Democrats assumed control of both houses of Congress today for the first time in twelve years and immediately embarked on an ambitious legislative agenda to improve the lives of working families and curb ethical violations among lawmakers.
“Today we make history. Today we change the direction of our country,” said Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to ever be elected Speaker of the House. Nevada Senator Harry Reid will be the Senate Majority Leader.
Democrats promised swift action in their first days in office. The House of Representatives is scheduled to begin voting today on legislation that would prohibit gifts from lobbyists, require special interest legislation to be publicly disclosed and expand bans on privately financed trips.
On Tuesday, Democrats will begin their “100-Hour” fight to raise the federal minimum wage; give the government the authority to negotiate lower Medicare prescription drug prices; eliminate tax breaks for massive oil companies and decrease interest rates on student loans.
“The fight for working families didn’t end on Election Day,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We must stay involved to ensure Congress acts on the issues that matter most to America’s workers.”
Visit GOIAM.org to get involved and learn more about the 100-Hour War http://www.goiam.org/issue.cfm?cID=8470 and the issues surrounding it, including the minimum wage http://www.goiam.org/issue.cfm?cID=9224, prescription drug prices http://www.goiam.org/issue.cfm?cID=9360 and fair trade http://www.goiam.org/issue.cfm?cID=9327.
The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), a nonpartisan organization with more than six hundred lawmakers in 44 states, issued a strongly-worded resolution blasting the Bush administration’s “all talk, no action” approach to transportation security issues and called for support of the Transportation Department’s nationwide Day of Action on May 17, 2007.
“For five years transportation workers and their families have been painfully living out the theme of the rally, ‘Enough is Enough.’ They have been targets of government and corporate efforts to trample worker rights, sell off American jobs and shortchange transportation safety and security,” said the resolution passed by NBCSL delegates at their 30th Annual Legislative Conference in Jackson, MS.
“The IAM is reaching out to labor unions, community allies and progressive organizations who share our belief that ‘Enough is Enough’”, said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “Our goal is to bring worldwide attention to the struggles of transportation workers, and the support of the NBCSL helps us achieve that goal.”
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend Day of Action rallies worldwide on May 17, 2007, including a major rally in Washington, D.C.
“We deeply appreciate the support from the NBCSL,” said IAM Executive Assistant Diane Babineaux. “ America’s transportation workers have been under assault for years by ineffective management and anti-worker laws. Together, we can send a powerful message that our air and rail workers deserve dignity, respect and safe workplaces.”
The IAM Women’s Department has named Linda M. Donahoe of District 166 in Cape Canaveral, FL the U.S. Sister of the Month for January.
Sister Donahoe is the Communicator for her district lodge and has also spent the past 16 years serving as a steward for Local 2061. Other positions Donahoe has held during her time with the IAM include Women’s Committee Chair for both her local and district lodge, local lodge Trustee, Recording Secretary and Secretary-Treasurer.
Hired as a Logistics Driver at Kennedy Space Center 17 years ago, Donahoe firmly believes in the value of a good union job and says it is what provides the advantages she currently enjoys.
The Canadian sister is selected quarterly and Kim Marshall of Local Lodge 1927 in Stratford, ON remains the selected sister for January.
The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form, and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.
Among the issues that drove voters to the polls in November was the endless parade of U.S. manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas, often to take advantage of lucrative tax breaks and often to countries where workers are underpaid, exploited and abused. In a sign that trade policies in Washington could be in for a long overdue change, two U.S. lawmakers are calling for an end to free-trade agreements that have protected drug companies, international investors and Hollywood films, yet failed to protect communities, workers and the environment.
In “How Free Trade Hurts,” published as a Washington Post editorial, Senator-elect Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said they heard what voters were saying in the last election: “Last month voters around the country said they want something very different. They voted for candidates who stood up for the middle class and spoke out for fair trade. They did so because they understand what’s at stake.”
The editorial outlines the 100 years of sacrifice that produced a thriving middle class in this country, from the turn of the 20 th century when child labor was common to today’s highly evolved economy with a standard of living that is the envy of the free world.
“But much of the world at the beginning of the 21 st century looks a lot like the United States did 100 years ago: workers are grossly underpaid, exploited and abused, and they have virtually no rights,” wrote the pair, who blame current trade laws for skyrocketing trade deficits and intense pressure on income and benefits for U.S. workers.
“We believe there is a better way, Fair trade is not the enemy of more trade. It’s how we expand international trade without reversing U.S. economic progress.”
There is still time to apply for the 2007 IAM Women’s Department’s Basic and Advanced Specialized Training for Women to be held at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD. The Basic Trainings will be held April 22 – 27 and July 29 – August 3, 2007. The Advanced Training will be held November 4 – 9, 2007. Participants must have completed the Basic Training prior to registering for the Advanced. More information and the enrollment form can be obtained from the Official Call Letter by going to http://www.goiam.org/uploadedFiles/Call_and_Enrollment.pdf