No more tiers

I just got through reading “Grocery union leader assesses strike” on your website (PWW 3/13-19). This whole two-tier issue brings a few things to mind. On Dec. 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Amongst those declared international human rights is: “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.” And yet 56 years later, labor leaders are still negotiating discriminatory two-tier contracts, workers are still ratifying them, and corporations are still demanding and enforcing them! Two-tier systems have no more place on the bargaining table than chattel slavery or sex discrimination. For over a year, I have maintained a website ( that is entirely dedicated to this issue.

John Barker Vancouver, Canada

Nader’s decision to run

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the article by Norman Markowitz (PWW 3/6-12) regarding Ralph Nader’s latest presidential bid. I must strongly disagree with several of the author’s assertions. He initially states that a Nader has “no base of support of any kind” although at the end of the article he mentions Nader’s nearly 3 million votes in the 2000 election. Considering that Nader was not allowed to participate in the presidential debates, did not accept corporate donations and did not run television ads, I would say that his results were considerable.

I know that Ralph Nader has earned my vote. I cannot say the same for Mr. Kerry or President Bush.

Marc Brandes Sacramento CA

On ‘The Passion of the Christ’

I was appalled to learn of a woman who took her 8-year-old son to see the much-hyped film, “The Passion of the Christ.” It is R-rated, and parents were warned by all the reviewers, and even the director of the film, not to take children. This mother explained that she did this because it was “reality” and she wanted her son to see how Christ suffered for our sins.

I wonder if this mom would take her son to see a graphically “real” film of young Emmett Till, brutally tortured and murdered for this country’s sin of slavery and racism. I wonder if she would take her son to see a graphically “real” film of Victor Jara, young Chilean guitarist who had his hands cut off and tortured to death for this country’s obsession with destroying any semblance of independent socialism. I wonder if this woman would take her son to see a “real” film depicting the countless, nameless numbers of American Indians who were tortured for this country’s sin of genocide and conquest.

Joan Elbert Chicago IL

Coup and terror in Haiti

I was outraged when I read Mark Almberg’s recent article concerning Haiti. (PWW 3/6-12.) The U.S.’s role in Haiti is illegal and wrong and another form of Bush’s governmental “terrorism.” Refusing to let Arisitide finish his term just goes to show the Bush administration’s refusal to allow anything democratic to ensue.

The poorest country in the world is being raped by Bush’s right-wing, corporate agenda. I think the article is really important. What can we do?

Naomi Via e-mail

Transit workers’ strike

I pick your paper up at my local library in St. Paul. Thanks for making it available. I expected to find something about the ATU Local 1005 strike here in the Twin Cities. As a life-long bus rider and supporter of transit workers, I wish you’d run a story that would humiliate the State of Minnesota, Gov. Pawlenty, and his hand-picked Metropolitan Council headed by Peter Bell. What a waste of taxpayer’s money, human time, energy, and ingenuity. Utility lines moved, roads re-constructed, sacred trees felled – all to make way for a system that cannot operate because of this strike. Please help!

Joleen Schwartz St. Paul MN

Information please

I am a student at Western New Mexico University and am writing a paper regarding the Empire Zinc strike in Hanover, N.M., in 1950 – the “Salt of the Earth” strike. I’d appreciate any information you may have.

Kara Naber Silver City NM

Editor’s note: You can check out our archives at to access stories about the strike and the 50th anniversary of the Salt of Earth.