- Air Traffic Controllers Union Wants Emergency Safety Meeting With FAA
- Social Security Disability Claims Are Seriously Backlogged
- USW Says Texas Court Decision Rewards Negligent Companies
- Writers Strike Setting Stage For Winter Of TV Viewer Discontent
- Economic Report: Inflation Running Ahead Of Wage Growth
By Doug Cunningham
Just 94,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in November. Workers were highly productive this year, increasing hourly productivity by 6.3 percent in the third quarter of 2007 while unit labor costs dropped. The urban Consumer Price Index shows prices increasing at an annual rate of 3.6 percent for things like housing, food, transportation, medical care, clothing and energy. Meanwhile the average annual increase in the wages you use to buy these things has slowed to just 2.9 percent.
By Jesse Russell
With the dialogue between producers and striking writers falling apart this weekend the future of the winter watching season is looking bleak. Nearly all of the current crops of television shows are running out of programming. The winter season is typically pilot season – when broadcasters test the waters for shows that could potentially be added to the fall lineup. With nothing new on tap the broadcasters are looking at reality television to fill the void.
By Doug Cunningham
The United Steelworkers union says a Texas Supreme Court decision limiting contract workers to worker’s compensation benefits when injured on the job rewards negligent employers. The USW says without the ability to sue companies when negligence causes worker injuries the burden of recovery falls on the injured contract workers. The USW says If this law had been in effect when the 2005 BP explosion happened, BP would have escaped $1.5 billion in liability and the dangerous lack of proper safety procedures at BP would have never come to light.
Your Social Security disability claim could outlive you. Jesse Russell reports:
While two-thirds of those who appeal a rejection for Social Security disability win the case, some individuals are waiting nearly three years to hear the result of an appeal. A story published in the New York Times on Monday highlights the growing disability backlog that has left hundreds slipping into bankruptcy, losing their homes, or even dying. The agency is seeking to hire 150 more appeals judges to get things moving, but a stand-off between President George W. Bush and the Congress has left that move in a lurch. The Social Security Administration is asking for $100 million more than Bush is willing to give. The average wait time for an appeal is 500 days, twice as many as in the year 2000 when it was 258 days on average.
By Doug Cunningham
National Air traffic Controllers Association President Patrick Forrey has written FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell asking for an emergency meeting to restore system safety to the U.S. air traffic system. The union says safety margins have all but eroded due to the FAA’s “failure to exhibit national leadership on high-priority, runway-related safety actions” and the unprecedented numbers of overworked controllers at facilities around the country. The union says in light of many recent close calls the meeting is vital to restore air traffic system safety before a tragedy occurs.
While some 220 union leaders from more than 40 countries kick off the historic global union organizing summit today, workers from Wall Street to Main Street are commemorating International Human Rights Day through marches, rallies and informational pickets.
Dec. 10 is the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Workers’ rights are an integral part of the declaration, which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association” and “everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”
The Dec. 10 actions come as the number of U.S. workers in unions has reached the lowest level among developed nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. At the same time, collective bargaining coverage has increased significantly in several new and emerging democracies over the past few decades.
var config = new Array(); config["videoId"] = 1338937151; config["autoStart"] = false; config["preloadBackColor"] = “#E4E4E4″; config["width"] = 280; config["height"] = 260; config["playerId"] = 1184866158; createExperience(config, 8);
With workers’ rights under attack around the world, some 220 top global union leaders from more than 63 countries kicked off the first-ever global summit on organizing at the National Labor College (NLC) in Silver Spring, Md. They plan to map strategies to restore the balance between working people and powerful corporations that ignore national boundaries and rules in search of the greatest profit.
The Dec. 10–11 conference, hosted by the AFL-CIO, marks International Human Rights Day, held each Dec. 10 to commemorate passage of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Union members around the world commemorate Human Rights Day, and the Declaration serves as both benchmark and beacon for how well human rights, including the freedom to form unions and have decent working conditions, are respected and protected.
Hollywood producers walked away from the bargaining table late Friday as negotiators for the Writers Guild of America were preparing a counteroffer to the producers’ demand that the writers withdraw half a dozen critical proposals.
In a message on the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) website, John Bowman, chairman of the negotiating committee, describes the breakdown:
As we prepared our counteroffer, at 6:05 p.m., Nick Counter, lead negotiator for the Alliance of Television and Movie Producers (AMPTP), came and said to us, in the mediator’s presence: “We are leaving. When you write us a letter saying you will take all these items off the table, we will reschedule negotiations with you.” Within minutes, the AMPTP had posted a lengthy statement announcing the breakdown of negotiations.
We reject the idea of an ultimatum. Although a number of items we have on the table are negotiable, we cannot be forced to bargain with ourselves. The AMPTP has many proposals on the table that are unacceptable to writers, but we have never delivered ultimatums.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has added his voice to the list of presidential candidates who have stepped up in support of workers at WMUR-TV in New Hampshire.
Technical workers at WMUR-TV formed a local union of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) in 2004 and are still awaiting a first contract. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates have sent letters in support of the WMUR workers, including Sens. Joe Biden (Del.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.).