Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

No More Trickle-Down Trade Deals

Free trade be damned.

People don’t need any more free trade. They need jobs. And not just any jobs. They need good jobs with living wages and decent benefits.

That’s what negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico must prioritize as they begin talks this week to rewrite the reviled and failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Negotiators must focus on improving the lives of people, not boosting the profits of corporations.

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Republicans Want to Stop Talking about White Supremacists So They Can Cut Taxes for Rich People

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

The White House has had a tumultuous few weeks.

As CNN noted on Friday, in the last four weeks alone, President Trump has fired chief strategist Steve Bannon, fired Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, hired and fired communications director Anthony Scaramucci, publicly shamed his own attorney general and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, banned transgender troops via twitter, made up two phone calls, thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling American diplomats from the country, threatened nuclear war with North Korea, and defended attendees of a white supremacy rally.

And that’s not even half of it.

 But Steve Cortes, a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, said on Fox News Sunday morning that if Republicans just cut taxes, all of that will be background noise.
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Missourians Get Nearly Triple the Needed Signatures for November Right to Work Repeal Referendum

Extremists and outside interests representing big corporations rammed through a "right to work" bill against the will of the people of the state. The bill was signed into law by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in February. Today, Missourians spoke up loudly and, pending the certification process, a ballot referendum on right to work will appear on the November 2018 ballot.

In order to get on the ballot, supporters must gather some 107,510 signatures in six of eight congressional districts. Hundreds of Missourians showed up to cheer along campaign representatives, who delivered 163 boxes filled with 57,277 pages, containing 310,567 signatures, nearly three times the required amount. All of the state's 115 counties were represented, and the numbers were sufficient to qualify in all eight congressional districts.

Here is what Missouri's working people said about right to work and the referendum:

"Right to work is wrong. It's wrong for Missouri workers. It's wrong for Missouri families. It's time for Gov. Greitens and extreme politicians to stop doing the bidding of their dark money donors and begin fighting for Missouri families," said Lori Giannini, a 12-year grocery clerk at Schnucks from St. Charles County.

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White supremacist Rally Fizzles, Overtaken by Massive Anti-Racism March

Organizers of a self-described “free speech” rally in Boston Saturday were expecting to see a big turnout, with attendees from the same white supremacist groups that marched on Charlottesville last weekend. Massachusetts members of the Ku Klux Klan had announced their plans to participate.

But turnout on the white supremacist side was incredibly small. They were outnumbered, by the thousands, by counter-protestors, who flooded Boston Common and the surrounding streets to rally against neo-Nazis, the KKK, and racist violence.

The “free speech” rally was, by all measures, a resounding failure. According to the Washington Post, “By 1 p.m., the handful of rally attendees had left the Boston Common pavillion, concluding their event without the planned speeches. A victorious cheer went up among the counter-protesters, as many began to leave. Hundreds of others danced in circles and sang, ‘Hey hey, ho ho. White supremacy has got to go.’”

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Senator Lankford Is Confused About the Trade Deficit

Dean Baker

Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Yep, the senator from Oklahoma says it is good in a Washington Post column. Most of Senator Lankford's confusions are pretty standard, but he does come up with an original one.

"For starters, a powerful economy such as ours often runs a trade deficit because of the immense buying power of its people. Mexico’s average net per capita income is roughly $13,000, while the average U.S. household brings in more than $41,000 each year. Americans have a far greater capacity to buy goods than do consumers in Mexico. It should come as no surprise that we do exactly that."

Okay, we have a trade deficit simply because we are a rich country. I suppose someone forgot to tell Germany that it is a rich country since it has a massive trade surplus of more than 8 percent of GDP (roughly $1.6 trillion in the U.S. economy.)

He then tells us that our imports frrom Mexico will help it to grow and eventually make Mexico a better market for U.S. products. While this is true, Mexico's economy has actually grown less rapidly on a per person basis than the U.S. since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. While NAFTA may not be the cause of weak growth in Mexico, it apparently has not prevented the two economies from diverging further.

Then we get some of the standard confusion pushed by denialists:

"Foreign investment also tilts the trade-balance calculation. Because we have the world’s largest economy and the strongest currency, more money comes into the United States than goes out. This surplus of investment adds to our trade deficit, even though this foreign cash stimulus is a positive for our economy.

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Union Matters

Demand Workers are Heard in NAFTA Renegotiations

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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A New NAFTA for Workers

A New NAFTA for Workers