|Use Pension Fund Leverage
Worker pension funds currently total some $10 trillion
ÐÐ one of the largest blocks of investment capital in existence.
Unions have threatened to pull funds from banks and investment managers
who lobby for higher interest rates and other measures harmful to workers
and consumers. Cities and states also hold huge investments, and unions
have successfully lobbied public officials controlling those funds.
Put Friendly Faces on the Fed
By law, Federal Reserve Districts are supposed to appoint
directors with ties to labor and consumers, but they rarely do. Now, that's
a fight worth waging! Each Reserve branch also has an advisory council
where union representatives can raise issues directly with the Fed. Unions
have trained people to fill those posts and worked successfully to have
Push For Legal Reform
For all its supposed "independence," the Fed was created
(and survives) by the will of Congress. Any major changes to the Fed will
almost inevitably require Congressional action. Does your representative
serve on the House or Senate banking committee? (www.senate.gov/~ banking
or www.house.gov/banking) On the Joint Committee on Economics? (www.senate.gov/~jec)
Write your representatives! Write the newspapers. Put Fed Reform on the
Organize Conferences and Classes
Economics is no mystery. If ordinary people can grasp
the complexities of sports statistics, they can grasp economics ÐÐ
if it is explained in a clear, interesting way. Conferences and classes
are excellent ways to learn economics and meet others interested in fighting
for economic justice. For advice and assistance in organizing such events,
contact the sources listed here and your nearest Labor Studies center.
IAM Web Site
Links and information on Fed and financial matters,
including consumer advice for economic "hard times."
IAM Strategic Resources Dept.
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
IAM economists and researchers provide information and
ideas, as well as links to like-minded folk fighting for economic justice.
815 16th Street NW
Washington DC 20036
Public Policy Department trains prospective Fed directors
and advisory council members; tracks and reports on a wide range of economic
issues. Education Department publishes print and web-based material including
Common Sense Economics (an educational series) and CEO compensation reports.
Economic Policy Institute
1660 L Street NW Washington, DC 20036
Highly-regarded Òthink tankÓ publishes
annual State of Working America report, and other high-quality economic
studies. Website has extensive links to great data sources and progressive
Financial Markets Center
PO Box 334
Philomont, VA 20131
Specializes in tracking the Fed; trains Fed directors
and advisory council members; publishes newsletters and bulletins; great
databases and archives.
For more information on the Federal
Reserve System (and economic matters, generally) click on the items below:
In Over Your Head?
For advice on handling credit problems and economic "hard
times" contact the National Federation for Consumer Credit,
Did YOUR Banker Vote for Higher Rates?
How did banks in your area (represented as directors
for the various Federal Reserve Districts) vote about the direction the
economy should take? Many voted for bigger rate hikes than the Fed finally
enacted, and your union, city or state probably does business with those
banks. Find out how they voted -- and hold them accountable.
A Fed Tutorial.
A brief, but comprehensive, tutorial on what the Fed
is, what it does, and how it does it. Perfect for stewards classes and
labor education courses: