Labor & Economic News Blog

Friday, July 29, 2005

Danish economists fret over falling unemployment
Unemployment falls to 5.8 percent, increasing the risk of bottlenecks in the job market Less than 160,000 workers were unemployed in June, as unemployment fell to its lowest level since February 2003, daily newspaper Brsen reported on Friday.


Virginia unemployment rate hits 11 month high
The unemployment rate in Virginia rose to 3.8 percent in June, an 11-month high, but it remains well below the national average, and Northern Virginia's jobless rate is still the lowest in the state.


Infineon Mulling Job Cuts at German Plant
Chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG said Friday it is mulling job cuts at a plant in eastern Germany as it moves to change the way it produces chips there.


Morgan Stanley to Cut 1,000 Brokerage Jobs
NEW YORK -- Morgan Stanley, which has been struggling to increase the size and productivity of its broker force, plans to eliminate about 10 percent of its brokers.


Sappi to Cut 365 Jobs at Michigan Plant
MUSKEGON, Mich. -- Sappi Fine Paper North America says it is restructuring its Muskegon operations in a move that will eliminate 365 jobs, or 62 percent of its 585 employees.


South Africa unemployment rate 26.5%
This was just a slight increase on the figure for September last year of 26.2%, but a decline on March last year when the unemployment rate was 27.9%. The number of employed persons rose from 11. %


Fidelity announces a thousand new jobs, $65 million expansion
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Boston-based company says it plans to complete the project by 2008. Fidelity already employs 1,600 at two buildings on the Smithfield site, which opened in 1998.


France Jobless Rate Slips to 10.1 Pct
France's unemployment rate fell in June for the first time in more than four years as more young people found work, national statistics agency Insee said Friday.


Spain's Jobless Rate Falls to 25-Year Low
Spain's jobless rate fell to 9.3 percent in the second quarter of 2005, its lowest level in 25 years, as the economy continued to generate jobs at a healthy rate.


Japan's Jobless Rate Falls to 7-Year Low
(07-29) 02:13 PDT TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- Japan's economic prospects got brighter Friday as the jobless rate fell to a seven-year low and industrial production gained at a healthy pace, news that sent the stock market to a four-and-a-half month high.


'Living wage' not 'minimum wage'
Strike action by some 180 Samoan workers at the Aquatic Center is a timely reminder of the inadequate pay many here have to contend with.


Jobless claims rise less than expected (Reuters)
Reuters - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose 5,000 last week, slightly less than expected, a government report showed on Thursday.


US economy slows to 3.4-percent growth (AFP)
AFP - US growth slowed marginally to 3.4 percent in the second quarter, the government said, but analysts said the world's biggest economy remained in fine form.


IMF warns high oil prices could hurt US economy (AFP)
AFP - The International Monetary Fund expressed confidence for short-term US economic prospects but warned of several challenges ahead, including high oil prices.


Government Shifting Airport Screeners
(07-28) 18:23 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government plans to reshuffle its passenger and baggage screeners, drawing protests from some airports slated to lose workers. Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore., will be among those taking the biggest hits.


UAL flight attendants picket
Flight attendants demonstrated against United Airlines at key airports around the world Thursday, including Honolulu.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Kenyan apparel industry in limbo
The imports, mainly fabric and yarn from China, are held at the port and main airports due to delays caused by the implementation of a new electronic customs clearance system code-named the Simba 2005, which has caused a cargo backlog at the ports.


Thirteen Zambians caught-up in SAA strike in Japan
Lusaka, July 27, ZANA – Thirteen Zambians, including three journalists that had travelled in a government delegation for the Aichi Expo 2005 in Japan have been stranded for a week now due to the on-going strike by South African Airways-SAA.


Reuters Reports More Job-Cut Plans
By By JANE WARDELL, AP Business Writer
Reuters Group PLC said it could cut up to 500 more jobs in coming years as the news and financial-data provider pursues a restructuring plan meant to drive growth in China and India.


Workers face tough fight for wages, health care
By David Lazarus
Do workers have any clout left? That's the obvious question to ask as, at the national level, the once-mighty AFL-CIO literally falls apart with this week's decision by the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union to go their own way.


Trying times for unions nationally, locally / California labor groups gear up to defeat three initiatives on November's ballot
By George Raine
Although Sharon Cornu of the Central Labor Council of Alameda County was sitting in Chicago's Navy Pier, amid the din of the AFL-CIO's 50th annual convention, her mind was really back home. Her to-do list for the day included calling eight union locals...


ExpressJet workers vote down agreement
ExpressJet Airlines' 1,200 flight attendants have rejected a tentative four-year agreement with the carrier, which flies under the name Continental Express.


FAA, US controllers sling barbs
After three years of increased tension between the union that represents about 15,000 controllers and the Federal Aviation Administration, the two sides sat down last week to work out a new contract that would govern salaries and work rules for the men and women who guide more than 80,000 flights a day. But before the two sides even exchanged initial proposals on Tuesday, they had dueling press conferences blasting each other.


100 jobs at risk in Shannon Ireland after collapse of EUjet airline
The company suspended all flights yesterday after its parent firm, Planestation, was put into administration due to financial difficulties.


Strike Forces Asiana Airlines to Cancel 31 International Flights
Asiana Airlines will cancel 56 international flights on 14 routes for four days starting today as its unionized pilots entered the 12th day of their strike, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.


