By Jesse Russell
Job lay offs begin today at AOL. The online arm of Time Warner, Inc. plans to cut 20 percent of the workforce – roughly 2,000 employees. Some of the layoffs will include a handful of high level executives. The company plans to restructure and put a bigger emphasis on online advertising. The company added nearly 450 new employees a little over a year ago. It claims 10 million subscribers as of the end of the second quarter.
By Doug Cunningham
As the mortgage crisis continues to unfold the AFL-CIO says a new survey found that nearly half of homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages don’t understand them and how they reset monthly payments. Nearly half-a-trillion dollars worth of adjustable rate mortgages, or ARM’s, will reset soon. The average increase in payments will be $291 per month. Leslie Tolf of Union Privilege says this is a story of uninformed people reaching for the American Dream while mortgage lenders created an American nightmare for them instead.
[Tolf]: “It is a crisis. And it’s a tale of two communities. We’ve got some consumers out there that are doing well – they’ve got a fixed rate loan – and others who are finding themselves in a terrifying situation of adjustable rate mortgages any time the interest rate climate goes up.”
By Jesse Russell
As former North Carolina Senator was in Iowa accepting the Iowa SEIU’s endorsement for President, Senator Barack Obama was next door in Wisconsin speaking to cheese hat wearing and red clad University of Wisconsin students. Of all of the topics Obama covered with the audience it was healthcare reform that received the loudest applause. He said one characteristic the next President will need is a little bit of anger:
[Obama1]: You know, what? I don’t accept that as the wealthiest nation on Earth we have 47 million people without health insurance. And even more who go bankrupt even if they have insurance.
Many homeowners have adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs)—but nearly half who have them admit they do not know how their ARMs adjust or reset, and nearly three-quarters do not know how much their monthly mortgage payments will increase when they do, a new national survey reveals.
The survey, conducted Sept. 13–25 by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO, finds that ARM holders are generally not concerned about mortgage payments until their rates reset. Then anxiety sets in as they realize their payments have risen substantially. The use of ARMs for home financing has grown dramatically over the past few years and particularly among higher-risk subprime borrowers.
Union Privilege, provider of benefits for union families, announced the results of the survey today, while in Cleveland, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Union Privilege President Leslie Tolf announced the launch of the Union Plus Save My Home Hotline.
It’s not easy getting out of bed on a weekend morning to spend your day going door to door talking with union members about the importance of voting. Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer/Voice@Work campaign, spent her third weekend with dozens of union activists in Northern Virginia and describes why volunteering valuable free time is hard—but necessary.
Why do union members and their families get up on Saturday mornings to visit other union members’ houses? They have the same inclination to want to sleep in on the weekend or get the long list of personal errands done. So why did 130 people from Virginia come out this past Saturday to knock on more than 1,800 union household doors?
Across the country this week, working families, children’s health care advocates, civil rights and community groups are holding rallies, marches and vigils to tell Congress to override President Bush’s veto of health care for millions of America’s children.
One the largest vigils is set for Capitol Hill on Tuesday at 5 p.m., some 48 hours before the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote to override Bush’s veto of the bill, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The bill maintains coverage for the more than 6 million children already enrolled and extends health care coverage to another 4 million uninsured children. It was approved by large bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate. But the 265–159 House vote fell two dozen short of the of the two-thirds majority needed to override Bush’s veto.
Nurses at five Bay Area hospitals were locked out when they tried to return to work Oct. 12, after a two-day strike. Nearly 5,000 registered nurses—members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC)—took a stand for improving patient care in the two-day strike at 15 Northern California hospitals. All but two of the hospitals are part of the giant Sutter Health chain and include some of the largest hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Locked out are nurses at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s facilities in Oakland and Berkeley; Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley; San Leandro Hospital; Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo; and Fremont Medical Center in Yuba City, northeast of Sacramento.
AFL-CIO representative Joseph Holland has been working in Kentucky with union members to help get out the vote for the state’s critical gubernatorial elections and reports on this weekend’s effort to elect a working family governor.
Kentucky union activists kept up the momentum this past weekend, with more than 160 union volunteers going door to door Saturday to talk with union members and their families. We continued to break new ground this week—with the first labor walk ever held in Elizabethtown and we continue to walk for the first time this cycle in eastern Kentucky. In addition, we also had great walks in Pikeville, Ashland, Louisville and Paducah.
Beshear is challenging Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R), who has canceled bargaining rights for state employees, privatized Kentucky’s Medicaid program, pushed to repeal the prevailing wage law and sought to implement anti-union “right to work” for less legislation. Beshear opposes so-called “right to work” legislation and has affirmed his support of safeguards for the prevailing wage, employee bargaining, the need for affordable health care and good jobs.
Across Florida and around the country, members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) are hitting the streets for two months to mobilize workers and consumers to call on Burger King fast-food chain to improve farm workers’ wages and working conditions.
The first leg of the tour in Florida wrapped up last week. For nine days, farm workers from southwest Florida, represented by the CIW, toured union halls, churches and campuses across Florida explaining why they are fighting for justice at Burger King. CIW and SFA members will tour other areas to educate consumers building up to a national mobilization in Miami on Nov. 30 to coincide with Burger King’s annual meeting.