Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Labor Organizes a Congressional Win

On Tuesday in Western Pennsylvania, a novice candidate, a 33-year-old Democrat who had never before run for office, upset an experienced politician who President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. all stumped for and who received more than $10 million from dark money groups and the  Republican Party.

Not only that, the rookie did it in a congressional district that was gerrymandered to elect Republicans for life, a district that went for Trump, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

It was stunning.

Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which had sent a Republican to Congress for the past 15 years.

The shocker resulted from a winning combination. Organized labor worked for the candidate who pledged to work for labor. That candidate, of course, was Conor Lamb.

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Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies

America’s left coast is showing how to break up concentrated wealth and fund higher education for all.

California can be an annoyingly trendy state. Think avocado toast, In-N-Out Burger, Hollywood fashion, even legal pot.

But Californians are now in the vanguard to fix the serious problem of how to pay for public higher education.

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New Poll Finds Republican Voters Strongly Back Trump’s Action on Steel Imports

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

Seventy percent of GOP voters support the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

The takes around President Trump’s decision to act on steel and aluminum imports have, as they say, been hot.

For an issue that typically is confined to policy wonks, Trump’s trade action dominated the airwaves and editorial pages for days. But missing from most of the coverage has been any real insight as to how Trump’s decision is being received among voters (along with nuance on what the tariffs will actually do — click here for more on that).

Now we have the first bit of data. On Wednesday, Morning Consult/Politico revealed the results of a new poll of 1,997 registered voters, finding that a plurality — 41 percent — support the tariffs, while 35 percent oppose them.

Not surprisingly, there’s a strong party breakdown to the numbers.

On the Democratic side, 54 percent oppose the action. About 25 percent of Democrats support the tariffs; that number drops to 22 percent when Democrats are told of Trump’s support for them.

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Why Retired Steelworker Doug May Isn’t Done Fighting for American Steel

Jeffrey Bonior

Jeffrey Bonior Researcher, AAM

Doug May might have left the factory floor when he retired in February 2016, but he didn’t stop fighting for his fellow steelworkers. In fact, he might just have gotten started.

May, who worked 43 years at the steel mill in Granite City, Ill., opted to become an active advocate for his fellow steelworkers, including via the organization SOAR (Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees). And right now, May’s energy is focused on generating support for strong and comprehensive action on steel and aluminum imports, which have devastated communities like Granite City over the past several years.

This issue is personal for May in more ways than one. He has been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and is grateful for the excellent health coverage he is provided in retirement by U.S. Steel.

“Truthfully, there are a lot of employers that don’t carry medical coverage for their retirees,” said May. “I really admire the United Steelworkers, that they have not forgotten those of us who have retired. But the stronger the steel industry is, the better chance we have of retaining out pensions and generous health insurance. I want people to recognize that that is the strength of the industry and the Steelworkers make it possible for me even as a retiree.”

Just days ago, May accompanied two members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1899 to Rep. Mike Bost’s (R-Ill.) district office to push for action on steel imports. Bost is the co-chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus and represents Granite City, Ill., a suburb of St. Louis that’s located just across the American-made Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge on the Mississippi River. (May and his colleagues provided much of the steel that built that bridge.)

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New Study Shows Prevailing Wage Laws Reducing Inequality Gap For African-American Workers

From NH Labor News

Prevailing wage laws reduce income inequality between African-American and white construction workers by as much as 53% and help more blue-collar workers reach the middle class, according to new research by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Project for Middle Class Renewal.

“While prior research has concluded that there is no relationship between prevailing wage laws and the racial composition of the construction workforce, the data clearly shows that these laws help eliminate income disparities between black and white construction workers,” said study co-author and University of Illinois Professor Robert Bruno. “African Americans employed as laborers, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, and heavy equipment operators see the largest gains.”

Utilizing publicly-available data from the American Community Survey, the study examined construction worker earnings by race and trade, comparing the results between states with prevailing wage laws and those without. Overall, the researchers found that prevailing wage laws lift the incomes of African American construction workers by an average of 24%, and close the income gap with white workers from 26% to just 12%.

A more advanced analysis controlling for other observable factors found that states which currently do not have a prevailing wage law could reduce income inequality for African-American construction workers by at least 7% if they implemented one.

Based on surveys of local construction employers, prevailing wage laws establish local-market minimum wages for publicly-funded construction projects like roads, bridges, and schools. These projects represent roughly one-third of all output in America’s 4th largest industry, which employs roughly 6.5 million workers.

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