Retirees were struggling with insecurity even before the brunt of the economic crisis hit. An AARP survey released earlier this month found that during the past year 20 percent of workers over the age of 45 skipped or stopped making payments into retirement accounts. The report also found that some workers heading toward retirement had also begun drawing down accounts prematurely. 13 percent withdrew money from retirement accounts.
Lede: As the Boeing machinists strike continues another union representing more than 20,000 Boeing workers begins its own contract talks with the company. Doug Cunningham reports.
By Doug Cunningham
With federal mediators observing the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace held its first session with Boeing Thursday. Main table contract talks begin on October 28th.
No major issues were decided in the first session. Big issues include outsourcing, medical benefits and cost of living provisions. The union described the first two-hour session as being at times heated and confrontational. Boeing wants to end traditional defined-benefit pensions for new hires, wants to keep shifting is medical benefits costs to workers and is resisting providing what the union calls a meaningful cost-of-living benefit. The union also wants Boeing to recognize the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as a paid day off which the company so far refuses to do. In addition to these contract talks covering more than 20,000 workers negotiations start November 13th for 700 engineers at Boeing Wichita.
Linens and Things has had a rough year, appearing in bankruptcy court earlier this month in order to close its 411 stores and sell off remaining merchandise. The Canadian arm of the company has now followed suit and will appear in court later this week. Prior to filing for bankruptcy the company employed 15,000 employees.
Organized labor came together in Detroit on Saturday as they marched and rallied for worker’s rights. Nearly 1,000 union members and supporters took part in the march that ended at the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit. The rally saw top brass of many labor unions speak including International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers President Mike Fitzpatrick, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association Patrick Finley, the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department President Mark Ayers, and Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney.
Labor activists, who are the reporters and photographers for LabourStart, submitted thousands of photos and a distinguished three-judge panel selected a group of five finalists. Four of the five photos show workers protesting their working conditions: tax collectors in Egypt, railway workers in Switzerland, public-sector employees in England and service workers in California (see photo above). Another shot shows the solitary figure of a Bangladesh worker sweating in the hot sun, displaying the dignity of work in the most difficult of conditions. Click here to view and vote for your favorite photo. Deadline for voting is Oct. 31.