Rustbelt Radio for June 26,
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh
Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots
and news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
- We bring you voices of the various activists, organizers, and media
makers who gathered at the 8th annual Allied Media Conference this past
- plus local and global headlines
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7pm and again Tuesday
mornings at 9AM on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, every Thursday from 11am to
noon on WARC Meadville 90.3 FM from the campus of Allegheny College, every
Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West
Virginia area, and also every Saturday at 5pm on WPTS 92.1 FM from the
campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
And we're also available on the internet, both on W-R-C-T's live webstream
at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H
We now turn to local headlines from Pittsburgh Indymedia.
[0:45] PA set to raise
The Pennsylvania State Senate has passed a bill raising the minimum wage
in the state to $7.15. The state House of Representatives passed a similar
bill in April; differences in the two bills - dealing with whether
companies with under 10 employees have until 2007 or 2008 - must be
reconciled, then the bill will be move on to the desk of Governor Ed
The bill raises the minimum wage for full time employees to approximately
$14,500 - just over the Federal Government's definition of a living
wage for a single person, but under that for a family of two. The bill is
the first time in 9 years that the state has raised the minimum wage; the
Philadelphia Independent Media Center points out that during this period,
the Pennsylvania State Legislators have given themselves pay raises 8
[0:45] Police chase in Garfield
Last Tuesday, June 20th, another police chase ended in a car crash that
critically injured two innocent bystanders. The chase began when police
in the Hill District attempted to pull over an SUV for playing music too
loud and failing to use a turn signal. In the 5300 block of Mossfield St.
in Garfield, the SUV crashed head-on into a Cadillac, critically injuring
the two people inside. Police say their car was about 150 yards behind
the SUV at the time of the crash, and that the chase had been terminated
before the crash occurred. After the crash, the driver of the SUV
attempted to flee, and police used tasers to subdue him, then arrested
him. The driver will be charged with aggravated assault, fleeing and
eluding, and driving without a license.
[1:30] East End Food Co-op
Begins to Unionize
Workers at the East End Food Co-op, Pittsburgh's only member-owned natural
and organic grocery store, have organized with the Industrial Workers of
the World to improve working conditions, pay and benefits, and to address
what the IWW sees as long-standing issues of low staff morale and high
turnover. The Co-op currently employs approximately 50 workers.
Since launching their organizing drive on May 15th, Co-op workers have
requested that the Board of Directors agree to recognize the workers'
demand for collective bargaining rights based upon a showing of majority
support for the union. The workers want the Co-op to accept the union
through the authorization card-check process, whereby workers who support
unionization sign cards authorizing the union to represent them during
Co-op customer service representative, Stacey Clampitt stated, "We want
the Board to accept the authorization cards instead of putting us through
a long and tedious election process." Once an employer agrees to accept
the card-check process, a neutral third party will verify the cards and
report if they represent a majority of eligible workers. If they do, the
employer then officially agrees to recognize the union for the purposes of
Mike "Q" Roth, from the Co-op's Board of Directors
stated that they (quote) " recognize and respect the EEFC's
employees rights to seek unionization. We feel that the issue of whether
the EEFC employees will unionize or not is strictly a decision of the
employees. The Board and our management remain impartial in this
decision. The only concern that we have is that this decision be made in
a fair and democratic process."
At the Co-op board meeting tonight, further details regarding the
unionizing process will be anounced.
For more on all of our local news stories, visit pittsburgh dot
I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media
Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn
now to headlines from Independent Media Sources around the world.
[3:00] General Motors reduces
workforce by one quarter
Over 30,000 workers have signed up to accept buyout
offers from General Motors, receiving a one-time sum
and some or all of their retirement benefits in return
for giving up their jobs. Employees will receive
from 35,000 to 140,000 dollars in exchange for their
jobs, depending upon their seniority. GM's union
workforce will be reduced by one quarter by the
downsizing program, which was negotiated with the
United Auto Workers union.
Cynthia Merz, who has worked for GM nearly 30 years:
John Weisman, who describes himself as a GM gypsy,
having moved 5 times in the last 10 years to keep up
with plant closings, said: (quote) You have to weigh
your options. If you don't take the buyout and your
contract renews, especially with GM going slowly down
the way it is, you're going to lose your guaranteed
income probably in 2007. You know, I've just ran out
of towns, ran out of plants to go to. I have lost my
family along the way. That's what's happened and
that's what happened to a lot of families. (endquote)
Weisman said he plans to accept the buyout and start a
business converting cars to run on bio-diesel fuel.
GM's share of the car and light truck market in the US
has fallen steadily since its heyday in the 50s and
60s, when it controlled over 50 percent of the market.
Last month its market share fell to 22.5 percent.
The buyouts are part of GM's plan to bring north
American capacity into line with its shrinking market
share. It is cutting capacity by 1million vehicles a
year, with a dozen plant closures planned by 2008.
The buy-outs will bring big savings to GM, especially
in future health and pension benefits. GM blames its
continued net losses on high labor costs.
