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Showing posts from July, 2006

Dembowski Endorsed by Retirees

News Release

The Executive Board of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 30-18, had no difficulty recently in unanimously endorsing Nancy Dembowski, candidate for Indiana House District 17. This chapter of SOAR is composed of former employees of NIPSCO.

Mrs. Dembowski, the former Mayor of Knox, Indiana, and former State Senator, assured the organization that she would be responsive to the local needs of working families and retirees before downstate politics. Also, she said that doing the right thing by our children and grandchildren is more important to her than short-term political gain and quick cash.

She also said she would fight to relieve the burden of rising property taxes, and ensure that the Legislature actually consider the impact of how every law they debate effects working families and retirees.

The chapter was impressed with the fact that Nancy Dembowski’s late husband, Ed, was a former Steelworker and an active member of SOAR. Nancy has been an …

Tentative Agreement At BFGoodrich

July 25, 2006

(Knoxville, Tenn.) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced this evening that a tentative agreement has been reached at BFGoodrich. The master agreement covers 4,000 members at three plants in Fort Wayne, In., Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Opelika Ala. BFGoodrich was designated last month as the target company in establishing an agreement in the tire industry. Master contracts are also being negotiated at Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone.

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until membership at the three locals conduct informational meeting on the proposed contract. Ratification votes will then take place at the three locations. A "majority of the majority" will be required for contract ratification. This means that 50% plus one vote overall and two-of-the three locals must vote to accept the tentative agreement for it to become contract.

"We believe we achieved our industry goals when it comes to protecting retiree health care benefits and secu…

Bush's NLRB

Report Points to Unfair and Inconsistent Rulings in Favor of Employers

The Democratic staff led by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, have produced a 25-page report detailing how the rulings of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have either taken away or "severely restricted" the rights of millions of workers to organize into unions over the past five years.

"President Bush has filled the NLRB with anti-union members who have made it more difficult for workers to organize a labor union," Miller said in a statement releasing the report, Workers' Rights Under Attack by Bush Administration: President Bush's National Labor Relations Board Rolls Back Labor Protections. The NLRB has "used double standards, rationales, and unfair, inconsistent rulings to give employers more power over workers," he said.

The report lists several large groups of workers who have been excluded from the …

Oman Free Trade Agreement

Our National Security is at Risk!

This week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives discovered alarming provisions
in the text of the Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that could have major
implications for our national security interests.

• Under the agreement, companies such as Dubai Ports World – the same
operation that set off a political firestorm earlier this year when they tried to
purchase the right to operate our ports – could set up in Oman and then attempt
to acquire a U.S. port operation.

• Even if Congress opposes this, the Oman FTA would allow the company to drag
the U.S. in front of UN or World Bank tribunals to demand our country
compensate them for any lost profits!

• This could happen with our ports or other national security assets.

Is this really the time for Congress to consider an agreement that not only puts workers
at risk, but also our national security? How much more can we bow down to corporate

Supporters of the Oman FTA are working overtime to play down this…

Peabody Miners: Fed Up and Fired Up

Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts often says: “When you get fed up and fired up, you got to get ready to stand up.” Coal miners are standing up in the coalfields across the country, demanding to be treated with respect and to have a voice to make sure their jobs are well paid and safe.

In recent years, the UMWA has responded to the requests of hundreds of nonunion miners at Peabody Energy’s facilities across the country for assistance in getting a voice at work. In December 2005, workers at 19 Peabody mines in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia launched the Justice at Peabody campaign.

Says John Cox, a miner at Peabody’s Farmersburg (Ind.) mine:
I pay anywhere between $300 to $500 a month in prescription drug costs because of Peabody’s sub-par health benefit package. Only with a union contract will we have better pay and benefits because it’s obvious Peabody is not going to give it to us.

Peabody, the world’s largest private coal company, provides 10 …

Social Security Under Attack

The Bush Administration released its mid-session budget review on Tuesday, and it included a proposal to spend $721 billion over the next ten years to privatize Social Security - $9 billion more than originally proposed. In a speech on the budget, President Bush specifically alluded to the cuts to Social Security benefits which would be required as part of his plan, saying, "We need to cut entitlement spending." Americans United, a coalition that includes the Alliance and was crucial to beating back privatization efforts last year, is mounting a renewed campaign to call attention to individual politicians' positions on the issue. The group is drafting scripts for a national media campaign against candidates and incumbents, including Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL). Americans United plans to begin the advertising blitz no later than the first week in August, kicking off in as many as five of its nearly 20 targeted states.

Previously, on a June 20 …

CEO-Minimum Wage Ratio Soars

In 2005, an average Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was paid 821 times as much as a minimum wage earner, who earns just $5.15 per hour. An average CEO earns more before lunchtime on the very first day of work in the year than a minimum wage worker earns all year.

This extreme compensation ratio reflects both the extraordinary growth of CEO pay and also the diminishing value of the federal minimum wage that has not been raised since 1997: adjusting for inflation, the purchasing power of the minimum wage is now at its lowest since 1955.

The ratio wasn't always so extreme. As recently as 1978, CEOs were paid only 78 times as much as minimum wage earners.

Written by Economic Policy Institute (EPI) president Lawrence Mishel.