Economic Report: Our Wealth Is Being Constantly Redistributed To The Top One Percent
St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan is making tough decisions as it seeks to avert a complete shutdown. Last week the hospital began the process of laying off 300 workers while asking other workers for pay cuts between 10 percent and 25 percent. The larger pay cuts were reserved for doctors and hospital executives, while union workers are being asked to sacrifice between 10 and 15 percent of pay – they will vote this weekend. The hospital $700 million dollar in debt.
Three hundred New Jersey nursing home workers have been fighting since 2007 for a fair contract with their employer. Jesse Russell reports.
By Doug Cunningham
Michigan Nurses Association President Jeff Breslin says:
A bill pending in the Michigan legislature would establish safe staffing levels for hospital nurses.
[Bresin]: “To ensure that when patients come into the hospitals that they have a nurse to take care of ‘em. As it sits right now there’s no legislation, there’s no rules or limits as to the number of patients that a nurse can have.”
Breslin says nurses are often stretched too thin with too many patients to care for, so a minimum standard for nurse patient ratios is needed.
By Doug Cunningham
In 2009, nearly 26 million workers were likely infected with the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. The spread of the virus may have been aided by lack of paid sick leave, which prompted more than 8 million of those workers to take no time off from work, according to a new study.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) study, “Sick at Work: Infected Employees in the Workplace During the H1N1 Pandemic,” used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It found that workers in industries with no or poorly paid sick day coverage were the most likely to go to work while sick.
Nearly half of all private-sector workers—and 76 percent of low-income workers—have no paid sick leave. Many low-wage workers have jobs that require direct contact with the public, such as in the food service, hospitality and health care industries and in schools.
Robert Drago, Ph.D., professor of Labor Studies and Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of the study, says:
Work attendance by infected employees is a public health issue due to contagion. Employees who attended work while infected with H1N1 are estimated to have caused the infection of as many as 7 million co-workers.
Last year, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced the Healthy Families Act (H.R. 2460 and S. 1152), which would require businesses with more than 15 employees to provide workers with up to seven paid sick days a year to care for themselves or a sick child or spouse.
During a House hearing on the bill, Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said paid sick leave benefits employers, workers and their families as well as customers and the general public.
Sick workers are not productive ones and by spreading disease in the workplace risk the overall productivity of the business. By providing paid leave for sick workers, worker safety and business productivity can both be enhanced—a win-win for employers.
While we want to encourage workers to make healthy and rational decisions, when they are faced with the choice of staying home sick without pay or going into work sick so they can put food on the table and pay their mortgage, many workers choose to go to work and “tough it out,” putting their co-workers and their customers at risk.
Click here to read the entire report from IWPR.
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center acted quickly to send needed supplies and support to its Haitian partners through a union-to-union effort that provides short-term emergency aid and builds toward long-term reconstruction and strengthening of Haiti’s union movement.
You can take action now to help the Haitian survivors by clicking on the AFL-CIO Haitian Disaster Relief site here.
- Regular truckloads of canned foods, water, re-hydration liquids, plastic tarps, diapers, blankets, first aid supplies, medicine and other critical items.
- Direct funds to Haitian trade unions and labor support organizations for purchasing additional supplies, improving communication systems and outreach to workers and restoring union offices for use as shelters and food distribution centers.
- Support for union partners for developing a response to relief and reconstruction that addresses the specific needs of women workers.
Read the full report here.
Workers across the country are sending a strong message to state and national political leaders that jobs are priority No. 1. Yesterday, activists in Arkansas told a press conference at the state capitol in Little Rock that drastic cuts in state services could come unless Congress approves a jobs bill that gives aid to cash-strapped state and local governments.
At the press conference, Jobs for America Now, a coalition of union, religious and activist groups, released a report showing that Arkansas may have to make some disastrous cuts in services unless it receives more federal assistance.
According to this report, economists predict that without federal assistance to state and local governments with budget shortfalls, 900,000 Americans could lose their jobs in fiscal year 2011, and 3 million will lose their jobs by 2012.
The Arkansas action follows a Feb. 11 rally at which hundreds of California workers at the state capitol told legislators in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., that we need real leadership to create good jobs across America.
Robin Roark, a public school teacher, told the Little Rock press conference that America needs “a robust jobs bill.”
…One that can help the state of Arkansas weather the current budget storm, and more importantly, give back to our neighbors the sense of honor and decency that comes from earning a paycheck.