Latest Solidarity Issue

Legislative update

Congress needs to adopt president’s jobs plan

America is in the throes of a profound jobs crisis that can only be solved by a major shift in our nation’s fiscal, monetary and international trade policies.

President Obama’s mid-September proposal to put Americans back to work and rebuild our nation’s schools, roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail communications and energy systems was a necessary first step in focusing national attention on creating quality jobs.

The UAW calls upon Congress to immediately pass the American Jobs Act of 2011.

With current official unemployment above 9 percent, our economy needs at least 11 million new jobs just to get the unemployment rate down to pre-recession levels. There are 25 million people in America who need full-time work, and Congress should pass the president’s jobs plan and other legislation to provide for the direct creation of millions of jobs in local communities, such as Rep. George Miller’s “Local Jobs for America Act” or Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s “Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act.”

Job creation must be targeted to distressed communities and pay fair wages and benefits.

Congress must also extend the federal unemployment benefits program for at least another year. Extending unemployment benefits for jobless workers and providing relief for homeowners facing foreclosures would provide an immediate boost in consumer demand.

Congress also needs to avoid further attacks on public employees, and prevent state and local layoffs by providing for increased funding of Medicaid and additional investment directly to local communities to create jobs and restore public services. Deficit reduction should not come at the expense of jobs or cuts in Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Recent demonstrations on Wall Street and other cities around the country reflect Americans’ frustration with the financial sector diverting far too many resources from the productive domestic economy. Congress should also:

• Pass legislation to encourage more lending to small businesses.

• Enact a Financial Speculation Tax to discourage harmful speculation and make Wall Street pay to rebuild the economy it helped to destroy.

• Enforce tough safeguards to stop the kind of massive financial fraud that precipitated the crisis of 2008.

The president’s jobs plan aims to revive American manufacturing through a set of necessary actions, including ending currency manipulation, reforming tax policy, enforcing and reforming our trade laws, strengthening government procurement policies and increasing investment in job training.

Congress should take concrete action to stem Chinese currency manipulation by passing the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011. It should also renew tax incentives for investments in advanced energy efficiency, end tax incentives that encourage the offshoring of good manufacturing jobs, enhance Buy America safeguards and reauthorize a robust Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.

Congress has previously demonstrated its ability to pass legislation that saves and creates jobs. Specifically, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program (ATVM) has been a welcome boost for the economy as we work to close the huge jobs gap caused by the Great Recession. This program has a demonstrated record of success by creating or saving 41,000 jobs in Tennessee, California, Indiana, Michigan, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.

Before the end of this year, as many as 11 more companies are expected to receive ATVM loans, creating or retaining another 35,000 to 40,000 green jobs in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Louisiana. An additional 12 ATVM applications now in the early stages could create another 10,000 jobs next year.

Vehicles created with loans from this program are expected to save 311 million gallons of fuel annually. ATVM is a critical program to ensure that the fuel-saving cars of the future are not imported but are made here in the United States. To support and create jobs, strengthen America’s manufacturing base and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, Congress needs to pass Fiscal Year 2012 Continuing Resolution that preserves funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s ATVM loan program.

Rather than taking the budget axe to additional social programs and Entitlements, President Obama would fund his $447 billion plan to create jobs largely by raising taxes on the very wealthy and multinational corporations. The jobs plan includes limits on itemized deductions for individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families that earn more than $250,000. The president’s plan would also close oil and gas loopholes, and tax offshore profits of multinational companies.

We urge UAW members and retirees to join us in telling Congress to pass Obama’s plan for job creation and economic recovery – now.

Source: UAW Legislative, Governmental and International Affairs Department


UAW V-CAP checkoff: Money matters, too

The UAW cannot use union dues money to make contributions to federal candidates and, in an ever-increasing number of states, any candidate for public office. Our only means of monetary support for many labor-friendly candidates is voluntary political contributions from UAW members, which are put into the International Union’s political action fund, UAW V-CAP.

The UAW’s V-CAP checkoff allows each member to make a modest contribution each month to help the union support candidates who care about American workers and their jobs. A $1 per month contribution amounts to less than a nickel a day, a $3 per month donation is only a dime a day, and so on.

If your employer does not have a checkoff mechanism in place, please contact your UAW regional office to learn how you can contribute to UAW V-CAP and help protect what we’ve negotiated at the bargaining table from being taken away in Congress.