Appleton, Wis. – Today, Outagamie County Executive and pro-labor populist U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson announced his first “Full Nelson” economic plan at Willy Street Co-op, a unionized grocery in Madison. The “Full Nelson” Agenda builds off of Nelson’s 72 County “Full Nelson” tour from last year and his book One Day Stronger that showed how communities and labor unions can come together successfully to save domestic manufacturing.
Even before COVID and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nelson was the sole U.S. Senate candidate who had warned that the United States lack of a national industrial strategy to onshore manufacturing was harming workers and making us dependent on foreign countries for our needs. Decline in manufacturing jobs was one key reason for Donald Trump’s success in 2016.
Nelson said, “For decades thanks to the greed of corporate America and Wall Street, we outsourced critical domestic industries so that we now are at the mercy of China and other countries for basic needs like PPE and semiconductors. Working families in both deindustrial Milwaukee as well as small town Wisconsin have been devastated by decades of free trade and deregulation policies. Now those failed economic policies are behind supply chain failures and spiraling inflation. This is the first part of my ‘Full Nelson Agenda’ that shows my commitment to tackling the special interests blocking progress in Washington. Instead of more Foxconn scams, we need to invest in homegrown industries.”
Nelson has earned the endorsements and support of local labor unions and leaders due to his proven track record of fighting for working families as Outagamie County Executive.
Charlene Winchell of United Electrical was at the event today to show support for Nelson’s plan. “United Electrical was proud to endorse Tom because he understands how the loss of Wisconsin manufacturing to foreign countries has impacted so many families, contributing to growing income inequality and now when there’s a pandemic and a war in Europe, we find out offshoring our manufacturing to foreign countries just to make a profit seems like a serious mistake.”
Tim Jacobson, Chief Steward of UAW Local 578 said, “Tom has dedicated himself to fighting for working men and women his whole career and he’s been with us from day one in our fight to make sure Oshkosh Corp builds the next generation of Postal Service trucks here in Wisconsin. His Full Nelson plan to fix our tax policy and the horrible trade deals that have cost us so many jobs. By keeping our supply chain here in Wisconsin, we will be able to grow our economy and not have to rely on other countries to build things for us.
“It’s embarrassing to see the United States not being able to provide basic masks and PPE to frontline healthcare workers as needed during this pandemic. Luckily, Wisconsin still has some of its historic progressive paper industry to provide us with critical products. Tom Nelson, who we need to replace Ron Johnson in the U.S. Senate. understands that corporate monopolies and Wall Street greed is behind the current inflation crisis and he knows what we need to do to get it under control,” said John Matthews, Executive Director Emeritus of Madison Teachers Inc.
Attached is the full plan.
It can also be found here on Medium.
The Full Nelson Jobs and the Economy Agenda is based on wrestling corporate interests so we can pin down inflation, restore our supply chains and start Making It in Wisconsin. Nelson calls for a coordinated national industrial strategy to bring back jobs and reshore our supply chain by:
Bringing labor unions to the table and keeping them there. In this era of management churn and revolving ownership, those at the top know less of their actual business than their forebears. Labor is a storehouse of institutional knowledge and an indispensable strategic asset. Management would be wise to fully engage them in their business.
Empowering workers by passing laws that will make it easier for them to organize and collectively bargain. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act currently before the U.S. Senate is a good start. We need to go a few steps further and repeal the Taft-Hartley Act that set the American labor movement on a downward spiral 70 years ago by green lighting so-called “Right to Work” laws in the states, outlawed the closed shop and made it harder to organize workforces and keep them organized. Unions reached their apex in the lead up to Taft-Hartley when one-third of the workforce was in a union.
Directing public resources into one national program to build industrial capacity. We need to end the inimical competition for jobs between cities and states. In exchange for public support, require manufacturers to make more goods in America. Doubling down on basic science research should be part of this. Fund universities and research centers that are working on new technologies that could create new products and thousands of jobs. The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) that passed the U.S. Senate would go a long way in accomplishing these goals. Where once the United States led in semiconductor manufacturing, accounting for 37% of global chip production, that number is down to 12% as we rely on Taiwan, South Korea and China for the materials needed to make our cars, computers, iPhones, electronics, etc.
Reviving Antitrust Laws to Break up Corporate Monopolies and Stamp out Price Fixing. Some experts believe due to consolidation and corporate mergers, corporate profits are driving 60% of inflation as companies experience their highest profits in 70 years. When only a handful of companies control the market for everything from meat to oil to ocean shipping to railroads to prescription drugs, companies are able to set their own prices with no real competition to fear. A windfall profits tax should be considered for any corporations unjustly gouging consumers, whether it’s food companies or oil companies.
Adopting a fair tax code that rewards businesses that invest in their products and workers and bans stock buybacks. We should close tax loopholes that incentivize corporations to ship jobs overseas and siphon cash from their treasury in the form of dividend payouts, stock buybacks and CEO bonuses.
Renegotiating bad trade deals and favoring Buy American. We need to shred NAFTA and other bad trade deals that expose U.S. industry to unfair foreign competition and begin negotiating from the standpoint of the worker — not the corporation. 20 years of China being in the WTO has hollowed out much of Wisconsin’s cities and small towns as jobs left and now America must rely on an authoritarian regime for everything from prescription drugs to PPE to rare earth metals and solar panels. Global free trade deals also thwart Buy American provisions for government procurement. We need to favor Buy American wherever we can and use our government purchasing power to rebuild industry.
Reforming bankruptcy laws so workers and community interests matter as much as Wall Street interests. We were able to save the Appleton Coated paper mill because of Wisconsin’s unique receivership law that has evolved through case law in the last quarter-century. Under Chapter 128 receivership law, before factories are shut down, community leaders object to the sale by noting importance that goes beyond just profits and see if there is a way for a community to come together to preserve the assets — labor, business and local government. Private equity and hedge funds have made a killing in sucking companies dry while leaving workers (and their pensions and health care) out to pasture. U.S. bankruptcy laws should follow Wisconsin’s to give valuable companies a chance at survival.