By Jesse Russell
The most recent data to suggest 2008 may see the United States barreling into an economic recession comes from the manufacturing sector. According to the Institute for Supply Management the factory index to 47.7 from 50.8 the month before. When the index slips under 50 manufacturing is considered to be in contraction. The index has been falling for six months straight and it is the biggest shrink since 2003. The last time manufacturing experienced a contraction this long was in 2001.
By Doug Cunningham
The National Air traffic Controllers Association continues to press its case that air traffic controller staffing levels combined with FAA demands are rendering the skies unsafe for the traveling public. The latest salvo from the union is in a letter to transportation Secretary Mary Peters. The union says air traffic controllers “simply cannot safely handle the volume of air traffic that the FAA is currently demanding of us, let alone even attempt to do so with further staff losses in the weeks ahead.” Eleven hundred more controllers are expected to retire incoming months. The union says we now face a cisis in air transportation that requires national leadership to resolve.
By Doug Cunningham
The New Year has brought new nurse-patient ratios in California to help insure safe patient care. After years of advocacy by the California Nurses Association the state’s safe hospital staffing law is on the books and completes its phase-in period in 2008. The law requires minimum nurse to patient staffing levels in several different hospital units in California. It’s a national issue as well, with nurses’ unions around the country advocating that other states adopt minimum nurse-patient ratios for safe and quality care. The CNA says the nurse staffing law is working to save lives, allow nurses to be strong advocates for patients and is bringing more nurses into the profession. The CNA has proposed similar laws in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Maine and Arizona.
In 2007 the International Association of Machinists broke the endorsement mold when they endorsed both a Republican and Democrat for President. Last night one of those candidates crossed a picket line. Jesse Russell reports:
With the Writer’s Guild of America two months into their strike seeking compensation for work that appears on emerging media Jay Leno crossed picket lines last night so other staff members could return to work. Leno had expressed regret at the decision to return sans writers, but has explained he made the decision in order to get the other employees on his show back to work. Who else crossed picket lines in order to be Leno’s first guest? Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. In addition to being the first presidential candidate to cross the picket line of the striking writers in order to appear on a talk show, Huckabee is also the only Republican candidate with a major union endorsement. Last year the International Association of Machinists endorsed both a Republican and a Democrat for President. The democrat was Senator Hillary Clinton.
Looks like former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) will be among the first to cross the television writers’ picket line when Jay Leno goes back on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
Huckabee, who’s seeking the Republican presidential nomination, will go ahead with a scheduled appearance when Leno returns to the air tonight. TV writers have been on strike for the past two months for a new contract that includes a fair share of revenues from Internet and electronic distribution of material they’ve written.
Nearly 2,000 Rutgers University administrative workers are celebrating their first-ever union contract. The administrative assistants, program directors, chefs, accountants and other staffers overwhelmingly ratified a four-year pact in late December that improves job security, protects workers’ rights and includes pay increases averaging 20 percent.
We’re not “at will” employees anymore. We are protected by a university contract. That’s additional security for everyone.
Lily Wilson-Codega, political organizer for the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, sends us this report.
Along with environmental advocacy groups and industrial business, we in the Seattle-area union community celebrated a historic victory in recent days with the passage of the 2007 Industrial Jobs Initiative. The ordinance will institute protections for industrial businesses and jobs by limiting office and retail development encroaching on Seattle’s industrial zones.
The Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) repeatedly twists and guts the laws that protect workers’ freedom to form unions.
Many employers engage in unprecedented union-busting. But one thing no one can twist or bust is the perseverance and determination of workers to win a voice at work.
In 2007, workers continued to fight back and win their unions. Here are a few highlights.