GOP Touts Sham Medicare ‘Reform’ Bill
The White House plan for a Medicare prescription drug benefit bars federal government from negotiating for lower drug prices as it routinely does for drug providers to federal programs. Additionally, critics say more than 4 million retirees could lose their employer-provided benefits under the plan.
“If this is such a wonderful plan, I wonder why its congressional supporters exempted themselves from its coverage,” noted IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The first rule in medicine is ‘Do no harm.’ This bill does just the opposite. It siphons cash from our seniors to fill the coffers of insurance companies and the drug industry.”
Both of those industries spent millions promoting the proposals and poured millions in the campaigns of candidates pledged to support it. The pharmaceutical industry alone spent more than $8 million in lobbying Congress. Critics claim the industry could gain as much as $139 billion in profits from the ban against drug price negotiations.
George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, denounced the Bush ploy as a “lemon’ that does nothing to benefit older Americans. “This bill forces beneficiaries to pay more for health care, turns Medicare over to private insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, but does nothing to lower drug prices for the neediest among us.”
On a related note, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s trade association, spent more than $8.5 million in the first half of this year to defeat House legislation which would allow the reimportation of lower-cost U.S.-made prescription drugs.
“This bill cannot pass the Senate,” declared Senator Ted Kennedy, D-MA. The influential Democrat’s opposition means the White House and its GOP allies in the Senate must mount a major offensive over the next few days if they hope to pass the sham legislation before the holiday adjournment.
To help stop the phony Medicare bill,
click here to send a message to your
Senators and Representative (or go to
www.goiam.org , click on Action Alerts and Advocacy and then “Tell
Congress to Stop the Phony Medicare Drug Plan”).
Milwaukee Says ‘Keep It American Made’
As part of the nationwide protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), more than 500 union activists took part in a labor rally at Zeidler Park in Milwaukee, where Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby called the proposed trade agreement "NAFTA on steroids."
More that 75,000 jobs have been lost in Wisconsin since Jan. 1, 2001, many due to unfair trade policies and the absence of a national employment policy.
IAM Midwest Territory GVP James E. Brown spoke for many Machinists in the crowd when he said, "Every union meeting starts with the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America. It is obvious that most U.S. corporations and their CEO's only hold allegiance to money, power and greed."
Speaker after speaker at the rally pointed to the job-killing effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the model for FTAA.
"If NAFTA has robbed us of 750,000 manufacturing jobs, can you imagine what adding 30 more countries will do? It will make FTAA the Incredible Hulk of job destruction," said AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard L. Trumka.
Thousands of trade unionists and stop-FTAA activists are converging on
FTAA trade ministerial meeting in Miami, FL this week. For more
information, go to
Appeals Court to Hear US Airways Outsourcing Case
The U.S. District court ruled on Oct. 21 that US Airways’ use of a foreign-owned maintenance facility to overhaul the carrier’s Airbus aircraft violated the scope clause of the IAM-US Airways collective bargaining agreement.
On November 5, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied US Airways’ request for an emergency stay of the District Court’s preliminary injunction and set the stage for the hearing now scheduled to take place on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia.
IAM attorneys will argue in defense of the contract language preventing US
Airways from subcontracting the maintenance work and will file a written
brief opposing US Airways' request to overturn the lower court’s ruling.
The IAM's brief will be available on the District 141-M website,
as soon as it is filed on Nov. 19.