2018 politics starts as Fight for 15, SEIU start voter engagement drive.

Next year’s politics started Labor Day, as political hopefuls joined a mass walkout of fast-food and hospital workers on Sept. 4, Fight for 15 & a Union said. That group and the Service Employees also kicked off “a massive voter engagement drive” before next year’s races.
In Illinois, campaigning with the fast-food and health care workers were Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker.

The Illinois AFL-CIO, over objections from several unions, endorsed Pritzker, a multi-millionaire, to combat anti-union GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner, a multi-millionaire hedge-fund manager. Rauner made destruction of Illinois public worker unions his top goal via budget shenanigans.

 

LCLAA convention turned into pro-Dreamers, anti-Trump march.

Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), delegates from Labor’s Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) converted the first half day of their two-day convention in D.C. into a pro-Dreamer anti-Donald Trump march.

Among the marchers’ chants were “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA!” along with “Ho, ho, hey, hey, immigrants are here to stay!”

About 200 delegates paraded from the AFL-CIO to the White House before descending on the Justice Department, pausing at Trump’s D.C. hotel to denounce him there.

“The rallies have been very, very powerful and the protests have been very, very massive,” Trumka told the crowd. “We’ve been taking back our country for every last worker out there – taking it back from those who want to divide us and from those who want to keep us down.”

There’s an anti-Latino, anti-immigrant section of Capitol Hill’s ruling Republicans who blocked the Dream Act in 2010, when Dreamers would have been legalized. They also blocked immigration reform before that.

Gutierrez urged delegates to “draw a line in the sand” on the Dreamers issue and challenge lawmakers of both parties to cross it. And Gutierrez and the crowd both said Trump’s hatred expanded from the Dreamers to all Latinos. Referring to his own 14-year-old U.S.-born grandson, Gutierrez said: “Donald Trump wants to make him a criminal, a drug dealer and strip him of his rights.”

 

New report shows no link between corporate tax cuts and job creation – again.

Advocates of corporate tax cuts claim such incentives to “job creators” lead to higher employment, but a new report, investigating past tax cuts’ impact and subsequent job outcomes, reveals that’s wrong.

Instead, Sam Pizzigati and Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies discovered through public records that 48 out of 92 of the big firms studied – which already pay taxes at low rates – actually cut jobs.

Their 32-page report contradicts claims by business lobbies and congressional Republicans, all the way back to the Reagan administration.

“These findings beg an obvious question: If these tax-dodging firms are not creating jobs, what are these firms doing with all their proceeds from tax avoidance? Numbers make plain that tax-dodging firms are routinely funneling more money into the pockets of their top executives than other big firms,” they write.

The biggest job cutters among the firms that paid 20 percent or less in taxes were AT&T (-79,450 jobs), Verizon (-78,450), ExxonMobil (-37,735), United Technologies (-37,000), JP Morgan Chase (-26,961), 21st Century Fox (-20,100), L-3 Communications (-14,800), GE (-14,700), IBM (-12,969) and Wells Fargo (-12,600). Fox canned almost half of its U.S. workers (48 percent). Verizon and Exxon each let a third go.

 

“Corporate America going in for the kill,” CWA’s Shelton.

Sounding dire warnings and summoning unionists to the barricades, Communications Workers President Chris Shelton says “corporate America is going in for the kill” against unions and workers.

And the death of unions would be dire for the whole nation, he warned. “Without unions, America would be little more than a fascist dictatorship” run by the bosses, the blunt Bronx native declared.

Shelton, a former New York Telephone outside tech and leader of CWA Local 1101 there, said the nation’s moguls are trying to kill unions with support from Congress, states and Republican President Donald Trump.

“While we are fighting for freedom, they are fighting for the rule of man over man. But we are still fighting for democracy in the workplace. This is the test that lies ahead.”

Workers and their allies can fight back through unity, solidarity, frequent militancy and recruiting allies, Shelton declared. He cited the successful strike by 45,000 CWA-represented Verizon workers last year as an example. “When we are united, we will prevail,” he said. “Together, we shall overcome all the forces against us!”

CWA plans for hostile high court ruling.

The decision may not come down until next June, but the Communications Workers are already preparing for a hostile U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will make every state and local public worker nationwide a potential “free rider.” That’s because CWA – and other unions with large contingents of public workers, including the Service Employees and AFSCME – expect the five white male Republican High Court justices to overturn a 43-year-old precedent that lets state governments decide whether unions can collect “fair share fees” from workers who are not members, the “free riders.”

And that decision, in Jacobs v AFSCME, a case from Illinois, will in turn harm unions by cutting off their money, and their ability to bargain contracts for – and defend on the job – a state and local workforce that is heavily minority and majority female. CWA is developing a task force and specialized training to energize members to sign up, or re-sign up, public workers.

“It’ll be a different training every place, and we’ll be targeting individuals” already disposed to be activists and then have them undergo an intensive two-day program, said Brooks Sunkett,
CWA’s vice president for its public sector workers.
News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper

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