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September 04, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-04

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i

LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 4, 1996 - 5

-Workers strike
against state

Kemp promises
secunty in tax cut

teachers'
LANSING (AP) -Unionized work-
ers of the Michigan Education
Association went on strike yesterday,
concerned they'd have to pay more in
pension contributions and health insur-
ance deductibles under a proposed con-
tract.
"It's the classic, 'Let's attack the
employees' benefits and see if we can
t a reduction;" said Stan Burnell,
who represents one of five unions in the
United Staff Organization negotiating
with the MEA, the state's largest teach-
ers union.
"We do not think this represents the

spirit of the MEA, or the members of
the MEA."
USO members
held a news con-
ference inI WO
*ansing yester-
day to explain the nice ifW
reasons for the
strike, which had contr
affects about 560
employees at bagainin;
regional MEA
offices around dificult H
the state and at
the MEA's East -
Lansing head- M EA
rters.
Not all unions negotiating' with the
MEA are on strike. The 29-member
Michigan Executive Directors
Association reached a tentative agree-
ment with the MEA early yesterday
morning, according to - MEA
spokesperson Dawn Cooper. And mar-
keting employees at MEA Financial
Services have so far decided to keep
bargaining rather than strike.
That leaves three unions on strike:
he MEA Professional Staff
Association, which represents most of
the MEA employees who negotiate
teacher contracts; the MESSA
Professional Staff Association, which
bargains on teachers' health insurance
and handles members' health insurance
claims; and Associate Staff Employees,
who handle clerical and other duties at
MEA headquarters.
The three units picketed MEA head-
uarters yesterday and said they were
telling MEA members to call MEA
President Julius Maddox to urge him to

19
e:

union
settle the contract.
"The Michigan Education
Association, which has fought for the
goals, ideals and principles of fairness
and equity in member contracts, does
not believe in those same goals, ideals
and principles for its own employees;"
said Tom Greene, president of the strik-
ing workers.
"It is unthinkable that an organiza-
tion that prides itself on fighting attacks
on workers' rights, benefits, contract
rollbacks and fair treatment would
stoop to ... attacking its own workers."
Cooper said it's unusual for an orga-
nization that represents union workers
to have its own staff on strike. But she
said it's not espe-
cially odd.
d b "It would be
nice if we never
never had contract bar-
gaining difficul-
Ic ties. But it isn't
the kind of thing
r that's terribly
upsetting," she
, said. "We just
want to get it set-
Dawn Cooper tied."
spokesperson A voice recod-
ing at the MEA
explained that the workers were on
strike and asked callers to be patient
until a nonstriking employee could
answer the phone.
No talks were scheduled as of late
yesterday afternoon between the strik-
ing employees and MEA. Maddox said
the MEA had offered to extend the con-
tract for a month while negotiations
continued, but the unions rejected the
offer.
The unions say that the MEA has
proposed rolling back many provision-
sin the current contract, including
deleting layoff protection and retiree
health insurance, reducing benefits for
members injured on the job, eliminat-
ing holiday pay and asking employees
to contribute 2.4 percent of their pay to
their pension - all without offering a
pay increase in the first year of the con-
tract.
"It would mean job insecurity, it
would mean economic deprivation;"
Burnell said.

FRASER, Mich. (AP) - Tossing
footballs and sounding optimistic, vice
presidential nominee Jack Kemp told
plant workers that a Dole-Kemp tax
cut would lead them to economic secu-
rity.
"We believe we are the best friend
labor has had in a long time," Kemp
told 450 people yesterday at ISI
Automation's Fraser plant.
Kemp blamed taxes and regulation
for everything from hampering world
trade to keeping workers from achiev-
ing greater wealth.
"I don't think it's right it takes two
breadwinners to do what used to take
one," Kemp said, saying a proposed
15-percent tax cut would change that.
He called Democrats' plan to target
tax breaks "elitist" because people
would lose breaks as they move to
upper incomes. He dismissed claims
that the tax cut would only aid upper
classes.
"Look, the rich are already rich,"
Kemp said. "It's the poor who never
get a chance to get rich."
The Republican's mid-day speech
marked his second straight day of cam-
paigning in the heart of labor country
- a critical presidential swing state.
Later yesterday, Kemp continued his
seven-day, 12-state swing by travelling
to Chicago and Cincinnati.
Republican presidential nominee

Bob Dole will be Dearborn today to
attend a town hall-style meeting at
National Tech Team, Inc.
Earlier, Kemp briefly attended an
ISI training session and then toured the
plant that produces automation prod-
ucts for automotive, appliance and
other industries. He was accompanied
by his wife, Joanne, Doug Blatt, ISI
chief executive and Gov. John Engler,
among others.
During the tour a robotic arm raised
a sign that said "15%, a reference to
the tax cut plan. "Get a picture of this
so Bob Dole can see it, too," Kemp
said posing, before cameras.
He gave part of his speech in what
he said was "Geraldo Rivera" style, as
he walked among the crowd on a
raised platform with a wireless micro-
phone. He also accepted a football
"hand-off" from a ISI robotic arm and
threw several footballs into the audi-
ence while a recording of the Steve
Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle"
blared over the ound system..
Kemp paid tribute during his speech
to men and women carrying out a lim-
ited military strike in Iraq. He called
the mission "worthwhile." He said
President Clinton should demand Iraqi
withdrawal from Kurdish territories,
the release of Kurdish prisoners and
the establishment of United Nations
weapons sanctions.

