Labor & Economic News Blog
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Social Security, Medicare funds in trouble, report warnsSocial Security, Medicare funds in trouble, report warns
Trustees for the government's two biggest benefit programs warned that Social Security and Medicare are facing "enormous challenges" with the threat to Medicare's solvency far more severe.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Into the economic abyssInto the economic abyss
AP - For months, Americans have been subjected to a sort of economic water torture a maddening drip of bad news about jobs, gas prices, sagging home values, creeping inflation, the slouching dollar and a stock market in bumpy descent.
Surviving The Night ShiftSurviving The Night Shift
Studies indicate that working the graveyard shift can cause a wide-range of health problems -- ulcers, insomnia, heart disease and cancer. Here's how you can protect yourself.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Schwarzenegger hails job gains amid slowdownSchwarzenegger hails job gains amid slowdown
Reuters - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Friday that the nation's most populous state was going through an economic slowdown, but hailed an increase in jobs in the latest employment report.
Starbucks Baristas Get $100M for tips in CaliforniaStarbucks Baristas Get $100M for Tips
Judge rules the coffee giant improperly required California servers to share gratuity with bosses.
4,000 Nurses Plan To Strike in Bay Area4,000 Nurses Plan To Strike
The 10-day walkout would affect eight Bay Area hospitals operated by Sutter Health.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Ripples of Bear Stearns' Fall Hit Neighbors, BeyondRipples of Bear Stearns' Fall Hit Neighbors, Beyond
The collapse of Bear Stearns, the country's fifth largest investment bank, is big news on Wall Street, but is it also affecting everyday people -- the people who work right in Bear Stearns' neighborhood?
Citigroup to Cut 2,000 More JobsCitigroup to Cut 2,000 More Jobs
Citigroup plans to lay off another 2,000 investment bankers and traders before the end of the month, people close to the situation said on Wednesday.
Jobless benefit rolls hit 3-1/2 year highJobless benefit rolls hit 3-1/2 year high
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers filing initial claims for unemployment aid climbed 22,000 last week, while the overall number on the benefit rolls hit a 3-1/2 year high a week earlier, the government said on Thursday.
The Conference Board Index suggests economy weakeningThe Conference Board Index suggests economy weakening
AP - A gauge of future economic activity dropped in February for the fifth consecutive month, suggesting that the weakening U.S economy could, indeed, be slipping into recession.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Delta Pilots Reject Arbitration OvertureBusiness" href="http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/AP-Delta-Northwest.html?ex=1363665600&en=b9af02ba2dcb2e09&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss" target=_blank>Delta Pilots Reject Arbitration Overture
Delta’s pilots union rejected the idea of arbitration with its counterpart at Northwest to break an impasse over integrating seniority lists as part of a possible combination of the carriers.
Greece gripped by pensions strikeGreece gripped by pensions strike
Greece's civil servants hold a general strike against pension reforms, paralysing transport and closing public offices.
Alitalia unions reject job cutsAlitalia unions reject job cuts
Air France's talks with unions representing workers at takeover target Alitalia break down on the issue of job cuts.
UK unemployment falls by 32,000UK unemployment falls by 32,000
United Kingdom unemployment falls by 32,000 in the three months to the end of January, government figures show.
British Royal Mail pension plans rejectedBritish Royal Mail pension plans rejected
A ballot of Royal Mail managers rejects proposals to change their pension, leading to the threat of strikes.
Hundreds Of San Francisco Layoffs LikelyHundreds Of S.F. Layoffs Likely
Mayor Newsom orders all city departments to slash salary expenses by at least 8 percent. Officials say this will lead to major losses.
Delta moves to cut 2,000 jobs, 3.6% of payrollDelta moves to cut 2,000 jobs, 3.6% of payroll
Delta Air Lines, faced with a weak economy, dimmer hopes of a merger with Northwest Airlines Corp. and record fuel prices, said yesterday that it would offer voluntary severance payouts to about 30,000 employees - more than half its work force - and cut U.S. capacity an extra 5 percent.
Feeling the pain in New YorkFeeling the pain in New York
The near collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns, and the wave of layoffs it threatens, could mean hard times ahead for an already worrisome New York City economy whose survival depends heavily on Wall Street.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
American households finally forced to budget, economists sayAmerican households finally forced to budget, economists say
After years of living large, U.S. households are finally learning what financial experts thought they never would: to live within their means.
