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News ::
Gucci Store Briefly Shut Down in Protest Against Union-Busting and Sweatshops
10 Aug 2002
Modified: 21 Aug 2002
On August 9, about twenty activists from UNITE and Union Summer picketed outside the Gucci store in Copley Place mall, protesting union-busting and use of sweatshop labor by Gucci's parent company, PPR. Store managers responded by locking their doors, keeping out both activists and potential customers.
Gucci Store Briefly Shut Down in Protest Against Union-Busting and Sweatshops
By Matthew Williams

08/09/02; Boston, MA--A small but lively action gave the ritzy shops of the Copley Place mall a taste of the grassroots today. About twenty activists from UNITE local 2001 and the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer program picketed outside the Gucci store with signs, drums and whistles. Gucci was targeted as the most prominent of the companies owned by Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), a French multinational that is engaging in union-busting at its subsidiary of Brylane in Indiana and using sweatshop labor in India. The Gucci store managers responded to the protest by locking their doors for the duration of the action, keeping both the activists and potential customers out.

Workers at Brylane in Indiana have to deal with unsafe working conditions, low wages, no pensions and intimidation of immigrant workers; people who have been working there for as long as twenty years are making as little as $12.50 an hour. When they attempted to form a union in response, Brylane would not respect the union-certification process. In the sweatshops Gucci contracts out to in India, workers earn as little as one cent per garment and child labor is widespread. Arnold Corse, vice president of UNITE local 2001, which represents workers at Chadwick’s of Boston, said that in addition to safe and fair working conditions, workers “want dignity and respect. If the workers don’t have any representation on their side, the company basically does whatever it wants to do.”

The labor activists gathered outside the Back Bay Station T-station at noon, where a few of them spoke briefly, then marched across the street into the Copley Place mall, where they started a lively picket in front of the Gucci store, chanting, “What’s disgusting? Union busting! What’s outrageous? Sweatshop wages!” while others drummed and blew whistles.

Chester Hill, shop steward for local 2001, said of Brylane, “They’re infringing on a group of people’s rights and the American way. They should have a chance to vote on the way they want to work. They want a union in that company. The company doesn’t want them to have a union--it doesn’t want to give them the respect to let them speak up for themselves and be able to demand some of the things they deserve as workers. This company is making tons of money on the backs of these people.

“We don’t want sweatshops in this country. People came to this country for freedom, to make a better life for themselves, not to work for big companies that just want to keep you down and not pay you the money. That’s not the American way. We’re here for justice for everyone.”

Security guards attempted to usher the group out. Organizers intercepted them, politely explaining that while they knew the mall was private property it was also a public space in which they felt they had the right to express themselves freely. The security guards, realizing that the activists would not simply be herded away, hung back helplessly, except for one taking pictures from a balcony.

Hill said of the sweatshops in India, “It’s the same thing. Gucci is having stuff made in foreign countries for very little money and they’re turning around and selling you a shirt for $2400 or a belt for $500. And their workers are making nothing. That’s not the American way.”

Bradley Pack of the Union Summer program, which involves college students in labor organizing, said that the problems PPR’s workers faced were part of a wider problem: “With the spread of globalization, you can’t go anywhere without finding sweatshop labor and anti-union campaigns. Overseas in export processing zones, there are no or very few restrictions in terms of labor and environmental laws.” Progressive analysts argue that such zones (also called “free trade zones”) create a race to the bottom; as multinational companies move around the globe to find the cheapest labor, countries engage in a competition to lower their labor and environmental standards to attract these companies.

As most of the group picketed, a few of the activists handed out flyers to shoppers. A woman in a giant rat costume (complete with red eyes) with a sign reading “I love Gucci” hanging from her neck alternately danced around and pressed herself up against the locked glass doors of the store. When the organizers attempted to give a signed petition asking that PPR respect labor rights to the Gucci managers to pass on up the management hierarchy, the managers refused to take it.

Corse explained how local 2001 got involved in the campaign--their own experience with the race to the bottom effect in the US: “Brylane bought Chadwick’s of Boston, which is a union shop. Brylane is a non-union company. When they bought Chadwick’s, they put all those standards and quotas from the way they work their shops in Indiana into Chadwick’s of Boston. They tried to treat us like the non-union group, because that’s what they’re used to. We figured, since they were trying to give us all the same standards as in Indiana, that the Brylane workers need to be union too. We figured that they needed the same voice that we have.”

