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Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2003
From: "George Kieffer" george@denverbrown.com

I RECEIVED YOUR request to say a few words about Labornet.

I am a UPS driver and Local 435 Teamster member. I am a union steward and probably more involved in the labor movement than the average member. I have a website for UPS drivers called Denverbrown ( www.denverbrown.com ).

I concur with your basic philosophy that the future of the labor movement lies in its ability to connect working people together in the common  struggle. The possibilities offered by the internet to network, access current information, keep pace with your Local, and generally keep abreast of the labor movement are endless.

The future of the labor movement lies on the information highway. The old way of organizing by going to a factory or business and being harassed and intimidated can now be replaced by organizing campaigns that network prospective members together in the privacy of their homes. They can surf for information that they previously would have had to carry around at the workplace, usually at great risk. They can go to Local union sites and often read the benefits of unionism with their wives and children looking over their shoulders. The possibilities are limitless.

But unfortunately, many local unions have been slow to move out onto this new road. The reasons are many. Politics, laziness, ignorance, a lack of vision. Many members are hesitant to give out their email addresses. Many workers are still believing that the employer will take care of them, not the union.

I surf your site quite a bit looking for information for my website that might interest my fellow Teamsters and maybe spark some action in a member or two. I ordered the Harry Kelber books and have used some of his ideas in my articles. I was disappointed that little or none of the material was free for reprinting and distributing to the people who most need to see it. Too bad his articles can not be reprinted.  When I surf your site, you are preaching to the choir.

I find your articles informative and educational. They are easy to read. I have not visited the forums. I like the links page because it offers new ways to desseminate information. I've used the search a few times. I like the current stuff because it gives me things to think about and maybe write about on my own website. I think the more current the information is, the more people will read it, such as labor against the war.

I have never offered an article for printing, but would consider doing so. Here is an example of something I use on my own site to describe why I run a website for my fellow UPS drivers.


I'm publishing this website because I feel a need
to speak up. I believe that the disparity of
power between the common man and the corporation
is growing larger everyday. The laborer is no
longer respected as a key element in society. The
middle class is struggling to hold on as the
captains of industry ship our father's good
paying jobs overseas to be performed at low wages
with no benefits. Part time jobs and contract
labor are becoming the norm as blue collar
careers disappear. The working man today is no
longer seen as an added value to a business, but
as an expensive burden. We are thought of as the
problem, not the solution.

The labor movement is a sleeping giant. Like a
thoroughbred horse, American labor is far bigger
and more powerful than its corporate masters. We
accept with passive silence the constraints put
upon us. We run when they say run and we accept
ever diminishing rations as our reward. In the
end, we are discarded. Our power to change the
system lies in our unity. The horse could rule
the master if it only realized its strength and
applied it. I know my little website isn't going
to change the world. But if one more person
stands up and says 'I've had enough', I will
consider it a success. Because one person can
affect two and two can affect four and pretty
soon the horse is on its feet. And when the
labor movement begins to act in unison like the
powerful animal that it is, there will be a new
race. And it will be a great day.

Good luck with survey and keep up the good work.

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