From the TUC

Official, it’s easier for a trade unionist to get into heaven than for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle!

04 Feb 2009, By

You pick up some strange nuggets trawling through the wonderful world of on-line trade union news. Here’s one I gleaned from the Guam Federation of Teacher (the GFT is part of the American Federation of Teachers and is AFT Local 1581) which they have taken from the Catholic News Service – so you can take heart that God is on our side – but it also makes sense that Guam being an overwhelmingly Catholic country it should play its strongest card. The lesson for us is to know your audience and understand where your members are coming from. In this case the union really is preaching to the converted. Here’s the link

The recent GFT on-line magazine also highlights a problem of the recession in Guam that has been in the headlines here this week – that of ‘foreign’ workers. As usual we fall into the trap of turning on fellow workers rather than on those who caused the recession or credit crunch and hand a story to the likes of the BNP which, you can be sure, they will exploit in the run-up to the June European and local elections. Here’s the GFT story (sorry no link) which sounds all too familiar.


PDN (Pacific Daily News) stated that 510 jobs were lost in the retail industry, 270 jobs lost in the hotel industry, but “the significant job reductions in those private sector categories were offset by 840 jobs in construction”. A majority of the people who work in the retail and hotel industry are local people who actually spend money on island. The 840 jobs in construction does not offset the job reductions in those private sectors because most of the workers in construction are H2 workers whose money doesn’t stay in our economy but gets sent to their families in other countries. We have taken away jobs from our people by allowing construction companies to hire temporary foreign workers from other countries instead of our local people. Guam currently has about 30,000 adults that have given up looking for work. 8.5% of those that are looking can’t find work. If there’s a construction job available that will pay well, hundreds of people will be lining up for that job especially in tough times like we are in now. Our working families need good middle class jobs on island that will put more money in their pockets so they can spend on stores, restaurants, etc. which will help our business community as well”

Guam for your information is an American territory island in the West Pacific whose nearest neighbour is Japan. It was given to the US as part of the settlement of the Spanish American War in 1898 (Roosevelt’s Rough Riders et al).

One Response to Official, it’s easier for a trade unionist to get into heaven than for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle!

  1. Sanjay H. Sharma
    Feb 7th 2009, 3:30 am

    From the Secretary of Guam’s largest union, GFT, thank you! We all deserve better!