justicefordetainees@topica.com wrote:

-- Topica Digest --


USLAW Report: Profiles of Corporations Operating in Iraq
By fmlink@igc.org

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 11:34:07 -0400
From: Martha Cameron
Subject: USLAW Report: Profiles of Corporations Operating in Iraq





[Well worth looking at by all members of the peace and
justice movement. --M]


US Labor Against the War

PO Box 153, 1718 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20036


On the Web:
www.uslaboragainstwar.org


June 13, 2003


Dear Brother/Sister:


US Labor Against the War has produced a report: “The Corporate Invasion
of Iraq: Profiles of US Corporations Awarded Contracts in US/British
Occupied Iraq.” This report provides much needed information to Iraqi
workers and their resurgent labor movement about the US companies that
are their new employers.


Most of these corporations have been awarded no-bid contracts worth
billions of dollars to rebuild and privatize Iraq, and to bring its
economy firmly under U.S. control. Their names read like a rogues gallery
of anti-union US multinationals, including Halliburton (VP Cheney’s
former company), MCI (formerly MCI/WorldCom, notoriously anti-union and
now charged with the largest corporate fraud case in history), and SSA
(the leader of the attack on the ILWU during their 2002 contract
negotiations). Iraqi workers will need the support of the international
labor movement in order to rebuild their labor movement against such
formidable foes. Iraqi workers need and deserve to know whom they will be
dealing with. This report serves as an important introduction.


Billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars are being spent trying to restore
order against an increasingly hostile population desperate for jobs,
basic services, food, safety and most of all democracy. Most Iraqis were
overjoyed to be rid of the Hussein regime…but they also don’t want to
exchange Saddam’s tyrannical rule for the rule of multinational
corporations intent on seizing control of and exploiting their resources
and economy, or a government hand-picked for them by the Bush
administration.


There is a critical role that we as trade unionists can play in bringing
true democracy to Iraq.


Unable to produce the weapons of mass destruction that the Bush
administration used to justify its invasion of Iraq, “democracy for the
people of Iraq” has now become the administration’s strongest rationale
for the war. As trade unionists, we know that central to any democracy
must be fundamental trade union rights ­ the freedom to assemble, to
organize, to bargain collectively and to strike, if necessary, to protect
and improve workers’ standard of living. As the ICFTU said on May 30,
2003:


  “Ensuring respect for workers’ rights, including freedom of
association must be central to building a democratic Iraq   and
to ensuring sustainable economic and social development”


These rights could truly make a difference for Iraqi workers. In fact,
Iraq has a genuine trade union tradition dating back to the 1929
formation of a railroad workers union and continuing after WWII with
Iraq’s adoption of all of the important internationally recognized ILO
labor standards. Hussein recognized that an independent democratic labor
movement was incompatible with his autocratic ambitions. Trade unionists
were among Hussein’s first targets in the 1970s and many were killed,
jailed or forced into exile, and their independent unions were
disbanded.


Iraqis are again beginning to organize. But this time they are
confronting the US authorities, former Ba’athist managers and US
multinational corporations. Electrical workers struck because they hadn’t
been paid; oil workers have protested repeatedly, demanding the removal
of corrupt managers; and workers at the Oil for Food Agency elected their
own manager to replace the former Hussein supporter who still had the
job. Trade unions are again being formed. On June 9, according to news
reports, hundreds of oil workers protested against KBR, a Halliburton
subsidiary that imported Asian workers to perform reconstruction work
instead of hiring Iraqis.


“The Corporate Invasion of Iraq” exposes the labor, human rights,
environmental and business record of these corporations ­ a sordid
record, as the report notes, marked by cost overruns, accounting
irregularities, financial dereliction, fraud, bankruptcy, overcharging,
price-gouging, profiteering, wage-cheating, deception, corruption, health
and safety violations, worker and community exploitation, human and labor
rights abuses, union-busting, strike-breaking, environmental
contamination, ecological irresponsibility, malpractice, criminal
prosecutions, civil lawsuits, privatization of public resources,
collusion with dictators, trading with regimes in violation of
international sanctions, drug-running, prostitution, excessive executive
compensation, and breach of fiduciary duty to shareholders and the
public.


This report is being presented to the world’s labor movement and provided
to Iraqi workers by Amy Newell, USLAW organizer, at international labor
meetings being held in Geneva, Switzerland in mid-June. It is being
translated into Arabic and several other languages for global
distribution. We want to distribute the report widely in the US and
internationally as part of an effort to build international support for
workers’ rights in Iraq. In the coming months the report will serve as
the basis for our demands on our own government that it recognize and
protect trade union and labor rights in Iraq, not only because
international labor solidarity compels us to do so, but also because it
is in the immediate interests of workers who confront these same
anti-labor, union-hostile corporations right here in the U.S.A.
Information in the report will be supplemented as it becomes available.
The most current version will be posted to the USLAW website.


We urge you to distribute this report at all levels in your organization
and within your labor councils, state federations and other regional
bodies. Share it with local and national leaders, as well as interested
members. The report can be downloaded from the USLAW website
(www.uslaboragainstwar.org)
for free or purchased in printed form for $5 a copy for the first copy
and $2 for each additional copy.


We welcome your feedback and we look forward to working together with you
and your union on this important campaign to support fully guaranteed
internationally recognized labor rights for all Iraqi workers. An injury
to one is an injury to all!


Sincerely for USLAW in the struggle for peace with justice,


Gene Bruskin

Bob Muehlenkamp

Michael Eisenscher

Amy Newell


Contact us at info@uslabaragainstwar.org .

==================================

For table of contents and executive summary of the report, go to:

http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/images/CorpInvasion.061103.v1.3.pdf

A press release about the report is available on request.