Severe budget cuts are having a substantial impact on Alabama’s court system. 100 temporary employees will be laid off starting March 31st, with more layoffs possible in the coming month. The job impact roughly 4 percent of the court system, mostly workers processing paperwork. The court system is expecting a 22 percent budget cut.
Hawaii is looking for new ways to encourage job creation and reduce the unemployment rate. Jesse Russell looks at one of the proposals.
By Doug Cunningham
Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has used his line item veto to cut a nearly $1 billion construction jobs bill down to just $319 million. Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson.
[Knutson]: “We don’t like that because every project that he cuts means fewer new jobs. And in Minnesota we have over 200,000 people out of work.”
Obama Vows To Get Health Care Reform Done, Urges Congress To Be Courageous And pass Reform – 03/16/10
By Doug Cunningham
[Voice In The Crowd]: “We need courage!”
[Obama]: “We need courage. Did you hear what somebody just said there? We need courage!”
In a rousing speech in Strongsville, Ohio President Obama vowed that health care reform will get done.
[Obama 2]: “I don’t know about the politics, but I know what’s the right thing to do! And so I’m callin’ on Congress to pass these reforms and I’m gonna sign them into law. I want some courage! I want us to to the right thing, Ohio, and with your help we’re going to make it happen!”
One worker says she lost four jobs during the past seven years. Another saw his unemployment insurance (UI) benefits evaporate due to Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) callous filibuster of an UI extension last month.
Those are just two of the personal stories jobless workers and others have shared at the AFL-CIO’s Good Jobs Now site. Our interactive site is part of the AFL-CIO’s fight for good jobs that today kicked off two weeks of action across the country with rallies and demonstrations at branches of the Big Six Wall Street banks—Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wachovia-Wells Fargo. (Find out about events in your area here.)
The Big Six’s reckless greed played the major role in wrecking the U.S. economy and killing American jobs. The workers sharing their stories have seen firsthand the damage left behind.
Mary from Illinois writes that the nation’s jobs crisis has battered her life and ruined her future.
I have suffered through four terminations of various kinds in a seven year timeframe. It is so hard to get a job these days and so easy for employers to let us go. In addition to the obvious destruction of a person’s finances, I have struggled with a lot of anxiety after the last two terminations. My future is ruined as well as the present because I have not been in a pension plan or 401(k) for the last 7 years and have not earned enough to save in my own IRA.
In December, Eddy, an Ohio UAW member, saw his job of 17 years shipped overseas.
There are those at the top making the decisions that know nothing of what it takes to make the product, or the people that make the product. We are just a number, but not the number that they are interested in. Corporate America knows only one number, the number that drives their greed! When corporations know that they can move a company’s operations to a third world country and make more for less, they have dollars signs in there eyes and it does not matter who they go through to get there or what they leave in the wake of their decisions.
Terry in Florida says he and his wife face a grim future after both were laid off from the same firm.
I worked for a large corporation in senior health care. They laid me off a week before Christmas….My wife was laid off by the same company six months before. The company is making more money than they ever have but wants more. I know, I see the financials. What’s up with that? At this rate we will be homeless by summer, no house and no car unless God helps us out. Please pray for us.
Like far too many construction workers, Mike, a member of the Operating Engineers (IUOE) in Ohio, has been forced to depend on unemployment benefits as construction projects have faltered in during the nation’s economic upheaval. But he never thought a Kentucky senator would tell him “Tough sh*t.”
I’m 51 years old and unemployed. I’ve worked 15 weeks in the last two years. They just cut off my unemployment benefits because some high and mighty senator decided he doesn’t like what’s being done with the extension on unemployment benefits to Americas unemployed. HE STILL HAS A JOB, HEALTH CARE AND A PRETTY GOOD RETIREMENT. What about the rest of America? How do we pay our bills? What do we eat? How do we pay for our medications that we need? Guess it’s not his problem, is it?
Click here to read more stories or submit your own.
The UAW today announced it has reached a tentative agreement on the planned closing of Toyota’s New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, Calif. The agreement covers some 4,500 members of UAW Local 2244.
The tentative agreement will be presented to members of the local in the coming days. Details are being withheld pending a ratification vote by the membership. Voting dates have not yet been scheduled.
Established as a joint venture between General Motors Corp. (GM) and Toyota Motor Corp. in 1984, the NUMMI facility most recently built the Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Tacoma pickup. As part of a structured bankruptcy, GM eliminated its Pontiac brand in 2009. Shortly after, Toyota announced its intention to close the NUMMI facility on April 1, 2010.
The plant’s closure also would put out of work another 1,500 Teamsters who transport the cars from the NUMMI plant to the dealerships. Additionally, as many as 50,000 workers at hundreds of businesses in California depend on NUMMI to stay afloat, from the suppliers that manufacture car parts to the restaurants where NUMMI workers go for lunch and even the shoe stores where the plant workers buy their specialized work boots.
The momentum is building for the United States to take strong action to counteract manipulation of its currency by China’s government.
