A new record has been set, and it isn’t a good one. Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities are down 15.3 percent over last year. The biggest drops were in Las Vegas, Miami, and Phoenix with prices falling as much as 25 percent in the past year. Prices for April only fell by 1.4 percent in comparison to March’s numbers. Projections of the 20-city index have home prices dropping another 15-20 percent between now and the end of 2009.
San Francisco was held up as reluctant model in light of a new study showing cities dealing heavily with healthcare issues. Jesse Russell reports:
The theme of the Families USA survey released on Monday is that when it comes to healthcare, cities can’t do it on their own. San Francisco has taken unique steps to cope with the growing number of citizens without healthcare – the city has a universal healthcare system that provides access for uninsured regardless of pre-existing conditions. But San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said his city’s model is not ideal:
[Newsom]: This, I do believe, should be the responsibility of the state of California and the federal government, but in the absence of that responsibility being advanced to real solutions we’ve had to step up and step in.
By Doug Cunningham
Workers with UNITE-HERE Local 1 recently marked the fifth year of their strike against the Congress Hotel – the longest running active strike in the country. The workers went on strike in June of 2003 against wage cuts. Other union hotel workers in Chicago now earn $13.90 an hour while the Congress still pays just $8.83. UNITE-HERE Local 1’s Henry Tamarin says the workers aren’t giving up despite the damage inflicted by owners of the Congress Hotel.
[Tamarin]: “The Congress Hotel has afflicted injustice on our community for five years. It’s absolutely awful wha
By Doug Cunningham
The housing crash in the U.S. is wiping out wealth that baby boomers could have relied on in retirement. A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research says due to the housing bubble collapse the vast majority of people who were ages 45 – 54 in 2004 have accumulated little or no wealth. Report co-author Dan Baker says this extraordinary destruction of wealth has tremendous implications for families as they enter retirement. Because there’s also a very low savings rate, the report says this means many baby boomers will have only Social Security and Medicare to rely upon in retirement.
Nurses in New York state will soon see the end of a practice dangerous for both nurses and patients: mandatory overtime.
Unions representing New York registered nurses and licensed practical nurses have been fighting for years to achieve a ban on forced overtime. Many hospitals and other health care facilities have strongly opposed overtime limits.
Under an agreement reached last week among the state Assembly, Senate and Gov. David Paterson (D), legislation to eliminate mandatory overtime soon will be passed and on the governor’s desk.
Heba El-Shazli of the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center reports on the effort to gain justice for 44 fired telecom workers in the kingdom of Bahrain, located in the Arabian Gulf.
In late May, Bahrain Telecommunications Co. (Batelco), which provides the island kingdom’s national cell phone and Internet service, fired 44 workers. The workers were let go under a controversial “employment redeployment program” (ERP), which the Batelco Trade Union (BTU) successfully contested in court. While Batelco is appealing the verdict, the union is pressing for voluntary early retirement instead of the ERP.
The Memphis Newspaper Guild Local 33091 has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the Commercial Appeal newspaper after management laid off 30 employees in the middle of negotiations with the union over proposed layoffs.
In a bargaining session with the company on June 10, Guild representatives asked for more bargaining time before layoffs began. Management said at that meeting there was no final list of who would be laid off. Yet, just two days later, 30 people lost their jobs and were escorted out of the building. The company is saying the workers were terminated, not laid off. But either way, the workers are jobless.
America’s voters are dissatisfied with the direction of the country—some 76 percent think we’re on the wrong track, according to the latest Associated Press poll. Working families are desperate for change. Journalist Bill Press says it starts with a change in leadership and a move away from the failed ideology that got us into this mess.
In a new Point of View guest column on the AFL-CIO website, Press discusses the upcoming election and why it matters in light of past years of conservative dominance in government. His new book, Train Wreck: The End of the Conservative Movement (and Not a Moment Too Soon), describes how the conservative, you’re-on-your-own outlook has failed the country.
Press, a longtime political observer and former co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” says this election year offers an opportunity to move past the disastrous Bush years and discard the bankrupt movement that created and sustained the Bush agenda.