New Yorkers provided the most valuable volunteer time in the country in 2008 when the volunteer hours are translated to dollar amounts. According to a study by the organization Independent Sector volunteers in New York put in work equal to $28.04 per hour. Connecticut volunteers came in a close second at an average rate of $27.02 per hour. Across the country volunteer work averaged out to $20.25 per hour. The hours are calculated based on the type of work being volunteered.
It isn’t all doom and gloom when it comes to employment, especially if you are willing to look for a green job. According to Florida’s Palm Beach Post, Florida Power and Light is about to begin work on a new solar energy plant and in order to complete the project the company will be creating 1,100 new jobs. The company is looking for electricians, concrete workers, carpenters and more for the estimated two-year long project. The plant is being built in Martin County where the unemployment rate is currently 10.1 percent. Florida Power and Light will also be building two other solar power pl
Yahoo reported a drop in profit of 78 percent during the first quarter. As a result the internet search portal will slash five percent of its workforce, roughly 700 employees. The company has been shrinking its workforce steadily since 2008 as it seeks to redefine itself. Last year the company cut 2,400 jobs.
The Department of Transportation released some unsettling numbers for the airline industry on Tuesday. Since February of 2008 the nation’s airlines have slashed a total of 27,500 jobs. United Airlines has been hit the hardest cutting a grand total of 6,600 jobs or the equivalent of 12.7 percent of the company’s workforce. Delta and Northwest come in second and third respectively slashing a combined total of 5000 jobs. One airline did manage to reverse the job cutting trends of the other airlines. Southwest added 1,473 workers to its employment roles during the same period.
UNITE-Here has suspended General president Bruce Raynor. Late Tuesday the Executive Board of Unite Here voted 32 to zero to suspend Raynor under allegations he attempted to divide the union. According to UNITE Here Raynor tried to remove the union’s control of the Amalgamated Bank and fostered the “illegal secession of joint boards from the union. Raynor is also accused of promoting the Service Employees International Union within Unite Here’s jurisdiction. Co-President John Wilhelm will determine when Raynor’s 90 day suspension begins and depending on the results of a hearing Raynor could be permanently expelled from the union.
With millions of dollars being dumped by corporate groups into scare tactics, misleading ads and disinformation against the Employee Free Choice Act, here are some excellent resources that help make the case for why we need this bill to protect workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain.
In a great new video, the Electrical Workers (IBEW) union responds to several of the misconceptions about the Employee Free Choice Act that have been promoted by corporate front groups and the pundits and politicians doing their bidding.
The video raises some of the questions posed by opponents of Employee Free Choice and responds with facts and studies:
- The Employee Free Choice Act would put the choice of majority sign-up or a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election in the hands of workers, not their bosses.
- Majority sign-up isn’t a new invention—it’s a legal and decades-old process that hundreds of thousands of workers have used to form unions. Studies show that the NLRB election process puts workers at risk of coercion far more than the majority sign-up process.
- Nearly 30,000 people were disciplined or fired for pro-union activity in 2007, showing the extent to which current law isn’t protecting workers.
- Many prominent economists say that the Employee Free Choice Act will strengthen the economy and raise standards of living for workers.
Mike Semm, an IBEW member who serves as president of Local 1597 in Grand Island, Neb., cuts through the corporate spin in a recent op-ed in the Grand Island Independent. He notes how the destructive economic pattern of the past decade has left workers behind and corporate executives unaccountable. The value that workers created turned into CEO bonuses and speculative bubbles, while the workers themselves were left with a dwindling share.
Stagnant wages and tightening family budgets have severely restricted the average worker’s buying power. Small businesses across the country are hurting because workers can’t afford to buy the products that they’re producing…as President Obama has said, we won’t be able to rebuild the middle class if working people don’t have the freedom to form and join unions….
Unions and businesses have worked together to set up employee training programs, reduce turnover and improve product quality. Recent studies from the Economic Policy Institute show that these cooperative relationships help local communities to prosper, which in turn helps to stimulate demand for local businesses.
Semm says that we need real economic growth, based on work and wages, to get out of our economic crisis. And for that, we need the Employee Free Choice Act to restore workers’ ability to bargain for a fair share of the prosperity they create.
The IBEW’s new video and recent op-ed column counter the corporate disinformation campaign and make a great case for why we need the Employee Free Choice Act.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who has made worker safety and health a priority, will join workers, union leaders, elected officials and college staff to commemorate Workers Memorial Day by helping break ground for a new national workers memorial at the National Labor College (NLC) campus in Silver Spring, Md.
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts and NLC President William Scheuerman will Join Solis at the ceremony. The public also is invited to attend.
The April 28 ceremony will be followed by a traditional candle-lighting ceremony and honoring of all fallen workers. Workers Memorial Day, April 28, is the day workers in the United States and around the world honor those killed and injured on the job and call for improved workplace safety.
With workplace fatalities claiming more than 5,600 deaths annually, Solis already has begun to reverse years of worker safety neglect by the Bush administration. Earlier this month, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) moved quickly to protect workers from a serious lung disease caused by diacetyl, the artificial butter flavoring added to popcorn and other food products. Solis also appointed longtime health and safety advocate Jordan Barab as acting administrator for OSHA.
Also, under the Obama administration, OSHA has entered the 21st century by providig RSS feeds for the most recent information on the Federal Register, agency rule interpretations, news releases and QuickTakes updates. Click here to sign up for the feeds.