More than 130 members of Congress signed on to a letter from Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) delivered today that urges Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to take strong action up to and including countervailing duties (CVD) or tariffs because of currency manipulation.
Michaud and Ryan’s letter is the latest in growing calls by Congress and by top economists for the United States to act on the manipulation of currency by China’s government. If Geithner does act, the administration could impose remedies, such as tariffs, to create a fairer trade balance with China.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who co-chairs the Fair Currency Coalition, thanked Michaud and Ryan for their letter:
The working families of this country need jobs now. If we want a recovery that will invest in manufacturing, boost exports, balance trade, and create jobs we must stop China and other countries from illegally manipulating their currency. China’s prolonged undervaluation…is an illegal export subsidy. That is why the U.S. government must allow CVD cases to proceed. American workers expect their government to stand up for them.
The AFL-CIO, U.S. manufacturers and many economic experts maintain that China deliberately undervalues its currency to keep the value artificially low so it can boost exports and discourage imports—running up the U.S. trade deficit and costing U.S. jobs.
An AFL-CIO report shows China’s fixed currency rate artificially lowers the price of its goods by 40 percent, effectively subsidizing China’s exports, putting U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage and creating a record trade deficit.
Several experts, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and United Steelworkers USW President Leo Gerard, on Friday told a forum on “Currency Manipulation: How Should the U.S Respond?” trade remedies are what we need. The forum was co-sponsored by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) with the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).
China’s currency manipulation has cost between 1.5 million and 3 million good American manufacturing jobs. C. Fred Bergsten, director of the conservative Peterson Institute for International Economics, told the forum:
If there is going to be a serious jobs program, the exchange rate of the dollar must be at the center of the debate.
The Fair Currency Coalition also called this week for Congress and the Obama administration to take a strong stand against currency misalignment because it threatens our national security. The coalition, which includes business and labor groups, said in a statement:
The results of Beijing’s policy…have created a serious and growing threat to national security. The capital and technology transferred to China and the production capacity built and sustained in China by Beijing’s export surplus have been used to expand the size and capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army. Over the past decade, annual military expenditures have risen by more than 400 percent.
To ensure union members are well trained to compete for the new opportunities in solar, wind and other renewable energy projects, the Electrical Workers has woven green training into its apprenticeship program. Last week, the first 14 certified “green technicians” graduated from the Electrical Training Institute electrical apprenticeship program in Indianapolis. The institute is a joint partnership between IBEW Local 481 and the National Electrical Contractors Association of Central Indiana.
The “green” technicians displayed an array of solar panels and a wind turbine they recently installed at the institute as examples of how they will put their new skills to work in advancing the development of a clean energy economy.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said:
It’s important that American workers stay at the cutting edge of green technology so they can access the high-quality jobs that are being created in the global clean energy economy. The race is on to build a 21st century clean energy infrastructure and the AFL-CIO continues to push for it to be nurtured here in the U.S. and built by American workers.
Local 481 and the Apollo Alliance co-sponsored the graduation ceremony.
Each graduate of the green technician program will be an industry certified technician, ready to work on anything from windmills to retrofits of existing buildings that need to become more energy efficient, said Jim Patterson, director of the institute.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) told the graduates clean energy is the key to renewed prosperity.
The type of training and work being celebrated here today is exactly what we had in mind when we passed clean energy legislation in the House. If the Senate will join that effort, we can put clean energy on the fast track and rebuild America’s middle class on a foundation of new, well-paying green jobs.
The green technician training program is an apprenticeship program that includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Apprentices are paid during the course of their training.
A proposed settlement has been reached of the more than 10,000 lawsuits by the rescue and recovery workers suffering serious illnesses from the toxic mix of chemicals, jet fuel, asbestos and other debris they were exposed to at Ground Zero of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack in 2001.
But congressional and union leaders say much more must be done to provide justice and health care for the nearly 60,000 workers and community members whose health is at risk from their exposure to the contaminated rubble.
Denis Hughes, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, says the proposal, which would establish a compensation fund of up to $657 million, will provide those involved in the lawsuit “some long overdue compensation for their injuries.” But he adds:
There are many more individuals who are sick than those who filed lawsuits….Overall, more than 55,000 responders and 4,500 community members are receiving medical monitoring and/or treatment in this program due to their 9/11 exposures and illnesses….These individuals need ongoing medical care, and those who are sick need to be fairly compensated for their losses.
In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), authors of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R. 847)— which would establish a medical monitoring and treatment program for the Sept. 11 first responders and the community at the site of the attacks—say the settlement alone will not be enough to fully meet the financial or medical needs of the men and women who rushed into harm’s way on Sept. 11, or were innocent victims of the attacks.
Congress must finally pass our bill…which would provide long-term health care and compensation for all those who are sick because of the terrorist attacks on our city and nation.
The bill has already been approved by one House committee and is expected to be approved tomorrow by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health subcommittee. Says Hughes:
Nearly nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center, it is time for Congress to act and pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act so the heroes of 9/11 and all of those who have been made sick finally get the medical care and compensation they need.