USW Applauds Sen. Durbin for Hearing on Voter ID Law

PITTSBURGH–(ENEWSPF)–September 8, 2011.  The United Steelworkers (USW) applauded Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) announcement that he will chair a Congressional hearing on Thurs., Sept. 8 to assess the potential impact of new voting laws passed by several states.

These laws will reduce the number of early voting days, require voters to show photo identification and make it harder for unions or other organizations to register voters. The hearing will review evidence that shows how tens of thousands of elderly, disabled, minority, young and low-income Americans stand to become disenfranchised as a result.

“Disenfranchising those who can least afford it while securing tax breaks for the very wealthy and for corporations speaks ill for the right-wing agenda being pushed by Republican leaders in Congress and the state capitols,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “They’ve trying to take away our right to organize and bargain collectively while shipping millions of our jobs to China, while sticking us with more costs.”

“While many Americans have been squeezed out of our homes and into foreclosure, it’s disgusting now to see them now attacking the very right Americans hold most sacred – the right to vote,” Gerard said.

USW International Vice President Fred Redmond said the union will mobilize workers across the country to ensure that eligible voters have access to the polls and that their vote counts.

“Americans will not abide such obviously politically motivated attacks on basic human rights and freedoms essential for the survival of our democracy,” Redmond said. “We should be focusing on how to get more people to the polls instead of fewer.”

“The problem has never been that too many people vote,” he said, “so it is my hope that the facts and evidence brought to light at the hearing show how damaging these new requirements will be, especially for many of those whose interests are already under-represented at the local, state and federal levels.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America in a wide variety of industries and the public and private sectors.