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During 2012 political season the labor community will be active


NOVEMBER 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

During 2012 political season the labor community will be active


REGION, November 10th- The labor community will be active during 2012 in what promises to be an interesting political year.

Democratic United States Senator from Pennsylvania Robert Casey Jr., a Scranton native, will definitively face a Republican opponent, with at least nine Republican’s so-far declaring their candidacy for the opportunity to challenge Mr. Casey’s re-election bid.

Five years ago Mr. Casey defeated Incumbent Republican right-wing Senator Rick Santorum, who is currently running for President of the United States. Senator terms are for six years.

In 2010 conservative Republican Pat Toomey defeated Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak for the other Pennsylvania Senatorial seat. Mr. Toomey is a Lehigh Valley resident and formerly represented the region in the United States House of Representatives.

Mr. Casey is one of ten Democratic Senators that are on the “endangered list” for re-election in 2012 according to Newsweek magazine.

Senator Casey has supported legislation important to the labor community in his first term in Washington, including voting to increase the federal minimum wage, voted for passage of the failed attempt of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct)Card Check legislation, voted in favor of extending unemployment benefits, and voted against the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. The Obama administration supports the trade agreements, which will likely cost American jobs.

Mr. Casey stated Pennsylvania has lost 300,000 jobs since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in 1993 despite the projected new jobs increases. NAFTA was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton and was passed by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives.

On October 12th in rapid succession, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the trade pacts, which will lower or eliminate trade tarriffs.

The trade agreements were supported by many Democratic legislators that have in the past, received labor support and have promised to support “pro-labor” legislation.

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent (Republican-15th Legislative District) voted for passage of the trade agreements.

NAFTA was recently criticized by three leaders of Mexico’s independent labor union’s. The labor leaders stated that Mexican workers lives have not improved because of NAFTA, and in fact the livelihoods of Mexican workers have seen an increase in violent acts against unions because taxpayers dollars are being used to bust unions in Mexico.

President Barack Obama will attempt to gain a second four-year term in 2012.

Mr. Obama has failed to deliver during his first term on much of the proposed labor legislation that was discussed during the 2008 political campaign.

Recently the labor community opposed the three free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama that Mr. Obama supported. Also, the EFCAct/Card Check legislation was never even voted on in the Democratic controlled United States Senate in 2009.

Despite the failure of the Obama Administation to pass “pro-labor” legislation and his support for the free trade agreements, the labor community will likely support his re-election bid, mainly because the Republican party is currently extremely anti-union

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