Every 12 days, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), or one of their non-union co-workers, is killed on the job. Every 12 days. And it’s been that way for years.
These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later.
Of course, it’s not just members of the USW. Nationally, at all workplaces, one employee is killed on the job every other hour. Twelve a day.
These are not all accidents. Too many are foreseeable, preventable, avoidable tragedies. With the approach of April 28, Workers Memorial Day 2017, the USW is seeking in America what workers in Canada have to prevent these deaths. That is a law holding supervisors and corporate officials criminally accountable and exacting serious prison sentences when workers die on the job.
Blair Zimmerman, Pennsylvania's Greene County Commissioner, knows coal. As a mine worker for 40 years and then a politician in southwestern Pennsylvania, he knows how important coal is to both the identity and economic stability of his community. He’s even called the White House a few times since President Donald Trump took office, asking the president — who ran on a platform of supporting coal miners that he argued had been forgotten by Washington — to renew health insurance for thousands of retired coal miners.
But he doesn’t think that anything Trump does will bring coal jobs back to levels seen in the industry’s heyday.
“The coal industry is going to be around for years, but to bring it back — that’s not going to happen. [Utilities] are not going to invest in fossil-fueled power plants,” Zimmerman said. When he talked about the promises Trump made to places like Greene County, a community of just over 36,000 situated on the state’s southwest border, Zimmerman laughed, raising his voice a little.
“He doesn’t have a plan. That was all political B.S.,” Zimmerman said. “He said it just to get elected.”
And it worked, because of places like Greene County — in November, Trump overwhelmingly carried the county’s vote, beating Hillary Clinton by 40 points.More ...
Polls show that the public likes President Trump’s plan to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. That’s because they think he actually plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. He doesn’t. Not hardly. Not by a long shot. In fact…
Infrastructure Spending Is Popular
Polls show the public really likes it when Trump says he plans to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.
Americans are far more likely to agree than disagree with President Donald Trump’s proposals to require companies to provide family leave for parents of a newborn and to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure.
CNN: CNN/ORC poll: Most back boost in infrastructure spending, oppose growing military budget,
Trump’s most popular budget proposals include reducing taxes for middle-class Americans (84% approve) and increasing spending on infrastructure (79% approve).
In an insightful song about outlaws, Woody Guthrie wrote this verse: “As through this world I travel/ I see lots of funny men/ Some’ll rob you with a 6-gun/ Some with a fountain pen.”
The fountain pens are doing the serious stealing these days. For example, while you would get hard time in prison for robbing a bank at gunpoint, bankers who rob customers with a flick of their fountain pens (or a click of their computer mouse) get multimillion-dollar payouts. They usually escape their crimes unpunished… but not unscathed. After all, it’s their constant, egregious, gluttonous thievery that has made “banker” a four-letter word in America, synonymous with immoral, self-serving behavior.
For example, Wells Fargo, our country’s biggest consumer bank, has gotten away with paying some fines for stealing millions of dollars from customers in its notorious “fake accounts” scheme – but it has not escaped the wrath of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. This feisty order of nuns, which holds a block of Wells Fargo stock, has been embarrassed and are infuriated by the rank immorality of their bank’s executives. They are pushing a shareholders’ proposal demanding a full accounting of the “root causes” of the malicious fraud perpetuated on vulnerable depositors. Unsurprisingly, the bank’s aloof and arrogant board of directors, which had silently presided over the fraud for years, opposes any such meaningful probe.More ...