By Leo W. Gerard International President of the United Steelworkers Union
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele appears to be suffering philosophical identity confusion, you know, like some people experience sexual identity confusion. He’s got an organization named United STEELE Workers Union, white hardhat emblem and all, collecting members for him on Facebook. It had 255 worldwide as of June 19. This is disconcerting on so many levels, least of which is that I head the original, authentic United Steelworkers Union (USW). It has, by the way, 1.2 million retired and active members in North America. Far more importantly, Steele historically has expressed hostility toward unions. When President Obama agreed to help General Motors restructure in bankruptcy, for example, Steele said it was “another handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his presidential campaign.” Now that there’s a union created in his own image, if Steele slams labor organizations, is he criticizing himself? …
The Rejerklicans are doing everything in their power to stop health care reform from becoming a reality. Do you have health insurance. If so, great. But don't let that stop you from doing all you can to make these stinking politicians understand that our country needs it now. If you go to the website below, you can type in your town and see what some of the problems are close to home. Click Here
The people of the United States want and need health care reform. U.S. Senators John McCain and Linsey Graham should shut their traps where Iran is concerned and work on getting a public health care option. These Repugnicans seem to be completely without any understanding of what their job is. The American people rejected John McCain and his warring tendencies and they sure don't want this country to stir the pot where Iran is concerned. Over the years, we've done enough of that and it always seems to backfire. Senator Linsey Graham should keep his mouth shut and read a history book.
Last week the Alliance for Retired Americans met for their Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.. Nearly six hundred retirees attended several workshops during the week and lobbied Congress members and Senators urging them to support our agenda for healthcare reform. The Alliance for Retired Americans believes that any health care reform passed by Congress must:
* Allow Medicare to negotiate volume discounts with drug manufacturers. The Veterans Administration does this and its prescriptions cost 30 percent less. * End wasteful taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage programs at a cost nearly 20 percent higher than Medicare. * Provide early retirees the option to purchase Medicare coverage. Many of the 5.1 million Americans between 55-64 who lack health insurance are victims of mass layoffs. * Close the "donut hole" in Medicare Part D coverage.
On June 25th, 2009, thousands of grassroots people will descend on Washingt…
The Senate passed legislation that would provide vouchers to consumers who trade in their gas-guzzling clunkers for more fuel-efficient models. This program will get consumers back into the showroom and boost auto sales.
This legislation was modeled after Germany’s scrap program which led to a 21 percent surge in auto sales in February 2009, compared to a 22 percent decline in the United Kingdom for the same period. Similar programs have now been implemented in 12 European countries and have helped drive up auto sales across the continent.
The legislation will now go to the president’s desk for his signature.
The Employee Free Choice Act is at a critical point. A majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate are supportive. The President is willing to sign it into law. But, in the Senate, a process exists to talk a bill to death – “the filibuster” – and a Republican-led effort to kill the bill through this process is planned. To stop a filibuster, 60 votes are needed. We are just short of that goal.
As disappointed as we are with the Senators who have not stepped up in this fight, we are not letting up for a minute.
USW Activists in Key States Working Hard
Right now, USW members are continuing to keep up the pressure. In places like Pennsylvania, Arkansas and California, USW members are taking action again and again to target those Senators who haven’t yet given their support for the Employee Free Choice Act. This fight is coming down to a few key places across the country.
Senators Meeting to Address Issues; Vote Could Occur Within Weeks
While we’re working on the ground, there is a grou…
U.S. Treasury Department treats USW/IUE-CWA/IAM/ and Teamster retirees differently then UAW retirees. General Motors and the UAW agreed to fund current and future retiree health care through a Voluntary Employee Benefit Association Trust (VEBA) fund. As part of the bankruptcy process the Trust was partially funded with cash and the balance through GM stock of the new company.
General Motors agreed in principal to fund a VEBA for the other unions that represent workers in their facilities but the Treasury Department intervened and halted the process. This intervention prevents about 50,000 current and future retirees from receiving health care coverage they were promised by General Motors. Rather than receiving the benefits they deserve the workers represented by these other unions are thrown into the bankruptcy process as unsecured creditors. This essentially wipes out any chance of these current and future retirees of ever receiving health care benefits from General Motors.
I have never had a particular desire to travel to Cuba and I still don't. I do, however, want the right to travel anywhere, including Cuba. I know Canadians who go to Cuba every year. I think I should have the right to visit that country without going through all of the hassle that is required today. Is there something about Cuba that our government is trying to hide from us? It seems to me that our government is trying to hide a little too much from us. Another thing is the evidence concerning the United States use of torture. I want to know and see the truth. Too much being hidden these days. It's best to let it all see the light of day. Put it all out there and accept the consequences.
South of Valparaiso, Indiana is a small town called Wheatfield where a Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant is located.
The workers at this factory desired union representation and voted to be represented by the United Steelworkers Union. They began negotiating with Georgia Pacific for their first contract but just couldn’t get the company to negotiate in good faith. In the mean time, Georgia Pacific illegally fired one employee and illegally disciplined other workers.
Georgia Pacific hoped that the workers would tire of the long fight for justice and give up. They didn’t. Over two years later, an agreement was finally reached.
This is the type of labor laws that the Chamber of Commerce and the nutty Republicans want to continue.
There is no good reason in the world for a company to be able to stall and delay and refuse to bargain in good faith with their workers --only bad reasons. That being to make the workers believe that their being united has no meaning. That it’s all futile and hopeles…
Since retiring eleven years ago, one of the most rewarding activities I’ve participated in has been delivering meals to home bound seniors. For those of you who are retired and have just a little extra time, please consider contacting the Council of Ageing in your community and volunteering to deliver a meal to someone unable to get out and who struggles to continue living in their home. If you don’t have enough time to do it on a regular basis, you can be put on a list to be called in an emergency.……you’ll be very glad you did.