Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Canadian Mounties to the Rescue of American Workers

The Canadian Royal Mounties have offered to ride to the rescue of beleaguered American workers.

It doesn’t sound right. Americans perceive themselves to be the heroes. They are, after all, the country whose intervention won World War II, the country whose symbol, the Statue of Liberty, lifts her lamp to light the way, as the poem at the statue’s base says, for the yearning masses and wretched refuse, for the homeless and tempest-tossed.

America loves the underdog and champions the little guy. The United States is doing that, for example, by demanding in the negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Mexico raise its miserable work standards and wages. Now, though, here comes Canada, the third party in the NAFTA triad, insisting that the United States fortify its workers’ collective bargaining rights. That’s the Mounties to the rescue of downtrodden U.S. workers.    

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The Senate Is in a Hurry to Cut Our Health Care

Shaun O'Brien AFL-CIO

Do you remember "Repeal and Replace," "Repeal and Run" and "Skinny Repeal"? Those were all plans pushed by the Senate Republican leaders at the end of July in a frantic, failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make massive cuts in our health care. Millions of working people stood up and spoke out to stop those cuts. Now, however, Republican leaders are back, just as desperate but hopeful they can sneak something through.

The media are calling the new Senate Republican proposal the Graham-Cassidy plan because two of its lead authors are Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). A more accurate way to think of it is as "Repeal, Replace and Run."

This plan wipes out major parts of the ACA. There are no more federal tax credits to help the middle class pay health insurance premiums. No more Medicaid expansion for low-income working people. No airtight ban on discriminatory premiums for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies can impose an age tax by charging older Americans up to five times what they charge young adults. Employers are let off the hook completely: No employer would be required to contribute toward any worker’s health care; but the 40% tax on middle-class worker health benefits would be made permanent.

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Ross: Tax Cuts First, Then We’ll Get to Trade Issues Like Steel Imports

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Friday morning that the long-delayed national investigations into steel and aluminum imports won’t be released until after Congress deals with tax reform.

Ross’s statement comes just two days after he met via phone with steelworkers who were in Washington to urge the administration to release the “Section 232” investigations as soon as possible. Tom Conway, the international vice president of the United Steelworkers, told Inside U.S. Trade after the meeting that Ross “wants to release [the report] as soon as he can.”

But it now appears steel and aluminum workers will have to wait until a massive tax overhaul works its way through Congress before they get any relief.

Ross said on CNBC that the Trump administration doesn’t “want to do things that will unnecessarily irritate the Senate” – i.e., Republicans whose votes are needed on taxes but who also tend to be opposed to action on imports. Along with delaying the Section 232 investigations, CNBC reports the administration is also “softening its stance” on key trade issues like NAFTA and a trade deal with South Korea.

Meanwhile, steelworkers from Alabama to Michigan to Indiana and beyond continue to cope with job losses and plant closures as imports surge into the country. Since the two “Section 232” imports investigations were launched in April, steel imports alone are up more than 21 percent.

"By public affirming a delay in the Section 232 review and relief, the administration may be laying out a welcome mat for a surge in steel imports," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. "This is a mistake."

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Hustle Up, President Trump

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

On Tuesday dozens of steelworkers were on Capitol Hill, urging members of Congress to lean on the Trump administration to complete the Section 232 investigations into steel imports.  

Today, they sat down with Commerce Department officials, spoke by phone with Secretary Wilbur Ross and made the same request: Finish what you started.

“We told them 'you said you were going to do something, now you have to act,'” said Tom Conway with the United Steelworkers.

They’ve got a point. When President Trump announced these investigations in April, he was bound by the letter of the law to conclude them in 270 days – approximately nine months. The president assured everyone they wouldn’t need that long, and was transparent about what the outcome would be. “Steel folks are gonna be very happy,” he said in June.

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Union Matters

Obamacare Repeal Bills, Like GoT White Walkers, are Very Difficult to Kill

Michele and Igor speak with Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under former President Obama (and twitter hero) about the latest efforts in Congress to repeal the ACA in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill. He reminds us why health care is far more personal and significant than partisan politics, and how we can work towards universal coverage.

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The Irony

The Irony