When President Bush was asked four months ago about a projection by analysts of four dollar gasoline in the Spring he responded:
[Bush]: That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that.
Someone failed to inform the President of the United States that gasoline prices were on the rise. Now, with gasoline at $4 in many places across these United States what does he have to say? He told CBS News Monday, “It’s just too darn bad because this economy was doing fine and then we had the housing issue and then this gasoline issue is making it even harder for the economy to recover.”
A union representing federal workers is calling on Republican Presidential candidate John McCain to support full funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Jesse Russell reports:
Just five days after endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President, the American Federation of Government Employees has called on Republican Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain to provide full, mandatory funding for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. McCain is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and AFGE President, John Gage said in a statement that the Senator is “in a position to do something that will have long-range impact on the health care of his fellow veterans.” McCain has been pushing for a voucher plan so veterans can receive health care at private facilities out of the jurisdiction of the Veteran’s Health Administration. AFGE has launched a series of ads that suggest such a program could undermine the VHA and would result in the privatization of veterans’ health care. To bring the issue to the public, the federal employee union has launched a series of ads in key swing states.
A union representing federal workers is calling on Republican Presidential candidate John McCain to support full funding the Department of Veteran Affairs. Jesse Russell reports:
Just five days after endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President, the American Federation of Government Employees has called on Republican Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain to provide full, mandatory funding for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. McCain is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and AFGE President John Gage said in a statement that the Senator is in “a position to do something that will have long range impact on the health care of his fellow veterans.” McCain has been pushing for a voucher plan so they can receive health care at private facilities out of the jurisdiction of the Veteran’s Health Administration. AFGE has launched a series of ads that suggest such a program could undermine the VHA and would result in the privatization of veteran’s health care. To bring the issue to the public the federal employee union has launched a series of ads in key swing states.
By Doug Cunningham
Are secret agreements on union organizing between union leaders and companies good or bad for workers? That’s a central question being raised by SEIU and UNITE-HERE’s secret deals with employers that designate which workers in a company can be organized while giving up the union right to strike. UNITE-HERE President Bruce Raynor told the Wall Street Journal that these deals are a major advancement for the labor movement that have brought tens of thousands of workers into unions. But dissidents within organized labor say they are top-down deals that exclude rank and file workers and that too much can be sacrificed in return for simply increasing union member numbers. SEIU and UNITE-HERE have such secret deals with Sodhexo and Compass and possibly other companies. The Wall Street Journal says the agreements give these companies the right to pick which of their facilities can be organized and which can’t. SEIU’s Andy Stern says these deals were crafted because the old ways of organizing weren’t working and under these deals workers are guaranteed a union voice.
With 7 million U.S. workers unemployed, why do employers clamor that they need to import foreign workers to work in low-wage jobs as dishwashers, hotel maids, crab pickers and landscape laborers? The answer is simple, according to Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI):
There isn’t a shortage of workers willing to do these jobs. There’s a shortage of employers willing to pay a decent wage.
In a recent op-ed column in Newsday, Eisenbrey points out that at a time when hundreds of thousands of families are facing foreclosures on their homes and wages are stagnant, corporate interests and their allies in Congress on both sides of the aisle are pushing to expand the number of foreign guest workers.
Hundreds of AFL-CIO union members in three states kicked off the first round of door-to-door, member-to-member walks this past weekend as part of the AFL-CIO’s massive get-out-the vote political mobilization program. They distributed fliers and educated union members about the real record of Sen. John McCain, including McCain’s health care plan, which would tax health benefits and could lead to millions being pushed out of their existing coverage.
State federations and central labor councils in Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin organized the walks, part of the AFL-CIO Labor 2008 program to educate and energize union members to get to the polls and vote. More walks are set around the country this Saturday, May 17, involving hundreds of union members in more than a dozen states.
Some 2,500 workers at a General Motors facility in Kansas are on strike and more news from “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.
Work Stoppages and Actions
UAW, General Motors: More than 2,500 workers, represented by the UAW, went on strike at General Motors’ (GM’s) Fairfax facility in Kansas after no agreement was reached on issues such as management at the plant, job security and seniority rights. The striking workers build the Chevrolet Malibu, one of GM’s most popular vehicles. GM says it will boost Malibu production at its Orion, Mich., plant. The Kansas workers join the Lansing GM plant on strike over local conditions.
This is a cross-post from the Firedoglake blog.
Economics is scary. Or boring. Or both. Say the word and watch people yawn.
But what’s going on around us right now—the U.S. mortgage crisis, skyrocketing oil and food costs, tanking wages and disappearing health care and retirement benefits, to name a few of our current traumas—makes the need for understanding a few fiscal fundamentals critical for most Americans.
So how do we dislodge people from watching “American Idol” long enough to see that the reason they are having trouble paying bills, affording health care or sending their kids to college is not because they are only working two jobs instead of three. Rather, there’s something really wrong with the way our nation’s economy is being run. And it’s in their interest—and the interest of all of us—to understand why.