By Doug Cunningham
Nurses at Detroit Medical Center are in a union organizing effort as management conducts and anti-union campaign. Registered Nurse Hazel Stewart
says nurses want a voice in staffing and other patient care issues and they want the respect on the job that forming a union will provide.
[Stewart]: “I would like for management to respect our wishes, to stand aside and let us continue with the union organizing and not interfere so that we can get back to what’s most important – and that’s patient care.”
Six hundred nurses at Detroit Medical Center are attempting to join
With growers complaining of an increasing scarcity of farmworkers, the Bush Administration is seeking ways to loosen federal laws regulating the use of guest workers. Leilani Albano has more on the story. Farmworker advocates say there are as many as 2 million farmworker positions to harvest and pick the nation’s vast agricultural fields, but only 60,000 guest workers, to choose from.
That worries many in agribusiness, who report a 20% labor shortage in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and similar drops in numbers in other regions as well.
Growers anticipate they will be hard hit the scarcity of guest workers, claiming that the restrictive hiring process under the current federal H-2A program, makes it impossible for them to obtain laborers in a timely manner.
By Doug Cunningham
Congress could decide in as little as 60 days on who gets a huge new military contract to build refueling tanker planes. Vying for the contract are Boeing and Eads – the French company that makes Airbus. Richard Mihalski of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers says more than 40,000 good U.S. manufacturing jobs are at stake.
[Mihalski]: “We have been talking to members of Congress informing them of just what kind of jobs are in their individual districts and what it means to them to have a healthy, vibrant, robust aerospace industry here in the United States.”
Republicans in Washington have had their hands dirtied by plenty of scandals in recent months, but this latest action has to rank among the lowest. In an effort to beat back full funding for children’s health care, the staff of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) supported a smear campaign against a 12-year-old survivor of a car crash.
The experiences of the Frost family of Baltimore highlight the need for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). A hard-working, two-job family with four children, the Frosts were struck by tragedy: a car accident nearly killed two of their children. Without adequate heath coverage, the Frosts were headed for bankruptcy or worse. Because of SCHIP, the Frosts could afford the five months of hospitalization that allowed their children to survive.
There’s no such thing as an off-year in New Jersey political action. Every year is an election year, says New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.
Between each congressional and presidential election cycle, New Jersey voters elect their entire state Legislature and most of their municipal office holders. Working family voters are ready again this fall says Wowkanech.
We’ve got the entire state Assembly and Senate—120 members and we are running a very aggressive program. Last weekend alone we had more than 700 people out walking and knocking on doors.
Did incidents of workplace illness and injury decline last year? On the surface, the data in yesterday’s report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sure seems that way. The BLS figures show a slight drop-off in private-sector workplace injuries and illnesses in 2006, compared with 2005, and indicate the rate of injuries and illnesses was the lowest since 1972.
Let’s take a closer look.
BLS bases its figures on data recorded on the Log of Injuries and Illnesses required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). And as workplace safety advocates and academics long have pointed out, these figures have a major flaw—they are compiled from one source—employers.
Some 4 million children lost a chance to have health care coverage when the House voted 273-156 this morning and failed to overturn President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) renewal. It would have taken a two-thirds majority to override Bush’s veto.
The bill—passed by large majorities in the U.S. House and Senate—would have funded the program for five years and covered the 6 million children already enrolled, plus an additional 4 million uninsured children whose families cannot afford the skyrocketing cost of private health insurance. Overall, some 9 million children in the nation do not have heath insurance.
The Republicans’ anti-SCHIP campaign was marked by “misconceptions, half truths and down right lies,” says Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). Bush and his backers painted the vetoed bill as a step toward “socialized medicine” and “government-run” health care that would undermine the private insurance industry and even allow families making as much as $83,000 a year to enroll their children in SCHIP.
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer known to affect union workers. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer which is caused only by exposure to asbestos fibers. The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, but governments and businesses have covered up information at the expense of every day workers. Common people working in various industries including ship building, bricklaying, insulation, refrigeration, and automobile manufacturing were unknowingly exposed to asbestos in their every day jobs. We have compiled resources for union workers and also our veterans to help them learn what their options are when they discover they have contracted a deadly asbestos related disease. Check out our site, specifically our section regarding mesothelioma and union workers to learn more
A few items to gnaw on this morning as we wait to see if a handful of Republicans in the U.S. House will do the right thing and vote to override President Bush’s veto of a bill that would ensure millions of America’s kids have health insurance.
The press, at least in Britain, has picked upon on the murder of the Guatemalan trade unionist we noted last month. From Reuters:
Masked gunmen dumped a Guatemalan banana picker’s bullet-ridden corpse yards from fields of fruit bound for the United States, a grim reminder of the risks of organizing labor in the Central American country.
Marco Tulio Ramirez, killed last month, was the fifth Guatemalan labor leader murdered this year. Activists say the deaths show promises to protect labor rights under a U.S. trade pact have changed little at a time President George W. Bush is pressing for similar deals in other Latin American nations with bad labor records.