2006 UAW CAP Conference February
The International UAW will be holding the
2006 Community Action Program Conference February 05-08, 2006 in Washington,
D.C. The conference will concentrate on the issues facing working families
all across this country. Over 1400 delegates are expected to participate
in the conference. The UAW Region 8 website will be updated daily during
the conference to keep our membership up to speed on the issues being
discussed. Log on each evening during the conference for a report from
the days activities.
There was a time in this country when a working person could count a pension when they retired but those days are fading fast. The concept of 401K accounts rather than vested pensions has helped to eliminate a person’s ability to retire. The continued manipulation of the stock market by the wealthy has resulted in thousands losing their hard earned money to Wall Street robber barons.
The only thing the U.S. has exported with these so-called “free trade” agreements has been jobs. There have been over 3,000,00 manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico alone since NAFTA was enacted. As a matter of fact, one in six manufacturing jobs have been lost in just ten years. However, the damage doesn’t stop there. Having the threat of moving out of the country has enabled corporations to lower the wages and benefits of the jobs they have kept here. From 1946 to 1973, there was an 80% gain in median wages. But from 1973 until 2000 the U.S, median wage has remained basically flat. Many will argue that from 1993 to 2001 U.S. exports to Mexico rose 144%. While that is true, it should be noted that 60% of those exports to Mexico are automotive components that are being assembled in Mexico and returned for sale to the United States. During the same period, Mexican exports to the U.S. rose 244%, with 70% of all vehicles being assembled there built for export here.
The spin-doctors who sold NAFTA to the country made guarantees that Mexico would only be exporting cheap items such as t-shirts while we would be exporting value added products such as computers. Ten years on the numbers tell a completely different story. Mexican exports of computer equipment has risen 1077% since NAFTA and automotive parts and vehicle exports have risen 294%.
We are only now beginning to feel the full affect of NAFTA twelve years down the road. Permanent trade relations with China are just now beginning to make an impact and CAFTA hasn’t even got started yet. Now the President wants a free trade deal with Thailand that would surely finish off the working class Americans for good.
The time has come to make a stand. America’s working families cannot continue to survive under the constant barrage of corporate slanted government. Walter Reuther used to say “it doesn’t matter what you win at the bargaining table if they can legislate it away in the halls of Congress.” Today this is truer than ever. We must hold our elected representatives accountable for the votes and educate them on our positions. It is time to take back America so working families have a chance to participate in the American dream.
Remember to log on to the UAW Region 8 website each
evening from February 5-8, 2006 for an update on the conference and
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