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Rail Workers: Want to Exercise Your Rights?  
Itll Cost You

October 5, 2004

In one of the most blatant attempts in U.S. history to suppress workers rights, the Bush administration is seeking to impose fees on workers, but not on management, to file grievances on critical issues.

The proposal comes from Bush appointees to the National Mediation Board. For the past 70 years, as part of a deal struck between labor, management and the federal government, the state has covered the cost of arbitrating disputes in the rail industry.

The Transportation Trades Department (TTD), an umbrella organization of 35 AFL-CIO unions, including the IBEW, issued a statement on the proposed changes. "By levying a new tax on rail workers, and not management, the intent of these reforms is crystal clear: silencing workers and tilting the playing field in managements favor." "Whats next," asks the TTD, "having to pay to vote?" In fact, the fees are akin to the infamous "poll tax" of years past that were used to suppress voting rights.

Bruce Burton, International Representative, IBEW Political/Legislative Affairs Department, says: "This proposal from the administration is a watershed change that, if implemented, would open the door to ever greater suppression of workers rights in our nation."

Ray Cobb, Director, IBEW Railroad Department, says: "Congressman Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and other Bush supporters have placed anti-labor appointees on the National Mediation Board. Labor is fighting this and were hoping to prevail. We can use all the help we can get."

The IBEW encourages our members to push the Bush administration to abandon this blatant assault on labor rights. Send an online message: (

Subscribe to the TTDs online newsletter at www.ttd.org.

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