Hi folks from the Nonviolent Alternatives to War class,

I am forwarding along the draft of the letter that Chante, from our class, wrote regarding the clerical workers strike. Please look it over and send comments to Chante (chantewolf7@hotmail.com) and me (michael@clarityfacilitation.com). We'll also talk about it in class next Thursday (11/7). Thanks to Chante for writing up a first draft!



Here are my comments .. this is for others to get ideas and contribute .. I am open to any/all editing etc. this is a group project ;-}



We, a class on the "History and Strategies of NonViolent Alternatives to War" would like to make some comments on the current strike at the

University of Minnesota.

It seems to us, that the AFSCME (?) Union has some very good issues with the current budget cuts and modifications at the University. Examining the Administrative salaries ($100,000 to $363,000 a year) and their strange insinuation that those employees who make under $30,000 a year need to accept a 2 year pay freeze and pay additional $28.00 a month for cost of medical insurance .. including employee lay offs.  We indeed find it interesting that those people in positions of making policy and who are hired and paid with tax payers votes and dollars never seem to make any concessions themselves to help the burden of less allottedmoney. In fact we have seen legislators at the Federal level refuse to raise the cost of minimum wage, and then turn around and award themselves with a $1.900 a year pay raise - due to their burden of having 2 homes.

What we would like to point out to the striking members, however is the missing point of "whom" they should really be striking against. After the horrific events on September 11th, 2001 our White House administration officials took advantage of a frightened, bewildered and mourning country's emotions to push through congress some very dangerous policies. Among them were the seizing of $97 billion dollars of taxpayers money to go towards a war effort to combat terrorism in Afghanistan. We won't harp on the lack of validity of going to war against a military tactic and the waste of human life, natural resources and military resources, that will only create a vacuum for more terror against us (perhaps that is their idea of creating a capitalistic need since the sale of weapons, planes, training, destroying and rebuilding will be the administration's greatest source of personal profit).

So the money diverted to an already bulging military of an additional $47 billion dollars to an annual $400 billion dollar budget (and a military who did not provide us, the citizens, any protection from terrorism on that day), and the first round of tax cuts for the richest 1% of the citizens, and now another $87 billion dollars, another tax cut for the richest 1% and a tax cut for corporations, all on top of a tax cut that then Governor Ventura gave Minnesotans .. well no wonder there lacks the funds needed to provide the university with it's budget. This is what we think the idea of the trickle down idea of tax breaks is used to sell the twisted idea. (needs help here)

What we are saying is that the employees on strike are barking up the wrong tree. And since the Administrators are sitting in comfort, they indeed will not be willing to take any cuts themselves so the natural order will be for the employees who will feel it the most to carry the burden. This will continue to happen as the affects of all above mention sink into the national economy.  If we all are to make an affect on what is happening at the bottom of the pay scale .. then perhaps we all need to pitch in and refuse to participate as consumers.

If we refuse to buy gasoline 3 days at the beginning of each month, if you can turn off your electricity during the day or turn it way down, turn off your TV's and send letters to the media to wake up and put the truth on the front page and for FOX news to tell the truth period, refuse to go to Wallmart etc., and only support the local independent markets, co-ops and retailers .. we are sending a huge message to those at the top.  These are the people we need to fire and stop supporting their profits off our blood, sweat and tears. We do have the power to send the message .. including a 1 day national (everyone) work strike.

What do you think?