Multinational Monitor

MAR 2003
VOL 24 No. 3


The Medical Malpractice Insurance Crisis Hoax
by Jamie Court

De-Globalizing Justice: The Corporate Campaign to Strip Foreign Victims of Corporate-Induced Human Rights Violations of the Right to Sue in U.S. Courts
by Kenny Bruno

Corporate Astroturf and Civil Justice: The Corporations Behind "Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse"
by Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow


Justice for the Injured: Defending the Civil Justice System from the Corporate "Tort Deform" Movement
an interview with Joanne Doroshow


Letters to the Editor

Behind the Lines

Buying the Judiciary

The Front
Canadians Come Clean - Phone Booth Revolving Door

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Clear Channel: United We Stand

Names In the News


Behind the Lines

Site Location 101

Turning down bigger subsidy offers, Toyota announced in February that it would locate a new pick-up truck plant in San Antonio.

The company decided to site its sixth North American assembly plant in the Texas city where it will receive $133 million in city, county and state subsidies.

That major contribution to one of the world's largest corporations was significantly less than offered by other locations bidding for the Toyota plant. Rival sites in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi offered Toyota as much as $500 million in subsidies.

The $800 million truck plant is expected to provide 2,000 jobs.

The deal was not exactly a bargain for San Antonio. The subsidy package amounts to more than $60,000 per job created.

At the same time, Toyota's willingness to leave richer subsidy offers on the table highlights a long-time argument of economic development advocates: major investment decisions are based on factors other than tax deals, land giveaways and other bonuses to big companies.

"It was Site Location 101 all over again," says Greg LeRoy of the Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First: "Toyota wanted access to Texas' big pick-up market. Infrastructure -- rail improvements -- was also key."

"We're counting on this plant and we're counting on Texans to buy our product," Dennis Cuneo, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, told the San Antonio Express-News. "This is the heart of the [pickup] market, so you build in the heart of the market."

EU Designs Revealed

The European Union is seeking to privatize and deregulate a broad swath of the U.S. economy through the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

The Canadian Polaris Institute and a global coalition of nongovernmental organizations in February released secret European GATS negotiating documents which reveal that the EU is seeking privatization and deregulation of public energy and water utilities, postal services, higher education and alcohol distribution systems; the right for foreign firms to obtain U.S. government small-business loans; and extreme deregulation of private-sector service industries such as insurance, banking, mutual funds and securities.

GATS is one of the agreements administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It applies many of the WTO principles governing international trade in goods to services.

The complex GATS negotiation process involves countries asking others to subject specific parts of their service economy to GATS rules; and then a negotiation over what the requested country is willing to offer. The aim is the "progressive liberalization" of services industries.

The documents released by the nongovernmental groups contained the EU requests of the United States, as well as countries around the world. The complete set of EU requests is available at

"Everything from your town's municipal drinking water to the local electricity utility to the U.S. postman are headed for sale on some Geneva ëtrade' negotiating table," says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, "and the public and our elected officials at every level have been kept in the dark."

Adds David Waskow, trade specialist for Friends of the Earth, "The attempt by the European Union to liberalize what the WTO calls ëenvironmental services' is in fact an attack on public services for water and wastewater. The EU request appears to be completely at odds with environmental protection."

Overdue in Australia

Three hundred women delegates at the International Confederation of Free Trade Union's (ICFTU's) World Women's Conference demonstrated in February in favor of a government-legislated paid maternity leave scheme for all Australian working women in Melbourne.

Australia is the only industrialized nation apart from the United States without a universal paid maternity leave system. Two-thirds of Australian working women have no paid maternity leave rights.

Workers enjoy universal paid maternity leave protection in at least 120 countries worldwide.

"Paid maternity leave is overdue for Australian women," Sharan Burrow, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, told the demonstrators. "The government has failed women in this country. Thirty percent of women have paid maternity leave, but they've bargained for it. Ö But those sisters are saying, ëThat's not good enough. It's not good enough that we have paid maternity leave and 70 percent of Australia's women -- particularly the poorest paid -- don't. That's discrimination and we've got to put an end to it.'"

Kaye Carberry, assistant general secretary of the UK's Trades Union Congress, told the crowd that the UK is soon to move to six months paid leave, and two weeks paid paternity leave.

Daysi Montero D'Oleo from the Dominican Republic and chair of the Women's Committee of ICFTU's regional organization for the Americas told how her own country enjoyed 12 weeks guaranteed paid maternity leave for all working women.

In the United States, two-thirds of the nearly 50 million working women are mothers of young children, but women have no federal right to paid maternity leave


Mailing List


Editor's Blog

Archived Issues

Subscribe Online

Donate Online


Send Letter to the Editor

Writers' Guidelines