Could the NCAA Tournament be the final push needed to send the US economy into a recession? U.S. businesses lost an estimated $1.2 billion in worker productivity during last year’s NCAA tournament. 2006 was the first year that most games were broadcasted for free on the Internet, so now, in 2008, with streaming internet much more prevalent in offices across America. The estimate for lost productivity for this year is $1.7 billion. Bosses prepare, productivity will drop with the first tip off at noon eastern in Dayton today.
By Doug Cunningham
The International Labor Organization says a U.S. labor board’s decision expanding the definition of supervisors is contrary to international freedom of associartion standards. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says the U.S. belongs to the ILO and is bound to honor its principles. He says the Bush labor board’s decision broadening the definition of supervisors to exempt more workers from legal from union rights protections is shameful. The ILO released its decision in response to an AFL-CIO complaint.
As the nation faces protests over the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, a group of Indian nationals are marching to Washington for a whole other reason. Jesse Russell reports:
Nearly 100 Indian workers who allege they were exploited through human trafficking between an Indian and U.S. company are marching from New Orleans to Washington, DC to hold accountable Indian Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen who they say has been unresponsive to their situation. The workers were hired by an Indian recruiter on behalf of Signal International, a U.S. oil rig construction company. The workers allege they arrived in New Orleans and have since been forced to work under exploitive conditions. The workers say they are launching a “satyagraha” (sut-yaah-gra-huh) against the ambassador. They contrasted their march with the “salt satyagraha” employed by Mahatma Gandhi as a form of non-violent protest against the British salt tax in colonial India. The workers said that the ambassadors response to their plight was to send diplomats uneducated “on the issue of human trafficking who held meetings” on company grounds under the company’s watch. The workers have also asked for the embassy to put pressure on the United States to restrict travel to India for Signal’s recruiters.
By Doug Cunningham
Wednesday was a national day of action against the Iraq war on the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S. military. A range of protest actions occurred coast to coast and civil disobedience led to several arrests in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. In the San Francisco area protests were held at the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and there were protests against military recruiters. In Washington about 30 people were arrested when they blocked IRS offices. U.S. Labor Against The War added labor’s voice to Wednesday’s protests in Washington, D.C as the Iraq war U.S.
Why is the U.S. economy failing working people? It’s a failure of public policy at the highest levels. The solution is to push hard for a new agenda that puts working people first, according to panelists at “The Economics of Shared Prosperity,” a session at Take Back America 2008.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka says the economic challenges of the past several years and the recession most of us believe we’re in have been the “predictable result” of a set of policies that define growth only in terms of what’s good for corporations, not for working families. Unfair trade policies, privatization, deregulation and the suppression of workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain have been part of a public policy agenda that enriches a few at the expense of nearly everyone else. Even as productivity has gone up, workers have seen less and less of a share of the benefits, Trumka told the session.
A key international agency ruled today that the Bush administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is denying workers’ rights in violation of international labor standards.
The International Labor Organization’s (ILO‘s) Committee on Freedom of Association held that the NLRB’s definitions of “supervisor” in the Oakwood cases violates freedom of association standards by excluding staff that only occasionally perform supervisory duties from protection of the National Labor Relations Act. The United States is bound to follow international core labor standards as a member of the ILO.
Yet another voting record shows the two Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, voted to help those caught in the middle-class squeeze of stagnant wages and rising prices every chance they got, while Republican John McCain was missing in action for the middle class. The AFL-CIO earlier this month released the final 2007 U.S. House and Senate Voting Records, which tracks 19 Senate votes and 24 House votes from the first session of the 110th Congress.
The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI) last week released its TheMiddleClass.org 2007 Congressional Scorecard, which evaluates members of Congress on their votes on key legislation that affects the middle class. According to DMI, Clinton and Obama each received an “A+” rating. But McCain was the only member of the Senate to receive an “incomplete” because he missed a majority of the graded votes.
Some 10,000 registered nurses at 10 University of California (UC) medical centers will vote starting today on a new contract reached after months of stalemate with the university. But another nearly 20,000 patient care and service workers at the medical centers remain without a deal.
The nurses, members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC), began negotiations in April 2007. After reaching an impasse in October, they entered mediation and resumed talks with the university March 13.
Here’s more evidence that President Bush and Republican presidential nominee John McCain are out of step with the American public. On the fifth anniversary of the war, a new poll shows more than seven of 10 Americans believe the war in Iraq is partially to blame for the nation’s economic woes. Yet McCain continues to support the war, which has cost almost $1 trillion and nearly 4,000 American lives.
The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll shows 71 percent of respondents said they think U.S. spending in Iraq is a reason for the nation’s poor economy. Only 28 percent said they didn’t think so.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says:
Rebuilding our economy requires that we stop squandering trillions of dollars in Iraq and instead invest at home in solving the urgent problems we face as a nation.