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Protesting Joe Hansen at Hilton Hotel

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doug slaydon
Post Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:50 pm

Joined: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 194
01/18/08
Hilton Hotel
333 O’Farrell St. San Francisco

As the attendees to the high profile fundraising event for the Instituto Laboral de la Raza stepped out of limousines, vans, and private cars a handful of UFCW dissidents were on the sidewalk at the front entrance to the Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco protesting the honoring of UFCW International President Joe Hansen as the “Labor Leader of the Year”. Other union leaders present represented Unite Here, Teamsters, and SEIU (the other winds of “Change to Win”), also political figures Mayor Gavin Newsome snuck past, but State Senator Carole Migden stopped on the sidewalk to ask us about our protest.

Passers by were curious why we should be protesting our international union president. Our answers were that President Joe Hansen fails to enforce our rights to conduct free elections for our local union officers. Instead, Mr. Hansen promotes mergers of union locals so his favored local officers buy another three years in office without running for election. Most listeners were members of other unions, attending the Instituto event as a show of support for their work helping undocumented workers and immigrant workers who have little legal protections. This author himself could benefit from such legal aid! These good union members attending the Instituto event were hard pressed to understand how Mr. Hansen could abide by such policies that discourage free democracy within his own union while he promotes freedom for others. This is a contradiction perhaps President Bush could better explain for us!

The UFCW members carrying the picket signs passed out many flyers which no doubt wound up on the dining tables of the $200 per person gala. The honoring of Joe Hansen as “Labor Leader of the Year” littered with our flyers disclaiming him gave those outside the Hilton Hotel a little warmth.
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Kelsey
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:41 am
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Somebody ordered pics?











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Pearson
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:58 am

Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 1421
Location: Sun City AZ
Too cool gang. You know this kind of stuff just isn't done to guys who are on the top of the heap...at least in their minds.

Congrats gang.

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SFway
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:55 am

Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 573
A good time inside - the Instituto Laboral raised a fair chunk of money for their work -

A good time outside - the exercise of free speech in support of one's own rights and those of one's fellow citizens and union members.

What could be finer Question

Puts me a little in mind of that song by the Clash, "Know Your Rights"
Along the lines of: "You have the right to...but/except/only when" etc. etc.

Sometimes you just have to stand up....Thanks, Brothers.
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Laboryes
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:28 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
I would like to mention that Richard Mellor from Labors Militant Voice showed up and walked our line and gave his support. Thank you Richard!

Richard is a Retired ASFME member but still way active in the labor world. Below is an article Richard wrote and put out on his email discussion list which goes out to about 400 activist & union members.
Quote:
I went to a small but spirited picket in San Francisco yesterday. The Pickets were some rank and file members of the UFCW and the object of the picket was UFCW International Union president Joseph Hansen. He was being honored as Labor leader of the year at the Instituto Laboral de la Raza's 2008 labor wards dinner at the Hilton in San Francisco. San Francisco's mayor as well as Hilary Clinton were invited guests.

The pickets refer to Hansen as Labor faker of the year. Also honored was Ron Lind, another high paid UFCW official who was one of the architects of the defeat of the five month Safeway strike here in California a few years ago. During that strike, Lind assured the bosses of his loyalty to their cause and that there would be no serious effort to oppose their cuts, when he assured them through the media that they were being too aggressive; “We want to make changes with a scalpel, not a chain saw.”, he advised the employers through their media.

Hansen is described on the UFCW's web page as one of the "Founding architects of the new Change to Win federation that has set a new course for the labor movement" He has worked hard for this title suffering through years of climbing the Union hierarchy ladder.
He helped ensure the California grocery strike went down to defeat also. These defeats aren't too prominent in the bio on the website neither is his role in the great Hormel/P9 strike in Austen MN where the UFCW International collaborated with the meat packing employers to crush a strike at Hormel. Mind you, the Union hierarchy, their paid staff , and the academics that give them legitimacy usually call such defeats "defensive victories". We've had a lot of "defensive victories"over the last 40 years

The Instituto Laboral de la Raza is a non profit that describes itself in the following way:
"For the past 24 years, Instituto Laboral de la Raza has been a nonprofit advocacy and workers' resource center with offices in San Francisco and Oakland. It has provided labor rights education and economic empowerment tools to help the working poor emerge from cycles of poverty that endanger themselves and the families they support. Most clients are immigrant workers from Mexico, Central America and South America." http://www.ilaboral.org/dinner2008/index.html

I got in to a very brief discussion with a guy who I knew was a business agent as he looked like a manger or a lawyer and it turned out he was a Teamster BA from New Jersey. He said he was crossing the picket because he supported Hansen's position on the ICE raids. I explained that I also supported immigrant rights but Hansen and other leaders like him were responsible for the employers successful campaign of driving down the wages and benefits, in short, the living standards of all US workers. We can't build solidarity with all workers by supporting Hansen's phony support for immigrant rights while suppressing any opposition to the vicious attacks the employers' are waging in our own back yard.

He said that he had to separate what he does to his own members and I made it clear that that is a losing strategy. Of course, I was talking to a Union Business agent here so I had no illusions about his views but I said that Hansens' concern for immigrants, in this case Latino's, didn't carry over to the rights and conditions of the Latino workers in his Union or whose dues pay his salary , or for workers as a whole I added.

Claiming to support immigrant rights while allowing workers in his own Union to be savaged reveals the hypocrisy of his position. It is convenient to do so politically along with the Catholic church and big business politicians in the Democratic Party. The Union sees them as a potential dues source in low waged industries and as a source of revenue like the Catholic church does, and the Democrats see them as possible votes at election time.

The other damaging aspect of this position is that it actually increases division between immigrants and domestic workers of all cultures who see their living standards attacked by the employers with support of their leaders like Hansen who then makes statements about immigrant rights.

The list of former honoree's on the Instituto Laboral de la Raza's website include a long list of International Union president's and Demcratic Party politicians. Hansen talks of opening leadership opportunities for minorities in the Unions. But any worker, or group of workers within his Union, minority or otherwise who challenge the disastrous policies that he and Lind represent will find the doors locked and bolted. Fighting against concessions, for a national health plan or a shorter workweek, increased pay, a $15 per hour national minimum wage, these are not good for advancement in to the ranks of the labor heirarchy. Such demands that would appeal to all workers would also not win the support of another important guest, Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party. And you won't be Labor Leader of the year at Instituto Laboral de la Raza's annual dinner.

I have included an article I wrote during the grocery strike here that BASSO, the group that was involved with the strikers in solidarity work used on a flier. I distributed at a UFCW rally here in Oakland and a pic from the protest.

Richard Mellor

Read Richard's article on the grocery strike here
PS Thanks for the pics Kelsey

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Elvis
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:07 pm

Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 661
Location: Toronto
Congratulations guys.

That little display shows you what a few signs, flyers and just some honest communication with people can accomplish. I'm sure that anyone 'crossing' your line was affected in a positive way.

I've never been a hands-on artist, so I'm really impressed with those signs. Group effort or one guy? And the 'blood on/in your hands' flyer that everyone carried in is something to use again in the future. I loved that colour choice. Wonder if Hansen took home that little souvenir...

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Laboryes
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:38 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
Quote:
Group effort or one guy?


Group effort Elvis everyone did up there own signs.

I would personally like to thank everyone that contibuted to the flyer! The flyer was defintly a fine example of a collective effort.

While the protest and signs were effective I personally think our flyer was our best tool! It was that flyer that got carried in past the guards that told our story and made our voice heard! Of coarse we were rather loud as well Twisted Evil

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Last edited by Laboryes on Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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SFway
Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:45 pm

Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 573
Some midnight ruminations on the Hansen protest...

A friend, whose opinion I value greatly, offered the opinion that the action was silly. This viewpoint, especially coming from this individual, deserved some honest and serious consideration.

I haven't thought it through conclusion just yet but have acquired some random notions.

(1) Human beings are silly to begin with. There is no particular reason for us to be around at all, not exceptionally good explanation of why we have survived. As a species we are not particularly strong, equipped to handle the elements, not fast enough to run away from danger, etc. Yet, somehow, we have survived...at least so far.

(2) Human beings do act in silly ways, without a doubt, nearly all the time. True humor is not people laughing at each other, it is people laughing at themselves, in self-recognition of their silliness, their inherent weakness, their ability to make mistakes. Aristotle, if memory serves, said something to the effect that "man is the animal who laughs".

(3) The entire notion of "rights" might well be considered silly, as is the quaint concept of democracy. In the course of human history the concept of "rights" and "democracy" are merely fleeting occasions; the "right" to self-governance is hardly a thing that has predominated human relationships. The few and circumscribed periods of such governance have been isolated in a historical sea of time in which human beings have been governed by others.

(4) So, one must honestly consider, that standing up for one's rights and the rights of others is none other than a profound act of silliness.

Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to stand up and render an honest opinion about a perceived injustice - these are silly things.
Looked at in a purely rational sense, the Declaration of Independence is a silly thing, as is the Bill of Rights. There is no truly rational way to prove the premises of such documents, their attitudes and assertions. We may believe them true but belief is a silly and human thing.
The stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae, a silly thing...300 Greeks defying the passage of an army of a million. Silliness...utterly irrational. "Tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie".

