Against the Current, No. 132, January/February 2008
Devastating Crisis Unfolds
— Bob Brenner, for the ATC Editors
Behind the Dirty Cleansing of New Orleans
— Chloe Tribich
Update on Pakistan: After the "Emergency"
— Farooq Tariq
World Cup 2010: Showcase South Africa
— Sam Ross
Dubai Labor Fighting Back Vs. Indentured Globalization
— Vicky Francis
Peace Beyond Annapolis
— Hasan Newash and David Finkel
HAMAS Under the Spotlight
— Hisham H. Ahmed
- The First Legal Russian Strike in a Decade
Appreciating Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
— D.C. Faye
- Black Struggle Then and Now
Obama and "I Have a Dream" in 2008
— Malik Miah
Remembrance: Ousmane Sembène, Father of African Film
— Kim D. Hunter interviews Louise M. Jefferson
Review: Riding the Bus to Freedom
— Dianne Feeley
Remembrance: Sekou Sundiata and the Dream State
— Kim D. Hunter
The Making of Jericho Road
— an interview with Michael Honey
Puerto Rico, The Oldest U.S. Colony
— César F. Rosado Marzán
Myths of Cultural Dysfunction
— Samuel Farber
Recovering Forgotten Voices
— Keith Gilyard
The Death of Retirement?
— Nomi Prins
Our History Recovered
— Patrick M. Quinn
Hillary: Hope or Hype?
— Barri Boone
A Reply on Overcoming Zionism
— Joel Kovel
THE ALMOST MONTH-LONG strike at the Ford-Vsevolozhsk assembly plant, a small plant near St. Petersburg, ended December 16 with an agreement that negotiations would resume. The strike began on November 17, 2007, after four months of talks failed to produce any result. In fact, Ford management had initially refused to hold negotiations “during or under the threat of strike.”
The Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) demanded a 30% wage increase, along with an improvement in working conditions; management offered 11%. Striking during the peak sales period, the union was proud it was able to hold out so long. With wages so low that workers can barely keep their heads above water, Russian strikes are usually brief, and most are declared illegal by the courts.
Three days into the strike, two-thirds of the 1500 workers returned to work — but the remaining strikers were enough to keep the plant shut. Of those who returned to work, approximately 600 were absent each day, using different excuses and being paid two-thirds of their wage. The situation remained volatile. Each day 30-40 people would file to go back on strike. By mid-December there were 750 strikers, approximately half the work force. These also constituted a majority of the assembly line.
Management attempted to restart production on November 28, with first shift assembling 66 cars, none of which could pass quality control, since that department was still out on strike. A subsequent attempt occurred on December 11, with two shifts assembling a total of 117 cars.
Alexei Etmanov, head of the plant’s union, pointed out to the St. Petersburg Times (12/18/07) that the end of the strike represented neither a victory or a defeat but just “a new stage in the struggle for our interests.” He pointed out that given the daily production schedule of 350 cars, over the strik’s course the plant failed to produce 5,000 cars.
from ATC 132 (January/February 2008)