Friday, August 1, 2008
Wal-Mart: Playing Politics, Playing Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Wall Street Journal article today exposed that Wal-Mart is using mandatory meetings with its employees in seven states to tout its political message, warning them not to vote for Democrats in the November elections for fear of new legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize unions. The WSJ reported that according to those who attended these meetings, the message was that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in. The following is a statement from Change to Win executive director Chris Chafe in response.
"In an election season driven by the desire for change and a demand by working families for better jobs, better wages, pension security and health care for all Americans, it should come as no surprise that Wal-Mart is weighing-in heavily -- and possibly illegally -- with its employees over the choices they face this November. Wal-Mart's tactics are designed to intimidate their employees and discourage them from considering choices that would strengthen their voices on the job and bring tangible change for all American workers.
"Wal-Mart's track record is clear. When workers try to organize a union, they are met with internal intimidation campaigns and illegal firings. Where workers succeed in gaining a voice on job, their departments are eliminated or their stores are permanently closed. It should be no surprise that Wal-Mart would stretch the limits of the law in an attempt to deny their workers' rights and kill the Employee Free Choice Act. The company knows what all union workers know: workers in unions earn 29 percent higher wages on average, are 62 percent more likely to have employer health coverage, and four times more likely to have a pension.
"Shame on Wal-Mart. The industry leader's attempts to skirt the law, and use scare tactics to alter the outcome of the election is nothing less than disgraceful."
Friday, August 1, 2008
America Needs Policies That Bring Balance, Fairness And Equality
Change to Win Challenges Democratic Party To Implement The American Dream Platform
CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Change to Win leader and International Vice-President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Geralyn Lutty addressed the Democratic Party's Platform Drafting Committee today at a hearing in Cleveland, Ohio. During the hearing, Lutty highlighted the issues most important to working families during this election cycle. Below is a brief statement.
"The Democratic Party Platform must be a platform for restoring the American Dream for America's workers. The next president and Congress must promote policies that renew the Dream, and provide an infrastructure of opportunity so all Americans, through their effort and hard work, can achieve the Dream.
"America's workers face an economic squeeze with rising prices, fewer jobs and a financial crisis. Unrestrained, unregulated and greed-driven economics have produced the crisis we face today. There is too much power and too much wealth in too few hands. We need to implement policies that bring balance, fairness and equality to the economy and the workplace.
"Workers must have the free choice to form unions at work because workers with a voice in their wages, benefits and conditions can turn the jobs of the new American economy into the good jobs of the future. We must make quality, affordable health care available for all Americans and government must play a positive role in reforming our current system so it works for everyone. And we must preserve our Social Security system and protect existing pension plans while also creating new kinds of retirement plans that ensure economic security.
"America needs a new 'fair trade' model that places good jobs for American workers at the core of any agreement, and ensures that the benefits of trade are shared with workers around the world, not just corporate CEOs and investors.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Statement of Geralyn Lutty to the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee
On behalf of the Change to Win, I would like to thank Governor Napolitano and the Drafting Committee for this opportunity to speak to you today.
Change to Win is a partnership of 7 unions with 6 million members organizing and representing the workers in the industries and occupations of the new American economy.
We have talked with workers about how they feel about their jobs and the economy, and when workers talk about the economy, they talk about it in terms of the American dream. The American dream is the universal expression of the hopes and aspirations of all Americans. Without regard to race, religion, age, gender, ethnicity, or immigration status, we all share the dream. It is at the center of our national identity. The American dream defines us as a people, and it continues to inspire peoples around the world.
For America's workers the dream is not about great wealth, it is about a good job with decent wages. It is not about living without a care, it is about having affordable health care. It is not about luxury, it is about a secure retirement after a lifetime's work. The American dream is the belief that next generation will be better off than the last, and that opportunity is open to all of us.
Today in America, the dream is at risk. More and more Americans see an uncertain future, and fear that the dream will become unobtainable for their children and grandchildren. They see fewer and fewer jobs with wages that can support a family, and see rising costs putting health care out of reach. They see unrestrained corporate greed and unmet worker need.
Workers see a power imbalance in the workplace and in politics. They see a distorted system where increasing worker productivity and growing profits have not brought increased wages or job security. They see a top heavy economy where all the reward in the new economy goes to the top, and all the risk goes to the bottom.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Potential McCain VP Pick Fred Smith: Bad For America, Bad For Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The following is a statement from Change to Win Chair Anna Burger regarding recent speculation that union-busting FedEx CEO Fred Smith is on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain's short list for vice-presidential picks.
"Recent reports that FedEx CEO Fred Smith is being considered by John McCain as a potential vice-presidential pick are beyond disturbing. As a well-known lifelong union buster, Smith has a disgraceful record of stripping workers of their most basic rights to organize and fight for a living wage. It is disheartening, although not surprising, that John McCain would consider picking such a notorious enemy of hard working men and women to be his running mate.
"In the 35 years that Fred Smith has been the CEO of FedEx he has repeatedly fought against workers joining together to have a voice on the job, openly stating that he 'doesn't intend to recognize any unions at Federal Express.' Less than 2% of the 200,000 American workers at FedEx are in a union. In contrast, UPS unionized workers make nearly 30 percent more than they non-union counterparts at FedEx. Despite organizing efforts, FedEx has filed appeal after appeal to deny their workers the right to bargain collectively, and has sought national legislation to thwart union organizing.
"Americans have already suffered through seven years of a White House that places corporate interests before the interests of America's working families and we've seen the results -- millions of homeowners facing foreclosure, gas prices at record levels, and skyrocketing health care costs. Workers cannot afford another lobbyist-dominated administration. A vice-president Fred Smith would be bad for America, and bad for workers. Working families need leadership in the White House that will help them reclaim the American Dream, not a third Bush term."
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Change To Win Calls On McCain To Fire Charlie Black For Anti-American Comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The following is a statement from Change to Win executive director Greg Tarpinian regarding Sen. John McCain advisor Charlie Black's comment that another terrorist attack on American soil would be an "advantage" for McCain's campaign.
"The comments made by John McCain's top advisor, Charlie Black, that another terrorist attack on American soil would be "A big advantage for him [McCain]" are beyond inexcusable.
"On September 11, 2001 dozens of members of our affiliates were among the 2,974 Americans who tragically lost their lives. Mr. Black's comments are a disgrace to their memory and betray the very worst sort of politics.
"Today, the working men and women of America face rising unemployment, an economy rocked by the mortgage crisis and decreasing access to healthcare. They cannot afford another election dictated by fear, nor tolerate campaign officials who seek to exploit the loss of American lives for political gain.
"John McCain has repeatedly pledged to run a clean campaign focused on the issues, saying just three weeks ago that he was 'determined to run this race in a way that does credit to our campaign and to the proud, decent and patriotic people I ask to lead.'
"Mr. Black's comments directly contradict this credo and, even worse than that, they display a campaign mentality dedicated to the same scare tactics repeatedly used by George W. Bush.
"Change to Win demands that Senator McCain stand by his promise to run for president in a way that does credit to our nation, and fire Charlie Black for his anti-American comments. The memory of our workers and all Americans who died on 9/11 demands it."
Greg Denier, 202-721-0660
Noreen Nielsen, Noreen.firstname.lastname@example.org