Dock workers suspend week-old strike in Ivory CoastDock workers suspend week-old strike
Port dock workers in Ivory Coast on Tuesday suspended a week-old strike over pay that had blocked cocoa and coffee exports and said they were opening negotiations with the government and exporters.
Oil union in Nigeria postpones strike plansOil union in Nigeria postpones strike plans
A Nigerian oil workers' union said on Tuesday it was in talks with the government over a labour dispute at the local arm of ExxonMobil and any strike action had been put back until next week.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Private Attorneys Fight for Disabled VeteransPrivate Attorneys Fight for Disabled Veterans
In the last five years, as thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with debilitating injuries, the Army has actually awarded fewer soldiers full disability retirement benefits than they did before the war started. Private attorneys have stepped in to help disabled soldiers get the benefits they deserve.
Sex Trade EconomicsSex Trade Economics
When major cities cleaned up urban neighborhoods in the 1990s, the market for prostitution moved off the streets, Columbia University sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh says. In large numbers, sex workers began catering to wealthier clients who were looking for more than sex, and paying hundreds and thousands of dollars more for such services.
Colorado Boom Town Defies Economic TrendsColorado Boom Town Defies Economic Trends
A sagging economy has made headlines in most of the country. But in Rifle, Colo., and other towns in the Rocky Mountain West, it's boom time.
Employer bias thwarts many blind workersEmployer bias thwarts many blind workers
AP - Technology and training have improved to the point that blind people can adeptly perform a dazzling array of jobs - soon to include the governorship of New York. The biggest obstacle still in their way, advocates say, is the negative attitude of many employers.
Deepening slump envelops factory sectorDeepening slump envelops factory sector
Reuters - A spreading economic slowdown seeped into U.S. factory activity in February and March as waning demand more than offset the export benefits of a cheaper dollar, a series of reports on Monday showed.
Tanzania: Railway Records Substantial Losses Due to StrikeTanzania: Railway Records Substantial Losses Due to Strike
Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) reported last it has incurred substantial losses following last week's one-day workers' strike over wage increment problems.
Doctors in Egypt protest outside union office for better payDoctors in Egypt protest outside union office for better pay
Egyptian doctors staged a protest on Saturday outside their union headquarters in Cairo to demand better pay amid national anger over skyrocketing food prices.
Time to check on retirement crewTime to check on retirement crew
Has your retirement-benefits department done anything for you lately? It's time to check, as pressure mounts to lower fees and boost services to participants in workplace savings plans such as 401(k)'s.
Nonprofits often lose talent to private sectorNonprofits often lose talent to private sector
Low earnings, work-life issues, lack of mentorship can make it hard to fill ranks. Matthew Boyle recently left a nonprofit job to return to the private sector. His main reason? Money.
Delta offers severance payouts to 30,000 employeesDelta offers severance payouts to 30,000 employees
Airline will cut capacity by extra 5% as part of overhaul Delta Air Lines said today it will offer voluntary severance payouts to roughly 30,000 employees -- more than half its work force -- and cut domestic capacity by an extra 5 percent this year as part of an overhaul of its business plan to deal with soaring fuel prices.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Chrysler Sets a Two-Week Furlough for Most WorkersChrysler Sets a Two-Week Furlough for Most Workers
New York Times
Chrysler plans to halt virtually all operations for two weeks in July as part of its effort to cut costs and return to
New Jersey Assembly Approves Paid Leave to Care for Baby or Ailing KinNew Jersey Assembly Approves Paid Leave to Care for Baby or Ailing Kin
Despite strong objections from Republicans, New Jersey moved closer on Thursday to becoming the third state in the country to give employees the right to paid leave to care for a sick relative or a newborn.
U.S. faces severe recession: NBER's FeldsteinU.S. faces severe recession: NBER's Feldstein
Reuters - The United States is in a recession that could be "substantially more severe" than recent ones, National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said on Friday.
Chrysler Plans Two-Week Shutdown to Cut CostsChrysler Plans Two-Week Shutdown to Cut Costs
Chrysler has announced it will shut down factories for two weeks in July as a money-saving strategy. New York Times reporter Micheline Maynard talks about what the move says about the company's health.
