By Jesse Russell
The country’s largest mortgage lenders said Wednesday that foreclosures and late payments hit the highest number on record in December. Countrywide said 1.44 percent of the 9 million mortgages it collects foreclosed in December – twice as many as in 2006. The rate of late payments hit 7.20 percent over 4.60 percent a year before.
By Doug Cunningham
Pennsylvania’s leading organization of registered nurses and other health professionals, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) will announce today that it is affiliating with the the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee. The affiliation will unite two of the fastest growing healthcare unions in the nation.
By Doug Cunningham
US District Judge Robert Cleland has issued an order blocking UAW retirees from scrutinizing documents detailing the health care trust deal between the United Auto Workers and General Motors. The union agreed to take on responsibility for retiree health care by creating a trust known as a VEBA. In return for payments of roughly $55 billion, the UAW agreed to let the auto companies off the hook for future health care obligations amounting to $88 billion. Mark Baumkel, a lawyer representing some retired GM workers fighting to block the health care changes, alleges that retirees’ vested health benefits were unlawfully negotiated away by current UAW leadership.
The top of the Democratic race is all tied up with union households being credited for giving Hillary Clinton the win in New Hampshire and Barack Obama in Iowa. Heading into Nevada on the caucuses on January 19 Obama is hoping for two key endorsements to push him ahead. Jesse Russell reports:
The two largest unions in Nevada have thrown their support behind Illinois Senator Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic Presidential nominee. Both the Service Employees International Union – Nevada and Culinary Workers Union announced their endorsements on Wednesday morning – just hours after Clinton defeated Obama in New Hampshire. For the SEIU the decision came down to former North Carolina Senator John Edwards and Obama. Communications Director Hilary Haycock:
On Monday, we described how President Bush once again made an end run around the U.S. Senate and, with a bit of bureaucratic sleight of hand, kept Richard Stickler in the top post at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). When Stickler’s recess appointment expired, Bush named him “acting” MSHA director, which doesn’t require Senate confirmation, something Stickler twice failed to receive.
Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts called the move “outrageous,” and yesterday, one of the most respected media voices in the coalfields, the Louisville Courier-Journal, described the move as typical of Bush’s “arrogant approach” to governing.
Union solidarity remains high for striking movie and television writers with the Screen Actors (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and other unions standing strong with the Writers Guild of America. But it looks like producer solidarity may be cracking.
United Artists (UA) is the first major movie studio to sign an independent agreement with the Writers Guild of America, the union announced yesterday. The pact with United Artists follows an agreement the writers signed last month with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company, allowing Letterman’s “Late Show” and Craig Ferguson’s “The Late Late Show” to go back on the air with its writing staff and no picket line for guests to cross.
The writers have been on strike against movie and television production companies since Nov. 5, fighting for a new contract that includes a fair share of revenues from Internet and electronic distribution of material they’ve written.
The race for the presidency remains wide open today after last night’s New Hampshire primary. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) won the Democratic primaries, while Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) came out on top in the Republican race.
Participation in the primary hit a record high this year. More than 500,000 ballots were cast, 276,000 in the Democratic side and 229,000 on the Republican side. As in last week’s Iowa caucuses, the record-breaking turnout reflects voters’ concern with the direction of the country and their enthusiasm to elect a new president to bring about change.
With strong backing by union members, Clinton won a tight race over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the winner in Iowa. Clinton earned more than 110,000 votes, or 39 percent, while Obama was close behind with 36 percent and 103,000 votes. Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) came in third in the Democratic primary with 17 percent and nearly 48,000 votes.
Election 2008: Clinton ekes out win in New Hampshire, Obama says “Yes We Can!”, and Edwards vows to fight on
In a race that came down to the wire, Senator Hillary Clinton eked out a win over Senator Barack Obama fluctuating between 2 and 3 percent apart. Coming in a third with 17 percent of the vote was Senator John Edwards who vowed to carry on his campaign to the Democratic Convention – mentioning numerous unions in his concession speech.
[Edwards]: …because of the men and women of organized labor. The Carpenters, the Steelworkers, the Service Employee Workers…
For Ron Pickering of the United Steelworkers knowing that Edwards was continuing on was positive because more people will hear what he has to say: