Back to "Normal"???

  1. " Is This What 'Back to Normal' Means? :
    Airlines Stiffing Unions,
    Congress Wavering on Support for Dislocated Workers,
    Bush Seeking Tax Cuts for Corporations (09/28/01)


    <The September 11 terrorist attacks have taken an enormous toll. More than 6,000 people killed, hundreds of thousands out of work, and a nation gripped by fear and uncertainty.
    But in the face of this horror, citizens of the United States have shown a remarkable spirit of solidarity. Relief agencies such as the Red Cross have raised millions of dollars to aid families of the victims and thousands of volunteers have answered the call for help. During this time of national tragedy, there is little room for the pursuit of narrow self-interest. Or so it would seem.
    BUT....

    when Congress refuses to include relief for the more than 100,000 laid-off airline workers in a $15 billion bailout package, it begins to look like the interests of
    corporations and their investors are the only real concern in Washington.....

    And when American Airlines tells its workers' unions that it will not be paying severance or negotiating over layoffs, it begins to look like the company is exploiting this tragedy to get out of union contracts.....

    And when President Bush begins talking about tax cuts for corporations as the centerpiece of his economic stimulus package for the ailing economy, his priorities become
    clear.....

    Expressing anger over the actions of the airline industry, the director of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, Edward Wytkind, said, "These companies have gotten these massive bailouts and they are now using this extraordinary situation to walk away from obligations in their contracts" (Wall Street Journal, 09/26/01).....

    Fortunately, after pressure from its unions, American Airlines announced that it will provide severance
    to laid-off workers.....

    After being left out of the original $15 billion airline bailout, unions are also calling on the government to provide extended of unemployment benefits, guaranteed health
    insurance coverage, and job training for laid-off airline workers, as well as relief for other workers in industries that have been directly affected by the Sept. 11 attacks, such as tourism....

    There is bipartisan support in Congress for a workers' relief package. But arch-conservatives such as House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-TX) have expressed opposition to aid for laid-off workers, which means it won't be easily won. (Start writing those Texans & demand they provide relief for the WORKERS & not just their big-business buddies!!).....

    It is important to salvage the airline and other ailing industries, but America's working people should not be forgotten in the rush to protect profits.
    More broadly, the U.S. economy--already in the tank before the attacks--is definitely in need of help from the federal government. The Bush administration and Congress will be working on plans in the weeks ahead. And many economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, say that at least $100 billion (or 1% of gross domestic product) is needed to boost the economy....

    The nation is facing a crisis. That's clear. But that does not mean Congress should give the President whatever he wants.
    The Bush administration's insistence on enacting more tax cuts needs to be challenged. As the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) points out, studies have shown that investment tax credits, capital gains cuts, and other tax benefits "have minimal if any effect on investment." Instead, as EPI explains, "businesses will invest when they see that demand for their products is rising and when they find or forecast that their available plants are running at or near capacity."
    There are important issues that need to be debated, particularly when it comes to public investment. If the federal government takes on the responsibility for regulating or providing airport security, for example, there need to be assurances that they will be good paying jobs with full benefits....

    Rather than the push for ineffectual tax cuts, the EPI has identified several key of areas of public investment that would inject $137 billion into economy over the next year and provide assistance to those who are most directly affected. Among the proposals: Supplemental unemployment benefits for airline industry employees; Immediate investments in rail transportation; Public provision of airport security services; Tax rebates (not cuts) to 35 million U.S. workers who received no rebate checks this summer.; Unemployment insurance (UI) benefit extension and reform...

    America was shocked on September 11. Before that terrible day, the country had enjoyed a period of tremendous prosperity which allowed some to argue that the government should play no role in the nation's economic life. But the fact is that not everyone benefited. Many public needs went unmet by private industry. Billions of dollars were wasted on bad investments. Paper wealth vanished and along with it the retirement savings of millions.

