By Jesse Russell
Congratulations you are $30,000 dollars more in debt then you previously thought! The national debt is up by $5.7 trillion dollars since Bush came to office and is projected to be at more than $10 trillion dollars by time he leaves. According to an article in the Associated Press that debt is on the back of Americans who will each share a $30,000 burden. According to the Associated Press it gets even worse when you pile up the healthcare and social security costs of baby boomers and the ever increasing military budget.
By Doug Cunningham
Deborah Shank is a former Wal-Mart worker seriously injured in an auto crash who needs constant continuing care for brain damage. Jim Shank says when his wife won a suit for a trust fund to pay for her future medical needs , Wal-Mart sued her to recover the more than $474,000 that Wal-Mart’s employee health insurance had paid.
[Shank]: “Just to show the greed and arrogance of the company, they locked up the money – they got a judgment to lock up the money before they even won the settlement. They put a freeze on the fund so I couldn’t spend any of it. They just wanted to make sure that there was still as much there as they could get. To me that was pretty low because we still had bills to pay. But they didn’t care. They wanted to lock up that money so they could get what all we had.”
By Jesse Russell
A potential of a long dreaded grocery worker strike has been averted in Northern California. 25,000 workers were set to walk off the job at Safeway Supermakerts if contract negotiations broke down. The company agreed to a new four-year contract with the union. According to a press release from UFCW local 8 President Jacques Loveall the agreement amounts to substantial ”pay increases, avoids employee premiums for medical benefits and protects pension and benefits.” The contract was approved one day after the previous contract expired.
By Doug Cunningham
People enrolled in Bush’s Medicare Part D prescription drug program are seeing their premiums go up by 24 and a half percent. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says this is a case of private market competition failing to deliver lower prices.
[Baker]: “I think what we get here is a story where competition gives us higher cost with very little if any obvious benefit.”
Baker says Republicans who controlled Congress when this Medicare prescription drug plan was passed specifically barred the government from negotiating lower drug prices.
[Baker2]: “In the design of the plan there ere many of us who argued that Medicare should be negotiating directly with the industry and that way to keep prices down. But Congress expressly prohibited that.”
The long list of supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act got a significant new addition last week when the Democratic National Committee gave unanimous approval to a resolution calling the workers’ rights legislation “a top priority” for any new Democratic administration and Congress in 2009.
The presidential candidates who attended the Virignia meeting spoke out in support of the legislation that was passed by the House this spring, but was blocked by Senate Republicans. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sens. Joe Biden (Del.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinch (Ohio) voiced their support for the measure to protect workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain collectively.
Two more unions have announced their support for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the 2008 presidential election campaign.
Next week, voters in northwest Ohio will have the chance to send a new representative to the U.S. House. Robin Weirauch, the Democratic candidate in the special election in Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, has released a video clip asking for the support of working families and stressing the importance of a strong, active union movement in ensuring a fair economy.
In the video, Weirauch says she’ll fight for the needs of workers:
We have a real chance here to shake things up in Washington, and I sure hope we do, because business as usual will not lead us to a better future. We have a lot of work to do to make this happen December 11, and your help is going to make all the difference.
Going into the 2008 primaries, it’s clear America’s voters, concerned about their jobs and the impact of globalization, are rethinking the nation’s recent approach in shaping trade agreements that benefit corporations at the expense of working families. And that’s making a lot of policy wonks and their corporate mouthpieces noticeably nervous.
Just today, The Washington Post let loose in a vitriolic editorial, attacking Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama for denouncing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). See, according to the Post, NAFTA has been a big boon for Mexico’s economy.
Not so, says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. From the very first, the Post gets it wrong, asserting incorrectly that Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP) quadrupled since 1987, when in fact, it grew by just over 67 percent in that period, Baker writes in Beat the Press. Seems the Post editorial writers didn’t adjust for inflation.
Here are a few highlights from the AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department, which sends daily e-mail, bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 900 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work.
UFCW, Safeway Inc.: In Northern California, 25,000 grocery workers at 341 Safeway stores, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) locals 5, 8, 101 and 648, announced plans to begin a strike authorization vote Dec. 2 if an agreement is not reached by that date. The current contract expired Dec. 1. The four locals ratified four-year contracts with Raley’s and Save Mart, two other large chains in the area, on Nov. 17.