. JOSH BIGGs/Daily
Unveiling the wheelJ
Art Beyerling of Cadillac, Mich. uncovers a ferris wheel after yesterday's
rains in Saline at the Saline Fair.

I

Dole to stump 1n
Dearborn today

PMD ADY[1S'fl
OCTOBER GRE
FOCUSED PREPARATION

By Stephanie Jo Klein
Daily Staff Reporter
Bob Dole's fight on the presidential
campaign trail is scheduled to continue
in Michigan this evening as he hits
Dearborn with an agenda focused on
business and the economy.
Dole is slated to tour the facilities of
National Tech Team, Inc., a local corpo-
ration, along with Gov. John Engler,
Secretary of State Candace Miller and
once-rival Lamar Alexander at 5:45
p.m. At 6 p.m., they will sit down with
local residents and employees of the
company for an informal business
meeting.
The hour-long round table is a part of
Dole's ongoing string of "Listening to

America" discussions.
Susan Shafer, Dole's Michigan press
director, said National Tech Team,
whose motto is "Ideas at work,
Solutions that last," exemplifies Dole's
hopes for the American job market.
"They hired laid-off auto workers
and trained them on their computers,"
Shafer said. "It's one of the fastest
growing companies in Michigan, if not
America."
Inez Sanzeri, a Dole campaign work-
er, said the company's employment fig-
ures jumped from 200 to 1,100 in the
last decade. National Tech Team, Inc.
trains corporations such as Price
Waterhouse to create and customize in-
house computer networks.

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MICHIGAN
Continued from Page ±
Joe Fitzsimmons, Republican House
candidate, said theBob Dole/Jack Kemp
mpaign sees Michigan as "critical."
"They are very interested, very con-
cerned about this state;" he said.
Fitzsimmons said this concern from
both sides will bring the Democratic and
Republican tickets to Michigan in the
coming months. Kemp visited the state
yesterday and Monday, and Dole is
scheduled to speak in Dearborn today.
Officials outside of the state also say
Michigan will play an integral role in
the presidential election.
"We're going to see (Dole) a lot,"
ngler said. "I want him to frame issues
specifically for Michigan voters."
Clinton has already begun his focus
on the state, spending two days in
Michigan last week on his way to
Chicago as part of a whistle-stop train
tour.
"West Michigan is now Clintor'
country;' said Levin, who accompanied
Clinton on the later half of his
*4ichigan train tour.
"If we don't carry Michigan, we're
going to have a hard time winning
nationally," said Sen. Christopher Dodd
(D-Conn.), chair of the DNC.
Mark Brewer, chair of the Michigan
Democratic party, said he thinks
Democrats went after Michigan votes
by having the state's officials play
major roles in the national convention.
"There are hundreds of people here
eom Michigan just to see them speak"
Brewer said in Chicago last week.
Michigan's industrial history will
most likely draw out the candidates' eco-
nomic plans and records. Some officials
say voters may compare the economic
policies of Clinton and Engler over the
past four years to determine how each
party would impact the state's economy.
In an interview in Chicago, Gene
Sperling, economic adviser to the pres-
MSA
Continued from Page 1.
members, especially new members, are
learning to let party lines guide elec-

ident and an Ann Arbor native, said that
Clinton's economic plan will be sensi-
tive to the job transitions workers in
Michigan and across the country are
encountering. Sperling said the govern-
ment must focus on allowing greater
health care and pension portability and
teaching workers to improve and devel-
op skills on the job.
Credit for economic growth in
Detroit and throughout Michigan
should go to Clinton, not the
Republicans, Archer said.
"(Engler's) been able to cut taxes 21
times because Bill Clinton has put
together a national economy that has

caused our economy to be high enough
that he could cut taxes," Archer said.
Fitzsimmons said that although
Engler's popularity is an asset to the
Republican campaign, the voters will
ultimately make their decisions based
on the ideas of the candidates.
"It will come down to who the people
of Michigan want to carry them into the
21st century," Fitzsimmons said.
Fitzsimmons said the national race
will affect the state election only if one
side wins significantly.
"If either one side wins substantially
in the state, that's going to affect them
negatively or positively," he said.

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