Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother

China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother
Image by Bananastock.

Confronted with a dire situation, a world power last week took strong action to secure its domestic jobs and manufacturing.

That was China. Not the United States.

China diminished the value of its currency.  This gave its exporting industries a boost while simultaneously blocking imports. The move protected the Asian giant’s manufacturers and its workers’ jobs.

Currency manipulation violates free market principles, but for China, doing it makes sense. The nation’s economy is cooling. Its stock market just crashed, and its economic powerhouse – exports – declined a substantial 8.3 percent in July ­– down to $195 billion from $213 billion the previous July. This potent action by a major economic competitor raises the question of when the United States government is going to stop pretending currency manipulation doesn’t exist. When will the United States take the necessary action to protect its industry, including manufacturing essential to national defense, as well as the good, family-supporting jobs of millions of manufacturing workers?

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Two Brothers Allegedly Beat Up A Latino Man, Say They Were Inspired By Donald Trump

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

Esther Yu-Hsi Lee Immigration Reporter, Think Progress

Two Brothers Allegedly Beat Up A Latino Man, Say They Were Inspired By Donald Trump

A pair of siblings in Boston, Massachusetts targeted and ambushed a 58-year-old homeless Latino man because one brother was “inspired in part” by 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the Boston Globe reported.

Police arrived on the scene early Wednesday to a homeless man covered in urine, whose nose was broken and chest and arms were battered. The victim told police that “he was awakened by two men urinating on his face.” He said they ripped away his blankets and sleeping bag, hit him in the face and the head, and punched him several times. According to the Boston Globe, several witnesses saw the homeless man being attacked.

The victim is in fair condition, though he has a broken nose and multiple bruises on his head and torso.

Scott Leader, one of the two brothers, told police that the victim started the confrontation. He also reportedly said that “it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless,” adding, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

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The Puzzling Reason Why Carly Fiorina Wants To Shrink The U.S. Department Of Education

Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan Education Reporter, Think Progress

The Puzzling Reason Why Carly Fiorina Wants To Shrink The U.S. Department Of Education

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and Republican presidential hopeful, said that one “metric of success” would be to make the U.S. Department of Education a “whole lot smaller.” She made the remarks at an education summit hosted by The Seventy Four, an education news website, and moderated by its founder Campbell Brown. Fiorina said she would like to see the department justify every single part of its funding every year:

What we need to do is have zero-based budgeting in the federal government. That’s a fancy word for saying every single department has to justify every single dollar every single year. We don’t know what the department of education does anymore. We don’t know what they’re doing. We don’t know what they’re spending money on.

In fact, we do know what the U.S. Department of Education is doing. The department does release reports on where its federal dollars went and provides organizational charts, a list of its main goals that year, such as ensuring high schools with persistently low graduation rates decrease by 5 percent annually by September 30, and comparisons of liabilities, assets, and net position to previous fiscal years. You can read the 160-page report on the 2014-2015 fiscal year here.

As a broad overview, the department of education provided $27.13 billion in grants and 467 billion in Pell for discretionary appropriations this year, which includes Pell Grant funding, provides oversight to make sure the states spend federal money in the way it is intended to be spent, uses financial incentives to ensure schools don’t discriminate based on gender through Title IX, and collects national education data.

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The Real War on Families: Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now

Sharon Lerner

Sharon Lerner Journalist

Leigh Benrahou began laying plans to have a second child almost as soon as she had her first, a daughter named Johara, in 2011. Benrahou, 32, wanted to time the next birth so that when she returned to work, her mother, who works at an elementary school and has summers off, could babysit. Most importantly, Benrahou wanted to spend as much time as she could with her new baby while also keeping her relatively new job as the registrar at a small college.

While her husband, Rachid, 38, earns enough at a carpet cleaning company to cover their mortgage and food, without her paycheck they’d be forced to live close to the bone. And if she quit her job, Benrahou, who has a masters in nonprofit management, would take a big step backward in what she hoped would be a long career in higher education.

So Benrahou, who has wavy dark blond hair, blue eyes and a tendency to smile even through difficult moments, set about what may be the least romantic aspect of family planning in the United States: figuring out how to maximize time with a newborn while staying solvent, employed and, ideally, sane.

Only in America

Most people are aware that Americans have a raw deal when it comes to maternity leave. Perhaps they’ve heard about Sweden, with its drool-inducing 16 months of paid parental leave, or Finland, where, after about 9 months of paid leave, the mother or father can take—or split—additional paid “child care leave” until the child’s third birthday.

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Maryland Governor Won’t Fire Housing Secretary Who Said Poor Moms Poison Their Kids To Get Free Rent

Alan Pyke

Alan Pyke Deputy Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has decided that a man who believes low-income parents might intentionally poison their children with lead in order to score free housing from the state should continue to administer Maryland’s public housing system.

During a public event Friday, State Housing Secretary Kenneth Holt said that state laws regarding lead abatement in homes are too strict and invite abuse. The secretary told the crowd “the current law could motivate a mother to put a fishing weight in a child’s mouth to elevate the level of lead in his bloodstream and qualify for free housing at the landlord’s expense until the child turned 18,” according to a paraphrase of the comments in the Baltimore Sun. Holt declined to defend his hypothetical child-abuse scheme with evidence that it has ever happened, according to the paper.

Holt quickly apologized over the weekend, and on Monday evening Hogan’s office told the Sun that the governor had decided to keep Holt on despite the comments. “The governor expressed his disappointment and directed the secretary to continue reaching out…to reassure [people] of his commitment to the safety and health of all Marylanders,” spokesman Doug Mayer told the paper. A group of 30 Democrats from the state legislature had called for Holt to resign, but Hogan “remains confident that he can continue to effectively lead this department,” the spokesman said.

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The Reason Income Inequality is Rising

The Reason Income Inequality is Rising

Union Matters

Solidarity to Save our Steel Jobs

By Jerry Santos
USW Local 1010, Arcelor Mittal

Let me start by saying I love my job, and I’m highly grateful for being able to have the opportunity to work in the steel making industry.  How I would love to see another 30 plus years of steel making here in the Great Lake region!  However, I don’t see it at all.  There is a real dilemma hanging over the heads of us hard-working individuals young and old. 

We are the middle class, and we drive the economy in our local communities.  What will happen to our local businesses if the steel mills were to vacate from the Great Lakes region?

Several factors are hurting the production and profits of steel making today.  The first and most important is steel dumping by foreign counties. Another is the failure of politicians act to protect American steel. And a third is greed by corporations.   

Just like any other corporate train with no brakes or no physical conductor that could be held accountable for their actions, these corporations march forward for one goal with no regard to what is in their way. The goal is profits.  Profits today have replaced ethical morals.

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