A Philadelphia transit strike continues today with 5000 members of the Transport Workers Union off the job. The workers have been unable to bridge a gap in contract negotiations with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The combined total of riders for the cities subways and busses averages 930,000.
Economists are expecting some stormy weather when the new unemployment numbers are released Friday. Jesse Russell reports:
On Friday the Labor Department will release October’s unemployment numbers and economists are preparing for what they predict will be more bad news – breaking the national 10-percent unemployed mark. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz the country is already there due to the number of people who have stopped participating in the labor market:
Farm Labor Organizing Committee President: Mexico Not Doing Enough To Solve Organizer’s Murder – 11/05/09
By Doug Cunningham
By Doug Cunningham
The AFL-CIO is kicking off a Week of Action to support health care reform today. With health care reform votes imminent in Congress the labor federation is asking a million workers to participate in rallies, phone banks and other events to persuade Congress to pass health care reform.
The nonprofit Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has launched an interactive tool for anyone interested in looking beneath current economic data to find out what’s really happening with jobs and the economy. The new online feature, “Economy Track,” offers easy-to-understand charts built on government statistics and enhanced with exclusive EPI data.
For example, Economy Track illustrates how unemployment is higher for African Americans and Hispanics than for whites, higher for men than for women, and much higher for blue-collar workers than for those with white-collar jobs.
Users can focus on unemployment and underemployment trends by state, race/ethnic group, gender, occupation and education level.
Unlike many other sites, Economy Track includes data on underemployment, which represents workers who are stuck in part-time or low-paying jobs who want full-time work. The site provides valuable insights by allowing users to compare the current economic downturn with past recessions. There is a detailed chart on the job market and labor turnover.
Here’s an important point: You can download the raw data and see for yourself the numbers on which the charts are based.
Check out this great tool here.
With more than 2 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost since the beginning of this recession in December 2007, a new report says developing a clean energy economy in the United States could create some 850,000 new manufacturing jobs.
The report, “Building the Clean Energy Assembly Line: How Renewable Energy Can Revitalize U.S. Manufacturing and the American Middle Class,” by the Blue Green Alliance, recommends major policy changes to build markets for clean energy and provide the financing and capacity building to create clean energy jobs.
Speaking at a telephone press conference today, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said federal policies gave a boost to the auto, medical and other industries, and they can do the same for clean energy.
Clean energy can revitalize U.S. manufacturing. Clean energy technology utilizes many of the same components manufactured for the auto industry. Done right, clean energy policy will create new demand for…manufacturing.
Developing clean energy also is an issue of national security, Brown said, because “we need to wean ourselves from foreign oil.”
The report says if Congress enacts a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would require the nation’s utilities to produce 25 percent of our electricity using renewable sources by 2025, it would stimulate enough demand for the component parts needed to make wind turbines, solar panels and other clean energy technologies to create 850,000 jobs at existing U.S. manufacturers across the country.
Click here to download the report.
The jobs would revitalize the hard-hit Midwest. Six of the 10 states with the potential to create the most renewable energy jobs are in the nation’s heartland—Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. The other big winners would be California, Texas, New York and North Carolina, according to the report.
Also speaking at the press conference call, Utility Workers (UWUA) President Michael Langford told reporters:
Renewable energy, and the green jobs that come along with it, are key to our economic growth. It is essential that in order to lead the world in renewable energy technologies, and create good jobs that support our families and communities, we must look at ways to rebuild and revitalize American manufacturing.
We can’t keep doing what we’re doing. We’re just making countries like China rich. That’s not sustainable. We have to create more jobs
The new report also calls for changes in policies on financing, tax credits and caps on carbon emissions, and increased research and development.
Citing the growing expansion of clean energy usage and manufacturing in China and some European countries, Robert Gramlich, senior vice president of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said the United States must move quickly or lose out on the opportunity to take the lead in green technology.
The global foot race is on. This is a great opportunity for us to help American workers and industries.
David Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, says adding a robust manufacturing provision in climate change legislation now in the Senate “will ensure that strengthening and revitalizing America’s manufacturing base is a priority.”
We can create whole new industries and put America in the driver’s seat for the global clean energy economy.
In a speech in September, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said strategies to change U.S. energy sources mean developing wind and solar power, rehabbing buildings to conserve energy and creating electrical smart grids. It also will require creating a new energy-efficient transportation fleet and expanding mass transit.
But making the best use of less popular energy sources such as coal also must be in the mix, he said. A former coal miner, Trumka said he believes there is an important role for clean coal as we transition to carbon-free energy sources.
Launched in 2006 by the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Sierra Club, the Blue Green Alliance is a national, strategic partnership between unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy.
|Northeast New York Central Labor Council President Betty Lennon, New York State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes and union members get out the vote for Bill Owens.|
|New York State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes and Rep.-elect Bill Owens|
Last night, on opposite ends of the country, union members helped send two new fighters for working families to Washington. Bill Owens won in a closely contested battle in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, while John Garamendi won a strong victory in California’s 10th District.
Both U.S. House seats were open after ex-Reps. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) and Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) left Congress to take positions in the Obama administration.