Brazil Cuts 2005 GDP Forecast to 3.4 Percent From 4 Percent, Ministry Says
July 27 (Bloomberg) -- The Brazilian government cut its economic growth estimate for the second time this year and said inflation will decline more slowly than previously expected, the Budget and Planning Ministry said in a report.


Zimbabwe slump unprecedented : World Bank
Zimbabwe slump unprecedented : World Bank Zimbawe in financial crisis Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline over the past six years is likely unprecedented for a country not at war, says the World Bank's director for the country.


Samoa Construction Workers Promised Pay Raise

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 26) – Samoan construction workers at the Aquatic Centre project site in Apia have been promised wage increases.

Some 180 workers walked off the job last Friday, demanding pay hikes in line with the government’s recent general pay rise.

Most of the workers were getting 72 US cents an hour - about 15 cents more than the minimum wage.

They want at US$1.08 an hour.

The Executive Advisor of the South Pacific Games Authority, Laki Uaea Apelu, told the Samoa Observer newspaper the contractor has agreed to an increase in pay. Mr Apelu said that he was unaware how much has been agreed upon.


Talk of layoffs in Saskatchewan over British Columbia truckers strike
Farmers and processors of special crops like peas, beans and lentils are running out of patience with Ottawa. They say it's time the federal government legislated striking truckers at the port of Vancouver back to work.


Tentative agreement adverts Canadian LCBO strike
TORONTO -- The flow of alcohol will continue uninterrupted in Canada's most populous province after the Ontario Liquor Control Board reached a tentative agreement with its union early Wednesday, one day before workers were to walk off the job.


US lawmakers to vote controversial free trade pact with Central America
Pravda, Russia
Despite the deal lacks of relevant economic significance - the six countries of the CAFTA altogether do about as much trade with the United States as The Netherlands - the White House has been unusually active promoting the Congress' ratification.


Vietnamese Communist Party open doors to Entrepreneurs
Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The proposal of allowing private-sector entrepreneurs to join the party ranks may become reality at next year's Communist Party congress.


Honda workers in India in violent clash with police
The renewed violence came as India's Parliament erupted in chaos, with some opposition members walking out and others angrily demanding that the government take action against police officers who sparked Monday's clash.


India's tech boom sparks recruitment rush
BANGALORE, India (Reuters) - On a hot summer weekend in India's technology capital, 28,000 young graduates converge on a suburban indoor stadium and create a stampede for jobs in the exploding software and business service industries.


India's labour laws under lens
No less than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed deep concern and anguish at the mayhem, in what is being termed as one of the most violent clashes involving workers since the country's economic reforms programme of the early 1990s.


India slams Japan envoy's remarks
India Tuesday took strong exception to the Japanese envoy's remarks that the country's image as an investment destination might take a beating after violent clashes involving police and Honda workers.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

ILO Conference: SAFEWORK - Fair Globalization - Safe Workplace: Policies, Strategies and Practices for Sustainable Development.

24-26 October 2005Congress Center Düsseldorf, Germany

High-level speakers and expected 300 participants discuss new methods and strategies to tackle the challenges of a globalized world of work in the 21st century.


Newcomers To Workplaces: Babies
(CBS) Coming back to work after having a baby is always difficult. But what if moms and even dads could take their newborns with them to the office, and work with them right at their sides?


Romania's Economy to grow, inflation seen down
It said the country's official planning commission said tax cuts enacted this year have led to higher consumption and the creation of 162,000 jobs in the first five months of the year.


Revolution in transport Asia to European Union Poland boosts rail shipments from the East Article
Somewhere in Asia, a train carrying Chinese tomato paste is making its way toward Poland, and Marian Bak can't wait for it to get here - it's part of the plan for a revolution in transport from Asia to Europe.


Consumer Confidence Dips on Job Worries
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Writer NEW YORK Americans' anxiety about the economy and their jobs resurfaced in July, sending a widely followed measure of consumer confidence downward and ending a three-month winning streak.


ASEAN members must ratify UN refugee and migrant Conventions
The appeal came ahead of an ASEAN foreign ministers summit today in Vientiane, Laos and amidst mounting evidence of wide ranging human rights violations affecting refugees and migrant workers in South East Asia. '


Walgreen: Striking Pharmacists Returning
Striking union pharmacists at 400 Chicago-area Walgreen Co. stores voted to return to work Tuesday without a new contract, the union and the company said. Pharmacists voted Monday night to end the work stoppage that started July 6, National Pharmacists...


Honda Workers, Police Clash Again in India
By By RAJESH MAHAPATRA, Associated Press Writer
Women and men armed with truncheons and stones attacked police Tuesday in an affluent New Delhi suburb where violent clashes between protesting Honda workers and police a day earlier reportedly injured 700 people. The renewed violence came as India's...


Monday, July 25, 2005

Northwest Air, Unions Prefer Warfare to Survival
July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.S. airlines are emphasizing personal sacrifice, teamwork and cost-cutting in their fight for survival. At ailing Northwest Airlines Corp., self-interest and squabbling rule the day.


Lufthansa reaches deal with pilots
The length of the agreement and the productivity-raising measures are especially of crucial importance for strengthening our position in each business segment,' he said.


