<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d8027888\x26blogName\x3dRESIST+OPPRESSION\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://resistoppression.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://resistoppression.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-6094122990481712765', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

10/31/2005

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Bush's newest Supreme Court nomination already has a track record of denying workers of their rights.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law.




10/27/2005

Fmr. Congressman Tony Coehlo on Wal-Mart's secret memo

Source: Wake Up Wal-Mart.Com

Statement by former congressman and author of the Americans with Disabilities Act Tony Coelho:

"As the author of the American’s with Disabilities Act and long-time advocate for people with disabilities, I am deeply troubled by Wal-Mart’s internal memo exposed by the New York Times this morning.

This is one of the most profitable companies in the world and this memo shows that in their pursuit for greed and power, they have chosen to cut costs even at the price of human dignity. Wal-Mart’s desire to “dissuade unhealthy people from coming to work at Wal-Mart” is chilling and unconscionable. No company or organization should be able to discriminate against an employee on the basis of age, level of fitness, disability status or potential cost to the company.

It is a sad day when American’s largest employer callously treats its employees as products in its stores. Wal-Mart has a moral responsibility to immediately disavow itself of this memo and not selectively hire Americans on the basis of their potential cost to the company."

Workers Win Fair Wages as Bush Backs off Davis-Bacon Suspension

Source: AFL-CIO

In response to working families and their unions, as well as community and religious groups and some members of Congress, President George W. Bush on Oct. 26 rescinded his executive order that allowed contractors to pay substandard wages to construction workers rebuilding Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The order, which suspended the federal
Davis-Bacon Act, now will expire Nov. 8.

Grassroots activists sent more than 350,000 e-mails and letters to their representatives demanding fair wages be reinstated for the Gulf Coast, where skilled, full-time workers average less than $20,000 a year in pay.

One of Bush’s first acts after Hurricane Katrina hit was suspending Davis-Bacon. Enacted in 1931, Davis-Bacon ensures high-quality work standards and community prevailing wage requirements for federally funded rebuilding projects. A few days after suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush also suspended affirmative action rules for Katrina contractors.

“President Bush has done the right thing by reversing his decision to suspend prevailing wage—but it’s only the first step. He must now reinstate affirmative action requirements for contractors in the Gulf and end his attempts to slash programs for working families while adding new tax breaks for the rich,” says
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

Thirty-seven House Republicans urged the White House to reverse the suspension, and Rep. George Miller led unanimous opposition by Democrats to the president’s suspension.

10/26/2005

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs

Source: Wake Up Wal-Mart.Com

From NY Times 10/26/05 Story:

An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."


The memo acknowledged that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had to walk a fine line in restraining benefit costs because critics had attacked it for being stingy on wages and health coverage. Ms. Chambers acknowledged that 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid.

Statement by Paul Blank, campaign director, WakeUpWalMart.com:

An internal Wal-Mart memo, released by the New York Times this morning, exposes what a farce the last two days have been. Wal-Mart’s CEO had the gall to come out this week and try to spin Wal-Mart as a company changing. Wal-Mart is not a company trying to change. Today’s memo proves Wal-Mart’s announcements are nothing more than a publicity stunt by exposing the truth behind Wal-Mart’s culture of greed and moral corruption.

The memo, authored by Susan Chambers, Executive Vice President for Benefits, robs Wal-Mart workers of their human dignity and instead treats them like products in their stores. It is simply appalling that Wal-Mart’s senior management would actually write a memo suggesting not to hire certain workers because they may be unhealthy or obese.

Most startlingly, Wal-Mart, for the first time, admitted there is a Wal-Mart health care crisis in America. The memo specifically states, ‘Wal-Mart has a significant percentage of associates and their children on public assistance.’ In fact, Wal-Mart revealed 46% of the children of Wal-Mart employees are either uninsured or on taxpayer funded public health care programs. No wonder Wal-Mart so vehemently opposes legislators’ efforts to expose the truth about the true cost of the Wal-Mart economy. It is inexcusable and unconscionable for a company, with $10 billion in profits, to know 1 out of every 2 of their employees’ children has no health care or is forced to rely on our public safety net and do nothing about it.

The key question becomes: What else does Wal-Mart know and when will they reveal it? Wal-Mart’s great American deception of the past two days will not stand and Lee Scott ought to be ashamed of himself for perpetuating such a fraudulent image to the American people.”

