(Prepared for the Union Craftsman)
We have an atomic bomb hanging over us. It is the "Joint Deficit Reduction Committee," in Congress, better known as the "Super Congress." Twelve congresspersons have been given the power to propose $1.2 TRILLION in new cuts by November 23. After that, their proposal "fast tracks" through both houses of congress before December 23. If they fail, the same $1.2 TRILLION comes in the form of across-the-board cuts, so don't even imagine that they will fail to take advantage of the power given them.
The August unemployment figures released on September 2 showed that government layoffs are pushing the figures upward. The new federal cuts, far larger than the state and local government cuts causing the August layoffs, will hit us even harder! We have to do everything we can to urge congress to keep those cuts away from working people and retirees. I attended the September conference of the Alliance for Retired Americans (www.retiredamericans.org) where they emphasized that influencing the "Super Congress" has to be our top legislative priority.
Texans have a special role to play, because one of the two Co-Chairs of the "Super Congress" is Representative Jeb Hensarling of District 5 in Lake Highlands, East Dallas, Mesquite, and points southeastward. He should be in his district when they all take a recess September 29-October 5. Everyone should be in touch with their Congressperson and, additionally, with Mr Hensarling. His phone number: is 202-225-3484, fax number is 202-226-4888, web page is http://hensarling.house.gov/, and he's RepHensarling on twitter. If you aren't sure how to contact someone, check our web site, www.labordallas.org, and click "contact politicians."
To help motivate people, we are seeking speaking opportunities in and around District 5. Our own "Town Hall" meeting will be in UFCW 540's hall at 11041 Garland Rd, Dallas 75218, at 2 PM Thursday September 29, the first day of the recess. Former Texas AFL-CIO President Emmett Sheppard will be speaking and encouraging others to speak out.
I'll be the guest at 6 PM on Saturday, October 1, for the "Colleges of Complexes" weekly forum at Barbec‘s Restaurant, 8949 Garland Road. Public is invited but I think they ask for a $3 donation. I will also speak at UAW Local 870's retiree reunion luncheon at the Mesquite Golden Corral, but they expect a full house.
New unemployment figures are due October 7, so we'll be out in front of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 540 Griffin at Young in Downtown Dallas, at 11:30 AM as usual. We have to do something!
As it happens, national AFL-CIO has called for a week of activities in early October, so let's get moving!