The region of Michigan encompassing Detroit can’t seem to get a break. This week it was announced that 700 workers in Wayne County will be forced to take weeklong unpaid layoffs this year around Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day. The county has been trying to get workers to accept a 10 percent pay cut. The forced layoffs are projected to save the county $1.5 million while it copes with a deficit of $100 million. Workers will also lose health benefits for the month of June even though they will still be working three weeks of the month. The issue is expected to go to court.
Reno, Nevada saw protests on Thursday of many unemployed workers who are distraught over jobs in the state being shipped out of state. The main target of the protests was the University of Nevada-Reno. According to speakers at the rally two campus projects are being completed using workers from neighboring states. A number of other projects in the state have also been awarded to out of state contractors. Nevada is currently staring down one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 13.4 percent. The national average is 9.9 percent.
Lede: Universal health care treated as a human right has been approved by the Vermont legislature. Doug Cunningham has more on Vermont deciding to go further than national healthcare reform.
By Doug Cunningham
Vermont’s state legislature has passed legislation requiring the state to establish a universal health care system based on human rights principles. James Haslam of the Vermont Workers Center says this huge victory on universal health care is the result of a two year “Healthcare Is A Human Right” campaign.
If you’re a union member with a passion for music and the labor movement, and have a little Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Joe Glazer or Billy Bragg running through your veins, check out the Union Plus Union Song Contest.
The just-launched contest is looking for union-themed songs—you can write about your union, the labor movement or your Union Plus benefits. Then upload an MP3 or video by Sept. 5. Online voters will then have a month to pick a winner, who will receive a $2,000 grand prize.
Along with the grand prize, one entry will be randomly chosen from the first 10 submissions and receive their choice of an iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch.
If your muse doesn’t move you to a full song, you can submit a union-themed ring tone.
There are no ring tone prizes but the folks at Union Plus will select their favorites and encourage union members to download them for free—with credit to creator, of course.
Click here for the contest rules and here to enter your song and hear the entries. For more information on your Union Plus benefits, click here. Read more about Union Plus, labor and social responsibility here.