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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Paul Ryan admits the GOP will gut Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

Republicans in Congress are openly admitting they plan to use their tax reform bill to justify slashing funding for essential social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.

The bill — which is expected to balloon the national deficit by at least $1 trillion, and which only benefits the country’s wealthiest in the long-term — has not yet been reconciled or signed. But Republicans aren’t wasting any time laying out what they see as the next step.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) laid out the plan in an interview last week on Ross Kaminsky’s radio show. “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said, adding that health care entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid are “the big drivers of our debt.”

He defended this by claiming the bill would generate $1 trillion dollars in revenues, which is a common talking point in support of the legislation. But a recent analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation found that the nearly $1.5 trillion tax plan will only generate around $400 billion dollars in growth, meaning it’ll actually fall $1 trillion short of breaking even. In other words, it’ll grow the deficit, not shrink it.

Now, Republicans in Congress are admitting they’ll use the deficit they’re working to create to justify cutting some of the most important programs in the country.

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A Trump Administration Fun Fact: Offshoring Contractors Are Getting Paid

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump ...

... was out in Missouri last week, pitching the Republican tax reform package, feeling his oats. He talked about getting rid of the illegals, building the wall, how great the stock market is doing, jobs. This tax reform package is part and parcel with all that stuff! 

“We're going to cut taxes on American businesses so they will compete for workers, they'll raise salaries,” the president said. “The business is going to be happy and the workers are going to be happy and the country is going to be a happy place.”

Well that’s good! That’s where we are in early December 2017. A happy place.

But where was the president a year ago? Early December 2016?

Oh yeah: At Carrier, in Indianapolis.

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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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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