Archive for August 9, 2010
Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum
Thursday from 7:00-800 pm, join us for the fusion of politics
and civility at 98.3 WOW-FM and
on-line at 983wowfm.com.
Call (515) 312-0983 or (866) 908-TALK to participate in the
conversation, and if you miss the show, you can hear it as a podcast.
Monday, we talk about why it's important to support Iowa's system of selecting judges based on merit, thus minimizing the influence of politics and money. Bob Vander Plaats, on the other hand, wants to throw out judges who supported the 2009 marriage equality decision, saying “I believe this election to unseat these three justices may be, if not one of the most, the most important campaign and election in our country” (DM Reg). Wow! That degree of self-importance would make even Jonathan Narcisse blush.
Tuesday, Rev. Philip Wheaton joins us in our studio, all the way from Washington, DC. Philip's an Episcopal priest, author and activist. He'll talk about America's wars in the Middle East, why we need to end them, and how it all boils down to one three-letter word: oil.
Wednesday, Ed Woolsey and David Osterberg are our guests as we discuss energy policy and their recent European Green Bike Tour. What is Slovenia doing with solar energy? How is that relevant to Iowa? And what has the European Union done to help move member countries such as Slovenia forward toward greater use of renewable fuels?
Thursday, we broadcast live from DMACC Urban Campus, 1100 7th St (rooms 124 & 126) with Primary Health Care's Health & Housing Matters forum. It's from 6:30-8:00 pm and is free and open to the public. As part of National Health Centers Week, we'll recognize the service and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Health Centers in providing affordable, high quality, cost-effective health care, and we'll talk with several local experts working on the front lines. You're welcome to join us, and we'll take questions and comments from audience members and from those listening on the radio and online.
Our Thursday give-away is, well, rather unique. Perhaps you missed it (Ed was, in fact, actually an eye witness!), but Iowa's newest sports wunderkind, Jon Krieg, appears to have tied a world disc golf record, sinking two consecutive aces. Despite the mounds of accolades being heaped upon him by presidents and prime ministers across the globe, Jon has graciously agreed to treat one lucky Fallon Forum caller to a private lunch. Really, how do you put a price tag on that? This could be our highest-value give-away yet!
Ed and Lynn Fallon
Labor Update: Quad City Federation of Labor Opposes Korean Free Trade Agreement
by Tracy Kurowski
Last week, Jerry Messer, President, Quad City Federation of Labor, and over 40 labor leaders expressed disagreement with Bobby Schilling, Republican opponent to Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL-17th), for his support of the Korean Free Trade Agreement. Link to video of this event
On Monday, August 2nd, Bobby Schilling wrote an editorial to the Rock Island Argus explaining his support for the South Korea Free Trade Agreement. The Labor community in the Quad Cities wishes to highlight why we feel Mr. Schilling is wrong.
The proposed trade pact is wrong for Illinois because it would allow a massive flow of highly technical industries from Korea into the United States with few opportunities for reciprocal export of U.S. products to Korea. In its current form, the net result will likely further job losses in segments of an industry critical to our area.
The current framework for the South Korea Free Trade Agreement was negotiated by the Bush administration, whose record on the economy is abysmal. We strenuously object to the tariff schedule proposed by the Korean government. We take great exception to the fact that the tariff phase-out schedules for highly technical industrial products are nonreciprocal, providing Korea with a much more generous tariff elimination schedule than what is afforded U.S. producers and exporters. Since the purpose of this agreement is to provide fair and equitable treatment to all parties, the United States simply cannot accept an agreement that places U.S. manufacturers and workers at such a blatant disadvantage. Bobby Schilling may call this “free trade” when one party imposes tariffs on imports and the other party does not, but working families call it unfair.
Korea exported 476,833 cars to the United States in 2009 while U.S. carmakers sold only 5,878 in Korea. As a result, our automotive trade deficit with Korea now stands at $7.8 billion. In addition, Korea has maintained unfair restrictions on American beef, an insult to our nation's farmers. This may seem fair to Bobby Schilling, but it doesn’t seem fair to working families.
The current trade framework will give goods of Korean origin duty-free entry into the U.S. market, while U.S. exports to Korea will still be subject to a 10 percent value added tax. It is misleading for U.S. officials to speak of zero-for-zero duty reductions when the U.S. imposes no comparable border tax on imports from Korea. Remedying this inequity should be part of any Korean trade agreement.
Mr. Schilling referenced “South Korea’s strong unions” in his editorial. We would point out that dozens of trade unionists are serving time behind bars – in some cases for years – for the exercise of trade union rights, including the organization of strikes and/or demonstrations. The use of irregular workers, or temporary workers, in South Korea is alarmingly high. 55% of the workforce consists of these temporary workers. This may be sound economics to Bobby Schilling, but it is not to us.
In his editorial, Bobby Schilling chastised Congressman Hare for not knowing his district and doing what is best for his district in opposing free trade. We would remind Bobby Schilling that in 2009 Seaford Clothing Company based in Rock Island, closed its doors, leaving 350 people without a job here. Eventually, the company that bought Seaford out, Emerisque, shipped those jobs to India. Also in 2009, BOMAG Americas, Inc. in Kewanee outsourced their jobs, leaving 133 people without employment. If this is Schillingnomics, we don’t want it.
Free trade agreements must apply the same rules to both parties. To accept an agreement that imposes a nonreciprocal tariff schedule violates the most basic concept of free trade.
Jerry Messer, President, Quad City Federation of Labor.
The QCFL serves Scott, Muscatine and Louisa Counties in Iowa
~Tracy Kurowski has been active in
the labor movement for ten years, first as a member of AFSCME 3506, when
she taught adult education classes at the City Colleges of Chicago. She
moved to the Quad Cities in 2007 where she worked as political
coordinator with the Quad City Federation of Labor, and as a caseworker
for Congressman Bruce Braley from 2007 – 2009.
Tracy Kurowski writes a labor update every Monday on Blog for