Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

GOP’s Blind Hate of Labor Union Members

GOP’s Blind Hate of Labor Union Members
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

To Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, America's labor union members are the same as murderous, beheading, caged-prisoner-immolating ISIS terrorists. Exactly the same. 

That's what he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week.  The governor said that because he destroyed public sector labor rights in Wisconsin after 100,000 union supporters protested in Madison he could defeat ISIS as President of the United States.

That sums up all the GOP hate and vitriol against labor union members in recent years. It would appear that Republicans can't discern the difference between suicide bombers and working men and women who band together to collectively bargain for better wages and safer conditions. Republicans, it seems, can't see that a foreign extremist group that kidnaps 276 schoolgirls is not the same as an American labor organization seeking to improve the lives of families and communities. This GOP blindness explains the relentless campaign by GOP leaders to renege on contractual obligations to workers, squash labor rights and slash the pay and benefits of union members. 

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Fewer Labor Unions Means More Income Inequality

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Fewer Labor Unions Means More Income Inequality

Lower rates of workers belonging to unions are strongly associated with more income going to the wealthiest, according to a new paper from International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists Florence Jaumotte and Carolina Osorio Buitron.

The authors write, “[W]e find strong evidence that lower unionization is associated with an increase in top income shares in advanced economies during the period 1980–2010.” In particular, they found that the decline in unionization explains about half of the rise in incomes for the richest 10 percent and about half of the increase in the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality. It’s also associated with less redistribution of income between the best off and the least well off.

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Why Are We Taxpayers Subsidizing Corporate Crime?

Jim Hightower

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

"Do the crime, do the time," goes the old saying. Unless of course, the criminals are corporate executives. In those cases, the culprits are practically always given a "Get out of jail free" card.

Even the corporate crimes that produce horrible injuries, illnesses, death, etc. are routinely settled by fines and payoffs from the corporate treasury, with no punishment of the honchos who oversee what amount to crime-for-profit syndicates. The only bit of justice in these money settlements is that some of them have become quite large, with multibillion-dollar "punitive damages" meant to deter the perpetrators from doing it again. Yet, the same bad corporate actors seem to keep at it.

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GOP Senator Chuck Grassley Reportedly Called Supreme Court Case Attacking Obamacare ‘Ridiculous’

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may have done more than any other member of Congress to obstruct passage of the Affordable Care Act. As ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley was the senior most Republican member of the so-called “Gang of Six” convened by committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) in an attempt to achieve bipartisan support for the legislation. Grassley, however, largely succeeded in delaying the bill’s passage — at one point sending a fundraising letter seeking “immediate support in helping me defeat ‘Obama-care’” while he was ostensibly negotiating over the bill’s contents.

Yet, when a veteran journalist asked Grassley about a lawsuit seeing to gut the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court, Grassley reportedly labeled this lawsuit “ridiculous.”

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Treat Home Care Workers with Respect – Pay a Decent Wage

Treat Home Care Workers with Respect – Pay a Decent Wage

Union Matters

Wisconsinites’ Right to Work for Less

In December of 2014, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said a right-to-work-for-less bill would be a distraction from his preferred legislative agenda.  But more recently, he opined that such a bill had become appropriate because his budget and legislative agenda have been finalized.  In a burst of frankness, Walker followed up by stating that passing right-to-work-for-less legislation would be a step toward achieving his presidential ambitions.  (Walker has made other similar “pander to the right wing” statements of late.  For example, in an interview in February, Gov. Walker refused to say whether he believed in evolution.)

A number of Wisconsin labor leaders point to the governor’s recent championing of right-to-work-for-less as self-serving, to say the least.  These same leaders also insist that the governor is rushing the bill through the legislature to discourage discussion.

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