GM shares have soared by a third since the company
announced the (quote) accelerated attrition programme
late in March. They closed at twenty six
dollars and ninety-seven cents on Friday.
Over the next few months, 50,000 workers are projected
to leave the auto industry in America, as other
companies including Ford and Delphi, an auto-parts
maker, also downsize. Ford has said 10,000 workers
will accept buyouts, while Delphi is expected to
announce later this week that at least 9,000 of its
31,000 unionised workers have accepted buy-outs.
[1:30] Army Lt. refuses to
serve in Iraq
Last Friday, First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada became the first
commissioned US Army officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. Lt. Watada has
stated that he believes the US invasion and occupation to be illegal, and
by extension, any participation in that war to be illegal as well.
His mother, Carolyn Ho explained her son's actions to the Miami
Independent Media Center: [quote] "My son's decision to
refrain from deploying to Iraq comes through much soul searching. It is an
act of patriotism. It is a statement to all Americans, to men and women in
uniform, that they need not remain silent out of fear, that that they have
the power to turn the tide of history: to stop the destruction of a
country and the killing of untold numbers of innocent men, women, and
children. It is a message that states unequivocally that blindly following
orders is no longer an option. My son, Lt. Watada's stance is clear.
He will stay the course. I urge you to join him in this effort."
[unquote] Lt. Watada is currently confined to base and is prohibited from
speaking with any non-military personnel except his legal council.
Lt. Watada attempted to resign his commission in January, stating [quote]
"I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception
used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect
of our civilian leadership." [unquote]
Lt. Watada expects to be brought up before a military court-martial for
refusing to deploy. His attorney, Eric Seitz has stated that the
illegality of the war will be his primary defense.
Tuesday the 27th has been called as a national day of action in support of
Lt. Watada. Locally, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group is calling for a
picket at noon in front of the Market Square Armed Forces Recruiting
[2:00] More NSA spying
The Washington Post and the New York Times revealed yet another illegal
domestic spying program this week. Under this program, the National
Security Agency, the Department of the Treasury, and the CIA have been
monitoring confidential banking and other financial transactions and using
that information to build a vast database that records the financial
transactions of a unknown number of American citizen. The Washington Post
writes [quote] the secret NSA and Treasury programs have built
unprecedented government databases of private transactions, most of them
involving people who prove irrelevant to terrorism investigators.
This program - like the telephone eavesdropping program run by the NSA
with the help of several major telephone companies - gathers information
on individuals without a warrant or any evidence that they are involved
An anonymous counter-terrorism official told the New York Times [quote]
"The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting,
troubling," ... "the potential for abuse is enormous." [unquote]
In the past months, several US spy programs have been revealed including
the National Security Agency, despite early assurances to the contrary,
monitoring the telephone calls of thousands and potentially millions of
American's domestic calls. The major telephone companies that turned these
records over to the government without a warrant-AT&T, BellSouth and
Verizon-are now facing a class-action lawsuit brought by their customers.
It also came out that the NSA was running another program whereby they
would gather information from social networking sites like Myspace.com. In
yet another program, the government has paid millions of dollars to
so-called information brokers-- companies with databases typically used by
junk-mail and telemarketing companies.
In response to questions about the program, White House spokesman Dana
Perino said "We are disappointed that once again the New York Times has
chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect
Americans." Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York and chairman of
the House Homeland Security Committee called for criminal charges to be
brought against newspapers that reported on programs used to trace
terrorists, singling out the New York Times for breaking the story. "We're
at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations
and methods is treasonous," King said. Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the
Senate Judiciary Committee disagreed. He said, "On the basis of the
newspaper article, I think it's premature to call for a prosecution of the
New York Times, just like I think it's premature to say that the
administration is entirely correct." Specter is considering new laws that
would retroactively legalize the NSA's wiretapping program.
[:20] Irish Afghani follow-up
On May 22nd, Rustbelt Radio reported on 41 Afghani hunger strikers who
occupied St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland seeking asylum. They
were removed by police after a week and the 34 adults in the group were
charged with forcible entry. Last Monday, June 19th, the charges were
dropped against all but two of the men. The two men whose charges weren't
dropped failed to appear at their hearing.
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee met last
Thursday to consider which amendments will be attached to a major
telecommunications bill, SB 2686, before it goes to the Senate floor. Two
hundred and thirteen amendments have been proposed for the bill.
Committee members debated several points of contention, including the
Universal Service Fund, funding for first responders, and net neutrality.
Several Senators also voiced concerns that provisions in the bill would
pre-empt state regulations over certain aspects of telecommunications,
although no one could explain exactly which aspects. None of the senators
contested the provision to streamline video franchising rules. Senator
Olympia Snowe of Maine promised to introduce an amendment to preserve net
neutrality, although Senator Ted Stevens, the bill's author and the
chair of the committee, has said he does not want the bill to address net
neutrality. Few conclusions were reached and Senator Stevens scheduled
another markup hearing for Tuesday June 27 at 10 a.m.
