to denounce the threat of a U.S. military intervention. Demonstrations
have also been held in other parts of Latin
America and the world, over the past weeks to stand with the people of
Venezuela against the attempts of U.S. imperialism and the forces it
has put in motion inside and outside the country
to attack the Bolivarian revolution. U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was
met with protests in Latin American countries he visited for that
purpose in August following the U.S. Southern
Command's "Defence" conference in Peru (see item below, "Dirty Work
Against Bolivarian Revolution by U.S.-Led Regime-Change Forces
Caracas, August 14, 2017
Demonstration in support of
Venezuela and against visit of U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence,
Aires, Argentina, August 17, 2017.
In Toronto on August 29, a militant demonstration was
held in front
of the headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to demand
"CBC, tell the truth about Venezuela!"
Demonstrators denounced the disinformation being spread about Venezuela
by the CBC in support of those pushing for foreign intervention and a
coup against the government of President
Organizing to Win Regional Elections
Since the National Electoral Council announced that at
the request of the National Constituent Assembly regional elections
would be moved up from December to October, organized forces of the
people across the country have turned their energies to fighting in an
organized way on the electoral front as they did for the July 30
Constituent Assembly election. This time they are going all out to
elect state governors who will defend the gains of the Bolivarian
revolution and its nation-building project against elite foreign-backed
forces seeking to return Venezuela to the clutches of imperialism. Tens
of thousands of citizens organized by the sector to which they belong
or in which they work, including volunteer brigades and social missions
of all types, are
turning out enthusiastically at mass "swearing-in" rallies where
campaign teams are being put together to go door-to-door in every
neighbourhood to mobilize their peers to elect candidates from parties
making up the Gran Polo Patriótico (Great Patriotic Pole) as
governors in Venezuela's 23 states.
Swearing-in rallies for campaign teams take place across the country.
Shown here from left
to right, top to bottom: Delta Amacuro, Miranda, Aragua, Apure and
Taking part in the election campaigns are members of the
Somos Venezuela (We are Venezuela) Brigade -- more than 80,000
volunteers who since June have been in contact with over 10 millon
people through home visits to assess household needs and assist the
vulnerable in getting their basic needs met. Local Production and
Distribution Committees (CLAP), formed for the purpose of combatting
effects of the economic war by distributing packages of basic
foodstuffs and other necessities to households, are also involved, as
are members of unions, social and political movements of women and
youth, the Bolivarian militia, community medical and sports brigades,
among many others.
We Are Venezuela Brigade volunteers at work in Carabobo state,
September 3, 2017.
World Summit and Days of Solidarity in Defence of Peace
Venezuela September 16-17
A World Summit in Defence of Peace and Democracy in the
Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela will be held in Caracas and World Days of Solidarity in
Defence of Peace and
Democracy will take place there and elsewhere around the world on
At a preparatory meeting August 26, President
Nicolás Maduro announced, "The whole world is invited to the
days of dialogue, peace and sovereignty with the people of
Venezuela." Representatives of governments that support
Venezuela's right to self-determination and reject foreign
intervention, as well as movements, organizations, fronts and
other social forces that stand for peace in the Latin American
region will be invited to attend.
Speaking to the international media on August 22,
Maduro said that what imperialism fears is the plenipotentiary
power of Venezuela's "citizen-based, popular, non-partisan Constituent
Assembly," meaning that its powers supersede those of all other
On August 24, while the U.S. Southern Command was
South American Defence Conference in Lima, Peru with the heads of
the military forces of Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to "decide on new
strategies to face military threats," President Maduro said it
was his duty to defend the country's sovereignty in the face of
the threat of a possible foreign intervention. He said this could
take place in phases and through a series of provocations as
opposed to a classic invasion, possibly beginning with a naval
blockade of the country. He said the country's military forces
would be increased to defend and guarantee peace nationally, in
South America and the Caribbean.
Maduro used the occasion to announce that on the
August 26-27 the 2017 Bolivarian Sovereignty Civil-Military
Exercises would take place in Venezuela. The exercises, which involved
members of the country's armed forces, Bolivarian militias and
the organized people, served as a test of the Venezuelan army and
people's capacity to defend the country "from the pride and
arrogance of imperialism who believe that we are going to be
frightened, that we are going to live in fear and that we intend,
somewhere in our mind, our heart, to surrender to imperialist
threats," Maduro said.
CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to go all out to hold
actions during the days of action to express their support for
Venezuela and oppose the ongoing interference in its internal affairs
by the Canadian government.
Days of Solidarity
and Democracy in Venezuela
following was posted on the
website of the
Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Government of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela on August 26.
