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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Hours After Anti-Obamacare Lawyers File Brief, An Ally Reveals That The Brief’s Key Claim Is False

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Hours After Anti-Obamacare Lawyers File Brief, An Ally Reveals That The Brief’s Key Claim Is False

Lawyers and activists seeking to enlist the Supreme Court in a crusade against Obamacare face a challenging task. On the one hand, the justices are far more likely to side with the plaintiffs in a lawsuit attacking the law if they believe that such a decision will have relatively modest repercussions. On the other hand, these lawyers and their allies have actively and, at times, loudly, touted their unwillingness to restore the health care that millions of Americans would lose if the justices allow themselves to be drafted into this crusade.

On Wednesday evening, one of the central figures in this lawsuit offered a stark reminder of why it is difficult to send one message to your friends and a different message to the Supreme Court. That evening, lawyers asking the Supreme Court to defund much of the Affordable Care Act and strip health insurance from millions of Americans filed their final brief before the justices. Only a few hours later, however, one of the architects of this lawsuit undercut a core claim in the brief. Though the lawyers seeking to gut Obamacare are telling the justices that it will be no big deal if they support this effort, because the states can step into the gap and restore what the justices took away, these lawyers’ key allies are already making plans to ensure that the states will do nothing of the sort.

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American Workers Need Stable Housing Free From Discrimination

Richard L. Trumka

Richard L. Trumka President, AFL-CIO

American Workers Need Stable Housing Free From Discrimination

We recently celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a tireless champion of the fundamental human dignity of every man, woman and child, and a dear friend of the labor movement. It is in his memory and out of respect for the solidarity between Dr. King and the labor leaders of his time that we carry on the fight for fairness wherever it may take us.

That fight includes the right to affordable and fair housing without discrimination. The Supreme Court will soon decide one of the most important civil rights cases of our time, a case with the potential to put justice out of reach for working Americans. Currently, victims of housing discrimination may bring a complaint when there is clear evidence that a housing provider intended to discriminate, or when a practice or policy that is not intentionally discriminatory has a negative impact on a particular group of people, like female heads of households or persons with disabilities. This second approach is based on the disparate-impact protections of the Fair Housing Act and it is precisely what is at stake in this Supreme Court case.

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It's All in the Narrative

William Spriggs Chief Economist, AFL-CIO

It's All in the Narrative

There is history--the facts of events--and then there is myth and fable--the essence of things, the narratives that shape our understanding of complex events inspiring, motivating, rallying and galvanizing us as people and nations.

In the case of the United States, the narrative all too often leaves out people of color. In part, this focuses us on leaders--portrayed as white males--to carry the hero's weight in forging our great nation. In part, it is to skip over the complexity of seeing a nation that prides itself on freedom having to explain slavery. In part, it was to create a narrative that America was a white country.

When Carter G. Woodson argued to establish what initially was Black History Week in February, it was to force attention on the more complex issues--and to move African Americans from invisibility to central roles in the American narrative.

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Time to Walk it Back, Gov. Walker

Time to Walk it Back, Gov. Walker

Union Matters