Real Hourly wages and weekly earnings continue to fall. According to the Economic Policy Institute, although job losses slowed in April, the picture of real wages has failed to improve. Real average weekly wages are down 1 percent since the same time last year. Real wages have been falling consistently over the past six years, even as worker productivity continues to rise. Wages are still trying to catch up with a consumer price spike in September of 2005.
How important is a war spending bill if it also includes help for America’s long-term jobless workers? To the President, it isn’t worth much. Jesse Russell reports:
Long-term jobless workers looking for relief in the current recession may be about to receive some more pain via the tip of the President’s veto pen. The House voted on Friday to extend unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks and tacked the measure onto a supplemental Iraq War spending bill. The measure also includes an additional 13 weeks in states with an unemployment rate over six percent. Bush has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk with the unemployment extension attached. This is the second time Bush has threatened to veto a bill if it included extra help for the 200,000 jobless workers each month who fall off the unemployment rolls. The legislation was cut from the economic stimulus package earlier this year. The House approved the measure 256-166 with 30 Republicans crossing the aisle to vote in favor of the extension. The president has also threatened to veto the bill if it includes funding to improve the levees around New Orleans.
By Doug Cunningham
Operation Union is bringing home to the troops until we can bring the troops home. Led by Metallic Lathers Local 46 in New York City, unions are providing vital links home for our troops. Operation Union’s Marie McKinney.
[McKinney]: “It’s a program that will help the troops see and talk to their families through a video phone.”
Operation Union’s Bob Ponce.
[Ponce]: “It’s just a great example of American labor taking care of American troops.”
More information on the program is available through OperationUnion.com
By Doug Cunningham
UAW workers in Detroit are angry about the tentative contract deal with American Axle, so much so that a vote on ratifying the agreement in Detroit has been postponed until Thursday. Other plants started voting on it Monday. The proposed agreement to end the nearly three-month old strike would slash wages by a third or more. But thanks to an infusion of more than $200 million from GM, workers will be offered buyouts, early retirement incentives and “buy-downs” spread over three years to help ease the pain of the cuts. American Axle has a production plant in Mexico that’s been working during the strike and the company threatened to move all the production to Mexico if wages weren’t slashed in the U.S.
On Friday, Sen. John McCain took a campaign swing through two states and, as they have in cities and towns across the nation, union members mobilized to ask him about the important issues in this election.
In St. Albans, W. Va., the West Virginia AFL-CIO organized a rally that drew 75 activists to a gun shop where McCain had stopped in for a visit. The union members who came out hoped to get answers from McCain about key economic issues, such as why he’s proposing a health care plan that would create a new tax on working families and could lead to millions getting even less coverage than they do now.
McCain quickly departed for an invitation-only meeting with local Republican leaders. Avoiding union members to focus on his elite supporters has become a habit for McCain, as he seeks to evade union members from Oregon to Florida.
As the celebrities and invitation-only guests poured into the new MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Conn., over the weekend, they met some unexpected greeters—casino employees and their supporters who were protesting the owner’s unfair treatment of workers.
For two days, May 17–18, members of the UAW, along with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, state legislators, union leaders and their supporters, protested at the front entrances to the casino against a new tipping policy and the owner’s unfair labor practices, including refusing to bargain a contract.
Nearly 250 people turned out in heavy rain last week to support flight attendants at Delta Air Lines who are struggling to form a union. Chanting, “Find Your Voice” and “No Fear,” they rallied in the parking lot of Delta’s headquarters in Atlanta to send a message to management that the corporation should support workers’ efforts to gain a voice at the workplace.
Richard Ray, president of the Georgia State AFL-CIO, told the crowd:
We love Delta. I fly Delta. But I want my flight attendant to be union.
Are you one of the millions of Americans in rural or low-income urban areas who doesn’t have access to high-speed Internet and can only go online via frustratingly slow dial-up? You wait and wait for a connection so you can pay a bill, find some important medical information, or just the latest ball score.
Or maybe you’ve got so-called “high-speed” Internet access and the big monthly bill that goes with it. But you still find yourself watching that darn little hourglass on your screen, drumming your fingers and muttering, “What am I paying for? Might as well go back to flippin’ dial–up.”
You can find out just how fast your Internet speed is and at the same time help promote a national broadband policy.
Hundreds of union members launched the biggest union mobilization yet in the 2008 political season with the first round of door-to-door walks, part of the AFL-CIO Labor 2008 political mobilization program.
Union volunteers in more than 20 states shared information on key working family issues, like health care and the economy, reaching thousands of union members in states such as Indiana, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio (watch video). The walks will continue in coming months as millions of union members mobilize to elect a working family-friendly president and Congress.