Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Bargaining Power to the People

Bargaining Power to the People
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave workers a New Deal, raising wages and employment.

Earlier this month, in the sparsely populated Kentucky county that’s home to Bowling Green, officials voted to convert the place into a right-to-work (for less) sinkhole.

The county officials did it at the bidding of big corporations. They certainly didn’t do it for their Warren County constituents because employees in right-to-work (for less) states get smaller paychecks than those in states that support the right to unionize. They did it at the demand of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heritage Foundation, both of which are corporate owned and operated.

They did it despite the fact that there’s no evidence they have any legal authority to create an anti-union bastion on the county level, which means they’ve subjected the residents of Warren County to substantial costs for a legal battle that Warren is likely to lose.

Moving right-to-work (for less) from the state to the county level is the latest tactic in the relentless campaign by CEOs and corporations to reverse gains made by workers in the 1930s New Deal. With laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress slightly moved toward workers the lopsided balance of power that heavily favors corporations. Over the next several decades, the middle class thrived and income inequality decreased substantially. Now, however, income inequality is back up to the point where it was in the robber baron days because CEOs and corporations have stuck their fat thumbs back on the scale. 

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China’s Currency Manipulation “Sucks Wages Out Of Our Economy”

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

China’s Currency Manipulation “Sucks Wages Out Of Our Economy”

China’s currency manipulation and other illegal practices “suck wages out of our economy,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said during a press call Thursday, citing the figure of a direct loss of $37 billion in reduced wages in 2011 alone.

It “becomes difficult to do economic development at a local level when our country’s trade policies put us at severe disadvantage and suck wages out of our communities,” Ryan said during the release of a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), titled “China Trade, Outsourcing and Jobs.”

EPI’s Rob Scott, who co-authored the report with Will Kimball, explained on the call that between 2001 and 2013 the massive growth of our country’s trade deficit with China has cost us 3.2 million U.S. jobs, 2.4 million (three-fourths) of which were in manufacturing. This trade deficit with China accounted for two-thirds of all manufacturing jobs lost in this period. We had 600,000 jobs gained from exports to China and 3.8 million lost to imports.

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America’s 10 Greediest: The 2014 Edition

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

America’s 10 Greediest: The 2014 Edition

How has the United States become so unequal? We need to look for answers, first and foremost, in our society’s underlying economic and political realities, at the policies and practices that let wealth concentrate — at the top — so intensely.

But we also ought to look at people, the real-life flesh-and-blood characters who make decisions that privilege the few over the many. These greedy souls love the shadows. Let’s shine some light — on this year’s greediest of them all.

May the greed we spotlight here help inspire the rest of us to do as much as we can, in 2015, to make our world a much more equal place.

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ACLU's Voting Rights Ambassador Lewis Black Says It All

ACLU's Voting Rights Ambassador Lewis Black Says It All

Union Matters

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Almost as soon as it appeared that the Affordable Care Act had been accepted as a legitimate part of government services, along comes the political equivalent of Bruce in the movie Jaws.

It’s a case before the U.S. Supreme Court called King vs. Burwell, challenging the legality of tax credits offered through the federal health insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov.

The five conservative Justices of the Supreme Court will control the fate of Obamacare. If their ruling eliminates tax credits offered through HealthCare.gov, enrollees in 34 states without state exchanges could lose the tax credits that makes their health insurance affordable.

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