Unions accept Alitalia split
Miscellaneous Unions accept Alitalia split Alitalia has persuaded eight of its nine unions to accept the plan to split the troubled carrier into two separate companies.The unions agreed to the ...


Environment 'vital' in making African poverty history
Delegates pointed out that some key indicators are pointing to a rapidly degrading environment in Africa which could seriously undermine poverty eradication efforts.


Per capita income: Delhi's smiling
Delhi has the second highest per capita income in the country after Chandigarh.


Indonesian garment workers fight sweatshop conditions
"Workers at an Indonesian garment factory producing for chains such as Gap, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein have recently been on strike over excessive work-rate and hours. This agency report suggests that the strike may have been successful.


Teamsters to leave AFL-CIO
They are part of the Change to Win Coalition, a group of seven unions vowing to accomplish what the AFL-CIO has failed to do: Reverse the decades-long decline in union membership.


News Analysis: Asean face 'difficult position' on Myanmar
VIENTIANE, Laos The idea was 'constructive engagement,' and the intent was to pull Myanmar out of its self-imposed isolation and open it to democracy and economic growth by embracing it in the family of Southeast Asian nations.


Teamsters, SEIU to bolt AFL-CIO as part of four-union rift
They are part of the Change to Win Coalition, a group of seven unions vowing to accomplish what the AFL-CIO has failed to do: Reverse the decades-long decline in union membership.


SAN FRANCISCO / Fire department settles sexual harassment suit
By Jaxon Van Derbeken
The city of San Francisco has tentatively agreed to a $400,000 settlement of a lawsuit brought by a firefighter who said on-the-job drinking at the Fire Department fueled a sexual harassment campaign against her.


Sanyo attempts to revive earnings with job cuts
And on July 5, the company made an equally bold move -- announcing a plan to revive earnings by cutting 14,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its global work force.


Poland's Unemployment Falls to 18 Percent
Poland's jobless rate fell to 18 percent in June from 18.3 percent the month before, the government's statistics office said Monday, but it remains the highest in the European Union.


MG-Rover Unions seek talks with Nanjing about jobs
LONDON --Union leaders sought urgent talks with Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp., the new owner of MG Rover, about reviving British jobs at the collapsed automaker, while failed bidder Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. considered legal action Monday.


Turkey's unemployment rate eases
Turkey's unemployment rate eases Turkey's unemployment rate has fallen to an estimated 10 percent, according to figures released by the State Statistics Institute (DIE) on Monday.


Friday, July 22, 2005

How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart
By Steven Greenhouse
NY Times
Costco and its CEO, Jim Sinegal, have found a way to treat its employees well and keep prices low, much to Wall Street's dismay. Greenhouse writes that not everone is happy with Costco's business strategy.


Military wants to allow older recruits seeks hike in age limit for recruits
With the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard all on pace to fall short of their recruitment goals for the year, the military is reconsidering its age limits for new recruits. Allowing older soldiers could be costly in terms of benefits, and...


NHL Owners OK Labor Deal; Lockout Over
By By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer
The NHL lockout that canceled last season came to an end Friday when the owners of the league's 30 teams unanimously approved a labor deal that clears the way for play to resume in the fall. "Today our board of governors gave its unanimous approval to...


SF Chronicle deadline nears / Management wants deep cuts; union prepares response
By George Raine
The union representing Chronicle journalists and others at the newspaper in advertising, marketing, circulation, customer service and finance is facing a deadline of midnight Monday to either accept a management contract offer its negotiators regard as...


Group accused of forcing Honduran women to work in New Jersey bars as slaves
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Women as young as 14 were smuggled into the United States from rural Honduran villages and put to work in three northern New Jersey bars, drinking and dancing with customers to repay the smugglers, who beat the women if they objected, according to a federal indictment handed up Thursday.


Truck Strike Paralyzes Gas in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A truck strike paralyzed fuel deliveries across Puerto Rico on Thursday, prompting motorists to form huge lines at gas stations that were quickly running out of fuel.


Lula Removes Control of 14,258 Brazil Government Jobs From Politicians
July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva issued a provisional decree putting about 70 percent of all federal jobs now held by political appointees under the control of the civil service.


Consumer slowdown hits UK
The UK economy grew at its slowest rate in more than a decade, squeezed by a slowdown in High Street sales.


Greenspan: Overwhelmed PBGC won't rattle economy
He plans to step down next year after 18 years. The Fed chief was asked by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., what the impact on the economy would be if more companies were to dump their pension plans on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.


Russia vows to rein in inflation amid warnings
MOSCOW, July 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Friday the main task of the cabinet in the next few years is to curb inflation as experts warned inflation could exceed the government forecast of 10-11 percent this year.


World Bank: Eastern Europe suffering post-EU entry hangover
Matters have not been helped for the eight nations -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia -- by the European Union's failure to adopt a long-term budget, it said.


United Auto Workers Hire Lazard for Advice on GM Talks Over Health Costs
July 22 (Bloomberg) -- The United Auto Workers has hired a team including Lazard Ltd. to determine whether the union should bail out General Motors Corp.


Air New Zealand dispute resolved

Air New Zealand and the union representing 1,000 long-haul cabin crew have reached agreement in their dispute over pay and conditions.

It follows two 48 hour strikes by cabin crew, with a third one planned - which is not now expected to go ahead.

Details of the deal struck for the next three years will not be made public until staff ratify it on Monday.

