Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Killing Uncle AL

Specialty metals manufacturer ATI reinvented itself in recent years. Instead of serving as a vital organ in the dozen communities where it operates mills, it decided to be a boil, blight - a bane upon civic life in six states.

Communities once cherished their ATI specialty mills and the feeling was reciprocated. Managers knew mill workers by name, lived in the same towns and fulfilled civic responsibilities. The mills contributed to scout troops and fire departments. Townspeople referred to the plants as Uncle AL, for Allegheny Ludlum, the name before its Aug. 15, 1996 merger with Teledyne that created ATI.

But now ATI is butchering that time-honored relationship.  It has demanded tax abatements and special electrical rates and forced excessive overtime on weary workers. Its disdain for civic engagement is most clearly demonstrated by its decision to unlawfully lock its 2,200 skilled union workers out of their jobs on Aug. 15 despite the Steelworkers’ willingness to continue working. By wasting untold millions on security guards and highly paid, but inexperienced replacement workers, ATI has finished converting itself from a pillar of the community into a pariah.

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In Search of Our First Trillionaire

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

White House hopeful Bernie Sanders has been doing his best lately to place America’s “billionaire class” right at the center of the nation’s political discourse. But Phoenix-based attorney Bob Lord would like to see the nation start contemplating the next chapter in the ongoing concentration of America’s wealth: the emergence of our first trillionaires.

Lord doesn’t stand alone. Other observers also see trillionaires — billionaires a thousand times over — in our future. Last year, for instance, CNBC explored whether America’s first trillionaire might arrive in time for that network’s 2039 50th anniversary.

But Lord may be doing more than any other analyst to track the trends bringing trillionaires ever closer. As both an estate planner and an engaged political activist, he has sat front-row to those trends, and his thoughts on them have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Arizona Republic, and a wide variety of other media outlets.

Lord currently serves as an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. I’ve just interviewed him on our trillionaire future for Too Much, the Institute’s monthly on excess and inequality.

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Wages Have Been Stagnant For 40 Years But It’s Not The Fault Of American Workers

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Americans keep working harder and producing more economic growth. But they’re not getting rewarded with any extra pay for it, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

After the end of World War II, the country experienced decades of steady economic growth that also translated into steady increases in pay for the workers who were fueling it. As the report’s authors write, “For decades following the end of World War II, inflation-adjusted hourly compensation (including employer-provided benefits as well as wages) for the vast majority of American workers rose in line with increases in economy-wide productivity.”

But that link was severed starting in 1973. Between then and now, productivity, or the amount of economic output generated by an average hour of work, grew 72.2 percent. On the other hand, pay for the typical worker rose just 9.2 percent.

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Celebrity President? No, Donald Trump, HELL NO!

Obama SLAMS Donald Trump!

Obama SLAMS Donald Trump to his FACE!!!

Posted by Jerry Del Villar on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wait, What?

Wait, What?

Union Matters

The Wackiness of Enclosing the United States in Border Walls

Late in August, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin appeared to try to thumb a ride on Donald Trump’s coattails.  Walker’s statements lacked the overt xenophobia that Trump seems to cultivate.  There was, for example, no mention of murderers or rapists.  But like Trump, Walker put forward the idea of a wall.  Trouble was, Walker envisioned a wall, not along the border between Mexico and the United States, but between Canada and us.

Walker claimed that law enforcement officials had concerns about the world’s longest unarmed border.  According to the Wisconsin governor, those officials saw our border with Canada as a possible source of a sort of “commuter crime.” with wrongdoers travelling back and forth with ease.  Such ideas are, in my opinion, ludicrous.

I lived and worked in Canada for a year, teaching at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Halifax is an active, busy sea port; the capital of the province; and an urbane, multicultural environment.  My time there was completely comfortable, enjoyable and safe.  Not once in those months did I feel myself to be in danger.

Not only Halifax, but Canada in general refute the idea that multi-culturalism is dangerous, and a possible precursor to crime and even terrorism.  If a wall on the United States – Mexico border is ludicrous, how much more so would one on our northern border be?

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