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Announcement :: International
A13: International Day of Action to Stop Caterpillar
09 Apr 2005
Human Rights Groups to Demand Investigation of Israeli war crimes at Caterpillar Corporation's Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 13 - Simultaneous protests scheduled for dozens of cities around the world.
stopcat.jpg
CHICAGO - On Wednesday, April 13th, Caterpillar Corporation shareholders will vote on a groundbreaking resolution calling on CAT to investigate whether its sale of bulldozers to Israel violates its own Worldwide Code of Business Conduct. For the second year in a row, the human rights project Jewish Voice for Peace has joined the Sisters of Loretto and the Mercy Investment Group in introducing the shareholder resolution. Groups that include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Solidarity Movement, Palestine Solidarity Group, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, United for Peace & Justice and the Presbyterian Church/USA are supporting the effort, with local support being provided by the Stop CAT Coalition, based in Chicago.

Advocates of the resolution will hold a press conference outside of the Northern Trust Building - the location of CAT’s shareholder meeting -at 12:30 on Wednesday, April 13th, at 50 S. LaSalle St. in Chicago. Both proponents and opponents of the resolution will speak at the meeting, scheduled for 1:30 PM at the Northern Trust Building. On the same day, groups in dozens of cities across the world - including Chicago, Washington, DC, Dallas, Memphis, New York City, Stockholm, and Boston - will hold demonstrations at Caterpillar dealerships and the offices of board members. Chicago’s protest is scheduled for noon to 3PM outside of the shareholder meeting.

Last month, the parents of Rachel Corrie, a young human rights volunteer who was killed two years ago by a Caterpillar bulldozer while trying to protect a Palestinian home, sued Caterpillar and the Israeli government. The suit charges that CAT knowingly sold machines used to violate human rights. The company is also confronting a global surge in bad press about Caterpillar's role in the razing of Palestinian homes that have left thousands homeless in recent years. Human rights activists argue that, while Israel recently ended its policy of home demolitions related to acts of violence, the vast majority of demolitions continue under a policy of administrative home demolitions, meaning homes are typically destroyed because of minor permit violations. It is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain legal permits from the Israeli government to build or improve housing in the Occupied Territories.

The Stop CAT campaign has appealed for worldwide solidarity actions against Caterpillar on this date.

For a directory of CAT facilities please visit: http://www.catdestroyshomes.org/downloads/CatDirectory.pdf

- For more information, contact: info (at) stopcat.org or 773-489-3505

- Visit: www.catdestroyshomes.org

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Re: A13: International Day of Action to Stop Caterpillar
11 Apr 2005
It is quite sad the way all of you simply jumped on any band wagon without knowing the full story about this company.
The Caterpillar Foundation has committed $1 million to ongoing relief and recovery efforts in the region. The contribution from the foundation will be divided between The International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Oxfam, and The Salvation Army. Additionally, the company also announced that donations to relief efforts by Caterpillar employees, retirees, Caterpillar directors and employees of Caterpillar dealers will be matched by the company up to $2,000 per person. So before you defame the good name of a company, you should get your facts straight.
Re: A13: International Day of Action to Stop Caterpillar
12 Apr 2005
Nice try Pavlo. But before you get carried away lauding the charitable acheivement of the Caterpillar Foundation, - which pales in comparison to the megaprofits raked in by Caterpillar corporation - you might actually take the time to do some real research on the corporation's sordid history including their complete contempt for their own workers rights. Incidentally, a goood place to begin is Human Rights Watch.

BTW, the corporation IG
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Re: A13: International Day of Action to Stop Caterpillar
12 Apr 2005
The UAW's Caterpillar strike may go down as the PATCO of the 1990s.

A decade and a half after Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers and signaled the business community to begin an unremitting offensive against workers, organized labor has suffered a comparable symbolic defeat.

In early December, striking employees at Caterpillar voted overwhelmingly to reject the company's latest contract offer. But the next day, the United Auto Workers (UAW) national union called off the year-and-a-half strike.

Both the U.S. labor movement and the global business community understood the significance of the Caterpillar strike. Unless unions quickly find a way to revitalize themselves, the UAW surrender will usher in a significantly harsher climate for U.S. labor in the coming century.

The conflict began with a 1991 lockout, which turned into a strike in early 1992. When Caterpillar threatened to permanently replace the strikers, the UAW ignobly suspended the strike and launched an in-plant opposition strategy, with some success. For two years, UAW members remained on the job without a contract, finally striking again in June 1994 to protest unfair labor practices. The National Labor Relations Board has issued more than 150 complaints against Caterpillar. Because the workers were striking against allegedly illegal labor practices, U.S. law barred Caterpillar from permanently replacing them.

Caterpillar was able to continue operating during the second strike with non-union managerial staff, temporary replacements and picket-line crossers. Indeed, the company, which promotes itself as a cutting-edge, future-oriented global corporation, was able to maintain production and earn record profits during the strike. "For this," the Wall Street Journal reports, "Caterpillar is probably respected by other employers about as much as it is reviled by unions."

With the strike officially in "recess," strikers will return to work without a contract and on terms imposed by Caterpillar and rejected by the UAW membership. Those terms include: no wage increase, a two-tiered wage structure and the right for the company to demand work periods longer than eight-hour days with no overtime pay. The contract offer did not include an amnesty offer for the approximately 150 strikers fired for strike-related activity.

The company is ruthlessly imposing a harsh shop floor regime to maintain firm control over its plants. New Caterpillar "standards of conduct" and "temporary special moratoria" sharply restrict what workers can say or wear, forbidding use of the word "scab" or shirts referring to the labor conflict. Caterpillar has 90 security personnel watching over the Decatur plant, where only approximately 900 union employees -- half the plant's total -- have so far been called back to work, according to Larry Solomon. Solomon is president of the UAW local in Decatur and an outspoken opponent of the national union's capitulation to Caterpillar.

There is little doubt that other employers will feel emboldened by Caterpillar's stunning victory -- and the abject failure of the UAW, which was widely regarded as the most powerful and militant of U.S. unions.

The most notable effect of the Caterpillar debacle on labor-management relations will be felt in the upcoming negotiations between the UAW and the Big Three U.S. auto makers. Although new UAW President Steven Yokich has postured as a militant, his rhetoric will fall flat after Caterpillar's steamrolling of the union. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler will bargain with a diminished sense of respect for the union's strength, demanding greater concessions.

The UAW and organized labor as a whole did not need another display of weakness; there were alternatives to surrender. Although many UAW members did cross the picket lines and return to work as scabs, the vast majority did not. The strike was not broken in the traditional sense. Top UAW officials decline to comment on why they called off the strike or on whether they plan to resume in-plant resistance.

It was apparent that Caterpillar could weather a traditional walk-the-picket-line strike strategy. But a comprehensive and worldwide corporate campaign could have succeeded in forcing Caterpillar into serious negotiations.

More so than most companies, Caterpillar is a global corporation that is heavily dependent on exports. That export dependence makes the company vulnerable to concerted action around the world. A massive publicity effort and a focused and determined call for a boycott could have seriously affected the company's sales and reputation.

Solomon says he "would have liked to see the [national UAW] set aside its pride and enlist the support of the new AFL-CIO, form a task force to move in and really take Cat on, and go worldwide with it." Solomon is confident that, if the national union leadership had articulated a clearly defined plan, the membership would have stood behind it. The membership's refusal to accept Caterpillar's terms for surrender suggest Solomon is right.

Nothing less than the sort of upsurge in labor militancy, solidarity and creativity for which Solomon and other Caterpillar workers called will prevent the Caterpillar strike from being remembered as the PATCO of the 1990s.