Jane Slaughter

Printing plant workers in Buenos Aires showed up for their 6am shift as usual on January 16, only to find locked doors, police, and private security blocking their way. Grupo Clarín, the biggest media group in Argentina, had locked them out.

The 380 workers were sacked, with management planning to replace well-paid union workers with cheaper, non-union replacements.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) cost United States workers 700,000 jobs. But another effect was to drive Mexican small farmers out of business. In the brave new world of free trade, Costco makes tortilla chips and salsa in the US and trucks them to its stores in Mexico. US Congress will soon debate whether to “fast-track” a trade deal that would make job-killers like NAFTA look puny. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated by Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
Detroit hit the Trifecta on July 18 — the third in a series of body blows that politicians have landed on the city’s working people. The Michigan legislature passed “right-to-work” in December and gave the governor the right to impose “emergency managers” on cities two days later. When Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, he was following a predicted trajectory that will lead to further impoverishment and privatisation.
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