It should come as no surprise that Local 802 has endorsed Senator John Kerry for president. In this column, I explain exactly why we believe he is the best choice and what we in Local 802 can do to help him win.
We do not endorse a candidate by virtue of his or her political party. Local 802 has an obligation to research a candidate’s position on issues that impact our membership, educate our members on what those positions are, and then advocate for that candidate. Indeed, based on those criteria, Local 802 has a record of endorsing candidates from both sides of the aisle.
Our Executive Board unanimously voted to endorse John Kerry because he has the best record on labor and is deserving of our support.
1. KERRY SUPPORTS THE FREEDOM TO ORGANIZE
John Kerry co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow workers the freedom to form unions without intimidation or harassment from management.
George W. Bush appointed an anti-union Secretary of Labor and has used the Department of Labor to interfere with contract disputes on the side of employers, imposing harassing requirements on unions.
John Kerry will appoint a pro-worker Secretary of Labor that will ensure the protection of workers’ rights rather than taking them away.
(Find out more about how this election will affect organizing in the workplace.)
2. KERRY’S NLRB APPOINTMENTS WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The decisions of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), both in New York and the federal office in Washington, directly impact Local 802’s ability to adequately represent New York’s musicians.
John Kerry will appoint pro-worker members of the NLRB. An ongoing Bush administration will further stack the board with anti-worker appointees.
3. KERRY WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT OVERTIME PAY
As part of the Bush administration’s efforts to continue to weaken the Fair Labor Standards Act, this administration has undeniably attacked overtime protections for millions of workers, introducing legislation that would eliminate workers’ basic right to overtime compensation.
John Kerry supports workers’ right to overtime pay protection and co-sponsored legislation to stop Bush administration efforts to take overtime pay from millions of U.S. workers.
4. KERRY WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT RETIREMENT BENEFITS
John Kerry supports rules that guard pension funds from raids by unscrupulous employers and supports new protections that will safeguard promised benefits.
John Kerry supports strengthening Social Security and opposes any privatization plan to hand over Social Security funds to Wall Street. President Bush wants to privatize social security.
John Kerry also supports a strong Medicare prescription drug benefit. He will overhaul Bush’s prescription drug law and fight for a law that lowers the costs of drugs and encourages employers to keep retiree coverage rather than drop it.
John Kerry also supports legislation that will enable all American consumers to buy prescription medications from Canada, where prices are between 33 and 80 percent lower than in the U.S.
5. KERRY WILL SUPPORT INCREASED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR MUSICIANS AND ALL ARTISTS
John Kerry believes that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is essential to the arts infrastructure in America.
He fought against deep cuts to the NEA budget in the mid-1990’s and has consistently fought to restore it.
In addition, Kerry has fought for federal funding for arts programs, including funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts in Education program, which provides for the development of arts education programs and professional development for arts educators.
In contrast, recent budget cuts by the Bush Administration have scaled back arts programs in our nation’s public schools.
The Bush Administration has also proposed to zero-out funding the Arts in Education program.
In summary, Local 802 endorses John Kerry because he will ensure labor’s stability and strength and he has taken the correct position on issues that directly impact our membership.
HOW CAN LOCAL 802 MEMBERS HELP?
Although New York is not a “key” state, we are organizing bus trips for the day in swing states, such as Pennsylvania, to mobilize union members.
We are also planning weekly phone banks to reach out to 802 members and retirees in battleground states.
Contact 802’s Political Director Heather Beaudoin, at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176, and check the Local 802 web site for updated information on how you can join our efforts to help make John Kerry’s presidential run a victory.
And remember, A VOTE FOR KERRY IS A VOTE FOR LABOR.
802 MEMBERS WEIGH IN ON THE ISSUES
In this month’s “Beat On The Street” column we polled our members, asking “How does the upcoming presidential election affect you as a Local 802 member?”