Manufacturing continues to fall according to new numbers from the Federal Reserve released Thursday. Industrial production, including factories and mines, fell 0.7 percent in April. The number of plants being utilized also fell to 79.7 percent, the lowest number since September 2005. Motor vehicle production dropped 8.2 percent, continuing a month over month decline.
Will Connecticut be the most recent state to take a bold leap for healthcare reform? National health care experts hope so. Jesse Russell reports:
On Thursday a group of health care leaders in Connecticut and other states held a conference call to push for the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership. The bill would allow non-profits, municipalities, and small businesses to pool together with the state health insurance program. The bill has already passed the state House and Senate and it now sits on the desk of Governor Jodi Rell who has suggested she may veto the bill. Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is a proponent of the initiative. She said the partnership would heavily benefit small businesses with less than 50 employees:
By Doug Cunningham
UAW President Ron Gettlefinger told Detroit’s WWJ radio that with thousands of workers still on the American Axle strike picket lines, the company’s greed knows no bounds.
[Gettlefinger]: “I have never witnessed a situation where there was more callous disregard for the workforce than there is here. We have literally made hundreds of changes in this contract and throughout these negotiations. And I mean literally hundreds of changes, all to the company’s advantage. And they continue to push back for more and more. They’re out to crush this membership.”
Gettlefinger says the UAW never wanted GM to offer $200 million to help settle the strike, which has stopped or partially reduced production at 29 GM plants.
John McCain paid a visit to Portland, Ore., this week. As usual, AFL-CIO union members came out to try to speak to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee about important issues—and, as usual, they were turned away.
In fact, McCain campaign aides were so unhappy to be confronted that they threatened these union members with arrest if they approached the room in which McCain was holding an event.
Tom Chamberlain, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, says McCain has shown he’s not willing to listen to working families:
Sen. McCain had an unprecedented opportunity today to show that he is as concerned about working folks as he is about his wealthy friends. Instead, he reaffirmed that he doesn’t share the priorities of working folks and he is not the candidate to turn around America.
Alan Kistler, who held union cards as a hotel elevator operator, copy boy, cub reporter and steel mill laborer shoveling molten steel and spent 13 years as the director of the AFL-CIO’s Organization and Field Services, died May 10 at his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was 87.
Said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney:
All of us in the union movement mourn the death of Alan Kistler, one of the most respected, creative, and best-loved leaders in our movement for more than a half-century.
Several thousand Detroit-area school kids will get a sneak peak at the 70th annual AFL-CIO Union Industries Show tomorrow when, before the doors open to the public, they get a preview of the more than 300 exhibits and interactive games at the Cobo Center.
The 2008 America@Work show, sponsored by AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department (UL&STD), runs through Sunday. It spotlights the skills and services of union workers throughout America and the Made-in-the-USA products they produce. The displays feature the latest technology and union craftsmanship.
A new report emphasizes the importance of a union contract for workers at every level, especially low-wage workers.
The report, The Union Advantage for Low-Wage Workers, released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), shows that union membership boosted the wages of workers on the bottom rung of the wage ladder (the 10th percentile) by 20.6 percent, from 2003 to 2007. For a worker at the 20th percentile, who earns less than 80 percent of the workforce, the boost from being a union member is 18.9 percent and for the average worker at the 30th percentile, the union benefit is 16.8 percent.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says:
For millions of workers who work hard and take home less to show for it, being part of a union that provides a say on the job is all the more important. This study proves that for workers on the bottom rungs of the pay scale, bargaining power is the best, and often only, means to gain a leg up to the middle class.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president. USW President Leo Gerard reported the union’s Executive Board unanimously voted to endorse Obama this morning.
Gerard says Obama will be a strong leader on working family issues and that he shares Edwards’ commitment to fair trade, workers’ rights and health care.
Sen. Obama’s call for a significant change of direction amounts to far more than a compelling rallying cry. It is buttressed by his record of consistent support for workers, by his call for sweeping changes to our health care system, by his unflinching support for Employee Free Choice, and by his insistence that America’s trade policies must, first and foremost, serve the interests of America’s working families.
The 800 office-technical and administrative-technical employees in Tulsa, Okla., now have a voice on the job after joining AFSCME Local 1180.
Says Laureen Gilroy, who works in the city’s Public Works Department:
Forming a union is our legal and democratic right, and we decided to exercise that right. Having a union means that we can work to improve conditions on the job and give employees a voice at work.