The United States spends more on health care per person than any other country, but we rank 42nd overall when it comes to life expectancy. The average age for life expectancy is 78, up by eight years since 1960, but Americans could be living much longer with a lack of health insurance for 47 million Americans increasing the rate of death from preventable causes. The study also found major discrepancies based on location with people in Mississippi living 30 years less than people in Connecticut.
A 12-week strike at Latrobe Specialty Steel in Latrobe, Pennsylvania is at an end with workers agreeing to a new five year contract. The contract was approved by just eight votes on Sunday with part of the agreement providing workers with lump sum $6000 payments for two of the five years in the contract and an additional wage increase of 50 cents. Three hundred fifty workers represented by the United Steelworkers walked off the job on May 1 over a contract that included bonuses but no wage increases.
The Australian government is learning this week not to upset the men and women who provide your electricity. Jesse Russell reports:
It was lights out for Australia’s capitol as angry workers for the country’s government owned power companies demand a 10 percent pay raise. The unions representing the workers issued a joint statement yesterday saying workers would not connect power for government buildings that experienced black outs over night unless the building is a hospital or provides emergency services. The blackout was planned to happen at night so it wouldn’t seriously interrupt daytime business. If the raise is still not agreed to today the blackout will be extended to all businesses throughout Queensland.
By Doug Cunningham
Teamsters Local 705 in Chicago – second largest in the nation – has authorized a strike against UPS with a deadline of midnight July 31st. Job security and working conditions are among the issues. Joe Balkis is a Teamsters Local 705 worker.
[Balkis]: “The companies keep on getting’ richer and the working classes keep on getting’ poorer. Enough is enough! It’s time we draw a line in the sand. We can’t take it anymore. The starting pay alone has only been increased once since I’ve been workin’ here for twenty years. We deserve better. Payin’ people $8.50 – $9.50 an hour to start is immoral.”
Not only is the U.S. health care system on the “wrong track” and needs to “change direction,” but its performance is declining, it costs too much and ranks below most other industrialized nations in terms of access and quality.
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group, warns:
Rising costs put families, businesses, and public budgets under stress, pulling down living standards for middle- as well as low-income families. New national policies that take a coherent, whole-system, population view are essential for the nation’s future health and economic security.
The report, released last week, is the group’s second National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance and examines access, quality, healthy lives efficiency and equity. It finds:
Overall, performance did not improve from 2006 to 2008. Access to health care significantly declined, while health system efficiency remained low….Of greatest concern, access to health care has significantly declined. As of 2007, more than 75 million adults—42 percent of all adults ages 19 to 64—were either uninsured during the year or underinsured, up from 35 percent in 2003.
In 2009, a new president and many new members of Congress will come into office—and they’ll face both big problems and powerful resistance to solve them. How can we pass good policy and improve the lives of working families?
At “The Coming Social Democratic Moment,” a session at the Netroots Nation conference in Austin, panelists agreed that no matter who wins this fall’s election, there’s an opportunity to really turn around the country and a need for progressives to organize and fight hard to ensure that we fix what’s wrong.
Elizabeth Jacobs is a sociologist who studies attitudes toward the economy and social programs. She notes that the last few years have seen rapid deterioration of objective circumstances around the issues that are at the heart of the progressive movement—a broken health care system, an economy that’s failing most people, a collapsing housing market and unsustainable energy prices.
AFSCME-represented city workers in San Jose, Calif., reach a tentative agreement, and more news from the “Bargaining Digest Weekly.” The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department delivers daily bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 900 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work
AFSCME, San Jose, Calif.: Some 2,500 city workers in San Jose, Calif., including custodians, public safety dispatchers, librarians and planners, represented by AFSCME Local 101, reached a tentative labor agreement that includes wages increases of 7.25 percent over the term of the contract.
TWU, San Francisco Municipal Railway: Nearly 1,900 San Francisco Municipal Railway operators, represented by Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 250-A, ratified a three-year contract that will give them a 2.2 percent pay raise, bringing their hourly wage to just under $28 an hour.
Health care is guaranteed to be at the forefront of the 2008 election, and, more importantly, the fight to build a better health care system will be one of the toughest fights when a new administration takes over in 2009.
Bloggers, experts and activists are using online tools in innovative ways to make sure we can win high-quality health care for all. At Netroots Nation, some of the people leading this effort took part in an important panel, Emerging Trends in Healthcare Online.
Melinda Gibson works for Health Care for America Now, a coalition of more than 80 groups working to build a grassroots movement to mobilize voters around health care during, and after, the election. HCAN has both an on-the-ground component and an online effort.
Imagine you’re at work and you get a call that your mother died. Then imagine your boss saying you might as well stay at the office the rest of the day—there’s nothing you can do because she’s dead anyway.
Even worse: That true scenario from Amy in Florida is just one of the many workplace horror stories piling in for this year’s My Bad Boss Contest. Now in its third year, the contest for the nation’s worst boss, sponsored by the AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America, provides a frightening look at the demons on the other side of the cubicle.
The contest runs through Aug. 19 and offers suffering employees a chance to win the first prize, a week’s free stay at a condo in one of more than 50 countries, plus $1,000 toward airfare and other travel/trip expenses. Second prize is a week’s free stay at a condo in one of more than 50 countries and $500 toward airfare or other travel/trip expenses.