Air New Zealand says its contingency plan put in place because of the industrial action cannot be reversed, despite agreement being reached.

That means around 30 flights on Sunday and Monday will remain cancelled.

But the airline says alternative arrangements are already in place for the majority of affected passengers.


Chaos as South Africa airline staff strike
SAA services have been reduced Flights on South Africa's national air carrier have been disrupted as a result of a strike by ground and cabin staff.


United gets final OK on labor concessions
July 22, 2005 United Airlines baggage carriers, customer-service agents, food-service employees and other workers have approved new contracts with the carrier.


AGOA's impact on poverty alleviation in Nigeria, others low, says U.S. report
The African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) may have recorded limited success in alleviating poverty in Nigeria and some other African countries, going by a U.S. policy brief released in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday. But notwithstanding the assessed low impact of the scheme on poverty situation in the continent, the imperativeness of AGOA as an elixir to economic diversification was not lost on participants at a forum in the Senegalese capital.


Union urges greater investment in Niger Delta
To stem restiveness in the Niger Delta region, a trade unionist, Chief John Onyenemere, has advised the Federal Government to initiate strategies that would encourage the establishment of more companies in the area.


Blast at Zambia copper mine after strike ends
Fortunately there was no loss of lives,' the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.'Production has, however, continued without disruptions.'


Free lunches entice Angolan children back to school
For the freshly scrubbed Angolan children queuing outside a schoolhouse in laundered white coats and their best shoes, a newly expanded food aid programme may be all that keeps them in lessons.


South Sudan development promises to yield lucrative contracts
By Edmund Sanders, The Los Angeles Times RUMBEK, Sudan, July 21, 2005 -- There's a new breed of adventurer invading this remote African village. They pour in every day at the red-dirt airstrip, camping in tents at a makeshift hotel and venturing out to inspect the bush, interact with locals and, with luck, bag what they most covet.


U.N. report slams Zimbabwe slum destruction
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Zimbabwe's destruction of urban slums is a 'disastrous venture' that has left 700,000 people without homes or jobs, violated international law and created a grave humanitarian crisis, a harshly worded U.N. report said Friday.


Leader: Good can come of an IT skills shortage
Published: Thursday 21 July 2005
Too many IT workers are retiring from the industry and not enough graduates are coming up to replace them.

Outsourcing means companies won't need as many people with basic technical skills. Instead they will need more staff with business skills and job titles like architect or programme manager.
Signs like these of an IT skills crisis in the UK are nothing new. The industry has fretted over this topic for some time.

But rather than plunging it into despair, the news should give the industry a chance to pause and rethink how it deals with issues of training and career paths.

As the education system won't be able to churn out qualified graduates as quickly as companies will need them, in-house training and development will have to make a return.

There is a myth that investing in training is a waste of time because staff will just leave for better jobs when they've finished.

This is a short-sighted approach and one the industry must reconsider.

Of course there will be cases where people zoom off as soon as they have their qualifications. But for most people if a company invests to boost their skills, they will feel more valued and be more productive and loyal as a result. Which means saving on expensive, disruptive and time-consuming recruiting in the long run.

Added to this is the fact that too many people feel forced out of the IT workforce because they are told they are too old at 50 or even 40.

If business and management skills are going to be at more of a premium than niche technical skills, then companies should start considering the contribution that these experienced workers can make - and not assume they are fit only for the scrapheap.

A looming skills shortage could help the industry grow up. At the moment for too many IT is a job and not a career. The industry needs to think more carefully about building a career path for tech workers if we are to make it through the next skills drought


Georgia's unemployment rate up for June
Georgia's unemployment rate in June rose to 5.6 percent, an increase of 0.6 percent over May, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.


Temp Workers R US: New frontiers in labor flexibility
July 21, 2005—The U.S. employment services sector is projected to have a 4.4 percent average annual rate of growth through 2012, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. People who toil in that sector are usually called temporary workers. Against that backdrop, economic recovery means many things. One thing can be more hiring opportunities for temporary employees in the U.S. In the current phase of the business cycle, American employers are increasing their hiring of temporary workers, slowly. The demand for such employment had dropped in the recession of 2001 that followed the stock market slide.


Cuba Boasts Lowest Unemployment Rate in Latin America
Havana, Jul 21 (Prensa Latina) Cuba's current 1.9 percent unemployment rate, the lowest in Latin America, stands in stark contrast to the figures for 1959, when the total was one million.


Woman pilot scores second victory in Britian over part-time working
A British Airways pilot who wanted to work part-time to look after her young daughter won a second victory against the airline at a tribunal yesterday.


Japan needs women, elderly to boost workforce
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan needs to get more women, young people and the elderly into the workforce as the country's population declines, rather than rely on immigrants, the government's annual white paper on labor said on Friday. While attracting skilled workers from around the world could energize the economy, importing unskilled labor would have long-term consequences for social security, crime prevention and economic competitiveness, the report said.


Unemployment rate declines as Conn. gains 1,000 jobs
WETHERSFIELD, Conn. -- Unemployment in Connecticut declined to 5.1 percent in June as the number of jobs increased by 1,000 to 1.67 million, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.


Taiwan's Jobless Rate Hits Four-Month High
Taiwan's jobless rate rose to a four-month high in June on an increase in the number of first-time job seekers, the government said Friday.


