While passing the extension of unemployment assistance by a veto-proof margin yesterday, the Senate also overwhelmingly approved a new bill to help veterans pay for college.
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act is an expansion of the historic G.I. Bill, which helped a generation of veterans attend college and work their way into the middle class. The original G.I. Bill, enacted in June 1944, helped millions of veterans returning from World War II (and later from other wars) get needed education or job training and enabled broad prosperity.
But its benefits have been watered down and now covers only a portion of the rising cost of education for today’s returning veterans. Service members returning from Iraq or Afghanistan are finding they can’t cover the cost of attending a college or university. The new bill will modernize the benefits so today’s veterans returning to civilian life can enjoy the same access to education as post-World War II veterans did.
UAW workers at five American Axle & Manufacturing plants in Michigan and New York voted to ratify a new four-year labor agreement reached last week, ending a strike that began Feb. 26.
The union reports that 78 percent of the workers voted in favor of ratification and 22 percent voted against it.
Says UAW President Ron Gettelfinger:
Our members have had to make some tough decisions for themselves and their families and have done so with careful deliberation.
America’s workers are being squeezed by declining wages, rising health care costs, evaporating pensions, job insecurity and globalization, according to Steven Greenhouse, one of the few full-time labor reporters in the country. In a new Point of View column on the AFL-CIO website, Greenhouse, who covers workplace issues for The New York Times, talks about his new book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.
I asked Greenhouse why he titled his book The Big Squeeze. Here’s what he had to say:
In many ways corporate America is clamping down on its workers. Wages have been cut over the past few years. We’ve seen health benefits get worse. Middle class Americans have health insurance while the typical worker has to pay twice as much for health insurance as was the case seven years ago.
This is a cross-post from the Firedoglake blog.
AFL-CIO blog writer James Parks talked with Colombian trade unionists who traveled here last week to urge Congress not to pass the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement. As James relates below, Colombian trade unionists do not want Congress to reward that nation with a trade deal in a climate of fear and death that they and their union compatriots face daily.
On April 23, 2008, Jorge Gamboa was in Yarima accompanying a group of African Palm workers who were on strike to demand respect for their basic labor rights and to seek negotiations with their employer. Two individuals targeted Gamboa, one of them holding a revolver. Gamboa was fortunately able to disarm the individual before any shots were fired. The striking workers then apprehended the two assailants and turned them over to the police.