The Multinational Monitor


F R O M   O U R   R E A D E R S

UAW official replies to Forge

I was fascinated by the letter you ran recently from Maurice of Freeport, New York.

I wonder where he has been for the last 20 years when labor has been fighting in Washington for a higher minimum wage and for labor law reform to make organizing easier among the unorganized.

I have been a labor staffer for the past 30 years and I know our shortcomings as well as anyone. But I hate to see people from the left join the rightwing chorus which thinks we can solve our problems by lowering income.

It's a pity we don't have something like the Swedes do - where the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid blue collar worker is only 30 percent. But our feeble attempts to raise the minimum wage is about all we can claim credit for - and those old standpatters in the AFL-CIO are the ones who walk up and down the corridors of Congress doing the Lord's work on minimum wages.

The UAW, which got fairly good private health insurance into most of our contracts, took the lead in trying to get some semblance of a national health insurance system. Many of our unemployed members realize this battle was for them, although at the time many felt we could nail down our gains inside collective bargaining.

- Frank Wallick, Editor
UAW Washington Report

What about the Monroe Doctrine?

I enjoyed your March issue very much, especially the material on the Caribbean Basin Initiative.

One thing about the situation puzzles me. The Reaganites use the Monroe Doctrine as their reason for attempting to muscle the various Central American countries. As all of us know, the Marines have been a part of our gunboat diplomacy. However, no magazine that I've read has actually analyzed the Monroe Doctrine!

Decades ago, when I was in seventh grade (I'm 76), I can well remember when my teacher discussed the Monroe Doctrine. According to her, the Doctrine stated that the European nations should desist from colonizing in our hemisphere. In return (and this is the vital part), the United States promised solemnly that it would not meddle in the affairs of Europe. If such be the case, the U.S.A. should not have anything to do with NATO, a nuclear arsenal in the NATO countries, or all the other chicanery in which we have been indulging.

- Bernard Forer
Sarasota, Florida

More coverage of the USA

I have mixed feelings about your publication. It tickles the mind but does not feed it . . . I have no way of telling unless I read it in your article whether a multinational company is exploiting a group of people or actually is their benefactor. Bluntly, are the foreigners better off with them or without them?

If John Cooly is earning 20� an hour and his rent is $3 a month he may be living very well in his society. However, if John Cooly is earning 20` an hour and he and 2,000 others are doing work that used to be done in Pennsylvania, that is more interesting. To put it bluntly most of us want to know, "What is in it for me?"

If (a company) used to be on the U.S. East Coast and laid off its American workers when it closed, moved overseas, got federal funding . . . received big tax breaks from Uncle Sam and others, then hired John Cooly for 20� an hour - that is news. Big news.

I'm 53 years old. I worked in a steel mill where the air was yellow fog from melted sand and steel heats being poured. Some times I could not see but a few feet in front of me. We had no respirators or protective anything. Our wages were a little over a dollar an hour. I could write a book on similar job horrors I worked at or actually saw here in the good old U.S.A. I started my work career at 90` an hour in industry, my wife started in industry at 50` an hour. So I can easily relate to someone working for similar wages in a Third World nation.

The point I'm trying to make is if you want to impact on Americans you must show them how they are being hurt by what is going on instead of saying how bad it is that John Cooly has to do the drudge I and millions like me had to do.

No one gives a _______ for me, for my co-workers, or him.

We Americans are more interested in how the multinationals are screwing us and not what they are doing to John Cooly. Give us more space to this as it is our bread, butter, health and progeny.

- James E. Beauchamp
Chester, Pennsylvania

More on legislation

It is frustrating to read about problems but not be able to act to solve these problems.

In this regard it would be helpful to see reporting on measures before Congress that affect mergers, antitrust regulations and tax policies (and their impact on multinationals). I would like to see bill numbers (so we could write to Congress) and voting records on these issues.

How about an occasional summary of boycott actions?

- John Lepinski
Appleton, Wisconsin

Prosperity is not around the corner

Please renew my subscription to the Monitor. Your concise reporting on multinational capitalist ventures says a lot with a few words - namely, that imperialism with its military escort is now riding herd on all of us. Gone are the days when "labor statesmen" could entertain us with the patriotic song and dance about labor-management "partnership."

Prosperity is not just around the corner. Fascism may be.

- J. T. Woolsey
Bronx, New York

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