By Jesse Russell
With the value of the dollar falling and an increasing gravitation toward biofuels, Americans are feeling an uncomfortable pinch in their food budget. According to the Consumer Price Index food prices rose an average of 5.4 percent between November 2006 and November 2007. Staples like dairy and bread have seen the biggest jump. Dairy related products with an average increase of 14 percent while bread is up 8.1 percent.
The television season is essentially over, thanks to corporate reaction to the writer’s strike. Jesse Russell reports:
If you were hoping for more episodes of Heroes, Moonlight, and a wide slate of other shows this season, it is time to give up. Fox, CBS, NBC, and Warner Bros. have all canceled contracts with writers, essentially giving up on the Spring television season and putting the fate of next season in limbo. The Los Angeles Times reports that with the writer’s strike continuing more than 65 production and development scripts have been nixed at the start of what is known in the industry as “pilot season.” January is typically when the networks test out new shows for the potential of picking them up for a run in the Fall.
By Doug Cunningham
Far from being meaningless as the corporate mainstream media is saying, Senator Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential primary win in Michigan
could clinch the nomination for her when Michigan’s delegates are ultimately seated at the Democratic national convention. Mark Brewer, Chairman of Michigan’s state Democratic Party, says Michigan’s delegates will count despite the national party stripping Michigan of its delegates for violating party rules with an early primary.
[Brewer]: “It’s inconceivable to me that they will start the fall campaign by barring the Michigan delegation from the national convention. It’s politically suicide to do that. So this will be worked out. I’m very confident that our delegation will be seated and will be full participants in the convention next summer.”
With the 2008 elections looming, employers are desperately trying to stop what could be a political tsunami that will finally restore the freedom of workers to join a union. If voters choose a Democratic president and keep a Democratic majority in Congress, observers expect the Employee Free Choice Act to become law. And employers are in a panic.
In the January edition of HR Magazine, which caters to management types, Stephen Cabot, chairman of the anti-union Cabot Institute for Labor Relations, admits in an article that some employers cross the line when they resist unions. Cabot is quoted saying:
Currently, many employers engage in initiatives to counter union campaigns they wouldn’t dare do under [the Employee Free Choice Act]. Now, there’s a minor fine; under EFCA, every unfair labor practice will be potentially a $20,000 fine. Now, even if management is not overtly instigating it, the feeling is ‘if one of my supervisors is talking to people, it’s not so bad.’ With EFCA, it will be very costly.
More than 100 representatives from unions representing better than 90,000 flight attendants at 26 U.S. airlines began work last week on joint strategy to raise the standard for wages, retirement, health care, benefits and working conditions for all flight attendants and retirees.
Contracts at those airlines are set to expire during the next two years.
Working together as a whole is the key to advancing our profession. Regardless of who we are individually, our members are all flight attendants. We have seen how airline management groups borrow from each other during negotiations, and it is time to turn the table. By creating a single message on key issues, we have a better chance of tackling the corporate machine.
Working people have been concerned about the economy long before recent polls put the issue back into the spotlight. As AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker says:
Americans want to talk about the issues. Americans aren’t stupid, they know the economy is not working.
Speaking last week at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Holt Baker, recently elected as the AFL-CIO’s first African American officer, says the subprime mortgage crisis and the health care crisis are both symptoms of a broken economy.
The causes of this crisis and of the failing health of our entire economy are obvious: stagnant wages, disappearing pension benefits, and runaway health care costs. People who have decent incomes and benefits don’t have to resort to sub-prime loans in order to buy a home.
In South Dakota, Kim’s brother Kent hadn’t seen a doctor in years because he couldn’t afford health insurance and certainly couldn’t pay the doctor’s bill out of his own pocket. By the time his bladder cancer was diagnosed in 2003, it was too late. Kent died less than two years later.
Kim was one of the first people who responded to the AFL-CIO and Working America’s 2008 Health Care for America Survey that asks working families about their experiences with the nation’s health care system. We released the survey to a group of union and community activists yesterday—and it already has generated nearly 2,000 responses and more than 500 personal stories of how the nation’s health care system has failed workers and their families. (You can vote on stories you think make the most impact here.)