    Now, in the wake of the tragic events of September 11 that have disrupted even more lives, it is time for real public investment that will improve lives and build a stronger America for everyone. "Labor Research Association 2001 >
    http://www.laborresearch.org/index.php
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   -jt
    >" Is This What 'Back to Normal' Means? :

    Repost -

    <<The American people need to define patriotism, not the Republican extremists and the CEO's. Since yesterday, 28,000 public employees are on strike in Minnesota.
    Note the following excerpts from local newspapers:

    <<Union members delayed their action for two weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but with a big gap between what they were asking and the state was offering, they said they would not wait any longer. "This is about as American as it gets," said Rhonda Land, an air quality inspector picketing outside the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "People being able to speak their minds. This is extremely patriotic."

    <<Union leaders authorized the action Sunday after a weekend of talks failed to bring new two-year contracts. It was the first walkout since 1981, when some 14,000 public employees struck for 22 days. Across Minnesota, picket lines wound around state buildings.

    <<At the Capitol, hundreds of union members chanted, "Who does the work? We do. Are we patriotic? Yes." They also sang "God Bless America" and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. "We don't have to apologize for being out today - at all. Our cause is just. Our requests are reasonable," said Peter Benner, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 6.

    second article excerpt:

    <<Governor Jesse Ventura responded to the walkout by ordering 1,000 National Guard members to begin training to man state-run facilities, including veterans homes and treatment centers.

    <<In a written statement, Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, suggested the strikers were unpatriotic for walking out as the economy worsened and military action was impending. "Be assured," he said, "we will not let this strike get in the way of doing what is necessary to see our way through these very difficult times." >>

    HOWEVER:

    << Editorial

    Workers' Right to Strike Should Not Be Condemned (Oct. 9, 2001)

    In this time of war and national crisis, calls for unity are in order. The American people must stand firm against terrorism, and unity is a key to victory.

    Americans who are part of the labor movement understand well that "in unity there is strength." That's how working people realize their collective power and win struggles for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

    But does the need for unity against the threat of terrorism mean that workers should forfeit the right to strike for a decent standard of living?

    We think not.

    When 22,000 public employees in Minnesota decided on Oct. 1 to strike for a fair and decent contract, they exercised their democratic right under the law. Public employees in Minnesota understand that the nation is at war and that we should be united in that purpose. But they also refused to let the terrorists bully them into accepting less than what their families need.

    The right to withhold one's labor is a fundamental right that should never be infringed. During World War II, unions agreed to a "no strike" pledge. But at that time the entire nation had been mobilized for a war to liberate Europe and defeat the Japanese military.

    The current war on terrorism has not fundamentally altered the U.S. economy on the scale of World War II. And citizens have been urged to go on with their normal lives. In fact, shopping, entertainment and tourism are even being encouraged and deemed acts of patriotism. The horrendous acts of terrorism carried out on Sept. 11 have not broken the will of the American people.

    In this context, is it fair to tell workers that exercising their fundamental right to strike is "inopportune," "ill timed," or a "bad idea?"

    The fact is that workers always think twice about striking. And when they do strike, it is usually because of the employer's unwillingness to be fair and reasonable.

    Attempts to shame workers who exercise the right to strike only strengthen the hand of employers seeking to use the terrorist attacks as an excuse for concessions and weak contracts.

    The war against terrorism is just. Eliminating the right to strike in response to it would not be. The right to strike is a critical part of the democracy the war on terrorism seeks to preserve. >>

    Labor Research Association 2001
    http://www.laborresearch.org/dis.shtml?strike.txt
  4. by   Mijourney
    Thanks for bringing this article to our attention. I'm wondering what the definition of a free society of people will be in five to ten years or sooner. Any clues?
  5. by   Jenny P
    Julie, as usual, you are on top of things -even in my own state- more than I am! Yes, I am fully aware of this whole mess here. My husband car pools with a state employee- she drives him door to door every day (he has MS). The strike is now settled, but it was hard to deal with in many ways: I, personally thought that the state was in the wrong and the employees had a valid reason to strike. To have the govenor accuse them of being unpatriotic was rude and uncalled for (but this isn't the first time our govenor has been rude and wrong).
    Thanks for posting this.

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