Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Immigrants and Steelworkers, Music and Labor, Unite and Fight!
At over a year old, the Sound Strike could just as easily sink into the background of politics and activism. We all know similar rump activist organizations who have unfortunately grown stagnant in much less time due to their own isolation and confusion on how to reach out.
That hasn't been the case for the boycott of Arizona--and in particular the Sound Strike. The group of artists refusing to cross the picket line against SB 1070 (which includes Zack de la Rocha, Immortal Technique, Gogol Bordello and countless others) has only grown in recent months, and the coordinators have also reached out to labor in finding common cause.
Most recently, Sound Strike teamed up with the Unite Steelworkers to beat down a possible contract between Arizona-based engineering company Honeywell and the city of Los Angeles. LA, which ostensibly observes the boycott, is now negotiating with Honeywell since the company now claims to be based in New Jersey (they're lying). Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Illinois, members of the USW have been locked out by Honeywell for over a year. During last summer's contract negotiations, the union demanded nothing but to havhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife the contract extended (no pay increases, no healthcare support, nothing). Honeywell seem to be as honest when brokering a deal as they are with their location.
The pressure is on, and it seems to be having an effect in Los Angeles. Affiliated Traffic Systems, another Arizona-based company, will most likely not have their contract with the city renewed. Solidarity, it seems yet again, can work.
That's a real lesson for other companies that the Sound Strike are taking on--in particular Fender Guitars. Not only is Fender based in the town of Scottsdale, they have also grossly violated the rights of their workers in South Korea. The "Cort Workers" campaign, as it's being called, has also declared a public boycott.
As long as either group has grievance, there is no reason to buy from Fender. Many of the artists supporting the Sound Strike are also supporting the Cort workers--such as Boots Riley and Tom Morello. Whether there are any plans to team up in any other significant ways isn't known, but this writer for one thinks the results could be fantastic!
Later this summer, RF will publish an article on just this subject tentatively titled "Two Good Reasons to Boycott Fender Guitars." Also, my article on "Oslo, Hip-Hop, and the Fight to Defend Multiculturalism" will be published later this week or early next.