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Labor & Economic News Blog

Compiled by Janice Kimball and the staff of the IRLE Library

Monday, June 30, 2008

Woman's Firing Marks Special Counsel's Troubles

Woman's Firing Marks Special Counsel's Troubles
NPR audio
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is responsible for investigating complaints from government employees. But consistent criticism of how the agency does business led to a federal investigation of Scott Bloch, the head of the office. Benetta Mansfield is among employees whose complaints were rejected by the office.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:54 AM


Delta, Northwest pilots unions to review tentative agreement

Delta, Northwest pilots unions to review tentative agreement
Leaders of Delta's pilots union are meeting Wednesday on a tentative agreement that would pave the way for them to work under the same contract and seniority list as Northwest pilots. If the plan is approved by Delta's pilots union leadership and, later this week, by their counterparts representing Northwest pilots, the airlines would clear a major hurdle toward their proposed merger.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:13 AM


10 workplace trends of the future

10 workplace trends of the future
To say the 9-to-5 job is an old concept like the rotary phone is an understatement.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 10:20 AM


Friday, June 27, 2008

Court Rules on Text-Messaging Privacy

Court Rules on Text-Messaging Privacy
NPR audio
A court has ruled employers don't have the right to read text messages sent by employees even if the employer is paying for the service. Peter Swire, law professor at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, discusses the ruling.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:57 AM


McCain Touts Retraining Displaced Workers

McCain Touts Retraining Displaced Workers
NPR audio
GOP presidential candidate John McCain has toured a General Motors plant in Ohio. The plant is a rare GM bright spot as other GM plants are slashing jobs. McCain says retraining displaced workers is the answer, but he isn't promising tax dollars.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:56 AM


No Deal in Sight as Actors' Contract Nears Expiration

No Deal in Sight as Actors' Contract Nears Expiration
NPR audio
The contract for the Screen Actors Guild expires Monday. SAG has been negotiating with the studios for weeks, but they're nowhere near an agreement. Chances of a Hollywood actors' strike are slim, but movie shoots have ground to a halt, just in case.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:22 AM


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Baltimore, Hartford Newspapers Slash Staff

Baltimore, Hartford Newspapers Slash Staff
NPR audio
Tribune Co. said Wednesday that it is cutting jobs at two newspapers. The Baltimore Sun will lose about 20 percent of its staff. The Hartford Courant will let go 25 percent of its workers.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:24 AM


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nigerian oil strike continues, but talks scheduled

Nigerian oil strike continues, but talks scheduled
The union and management will hold talks with Petroleum Minister H. Odein Ajumogobia tomorrow and with Abubakar Yar'Adua, head of the state-owned oil company, on Friday. Production remained unaffected.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 2:31 PM


Bad job? Consultant says first, don't quit; try to talk with your boss

Bad job? Consultant says first, don't quit; try to talk with your boss
Sam Glenn followed some wise counsel when he found himself in a bad job situation - his mother told him, first, don't quit. And second, to have a frank chat with his boss at the small computer communications firm where he worked.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:21 PM


Jobs may unravel in Maryland

Jobs may unravel in Maryland
State labor regulators threaten sewing business with higher taxes on artisans Foreign competition and state regulation haven't completely wiped out Maryland's once-storied needle-trade industry, but the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is working on it.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:18 PM


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pilot deal paves way for Delta, Northwest merger

Pilot deal paves way for Delta, Northwest merger
Leaders of Delta's pilots union are meeting Wednesday on a tentative agreement that would pave the way for them to work under the same contract and seniority list as Northwest pilots. If the plan is approved by Delta's pilots union leadership and, later this week, by their counterparts representing Northwest pilots, the airlines would clear a major hurdle toward their proposed merger.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 3:17 PM


Continental, pilots union agree on incentives for leaves

Continental, pilots union agree on incentives for leaves
An agreement has been reached between Continental Airlines and its pilots union regarding voluntary incentives for retirements and leaves.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 2:32 PM


