Category: Union Matters

Expand Health Care Coverage; Don’t Shrink It

Once again, Senate Republican leaders are pushing their incredibly unpopular and destructive plan to take health care from millions of Americans to line the pockets of corporate CEOs. Working people will continue to oppose transferring wealth from workers to Wall Street under the guise of health care.

Republican leaders in the Senate should stop trying to find ways to make health care worse.

The latest plan is yet another attempt to deny health care to people who need it to give tax breaks to those who don’t.

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Regulations Protect Workers, Citizens

Abolishing regulations, as the Trump administration has promised to do, can cost citizens their lives, health and mobility.

Even before he took office, President Donald Trump pledged to reduce costs to corporations by cutting two rules for every new one. Too often, however, that results in injury to citizens.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America, for example, sued the administration yesterday over the Department of Transportation’s delay of a rule that would have required airlines to report damaged or lost wheelchairs as they already do with mishandled bags and late flights.

The veterans’ group said the information is crucial because “Having your only means of leaving the plane get lost or damaged is demoralizing.”

Just as important are regulations preventing unnecessary illness and death, and the administration has proposed revoking parts of a new rule limiting occupational exposure to deadly beryllium.

The administration’s intention to absolve shipyard and construction employers of the responsibility to measure beryllium levels and provide medical testing to workers at risk of fatal lung diseases would result each year in six additional workers developing Chronic Beryllium Disease and four of them dying.

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Trump Administration Moves to Take Away Overtime Pay from Workers

Celine McNicholas

Celine McNicholas Labor Council, EPI

Once again, the Trump administration is weighing in against working people getting raises. The Department of Justice today filed a motion to dismiss its appeal of a preliminary injunction against the Obama administration’s overtime rule, quietly siding with business groups and state attorneys general who challenged the updated rule because they do not want millions of working people to earn overtime pay or spend more time with their families.

Unsurprisingly, when choosing between corporate interests and working people, the Trump administration sides with the former. A higher overtime threshold would literally put money in the pockets of hard-working middle class workers or give them more time with their families and the Trump administration is choosing to support weakening or killing this rule. One cannot help but notice that the Trump administration is quick to position itself near working people in photo ops, but is quietly working to undermine regulations that actually help working people.

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Raise Pay, Don’t Take It Away

From the AFL-CIO

Income inequality in America is worse than it’s been in a century, but right-wing Missouri legislators are intent on making it worse by actually lowering working people’s pay.

On Monday, the new law lowering the minimum wage in St. Louis went into effect, taking $2.30 an hour from the city’s lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers.

Work should lift us up, not hold us down in poverty. Working families shouldn’t struggle to put food on the table or afford the basics.

Anti-worker politicians in Missouri have put the interests of their millionaire donors ahead of regular working families.

We should be raising working people’s pay, not taking it away.

$4,784: That’s how much money annually the right-wing majority in the Missouri Legislature will take away from every full-time minimum wage worker in St. Louis and Kansas City.

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Illinois Bucks GOP Trend; Eases Voter Registration

At a time when 33 states have already enacted strict voter ID requirements for elections, Illinois decided this week to make it easier, not harder, for its citizens to vote. On Monday, August 28, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a law Monday authorizing different state agencies to automatically register voters when they interact with them.

Illinois is the 10th state to adopt automatic voter registration, which can significantly strengthen voting rights. Activists are fighting relentlessly for these types of reforms as voter suppression becomes more and more commonplace. For example, this past year’s presidential election was the first in 50 years to be without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

In Wisconsin alone, the state’s voter-ID law suppressed 300,000 registered voters who lacked the proper identification. Multiple studies have shown that laws like these, enacted mostly by Republican legislators, led to a significant reduction in voter turnout in 2016, with a disproportionate impact on African-American and Democratic-leaning voters.

It is important for advocates to stay engaged after victories like the one in Illinois. Agencies must be held accountable and activists must push to make sure guidelines for implementation are created with voters’ protection in mind.

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NAFTA Should Lift Working People

From the AFL-CIO

The United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up the first round of renegotiation talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, yet the focus isn’t where it should be, which is on making sure working people across the continent can earn a living wage.

Political and workplace repression in Mexico have artificially depressed wages across North America and sped up a race to the bottom for working families and communities.

Mexican assembly-line workers earn a dime for every dollar made by U.S. manufacturing workers. That difference amounts to tremendous leverage, allowing corporations to offer take-it-or-leave-it jobs in the United States and Canada.

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Demand Workers are Heard in NAFTA Renegotiations

Chris Stergalas Senior Online Organizer, Working America

Right now, there’s a lot of talk among politicians and the media about the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA for short. We need you to join with working people to urge our elected leaders to have our backs this time by demanding an open, transparent debate. The importance of trade deals to good jobs and fair wages can’t be stressed enough — and we need to know what’s being discussed.

Working people didn’t have a seat at the table the first time NAFTA was signed (nearly 25 years ago). They didn’t even think of us. As a result, workplaces across the United States shuttered while NAFTA failed to hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights in Mexico. That’s why Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, and longtime fair trade champion Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), are circulating a letter to their colleagues in the House asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to ensure the negotiation process remains open and transparent.

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NAFTA Must be Fought from the Ground Up

A group of local labor leaders, activists, and politicians met in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to take part in a forum regarding NAFTA renegotiations, which were set to begin this week in Washington. Of course, the main focus was how to rework the free trade deal to instead be fair for all workers instead of favoring CEOs.

“It’s urgent that workers’ voices be heard,” said USW President Leo W. Gerard. “If the agreement is renegotiated and doesn’t meet the standard that workers have a voice, we’ll have a very aggressive campaign to stop this new NAFTA.”

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey also touched on one point that perhaps many in the debate tend to miss, which is that NAFTA can't just be reworded with the hope that it solves all of our economic problems. The countries must also tackle policies put in place outside of the failed trade deal in all three nations involved—the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

One of these things, Casey pointed out, is tax reform. As of now, there is no financial incentive to keep U.S. companies operating on U.S. soil. Our tax code does the opposite and encourages them instead to ship jobs overseas and into Mexico.

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The Inspiring Story of Mark Andol's Made in America Store

After nearly losing his welding business to foreign competition, Mark Andol decided to open a store in an out-of-business car dealership selling only American-made products. People thought he was crazy, but Andol wanted to make a statement — and in this special two-part edition of The Manufacturing Report, he explains how he got it done.

Union Matters

Expand Health Care Coverage; Don’t Shrink It

Once again, Senate Republican leaders are pushing their incredibly unpopular and destructive plan to take health care from millions of Americans to line the pockets of corporate CEOs. Working people will continue to oppose transferring wealth from workers to Wall Street under the guise of health care.

Republican leaders in the Senate should stop trying to find ways to make health care worse.

The latest plan is yet another attempt to deny health care to people who need it to give tax breaks to those who don’t.

More ...

The Irony

The Irony