Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Generational Struggle for Middle Class Wages

Generational Struggle for Middle Class Wages

When Fred Redmond, the Steelworkers’ vice president for human affairs, was a child in Chicago, he and a dozen siblings and cousins spent summers picking cotton for their grandparents in Mississippi.

Fred’s great, great grandparents had been slaves. His grandparents, maternal and paternal, were sharecroppers, working other people’s land. The grandkids’ summer farm work helped Fred’s maternal grandparents meet quotas and scrape by.

Fred says those summers taught him that sometimes people do not reap the value of their work. In Chicago, Fred’s family found a way workers may secure a fairer share of the profits generated from their labor.  That, of course, is collective bargaining. Union membership launched Fred’s family into the middle class, and Fred has devoted much of his life to helping ensure that access to others. 

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City Unanimously Approves Paid Sick Days For 10,000 Workers

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

City Unanimously Approves Paid Sick Days For 10,000 Workers

On Monday evening, the City Council of East Orange, New Jersey unanimously passed a paid sick days ordinance that will guarantee that workers in that city can take a paid day off when they or their family members fall ill.

An estimated 10,000 workers in East Orange currently don’t have access to any paid days off for sickness. But once it goes into effect, they will be able to earn an hour of sick leave for every 30 they work. Those at businesses with 10 or more employees can earn up to five days a year, while those with fewer can earn up to three. But workers who come into contact with the public, such as food service and daycare workers, will be able to earn five days either way. The law will go into effect 120 days from enactment.

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Scrap Metal Facility Where Worker Died Had Never Been Inspected By Safety Regulators

Alan Pyke

Alan Pyke Deputy Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Scrap Metal Facility Where Worker Died Had Never Been Inspected By Safety Regulators

An Illinois scrap metal recycling company has been fined nearly half a million dollars for various safety violations after a worker was killed when his arm got trapped in a conveyor belt that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says should have been turned off.

But despite a pattern of violations at other facilities run by the same company, OSHA had never inspected the South Beloit, IL facility prior to the March accident that killed Alfredo Arrendondo, an OSHA spokesman told ThinkProgress after reviewing records for the region.

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Workers Get Lowest Share Of Corporate Income Since 1950

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

In 2013, the share of corporate income that trickles down to workers hit its lowest point since 1950, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

Corporate income, which makes up about three-quarters of all private sector income in the country, can either go to employees or the owners of companies, and last year just under 73 percent went to employees, the lowest point in more than six decades.

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Register to Vote in Honor of Those Who Fought for Your Right

Register to Vote in Honor of Those Who Fought for Your Right

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