Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother
Image by Bananastock.

Confronted with a dire situation, a world power last week took strong action to secure its domestic jobs and manufacturing.

That was China. Not the United States.

China diminished the value of its currency.  This gave its exporting industries a boost while simultaneously blocking imports. The move protected the Asian giant’s manufacturers and its workers’ jobs.

Currency manipulation violates free market principles, but for China, doing it makes sense. The nation’s economy is cooling. Its stock market just crashed, and its economic powerhouse – exports – declined a substantial 8.3 percent in July ­– down to $195 billion from $213 billion the previous July. This potent action by a major economic competitor raises the question of when the United States government is going to stop pretending currency manipulation doesn’t exist. When will the United States take the necessary action to protect its industry, including manufacturing essential to national defense, as well as the good, family-supporting jobs of millions of manufacturing workers?

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Outrages from the Rich, While India Leads the Way on Disclosing Executive Pay

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Outrages from the Rich, While India Leads the Way on Disclosing Executive Pay

Never let it be said the ultra-rich do not have ultra-gall. When they’ve got it, and regardless of the ulterior methods they used to amass wealth by ripping off the rest of us, they flaunt it.

Meanwhile, even in advance of action earlier this month by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, India led the way in forcing disclosure of executive pay.

Consider some of the rich’s latest outrages, courtesy, among other sources, a website called “The Rich Kids of Instagram.” Its motto is “They have more money than you and this is what they do.”:

Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis is calling the decision to raise the hourly minimum wage for New York fast food workers from the current $8.75 to $15 statewide in 2021“absolutely outrageous.” This “sudden increase,” Travis declared last month in a CNN interview, will hurt the small-business people who run Dunkin’ franchises.

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GOP Inserts Silica Standard Delay Into Labor Dept. Money Bill

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

By voice vote, the Republican-run Senate Appropriations Committee last month inserted a 1-year delay in the federal efforts to cut workers’ exposure to silica dust. The move is in the money bill for the Labor Department for the year starting Oct. 1.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., inserted the delay into the mammoth funding bill. He also gives the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) $800,000 in that fiscal year for another study of silica’s impact when workers breathe it. Silica causes lung disease. 

But this study, Hoeven orders, must also cover “ability of regulated industries to comply with occupational exposure limits” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes. And NIOSH must include the costs of purchasing respirators for workers as well as the costs of engineering – water for dust control and ventilation -- to cut overall silica exposure.

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Steelworkers Stage Mass Rallies Nationwide

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Steelworkers Stage Mass Rallies Nationwide

Steelworkers and their allies staged mass rallies nationwide for new and fair contracts with the nation’s top two producers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, as talks with the firms come down to the wire: Contract expiration at midnight Sept. 1.

The largest rallies were in Virginia, Minn. -- in the heart of U.S. ore production, Minnesota’s Iron Range -- and Gary, Ind., home of U.S. Steel’s largest plant. More than 2,000 workers and their allies marched in each city.

Other rallies were in the Pittsburgh area, Coatesville, Steelton and Fairless Hills, Pa., East Chicago, Ind., Ecorse, Mich., Fairfield, Ala., Granite City, Ill., Lorain and Warren, Ohio, and Weirton, W. Va. The talks cover more than 30,000 workers, combined, at both firms.

The rallies also show that the surrounding communities support the Steelworkers, and that those areas’ residents realize how important the steel jobs are to the middle class and to those cities’ and towns’ economic health, the union said.

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Celebrate Election Day Off Work

Celebrate Election Day Off Work

Union Matters

The Battle for Prosperity, Over Poverty

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

In September of 2011, a vast movement of people from all age, social and monetary status groups converged on Zuccotti Park in New York City.  Soon afterward, thousands more came to join the rallying cries against the 1% who hold so much of America’s wealth.  The speakers eloquently railed against Wall Street pariahs, bailed out banking conglomerates,corporate theocrats, free traders and many others who control the purse strings in this country.

As demonstrations grew around the nation, and worldwide, the protests gained steam and became filled with a certain sense of vitriol. Certain corporate-backed, main stream media outlets did their best to dispel these protestors as nothing more than old, Vietnam era communists, disheveled and unclean young collegiate anarchists who needed to get jobs, and homeless rabble.  They wanted to strike fear into the viewer that protests of this sort are no good to our capitalist society or the American way of life.

We have witnessed this kind of deceptive behavior by the press before when the moneyed class’ vested interests are being threatened. Listen to a description of the Tompkins Square, New York demonstrations of 1874, as recounted by Steve Fraser in, “The Age of Acquiescence.”

“When thousands of destitute unemployed, many of them homeless, including women and children, gathered inTompkins Square Park, 'Bread or Blood' is what they cried.  They were demanding work or relief in what one labor activist called, 'a folk movement of primitive need.'

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