Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Shiftless Corporations Renounce America

Shiftless Corporations Renounce America

Early last week, the drug firm Mylan stomped on the Stars and Stripes as it ditched America for the Netherlands. Then, on Friday, the drug company AbbVie similarly renounced America. For 30 pieces of silver, it will become Irish.

Medical device maker Medtronic deserted America for Ireland last month. The pharmacy chain Walgreens recently announced it may be next. It plans to dump the land of the free for the bows and scrapes of royal subjects.

Walgreens is willing to prostrate itself before Queen Elizabeth because the British corporate tax rate is lower. Anything for money, right AbbVie? These firms will still park their assets and staff and sales in America. They just won’t pay taxes on foreign income to the country that nurtured them, protected them from patent violators and unfair competitors, and provided them with educated workers, federally-sponsored research and development, and myriad other public services. Now, they can freeload instead. As a result, their U.S. competitors, as well as hardworking Americans, will pay more to cover the shirkers’ share.

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Scholars Speak Out Against Troubling 'Corporate Courts' (ISDS) in TTIP

Andrea Sosa

Andrea Sosa AFL-CIO

As another round of negotiations for the U.S.–E.U. trade deal (known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) began, 121 leading academic experts on trade, investment law, European Union (EU) law, international law, human rights, constitutional law, global political economy and related fields issued a statement expressing deep concern about the investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions that negotiators plan to include in the deal.

ISDS is a special legal right included in most U.S. trade agreements that allows foreign investors to challenge laws, regulations or any government decision in the country in which they are investing in special, private tribunals. You can think of them as special “corporate courts” that regular people (like you and me) aren’t allowed to use.

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Why China Has Strikes Without Unions

Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson Editor-at-Large, The American Prospect

Why China Has Strikes Without Unions

Han Dongfang believes that China’s workers may one day compel the country’s Communist Party to actually become social-democratic. I’m not sure if that makes Han the most credulous of China’s democracy activists or the canniest strategist now working to democratize that nation. I am sure, however, that he’s had more successes than anyone else in empowering Chinese workers.

Speaking last week to a Washington conclave sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, Han recounted the victories that striking Chinese workers have won over the past four years. In 2010, workers at a huge Honda plant shut off the power and walked off the job to win a living wage. They made clear their intent to stay out—and not to damage the factory. Surprisingly, the local government didn’t send in the police. Eventually, a mediator came in to meet separately with both workers and management, and persuaded Honda to give its employees a 32 percent wage increase. “This was the first collective bargaining in China,” Han said.

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Wall Street Thieves Should Be Ashamed… and Shamed

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

Wall Street Thieves Should Be Ashamed… and Shamed

When Wall Street wrongdoer Citigroup accepted what the media hailed as a whopping $7-billion penalty for defrauding its own investors and wrecking our economy, the bank's CEO just shrugged, saying: "We believe that this settlement is in the best interest of our shareholders and allows us to move forward and to focus on the future."

Note the lack of any regret, apology, or shame for the bankers' wrongdoings that'll cost Citigroup shareholders a sizeable chunk of change. And note especially the total absence of any pledge that the bankers won't do it again. So much for a $7 billion penalty being a deterrent to Wall Street finagling.

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What I Learned From My Minimum Wage Job

Terrance Heath

Terrance Heath Online Producer, Campaign for America’s Future

What I Learned From My Minimum Wage Job

Sen. Rand Paul mocked President and Mrs. Obama for wanting their daughters to experience working for minimum wage. My own experience taught me “the value of work,” and to value the workers for whom earning a paycheck isn’t always fun, stimulating, or fair.

In a Parade magazine interview last month, President and Mrs. Obama said they wanted their daughters to experience working for minimum wage, to  “get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work.” President Obama added that there is value in learning that “[G]oing to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”

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The Real Reason for Republican Voter Suppression Efforts

The Real Reason for Republican Voter Suppression Efforts

Union Matters

Finally, Fair

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday, July 14, that Citigroup will pay a whopping $7 billion penalty for its role in hawking risky mortgage-based securities.

Holder called $4 billion of the total a record civil penalty and appropriate given the strength of the evidence. In addition, Citibank will pay $500 million to state attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with another $2.5 billion being dedicated to helping citizens still struggling with financial problems due to the 2007-2009 fiscal meltdown.

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