iMail archives


visit goiam.org

print version

iMail signup

Tuesday,  April 8,  2003


Jobs! Worth Fighting For
“Clearly this administration holds little concern for working families,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The economy continues its nosedive into the depths of recession. Another 108,000 jobs disappeared last month. That means we’ve lost more than 2 million jobs since Bush took office. This cannot continue.” To send a message about the jobs crisis, go to http://www.goiam.org/ and click on the Action Alerts and Advocacy on the home page. Then hit “Jobs Worth Fighting For!" on the Action Alert Page.

CBO Debunks Bush Tax Cut Claims
An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Bush administration tax cut and spending plans will not spur the economy and, indeed, could have the opposite effect. The CBO reports that White House plans would probably “decrease investment and the stock of capital.”

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
Even the GOP’s staunchest budget-cutters blanched at the prospect of massive spending cuts for Medicare and Medicaid and voted in overwhelming numbers for a Democratic amendment dodging that explosive political warhead. By a vote of 262-103, House members called for the elimination of cuts in health care, education and veteran’s programs included in an earlier House budget resolution.

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
On the eve of contract talks with its unions, General Electric Corp. finds itself the target of an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The probe comes after one of GE’s units fired two workers, allegedly for signing onto an organizing campaign.

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’
A powerful Senate Republican slammed firefighters and police officers for seeking overtime pay for exhausting homeland security duties. Senator Ted Stevens, R-AK, who heads the Senate’s influential Appropriations Committee, suggested that such “first responders” should bear the cost of homeland security by working overtime without pay.

“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 Bush administration took another swipe at working families when a House subcommittee okayed a bill, HR 1119, which allows employers to offer unpaid comp time instead of cash overtime pay. The measure could come to a floor vote later this spring.

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

Like to take pictures? Good with a camera? Then you should enter this year's IAM Photography Contest.
Find out more information

Tell Congress that any war funding should include airlines and out-of-work airline employees.
Take action now!

The recession and misguided government policies for trade and the economy are wiping out millions of jobs. The IAM brings together economic and policy experts to find ways to create and keep good-paying jobs in North America. The Spring 2003 IAM Journal.

The AFL-CIO has set up an exciting new website that will focus exclusively on state legislative issues. It will be password protected to enable state federations and central labor councils, affiliate unions, and union-friendly legislators to share information about state and local legislation.

The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention to be held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio is now online. Check it our for convention news, sponsorship offers, and convention gear.