Monday, June 23, 2008

That economic squeeze you feel isn't your imagination

That economic squeeze you feel isn't your imagination
Las Vegas Business Press
Americans feel squeezed now and economist Jared Bernstein senses why. He says the costs of many basic items in their market basket -- health care, education, child care -- have risen steadily although wages haven't kept up.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:58 PM


Tip-reliant workers say slowdown cuts into tips

Tip-reliant workers say slowdown cuts into tips
AP - At the Corner Pub on Cincinnati's west side, bartender Melissa Metz can count the cost of the economic hangover in the stack of bills she has at the end of a shift.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:53 PM


Law schools numbers grow, but job options don't

Law schools numbers grow, but job options don't
To hear many students tell it, law school is a guaranteed ticket to a well-paying career. So a recent milestone must have sounded like good news.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:46 PM


Many new grads face health plan limbo

Many new grads face health plan limbo
Earning a degree can bring the abrupt loss of medical coverage

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:30 PM


Friday, June 20, 2008

California Jobless Rate Leaps

California Jobless Rate Leaps
California's unemployment rate rocketed up 0.6 percentage point in May - one of the largest one-month increases on record - as the fallout from high energy prices and the depressed housing market rippled through the state's economy.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:06 PM


Virtually all state jobless rates higher in May

Virtually all state jobless rates higher in May
Reuters - All but one U.S. state reported a higher jobless rate in May, led by Michigan and Rhode Island.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:02 PM


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Court Delivers Blow To Unions

Court Delivers Blow To Unions
Supreme Court rules employers can use state money to campaign against labor unions.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:38 PM


Tough competition makes summer job hunt harder

Tough competition makes summer job hunt harder
Getting a summer job is harder this year, but not impossible for students if they are patient and persistent. In general, there seem to be more applicants for fewer positions than last year, a result of the slowing economy. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:16 PM


CalPERS panel OKs new health benefits premiumsCalPERS panel OKs new health benefits premiums

CalPERS panel OKs new health benefits premiums
Members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System could see increases of 3.7 percent and 5.3 percent for health benefits premiums next year if they are covered by Blue Shield. But Kaiser Permanente's increases are expected to be significantly...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:04 PM


Jobless claims fall but labor market still soft

Jobless claims fall but labor market still soft
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell 5,000 last week, government data on Thursday showed, but claims remained near levels indicating a sluggish labor market amid a cooler economy.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:01 PM


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

UCLA economists expect no recession this year

UCLA economists expect no recession this year
A weak California economy, with little or no growth in employment, real household income and taxable sales, but no recession. That's the widely watched UCLA Anderson Forecast's outlook for this year. In their quarterly report on the California economy set for...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:14 PM


West Coast shippers, dockworkers near new deal

West Coast shippers, dockworkers near new deal
West Coast port workers and shippers have reached a tentative agreement on health care benefits, but both sides continue to negotiate wage, workplace safety and other issues in their ongoing contract talks. Neither the Pacific Maritime Association or the...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:12 PM


Grocery CEO says discrimination suit settled

Grocery CEO says discrimination suit settled
The grocery chain Kroger Co. has agreed to pay $16 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by 12 current and former employees, according to a memo from the chain's chairman and chief executive. The workers claimed in the 2001 federal lawsuit...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:08 PM


Qantas engineers to strike next week over pay

Qantas engineers to strike next week over pay
Qantas engineers are planning a series of rolling strikes in Australian cities next week as part of a continuing pay dispute with the airline, the union said Thursday. The strike repeats one last month that forced the airline to cancel 17 flights and delay...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:05 PM


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Study: Health costs to rise nearly 10 percent

Study: Health costs to rise nearly 10 percent
Employer health care costs are poised to rise almost 10 percent in 2008 _ more than double the annual inflation rate _ and nearly that much again in 2009, according to an industry report released Tuesday. The study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:22 PM


