Labor Urges President Obama To Factor In French Subsidies As Boeing Competes With Airbus – 44,000 U.S. Jobs At Stake – 10/27/09
By Doug Cunningham
Labor is urging President Obama to force French subsidies to be taken into account as Boeing and the French EADS/Airbus again compete for a military air refueling tanker contract. At stake are 44,000 U.S. jobs that will stay in the U.S. if Boeing gets the contract.
News that 550 laid off employees at Caterpillar are being recalled throughout the next year is bittersweet. As the Illinois-based company welcomes back those workers over the next year it has begun sending notices to 2,500 other workers that they will not be getting their jobs back. The heavy equipment manufacturer has slashed more than 18,700 full time jobs since December 2008.
By Doug Cunningham
[Ott1]: “We believe that New York City can grow and inclusive multi-stakeholder green economy.”
CUNY’s Ed Ott on the Green Collar Jobs Roadmap report from the Urban Agenda is being released today. Ott says it’s a comprehensive strategy to grow a sustainable, prosperous green economy.
[Ott 2]: “Building service workers are very much engaged in the roundtable and a shift towards what we call a green collar economy. There’s a tremendous opportunity here for jobs.”
Some UAW Ford Locals Vote Against Concessions, Margin is 92 Percent Against At Missouri Plant – 10/27/09
Jesse Russell has more now on developing opposition among Ford UAW workers to the concessions agreement, including workers at a Ford plant near Kansas City who voted overwhelmingly against the new labor concessions.
UAW President Fights To Convince Members To Approve Ford Concessions, Says 7,000 Jobs Will Be Saved – 10/27/09
By Doug Cunningham
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced in a Capitol Hill press conference today that he will send a health care reform bill to the Senate floor that includes a public option. States will have until 2014 to decide if they want to participate in the public plan.
Reid said he was optimistic that health care reform will pass:
“I feel good about progress we have made within our caucus and with the White House, and we are all optimistic about reform because of the unprecedented momentum that exists.
“I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It will protect consumers, keep insurers honest and ensure competition. And that’s why we intend to include it on the bill that will be submitted to the Senate for consideration.”
In a telephone press conference this morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said any real health care reform bill must include a robust public option that helps lower premiums and keeps insurance companies honest by guaranteeing competition.
Real reform also must require employers to pay their fair share by providing health coverage or contributing to help pay for subsidies, Trumka said. Real reform should ensure that working families who already are struggling to pay for health care insurance are not asked to pay even more in the form of a new excise tax on their coverage, he added.
There are still things that still need to be fixed in the Senate bill, according to the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition, but Reid deserves thanks for including a public option. Click here to add your name to an HCAN the petition thanking Reid for fighting for America.
Delegates to the 15th Bienneial Convention of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) earlier this month looked to the future by electing a new slate of officers. Karen See, a member of the Postal Workers (APWU), was elected president, succeeding Marsha Zakowski.
More than 600 delegates and observers at the convention in Los Angeles discussed strategies for building the organization and recruiting younger members.
See says the convention theme, “The Rising Tide of Change: Activism, Leadership–Union Women!!” summarizes her goal of rejuvenating CLUW and getting union women more involved in the leadership of the union movement.
I feel a new excitement about the possibilities for the work CLUW can accomplish. I am looking forward to working with the officers and members of CLUW to improve the lives of all working women. We will be more active in our communities as we build partnerships with community allies, together fighting for the needs of women and families.
See, who has served as CLUW’s membership and field organizer since 2007, says organizing will be a key priority of her administration. She says her election also reflects the need for women to have a more forceful voice in their unions as rank-and-file members, in leadership positions and as partners with CLUW’s community allies. With women now becoming the majority of the workforce and the largest growing sector in the labor movement, See said CLUW intends to play a more visible and active role.
Convention delegates also were among the first to access “A Woman’s Nation,” the ground-breaking report on women spearheaded by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress
Convention delegates also elected Janet Nelson of AFSCME as executive vice president and Gloria Brimm of UAW as corresponding secretary. APWU member Judy Beard and Dolores Gorczyca of the Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) were re-elected as treasurer and recording secretary, respectively.
