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ATTAC, UNITE Part Ways

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The textile union UNITE and the manufacturers who comprise what had been the American Textile Trade Action Coalition (ATTAC) have had a parting of the ways because some companies the coalition wants to attract do not want to work with the union.

Last April under the leadership of Roger Milliken, Milliken & Company, and Bruce Raynor, president of the Union of Needletrades Industries and Textile Employees, ATTAC was formed as an alternative lobbying organization. It came about after Milliken and other were unhappy with the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), the industry's long-standing voice in Washington.

While both ATMI and ATTAC pursued the same general goal of trying to save textile and apparel manufacturing and jobs in the face of an ever-increasing wave of imports, they've had their policy differences along the way. The ATTAC coalition which now will be known as the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) reportedly has about 34 textile, chemical and furniture member companies. As the coalition tried to attract more members and broaden areas of operation, it became apparent that the unions and manufacturers wanted to go their separate ways.

Raynor said UNITE remains committed to the goals of the new organization and through the Industrial Union Council, he plans to work with AMTAC and other manufacturing industries and their workers to save jobs across the entire industrial base.The restructured coalition will attempt to recruit a broader range of manufacturing companies that have international trade problems, and put more emphasis the importance of saving manufacturing jobs in more industries. Coalition officials say US manufacturing has lost than 2 million jobs in the past two years.

As was the case with ATTAC, the new coalition will be represented by Augie Tantillo, a veteran Washington lobbyist, who also represents the National Textile Association. Milliken & Company also has a Washington office. 

March 2003




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