The biggest parlor game among journalists and politicos this summer has been guessing who the presidential candidates will pick as their running mates. Fred Smith emerged as one possible running mate, a selection floated by Sen. John McCain’s campaign that reveals McCain’s disturbing disregard for workers.
Marc Ambinder, a political journalist, reported that McCain campaign sources have been dropping Smith’s name for a potential role in a McCain administration—possibly even McCain’s running mate.
Smith is the CEO of FedEx and a notorious opponent of workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain. He’s an expert at using loopholes in federal law to block workers from forming unions.
There was a time when workers who did good work on the job and were loyal to their employers were rewarded with a lifetime job, decent wage, health care and a secure retirement.
Today, the social contract between employers and workers is so broken, Gen Y no longer expects to have those kinds of jobs, says author David Kusnet. A visiting fellow at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and former chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, Kusnet discussed his new book, Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America’s Best Workers Are More Unhappy Than Ever, today at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.
By Doug Cunningham
The AFL-CIO is reaching out to 600,000 union voters in the swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to accurately define Senator Barack Obama. Mailers are going out to union households in these key battleground states in an effort to counter misperceptions and false information being circulated about Obama. The mailers include testimonials from workers on Senator Obama’s record on jobs, health care reform and workers’ rights.
By Doug Cunningham
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs says a new poverty guideline in New York City has raised the income considered to be poverty level for a working family of four. The revised guideline is more than six thousand dollars higher than the current federal standard of $20,444.
[Gibbs]: “Here in New York City, it’s $26,138. So it recognizes the increased cost of living, the changes in the basket of goods and services that people need to have in order to meet their daily expenses.”
Gibbs says this poverty guideline revision in New York City recognizes the need to re-evaluate what modern poverty really is, given the rising cost of living.
By Doug Cunningham
Millions of workers nationwide have no paid sick days. That includes 5.4 million in California – 40 percent of the state’s workforce. California’s Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act would require employers to provide 5-9 paid sick days per year for workers. A new report on the public health effects of this proposal shows it would improve public health in California. Dr. Rajiv Bhatia co-wrote the report.
[Bhatia]: “Workers with paid sick days were more likely to go to doctors for preventative care, to take time off when sick and to care for their own children when their children were sick. We were really struck by the fact that those with the greatest need for paid sick days had the least access. California workers in poor health and with chronic diseases like hypertension were less likely to have paid sick days.”
Around the country, union members will make the critical difference in electing pro-working family members of Congress. The AFL-CIO’s Labor 2008 program is a strong national effort to reach out to millions of union members through person-to-person contact, and these union voters will be the ones who ensure pro-worker policies get implemented in Congress.
Here are three strong candidates who understand the connection between a strong union movement and progressive policies that help all working families. Mark Begich running for a Senate seat in Alaska, Mary Jo Kilroy up for a House seat in the Columbus, Ohio, area and Colorado Rep. Mark Udall seeking election to the Senate.
Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for president is based on working-family values and important issues like health care, jobs and fair trade. Naturally, the right-wing rumor machine has been hard at work to change the subject, by making outlandish claims aimed at dividing and distracting us. The AFL-CIO is working hard to counter the rumors and lies leveled at Obama and keep the election focused on working people’s lives.
In a new mailer we’re sending to thousands of union households in key states, the AFL-CIO is taking on the rumors directly, giving straight answers to the questions people have about Obama. The mailers are attracting positive media attention, and bloggers are praising them as, as the Jed Report puts it, “the most effective anti-smear message of the campaign.”
In his most recent Out Front column, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney takes a look at five of the most persistent manufactured rumors about Obama.
||BCTGM Local 464 member Jake Long (R) talks with Local 464 member Beverly Zartman about Barack Obama’s support of working families.
Frank Snyder, AFL-CIO state director in Pennsylvania, reports on the latest Labor 2008 political mobilization actions in the Keystone State.
It was a busy time at 5 a.m., outside the gates of the Wilbur Chocolate plant in Lititz, Pa., recently. Workers—members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 464—were leaving from the third shift and entering the plant for the first shift.
There to greet them with leaflets on Barack Obama’s record of supporting working families were fellow BCTGM Local 464 members Jake Long and Bob Huffman. Even at that early hour, the chocolate factory workers showed a great deal of interest in the information and political discussion.
China’s continued undervaluation of its currency is a major, overriding trade issue, which requires immediate action, says a coalition of union and business leaders. And a new report released today shows China’s trade practices cost 2.3 million good U.S. jobs, including 366,000 last year alone.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, who co-chairs the coalition, says, “China’s manipulation of its currency since 1994 has taken an enormous and increasingly damaging toll on U.S. working families and manufacturing.”