WASHINGTON — AFL-CIO working families will rally at gas stations in more than 25 cities across the country this week to protest record-high gas prices.Gas prices reached a national average of $4 a gallon over the weekend. The first protest is Monday in Indianapolis.
“Participants will call on Senator John McCain and President George W. Bush to denounce their support of Big Oil, which has taken in record profits at the expense of working people who are struggling to afford the prices at the pump,” a AFL-CIO press release stated.
Union members, holding signs that say Bush & McCain Love Big Oil,” will also decry McCain’s corporate tax cut proposal that would give the five largest oil companies $3.8 billion in tax breaks.
“Record gas prices are choking off the American Dream for millions of working families,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “When gas costs $4 a gallon, it defies logic that President Bush and Sen. McCain continue to support massive tax giveaways for Big Oil, while offering no real path to energy independence. “Are Bush and McCain so dangerously out of touch that they think the answer to the gas price crisis is billions more in tax breaks to ExxonMobil?”
This week’s rallies will include working people in cities throughout the county who will give a detailed report on the gas crisis to passersby, highlighting Bush’s and McCain’s record in support of Big Oil. Most events will take place at gas stations in the late afternoon or early evening, times when many people are filling up their tanks.
A partial list of cities that will hold events include:
* Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio
* Phoenix, Ariz.
* Denver, Colo.
* Windsor Locks, Conn.
* Indianapolis, Ind.
* Louisville, Ky.
* Bangor, Maine
* Lansing, Mich.
* Duluth, Minn.
* St. Louis and Bridgeton, Mo.
* Nashua, N.H.
* Albuquerque, N.M.
* Fayetteville, N.C.
* Pemberton, N.J.
* Philadelphia, Penn.
* Madison, Wis.
According to the press release, AFl-CIO working families at the rally will highlight the oil industry’s massive profits under President Bush, which top $525 billion as prices have skyrocketed from $1.47 a gallon when Bush took office to a historic high of $4 a gallon today.
The press release states, “Union members will also attempt to raise awareness about McCain’s record in support of the oil industry’s interests and highlight his lack of empathy for working families who are struggling. In addition to proposing massive tax giveaways for Big Oil, McCain has repeatedly voted to protect the oil industry’s profits, even as they’re squeezing working families at the pump.
“McCain voted against curtailing oil companies’ windfall profits to give working families a tax cut in 2005, and he skipped a vote in 2007 that would have repealed tax breaks for Big Oil. Despite the economic woes facing working families, McCain asserted again last week that he believes the fundamentals of the economy are very strong.”
Gas prices passing $4 a gallon is just the latest in a series of bad economic news. Last week, it was announced that unemployment rose sharply to 5.5 percent and the economy shed jobs for the fifth month in a row in May.
“Working people are getting battered in today’s economy, and they’re fed up with business as usual,” Sweeney said. “It’s more than the gas prices. The economy is bleeding jobs and people’s stagnant paychecks can’t cover the grocery and housing bills. Record gas prices are part of a much larger problem — leaders like Bush and McCain have handed the reins of the economy over to Big Oil and other corporate interests whose only concern is maximizing their own profit margins.”