Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Really, Really Rich Trump Is No Workers’ Champion

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald  “I am really, really rich” Trump is, according to Forbes, the 121st richest person in America. So, yes, he is really, really rich.

He loves the perks of being really, really rich, like flying to campaign events in one of his own private jets, which means he blithely skips those annoying airport security lines that non-billionaires must endure. He enjoys kicking back in one of his five houses, including the 58-bedroom Mar-A-Lago mansion, where the $600,000 annual property taxes are three times the entire cost of an average American home. And, of course, Trump relishes the power he has to tell workers, “You’re fired.”

Born into wealth, Trump attended private schools and inherited $40 million when he was just 28 years old. He didn’t spend summers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Appalachia. He didn’t take a gap year to put that fancy private school education to use tutoring inner city kids. So, frankly, it’s easy to understand why he opposes raising the minimum wage. This guy who was born with a really, really silver spoon in his mouth doesn’t have a clue what living on $7.25 an hour means. 

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Parsing the PR Lies of Goldman Sachs

Jim Hightower

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

Parsing the PR Lies of Goldman Sachs

CorporateSpeak is an inane language that conveys seriousness without any sincerity.

Consider this example from Goldman Sachs: “We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us. Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients and ensure our governance processes are robust.” This is Goldman’s rhetorical attempt to cleanse itself of the massive fraud it committed in selling tens of billions of dollars in worthless mortgage investments to its clients, contributing to the crash of our economy in 2008.

For its criminality, the Justice Department has now spanked Goldman Sachs with a stinging $5 billion penalty. But what lesson have the haughty banksters learned? Well, let’s parse that two-sentence Orwellian comment they issued. First, they term their crimes “legacy matters,” which means something from the past, implying that the bad was done by some previous regime. But – hello – the top executives who oversaw and profited from that criminal enterprise are still there, still in charge.

Then, the PR statement refers vaguely to a “crisis,” as though it was not one the bankers caused. Next, they refer to strengthening “our culture,” rather than calling it what it was: A corporate-wide mindset of anything-goes avarice. That culture needs to be eliminated, not strengthened, replacing it with common kindergarten ethics of fair play. Finally, they assert that we should believe that their self-governance processes are now “robust.”

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Make It a Union-Made Memorial Day Barbecue

 

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to the summer holiday season. While the day honors those who have given their lives defending the nation, the weekend also marks the start of grilling season. Here’s some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start.

Text MADE to 235246 for more union-made in America product lists.

Our list comes courtesy of Union Plus; the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's website Labor 411.

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Obama Visits Vietnam To Promote TPP. Wait, VIETNAM? Really?

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really?

A year ago the post “Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?,” noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that TPP would benefit the American economy.

President Obama is scheduled to visit Nike’s Oregon headquarters on Friday to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yes, Nike – a company that grew to billions by outsourcing jobs to overseas sweatshops, a company that sets up P.O.-box subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, a company that uses threats to extort tax breaks from its “home” state.

Phil Knight, head of Nike, is now worth $23 billion because America’s trade policies encourage companies like Nike to create and move jobs outside of the U.S. The 23rd-richest American is one more symbol of the kind of inequality that results from outsourcing enabled and encouraged by these trade policies. Workers here lose (or never get) jobs; workers there are paid squat; a few people become vastly, unimaginably wealthy.

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Texas’ Strict Voter ID Law Goes Back To Court, With Half A Million Voters’ Rights At Stake

Alice Ollstein Political Reporter, Think Progress

One of the most conservative courts in the nation is hearing a challenge Tuesday to Texas’ voter ID law from from the state conference of the NAACP and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. These groups, represented by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, argues that the voter ID requirement suppresses the votes of people of color, who are much less likely to have a proper ID and much more likely to face barriers to getting one.

More than half a million registered Texan voters, the vast majority of them people of color, could be disenfranchised if the law is upheld.

“This is the most restrictive and burdensome law of its kind,” said Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers Committee. “There is a clear discriminatory impact on voters. African Americans and Latinos are two to three times more likely than whites not to have an ID, and poor people are ten times more likely. So we are confident that when the full panel of judges hears the evidence they will agree with us and find the law is discriminatory and should be stricken before this election.”

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The Real Leechers

The Real Leechers

Union Matters