Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tried to play down concerns that the economy will continue to contract this year. He told an audience at the New York Public Library on Thursday that he expects to see “moderate” growth in the economy as the housing sector begins to stabilize near the end of the year. New data showed a 1.9 percent economic growth rate in the second quarter, boosted mostly by the economic stimulus payments.
By Doug Cunningham
IBEW members rallied Thursday at Verizon’s Boston headquarters as a midnight Saturday strike deadline approaches. The highly profitable telecom giant could face a walkout by 70,000 workers. IBEW’s Paul Feeney says the Communications Workers of America and the IBEW are working together to try to reach a a new contract at Verizon. And Feeney says should a strike be necessary Saturday night, the IBEW will have plenty of support.
[Feeney]: “Workers really need to stick together. We’re going to be reaching out to sympathetic organizations throughout the country. We’re reaching out to many different labor unions through organizations like Jobs With Justice.
During a six minute conference call with 2,500 union members on Thursday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama touch on a number of issues import to workers and the labor movement. The most time during his brief address was dedicated to laying out his plans for job creation:
[Obama]: “We’re going to create up to five million green jobs that will pay well, but can’t be outsourced by investing in a clean energy future. We are going to create 2 million more jobs by investing in our infrastructure, by building roads and bridges, and levies, and locks, and dams. All of which need heavy machinery, all of which need steel. All of which will create ripple effects throughout our economy and put people back to work.”
By Doug Cunningham
On Thursday California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut 22,000 jobs and slashed the pay for 200,000 state workers down to the federal minimum wage, effective in September. The California Labor Federation’s Jeremy Smith says the governor is wrong to lash out at workers and their livelihoods to try to resolve the state’s budget problem.
[Smith]: “Anytime you cut workers pay – add on top of that the fact that he’s cutting workers’ pay to the federal minimum wage, which is much lower than the California minimum wage – we think is anti-worker. We can’t figure out why the governor thinks he should penalize them for the inability to get a budget passed.”
Sen. Barack Obama took part in a nationwide conference call with union members this afternoon, and he’s ready to work with the union movement to win this fall and turn around America.
More than 2,500 union leaders, activists and members across the country got a chance to hear Obama talk about the challenges facing the country, and the values and principles that inspire his campaign.
Everywhere I go I hear the same story. Wages are falling, good jobs are disappearing, families are losing their homes and prices on everything from fuel to food are going up and up.
Obama reflected on his experience as a church-based community organizer, working in neighborhoods crippled by closing steel mills. Working with unions, churches, and local government, he fought for job training programs to help turn those neighborhoods around. That’s the fight he wants to continue in the White House.
Once again, Exxon Mobil made U.S. corporate profit history, pulling in $11.68 billion in second quarter income, the highest quarterly profit rate of any U.S. company in history.
It must be gratifying for Sen. John McCain to know that his sudden flip-flop to support Big Oil’s long-held dream of offshore drilling is tapping into some of the deepest pockets on the planet. Because right after he reversed his long-standing opposition to oil drilling, he hit a gusher of campaign funds from the oil and gas industry, according to The Washington Post:
Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month—three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban—compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May.
The campaign by car wash employees for fair wages and decent work in the Los Angeles area gained a major boost yesterday when the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution strongly endorsing efforts of car wash workers to secure just wages, safe working conditions and the freedom to organize a union.
In recent months, the mostly immigrant car wash workers throughout Los Angeles have formed the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee (CWOC) of the United Steelworkers (USW) to raise their standard of living, secure basic workplace protections and address the serious environmental and safety hazards in their industry.
By almost all measures, economic inequality is growing. But strengthening workers’ ability to join unions can play a key role in shrinking the gap and rebuilding the nation’s middle class, experts told a House panel today.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, opened the hearing on “The Growing Income Gap in America,” saying “inequality between the top income earners and those in the middle class has been growing rapidly in the last three decades.” Woolsey and several of the experts pointed out that income inequality in the United States is at the highest level since 1928 and the beginning of the Great Depression.
Medical and health and safety experts today urged Congress to approve new legislation to establish a permanent monitoring, research and health care program for the responders and people who lived and worked near Ground Zero who were exposed to the same mix of pulverized glass and concrete, asbestos, lead and burning jet fuel.
Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO health and safety director, told the House Subcommittee on Health:
The exposures were made much worse by EPA’s pronouncements that the environment was safe and OSHA’s failure to enforce workplace safety and health requirements during the entire 10-month period of rescue, recovery and clean-up operations at the WTC site.