A new study is out showing an increase in Family Health Insurance costs for 2008. According to the study from Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health and Research $ Educational Trust the premium for employer sponsored family health insurance is at an average of $12,680 annually. That’s a five percent increase over last year with workers paying $3354 of the cost. In 1999 workers only paid $1,543 per year for an average $5,791 premium.
Sony-Ericsson is cutting 450 U.S. jobs due to dropping demand for high-end phones worldwide. It’s part of a plan to cut 2000 jobs worldwide by the end of the year.
Concerns over a turbulent economy left striking Waste Management workers with few options during a third contract vote on Sunday. Jesse Russell reports:
The strike against Waste Management in the Milwaukee region of Wisconsin started more than a month ago. The 240 drivers and mechanics approved the contract by a 2-1 margin and according to a statement released by the Teamsters stating that “the continued financial and personal strain took its toll on our members. With this vote, our members decided that given the turbulent nature of our economy, their families’ future must take priority over holding out for a better offer from Waste Management.” The five-year contract cuts back on wages and healthcare benefits and establishes a new 401k program for the workers.
Wall Street Plunges 777 Points As Labor And EPI Economist Urge Worker-Friendly Economic Bailout – 09/30/08
By Doug Cunningham
The stock market closed Monday hundreds of points down on the news that the U.S. House failed to pass a $700 billion financial system bailout package. The economic catastrophe caused by unregulated free market irresponsibility threatens millions of working people as well as the entire U.S. financial system. Economist like Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute
believes a bailout is needed, but it should be targeted to cushion the economic blow to working people.
[Bivens]: “Even a well-designed bailout is not a silver bullet that makes everything fine, but essentially it will transform what could be a real economic disaster back to the sort fo garden-variety recession that we’re in right now.”
The $700 billion Wall Street financial bailout package congressional leaders and the White House reached over the weekend does far too little for homeowners and vests far too much power in the Bush administration—whose policies and lack of oversight are at the root of the financial crisis, says AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
The vote in the U.S. House failed this afternoon, and it is unclear if the bailout bill will come up for a re-vote in its current form.
Sweeney warns that if passed, the deal will require “vigilant monitoring” and will not work without a strong economic recovery plan for working families. Without a recovery package like the House passed last week—Senate Republicans blocked a similar stimulus bill—the new bailout plan will not address the real underlying weaknesses in the U.S. economy, and it will not earn the confidence of working men and women. It should not be enacted unless Congress moves forward with a meaningful economic stimulus package now.
In Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland knows the economic crisis facing working families is the most important issue at stake for them this fall. And he knows Sen. John McCain has been part of the problem, while Sen. Barack Obama proposes real solutions.
Strickland opened the meeting by pointing to the fundamental imbalance in the economy, which has been thrown into distress, thanks to policies that have helped corporate elites at the expense of working families.
The first debate is over, early voting is under way in many states, and there are only 36 days left to make a difference in this election. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia, union leaders, staff and volunteers are working hard to educate members about Sen. John McCain’s anti-worker policies and about Sen. Barack Obama‘s positive plans for boosting good jobs, strengthening Social Security and expanding health care for working families.
This past week in Pennsylvania, workers heard from Jim Wasser, an Electrical Workers (IBEW) member and Navy vet who’s part of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council. Wasser visited a phone bank in Pittsburgh, where he talked with union volunteers about McCain’s voting record—including McCain’s opposition to pro-worker policies on unions, wages and job security and McCain’s poor record of support for war veterans.
The U.S. Senate gave final approval to a measure providing $25 billion in low-interest loans for manufacturers that build advanced technology vehicles and their components here in the United States. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says the bill, passed Saturday, helps ensure vehicles of the future are produced by U.S. workers.
It’s a huge victory for our members, for U.S. manufacturing companies and for American consumers. This is a smart investment that will speed the introduction of more fuel-efficient vehicles and also create tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Machinists in North Carolina enter the third month of a strike, protesting management’s demands to increase the workweek to six or seven days, 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.
WORK STOPPAGES AND ACTIONS
IAM, Moncure Plymouth: A strike by Machinists (IAM) members in Moncure, N.C., at Moncure Plywood has reached its third month. The union’s three-year contract with the company expired April 30, and negotiations over a new one broke down in July. Sticking points involve the company’s proposals to boost the workweek, which often could have meant six days or even seven work days in a row, to increase the cost of health insurance for families by $80 a month to $90 a month and to remove the union’s ability to use seniority for things such as determining who fills new job openings. One worker remarked, “I’m not going back in there without a union contract. I’d rather lose everything I got before I’d work like a slave.”