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Hoeffel Offers Concern, Support For Displaced Workers

Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA


Says Specter's Support for Bush-Cheney Trade Policies Puts U.S. Workers and Companies at Disadvantage

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Hoeffel today stood with workers and local leaders to denounce Bush-Cheney Administration trade policies supported by Sen. Arlen Specter that continue to put U.S. workers and companies at a disadvantage. This follows the recent announcement that Schott Glass Technologies in Duryea is laying off 50 workers and disappointing news that more Pennsylvanians have lost manufacturing jobs and are unemployed.

"Once again, families in Northeast Pennsylvania are feeling the sting of failed economic policies," Hoeffel said. "Only weeks after 670 Techneglas employees in Pittston lost their jobs and Owens Corning in Hazleton announced it was shutting its doors, another company is sending good jobs overseas. Our hearts go out to the workers and their families who will be affected by this announcement."

"Right now, we have to be sure they receive the help they need to get through these difficult times," Hoeffel continued. "But we must also change direction in Washington to ensure that American workers can compete on a level playing field and American companies have incentives for keeping jobs at home rather than moving them abroad.

"Others have stood up to the radical Bush-Cheney agenda that's hurt working families and even encouraged U.S. corporations to outsource jobs, but not Arlen Specter. He even voted this March to keep the tax loophole that encourages U.S. companies to create jobs off-shore. I want to end it."

Hoeffel pointed out that when the Bush administration reversed steel tariffs 18 months early, Specter did not oppose it, and that Specter voted for NAFTA and GATT - trade treaties Hoeffel says are in need of tougher labor and environmental standards. Hoeffel also said that he opposed "fast track" authority while Specter voted for it.

"These lost jobs aren't just statistics, they're people with families and mortgages," said Trina Moss, who worked for 25 years at Techneglas until she was laid off last month. "We need leadership that won't reward companies for making it profitable to give our jobs to workers in other countries. It isn't fair and it isn't right, and we urgently need real change in Pennsylvania and in Washington."

Late last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released disappointing new job numbers for Pennsylvania, which show an increase in lost manufacturing jobs and overall unemployed. Over the past four years, Bush-Cheney economic policies supported by Arlen Specter have resulted in over 161,000 manufacturing jobs lost, 351,000 Pennsylvanians unemployed and 330,000 more people without health insurance. Arlen Specter has, by his own accounts, voted with the Bush administration 89% of the time.

"The bottom line is, with Arlen Specter's support, the Bush-Cheney administration policies have shifted the tax burden to middle-class families while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans," Hoeffel said. "This administration has praised outsourcing and refused to enforce our trade agreements while American jobs are shipped overseas.

"John Kerry, John Edwards and I know that America can do better, and we want to strengthen and expand the middle class. We want to create good paying jobs by ending tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas and cutting taxes for 99 percent of taxpaying corporations. With your help, John Kerry, John Edwards and I will take America in a new direction."

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