More workers than ever are planning on delaying retirement. Nearly half of U.S. workers recently surveyed expect to still be working at the age of 67 and the majority of them say they will be doing it to stay mentally engaged and not just for the money. Less than half of those survey believe they will have enough money for retirement to handle expenses.
Over the past two days, AFL-CIO Policy Director Thea Lee joined with 19 other experts for an online conference to discuss the strategies and support available to help displaced workers—those who lost their jobs because of trade or other economic reasons—navigate their way to new jobs requiring new skills. The e-mail forum was sponsored by the nonpartisan group NewTalk. Here is what Lee had to say in today’s forum about training for high-skill jobs.
In our experience, the most effective training programs promote partnerships between government, employers and labor to support job retention and creation, as well as regional economic and community development. There are many examples of high-road labor-management partnerships in manufacturing, health care, telecommunications and hospitality. These partnerships balance the needs of both business and labor to assess industry skill needs and ensure that programs create career ladders and skills suitable for high-growth, high-wage occupations.
Many Universities are providing ways for union members to earn college degrees as they transition from building trades to the next phase. Jesse Russell reports:
With an uncertain economic future, many union workers are finding themselves looking for ways to enhance or add new skills. Some University’s around the country provide specialized programs that work with labor unions to assist members in transitions to new careers or earn new required certifications. The City University of New York has such a program. Deborah D’Amico is with the school’s Murphy Center:
[D’Amico1]: The range of workers and union members who are interested in and fell it necessary to get a degree…I mean…building trade union members who are making good salaries sort of are seeing the writing on the wall, like, how many years can I do hard physical labor and what’s going to be there for me afterwards?
By Doug Cunningham
The AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades department is out with a new video on John McCain’s positions in his own words. The labor federation notes that McCain is no friend of construction workers – having tried to undermine the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law and voting to allow contractors to hire permanent strike breaking workers in labor disputes. McCain also voted against two highway bills that would have provided 5 million jobs over six years, according to the AFL-CIO.
By Doug Cunningham
A federal court has dismissed a $30 million lawsuit against the United Brotherhood of Carpenters union. The union was sued over a campaign it conducted at a new residential housing development. Ogler Homes, Inc. had sued, claiming handbilling, picketing and bannering by the union prevented sale of homes in the development and went beyond what’s allowed by law. But Judge Frderick J. Kapala disagreed and hrew out the lawsuit. The Carpenters union says it’s a victory for the right of free speech. Terrance McCann, an attorney for the Carpenters, says this is a great victory not just for the Carpenters union but for all of he building and construction trades.
Stewart Acuff, special assistant to the president, is on the road for working families as part of the Labor 2008 political mobilization outreach, and sends us this dispatch from Oregon.
As the nation’s economic crisis deepens and the focus of voters shift from silly attack ads to America’ s dire problems, Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate move up in the polls—including in Oregon. Jeff Merkley now is running about even with Republican incumbent Gordon Smith. It’s not hard to see why. Smith opposes the Employee Free Choice Act and has voted with George W. Bush 85 percent of the time. As speaker of the Oregon House, Jeff Merkley has shepherded Oregon legislation, including greater freedom for public workers to form unions and bargain and other key working family issues.
The Oregon AFL-CIO and its very energetic and effective president, Tom Chamberlain, have made electing Merkley to the Senate and Sen. Barack Obama to the presidency as the highest priorities of the Labor 2008 state plan.
Life was hard for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and husband Todd as they eked out a living when they first entered the workforce. That is, until at least one of them landed a union job that ensured they’d have health care coverage they could afford.
Yep. The Republican vice presidential nominee, whose running mate, Sen. John McCain, has indicated in multiple Senate votes how much he despises unionization, not only has benefited from the good wages and benefits of union membership, she’s talking about it publicly. From Jonathan Martin at Politico:
“We’ve gone through periods of our life here with paying out of pocket for health coverage until Todd and I both landed a couple of good union jobs,” Palin explained to conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “Early on in our marriage, we didn’t have health insurance, and we had to either make the choice of paying out of pocket for catastrophic coverage or just crossing our fingers, hoping that nobody would get hurt, nobody would get sick.”
Registered nurses at the University of Michigan hospitals this week ratified a new three-year contract that raises wages, increases safety and health protections and maintains health care benefits.
The contract covers 3,800 members of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC) through the Michigan Nurses Association, an affiliate of United American Nurses (UAN).
UMPNC Chair John Armelagos says pay raise was a key priority for the nurses.
Achieving a well-deserved salary increase for our nurses was a priority for this contract. Wage increases for our members ranged from 10.5 percent to over 25 percent. Those members at the top of the wage scale will be among the best paid in the region.
With the nation’s attention focused on tonight’s debate between vice presidential candidates Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Ala.)—whose record, qualifications and lack of experience have come under intense scrutiny—the nation’s largest registered nurses union is asking some tough questions in a new television ad.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) says a growing number of health care professionals have serious concerns about 72-year-old Sen. John McCain’s health, and in the ad, the union
calls attention to one of the most significant, and least talked about, issues in the current election campaign—the possible presidency of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.