Our outstanding lunches have been an Austin must for eleven years. Our international grocery features food and wine from around the world. Come see us at our new home. MOM MBFIKET 1610 San Antonio Austin, Tex. 78701 472-1900 Hours: 7am-7pm Mon. to Fri. and 8am-6pm on Sat. Asian and Middle Eastern countries, received $4.1 million from AID, $3.3 million from NED, and $500,000 from the AFL-CIO. The Free Trade Union and channels money to other labor institutes, received $3.6 million from NED and $700,000 from USIA. The federation’s international affairs department, which oversees the institutes, received $3 million from the AFL-CIO. The connection to the National Endowment for Democracy is proving particularly troublesome to the federation leadership. Last December, it was reported that the NED used the Free Trade Union Institute to meddle in French politics, backing a right-wing union in France and a student group connected to an outlawed fascist paramilitary organization. In 1984, a Panamanian union received $20,000 to help support the military’s candidate for the presidency. The National Endowment for Democracy was created by Congress in 1983 with a mandate that 77 percent of its annual budget go to FTUI and other labor institutes. The AFL-CIO received $13.8 million in NED money in 1985. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the NED, is not usually regarded as a friend of the AFL-CIO. But a Hatch aide told the Washington Post that the federation “has tremendous leverage for political activity compared to, say, CIA covert operations, which often fail. The AFL-CIO in general takes foreign policy positions to the right of Ronald Reagan.” AFT President Albert Shanker, a leading labor Cold Warrior, and federation President Lane Kirkland sit on the board of NED. Carl Gershman, a former aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick, is NED board president, and NED executive director is Eugenia Kemble, once an aide to Albert Shanker and later director of FTUI. With so much government money coming into the AFL-CIO’s foreign operations, is it any wonder that the federation would sponsor a domestic organization designed to swing U.S. public opinion into the Reagan administration column? In Whose Interest? DESPITE the efforts of the AFLCIO national leadership, organized labor in the United States does not present a monolithic front on foreign affairs. In 1983, twenty-two of the federation’s 96 member unions formed the National Labor Committee in Support of Democracy, Human Rights, and Non-intervention in Central America. They include the Woodworkers Union, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, the Service Employees International Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the United Auto Workers, AFSCME, AFGE, and the National Hospital and Health Care To combat this union opposition, the AFL-CIO national leadership organized a series of seminars on foreign policy “I don’t want the labor movement used to do the dirty work of President Reagan.” Ed Asner to “educate” members prior to last year’s October 28-31 AFL-CIO national convention. At the convention, the National Labor Committee agreed to a compromise with the federation leadership on a resolution supporting negotiated settlements rather than military solutions to the conflicts in El Salvador and Nicaragua and conditioning military aid to El Salvador on proof of labor and land reforms and human rights progress. The national committee had originally submitted resolutions opposing contra aid and military aid to El Salvador. Kenneth Blaylock of AFGE told the convention: “Every fiber in my body says to me that if Ronald Reagan supports these efforts, and if the Coors family who responded after Congress cut off funds to the contras, if these two ekfizteca 2600 E. 7th St. Austin, Texas 477-4701 eat vegetarian food are for it, then we damn well better be against it. Jerry Brown of the Hospital haven’t learned a thing from the history of the past twenty years and the shame of this labor movement not speaking out against American involvement in Vietnam.” And Ed Asner of the Screen Actors Guild intoned: “I don’t want the labor movement used to do the dirty work of President Reagan or our large multinational corporations.” But the old guard hangs on. Lane Kirkland told the delegates he would “pass over the suggestion that either this resolution or this organization is a reflection or is in any way in league with Coors, Reagan, Hatch, etc.” Albert Shanker of the teachers union said he was more concerned about human and civil rights violations by the Nicaraguan government than by the contras. Sol Chaikin of the Garment Workers Union does not waver. The labor institute crowd stands tough. But to what end? If it did, indeed, make sense in terms of domestic labor conditions to support U.S. domination of goods and markets in Latin America 40 years ago, \(ignoring issues of Latin American sovereignporations no longer look to Latin America for raw materials and markets. They look south for cheap labor and unrestricted investment policy. In other words, the garment workers’ national leaders, who are among the most vocal in their support of labor’s “Buy American” campaign, are supporting an international policy designed to make Latin America safe for foreign operations by U.S.-based multinationals. This policy leads not to more U.S. jobs but to fewer. AFL-CIO foreign policy folds into U.S. foreign policy, which these days is entirely devoted to serving multinational corporations. Garment industry jobs, steel industry jobs, high-tech component jobs will move to countries providing cheap labor, few taxes and tariffs, and no labor rights. The depressed wages and repression of labor rights abroad that accompany multinational investment will also result in greater numbers of workers from Latin America coming to this country seeking jobs. The foreign policy of the AFL-CIO hierarchy is counterproductive to the best interests of its member unions, of workers, and of the U.S. economy in general. It only serves, instead, those multinational corporations the AFL-CIO leadership should be working against. Research assistance for this article was provided by the library staff of the Central America Resource Center. 10 APRIL 4, 1986
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