Since 1979, American workers’ productivity has increased over 80 percent. In that same time, the average income of the top one percent has increased more than 240 percent. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy, it would now be nearly $92,000. It’s currently $50,000. The fundamental purpose of a union is to balance the overwhelming power of those who are reaping all those gains in our economy with those who are creating those gains. Far from seeking to undermine the success of those at the top, unions simply insist that that success be shared.

Unions also matter because they’re good for business. In “The Good Jobs Strategy,” Zeynep Ton, a business professor at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, argues convincingly that “Even the most coldhearted, money-hungry capitalists ought to realize that increasing their work force, and both paying them and treating them better, will often yield happier customers, more engaged workers and — surprisingly — larger corporate profits,” as Adam Davidson reported recently in New York Times.

It’s not surprising to see that where there is worker solidarity there’s better pay: median yearly earnings of union members are $47,684 while non-union members’ median earnings are $37,284. However, you don’t have to be a union member to see the results. Western and Rosenfeld’s study on income inequality in the American Sociological Review highlights that in areas where unions are present, even non-union job wages are higher. Or, as historian Kim Phillips-Fein puts it, “The strength of unions in postwar America had a profound impact on all people who worked for a living, even those who did not belong to a union themselves.”

Injustice and inequality are still very much here. That’s why the tent is opening to new models, from worker centers to Working America. Unions need the next generation to understand the important and transformative role that unions have played in the modern economy, because the next generation of workers possesses the skills to keep wage fairness alive. Unions matter, and it matters that we learn how much they still do.

This is from the July 2004 contract negotiations. Simply amazing.

Despicable Behavior in Congress
Pitting worker against worker, the House passes Fast Track again.
Button that links to printable copy of flyerIt has become clear that Fast Track supporters will use any trick to advance their off shoring, outsourcing agenda. To get Fast Track through the House, they loaded it on a non-controversial a bill that protected pensions of federal firefighter and other public safety employees. This bill should have been about securing the retirement benefits of first responders, not to pitting worker against worker by including Fast Track – but that is exactly what the House forced today. They ultimately passed the bill by a vote of 218 – 208.

The bill now moves to the Senate.
“Today they may have advanced their policies, but USW members will never give up the fight for a real 21st century trade policy that promotes more jobs, higher wages and reduced income inequality.” – USW International President Leo W. Gerard
Make sure that you know how your Representative voted today:

All Democrats voted RIGHT (against Fast Track) except: Ashford, Bera, Beyer, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Connolly, Cooper, Costa, Cuellar, Davis (CA), Delaney, DelBene, Farr, Himes, Hinojosa, Johnson, E. B., Kilmer, Kind, Larsen (WA), Meeks, O’Rourke, Peters, Polis, Quigley, Rice (NY), Schrader, Sewell (AL), and Wasserman Schultz

All Republicans voted WRONG (for Fast Track) except: Aderholt, Amash, Brat, Bridenstine, Brooks (AL), Buck, Burgess, Clawson (FL), Collins (GA), Collins (NY), Cook, Donovan, Duncan (SC), Duncan (TN), Farenthold, Fleming, Garrett, Gibson, Gohmert, Griffith, Harris, Hunter, Jenkins (WV), Jones, Jordan, Joyce, Katko, Labrador, LoBiondo, Lummis, MacArthur, Massie, McKinley, Meadows, Mooney (WV), Mulvaney, Nugent, Palmer, Pearce, Perry, Poliquin, Posey, Rohrabacher, Rothfus, Russell, Smith (NJ), Webster (FL), Westmoreland, Wittman, and Zeldin

The following Representatives did not vote: Young (AK), Payne, Kelly (MS), Jolly, Gosar, Davis, Rodney, Clyburn, and Byrne
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Was able to get a list to put up on the site. Just converted it to a web-friendly version. For now it’s all just one big list organized alphabetically by trade. I hope to separate all the trades soon.
Here’s the LINK!

TILDEN specific LINK.
EMPIRE specific LINK.

…and, just for fun…
Everyone sorted by seniority date LINK.

President- Tony Lakenen
Vice President- Tricia Anderson
Recording Secretary- Jake Johnson
Treasurer- Justin Richards
Financial Secretary- Paul Aho
Trustees- Michael Gregory
Wayne Johnson
Jack Jarvi
Grievance Committee- Tony Ghiringhelli
Steve Narhi
Tricia Anderson
John Tasson
Rick Stadler
Paul Aho
Jake Johnson
Jim Devold
Tony Lakenen
Justin Richards
Inside Guard- Tony Blixt
Outside Guard- Al Mager
Guide- Joe Rose

Voting for our union membership is on Monday, April 13th.
There will be voting booths set up outside the men’s dry facility and the union office on Main St. in downtown Ishpeming.