Thursday, November 20, 2003

Twenty-One International Unions! The Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, (TWU) today announced its endorsement of Rep. Dick Gephardt for the Democratic nomination for President. TWU represents 125,000 transportation and allied workers nationwide.

"For transportation workers, there's only one choice: Dick Gephardt," TWU International President Sonny Hall said outlining three compelling reasons for the union's decision to endorse Gephardt. "First, Dick Gephardt, if nominated, can, and will defeat President Bush in the 2004 election. Second, while we believe that several of the other Democratic choices would be a good president for America's working families, we know Dick Gephardt will be a great president for America's working families because Dick Gephardt has already done it. Time and time again, Congressman Gephardt has gone to the wall for us and the labor movement, and in the process has even taken on the president of his own party to protect America's working families, the retired, the elderly, and the young people who hope for good paying jobs. Finally, working people, in particular, TWU families, owe our support to Congressman Dick Gephardt. If we do not stand up for a man who time and time again has stood up for us, the message we would be sending to other political leaders is that we in labor only know how to take, but not give back. We in TWU are happy and proud to add our name to the list of unions supporting Dick Gephardt."

TWU has approximately 9,000 members in Oklahoma and 5,000 members in Arizona, two of the February 3rd primary states.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Major Trade Policy Speech by Richard Gephardt: Delivered 10/25/2003
  • *Read the Speech

  • In a recent trade speech, Dick Gephardt reminded folks that he's no "johnny-come-lately" on the trade issue and understands that our trade policies have been devastating to millions of workers not only here, but also overseas. I ask all who visit this blog to read this speech. It's amazing and very informative. Dick Gephardt understands we need a level playing field and that one way to do that is to implement an "International Minimum Wage." Here are some excerpts from the speech:

    "The truth is, when you look at our national trade policy, the real outsiders are American workers. They are the ones losing their jobs because of bad trade agreements that are not good for anybody. The fact of the matter is, we have been giving away the store for decades. The idea that any trade agreement is better than no trade agreement is at best naïve and at worst a betrayal of the American worker. Our trade policies remind me of the Red Sox sending Babe Ruth to the Yankees. They are bad deals that haunt us for decades."

    "The trade imbalance is both an American crisis and a global tragedy. Around the world, millions of workers have no choice but to work for meager wages under inhumane conditions. In the race to the bottom, multinational corporations have thrown morality to the winds and sought out those countries where exploitation knows no bounds.

    "And here at home, millions of Americans have also suffered from misguided trade policies. Jobs have been lost, lives shattered, and families torn apart. Democratic reforms earlier this century may have raised American workers out of the depths of poverty but political indifference threatens the safety and security of the American middle class, the very heart and soul of this country."

    "As president, I will press the World Trade Organization to take the landmark step of establishing an international minimum wage, the IMW. It is an idea clear in its simplicity. By raising wage standards around the world, we address both the chronic abuse of workers in low-wage countries and the competitive disadvantage faced by American workers.

    "The IMW would be different for each country, but always high enough so we do not compete with slave, sweatshop and child labor around the world. Clearly, the level of minimum wage in Pakistan would be different from that in Spain. But the goal would be the same - raise wages and living standards and promote the growth of the middle class in countries around the world, rather than pitting those countries against each other and rendering them uncompetitive.

    International Union of Journeymen Horseshoers and Allied Trades Becomes the 19th Union to Back Gephardt.

    One by one, the unions of this country are studying the candidates, polling their rank and file, and looking at who is best equipped to defeat George Bush and for nineteen of them the choice is obvious--Dick Gephardt. We're not stopping here though. More unions will come onboard.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2003

    Citing His Health Care Plan the 4th Largest Union in AFL-CIO Endorses Dick Gephardt!

    From the press release, "Dick Gephardt stands up for working America when working America needs to be stood up for," said UFCW Secretary-Treasurer Joe Hansen. "Most Americans get health care at work, and we want to keep it that way because the UFCW believes if you do the work, you've earned affordable health care. If you have medical benefits at work, the Gephardt plan will make sure you keep them and that they stay affordable. If you work, but don't get benefits, the Gephardt plan will make sure you do. The UFCW intends to be a player in Iowa and every state that there's a primary race so Dick Gephardt becomes President of the United States."

    The UFCW endorsed Gephardt after they polled their membership and found that they are frustrated by current economic conditions and are ready for new leadership in this country. The UFCW's research found that 97% of its member felt that a candidate's position on protecting health care at work was import and 75% felt it was crucial in making a decision about their choice for president in 2004.

    "I am honored to have the support and endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers," said Gephardt. "With their grassroots support in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early states, we will build a winning campaign around my bold plan to create jobs, get our economy moving again and get every American covered with quality health coverage that can never be taken away. Together, we will beat George Bush and bring the fight for middle class families to the White House."

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    The Union endorsement scorecard now is 17-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0! Just this week, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) and the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO (MEBA) became the sixteeth and seventeeth international labor unions to endorse Dick Gephardt's campaign for the presidency!

    Frank Hurt, International President of BCTGM, a 120,000 member union which has 2,000 members in Iowa, had this to say, "
    "The BCTGM takes great pride in endorsing Dick Gephardt for President...Dick Gephardt offers a solid plan for putting people back to work, keeping jobs in this country and ensuring that all Americans have adequate health care coverage."

    MEBA President Ron Davis released a statement saying the following, "Dick Gephardt's twenty-six year track record in Congress, his consistent advocacy for sensible policies for ordinary Americans, and his work experience and commitment to the labor movement are to be applauded...Time and again he has stood for working men and women in the maritime community and recognized the valuable role unions and the merchant marine play in our nation's economy and defense. MEBA is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dick Gephardt."

    Tuesday, September 23, 2003

    Laborers’ International Union Becomes the 14th International Union to Endorse Dick Gephardt!

    This is a very big endorsement for the campaign. The Laborers’ Union is among the largest construction trades unions in the AFL-CIO, representing over 800,000 workers in diverse fields, including building and highway construction and hazardous materials remediation. Members also include public service employees and health care workers.

    Here is the union's offical press release:
    Chicago (Tuesday, September 23) -- Nearly 1,000 members, leaders and activists of the Laborers’ International Union voted overwhelmingly today to back U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt for president.

    Washington, D.C. -- Gathering in Chicago for a series of conferences, those voting represent a cross-section of the diverse union, which has more than 800,000 members in construction, public service and health care.

    Rep. Gephardt is expected to address the Laborers at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 24, in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency at 151 E. Wacker Drive in Chicago.

    “There are many excellent candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, but Dick Gephardt is the one who has been a lifelong friend of working families,” said Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ Union. “Our members have spoken and will sweat and toil to put Dick Gephardt in the White House in 2004.”

    The union intends to put unprecedented resources and staff in key primary states to inform and mobilize its members.

    O’Sullivan said, “For 27 years, Dick Gephardt has fought for Laborers and all workers with his bold stands against NAFTA, his support for an economy that creates good jobs, a plan to provide health care coverage for all Americans and by steadfastly standing up for the freedom of workers to choose to form and join unions.”

    The vote on Tuesday culminates the union’s endorsement process, which has included discussions around the country with members and with the campaigns of the Democratic candidates.

    The Laborers’ Union is among the largest of the 14 unions to endorse Rep. Gephardt.

    Monday, September 22, 2003

    Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association Endorse Dick Gephardt for President

    From the offical press release, Washington, DC – Today, the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association became the thirteenth international union to endorse Dick Gephardt for president of the United States.

    "Dick Gephardt has done the right thing for American workers no matter the cost, and now is our chance to stand up and fight for him," said OPCMIA President John Dougherty. "Dick shares our union's commitment to providing every American with quality health insurance and keeping good paying jobs here in the United States. There is no one who has been a better friend and ally to labor and we are proud to endorse him for president of the United States."

    The Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association represents 50,000 workers in a wide variety of industries including plastering and cement masonry throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    "I am honored to have the endorsement and support of the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons," said Gephardt. "With the help and grassroots support of those in the labor movement, we will lift this lagging economy and get every American covered with quality health coverage that can never be taken away. Together, we will beat George Bush and reverse his dismal record on job security, economic security and health security."

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