Sunday, September 18, 2005

SEÑOR MAÑANA ZAPATERO has been known so far for cancelling important meetings simply because he's tired; but if this is true it's even worse:
Three presidents – Lula da Silva of Brazil, Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain and Nestor Kirchner of Argentina –canceled an appearance scheduled for today at New York University.

The three presidents, in New York for a United Nations summit on poverty, were asked by the AFL-CIO to cancel their long-scheduled appearance to discuss “Latin America and Europe: Challenges and Realities.” The U.S. labor federation asked the presidents not to appear at any NYU events until the university agrees to negotiate with GSOC/UAW Local 2110, the union representing graduate teaching and research assistants.

“NYU claims this event was canceled due to a ‘scheduling conflict’ “, said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “The real conflict here is between the democratic rights of NYU’s academic student employees, who have repeatedly expressed their majority support for union representation, and the autocratic behavior of NYU administrators who refuse to come to the bargaining table.”

“NYU can try to spin this any way they want,” said Phil Wheeler, director of UAW Region 9A, which includes New York City. “But the reality is quite plain: World leaders who respect democracy, human rights and worker rights don’t want to be associated with an institution which betrays those very principles when dealing with its own workforce.”

The UAW and the AFL-CIO are calling upon scholars, community leaders and public officials to refrain from NYU-sponsored events until the university agrees to bargain in good faith with Local 2110.
Since when do chiefs of the excutive branch of a major democratic country agrees to be used as a tool by a union's bargaining tactic in a foreign country? Of course, there's a chance that it's the AFL-CIO and not NYU who is spinning furiously, but then I'd expect an immediate note from La Moncloa (Spain's White House, so to speak) denying this.

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