IAM 751 urges support for bank that creates jobs
SEATTLE — Machinists Union District Lodge 751 continues to support the Export-Import Bank, the American agency that provides loan guarantees to foreign companies to help them buy American-made products — like Boeing jets.
The Export-Import Bank is under attack by Tea Party extremists in Congress, who claim that the U.S. government has no business helping companies buy American products — even though the program does not cost U.S. citizens a cent. In fact, over the past five years the bank generated more than $2 billion in fees paid by foreign companies — money that went to the Treasury Department to pay other government bills.
The bank’s charter expires on Sept. 30, which means it will cease to exist unless Congress acts before then. District 751 is asking members to contact their Congressional representatives right away to ask for their support for the bank.
“We’ve come to a pretty sad place in our nation when members of one party in Congress put ideological purity ahead of our shared prosperity,” said IAM 751 Legislative Director Larry Brown. “The Export-Import Bank helps companies like Boeing sell products overseas, and that creates good-paying jobs for us and for millions of other working Americans.”
What the bank does, essentially, is co-sign for loans that foreign companies need to make major purchases of American products. That makes it easier for them to get financing.
For example, the 2012 purchase of 230 737s by Lion Air of Indonesia — Boeing’s biggest sale ever — was made possible by Export-Import Bank guarantees.
All industrial nations have similar loan-support programs, but most are larger. The Chinese government, for example, provides U.S. and European companies with 11 times as much support to help them buy products made in China.
In June, a delegation of Machinists Union members employed by Harley-Davidson attended a Congressional hearing on the future of the Export-Import Bank and met with U.S. Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) who has introduced legislation that would renew the bank’s charter.
Brown noted that the bank has support from both unions and corporate interests, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which rarely see eye-to-eye on issues.
“This should be a no-brainer,” he said. “Labor supports it and and Corporate America supports it, and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. But some Red State conservatives who got themselves elected by promising to shrink government have decided to kill this agency, and if it helps them get re-elected, they don’t care how many American jobs they destroy in the process.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 33,000 working men and women at 51 employers across Washington and California.
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