Last night, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) appeared on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” To get to this national audience, he had to cross a picket line of striking writers.
We’ve already noted the new front-runner’s lack of economic expertise, his shaky record on issues important to working families (like jobs and trade) and his vote to filibuster the Employee Free Choice Act, so perhaps it should come as no surprise he wouldn’t hesitate to cross a picket line.
Members of the Writers Guild went on strike Nov. 5, seeking a new contract that will give them a fair share of the revenues from online and DVD distribution of the shows they create.
Bill O’Reilly, the bombastic, belligerent bully of Fox News, apparently doesn’t have the backbone to meet with a group of folks he claimed really don’t exist—homeless veterans.
Last week, we told you about O’Reilly’s delusional claims that homeless veterans don’t exist, even though Bush administration figures show that on any given night, there are about 200,000 former service men and women who are homeless. Given the facts, O’Reilly eventually grudgingly admitted there might be some homeless vets, but it wasn’t really much of a problem.
Yesterday in New York City, a group of homeless vets tried to meet with O’Reilly. They wanted to present a petition signed by 17,000 people demanding an apology and an acknowledgment that homelessness is a serious problem among veterans who served our country.
The economic stimulus package is stalled in the U.S. Senate. Senate Republican leaders—backed by the Bush White House—threatened a filibuster against efforts by Senate Democrats to extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the millions of jobless workers who will run out of benefits in the next several months.
The bill, approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee, improves on the House-passed stimulus package by adding the UI extension and also providing tax rebates to more than 20 million low-income senior citizens and veterans.
Today is the birthday of the Harlem Renaissance poet (and so much more) Langston Hughes, who was born in 1902. It’s also the first day of Black History Month and just days away from Super Tuesday in an election year that gives us the opportunity to replace an economy that works for the few with one that works for the many.
So it’s a good day to re-read the empowering Langston Hughes poem “Let America Be America Again,” with this powerful message:
O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
The Transport Workers (TWU) union announced today it’s backing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.
The TWU gave an early endorsement to former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who left the race on Wednesday.
TWU President James C. Little said that member polling in the fall has guided endorsement decisions.
We surveyed our members and had meetings with activists before we made an endorsement last fall. It was a hard choice. Our members clearly saw both Senator Edwards and Senator Obama as two leaders who could bring the necessary changes that our nation and its working families require. With Senator Edwards out of the race, our officers found it an easy decision to lend our support to the Obama campaign.
The 17,000 people whose jobs were cut last month and the 375,000 people who filed initial claims for unemployment last week are another sign that the economy’s “fundamentals” are not as sound as President Bush asserts.
Today’s unemployment figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the first drop in employment in four years, an important sign that the labor market is still weakening. The weak report increases the likelihood that the economy is already in recession. And a whopping 69,000 more people last week filed for unemployment benefits than the week before, the largest jump during any week since Hurricane Katrina.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) founded Bain Capital in 1984. In December 2002, Bain Capital joined with two other buyout firms to purchase Burger King for $1.5 billion. To date, Bain Capital and its partners have nearly tripled their original out-of-pocket investment. Bain Capital and its partner firms own roughly 43 percent of Burger King and control six seats on the company’s board. During his tenure at Bain Capital, he stayed on the sidelines as the firm slashed jobs at the office supply manufacturer “in marked contrast to his recent pledges to beleaguered autoworkers in Michigan and textile workers in South Carolina to ” ‘fight to save every job.’ “
During the same time, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community organization in Immokalee, Fla., organized the Campaign for Fair Food, calling on major buyers of Florida tomatoes to take responsibility for the chronic poverty and horrific labor abuses faced by tomato workers. (Click here to view photos of farm workers in the fields for 10 to 12 hours a day and the broken-down trailers they return home to each night.)
Last night, millions of us watched the historic Democratic Party debate. For the first time in America’s history, either a woman or an African American will be the nominee of the Democratic Party and America will have the possibility of electing either an African American or a woman to be president of the United States.
In the Kodak Theatre, we witnessed the promise of America in all its glory. This was much more than a historical Kodak moment. It was also a moment for us to celebrate that on this night, all of America’s children, no matter their color or gender, could reach the mountaintop and grow up to become president of the United States.
Australia may be a land of koalas and crocs, not to mention vegemite, but we in the United States still share a lot in common with our fellow workers down under: Employers.
Your Rights At Work, the Australian counterpart of the AFL-CIO community affiliate, Working America, recently produced a video that clarifies the value of unions for anyone who needs to ask.
And in the off chance someone wonders where that eight-hour workday, five-day workweek comes from, send them this link.
This is a cross post from the Firedoglake blog.
Join me in welcoming Amy M. Traub, director of Research at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.
President Bush seems to have discovered that the economy is turning sour just in time for his State of the Union address. But for current and aspiring middle-class Americans, things have been tough for some time. In 2007, prices rose faster than wages, with the cost of essentials like health care and gas soaring particularly high. People tried various means to make ends meet: credit card debt went up. Consumer bankruptcy filings escalated. Some working people even did something really crazy: They joined unions.