Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Let’s Sue the GOP

Let’s Sue the GOP

House Republicans last week overwhelmingly endorsed suing President Barack Obama for delaying part of the Affordable Care Act, a law Republicans hate and condemn and voted 50 times to repeal. So, really, the president did exactly what the GOP claims it wants. But they’re suing anyway.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans last week prevented repair of a law that 99.99 percent of Americans hate and condemn and would vote 50 times to repeal, given the chance. The GOP blocked a bill that would have ended tax breaks bestowed on corporations for offshoring factories and jobs.

Only one Senate Republican voted for the Bring Jobs Home Act – the bill that would have replaced corporate reprobate rebates with rewards for firms that move factories back to America. Americans of all political persuasions object to paying higher taxes to offset the cost of coddling corporate defectors. The GOP’s filibustering of this bill is dereliction of duty. So let’s sue. And look at it this way, even if this is a lost cause – and it is – the more time Republicans must spend in court, the less time they have to obstruct the will of the people.

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Blink, And You’ll Miss The Latest “Libertarian Moment”

Terrance Heath

Terrance Heath Online Producer, Campaign for America’s Future

The latest “Libertarian Moment” is upon us, and will expire once it runs headlong into its own inherent shortcomings and the reality of a populist majority. Blink, and you’ll miss it.

Robert Draper, in the New York Times, asks “Has the Libertarian Moment Arrived?”, and answers by asserting that “the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms” is poised to become a political “wild card.” Turned off by the Iraq war, “reflexively tolerant of other lifestyles,” and appalled by NSA-style invasions of privacy, Draper claims that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 — also known as Millennials —  are uncommitted to either major party, and thus are ripe to be lured into libertarianism.

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USW Lays Out Action Platform as Gerard Denounces 'Shrewd, Greedy and Powerful' Forces Set to Destroy Workers

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Steelworkers convention delegates adopted a multi-point action platform for their union for coming years to battle what re-elected President Leo Gerard called “shrewd, greedy and powerful” forces out to destroy workers.

The plan was touchstone of the 4-day convention, in Las Vegas , August 11-15.

The platform calls for the union, which represents workers in steel, oil, rubber and plastics, chemicals and other industries, “to fight continually” for jobs with family-sustaining wages and to reduce income inequality.  Reducing inequality “is at the core of rebuilding our economies.” delegates said.  That means also changing the way USW organizes, they said.  

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Kaptur Finds New 'Harvest of Shame' on N.C. Tobacco Farms

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Kaptur Finds New 'Harvest of Shame' on N.C. Tobacco Farms

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) recently got a firsthand look at deplorable working and living conditions that thousands of tobacco farm workers in North Carolina endure. She was part of a delegation that included two members of Britain’s Parliament, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) President Baldemar Velasquez, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre and several AFL-CIO Union Summer interns who are taking part in FLOC's "Respect, Recognition, Raise" campaign and fight for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, respect in the workplace and union recognition. Kaptur wrote about her findings in a column for The Nation. Here’s an excerpt:

During my visit, I found workers who labor eleven hours a day under grueling conditions at high season for $7.25 an hour. As many as twelve men sleep jammed inside ramshackle, dilapidated trailers or barracks. There is no hot water, no decent laundry facilities, no air-conditioning, substandard electrical and gas wiring, and flush toilets are a luxury. I saw injured workers, including one man who had lost part of his index finger in a work accident, who lacked basic protections and health care. I heard women testify of the sexual abuse they face to secure work and pay, but still they and their children live in squalor in the richest nation in the world.

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What the NLRB Announcement on McDonald's Means

Jackie Tortora

Jackie Tortora AFL-CIO, Blog/Social Media Manager

What the NLRB Announcement on McDonald's Means

In case you missed it, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard F. Griffin made a pretty significant announcement about McDonald's and its role as an employer to workers in franchise locations all over the country. 

Historically McDonald's has claimed it has no authority over wages or complaints of workers' rights violations at its franchise locations because that is up to the individual owners, but the NLRB general counsel determined McDonald's could be liable as a joint employer in these kinds of situations. 

There's been a lot of head scratching over what this announcement means and its implications for other large companies and workers at these kind of fast food franchises, so here is some basic information to break it all down for you.

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Don't Re-elect Sen. Mitch McConnell -- He'll Just Pay Himself More and Ignore You

Don't Re-elect Sen. Mitch McConnell -- He'll Just Pay Himself More and Ignore You

Union Matters

The Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) - the Antidote for Fascist-Style Voter Suppression

“Last year, the Supreme Court stripped away critical protections for millions of voters when it gutted a key section of the Voting Rights Act. The court’s decision will now make it harder for voters who have been historically disenfranchised to have their votes counted. The decision reversed decades of progress, so we must now take steps to ensure those eligible to vote receive the opportunity to do so.” - - USW President Leo W. Gerard.

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