Unemployment is climbing. The stock market is dropping. The housing boom is bust. Corporate earnings are tanking. The nation’s economy is in the worst shape it’s been in years. Maybe even headed toward recession. Working families are worried.
The Bush administration today proposed a growth package of as much as $150 billion, which insiders familiar with the details say may include $800 tax rebates for individuals and $1,600 for households, along with business incentives. Although it is “encouraging” that President Bush recognizes the need to act quickly to stimulate the economy, Bush focuses too much emphasis on tax cuts—both business and personal, according to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Bush’s plan does not address crucial problems facing working families or target tax benefits to those families who need them the most and will spend them the fastest.
Kevin Byrne, Voice@Work field mobilization/communications specialist, describes how supporters of a nurse fired for seeking to form a union are calling on her employer to reinstate her.
Earlier this month, Deirdre Kirkwood was fired from her job as a nurse at Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside, Calif., while trying to form a union with United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, an affiliate of AFSCME. Today, Kirkwood and her supporters are holding a press conference at the hospital announcing plans to file charges against the hospital for harassing and illegally monitoring union supporters and calling on the hospital to give Kirkwood her job back. Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her support of the nurses’ campaign to form a union in a letter released at the news conference.
We all know that Martin Luther King Jr. was a visionary. We know he was a champion for civil rights. But did you know that he also was a strong supporter of unions and workers’ rights from Day One?
As AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff said last year, speaking before the Electrical Workers:
I would submit to you that Dr. King was a trade unionist. He believed in our movement and struggled for our movement. He knew and he preached that civil rights were inadequate without economic rights. Dr. King knew that our economic system allows a few to have too much power and wealth and workers to have too little, so he believed that we have a responsibility to struggle to push down wealth and power from those who have too much to those who have too little. That is why he was a trade unionist. His last great campaign was the Poor People’s Campaign to organize America’s poor to fight for economic justice and dignity.