ZTE Fight Comes to a Close, At Least for Now

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump took a break from tweeting about his former reality show costar-turned rogue White House aide on Monday to officially sign the $716 billion defense policy act, which is designed to “counter Chinese aggression and support U.S. military servicemen and women.”

Much of the coverage of the bill’s signing centered around Trump failing to mention Sen. John McCain in his remarks, noteworthy because the legislation is named after the Arizona Republican. But the measure itself proved less controversial, receiving widespread bipartisan support for shifting “U.S. focus away from counter-terrorism to the strategic threats posed by China and Russia.”

Also included in the bill is the conclusion of the latest chapter of the ZTE saga.

You remember ZTE! It’s the Chinese telecommunications firm that is considered a major security threat to the United States. On top of that, ZTE also violated trade sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

When ZTE failed to discipline employees who violated said sanctions, the Commerce Department rightly barred ZTE from importing any U.S. components for seven years, which effectively put the company out of business.

Not surprisingly, China got real mad about all this.

But then surprisingly, Trump shocked a whole lot of people by tweeting that he instructed Commerce to “give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE a way to get back into business, fast.”

Anyway, back to the story. Commerce obliged, hitting ZTE with a $1 billion fine (and another $400 million held in escrow) and some additional compliance measures. But ZTE effectively was back in business, and that didn’t sit well with a lot of folks in Congress.

When the Senate passed their version of the defense bill, it included an amendment to reverse the settlement and ban ZTE from conducting business in the United States — creating a standoff between the White House and Capitol Hill.

So how did this all end?

ZTE got banned! Kinda sorta.

In the final legislation signed by Trump on Monday, the U.S. government and government contractors are officially banned from using most of the technology produced by ZTE and another controversial Chinese company, Huawei. Not all ZTE and Huawei gear is off-limits, just anything considered “essential” or “critical,” and the ban goes into effect gradually over two years.

Not surprisingly, Huawei wasn’t pleased, calling the ban “a ‘random addition’ to the defense bill that was ‘ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.’” But frankly, this a move that’s long overdue — the FBI, CIA and NSA all have agreed that Huawei and ZTE technology poses big security threats.

But ZTE is still in business, and China is only intensifying its surveillance efforts — here’s another egregious example of that.

We’d guess that this isn’t the last time we’ll hear about ZTE.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW

From the USW

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted last week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work