What is the biggest concern for 18 to 29 year olds as Pennsylvania goes to the polls today? The economy. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said the economy was number one on their minds followed by 13 percent who said Iraq. The last time the poll was conducted was in June of 2007 and Iraq topped the poll as the leading issue. Seventy-five percent of the 18-29 year olds surveyed said the state of the economy is bad and only a third feel they have solid job prospects.
By Doug Cunningham
Disabled New York City Ironworker and 9/11 first responder John Sferazo was honored recently with a Troublemakers Award from the Detroit Labor Magazine Labor Notes. Sferazo says he speaks for the underdog and has been on a crusade to get adequate healthcare benefits for 9/11 workers exposed to toxins.
[Sferazo]: “As we meet here tonight, there’s still twenty-something percent of the workers compensation cases being controverted, denied and delayed for almost seven years.”
Sferazo is pushing for legislation that would shift the economic burden of healthcare for
MGM Mirage has announced plans to cut as many as 400 jobs. Jesse Russell reports:
Nevada’s largest casino company, MGM Mirage, announced plans this week to slash as many as 400 managerial positions. The company’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Murren, told the Casino City Times that the job cuts would have occurred even “if the economy were booming” but the recent economic downturn increased the number of layoffs. The reason cited for the layoffs was the 2005 merger of MGM Grand Resorts and Mirage Resorts. MGM says that they have actually seen a small increase in business since the start of the year.
American Axle workers represented by the United Auto Workers continue to put pressure on General Motors as the company announced Monday it plans to idle or stop work at two more plants. Thirty GM plants have now been closed by the strike.. General Motors is dependent on the parts produced by American Axle to assemble vehicles. The workers have been on strike for eight weeks seeking a contract that will preserve wages which the company wants to cut by nearly half.
By Doug Cunningham
The percentage of hourly workers earning at least $20 an hour in the U.S. is down to just 16 percent. In 1979 it was 23 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That middle-class blue collar wage is essential to sustaining America’s middle class. The hourly wage decline is the worst in manufacturing, which is seeing a 60 percent drop in the number of workers earning at least $20 an hour.
Women are at greater economic risk in today’s sinking economy than in past recessions, a new report shows. In the past year, women’s real wages fell by 3 percent, compared with half a percentage point for men’s wages.
The report comes as the nation is set to mark Equal Pay Day tomorrow and just days before the U.S. Senate votes on a bill to give workers, especially women workers, stronger protection from pay discrimination.
Female workers have suffered more job loss and reductions in wages during the past few months than has the general population and have fewer financial firewalls than male workers to protect them when they lose their jobs, according to the report from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
This may come as a news flash to the White House, but even the Bush administration has to obey the law. A government watchdog agency says the administration violated federal law last August when it blocked states from covering more uninsured children under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a ruling Friday that found the administration’s unilateral implementation of new rules to prevent states from expanding SCHIP to cover more of the nation’s 9 million uninsured children violated the Congressional Review Act. The act requires that significant changes to programs and policies be subject to a public comment period or congressional approval.
Stuff happens. And lots of stuff happens without the mainstream media picking it up or putting it together in a way that shows the broader picture of what’s going on.
Here are a few items of note today:
- Word is out that AT&T plans to cut about 4,600 jobs across the country to “streamline” operations, while Citigroup announced it will cut 9,000 jobs over the next 12 months, after losing $5.1 billion in the first quarter of 2008. In the past 12 months, 1 million workers have been added to the jobless rolls and some 3 million are expected to exhaust their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits before finding work in 2008. The AFL-CIO has been pushing hard for Congress to extend UI benefits beyond the current 26 weeks as part of a stimulus package to address growing joblessness and a nose-diving economy. Bush says he will veto such a bill.
Colorado’s union members are making sure all union members around the state know that Arizona Sen. John McCain‘s proposals for trade, jobs and the health care are bad for working families. Last week, union members visited an Xcel Energy facility in Denver, where hundreds of workers are members of the Electrical Workers (IBEW).
As workers left the plant, union members distributed leaflets detailing McCain’s support for bad trade deals, his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act and his health care proposal, which would raise taxes on working families (see video).
Colorado’s unions have been actively educating workers about the issues that matter in the upcoming election. The next president faces big challenges, but McCain has yet to provide answers about how he’ll address the problems in one of the areas affecting working people the most: the economy. Will he continue the anti-worker Bush agenda, or will he change course and offer real solutions?