We are approaching one of the most critical elections for American workers in our nation’s history.
Anyone who doubts that should talk to public workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and a host of other states where anti-worker Republicans have captured statehouses and state legislatures.
Can you imagine a Wisconsin-type Governor in the White House? With a compliant Republican Congress?
There would be no end of legislation designed to strip workers of all statutory protections. And to attack pensions, health benefits, and wage levels.
This is not conjecture. Look at the current Republican-led House of Representatives.
They want to privatize and de-fund Amtrak. That would not only tear apart the lives of the thousands of Amtrak TCU workers. It would put a dagger in the heart of Railroad Retirement.
They want to end all high speed rail projects before they get off the ground. Republican governors in Wisconsin and Florida hate rail so much that they turned back millions of dollars in high speed grants, costing TCU members potential jobs in those states.
When the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently ruled that Boeing violated the law by transferring thousands of jobs from its unionized facilities in Washington to its non-union plant in South Carolina, Congressional Republicans were furious. They immediately retaliated by introducing legislation to reverse the decision and to de-fund the agency.
The same thing happened with the National Mediation Board (NMB). President Obama’s appointments (both former union leaders) overturned an unfair rule in union elections that treated non-voters as no votes. Now a majority of those voting will decide whether they can have a union. But for House Republicans, the new rule was unacceptable because it made it easier for workers to choose a union. They introduced legislation to undo the NMB’s action and to make it harder for unions to organize.
Right now President Obama and the Democratic Senate stand as a safeguard against all of these House efforts becoming law.
But that could change in the next election.
We cannot wait to start mobilizing. The stakes are too high. We must begin now.
We must make sure that 2012 isn’t a repeat of the last election, when anti-worker and anti-Amtrak forces took over the House of Representatives and numerous statehouses.
And that means making sure that our friends have the resources to run and compete successfully. After the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively dismantle campaign finance reform, the floodgates have opened for corporations and anti-union interest groups to shower their candidates with millions of dollars.
Unions cannot match those amounts. But we can provide sufficient funding so that candidates who support our issues – Amtrak funding, railroad retirement, the right to organize – can effectively compete.
The only way we can do that is through voluntary contributions. The law does not allow unions to use a dime of dues money to contribute to candidates. And if unions cannot contribute to our friends running for office, they will not get elected. It’s that simple.
The Machinists Non-Partisan Political League – MNPL — is the vehicle for TCU members to contribute to pro-worker, pro-Amtrak candidates.
MNPL is not used to only support Democrats and oppose Republicans. When TCU evaluates candidates, the only concern is which candidate will help our members: first, to protect what we have; and second, to work to get legislation passed that helps working people.
The bottom line is that TCU supports candidates — Democrats and Republicans — who are union-friendly.
We need to grow MNPL in time for the next election.
If you’re not contributing, sign up now. If you are contributing, consider increasing your contribution.
Click here for a form to sign up or to increase your contribution.
The stakes cannot be higher.
If you work for Amtrak, your very job is on the line in the next election.
If you work for a commuter railroad or transit agency, your pensions and health benefits are the top target of anti-union politicians.
If you work for a freight railroad, railroad retirement, FELA, and the Railway Labor Act are all federal laws. They guarantee you a decent retirement, unemployment and sickness benefits, the right to sue over injuries which is critical to a safe workplace, and that employers cannot change your contract without bargaining. Yet Republican in the House are already circulating bills to attack almost all of these rights.
If you care about rail safety and jobs, can you imagine a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) headed by an anti-worker chief? President Obama appointed Joe Szabo, a former UTU State Legislative Representative, to head that agency, and he has resisted railroad efforts to move Carmen work to Mexico. A host of rules protecting our very jobs would be at stake if Szabo was replaced by a railroad puppet.
And if you work on one of the many TCU jobs not on the railroad, the outcome of the next election is just as critical to your livelihood. When Congress or states pass laws making it harder for unions to organize and bargain, all wages and benefits are depressed. Many of your basic rights are enforced by the Department of Labor. President Obama appointed Hilda Solis, a long-time union advocate, to lead that all-important agency. She is changing the entire DOL culture by enforcing labor laws — rather than attacking unions.
Every TCU member has a direct stake in the outcome of the next election. Do not delay. Sign up now for MNPL.