At around 1:00, the activists marched down the escalator and out of the mall, chanting, “We’ll be back!”--just as the police, whom the security guards had finally called, pulled up. They told the protesters they were banned from the mall for the rest of the day. Hill said, “We’re going to do as much as we have to to put pressure on these companies to get them to show the workers in Indiana respect and let them have their vote. That goes for any other union that needs help--we’re union people and we’ll be there.”


For more information on the campaign, call UNITE local 2001 at 617-426-9350. For more information on the Union Summer program, see

[The author apologizes to anyone whose name he mangled.]
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Unionists Are Awakening
12 Aug 2002
Although the struggle for peace and justice is really about the decentralization of political-economic power - the hub of which is the private, transnational, usurious, fractional-reserve banking fraud - rank-and-file unionists are awakening to reality.

Do we want more "jobs" when accelerating automation inevitably reduces our workload and increases our potential freedom? If so, the death-industrial complex can provide more "jobs".

Or do we want a fair, efficient and decentralized political-financial system that offers equal rights and equal responsibilities for everyone?

Right vs Left = Divide & Conquer.

Abolish corporate-government racketeering.

The Federal Reserve Corporation is the most powerful monopoly in the world:

Citizens of the world, awaken!

Las Vegas, NV -- In a sweeping condemnation of the link between the current corporate crime wave and the political agenda of right wing conservatives, United Steelworkers of America (USWA) President Leo W. Gerard exhorted delegates to the Union's 31st Constitutional Convention to "seize this moment in history to challenge the corporate domination of political decision making that's being used to export our jobs and undermine our standards of living."

The corporate crime wave sweeping America, he told some 2,500 USWA delegates from the U.S. and Canada in his keynote address, "is not about 'a few bad apples,' it's about a system that's rotten to the core; a system that violates the values that our two countries were founded on."

Citing the loss of more than two million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Canada in recent years, Gerard asserted that globalization as currently practiced is not a trading regime, "it's the unconditional surrender of our jobs! It's designed to enrich the Enron capitalists and their rich and powerful financiers on Bay Street and Wall Street at the expense of our jobs, our families, our safety, our dignity -- everything that's near and dear to us."

Recounting historic struggles in which the Steelworkers have triumphed over extreme adversity during the Union's first six decades, he called on delegates to rekindle the activist spirit that had brought about the reforms of the Progressive Era and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

"The lives of those activists, who won because they stood up against all odds," he said, "inspire us to seize this moment, to understand that unless we fight to challenge the push for privatization and deregulation, defeat is the only thing that's guaranteed."

Gerard said that the Enron capitalists, whom he referred to as "the barons of bankruptcy," would be "more than willing to undermine democracy itself if that's what it takes to speed up their race to the bottom on wages and benefits."

As evidence, he cited the confession by an Italian policeman last week that authorities in Genoa had planted a Molotov cocktail in the headquarters of protestors at the G-8 meetings there "in order to 'justify' their brutal crackdown," which resulted in a protestor being shot to death by police.

"Well I've got news for those Gucci-shoed, coupon-clipping, café latte-drinking bastards," Gerard thundered. "We'll never stop fighting for a clean environment, for social justice, for economic fairness, and for workers' rights.

The USWA president was especially critical of the Bush Administration for delivering "a fortune in tax cuts for the Fortune 500, and nothing for the unfortunate millions who are forced to pay the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and health care.

He declared that citizens in both the U.S. and Canada were being sold a bill of goods by the right wing politicians pushing for the privatization and deregulation of public services.

Citing the recent success of the Steelworkers in winning tariff relief, Gerard urged the delegates to "re-doubled our activism in order to halt the drive to privatize Canadian national health care and to win universal health care coverage in the U.S.

"If we seize this moment in history," he declared, "we can win the fight to outlaw stock options, halt the rush to privatize Social Security and Canadian national health care. We can win the right to labor and environmental standards in trade agreements and the right to management neutrality and card check in organizing campaigns.

"You are the future, the hope of the next generation," he told the cheering delegates. "So seize this moment in history to fight for social and economic justice as those who have come before us always have."

See also:
A Thousand Words
13 Aug 2002
Pictures, pictures, pictures!!!!!
Awesome protest!
20 Aug 2002

Awesome protest people! We need more like that one. A small group of people get together and successfully SHUT DOWN a nasty corporate outpost. And as a bonus, nobody got hurt, or even arrested! Way to go!

This action should inspire all activists. We need more actions like this. How about doing one every day at this location until they close for good? How about roaming protests at stores which will close their doors when we come around?

