Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

An Infrastructure Con

The administration’s infrastructure proposal, released this week, is a shift from Donald Trump’s campaign pledges, a shirk of the funding burden, and a stop to government construction projects serving the public good.

Candidate Trump boasted that he would double what his opponent Hillary Clinton said she’d spend on infrastructure. But the scheme released by the Trump administration this week not only fails to do that, it would rob vital and cherished social safety net programs to pay for a pittance of improvements.

It is nothing but a con.

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Women would lose $4.6 billion in earned tips if the administration’s ‘tip stealing’ rule is finalized

By Heidi Shierholz, David Cooper, Julia Wolfe, and Ben Zipperer

The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a rule that would make it legal for employers to pocket their workers’ tips, as long as they pay those workers at least the minimum wage. The proposed rule rescinds portions of longstanding DOL regulations that prohibit employers from taking tips.1 We estimate that if the rule is finalized, every year workers will lose $5.8 billion in tips, as tips are shifted from workers to employers.2 Of the $5.8 billion, nearly 80 percent—$4.6 billion—would be taken from women who are working in tipped jobs.3

DOL has masked the fact that this rule would be a windfall to restaurant owners and other employers—out of the pockets of tipped workers—by making it sound as if this rule is about tip pooling. Of course, once employers have full control of tips, one of the things they could do with those tips is distribute them to “back of the house” workers like dishwashers and cooks. But the proposed rule does not require employers to distribute the tips, so employers would be no more likely to share tips with back-of-the-house workers than they would be to make any other choice about what to do with a business windfall, including using the money to make capital improvements to their establishments, to increase executive pay, or to line their own pockets.

Many employers pocket tips even now, when it is illegal for them to do so (for example, research on workers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York found that 12 percent of tipped workers had tips stolen from them by their employer or supervisor).4 The fact that illegal tip theft is so prevalent underscores that when employers can legally pocket tips, many will. And basic economic logic dictates that it is highly unlikely that back-of-the-house workers will get more pay. There is currently no limit to what these workers can be paid, so employers are already paying their back-of-the-house workers what they need to pay to attract workers willing to work in those jobs. If employers do share some tips with them, it will likely be offset by a reduction in their base pay, leaving their take-home pay largely unaffected.

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Are job incentive programs good for communities?

Jim Hightower

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


Governors and mayors insist that giving our tax dollars to corporations to lure them to move to our cities is good public policy, because the corporations create jobs, those workers pay taxes and – Voila – the corporate giveaway pays for itself! Really?

No. Good Jobs First tracked the 386 incentive deals since 1976 that gave at least $50 million to a corporation, then it tallied the number of jobs created. The average cost per job was $658,427. Each! That’s far more than cities and states can recover through sales, property, income and all other taxes those jobholders would pay in their lifetimes.

The rosy job-creation claims by incentive dealmakers also tend to be bogus, for they don’t subtract the number of jobs lost as a result of these deals. Amazon, for example, has leaned on officials in every major metro area to subsidize its creation of a nationwide network of warehouses, data centers, and other facilities. In a 2016 report titled Amazon’s Stranglehold, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that more than half of Amazon’s facilities had been built with government subsidies. And Good Jobs First found that since 2005, Amazon has received more than $1 billion from taxpayers to build their private business.

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U.S. Aluminum Manufacturers at the ITC: Maintain Duties on Chinese Imports

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Domestic aluminum producers petitioned the Commerce Department in 2017, claiming certain Chinese aluminum products (like foil) were being sold below cost. Commerce investigated and in its preliminary finding imposed countervailing duties ranging from 16.56 percent to 80.97 percent.

Flash forward to Thursday, when both the petitioners and their Chinese competitors made their cases at a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing in Washington. Unless Commerce’s preliminary duties were made permanent, the domestic producers argued, any gains they hope to make in this market won’t last.

Reuters reports:

At Thursday’s hearing, U.S. aluminum executives ran through a list of numerous plants that have closed in the last few years as low-priced Chinese imports grew, including a Reynolds Aluminum plant in Richmond, Virginia, with the loss of 725 jobs and a Novelis plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Union Matters

Time to Build America

From the AFL-CIO

America’s working people spoke loud and clear at the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention in St. Louis by demanding a massive infrastructure plan for a better, brighter and more prosperous future.

The right plan will create millions of good jobs, increase long-term growth, make America globally competitive, improve Americans’ quality of life and protect our health.

The payoff in economic growth that comes from every single dollar of federal money invested in America’s infrastructure is $2 because of increased competitiveness and productivity.

President Trump’s empty plan lacks the dollars needed to transform our aging and crumbling infrastructure into something capable of driving our economy forward for generations to come.


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No Country for Blind Patriotism

No Country for Blind Patriotism