Wednesday, December 7, 2016

UNITED STEELWORKERS UNION: Does it really serve American (Legals) Workers?

Senators Vow to 'Use Any Means Necessary' to Ensure Taxpayer Bailout of Private Union Pension Plan

As Congress closes up shop for 2016, a group of four Democratic senators is determined to "use whatever means necessary" to secure a special-interest taxpayer bailout for the United Mine Workers of America union. According to the senators, those "means" will include "blocking other bills" until the bailout is secure, writes The Heritage Foundation's Rachel Greszler.

After Carrier deal, effusive praise for Trump from Steelworkers union

After Carrier deal, effusive praise for Trump from Steelworkers union
By Jerry White 
7 December 2016
In the aftermath of the deal brokered by President-elect Donald Trump that supposedly saves the jobs of Carrier heat furnace workers in Indianapolis, the United Steelworkers union (USW) issued a statement lavishing praise on Trump and embracing his “America-first” economic nationalism.
“We thank President-elect Trump for listening to our 
members and following through on his campaign pledge to 
persuade Carrier to keep production of quality heating 
equipment in Indianapolis,” USW President Leo Gerard said.
 “During the campaign, the president-elect spoke out 
vigorously for the need to bring jobs back home, to invest in 
domestic manufacturing, take a hard line with trading 
partners and reform our nation’s failed trade practices. The 
USW shares those goals.”
The groveling statement follows a November 14 letter sent by Gerard to congratulate Trump on his election victory. In the letter, Gerard pledged to work with the incoming administration to “advance the interests of our nation and our members.” The presidents of the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers issued similar statements.
While it mainly backed Hillary Clinton, the American trade union bureaucracy has a natural affinity for Trump’s anti-Chinese and anti-Mexican rhetoric and protectionist policies, having spent decades promoting the claim that foreign workers are “stealing American jobs.” Gerard pointed out in his November 14 letter that “Donald Trump used our own words” to criticize “the failed trade policies” of both big-business parties.
The economic nationalism of the trade union bureaucracy is not driven by concern for the wellbeing of rank-and-file union members. It is motivated entirely by the desire of the union officials to maintain the flow of income from dues payments, which means stanching the movement of jobs out of the country. As an inducement to the corporations to keep jobs in the US, the unions offer up the wages, working conditions, pensions and health benefits of the workers they supposedly represent. In the end, they collaborate in the destruction of jobs as well, in keeping with their corporatist policy of labor-management partnership.
Carrier is a case in point. The pro-company, anti-worker character of the deal praised by the USW was underscored by the comments of Gregory Hayes, the CEO of Carrier’s parent company United Technologies Corp. (UTC).
“We still get to do the preponderance of the restructuring that we were going to do anyways,” UTC chief executive Gregory Hayes told CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer on Monday. “It was a good deal for UTC.”
As for the $16 million in new investment that 
Trump said would lead to an expansion of the 
plant and more jobs, Hayes made clear that 
the money would be used to cut labor costs 
and eliminate jobs. “We will make the plant 
competitive with investment, but it will mean 
fewer jobs,” he told the CNBC host.
A leaflet distributed at the plant Monday by USW Local 1999 admitted that only 730 production and maintenance jobs and 70 management jobs out of the 1,400 current positions would remain in Indianapolis. More than 500 bargaining unit employees hired after February 2005, the union said, “would still be affected by the outsourcing of their jobs to Mexico.”
The deal also sanctions the shutdown of UTC’s plant in Huntington, Indiana and elimination of 700 more jobs. The 300 research and headquarters positions in Indianapolis also supposedly “saved” were never due to be outsourced.
The “genie of globalization cannot be put back in the bottle,” Hayes told CNBC, noting that wages in Mexico “were 80 percent lower” than in the US and absenteeism and turnover were lower as well.
Hayes said Trump had assured him that the deal would boost the returns going to the company’s wealthy shareholders. He recounted what Trump said during a phone call before Thanksgiving.
“I need you to relook at the decision to close the Indianapolis plant. We’re going to do a lot of things in this country that will make it a lot more conducive to manufacturing. We’re going to take the tax rate down and reduce all this burdensome regulation. When all that happens, you are going to be printing money,” Hayes recalled Trump saying.
He then told CNBC, “I think if we can see a renaissance in manufacturing in the US, that is a good deal for the US. But it’s got to come from more thoughtful regulation and a more competitive tax rate. I think those are the things they [the incoming Trump administration] are focused on.”
The planned tax cuts include a sharp reduction on the repatriation of an estimated $2.1 trillion currently being held by US corporations in offshore tax shelters. “Tax reform is key for UTC,” Hayes told CNBC,” because we’ve got $27 billion of permanently reinvested earnings overseas, including $6 billion that’s sitting in cash that I could bring back tomorrow and invest here. Whether it’s paying dividends, buying back stock or investing in the next technology engine.”
In other words, the Carrier deal is part of a policy of freeing companies from any limitations on profit making. Billions more will be squandered on stock buybacks and dividend payoffs that benefit super-rich investors and executives such as Hayes, who took in $10.8 million last year, and to finance further mergers and acquisitions, which will destroy more jobs.
While claiming it was “not involved in talks” with Trump, the USW admitted that it is currently involved in discussions with Carrier over the possibility of altering the severance packages and labor contract extension to which the two parties had agreed. This raises the likelihood that Carrier will seek wage and benefit concessions from workers, or, at the very least, a means to push out older, higher-paid workers. This would enable Carrier to pay as much as $10 an hour less to lower-seniority workers as part of the three-tier wage system the USW accepted in the last two contracts.
“It’s hard to be more competitive than the $7 billion we made them last year,” a Carrier worker told the World Socialist Web Site. “They’re still offering the severance to anybody who wants it, hoping all the senior workers will go.”
Regarding the tax cuts that will help UTC funnel more money to its shareholders, the worker said, “Yeah, you can bet anything they do will enrich the hard life they live right now!”
The USW has close ties with Trump’s pick to lead the Commerce Department, the billionaire asset stripper Wilbur Ross. The USW collaborated with Ross as he bought up distressed steel companies such as Bethlehem, LTV and others, and slashed jobs and pensions while preserving the financial investments of the USW.
“Leaders of some of the big industrial unions, the steel workers, the autoworkers,” Ross said in a 2010 interview, “they understand the dynamics of the industry at least as well as the senior management of the companies.”
Last year the USW led the campaign for the Obama administration to stop the alleged dumping of Chinese steel in the US, even though the international economic slump was leading to the wiping out of half a million steelworkers’ jobs in China. At the same time, the USW collaborated with US Steel, ArcelorMittal and Allegheny Technologies to keep labor costs barely above the rate of inflation and sharply increase out-of-pocket health care costs.
The USW and other unions are hostile to any struggle to unite workers in the US with their brothers and sisters around the world against global corporate giants like UTC. Instead, the unions have spent decades promoting the lie that foreign workers and “unfair trade,” not the ruthless pursuit of profit by the capitalist owners, are responsible for plant closings and layoffs.
The calls for tariffs against China, in particular, dovetail with Trump’s anti-Chinese agitation and plans to ramp up military aggression against the nuclear-armed country. Far from defending jobs, trade war will lead only to retaliation by US corporations’ competitors, the deepening of the world economic crisis, and a descent toward world war.
As the Carrier deal shows, the “American-first” demagogy peddled by Trump and the unions boils down to “American billionaires first.”