WAL-MART OFFERS SHAM HEALTH CARE PLAN AS PUBLICITY STUNT

Source: UFCW

New Name, Same Basic Plan - Extremely High Deductibles & Strict Eligibility Requirements

Today, Wal-Mart's CEO Lee Scott is announcing Wal-Mart's "new" health care plans for 2006. Wal-Mart falsely claims its plans will increase the number of employees who can afford health insurance. In fact, Wal-Mart's so-called "new" Value Plan is simply a repackaging of the poor health care plans Wal-Mart already offers, which already leave over half of its employees without company provided health care.

"Wal-Mart's new health care plan is another empty promise wrapped in a publicity stunt that will do nothing to increase health care coverage for over 600,000 Wal-Mart employees who go without company provided health care," said Paul Blank, campaign director of WakeUpWalMart.com.

"Wal-Mart fails to address the key reasons more than half of its employees aren't covered under their health care plan - ridiculously high deductible costs and overly strict eligibility requirements. Wal-Mart latest publicity stunt will do nothing to help their employees and is more reflective of a morally bankrupt company trying to deceive the American public than live up to its responsibilities as America's largest corporation," added Blank.

Here are the facts.

Last year, Wal-Mart had two major health care plan options: 1) the Standard plan and 2) the Network plan. Each of those plans has 4 options within them: 1) a $350 deductible; 2) a $500 deductible; 3) a $750 deductible; and, 4) a $1,000 deductible.

This year, Wal-Mart is introducing two additional options: 1) a so-called Value plan and 2) Health Savings Accounts (HSA's). Since the HSA's are only available to employees who have already been enrolled in a Wal-Mart health care plan for one year, the HSA's are not designed to, nor will the HSA's, increase health care coverage for anyone.

Therefore, the only plan that has the potential to increase the abysmal fact that Wal-Mart only provides health insurance coverage to 48% of its employees is the Value plan. The Value plan, however, comes with a $1,000 deductible. In addition, the Value plan has additional deductibles for in-hospital care, prescription drugs and surgical care. All told, the Value plan's deductibles plus premiums could be as much as 25% of an employee's take-home pay for individual coverage and up to 40% for family coverage.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the Value plan is almost identical, if not worse, than the $1,000 deductible versions of the existing Standard and Network plans already offered to Wal-Mart employees.

The following is a comparison of the rates between Wal-Mart's proposed plan for 2006 and last year's plans.

Jan. 2005 Jan 2006
Network Plan $1000 deductible $17.50 $18
Standard Plan $1000 deductible $21.00 $21.50
Value Plan $1000 deductible Not Available $25 (on average)
$10.50 (limited areas)


Wal-Mart's business model has already paved the way for other corporations to try and reduce their health benefits to employees. Currently, the average company with 200 or more employees has 67% of its workers covered under the company health care plan, Wal-Mart is well below that average with only 48% of its employees covered under the company health care plan.

"Wal-Mart's so-called Value health care plan offers nothing but an empty promise of higher deductibles that remain unaffordable and out-of-reach to most Wal-Mart workers. With Wal-Mart's poverty-level wages, the average worker would have to spend up to 40% of their take-home pay to purchase the family option of this so-called Value plan. No wonder Wal-Mart admits the taxpayer-funded public safety net is often a 'better value' than their own inadequate health care plan."

10/25/2005

America’s Middle Class at Risk—Here’s Why

Source: AFL-CIO

America’s middle class is at risk—as demonstrated by increased personal bankruptcies, record levels of debt and growing job instability. Meanwhile, the nation’s safety net is shredding at the public level—with the latest Bush administration budget proposal set to further slash critical social programs—as well as in the private sector, where employers are backing away from providing health care, pensions and family-supporting wages.

“Families are experiencing much more income instability since the 1970s, and over the last 20 years, the increase in [economic] volatility is roughly the same for the educated and those with less education,” says Jacob Hacker, political science professor at Yale University.

Hacker was among five top policy analysts meeting recently in Washington, D.C., for a panel discussion on The Middle Class at Risk: Economic Insecurity in America Today, sponsored by the nonprofit
Center for American Progress.

“Today, job loss is increasingly likely to be persistent. Workers are less often able to return to a similar job in a similar industry, so unemployment frequently ends only when workers accept a new job that requires major cuts in pay, hours, or both,” Hacker says. (MORE >>>)

Hoffa Delivers Unity Message During Kentucky Visit

During Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa Jr. visit to Louisville, KY (home to one of the largest union branches in the country) called for changes to help the workers at the Kentuckiana UPS plant.

