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Luis Primo of the UNT Speaks to Portland Trade Unionists
Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Following on the successful anti-war demonstration, more than 100 Portland's labor and Latin America solidarity activists gathered at Carpenters Local 247 to hear Luis Primo speak on the Venezuelan National Union of Workers (UNT), trade union democracy, and the need to build a trade union movement integrated tightly with the community and society as a whole.

luis primo portland audience

Luis was introduced by a number of local labor leaders and activists including Tom Chamberlain, President of the Oregon AFL-CIO, Dana Welty of the Oregon Nurses' Association, Arturo Sepulveda of the UFW, and Tom Leedham Secretary-Treasurer of  Teamsters Local 206. Tom Chamberlain spoke on the important example that Venezuela and the UNT in particular are showing American workers. Dana Welty, RN spoke about the importance of integrating trade unionism with the community, especially when it comes to health care. Arturo Sepulveda spoke on the importance of defending the labor and human rights of immigrants and of all working people. Tom Leedham spoke on the necessity of trade union democracy and the need for "one member, one vote."  In his view, a lack of debate within the labor movement means "dictatorship".  All these speakers were enthusiastically received, and set the tone for Primo's introduction and the discussion that followed.

 lui primo dana welty

 Dana Welty, Oregon Nurses' Association

luis primo tom leedham

 Tom Leedham, Secretary-Treasurer Teamsters Local 206, Candidate for the Teamsters Presidency

The warm welcome Luis Primo received by those gathered to listen to a discuss with him highlights the growing interest in the Venezuelan Revolution, and the bold democratic path being charted by the UNT in the process of its development. Primo gave a detailed background on the history of the CTV, as it is impossible to understand the rise and development of the UNT without that context.  He explained that at the present time, there are several strategic areas of work that are being developed in order to build a tool to defend the interests of the working class. One of these is to consolidate a democratic and participatory trade union movement, the UNT. The upcoming congress and direct elections of the leadership by the rank and file are an integral part of this process. Another field of work is to impulse the direct participation of the workers in the democratic running of both public and private industry. On the electoral front, the UNT must be at the forefront of the "2nd Battle of Santa Ines" (the upcoming presidential elections) in order to mobilize 10 million votes to re-elect Hugo Chavez.  All of this must be combined with a revolutionary socialist program and the organization of the UBEs (Electoral Battle Units), not only for the duration of the elections, but as permanent structures to defend the interests of the Venezuelan workers and people as a whole. 

A lively question and answer followed, covering a wide range of topics relating to the Venezuelan Revolution and the UNT.  Everyone was very satisfied with the event and Primo was invited to return as soon as possible for further events and discussions. 

luis primo portland

  Luis Primo Addressing the Audience

luis primo portland hov banner

 Thanks to PCASC and all the other organizations and individuals that worked with Hands Off Venezuela to make this important Pacific Northwest leg of Primo's tour possible.

Donations to make the rest of this tour possible are still needed.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation by clicking here: http://www.ushov.org/content/view/16/27/

 
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