Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Off-Shorers Should Shut Up

Whirlpool, the big appliance manufacturer, stressed in recent years its preference to make it in America.  

In 2013, it actually moved dishwasher manufacturing jobs back to the United States from Mexico. The next year, it announced a $40 million investment in its Greenville, Ohio KitchenAid plant, adding 400 jobs. Last year, Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig said the company would spend another $40 million to expand its Findlay, Ohio dishwasher plant, adding 50 jobs and raising to $1 billion its investment in U.S. manufacturing since 2010

Last week, Intel announced it would spend $7 billion to upgrade an Arizona facility and employ 3,000 people to fabricate advanced computer wafers – meaning its CEO Brian Krzanich chose the United States over Ireland, Israel and China where Intel already produces silicon wafers.

So it makes sense that Fettig and Krzanich serve on President Donald Trump’s new Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. The initiative is supposed to help the president promote U.S. job and manufacturing growth.

Curiously, though, named to that same 28-member committee are at least seven CEOs who have recently – and sometimes infamously – offshored manufacturing and jobs. They include Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, the corporation that is shipping Indiana jobs from its Carrier subsidiary to Mexico.

The performance of the manufacturing council is crucial to large swaths of workers who voted for President Trump based on his promises to stop unfair trade and resurrect American manufacturing. In his inauguration speech, the president told those voters that he would enact “America first” policies. It is no “America first” policy to send jobs from two profitable Carrier plants in Indiana to Mexico for the sole purpose of making extra bucks. That kind of offshoring exhibits a greed first mindset. The CEOs who have pursued that philosophy should shut up and take advice from the committee’s American job creators.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch wanted to be able to put factories on barges and ship them, on a corporate whim, to countries where it was cheaper to operate.

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Lawmakers, Unions, Challenge Trump To Rewrite NAFTA In Favor Of Workers

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Backed by a wide array of unions, led by the Steelworkers, the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO, a group of House Democrats formally challenged Republican President Donald Trump to completely rewrite NAFTA, the controversial 23-year-old U.S.-Canada-Mexico “free trade” pact, in favor of workers, not multinational corporations.

In a non-binding resolution introduced Feb. 16, the legislators, led by Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., laid out the pro-worker principles any new NAFTA should uphold. By and large, they repeat the pro-worker principles the same group – plus AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – unveiled for a new NAFTA on Jan. 3.

Those include abolition of the secret trade court, called the Investor State Dispute System, now in NAFTA and other trade pacts, and writing strong enforceable labor rights into a new NAFTA’s text, and enforcing them.

They also include keeping Buy America provisions free from company challenges, putting in strong rules of origin for imported cars and parts, and requiring foreign trucks to comply with U.S. truck safety and driver licensing laws.

That last requirement would restrict creaky Mexican trucks and ill-trained, tired drivers to within 20 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, a key cause of the Teamsters. NAFTA lets Mexican trucks roll nationwide.

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A New Rationalization for Riches

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Cheerleaders for concentrated wealth have a new reason to cheer. They have chanced upon a fresh rationalization for inequality.

This new rationalization comes from an unlikely source, a sober and thoughtful just-published book from a distinguished historian and classicist, Stanford’s Walter Scheidel.

In The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, Scheidel builds upon his considerable academic expertise on the ancient world and explores how and when societies have actually become less unequal. In the process, he has brought forth a book that could hardly be more profoundly depressing.

Scheidel’s basic thesis: Down through history, only “massive and violent disruptions of the established order” have generated “big equalizing moments.”

“It is almost universally true,” he advises, “that violence has been necessary to ensure the redistribution of wealth at any point in time.”

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How Should We Share the Wealth Created by Productivity Increases?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, AAM

Are robots coming for America’s jobs?

This is a topic we explored last week on our blog, when we reviewed new research from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) that concluded: No. Using instances of industrial automation to explain American manufacturing job loss is to see the forest, but not the trees. The real reason we lost those jobs was an explosion in trade with a mercantilist China.

This and other details of this ITIF report are explored in the latest edition of the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s (AAM) snazzy new podcast, The Manufacturing Report. AAM President Scott Paul talks to the report’s author, Adams Nager from ITIF, about his conclusions:

It’s a quick, informative interview, in which Nager addresses a narrative that has been used to explain away the disenfranchisement of millions of American workers.

But once we remove that roadblock to what’s really happened to manufacturing jobs, the question becomes what to do about it.

Well! The New York Times editorial board noticed the robot fallacy, too, and took that question on. Increased productivity is nothing new, it writes. What’s new is that our government isn’t creating policies that respond to the changing nature of work in 2017, and that we’re all getting a share of the wealth that this increased productivity creates.

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The ‘Lower the Tax Rate to Boost Businesses’ Competitiveness Scam

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Now that Republicans are running Congress and the executive branch, they’re planning to “reform” (cut) corporate taxes (again). This time they using the subterfuge of “this will make companies more competitive.” What does that mean? Of course, under Republicans, it really means one and only one thing: cutting taxes on the rich — rich people.

The top corporate tax rate used to be 52 percent. Under President Ronald Reagan it was 46 percent. Then Congress “reformed” corporate taxes and dropped the rate to just 35 percent. (Except for giant, multinational corporations. They were handed a “deferral” break that cut their taxes to zero.)

Corporations used to shoulder 32 percent of the total tax burden. Now they shoulder only 10 percent of the burden — a drop of two-thirds. The difference has been made up from cuts to infrastructure, schools, health care, scientific research and all the things our government does to make our lives better — and to help our economy prosper over the long term.

That’s the trade-off when taxes are cut. It means our government has to cut the things it does to make all of our lives better.

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Union Matters

ACA Repeal Would Cost More than Just People’s Health

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) this week released an interactive map that you can use to see how many jobs would be lost in your state if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. Because aside from 29.8 million people across the nation losing their health coverage, 1.2 million jobs would be lost too.

The ACA has helped millions of Americans afford their care. Without that support, these people will have less money to spend on things like food and rent. When you connect the dots, you see that “fewer dollars spent at grocery stores and other businesses means 1.2 million jobs would be lost.”

According to the EPI map, some of the hardest hit states that would suffer the most job losses are Kentucky, West Virginia, and New Mexico.

Kentucky is also one of the many states embroiled in tense emotions in regards to Obamacare with Sen. Mitch McConnell fully supporting its repeal. Citizens have been confronting the senator fiercely and speaking out about the devastating effects the repeal would have on their health, their families, and their communities.

Just like Trump’s new deportation rules could cost the economy trillions, nixing the ACA could do the same thing and have the same overwhelming economic impact.

 

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The Real Job Thieves

The Real Job Thieves