Her new emphasis on safety is sorely needed. A report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General released April 1 reveals that the Bush administration’s OSHA systematically failed to perform follow-up inspections for employers who put workers in serious danger. That failure could have led to nearly 60 deaths on the job.
If you are organizing an event, be sure to visit the AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day website. You will find materials to help you stage your event with this year’s theme, “Good Jobs. Safe Jobs. Give Workers a Voice for a Change.” The materials include:
- Workers Memorial Day flier.
- Workers Memorial Day poster.
- Workers Memorial Day clip art in English and Spanish: Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living and Good Jobs, Safe Jobs. Give Workers a Voice for a Change.
- Workers Memorial Day stickers.
- Workers Memorial Day events form.
- Workers Memorial Day proclamation.
- Safety and health update (February 2009).
The AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day online tools include links to a collection of workers’ memorials in the United States and around the world and poems and other tributes to workers killed on the job. Also, next week, the AFL-CIO will release the annual death on the job report.
As part of the preparation for the events and ceremonies to honor workers who have been killed or injured on the job—and to demand improved workplace safety—the AFL-CIO has set up a special Workers Memorial Day Facebook page.
On the page, you can connect with other workplace safety activists, learn about Workers Memorial Day events in your area or reach out to others to help organize actions where you live. The page also has a gallery of Workers Memorial Day posters from previous years.
As Congress begins to consider comprehensive health care reform, one health expert is telling Congress reform must be focused on making sure the most vulnerable patients are served.
Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, told a Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform roundtable this morning that if “we can make the system work for vulnerable patients with multiple chronic conditions, we can make it work for everyone.” Ness told the panel:
We will not achieve meaningful reform unless we improve our health care delivery system so that more people have access to better, more affordable care and get better value for their health care dollars.
Ness told the senators a health care system that puts a greater emphasis on patient’s needs will help improve the quality of health care, lower costs and make health care more accessible.
Our most vulnerable patients do not get the care they want or need, do not get better, and often feel abandoned and overwhelmed by the system. The ultimate measure of our success is whether we can create a delivery system that addresses the needs of these most vulnerable patients. If we can make the health care system work for them, we can make it work for everyone. If we fail them, we will never get health care spending under control.
Ness was one of about a dozen persons participating in the roundtable, which focused on health care delivery. The other participants were mainly representatives and CEOs of health care insurance companies such as Aetna and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
You can let us know about your experiences with the health care system by logging on to our health care survey here. We plan to share the results with lawmakers to help shape the debate to be of most benefit to working families.
The AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement last month called for a restructuring of the nation’s health care system to achieve better quality and better value, by
- Measuring and reporting on the quality of care, the comparative effectiveness of drugs and procedures and what medical science shows to be best practices.
- Putting technology in place to automate health care data.
- Reforming the way we pay for care so doctors have the information, tools and financial incentives to continuously improve care for their patients.
Ness agrees, saying:
We must rebuild our health care infrastructure so we are better able to deliver the high quality, coordinated care patients need. This will require a strong foundation of measurement, reporting and ongoing quality improvement [and] widespread adoption of health information technology that helps us improve quality, coordination, and safety, engages patients and caregivers, reduces costs, and allows assessment of quality and improvement.
The Senate Finance Committee roundtables come as polls show a large majority of Americans supports President Obama’s plan to finance national health care reform by eliminating tax breaks for the rich, according to a poll by Lake Research Partners.
The poll shows a clear majority of Americans (63 percent) favor a health care funding proposal to raise taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 per year by decreasing their tax deductions. An even larger majority of those polled (80 percent) oppose funding health care reform by treating employer health care benefits as income.
Obama’s budget sets aside more than $630 billion over the next 10 years as a reserve fund to help finance reforms to the nation’s health care system. To help pay for it, Obama will allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent to expire in 2010 and will eliminate other tax breaks for those making more than $250,000 a year.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold two more health care roundtables in May. Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has said the committee will markup comprehensive health reform legislation in June and should deliver a bill to President Obama this year.
The UAW is calling on all working people to stand up for active and retired U.S. autoworkers. The Obama administration has established tight deadlines for the restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors (GM). For the federal government to provide additional assistance to the automakers, the restructuring of Chrysler must be completed by the end of April, and the General Motors restructuring must be completed by the end of May.
The Chrysler and GM workers need President Obama and his auto task force to stand up for the interests of workers and retirees in these restructuring negotiations.
You can call President Obama at 202-456-1414, or send him an e-mail at: www.whitehouse.gov/contact. The UAW urges allies to tell him that workers and retirees must be treated in a fair and equitable manner in any restructuring plans.
The UAW is actively involved in the complex restructuring negotiations, which involve the Obama auto task force, Chrysler and GM management, Fiat, bondholders and secured lenders, dealers, parts suppliers and other stakeholders. These negotiations will have a major impact on wages and benefits for active and retired UAW members.
In January, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger warned that workers alone cannot save the nation’s auto industry. All stakeholders have to participate, including management, board members, dealers, suppliers, secured and unsecured creditors, he said.
Speaking before the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Gettelfinger said any attempt to single out workers to bear the brunt of the changes needed within the auto industry will fail because no one group can solve the problem alone.
Our contracts with Chrysler, Ford and GM represent only 10 percent of the cost of assembling a vehicle. But most days, it seems like we get 110 percent of the attention.
Tthe domestic auto industry is not in trouble because of union members or union contracts, the UAW leader said:
The problem is not a lack of quality, or a failure to produce fuel-efficient vehicles. The real problem is the most severe economic recession in decades and a global credit crisis that has dried up funding for businesses and consumers.