April 2011

Meanwhile, Back in Washington, D.C.:
GOP Plan Calls for Gutting Rights, Slashing Jobs
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GOP lawmakers in the nation's capital are attempting to roll back workers' rights under the guise of balancing the federal budget. Republicans introduced bills to defund the National Labor Relations Board, ban PLAs, eliminate prevailing wage law, restrict collective bargaining and impose a national right-to-work act.

And a resolution passed by the House in February included hundreds of amendments—largely from Tea Party-affiliated freshmen—that would gut funding to programs addressing workplace safety and public health, along with cuts to thousands of job training facilities. Also at risk are initiatives promoting infant nutrition, early childhood education, college grants for low-income students and more.

In a letter to House and Senate members, IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill stated that the resolution, if passed, would make Congress "responsible for slashing good middle-class jobs and possibly triggering a 'double-dip' recession."

"The United States is still in the middle of a jobs crisis," Hill wrote. "Rather than address the job crisis, the House passed a bill which may raise unemployment to 10 percent. This is not what Americans voted for when they cast their ballots in November."

In an analysis of the resolution, the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs found that it would reduce the country's economic growth by as much as 2 percent of gross domestic product, likely leading to a spike in unemployment by as much as a whole percentage point. And a chief economist with Moody's Analytics, a New York-based firm specializing in financial research, said that the plan would ax 700,000 jobs by the end of next year.

IBEW Political and Legislative Department Director Brian Baker said the resolution and its anti-worker amendments illustrate that GOP lawmakers' calls for a balanced budget and job growth are disingenuous.

"We've got to figure out how to get people back to work instead of cutting programs that benefit the middle class," Baker said.

The past few months have seen modest improvements for working families nationwide. Claims for unemployment insurance dipped, and consumer spending is on the rise. But right-wing austerity measures will only undercut lasting growth, said one stalwart ally of working families.

"Let's instead work together and address a primary cause of our budget crisis: years of economic downturn and lost revenue due in large part to trade agreements that shipped jobs overseas," said Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. "Let's pursue real reform rather than ideological attacks aimed at dividing working people."

Hill said that the mass demonstrations nationwide are a clear sign that entwined issues like workers' rights and budget cuts are more prominent in the collective consciousness of middle-class Americans than they have been in years.

"The enemies of the working class are trying to divide us, shun us and ignore us," Hill said. "But this energy is just going to amplify."


Read more: THE WAR ON WORKERS: Favorites Draw Record Votes

Read more: Wisconsin Ground Zero for Attacks on Workers

Read more: Ohio Workers Stand Up to Anti-Worker Legislation

Read more: New Hampshire: 'The Toughest Fight Yet'

Read more: Florida Workers: Standing Together

Read more: Indiana Right-to-Work Effort Derailed by Labor Pushback

Read more: Activists Keep up the Pressure on Michigan Lawmakers

Read more: Maine Workers Tell Gov.:
'We Need Good Jobs, Not Partisan Attacks'

Resources for
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We Are One
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Economic Policy Institute 
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