Union Gangsters: Leo Gerard

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Don’t miss FrontPage’s other Union Gangsters profiles featuring Craig Becker, Richard Trumka, Stephen Lerner, Andy Stern, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., John Sweeney and Daniel De Leon.

The United Steelworkers (USW) Marxist president Leo Gerard believes if Big Labor can’t get what it wants through the ballot box it’s time to start cracking skulls.

The Canadian-born Gerard loves a brawl. In 1999 he helped the violent anarchists protesting in Seattle block access to the World Trade Organization meetings. USW sent 1,400 goons to shut the talks down. Gerard’s agitation helped to push Algoma Steel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, into bankruptcy in the 1990s.

USW president since 2001, Gerard wholeheartedly supports the labor-backed Occupy Wall Street movement – and wants it to become even more violent.

“You’re damn right Wall Street occupiers speak for us,” he recently told left-wing radio host Ed Schultz. “They do in Pittsburgh, they do in Chicago, they do in Oakland, they do in San Francisco, they do all across the country. And I think what we need is, we need more militancy.”

But occupying cities isn’t enough in the view of this man who began his career in labor activism at age 11 by handing out leaflets before a strike.

Gerard explained that the Left needs to start a “resistance” movement. “If Wall Street occupation doesn’t get the message, I think we’ve got to start blocking bridges and doing that kind of stuff,” he said.

“And no wonder people are occupying. We ought to be doing more than occupying parks. We ought to start occupying bridges. We ought to start occupying the banks, places themselves.”

Gerard is a member of the AFL-CIO’s executive committee and chairman of its public policy committee.

He takes pride in the fact that the New York Times called him the “No. 1 scourge of free traders.” No wonder: A few days after Gerard visited President George W. Bush’s cabinet in 2001 the Bush administration slapped tariffs on imported steel. To help advance the protectionist agenda, President Obama named Gerard to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Like Karl Marx, Gerard has an interest in economics. He had planned to become an economics professor before taking a job in the labor movement. But interest doesn’t imply aptitude, and like Marx, he apparently has little understanding of economics.

In an economically illiterate screed Gerard proclaimed that America, with its $15 trillion in national debt and untold trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, doesn’t “have a deficit crisis; we have a jobs crisis.”

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  • kafir4life

    Avoid buying union made products whenever possible. I do. I've been in three unions in my life, each worse than the previous. In three weeks, we move to a right to work state. It's also a purple battle ground state, that went foolishly blue in 2008. There's LOTS of us changing our states to affect the election in 2012.

  • pagegl

    “Unions are instruments of social and economic justice, and they’re instruments of democracy.”

    “You’re damn right Wall Street occupiers speak for us…. And I think what we need is, we need more militancy.”

    Does this bozo listen to himself? Apparently, unions are instruments of democracy except when the vote doesn't go their way.

  • pyeatte

    Other than presenting the image, morals and stench of a pig, what else is Gerard? If he thinks his mob has a monopoly on bats, they may be in for a surprise if that trick is played.
    Gerard provides the same function as a malignate tumor on our society.

    • Ron Fisher

      If you choose to be unfair to the working men and women of this country, then you choose no less than the hideous outcome of what happened to garment workers in Bangladesh. You choose to silence safety and fair wages on the backs of people who work to produce your products so that you may enjoy the "good life." I suggest, "choose life." Choose fairness to your fellow humans. Do not remove the right to enjoy a just society from fellow humans on the basis that they work for you.

      • pagegl

        Most of the working men and women in this country are not union members. I'm all for fairness, but I don't see how not being able to reward the hard workers without rewarding the slackers is fair. Unionism seems to be in the business to make sure all workers, even those who are not carrying their fair load. are rewarded. Why did Chrysler have to re-hire workers who were drinking heavily and toking up on their lunch hour? Why does the New York city school system have to keep and pay people who have shown they are unfit to teach? I'm all for fairness, I am not for supporting people who choose to be a drain on the system.

      • pyeatte

        With a simple wave of the hand, you just ignore the ravings of a lunatic. Leo Gerard is a Marxist with no clue about economics and is willing to plunge the world into abject poverty and a new Dark Age. Freedom and free markets are the only economic systems that have been found to work to improve the lives of the people.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I am sure Michael Moore and every other leftist will be right there with him,
    fat in hand, errrr bat in hand paying out the needed discipline to correct anyone
    who disagrees with them. Champions of the working class I wonder just what
    they have accomplished in the past thirty years?……………………..William

    • Ron Fisher

      You wonder what leftist have accomplished? If you think they are stupid…then you err. Seeking fairness and a gentle world is maybe a dream to you, but not to a lot of people. Kindness is a simple social activity, that even you can do it. Accomplish? Activate? "Be ye therefore kind one to another" is the Biblical injunction in the book of Ephesians. Yet you de-ride people you call "leftists" who seek a just society. Do you prefer only money should win the day, while people lose out? How unfair, and not in touch with your own humanity. Peace.

  • Stack

    Check what billionaire Wilbur Ross has to say about Leo Gerard and the United Steelworkers. Ross says Gerard helped him save the American steel industry. Oh, but of course you wouldn't want to hear that. You've already got your mind made up.

  • Mickey Russell

    You just can not fix "stupid." I quit Adjuncting as an Adjunct Professor of History after more than 30 years of teaching. Most students were uneducated, undereducated, enqualified, and under qualified to be in College. My 1961 High School degree from DeLaSalle HS in New Orleans would be equivalent to a Ph. D. today. Even my BA, and Ma were tough to earn. Not today, thanks to Teacher Union's. Bat's! Bring it on azzhole's.

    Marine Mick

    • Clint M

      Thanks Mickey. I'm a middle-aged 'home-schooled' student of history, these 'proletariat' and labor party groups usually having been the base of every violent and bloody revolution over the last 150 years. Stir up the angry/hungry/beligerent bottom and then give them targets, making them promises of 'Rule by the People' – the 1905 Russian Revolution, Lenin's Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin's purge, Germany's starving democratic socialists led by Hitler's rabble-rousing, Mao Tse Tung, et al.

  • Bailey

    Retired now but a former union member. Union bosses make great wages off the backs of the members. We had strikes every so often for higher wages, more entitlements etc., and sometimes were out for weeks – but the bosses weren't! They continued working getting paid every week while we, stupd as we were, stayed out on strike losing more money. You can never make up for what you lost while on strike – so who won folks?

  • brown7228

    This is what best for the country and if Gerard wanted to clean things up he would support this petition. I am a steelworker and have a better response from the UAW than the USW.