WIN Week In Review: August 11-13, 2017
By Doug Cunningham
The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO is raising concerns about Republican Governor Scott Walker’s recently-struck deal with Foxconn Technology Group. JoAnne Powers reports.
The plan, which promises thousands of jobs, would pay three billion dollars to the 135 billion dollar Taiwanese technology giant. This is 517 dollars for each person in the state.
As part of the prosed deal, legislators must pass a bill exempting FoxConn and its contractors from numerous environmental regulations and giving them lower utility rates for at least a decade.
Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt notes that it’s not even clear how many jobs this three billion dollar investment will create.
[Phil Neuenfeldt]: “At the initial press release they were talking about thirteen thousand, then it was up to 13 thousand, now they’re talking about three thousand.
So, we don’t even know for sure how many jobs they’re looking at really creating. I think you’ve got to do a little better in terms of giving us some expectation as to what the real number of jobs are going to be and what sort of jobs they’re going to be and what they’ll pay.”
The AFL-CIO is calling for legal assurances of good family-supporting wages, proper healthcare and workplace safety.
CWA President Chris Shelton is sounding a worker’s call to arms to go to war to save the labor movement.
[Chris Shelton]: “We are at war. A war to save the labor movement. In a war there are no neutrals. To paraphrase the old union song, in times like these every working person must decide which side you are on.”
Shelton says labor’s history has shown that workers will always rise up after being attacked. And he urged every worker to get in the battle for democracy and worker rights.
[Chris Shelton]: “These are hard times for working people . As hard as I have ever seen in my entire career in the labor movement.
Corporate America smells blood. The Koch brothers smell blood. And with the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, with Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and with that nitwit Donald Trump tweeting in the White House I can see why corporate America thinks it’s time to go in for the kill.
This attack is not just on unions or working people. It is an attack on democracy itself, at every level. The labor movement will not survive if it forgets how to fight.”
20,000 dockworkers at 29 ports on the West Coast voted last week to extend by their contract with the Pacific Maritime Association through July of 2022. Two-thirds of their members voted in favor of the extension. International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesperson Craig Merilees.
[Craig Merilees]: “Unlike many workers that are looking at takeaways and concession demands, the contract extension will raise wages, maintain excellent health benefits, and also increase pensions during the three year period that the contract is being extended.
The contract that’s would have expired in 2019 already calls for consistent wage increases and maintaining health benefits, and so this adds to that. It does extend it for three additional years, and during each of those years, all three of those things, wages, benefits and pensions will increase.”
Voters in Kansas City, Missouri Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to hike the city’s minimum wage to well above the state minimum wage, despite a new state law aimed at preventing municipalities from doing just that.
The minimum wage in the city goes to $10 an hour and to 415 by 2022.
Doctor Vernon Howard is President of the Greater Kansas City Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Chair of KC for 15.
[Dr. Vernon Howard]: “Everyday workers have not received a fair shake over the course of the last half-century in this country, and it is time for people of good will to stand up, organize, mobilize and do something about it.”