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 CLEVELAND, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released today by Warren Davis, director of UAW Region 2:
 The tradition of Labor Day implies that work has value, that workers have dignity, that labor plays an important role in preserving a democratic society. But if the tradition of Labor Day is to make any sense at all, the public and the media ought to inspect the hard realities which face American workers on this day. In my capacity as the director of the United Auto Workers, Region 2, I humbly offer this assessment of the State of Labor, as reflected in key issues affecting our members and all Americans who have jobs or want jobs.
 1. This Labor Day, the right to strike, which is the cornerstone of the rights of working people, is at stake. Congress now has before it "anti-scab" legislation, which would forbid the use of scab replacements in any labor dispute. Yet this issue languishes in Senate filibuster. The right to strike has been a powerful force in bringing tens of thousands of labor-management conflicts to settlement. Every crucial principle affecting working people -- the right to bargain, workplace fairness, working conditions -- is secured by the right to strike. And unless the right to strike is held inviolate, all other workers' rights are in jeopardy. If the Labor Day tradition means anything then the Democrats will begin to stand up to the filibuster and call for cloture. Working people need to know who their friends are. Vote the issue up or down! President Clinton has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. Working people are watching carefully to see if President Clinton is making an effort to get the bill passed. Is he as committed to upholding the fundamental working rights of wage earners as he is in extracting more taxes from them?
 2. This Labor Day, Health Care reform remains a major concern of the United Auto Workers. We will continue to press forward in support of single payer proposals which will truly insure health care as a right. We support legislation which makes health care more available and more affordable for all Americans. A healthier workforce will be a more productive workforce, so in the long run, a comprehensive national health care program will end up conserving the human and financial resources of this country.
 3. This Labor Day, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) threatens the jobs, the wages, the working conditions of American workers. Imagine the very week the White House readies its latest push to pass NAFTA, we see manufacturing in America is down for the third straight month, with factory job losses the highest in two years! We cannot solve unemployment in America by sending jobs to Mexico! Americans want paychecks! Americans want decent paying jobs! NAFTA is a direct threat to the ability of the United States to control its own economic destiny. One-half a million jobs are poised to head south of the border if NAFTA passes.
 In the name of free trade, NAFTA will indeed trade American blue and white collar jobs for an iron collar of lower wages, lower value on workers' health, working conditions, safety and lives.
 This Labor Day, we can recognize that in the end, NAFTA is not about the U.S. versus Mexico. It is about the ability and the willingness of the U.S. government to take a stand against multi-national corporations who are attempting to break the American workforce in the name of free trade. NAFTA is American workers' Alamo. If it passes, American workers will lose jobs and income. The nation will lose tax dollars, and, you heard it here, Bill Clinton will lose the White House.
 4. This Labor Day the United Auto Workers intends to vigorously carry forth our interest in winning wage increases, protecting the job security and further securing the health care benefits of our workers in our contract negotiations with the Ford Motor Company. Ford has been taking in substantial profits and investing hundreds of millions of dollars all around the globe in the past few years. We intend to see a commensurate capital investment in our American labor force.
 The interests of the United Auto Workers parallel the interests of all working people this Labor Day. The right to strike. The right to decent health care. The right to a government which stands up for its own people. The work of our union affects millions of non-affiliated workers as well. As long as there is a force which fights for decent wages, all Americans can point to a higher standard. As long as there is a force which demands decent health care for all, then all Americans can benefit. As long as there are men and women who organize to protect their basic economic rights, those who are not organized can still some day hope to see a better day.
 This Labor Day, Unions still provide the standards for all American workers. Ours is the cause of all American workers.
 -0- 9/3/93
 /CONTACT: Warren Davis, director of UAW Region 2, 216-447-6080/

CO: United Auto Workers Region 2 ST: Ohio IN: AUT SU:

KL -- CL012 -- 8890 09/03/93 14:28 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 3, 1993

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