Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

The High Cost of Fighting for $15

The High Cost of Fighting for $15

This is no plea for pity for corporate kingpins like Walmart and McDonald’s inundated by workers’ demands for living wages.

Raises would, of course, cost these billion-dollar corporations something. More costly, though, is the price paid by minimum-wage workers who have not received a raise in six years.  Even more dear is what these workers have paid for their campaign to get raises. Managers have harassed, threatened and fired them.

Despite all that, low-wage workers will return to picket lines and demonstrations Wednesday in a National Day of Action in the fight for $15 an hour. The date is 4 – 15. These are workers who live paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay their bills, and certainly unable to cope with an emergency. They know the risk they’re taking by participating in strikes for pay hikes. They’ve seen bosses punish co-workers for demonstrating for raises. To lose a job, even one that pays poverty wages, during a time of high unemployment is terrifying. Still, thousands will participate Wednesday. That is valor. 

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The Word Missing From Rand Paul’s Announcement Speech: Cut

Bill Scher

Bill Scher Online Editor, Campaign for America's Future

The Word Missing From Rand Paul’s Announcement Speech: Cut

Sen. Rand Paul wants to radically slash the size of our federal government and drastically limit its responsibilities. Oddly for a devout ideologue, he doesn’t want to tell you that.

When Paul was speaking to the country at large in his presidential campaign announcement address, the word “cut” was never uttered, let alone “reduce” or “shrink.”

When he put numbers on his plans, the numbers were designed to sound big. For example, he asked rhetorically: “Currently some $3 trillion comes into the U.S. Treasury. Couldn’t the country just survive on $3 trillion?”

Amidst the usual “government is the problem, not the solution” rhetoric, he enthusiastically championed increased government spending on “new highways and bridges” (though his proposal would get the money from an one-shot infusion of cash stemming from a reduced tax rate on corporate profits now avoiding U.S. taxes offshore). Yet, he offered nothing about what government programs or agencies he would eliminate.

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Dang: The Chinese-Made Bay Bridge Continues to Fall Apart

Matthew McCullan

Matthew McCullan Senior Media Coordinator, Alliance for American Manufacturing

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the bridge's anchor rods may be snapping.

Good news for people who like bad news: There are serious problems with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Again. From the San Francisco Chronicle comes the news that one of the anchor rods in the bridge’s eastern span may have snapped:

An ultrasonic test performed late last month indicates that the steel fastener may be as much as 6 inches shorter than the other rods, Caltrans officials say. It could have snapped at the bottom because of corrosion, or it could simply have been cut or made shorter than the other 400-plus rods at the tower’s base, they say.

The answer could determine whether Caltrans must bolster the tower’s anchoring system.

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Chuck Schumer Upchucks at Sight of TPP

Sen. Chuck Schumer, leader of the corporate wing of congressional Democrats, never met a global trade deal too ugly to hug. So when even he says, "This is really troubling," you know his eyes have been singed by something truly hideous.

That "something" is the trade scam called Trans-Pacific Partnership. The scam is that TPP only masquerades as a trade deal, while actually being a gross enlargement of multinational corporate power over our people's sovereignty. Specifically, a chapter of this secretly-negotiated, 12-nation deal empowers foreign corporations to challenge America's laws, rules, and court rulings – whether local, state, or national – by suing our governments in private, corporate-run tribunals set up by the United Nations or the World Bank.

That's what made Chuck nearly upchuck. "Savvy, deep-pocketed foreign conglomerates," he gasped, "could challenge a broad range of laws we pass at every level of government, such as made-in-America laws or anti-tobacco laws." Exactly.

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Corporations Want to Be People, But They Don't Want to Pay Taxes

Corporations Want to Be People, But They Don't Want to Pay Taxes

Union Matters

Solidarity with Workers Seeking Better Pay, Unions

I just read President Leo Gerard's blog on the New Hampshire Labor News. I respect it very much. The sentence: "The truth is that Patel, like so many other employers, believes that employees should work for free" is the absolute truth.

The American people, as well as union members, need to understand this at a time when paying dues to keep a union solvent is being viciously lied about eliminated wherever the corporate interests can get away with it.

I will be at a rally tomorrow with thousands of courageous workers who are miserably paid in New York City and treated brutually.

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