As our nation’s labor movement convenes in Chicago, the crisis facing working families is in sharp relief.

With Kodak axing 10,000 jobs, GM cleaving 25,000 families from paychecks, another 14,000 receiving pink slips from Hewlett-Packard and even Pittsburgh National Bank (because billions in profit are never enough) slicing 3,000 from their ability to make a living, anxiety has replaced gossip of the day around the kitchen table.

Whether the collar is blue, pink or white, trade policies are closely related to job retention and creation. The Bush administration’s militarist policies aim to make the world safe for U.S. corporate profits, leaving a Wal-Mart economy in their wake. Raising families, maintaining communities, all the glue that binds us together making life livable, are threatened by massive layoffs, job exportation and stagnant wages.

Joining the union to live and work better has been a dream for millions of working families. In Congress, awaiting a strong, united grassroots movement, is the Employee Free Choice Act, which addresses many of the blatant, antidemocratic corporate attacks on workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.

Recently, miners in Arizona and steelworkers in Ohio have seen worker delegations from other countries join their picket lines and demonstrations. More of this solidarity is needed to save jobs and communities from the iron grip of corporate globalization.

Visits to congressional offices, marching, letter writing, county fair tabling and every creative tactic under the sun have forced the Republican Social Security privateers into retreat. Workers and retirees have been at it tirelessly, no matter what union they are from. They just want Congress to feel their power.

Now Bush is trying to pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues bent on driving working families back to Jim Crow, no union, and barefoot and pregnant, in the name of protecting private property.

It doesn’t take a consultant, focus group or Ivy League study to figure out that solidarity works. It is what makes corporate America tremble and it is all we’ve got when they’ve got all the money and the high-priced lawyers.

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