|SWP candidate for U.S. vice president Maura DeLuca at Steelworkers union hall in Linwood, Pa., holds up book on fight to free Cuban Five, framed-up revolutionaries jailed in U.S. “Cuban Revolution is example of workers organizing for human needs not profits,” she told unionists.|
At the close of the local’s business meeting, DeLuca was introduced by local President James Savage.
USW 10-1 organizes about 600 oil workers at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions—formerly Sunoco—refinery. In 2011, Sunoco announced it would close the refinery unless a buyer was found.
In July, PES was formed as a joint venture between Sunoco and the Carlyle Group, which has controlling interest.
DeLuca explained how the capitalist system worldwide is being wracked by a deepening crisis in production and trade. Bosses all across the country are pushing against workers, seeking concessions in wages, health care, pensions and working conditions. They are trying to “force us to get used to worsening conditions and compete more with each other,” she said.
She urged those at the meeting to subscribe to the Militant, the socialist campaign newspaper, holding up the Sept. 24 issue featuring graphs showing “the employment to population ratio” during three recessions since 1981.
Since the latest contraction beginning in 2008 there has been a significant decline in the percentage of the population with jobs with no recovery.
These high unemployment levels have not fallen, and neither the Obama administration nor the Romney campaign has proposed any program for jobs, DeLuca said.
“The SWP calls for a fight to force the government to carry out a massive federally funded jobs program to provide work at union scale to build schools, hospitals, libraries, child care centers, roads, the things workers need,” she said.
Example of Cuban RevolutionPointing to the 1959 revolution in Cuba, DeLuca explained how Cuban workers and peasants transformed themselves and their country, largely “eliminating the competition among workers that capitalism breeds and relies on.” The Cuban Revolution is an example of the working class “organizing its power for human needs, not profits.”
“Learning more about and defending the Cuban Revolution is in our own interests,” DeLuca said. Pointing to the recently released new edition of The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free, she explained how it chronicles the U.S. government’s frame-up, conviction and imprisonment by the U.S. government of five Cuban revolutionaries for defending their revolution.
DeLuca said their fight in prison for their rights and freedom is part of the U.S. class struggle, like hundreds of thousands of workers run through the “criminal justice” system who fight to maintain their dignity.
“Not one worker should have to die on the job,” DeLuca said, explaining that she had recently campaigned in northern California, where a huge fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond in August threatened workers’ lives and covered the area with black smoke, making thousands who live there sick.
“If workers organize themselves and fight for the right to shut the plant down over conditions on the job,” she said, “we can be strong enough to stop deaths and environmental disasters.”
Four workers bought subscriptions to the Militant as DeLuca and campaign supporters distributed campaign literature and continued political discussions during the social hour after the meeting ended.
“You’re right about the Democrats and Republicans,” John Read, a retired USW member, told DeLuca. But he said he is still considering voting for Obama. He bought a Militant subscription and thanked the candidate for coming to the meeting.
Mitchel Rosenberg, a member of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, contributed to this article.
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