WSJ: Ford planning deeper job cuts
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Ford Motor Co. could cut as much as 30 percent of its white-collar staff in the next few years, according to a published report. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a spokesman for the nation's No. 2 automaker.


Massachusett adds jobs for 10th month, steady recovery
Massachusetts employers added nearly 5,000 jobs last month, helping to push the jobless rate lower and keep the state's slow, steady recovery on track.


State's unemployment rate dips to 4.9 percent in June
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped back down to 4.9 percent in June, returning to its April level after rising to 5 percent in May, state officials reported Thursday.


Florida Slow To Rebuild After Hurricanes - Labor Shortage Blamed
Robert Ferguson is resigned to a long wait before his home, destroyed by Hurricane Ivan, can be rebuilt - if it's rebuilt at all. The contractor delivered some material, then took some back.


Kimberly-Clark Plans 6,000 Job Cuts
Kimberly-Clark Corp., the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, on Friday said it plans to cut about 6,000 jobs and sell or close about 20 manufacturing plants as it reported lower second-quarter earnings.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Transit Union Hires a Security Trainer, Saying M.T.A. Is Not Doing Enough
NY Times
Transit union officials said Wednesday that they had hired an Israeli security expert to train workers in recognizing suspicious packages and passengers.


FAA rejects appeals of outsourcing decision
The Federal Aviation Administration late Wednesday rejected two challenges of its February decision to outsource about 2,500 federal flight service jobs.


Work ethics of expatriate Indians have transformed the image of India - a new in making : Manmohan Singh
Speaking at a reception organised by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen for him on Tuesday, Manmohan affirmed that during the last two days of his visit to the US, groundwork had been laid for a new relationship between the two countries. '


Strike hits Indian tea industry hard
NEW DELHI, July 20 (Reuters): India's tea industry, the world's largest, has suffered heavy losses because of a 10-day-old strike, but union leaders vowed today to continue their indefinite action. Industry officials said tea estates were losing about 200 million rupees (US$4.6 million) a day. Union leaders, representing about 300,000 workers, said they would call off the strike only if employers agreed to raise wages.


Main factors behind Taliban's increasing insurgency
Government's failure to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment and check cross-border terrorism have benefited Taliban regrouping militants and intensifying their attacks,' Afghan eminent analyst Qasim Akhgar observed.


Senegal: Ivorian Exiles Stranded As UN Debates Whether They Are Refugees Or Economic Migrants
In a house overlooking the sea in Dakar, about 120 Ivorian men, women and children sleep 15 or 20 to a room on plastic mats and strips of cardboard. They survive on a single plate of rice a day and wonder where they will be tomorrow.


Malaysia unpegs ringgit from US dollar
KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysia announced on Thursday that it was unpegging its currency from the US dollar andwill move to a managed float.


HP managers in Europe to be included in job cuts
Francesco Serafini, Hewlett-Packard's new top executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that an undetermined number of mid- and high-level management positions would be among the 14,500 cut in the company's latest reorganization.


Illinois' unemployment falls in June
Illinois added 6,700 non-farm jobs in June from May, reporting 6.2 percent unemployment, non-seasonally adjusted, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.


Michigan state unemployment down to 6.8 percent
By Brent Snavely July 21, 2005 11:44 AM Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined in June by three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.8 percent, the state said Wednesday.


Jobless claims plunge, leading index up
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits posted the largest drop since 2002 last week, while a separate report on the U.S. economy hinted growth would remain robust in the months ahead.


Now Let Us All Contemplate Our Own Financial Navels
NY Times
Everybody, it seems, is starting a yoga business to help make a better, more balanced world. Either that, or to capitalize on a trend. According to a survey of 4,700 people conducted by Yoga Journal, the number of Americans who practice yoga regularly jumped 34 percent last year, to 7.2 million from 5.6 million in 2003. The magazine also says Americans spent $2.95 billion a year on yoga classes and products like mats, clothing, vacations and books.


In Takeover Dance, the Chinese Miss a Step
NY Times
Two times this week a large Chinese company has been dealt a setback in its attempt to acquire major American assets, but don't count the Chinese out just yet.


Workers sue Group Five in Algeria
By Roy Cokayne Pretoria - Group Five, the listed construction company, is embroiled in a series of court cases in Algeria related to the alleged underpayment of workers.


Ukraine sacks all traffic police
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow Wednesday July 20, 2005
The Guardian
They are the scourge of motorists across the former Soviet Union, known for accusing drivers of fictitious crimes and demanding a bribe to clear them.


Bulgaria's June unemployment 0.42% down on month ro 11.11%
SOFIA (bnn)- Bulgaria's unemployment rate in June dropped by 0.42% on the month and by 1.1% on the year to 11.11%, the Ministry of Labor reported Wednesday. % .%


Hungary: Pensioners disagree
AN organization purporting to represent Hungarian pensioners placed an advert in five daily newspapers on Tuesday (July 12), comparing the 1998-2002 Fidesz government's performance on pensions unfavorably with the Gyurcsny government's.


Jobless struggle to find work
Metro Detroit's tough economy has been around so long, it's now part of our identity.


Northwest negotiations reach an impasse
Mediators declared an impasse in negotiations between Northwest Airlines Corp. and its mechanics on Wednesday, beginning a 30-day cooling-off period that could end with a strike.


