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. 

More ...

The Fed Finds an America Deeply Divided

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Every three years, America’s Federal Reserve Board surveys just how well the nation’s families are doing economically. The Fed takes this surveying seriously.

We’re not talking quickie public opinion polling here, several hundred dinner-time phone calls that last a few minutes each. The over 6,000 interviews the Fed conducts for its Survey of Consumer Finances usually run for an hour and a half, and most get conducted in person. These interviews delve into every aspect of our modern economic existence, from monthly car payments to mutual funds.

More ...

Georgia State Senator Complains That Voting Is Too Convenient For Black People

Josh Israel

Josh Israel Senior Investigative Reporter, Think Progress

Georgia State Senator Complains That Voting Is Too Convenient For Black People

One of Georgia’s largest counties announced last week that it will allow early voting on a Sunday in late October and will open an early voting location in a shopping mall popular among local African-Americans. Concerned that this will lead to higher African-American voter turnout and hurt his party’s dominance, one state lawmaker is speaking out and vowing to stop this easy voting for minority voters.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday that Georgia state Senator Fran Millar (R) penned an angry response to DeKalb County’s announcement that early voting will be available on Sunday, October 26, and that an early-voting location will be opened at The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall. Millar represents part of the county and is Senior Deputy Whip for the Georgia Senate Republicans.

More ...

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.

More ...

Corporations Demand Welfare for Workers Rather than Wages

Corporations Demand Welfare for Workers Rather than Wages

Union Matters