Tuesday, April 8, 2003
Jobs! Worth Fighting For
CBO Debunks Bush Tax Cut Claims
According to the CBO, “under most assumptions, the proposals’ supply-side effects would raise or lower the total size of the economy by less than a percentage point, on average, from 2004 to 2013”. The agency is charged by Congress with providing nonpartisan analyses of the economic impact of budget proposals and legislative mandates on state and local governments and the private sector.
But those dyed-in-the-wool tax cutters will use any tactic to reach their goals, even camouflaging themselves in patriotic colors. With Americans of all ages facing growing sacrifices as a result of the war and soaring budget deficits, House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-TX, stands by his guns. “Nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes,” he told Congress Daily.
GOP House Re-Thinks Medicare Cuts
The amendment, by Rep. John Spratt, D-SC, instructs House conferees on the Fiscal Year 2004 Conference Committee to reject those cuts. The spending cuts came under blistering fire from across the political spectrum.
“These cuts, which are not included in the Senate budget resolution, could jeopardize health care for more than 41 million seniors and persons with disabilities who depend on Medicare, as well as 51 million seniors, adults, children and persons with disabilities who depend on Medicaid,” said George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
GE Under Fire for ‘Anti-Union’ Bias
The Board issued a complaint accusing Johnson Technology of firing the two workers “to discourage other workers from pursuing union membership at a plant in Muskegon, MI,” Reuters news agency reported.
“GE’s Johnson Technology has engaged in an unrelenting, vicious campaign against the IUE-CWA since the union conducted an organizing campaign … in the fall of 2001,” union officials said. “Top GE executives required workers to attend ‘captive audience’ meetings during the campaign in which they vilified the IUE-CWA.”
A GE spokesperson denied the NLRB charges and said “these allegations and situations were handled appropriately” by the company.
The IAM will open GE contract negotiations in early June.
GOP Senator Slams ‘Everyday Heroes’
“I feel strongly that we ought to find some way to convince the people that there ought to be some voluntarism at home,” Steven said. “I don’t know why the people working for cities and counties ought to be paid overtime when they’re responding to matters of national security.”
Others voices offered a different view: “Sixty of the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11 were off-duty, volunteering to put their lives on the line,” noted Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
“New York City police officers are among the hardest-working and lowest-paid in the nation,” declared Al O’Leary, an official with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “We are on-duty 24-hours a day, but we’re not compensated for 24 hours. In some respects, we’re already volunteering our time,” he added.
Stevens’s acerbic assault on these everyday heroes came in the wake of a Democratic effort that torpedoed GOP efforts to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil companies. “You are voting against me,” Stevens said after that vote, “and I will not forget.”
Senate Minority Tom Daschle, D-SD, took the opposite tact: “After seeing the commitment they made on 9/11, and many, many times afterward, giving up their lives, giving up their families, so many sacrifices, I think standing up for them is the least we can do.”
White House Targets Overtime Pay
The bill and a similar Senate proposal, S 317, provides no meaningful protection against employers requiring workers to take time off instead of overtime payments or assigning overtime hours only to those who agree to taking time off rather than premium pay. The legislation further gives employers ultimate control over when—or even if—a worker is allowed to use earned comp time.
The House panel’s action, on a straight party line vote, follows an earlier White House announcement that the Bush administration seeks new regulations that could exempt millions of workers from the overtime pay protections they currently enjoy.
For more information on the Bush proposal and to send a message about the attack on overtime, go to http://congress.nw.dc.us/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=1756176