By Doug Cunningham
The Teamsters are rallying today at the Mexican border in San Diego to protest the Bush program to bring Mexican trucks onto U.S. highways. Teamsters President Jim Hoffa will lead the rally at the Otay Mesa border crossing. The union says the Bush pilot program is illegal. The Teamsters are fighting the Mexican truck program in court and are urging Congress to completely cut off money for the Mexican truck program. The Teamsters say the Mexican trucks are unsafe and there are no reliable methods to screen and track the records of the drivers.
By Doug Cunningham
Dr. James Parrot of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York City says the growing number of employers who turn to illegal, off-the-books construction employment are hurting both workers and taxpayers in general.
[Parrot]: “This large scale illegal employment of workers translates into large scale shifting of construction costs onto taxpayers and union employers.”
Dr. Parrot says a little over half of New York City’s construction sector is unionized. Union construction offers high standards, strong workers compensation coverage for workers who get hurt on the job and apprentice programs to raise worker skill and productivity.
By Jesse Russell
Congressman Ron Paul became the first Presidential candidate to cross the picket line of striking Hollywood writers. The Republican candidate for the 2008 nomination crossed the line so he could appear on ABC show The View. Michelle Obama, the wife of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, had been scheduled to guest host on December 5 but canceled her appearance in order to respect the striking workers. Both John and Elizabeth Edwards have also canceled scheduled appearances.
By Jesse Russell
Do you have a clean record of payments to your credit card, but feel like you’re spinning your wheels? Better check your interest rate. Hearings by a Senate committee Tuesday highlighted practices by credit card companies that suggested they may be raising interest rates without notifying customers. Jesse Russell reports:
At a Senate hearing concerning the practices Janet Hard of Freeland, Michigan explained that she had consistently paid off her debt to Discover – never missing a payment. When she noticed that her debt was barely moving with her monthly payment she did some investigating and found that Discover had substantially raised her interest rate without notifying her:
What do bankers, bus drivers and aircraft workers have in common? They are all new union members who’ve recently voted for a voice at work with AFSCME, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Machinists (IAM).
In Milwaukee, some 500 bank tellers and other white-collar, nonsupervisory workers at U.S. Bank voted to join AFSCME Council 48. They are the first bank workers to join AFSCME. U.S. Bank, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the nation’s sixth largest commercial bank.
As negotiators for striking writers and TV and movie producers return to the bargaining table today, the writers are reaffirming their determination to keep talking until they gain a fair contract.
Members of the Writers Guild have been on strike since Nov. 5. Striking writers and their supporters are on the picket lines at major studios in New York and California in a drive to win an equitable contract that addresses how writers are paid as new media plays a bigger and bigger role in the entertainment industry.
The writers are seeking a formula for fair compensation for their work when it is broadcast on the Internet, downloaded to iPods or cell phones or distributed via DVD.
Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) President Michael Winship, in a letter to members, says the strike has become a movement
inspiring not only our own membership but folks throughout organized labor, across the country and all over the world. Public support has been overwhelming and inspiring. Our high profile actions have come to symbolize discontent with the status quo in general, and specifically with the overreaching greed of the global mega-corporations that own the media.
Today’s Wall Street Journal provides more vindication for progressive economists who have been warning us over these past months about the faltering state of our nation’s economy. Seems a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds voters more worried about the economy and health care than terrorism.
Fifty-two percent of Americans say the economy and health care are most important to them in choosing a president, compared with 34% who cite terrorism and social and moral issues, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. That is the reverse of the percentages recorded just before the 2004 election. The poll also shows that voters see health care eclipsing the Iraq war for the first time as the issue most urgently requiring a new approach.
Technical workers at New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV have a friend in Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Employees at WMUR formed a local union of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) in 2004 but have yet to win a first contract.
Now, using his clout as a presidential candidate in the nation’s first primary state, Obama is stepping in to support WMUR workers.
Looks like Congress may spoil Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin’s plan to spend the holidays stuffing the stockings of media moguls like Rupert Murdoch with goodies in the form of new rules that allow them to swallow up more of our local news outlets.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will vote today on the bipartisan Media Ownership Act of 2007 (S. 2332)—a bill that would direct the FCC to conduct a separate proceeding on local ownership and create an independent minority and female ownership task force before moving forward with any changes to media ownership limits. The bill, introduced by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), also would ensure a 90-day period for the public to comment on any proposed rules.