Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

GOP on Wrong Side of History on Immigration

GOP on Wrong Side of History on Immigration
Photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr

At the first Thanksgiving 383 years ago, Native Americans and Pilgrim immigrants gathered with mutual respect to share a bountiful harvest they’d produced together.

This Thanksgiving, though, there’s no respect or sharing in the homes of GOP nativists.

Suffering amnesia about their personal histories, nativist Republicans want to expel the 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants, the people who harvest America’s Thanksgiving vegetables and care for America’s toddlers and grannies. The GOP has threatened to sue, shut down the government and impeach President Obama to punish him for issuing an executive order giving fewer than half of the nation’s undocumented workers a limited ability to remain in the United States.

Americans would prefer if Congress fixed this problem. But Congress hasn’t. In the year and a half since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill, House leaders have refused to permit a vote on it. So now, President Obama, like all 10 presidents since 1956, Republican and Democrat, has issued an executive order on immigration. The order says America will treat 5 million striving unauthorized immigrants with respect.  

More ...

Hear It Straight from a Former Walmart Worker Why You Should Get Involved on Black Friday

Kevin Banatte

Kevin Banatte AFL-CIO

I was thrilled to be a Walmart employee until I realized the simplicity of Walmart’s major issue: The company doesn’t care about its employees.

When I reflect on my Walmart experience, it’s hard not to break down emotionally. I recall countless stories of some of the best workers expressing the pain caused by Walmart’s unfair treatment and low wages. I worked with an elderly man who would worry about not getting enough hours. He would tell me about the embarrassment he faced having to live with his son and his son’s wife. One time, I hadn't seen him at work for a while and I later learned he had open heart surgery. In need of money and haunted by the fear of losing his job, he was forced to return to work weeks after his surgery. He was in no physical shape to return. Walmart saw no use in him, and he later was fired.

More ...

Stand with Walmart Strikers on Black Friday

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Walmart workers, many who earn poverty-level wages and have irregular and part-time hours, have mobilized for justice and fairness at Walmart over the past few years and now are calling on Walmart to end retaliation against workers who are asking for $15 an hour and full-time hours. Now, workers’ allies in communities around the nation are joining them in massive demonstrations on Black Friday (Nov. 28), the biggest shopping day of the year.

You can make your voice heard and show your support for Walmart workers by clicking here to sign a petition to the Walton family, who owns Walmart and who has the distinction of being the richest family in America. Tell the Waltons you stand with Walmart workers and you will join a Black Friday action near you.

To put the workers’ demands in context, income inequality is the highest it’s been since 1928. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages are at the lowest point since 1948—even as productivity increases.

More ...

25 Million Reasons to Give Thanks for Social Insurance

25 Million Reasons to Give Thanks for Social Insurance

The National Academy of Social Insurance recently examined Census Bureau data and found that social insurance programs have a made a significant dent on the number of people living in poverty in the U.S. More than 45 million people (14.5% of the population) lived in poverty in 2013, but those numbers would be significantly larger if it weren't for programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and Supplemental Security Income. 

These four programs together kept nearly 25.4 million people out of poverty in 2013, including:

  • Nearly 1.9 million children
  • More than 8.4 million adults younger than 65
  • More than 15.1 million adults 65 and older
More ...

Stand With Walmart Workers on Black Friday

Stand With Walmart Workers on Black Friday

Union Matters

Petulant Plutocrat of the Week

One of America’s richest lawmakers — Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson — will this January become the new chair of the U.S. Senate panel that oversees the federal workforce. His agenda? Slash federal jobs and the pay and benefits of any employees who survive the cuts. Federal workers have just gone through a three-year pay freeze. But Johnson claimed in a post-election interview that they remain overpaid. The Tea Party multi-millionaire — he owns somewhere between $5 and $25 million of financial industry stock — is also calling federal workers “unrealistic” to believe they can avoid pay and benefit reductions. Last month, an independent study found that white-collar federal employees are now averaging 35 percent less pay than their private-sector counterparts.

***

Originally published in Too Much online magazine.

***

To submit a blog to Union Matters, e-mail it to bstack@usw.org. Keep it to 250 words or fewer. You MUST include your full name, hometown, and state. You may attach a photograph of yourself. Please include a phone number. This WILL NOT be published. Posting any given blog is within the discretion of the USW. No blog using foul language (this is a family site), false information (we don’t want to get sued), or unnecessary personal attacks (again, we don’t want to get sued) will be used. Wait a reasonable period of time, then blog again!

More ...