Work Drug Testing LimitedWork Drug Testing Limited
Appeals court rules that an employer must show why narcotics use in a particular job would be dangerous.
Pink Slips For Two: California Teachers will get layoff noticesPink Slips For Two
More than 10,100 teachers will see pink slips in their mailboxes over the next few days as districts up and down California meet a Saturday deadline to warn staff of anticipated layoffs due to the state's budget crisis.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Swaziland Textile workers strike: 2500 jobs cutsTextile workers strike: 2500 job cuts
AS the Textile workers strike entered its eighth day yesterday, the Swaziland Textile Exporters Association (STEA) has warned of an imminent loss of 2 500 jobs.
California Maid Sues Atherton CoupleMaid Sues Atherton Couple
Northern California live-in nanny/housekeeper claims she worked 14-hour days to keep 9,000- square-foot mansion clean, never got overtime.
Strikers At BHP's Colombian Nickel Mine Ready To TalkStrikers At BHP's Colombian Nickel Mine Ready To Talk
After two weeks on strike, workers at the Colombian nickel mine of Cerro Matoso, owned by Australian mining company BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), are ready to start talks with the company after they pared their demands, a union leader
Consumer spending drop is visibleConsumer spending drop is visible
Just because a small percentage is still large, and don't forget it's a decline," said Sylvia Allegretto. The numbers did not surprise Sylvia Allegretto, ...
ITUC protests China's increasingly repressive measures used against workers in PanyuITUC protests China's increasingly repressive measures used against workers in Panyu
The ITUC has today protested again to the Municipal Government of Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong Province, against a wave of repressive action taken by the local Panyu authorities in regard to recent collective actions by workers in Panyu district
Egypt: Railway, agricultural workers protest and walk outRailway, agricultural workers in Egypt protest and walk out
Recent weeks have seen a continuation of the workers' unrest in Egypt, with over 2,000 agricultural workers going on all-out strike at the end of February and 100 railway workers protesting their pay and conditions at the start of March.
Deadline Looms for Calif. Districts to Layoff TeachersDeadline Looms for Calif. Districts to Layoff Teachers
School districts across California are reeling because of millions of dollars of proposed education cuts in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget. March 15 is the deadline to give teachers layoff notices, and thousands of them will go out across the state. A particularly hard-hit school district offers a look at the reality of the cuts.
Pay Discrimination Continues to Be a ProblemPay Discrimination Continues to Be a Problem
Record-Harvard Law School
Several professors, professionals, and Lilly Ledbetter, the Supreme Court plaintiff in Ledbetter v. Goodyear (2007) spoke at the law school on Friday, March 7, at the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender's conference on pay discrimination.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
End Of The Run For Anglers?End Of The Run For Anglers?
Salmon season will probably be canceled. Some in the fishing industry think this could signal the end of a way of life.
Microsoft Worker in Beijing: Focus Is CollaborationMicrosoft Worker in Beijing: Focus Is Collaboration
Tieyan Liu of Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing says that as a researcher, he isn't focused on the competition, but rather on his own projects -- and on how best to collaborate with his colleagues in the U.S. He reflects on what his facility has meant for Chinese-educated researchers and for the country's universities.
Measure of a Nation: We Are the ChangeMeasure of a Nation: We Are the Change
The Associated Press
It's almost noon, almost time for what drew Carey Youngblood and his pals to the abandoned General Motors plant. Hands tucked deep in dirty jeans pockets, the factory men stomp their feet to stay warm as the countdown begins.
Weak Dollar Boosts Foreign Manufacturing in U.S.Weak Dollar Boosts Foreign Manufacturing in U.S.
The dollar's slide against the euro means making goods in Europe for U.S. consumers is more expensive, so German automaker BMW is expanding its operations in America. Sennheiser, another Germany company which makes often-expensive microphones and headsets, has been manufacturing products in New Mexico for years and may expand U.S. operations further.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Survey: 26 Percent of Employers Plan to HireSurvey: 26 Percent of Employers Plan to Hire
Even as employers nationwide slashed some 63,000 jobs last month, more than a quarter of U.S. companies say they plan to hire within the next three months, according to a survey of 14,000 companies. Across the country, some 26 percent of companies...
San Diego council compromises on wages in growth planSan Diego council compromises on wages in growth plan
The city council has approved a blueprint for future growth that includes compromise language on wages for workers. After a five-hour hearing Monday, the council voted unanimously to adopt a plan that commits to retaining and creating "good jobs with...
Survey Hints at Drop in HiringSurvey Hints at Drop in Hiring
Manpower’s quarterly report reveals that 9 percent of the 14,000 U.S. companies surveyed expect reductions in staff levels between April and June. These figures are of concern, says Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at the University of California-Berkeley, Institute for Research on Labor & Employment
Monday, March 10, 2008
How are your wrists feeling? / Experts debate reasons for drop in office injuriesHow are your wrists feeling? / Experts debate reasons for drop in office injuries
Can a workplace epidemic be cured? With the personal-computing boom of the 1990s came thousands of repetitive stress injuries or repetitive strain injuries. RSI became the hip medical acronym of the keyboard era, with subset carpal tunnel syndrome the...
Nurses to strike some Sutter affiliatesNurses to strike some Sutter affiliates
Union-represented registered nurses will strike Northern California hospitals affiliated with Sutter Health for 10 days beginning March 21, the California Nurses Association said Monday. It will be the third strike at Sutter facilities in less than six...
California Senate OKs bill banning race, gender in setting workers' compensation benefitsCalif. Senate OKs bill banning race, gender in setting benefits
The state Senate approved legislation Monday that would prohibit doctors from considering age, race or genetic factors in determining the size of workers' compensation benefits for employees who suffer job-related disabilities. The bill by Sen. Carole...
Namibia: 3,000 Jobs Will Be Lost in Malaysian Textile Factory ClosedownNamibia: 3,000 Jobs Will Be Lost in Malaysian Textile Factory Closedown
The Namibian government plans to stay the course with export processing zones (EPZ) despite one of the largest of the foreign investors, Malaysian textile company Ramatex, deciding last week to close down its operations--a move that will destroy 3,000 jobs.
What does Wal-Mart Supercenter bring with it?What does Wal-Mart Supercenter bring with it?
Elmira Star-Gazette, NY
And now begins "The Great Experiment" -- better known as "Is it true the new Wal-Mart Supercenter at Southern Tier Crossing will spell the end for the locally owned retail and grocery stores it is now competing against?"
Friday, March 07, 2008
Swaziland Worst labour strife in a decadeSwaziland worst labour strife in a decade
A bloody week of the worst labour strife in a decade has exposed cracks in the Swazi government's poverty-alleviation plan of creating thousands of low-paying jobs by promoting a textile industry.
Delta: Pension plan safe under any mergerDelta: Pension plan safe under any merger
Delta Air Lines officials said Friday that neither it nor Northwest Airlines could terminate their pension plans under any merger. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. said this week it wants to be included in talks between the two carriers to make sure pensions are protected. The federal government's pension insurer, a major Delta shareholder, wrote both carriers asking that it be included in talks.
House panel questions high pay for CEOsHouse panel questions high pay for CEOs
Lawmakers confronted corporate executives Friday about how they managed to take home hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation while their companies were taking a financial nosedive from the subprime mortgage crisis.
British Pay rises hold steady in FebruaryBritish pay rises hold steady in February
Pay awards in the three months ending February rose by 3.5%, in line with the January's figure, data shows.
Global working women on the riseGlobal working women on the rise
The world's working women are on the rise, says the International Labour Organization, but many find it hard to get jobs and endure poor conditions.
Union talks break down in GermanyUnion talks break down in Germany
Talks between the German government and public sector union Verdi break down, raising the threat of strikes.
Employers slash jobs by most in 5 yearsEmployers slash jobs by most in 5 years
AP - Employers slashed 63,000 jobs in February, the most in five years and the starkest sign yet that the country is heading dangerously toward recession or is in one already. The latest snapshot of the nation's employment climate underscored the heavy toll of the housing and credit crises on companies, jobseekers and the overall economy.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
U.S. household wealth dips for first time since 2002U.S. household wealth dips for first time since 2002
Reuters - The net wealth of U.S. households fell for the first time in five years during the fourth quarter last year as the value of real estate holdings and stocks weakened, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.
