More than 40 years after the start of the war on poverty, how is the U.S. doing? Not very well according to a recent survey of mayors across the country. The poverty rate in the U.S. is currently 12.3 percent – in 1967 that rate was 14.2 percent. However, many of those polled said the official government number is far below what is actually necessary to survive. The federal government currently considers a family of three with an income of less than $17,170 as in poverty, but 30 percent of the mayors said a family of that size really needs at least $30,000 a year.
Should everyone have a pension? That’s what one economics professor is suggesting in her new book. Jesse Russell reports:
New School for Social Research Economics Professor Teresa Ghilarducci wants you to have a pension. According to Ghilarducci, only 50 percent of the workforce have anything dedicated to pensions. In her book “When I’m 64: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them” she proposes that everyone who doesn’t currently have a defined benefit be allowed to put five percent of pay into a government guaranty secure account.
[Ghilarducci1]: …where they would accumulate assets and at the end of their working life when they collect social security will get a supplement to their social security on top of their social security. And if they want to save more, they can add to it and they won’t have to go to a commercial bank or to a commercial investment house.
By Doug Cunningham
Workers so far this year in America have been hit with a total jobs loss of 760,000. Organized labor is calling for direct relief to the millions of families being squeezed hard by the economy and the lack of good jobs. According to the National Employment Law Project, three-quarters of a million workers this year will exhaust their unemployment benefits without finding new jobs.
By Doug Cunningham
More than 25,000 machinists at Boeing are entering the second month of their strike. Tom Wrobleski, President of International Association of Machinists District 751 in Seattle says strikers remain resolute as they enjoy widespread support in their fight for a good contract.
[Wrobleski]: “Nearly every union out here is doing whatever they can do to support us, whether it’s coming and puttin’ time in on the picket line, bringing by coffee, doughnuts, a bag of groceries or financial support. They are there with us, they support us. They know that your fight is what makes the labor community strong and they will benefit from your fight.”
In a last minute surprise move last week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed all state funding for the respected University of California’s Miguel Contreras Labor Program.
The program is named after Contreras, a longtime labor leader and head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor until his death in 2005. (Click here for more on Contreras and here for more on the labor studies program.)
California governors have line-item veto power, meaning they can reduce or completely eliminate funding for any item in the state budget. The $5.4 million for the labor studies program was part of the budget Schwarzenegger and the legislature agreed on after months of stalemate. State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D) says lawmakers were led to believe Schwarzenegger would leave the labor studies funding in the budget.
Wow. Just wow. When AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka gave a heartfelt speech at the United Steelworkers (USW) convention last July about the need for all of us to overcome racial prejudice when voting for president and instead cast our ballots for our economic interests and in support of America’s future prosperity, we knew he hit it out of the ballpark.
Now, literally millions of others know as well. This past week, Trumka’s speech went viral, spreading from a post by Platypus on Daily Kos—where an astounding 440 people took time to comment, nearly all offering amazing support—to dozens of blogs and online news sites. A video clip of the speech posted at YouTube, now has nearly 260,000 views—and continues to grow.
With only 29 days to go before the election, it’s more important than ever for union members to volunteer with the Labor 2008 political program, and members of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) are turning out to make sure pro-worker candidates win this fall.
Sen. Barack Obama is offering real solutions to the challenges facing America’s working families, but Sen. John McCain, who thinks the campaign shouldn’t be “about issues,” hopes he can count on dishonest smears to distract voters from what’s really at stake.
Through the AFL-CIO Labor 2008 political mobilization program, union members are connecting directly with undecided voters and giving them the truth about Obama’s pro-worker record and McCain’s disastrous economic policy agenda.
Sean McGarvey, BCTD secretary-treasurer, says the nation’s economic crisis tops the concerns of union members this election. The building trades are particularly hard hit by the housing crisis and are already seeing the effects of the financial meltdown, as the credit markets are essential to new construction.
Don Manning, Labor 2008 state director for New Mexico, reports on ongoing member-to-member phone banking in this key battleground state.
Zone Three of the New Mexico Federation of Labor and Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 480 put on a creative and incredibly successful “Phone Bank with the Stars” night last Thursday. More than 60 people crammed into the IATSE office in Santa Fe—so many that some had to make calls from the kitchen.
Morty Simon and Carol Oppenheimer, co-coordinators for Zone Three, says IATSE leaders Jon Hendry and Deborah Cohen deserve thanks for making the event happen.
Two years ago, members of UAW Local 2488, working at the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Ill., agreed to major job security concessions to keep the company afloat. Now that Mitsubishi’s net sales have rebounded, the workers have ratified a new four-year contract that provides job security.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says the agreement will
protect jobs and provide four years of stability for our members and their communities.