Existing home sales feel to their lowest level in January since tracking began 1999. That led to a drop in home prices for the sixth time in seven months. The number of homes on the market at the end of January was 4.2 million – up more than 5 percent since the month before. The median sale price of a home fell by 4.6 percent in January in comparison to this time in 2007.
Merger talks are all the rage in the airline industry. But where do the unions representing workers come down. Jesse Russell takes a look:
While the pilots spent Thursday and Friday of last week trying to work out differences over a merger between Northwest and Delta Airlines, the International Association of Mechinists, representing baggage handlers at Northwest, sid it will oppose the two players coming together. In a statement, the IAM said that airline mergers traditionally hurt passengers and workers alike. The pilots at both airlines are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, the sticking point on their end is how sneority lists at the two airlines will be combined.
By Doug Cunningham
At least 48 million working Americans lack high enough incomes to realize the American Dream of solid middle class lives. That’s according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The report says one in five U.S. workers earn wages below a minimum middle class standard. To get into the middle class, you have to have a good job – defined by the Center for Economic and Policy Research as those paying at least $17 per hour with employer sponsored health benefits and employer-sponsored retirement plans. Just under one-fourth of all U.S. jobs meet this definition of good jobs. The report calls for a new social contract in America to lift workers into the middle class. It includes reforming and enforcing wage and hour standards, making sure workers can exercise their collective bargaining union rights. The report also calls for developing new labor standards that include guaranteed paid sick days, paid vacation and paid family and medical leave in the US. as well as providing true universal health care.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is telling air traffic controllers who speak out about safety conditions to get another job.
Last week, Don Chapman from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) told reporters that newly implemented changes in air space rules around the Philadelphia area had controllers concerned about safety and the added pressure on already overworked air traffic controllers. Chapman, NATCA’s Philadelphia facility representative, also noted the changes had been made without any input from the controllers.
Looks like Crandall Canyon co-owner Robert Murray can’t hide from Capitol Hill any longer. Crandall Canyon is the Utah mine where six coal miners and three rescuers were killed last August. The bodies of the six miners have never been recovered.
The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee last week subpoenaed Murray after he turned down several earlier offers from the committee to voluntarily testify. As committee spokesman, Tom Kiley says:
We had asked to sit down and speak with Mr. Murray on several occasions, but those requests have been rebuffed.
Ben Waxman, national AFL-CIO Ohio state director, sends us this report from Cleveland.
Union activists from the North Shore Federation of Labor gathered outside a campaign event for Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) this morning to deliver a clear message to attendees: McCain is doing nothing to solve the housing crisis and help families in trouble keep their homes.
In the past two years, more than 14,000 Cleveland families have lost their homes to foreclosure, leaving entire city blocks abandoned. But this morning, McCain came to town peddling the same corporate-friendly, anti-worker agenda President Bush has been pushing for seven years.
Douglas Fraser, who went to work in a Detroit auto plant in 1934 and rose through the ranks of the UAW to lead the union from 1977 to 1983, died Sunday in Southfield, Mich. He was 91 years old.
Says UAW President Ron Gettelfinger:
Doug was a friend, a mentor and a counselor to so many within the UAW and the larger labor movement. His integrity and his enduring commitment to protecting the rights of workers will continue to inspire us. He never forgot that we were working for our active and retired members.
An Associated Press obituary notes that UAW members held Fraser in high regard.
With his mischievous smile and gregarious, easygoing manner, Fraser was popular with the union’s rank-and-file, who appreciated his candor and accessibility. Everyone called him Doug.
Workers sign up with AFSCME in California and South Dakota and more highlights from the “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.
AFSCME, Park View Community Hospital: Some 260 nurses at Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside, Calif., voted to join the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC), an affiliate of AFSCME. Marlene Burnett, spokeswoman for Parkview Community Hospital, said the facility’s administration respects the nurses’ decision and would negotiate a contract with them.
If a certain kind of plane kept falling out of the sky, killing and maiming hundreds of passengers, the public would be outraged if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ignored the advice of aviation experts calling for new safety standards.
Surely the outrage would boil over if the FAA instead told industry: “Hey are some voluntary safety guidelines. See what you can do, OK?”
That’s a ludicrous scenario the federal government and the aviation industry would never allow to happen in real life, writes longtime workplace safety advocate Les Leopold. However, substitute dust explosions for crashing airplanes and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the FAA—and that is the reality in our nation today, he says.