Cheneyism spreads

It’s been said that Republicans are dangerous to working people, but the threat seems to have reached a new level in Charleston, S.C. Two utility linemen working for South Carolina Electric and Gas were shot at July 15 by a GOP state legislator as they were going about their work inspecting storm damage in the backyard of a house owned by the legislator’s parents, according to IBEW Local 398 Business Manager Roger Clyde.

Rep. Wallace Scarborough was arrested by police and charged with assault with intent to kill, but the local prosecutor, also a Republican, dropped the charges. Forty local labor leaders held a rally to protest the prosecutor’s decision.

Support for Mexico vote recount

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union called for “a complete and immediate recount” of all the votes cast for president in Mexico’s July 2 national elections in which pro-business candidate Felipe Calderon was declared the winner by a razor-thin 0.58 percent margin over pro-working class candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The recount resolution passed unanimously at the union’s national convention held last week in Orlando, Fla. Many delegates said the Florida convention site evoked memories of similar demands for a fair vote count in the U.S.’s 2000 elections.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said many of the union’s members are immigrants from Mexico who “joined with almost 40 million other Mexicans to vote in last month’s elections.”

VA unions for single-payer

Union presidents from 10 local unions representing workers in the Veterans Administration system in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia have endorsed single-payer health care legislation HR 676. The presidents represent local unions in AFGE, SEIU, and the American Nurses Association.

Supporters of the bill say HR 676 would cover every person in the U.S. for all necessary medical care, including drugs, hospital, dental and mental health and long term care without deductibles and co-payments.

World corporate taxes headed for zero

Average corporate tax rates in industrialized countries have fallen from 45 percent to 30 percent in the last two decades, says a report issued this month by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

At this rate, says the report, “corporate tax rates will hit zero percent by the middle of the century.”

Developing countries lose $50 billion annually due to tax havens, the ICFTU says. In the U.S., it reports, 82 of the largest corporations paid no tax in or received a tax refund between 2001 and 2003.

Boeing, Halliburton, Morgan Stanley, Pepsi, Citigroup and Xerox are some of the companies the report cites as being either incorporated in tax havens or having a large number of subsidiaries there. The amount of money lost to tax havens is six times the amount that would be required to fund universal primary education.

California labor civil supports civil marriage

Pride At Work applauded the California Labor Federation for unanimously adopting a resolution in support of civil marriage for all. Unions have recognized the importance of equal pay for equal work throughout history, said a July 26 statement from PAW. “Without the ability to marry, LGBT workers are denied the ability to care for their families in the same capacity as their straight co-workers.”

Rubber pact reached

Saying that retiree protection had been secured and job security strengthened, the United Steelworkers announced a tentative agreement with tire manufacturer BFGoodrich July 25. The master agreement covers 4,000 rubber workers at plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Opelika, Ala. The company was designated by the union last month as the target company in establishing an agreement in the tire industry. Master contracts are also being negotiated at Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone.

The union said details of the tentative agreement would not be released until after informational meetings for the membership at the three locals could be held.

This Week in Labor is compiled by Roberta Wood(rwood@pww.org).

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