Bad news for Freddie Mac on Wednesday suggests that the country hasn’t seen the end of the fall out from the housing crisis. The government-chartered firm said it had a net loss of 821 million dollars. The loss was three times more than what analysts had forecasted. The firm doubled reserves for future mortgage losses to $2.8 billion. This is the company’s fourth straight quarterly loss.
By Doug Cunningham
The AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, meeting in Chicago, says three more National Education Association locals have affiliated with the labor federation. They’re in Santa Maria California, Kenosha Wisconsin and Massachusetts. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says the groundbreaking arrangement with the NEA allowing its locals to affiliate with the AFL-CIO means greater collaboration in the fight for a better future for he next generation. Also at the Chicago meeting, the AFL-CIO announced three new members on the Executive Council that runs the federation. They are AFT President Randi Weingarten, Matthew Loeb, President of the International Association of State and Theatrical Employees and Jill Levy, President of the American federation of School Administrators.
The battle between California State Controller, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the state legislature that has state workers caught in the middle continues to heat up. Jesse Russell reports:
Last week California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger slashed the wages of some 235,000 state workers to the federal minimum because the state legislature is eight weeks overdue in passing the state budget. Schwarzenegger said the state needed to cut the wages in order to save money, but on Wednesday state controller John Chiang said the state, even with the full worker wages, has enough money to make it until October. The Governor’s administration has expressed concern over the new numbers coming out of the controller’s office and is examining them carefully. The Department of Personnel Administration sent a letter to Chiang on Tuesday with the names of 48,000 workers who will not have wages cut because they are deemed “essential.” Those workers include firefighters, state police, water resource workers, and military officers, among others. A number of other professionals, including lawyers and doctors, will receive no pay because there are no wage protections under state law that say they should receive the minimum wage.
By Doug Cunningham
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 in Canada says Wal-Mart may close a garage in Gatineau when workers there get their first collective bargaining agreement. The UFCW says Wal-Mart has hinted it will close the garage. The workers are awaiting their first collective bargaining agreement from a binding arbitration process. They unionized in 2005. The union says it expects a contract to be imposed soon, making it the first at a North American Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart closed a store in Jonquire after workers there formed a union.
Three National Education Association (NEA) chapters with more than 3,000 teachers and other education professionals in California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin affiliated with the AFL-CIO today at the federation’s Executive Council meeting that wrapped up this afternoon in Chicago. In a related development, the council also approved a policy statement extending the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Charter program until the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention.
The new NEA affiliations mean those chapters will be able to join with local AFL-CIO central labor councils and state federations to work together to meet the needs of teachers and students and all working families in the fight for health care retirement security and good jobs. Says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney:
Teachers and education professionals are being assaulted by the lack of funding for public education. Today’s affiliation means greater collaboration in the fight to save our schools and protect our children’s education.
With wages declining and unemployment rising, working families are having a hard time making ends meet—and the worsening economy, made more painful by rising energy costs, has become a top concern in the 2008 elections.
In town hall meetings in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana this week, Sen. Barack Obama is discussing how rising energy costs are squeezing the budgets of working families—and how building a new energy economy can help turn the country around.
Yesterday, we told you about the new national high-skills education and training initiative the AFL-CIO Executive Council called for in a policy statement approved at the council’s summer meeting in Chicago. Here’s a closer look.
The AFT and the Machinists (IAM) spearheaded the development of the education and training blueprint that brings together local, state and national policy priorities and responsibilities to provide training and education to equip U.S. workers for 21st Century jobs. Says AFT President Randi Weingarten, a newly elected Executive Council member:
Whether on the job or preparing for work, Americans deserve the education, training and support that equips them with the skills they need to compete in the global marketplace and for the jobs of today and tomorrow. What is at stake is nothing less than the prosperous and safe future of our country.