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Factory Takeovers Presentation

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Prepared for a class on deglobalisation movements in 2005.

Prepared for a class on deglobalisation movements in 2005.

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  • 1. Factory Take-Overs The Arvida aluminum plant in Jonquière, QC and the Forja San Martin auto-parts factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 2. History and Context
    • Quebéc
    • NAFTA (1994)
    • Sovereignty Debate (1995)
    • Zero deficit policy (1996)
    • Cuts to social spending
    • Privatisation
    • Attacks on worker’s rights.
    • Election of Charest’s liberals (2003)
    • Argentina
    • Peron
    • Dictatorship (1976)
    • IMF recommendations
    • Menem (1990) and El modelo
    • Debt Crisis (2001)
    • Attacks on worker’s rights
    • Privatisation
    • Cuts to social spending
  • 3. Local Context
    • Arvida
    • ALCAN announces closure of Soderberg smelter from Davos, during the World Economic Forum, January 22nd, 2004. (550 jobs)
    • Previous factory closures in the region...
    • Arvida operating since 1928
    • Local support for Nationalism
    • Forja San Martin
    • Factory abandoned by Forja San Martin Sociedad Anonima Comercial e Industrial in 2001.
    • 450 workers lost their jobs & factory equipment removed.
    • Most people living in poverty.
    • Peronism  & nationalism
    • National elections in 2003
  • 4. Facts and Figures
    • Jonquiere & Saguenay
    • Loss of around 5000 jobs in previous year.
    • Average annual income of $25, 785.
    • Unemployment around 12%.
    • Buenos Aires
    • Wages fell at one factory from 600/week to 2/week.
    • From 1995-2004 40% of major factories have closed down.
    • “ Argentina es el desierto que queda de un pais globalizado ” – Naomi Klein, The Take
  • 5. Forja San Martin
    • Objectives : Creating permanent jobs, defend the right to work, recover dignity
    • Slogan : Occupy, resist, produce
    • «  model  »: Ceramica Zanon
    • Values : dignity, family, work, solidarity, autonomy, direct democracy, self-management
  • 6. The Take of Forja San Martin factory by its workers
    • Former workers visit the factory and decide to re-appropriate it
    • Cleaning, putting it back in function (Clip)
    • Forming a cooperative
    • Finding clients
    • Surprise visit from an official (Clip)
    • Judge condemn the occupation
    • Went to La Plata to hear the vote on the law of expropriation (Clip)
  • 7. 6 months after…
  • 8. Cooperativa Forja San Martin Ltd Workers won the control over the factory! (Clip)
  • 9. Arvida - 2004
    • Arvida plant opened 1928
    • Plans to scrap the smelters on the north shore - 2015
    • Jan 22nd – ALCAN announces closure.
    • Jan 24th & 25th – meeting of SNEAA execs and shop stewards.
    • Jan 26th – SNEAA general meeting.
    • Jan 27th – takeover announced.
    • Feb 1st – Québec Labor Board declares occupation illegal
    • Feb 12th – ALCAN and SNEAA restart negotiations.
    • Feb 16th – union commences shutdown of smelter
  • 10.
    • Objective : ALCAN’s reinvestment in the region to maintain the level of employment.
    • Organisational structure : Multi-tiered heirarchy with rank-and-file workers at the bottom. ( http://www.sneaa.qc.ca/struc_sneaa.asp )
    • Values : Jobs, efficiency, community, working environment, corporate investment as a vehicle for development…
  • 11. Tactics
    • Unions:
    • Strikes and walk-outs
    • Work-to-rule
    • Negotiation
    • Economic Disruption:
    • Boycotts
    • Blockades
    • Occupations
    • Demonstrations
    • Factory take-overs
  • 12. Obstacles
    • Arvida
    • State oppositon (Québec labor board)
    • ALCAN controlled their supplies.
    • Unwillingness of both parties to begin negotiations in this context. (?)
    • Forja
    • Threat of desalojo
    • Minority of workplaces in this model (?)
    • Heterogeneous movement
    • Hard to break from Peronist ideology
    • Hard to compete
    • Lack of management capacity
  • 13. Conditions that facilitated the initiatives
    • Arvida
    • Support of national level unions (CAW & QFL)
    • Community support (families, businesses…)
    • Previous job-losses in the community (?)
    • Willingness of clients to continue buying.
    • Forja
    • Economic crisis.
    • Loss of government’s legitimacy.
    • Popular assemblies.
    • National movement.
    • Kirchner
  • 14. Contradictions
    • Arvida: Uncertainty about analysis on free trade and expectations about community support.
    • Forja San Martin: Attention to election issues despite anti-voting stance.
  • 15.
    • Common Points & Differences
    • « L e fait que des milliers d’ouvriers, a differents endroits en Argentine et dans d’autre pays, utilisent au m ême moment les même methodes et les même idées montre qu’il existe une conscience historique profonde, sous-jacente, cachée.  » 
    • -Almeyra (2004)
  • 16. Discussion Questions
    • Do negative conditions such as existing economic crises and previous job losses promote such initiatives? Are they obstacles?
    • Is the ability to enter into negotiations with the former or current owners of the property advantageous?
    • How has nationalism informed these initiatives?

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