Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Offshorers Demand: No Taxes, No Risk

Offshorers Demand: No Taxes, No Risk
Ford is moving its electric vehicle factory to Mexico. PHOTO BY MIKE MOZART/FLICKR

Ford hit Michigan and its auto workers with some crappy holiday news. Instead of building a $700 million electric vehicle factory in Michigan as promised in January, Ford will construct the plant in Mexico.

Ford reneged on its promise to Michigan workers just days after the Senate passed a tax plan intended to end levies on corporate profits made at factories offshore – in places like Mexico. News of the letdown also arrived just days before new negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are to begin in Washington, D.C.

Ford and other giant corporations got what they wanted out of Republicans on taxes, dramatically lower levies on domestic profits and total elimination on foreign profits. That makes Mexico an even more attractive manufacturing site for them than NAFTA did. So now they’re lobbying the Trump administration hard to retain the privileges that NAFTA bestowed on them. If they win that argument, they’ll have secured double incentives to offshore.

Trump administration officials don’t sound like they’re buying the corporate line, however. And they shouldn’t. NAFTA has cost Americans nearly a million jobs as thousands of factories migrated to Mexico. As he campaigned, President Trump promised untold numbers of factory workers and their families across the nation’s industrial belt that he would fix or end NAFTA to keep jobs and industry in America. He needs to keep that promise. 

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The U.S. of A. at the W.T.O.: Reform Is Needed

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is holding a ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina today. The remarks from one of those ministers have been anxiously anticipated.  

Here was a curtain-raising profile, published Sunday in the Financial Times, of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer:

Though he is a life-long Republican and served as the treasurer for mentor Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign Mr Lighthizer has long been at odds with the party’s pro-trade mainstream. As a top lawyer for the US steel industry he also developed strong relationships with fellow trade skeptics in the Democratic party and at labour unions. 

“He’s true to his principles,” says Thea Lee, incoming president of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “He does care about the US trade deficit and he cares about jobs on American soil. A lot of business interests don’t care about either one of those things.” 

Lighthizer is considered a trade hawk within the Trump administration, whose personal views on this issue hew closely to the president’s -- skeptical, in a word.

If that’s what was expected of Lighthizer when he addressed the WTO gathering today, then the trade ambassador didn’t disappoint.

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The Child Care for Working Families Act Will Boost Employment and Create Jobs

By Ajay Chaudry and Katie Hamm

On September 14, 2017, Ingrid Henlon, a teacher at the Mount Olive Child Development Center in Hartford, Connecticut, stood in the U.S. Capitol alongside Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to unveil legislation aimed at making child care more affordable and improving conditions for child care workers.1 Henlon is a passionate teacher who describes her work as “educating our nation’s future leaders.” She has worked in early childhood education for her entire career and now supervises other teachers who work with toddlers.

Despite 26 years of experience in early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree, Henlon earns $11 per hour and has not received a pay raise in 10 years. After working a full day in child care, she goes to her evening part-time job as a home health care provider. That means a six-day work week that can exceed 12 hours per day. She has seen colleagues who are talented early childhood educators move on to other professions because they cannot afford to stay in child care.

In Henlon’s home state of Connecticut, the child care assistance program ran out of funds and only recently began accepting applications from parents who need help paying for child care after the program froze intake in August 2016. About 5,000 families are on a waiting list. Like Henlon, the parents who have children at the child care center where she teaches are working two jobs to afford tuition. She sees parents pick up their children in the afternoon and take them to another child care provider so they can go to their second job. Henlon worries about how this affects children’s socio-emotional development.

For working families across the country and child care workers such as Henlon, this new legislation, the Child Care for Working Families Act, offers a path forward.2 The bill would give low-income and middle-class families access to affordable child care by limiting payments to 7 percent of their income; make much-needed quality improvements; and increase wages and provide a living wage to child care teachers.

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Trump Joins Attack on Worker Freedoms

From the AFL-CIO

President Donald Trump has once again broken his word by siding with powerful corporations over regular working people. The Trump administration is seeking to abandon decades of settled law in order to take away the basic freedom of millions of working people to have a voice on the job. The U.S. Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, could undermine the ability of nurses, teachers and other public workers to negotiate over pay, benefits and workplace safety.

America’s labor movement urges Trump to stop backing powerful corporations and start supporting working people.

The Janus case is a well-funded and blatantly political plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people.

The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to strike at our freedom to come together in strong unions.

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GOP Tax Cuts Hardwire Inequity for Poor and Middle Class

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

The U.S. Senate has now passed the most significant tax “reform” legislation since 1986. The legislation, most pundits believe, will likely become the new law of the land within weeks.

What will that mean? We already have all sorts of numbers from reputable researchers on who will now see really big savings on their tax returns (the rich) and who won’t (everybody else). We also have official — and sobering — congressional research estimates on what the GOP tax changes, once put in place, will mean for the nation’s economic growth and the federal budget deficit.

But we don’t yet have what we need: a sense of the “big picture.” Ten years down the road, twenty years down the road, how will the lives that Americans lead change if this Republican tax plan gets to shape our national future?

The answer may well rest in new research just out from three of the world’s most prolific inequality analysts, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. Piketty and Saez have been pushing the envelope on income distribution stats ever since the 21st century began. The duo, joined in recent years by Zucman, have become ever more sophisticated in crunching the numbers that tell us who gets what and why in America.

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Union Matters

Newly-Organized Workers Face CEO Backlash

Earlier this month, workers at two popular New York City news sites, DNA Info and Gothamist, voted to unionize. Then CEO Joe Ricketts announced he was shutting down both platforms due to financial reasons.

As much as Joe likes to make it seem like this was merely a decision about poor profits, a far more sinister picture can be seen as the workers faced pushback from upper management while they were attempting to organize. They were told unionizing might be "the final straw that caused the business to close." Joe himself even wrote, "As long as it’s my money that’s paying for everything, I intend to be the one making the decisions about the direction of the business."

Joe, a Trump supporter whose net worth is $2.1 billion, is supposed to be one of those “job creators” Republicans like to put on a pedestal. Yet he is doing the exact opposite by getting rid of 115 hard-working employees whose work is beloved by New York neighborhoods. Worse, he very likely did it as punishment.


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The Truth about Social Security

The Truth about Social Security