COMMUNITY FORUM ON GLOBALIZATION AND JOBS-Andrew Stelzer

04/27/04

Last night, over 100 people gathered at the University of South Florida’s St Petersburg campus to learn about globalization and discuss how to deal with some of its negative effects. After watching a video that touched on the loss of American jobs in the last 15 years, both in manufacturing and customer service, a panel of 6 people spoke to the crowd about their perspectives. The panel included and economist, a journalist, and Michael Kell and union organizer for operating engineers local 925 ACT

The word “globalization� was never defined, but the discussion centered on jobs; centering on a few themes: companies moving to other countries for cheaper labor, the lack of workers rights both in the US and abroad, job related immigration, both illegal and legal, and the medias role in educating the American public on how these systems work and what we can do to cope with lower wages and fewer jobs. Robert, Trigaux, an business writer for the St Petersburg times, described the Tampa Bay areas history with call-center employment as a typical example of the global ‘race to the bottom� where companies chase cheap labor and drive wages down. ACT

Then the crowd split into groups, numbering between 5 and 7 people, they each met for 30 minutes and tried to come up with answers to three questions… The diversity of the groups was a chance for people who might not normally speak about politics or economics to share ideas and debate. Journalists were asked to participate in one group discussion; WMNFs reporter was in a group with three students, an engineer, and a college graduate who’s working two jobs. ACTS

People brought their own personal experiences to the discussion, reinforcing the notion that globalization is nothing that happens “over there�, it’s something that’s happening here at home. ACTS

Because the forum was sponsored by the Poynter Institute, one question was---What can the media do to help people understand and address the problems of globalization? 2 ACTS?— “Group number 9..�

Although many particiapnts were upset about the the loss of American jobs and increase in corporate control of the world’s economies, most people seemed to think it isn’t as simple a saying “globalization is evil.� ACT “We have a story that shows the good and the bad of globalization..�

This was the second community forum on globalization; there are plans for another one in the next month or two. For information on future forums, go to www.wmnf.org and look for information related to this news story.

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