The state of Massachusetts had a rough month of January. Nearly 800 foreclosures were recorded in the first month of 2008, up 128 percent since January 2007. According to a report from the Warren Group December saw an increase of petitions to foreclose during the month of December. 2,729 petitions were filed, up 28 percent from the previous year and suggesting that the next couple of months in Massachusetts could continue to be bumpy for the housing market.
[Intro]Ohio has become the key battleground state in the battle ground state in the race for the Democratic nomination. The big question is, how will the candidates react to a new study showing Ohio’s job losses since 2000 are worse than since the Great Depression? Jesse Russell reports:
[Background not to be included in audio]Up until Wisconsin the two top candidates running for President on the Democratic side of the ticket were vague about where they stood on trade. The tone changed after Illinois Senator Barack Obama spoke to a plant of autoworkers in Janesville, Wisconsin outlining his plans for trade and the economy. Since then New York Senator Hillary Clinton has also begun including more trade talk in her speeches.
By Doug Cunningham
The Change To Win Labor federation is endorsing Senator Barack Obama for president. Four unions within the federation – SEIU, the Teamsters, UFCW and UNITE-HERE had already individually endorsed Obama. But the other Change To Win unions – the Carpenters, Laborers and the United Farm Workers – abstained from the vote to endorse Obama. United Farm Workers spokesperson Vicki Adame says the farmworkers are sticking with their endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton.
[Adame]: ““ We continue to support Senator Clinton in her run for president. We are working in Texas to organize people, getting out the vote.
In a time of uncertainty and economic risk, people are more and more concerned about whether they’ll be covered in the event of a medical problem. As we’ve seen from the responses to the AFL-CIO’s 2008 Health Care for America Survey, those of you who have secure health care through your jobs know how lucky you are—and those whose employers have cut health care benefits are facing serious challenges.
Mary Anne, in Greenfield, Wis., has seen this dynamic firsthand:
As the Benefit Administrator in a mid-sized organization for many years, I have seen health insurance issues balloon into a truly ugly monster. Today, health insurance premiums are second only to wages in employer expenses. The premium costs to employers has skyrocketed, which in turn, has caused employers to pass on those huge increases to their employees by having the employee pay a percentage of the monthly cost. Not only have premiums increased dramatically, the benefits have decreased. Now employees must pay out-of-pocket expenses which can run into the thousands. These are the best-case scenarios. These are the lucky folks. I know many Americans who can afford little or no health insurance; they work; they have jobs, but are not covered by their employer. We need a change and soon.
Next week, the Bush administration will have to defend the nation’s record on eliminating racial discrimination before a United Nations panel. While the official report will portray the United States as making great progress in ending bias, working people plan to tell the U.N. the American ideal of a colorblind society does not apply to the world of work.
This conviction of color-blindness is especially true in our attitude towards work: We have laws against race discrimination at work, so we think everyone has an equal chance to prosper. This view overlooks, however, an unfortunate reality: Our system of workplace protections is riddled with holes that have a decidedly harmful racial undertone. Through exclusions, exemptions and lax enforcement, our labor laws deny basic protections to millions of Latino and African-American immigrant workers.
The Bush administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has cried “uncle” after its lengthy fight to drastically limit the workplace and collective bargaining rights of some 160,000 employees. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Homeland Security officials said they would abandon efforts to implement anti-worker rules and “proceed with labor relations pursuant to applicable law.”
Wow! What a concept! Obey the law!
More to the point, Homeland Security backed down after being faced with a federal appeals court ruling against the personnel system it unilaterally imposed on the workers in 2005, along with a congressional ban on spending any funds on new worker rules. Not to mention a ticking clock for the Bush administration.
AFGE General Counsel Mark Roth union says workers are “ecstatic” that they were able to beat back the Bush administration’s effort to eliminate collective bargaining.
With out-of-state special interests pushing an anti-worker agenda for the November election in Colorado, union activists are coming together to take back the state. Thanks to Mike Cerbo, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, for this blog about a political training session last weekend in Denver.
Last weekend, you could hear the beginning of a righteous noise rumbling across Colorado, as nearly 200 union members packed into the Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 68 hall for a two-day political training for the Colorado Labor 2008 campaign.
Local union leaders, coordinators, potential release staffers and rank-and-file activists from 24 unions or union-related groups from across the state participated in the training in Denver, attending workshops on recruiting and retaining volunteers, moving volunteers to activism, member-to-member mobilization and much more.
UPDATE: The Bush administration now has agreed to keep the Economic Indicators site open free of charge, following public opposition generated by blogs and news reports. Sen. Charles Schuumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez urging him to keep the site open, the Center for America Progress reports today. According to the site, “given the feedback ESA received, the decision has been made to continue the site and improve its functionality.”