Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

No Breakthroughs in China Trade Talks is Good News

No Breakthroughs in China Trade Talks is Good News

That U.S. trade negotiators returned from China last week without trumpeting some big breakthrough is, in fact, a sign of real progress. That’s because there’s no point in touting more cheap promises that won’t be kept.

The U.S. and China discussed complex, long-standing trade disputes that have contributed significantly to America’s relentlessly expanding trade deficit with the Asian giant, to the shuttering of tens of thousands of U.S. factories, and to the loss of hundreds of thousands of good-paying American jobs.

The U.S. delegation traveled to Beijing with a four-page list of demands, as well as sufficient scarring from past burns to ignore shiny objects this time. The American demands are tough, and completely appropriate. Rebalancing trade with China, which is $375 billion out of whack, will not be easy.

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North Carolina Teachers Descend on State Capital with Funding Demands

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

At least 20,000 North Carolina teachers, decked out in the now-familiar #RedforEd T-shirts, descended on the state capital building in Raleigh on May 16.

They demanded more funding for the schools so they can teach their kids, better pay for themselves and support staffers, and an end to the corporate tax cuts that robbed Tar Heel state schools of money for at least the past decade.

So many North Carolina teachers walked out, went to Raleigh, or both, that half the schools in the state, covering two-thirds of the students, had to close. Other unions, led by the state AFL-CIO, supported the walkout – which really was the lobby day of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), a National Education Association affiliate.

"What they've been doing to our public schools is not right," NCAE President Mark Jewell said of the state legislature.

Carolina teachers thus became the latest in a lengthening line of teachers who have taken matters into their own hands and taken to the streets in red states, demanding more funding for schools, better pay for themselves and staff, and guaranteed funding streams for education – including an end to state corporate tax cuts that robbed schools of needed cash.

West Virginia’s teachers started the parade when they were forced to strike for nine days after the GOP-run legislature refused to raise their pay and planned to cut their pensions. They were followed by teachers in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona – plus another massive lobby day by Colorado teachers in the state capital, Denver. All had similar demands, and, except in Oklahoma, won most of them.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D), greeted the North Carolina teachers by proposing an 8 percent raise and more funds for books, repairs and buying materials. One teacher tweeted a photo of a textbook for elementary schoolers about the presidents. It’s so old kids had to draw in likenesses of every president after Reagan.

But the heavily gerrymandered GOP-run state legislature is another matter. The state House speaker declared Carolina’s teachers got larger raises than any others nationwide during the last two years, and said they should go back to the classroom.

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Infrastructure Week Has Become a Joke, and That’s a Big Mistake.

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

It’s Infrastructure Week. No, you guys, for reals though!

The concept of “Infrastructure Week” has become a bit of a joke here in the D.C. swamp, since it seems like every single time the White House intends to focus on infrastructure, there’s a big distraction.

But it actually is Infrastructure Week this time. Hundreds of organizations —big business groups like the Chamber of Commerce, labor leaders like the AFL-CIO, and even good old AAM — are taking part in the official advocacy effort to push for major investment in our nation’s roads, bridges, public transit, ports, railways, airports, pipelines, and more.

There’s even a hashtag: #TimetoBuild.

But sadly, the party was spoiled before it even began. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced last week there is not likely to be an infrastructure bill this year (something Senate Democrats had a bit of fun with):

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Alliance for American Manufacturing Counters U.S. Plan to Save Jobs in China

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The Alliance for American Manufacturing, which often allies itself with the Steelworkers and other industrial unions on trade and related issues, is starting an online petition to get U.S. residents to denounce GOP President Donald Trump’s plan to save 75,000 factory jobs in China.

“Tell Trump: Do not concede to China!” AAM says on its website, urging people to sign. It wants the president to reverse his stand, announced in a typical Trump tweet, that he wants to save the Chinese jobs at the telecommunications firm ZTE.

ZTE manufactures cheap “smart phones,” many with U.S.-made components from two non-union firms, Intel and Qualcomm. Trump claims ZTE’s sudden shutdown in mid-May would in turn throw workers in its supply chain here out of jobs.

“ZTE is a shady telecommunications company with direct ties to the Chinese government. It is considered a major threat to American security, and has broken trade embargoes with Iran and North Korea,” the Alliance explained. “The Commerce Department

recently banned U.S. companies from providing exports to ZTE for seven years in response.”

The export ban led ZTE to shut down, but Trump tweeted on May 13 that he’s

“working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE get back into business. This would be a huge mistake.”

“Tell Trump to stand up against China and uphold the ZTE ban,” AAM’s petition retorts.

Trump’s Commerce Department said it imposed the ban because ZTE sold key goods to North Korea and Iran, violating U.S. and international sanctions against those countries for their nuclear weapons development programs.

AAM Executive Director Scott Paul said ZTE’s use of U.S. technology for its phones – use the 7-year export ban cuts off – is part of a long pattern of Chinese cheating.

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Infrastructure Week Highlights the Need to Invest in the US

This week is Infrastructure Week, an annual event where an increasingly powerful coalition led by local, state and federal leaders, as well as both businesses and labor unions, demand massive and necessary investments to build America. This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 80% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority. America’s labor movement says the time to build is now.

 

In an op-ed, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said:

As unions, businesses, engineers and policy makers celebrate Infrastructure Week from May 14–21, we’re reflecting on the investments that add value to America. For every dollar a country spends on public infrastructure, it gets back nearly $3, according to a 2014 study from the International Monetary Fund.

Keep this in mind when you hear that the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, has called for $2 trillion to repair, renovate or replace water lines, public schools, bridges and mass transit systems. On top of that, another $2 trillion could make America the global leader in the infrastructure technologies of the future, such as high-speed rail and smart utilities.

That kind of serious infrastructure spending would create countless jobs in manufacturing. Enacting ironclad Buy America provisions would kick-start production in steel and other battered industries, putting millions of people to work and lifting wages. These broad economic benefits explain why year after year, the AFL-CIO joins with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to ask Congress to invest in America’s national infrastructure.

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Union Matters

Build a Bright Future

From the AFL-CIO

This is Infrastructure Week, an annual event where an increasingly powerful coalition led by local, state and federal leaders, as well as both businesses and labor unions, demand massive and necessary investments to build America.

This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 80% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority. America’s labor movement says the time to build is now.

The time to invest heavily in America’s infrastructure is now: For $2 trillion, we can have safe drinking water and quality public schools, reliable transit systems and sturdy bridges.

71%: That’s how many transportation ballot measures have passed in the United States since 2000, proving the public’s desire for infrastructure investments in our shared future.

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Check the Facts on Trade

Check the Facts on Trade