- CWA Says It Won’t Agree To Undermine Middle Class Jobs At AT&T
- CSEA: New York Governor Paterson Tactics Tantamount To Union Busting
- New Jersey Governor Corzine To Implement State Worker Unpaid Furloughs
- UBS Cuts Eleven Percent Of Its Worldwide Workforce
- Economic Report: That Giant Hissing Sound Is U.S. Economy Deflating
If you hear a hissing sound, don’t worry, it is only the U.S. economy. According to the Guardian for the first time since August of 1955 the U.S. economy is in a deflation. The consumer price index dropped by 0.4 percent in March. The main reason is a drop in energy costs during the month which fell by 3 percent with gasoline prices dropping by 4 percent.
UBS is planning to cut 11 percent of its worldwide workforce. That number would amount to 8,700 job cuts by the year 2010. The Swiss bank had already announced plan in October of last year to slash 2000 jobs in the United States and United Kingdom. The company didn’t specify on Wednesday where the additional cuts would be made.
New Jersey’s Civil Service Commission has denied a request to delay an emergency furlough rule from being implemented. Jesse Russell has more.
As a result, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine announced yesterday he would move forward with plans to implement one-day furloughs in May and June. The unions representing the state workers argue that the furlough days, which amount to pay cuts, are in violation of worker contracts. An appellate court is expected to hear arguments from both sides today. Some state workers will be exempt from the furlough ruling including state troopers and corrections officers.
By Doug Cunningham
In New York State, the Civil Service Employees Association says Gov. David Paterson is using anti-union politics to resolve the state’s budget crisis. The CSEA says Gov. Paterson’s threat to lay off 9,000 corrections, state police and mental health workers unless unions accept concessions endangers public safety. CSEA’s Steve Medaris says the governor is carrying out an anti-union political agenda.
[Medaris]: “He’s not interested in anything that we could come up with to save the state money short of re-opening the contracts. This is really tantamount to union-busting.”
By Doug Cunningham
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) continues to try to get a fair contract at AT&T, but the possibility of a strike is still very real. AT&T is demanding massive cost-shifting onto workers. CWA Midwest District 4 Vice President Seth Rosen says the union is in no mood to destroy middle class jobs at a company that made $12.9 billion profit last year.
[Rosen]: “CWA is interested in working out reasonable solutions on a range of issues –including health care, including retirement, including wages. We have done that for years with this company. What we are not willing to do is agree to massive cost-shiftings that undermines the standards of living of middle class jobs. Not just because our members don’t want to be pushed out of the middle class and into poverty, but more importantly America needs middle class jobs.”
Free Exchange on Campus, a coalition of 23 unions, faculty and student organizations and progressive policy groups, is setting the record straight about the shoddy research and erroneous conclusions in David Horowitz’s latest book, “One Party Classroom.”
As he does in his previous books, Horowitz, an extremist right-winger, attacks public universities and claims they brainwash students and turn them against their parents and country.
In “Facts Still Count,” the coalition says Horowitz’s outlandish claims are based on misrepresentations and distortions of the work of faculty members. The report says he has used this fallacious evidence to push an agenda that has the potential to chill the free exchange of ideas on college campuses. Click here to download the report.
Horowitz’s agenda is nothing more than an attack on the professional integrity of college faculty and strikes at the issue of professional control and academic freedom, two pillars of higher education.
In particular, the report checks the facts that Horowitz uses to condemn public universities and uncovers how he distorts reality. For example:
- Horowitz continually uses inaccurate copies of course descriptions, intentionally omits sections of course descriptions and simply misquotes course descriptions, when claiming that a course, department or faculty member’s work is inappropriate for higher education. With a lack of accurate evidence, his conclusions fail to hold water.
- One of Horowitz’s repeated tactics involves citing the reading list of a course as evidence that it is used to indoctrinate rather than educate—typically because his representation of the reading list contains only perspectives of which he disapproves. However, in numerous examples, Horowitz’s account literally leaves out books and reading assignments that would disprove his claims.
The bottom line, according to the coalition:
Horowitz makes exaggerated claims based on faulty and distorted evidence. While the rest of the country is discussing higher education’s role in an economic recovery, Horowitz is rehashing the same old discredited story. It’s time to move on.
All faculty in public colleges and universities in Montana now are union members after the faculty at Montana State University-Bozeman voted yesterday to join the Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers (MEA-MFT), the state affiliate of the AFT and the National Education Association.
MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver says:
All Montana public college and university faculty are now MEA-MFT. No exceptions. This could well be a unique event among public state colleges and universities across the nation. All of us here at MEA-MFT are excited and proud of our new members.
Tenure track and adjunct faculty voted separately to join the union, forming two separate locals, both affiliated with MEA-MFT.
Says Karen Leech, a 37-year adjunct professor of music:
Two votes, one faculty voice, We’ve had two elections and will bargain two contracts, but we are united.
“We are interested in having a voice at the table with MSU administration,” said Sandy Osborne, a professor in health and human development.
In talking with unionized faculty around the state, we saw that union representation ensures that faculty can work with administration—backed by a legally enforceable contract that guarantees the rights of both parties. It makes us legal equals with administration. We decided that forming a union would help us do a better job of providing for our students.
In other organizing news:
- The National Pilots Association, representing the nearly 1,700 pilots of AirTran Airways, overwhelmingly voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). ”We had a choice to cling to the past, keep complaining about our failures, and refuse to accept reality or make a bold decision for our future,” said Linden Hillman, president of the National Pilots. The ALPA Executive Board, which will meet April 28-29, must ratify the merger agreement. If that happens as expected, the merger will be effective May 1.
- Thirteen workers for Perkasie’s (Pa.) public works and electric departments have voted to join AFSCME.
The Treasury Department’s bank bailout plan is built on the faulty assumption that the financial crisis is the result of a temporary lack of a market for current financial products—and presumes the losses can be made up after confidence in the system is restored. The reality is that the entire financial services industry needs to be restructured and the sooner, the better, two experts said recently.
Writing at the Campaign for America’s Future website, Susan Ozawa points out that during a recent conference, Damon Silvers, vice chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), and economist Robert Kuttner said broader and deeper changes need to be made than the Treasury plan envisions. They spoke April 8 at the “Lifting the TARP: Is a Reconstruction Finance Corporation a Better Way to Restore the Banking System?” conference sponsored by Demos in Washington, D.C.
Silvers, AFL-CIO associate general counsel, said the Treasury’s plan denies how deeply the financial crisis runs. He cites COP’s latest oversight report, which says Treasury’s approach of propping up the companies that suffered the biggest losses
possibly fails to acknowledge the depth of the current downturn and the degree to which the low valuation of troubled assets accurately reflects their worth. The actions undertaken by Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC are unprecedented. But if the economic crisis is deeper than anticipated, it is possible that Treasury will need to take very different actions in order to restore financial stability.
Kuttner, a distinguished senior fellow at the public policy group Demos and co-editor of The American Prospect, said trying to restore the previous system is antithetical to rebuilding a sound economy. Instead, he says, we should be winding down these sectors that failed to return to a straight-forward pre-1975 banking system when troubled assets such as mortgage-based derivatives did not exist. Thus the bailout efforts that stem from a fundamentally misguided assumption will continue to be misguided, Kuttner added.
The COP report focuses on historical examples of financial crises handled correctly. Silvers outlined the steps successful interventions share in common:
- New management replaces the old in failing institutions, not for moral reasons, but because of the difficultly in objectively evaluating the mess we’ve just made.
- The true value portfolios must be made.
- After the gap between the real value of assets and the stated value are established, equity is wiped out.
- For the remaining fixed obligations, there is some flexibility in resolution with different scenarios possible for debt holders.
- In this process, the more taxpayers participate in funding the restructuring of these failed entities, the more upside should be sought for the taxpayer once these entities are restored.
As Silvers notes, every moment holds the potential for correction, but with every moment that passes, the more costly it becomes to address the problems.
|Hundreds of union members and allies marched in Pittsburgh in support of Employee Free Choice.|
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) may be wavering and backing off of his sometime support for the Employee Free Choice Act, but the message from Pennsylvania workers is clear. They’ve made phone calls, written letters and hit the streets to tell Arlen what they think—will he listen?
More than 300 union members rallied in Pittsburgh yesterday, delivering more than 12,000 letters from a broad coalition of supporters asking Specter to back the freedom to form unions.
The Pittsburgh rally is the latest in a series of actions around the state in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. In Harrisburg, Allentown, Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia, union members hand-delivered hundreds of letters to Sen. Arlen Specter’s local offices.