Air Canada to cut 2,000 jobs, slash capacity

Air Canada to cut 2,000 jobs, slash capacity
Air Canada will cut up to 2,000 jobs, or 7 percent of its work force, and said Tuesday it is slashing capacity like other major carriers beset by record fuel prices. "If fuel prices remain at current levels, we can anticipate further capacity reductions,"...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:22 PM


Strike costs India tea industry $475,000 per day

Strike costs India tea industry $475,000 per day
India's tea industry is losing $475,000 a day due to a strike by ethnic Gurkhas that has disrupted transport links and blocked roads in the eastern region of Darjeeling, officials said Tuesday. The strike has shut down businesses and shops and kept most...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:19 PM


Summer job market especially tough for poor kids

Summer job market especially tough for poor kids
When Theodor Gervais was 14, he took a summer job selling cell phone covers in Brooklyn for $100 a month, sitting at a table outside a phone store in what he describes as "somewhat of a bad area." His cousin worked inside and, worried for Theodor's safety,...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:18 PM


Monday, June 16, 2008

United Kingdom: Tanker pay talks end without deal

Tanker pay talks end without deal
BBC
Talks aimed at ending a pay dispute between fuel tanker drivers and their employers are adjourned until Tuesday.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 2:16 PM


UK 'facing farming labour crisis'

UK 'facing farming labour crisis'
The UK agriculture and horticulture industry is facing an unprecedented labour shortage, the Unite union warns.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 2:15 PM


Primark fires child worker firms

Primark fires child worker firms
BBC
UK High Street clothing firm Primark fires three Indian suppliers because they used child labour to finish goods.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 2:12 PM


AFTRA declines Screen Actors Guild's debate request

AFTRA declines Screen Actors Guild's debate request
The number two actors union has declined a request by the Screen Actors Guild to hold a two-hour debate before members on its tentative contract with Hollywood producers. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists turned down the request in a...

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:25 PM


New York State Seeks Way to Save Benefits for Workers

New York State Seeks Way to Save Benefits for Workers
State officials say they may have to create a $200 million emergency fund to finance workers’ compensation benefits because 12 trusts have failed financially.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:15 PM


CEO pay chugs up in '07 despite economy

CEO pay chugs up in '07 despite economy
As the American economy slowed to a crawl and stockholders watched their money evaporate, CEO pay still chugged to yet more dizzying heights last year, an Associated Press analysis shows.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:36 PM


Delta, Northwest to begin work on joint pilot contract

Delta, Northwest to begin work on joint pilot contract
Delta Air Lines has asked to start negotiations Tuesday for a joint pilot contract covering Delta and Northwest Airlines pilots, according to a message from the Northwest pilots union to its members. The "round-the-clock" negotiations on a joint pilot contract for Delta and Northwest's proposed merger are planned to last seven days in New York, according to the message posted on the Northwest pilot union's Web site. Atlanta-based Delta's pilots in May ratified a new labor agreement that includes annual pay raises, which would take effect if the merger is completed.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:24 PM


New York manufacturing contracts in June

New York manufacturing contracts in June
Reuters - A gauge of manufacturing in New York state contracted in June for the fourth time in five months, the New York Federal Reserve said in a report on Monday that also painted a mixed picture on inflation.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:06 PM


Retirement A Fading Dream

Retirement A Fading Dream
Thanks in part to soaring health care costs and shrinking pensions, many seniors are finding it difficult to retire.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:48 AM


Friday, June 13, 2008

Ford tells union more cuts needed as market slumps

Ford tells union more cuts needed as market slumps
With the U.S. auto market worsening for Ford Motor Co. almost daily, managers told union officials Friday that the company will have to further reduce its factory work force in the coming months.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:55 PM


MetroPolicy for a MetroNation

MetroPolicy for a MetroNation
To unleash greater local and national prosperity, U.S. metropolitan leaders need to be better equipped to deal with today’s increasingly dynamic economic, social and environmental realities. This summary outlines a new federal-state-metro partnership that provides metropolitan actors the support, capacity, tools and discretion they need to resolve key challenges; grow in more productive, inclusive, and sustainable ways; and, ultimately, to maximize America’s overall prosperity.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:47 PM


