Congressional Votes on Trade

The votes were: Korea 278-51 (Korea – http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll783.xml); Panama 300-129 (Panama – http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll782.xml); Colombia 262-167 (Colombia – http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll781.xml). In the Senate, the votes were: Korea — 83-15; Panama 77-2 and Colombia 76-33. To review the Senate roll call votes online, go to: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/ and follow the...

Buy Union Week, Nov. 25-Dec. 4, 2011

The AFL-CIO has declared the ten days following Thanksgiving (November 25 through December 4, 2011) as “Buy Union Week.” The action adopted by the AFL-CIO’s 25th Constitutional Convention also urges affiliated unions to use “all available means” to promote the purchase of union made gifts during the upcoming Holiday season. Given the volatile state of the economy—marked by huge job losses, declines in take-home pay and increased costs—it makes more sense than ever to focus the purchasing power of union families on the goods and services that those families create. Supporting union made products helps keep good jobs in the community. Consumer surveys indicate that Holiday spending will largely remain flat this year and that most of us will pay cash rather than add to our credit card debt. Still, the National Retail Foundation says that Americans will spend on average $704.18 on Holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this year. All the more reason to specify “union-made-in-the-USA” gifts for friends and family—we’ll be looking for practical, quality gifts. Fads and gadgets won’t be big sellers this year. Here are some suggestions for your 2011 Holiday shopping: Visit www.unionlabel.org and click “Find Union Made Products and Services” in the yellow box at the top of the page to find ideas to start your shopping list. Demand union made products and services when you shop. When you find merchants who share your interest in union-made products & services, let us know who they are (e-mail us at: ulstd@unionlabel.org), and give them a copy of the “Thanks for Caring” certificate that is part of this package. (pdf) When you wrap your presents,...

There’s a Reason They Call It ‘Supply and Demand’

Economists will tell you it takes two elements to create a marketplace: supply and demand. Producers create the supply; consumers provide the demand. The phrase isn’t “supply and suggest or request” it’s “supply and demand.” Demand implies firmness, authority or power. When we complain that we can’t find union-made goods to buy, we’re saying that the marketplace is failing us. We’re bringing the demand, but producers aren’t giving us the supply. Something’s wrong with this picture. Polls tell us that union members and their families prefer to support the products and services of union members. That doesn’t mean that every union member would buy union-made if they had the choice, but many would. There are 16 million union members in the U.S. Let’s assume that every union member “influences” buying decisions of just three other people, on average: that might mean folks in their immediate family (spouses, children, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles) or room mates, neighbors and friends. Now, let’s do the math: The average weekly wage for union members is $967, or $50,284 a year. There are 16 million union members in America X 4 (the number  of people who are influenced, plus the union member = 64 million. Union buying power $50,284 X 16 million= $804,442,000,000—more than $804 billion! If you laid 804 billion single dollar bills end to end, the line would stretch for 750,000 miles, or more than three times around the world. That’s a long way! Just imagine how far that line would take us if we used it as buying power. The failing U.S. market place So, we have a marketplace of...

Trade Agreements, Deficit Discussions, Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations—It’s All Tied Together

As James Carville once famously reminded candidate Bill Clinton: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Demonstrators in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and hundreds of other cities across the nation are emphasizing that point again. They are students, workers with blue and white collars, from the public and private sectors (including a smattering of bankers and lawyers), retirees, former homeowners and current homemakers. Although the media initially tried to ignore the demonstrators and later criticized the movement for its “lack of leadership,” the rest of America is getting the message. AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka hailed the demonstrations, vowing that union halls and community centers would be open to demonstrators. He said the movement had “captured the imagination and passion of millions of Americans who have lost hope that our nation’s policymakers are speaking for them” and he applauded demonstrators for their “determination to hold Wall Street accountable and create good jobs.” Tumka pointed out that union workers have spontaneously joined the demonstrators “to call for fundamental change” all across America, defining the protests as an expression of “frustration—and anger — about our country’s staggering wealth gap” along with the lack of jobs and “the corrupting of our politics by business and financial elites.” He said the 99% of the nation who “keep the country running are being robbed not only of income but of a...

Pin It on Pinterest