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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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 Lack Of OSHA Inspectors, Combined With Corporate Greed, Is A Recipe For Worker Abuse

Matt Murray

Matt Murray Creator, Author, NH Labor News

This week a new report from Oxfam showed the ugliness of corporate greed in America’s food processing plants. The new report showed that workers from Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue and Sanderson Farms, were routinely not given bathroom breaks and had to wear diapers on the processing line.

“Workers urinate and defecate while standing on the line; they wear diapers to work; they restrict intake of liquids and fluids to dangerous degrees; they endure pain and discomfort while they worry about their health and job security. And they are in danger of serious health problems,” the report stated.

“The denial of bathroom breaks strikes women particularly hard. They face biological realities such as menstruation, pregnancy, and higher vulnerability to infections; and they struggle to maintain their dignity and privacy when requesting adequate time to use the restroom,” the report added.

This is absolutely disgusting. These are the people who are processing the food that we eat every day.

“A recent survey in Minnesota revealed that 86 percent of workers interviewed said they get fewer than two bathroom breaks in a week.”

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Aft, Detroit Teachers: Republicans in Mich. House Jam through Anti-Union, Anti-Teacher Inadequate Aid Package

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The right-wing Republicans ruling the Michigan House have jammed through an anti-union, anti-teacher inadequate aid package that would do little for Detroit’s schools and schoolchildren, the American Federation of Teachers and its Detroit local said.

The package, approved in the wee morning hours of May 5, was “twisted into a partisan screed against Detroit teachers and school employees,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten and Detroit interim President Ivy Bailey.

They urged teachers to lobby lawmakers to reject it in favor of a Senate-passed alternative plan, and – if that did not occur – for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder to veto it.

The financial ills of the Detroit district, including the prospect of looming payless paydays, forced the teachers into a 2-day sickout in early May. It was so successful that 94 of the district’s 97 schools closed.

The schools also suffer from deteriorating buildings, health hazards – including dead mice found in the middle of classroom floors – and lack of supplies. The teachers have not had a raise in years and have suffered pay cuts and other financial slashes.

The district, now run by a Snyder-appointed administrator, says it is broke and needs state aid. The GOP-run Senate approved a $715 million aid package; the GOP-run House did not. Its package is $75 million-$100 million yearly, spread out over five years.

 

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Are you Crazy?!

Are you Crazy?!

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