South Africa: Gauteng Promises Better Working Life for Nurses
GAUTENG's health department is designing an incentive package to lure nurses back into the sector in a bid to address skills shortages in health institutions in the province.
The new package will include more financial rewards, increased allowances for uniforms and more flexible employment conditions. Many nurses and doctors have left the public sector for greener pastures in the private sector and overseas. The shortage is placing pressure on the already overloaded hospitals and clinics.


Ethiopia: Rural Economy Threatened By Neglect of Donkeys
In Ethiopia, the donkey is man's best friend. Without this four-legged creature the country's rural-based economy would largely grind to a halt. Donkeys provide the transport that brings food and water to millions in the remotest parts of the vast country, where roads and communications do not exist. However, Ethiopia's donkeys are overburdened and overworked through increased poverty and overpopulation, veterinarians told IRIN.


East Africa: New Push to Curb Child Trafficking
Revelations that nearly nine million children are victims of trafficking in East Africa has sent alarm bells within child protection organisations. Daystar University chancellor Florence Muli-Musiime, who is also a founder member of the African Network for Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect, says most of the children later become prostitutes, domestic and farm workers or are forced into early marriages.


New Zealand economy and workers suffered after introduction of IR change
LabourStart headline
New Zealand's economy and workers suffered after it introduced workplace changes similar to those proposed in Australia, research shows. The New Zealand experience has become central to the debate over Australian workplace changes since the Prime Minister, John Howard, cited its workplace reforms in a speech to the Sydney Institute last week.


Employees spend summer sweating to pay the bills
Jobs must get done outdoors despite heat. The meteorologists said a cold front came through Baltimore yesterday. But standing over a smoking 100-gallon drum, DaRon Battle wasn't feeling it.He and his stepbrother, Jake Davis, get the pit-beef grill outside their father's Falls Road store to 170 degrees by 9 a.m. and keep it going all day. They stand in the shade of Shorty's Pit Beef and Country Store and gulp ice water and Gatorade between orders


Machinists Union Ratifies United Contract
(07-21) 10:16 PDT CHICAGO, (AP) -- United Airlines' machinists union said Thursday its members have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, concluding the bankrupt carrier's contentious effort to cut costs from its largest labor group.


Australian Ford workforce back on the job
By Mark Phillips 21jul05 MORE than 3000 employees of Ford's two Victorian engine and vehicle assembly plants will return to work tomorrow after involuntary stand-downs as a result of a strike at a major parts supplier.


DaimlerChrysler in good profit position to reward Canadian workers, CAW says
TORONTO (CP) -- DaimlerChrysler denies it made 'substantial profits' in the past year as it looks to reduce labour costs in upcoming negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union.


Ford, Canadian Auto Workers Begin Talks
TORONTO -- The Canadian Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Co. began contract talks on a subdued note Wednesday, with union leaders saying Ford is clearly the weakest of the Big Three automakers in this round of negotiations. "Overall, the operations are very, very soft," said CAW President Buzz Hargrove. Hargrove said weak sales of Ford's Freestar minivan led to layoffs at Ford's largest Canadian plant, in Oakville, Ontario, and other Canadian plants aren't producing at their full capacity.


China's Currency Move to Impact Others
By By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer
China's decision to cut its currency's link to the U.S. dollar could make its exports more expensive over time, giving a slight respite to foreign producers trying to compete with an avalanche of low-cost Chinese goods.


BART's largest union votes for contract
Members of Bay Area Rapid Transit largest union voted Tuesday by a 4-to-1 margin to approve a tentative agreement recommended by their negotiating team.


Study: American women pay steep price for time off
(MENAFN) According to a report, half of American women surveyed who chose to leave the work force voluntarily felt discouraged by employers about their chances for returning to full-time work.


Canadian College ordered to pay $17,000 to former employee fired after taking maternity leave
Vanwest College Ltd. was ordered to pay $17,000 to a former employee fired after taking maternity leave The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Vancouver career college to pay a woman more than $17,000 for firing her after she returned from maternity leave.


Isolated by strike, Mexico newspaper workers publish under siege
OAXACA, Mexico - Ismael Sanmartin Hernandez, the managing editor of Noticias, one of this town's two major newspapers, has a bad cold and has not eaten a good meal in days, but those are the least of his problems.


The Future of the U.S. Labor Movement
NPR audio
Talk of the Nation, July 19, 2005
Forget management vs. workers: The nasty fight right now is within organized labor, as rebellious unions force a re-examination of everything from recruitment efforts to political positions. The president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney, and guests discuss the future of unions.

Guests: Richard Hurd, professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University and
John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO


Big Labor's Big Fight
Unless someone pulls a last-minute rabbit out of an eleventh-hour hat, the biennial convention of the AFL-CIO, which begins on Monday in Chicago, will be radically smaller than originally planned.


Poverty Holds Back 'No Child Law'
NPR Audio
All Things Considered, July 20, 2005 As Washington policymakers talk of leaving no child behind, the reality in places like East St. Louis, Ill., is that schools can't do it alone. ' '


Philippine transport strike set on GMA's SONA
A transport strike looms as labor and transport groups affiliated with the National Transport Workers’ Union and Alliance of Progressive Labor is set to launch a nationwide protest action on July 25 during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


Transport crews' gruelling hours
Turnaround times for car-carrying ship transporters have become so fast that crew members hardly have time for a telephone call home before setting sail again, say social researchers.


