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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New OSHA Rule To Force Detailed Worksite-By-Worksite Data Disclosure

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

A new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule will force firms, worksite by worksite, into detailed, publicly posted job safety and health data disclosure – showing how safe, or unsafe, each workplace is.

The point of the final rule, which will cover almost half a million individual workplaces nationwide, including all 34,000 sites with at least 250 workers each, is to let workers and companies see which sites are the safest and which are not, and to shame those that are unsafe into changing their ways, said OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels.

The big change will force the firms to electronically report data immediately that they already send to the agency, Michaels told a May 11 telephone press conference.

By mid-2018, all that data – yearly summaries for 432,000 companies with 200-250 workers each and detailed injury reports for the 34,000 largest firms – will be posted on line. But the first part of the new rule, regarding enforcement, starts this August. 

“Making injury information publically available will increase attention to safety,” Michaels explained. “But we’ll remove personal information,” identifying individual workers, he added.

“Workers will benefit by choosing safer workplaces” once all the data is online and public, Michaels, a public health specialist, explained. “This is a public health issue. We believe responsible employers will want to be recognized as safe. Many employers now realize that if you manage for safety, you improve your bottom line.

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Free Trade and Globalization Designed To Screw Workers

Dean Baker

Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Free Trade and Globalization Designed To Screw Workers

Why are none of the “free trade” members of Congress pushing to change the regulations that require doctors go through a U.S. residency program to be able to practice medicine in the United States? Obviously, they are all protectionist Neanderthals.

Will the media ever stop the ridiculous charade of pretending that the path of globalization that we are on is somehow natural and that it is the outcome of a “free” market? Are longer and stronger patent and copyright monopolies the results of a free market?

The New York Times should up its game in this respect. It had a good piece on the devastation to millions of working class people and their communities from the flood of imports of manufactured goods in the last decade, but then it turns to hand-wringing nonsense about how it was all a necessary part of globalization. Actually, none of it was a necessary part of free trade.

First, the huge trade deficits were the direct result of the decision of China and other developing countries to buy massive amounts of U.S. dollars to hold as reserves in this period. This raised the value of the dollar and made our goods and services less competitive internationally. This problem of a seriously overvalued dollar stems from the bungling of the East Asian bailout by the Clinton Treasury Department and the International Monetary Fund.

If we had a more competent team in place, that didn’t botch the workings of the international financial system, then we would have expected the dollar to drop as more imports entered the U.S. market. This would have moved the U.S. trade deficit toward balance and prevented the massive loss of manufacturing jobs we saw in the last decade.

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Does Moving Jobs Out Of The Country Affect What People Here Get Paid?

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Does Moving Jobs Out Of The Country Affect What People Here Get Paid?

Economists are still arguing over whether moving our jobs out of the country affects what the people still here get paid. Yes, really.

For example, Jared Bernstein in The Washington Post looks at different studies of the effect of moving jobs out of the country. One study, by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson (referred to by Bernstein as “ADH”), was published in January by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The other, by economist Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute, was published in 2013. Both found that moving jobs out of the country hurt the wages of not just the affected workers but everyone in the surrounding area. The question is, does this wage-depressing effect spread outside the local area?

Bernstein writes, “The analytic question is twofold. First, are American workers really hurt by trade competition, and second, if so, are there spillovers to those not directly in competition with imports?”

To understand the difference … in Bivens vs. ADH, consider two towns, one with two businesses, a factory and restaurant, and the other with just a restaurant. In ADH’s findings, the negative spillover, or diffusion, stays mostly in the first town. The factory takes a competitive hit from cheaper Chinese imports. This, of course, directly hurts the blue-collar factory workers, but it also hurts the restaurant workers, both through demand (fewer factory workers showing up for lunch) and supply (more competition for jobs at the restaurant) effects.

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They Say What You Can't Do, Teach

They Say What You Can't Do, Teach

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