By Doug Cunningham
Food prices were sharply higher in April – the biggest jump in food prices in 18 years. Inflation is running officially now at 3.9 percent. Gas prices have hit another record high. And home foreclosures in April were up 65 percent over a year ago – with more than 243,000 households going into foreclosure. Kevin Phillips, author of the book “Bad Money.” says more misery is being felt by workers than government numbers indicate. He says real consumer prices are up by much more than the official inflation number.
While Senator Hillary Clinton spent Wednesday hitting the talk show circuit on the heels of her 41 point victory in West Virginia, Senator Barack Obama was hitting the manufacturing circuit in Michigan:
Senator Barack Obama spent Wednesday touring plants in Michigan on Wedenesday and while in Warren, Mich. He laid out his manufacturing plan. The proposal calls for $150 billion for the development of green technology over the next decade which he believes will result in the creation of more than 5 million green jobs and reinforce the country’s infrastructure. Obama used the opportunity to take on his Republican Presidential competitor John McCain. He said McCain doesn’t have a vision for bringing jobs back to Michigan or even creating new ones. Obama said his plan will benefit from the skilled workforce that already exists in the Midwest by offering job training that allows competition in the world economy. McCain’s campaign fired back after Obama spoke calling his manufacturing plan “weak leadership and poor judgment.”
By Doug Cunningham
Will a blue tide wash the red away in many states and congressional districts this Fall? United Steelworkers Indiana Rapid Response Coordinator Brett Voorhies thinks it will. Democrats backed by unions have won three recent special elections in solid “red” congressional districts – Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi. In Indiana Voorhies says the USW made the difference backing Jill Long Thompson – the first woman to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination there. He believes unions will help turn Indiana blue, regardless of whether the Democratic presidential nominee is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.
Guest workers who risked everything to come from India and work on the Gulf Coast, only to find abuse and injustice, now are risking the only thing they have left—their lives—to gain the justice they have been denied on the job.
The water-only hunger strike began today in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, with six of the more than 500 workers who came to this country beginning in 2006 in what turned out to be a human-trafficking scheme under the guise of the H-2B guest worker program. Some 30 more workers will join the hunger strike in two waves, on May 21 and on May 28.
The workers, who are welders and pipe fitters, paid $20,000 to recruiters who promised permanent residency and citizenship under the H-2B guest worker program, which business interests want to expand. When they got to this country, they say their employer, Signal International, held them in modern-day forced labor at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Signal makes the huge floating oil rigs for the offshore fields in the Gulf.
As the climate of fear and intimidation against union members continues in Colombia, the U.S. Congress must not approve the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), lawmakers and Colombian union leaders said today.
Seven Colombian trade union leaders traveled to the United States to lobby Congress to oppose the agreement. They say despite claims by the Bush administration and Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe that progress has been made in stemming the violence against union members, the reality is that violence has increased against labor leaders in Colombia.
Intensive care nurse Geri Jenkins says that a 67-year-old male patient with a history of four heart attacks, a quadruple bypass and an implanted defibrillator and about to take a high stress job “would be uninsurable for having a pre-existing condition.”
Unless, of course, he was Dick Cheney and about to become the vice president of the United States in 2001. Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC), says Cheney
can have the choice of doctors. He can go to any hospital. He can have excellent standard of care. And he’s alive today because of it. And there are a lot of people who aren’t….We, as the public, pay for Dick Cheney’s care. Why not—why is the government not providing the same type of care to all Americans?
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech describes yesterday’s municipal election victories by union members across the state.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud to announce the victories of four union members who were elected to public office yesterday, bringing the total number of rank-and-file union members elected to public office in New Jersey to 499 since 1997.
For the fourth time this year, an AFL-CIO-endorsed candidate has won a special congressional election. Last night, Travis Childers won a striking (54 percent to 48 percent) victory in Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District (CD), by emphasizing the issues that matter most to working families.
The Mississippi AFL-CIO endorsed Childers, a Democrat, for the seat left open by the appointment of Republican Rep. Roger Wicker to the Senate. Childers pledged in his campaign to support affordable health care for working families and to fight bad trade deals that would cost Mississippi jobs. He also pledged to support the Employee Free Choice Act.
Colorado working families yesterday hit the streets, gathering the first of the 76,000 signatures needed to put what The New York Times calls the “nation’s toughest corporate fraud law” on the November ballot.
Union, community, environmental and other activist members of the Protect Colorado’s Future coalition also began collecting signatures to qualify for a spot on the ballot, a measure to protect workers from being fired for no reason.
The corporate fraud measure would make CEOs and top execs personally liable if they commit fraud or condone it by not reporting it. It establishes both civil penalties and criminal—i.e., jail time.