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Foundrymen unite on Capitol Hill.

"If North America is going to take its rightful place in the global marketplace, if jobs are going to be created and if the economy is going to grow--special interests must be set aside."

Recognizing this critical message, government, labor and industry assembled at the 1993 Metalcasting Industry Government Affairs Conference to work on one common special interest--making North America competitive once again.

Conducted by AFS in Washington, D.C. on February 28-March 2 in conjunction with five other foundry organizations, the conference drew 178 foundry officials.

With 120 new faces in Congress, the conference's primary goal was to educate those drafting new regulations about the importance of the industry. During the three days, 105 appointments with elected officials were arranged, allowing foundrymen to discuss pending environmental legislation, tax and energy issues, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other concerns central to foundries.

Labor Law

Speaking on changes in labor and employment law was Dan Kinsella, Burditt & Radzius. He said there are three key issues that labor wants: the defeat of NAFTA, passage of the family leave bill and striker replacement legislation.

The striker replacement bill would prohibit employers from hiring permanent replacement workers during a strike. "It's designed to undo 50 years of case law and the National Labor Relations Act," Kinsella said. "If enacted, it will certainly take some of our industrial companies with it."

The Equal Remedies Act is a civil rights concern that will attract more litigation. Calling for compensatory and punitive damages (emotional distress, etc.), it will force the opening of a company's financial records, he said.

Also on the books is expanding OSHA's powers. Proposed legislation would expand civil litigation, making it possible to bring civil action against individual company officers and/or directors as well as opening up corporations to legal suit.

During a panel on legal liability, Scott DuBoff, Winston & Strawn, touched on statutes that authorize "citizen suits" or private enforcement of federal environmental laws.

"In context, it increases citizen suit enforcement," he said. These suits are driven by three factors: self monitoring reports are an admission of liability; strict liability standard; and ease of proof. "It's as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Citizens can bring suit now where in the past it was regulators," DuBoff said.

Russell Frye, Chadbourne and Parke, added that in criminal sanctions in environmental laws through last September there were more than 900 indictments, over 700 convictions and more than 250 years of punishment. "About two-thirds of those convictions were of individuals," he said.


Michael Baroody, National Assn. of Manufacturers, outlined how Clinton's economic plan will affect manufacturing.

"It's not what we don't know that will hurt us," he said. "It's what we do know that is wrong, and the politicos aren't understanding the importance of manufacturing for us to compete globally."

Baroody pointed out that productivity in manufacturing has been up three points annually during the past decade, compared with the national average of near zero. Politicians, however, don't believe it.

He also tackled the myth that "American manufacturers don't produce anything that the world wants to buy." Noting that manufacturing exports doubled from 1986-91, he said, "We're the largest exporter in the world."

Former Minnesota Congressman Bill Frenzel, Brookings Institution, revealed some interesting information on the deficit, economy and manufacturing:

* Taxes--For the next five years, $328 billion in new taxes are on the books. The incentive for investment tax credit is $83 million.

* Spending Reductions--With $101 billion in reductions, Clinton's proposed $345 billion is the largest tax increase ever. By the fourth year, $100 billion will be converted from private to public hands with a tax rate at 18.5% of GNP. "Clinton's proposal," Frenzel said, "will push us over 20%."

* Spending Cuts--Plans are to cut $331 billion in spending over five years. Although $100 billion will be converted from taxes, $162 billion in spending cuts will be added. With these numbers, for every $1 of tax increase, there will be $0.20 in spending cuts, which equals a 1:5 ratio.

* Deficit--From fiscal years 1983-92, the deficit averaged $200 billion annually ($300 billion in recent years). Frenzel said it will stay at the $200 billion level, while $1 trillion of new debt is expected during Clinton's term. He said the deficit will reach its lowest point in fiscal year 1997, when it will be $204 billion.

Metalcasting Research

Dan Twarog, AFS director of research, and Diana Waterman, Waterman & Assoc., explained the Dept. of Energy Metalcasting Research Program. Spearheaded by the Cast Metal Coalition (CMC) in 1990, it established an industry/government partnership to invest in metalcasting research projects.

The CMC, of which AFS is a member, worked with Congress in establishing metalcasting centers and $2 million in appropriations in fiscal years 1991 and 1992. Last year, Congress appropriated $1.5 million toward fiscal year 1993 and extended the bill through fiscal year 1997.

Stressing the program has benefited thousands of small and medium-sized foundries, Waterman said the industry is appealing to Congress and members of the appropriations committee to provide the full $5 million for the program in fiscal year 1994, and preserve the fair and open competition for research funds.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:report on the 1993 Metalcasting Industry Government Affairs Conference
Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Suppliers weigh environmental and business concerns.
Next Article:Investing in employees.

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