Indonesia Government knocks back demands of railway workers
The government has turned down demands from thousands of protesting workers of state railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) to reinstate their status as civil servants, thus making more likely the possibility of a nationwide strike.


Teamsters Give Leaders Permission to Leave AFL-CIO
NPR audio
Morning Edition, July 21, 2005 The Teamsters have given their union leaders the authority to decide whether to leave the AFL-CIO. -


Former Dolphin Sues NFL Pension Plan
Former Miami Dolphins running back Eugene "Mercury" Morris is suing the National Football League's pension plan. In a suit filed in Miami, he alleges the NFL refuses to pay disability benefits for numerous life-threatening injuries he suffered as a player.


Study: Hispanics more likely than whites to take transit, car pool
(07-20) 00:02 PDT Los Angeles (AP) -- Californians could help unclog the state's famously congested highways by emulating Hispanics' commuting habits, according to a new traffic study.


Argentina Pickets promise full-scale action
Hardline factions of Argentina's large and fragmented movement of unemployed people yesterday announced they would take to the streets in a full-scale and surprise protest next week. -


Brazilian Unemployment Rate Declines to Record Low 9.4 Percent in June
July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil's unemployment rate fell to a record in June.


Lightless nights hint at dark days for Cuba's economy
July 21, 2005 HAVANA -- It's Tuesday evening in the working-class neighborhood of Cerro, but the lights are out and the streets are pitch-black.


How CAFTA Will Quicken the Race to the Bottom for Central American Workers
Was it Divine Providence or dumb luck? The details of U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman’s plans to fund worker rights improvements in Central America came my way just when the National Labor Committee’s latest reports on the Central American labor situation arrived. Whatever the explanation, the NLC studies powerfully reenforce what every thinking person – and especially Congressional Democrats seeking pretexts to vote for the Central America Free Trade Agreement should already know: Third world workers’ lives won’t be bettered significantly, and U.S. trade policy initiatives like CAFTA can’t become win-wins for Americans and their trade partners, without radical fixes to U.S. trade policy.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

May 2005 Employment Down 3.2 Percent from May 2004 for the US airline companies
U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed a total of 452,250 workers in May 2005, 3.2 percent fewer than in May 2004 , the U.S. Department of Transportation`s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1). BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the seven network carriers employed 304,665 total full-time and part-time workers -6.3 percent fewer workers in May 2005 than a year earlier (Table 2). The low-cost carriers reported 74,185 total employees, 0.8 percent fewer than May 2004 (Table 3); and the regional carriers reported 60,490 total employees, 10.9 percent more than the previous year (Table 4).


Second Air NZ strike begins
Air New Zealand is braced for another clutch of 11 cancelled international flights today, as about 1000 long-haul cabin attendants launch their second 48-hour strike.


Asiana Airlines, Union Fail to Progress
SEOUL, South Korea Jul 20, 2005 - Asiana Airlines was forced to cancel more flights as management and union leaders failed to resolve differences at a meeting Wednesday, the fourth day of a strike by pilots at South Korea's No. 2 carrier.


Nobel Laureate Urges Africans to Rise Up
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai on Tuesday challenged Africans to rise to the challenges facing the world's poorest continent -- not wait for handouts.


Aid alone not enough for Africa, says Boateng
By Zibonele Ntuli, tel: (012) 314-2359 Pretoria - British High Commissioner Paul Boateng says aid alone is not enough for Africa but fair trade and debt relief underpinned by good governance will help rebuild the continent.


Nobel winner: Africa sacrifices wildlife for farms
If used properly, Africa's wildlife could bring in enough cash to massively improve public services, Maathai said in Johannesburg after giving the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in front of the former South African leader, former U.S.


US wants increased African farm imports
Examples include baskets, textiles and canned tuna.Thirty-seven countries have met strict eligibility requirements to participate, but far fewer have seen major increases in US trade so far.


USA: John Roberts: Good For Workers?
Confined Spaces
But, of course, the question on all Confined Space readers' minds today is: "How is John Roberts on workplace safety and labor issues?"

The answer is probably not great.


NLRB takes Turtle Bay in Oahu to court
A federal administrative judge began listening to allegations yesterday morning from the labor board on behalf of Turtle Bay union members, who say their labor rights have been violated. The labor board is a government agency that mediates disputes between management and unions.


International Paper shrinks
STAMFORD, Conn. -- International Paper Co. announced a sweeping restructuring plan Tuesday that will dramatically shrink the world's largest paper company in an effort to boost profits and cut debt by focusing on core businesses.


Rising healthcare costs stagger Massachusett cities
By Lisa Wangsness, Boston Globe
Saying their budgets are being crippled by soaring healthcare costs, cities and towns want the Legislature to give them more flexibility in designing health insurance benefits for their employees. A report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation released yesterday cited a ''crisis in municipal health costs" and said cities and towns have seen a 63 percent increase in health insurance costs since fiscal year 2001, nearly double the rate of increase of state healthcare costs and more than four times the growth rate of local budgets.


Panel hints it may save shipyard
By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe
WASHINGTON -- The Base Realignment and Closure Commission yesterday vowed to reconsider the closing of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, as commissioners expressed alarm that New England would suffer disproportionately in the Pentagon's plan to shutter or downsize dozens of bases across the country.


