Category: Union Matters

The Call for a General Strike

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

It’s been only a few weeks since Labor pushed back against the longest, most punishing government shutdown in recent history, but sadly, over the jubilant cheers of victory, the ominous drumbeats of Congress warring in the trenches could be heard again, leaving 800,00 AFGE members pondering if they’ll be furloughed once more.

President Trump’s decided that the ‘Wall to Nowhere’ will be the hill to die on in this inane battle of attrition, government workers livelihoods be damned.  Keeping this in mind, the ominous question should be how much longer will it be before Trump and the entitled imperialists of D.C. realpolitik turn their sights towards millions of American workers, over 40% of whom, according to CBS News data, are one missed paycheck away from poverty?

As we suffer under the grim reality of decades long wage stagnation, no calls for a realistic minimum wage increase to keep the One Percent’s vulture bankers from our doors, nor a social program of Medicare For All, easing the burden of burgeoning medical costs overrunning the populous meager discretionary incomes, the powers that be seem more than willing to shutter government again, leaving scores unemployed, airport safety and security in perilous shape and costing the taxpayers $3 billion to do so.

And while Congress apparently shows no guilt spending an inconceivable $1.45 trillion dollars for 2018/19, to voluntarily spill blood in every conceivable corner of the globe promoting crony capitalism, strong armed acquisition of natural resources and the continuation of imperialistic follies, the long suffering American worker is left sifting through the rubble, limping through countless miles of crumbling infrastructure, closed factories, failing schools, bankrupting college loan payments, mass shootings and scores of broken dreams, leading to shortened life expectancy, drug overdoses and suicides.

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America Trusts Nurses

From the AFL-CIO

It’s official: Americans trust union members. For the 17th consecutive year, nurses took home the top honor as the nation’s most trusted profession.

The annual Gallup pollsurveying public opinion on the honesty and ethical standards of various occupations found that 84%—or more than 4 out of 5 Americans—view nurses’ ethics as “high” or “very high.”

Despite growing nationwide efforts to minimize their ability to organize, thousands of nurses voted in the past few years to become union members, including:

  • 1,000 registered nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU).
  • 900 registered nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, voted to join the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)/AFT Local 5905.
  • 650 registered nurses at Methodist Hospital of Southern California voted to join the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) in November—the largest number of nonunion nurses in Southern California to join a union in at least five years.
  • And nearly 600 nurses and medical workers at Tahoe Forest Hospital in Northern California voted to join AFSCME Council 57.
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Becoming an American with the help of the AFL-CIO

From the AFL-CIO

At the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, delegates unanimously passed a resolution encouraging an active drive to help naturalize some 9.3 million people currently eligible to apply for citizenship, saying it would “provide concrete worker protections, expand and diversify the electorate, and help us build power to win the sweeping changes that working people expect and deserve.”

Less than two years later, the Texas AFL-CIO and the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign are using the broad reach of the labor movement to help aspiring Americans realize their dreams.

At a naturalization ceremony in San Antonio yesterday, Raquel officially became an American. She is one of the first beneficiaries of the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign, a partnership of the Texas AFL-CIO and nearly 20 unions.

The campaign began in August 2018, and so far nearly 350 workers have been helped with the process of becoming U.S. citizens.

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The State of the Union Is...

From the AFL-CIO

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has overseen a wide-ranging and deeply harmful assault on the rights, dignities and livelihoods of working people. Here are just a few of the president’s worst anti-worker actions:

  • Denied a paycheck to 40% of the federal work force through the longest government shutdown in history.
  • Jammed through massive corporate tax cuts on the backs of working people, encouraging further outsourcing and automation.
  • Derailed the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, blocking millions of workers from receiving a pay raise.
  • Proposed widespread cuts to health care, targeting critical funding for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the health coverage of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Undermined the new conflict of interest rule, potentially costing working people more than one-quarter of our retirement savings.
  • Stacked the National Labor Relations Board with union-busting corporate lawyers.
  • Made workplaces more dangerous by rolling back important federal safety regulations.

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Labor Brought an End to the Shutdown

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

With the outlook growing bleaker by the minute for over 800,000 Federal Employees who remained furloughed or deemed essential and working without pay for weeks, a rare sense of elation occurred, if albeit temporarily when the U.S. Government opened for business again on January 25th after the longest shutdown on record.

And although a few media outlets gave coverage to the plight of AFGE members and their valiant efforts to flood Congressional phone lines and the streets of Washington D.C. with their Labor allies, it fell far short of the expanded coverage given to members of Congress who gregariously championed their paltry efforts in front of the spotlights glare.

Although Speaker Pelosi was the face of the battle on television screens around the world, this victory is not hers or Congress’ to own; victory belongs to Labor, especially since, at best, they’re paid minimal lip service by the majority of our nations elected officials.

While some may say this is sour grapes and splitting hairs, it really isn’t when you consider that Labors’ efforts to create a more autonomous workplace, barely registers a blip on the radar of the mainstream media as well and when a network voice champions us, it’s almost immediately drowned out, shifted away from its prime-time slot and eventually rendered useless by corporate apparatchiks.   

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More Strong Manufacturing Job Growth

From the AAM

The manufacturing sector added 13,000 new factory jobs in January, according to the latest employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sector has added 261,000 jobs over the past 12 months. As the March 2 conclusion of the U.S.-China trade talks approaches, robust manufacturing job growth supports the U.S. trade team's strong position in negotiations.

Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said: "With 13,000 new jobs, manufacturing has enjoyed another strong month of growth. This strength in factory and overall hiring gives the administration considerable leverage headed into the final leg of trade talks with China.

