The last couple of days have been record breaking for crude oil. As of Wednesday evening crude oil prices hit a record $101.32. The primary reason cited by the Bloomberg News Service is that the Federal Reserve could be about to make a rate cut, which could fuel demand. Crude prices are up 74 percent over a year ago.
The announcement of a merger between Northwest and Delta may have hit a slight snag. The pilots for the two airlines are still trying to figure out the issue of seniority. The two airlines calculate pay and seniority differently. The pilots for both of the airlines are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of workers invested in 401(k) plans. Jesse Russell reports:
The Wednesday ruling by the Supreme Court says that if administrators for a 401(K) plan fail to follow instructions of a plan holder resulting in a loss of then that plan holder can sue. The Bush administration had come down on the side of the workers in this case. If a lower court ruling had been upheld by the Supreme Court 401(k) holders would not have recourse if an administration failed to uphold fiduciary responsibility. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act was in question because the language of the Act didn’t clarify if an individual participant could sue outside of the overall plan.
By Doug Cunningham
The Teamsters union has endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president just before crucial primaries in Ohio and Pennsylvania, states rich with blue-collar voters. Teamsters President Jim Hoffa .
[Hoffa]: “We believe that he’s speaking to issues that resonate with our members. He’s talking about calling up the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada when he becomes president and reforming NAFTA. I think that’s important. He’s talking about fairness in the tax system; he’s talking about universal health care. He’s talking about a lot of issues that are important to us.”
Newton Jones, president of the 65,000-member Boilermakers, says Obama stands out in a strong field of candidates:
Clearly, we have been offered the finest field of superbly qualified candidates that we could have hoped for in this primary process. Sen. Edwards, Sen. Biden, Sen. Dodd, Gov. Richardson, Sen. Clinton and all of those who have spoken their hearts in this campaign have contributed greatly to America’s debate and our decision. But one stands out now.
In our view, Barack Obama is the best answer to America’s need for a leader who can unite our nation and who can truly inspire us again with a message of hope and promise for fundamental change in our government’s policies and the working relations of our two political parties.
Last week, a delegation of AFL-CIO union leaders undertook a two-day, fact-finding trip to meet with leaders of major Colombian unions to hear firsthand the dangers and challenges faced by Colombian trade unionists. They also met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, telling him the U.S. union movement cannot support the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until real progress is made to protect the lives and rights of trade union members.
United Steelworkers (USW) associate general counsel Dan Kovalik traveled with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita Linda Chavez-Thompson and Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen. In this cross-posting from Huffington Post, Kovalik says that during the meeting with the three, Uribe claimed that some of the murdered trade unionists were actually guerrillas who had infiltrated the union movement and thus were fair game for the military. Kovalik says those discredited claims are a chilling reminder of why just a handful of these killers have ever been brought to justice.
Last week, the AFL-CIO sent a delegation of trade unionists, including representatives of the United Steelworkers, on a fact-finding mission to Colombia, South America—the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. Approximately 2,300 unionists have been killed in Colombia since 1991, including 470 since the current president, Alvaro Uribe, took office in 2002. Five have been killed already this year.
The best hope for creating an economic stimulus blueprint to rebuild the nation’s crumbling bridges, roads, waterways, rails and schools is aligning organizations with diverse interests behind a comprehensive plan, says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
“We all have a stake in this—every one of us—and we all have different motives for wanting action. For the AFL-CIO, it’s good jobs. For others, it is something different. We also depend on our infrastructure to keep our families and our communities, health, comfortable and safe, and to keep our country moving. We should be able to put some of our parochial concerns aside and come together behind a comprehensive long-range infrastructure plan.”
Sweeney’s address capped off a daylong conference on “Infrastructure: A Pathway to Prosperity” at Sweeney’s alma mata, Iona College, in New Rochelle, N.Y. Yesterday’s conference brought together unions, business, government and academic leaders to explore the hows and whys of revitalizing the economy by rebuilding an aging and failing infrastructure.
AFL-CIO Organizing Director Stewart Acuff remembers his friend and colleague, the Rev. James Orange, who died Feb. 16. Before joining the national AFL-CIO staff, Acuff headed the Atlanta AFL-CIO and worked closely with Orange for a decade on major efforts to bring justice and dignity to workers across the South.
Last Saturday evening, Feb. 16, America lost one of our greatest warriors for social justice, and I lost one of my best friends. The Rev. James Orange died at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta after being hospitalized for gall bladder-related issues.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Rev. Orange was a key field organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. More than that, he was a member of Dr. Martin Luther King’s inner circle. He joined Dr. King during the Birmingham movement where he organized the demonstrations of school children who were fire-hosed and attacked by police dogs. Those images broadcast across the nation helped turn public opinion to support the civil rights movement.
Let me tell you a story about three truck drivers from East Liberty, Ohio. It’s a true American tale of valor and perseverance. It’s symbolic of the past seven years of Bush administration attempts to stamp out the labor movement while slashing business taxes and oversight and regulation of corporations.
The drivers are Emerson Young, John Jolliff and Steven Daniels. Young wrote a letter complaining about two bosses at TNT Logistics of North America in East Liberty.
Then TNT fired all three drivers on Aug. 26, 2002.
TNT did it, although all three had received safe driving and performance awards. Jolliff and Daniels were among 90 dock workers and drivers who listed grievances that they wanted Young to put in the letter. But Jolliff and Daniels didn’t have anything to do with writing the note. Still, TNT fired them, too.