Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

GOP’s Blind Hate of Labor Union Members

GOP’s Blind Hate of Labor Union Members
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

To Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, America's labor union members are the same as murderous, beheading, caged-prisoner-immolating ISIS terrorists. Exactly the same. 

That's what he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week.  The governor said that because he destroyed public sector labor rights in Wisconsin after 100,000 union supporters protested in Madison he could defeat ISIS as President of the United States.

That sums up all the GOP hate and vitriol against labor union members in recent years. It would appear that Republicans can't discern the difference between suicide bombers and working men and women who band together to collectively bargain for better wages and safer conditions. Republicans, it seems, can't see that a foreign extremist group that kidnaps 276 schoolgirls is not the same as an American labor organization seeking to improve the lives of families and communities. This GOP blindness explains the relentless campaign by GOP leaders to renege on contractual obligations to workers, squash labor rights and slash the pay and benefits of union members. 

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GOP Senator Chuck Grassley Reportedly Called Supreme Court Case Attacking Obamacare ‘Ridiculous’

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may have done more than any other member of Congress to obstruct passage of the Affordable Care Act. As ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley was the senior most Republican member of the so-called “Gang of Six” convened by committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) in an attempt to achieve bipartisan support for the legislation. Grassley, however, largely succeeded in delaying the bill’s passage — at one point sending a fundraising letter seeking “immediate support in helping me defeat ‘Obama-care’” while he was ostensibly negotiating over the bill’s contents.

Yet, when a veteran journalist asked Grassley about a lawsuit seeing to gut the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court, Grassley reportedly labeled this lawsuit “ridiculous.”

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Study Details Deadly Consequences Of Gutting Obamacare

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

It should go without saying, but health care is not a luxury good. According to a Harvard study, in 2005, before Obamacare became law, close to 45,000 Americans between the age of 18 and 64 died because they lacked health insurance. Diabetics lost their sight and slowly watched their organs failbecause they were unable to afford insulin. Mothers delayed care for curable infections until the wait proved fatal. Wives rationed the medication they needed to get out of bed in the morning in order to pay for their husband’s care. Doctors would base treatment decisions for their uninsured patients onwhich drug company had most recently provided them with free samples of their product.

A lawsuit called King v. Burwell would take health insurance away from millions of Americans, returning them to the world that existed before Obamacare. The case relies on a few words of the law that, if read out of context, seem to deny tax credits intended to help people pay for their health insurance to people who live in the wrong states. Once those words are read in the context of the entire law, however, it becomes clear that tax credits are available in all 50 states.

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

Robert Reich

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

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.  

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York. 

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.” 

What difference does it make?

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The Corporate Debt to Society: $10,000 Per Household, Per Year

Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit Author, editor, expert on income inequality

The Corporate Debt to Society: $10,000 Per Household, Per Year

The Corporate Debt to Society: $10,000 Per Household, Per Year

That estimate is based on facts, not the conservative-style emotion that might deny the responsibility for any debt to the American people. Wealth redistribution to big business has occurred in a variety of ways to be explained below. And there's some precedent for paying Americans for the use of their commonly-held resources. The Alaska Permanent Fund has been in effect, and widely popular, for over thirty years. 

The Main Argument: Corporations Have Used Our Money To Build Their Businesses 

Over half (57 percent) of basic research is paid for by our tax dollars. Corporations don't want to pay for this. It's easier for them to allow public money to do the startup work, and then, when profit potential is evident, to take over with applied R&D, often with patents that take the rights away from the rest of us. 

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Stand Up for the Rights of the Middle Class and Working Poor

Stand Up for the Rights of the Middle Class and Working Poor

Union Matters