"We hope the president and his team will put it to good use and insist on meaningful, comprehensive and measurable changes in China's unfair trade practices."

Labor Leads the Way to Equal Pay

From the AFL-CIO

Over the course of her two-decade-long career at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Alabama, Lilly Ledbetter learned that she was making thousands less than her male counterparts.

She had lost out on more than $200,000 in wages—plus even more in retirement benefits. She challenged Goodyear’s discriminatory actions, eventually taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and the halls of Congress.

The bill named in her honor was the first piece of legislation signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009.

Despite the law, women continue to face discriminatory pay practices—and the problem is even worse for women of color:

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No Money for Pensions, But Plenty for Parties

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Private equity work has been sweet for Marc Leder, the numero uno at Sun Capital Partners. He’s parlayed his takeovers of troubled firms into a fortune big enough to make him a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers in basketball and the New Jersey Devils in hockey. New York’s tabloids, meanwhile, have come to dub the hard-partying Leder “the Hugh Hefner of the Hamptons.” The secret to his success? Private-equity firms, notes Center for Economic and Policy Research economist Eileen Appelbaum, plunder assets from the companies they buy, then send them into bankruptcy to sidestep their obligations to workers. Over the past decade alone, Sun Capital has bankrupted five firms and left their pension funds $280 million short. Leder, for his part, claims that the “vast majority” of Sun Capital deals have been successful. And he only parties hearty, the private-equity kingpin adds, 25 nights a year.

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Shutdown Stories

From the USW

In Ohio, our members at Maxion, a wheel manufacturer, are facing an onslaught of dumped and subsidized steel wheels from China. Because of the shutdown impacts at the International Trade Commission, the trade case that can get them some relief is delayed.

Similarly, 300 USW-represented workers at Tyler Pipe in Texas are seeing their jobs threatened by unfair trade. A pending trade case could help them out, but with the shutdown, a delay and continued imports only further jeopardize their jobs and the company’s viability.
 

Are you or your family impacted
by the shutdown? Let us know.


Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers remain in limbo wondering when they’ll get their next paycheck. That includes 250,000 veterans and many fellow union members. The indirect impacts, such as those happening to the Steelworkers in the stories above, are piling up. With nearly 80 percent of Americans reporting that they live paycheck to paycheck, it does not take long for financial challenges to become overwhelming and lasting.

Goverrnment workers and those who depend upon their work should not be pawns in a policy debate far-removed from the day-to-day of their jobs. If politicians want to have a debate about the wall or border security, they should do it while the government is open. We urge Congress to get them back to work before more damage is done.

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The Revised NAFTA Deal Will NOT Fund Trump’s Border Wall, Directly or Indirectly

Lori Wallach

Lori Wallach Director, Publi Citizen's Global Trade Watch

Note: In his Oval Office address, Donald Trump again falsely claimed that somehow his revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA 2.0) will fund his border wall.

Donald Trump keeps repeating the ludicrous claim that somehow the revised NAFTA will fund his wall even though it remains unclear if the deal will be enacted and if it is, the text does not include border wall funding directly nor would it generate new government revenue indirectly given it cuts the very few remaining tariffs, not raises them.

A back of the envelope calculation reveals a new 20 percent tariff would have to be imposed on all imports from Mexico to put the money  to construct the wall into the U.S. Treasury and that money would come from importers, not the Mexican government. All imports into the United States from Mexico have been duty free for more than a decade, meaning that NAFTA trade does not generate money from Mexican importers for U.S. government coffers and nothing in the NAFTA 2.0 changes that.

So much for Trump’s great negotiating skills, given its obvious that trying to connect NAFTA to funding for his wall decreases the likelihood Congress passes the revised NAFTA, even if Trump’s NAFTA-wall-funding claims are entirely without merit.

Perhaps the strongest evidence that nothing in NAFTA 2.0 forces Mexico to pay for Trump’s border wall is that Mexico, which has made clear it will not pay, signed the deal.  

 

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Union Matters

The Call for a General Strike

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

It’s been only a few weeks since Labor pushed back against the longest, most punishing government shutdown in recent history, but sadly, over the jubilant cheers of victory, the ominous drumbeats of Congress warring in the trenches could be heard again, leaving 800,00 AFGE members pondering if they’ll be furloughed once more.

President Trump’s decided that the ‘Wall to Nowhere’ will be the hill to die on in this inane battle of attrition, government workers livelihoods be damned.  Keeping this in mind, the ominous question should be how much longer will it be before Trump and the entitled imperialists of D.C. realpolitik turn their sights towards millions of American workers, over 40% of whom, according to CBS News data, are one missed paycheck away from poverty?

As we suffer under the grim reality of decades long wage stagnation, no calls for a realistic minimum wage increase to keep the One Percent’s vulture bankers from our doors, nor a social program of Medicare For All, easing the burden of burgeoning medical costs overrunning the populous meager discretionary incomes, the powers that be seem more than willing to shutter government again, leaving scores unemployed, airport safety and security in perilous shape and costing the taxpayers $3 billion to do so.

And while Congress apparently shows no guilt spending an inconceivable $1.45 trillion dollars for 2018/19, to voluntarily spill blood in every conceivable corner of the globe promoting crony capitalism, strong armed acquisition of natural resources and the continuation of imperialistic follies, the long suffering American worker is left sifting through the rubble, limping through countless miles of crumbling infrastructure, closed factories, failing schools, bankrupting college loan payments, mass shootings and scores of broken dreams, leading to shortened life expectancy, drug overdoses and suicides.

More ...

Let's Talk About Wealth

Let's Talk About Wealth