Buffenbarger to MNPL Delegates: ‘You are the Union’

Speaking less than a mile from where the battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, IAM President Tom Buffenbarger proposed an aggressive defense for a labor movement he described as no less besieged.

“Make no mistake; we are at war with an enemy that is coming after everything we have; our jobs, our rights and our very existence,” said Buffenbarger to nearly 200 delegates assembled in San Antonio, TX, for the 2013 MNPL Planning Committee Meeting.

Describing a litany of attacks, Buffenbarger cited the relentless pressure on workers’ defined benefit pensions, the corporate campaign for job-killing trade laws and the renewed push for right-to-work (for less) laws, including proposals in the U.S. House and Senate for national right-to-work legislation.

Noting the recent legal and political siege that has hobbled the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Buffenbarger suggested a repeal of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as a way to reinvigorate the labor movement.

“We need to remember that it was businesses in the 1930s that clamored for the stability of labor laws,” said Buffenbarger. “But times have changed and the laws that once protected our rights are now being used to suppress those rights.”

Delegates at the Planning Committee Meeting also heard from Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro and San Antonio-native and former AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thomson, who thanked the IAM and its members for their sustained support and solidarity during her 12-year tenure at the federation.

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