How many jobs in your community are held by foreign born?



In America, No Legal Need Apply

"Possibly most affected by this shift in the economy is the Millennial generation, those  aged 18-30. The report notes that more than half of those under age 25 participate in independent work, not just in the United States but throughout the European Union as well."

MILLIONS of JOBS and BILLIONS in WELFARE and they commit most of the MURDERS
“What we're seeing is our Congress and national leadership dismantling our laws by not enforcing them. Lawlessness becomes the norm, just like Third World corruption. Illegal aliens now have more rights and privileges than Americans. If you are an illegal alien, you can drive a car without a driver's license or insurance. You may obtain medical care without paying. You may work without paying taxes. Your children enjoy free education at the expense of taxpaying Americans.” 













"The same period has seen a massive growth of social inequality, with income and wealth concentrated at the very top of American society to an extent not seen since the 1920s."

"He (Trump) is able to get a hearing because millions of people are being driven into economic insecurity and poverty while the rich and the super-rich continue to amass obscene levels of wealth. He is able with some success to divert mass discontent along reactionary nationalist and racialist channels precisely because what passes for the “left” in American politics, anchor by the Democratic Party, has moved ever further to the right, culminating in the Obama administration which has presided over endless war and an unprecedented redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top of the economic ladder."





"More than 728,000 illegal immigrants have been shielded from being deported and 


granted work permits through President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty 


program, according to the Migration Policy Institute."

THE OAKLAND FIRE! Blame it on slum lord Chor Nar Siu Ng!

Chor Nar Siu Ng, slum lord and murderer!

