Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Anti-Presidential: Money Grubbing, Community Disdaining Candidates

Anti-Presidential: Money Grubbing, Community Disdaining Candidates
Art on Flickr by DonkeyHotey

Donald Trump says exactly what the GOP believes. It’s a simple axiom: personal wealth accumulation is everything. Republican Party officials believe individuals like The Donald attain riches through their own guts, glory and gumption with not an iota of aid from community, country or, frankly, inherited wealth. 

It’s just that when The Donald expresses their credo, he ignores the shinola and emphasizes the crass. Instead of going with the slick 2012 GOP convention theme, “I built that,” to aggrandize individual capitalist conquest, The Donald slammed a group of his primary competitors for serving their nation instead of themselves.

What The Donald failed to acknowledge is that some of them, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, serve themselves through their so-called public service. This year, for example, Walker took a quarter billion dollars from Wisconsin higher education, gave it instead to a project by billionaire sports team owners to construct a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, and now one of those rich guys, Jon Hammes, co-chairs Walker’s national campaign fund raising.

It’s a brilliant scam. The Donald, master of bankruptcies with four under his belt, really should be impressed. Walker is forcing the great majority of Wisconsin workers to pay taxes, not for projects they prize like schools or highways, but instead to further enrich millionaires who, in turn, fill Walker’s campaign pockets!  

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Labor Must Act to Stop Mass Incarceration

Richard L. Trumka

Richard L. Trumka President, AFL-CIO

In too many corners of our nation, black and brown Americans are suffering under the weight of a criminal justice system that disproportionately harms people of color. The AFL-CIO enthusiastically supports the efforts of President Obama to make our laws fairer and more effective.

When a nonviolent offender spends a decade or more of their life behind bars because of mandatory minimum sentencing, no one benefits. When those who have paid their debt to society cannot find housing or a job, the entire economy suffers. When a generation of young Americans advance through our prison system instead of our school system, our nation is weaker for it.

Simply put, mass incarceration is ineffective, racist, and morally bankrupt. It is up to all of us -- business and labor, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative -- to do something about it.

The numbers are staggering. Black Americans make up 13 percent of our population, yet 38 percent of those incarcerated. As President Obama pointed out, we imprison more people than the top 35 European countries combined. We have an epidemic on our hands.

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Why Social Security Beats All Rivals -- And the Case for Expanding It

Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner Co-Founder and Co-Editor, The American Prospect

Why Social Security Beats All Rivals -- And the Case for Expanding It

This is the season when we hear calls to cut Social Security. That's because of the annual trustees report on the system's financial condition.

Last week, the trustees reported that Social Security can pay all of its projected obligations through about 2034. To keep faith with today's workers and tomorrow's retirees, Social Security will need additional funds, though the shortfall is entirely manageable if we act in the next few years.

The report prompted the usual rightwing blarney about cutting benefits or privatizing Social Security, as well as familiar bleatings from billionaire deficit-hawks about the need to delay the retirement age for people far less fortunate.

One part of the system, the disability insurance fund, needs additional resources by 2016 -- and of course Republicans are calling for cuts in benefits to some of society's most needy people.

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What Makes ‘The Donald’ Special and Dangerous

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Donald Trump is a unique guy in many ways—goofy hair, a four-time boom-and-bust devotee of our bankruptcy laws, and a multi-billionaire able to run for president on his own bank account.

My Dad, rest his soul, used to have a kind word for candidates like this. In his day, it was a Rockefeller. ‘At least you know he can’t be bought. He’s the one that does the buying.’

But here’s one item that takes the cake. If you visit Trump’s presidential-run web site, at least today, at donaldjtrump.com, you may notice something interesting.

There’s no ‘issues’ tab to click.

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Members Of Congress Introduce Largest Minimum Wage Hike Yet

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Members Of Congress Introduce Largest Minimum Wage Hike Yet

Last week, members of Congress introduced a national increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) along with Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison (MN), Raúl Grijalva (AZ), and other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus released details of the legislation after a morning event that day.

A $15 minimum wage hike marks a significant increase from past Democratic bills to raise it. In his 2013 State of the Union, President Obama called for an increase to $9 an hour. Some lawmakers went further a month later with a bill that would have raised it to $10.10 an hour. Then earlier this year, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) got closer to the $15 mark when they introduced a bill raising it to $12 an hour by 2020. Their bill also would phase out the lower minimum wage for tipped employees and automatically increase the wage as median wages rise. Details are not yet available on whether the Sanders and CPC bill will eliminate the tipped wage and when it would take effect.

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GOP Policy: Welfare Only for Corporations

GOP Policy: Welfare Only for Corporations

Union Matters

The More Things Change….

The season of contract discussions with some of the major steel producers in the United States has begun, and if the first weeks are any indication of what is to come, the battle will be an arduous one. 

The proposals set forth by the companies harken back to the dark days of the 1980’s, when workers were crucified in the areas of pensions, wages, benefits and the stripping of their bargaining rights.  Once again in 2015, the workers must face reprisal for the impotent business decisions of their corporations and the laxity of the Federal government towards the unfair trading practices of other nations.

While the companies’ claim of hardship imposed by the rampant and unchecked dumping on our shores of Chinese, Korean and Japanese steel is valid, it does not negate the fact that we have faced much more difficult situations in the past, without having to enter into a concessionary period.

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