The delegates also voted to expand the national board to include members from unions not previously represented. They then re-elected five vice presidents and elected 11 new ones.
Chole Osmer of the Clean Carwash Campaign in Los Angeles took part in a rally to celebrate a new law that protects workers from wage theft and later helped spread the word to carwash workers across the area.
Carwash workers and their community supporters celebrated passage of A.B. 236, a bill to renew the state’s Carwash Worker Law on Friday. Carwash workers, legal services, community organizations and unions announced the launch of an outreach campaign to raise awareness about the law to the roughly 10,000 workers in the Los Angeles-area carwash industry.
The Carwash Worker Law was one of only a handful of labor bills signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this legislative session. Manuel Zuniga, who worked at Florence Carwash in Los Angeles for more than three years, told the crowd:
Carwash workers helped pass this law, and now we want all workers in this industry to know it exists. We have found our voice and we are saying, “Ya basta” (”We’ve had enough”) to exploitation!
Community members and union supporters held banners proclaiming, “Wash Away Injustice,” and workers stood behind a large display of fliers describing the Carwash Worker Law they later distributed to carwash workers across the city.
The law provides workers with a means to collect unpaid wages by creating a fund for carwash workers and requiring all carwashes to purchase a surety bond as insurance for unpaid wages. The law also requires carwashes to register with the state of California, enabling officials to prevent employers who have violated labor laws in the past from continuing to do so.
Aura Lopez, who worked at the Best Way Car Wash, told the crowd:
I’m a member of the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee. And we are going to take the message about the law to all carwash workers in Los Angeles. I want to invite other carwasheros to join us and stand up for their rights!
Henry Huerta, director of the CLEAN Carwash Campaign, said:
The Carwash Worker Law has helped to increase enforcement, but in order to clean up this industry, it must be fully enforced.
That’s why we’re reaching out today: to the public to be conscious consumers, to employers to obey the law and to workers to speak out for their rights.
Carwash workers and their supporters also celebrated a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order that compensated workers subjected to unfair labor practices, including four who were fired or had their hours cut after they tried to improve conditions by forming a union.
On Friday morning and again in the afternoon, the carwash owners, in the presence of an NLRB agent and union representatives, read a notice to employees during paid working time that advised workers of their right to form a union and listed the ways in which the carwash will refrain from interfering with that right.
More than 50 community and union supporters joined carwash workers to celebrate the victories. The event ended with coffee and a cake with that said “Felicidades Carwasheros!” (Congratulations Carwash Workers!)
After fighting for new hate crimes legislation for a dozen years, union and civil rights activists praised the final passage of a bill that expands the definition of federal hate crimes and removes unnecessary obstacles to prosecution.
The Senate passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act late last week by a 68-29 margin. The bill, which was attached to a Defense authorization measure, already had cleared the House. President Obama is expected to sign it into law as early as this week.
Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), which includes the AFL-CIO and several unions, applauded lawmakers for “recognizing the fundamental right of all Americans to be protected from violence because of their race, the way they worship, their sexual orientation, gender identity or disability status.”
Congress’ decision to pass this bill sends a clear message to these victims of violence and their families…that we value every American’s basic civil and human right to be safe and free from physical harm.
The bill is named for Shepard, a gay student killed in Wyoming, and for Byrd, an African American who was chained to a truck and dragged to death in Texas. Both tragedies occurred in 1998.
The legislation expands coverage of hate crimes to include crimes based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability. Until now, the Justice Department could investigate only hate crimes motivated by the victim’s race, color, religion or national origin.
The bill also gives the federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate or when local authorities are unwilling or do not have the resources to do so themselves.
The AFL-CIO long has supported hate crimes legislation. In 2005, the Executive Council issued a statement that said:
Horrifying hate crimes designed to intimidate and harass individuals because of their membership in particular groups have no place in our society.
We renew our call for Congress to pass and the president to sign hate crimes legislation that will enable federal authorities to assist local prosecutions and, where appropriate, investigate and prosecute cases in which bias-motivated violence occurs because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability.