As the country added 280,000 jobs in May, unemployment remained unchanged this month, though it was down almost a full point since last year. Overall, black workers had seen consecutive months of falling unemployment, dropping to 9.6 percent last month, the lowest since the recovery. But May ruined that with a 10.2 showing for the group (compared to 4.1 for Asians, 4.7 for whites, and 6.7 for Latinos (6.7).
It’s not all bad news though. Marc Bayard, director of the Black Worker Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, has lately found reason to feel optimistic: unions. “Black workers are at a very, very fragile and critical place right now,” Bayard said. “And the labor movement is at a fragile and critical moment, too.”
It may seem outlandish to believe that unions could save anyone these days. They’ve reached an all-time low in membership. Today, about one-in-ten people are card-carriers, down from the heyday of the 1950s, when membership stood at around 35 percent. The Midwest, the former union bastion, has turned on them—especially in Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker has just about declared war on unions.
“How can the two champion each other?” Bayard says of black workers and unions, “that’s really the crux of it.
Black workers are more likely to join unions than white workers. And when they do, black workers earn more than their nonunion counterparts, about 27 percent more per hour, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
By 2020, around 65 percent of jobs will require some post secondary education, according to a recent report by Georgetown University. This could mean trouble for young blacks, who have one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the country.
On the bright side, black workers with low educational attainment are among the most helped most by unions. Black workers without a college degree saw their hourly wage increased by 20 percent, according the the Center for Economic Policy Research study.
And where is the best place for this to happen?
The South, of course.
“Get on the wave, get involved and be a long term, authentic partner,” Bayard says. The timing is near perfect for a real economic justice movement of unions working in the South with African Americans.”
More than half of the country’s black population lives in the South, where unions are practically non-existent. Poverty levels, wages, and educational attainment are some of the worst in the nation.
“The public consciousness has been raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and the demonstrations,” said Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, co-director of the Building Movement Project, an organization that supports social change movements. “The public actions have created an opportunity to have different conversations about the economic problems that African Americans are facing in this country.”
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."