- IAM Members At Mercury Marine Resist Concession Demands
- UAW Says Cash For Clunkers Worked For Both The Environment And Auto Industry
- Former Lowe’s Workers Win $1.72 Million Sexual Harassment Suit
- Toyota Decision On Former Joint Venture Plant Expected Soon
- Nurses Unions Merge To Launch National Nurses United
By Doug Cunningham
Will our economy ever stop making the rich richer? Maybe. The New York Times says that last year the number of Americans worth at least $30 million dropped 24 percent. Economists say over the past two years the rich have become poorer. If this trend holds it will be the first time in 30 years that the rich will fail to get richer. Several indicators say the rich are spending less now. The income inequality between the truly rich and workers is expected to continue to remain stronger than during most of the 20th century, according to the Times.
By Doug Cunningham
Three nurses unions have set December 7-8th in Scottsdale, Arizona for the founding convention of their National Nurses United merger. When the unions combine forces they will have 150,000 members.
By Doug Cunningham
Any day now thousands of workers at the former GM-Toyota joint venture plant may learn their fate. Toyota could well decide to close the plant, the only Toyota factory in America where workers are unionized. Members of UAW Local 2244 recently rallied to save the plant. California is also reportedly offering Toyota incentives to keep it open.
As Jesse Russell reports, three former Lowe’s employees have been awarded $1.72 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The three employees worked at one of the company’s hardware stores in Longview, Washington. Two of the employees said they were being harassed by co-workers who thought they were gay and a third employee was a female who had allegedly been harassed by a supervisor. The three workers will split the settlement which is the largest such settlement ever awarded per employee in the western United States. Under the settlement Lowe’s will revise anti-harassment and anti-re
By Doug Cunningham
The government’s Cash For Clunkers program is ending. The United Auto Workers union says it was a popular and successful program that worked. The union says the result of trading in so many clunkers is higher fuel economy, lower carbon emissions and an increase in auto industry production and employment. The UAW says it looks forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration to protect our environment and keep the U.S. auto industry moving forward.
By Doug Cunningham
The 850 International Association of Machinist’s union members at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac Wisconsin are resisting employer demands for cuts mid-contract. On Sunday, they overwhelmingly voted to reject wage and benefits concessions. Mercury Marine is threatening to move production to a non-union Oklahoma plant. The company just signed a new four year contract with the union a year ago, but it wants out of the agreement. Mercury Marine wants lower wages for new hires and cuts in pension benefits. Mercury Marine is the largest maker of boat engines in the world. Righ
After years of trying to gut Medicare and turn health care for the nation’s seniors over to the private health insurance industry—the same industry that’s done such a fine job for the rest of us—Republicans today announced they will “protect” Medicare with a brand new “Seniors Health Care Bill of Rights.”
Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, unleashed this latest scam in a desperate attempt to derail health care reform, writing an op-ed in today’s Washington Post that is chock-full of lies and falsehoods about President Obama’s health care reform efforts.
Steele claims health care reform will cut vital Medicare programs, prevent seniors from making their own medical and health decisions, and echoes the rest of the anti-reform litany. (Steele also tried to falsely portray himself as part of the Steelworkers union by setting up a misleading Facebook page. Buy land from this guy in Florida? Think not.)
Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, says this latest Republican attack on health care reform is:
galling not only for its gross distortions of public policy issues, but also for its hypocrisy on the heels of high-profile GOP efforts to scare and confuse American seniors about the health care debate.
Coyle also says there is one very important right missing in this so-called Bill of Rights—the “right to be told the truth.”
The truth is retirees have a lot to gain from leading Democratic proposals that would make it easier for them to see a doctor, get a prescription filled, and afford long-term care.
Click here to read Coyle’s full statement.
- Close the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D, the one that guarantees insurance companies keep getting their monthly premiums even when they aren’t giving you any benefits.
- Allow Medicare to negotiate for volume discounts with the drug companies. Savvy seniors know you should pay less when you buy in bulk.
- End wasteful taxpayer subsidies to the private insurance companies who run Medicare Advantage plans.
- Keep you healthier by eliminating the co-pay for Medicare preventive services such as checkups and cancer screenings.
- Offer an opportunity for early retirees to buy into Medicare
Coyle says the Republicans’ real intent is to “scare seniors and mislead them the with lies and predictions of doom.”
You know, the usual.
The 300 customer-support workers at EZ Pass in Staten Island, N.Y., need your help. The workers’ employer, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), announced it is changing the workers’ pay structure from an hourly wage to a piecework wage.
It is no coincidence, workers say, the change was announced on the same day the workers voted to join Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1102 despite a brutal anti-union campaign by ACS. The company held one-on-one meetings and captive audience meetings to intimidate workers.
To make matters worse, says Local 1102 President Ed Luster, ACS works directly with the New York State Thruway Authority and other state agencies to run the EZ Pass system in New York—meaning ACS in New York is funded by tax dollars.
Local 1102 is planning a major rally in support of the EZ Pass workers on Sept. 17. Click here for more information.
EZ Pass worker Barbara Elliot told the CWA convention:
Supervisors were free to further intimidate and frighten us. They made it nearly impossible for any pro-union worker to get out of our seats to discuss the union with co-workers.
What ACS is doing to the EZ Pass workers, she said, is “unacceptable and un-American.” (Click on the video above.)
Now the company has refused to bargain. It also appealed the vote, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) denied the appeal. If the Employee Free Choice Act is enacted, it would help stop employer abuse and restore the freedom to bargain.
The average pay for ACS workers is about $13 dollars per hour, but with the piecework scheme being implemented—what the company euphemistically terms “activity-based compensation”—the workers’ pay could drop to 83 cents per call, pushing some wages down to the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. CWA believes the company is making this move to punish workers for joining the union.
Click here to help put a quick stop to this scheme by e-mailing New York State Thruway Authority Chairman John Buono and demanding that the Authority tell their contractor to reject piecework at EZ Pass. Tax dollars should not be spent on paying workers poverty wages, especially as a punishment for joining a union.
Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, was named chairman of the powerful Federal Reserve Bank of New York today. Hughes, who has served as acting chairman of the board of directors since May, was named chairman for the remainder of 2009.
Hughes says his experience on the board has been a “great experience,” which has allowed him to see firsthand how the nation’s economy really works.
“My job is to do whatever I can to make sure working families are considered when decisions are made.”
Hughes, a 40-year member of the Electrical Workers (IBEW, has led the New York State federation since 1999.
The New York bank is the operating arm of the Federal Reserve System in New York, northern New Jersey, Fairfield County in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is the largest of the 12 Federal Reserve district banks in terms of assets and volume of activity.
The central bank has a seven-member Board of Governors in Washington, which appointed Hughes to the New York post. District bank chairs are designated annually.