US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | View comments | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
News ::
Rally for Workers’ Rights and Safe Foods at Shaw’s/Star Markets
23 Jul 2002
Modified: 24 Jul 2002
In Cambridge, the “Seattle coalition” came together today to protest the treatment of workers and the sale of unsafe genetically engineered food at Shaw’s and Star Market. About 150 labor, environmental, church, human rights and economic justice activists rallied against Shaw’s/Star’s union-busting and its sale of untested genetically engineered food.
Rally for Workers’ Rights and Safe Foods at Shaw’s/Star Markets
by Matthew Williams

07/22/02; Cambridge, MA--The coalition known as the “blue-green alliance” or the “Seattle coalition” came together today to protest the treatment of workers and the sale of unsafe genetically engineered food at Shaw’s and Star Market, both owned by the British company J. Sainsbury. About 150 labor, environmental, church, human rights and economic justice activists rallied against Shaw’s/Star’s union-busting and its sale of untested genetically engineered food in a protest organized by Jobs with Justice, Greenpeace, Clean Water Action and the Boston Global Action Network. They marched at 3:15 from Kendall Square to the British consulate at 1 Memorial Drive; after a rally there, they marched to the Star Market in Central Square, arrviving at 5:30. Although a delegation of activists was able to meet with representatives of the British consulate, Star Market’s managers refused to meet with them.

As in the Seattle anti-World Trade Organization protests in November 1999, these groups were brought together by the recognition that they have a common enemy--global corporations. As Dorothy Emerson, an Episcopalian community minister, said, “Those who oppress the Earth also oppress people.”

In February 2002, Shaw’s management in Worcester unilaterally tore up the union contract with its workers, declaring they had no right to a union. Efforts by workers in Boston to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) have been fought tooth and nail by management. Jeff, a worker at a local Star Market, said, “A friend of mine was told by the manager that if he signed a union representation card he was given by an organizer, he would be fired. We receive anti-union flyers attached to our paychecks. New employees are shown multiple anti-union videos.”

Tom Clark, an organizer with the UFCW, explained why workers at Shaw’s and Star needed a union: “Full time Star Market workers have to pay $27 a week for health insurance, forcing them to choose between providing food or healthcare for their families every week.”

Jeff, who was risking his job by publicly speaking out, said that he and other workers at Star had discovered, “It is a common practice of management to determine wages based not on experience or the difficulty of the work, but by workers’ ethnicity, gender or whatever they think they can get away with. I started at $8.00 an hour, when women and minorities doing more skilled work were starting at $7.00-$7.50 an hour.”

The activists marched along Memorial Drive and Massachusetts Avenue, receiving honks of support in response to their large sign, “Shoppers Unite: Stand Up for Safe Foods and Workers’ Rights”.

In addition to busting unions, Shaw’s and Star’s sell their own cheap house brands of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Several speakers explained why genetically engineered food is not safe food. Linda Setchell of Clean Water Action said, “We are eating pesticides for breakfast. They have genetically engineered pesticides into the corn that they use to make breakfast cereal. It used to be that you could at least try to wash it off, but now we have to eat it. The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has not done any long-term testing of genetically engineered food. We’re being used as guinea pigs and Shaw’s and Star are going along with it.”

Jill Stein, a physician and the Green Party candidate for governor, said, “The only testing on GMOs is being done by bioengineering corporations like Monsanto, who have an obvious conflict of interest.”

Upon arriving outside of Star Market, activists handed out flyers to customers. A man dressed as a giant rat, with a sign saying “Star Market” on his chest, stood outside the door and greeted people Mickey Mouse style. Customers were urged to speak to managers and tell them to respect workers’ rights and not sell genetically engineered food. In Britain, Sainsbury bargains fairly with unions and--after customers demanded it--pulled genetically engineered ingredients from all its products in 1999. Setchell said, “When we met with Shaw’s and Star Market a month ago, they said the only way they would agree to pull genetically engineered ingredients from their food is if customers went up to management and demanded that they do it.”

****

For more information on the unionization campaign, contact Massachusetts Jobs with Justice at 617-524-8778. For more information on the campaign against genetically engineered food, contact Greenpeace at 617-868-5079, Clean Water Action at 617-338-8131, or see the websites http://www.truefoodnow.org and http://www.cleanwaterfund.org/safefoods.

Comments

The Trouble With Banking
24 Jul 2002
What's wrong with money? In order for money to come into circulation, someone must go into debt to a bank. Money is created by bank credit, which must be borrowed into circulation.

When you borrow money from a commercial bank, the bank charges usury (called interest). It is this usury feature of bank credit money that is causing debt to grow exponentially throughout the world.

The exponential growth of debt, in turn, puts pressure on the economy to also grow exponentially which, of course, in the long run is impossible. Among the consequences of this cancerous growth of debt are the voracious consumption of natural resources, the production of superfluous goods, and the maldistribution of wealth.

Though there is a plethora of symptoms, these derive from three primary ways in which bank-credit money malfunctions.

First, is its artificial scarcity. There is never enough money to allow every debtor to pay what is owed to the banks.

The debt grows simply with the passage of time as interest compounds, but the supply of money to pay those loans plus interest can only be maintained as the banks make additional loans. These new loans have the same problem.

Thus, businesses and individuals are forced to compete for markets and scarce money in a futile attempt to avoid defaulting on their debts. The system requires that some must fail.

Capital wealth becomes ever more concentrated in giant corporate conglomerates, which must seek higher returns on their investments. They are driven to expand their markets and dominate economies, often through government's application of military power and "covert operations" to assure the continued flow of low-priced raw materials and the availability of low-cost labor.

Second, the requirement that interest be paid causes a net transfer of wealth from the debtor class to the moneyed class, or from producers to non-producers.

Besides the direct payment of interest on their own debts, the poor and middle-class majority pay the cost of interest which must be added to the price at every stage of production.

It is easy to show statistically that lower income households, because they are net debtors, pay much more interest than they receive, while those in the highest income brackets receive most of their income as interest returns on investments

Third, the money created as bank credit is mis-allocated at its source. Much of it goes to finance government's deficit spending for weapons, military interventions, and transfer payments to corporate clients.

Another large chunk is used to finance such things as real estate developments, which are presumably well collateralized, but are really supported by inflated land values and overblown prospects of profitability. Thus, we find an abundance of hotels, resorts, and upscale residential construction but a chronic shortage of affordable housing.

http://futurenet.org/2Money/Yes2TOC.html
See also:
egroups.com/group/jpchance
Pictures from the Demonstration
24 Jul 2002
Pictures from the Demonstration
24 Jul 2002
Pictures from the Demonstration
24 Jul 2002
Pictures from the Demonstration
24 Jul 2002