Article on Labor Party

Jonupstny at Jonupstny at
Sat Jun 8 04:05:30 MDT 1996

      CLEVELAND (Reuter) - The leaders of a new political party to be
launched this weekend said Friday they would fight to guarantee decent-paying
jobs for all Americans, a goal they said neither the Republicans nor
Democrats were addressing.

    ``Nobody in politics represents working people,'' said party spokesman
Rod Rogers, one of 1,500 delegates from 44 states who came to Cleveland to
found the Labor Party at a convention.

    ``We come together to create this Labor Party to defend our interests and
aspirations from the greed of multinational corporate interests,'' the
party's draft agenda said.

    The draft calls for discussion of a constitutional amendment that will
guarantee a living-wage job for everyone, severance for laid-off workers
calculated by years of service, the right to strike without fear of dismissal
and an end to what it called corporate abuse of trade.

    ``Make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes,'' the party agenda
says. Workplace safety, the environment and high-quality public education are
also on the agenda.

    The Labor Party's founding members were drawn from national labor unions
representing one million workers, said Rogers, a staff member of the Oil,
Chemical and Atomic Workers International union based in Denver.

    Delegates include both rank-and-file union members and elected officers,
he said.

    Unions endorsing the new party effort are the United Electrical, Radio
and Machine Workers, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, the
International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union and the California
Nurses Association, a statement from the group said.

    The Labor Party does not plan to field candidates this year but neither
will it endorse either major party's candidate for president, Rogers said.

    ``There's not a lot of reason to endorse (President) Clinton,'' Rogers
said, even though Clinton has been endorsed by traditional labor
organizations such as the AFL-CIO. ``He has not done much for working people
since he's been in office.''

    Clinton backed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which
Rogers said hurt U.S. workers, and his recent successful push to raise the
minimum wage wasn't enough, he said.

    ``Raising the minimum wage is a step but the minimum wage won't cut it,''
he said. ``A living wage is what's needed.''

20:16 06-07-96

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