Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Obamacare Reconciliation

Obamacare Reconciliation
Photo by Victoria Pickering on Flickr.

The Supreme Court last week ensured millions of Americans retained their health insurance. Those who kept their coverage sighed with relief. Democrats cheered.

Republicans reacted with vitriol and recrimination. Even the GOP dissenters on the Supreme Court couldn’t stop themselves from responding with bitter sarcasm. Weirdly too, with language like “jiggery-pokery.”

For the entire five years since Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans have relentlessly attempted to kill it – along with some of its most vulnerable beneficiaries who’d lack life-saving health care if the GOP succeeded. Some Republican legislatures and governors have jubilantly exploited a provision in a previous Supreme Court decision to deny the working poor in their states access to the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. But the GOP has lost the bulk of two appeals to the Supreme Court. And Republicans have failed at 67 attempts to repeal all or part of the ACA. They need to call off their war on health care now. Declare a ceasefire. Stop trying to slaughter a law that’s helping millions.  

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With New Labor Rule, 5 Million Americans Will Now Be Able To Get Extra Overtime Pay

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

On Tuesday morning, the Department of Labor released its proposed changes to the rules regarding who is eligible for overtime pay to expand the coverage to more workers.

The proposal would increase the salary threshold to $50,440 by 2016, meaning anyone who makes that much or less would have to be paid time-and-a-half for putting in more than 40 hours a week. It would also increase the total annual compensation a worker would need to make to be exempted as a highly compensated employee, raising it to $122,148 a year for full-time salaried workers. And it would automatically update both requirements to make sure only actual executives and administrative and professional workers get exempted.

On a call with the media, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez estimated that for the subset of workers who work more than 40 hours a week and will become newly eligible for overtime pay, they will collectively see $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion in extra compensation as a result of the change.

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Making the Economy Work for the Many and Not the Few #11: Medicare Isn't the Problem; It's the Solution

Robert Reich

Robert Reich Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley

Again and again the upcoming election you'll hear conservatives claim that Medicare -- the health insurance program for America's seniors -- is running out of money and must be pared back.

Baloney. Medicare isn't the problem. In fact, Medicare is more efficient than private health insurance.The real problem is that the costs of health care are expected to rise steeply.

Medicare could be the solution -- the logical next step after the Affordable Care Act toward a single-payer system.

Please see the accompanying video -- #11 in our series on ideas to make the economy work for the many rather than for the few. And please share.

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Turn Left on Main Street

Bill Moyers Author, Television Documentary Journalist

Turn Left on Main Street

Congressman John K. Delaney, what the hell are you talking about?

In a recent Washington Post op-ed piece, headlined, “The last thing America needs? A left-wing version of the Tea Party,” the Democratic congressman from Maryland scolds progressives and expresses his worry “about where some of the loudest voices in the room could take the Democratic Party.”

He writes, “Rejecting a trade agreement with Asia, expanding entitlement programs that crowd out other priorities and a desire to relitigate the financial crisis are becoming dominant positions among Democrats. Although these subjects may make for good partisan talking points, they do not provide the building blocks for a positive and bold agenda to create jobs and improve the lives of Americans.”

Rep. Delaney even implies that a freewheeling, open discussion of “these subjects” could lead to the election of a Republican president.

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End Overtime Injustices

End Overtime Injustices

Union Matters

Mandated Paid Leave Expands Again

Angela Colaizzi

Last week, Oregon joined Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts as the fourth state to mandate that most employers provide paid sick leave.

Specifically, Oregon will require beginning Jan. 1 that Portland-based employers with six or more full-time workers anywhere in the state provide 40 hours of paid leave a year. Employers based outside Portland with 10 or more workers must provide 40 hours of paid sick leave a year beginning Jan. 1.

The new statewide law will supersede municipal paid leave ordinances in Portland and Eugene. 

The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee paid sick or maternity leave. In fact, the United States does not even prohibit employers from firing workers for missing one day because of illness.  In the absence of federal protections, states and cities are taking action.

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