Posted September 27, 2018 09:05:53 The papermakers, one of the biggest and most important industries in the U.S., are facing a severe crisis and have been negotiating for decades with the government, which is now pushing to privatize the industry.
A union that represents the papermaking workers is urging Congress to act to save the industry, as part of a coalition of unions that includes the American Federation of Labor, the American Postal Workers Union, and the American Association of Sheet Metal Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
The papermakers have a long history of fighting to have the government pay them wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage, which currently is $7.25 per hour.
It’s estimated that the paper manufacturers earn about $3.6 billion in revenue, but the union is calling on Congress to support a new law that would make it easier for them to raise wages by more than $1 per hour, to at least $10 per hour and to allow for the construction of new jobs.
“It’s the lowest wage in the country, and it’s not going to change for the foreseeable future,” said David W. Smith, president of the National Papermakers’ Union.
“We’re not asking for $10.
We’re asking for the right to a fair wage.”
Smith is one of several unions that have joined the coalition.
Other unions representing the paper workers are also lobbying Congress.
While the new law would make a significant dent in the paper manufacturing industry, it would be a long shot to get it through the Senate.
Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats need 51 votes to override a filibuster.
The Senate is controlled by Democrats.
The bill, the National Labor Relations Act, would change how unions can bargain for higher wages, said Adam Kredo, the head of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the nation.
It is our view that if Congress is going to make the kind of change that it has to, it has no business passing legislation that would allow the paper industry to be shut down,” he said. “
There’s no question that the legislation that’s been proposed is the right thing to do, but Congress has to do the job.”
It is our view that if Congress is going to make the kind of change that it has to, it has no business passing legislation that would allow the paper industry to be shut down,” he said.
According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, papermakers make about $18 billion in annual revenues.
Congress could also potentially pass a bill that would create an incentive for companies to make and sell paper, Kredo noted.
The paper companies would receive a bonus if they can sell more paper products to the public.
Smith agreed, saying that would encourage more companies to start making and selling paper.”
We’re saying, ‘You know what, we want to make a contribution, and we want you to have a greater share of the pie,'” he said, adding that the bill would also create an opportunity for the paper companies to pay out more to employees, since they could earn more than the minimum wage.
If the paperworkers union and other unions join forces to push for the bill, Smith said it could save the papermaker’s jobs.”
It would be an amazing thing if they could save that paper. “
It would be the end of the paper as we know it.
It would be an amazing thing if they could save that paper.
I mean, this would be huge.”
But the union isn’t giving up just yet.
After the bill is introduced, it could become law, said Smith.
The unions could still vote to oppose the bill in the House, but Smith said they would not vote to allow it to become law in the end.
He also said the bill could still be blocked in the courts.
When the bill becomes law, it is likely to go down in history as one of Congress’ most successful bills.
With an election looming, Congress needs Democrats to be able to override any filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing to pass the bill by the end on Thursday.
In an interview with CBS News’ Lesley Stahl, he said that if the bill were to pass, it was likely to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
“If we do it, we’re going to be in a position where we’re doing something historic, which could change history,” Schumer said.
He said that even if the legislation were to fail, he would continue to push to improve the paper sector, calling the industry “one of the strongest and most productive in the world.”