News

Jobless construction workers pin hopes on infrastructure bill

As Minnesota lawmakers met late Tuesday in special session, they were slated to vote whether to invest $531 million in infrastructure projects and create thousands of jobs. Earlier in the day, both houses passed legislation to fund economic development and spur job growth.

Minnesota construction workers, who face some of the bleakest job prospects in the nation, were hoping for quick action on the infrastructure legislation. They also look forward to the end of the state government shutdown, which has idled numerous crews on state-funded road projects. Read more »

Sanders: Hands Off Social Security

As Social Security emerged as a target in White House budget negotiations, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) insisted that the retirement program must not be cut as part of any deficit reduction deal. “Let us be clear,” Sanders said. “Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit or our national debt. Social Security is funded by the payroll tax, not the U.S. treasury.”

http://blog.usw.org/2011/07/08/sanders-hands-off-social-security/ Read more »

Unions await details of agreement to end state shutdown

Union members are awaiting details of the agreement to end the state government shutdown announced Thursday by Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders.

The news came on the 13th day of the shutdown – the longest state government closure in U.S. history. The two sides were at an impasse over how to resolve a $5 billion deficit for the budget period that started July 1. Read more »

The Jobs Crisis — Moving to Action: A Dialogue Between Workers and Policymakers

At a July 11, 2011 Jobs Crisis Forum, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined unemployed workers to discuss the nation's jobs crisis. There is a short (6 minute) and long version (1 hour 33 minute) version of the forum. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=64n_swvuP0M#at=175

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvZ2JlWv1hs&NR=1

Obama, Trumka Talk National Infrastructure As MN Shutdown Freezes 100 Construction Projects

We Party Patriots: Yesterday’s Twitter Town Hall caused much ado online. Millions of Tweeps partook, mocked and ignored the event, in which President Obama fielded questions via Twitter (presumably the most commonly asked questions earned air time) and answered them.

Of particular interest to the private sector was Obama’s discussion of infrastructure investment, wherein he chided House Speaker John Boehner, suggesting the famous-for-golfing GOP leader would “see the light.” Read more »

Real Cost of Shutdown’s Lost Wages

What is the real cost of the shutdown in lost wages? Some view the shutdown as a way to save government money, but in reality a shutdown costs far more than some think it saves.

When you average the state payroll, it comes to $52,000 per worker or $1,000 per week plus benefits. Many workers make much less, some make more. Assuming workers that lost their jobs in the shutdown follow the average, the cost of lost wages is approximately $22,000,000 a week.

That's before you take unemployment benefits into consideration.

 by Brian Chesley Read more »

MN2020: Infrastructure Work Screeches to a Halt

See video

Dozens of construction sites around Minnesota have been halted due to the state shutdown. Securing these sites takes days and costs thousands over the project budgets, and further delays from the freeze could add up to serious delays through the construction season. It's time to end the shutdown and put Minnesotans back to work.

The Core of Roman Catholic Teaching on Workers' Rights

  • Unions are indispensible for the universal common good.
  • Unions are rooted in the right of free association.
  • Unions protect the right to fair wages and benefits. 

http://www.catholicscholarsf Read more »

Judge mulls lawsuit over Idaho anti-union laws

By REBECCA BOONE - Associated Press

The first law prohibits so called "project labor agreements" that require contractors to forge pacts with unionized workers as a condition of winning a government construction job. The second new law prohibits unions from using dues to subsidize member wages to help union-shop contractors win projects. The subsidies, known as job targeting programs, can reduce a union contractor's overall costs and allow it to submit a more competitive bid. Read more »

Get Radical: Raise Social Security

Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer wrote a very insightful article for the New York Times on June 19th. Mr. Geoghgan lays out a case for increasing the amount of payroll contributions in a effort to help current and future retirees meet their regular bills. He points to the paltry amount of personal savings which most Americans are able a amass during their working lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/opinion/20geoghegan.html?_r=1&hp