The corresponding House version of the telecommunications bill passed on
June 9th, without provisions to protect net neutrality.
In addition to net neutrality, Public Access TV advocates are denouncing
the bill as it stands saying that it will allow telecom companies to
bypass the laws that provide for network access for public and
governmental programming. The website save access dot org is campaigning
for senators to amend the bill to save community media and says the
amendment that the telecom companies want (quote) "will NOT make good on
the promises of increased competition, lower rates, better service, more
choices or expanded high speed internet access for rural consumers." (end
Prometheus Radio Project, while also denouncing the net neutrality and
public access aspects of the proposed law, is also asking the public to
contact their senators to amend the telecom bill to enable Low Power FM
radio to enter non-rural markets.
You can read the McCain amendment for LPFM online at prometheusradio dot
You can read more about our global news stories by visting
I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G. We'll be back after a brief break.
- Billboards by Log Hog and Scream Club
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio.
[18:00] Allied Media
This past weekend, the 8th annual Allied Media Conference was held at
Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This annual gathering brings
together some of the most innovative and visionary culture producers,
media workers, artists and activists working in the US.
The theme of this year's AMC was "From Truth to Power, because being
Right is not Enough." Over the weekend, participants shared thoughts
and ideas about how to construct popular media projects that effectively
build grassroots power and advance social justice. We will now bring you
excerpts from the Keynote Address and Panel at the Allied Media
To kick-off the keynote panel, high school student Asmiou Diallo performed
a reading of an untitled poem from Voices of the Peoples History of the
Deepa Fernandez is the host of Wakeup Call, a daily radio show on WBAI,
the Pacifica radio station in New York City.
- (11:04) deepa-keynote.wav
Jeff Chang is a music critic and the author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop:
A history of the hiphop generation
Alixa and Naima are the Heart-Beat-Soul-Sister spoken word duo
Climbing PoeTree. On a mission to reshape the world through
evolutionary art that speaks truth to power, they employ poetry as
their weapon, their medicine, their voice, and their vision. Here we
have an excerpt of their performance at Allied Media.
- (8:oo) alixa & naima --- can be cut off a little after 5 minutes
when she says its about
the weather and takes a long pause
That was just climing poetree. You can also listen to an archive of
them performing live on Rustbelt Radio on november 14th of 2005
Now we will hear playwright, HBO Def Poet, and performance lecturer
Mark Gonzales blending words into worlds as he intimately deconstructs
That was just Marc Gonzales at the Allied Media Conference.
[1:30] Media Literacy Education
The first day of the Allied Media Conference was a Symposium on Media
Literacy in Education, and there Bob Williams screened several short
videos that he helped make with high school students in schools around
Vermont. He also spoke about the elements that he tries to
incorporate into these films.
[11:00] Reporting on
Deepa Fernandez hosted a session on the challenges of reporting on
immigration issues. She spoke about a technique which
helped her find out about what corporations have been selling to the
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
- This Tuesday at noon, join the Pittsburgh Organizing Group in a
solidarity picket to protest the war in Iraq. This picket will be part of
a national day of action to support Ehren Watada, the first officer to
refuse to return to the war in Iraq. For more information visit www.
Thankyou L T .org and organizePittsburgh dot org.
- On Friday, June 30th, the 1st annual Justice for Janitors Day
celebration in Pittsburgh will take place in front of Centre City tower on
Smithfield Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, from 9am to 3pm. The block
party is being held outside the Centre City Tower, an ongoing symbol of
injustice in downtown. The event will feature live music, information
booths from participating organizations, as well as food and games for
kids. For more information call SEIU at 412-471-0690.
- Also this Friday, as part of Bike Fest, Critical Mass will be held
starting at 5:30 by the dinosaur at the Carnegie Library in Oakland. The
ride will finish at Free Ride's Meet n Greet Bike Party, where there will
be food, music, games and other entertainment. For more information go to
bike dash pgh dot org.
- On Sunday, July 2nd, there will be an Anarchist Picnic and
Celebration at the Overlook Shelter in Schenley Park, located just past
the ice skating rink from 1pm to 6pm. Organized by POG, the picnic will
feature tabling, food, games, frisbee, face painting and more. Please
bring food or drinks to share. More info at www.organizepittsburgh. org.
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WARC
Meadville, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Morgan Ress and Carlin Christy with additional
contributions from Andalusia Knoll, Jessica McPherson, Abie Flaxman, Jessi
Berkelhammer, and Matt Toups. This week's show was produced by Donald
Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
Your story submissions are welcome! To get involved with Rust Belt Radio,
or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG or call
412-923-3000. All of our shows are available for download on our website
at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG, and this program can be heard again on
Tuesday morning at 9AM after Democracy Now on WRCT 88.3FM Pittsburgh.
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the
Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the
Rustbelt Radio for June 26, 2006 [ogg vorbis]
by Indymedia Rustbelt Radio collective
Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2006 at 8:58 PM
email@example.com 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3FM
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