WIN Week In Review February 15-17, 2008
By Doug Cunningham
GM is putting the finishing touches on its apparent strategic plan to destroy traditional UAW wages and benefits. It’s offering buyouts to all 74,000 U.S. GM-UAW members. It’s an effort to get as many as possible to leave so they can be replaced by workers earning half the wages. The drive to destroy good U.S. auto jobs – GM calls it cutting costs – brings to an end a decades-long, union-won economic benefit to working families that lifted hundreds of thousands of people into the U.S. middle class.
Some 17,000 child care providers across the state of New York voted overwhelmingly today to form a union and join CSEA/Child Care Providers Together–New York (CCPT-NY/CSEA), an affiliate of AFSCME.
The workers were able to form a union after Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) signed an executive order last May granting home-based family child care providers the right to join a union. The executive order created four bargaining units. Units were subdivided into two in New York City and two covering the rest of the state. The vote today was for providers outside New York City.
Over the past decade, more than 3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the United States. But effective public policies could revive the manufacturing industry, political leaders and economists told a forum, sponsored by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) as part of its Agenda for Shared Prosperity, earlier this week.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who keynoted the forum, said creating jobs to tackle global warming and create renewable energy is key to manufacturing. Brown says we can build a high-productivity, high-wage manufacturing sector that also meets other national goals, such as securing energy independence.
We are at a fork in the road and each single day we spend without working to renew American manufacturing means two days by our children and grandchildren paying the debt. There are choices we have to make—on climate change, on trade, on tax policy. Congress will address climate change—and with that the creation of a market for clean energy and green jobs.
More than 40,000 college and university graduate student employees have joined unions in a dozen states. Now, graduate student employees at the University of Maryland are fighting to form a union and are working hard to win passage of a bill in the state Legislature granting them collective bargaining rights.
These are the folks who teach a lot of the undergraduate classes, grade the papers and do much of the same work as full-time teachers, all while they are taking their own graduate classes and writing dissertations and theses.
Kevin Byrne, Voice@Work field mobilization/communications specialist, describes a move by Verizon Business that most of us would call un-American.
When a majority of Verizon Business technicians throughout New England and New York formed unions with the Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Communications Workers of America (CWA), the company refused to recognize their union. Instead, management began a fierce anti-union campaign. But the animosity of Verizon Business moved to the absurd after the company removed an American flag from the cubicle of Terry Skiest, who recently returned from his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Skiest, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, recently returned from his third tour of duty in the Middle East and has proudly flown his unit’s American flag over the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. (See a video of Skiest here, and then tell Verizon Business to put the flag back up on Skiest’s wall.)
The skyrocketing costs of our nation’s failing health care system are hitting employers hard and that means higher costs for all of us. A look at some of the stories submitted to the AFL-CIO/Working America 2008 Health Care for America Survey shows just how difficult America’s workers are finding it to make sure they and their families have health care coverage. (Click here to fill out the survey and tell your health care story. You can vote here on the stories you think make the most impact.)
Joel, a UAW member from Michigan, tells an all-too-typical story about his health care costs.
I have had the same insurance for the past two years. Each year they have offered me a choice, 15–20 percent higher premiums or doubling my deductible. And you guessed it: no better coverage.
When state officials in New Mexico two years ago revived and expanded a dormant program to give tax breaks to developers to encourage investment in the poor areas of the inner cities, they opened the door to a scandalous abuse of tax dollars. Several studies have documented that big-box retailers like Wal-Mart have made tax deals but not kept up their side of the agreement to create jobs and invest in the community. But what is happening in New Mexico takes the greed to another level. In an article in this month’s Planning & Environmental Law magazine, Greg LeRoy, director of Good Jobs First, points out how greedy developers use a controversial tax subsidy plan, known as TIF, to make huge profits without giving much, if anything, back to their communities. Click here to read the entire article.
TIF stands for tax increment financing and here’s how it works. The city and the developer strike a deal that allows the two sides to split part of the increased property taxes and business revenue tax that results from the development, sometimes for as long as 15–40 years. So rather than using the new tax money to pay for vital city services, the city ends up giving money to the developer.
By Doug Cunningham
Barack Obama has the endorsements of two big Change To Win federation labor unions. SEIU endorsed Obama today. SEIU President Andy Stern says SEIU members are in a position to make a difference i nthe upcoming Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas races between Obama and Hillary Clinton. The United Food and Commercial Workers are also backing the Illinois Senator for president. The SEIU endorsement is potentially politically potent since SEIU is one of the most politically active unions that pours people power and money into elections. The UFCW says it has the utmost respect for Senator Hillary Clinton, but believes Senator Obama is the best candidate to build a movement that will unite the country to achieve the kind of change that’s needed. Clinton has the backing of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and several other unions, including the American Federation of Teachers.
By Doug Cunningham
Barack Obama has the endorsements of two big Change To Win federation labor unions. The United Food and Commercial Workers are backing the Illinois Senator for president, and Mother Jones magazine says the Service Employees International Union
National executive board has voted to endorse him as well. The SEIU endorsement won’t be official until later Friday when locals representing 60 percent of the union’s members officially vote. SEIU says it will have a “major political announcement” Friday afternoon. The UFCW says it has the utmost respect for Senator Hillary Clinton, but believes Senator Obama is the best candidate to build a movement that will unite the country to achieve the kind of change that’s needed. Clinton has the backing of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and several other unions, including the American Federation of Teachers.