The Antonio José
Sucre Yellow House in Caracas was the setting this Saturday [August 26]
the preparatory meeting for the World Day of Solidarity in
Defence of Peace and Democracy of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela, to be held on September 16 and 17 in the country's
capital [Caracas], in the face of the unilateral threats and
measures taken by the United States government against
Representatives of social movements, analysts,
academics from Mexico, Chile, France, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay,
the United States, El Salvador, Italy, Russia, Cuba, Peru,
Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina were in attendance.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of
Communication William Castillo recalled President Nicolás
Maduro's call for solidarity in defence of the Venezuelan people
in the face of attacks "by U.S. imperialism that are accelerating
on a daily basis."
18 Years of
Aggression Against the Bolivarian Government
During the day of deliberations, the Vice President for
Social Development and Minister of Education, Elías Jaua,
the current situation in Venezuela and highlighted the fight the
Bolivarian people have waged to defend the right to decide their
own destiny, to exercise their right to self-determination of
their political, economic, social and cultural model.
"There have been 18 years of economic, international
diplomatic and military aggression; of aggression through
destabilization and violence," the Minister said.
In the same vein, he denounced that since last April 1,
decision was taken in the centres of imperial power to
definitively overthrow the revolutionary and constitutional
government headed by President Nicolás Maduro at any cost.
"The first offensive was
carried out by sectors
engage in actions of social hatred, of armed violence. What
Venezuela experienced the last three months were not riots like
those that take place elsewhere in the world; they were attacks
by armed groups against the right of the majority of Venezuelans
to live in peace, and to destabilize and promote civil war in
Venezuela," the Minister explained.
However, he said, these actions were defeated by the
Venezuelan State and the more than 8 million people who on July
30 elected the National Constituent Assembly "in defence of the
right to live in peace."
Regarding this last issue, and in the face of the
media manipulation and ignorance about the Constituent Assembly,
the Social Vice President reaffirmed the legality of the
legislative body that was convoked based on articles 374, 348 and
349 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of
"We are engaged in a deeply democratic process that
be misrepresented; a powerful instrument for liberation," added
Jaua, who also rejected the recent measures taken by the Trump
Administration against the Bolivarian Republic.
Plan of Action
At the preparatory meeting, the Constituent Assembly
Adán Chávez, referred to the plan of action in the
script" that seeks to create conditions conducive to the overthrow
of the Bolivarian Government: psychological and media warfare,
the economic war, and direct intervention.
However, he said, Venezuela has the mechanisms to
and face this "fierce onslaught."
At the same time, he thanked the peoples of the world
their solidarity against Washington's unilateral decisions taken
to the detriment of Venezuela.
"As the imperial onslaught has grown, so has the
international solidarity with our process, the willingness to
wage a joint fight to continue fulfilling one of the Bolivarian
mandates rescued by Commander Chávez: the union of Our America,
the union of our peoples," said Adán Chavez.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Communication and
Ernesto Villegas, emphasized that there has been a turning point in the
statement of U.S. President Donald Trump -- where he said he would
not rule out a military intervention in Venezuela -- and in the
executive order he signed August 25 as President of the United
States against Venezuela. "It is a declaration of economic
Faced with this situation, the Minister of
and Information called on the peoples of the world to "watch what is
in Venezuela with an eye to history, the way our liberators
viewed things... The Venezuelan people are developing a
historical process inspired by their feats."
People's Empowerment Through the Work
of National Constituent Assembly
August 29, 2017 session of Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly.
The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) of the
Republic of Venezuela has been carrying out its work since
it was elected on July 30. After the leadership of the
opposition-controlled National Assembly boycotted a meeting
called by the ANC to discuss coordination between the two
institutions, the ANC approved a decree on August 18 that will
allow it to pass legislation on issues that include the
"preservation of peace, security, sovereignty, the socio-economic
and financial system," according to its president, Delcy
Rodríguez. She clarified that the decree will in no way dissolve
the National Assembly, as regime-change forces inside and outside
of Venezuela, including Canada, allege.
On August 24, a statute outlining the functioning of
the ANC and the process for approving a
new draft constitution was unanimously approved. The statute
contemplates the creation of 21 commissions charged with drafting
changes to the constitution -- 10 of which are to address the ten
themes President Nicolás Maduro proposed that the constituent
assembly take up when he convoked it on May 1. The law
establishes that the ANC will be in session from Tuesday to
Thursday every week and at any other time the majority of members
present determines that it should meet. Mechanisms will be made
available for citizens who wish to share their ideas with the ANC
to do so.
Also on August 24, the Commission for a Diverse and
Economy was created and charged with giving rise to a new model
for the economic development of Venezuela. Thirteen
subcommissions are to be created to deal with different sectors
of the economy, such as banking and finance, services,
construction, mining and oil, and basic industries. There will
also be a review of price-fixing practices.
