Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

On the Road Again

Truck Drivers Strike for Recognition

by DAVID MACARAY

Beginning Monday, April 28, Southern California truck drivers at the Long Beach and San Pedro ports, will go on a limited 2-day “exhibition” strike to protest what they see as a gross misclassification. Truckers as far away as Savannah, Georgia, are expected to join in the protest.

Needless to say, trucking companies are doing everything in their power to maintain their strangle-hold on these drivers. Classifying them as “independent contractors” rather than “employees,” works wholly in their favor, as it not only gives them near dictatorial powers, but prohibits drivers from seeking union representation.

Conversely, classifying them as “employees” opens up a wide array of choices, one of which is union membership. It doesn’t mean they have to join a union, only that they can. As is so typical of methods used by management to squelch union drives, the companies insist that “most drivers” are happy with the current arrangement, and that it’s the Teamsters who are fomenting trouble, in order to get more union dues.

Of course, when a trucker belongs to a union, it’s a whole new ballgame. No more impossibly long hours, no more abysmally low wages, no more deadhead time. As union members, they’re entitled to negotiate their wages, hours, benefit package, and working conditions—the prospect of which terrifies trucking companies as much as giving African-Americans the right to vote terrified the Deep South.

Being recognized as employees (rather than independents) makes all the difference in the world. That’s why football players at Northwestern University filed their grievance with the NLRB. The only way these athletes will ever have a genuine say in how they are treated is to be recognized as university “employees.” Once that hurdle has been cleared, they are free to carve out their own niche.

With Corporate America getting pretty much anything it wants, outside contractors are very much in vogue. When you hire a contractor (and not an “employee”), you don’t worry about vacation liability, holiday pay, pensions, health care, or training costs. These guys may be “working” on your property, but they are “employed” by someone else. Or in the case of truckers, they’re conveniently classified as “self-employed.”

This contractor issue triggered a memory. Back in my union days, a contractor was fired for urinating in a bathroom sink. Even though our maintenance men resented these guys for coming in and “stealing their work,” the union executive board nonetheless tried to get this guy reinstated. As much as we despised outside contractors, we didn’t think he deserved to lose his job. Simple as that.

Unlike our production workers who adhered to a “tag relief” system (i.e., where workers are relieved on their machines by a designated relief person), these contractors took their breaks at the same time, meaning their jobs were left unattended. Because all work stopped the moment they went on break, they weren’t allowed to take so much as a minute longer than authorized.

On one such occasion, this particular contractor (a kid in his twenties) visited the nearest restroom and found it jam-packed with men. There were two urinals and two stalls, and all four were occupied. Because time was of the essence, he felt he had no choice but to use the sink as a urinal. Any port in a storm, as they say.

Clearly, what he did was wrong. After all, there were men trying to wash their hands in that basin, and here’s this kid with his dick slung over the side, pissing in it. Not something even Quentin Tarantino would want to see. Apparently, a mechanic reported him, and his contracting company, taking the easy way out, ordered him fired.

Our union argued that he should’ve been warned, not fired, and requested a meeting. They refused, telling us this was none of our damned business. They were right, of course; we had no jurisdiction. Alas, the guy who got fired was oblivious, never even knowing that our union had tried to save him.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), is a former union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net