MTD Urges Oversight & Government Reform Committee to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Victims of Cyber Security Attacks

The Metal Trades Department has urged Representative Jason Chaffetz, Chair of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee, and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, to introduce, and pass, legislation directing the government to take immediate action regarding the recent cyber-security attack(s). Calling for the committee to protect federal employees, retirees, contractors and their families through bipartisan legislation that includes:

  1. Making credit monitoring permanent for all federal employees, and extend monitoring services to their spouses and children;
  2. Increase the loss coverage from $1 million to $3 million for any adverse consequence of the breach;
  3. Provide loss coverage retroactively for any losses incurred due to security lapses as far back as January, 2013;
  4. Block the use of credit scores as the sole basis for denying or revoking security clearances;
  5. Implement dual-factor authentication for all on-line/phone access to any federal employee databases (especially payroll and TSP) by the end of FY16 (and request emergency appropriations if need be), and;
  6. Direct the formation of a task force made up of the labor leaders (at least all NCR holders), agency heads or their designees, and IT security experts to come up with specific recommendations on how to mitigate any adverse consequences to employees and their agencies, as well as how to prevent future incidents.

[download id=”1269″]

June 3rd Call-In Day to De-Rail Fast Track!

From our friends at the IBB:

Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) is pushing to bring Fast Track legislation for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to a vote in the House. Please call your representative on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 888-804-8311 and urge them to vote NO on Fast Track.

Representative Ryan’s Fast Track bill has already passed in the Senate, and if approved by the House, would allow secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be rushed through Congress, with devastating consequences for jobs and wages for America’s working families.

As written, the TPP would force working Americans to compete with horribly-abused sweatshop workers overseas in countries like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is less than 60 cents an hour, and in Malaysia, where up to a third of workers in the countries export-oriented electronics industry are forced laborers — a euphemism for modern-day slaves.

Granting a Fast Track rubber-stamp for the TPP would accelerate a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions that nobody wins — except, of course, for big, transnational corporations that are eager to exploit labor abuses abroad to pad their obscene profits.

We need our elected officials looking out for us, not corporate elites. TAKE ACTION ON JUNE 3rd: please call your Congressperson at 888-804-8311 and urge them to vote NO on Fast Track.

The good news is that, together, we can win this fight. Literally thousands of organizations — representing the environmental, family farm, civil rights, consumer, Internet freedom, student and other movements — have united with labor in saying NO to Fast Track. We need your voice, too.

This really is the time for action. Fast Track proponents are trying to move quickly.

Tell Congress to Oppose the McCain Amendment to the Keystone Pipeline Bill

Senator John McCain recently proposed an amendment to the pending Keystone XL bill that would open up new loopholes in the Jones Act as a special favor to oil refiners and another slap at the U.S. maritime industry. McCain has been a persistent critic of the Jones Act and its limits on shipments by foreign-flagged or foreign-built ships.

McCain’s latest amendment would threaten national security by opening U.S. waterways to foreign vessels, jeopardizing jobs of American maritime workers who build, repair and sail U.S.-flagged vessels.

The Jones Act was enacted nearly a century ago to ensure that the U.S. could maintain a viable maritime industry. It restricts U.S. domestic trade to U.S.-built vessels flagged, owned and controlled by U.S. citizens.

Tell Congress to leave the Jones Act alone.

Contact Congress

For more information on the amendment visit the Maritime Trades Department Website:

  • http://maritimetrades.org

Download a fact sheet on the amendment (pdf)

HOUSE GOP MAJORITY BOUNCES DEM TRY TO AID LOW-WAGE WORKERS; LAWMAKERS OK BUY AMERICA LANGUAGE, REPORTERS' SHIELD MEASURE

WASHINGTON (PAI)–By a 196-211 margin, the GOP majority in the U.S. House rejected a Democratic attempt to aid low-wage workers.  All 186 voting House Democrats and 10 Republicans favored the move, which would have barred federal contracts to firms that violate minimum-wage and overtime-pay laws.  All the opponents were Republicans.

But not all pro-worker moves failed during the long debate on the night of May 29-30.  By voice vote, lawmakers reaffirmed “Buy America” language in federal law, offered by Rep. Allan Grayson, D-Fla.  And by a 225-183 margin, they approved a second Grayson amendment, inserting a federal “reporters shield law” into the money bill they debated.

Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., co-chairs of the House Progressive Caucus, tried to insert the ban on contracts to firms that steal wages from their workers.  All three moves came during debate on the money bill funding the State, Justice and Commerce Departments for the year starting Oct. 1. They lost when the majority questioned what their amendment actually said.  Ellison said the firms owe the workers at least $4 million.

Ellison and Grijalva were going to bat for low-wage workers who toil in restaurants in food courts in federal buildings, such as the Reagan Center in downtown Washington, at Union Station, at the Smithsonian Institution, and on various military bases nationwide.

For more than a year, those underpaid – and sometimes unpaid – fast-food workers whose firms had contracts at the facilities, have staged periodic 1-hour  walkouts demanding a living wage, longer hours and the right to organize without employer interference.

Their leaders, from the group Good Jobs Nation, recently met top Obama wage and hour enforcement officials to press their case against the fast-food firms.  In a prior response, Obama issued an executive order saying any fast-food firm signing a new contract with the feds must pay the workers at least $10.10 an hour.  His order doesn’t help workers right now.

Ellison and Grijalva tried to put the purchasing power of the federal government behind the cause of raising the workers’ wages.  They didn’t succeed.  “The federal government could lead the way by disqualifying contractors who practice wage theft, but House Republicans voted tonight against an amendment to do exactly that,” they said afterwards.

“No hardworking American should ever have to worry about whether her employer will refuse to pay her when she works overtime or take money out of her paycheck, especially if she works for a federal contractor,” Ellison told his colleagues during the floor debate.

“Right now, federal contractors who violate the Fair Labor Standards Act are still allowed to apply for contracts,” he continuing, saying the amendment denies contracts “to those who violate the Fair Labor Standards Act to deny workers the pay they earned.

“We may not agree on the minimum wage or we may not agree on a lot of other things,”

Ellison told the Republicans.  “But Americans on both sides of the aisle believe that a penny earned is a penny that must be paid.  Any time a contractor is found to have violated a

worker’s rights and is found to have been guilty of that, according to the law, that contractor should not benefit from the money in this particular bill.”

The shield law, a key cause of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, would let reporters protect their sources from Justice Department subpoenas – such as the subpoena which sent then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller to jail for 85 days during the controversy over who leaked a CIA operative’s name – in almost all cases.  The House voted for the shield, 225-183.

Reporters have been waiting for 42 years for a federal shield law, Grayson said.  His move would have barred the Justice Department from using money for such subpoenas.  But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., called Grayson’s amendment vague and said the issue of who it covers deserves more hearings and study.

“Journalists are in a quandary,” Grayson told his colleagues.  “The Constitution and the 1st Amendment provide for freedom of speech and of the press.  It is completely incongruous

to say we have freedom of the press, but the federal government can subpoena your sources and put them and you in prison – you, if you don’t comply.”

Ironically, three days later, the U.S. Supreme Court raised that possibility in the case of New York Times reporter James Risen, a Newspaper Guild member.  It said prosecutors could jail him for refusing to reveal a source.  That drew protests from TNG President Bernie Lunzer.

Grayson asserted that 49 of the 50 states have some form of reporter’s shield law, curbing prosecutorial zeal to subpoena journalists and force them to reveal their sources.  That  revelation threat, on the federal level, chills sources from exposing wrongdoing via the press, he noted.  The threat also lets prosecutors toss journalists in jail.

Grayson’s Buy America amendment would help prevent Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative from negotiating the principle away when talking with other governments about trade pacts.  Nobody spoke or voted against it.

Workers and their allies have been lobbying against giving the president – Obama and his successors – so-called “fast-track” trade authority to push legislation implementing trade pacts, without worker rights, through Congress on single up-or-down votes.  The votes would occur after little debate and with no changes allowed.

Grayson invoked the possibility of fast-track to convince his colleagues to let the USTR know the 80-year-old Buy America language must stand.

“Hard-earned American taxpayer dollars should be reused here at home.  They should be going back into our economy and putting Americans back to work. I would hate to see this fundamental principle of government procurement undermined in any way by any agreement now being negotiated by the Trade Representative or anybody else in this administration

or any future administration,” he explained.