The Teamsters hope to finish old negotiations while adding hundreds of new jobs to the Louisville area in the next few years. Kentuckiana, it appears, is evolving into a focal point for union revival efforts.

"This whole area is growing and its a fertile area for unions right now," Hoffa said.

10/20/2005

Republicans in Congress Vote Against Minimum Wage Workers—Again

Source: AFL-CIO

For the second time this year, Senate Republicans voted against giving the nation’s lowest-paid workers a pay raise, killing a proposal by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to boost the minimum wage to $6.25 an hour. Yet members of Congress are set to give themselves their eighth pay raise since the last minimum wage increase in 1997. The new pay raise for Congress means the salaries of senators and representatives have gone up by $31,600 since 1997 while minimum wage workers still earn only $10,700 a year.

Senate Democrats also successfully beat back a second proposal by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), which would have raised the minimum wage but that included draconian provisions to exempt millions of workers from the minimum wage, cut overtime pay and weaken job safety and health protection.

Under the Enzi amendment, Fair Labor Standards Act protections for all workers at businesses with revenues up to $1 million would be eliminated. In 1997, 6.8 million employees worked at firms with revenues of between $500,000 and $1 million, according to the nonprofit Economic Profit Institute (EPI).

In addition, the Enzi amendment would have abolished the 40-hour workweek and replaced it with an 80-hour, two-week work period. Today, those who work 50 hours in one week and 30 the next receive 10 hours of time-and-a-half overtime pay. Under the amendment, such workers would no longer get overtime pay, making mandatory overtime cheaper for employers, according to EPI.

Kennedy originally proposed a minimum wage amendment to the Transportation-Treasury appropriations bill to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. But in an effort to gain support for passage of a minimum wage increase, he later offered a compromise amendment that would have boosted the minimum wage by $1.10 an hour. (MORE >>>)

10/19/2005

The official trailer for Wal-Mart Movie is now online







The official trailer for Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is now online!

View the trailer in Quicktime (High), Quicktime (Low), Windows Media Player or download it in MPEG4.

Economic Report: Just one fourth of U.S. workers have good jobs

Source: Workers Independent News

How Good Is The Economy at Creating Good Jobs? Not very, judging by results of a study by that name done by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The study says just 25.2 percent of U.S. workers have jobs that pay at least $16 an hour and provide health insurance and a pension. Despite economic growth from 1974 through 2004 the percentage of good jobs has stayed the same, leaving 75 percent of American workers struggling in jobs that don't provide a middle class wage with a pension and health care.

10/14/2005

JibJab takes on a new target...Wal-Mart

JibJab, makers of infamous satirical cartoons during the 2004 Election, have taken on a new target in an animated piece they call "Big Box Mart."

You can see the video by visiting the JibJab website:
http://jibjab.com/

10/11/2005

Miers Law Firm Is Anti-Union Business Advisor

The law firm that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers belonged to before joining the Bush administration in 2001 offers a comprehensive "union avoidance" strategy for businesses.

The Locke Liddell & Sapp website details services to prevent businesses from being organized:

" . . . we handle all matters that arise under the National Labor Relations Act, including NLRB elections, anti-union campaign materials, collective bargaining, arbitrations, strikes and picketing . . .For union-free companies, we provide union-avoidance advice and strategies in emerging situations."

While it is not known whether Miers personally provided anti-union services, she was a co-managing partner of the firm and was elected its president in 1996. She began working at what is now Locke Liddell & Sapp in 1972.

Judge Stops Bush Effort to Eliminate Federal Workers’ Rights

Source: AFL-CIO

In a major win for federal workers, a U.S. judge for the second time denied the Bush administration’s efforts to destroy the civil service system covering 160,000 employees at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Bush administration had asked U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer to narrow her
Aug. 12 ruling blocking new personnel rules that would have virtually eliminated employees’ bargaining and workplace rights and ended civil service pay scales. On Oct. 7, Collyer rejected the administration’s request and accepted the unions’ argument that the rules essentially would eliminate the collective bargaining process.

After DHS issued the rules in January, AFGE and four other unions filed suit, arguing that significant parts of the proposed personnel system would violate the Homeland Security Act
.

10/10/2005

Five myths about today’s auto industry

Source: UAW
by Ron Gettelfinger

Is the unionized American auto industry dead?

