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Rustbelt Radio for August 1, 2005
by Indymeida Rustbelt Radio Collective Monday, Aug. 01, 2005 at 8:51 PM
radio@indypgh.org (email address validated)

On today's show... * locals rallied in downtown Pittsburgh to honor 15th aniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act * SEIU picketed the USX tower last week in support of striking janitors in Houston Texas * from Bad Cop No Donut, news of a death at the hands of taser-wielding police officers in Ohio * our featured local group is the Mon-Valley Unemployed Committee, which has been advocating for unemployed workers in our area for over 20 years * and we'll hear about Water Privatization in India from Dr. Vandana Shiva

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August 1, 2005: Rustbelt Radio

Intro

Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media. The show airs every Monday from 6-7pm on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA and every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're also available on the internet, both on W-R-C-T's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and archived at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.

On today's show...

.... but first these local headlines from Pittsburgh Indymedia

Headlines

Local News

[0:45] Monroeville planners table Wal-Mart proposal

Last week, the Monroeville planning commission considered a proposal by Wal-Mart to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The world's largest retailer wants to build a 204,000-square-foot store at Broadway and Mosside boulevards, near Pitcairn and the southern border of Monroeville.

Wal-Mart needs to combine three lots into a 29-acre parcel and to rezone 22 acres from industrial to commercial use. It also asked the commission to recommend approval of its site plan.

Residents of Pitcairn, whose declining business district is a short walk from the proposed Wal-Mart site, voiced concerns about the increase in traffic on the town’s two-lane main street. The impact of the store on local commerce is another concern of the community. The impacts of new Walmart stores have been seen in towns across the country where the local grocery, hardware, apparel and variety stores have gone out of business.

The commission last night agreed to postpone consideration until Wal-Mart provides more details on how it will manage traffic and stormwater.

[4:05] Pittsburgh Janitors Picket in Solidarity with Houston Workers

Last week, Janitors in Pittsburgh held a rally for fellow workers, Carlin Christy has the report:

[0:45] Union proposal criticized at school board meeting

On July 27th , The Pittsburgh School Board postponed a vote on the proposed Project Labor Agreement. Under the agreement, the Pittsburgh Building Trades Council would guarantee an unspecified number of union apprenticeships to district students. In exchange, only firms employing at least 90 percent union labor would receive contracts valued at more than 25 thousand dollars. Many attendees of the July School Board Meetings spoke out against The Project labor agreemet, stating it would hurt minority-owned businesses.

At a July 18th meeting Contractor Chuck Graham told the board racism excluded him from gaining union membership for 17 years, and hoped that the unanimous opposition to the agreement would kill the proposal. Graham and business-owner Fay Ritter also thought the apprenticeship deal is flawed because it will not help the targeted students. Union members are required to be drug-free, have a valid driver's license and a reliable automobile.

The School Board is expected to vote on the proposal sometime in August.

[6:20] Disability Pride Rally

On Thursday July 28th, the Three Rivers Center for Independent Living held a disability pride rally at the Allegheny County Courthouse. The rally celebrated the 15th aniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with speakers on issues the disabled face today. Rustbelt Radio's Jessica McPherson? was there and brings us their voices:

[0:30] Proposed Creation of Panel to Clean Up City

Motivated by letters regarding the amount of litter in the city, Mayor Murphy announced the formation of a new commission to clean up the streets of Pittsburgh. The proposed ‘Clean Pittsburgh Commission’ will be charged with cleaning up Pittsburgh's illegal dump sites, abandoned cars, and day-to-day litter.

Funding for the project would come from state and private grants, plus revenue from an increase in littering fines from $15 to $25, Murphy said.

The commission's 15 members would include six representatives of city departments; two from the Pennsylvania Resources Council, a conservation group; one from PA CleanWays of Allegheny County, which cleans up illegal dumps; and six from unspecified organizations, businesses, governments and nonprofit groups. Legislation regarding the proposal could come up for a final vote by City Council within two weeks.

Wrapup

For more on all of our local news stories, visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.

Global News

Intro

You are listening to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to headlines from Independent Media Centers around the world.

[1:30] CAFTA passes in the House

Members of the Stop CAFTA Coalition denounced the approval of the US-Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) which passed by a vote of 217 to 215 in the House of Representatives last Thursday.

Tom Ricker of the Quixote Center, a peace and justice organization from the Washington DC area, said (quote) "This is a tragedy for people in the United States, and even more so for the people of Central America and the Dominican Republic. For three years, we have worked with our brothers and sisters in the region to build a broad-based cross-border movement against this agreement, only to see the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership use dirty tricks to guarantee its approval." (end quote)

At the end of the allotted 15 minutes of voting time, the count was 180 to 175 against CAFTA, so the Republican leadership extended the voting time for over an hour, in order to bully legislators into approving the bill. In the final tally, 15 Democrats voted in favor of big business by supporting CAFTA, while 25 Republicans defied the Bush Administration and voted against it. DR-CAFTA passed the Senate earlier in July, again by a narrow margin of 54-45.

The trade agreement has not passed in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic due to heavy opposition in those countries. In El Salvador, opposition parties have challenged the legality of its approval.

Organizers in opposition to CAFTA were hoping Representatives would take a look at the massive failure of NAFTA, the agreement that cost a million U.S. jobs and increased poverty in Mexico. In the 11 years since its enactment, NAFTA has caused the loss of 38,000 U.S. family farms, while pushing 1.5 million Mexican farmers off their land. Not only is DR-CAFTA similar to NAFTA, but it is also a stepping stone for the Free Trade Area of the America's, or FTAA, which would extend free trade from Canada in the north to Chile in South America. All three of these trade agreements have and will contribute to job loss, environmental destruction, privitization, and much more.

