Forty-three states saw their jobless rates increase in December. That’s a change in direction from November when 36 states said their jobless rates decreased. Michigan continues to hold the highest unemployment rate at 14.6 percent. Altogether seventeen states had jobless rates above the national average of 10 percent. North Dakota continues to have the lowest at 4.4 percent. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and West Virginia all saw substantial unemployment increases of .7 percent.
Union membership saw a drop of 10 percent in 2009 – that’s according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of workers who are represented by a labor organization fell slightly from 12.4 percent in 2008 to 12.3 percent in 2009. Most of the losses were in the private sector with the public sector actually seeing an increase of 64,000 members. Public sector workers make up 51.5 percent of union membership in the United States. Union membership saw a peak of 35 percent in the 1950s.
Lede: Despite the huge electoral setback for Democrats in the Massachusetts Senate race, the AFL-CIO still says it expects the Employee Free Choice Act to pass this year. Doug Cunningham reports.
By Doug Cunningham
AFL-CIO Legislative Director Bill Samuel says even though Democrats no longer have a veto-proof majority n the U.S. Senate, the labor federation doesn’t believe the Employee Free Choice Act labor law reform is dead.
As long as there have been labor publications, there have been scam artists masquerading as legitimate union newsletters, magazines or newspapers trying to swindle advertising dollars from unsuspecting businesses looking for a vehicle to reach union members and their families.
Today, as most union publications have migrated to the web, the con artists have followed, reports Andy Zipser, editor of the Guild Reporter of The Newspaper Guild-CWA.
“As print publications have moved increasingly online, so too have the rip-off artists, with such creations as unions.org, unionfriendly.com, unitedworkforce.org, unitedunions.org, unionmembersweb.com and other equally suggestive URLs.
“As the names imply, such bogus websites implicitly suggest—or explicitly state—that they’re union connected, relying on deception rather than the outright extortion of their print predecessors.”
At first glance, Zipser writes, the sites appear to be legitimate, with union logos and links to real union sites “to create an aura of union acceptance.”
All promote themselves as being heavily trafficked by millions of union members, thereby comprising a captive audience for “union friendly” service providers who advertise on the site.
As obviously bogus as some of these sites are, with outrageous traffic claims like “3.5 million unique visitors a month,” links to foreign language pages, to nowhere at all or to far out-dated information and even religious videos on YouTube, businesses looking for a way to reach out to union consumers fall victim to the scam sites. So do some union groups.