Category: Union Matters

Whispers of the Wealthy Few

While the National Archives has made clear that it won’t be able to produce all documents relating to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the end of October, Senate Republican leaders announced Friday that they will begin confirmation hearings on Sept. 4. As a result, the confirmation process will proceed without full access to some 900,000 pages of documents detailing Kavanaugh’s career and judicial record.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) recently told reporters: “Working people deserve a nominee who will extend the guarantees of the Constitution and the promises of our country to everyone who lives and works here. We don’t need another justice who only listens to the whispers of the wealthy few.”

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Guaranteeing Our Fundamental Dignity

From the AFL-CIO

Signing Medicare and Medicaid into law 53 years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson cited an innate human tradition calling on us to build a more just society: “It calls upon us never to be indifferent toward despair. It commands us never to turn away from helplessness. It directs us never to ignore or to spurn those who suffer untended in a land that is bursting with abundance.”

In the half century since Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law, countless Americans have been guaranteed the health care and fundamental dignity that we deserve.

More than 59 million Americans enjoy health and financial security under Medicare.

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The Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine

You may spend hours agonizing over which vitamins or medicines will optimize your health, but have you considered where exactly those medicines are coming from? What you find out may be a bitter pill to swallow.

In this episode, Scott Paul sits down with Rosemary Gibson, co-author of "China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine".

Really Goofy: A CEO ‘Job Creator’ Barks Back

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Disney CEO Bob Iger has a new pay deal that could reap him, Institutional Shareholder Services estimates, as much as $423 million over the next four years. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont wants to know how Iger could be making hundreds of millions “while workers at Disneyland are homeless and relying on food stamps to feed their families.” Disney flacks have no official comment on that. Iger himself did comment on Facebook to an earlier Sanders barb. Wrote the cranky chief exec: “To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade and our company has created 18,000 in the U.S. in the last five years. How many jobs have you created?” Analysts last December noted that Iger’s upcoming Disney merger with Fox “could mean job cuts of between 5,000 and 10,000 at the Mouse House once the deal closes.”

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Home Health Care Workers Under Attack

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

Home health care workers have important but difficult jobs that require them to work long hours and chaotic schedules to care for the country’s rapidly growing elder population.

Instead of protecting these workers, the vast majority of whom are women and people of color, the current administration plans to make it harder for them to belong to unions, stifling their best chance for improving working conditions and wages.

The anti-union measure would roll back an Obama-era rule that allows home care workers, whose services are paid for through Medicaid, to choose to have their union dues deducted directly from their paychecks.

The goal of the rule, like the recent Janus decision and other anti-union campaigns, is to starve unions out of existence, so they can no longer protect their members.

Home health care workers bathe, dress, feed and monitor the health of the sick and elderly, but they often cannot afford to provide for their own families.

On average, they make little more than $10 an hour and more than half rely on some sort of public assistance. Most receive few or no benefits, even though home care workers and other direct care workers have some of the highest injury rates of any occupation.

That’s why many home care workers have turned to labor unions.

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A Dark Veil

From the AFL-CIO

The Trump administration yesterday rescinded the Department of Labor’s “persuader rule” requiring companies to disclose any consultants or lawyers contracted for anti-union persuasion efforts. The most recent in a series of anti-worker regulatory rollbacks, the decision has drawn harsh condemnation from union leaders and working people.

When the Labor Department issued its persuader rule in 2016, it was hailed as a win for workplace transparency. Workers would have the right to know when their bosses hired outside union-busters to influence organizing decisions.

Then-Secretary of Labor Tom Perez explained it would “ensure that workers have the information they need to make informed decisions about exercising critical workplace rights….Informed decisions are the best decisions.”

In the wake of yesterday’s announcement, AFL-CIO National Media Director Josh Goldstein slammed the administration’s decision to shield the “sinister practices of employers and their hired guns.” “By repealing the persuader rule, the Department of Labor is siding with corporate CEOs against good government and transparency,” Goldstein said. “They have thrown a dark veil over the shady groups employers hire to take away the freedoms of working people.”

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Steelworker Forges His Family Legacy

Don Jackson wanted nothing more than to follow both his steelworker father and grandfather into the steel mill to work among the sparks and molten metals. It took him 35 years before he could.

Listen to learn why Don spent decades searching for his steel job.

Want A Stronger Economy? Try Collective Bargaining

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

Well established collective bargaining systems improve wages, working conditions, and economic equality. They also can protect the economy as a whole against downturns.

These were the findings of a study published last week by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental agency founded after WWII, dedicated to improving economic and social conditions for workers across the globe.

Yet collective bargaining systems are facing serious challenges in many OECD countries, which make it unsurprising that the study also revealed that even with the unemployment rate decreasing, wage growth remains lower than it was before the recession in nearly every OECD country.

In the United States, which ranks at the bottom for both collective bargaining and worker security, workers are especially vulnerable.

The OECD found that countries like the United States that have decentralized collective bargaining systems generally have slower job growth and higher unemployment than other advanced nations. It also concluded that low paying jobs can create a slowdown in productivity and a sluggish economy.

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Worry More about A Living Wage and Less About SNAP

By Bethany Swanson
USW Intern

The Senate passed their version of the Farm Bill last week with an 86-11 vote, setting up a fight against the House over food stamps, farm subsidies, and conservation funding.

The Farm Bill sets the eating and farming policy in the United States. It’s more than just how food is grown; it impacts the agricultural industry, but it also affects how Americans use the land, and more importantly, how millions of Americans eat.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income Americans. The program serves more than 40 million people annually and accounts for almost 80 percent of the Farm Bill's $430 billion five-year cost.

When the minimum wage has not been raised in a decade and when large corporations are spending their tax breaks on stock buy backs instead of the promised $4,000 a year raises for workers, SNAP benefits are more crucial than ever.

The House and Senate both have very different takes on the bill and need to begin resolving their major issues by September 30, when the current law expires.

Not a single Democrat supported House Republicans’ version of the bill, which would make major changes to SNAP.

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Respect for Human Dignity

From the AFL-CIO

It was 54 years ago this week that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “to promote a more abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice and a deeper respect for human dignity.” More than half a century later, the labor movement is continuing that fight.

Just this weekend, working people took the struggle for social and economic justice to the streets, joining together at the White House and across the country to stand up for the rights and dignities of our immigrant brothers and sisters.

While in Memphis, Tennessee, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination earlier this year, AFL‑CIO President Richard Trumka reflected on the intertwined fight at the heart of the labor movement.

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Union Matters

Whispers of the Wealthy Few

While the National Archives has made clear that it won’t be able to produce all documents relating to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the end of October, Senate Republican leaders announced Friday that they will begin confirmation hearings on Sept. 4. As a result, the confirmation process will proceed without full access to some 900,000 pages of documents detailing Kavanaugh’s career and judicial record.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) recently told reporters: “Working people deserve a nominee who will extend the guarantees of the Constitution and the promises of our country to everyone who lives and works here. We don’t need another justice who only listens to the whispers of the wealthy few.”

More ...

Move Over, Myths

Move Over, Myths