Planned layoffs saw a massive jump in April – an increase of 68 percent over March. A new report from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas showed U.S. companies planning to cut more than 90,000 jobs when surveyed throughout April, that is up 27 percent since April of 2007. The financial sector is feeling the biggest pinch with 23,106 of those jobs slashed in April. Transportation telecommunication industries were both nearly tied for second both letting go of nearly 8000 jobs each.
By Doug Cunningham
SEIU’s Andy McDonald says after being served with a lawsuit, the union’s United Healthcare West California local officers have returned $2.8 million from a special fund that they had been created. But SEIU says that still leaves $245,000 to be returned.
[McDonald]: “We want to wrap this up quickly. We want to get this money returned to UHW members and back under the financial safeguards of the constitution and federal law. We want to make sure that members have a full accounting of what happened. That should be able to happen quickly. We’re hopeful.”
United Healthcare West says the lawsuit is a “PR circus”
The world’s largest home improvement store is closing stores and cutting jobs. Jesse Russell reports.
Home Depot announced plans to close 15 stores on Thursday, letting go of 1300 jobs. This is the third time the world’s largest home improvement chain has cut jobs this year. In April the company slashed 500 workers at its Atlanta headquarters and could cut up to 1,000. The company will also end plans to launch 50 more stores. Home Depot’s nearest competitor is Lowe’s which hasn’t announced any plans to cut jobs, but did say it will open 20 fewer stores than originally planned this year. Residential construction is way down in the United States, dropping 27 percent during the first quarter of 2008. The state losing the most stores is Wisconsin where three stores will be closed. Wisconsin has seen a number of job cuts in recent months with Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson announcing plans to cut 730 jobs and Madison based Famous Footwear relocating to St. Louis and taking 270 jobs with it.
By Doug Cunningham
Thousands of long shore union workers have shut down west coast ports today as a protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The movement of cargo has stopped, demonstrating the collective power that workers have.
The Pacific Maritime Association confirms that thousands of dockworkers refused to show up for work Thursday morning, bringing cargo movement to a standstill from Seattle to Long Beach, California.
Long shore workers are rallying against the wars today. The antiwar protest was proposed by ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco and delegates of the union voted to approve it.
The U.S. House of Representatives took steps yesterday to force the Bush administration to protect workers from explosions from combustible dusts such as sugar dust.
By a vote of 247-165, House members passed the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Act (H.R. 5522). The bill requires the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue rules regulating combustible industrial dusts that can build up to hazardous levels and explode. President Bush already has threatened to veto the measure if it is approved by Congress.
The legislation follows the deadly Feb. 7 explosion at Imperial Sugar’s Port Wentworth, Ga., plant. Sugar dust had built to such a level that when an as yet unidentified source sparked the combustible sugar dust, the blast was so powerful it killed 13 workers, injured dozens more and caused extensive damage to the plant.
It seems Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) doesn’t understand a lot of things—health care, the economy, the housing market—but his latest statement is nothing short of baffling.
The bridge in Minneapolis didn’t collapse because there wasn’t enough money. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects.
Actually, no. The I-35 bridge in Minnesota collapsed last August during rush hour traffic, killing five people, because like other parts of our vital national infrastructure, the bridge had been neglected and underfunded for far too long. Our bridges, roads and schools are decaying in large part because politicians like George W. Bush and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) have sacrificed infrastructure funding to score political points.
Casino workers in Atlantic City, N.J., have voted by overwhelming majorities to join the UAW to gain a better life and increase their political strength. The value of joining the union became clear yesterday when Mayor Scott Evans chose the UAW union hall to sign into law a smoking ban, which includes the city’s casinos.
The casino workers spearheaded a drive to ensure their workplaces are safe by pushing for a city ordinance guaranteeing all city casinos are completely smoke-free. City Council members unanimously supported adding casino workers to a measure banning smoking in public places.
The smoking ban, which will go into effect Oct. 15, was supported by the UAW, the New Jersey Group Against Smoking Pollution, the American Cancer Society and other public health organizations.
Outside the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., union members and members of Working America gathered yesterday to call attention to the nation’s health care crisis and to ask Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to offer a health care plan that really tackles the issues of cost and availability.
Earlier this week, McCain held a press conference on his health care proposal. Unfortunately, this plan just won’t cut it. It would raise taxes but not cut costs, would not cover more people (and will likely lead to less coverage) and would empower predatory insurance companies at the expense of families.
Trying to keep up with the bad economic news can take up most waking hours these days.
Just in the past few days, the following have been reported:
- U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a miniscule rate in the past quarter—0.6 percent, giving the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) cause to frame the data this way: “GDP flashing recession.”