Somali Pirates Vote To
Somali pirates today
voted in a secret ballot to organize under a labor union agreement and enter
into collective bargaining negotiations with the Somali warlords.
Representatives for the pirates say the recent outbreak of on-the-job deaths
left the group no choice but to organize and demand a safer workplace and higher
pay. Officials in the warlord's pirating headquarters could not be reached for
"We do all the work and take all the risks, but it's the
fat cats back in Mogadishu that are cashing the big checks." said Timiri
al-Haribiti, a skiff driver and grappling hook thrower speaking through a
translator. "We just want our fair share."
Union organizers say higher
pay is merely the beginning of their demands. "It's clear that we need better
escape boats." said former AFL-CIO executive Martin Sweeny, who helped the
pirates to organize at the urging of actor Johnny Depp. "We could use some body
The new union, the International Brotherhood of Maritime
Vessel Abductors, will structure itself as a trade union, establishing
apprenticeship programs, providing journeymen for other trades and defining
strict job description parameters to specialize skills. "Whether we need to
secure a rope ladder, or tape up some hostages, we'll have a well trained man
ready to do the job." said Sweeny.
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