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Space for the workers

JUNE 13, 2007 – Workers in the US stand at the threshold of a new era in the labour movement – taking the class struggle into space. Close to 600 NASA launch workers – members of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers – reached an impasse in contract negotiations at the beginning of June.[1]

The IAM was in negotiations with the imposingly named “United Space Alliance” – an alliance between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.[2] The very composition of this alliance is just about perfect. Lockheed Martin – as documented by Michael Moore’s film “Bowling for Columbine”[3] – is the planet’s biggest arms producer.[4] Boeing – which used to be mostly a civilian airplane maker – has returned to profitability by remaking itself as an arms maker for the Pentagon. And think of the initials of this cabal of war-mongers … “USA”. Only in America.

The issues were better pay, better working conditions, and that other all-American issue – better health insurance coverage. As we went to press, the threat of strike had receded. But if the workers do choose to strike – they have an ace up their sleeve – the space shuttle Atlantis is in orbit, and is scheduled to return later this month.

The solar system is our picket line.

© 2007 Paul Kellogg. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.


[1] Chris Bergin, “United Space Alliance Strike,” June 14, 2007,

[2] Harry Wessel, “Pensions Lost in Space,” McClatchy – Tribune Business News, February 27, 2007.

[3] Michael Moore, Bowling for Columbine (Dog Eat Dog Films, 2002),

[4] Michael Moore, “Film Footnotes: Bowling for Columbine,” n.d.,

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