Fight for Job Security,
Livable Wages For All
UE delegation at
November 30th hearing: (from left) Brahm Muther, Pres. Local 218;
Jonathan Kissam, Fin. Sec. Local 221; Bill Gould, Vice Pres. Local 234;
Tom Stout, Pres. Local 267; Stan MacDonald, Vice Pres. Local 258; Bob
South, Ch. Stwd. Local 234; Sharon Frechette, Fin. Sec. Local 234, Doug
Whitcomb, Pres. Local 258; Heather Reimer, UE Field Organizer; Jessie
Walker, Ch. Stwd. Local 258; Vern Allen, Rec. Sec. Local 258; Andrew
Tripp, UE Field Organizer.
The current session of the Vermont legislature began on Jan.
4, but UE local leaders were already busy informing the legislature of their
members needs well before the onset of the legislative season. Members have
mobilized with other Vermonters around job security issues and the pitiful
state of wages in our "booming" economy.
On Nov. 8 and Dec. 6, UE members packed hearings in
Springfield and South Burlington held before the Job Security Commission. The
commission was created by the Vermont legislature to analyze issues concerning
job security and to report back to the legislature. UE and other union members
told their stories of downsizing, layoffs and subcontracting.
'WORKERS ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND'
And on Nov. 30, UE members joined more than 250 other
Vermonters to let the Study Commission on a Livable Income know that the
minimum wage is not a living wage. Doug Whitcomb, president of UE Local
258, testified that, "The latest reports once again show that the economy
is strong, but let me tell you that all is not rosy on the low side of the
income brackets. As the rich get richer and the large corporations prosper,
the workers are being left behind. We see our lives being compromised for the
sake of the almighty dollar. Its time that we must once again make
ourselves heard in order to receive our fair share of the the pie."
During the five hours of testimony, only two people spoke
against raising the minimum wage both paid corporate consultants.
Rank-and-file UE members are planning a state political action
day in the spring during the legislative session.
UE News - 01/00