Workers at a Carlsberg beer plant in Copenhagen have gone on strike over a new rule that restricts the amount of free beer that can be consumed while on the job. The new policy only allows the drinking of free beer at lunchtime. Two hundred fifty workers are on strike.
This week New York State workers expected they would be receiving a four percent pay raise. Not anymore. Governor David Paterson said he will not be including the raise in his latest emergency spending bill. The raise would have impacted 120,000 state workers, but will likely be restored when a new state budget is approved. The union representing the workers said last week they were planning legal action of the raises didn’t activate this week.
Lede: As Congress prepares to hold hearings on the West Virginia mining disaster, it can draw some safety lessons from union mines. Doug Cunningham reports.
By Doug Cunningham
Kenny Purdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO , told the Public News Service union mines give workers a greater say in the safety of the mines. It’s done through union safety committees, something missing from the non-union mines where disastrous fatal accidents have happened in recent years.
Another University contract with Nike has come to an end. The University of Wisconsin broke ties with the company on Friday due to concerns that the athletic shoe and apparel company couldn’t reasonably meet the University’s code of conduct. In a statement by Chancellor Biddy Martin Nike has not made significant strides to address ‘the plight of displaced workers and their families in Honduras.
The fight to win strong and effective financial reform legislation is a “David vs. Goliath” match that pits Wall Street’s bazillions of dollars against the public’s deep and growing anger, Heather Booth, executive director of the coalition Americans for Financial Reform, said today. In a briefing for bloggers today at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., Booth said:
Since last year and through this year, [Big Banks] are spending $1.4 million a day in lobbying and political expenses to fight reform. But the people are not divided over this. They want the banks to be reined in.
The U.S. Senate is expected to act in the coming weeks on the financial reform bill that the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved last month. AFL-CIO Policy Director Damon Silvers said the fight is
fundamentally about who runs the economy. Is the financial system the servant or the master of the economy?
Silvers said the Senate bill, like the House bill approved in December, is going in the right direction but needs to be strengthened. He told the group that while there will be attempts to both weaken and strengthen the bill, the public is looking for tough new regulations not mushy compromises.
Meaningful financial reform will only be achieved by putting forth a strong bill and then fighting for it. The public is demanding accountability.
He said the bill must include a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency with authority to protect working families from dangerous financial products and practices.
It also must set new rules to bring transparency to the “shadow market” of derivatives, hedge funds and private equity instead of the near rule-free, Wild West world that led to the meltdown of the housing market and the near collapse of the economy.
Silvers said the legislation needs to create a new, fully public systemic risk regulatory body that would set capital and liquidity requirements that become increasingly strict as financial institutions get larger and more risky. That would end the “too big to fail” philosophy that led to the $750 billion Big Bank bailout that
put money in the pockets of people who blew up their own companies.
In Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln has been attacking working families and their unions in her re-election for the Senate seat, working families are coming out strongly for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter as their choice in the Democratic primaries. Lincoln, who took $576,900 in labor donations throughout her political career, has supported the exportation of more than 19,000 jobs from Arkansas by her backing of trade agreements that don’t include safeguards for U.S. jobs.
In a video clip by Communications Workers of America (CWA) locals 6507 and 6508, a union member puts it this way:
Blanche Lincoln is bad for working families. Bill Halter supports working families. That’s why we’re working so hard to get him elected. We think it’s time for a change in Washington.
Meanwhile, members of AFGE Local 2054 take on Lincoln’s attacks against Halter, whom she describes as taking money from big unions in Washington, D.C. In a video clip, the group of health care workers and other public employees sends a message to Lincoln in unison:
Blanche Lincoln, we take care of America’s working families right here in Arkansas. And we’re union.
The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO celebrates its 50th anniversary next week, April 12-15, at the state federation’s 39th Constitutional Convention in Pittsburgh. You can be there, thanks to “The Rick Smith Show” and the Head On Radio Network, which will provide video and audio coverage from gavel to gavel.
Pennsylvania activist Rick Smith, a Teamsters member and International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) vice president, regularly hosts a two-hour labor talk each Saturday and Sunday, between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., broadcast and webcast on WHYL AM. During the convention, Smith will use the breaks in the formal proceedings to interview delegates and union leaders, including the presidents of the many national unions attending.
The convention also will honor Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George, who is retiring after leading the state federation since 1990. He started his career as a union activist with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1211, in 1960 in Aliquippa, Pa., and served in numerous union leadership positions before joining the union’s international staff at USW District 20 in 1971.
Workers Independent News Labor Radio
Internet Radio Program 04/09/10
Producers: Doug Cunningham & Jesse Russell
Labor Radio Rundown:
1) WIN Newscast – Worker Anger Ain’t No Tea Party – It’s Rage Against The Wall Street Machine That Destroyed Our Jobs – 04/09/10
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka On Making Mines Worldwide Safer – 04/09/10
Hundreds Of SEIU Cleaners Hold Prayer Vigils Outside ICE Offices – 04/09/10