From Emilie@ix.netcom.com Mon Aug 7 07:45:04 2000
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 00:01:51 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Emilie F. Nichols" <Emilie@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Labor caves in to Democrats on platform
From: Nancy York <email@example.com>
To: Colo-Nader list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000 9:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Labor caves in to Democrats on platform
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 17:47:30 -0600
From: Chris Goodwin <email@example.com>
Labor caves in to Democrats on platform
By James Drew, in Blade Columbus Bureau Chief
30 July 2000
Somehow don't think this is the full story.... I think labor is
fighting - like we all are - for some sort of control over our lives
and wallet.... what is plain is that the Dems and Repubs want a pretty
commercial for television and the public, but all the agreements and
writing will be with the big corporations and banks....
CLEVELAND - Democrats from across the nation approved their party's
platform yesterday, calling it a "centrist, progressive
document" that reflects Vice President Gore's positions on major
issues in the presidential race.
The outcome of the six-hour meeting was another sign of how "New
Democrats," who helped move the party to the center after Bill
Clinton's victory in 1992, retain tight control over the party's
Platform committee members crushed two attempts to change the party's
stance on international trade - an issue expected to be at the center
of citizen protests when delegates gather next month in Los Angeles
for the Democratic national convention. Delegates will vote then.
The platform says about one-third of U.S. economic growth in recent
years has been from selling goods and services to other countries, and
exports "sustain about one in five factory jobs - jobs that pay more
than jobs not tied to the global economy."
"It's clear we live in a globalized world - and that there is no
turning back," the platform says. "But globalization is neither good
nor evil. It is a fact and we have to deal with it. Democrats believe
we must be leaders in the new global economy, not followers."
Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles civil rights attorney and radio talk-show
host, tried to amend the platform to oppose expansion of the North
American Free Trade Agreement or any trade pact "without the
incorporation of full labor protections and environmental safeguards."
"I believe our party members support free trade and not slave trade,"
Ms. Allred called on Democrats to oppose "fast-track" authority for
trade agreements, and tried to add a clause stating that Mr. Gore will
negotiate to ensure that NAFTA and the World Trade Organization trade
tribunals include public hearings and a "meaningful appeals process."
The Democrats' platform states that the president should be able to
negotiate trade agreements, and pledges that "Al Gore will insist on
and use the authority to enforce worker rights, human rights, and
environmental protection in those agreements."
Ms. Allred, needing at least 15 votes to trigger a debate on her
amendment, could muster only three votes from the 130 committee
members at yesterday's meeting. She received only two votes for her
next amendment, which she said was aimed at "narrowing the gap between
rich and poor."
The amendment called on Democrats to support raising the minimum wage
from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour, to reduce tax breaks for companies with
large numbers of temporary workers, and to eliminate tax breaks to
corporations that pay "below living wages." Congress raised the
minimum to $4.25 in 1996 and to $5.15 in 1997, but has not acted on
President Clinton's proposal to increase it $1 an hour over two years.
Tom Hayden, a state senator from California and a delegate to the
national convention, said the platform could damage Mr. Gore's support
among labor unions.
"The platform seems to imply the damage for Al Gore is he's too
liberal and 'We need a platform that is all things to all people,' which
infuriates the rank-and-file," said Mr. Hayden, who rose to prominence
as a protester against the Vietnam War.
But U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is co-chairman of
the platform committee, said the language on trade issues resulted
"We worked night and day with labor leaders, and I am confident they
will come out firmly and say the platform is consistent with their
beliefs," Mr. Durbin said.
Al From, president of the Democratic Leadership Council, said the
party made the right move in rejecting Ms. Allred's two amendments.
"They were designed to restrict trade and you can't do that. Free
trade has been a fundamental element of our economic success," he
Mr. From said Democrats in 1992 changed how they built their party's
platform and yesterday they adhered to a strategy that helped Mr.
Clinton defeat George W. Bush's father in 1992.
"We used to have these meetings and dump in everything and the nominee
had to run away from it. In '92, we decided we'll go with Bill Clinton
and his views would be the platform of our party," he said.
But U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) said the platform
committee's stance on trade won't broaden the party's appeal and could
cause apathy among traditional Democrats.
"If you keep moving the center to the right, you're missing out on
representing a lot of people," Mr. Kucinich said.
Mr. Hayden added: "It means the strongest case for Al Gore is Dick
Cheney, and it may be hard to lift enthusiasm on that."
But David Leland, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said despite
the debate over free trade - which occurred just in the corridors
outside the meeting room - the party is unified. He noted that Ms.
Allred, Mr. Kucinich, and Mr. Hayden are Gore supporters.
"We'll disagree on the sides of the issues. But on the most important
issues, from protecting Social Security to keeping the economy
booming, we're united behind our candidate and party," he said.