Day two of the UAW National CAP Legislative Conference began with an invocation by Local 1413 member Vivian Crane from Huntsville, Alabama. National CAP Chair Dick Long then introduced UAW President Ron Gettelfinger who gave his opening address to the conference.

“It has been three long years, but the time has finally come to send George Bush back to his ranch in Texas,” the UAW President stated. “Since George Bush was appointed President over 3 million Americans have lost their job, with over 2.6 million of those being in the manufacturing sector. This is a President that says one thing and does another. In his state of the union address he reported that the economy was rebounding. However, his own labor department recently reported that 1000 new jobs were created in January. That is less than 20 a state. At that rate, it will only take 244 years to reclaim the jobs lost during his presidency. As works lose their jobs, the trade deficit grows each year. Current estimations project the 2003 trade deficit to top 400 billion dollars. No worker can win health care protection under this president, as over 15% of the total population is currently uninsured. That is 43 million Americans with no health insurance, and this includes 9 million children.

Now, more than ever America needs her unions to stand for working people everywhere. We can defeat George Bush again in 2004 but we must stand together.” Click here for more on President Gettelfinger's address.

Following President Gettelfinger’s opening address the Legislative Department were introduced. UAW Legislative Director Alan Reuther led the discussion on key issues facing labor and working Americans. A total of eight priority issues have been assembled for this legislative session. These issues include:
(Click here for more info on issues)

1- Overtime – The Bush administration is pushing ahead with proposed regulations that would deprive 8 million workers with overtime provisions. This showdown could be complete in March of 2004.

2- Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) – This bill sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative George Miller will restore worker’s rights to organize and bargain collectively without coercion from their employer.

3- US Thailand Free Trade Agreement – The Bush Administration has announced their intention to negotiate a free trade agreement with Thailand.

4- Tax Incentives for Domestic Manufacturing – The European Community is threatening to impose trade sanctions against the U.S. unless Congress approves legislation changing our Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) tax provisions. The UAW and other union are supporting the Rangel-Crane bill that would provide tax incentives for domestic manufacturing.

5- Medicare RX – We are urging representative and senators to support legislation to repeal and replace the bad provisions in the Medicare RX law.

6- Retiree Health Legacy Cost – Older manufacturing companies such as the Bill Three have higher cost in retirees than new companies. This places them at a disadvantage in the competitive sector. The UAW is seeking legislation that will guarantee health care for retirees while creating a more equitable way to finance these benefits to level the playing field.

7- Buy American – Current buy American requirements contain too many loopholes. The UAW seeks to close these loopholes to strengthen buy American Laws.
Federal Election Holiday – Many UAW contracts provide a holiday for federal Election Day. We feel this should be extended to all workers.

8 - Federal Election Holiday – Many UAW contracts provide a holiday for federal Election Day. We feel this should be extended to all workers.

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