Part of this work will be to devise the means to combat
financial speculation and the hoarding of goods to create
shortages and give rise to inflation in the country, key
components of the economic war against the government and people
On August 31, organizations representing all sectors of
the economy and business were invited to put forward their opinions and
proposals to the ANC as part of a national dialogue to discuss ways to
improve the country's productive model, strengthen and diversify the
economy and defeat the economic war that continues to be waged by
external and internal forces intent on overthrowing the government of
The same day, the ANC condemned the new U.S. sanctions imposed on
August 25 to block Venezuela's access to credit from the U.S. financial
system and specifically target the state oil company Petroleos de
"We condemn and categorically repudiate the illegitimate and illegal
executive order of the President of the United States of America
imposing economic and financial sanctions against the people of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," said a statement read out by ANC
member Diosdado Cabello.
"These sanctions that [U.S. President] Donald Trump intends to apply
... [are not] against PDVSA ... these are sanctions [against] our
people, because when we recovered the oil company we put it in service
of our people," ANC member Erika Farías said.
As well, discussion has begun on the draft law for
Coexistence Against Intolerance and Violence proposed by
The creation of a Truth, Justice and Peace Commission,
will hold public meetings to give a voice to the victims of the
terrorist acts promoted by the Venezuelan opposition, has also
been created and begun its work. It will address the need for
changes in the judicial system to put an end to impunity,
particularly as concerns violence engaged in for political
purposes. It is headed by the president of the ANC, Delcy
of the first acts of the ANC was to suspend Attorney General Luisa
Ortega Díaz, accused of "grave breaches of the law" and playing
an active role in the foreign-backed campaign to destabilize the
country. She and her husband, a deputy in the National Assembly who is
also being investigated for alleged participation in a corruption ring
inside the Ministry his wife headed, fled the country for Colombia
where they were immediately offered asylum by the government of Juan
Manuel Santos. The next day Ortega flew to Brazil (where the coup
government also reportedly offered her immediate asylum) to meet with
attorney generals of the
trading bloc Mercosur from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. At
the meeting she claimed to have evidence
(without producing any) that President Maduro and other top government
leaders were engaged in corruption.
In related news, the National Electoral Council has
confirmed that 76
political parties, including all the main opposition parties, have
applied to participate in regional elections for state governors to be
held in October. The ANC ordered the date moved up from December 10.
There were 800 applications from candidates, of which 226 met the
criteria for acceptance.
1. See "About Venezuela's Constituent Assembly," TML Weekly, May
Dirty Work Against Bolivarian Revolution by
U.S.-Led Regime-Change Forces Continues
On August 8, a group of countries belonging to the
American States (OAS), including
Canada, got together in Lima, Peru to continue plotting against
Venezuela outside the OAS. This time, as if to cover up who is
directing the entire operation, the U.S. was not physically
present. Twelve countries issued what they called the Declaration
measures to be applied as part of a
continuing effort to isolate and sanction Venezuela in retaliation for
the successful holding of the election for the National Constituent
Assembly, which these U.S.-led forces had demanded be called off. Among
other things, the 12 countries declared that
they would continue applying to Venezuela what they call the
Democratic Charter, even though the
measures they pledge to take, including the application of the Charter
been approved at the OAS, despite more
than a year of trying by these same interventionist forces.
The group also asserted
that they will not recognize
National Constituent Assembly or any of its decisions, due to
its alleged illegitimacy, and they will not support
any Venezuelan candidates for representatives to international or
The representatives of five other countries that were
Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, and St. Lucia (the only Caribbean
countries represented at the meeting) and Uruguay -- did not sign
The same day, the Political Council of the Bolivarian
for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) met in Venezuela and
reaffirmed its support for the government of Venezuela. ALBA
Secretary General David Choquehuanca of Bolivia said, "The
authorities that are in Peru do not represent the wishes of our
people. Our people do not want war, they don't want
At the meeting, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno
emphasized that the battle for Venezuela was "the battle for
Latin America and the battle for the world."
The Lima meeting and "declaration" were followed by a
week-long tour of four Latin American countries by U.S.
Vice-President Mike Pence which resulted in the neo-liberal
governments of Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama doubling
down on Venezuela, at the same time saying they oppose the use of
While Pence was on his tour, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that
he did not
rule out using the "military option" against Venezuela.
The "South American Defence Conference" was also held in
Peru this year. From August 22-25 the U.S. Southern Command brought
together military leaders from seven countries "for discussions on
defeating illicit networks and responding to cyberattacks and
humanitarian crises." Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd, commander of U.S.
