The International Monetary Fund laid out a gloomy outlook for the future of the U.S. housing market. The international organization said in a report on Monday that the “bottom of the housing market is not visible.” The organization predicts $1 trillion in losses for the housing market, mostly as the result of the subprime mortgage collapse. On an international scale the fallout of the U.S. housing market has left investors wary about investing in emerging markets.
After rallying thousands of workers at Verizon’s New York City headquarters over the weekend, the CWA and IBEW are ready to strike Verizon Saturday rather than accept concessions. Paul Feeney is a spokesperson for IBEW Local 2222.
[Feeney]: “If the company wants to dig their heels in on certain things like health care benefits and they demand concessions in pensions or in job security, make no mistake about it. Seventy-thousand members from Massachusetts to Virginia are going to strike this company on Saturday night.”
CWA and the IBEW are using a united front bargaining approach with Verizon to maximize the power they have to represent Verizon workers’ interests. A rally in Boston is planned for Thursday. Feeney says this hugely profitable company is no position to be demanding concessions or trying to outsource jobs to cheaper labor markets.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may once again settle into the role of Terminator if a budget deal isn’t signed by the state legislature by Thursday. Jesse Russell reports:
Twenty two thousand temporary workers could be facing the axe in California if a budget stalemate isn’t broken by Thursday. That is just one of a number of threats being leveled against workers by Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger as California Senate and Assembly Republicans and Democrats fail to reach a compromise on the state budget. On Tuesday, Schwarzenegger reiterated the threats he made last week that would also see the pay of 200,000 state workers reduced to the federal minimum of $6.55 per hour. The Governor said on Monday that he will “invoke his executive authority Thursday.” His spokesperson, Aaron McLear said the move is necessary to ensure the state has enough cash on hand to last until September. Meanwhile, State Controller John Chiang has said he will not follow through with the executive order and will make sure the 200,000 workers continue to be paid their full rate. The workers would be rehired and the salaries retroactively paid in full as soon as the budget is passed.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) wants to terminate the pay of more than 200,000 state workers. Schwarzenegger, according to news reports, could sign an executive order as early as today cutting workers’ pay to the $6.55 an hour federal minimum wage.
But state Controller John Chiang, who issues the paychecks, says he won’t go along with what he calls a “cynical ploy” to win passage of a state budget with deep cuts to working family programs. Schwarzenegger says state workers would receive any lost pay after a budget is approved.
Heather Slavkin, a senior legal and policy adviser for the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, describes the growing international awareness of the need for global regulation of private equity and hedge funds.
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, a member of the European Parliament and president of the Party of European Socialists, is calling for global regulation of private equity and hedge funds to protect the economy and safeguard the interests of workers, pension funds and other interested parties.
The Bush administration’s Department of Labor has a clear record of protecting powerful corporate interests at the expense of workers. Sen. Barack Obama is speaking out against this anti-worker record.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Obama urges the department to address serious failures in enforcing labor law and demands the Labor Department stop dragging its feet when it comes to protecting workers.
The situation Obama is addressing is a serious one. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division is launching and completing fewer and fewer investigations of employers refusing to pay minimum wage, overtime or even those alleged to engage in child labor, according to studies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Another GAO study shows that the Wage and Hour Division isn’t carrying out investigations into wage theft. According to this study, the division has laid off staff, failed to impose civil penalties against bad employers and shut out outside groups from input.
The workers who clean up Oriole Park at Camden Yards—home of the Baltimore Orioles—voted last week to join AFSCME. The workers reached out to the union after enduring abuse from supervisors and irregular calls for work—leading to a cut in hours for many longtime workers.
They also say management heavily pressured them to vote against the union. The 130 workers are employed by Chimes DC, which has a contract with the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to provide workers to clean up the stadium after the Orioles’ 82 home games each year.
Thousands of Philadelphia workers and Southwest Airlines attendants settle contracts, 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, Philadelphia: Some 9,400 blue-collar workers and members of Philadelphia’s largest union, AFSCME District Council 33, agreed to a one-year contract that includes no raises but holds the line on health care costs.