iMail for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Clinton’s “Middle Class Express” Rolls Through Iowa

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) kicked off a campaign tour of Iowa on Saturday in a custom-painted bus called the “Middle Class Express.” Emblazoned with “Rebuilding the Road to the Middle Class” across the sides, the tour started in Cedar Rapids, where hundreds of union members and their families came out to hear Clinton. IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger joined the tour on Monday and along with other labor leaders, has been helping bolster support for Senator Clinton.

Clinton laid out some of her proposals that will rebuild the road to the middle class, including strengthening unions, making health care and college affordable, restoring fairness to the tax system and toughening U.S. trade policy – an issue sensitive to the labor movement.

“I think it is time that we assess trade agreements every five years to make sure they’re meeting their goals or to make adjustments if they are not,” said the New York senator. “And we should start by doing that with NAFTA.”

“Senator Clinton understands how vital it is to grow the middle class and ensure all working men and women have the chance for a prosperous life,” said Buffenbarger. “Her efforts over the past two days show she is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the middle class is the engine that drives this country.”


Three Wins for the Southern Territory

Workers for Genco Infrastructure Solutions voted IAM yes in Havelock, NC recently. The 46 employees work in a warehouse for military supplies and parts under a service contract. They will be joining District 110.

In Kingsville, TX, six workers at the Naval Air Station voted for the IAM. They service and park transient aircraft at the air station for Management Consulting – MANCON. The workers will be members of Local Lodge 2340 in District 776.

District 112 gains four new members at Republican Parking in Jacksonville, FL. The winning vote comes on the heels of a 53-member win September at Republican Parking. The members work at the airport parking shuttle service at the Jacksonville airport.

“I’m proud of the hard work of our districts and organizers in these wins,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to them, and I’d like to welcome our newest members in the south.”


Alliance Report Examines Effect of High Drug Prices

Millions of Americans are finding high drug prices to be a major barrier to maintaining an acceptable quality of life, according to a new report from the Alliance for Retired Americans.
“Outrageous Fortune: How the Drug Industry Profits from Pills” ( examines the effects of high drug prices and finds since 2001, America’s seniors are struggling more than ever to afford the medications they need to live comfortably and even survive.

Prescription drug spending in 2005 was $200.7 billion, compared to $40.3 billion in 1990, according to the report, which also found at the same time CEOs at the seven pharmaceutical companies with the highest revenues made over $142 million in 2005.

The report also found that many of the manufacturers’ development efforts are not for new drugs, but rather for copies of existing medications, which keep patents fresh and patient costs high.

“Ultimately, the best and most comprehensive approach to providing affordable prescription drugs for all the American people is to create a high quality, affordable, universal health care system, which provides comprehensive services and is based on a sound financing model similar to Medicare,” the report concludes.

“Outrageous Fortune” was prepared by Dianna Porter, Director of Policy with the Alliance’s Department of Government and Political Affairs, for the Alliance of Retired Americans Educational Fund.


Massachusetts Governor Signs Card Check Law for Public Workers

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed the Majority Authorization bill recently, giving public employees the freedom to form a union when a majority of the bargaining unit signs authorization cards.

“This bill is about leveling the playing field between labor and management,” said Patrick. “It affirms the Commonwealth’s policy of supporting workers who should be able to bargain collectively for fair wages, decent health care and on the job protections.”

The Majority Authorization bill was first passed in Massachusetts by both the House and the Senate in 2005, but then-Governor, and now Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney (R) held off until the last minute to veto the bill. The bill was introduced again in 2007 and survived despite tremendous opposition from the business community and state Republican Party.

Massachusetts joins the ranks of six other states that have also passed Majority Authorization.