Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

13 Million Illinois Citizens Named Bruce

13 Million Illinois Citizens Named Bruce
This 1943 image taken at Union Station in Chicago, Ill., by photographer Jack Delano of a sleeping car porter employed by the Pullman Company is from the U.S. Library of Congress.

The billionaire Republican Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, injected himself into ceremonies in Chicago last week presided over by the city’s Democratic mayor and the nation’s Democratic President.

Rauner insisted on attending because he wrongheadedly thought the Democrats were honoring his idol, kingpin George Pullman, the guy who invented the luxury railroad sleeper car, oppressed his workers and suppressed their union.

Rauner, and other kowtow-to-the-rich Republican governors, adhere to the Pullman philosophy that rich people are better than everyone else and that gives them the right to control the lives of everyone else. They don’t comprehend the dreams and desires of the middle class and working poor. So Rauner couldn’t conceive that the ceremony in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood named Pullman by Pullman for his personal self-aggrandizement was not about placing the mogul on a pedestal but really about recognizing the people who ultimately prevailed despite his exploitation.

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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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Portland Raises Minimum Wage For City Workers To $15

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Portland Raises Minimum Wage For City Workers To $15

On Wednesday, the Portland, OR city council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage for city workers and contractors to $15 an hour, currently the highest minimum wage anywhere in the country.

They amended the Fair Wage Policy, which sets the floor for about 173 full-time city employees and contractors. Most of the affected workers are janitors, parking attendants, and security workers paid by contractors who are subject to the policy. The wage increase could also trickle out to those who work for third-party vendors that honor the Fair Wage Policy.

Workers who won’t be covered include 1,800 seasonal and part-time employees mostly working for the Parks Bureau, many of whom have a capped number of hours they can work each year, often making their part-time status involuntary.

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Climate Deniers’ Favorite Scientist Quietly Took Money From The Fossil Fuel Industry

Ryan Koronowski

Ryan Koronowski Co-Editor, Climate Progress

Climate Deniers’ Favorite Scientist Quietly Took Money From The Fossil Fuel Industry

One of the world’s most prominent climate researchers publishing scientific papers that doubt humanity’s role in climate change has received at least $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry to fund his research and salary, according to documents revealed this weekend.

Wei-Hock Soon (known mainly as “Willie”) is aerospace engineer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and has written papers on how the sun’s role in the Earth’s climate outshines the warming impact of humans burning fossil fuels. His papers have cast doubt on how hot the last century really was, whether polar bears are negatively impacted by a warming Arctic, and concluded the sun plays a larger role in climate change than greenhouse gas emissions. He has said that mainstream climate scientists and those concerned by the causes and impacts of human-caused climate change are “out of their minds.”

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American Patriots or Wealthy Patriarchs?

American Patriots or Wealthy Patriarchs?

Union Matters