Forum looks at high tech job flight

TUCSON – An attentive crowd gathered May 2 in the basement of Tucson’s public library to attend a community forum on “Globalization, High Tech and Employment,” sponsored by Jobs in Crisis, a committee of the Tucson chapter of Jobs with Justice.

Democratic state Rep. Phil Lopes (D-Tucson) was in attendance, and a letter of support was read from U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

Participants heard presentations on global trade agreements, disappearing jobs in the U.S. high tech industry, and the effects of these job losses on the U.S. economy. They also took part in a lively workshop on these issues.

Steve Valencia, chair of Tucson Jobs with Justice, stressed the need to defeat Bush in order to advance the struggle of all workers.

Vlad Slomberg, former economics professor, cited research that shows that when people lose jobs due to outsourcing, they almost always take a cut in income, whether they go on unemployment insurance or find another job quickly. Slomberg also gave attendees a short lesson on the gross domestic product in order to aid in the understanding of these issues.

Many solutions were proposed at the workshop, including the possibility that state agencies should not be allowed to contract with companies that outsource. Another participant suggested that companies that take advantage of economic incentives to move to Tucson, only to pack up shop and move to Mexico when the incentives run dry, should have to pay a penalty for abandoning the community.

All agreed that defeating Bush is key to advancing the struggle for jobs.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org.