The New York State AFL-CIO and affiliated unions united behind Owens’ candidacy as he faced off against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Hoffman, heavily funded by corporate-friendly, right-wing groups like the Club for Growth and the anti-health care “astroturf” group FreedomWorks, drove a pro-worker moderate Republican out of the race, using health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act as scare tactics.
Upstate New York voters rejected these attacks and chose a candidate who supports workers and focused his campaign on job creation and the needs of the 23rd District. Owens is the first Democrat elected to represent this northernmost region of New York in more than a century.
Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, says union member-to-member contact helped send Owens to Congress, with thousands of doors knocked and phone calls making the difference in an election decided by 4 percentage points. Says Hughes:
Today, the labor movement in this state has a great deal to be proud of. Presented with extraordinary circumstances this past weekend, organized labor was able to overcome a daunting challenge and implement a coordinated grassroots campaign that helped propel our candidate to victory.
In California, Garamendi, the state’s lieutenant governor, was elected to the U.S. House by a 16-point margin. Garamendi earned the endorsement of the California Labor Federation this summer. Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said in the endorsement statement that Garamendi was a champion of education, health care and job creation:
John Garamendi is a tireless advocate for working families and will serve California well in the U.S. Congress.
As the House prepares to vote on health care and other top priorities of working families, we’re glad that working families have sent two new members who will vote for the change America needs. The pro-worker majority in Congress has been strengthened with the addition of Owens and Garamendi.
Some 2,600 family child care providers in New Mexico recently voted to join Child Care Providers Together (CCPT)/New Mexico, an AFSCME affiliate. Meanwhile, aerospace workers in Georgia voted for Machinists (IAM) representation and car rental workers in Boston chose IUE-CWA.
In New Mexico, the child care workers—who care for children whose parents are eligible for state child care assistance—topped off their three-year fight for a voice at work last week when their vote to join CCPT was certified.
In April, Gov. Bill Richardson (D) signed legislation the workers had fought for since 2006 to win the right to join a union to improve their lives and the quality of home child care services in the state.
State-licensed provider Nancy Mosier and her husband, Michael, found time to build their union—even while they operated a center for 12 children in Raton, a small city in northeast New Mexico. Nancy says they wanted to help organize providers because they deserve to be treated with respect, like state employees.
Once approached to join the union, she says, “We were interested immediately.”
We wanted the right to speak out on what we need as professional day care providers.
AFSCME Council 18 President Andrew Padilla says the workers will gain more access to training and be able to provide a better quality of child care.
In Boston, 60 workers at Budget car rental at Logan Airport overcame management’s anti-union campaign last month and voted to join IUE-CWA Local 81201.
Organizers say the workers successfully countered management’s efforts to divide them, including forcing Budget management to cut short many of its captive audience meetings because the workers kept taking them over.
At Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., 29 workers employed by Lockheed Martin and 38 workers at Fed Services Inc., voted by nearly 10-to-1 to join the IAM.
|The AFL-CIO is running an ad in support of health care reform in newspapers in the Washington, D.C., area.|
Within days, the U.S. House will vote on a historic health care reform bill that will cover everyone, cut costs and protect families from insurance company abuses.
The House bill, H.R. 3962—the Affordable Health Care for America Act—has provisions that will help families now and in the long term, all while decreasing the nation’s deficit.
Although some provisions of reform will require time to implement, here are key changes that will kick in immediately, providing direct and critical relief to millions of working families:
- An immediate insurance program for high-risk uninsured people to buy into.
- Ending “rescissions”—prohibiting insurers from nullifying coverage when patients file claims.
- Ending the lifetime caps on how much care insurers will cover.
- Allowing young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 27.
- Allowing workers who have lost coverage because they lost their job to extend COBRA coverage.
- New incentive programs to increase the number of doctors.
- Funding for community health centers.
- Reducing the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage—which right now doesn’t cover any drug costs between $2,700 and $4,050.
- A new fund to help employers pay for coverage for early retirees.
And that’s just the beginning. Over time, H.R. 3962 will create an exchange in which millions can buy insurance—including the choice of a public health insurance option to compete with insurance companies. Middle-class families will have real choices and real protections from unfair insurance practices—meaning they and their doctors, not health insurance bureaucrats, will be in charge of their health care. And the House bill includes both real responsibility for employers and subsidies to help families afford insurance.
The bill also includes numerous provisions to make care more affordable and better in quality, including electronic medical records, tools to fight fraud and waste and incentives for better care. It will end denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions and end co-payments for preventative care.
Here’s a two-page fact sheet detailing the many ways this bill will provide high-quality, affordable care to families—covering the uninsured and making sure insurance works for those who do have it.
A new Alliance for Retired Americans report points out some particularly important benefits of H.R. 3962 for seniors. In addition to beginning to close the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D’s prescription drug coverage, the bill raises subsidies for low- and middle-income seniors to buy prescription drugs and allows Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
The AFL-CIO is supporting the House health care bill with new print ads running this week in Washington, D.C.-area newspapers, including Roll Call, the Hill and Politico. The ads ask Congress to vote for a reform bill that doesn’t put a new tax on middle-class families’ health benefits. It’s part of a national week of action on health care that will include union member phone calls to Congress and public rallies across the country.