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Aux Barricades: Activist Ruth Hunter, jailed during last year's WTO protest in Seattle, is off to Washington next month with fellow activists to protest IMF and World Bank policies.

Nüz

Battle of Seattle II

Santa Cruz activists are ready to rumble again.

Groups that helped shut down Seattle during the World Trade Organization conference last fall are planning similar protests at a joint meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund next month in Washington, D.C.

"It's round two," says Peter Lumsdaine, Latin America program coordinator for the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz.

Activists say they will carry "the spirit of Seattle" to D.C., staging peaceful demonstrations and physically blocking access to the joint IMF/World Bank meeting, scheduled for April 16-17. To rally Santa Cruz troops, local organizations--including the Resource Center, Santa Cruz Direct Action Network Against Corporate Globalization, the Peace and Freedom Party and RASCALS, a UCSC student activist group (no one can remember what the acronym stands for)--are sponsoring a vigil and community teach-in March 9 at 5pm at the Town Clock. From there, they will take buses to UCSC's Kresge College Town Hall for a 7pm informational meeting about the WTO, World Bank and IMF. Speakers will include Dr. Kevin Danaher, education director at Global Exchange, and the Rain Forest Action Network's Jennifer Krill.

Activists say the two organizations steal from the poor and give to the rich.

"The IMF and the World Bank have been dominated by governments that have very little interest in the people [of Third World countries] but rather [in] how to exploit labor, minerals and resources," says 83-year-old community activist Ruth Hunter, who was one of those jailed during the Seattle protests.

The World Bank and the IMF loan money to poor countries, but the funds come with strings attached.

According to Lumsdaine, the loan conditions, called "structural adjustment programs," require that the governments allow foreign corporations access to cheap local labor and natural resources.

"What they say is that if your government doesn't want to be cut off, you have to cut funds for education, agricultural programs and health clinics," Lumsdaine says. "Bus fares have to go up, tortilla prices have to go up and you need to sell off the privately held rain forests because you've got to generate cash to repay your loans."

Strike Zone

Another strike is brewing among UC graduate-student employees across the state, including at UC-Santa Cruz.

Members of UCSC's Association of Student Employees/UAW, the campus union made up mostly of graduate-student teaching assistants, will take a strike authorization vote March 6-7. UC student-employee union leaders say they are fed up with the slow pace of negotiations over their first contract and what they call unfair labor practices committed by UC bargainers.

"There has been this pattern of violation of the law, and these violations are getting worse," says Christian Sweeney, president of AGSE/UAW Local 2165 at UC-Berkeley. "As the winter-quarter finals approach and grading approaches, we have the opportunity to put pressure on the university."

Each UC campus bargains independently, with a two-thirds majority of members voting required at each campus to authorize a strike. Votes will take place over the next few weeks at each campus, with a UC-wide strike possible by the end of March.

Graduate student employees at UCLA and UC-Davis voted last week overwhelmingly to authorize a strike--808 to 95 and 433 to 84, respectively.

The unions allege UC officials have made unilateral changes in working conditions by making deals with hand-picked students to bypass the elected bargaining teams--which if true would be illegal. They also allege UC has displayed bad faith by repetitive and regressive bargaining, delaying negotiations and lying to the unions.

At that time of the student vote last spring to establish the union, UC President Richard Atkinson reversed his previous refusal to negotiate, saying the "university will make every effort to cooperate fully and bargain in good faith."

UCSC spokesperson Elizabeth Irwin says the university will continue to negotiate with student employees: "The university obviously intends to work in good faith to reach a mutual agreement."

But good-faith bargaining has yet to be seen, Sweeney says. "We'd like to see the university come into compliance with the law and bargain in good faith. But we're taking action now because things are only getting worse."

During bargaining last September, UC's Board of Regents voted hefty pay raises to nearly 200 top executives. UCSC Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood received a $21,000 raise to $250,000. Meanwhile, two other university unions, the Coalition of University Employees, which represents clerical workers, and the University Professional and Technical Employees have also not ratified contracts with UCSC.

Lulu's Back in Town?

Older Nüzzites will remember Lulu Carpenter's, the bar on the site of the current Espresso Royale Caffe on Pacific Avenue. During its heyday, the great indulgences available in the late '70s were freely enjoyed by all.

So, naturally, Nüz was excited when, with the breakup of the Espresso Royale chain, current cafe owner Manthri Srinath said he wanted to revive the name and the memories. Srinath claims there is no barrier to the name change--but hold the phone. According to the county clerk, the name is not available.

Michael Bates, one of the original Lulu's owners, reregistered the name last Dec. 8. While the timing may suggest a pre-emptive strike, the registration is good for five years.

Srinath was reluctant to discuss the situation but insisted a solution was at hand. "There's no contest. It will be completely resolved," Srinath says. Bates begs to differ.

"The name is not available," Bates says. "I have the exclusive right to that name. I don't know how he would come to any other conclusion."

Bates says some day he plans to resurrect Lulu's. "It's a wonderful memory, and I want it to be done the right way." He also says Srinath has not contacted him.

The ur-Lulu's was a dress shop. Bates and half a dozen partners, including Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Neal Coonerty, formed a group called Blue Sky Inc. to run the place and kept the name with the permission of a Carpenter descendant.

Metro Santa Cruz Voter Guide

We recommend the following on March 7:

Candidates

U.S. Senate
Dianne Feinstein

15th Congressional District
Bill Peacock

17th Congressional District
Sam Farr

15th State Senate District
Bruce McPherson

27th Assembly District
Fred Keeley

28th Assembly District
Simon Salinas, Laura Perry

Santa Cruz County District Attorney
Ron Ruiz

Superior Court Judge
Kathleen Akao

District 1 Supervisor
Jan Beautz

District 2 Supervisor
Ellen Pirie

District 5 Supervisor
Jeff Almquist

Propositions

1A -- NO

12 -- YES

13 -- YES

14 -- YES

15 -- YES

16 -- NO

17 -- YES

18 -- NO

19 -- NO

20 -- NO

21 -- NO

22 -- NO

23 -- NO

25 -- YES

26 -- YES

27 -- NO

28 -- NO

29 -- NO

30 -- YES

31 -- YES

Measure Q -- NO

Measure R -- YES

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From the March 1-8, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.




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