Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Veto the Cold-Hearted Health Bill

Donald Trump is right. The House health insurance bill is “mean, mean, mean,” as he put it last week. He correctly called the measure that would strip health insurance from 23 million Americans “a son of a bitch.”

The proposal is not at all what Donald Trump promised Americans. He said that under his administration, no one would lose coverage. He said everybody would be insured. And the insurance he provided would be a “lot less expensive.”

Senate Democrats spent every day this week pointing this out and demanding that Senate Republicans end their furtive, star-chamber scheming and expose their health insurance proposal to public scrutiny. That unveiling is supposed to happen today.

Republicans have kept their plan under wraps because, like the House measure, it is a son of a bitch. Among other serious problems, it would restore caps on coverage so that if a young couple’s baby is born with serious heart problems, as comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s was, they’d be bankrupted and future treatment for the infant jeopardized. Donald Trump has warned Senate Republicans, though. Even if the GOP thinks it was fun to rebuff Democrats’ pleas for a public process, they really should pay attention to the President. He’s got veto power. 

More ...

Where Are We Going Politically?

Stan Sorscher

Stan Sorscher Labor Representative, Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace

Donald Trump’s first few disorienting months leave many people wondering what governing looks like any more. It’s time to look away from the political spectacle, and take a deep breath.

Consider two opposing value statements.

“We all do better” Value Statement

  • The purpose of our economy is to raise our standard of living. Here, “standard” applies to our community and our country.
  • We value opportunity and fairness, stronger communities, shared prosperity, and investment in the future.
  • All work has dignity.
  • We are each other’s co-workers, neighbors, friends, relatives, and customers. We all do better when we all do better. My well-being depends on your well-being.

Under “we all do better” values, government plays a legitimate role – building social cohesion and promoting public interest.

Markets are powerful and efficient, but markets fail. Climate change and inequality are the two defining challenges of our time, and arguably the two biggest market failures in human history. Appropriate public policies prevent or correct market failures. We should manage national policies and globalization to strengthen Democracy and well-being at home and abroad.

More ...

White House Threatens to Sabotage Insurance of Low-income People if Trumpcare isn’t Passed

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Reporter, Think Progress

During an off-camera briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled that the Trump administration is willing to use low-income Americans’ health insurance as a bargaining chip to persuade Congress to pass Trumpcare, which will result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance.

Spicer detailed the administration’s position in response to a question about whether the Trump administration will cover next month’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments for low-income people who purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. As ThinkProgress has previously detailed, the payments “partially subsidize deductibles and co-payments for more than 7 million low-income Americans, making it possible for many of them to afford their insurance. Cutting off the payments could potentially kick millions of people off the state exchanges, pushing some private insurers to withdraw as well. Premiums could shoot up across the board.”

Spicer made clear that the administration will do what it can to continue to destabilize Obamacare exchanges by only committing to the CSR payments one month at a time.

More ...

Radical Right House Republicans Work to Weaken Unions

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The radical right wing Republican majority on the ideologically polarized House Education and the Workforce Committee took aim at unions and the National Labor Relations Board – again – in a June 14 hearing on three anti-worker bills.

The assault, in the subcommittee which handles labor law rewrites, left Communications Workers General Counsel Guerino Calemine and subcommittee Democrats out on a limb against “a naked political assault on labor unions – and nothing more,” as Calemine put it.

The ruling Republicans trotted out a management-side labor lawyer, a speaker for the lobby for human resources departments, and a worker from Dixon, Ill., who alleged she was harassed during an organizing drive which ended with employer card-check recognition of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. One of the three GOP legislative schemes bans card-check, and even mailed-in ballots in union recognition votes, Calemine said.

The three measures are similar to Republican bills in prior Congresses. And they’re not the only anti-worker bills the GOP has dreamed up. One key red-state lawmaker, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has authored a complete rewrite – actually an emasculation – of U.S. labor law.

Taken together, Calemine said, the three measures discussed at the session equal Roe’s bill.

More ...

What Will a NAFTA Renegotiation Look Like?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Your boy Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Commerce Secretary, recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal — and an audience full of people who would show up to such an advertised interview — to discuss the broad contours of the Trump administration’s trade policy.

He touched on trade with China. He touched on Buy America policies. And he went in on the administration’s plans for a renegotiation of NAFTA. Ross specifically talked about how NAFTA’s rules has affected manufacturing:

“Some of its manufacturing provisions are totally obsolete. In automotive, they put in a procedure which in concept is a good one, called rules of origin. Namely, what percentage of the content of a finished product can come from outside NAFTA and yet get the favorable tariff treatment as though it were all 100% from within NAFTA?”

Ross made the same point about rules of origin in an interview with Bloomberg (his segment begins at about the 18 minute mark).

Interestingly enough: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) submitted to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative its suggestions on how to order a NAFTA renegotiating strategy – and it prioritizes an update of those same “rules of origin” statutes. How about that!

You can read the whole letter here. AAM thinks NAFTA’s labor and environmental standards should be strengthened; concessions on government procurement market access should be entirely reciprocal; and that tough rules on state-owned enterprises and currency manipulation should be enshrined so this agreement can serve as a model for future trade agreements.

More ...

Union Matters

Speak Up to Save OSHA

Speak Up to Save OSHA