Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Outlaw Chinese Steel

Forged with the despicable dividend of stolen trade secrets, priced with monopoly collusion, then traded with fraudulent labeling to dodge U.S. duties, steel from China violates every principle of capitalism. That’s in addition to defying both U.S. and international trade laws.

It’s outlaw steel. And last week, U.S. Steel Corp. asked the U.S. government to outlaw its import.

U.S. Steel requested this unusual intervention after China hacked into its computers, ripped off trade secrets, then used those secrets to directly compete with U.S. Steel in the American market. China is flooding the international market with excess, government-subsidized steel. That is closing mills and killing jobs from South Africa to Great Britain to North America. The United States can choose to ignore this. It can become a weakling, reliant on other nations for steel, including some, like China, that clearly are not allies. Or, the United States can act now, as U.S. Steel demands, to secure America’s industrial strength and independence. 

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An Open Letter to Verizon Wireless Customers: Don’t Cross the Picket Line

Sarita Gupta Executive Director, Jobs With Justice

If you live in the northeast, you’ve probably heard about the 39,000 men and women who walked off their jobs at Verizon and Verizon Wireless more than three weeks ago. While you may not have directly felt the impact of the strike yet, Isaac Collazo definitely has. The field technician has worked for Verizon for 19 years in New York. When asked how he can afford to go on strike and still support his three kids, he says “I can’t.” He adds, “It’s because of my boys that I have no choice but to strike.” After months of failed negotiations, the strike is the only way for the working people at Verizon to be heard by company executives.

For the rest of us, the question is whether we’re listening too.

Verizon doesn’t believe that people who work for a living ought to earn a living, and that’s why Isaac is risking his livelihood to stand up to corporate greed. Isaac and his co-workers want you to know that — no matter where you live — you can still play an important role in their struggle: please, don’t cross the picket line. In other words, whether you’re a current customer or not, don’t go into a Verizon Wireless store during the strike.

Why is respecting a picket line so important? Here are just a few reasons:

Working people strike not just for themselves but for others in similar positions.

No one wants to go on strike. It puts an immense amount of financial stress on striking employees and their families. Just this past week, Verizon ended health-care coverage for the strikers, and they haven’t received a paycheck since walking out on April 13.

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Make It a Union-Made Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is less than a week away (May 8), so you have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to find a nice tribute for mom that also carries the union label. Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, can help you out.

If you want to go the traditional route with some top-of-the-line chocolates, take a look at these from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Chocolates

  • Ghirardelli
  • Hershey's
  • Russell Stover
  • See’s Candies

If she deserves a little pampering, try health and beauty products made by UFCW and UAW members.

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Ted Cruz Uses Discredited Talking Points To Make Case Against Minimum Wage Hike

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar ThinkProgress

The day after the Democratic presidential candidates discussed their shared desire to realize a $15 minimum wage during a debate in Brooklyn, Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on CNBC and said he thinks the very concept of a wage floor is flawed.

“Every time we raise the minimum wage, predictably what happens is a significant number of people lose their jobs, and they’re almost always low-income, they’re often teenagers, African Americans and Hispanics,” Cruz said.

Research, however, shows no significant connection between increasing the minimum wage and jobs. A 2009 analysis of 64 United States minimum-wage studies found “little or no evidence of a negative association between minimum wages and employment.” Likewise, a 2013 Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report found that “Research over the past two decades has shown that, despite skeptics’ claims, modest increases in the minimum wage have little to no negative impact on jobs. In fact, under current labor market conditions, where tepid consumer demand is a major factor holding businesses back from expanding their payrolls, raising the minimum wage can provide a catalyst for new hiring.”

Those findings are reinforced by a 2014 Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) study that looked at two decades of minimum wage increases in various states and “found no clear evidence that the minimum-wage increases affect aggregate job creation when unemployment rates are high,” let alone when unemployment is relatively low.

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China Says No To Fixing Steel Problem

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

China Says No To Fixing Steel Problem

China is producing much more steel than the country and the world can use, and is “dumping” it onto international markets. But when China was confronted with the dumping charge at a conference in Brussels this week, the Chinese government refused to back down.

The Chinese actions are causing steel operations around the world to shut down their own production and lay off workers. So far in the U.S., more than 13,500 steelworkers have been laid off or are facing layoffs.

China has again and again promised to reduce its steel production and help bring stability to world markets. Instead, China has actually increased production. In fact, the Alliance for American Manufacturing says, “Exports of Chinese steel last month were actually up 30 percent from where they were a year ago.”

A meeting in Brussels of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was called this week to discuss a “multilateral framework” for addressing China’s “structural overcapacity.” But China refused to commit to specific and timely actions to fix the problem.

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The Party of "Yes"

The Party of

Union Matters

America: A Flint in the Making

When the Flint water crisis hit the news late last year, it sent shockwaves around the country. Good citizens everywhere asked, “How could any government allow up to 12,000 children to be exposed to poisonous water? How could they have cared so much about saving money that they failed to perform the normal practice of treating the water to prevent lead leaching into it from old pipes?”

But as details of the tragedy came to light and as data started to roll in about Flint’s water system and systems elsewhere, a scary reality was revealed:

Flint is not alone.

As Detroit  mayor Rich Snyder meets with President Obama today to discuss details of the man-made disaster, all across the country America’s amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties are disintegrating due to crumbling infrastructure. Official neglect rooted in fiscal excuses and a lack of regard for poor and minority communities, like Flint, are putting public safety in extreme danger.

The 2014 gas explosion in Harlem that killed eight people and injured dozens? That was caused by the installation of a defective fusion joint inside a gas line that was over 100 years old.

The Tex Wash Bridge collapse last year in southern California that was the result of a heavy rainfall? That structure was built with a flawed design and a shallow foundation in 1967 and was deemed “functionally obsolete” in 2013.

And, of course, the levees that failed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 leaving millions of people homeless and over 1,800 dead? They were missing a storm-protection system and lacked both strength and adequate structure.

From sea to shining sea, America’s infrastructure is failing.

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