The Ripple Effect of Job Losses in a Community

Jesús Espinoza

Jesús Espinoza Press Secretary, AAM

Last week, GM's announcement that it will cut more than 14,000 jobs and close seven factories dominated national headlines. This move carries heavy and broad economic consequences for the regions it impacts. But we can’t forget about the human costs: suddenly without jobs, workers will have to cope with financial uncertainty that strains families and communities alike.

GM’s decision is yet another example of how some inconsiderate corporate boards take workers and the communities for granted. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) couldn’t be clearer in calling out this lack of respect:

“The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico.”

Despite taxpayer dollars rescuing GM and tax cuts helping the company further, their way to say “thanks” seems to be to pack up and go, leaving behind an economic catastrophe for impacted communities to clean up for themselves. To add insult to injury, a report shows the company didn’t even have the decency to warn employees of the closures ahead of time.

Our own Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, was also clear in pointing out GM’s flippant disregard for the communities that have contributed so much to the company:

“The layoffs are the inevitable outcome of an economic model that views workers as disposable and shareholder excitement as indispensable. These GM workers, their families and communities now face grim futures. When General Motors asked hard-working men and women to make sacrifices a decade ago, they did, and with the help of the Obama Administration, brought the company back to life. Blame won’t bring these jobs back. If the President and Congress are serious about supporting factory work, they’ll quickly find a way to avert these devastating layoffs.”

As journalist and author Amy Goldstein noted in The Washington Post, these job losses will ripple through the heart of the local economy. Without income and security, workers and families won’t be able to spend on clothes, restaurants, recreation and much more. GM isn’t only undermining workers and families, but entire regional economies.

As we stand in solidarity with the GM workers who have lost their livelihoods, we can’t forget that corporate decisions in faraway places leave deep scars in unsuspecting communities. The communities that house factories give so much to these facilities. Not only do workers in these communities deserve gratitude, we must hold companies who take them for granted accountable.


Reposted from the AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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A Friendly Reminder

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