A NEW ‘ATTAC’ ON TRADE

Byline: Joanna Ramey

WASHINGTON — Leaders of the new textile lobbying coalition, agitating to stabilize textile industry employment and block import-expanding legislation, conclude two days of meetings today with Capitol Hill lawmakers from textile and apparel-producing states.
The coalition, which has been named the American Textile Trade Action Coalition, isn’t wasting time building its political base, although the group won’t officially launch until later this month.
The founders of ATTAC — Roger Milliken, chairman and chief executive officer of Milliken & Co., George Shuster, chairman and ceo of Cranston Print Works, and Bruce Raynor, president of apparel and textile union UNITE — were scheduled to dine last night with House lawmakers who side with the coalition’s mission. They included House Textile Caucus chairman Howard Coble (R., N.C.) and caucus member Charles Norwood (R., Ga.), according to sources familiar with the meeting.
In morning meetings today, ATTAC’s co-chairmen are scheduled to meet with textile-state senators, including industry loyalists Fritz Hollings (D., S.C.) and Jesse Helms (R., N.C.). Until the coalition’s public unveiling, ATTAC organizers won’t comment on the number or names of members.
According to a letter sent to potential ATTAC members, the coalition’s mission “is to establish trade policy and other measures necessary for the U.S. fiber, textile and apparel industry to stabilize and grow, thereby preserving and creating critical American manufacturing jobs.” In addition to beating back trade legislation, ATTAC also plans to focus on insuring the administration enforces existing trade pacts.
ATTAC’s dues “will be set modestly so as to maximize participation,” the memo said. The fee is set at $15 per worker for firms and $15 apiece for “concerned citizens.” The memo said UNITE has pledged an initial contribution of $50,000 toward ATTAC’s start-up budget of $500,000 to $600,000.

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