There are some who claim Detroit automakers are stuck in old ways of doing business and unable to compete with their more flexible Asian and European competitors.
It’s true that today’s auto companies and autoworkers face more challenges than ever. But much of what is said about the auto industry doesn’t square with the reality of what’s being done inside today’s auto factories.


For one thing, several popular vehicles that carry foreign nameplates are actually built here in the U.S. by UAW members, working with the same union contracts that supposedly make auto plants “uncompetitive.” Our members now build vehicles not only for Detroit-based automakers, but also for Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo Trucks.
Some other common misconceptions:


Nobody builds auto plants in Michigan anymore.
All the new factories are down South. That would be news to GM, which just spent $1.5 billion on assembly operations in Lansing; to Ford, which spent $2 billion to rebuild the Rouge complex in Dearborn; and to DaimlerChrysler, which partnered with Hyundai and Mitsubishi to build a new $700 million engine complex in Dundee.

Packed with the latest technology and powered by ultra-modern conveyors, these facilities are flexible enough to produce multiple vehicle and engine models – and ergonomically designed to prevent workplace hazards and injuries.

The Big Three are going broke because their labor costs are too high.
UAW members are proud of the value we produce for employers: $463,000 per worker in a typical auto assembly plant, according to output-per-worker calculations from the Annual Survey of Manufacturers by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Thanks to this extraordinary productivity, the average auto assembly worker produces far more than he or she gets paid, by a margin of hundreds of thousands of dollars per worker. This remains true even when overtime, health care, pensions and other labor costs are included.

When it comes to quality, the Big Three are still way behind their competitors.
Not according to J.D. Power’s 2005 Initial Quality Study. This influential report found that the top three quality plants in North and South America are all unionized GM facilities – two in Canada and one in the United States. GM produced the top-quality performer in five vehicle segments, including the mid-size and full-size car segments; Ford was a winner in two product categories.

UAW members recognize the link between quality and productivity and job security, and we are working every day in every way to ensure that we make a difference when it comes to quality. The customers who purchase the products we build deserve no less. The quality measurement gap used throughout the industry has narrowed to a small margin, and our members are proud of that. But, until we are the very best, it will not be good enough.

Detroit builds nothing but gas guzzlers.
UAW members build the hybrid Ford Escape, the hybrid Mercury Mariner, and light hybrid versions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Other models are scheduled to come on line in 2007, and Ford recently announced it will produce 250,000 hybrids by 2010.

The Big Three are also using new fuel-saving technologies – like diesel powertrains, cylinder deactivation, continuously variable transmissions and lightweight materials – which can cut fuel consumption by 20 percent or more. These innovations aren’t visible to most consumers or the media. But they’re being installed on high-volume products like the Ford Explorer, the Jeep Cherokee and the Chevy Malibu, which sell hundreds of thousands of units per year. Even a small improvement in fuel economy on that many cars can make a big difference for America’s energy supply.

In a global industry, with cars coming from all over, it doesn’t make any difference what car I buy.
According to the Automotive Trade Policy Council, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors accounted for 85 percent of the total investment in the U.S. auto industry between 1980 and 2002, a total of $176 billion invested in U.S. communities. These three companies alone purchase 80 percent of the auto parts now produced in the United States.

Big Three investment and purchasing supports millions of U.S. workers, retirees and their dependents. Yet the U.S. remains the most open automotive market in the world. Forty percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. have foreign nameplates, compared to 22 percent in the Europe, 5 percent in Japan, and just 2 percent in Korea.

Additionally, the Big Three are faced with free trade agreements that allow unfair trade practices like currency manipulation which give some foreign automakers an artificial advantage. These are not complaints – just facts.

It does matter and you will find union-made vehicles in every segment and in every price range, from fuel-sipping small compacts to family-size minivans. The auto industry can have a strong future in Michigan – if we all work together to make it happen.

This article first appeared on Oct. 7, 2005, in the Detroit News’ Labor Voices

UAW statement on Delphi filing for bankruptcy

Source: UAW

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker today issued this statement on the decision by Delphi Corp. to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:
“The UAW is deeply disappointed by the decision by the Board of Directors of Delphi Corp. to today file for bankruptcy.


“Delphi’s decision is obviously an extremely bitter pill for the 25,000 Delphi workers represented by the UAW as well as for the thousands of workers represented by other unions and non-union salaried Delphi employees – all of whom have worked hard to try to make Delphi’s U.S. operations successful.

