The second quarter of 2008 was the worst quarter for strip mall owners in 30 years. Vacancies at strip malls jumped by 0.5 percentage points to 8.2 percent. The number will likely grow in coming months as Starbucks moves forward with plans to shutter 600 stores by March of 2009 and Gap closes 40 million square feet of retail space. More space is now available to rent in strip malls than there is space that is already rented.
Workers at a paper mill in Pennsylvania are on the picket lines. Jesse Russell reports:
More than 400 workers at the Appleton Paper Mill in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania are embroiled in a contract dispute over health care and retirement. The workers are represented by the United Steelworkers and the union has filed unfair labor practice allegations against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. The union is eager to restart negotiations, but the company has refused to come back to the table. Currently a strike is not planned, but as each day passes and the table remains empty, the option becomes a greater possibility.
By Doug Cunningham
California has a new law requiring mortgage lenders to contact buyers before starting a foreclosure process. That gives homeowners some advance warning and some time to try to modify bad loans before losing their homes. The California Labor Federation says the new law provides some immediate protection for those who need it, but is just a first step in banning the abusive lending practices that created the mortgage and home foreclosure crisis. California’s governor signed the bill Tuesday.
By Doug Cunningham
The Health Care For America Now coalition Tuesday launched a $40 million national campaign demanding affordable, quality health care for all. The coalition includes unions, doctors, nurses, community groups, small businesses and others united to achieve health care reform. The campaign will spend at least $25 million on paid media advertising and will have 100 organizers in 45 states pushing for health care reform in 2009. The campaign was launched Tuesday with events in 44 cities, including 36 state capitols. The coalition says real health care reform must include affordability, choice of a private or public plan, must cover everybody and must have a national standard for health benefits that covers what people really need.
Last week, Wal-Mart trotted out a new corporate logo in the hopes of turning around its public image as a company that cares more about the bottom line than its employees and customers. But don’t tell that to Jimmy Singleton and Deborah Shank.
Back in November, the retail giant, which made nearly $13 billion in profits last year, sued Shank, a former employee who suffered permanent brain damage in a car accident, to get back $470,000 it spent on her medical bills. After a public uproar, Wal-Mart backed off. Now, Wal-Mart is at it again, with a different target.
As last month’s devastating floods in the Midwest crept toward Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dean Shannon, secretary of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7101, came home to find a Weather Channel van parked in front of his house.
“Dean, this can’t be a good sign,” Joie Welsh, the local president who had driven Shannon home, says she told him. Shannon and his wife managed to pack and move a few things but not nearly what they’d hoped to save by the time emergency workers knocked on their door and gave them 20 minutes to evacuate. The Shannons lost their home and everything left in it in the ensuing flood.
The drive to win quality health care for all—one of the voters’ key issues this fall—got a boost today when a new coalition, including the AFL-CIO, unveiled plans for a nationwide campaign to build support for health care reform when a new president and Congress take office in 2009.
Health Care for America Now! is a coalition of more than 80 labor, community, health activist, women’s, netroots and other groups. It will undertake a campaign that includes building grassroots support and educating the public and lawmakers on how to fix the broken health care system that is putting quality health care further and further out of reach of almost all families.