Andrew de Sousa of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala stated, "The struggle is far from over. The heightened awareness built by our campaign about the negative effects of so-called 'free trade' will broaden our efforts to roll back CAFTA, NAFTA, and the destructive economic system from which they stem. We are inspired by the resistance of popular movements throughout the Americas, and we know that we will eventually turn the tide against this abusive system." (end quote)

[5:00] Report from AFL-CIO Conference

Two historic events occurred at the The AFL-CIO annual convention in Chicago this year.

On Monday, the Service Employees International Union, or SE, and the Teamsters announced their decision to separate from the AFL-CIO. Previously, four of the nation's largest labor unions— SEIU, the Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE, which represents textile and hotel workers— had walked out of the AFL-CIO convention to protest the direction of the federation. These four unions represent about one-third of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s 13 million members.

At the heart of the dispute is the decline of organized labor, and disagreement over the most effective future strategy. From a high point of 22.8 million union members in 1978, membership has dwindled to 15.5 million in 2004.

The dissenting unions favor allocating more resources towards organizing, and have formed their own organization which they hope will foster union growth through organized campaigns against giant companies like Wal-Mart.

Pacifica Radio's Eric Mann spoke to Anna Berger of the new Change to Win Coalition:

On the second day of the convention, the AFL-CIO approved a resolution criticizing the Iraq war and calling for the rapid withdrawal of US troops. It is the first time in the AFL-CIO’s fifty year history that the organization has taken a stance squarely opposing US foreign policy or military action. The move to adopt the resolution arose out of organizing efforts by a coalition called US Labor Against the War, which was formed before the war began and has now grown to over a million members. The resolution was passed despite initial opposition from national leadership. As the conference opened, resolutions opposing the war were submitted from unions, labor councils, and labor federations across the country. After the topic was introduced on the convention floor, speaker after speaker rose to condemn the war. The national leadership initially moved to weaken the resolution’s language to match George Bush’s position that troops should be returned “as soon as possible,” but then accepted stronger language when they feared they did not have the votes to win their proposal.

Also in attendance at the convention were Iraqi labor leaders, who had toured over 50 US cities weeks earlier. For many US workers, the Iraqi tour provided a new understanding of the occupation's anti-democratic impact. The Iraqis reported that American military authorities have banned labor organization in oil fields, factories and other Iraqi public enterprises. Meanwhile, Bush political operatives have begun to engineer the sell-off of those enterprises to foreign corporations, with a potential loss of thousands of jobs and the income needed to rebuild the country.

Henry Nicholas, President of District 1199 of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) of Pennsylvania, told the delegates that his son had been deployed to Iraq four times and was about to be sent again. He said (quote) In my forty-five years in the labor movement, this is my proudest moment in being a union member, because it is the first time we had the courage to say 'enough is enough.' (endquote).

The resolution also called for proper equipment to protect the troops, an expansion of veterans’ benefits and a commitment to bring them home rapidly.

[6:10] This week in Palestine

We now go to This week in Palestine – a service of the International Middle East Media Center IMEMC.Org for the week of Friday July 22nd to Thursday July 28th, 2005

[1:00] Good News - MTBE loses liability shield

The U.S. Senate finally defeated liability protections for MTBE polluters in the omnibus energy bill Sunday, to the relief of drinking water utilities and communities around the country with MTBE contamination. MTBE or METHYL tertiary-butyl ether is a gasoline additive that was believed to be relativley harmless when first introduced to oxygenate fuel and reduce tail-pipe emissions of cancer agents such as benzene compounds. MTBE has since been banned in many states because it increases formaldehyde emissions and has been linked with cancer in animal studies, but the chemical’s impact on the taste and smell of contaminated drinking water has proven lasting and difficult to remediate. Now the EPA has identified MTBE as a likey human carcinogen.

Wrapup

You can read more about our global news stories by visting I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G. We'll be back after a brief break.

[1:30] Bad Cop No Donut

In this week's Bad Cop No Donut, Ron Anicich of CKLN Toronto brings us news of Taser abuse in Canton Ohio.

You can hear the full weekly program Bad Cop No Donut online at radio (dot) indymedia (dot) org

Features

Intro

That was .... Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.

You're listening to Rust Belt Radio.

[17:00] Mon-Valley Unemployed Committee

Our group of the week is Mon-Valley Unemployed Committee. They are a committee formed in the early 80s with the drastic loss of manufacturing jobs to help aid, organize, and educate the unemployed. This group has helped begin many programs as well as continually lobbying for the betterment of workers rights while employed and unemployed.

[9:00] Water Privatization in India

Privatization of water supplies has become an issue affecting people around the world as neoliberal economic policies take hold. Recently India has been the location of an escalated battle over water privatization programs.

Gaurav Jashnani of Michigan Indymedia's Black Box Radio program has an interview with Indian activist Dr. Vandana Shiva about water privatization around the world.

Ending

[1:30] Calendar of events

And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:

Outro

Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh and WVJW Benwood.

Our hosts this week are Andalusia Knoll , Jessie Buckner and Gwen Schmidt with additional contributions from Carlin Christy and Jessica McPherson . This week's show was produced by Matt Toups . Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.

Your story submissions are welcome! To get involved with Rust Belt Radio, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG

Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots.

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by Indymeida Rustbelt Radio Collective Monday, Aug. 01, 2005 at 8:51 PM
radio@indypgh.org

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