By Jesse Russell
December sales were down and economists continue to hint at the specter of recession, but few are willing to say we are already in one. The Gap saw sales drop by 6 percent while department store Kohl’s felt a hefty drop of 11.4 percent. Even Target saw a sales drop of five percent over the previous year. Mall stores seemed to have the toughest go of it with Hot Topic, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch all seeing drops.
By Jesse Russell
It took two years, but CBS News and its writers, producers, and editors have finally worked out an agreement. Under the new contract the news employees will receive a 3.5 percent increase this year and in 2009. Like the Hollywood writers the CBS News employees are also represented by the Writers Guild of America, however, they are governed separately due to the differences between news and entertainment writing.
The ripples of the writers strike begin to turn into waves washing over Hollywood this week. Jesse Russell reports:
As writers continue to picket outside of their Burbank Studios, Warner Brothers is threatening to cut nearly 1,000 jobs. Employees received the warning of impending job cuts five days after the strike began on November 12 under a U.S. Department of Labor’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications rules. The notices were issued mostly to production and maintenance workers. Less and less work has already been noted throughout Hollywood as television shows creep to a halt when written episodes run out.
By Doug Cunningham
RoseAnn Demoro of the California Nurses Association says now that Pennsylvania’s largest RN association has affiliated with CNA, the national nurses movement just got stronger.
[Demoro]: “This movement is actually taken off and growing. And nurses have joined together in 50 states. We’re going to use that voice in an activist way. We have a political structure that essentially capitulates far more to the industry and the corporations than it does to the people. And we want to use the voice of nurses across this country in every community to actually be the voice for the patient. And that’s what this merger represents.”
More than 5,000 registered nurses in the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) are joining forces with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC).
In a telephone conference call today, PASNAP President Patty Eakin, an emergency room nurse at Temple University Hospital, said the affiliation with the now 80,000-strong CNA/NNOC means Pennsylvania nurses have
…greater opportunities to improve the working lives of nurses and the care they deliver to patients….When the collective voice of nurses is strengthened, the main beneficiaries are patients and their families.
The staffing crisis in the nation’s air traffic control system is so severe and the potential for a serious accident climbing so rapidly that the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) today declared a staffing emergency covering airspace surrounding Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Southern California, four areas of the country with some the busiest airspace in the world.
NATCA says the emergency declaration means that controllers do not have sufficient numbers of trained and experienced personnel on the ground to safely handle the volume of traffic in the air and at major airports.
Last year, 10 percent of controller workforce left the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the union says by Feb. 3, 500 controllers will have retired already this fiscal year, with 2,200 more controllers able to retire by year’s end.
The Republican candidates for president are coagulating in Michigan now, vying for top spots in the Jan. 15 primaries. Media reports say the GOP-ers will focus on the economy.
That’s quite a shift from just a few months ago, when entire Republican debates went by with no acknowledgement from any of the contenders, with the occasional exception of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, that working families are suffering through the nation’s biggest subprime mortgage disaster, record gas prices, a lack of guaranteed health care, sinking wages, trade policies that outsource U.S. jobs—to mention a few.
In contrast, when it comes to our pocketbook issues, the major Democratic candidates all have strongly defined their pro-working family positions in the debates and on the stumps. So, given that the Republican candidates haven’t said much to date on their domestic economic agenda, let’s take a look at their records. (Much of the info below comes from our Working Families Vote site here.)
Nearly 80,000 San Franciscans without health coverage won a major victory when a federal appeals court yesterday lifted an injunction against the city’s Health Access Program that provides health coverage to all uninsured adults and requires employers to share the costs.
The plan was approved by the city’s Board of Supervisors in July 2006. The program offers comprehensive health care services to uninsured San Franciscans and their employers at a reasonable cost, with subsidies for small- and medium-sized businesses and low- and moderate-income individuals.
The Plumbers and Pipe Fitters union (UA) has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the 2008 presidential race.
UA President William Hite said the endorsement, announced yesterday, was due to Obama’s record of service to working families.
Barack Obama is the UA’s choice because he has always fought for working people throughout his career and will do the best job of bringing badly needed change to Washington. Sen. Obama will help us keep existing jobs and work to develop new higher-paying jobs here in America, reform our health care system, fix our ailing schools and make sure that the pensions of our retirees are safe.