Bracing for brain drainBracing for brain drain
The aerospace and defense sector is bracing for a potential brain drain over the next decade as a generation of Cold War scientists and engineers hits retirement age and not enough qualified young Americans seek to take their place.
More workers join German strikesMore workers join German strikes
Strikes affect new areas of Germany on the second day of action as more workers join.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Southwest's ramp jobs go begging in BaltimoreSouthwest's ramp jobs go begging in Baltimore
Airline is short 20 handlers at BWI despite pay that can reach $75,000 A rare $2,500 signing bonus didn't work.
Ford CEO: Performance bonuses for all workersFord CEO: Performance bonuses for all workers
Even though it lost $2.7 billion last year, Ford Motor Co. will pay performance bonuses to all hourly and salaried workers in the U.S. and Canada, and to its management team around the globe, the automaker's chief executive announced Wednesday. In an e-mail message to workers sent Wednesday morning, Chief Executive Alan Mulally said the bonuses will come in paychecks this month because the company is making significant progress toward becoming profitable again. "We worked together as never before to deliver results in several key areas despite tough business conditions," Mulally wrote.
Delta, Northwest pilots move toward restarting talksDelta, Northwest pilots move toward restarting talks
The pilots unions at Delta and Northwest have made "some movement" toward resuming talks aimed at resolving seniority issues that have threatened to scuttle a possible merger between the airlines, said a person close to the negotiations. Without characterizing the progress, the person said the two groups have made overtures that could lead to talks aimed at reaching an elusive compromise on combining the pilot seniority lists of the two airlines, which have roughly 12,000 pilots represented by separate units of the Air Line Pilots Association. "There is common ground here," said the person, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks. The person said Lee Moak, chairman of ALPA's Delta unit, asked the union's national-level officials to become involved after talks with Northwest's union officials stalled last month.
Germany's airports hit by strikeGermany's airports hit by strike
Flights from German airports are severely disrupted after members of the Verdi union go on strike.
U.S. productivity revised up but labor costs mountU.S. productivity revised up but labor costs mount
Reuters - U.S. productivity grew at a slightly faster-than-expected revised pace in the fourth quarter, government data showed on Wednesday, but an increase in hourly compensation pushed unit labor costs higher.
Grim job market deals economy another blowGrim job market deals economy another blow
Reuters - The weakening job market dealt another blow to the struggling economy on Wednesday, while more bad news emerged from the inflation front.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Public servants’ strike in Zimbabwe underwayPublic servants’ strike underway
A strike by public officers, including employees from the government, health personnel in government and council hospitals and clinics is now under way, amid calls for an immediate review of salaries and benefits.
Chinese fight in Zambia mineChinese fight in Zambia mine
A Chinese manager at a Zambian copper mine is assaulted by protesting workers.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Civil Servants, Nurses in Zimbabwe join Teachers' StrikeCivil Servants, Nurses join Teachers' Strike
Things are rapidly falling apart under the world of the Zanu (PF) regime as by Friday operations in government departments were either on a go-slow or in some cases a virtual halt as civil servants took first steps towards joining teachers in a full-blown strike.
Too-nice bosses often make workplaces worseToo-nice bosses often make workplaces worse
Lowrie Beacham didn't like confronting people or making decisions that favored one staffer over another, including the time two of his people were vying to be in charge of the new fitness center.
Truckers struggle to make ends meetTruckers struggle to make ends meet
Self-employed drivers fear bankruptcy amid rising diesel costs, stalled freight rates Trucker Robert Griffith is on the road three weeks out of four, pulling oversize loads like crane booms, railroad ties and air conditioning ducts. One of his biggest worries: How he'll find the money to buy his daughter a prom dress.
Union rejects Royal Mail reform in BritainUnion rejects Royal Mail reform in Britain
There may be fresh strike action at the Royal Mail if staff reject the company's proposed pension changes.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Volvo Trucks, union end strike, reach three-year agreementVolvo Trucks, union end strike, reach three-year agreement
Volvo Trucks North America announced this weekend that it had reached a three-year agreement with the United Auto Workers. Striking employees will go back to work March 24.