“The UAW is committed to doing everything we possibly can to protect the interests of our active and retired members and their families. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the UAW has had to deal with a court-ordered corporate restructuring, and we will vigorously use our experience, expertise and resources to represent the interests of UAW-Delphi workers and retirees throughout this process.

“Over the past several months, the UAW has engaged in discussions with Delphi to craft a mutually agreeable approach to the company’s financial problems that would have enabled Delphi to avoid filing for bankruptcy. We made it clear to Delphi that we were willing to continue discussions and to consider a wide range of options. However, from the outset of talks about a possible bankruptcy filing, Delphi made it clear that the UAW alone could not solve the company’s problems. “Delphi today informed the UAW that it was filing for bankruptcy – more than a week before the new federal bankruptcy law will go into effect.

“Delphi’s decision would be extremely disappointing under any circumstances, but it is all the more so in light of the company’s announcement on Friday – just one day before filing bankruptcy -- that it had sweetened the severance packages for Delph’s 21 most highly compensated executives because the old severance package was – as a Delphi spokesperson put it -- ‘uncompetitive.’

“Once again, we see the disgusting spectacle of the people at the top taking care of themselves at the same time they are demanding extraordinary sacrifices from their hourly workers, engineers, administrative and support staff, mid-level managers and others. All of them deserved better from Delphi’s senior executive leadership.”

10/07/2005

Union renews tie with the AFL-CIO

Source: Washington Times

The AFL-CIO yesterday approved the return of the United Transportation Union to the federation, four years after its departure.

The 60,000-member union is the second labor group in two weeks to indicate it wants membership in the AFL-CIO. The California Nurses Association last month decided to ask the AFL-CIO for a charter and is petitioning for membership. (MORE >>>)

10/06/2005

Union sponsors contest to help the economy

Have an idea on how to preserve the American dream? It could be worth $100,000.

A contest sponsored by the Service Employees International Union is looking for ideas that will help the economy grow, encourage existing companies to expand and create well-paying jobs. The winning idea will be worth $100,000 and two runners-up will claim a second prize of $50,000 each.

The country needs new ideas for how to strengthen its economy and compete in the fast-changing international marketplace, said SEIU President Andrew Stern. And he thinks ordinary Americans are the best people to ask for those ideas.

The contest entries should outline, in 175 words or less, a problem or issue, how it should be fixed, and how fixing it will benefit working men and women. A panel of two dozen judges includes Democrats, Republicans, economists, chief executives and interest group leaders.

Entries should be postmarked by Dec. 5, 2005, and mailed to The Best Idea Since Sliced Bread, SEIU, Fifth Floor, 1313 L St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Details of the contest are available at a special Web site set up by the sponsors: http://www.sinceslicedbread.com.

The Rich Get Richer

Although it comes as a shock to the true working class people of this country and those who monitor profits made by corporations, the New York Times did print a story this week about how "At The Very Top, A Surge in Income in '03".

Good read, but since it was in the Times it is doubtful it will reach Red State voters whom seem to have embraced this administration's corporate love.

AFL-CIO Union Community Fund Tops $500,000 Goal in Less Than a Month

Source: AFL-CIO

In a less than a month, the AFL-CIO Union Community Fund’s Hurricane Relief Fund surpassed its goal of raising $500,000 to help the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The fund collected $507,500 in donations by Oct. 4 and donations are still coming in. Some 3,725 donors generously gave an average gift of $136. The overwhelming generosity of union members and allies will go a long way toward helping restore the lives of working families that have lost homes and jobs along the Gulf Coast.

The Union Community Fund’s fund-raising drive is part of a massive effort by the union movement to aid hurricane survivors. Many union members, including firefighters, police, electrical workers, nurses and medical personnel, were the first on the scene to provide relief and aid to Gulf Coast survivors.

10/04/2005

The real looter of the Gulf Coast

Source: Workers Independent News

Missouri GOP U.S. Senator courts the Carpenters union

Source: Workers Independent News

Missouri Republican U.S. Senator Jim Talent is courting the Carpenters union for support in next year's election. Democrats have made unseating Talent a top priority. Talent met privately last week with Carpenters local and national leaders. In return for union support , Talent and Missouri's Republican governor have reportedly offered not to turn Missouri into a so-called "Right To Work" state.