Summit of the Syndicates | Labor-Management in Talks On Labor Peace

When you live in a Third World country like the U.S.A., you often find that trade unionists have been hunted to extinction, as still occurs in Colombia. The result is that there is no one left to sit around a table, smoke cigarettes, and hash out what all sides can agree on. The result is a new 19th century.

Idaho militias, Oklahoma Cities and Haymarket Massacres.

For that reason it is fascinating to read the headline on page 4 of Valor today that “Fiesp and labor councils to negotiate pro-industrial pact.”

It was not that long ago that the Força Sindicial led the state judicial police on a strike that was put down by rubber bullets to the head at point blank range by the policia militar — above.  No one has ever taught the PM that rubber bullets are supposed to be bounced into peoples’ shins. Every thing you see them out there blasting away, they are aiming for the brain.

The cops don’t need you
and man they expect the same …

With an economy tilted 60-40 toward agribusiness and a historical schism between CUT and Força Sindical on the trade unionist side, there is apprehension that Brazil might not yet escape its traditional role as a commodity exporter and finished goods importer. Ethanol, as a finished good manufactured right in the canavial, has provided an attractive solution, but not all militants for land reform are wild about it.

The Brazilian plan to role out their own first microchip soon, for example — it will be used as a tracker ear-tag for Nelore cattle. And it makes very nice executive and mid-range passenger jets, by Embraer.

Mainly, however, in a year of tight budget restraints, federal resources are tending to go toward alleviating some of the more anachronistic troubles of the campo, agreste and sertão — from claim-jumping and land expropriation by the latifúndio to “working conditions analogous to slavery” and generalized death squad activity.

The Brazilian Northeast has been privileged to receive the lion’s share of social spending under Lula I and Lula II.

According to Valor, Paulo Skaf of Fiesp — a socialist candidate for governor of S. Paulo who recently signed on with the centro-centrist PMDB — will sit down with Arthur Henrique of CUT in talks moderated by Paulinho da Força of the Força Sindical to put together a set of joint recommendations to slow “deindustrialization.”

The project will be known as “the Management-Labor Accord for the Future of Production and Employment.”

It was a similar high-level  confab however — as Valor reminds us in a sidebar — that produced the CUT-Força schism in the first place — first under Collor, then under Itamar Franco, after which Cardoso signed the embryo of the institution, a management-labor council for the auto industry, out of existence.

The current effort seeks concessions from the government in return for guarantees of formal employment, where the government is eager to continue to report thrilling growth — although a sizable minority of Brazilians still work “in the informality” and there are political forces at work wanting to keep it that way, inspired by IBM’s Orwellian Future of Work meme.

The program, to be officially announced this coming Monday, involves broader credit and tax breaks and more substantial underwriting of exports, especially by BNDES.

On the union side, the demands are conditions more propitious to collective bargaining and continuous training for advancement of floor workers.

On the government end of things, the creation of a formal channel of conversation between labor and industrial syndicates and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, as well as the latter’s export promotion program, Camex. The government will also allow more credits to be issued with a guarantee consisting of forward currency exchange futures.

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