Compensation was slightly up for U.S. workers in November. According to the Commerce Department on Wednesday compensation earned was up by 0.3 percent, that’s the best increase on record since April of 2009. As a result personal incomes were also up by 0.4 percent. November also saw an increase in hours worked with U.S. workers logging an additional 0.6 percent in hours over October. Small business owners continue to see a climb adding an additional 1.2 percent in income earned on top of 1.4 percent in October.
In an attempt to cut costs, Yahoo plans to shut down operations starting December 25 and running until January 1. Workers who aren’t involved with “essential functions” will be asked to use vacation days during the week or take unpaid leave. Non-U.S. workers will be paid based on requirements under their respective governments. The company says customer service will remain open during the shut down.
The future of organized labor could depend on its greater role in communities. Jesse Russell has more.
In early December the United Steelworkers held a Civil and Human Rights Conference where leaders talked about the future of organized labor and the greater role that needs to be taken in communities. Fred Redmond is Vice President of Human Affairs with the Steelworkers.
AFL-CIO: Remarkable That Sen. Reid Got The Health Bill Through – But It Remains Inadequate – 12/25/09
By Doug Cunningham
One night before the Screen Actors (SAG) honor Hollywood’s finest performers, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will pay tribute to five actors who won SAG’ s highest honor: the Life Achievement Award. TCM’s four-film prime-time presentation airs Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, the night before a live broadcast of the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards—the nation’s largest and only nationally televised all-union awards show.
TCM’s tribute will begin at 8 p.m. EST with the 1935 comedy short “Tit for Tat,” starring Stan Laurel, who received the Life Achievement Award in 1963. Next up, Jack Lemmon, who was honored by SAG in 1989, stars in the Neil Simon comedy “The Out-of-Towners” (1969). Sidney Poitier, honored in 1999, and Ruby Dee, honored in 2000, star in the dramatic adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961). And the night closes out with 1998 honoree Kirk Douglas in the suspenseful Western “Last Train from Gun Hill” (1959).
This year’s Life Achievement honoree is television and film actress Betty White. She will receive the award during the SAG Awards ceremony, which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, at 8 p.m. EST/PST, 7 p.m. CST and 6 p.m. MST. SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos.
SAG’s Life Achievement Award is awarded not only for career achievement but also for humanitarian accomplishment. As a Lifetime Achievement Award winner, White joins such previous honorees as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (1985), Elizabeth Taylor (1997), Edward Asner (2001), Clint Eastwood (2002), Shirley Temple Black (2005), Julie Andrews (2006), Charles Durning (2007) and James Earl Jones (2008).
The Senate passed health care reform by a 60-39 margin shortly after 7 a.m. today.
While passage of this legislation continues the momentum for health care reform, the Senate bill itself doesn’t live up to the kind of reform we need. The bill has many positive features, but it falls short in three key areas:
• It is paid for by a tax on working families’ health benefits.
• It fails to provide a public health insurance option, which would control costs by giving insurance companies real competition.
• It does not do enough to make sure employers are living up to their responsibility.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
For this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made. The AFL-CIO intends to fight on behalf of all working families to make those changes and win health care reform that is deserving of the name.
The House bill is the model for genuine health care reform. Working people cannot accept anything less than real reform.
Click here to read Trumka’s statement.
The Senate’s bill does make some important improvements. It would cover 30 million more people, providing subsidies to lower- and middle-income people to help them pay for health coverage. It also sets necessary regulations on insurance companies to prevent some of their worst practices. It creates important reforms to our medical system, provides relief to early retirees and begins to close the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Unfortunately, in many ways the bill is too tilted toward the insurance industry and away from working families—it does not do enough to hold insurers accountable or keep costs down for families.
The U.S. House passed a bill that was far better on critical points like funding, employer responsibility and a public option. The Senate could have, and should have, passed a better bill. But the intransigence of Republicans who refused to participate or even support a vote on health care reform, the powerful leverage of the insurance industry and the rules of the Senate, which allow a small number of Senators to hold legislation hostage, left the Senate with a disappointing and inadequate bill.
House and Senate leaders now must come together and craft a combined bill that each side will need to vote on once more. The process of creating this combined bill is a vital opportunity for real health care reform, and we must let our members of Congress know what real reform means.
Click here to tell your representative to fight for real health care reform.