Housing crisis and neglect at root of fatal Oakland fire, one of the deadliest in US history

Housing crisis and neglect at root of fatal Oakland fire, one of the deadliest in US history

By David Brown 
6 December 2016
As the death toll mounts, the horrific fire that broke out at a dance party in East Oakland, California Friday night is now one of the worst such disasters in the recent history of the United States.
The City of Oakland announced early Monday that the number of bodies recovered from the 86-year-old Fruitvale warehouse called the Ghost Ship had risen to 36. The warehouse was being rented out to artists, and the studios were also used as informal housing by about 20 people.
According to survivors and neighbors, the fire spread quickly through ad hoc wooden rooms, cutting off any escape from the dilapidated building that lacked basic fire safety measures. Many were almost immediately trapped on the second floor, where a concert was being held, without any means of escape.
Recovery efforts were delayed Monday when one of the building’s walls threatened to collapse on firefighters. About 75 percent of the structure has been searched, but the Alameda County Sheriff told the Associated Press that he did not expect to find any more bodies.
Thirty-three of the victims have so far been identified. Many were in their 20s and 30s, but the youngest so far was 17. Three foreign nationals were identified, from Finland, South Korea and Guatemala.
According to one tally by “NBC News,”  the Ghost Ship fire is the seventh-deadliest building fire in the past 50 years, a list that includes the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It is the deadliest building fire in the US since a night club in Rhode Island burned down in 2003, killing 100 people.
While the precise causes remain to be 

determined, indications are that the tragedy 

was facilitated by city officials who ignored 

unsafe conditions, a landlord who neglected 

basic safety measures and a housing crisis 

driving people to seek cheap rent in unsafe 

There was no shortage of dangerous flash points in the structure. Shelley Mack, a former tenant who lived in the warehouse for five months, told reporters that the building had no sprinklers or fire alarms and that it regularly went without utilities. Tenants used gas generators or propane stoves to heat their water, and stayed warm in the winter with space heaters. Wires crisscrossed the uninspected wooden partitions that turned the first floor into a maze of studios.
A neighbor, Danielle Boudreaux, described to the Washington Post the precarious makeshift stairs to the second floor where shows were held to help pay rent: “It only took two people on it at a time. .. when you stepped on it, it wobbled, and there were ropes holding it up. If you had three people on that it was falling down.” Once the fire started, she said, “there was no way you were getting out of that building.”
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley spoke to reporters Monday afternoon, announcing that the fire was a “potential crime scene” and that her office would investigate whether there was any criminal liability. She said that it was too early to specify who might be implicated, but that charges could range from involuntary manslaughter to murder. Any serious investigation, however, would immediately turn to the city itself.
The unsafe conditions, as well as the warehouse’s role as an unlicensed apartment and music venue, was an open secret to the landlord and city officials. The Tumblr page for the Ghost Ship contains numerous advertisements for musical performances. Over the past two years, the city has received numerous complaints, including three this year, regarding construction without a permit and unsafe conditions.
Twice in 2014 and twice in 2016, building 

inspectors were sent to the warehouse in 

response to complaints. However, no action 

was taken to improve the safety of the 

building. The Oakland Police Department 

records also show officers responding to 

reports of a stolen phone at a 2014 New Year’s

Party where they “canvassed the area and 

In 2007, Alameda County placed a lien on the property, owned by Chor Ng since 1988, for “substandard, hazardous or injurious conditions.” According to public records, Ng has four other properties that have been cited for blight in Oakland.
The conditions found in the Ghost Ship warehouse are far from unique and are well known by the city. Noel Gallo, a city councilor from the Fruitvale district, told CBS, “The reality is, there are many facilities being occupied without permits.” He estimated that there are about 200 warehouses “that have no papers, no permit, no fire code, nothing.”
The negligence of landlords and city officials is complemented by the broader housing crisis that drives poor people to seek out informal housing for cheap rent.
“What this tragedy really brings home is displacement and other impacts of gentrification: the high cost of housing and the lack of affordable housing,” Anyka Barber, co-founder of the Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition, told the Wall Street Journal.
Rents have skyrocketed across the Bay Area in 

recent years. Oakland, which was once a haven for 

people avoiding San Francisco’s rent, is now the 

fourth most expensive city for renting in the United 

The median cost of an available rental in Oakland in September 2016 was $3,000 a month, according to Zillow. This is up 71 percent from January 2013, when it was just $1,757. Median income for renters in Oakland remains just $3,000 a month, making most apartments wildly unaffordable to perspective tenants.
The Bay Area is riven with social inequality. 

While workers in San Francisco and Oakland 

can barely afford rent, massive new luxury 

apartments are under construction in the 

Rockridge and SoMa districts. Across the Bay 

from the Fruitvale district where the 

warehouse burned down is the home of Larry 

Ellison, who has a personal net worth 

of $51.6 billion.
The current spike in property prices is part of 

a broader economic bubble driven by 

financial speculation after the 2008 crash. In 

2001, 41 percent of US renters spent 30 

percent or more of their income on housing. 

By 2014, this rose to 49 percent, with 26 

percent of renters spending more than 50 

percent of their income on housing.
A UBS report in 2015 drew a direct connection between the amount of cheap credit central banks, led by the US Federal Reserve and the Obama administration, were pouring into the financial market and increasing. The authors wrote, “Loose monetary policy has prevented a normalization of housing markets and encouraged local bubble risks to grow.”
The Oakland Ghost Ship fire is a horrific tragedy, but one with definite roots in the reality of American capitalism.