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lia href=http://www.laborradio.org/node/10026UAW Says Fair Trade Policies And Health Care Reform Are Missing In Auto Rescue Efforta//li
lia href=http://www.laborradio.org/node/10027United Airlines To Cut 1200 Workers From Its Payroll In New Yeara//li
lia href=http://www.laborradio.org/node/10028Economic Report: More Than 4 Million U.S. Workers Collecting Jobless Checksa//li
pIt is up, up, up for the U.S. jobless rolls. According to numbers released on Wednesday, 4.09 million people collected unemployment benefits at the end of last week, the highest number in 26 years. The job cuts come as companies adjust to decreased consumer spending and U.S. factories receive fewer orders for goods. In October orders for goods at U.S. factories feel more than they have in eight years. /p
pUnited Airlines is the latest casualty of a weakened economy. Jesse Russell reports:/p
pUnited Airlines confirmed on Wednesday that early in the new year 1,200 employees would be laid off. The company has been working to reduce its fleet to adjust with the economic downturn and part of that plan is to ground 100 planes. The job cuts will include 700 mechanics in January and the airline also plans to close repair stations at three airports. The company also plans to lay off 490 customer service center employees and ground workers as well as 387 pilots. This isn’t the first announced mass pilot layoff this year, in June the company let go of 1,450 pilots. The country’s third largest airline isn’t the only one sending out pink slips, many Wall Street firms have announced this week that they would be cutting jobs as the economy sours. Jeffries Group, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Credit Suisse will all have lain off nearly a combined 9000 white collar workers by the end of the year./p
pBy Doug Cunningham/p
p[Gettelfinger]: “I believe that we could lose General Motors by the end of this month.” by the end of this month.”/p
p[Gov. Granholm]: “If we let these auto industries fail, it will turn a recession into a depression.”/p
pUAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on the emergency faced by the U.S. auto industry.br /
After hearing more testimony Thursday, Congress may reconvene soon to provide federal loans to the beleaguered U.S. Auto industry. Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd says Congress must act to save the industry. /p
p[Dodd]: “Not for the purpose of saving a hand full of companies. If that were the extent of the issue, I would let them fail. I acknowledge there are those who advocate such a course on the assumption that pressure from the outside will produce the desired results. My concern with such an approach is that it plays Russian roulette with the entire economy of the United States.”/p
Here’s one big reason analysts say Congress should approve emergency loan legislation to ensure that Detroit’s Big Three automakers remain in business. If one or more of the automakers goes bankrupt, it could mean a devastating loss of between 3 million and 5 million jobs in the first year alone.
The impact of such a massive job loss would create a domino effect throughout the economy. Some estimates indicate that nearly one in every 10 American jobs depend in some way on the auto industry. A total of 2 million employees, retirees and dependents rely on automakers for health care benefits. The Center for Automotive Research recently reported that if one of the Big Three shut down in 2009, the first year of a bankruptcy would result in a loss of $125 billion in personal income, $17 billion in Social Security receipts and $20 billion in personal income taxes.
Marcy Rein, a retired member of Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 29 who worked in the ILWU Organizing Department for most of the Blue Diamond campaign, describes how the Blue Diamond workers’ years-long effort to gain a union recently ended with a loss. Rein also vividly describes how that experience demonstrates yet again why we need passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.
For four years, the workers on the Organizing Committee at the Blue Diamond Growers (BDG) plant in Sacramento, Calif., had done everything they could to avoid being where they were on the night of Nov. 19. They campaigned hard for a free and fair choice on whether to join the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). But there they were watching the vote count at the end of an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) run under the same old broken rules.
They stood around in the huge bare room where the election had taken place, in a cold storage building that doubles as the site of the annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. Sounds bounced off the concrete floor and disappeared on the way to the 40-foot ceiling—sighs, a stray cell phone quickly squelched, a hiccup of distress.
More than 10,000 delegates and observers from around the world are gathered in Poznan, Poland, for the 12-day United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC). This ministerial meeting will build upon the framework negotiated in Bali, Indonesia, a year ago. Of the nearly 100 union delegates, more than 20 are from North America, including Bob Baugh, executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Energy Task Force. Baugh sends us the first of a series of posts by members of the labor delegation.
The December 2007 climate change meeting in Bali marked the first time the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) achieved nongovernmental organization (NGO) status for the ongoing climate change negotiations.
With NGO status, ITUC representatives were recognized as official delegates and could participate directly in key working sessions of the conference. The Bali meetings helped put a negotiating framework in place for developing a new set of strategies to replace the current agreement on reducing global warming—known as the Kyoto Protocol—which expires in 2012. The target for achieving a new international agreement is 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Election 2008 isn’t quite over yet. The closest Senate race in the country is still up in the air, as Minnesota is recounting ballots in the contest between Sen. Norm Coleman and AFL-CIO-endorsed Al Franken. While the recount is scheduled to finish tomorrow, final decisions on thousands of ballots are still pending, which means it could be another week before we know who will be the next senator from Minnesota.
On election night, the initial count showed that, out of some 2.86 million votes cast, just over 200 separated Coleman and Franken—a difference of less than 0.01 percent. Under Minnesota state law, a recount is required in any statewide race where the difference is less than half of 1 percent. The recount is under way and will be completed sometime tomorrow.
So who’s ahead, and who is likely to wind up leading when the counting is finished, as required under state law, tomorrow? That’s a good question, and one that nobody seems to be able to answer.
The Obama administration should make labor law reform and affordable, available health care top priorities when it takes office in January, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker told two key members of the incoming Obama administration and community leaders from across the country.
Speaking at a roundtable today in Washington, D.C., on “Realizing the Promise: A Forum on Community, Faith and Democracy,” Holt Baker outlined the major changes needed to turn America around for working people. Roundtable participants included Melody Barnes and Valerie Jarrett, two top advisers to President-elect Barack Obama. Barnes has been designated as director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council. Jarrett, who is co-chairing the transition, will be a senior adviser in the Obama White House.
Holt Baker told the more than 2,000 community leaders participating in the forum labor laws that deny workers the freedom to form unions and the high cost of health care are “undermining everything we need to be doing.”
And the nominees are—no, it’s not the Grammies. It’s Jobs with Justice’s (JwJ‘s) Grinch of the Year contest, which for the past nine years has “honored” the CEO, corporation or politician whose greed and meanness demonstrate a heart that is at least “two sizes too small.”
This year’s nominees fit that description well. First, there’s the notorious anti-worker lobbyist Richard Berman, a hired gun for the alcohol, tobacco and the fast-food industry. Berman has mounted campaigns to relax drunken driving laws, downplay the public health impact of obesity and indoor tanning and prevent an increase in the minimum wage.
But he’s reserved his greatest venom for attacks on unions and working people. Berman most recently has spent his time—and millions in corporate cash—on a deceptive and outright false ad campaign to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act. During the recent elections, his PR blitzes smeared candidates who supported the bill in a multimillion-dollar campaign paid for by corporate special interests who want to deny their employees a fair wage, health care benefits and safety on the job. According to the Union Busting Network at the non-profit American Rights at Work, Berman runs several campaigns out of his offices in Washington, D.C., with corporate backers paying huge fees to his lobbying firm.