(5) Silly, perhaps, is a basic human condition...and, if so, perhaps the most basic human right. Being silly is serious business, it seems.

As I said, no firm conclusions yet...but worth another night of contemplation.
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John Briley
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:59 am

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2158
Just got back from vacation late last night, 1/19/08 and have been trying to get caught up with everything. I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS... to everyone involved with the Hansen affair in S.F. on Friday, 1/18/08. Great Job!!!!!

P. S. Thank You for the Great Photos..
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doug slaydon
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:25 am

Joined: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 194
SFway: According to my literature there are several defense mechanisms which protect people from painful anxiety and as a means of managing conflict. Of these a only a couple are both adaptive and mature responses. Altruism and sublimation are ALWAYS considered healthy coping mechanisms. Altruism is the act of serving others as the sole aim for its own gratification. Sublimation substitutes constructive activities for otherwise destructive impulses. These terms are established psychiatric definitions. Review of the literature on anxiety and conflict will bear that these are far from "silly" activities and are not only mature and constructive, but very well save all parties from the violent alternatives: acting out, rationalization, dissociation, devaluation, idealization, splitting, projection, and denial. Your friend would no doubt wish us to take the latter path. Thank you for your thoughtful musings.

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wm pasz
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:26 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Toronto
SFway - I think your friend is silly. At best he's a silly guy who is advocating autocratic rule - in a silly way. There's really nothing silly about autocracy or about freedom. I don't think you should waste many more brain cells pondering on his silliness.

Back to the protest: I'm really interested in hearing from the protestors what it was like to be there? Any impressions or insights you'd like to share?

You guys are way, way cool. Cool

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SharynS
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:42 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3629
Location: the 'puter
Quote:
Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to stand up and render an honest opinion about a perceived injustice - these are silly things.
Not when they're held up to actual silly.
Quote:
The whole American shiteree was over back when the courts ruled that corporations essentially have the same rights as living breathing citizens.
It's all in the way you hold your context SF.

I totally agree with wm. And, if I had to guess, I'd say your silly friend may be in the throes of surrender. Let us know if we can help.

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ross53
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:05 pm

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
doug slaydon wrote:
01/18/08
Hilton Hotel
333 O’Farrell St. San Francisco

Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco protesting the honoring of UFCW International President Joe Hansen as the “Labor Leader of the Year”.



President Hansen, now that you got your trophy what are you going to tell the people who ask you what did you do to be rewarded with this trophy?

Here let me help you just a little…. You know I got this trophy by oppressing the union members depriving them of freedom of choices allowing local union president to run their local under a strict dictatorship regime and last but not least when the rank and file come to me for assistance I told them to go f***k themselves.

I got my trophy ha ha ha… I got my trophy ha ha ha…. Can I get another one next years?
Yes I can “SI SE PUEDES-- SI SE PUEDES” Yes I can.

President Hansen, “STOP” this none sense B/S and give the union members at 1036 the right to elect their own leader “shame on you if don’t” … sorry I forgot you have no shame if you did you would have respectfully declined the title of Labor Leader of the Year.

and in San Diego tell Kasparian that the union members have the right to elect a shop steward any day of the week and twice on Holiday’s.

What a travesty a union who’s main agenda is to silence the members.

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ross53
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:06 pm

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
doug slaydon wrote:
01/18/08
Hilton Hotel
333 O’Farrell St. San Francisco

Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco protesting the honoring of UFCW International President Joe Hansen as the “Labor Leader of the Year”.



President Hansen, now that you got your trophy what are you going to tell the people who ask you what did you do to be rewarded with this trophy?

Here let me help you just a little…. You know I got this trophy by oppressing the union members depriving them of freedom of choices allowing local union president to run their local under a strict dictatorship regime and last but not least when the rank and file come to me for assistance I told them to go f***k themselves.

I got my trophy ha ha ha… I got my trophy ha ha ha…. Can I get another one next years?
Yes I can “SI SE PUEDES-- SI SE PUEDES” Yes I can.

President Hansen, “STOP” this none sense B/S and give the union members at 1036 the right to elect their own leader “shame on you if don’t” … sorry I forgot you have no shame if you did you would have respectfully declined the title of Labor Leader of the Year.

and in San Diego tell Kasparian that the union members have the right to elect a shop steward any day of the week and twice on Holiday’s.

What a travesty a union who’s main agenda is to silence the members.

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saveufcw
Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:19 pm

Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 85
5 protesters. Out of a union of how many? over 1 Million?

Now THAT is a groundswell.

Seriously guys, hats off for standing up for what you believe. That is cool and should be admired. But if you want to do more then get a few pats on the back from us internet looky-loos, there needs to be som serious organization behind events like this.
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