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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Cuba defends the Revolution: Red Review #14 -- International Left and Labour News

The fourteenth edition of our weekly review of international left and labour news with a special section this week on international solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and people including the mass rallies in Havana on July 17.

Scene from a huge rally in Havana in support of the Revolution on the morning of July 17 -- image via twitter

July 11:

The 13th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) has concluded its third plenary session one day ahead of schedule after completing all the set agenda, Vietnam News Agency reported.

At the session, the committee discussed and reached a high consensus on introducing 23 more personnel to the state apparatus, which is yet to be approved by the 15th National Assembly (NA), the country's top legislature, at its first gathering later this month.

Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kansas, have been on strike since Monday over low pay and forced overtime.

Some workers have been forced to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, for weeks on end due to short staffing. They want to see that change.

July 12:

On Monday, 8,000 Ecuadorian banana, rice, and sugarcane producers began an indefinite national strike because of the disrespect to the minimum support price and other President Guillermo Lasso’s government non-compliances in agricultural matters.

The 30th anti-imperialist two-day camp of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) took place in Mitilini between 11 and 13 July 2021 and was attended by thousands of young people from all over the country, observing all necessary safety protocols to address the pandemic.

Delegations from the Communist Party of Turkey and the Communist Youth of Turkey also participated in the camp.

From the heart of the Aegean, where imperialist conflicts meet and the refugees’ dramatic situation is unfolding, thousands of campers send a message against imperialist US–NATO–EU plans that massacre the peoples.

July 13:

Following a six-year battle, from organizing to completed contract, workers at XPO Logistics in Miami made history on Saturday, July 10 when they voted unanimously to ratify the first Teamsters contract at the transportation and logistics giant, which puts the workers' rights and work lives in a legally binding written contract for the first time.

"XPO management said workers in the U.S. would never ratify a contract, but never is now," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "I applaud the workers who stood strong and united over the past six years, despite the company's horrific anti-worker actions and delays."

July 14:

Thousands of health-care workers in Nova Scotia have accepted a new collective agreement, which will see pay raises over the course of the contract and other improvements.

The deal was reached last Tuesday between the council of health-care unions and employers Nova Scotia Health and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. It then went to 7,500 members within the council for a ratification vote.

According to a release from the council on Wednesday, 82 per cent of members cast their ballot to accept the agreement.

Workers at the Amazon fulfillment centre in Nisku took a step toward unionizing on Wednesday.

Teamsters Canada started an organizing drive last week by handing out pamphlets to employees about the benefits of joining the union, and Teamsters Local 362 vice-president and business agent Chance Hrycun said positive feedback led to handing out petition cards. July 15:

National and international labour groups today filed a complaint under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises alleging severe violations of workers’ freedom of association rights at the Luxottica manufacturing and distribution center in McDonough, Georgia, USA.

Sanitation workers employed by the City of Lawrence unanimously ratified their first Teamster contract yesterday. The three-year agreement contains a modernized wage scale and substantial benefits as well as strong seniority language, grievance procedure, consistent work rules and improved working conditions. The group of more than 70 sanitation workers is represented by Local 696 in Topeka, Kan.

WestJet Encore today announced that a tentative agreement had been reached with CUPE Local 4070, representation for the WestJet Encore Inflight (Cabin Crew) group. Both parties now await the ratification vote to be put forward to membership.

Earlier this year in February, WestJet and CUPE reached an agreement on behalf of the WestJet Inflight team that operates the airline's jet fleet.

Unifor and its Local 87-M have negotiated a first contract at the National Post, where journalists at Postmedia’s flagship newspaper voted to join the union last fall.

Municipal workers at the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland were shocked and disappointed to find out on Facebook last night that the employer has imposed a lock out.

CUPE National Representative Nicole Dunphy says the 90+ members of CUPE 1349 were hoping the employer would be calling them back to the table. “Instead, we saw managers and supervisors loading Town vehicles and equipment into trucks and trailers last night,” she says. “They did not even have the courtesy to inform the union before making the announcement on Facebook. That shows a complete lack of respect for the employees and for the town.” Union members unanimously rejected the Town’s final offer last week and had asked to return to negotiations.

July 16:

A new and avowedly eco-socialist movement has been launched in Canada's Green Party that says that the "ecological crisis is grounded in the inherent contradictions and irrationality of unfettered neo-liberal corporate capitalism; the solutions lie in eco-socialist alternatives which can reverse the current destructive trajectory and deliver a just and green prosperity."

The collective agreement is backdated to November 1, 2020 and will expire on October 31, 2023. Workers will receive a 5.5% wage increase over the lifetime of the agreement with a 1.5% increase retroactive to November 1, 2020, additional increases of 1.5% in November 2021 and November 2022 and a 1.0% increase on October 31, 2023.

Continuing Care Assistants (CCA's) will also receive an additional 5% pay hike, receiving 2% upon ratification and 3% on June 1, 2022.

"The increase of 10.5% for CCA's will help address the historic under evaluation of these essential workers," said Angela Strong, Unifor Local 4606 Unit Chair. "While further improvements are needed, securing the increase in CCA compensation will help with retention and recruitment to keep and hopefully attract new people to this important and growing field."

Unionized workers at the CertainTeed Canada fibre-glass plant in Redcliff have struck a one-year deal that provides 1.5 per cent wage hike, according to the latest edition of the Alberta Labour collective bargaining update.

The June edition, released this week, states 53 members of Teamsters Local 362 at the facility ratified the agreement in May shortly after the previous contract expired March 31.

The provincial government has reached tentative collective agreements with two bargaining units represented by the New Brunswick Nurses Union.

The two units include more than 6,000 registered nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse managers and nurse supervisors working in hospitals, public and community health programs, Ambulance NB and extramural programs.

UFCW Canada is proud to welcome grocery workers from the Marché Adonis located in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. These new members become the first group of workers in the grocery chain to organize a union and doing so to raise wages, gain respect and improve scheduling.

"Becoming a member of UFCW will give the members at Marché Adonis in Dollard-des-Ormeaux all the tools they need to negotiate good working conditions and advance their demands,” says UFCW 500 President Antonio Filato. “We are proud to welcome these members to our local union and we are inspired by their confidence in us."

PT Schneider Electric Manufacturing Batam has engaged in union busting by dismissing FSPMI union leader Mr Zulkarnain.


Another scene from the mass Havana rally in defense of the Revolution July 17 -- image via twitter

For 60 years the example of the Cuban Revolution has bothered the United States, stated First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, yesterday, during a special message from the Palace of the Revolution explaining to the people the most recent provocation orchestrated by small groups of counterrevolutionaries.

The President began his remarks with a revolutionary greeting to the entire people, and said: "Unfortunately, we have been obliged to interrupt our Sunday, that all our families take to rest and spend time together, to inform you and share with you a series of elements related to the events that have been taking place today, which are part of a high level, systematic, escalating provocation, which has been promoted by the counterrevolution over these days."

The western and imperialist media is trumpeting the news that possibly as many as a few thousand people demonstrated in several different cities in Cuba on Sunday. With conditions in the island socialist country having been severely strained by the ongoing illegal and cruel US blockade, this is getting intense, immediate, exaggerated and predictable media attention about how it is "unprecedented", a real threat to the popular government, etc,

If one ever wanted to watch a textbook example of the way the imperialist and western media acts as a propaganda tool for imperialist and anti-socialist goals, it is happening now.

Messages of solidarity with the Cuban people and the Cuban Revolution have been issued by Communist and Workers' parties and peace and left organizations around the world. As the western and imperialist media have been trying to amplify protests that occurred on Sunday, they have said little about the demonstrations in support of the revolution or the key role that the cruel and illegal economic blockade has played in efforts to foment destabilization.

The renowned Spanish analyst Julián Macías Tovar has broken down the intense campaign extended across social media networks against the Cuban Revolution in the last few days. It was launched from outside of Cuba and one of its directors was the Argentinean Agus Antonelli, a right-wing political operator who has participated in several campaigns against leftist movements in Latin America.

He reflected on Washington’s prolonged blockade on Cuba, saying ending the blockade is the only solution; “They’ve applied the same method of asphyxiation, of persecution. Now the U.S. Empire is coming out and talking nonsense. If the United States and the extremist opponents, really want to help the Cuban people, they should immediately lift all sanctions and the blockade against the Cuban people”.

The same template which is being used to try to destabilize Cuba has recently been used against Venezuela, through economic and financial sanctions, and with support from the doomsayers of disaster represented by the mainstream media which disseminate a constant narrative of a country in crisis, without attributing problems, such as shortages, to the illegal blockade.

The media has consistently worked to double down on the key messages of U.S. State Department campaigns targeting Venezuela throughout the Trump administration, a partnership which continues now under the Biden administration.

On Monday, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez addressed the economic and social situation of Cuba and Venezuela and ratified his position in favor of ending the U.S. economic blockades against these nations.

“This policy has prevented Cuba and Venezuela from accessing artificial respirators. Realize what that means”, Fernandez said, stressing that those who suffer the consequences of the blockades are not governments but the peoples.

Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador remarked once again that the U.S. blockade against Cuba is the leading cause of suffering on the island. This, after condemning calls to military interventions in the aftermath of the July 11 disturbances.


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