Our purpose as activists is not to gather large crowds to hear speeches, or to have pointless marches or whatever. It is to STOP EVIL from happening. We can do this in small numbers by manipulating the fears of store managers and such. A small group of activists stopped a lot of gucci bags from being sold.

Local TEA Dollars
21 Aug 2002

by Jonathan P. Chance

19 August 2002

The spreadsheet called "Local TEA Dollars" (updated 8/19/02) demonstrates how local treasuries issue TEA dollars.

It is interactive and scalable, so you can insert appropriate (or inappropriate) values to estimate or record your individual, local, state, national or international time-energy income.

The first section (spreadsheet cells A1-E5) displays the time dividends (citizens dividends) derived from the unit of one TEA dollar per living hour.

A citizen in a healthy society can be expected to live approximately 100 years, or 876,000 hours. This provides a trust fund of $876,000 per citizen. Issued from age 16 to 116, every participating citizen is eligible for a citizens income of $730 per month.

The second section (cells A7-E19) displays the energy dividends potentially derived from the unit of one TEA dollar per renewable kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The total RE dividends include sources such as benign (minimum ecological impact) solar-electric, windpower, solar-thermal, biodiesel, biogas, ethanol, geothermal, hydropower, and ocean power. Fossil fuels, uranium, new mega-hydropower and other entropic energy sources are absolutely prohibited from the TEA system.

The largest potential source of energy is solar-electricity. A net photovoltaic (PV) efficiency (cell B13) of only two percent (2%) in a land area of one hundred (100) square miles with a population of one hundred thousand (100,000) in a region with an average annual solar radiation of 1277.5 kWh per square meter potentially produces 6,617,419,340 kWh / energy dividends / TEA dollars per year.

Windpower, solar-thermal, biodiesel, biogas, ethanol and hydropower are currently the lowest-cost / highest-profit renewable energy (RE) source in most regions. With the accelerated implementation of the TEA system, annual RE growth (cell B19) could be approximately ten percent (10%) per month and 1261% per year.

The third section of the spreadsheet (cells A21-E37) displays monthly, quarterly and annual energy dividends (cell B21). With 10% monthly RE growth, quarterly growth accelerates from 121% to 196% in the first year, resulting in an annual RE growth of 1261%.

The fourth section (A39-E55) displays total annual dividends, including time and energy.

The fifth section (A57-E73) displays monthly, quarterly and annual printed TEA dollars (certificates).

The sixth section (A75-E91) displays monthly, quarterly and annual un-printed TEA dollars (eDollars). This is simply the total audited TEA dollars minus the total printed TEA dollars.

The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth sections (A94-E200) display printed TEA dollars in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1, respectively. Column B displays the number of certificates, column C displays the value of the certificates, and column D displays the serial numbers of the monthly certificates.

With or without the TEA system, renewable energy harvesting such as windpower is among the most prosperous investments one can make. However, the TEA system accelerates the transition from a non-renewable and inefficient "economy" to a renewable and efficient economy.

Furthermore, the TEA system provides equal rights and equal responsibilities for everyone in accord with The Treasury Network's thirteen-point charter.

To presume that our lifetime has no value is to presume the legitimacy of slavery. Issuing citizens dividends directly from local treasuries is the most efficient, stable and democratic way to provide equal rights and opportunities.

Issuing renewable energy dividends directly from local treasuries is the most efficient, stable and democratic way to provide equal responsibilities, because those who invest their time dividends into renewable energy harvesting accelerate the transition from a scarcity-based and inefficient "economy" to an efficient economy with bountiful renewable energy.

The Time-Energy Accounting (TEA) currency supply expands as citizens' invest in renewable-energy harvesting. For example, a citizen who invests $17 in a windfarm may receive a 438% annual return in TEA dollars, plus energy earnings. Within several decades, the population will stabilize and humans will consume no more energy and purified water than we and our increasingly automated infrastructure produce.

Federal Reserve dollars (FRD) are backed by the negative "value" of unsustainable bank debt. United States silver dollars and TEA dollars, however, are backed by useful commodities for manufacturing durable goods and efficient infrastructure.

An alternative to accelerated implementation of the TEA system is to continue the dysfunctional fractional-reserve and usurious (charging interest on non-renewable commodities, including debt) banking system which imperils peace, prosperity and human civilization.

The choice is ours, and the time is now.

Time + Energy = Wealth. What's Your Share?

jpchance (at)


See also: