Day 4 Photo Gallery

President Gettelfinger State of the Union Address

Remarks of Senator
Barack Obama


Nancy Peliso Speech

International Metalworker’s Federation (IMF) Marcello Malentacchi Speech

NAACP Chair Julian Bond Speech

Representative Marcy Kaptur Speech

- Vice-President General Holiefield Bio

- Vice-President James Settles Bio

- Vice-President Terry Thurman Bio




Remarks by U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, to delegates at the 34th UAW Constitutional Convention
06.15.2006

Thank you Regional Director 2B Lloyd Mahaffey for your kind invitation and generous introduction. I know you are there with your international President Ron Gettelfinger, your executive board, and brothers and sisters from throughout our continent. I consider it a privilege to address you, for I know the UAW has always been in the vanguard, building America forward economically and socially. I am proud to stand in solidarity with you in your fight for a stronger and just America.

This week, the UAW is making headlines throughout our nation and world. I know the decisions you are considering are pivotal and consequential. Like your members, I too want an America that is job-rich, debt-free, energy-independent; where America again exports products not our jobs, so health insurance and education can be guaranteed and affordable to every family. With retirement benefits that can’t be taken away. Like you, I want a world where America is at peace again, making more friends than enemies.

Imagine an America that is building forward again to a more prosperous and secure future, passing onto our children a world of opportunity.

Imagine an America where Delphi, and La-Z-Boy, and Maytag, and so many other firms are allowed to fairly compete on a global playing field that is level. Imagine an America where Walmart was union and filled its stores with goods made in America. That is not the world today. No company, no union, no community, no state can win this economic fight alone. Indeed, you can't compete fairly with closed markets like Japan's, nor China's cheap wages. You can't compete fairly with job-killing trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR tying your hands behind your back. You need, and America needs, a committed government of the United States to stand at your side to open closed markets, to outlaw sweatshops and bonded labor, to renegotiate trade agreements so they create jobs and rising standards of living for all. Our task is to restore a government of, by, and for the American people. Our common fight is for a President and Congress that put people and communities first ahead of transnational corporations that pit one nation's workers against another. The government of the U.S. must become again a real referee in this global fight, not a spectator.

If any company with a charter to conduct business in the US moves our jobs to another country to get sweatshop labor and then U-turns their wares back here for sale, I say we charge them a "Pledge of Allegiance market entry fee."

Likewise, any global firm that wishes the privilege of doing business in our marketplace should have to demonstrate that the workers who produced those goods earned living wages not sweatshop rates.
Our government must operate by the Golden Rule: "free trade among free people." Where that does not exist, we must renegotiate trade treaties that hollow out America and hold labor in bondage globally.
The U.S. trade deficit with China has increased twenty-fold since the late 1980's displacing millions of jobs. The rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico has wiped out over 880,000 more U.S. jobs. This year's trade deficit with the world will likely reach $1 trillion dollars in the red. This is unprecedented in American history. Indeed, our economy is in uncharted waters.

To take the first step to right this deficit, I have introduced H.R. 4405 the Balancing Trade Act. It mandates the President take action to correct any imbalanced relationship when our trade deficit with another country equals $10 billion for three consecutive years.

Second, the President and Congress must focus on the primary categories of trade deficit and address them directly. The two top categories are: imported petroleum and imported autos and auto parts.

America simply cannot wait 20 years to become energy independent. Our nation landed a man on the moon within a decade. We should be no less bold in attacking what ails us today. Can you imagine the thousands and thousands of new jobs energy independence would create here in America! Freedom for this 21st century should mean freedom from dependence on imported petroleum.

One step forward is my Biofuels Energy Independence Act H.R. 388. It would stop predatory oil companies from locking biofuels out at the pump. Another of my bills H.R. 1398 would raise the thresholds for blending ethanol and biodiesel into conventional gasoline to hasten this necessary market conversion. Beyond that, federal research and development incentives should be locked into place to diversify power systems, such as hydrogen, for land-based transportation to power America in this new energy age. We must be vigilant.

Please let me use this opportunity today to propose that the UAW itself consider building a new age prototype "American Freedom car" -- one that surpasses the fuel mileage of any domestic or import. I'd love to see a race next Memorial Day between The Buckeyes led by Lloyd Mahaffey, and the Wolverines led by Ron Gettelfinger. To this end, I would help sponsor community-wide events across our state to help raise the seed money and I bet other like minded Members of Congress would do the same. Let's gather the best ASW certified mechanics and tool and die makers. We know their skills. Let's put them together for America's sake. Gentlemen and Gentle ladies, are you ready to start your engines?

In closing, we all know we want an America that builds wealth here a home again, not imports it. We want an America that builds cars and parts again, not imports them. We want an America that is energy independent here at home again, not reliant on oil dictatorships to fuel us and hold us hostage.

In other words, we must join together to defend America here at home as much as we are prepared to defend her abroad.

Let us imagine the America we want, and then fight together to build her forward again. Thank you dear friends.

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