Democrats say Trump to seek federal pay freeze and cuts to domestic security

This article written by Joe Davidson was originally published in The Washington Post, December 14, 2017.  

“President Trump will propose a pay freeze for federal employees and cut domestic security programs in fiscal 2019, according to reports released by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Democrats.

“The two reports are based on budget guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, dated Nov. 28, overruling Department of Homeland Security  requests. The guidance was leaked to the panel’s Democratic staff by a whistleblower. Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), the committee’s top Democrat, had the staff issue summaries of the OMB document . One report focuses on personnel, the other on counterterrorism programs.

“Although the budget documents concern DHS, the personnel summary says “OMB intends to issue a pay freeze for federal civilian employees in 2019.” Quoting the administration’s document, the staff report adds: “OMB has instructed DHS: ‘Per governmentwide guidance, no civilian pay raise is included in the recommended level for the FY 2019 Budget.’ ”

“The counterterrorism report says the administration “intends to seek $568 million in cuts to counterterrorism programs” from 2017 levels. That would include decreases in programs on violent extremism, port and public transportation security, domestic nuclear detection and emergency management grants.

“According to the staff report, OMB wants to eliminate Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, which “are multidisciplinary groups of security officers deployed to various locations to prevent and deter acts of terrorism” and cut $27 million from Federal Air Marshals.

“‘I’m worried that the Office of Management and Budget is overriding what local, state, and national leaders have told me they most need to keep us safe,” McCaskill said. “With recent terrorist attacks in our country and throughout the globe, counterterrorism programs shouldn’t be on the chopping block.’

“The staff noted that OMB’s budget guidance does not necessarily represent the administration’s final spending plan. Agencies can appeal budget office guidance. The DHS appeal was due Dec. 1.

“Federal employees had a three-year freeze on their basic pay rates during the Obama administration. Another freeze “may present challenges for DHS components wishing to retain qualified employees. Morale and attrition within DHS have long been problems that the Department has struggled to fix,” the staff report said.

“’The absence of a pay increase for law enforcement personnel may not allow DHS to remain competitive with other law enforcement agencies with whom they compete for qualified applicants. This is especially true as DHS components have historically struggled to meet hiring mandates.’”

To read the original article click here .

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Martinez Pledges ‘Machinist Arsenal’ to IAM Members at Harley-Davidson

IAM International President Bob Martinez (first photo, left) and Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber (first photo, right) join members of IAM Local 176 at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City for lunch and an open discussion about the Local’s upcoming contract negotiations.

The IAM stands ready to deploy every union resource available in order to ensure members at the former American icon Harley-Davidson get a fair and just contract, said IAM International President Bob Martinez, along with IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber, during a recent visit with IAM Local 176 members at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City.

“The IAM is behind its membership one-thousand percent,” said Martinez. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure our members get a fair agreement.”

Click here to see photos from Martinez and Gruber’s visit

The visit comes as the IAM prepares to negotiate Harley-Davidson contracts, in coordination with the United Steelworkers (USW) union, in Kansas City and Milwaukee.

The Machinists also represent Harley-Davidson workers in York, PA. Martinez met with those members in February 2017.

He says this visit to Kansas City was especially important as IAM Local 176 members will be the first group at the bargaining table beginning in 2018.

“One of the main reasons I’m here is to make sure you know that you have the full support of your Union in this upcoming negotiation,” said Martinez. “This unit will be the first unit at the table. We have to draw a line. And whatever we do, it will be predicated on the Bargaining Committee and the membership’s approval. I personally commit to you everything we have in the Machinist arsenal, to make sure we change the collective bargaining agreement based on what the membership wants.”

At issue is the company’s hiring of temporary workers to replace and do the same job as full-time workers – for significantly less pay. The continuous outsourcing of American jobs to foreign soil and health care are also major concerns.

The IAM has already begun – as early as 2017 – putting in place a number of resources dedicated to upcoming negotiations with the motorcycle-maker, including negotiation preparation training for the Bargaining Committee , a comprehensive communications plan, dedicated staff members from the IAM Grand Lodge, and meetings with IAM Local and District leadership, economists and attorneys.

“We’re not going to get a good contract – we’re going to take a good contract,” said Gruber. “My commitment to you is whatever happened seven years ago, we’re moving forward. You have my full commitment with any resource you need, to put together a good and successful agreement with this company.”

The IAM visit follows a May 2017 announcement of the company’s plans to open a production facility in Thailand. Martinez characterized the announcement as a “slap in the face to U.S. workers who built an American icon.”

Read “Machinists Union Outraged at Harley Davidson’s Plans to Expand in Asia”

The visit also comes on the heels of a September 2017 IAM joint statement with USW, where Martinez along with USW International President Leo Gerard announced, on behalf of their respective memberships, the unions’ decision to withdraw from a two-decades old partnership agreement with the company.

Read “IAM and USW Announce Termination of Partnership Agreement with Harley Davidson”

Read International President Martinez’s letter to all Harley-Davidson employees

“The restraints are off of us,” said Martinez. “Getting rid of the partnership agreement unleashes you from any other commitments you had before. We’re on new ground. The Committee is free to submit whatever proposals the membership believes is necessary to bring pride and integrity back to what was once a true ‘Made in America’ icon.”

Following the meeting, Martinez and Gruber toured the Kansas City facility where they received a first-hand look at how Harley-Davidson products are made in the U.S.

In addition to meeting with IAM members in the plant, Martinez and Gruber also met with members of the Harley-Davidson Joint Union Council, a panel made up of IAM and USW leadership from four locations, including Tomahawk, WI, represented by the USW. The Council was put together in 2013 in response to unfair contracts of the past and meets approximately four times a year to discuss union issues and share best practices.

“Solidarity – both within each bargaining unit and across the multiple locations – will be key this negotiation,” said IAM Collective Bargaining Director Craig Norman, who will be leading negotiations on behalf of the IAM. “That’s what this Council is about – to show solidarity when addressing items that are common to each Local at each facility.  Our cooperation and alignment are imperative to our membership. The fight starts at the ground level. No longer will the company be able to divide and pit one location against another. We’re in this together.”

Click here to see photos from Martinez and Gruber’s visit


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Breaking Faith: Outsourcing and the Damage Done to our Communities

After months of investigations across the nation and across the border in Mexico, Interfaith Worker Justice released a report detailing how Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International, breaks faith with working people and their communities as they outsource good-paying jobs to communities where they can get away with paying just a dollar an hour.

The report finds that since Mondelez International took control of Nabisco and the iconic Oreo brand, it has treated its working people like any other commodity that go into making its products. Most recently, the company moved 600 jobs from its iconic Nabisco location on Chicago’s southwest side when workers would not take a 60 percent cut in wages and benefits.

Read the report .

“Nabisco’s actions represent a full-on assault on the middle class,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “The time has come for the U.S. and Canada to reinvest in our communities.”

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