Southcom, made a point of saying that because issues under discussion
at the meeting were "truly global," there was "not a single country or
military out there able to solve them by acting alone." He said, "We
all have to work together, sharing information freely and trusting one
another implicitly." He called the conference "an important forum to
discuss key cooperation to deal with threats in the region."
It should be recalled that an executive order issued in
by President Obama and renewed as one of his last acts in office,
declared Venezuela to be an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to
the national security of the United States.
Like all the schemes of U.S. imperialism to create
pretexts for intervention and war, the so-called Declaration of Lima
repeats false accusations and is dripping with hypocrisy. As just one
example, at the same time it was hosting meetings for the U.S. Southern
Command to tighten its grip on the region and for a gang of countries
to pontificate against Venezuela for its supposed "systematic violation
of human rights and fundamental liberties, violence, repression and
political persecution, " the government of Peru was busy criminalizing
and using police powers to attack striking teachers in the country.
Rather than negotiating with teachers who had been engaged in a
national strike over wages, working conditions and the lack of funding
for public education for over a month, on July 19 President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski declared a state of emergency, suspending constitutional
rights to personal freedom and security, allowing warrantless raids and
arrests and suspending freedom of assembly and movement for 30 days.
Striking teachers in Peru take to streets August 10, 2017.
New U.S. Sanctions
On August 25, President Donald Trump stepped up the
criminal economic war on Venezuela by signing an executive order
issuing a new round of economic sanctions. The same day, Nikki Haley,
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said at a press conference, "We
don't agree with anything Maduro is doing. We wanted to rely on the OAS
but they weren't able to do anything. We tried an emergency meeting
with the Security Council, but they didn't think it had anything to do
with peace and security. Now we've placed sanctions and we'll see if
there's anything else we can do."
Showing that it is an orchestrated campaign, the Trudeau
government immediately expressed its support for Trump's order, chiming
in through the Global Affairs Canada Twitter account, "Canada welcomes
#US action to impose additional sanctions on #Venezuela. We continue to
call for a return to democracy."
1. Lima Declaration
The Foreign Ministers and Representatives of Argentina,
Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, gathered here in Lima, on
August the 8th of 2017 to address the critical situation in
Venezuela and to explore ways to contribute to the restoration of
democracy in that country, through peaceful and negotiated
Drawing on the spirit of solidarity that characterizes
region, and on our conviction that negotiation, with full respect
of International Law and the principle of non-intervention, does
not contravene human rights and democracy, and is the only means
that can assure a lasting solution to disagreements;
Our condemnation of the
rupture of the democratic order
Our decision to not
recognize the National Constituent
Assembly, or any of its decisions, due to its illegitimacy.
Our full support and
solidarity with the democratically
elected National Assembly.
That legal actions, which
according to the Constitution
require the authorization of the National Assembly, will only be
recognized once said Assembly has approved them.
Our strong rejection of
violence and any other actions
involve the use of force.
Our support and solidarity
with the General Attorney
members of the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Venezuela and
demand the compliance with the precautionary measures issued by
the Interamerican Human Rights Commission.
Our condemnation to the
systematic violation of human
and fundamental liberties, violence, repression and political
persecution, the existence of political prisoners and the lack of
free and fair elections under independent international
That Venezuela does not
comply with the obligations and
requirements for members of the United Nations Human Rights
Our serious concern with the
humanitarian crisis in
and our condemnation of the government for not allowing food and
medicine to enter the country for the Venezuelan people.
Our decision to continue
applying the Interamerican
Democratic Charter to Venezuela.
Our support for MERCOSUR's
decision to suspend Venezuela
compliance with the Ushuaia Protocol on Democratic
Our decision not to support
any Venezuelan candidature
forward to regional and international organizations and
Our call to stop the
transfer of weapons to Venezuela,
accordance to articles 6 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty.
That, taking into account
the current situation, we
request the [Presidency Pro Tempore] of [the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States (CELAC)] and the European Union, to
CELAC-EU Summit, scheduled for October 2017.
Our commitment to follow the
situation in Venezuela, at
Ministerial level, until the full restoration of democracy in
that country, and to meet at the latest during the next session
of the United Nations General Assembly, [an] opportunity at which
other countries may be included.
Our intention to urgently
support, with full respect of
sovereignty of Venezuela, all credible negotiating efforts made
in good faith, that have the consensus of all involved parties,
aimed at achieving a peaceful restoration of democracy in the
Lima, August 8, 2017
2. More recently, on August 29, President Kuczynski
"emergency decree" to smash the teachers' strike.
It provided for those who did not report to work to be fired and for
"replacement teachers" to
be hired to do their jobs. On September 2, after 80 days during which
they received the active
support of doctors and other workers, the teachers called a temporary
halt to their strike but
said the fight was not over. If a four-month study the government
committed to carry out into
their demands does not yield results, job action will resume.
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