Union workers say AGCO unfair on sick leave policy

Union workers say AGCO unfair on sick leave policy
Union workers at a Kansas plant of Duluth-based AGCO Corp. say they're still waiting for a response from the farm equipment manufacturer on what they call an unfair switcheroo that penalizes employees for taking sick leave. The roughly 1,100 unionized employees at AGCO's Hesston, Kan., plant now get two marks — or "points" — each time they take one of the five sick days they are allotted a year. They get also one point for missing up to four hours of work or two points for missing more than four hours for other reasons. After 16 points, employees are subject to termination, said Brian Lansaw, president of the United Steelworkers Union Local No. 11228, which represents the Hesston workers.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:25 PM


Georgia works to give biotech industry an edge

Georgia works to give biotech industry an edge
Georgia has world-class universities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and cutting-edge companies working on cures for everything from AIDS to diabetes. But when it comes to the biotech business, one thing Georgia doesn't have is much respect. Within the industry, "I don't think people think of (Georgia) in the context of all the capacities and capabilities it has," said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:24 PM


The Economy's Steady Pulse: Health-Care Sector Is Poised to Keep Expanding, but So Are Its Costs

The Economy's Steady Pulse:
Health care has become the beating heart of America's economy. In the past 15 years, the health-care economy has pumped out 4.5 million new jobs, including related fields such as drug development and health insurance.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 11:54 AM


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Georgia Layoffs up nearly 30% over May 2007, state reports

Georgia Layoffs up nearly 30% over May 2007, state reports
It looks like layoffs in Georgia dipped from April to May, but they were still well above the levels of a year ago. The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment insurance benefits in May fell 13.4 percent from the previous month, mostly because fewer manufacturing firms were cutting jobs, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday. However, it was up 29.4 percent from May of last year. That was a larger increase than at the national level.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:28 PM


Jobless claims rise more than expected

Jobless claims rise more than expected
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week while those remaining on benefit rolls hit a four-year high, the government said on Thursday.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:08 PM


Democrats to Re-Vote on Unemployment Extension

Democrats to Re-Vote on Unemployment Extension
NPR audio:
With the unemployment rate rising to 5.5 percent in May, Congress tried to pass a bill extending unemployment benefits Wednesday. But the measure failed under expedited procedures. Democratic leaders say they will try again Thursday under regular rules.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:02 PM


Truckers' Fuel-Cost Protests Turn Violent in Spain

Truckers' Fuel-Cost Protests Turn Violent in Spain
NPR audio:
Truck drivers in Spain have been protesting the rising cost of fuel. The strike has left gas stations without fuel and supermarket shelves empty. Now the protests have turned violent.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:01 PM


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Employees at White Marsh GM plant return to work

Employees at White Marsh GM plant return to work
The General Motors Powertrain Baltimore Transmission Plant, shut down since April because of a strike at a GM parts supplier, will start ramping up production July 14 when it brings back 100 to 105 day-shift workers.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:53 PM


Average Washington wage: $44,721

Average Washington wage: $44,721
The average annual wage in Washington grew 5 percent last year to $44,721. That growth rate fell short of the 5.4 percent jump from 2006 to 2007.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:28 PM


A Justice Orders a Pay Raise for New York’s Judges

A Justice Orders a Pay Raise for New York’s Judges
A State Supreme Court justice ordered the New York Legislature to give the state’s 1,250 judges their first pay raise in 10 years.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:21 PM


Union Critical of Obama’s Top Economics Aide

Union Critical of Obama’s Top Economics Aide
Labor leaders say Jason Furman, Barack Obama’s new economic policy director, focuses too much on corporate America and not enough on workers.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:05 PM


Ford, union to discuss shift from trucks to cars

Ford, union to discuss shift from trucks to cars
Ford Motor Co. plant managers and union representatives from across the country will gather Friday to discuss the company's business plans, including how it will deal with the U.S. market's rapid shift from trucks to cars.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:58 PM


