Don’t Be Fooled By Walmart’s Promotional Stunt About Increasing Wages

Matt Murray Editor/Founder, NH Labor News

This week the nations largest employer made national news by announcing they would raise their minimum wage to $11 an hour and provide a $1,000 bonus to 1.5 million American employees. They say that this move to increase wages and provide employee bonuses is all thanks to the Republican Tax Plan that President Trump signed into law this month.

However a closer review of this new announcement shows that it is all a publicity stunt.  They are also using the publicity stunt to cover up the news that they are closing 60 Sam’s Club stores across the country.

Making Change at Walmart director Randy Parraz explains what is happening in his statement: 

“While pay raises are usually a good thing, this is nothing but another public relations stunt from Walmart to distract from the reality that they are laying off thousands of workers and the ones who remain will continue to receive low wages. The fact is that Walmart is not permanently investing the estimated $2 billion it will receive annually from Trump’s tax giveaway to its workers – it is keeping almost all of it. This announcement is attempt to repair a crumbling image, while ignoring thousands of its workers who struggle year after year to pay their bills or depend on government assistance.

Once you crack the veneer, you see that Walmart’s wage increases does not raise hourly wages for many of its workers. Hourly wages for those workers making above $11 dollars will essentially stay the same. Workers will get a one-time bonus or raise, but not both.

Instead of taking Walmart at its word, we would hope that the Members of Congress, civic and state leaders, and the media, ask Walmart for actual facts about what this means for workers. Empty words will not lift Walmart workers out of poverty, an actual living wage will.”

Looking deeper into Walmart’s own statement you can clearly see that this is nothing more that publicity stunt to continue the myth that tax cuts somehow help corporations fuel wage increases.

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Workers Want President Trump to Act on Steel Imports — But Some Aren’t Expecting Much

Jeffrey Bonior

Jeffrey Bonior Writer, Alliance for American Manufacturing

It’s all on President Trump now.

The Commerce Department on Thursday evening announced it had officially submitted to President Trump its national security investigation into steel imports. Trump now has 90 days to decide whether to act to safeguard our defense industrial base and stand up for steelworkers.

Commerce technically submitted its “Section 232” report a few days before the statutory deadline of Jan. 15. But the Trump administration is more than six months past its own self-imposed promise to steelworkers that it would act before July 1, 2017 — and workers cannot wait for action much longer.

Whatever Trump decides to do will impact the lives of the 140,000 people employed by the steel industry, many of which who have been waiting diligently for a decision that could dictate their employment futures.

Tens of thousands of steelworkers have faced layoffs since the steel imports crisis began in 2015; three steel mills have closed their doors since the fall, one of them this week. That has left many workers anxious for action from the administration, including those at the U.S. Steel facility in Granite City, Ill., just outside of St. Louis.

That plant has seen a wave of layoffs in recent years directly tied to unfairly dumped imports, and many employees are hoping that the president will take comprehensive action.

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Immigrants Aren't the Problem

Ruling Could Lead to End of AFL-CIO Raiding Ban

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

A National Labor Relations Board regional director’s ruling could, if upheld by the full board, up-end a longtime AFL-CIO ban on raids by one member union against another.

In a late-December decision, Sean Marshall, the agency’s acting regional director for the Baltimore-Washington area, said the board should completely disregard the raiding ban in the AFL-CIO Constitution’s Article XX.

The immediate effect was to set up a 3-way Jan. 9 representation election pitting the incumbent United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 against the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, and no union, at WWL Vehicle Services, a Dundalk, Md., vehicle processing, logistics and marine services firm at the port of Baltimore.

The longer-range impact, if the full board agrees with Marshall, could be to up-end Article XX and throw AFL-CIO unions open to raids by their confederation colleagues. Article XX does not cover relations between AFL-CIO unions and unions in Change To Win.

But one top labor attorney, making clear he was speaking on background, said “the regional director can’t make law.” Currently, the board defers to arbitration of such disputes first, including arbitration under the federation’s constitution, added another veteran attorney, retired UFCW General Counsel Ed Wendel.

UFCW Local 27 and WWL are currently bargaining over a new contract to replace one that expired last year. Both urged Marshall to uphold past precedents. An AFL-CIO-named arbitrator’s ruling, ratified by the federation’s executive council in December, sided with them.

And in his most recent communication to members, posted on its homepage, Local 27 President Jason Chopenning told members at WWL the contract is still in effect while the two sides bargain a new one. WWL employs 150 union workers.

The ILA local responded federal labor law gives the board the final – and only – say over who should represent workers. It also said a NLRB “contract bar,” designed to bar raids, covers pacts lasting three years or fewer. The expired UFCW-WWL contract lasted four years.

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Bipartisan Senate Bill Aims to Help Close Buy American Loopholes

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

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

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation this week to make sure waivers to Buy American laws are not overused.

Buy American gives preference to American-made goods during the federal government procurement process. For example, if the construction of a bridge is being funded by federal tax dollars, Buy American ensures it is built with American-made iron and steel.

These preferences are popular among the public and enjoy widespread bipartisan support, and for good reason. It makes sense to reinvest our tax dollars in the local economy; it makes no sense to send that money overseas when American workers are ready to do the same job at a competitive price.

Sometimes there are instances when a federal agency can use a waiver to buy goods from overseas, such as when an American-made product is unavailable or if there is a significant cost difference. Unfortunately, however, federal agencies often overuse waivers, and there’s currently no centralized system to track what’s going down.

As a result, federal agencies spent $47.7 billion on foreign-made goods over the past five years, according to the Senators introducing the bill. The Defense Department alone has spent $200 billion on foreign-made products since 2007.

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