October 17, 2002
“The first two days of national negotiations went well,” said Boysen Anderson, overall coordinator for the IAM team. “We made progress on a number of economic issues and we’re reviewing a health care proposal from the company that responds to many of our members’ concerns. I’m confident the personnel and framework is here for a productive week of bargaining.”
More than 20 IAM representatives joined the talks from UPS locations nationwide, where local issues were largely resolved in prior meetings with management.
“We’re on course to move through the outstanding issues by week’s end,” said Steve Sleigh, IAM director of Strategic Resources. The negotiations, being held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL will continue through Friday.
Stanley CEO John Trani made the threat in an effort to pressure Congress to provide tax relief in the wake of Stanley’s thwarted bid to relocate to tax-friendly Bermuda.
The Senate is considering legislation to restrict U.S. corporations from setting up shell headquarters in tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Stanley is complaining they face an unfair advantage from companies that have already completed the offshore move, known as a ‘corporate inversion.’
Stanley’s offshore aspirations are nothing new. During the past six years, the company shipped thousands of highly skilled toolmaker jobs to China, leaving towns like New Britain, CT without an economic foundation.
“Holding workers and communities hostage is nothing new for Stanley,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “By any measure, this company is fast becoming the national poster child for global corporate greed.”
House GOP Rejects
House GOP leaders pulled the plug when conservatives in their own party objected to separate provisions aimed at preventing U.S. companies from relocating in offshore tax havens such as Bermuda.
The GOP plan provided limited help to workers in only three states and did nothing for long-term unemployed workers who have already exhausted benefits.
In addition, the Republican proposal did nothing to address the devastating job losses in the U.S. manufacturing sector. More than 2.2 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since January 2000, with the greatest losses in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and other heartland states.
Political Ploys Snarl
The delays forced the House to pass a “continuing resolution” that authorizes funding for domestic programs until Nov. 22. The fiscal year ended Oct.1, but Congress only approved measures covering defense and military construction. Many observers say Congress is almost certain to be called back for a “lame duck” session after the Nov. 5 election.
Senators and their House counterparts are chafing at the bit to get out of town and onto the campaign circuit as the clock ticks down to the crucial election. One-third of the Senate, the entire House membership and 36 gubernatorial races make for a full political plate.
Republicans need to pick up a Senate seat to win control of that chamber. Democrats need six House seats to gain a majority there. “Those numbers mean our votes are vital,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Working families hold the balance of power in this election. Let’s use it.”
Election Reform Bill
The bill authorizes $3.86 billion over the next four years to upgrade voting equipment, improve election administration and poll-worker training and make it easier for Americans to cast their ballots with reasonable assurances they will be counted.
Some election observers claim as many as 175,000 Florida ballots went uncounted during the presidential election that was finally decided by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court.
The Senate voted 92-2 for the bill. The House passed a similar measure last week. President Bush has said he will sign the law. Provisions of the measure will not apply to this year’s election.
White House Waffles
on Homeland Security
President Bush’s entire cabinet signed a letter to Senate leaders demanding that they approve Bush’s authority to strip away such rights from employees in the proposed Homeland Security Department.
Democrats charge the White House is playing politics with the issue in a bid for votes in next month’s election. They may have some reason for that belief. “I think (our candidates) should talk about it constantly,” advised Marc Racicot, who chairs the Republican National Committee. “That issue cuts our way, I think, very persuasively.”
The new department will be comprised of more that 170,000 workers, most of them currently working in various federal agencies.