National Clips

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.: Street peace heat blunts winds of war

Bundled against Artic cold, 2400 residents took their opposition to the Bush war against Iraq to the streets, Jan. 12.

“We are coming out to say no to the threat of war against Iraq,” said Jessica Sundin, a member of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee. “We are calling on our government to change course and instead to work for peace.”

“It was more than we expected in our highest hopes,” Sundin said. “People’s energy was really high.”

The organizing coalition included Nurses Against War.

Chris Baird said, “I think that we would end up killing a lot of innocent Iraqis and an action like that would not separate us very much from the terrorists.”

Chris Kujawa added, “I think the sanctions are working. I think the war is about oil and not about the weapons inspections.”

Jessica Miranti, a 40-year veteran pacifist, said she was out on the street again because, “I cannot imagine sending my grandsons into battle for purely economic reason.”





GARY, Ind.: Steel city says no to war

In the heart of the nation’s basic steel industry, Gary became the 24th city to pass a resolution demanding peace with Iraq. In an 8–0 vote Jan. 7, council members approved the call for negotiations with Iraq and transferring the war budget to the cities.

The city of Chicago is considering a similar resolution.





WASHINGTON, DC: Defend the right to safe and legal abortion

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has launched an online petition campaign to garner 30,000 signatures defending women’s rights to make reproductive decisions. The petition is available at the NOW web site, www.now.org. Calling on senators to reject Bush nominations to the Supreme Court who are hostile to abortion, NOW plans continued scrutiny of nominations to all levels of the federal judiciary.

The NOW Action staff will deliver the petitions Jan. 22, the 30th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.

NOW’s Action Team notes that the mid-term elections have given Bush a “blank check to move forward its intolerant, regressive right wing agenda.”





DECATUR, Ala.: 60 Steelworker jobs, 1,500 workers apply on first day

News of work travels at lighting speed through the vast working-class network, as Abott Wood, office manager at the state unemployment office here, discovered on Jan. 6. He had to open the doors a half hour early, 7:30 am, because already 175 workers were lined up to apply for 60 jobs at the Nucor steel mill. By the end of the first day the corporation was accepting applications, 1,500 working families turned in their hope for a decent pay day.

Applications were being accepted through Jan. 17.

At one point the unemployment office ran out of applications and called Nucor for more.

Nucor is non-union. Steelworkers work 12 hours a day rotating four days on and four days off. The mill currently employs 275 people.

Decatur has the second-highest jobless rate in the state among metropolitan areas at 6.4 percent.





CONSHOHOCKEN, Penn.: Steelworker killed in Bethlehem mill

On Jan. 3, John C. Weikert, married and father of three children under 18, went to work on the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift. He was not home when his children got off the school bus.

Weikert was crushed between a crane and the building 20 minutes into his shift. He would have had 10 years service on March 22.

The United Steelworkers of America and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the incident.

Just before Christmas, a steelworker at Bethlehem Steel’s Burns Harbor mill was killed on the job. Bethlehem Steel is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.





MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich.: GM defect threatens lives

A General Motors Corp. employee has sued the world’s No. 1 automaker under Michigan’s Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, saying he was blackballed after he threatened to report vehicle safety defects.

Courtland T. Kelley said in the lawsuit that as manager of an internal auditing program to test vehicle safety, he found problems with fuel-line systems.

In court papers, Kelley said he believes the problems could cause cars to spew out fuel and kill or injure drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

“His primary objective is to get defective vehicles off the road and protect public safety,” said Kelley’s attorney, Rose Goff.

Kelley, who filed the lawsuit Jan. 9, said he repeatedly notified higher management of the problem but was ignored. GM denies knowledge of the lawsuit.

Kelley reported his findings to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in December, Goff said. NHTSA spokeswoman Liz Neblett said it was unclear whether the agency will investigate.

National Clips are compiled by

Denise Winebrenner Edwards

(dwinebr696@aol.com).

Terrie Albano, Paul Kaczocha and Elena Mora

contributed to this week’s clips.

If you have a clip, send it to pww@pww.org