- Social Security Staff Cuts Are Reducing Service For the Poor And Elderly
- As Delta Airlines Considers A Merger, Flight Attendants Organize
- Labor – Civil Rights Coalition Fights Missouri Anti-Affirmative Action Ballot Initiative
- Economic Report: Bankers Get Interest Rate Cut, Credit Card Consumers Don’t
By Jesse Russell
What does the Federal rate cut mean for your credit card bills? Not much. According to an article in the Washington Post, credit card interest rates have remained high and in some cases have even risen with the recent wave of rate cuts. According to watchdogs, banks are hesitant to cut rates for cardholders so they can make up for money lost with the collapse of the mortgage market. Hindering the ability for consumers to pay down debt slows consumer spending and will continue to weaken the economy.
By Jesse Russell
What does the federal rate cut mean for your credit card bills? Not much. According to an article in the Washington post credit card interest rates have remained high and in some cases have even risen with the recent wave of rate cuts. According to watchdogs banks are hesitant to cut rates for cardholders so they can make up for money lost with the collapse of the mortgage market. Hindering the ability for consumers to pay down debt slows consumer spending and will continue to weaken the economy.
By Doug Cunningham
In Missouri a labor/civil rights coalition is opposing a ballot initiative that would ban affirmative action in public institutions. The coalition says if this is passed it will have a dramatically negative effect on African American enrollment in Missouri state colleges and universities and will hurt minority and women-owned businesses. Lara Granich is with Jobs With Justice.
[Granich]: “Affirmative action benefits all of us. It is a tool that our universities, our public programs, our companies have been using for years to try to create the most diverse, dynamic team that they can.”
Flight attendants for Delta Airlines are taking another shot at gaining union representation. Jesse Russell reports;
With Delta Airlines considering a merger with Northwest or United Airlines, flight attendants are aiming once again for union representation. Workers are seeking representation by the Association of Flights Attendants, a division of the Communication Workers of America. If 35 percent of the flight attendants file cards on Thursday the National mediation Board will call an election. The last time the flight attendants sought union representation at Delta was in 2001. In that election representation was rejected. The AFA already represents the flight attendants at Northwest Airlines. Overall the union represents more than 55,000 attendants in the industry. AN announcement about a merge could come as early as this week.
By Doug Cunningham
The American Federation of Government Employees says staffing levels at the Social Security Administration are the lowest since 1972 thanks to Bush budget cuts. The AFGE’s Witold Sweirczynsnki says Congress needs to appropriate more money for staffing to meet people’s social security service needs.
[Sweirczynsnki]: “We have slipped below 60,000 employees. In order to stretch out a limited budget, SSA has engaged in what we think are some questionable tactics to reduce service to the public. One of them is to accelerate office closings and the second is to emphasize the filing of the public of internet claims. The population affected by these closings are seniors, widows, the disabled and the poor.”
Ken Sagar, a longtime member of Electrical Workers Local 204 and Iowa Federation of Labor secretary-treasurer, is taking over the reins of the state federation following the Feb. 1 retirement of President Mark Smith.
Sagar, who won the unanimous support of the state AFL-CIO Executive Council, has served as secretary-treasurer there since 1997. Prior to that, he was IBEW Local 204 business manager for 11 years. The 52-year-old Sagar joined the union when he worked at a Cedar Rapids power plant.
Faced with little time left in office, the lame-duck Bush administration is pushing hard for passage of its unfair trade agenda, including passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Beginning today, several AFL-CIO leaders are traveling to Colombia to meet with the leaders of major Colombian unions to hear firsthand the dangers Colombian trade unionists face. They also will participate in a vigil to commemorate the thousands of trade unionists who have been killed during the last two decades in Colombia.
AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita Linda Chavez-Thompson is leading the Feb. 12–13 fact-finding mission, which includes Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen and United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard. Participants will meet with Colombian union leaders and the Colombian government, including President Alvaro Uribe. The delegation will gather information to inform the debate over the proposed trade agreement.
Good jobs are disappearing. Health care costs are soaring. Retirement security’s vanishing. If workers want to buck those trends and improve their lives by joining unions, that freedom is vanishing, too.
Tomorrow evening at Harvard University—and via live webcast—AFL-CIO President John Sweeney will outline how working families can “Turn Around America.”
UAW members protest at General Motors plant in Pennsylvania and more highlights from the Feb. 4 Bargaining Digest weekly. The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department delivers daily bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 900 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work.
UAW, General Motors: Workers at a General Motors Corp. (GM) metal stamping plant in West Mifflin, Pa., represented by UAW Local 544, protested outside the plant over uncertainty about their jobs and the future of the plant. GM has set a Feb. 18 deadline for employees to decide whether to take a retirement package with a $35,000 buyout, although it remains unknown whether the plant will be sold or closed, or if the new owner would hire them. “The biggest thing is the lack of information. There’s a whole lot of mistrust. These people [autoworkers] got their lives on hold,” said David Carter, a third-shift committeeman.