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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Monday, August 20, 2007 ::

    Why Teamsters President Hoffa worries Iran's mullahs - By Mahtaub Hojjati, San Francisco Chronicle
    Iran's theocrats fear Hoffa because they worry about the close nexus between free labor unions and political freedom. Last year, two prominent Iranian labor leaders, Mahmoud Salehi and Jalal Hosseini, were tried and convicted of internal subversion in secret proceedings conducted by the Saqqez Revolutionary Court.

    The mullahs accurately perceived labor organizing as the antechamber to revolt against despotism. That explains why labor rights are joined with democracy and human rights in the annual country reports issued by the State Department. Similarly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates: "Everyone has the right to form and to join labor unions for the protection of his own interests."

    The stipulation is echoed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Labor unions were pivotal to rescuing Italy and France from the clutches of communism in the early years after World War II. Free trade unions are classrooms in leadership and organizing skills. Moreover, they provide workers economic security. All three challenge the cravings of despotic regimes to monopolize power.
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