Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Richard Ray Wonders How a Unionist Could Vote for “Me-Me-Me” Trump

Retired USW member Richard Ray became a shop steward six months after he began his apprenticeship at Owens-Illinois Inc., in North Carolina and held elected union offices for the next 49 years, all the way up to president of the Georgia State AFL-CIO.

In the not-so-union-friendly South, that takes a pretty strong personal commitment to the union ideal of concerted action to benefit the majority. To this day, even in retirement, Richard Ray is living out that commitment by pushing for election of labor-friendly candidates and attending the Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia as a super delegate because, he told me, he believes Hillary Clinton would be best for working people and labor unions.

Ray came to the USW through the American Flint Glass Workers when the two unions merged in 2003.  In his efforts as a union officer over the years, and later as president of the Atlanta Labor Council and secretary-treasurer of the Georgia State AFL-CIO before he was elected the organization’s president, he repeatedly saw the significance of workers banding together to support each other.

It was always about doing the best for the group. The most vital value to union members, he explains, is “the we.”

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Analysts Say Clinton Proposals Would Strengthen The Economy

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

The economy would grow even stronger and create more dividends for low- and middle-income households in a Hillary Clinton administration than it would on its current track and far more than under a Donald Trump administration, according to a new analysis from Moody’s Analytics. And they found that the Clinton economy would benefit in particular from uncommon policies like paid family leave and universal preschool.

The independent firm ran the numbers on a variety of proposals that Democratic nominee Clinton has put forward, and it concluded that her plans would boost GDP growth and create more jobs, increase incomes particularly at the middle and bottom of the income scale, and would not end up being costly or significantly increasing the deficit.

Moody’s looked at what would happen if her plans were fully or partially implemented through the year 2026. Some of it is standard fare: it found that her proposals to spend government resources on infrastructure would stimulate the economy and that financing the spending by levying more taxes on the wealthy would not have a significant economic impact. It also warned of a minimal negative effect on jobs stemming from her call for a higher minimum wage (although there is good evidence that the economy can swallow minimum wage increases without significant job losses).

But the economy would also benefit greatly, according to Moody’s, from more unique aspects of Clinton’s agenda. Long-term growth would be particularly fueled by expanding the country’s workforce and giving people access to better education and skills. That would be accomplished in large part through a national guarantee of paid family leave — which has been shown to keep people in the labor force — and investments in expanding preschool to all four-year-olds and making college more affordable. Moody’s also notes that immigration reform would be a significant factor for increasing the workforce and thus boosting productivity.

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Does Hillary Get It?

Robert Reich

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

Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?

I worry she doesn’t — at least not yet.

A Democratic operative I’ve known since the Bill Clinton administration told me “now that she’s won the nomination, Hillary is moving to the middle. She’s going after moderate swing voters.”

Presumably that’s why she tapped Tim Kaine to be her vice president. Kaine is as vanilla middle as you can get.

In fairness, Hillary is only doing what she knows best. Moving to the putative center is what Bill Clinton did after the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994 — signing legislation on welfare reform, crime, trade and financial deregulation that enabled him to win reelection in 1996 and declare “the era of big government” over.

In those days a general election was like a competition between two hot-dog vendors on a boardwalk extending from right to left. Each had to move to the middle to maximize sales. (If one strayed too far left or right, the other would move beside him and take all sales on rest of the boardwalk.)

But this view is outdated. Nowadays, it’s the boardwalk versus the private jets on their way to the Hamptons.

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NLRB Rules Unions Can Organize Temps Doing Same Jobs as Permenant Workers Without Employers’ OK

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

WASHINGTON (PAI)—In a decision that kicks another employer anti-union dodge in the head, the National Labor Relations Board voted 2-1 on July 12 to let unions organize temporary workers at a job site who are doing the same jobs as permanent workers there, without getting the employers’ approval in advance. That applies to part-timers, too.

In a case involving the Sheet Metal Workers organizing drive among temps at Miller & Andersen, also known as Tradesmen International, in Monessen, Pa., the board’s majority said it was returning to the plain language of the National Labor Relations Act and to more than 40 years of NLRB precedents – precedents overturned by a GOP-majority board in 2004.

The decision is important because many employers, in order to dodge labor law and organizing drives, hire workers as temps to toil side by side with full-time permanent workers who perform exactly the same tasks. The old decision, Oakwood, said unions could organize the temps only if they got an OK from both the regular employer and the temp agency.

Needless to say, such a dual approval from employers rarely, if ever, happens.

The new ruling’s important point is whether the temps and the permanent workers share “a community of interest,” which is labor law’s general standard for deciding whether a specific group of workers can vote to unionize or not. If they don’t share such interests, they can’t ordinarily be combined. If they do, all can vote for or against the union.

Since the temps and the permanent workers share such interests, they all can vote for the union, the board majority said.

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Thank You, President Obama

Thank You, President Obama

Union Matters

A Lame Duck Vote on TPP Would Leave Americans Feeling Cheated

Hugh J. Campbell

Hugh J. Campbell Son of a steelworker, Philadelphia, Pa.

President Obama vilified Donald Trump’s lifelong behavior of leaving people with the feeling of being cheated. President Obama, what about your signing TPP into law after passage during the lame-duck session? Candidates Clinton, Trump and Stein all oppose TPP versus Johnson who recently flipped to favor TPP.

President Obama squarely placed Trump’s status as a “homegrown demagogue” in a lineup of other threats to the American democratic experiment. However, based on following quote Trump’s rise can be squarely placed on the shoulders of Presidents Clinton, Bush-43 and Obama:

“One thing I don't like about the consequences of sustained large trade deficits is I think it makes the potential for demagoguery and really foolish policies more likely over time.” – Warren Buffett

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