Northwest, Delta pilot reps still talking

Northwest, Delta pilot reps still talking
Union negotiators representing pilots from Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines met Wednesday in Atlanta to continue discussions for joint contract negotiations with Delta. Atlanta-based Delta and Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest are working toward their proposed merger announced in April. Delta's pilots ratified a labor agreement in May that includes annual pay raises, which would take effect if the merger is completed.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:29 PM


Communist Cuba scraps uniform wages in new reform move

Communist Cuba scraps uniform wages in new reform move
AFP - In a new reform move, communist Cuba announced Wednesday it was scrapping salary caps long meant to underscore egalitarianism but which President Raul Castro's government says hurt productivity.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:10 PM


Prosperity varies from U.S. city to city: think tank

Prosperity varies from U.S. city to city: think tank
Reuters - Large U.S. cities are economically strong -- generating 75 percent of the country's gross domestic product -- but only one-fifth enjoy a mix of healthy productivity, narrow wage inequality and environmental sustainability, according to a survey released on Thursday.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:09 PM


Jobless Benefit Extension Blocked by House Vote

Jobless Benefit Extension Blocked by House Vote
NPR audio:
The House Wednesday rejected a temporary extension of jobless benefits, a measure that was widely expected to pass with a veto-proof majority. The final vote was 279 to 144.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:03 PM


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Standing Up for Workers’ Rights in Japan

Standing Up for Workers’ Rights in Japan
Japan’s salarymen have borne the brunt of its economic decline, enduring lower wages, job insecurity and long hours of unpaid overtime. Now, a few are fighting back.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:08 PM


Rancor grows in pilots' union

Rancor grows in pilots' union
It's just what Delta Air Lines executives were trying to avoid. In the wake of failed attempts to reach a joint agreement with Delta and Northwest Airlines pilots before the carriers' merger announcement, discord is growing between Northwest pilots and their national union, which also represents Delta pilots. The Delta-Northwest merger was announced in April with a proposed deal for Delta's roughly 7,000 pilots but no deal with Northwest's 5,000. The two pilot groups had reached an impasse over how to integrate their seniority lists. If the merger is granted regulatory approval, it is expected to close by the end of the year.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:29 PM


Monday, June 09, 2008

Wal-Mart will pay $250,000 to disabled woman it fired

Wal-Mart will pay $250,000 to disabled woman it fired
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $250,000 to a pharmacy technician who suffered a disability resulting from a gunshot wound and was subsequently fired from one of its Harford County stores, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced yesterday.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:56 PM


Ranks of Underinsured Are Rising, Study Finds

Ranks of Underinsured Are Rising, Study Finds
By By REED ABELSON on Commonwealth Fund
A study found that the coverage of approximately one of every five adults younger than age 65 with health insurance was inadequate in case of serious health problems.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 1:11 PM


Northwest pilots union prepares for merger

Northwest pilots union prepares for merger
Leaders of the Northwest Airlines pilots union have directed their Strategic Preparedness and Strike Committee and other union officials to develop a plan of action as its negotiating committee seeks pay and contract parity with Delta Air Lines pilots. In a meeting last week, the pilots union leadership decided to authorize $2.5 million from a contingency fund for strategic preparedness, communications and family awareness programs, according to a message to union members. The group also passed a resolution to explore options to mitigate effects of potential furloughs and displacements in the proposed merger between the two airlines.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:30 PM


Jobs market declines in May

Jobs market declines in May
Reuters - The U.S. labor market declined in May to the weakest in three-and-a-half years and is likely to deteriorate further, the Conference Board said on Monday as it launched a new leading indicator for employment.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:11 PM


Book Examines Looming Pension Debts in America

Book Examines Looming Pension Debts in America
NPR audio:
Business journalist Roger Lowenstein talks about his new book, While America Aged, which looks at how corporations and governments came to make pension and health care obligations to workers — and what is happening as the bills come due.

# posted by Janice's Labor, Work, Economics News Blog @ 12:04 PM


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