Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Labor Organizes a Congressional Win

On Tuesday in Western Pennsylvania, a novice candidate, a 33-year-old Democrat who had never before run for office, upset an experienced politician who President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. all stumped for and who received more than $10 million from dark money groups and the  Republican Party.

Not only that, the rookie did it in a congressional district that was gerrymandered to elect Republicans for life, a district that went for Trump, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

It was stunning.

Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which had sent a Republican to Congress for the past 15 years.

The shocker resulted from a winning combination. Organized labor worked for the candidate who pledged to work for labor. That candidate, of course, was Conor Lamb.

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Billy Graham and the Evangelical Origins of Organized Labor

By Ken Estey

By Ken Estey Associate professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and the author of A New Protestant Labor Ethic at Work

When I heard over breakfast that Billy Graham had died, the news ricocheted around my mind and stirred up lots of memories. The counter of George’s Diner on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn was just the place to begin reflecting on the surprising connection between Graham’s legacy and organized labor.

I came of age in the early 1970s during one of the high points of Graham’s influence. A friend of Richard Nixon, and rightly criticized for that relationship, Graham’s world-wide evangelistic “crusades” continued apace. In 1973, Graham preached to 3.2 million people in a series of services in Seoul, South Korea. The final service on June 3 drew 1.1 million people, most of whom had traveled to Seoul on foot to hear him. According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, it was the largest crusade his team ever organized. Over the years, Graham eventually preached in 85 countries on six continents, reaching 215 million people.

I recall little of his much-lauded preaching. What caught my ear, rather, was Graham’s singular manner of invitation to come forward to receive Jesus. I can still hear the signature hymn “Just As I Am” sung by the crowd as individuals soulfully walked forward. As they did, Graham would assure the soon-to-be-converted and particularly those who had not yet made a decision that “the buses will wait.” While he made no specific reference to class, Graham’s invitation to receive the good news of Jesus was plain and unadorned, suggesting that you didn’t need to be somebody special. All you had to be was who you were and ready to receive God’s grace. In my working-class household, this was a theology everyone could work with. If the way to receive the gospel was just an old bus, so much the better that it would wait!

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For These Steelworkers, A Trip to the White House Is Another Step in a Decades-Long Fight

By Jeffrey Bonior Writer, Alliance for American Manufacturing

A group of 10 steel and aluminum workers traveled to the White House on Thursday to witness President Trump sign a proclamation issuing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products coming into the United States.

Several of the workers are members of the United Steelworkers (USW), and while they were in the national spotlight for an afternoon, the trip to the White House was just one more event in a decades-long struggle to defend their industry from unfair trade.

After making his statements and before signing the declaration, Trump asked the workers if they wanted to speak about the issue. Scott Sauritch, a steelworker at the United States Steel Irvin Works in West Mifflin, Pa., stepped to the microphone and shared a very personal story.

“My father was a steelworker and lost his job in the early 80s with six kids at home,” Sauritch recalled after the White House visit.  “He was crushed. You know you see a man go to work, joke around with the guys, tell good stories and be able to support a wife and six kids. It was heartbreaking.

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Union Matters

No More Wall Street Giveaways

By the AFL-CIO

Every single challenge faced by working people can be traced back to the greed of powerful corporations and CEOs, which is why America’s leaders should be holding Wall Street accountable, not weakening consumer protections and opening the door to risky banking practices and predatory lending.

Working people call on our elected leaders to oppose legislation from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to roll back and eliminate sections of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act. Congress should be building on that landmark law so working families and our communities can thrive.

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