By Doug Cunningham
A new report from the Center for Economic and Police Research and the Center for WOmen and Work at Rutgers University says a powerful stimulus package is needed immediately to address U.S. economic weakness. Economist Dean baker says with the U.S. almost certainly on the verge of recession, a substantial stimulus is needed to lessen the recession;s toll and put the nation back on solid financial footing. He says the package should include a tax cut for all workers and be equal to 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product to be effective.
By Doug Cunningham
In Memphis the AFL-CIO is part of a several day long conference around Kind Day called :Labor and Civil Rights: 40 years of Keeping The Dream and The Movement Alive”. Nearly a thousand people are coming together between now and Monday to commemorate Dr. King’s work and the labor-civil rights alliance. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton will be among the speakers. Donations of computer equipment and school supplies will be given to Memphis students.
By Doug Cunningham
When the nation celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Day Monday hundreds of Smithfield Foods workers are expected to celebrate even more intensely. That’s because after taking on the company over the right to take time off work for the holiday, this is the first year that Smithfield Foods is officially recognizing the holiday. Thousands of workers had signed petitions and others left the plant or stayed home on King Day to get the company to allow them the holiday. That collective action paid off. This year Smithfield Foods is the largest private employer in North Carolina recognizing the Kind holiday.
With writers still on strike, Hollywood directors have made a deal with studios. Jesse Russell reports:
“Groundbreaking and substantial” are the words being used to describe the contract negotiated between Hollywood directors and studios. Negotiations between the two sides took five days while the writers continue to strike after two months. According to the Director’s Guild of America’s negotiations committee the agreement increases wages and residuals for every year of the contract and implements a new formula for pay based on Internet downloads and programs distributed via streaming. The agreement could be a sign that the writers strike, which has idled most of Hollywood, could be near an end. Internet residuals are at the core of the disagreement between the writers and the studios. The Directors Guild paid $2 million for a study determining the value of new media over the next ten years.
General Motors is expecting low auto sales this year and in anticipation 46,000 workers will be eligible for early retirement buyouts. If the trend continues the company has not been shy about suggesting capacity could be cut resulting in more plant closures. The company is finalizing details with the United Auto Workers.
The bargaining rights of some 700,000 Department of Defense workers are a step closer to being restored after the House passed, on a 369–46 vote, the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill last night.
A provision in the bill (H.R. 4986) restores collective bargaining, appeals and other workplace rights that were taken away from workers when the Bush administration imposed its National Security Personnel System (NSPS) work rules on the Defense Department.
In December, Bush vetoed the authorization bill over an unrelated provision that allowed American terrorism victims to sue the current Iraqi government for actions by the Saddam Hussein regime. Rather than attempt a veto override, the House drafted a new bill without the offending Iraqi provisions.
Now that working families have forced the issue of the economy to the forefront of the presidential campaign, it’s time to make sure we keep the debate on real solutions that work for working people and not on “quack” remedies that will lead us down the road of economic disaster.
In a Point of View column on the AFL-CIO website, economist Lawrence Mishel says what’s missing from the debate is any meaningful discussion of how to create new jobs. Click here to read “Rx for Recession: An Economic Strategy that Works.”
Mishel, president of the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute (EPI), says the relationship between jobs and the impending recession is simple:
The recession is about paycheck economics—jobs, wages and family budgets. When most Americans don’t have the cash or the confidence to continue the spending that keeps the economy running, demand for goods dries up, businesses lay off workers, corporate bottom lines flat-line and the economy plunges into a downward spiral.
During the famous 1965 Selma, Ala., march for black voting rights, Martin Luther King Jr. said:
Like an idea whose time has come, not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom….Let us march on ballot boxes, march on ballot boxes until race baiters disappear from the political arena, until the [Alabama Gov. George] Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.
King spearheaded efforts that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which removed the right of states to impose restrictions on who could vote in elections. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to make fundamental changes that could effectively take away the hard-earned right to vote for millions of the elderly and people of color.
Union members across the country yesterday delivered a loud and clear message in more than 100 cities and towns: It’s time for Congress to step up and stop toxic trade and protect our kids from toxic toys.
Among them were more than 40 union members and community activists who braved cold rain and snow in St. Joseph, Mo., to march in front of Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.). They demanded he support legislation to safeguard Americans from toxic imports and hold corporations responsible for the toxic products they import into the country. Says Mike Veale, president of the Northwest Missouri Central Labor Council:
I was really excited to see so many union members come together for such an important cause. You can’t buy toys made in the United States much anymore, and the toys being imported are being proven dangerous again and again. For so many people to show up in our small community, it shows the depth of the support and commitment of people on this important issue.