Tech firms slash jobs amid shifts
By Robert Weisman, Boston Globe
Even in a growing economy with a recovering technology sector, high-tech companies from Hewlett-Packard Development Co. to Teradyne Inc. continue to pare their payrolls in response to falling technology prices and a more unforgiving attitude on Wall Street.


British MPs face cleaners' picket lines
BBC News
MPs and peers faced picket lines on Wednesday as Houses of Parliament cleaners staged their first strike. Up to 170 members of the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) walked out in a row over pay and holidays.


Deadlock in tea strike
BBC News
Managers and workers are not budging as West Bengal's tea strike enters a second week, writes Subir Bhaumik. An indefinite strike by more than a quarter of a million tea labourers in the Indian state of West Bengal has entered a second week amid mounting losses, but neither the tea estate owners nor the labourers are in a mood to relent.


Europe moving in 'R&D slow lane'
BBC News
Sluggish investment in science and technology puts at risk the EU's goal of being a leading global knowledge-based economy, new statistics show.


Fury over leaked Aer Lingus memo
BBC News
Irish airline Aer Lingus looks set for a bumpy ride with unions after a leaked memorandum exposed underhand tactics to speed up a job cuts programme. The state-owned carrier developed a 12-point plan to make life difficult for its employees in a bid to make them accept voluntary redundancy.


China plans steel industry revamp
BBC News
China is planning a major overhaul of its steel industry as it tries to meet domestic demand and cut pollution. By 2010, China wants to have two major domestic firms with an annual capacity of 30 million tonnes each, with a limited number of smaller producers.


Rice plugs US-Africa trade deal
BBC News
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said trade could help lift Africa out of poverty, as she talked up a US-Africa trade deal in Senegal. Ms Rice said aid could help development but was not sufficient on its own, and that open markets would create wealth.


China's economy keeps motoring
BBC News
China's economy grew more quickly than expected in the first half of this year, the statistical office says. The National Bureau of Statistics said the economy grew 9.5% from a year earlier in the first half, more than the 9.3% figure expected by analysts.


US losses drive GM into the red
BBC News
Huge losses at US carmarker General Motors' North American operations have left the company in the red, despite improving sales.


EU Relaunches Its Jobs and Growth Plan (AP)
AP - The European Union relaunched its plan Wednesday to create jobs and boost growth in Europe's flagging economies by opening up national markets, reducing bureaucracy and investing in infrastructure.


Greenspan warns China currency peg causes "very serious" problems (AFP)
AFP - US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan warned that China's policy of pegging its currency to the US dollar could cause "very serious" problems for the giant Asian economy.


UC Medical centers brace for strike / Nurses to hit 5 UC teaching hospitals
By Victoria Colliver
University of California medical centers are reducing patient counts and canceling elective surgeries in preparation for Thursday's planned one-day nurses' strike at five teaching hospitals. As many as 9,000 registered nurses are expected to walk off their jobs at 7 a.m. Thursday at UC medical centers in San Francisco, Davis, Los Angeles, Irvine and San Diego, the California Nurses Association said.


Kodak Is Cutting Up to 10,000 More Jobs
By By BEN DOBBIN, AP Business Writer
Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it is cutting as many as 10,000 more jobs as the company that turned picture-taking into a hobby for the masses navigates a tough transition from film to digital photography.


Minnesota state unemployment rate hits 4-year low
In Business
Minnesota's unemployment rate in June dropped to its lowest level in more than four years, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development said Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was the lowest since March 2001, and down from 4.3 percent during May. The national unemployment rate in June was 5 percent.


NWA mechanics endorse strike
In Business
The showdown between Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union might be headed toward a strike, a bankruptcy -- or both. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) said Tuesday that more than 92 percent of its members who took part in a referendum have authorized their leaders to call a strike.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Northwest Airlines Mechanics OK Strike
By By CHRIS WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
Mechanics at Northwest Airlines Corp. said Tuesday that they had voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, a day after the airline, which is struggling to slash costs, declined arbitration.


HP plans to cut 14,500 jobs
By Benjamin Pimentel
Hewlett-Packard said today it plans to eliminate 14,500 jobs over the next year and a half in a bid to slash costs and "create a simpler, nimbler HP." The cuts, totaling about 10 percent of its workforce, are expected to lead to annual savings of $1.9...


Monday, July 18, 2005

Giving voice to grievances
Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers Union, speaks at a UFW rally Sunday in San Francisco protesting against the E. & J. Gallo winery. About 1,000 farmworkers and supporters marched in the Castro and Mission districts, promoting a...


UK union leaders flock to Tolpuddle
Up to 10,000 people gathered in a Dorset village to celebrate the forerunner of the modern trade union movement, organisers said. In 1834 six farm workers set up a "friendly society" in the village of Tolpuddle in a protest over poor pay.


Work is where you hang your coat / Sun leads way in telework -- working not just from home but anywhere
By Carolyn Said
Allison Baker, a senior program manager at Sun Microsystems, works at a desk as uncluttered as the wide open prairie. There's nothing on top but two folders with a few papers each. No photos, no knickknacks. "I'm over that," Baker said.


Getting more girls to study math, tech / Panel planning to discuss old issue of disparity with boys
By Dan Fost
For all the attention focused in recent years on the problems of getting more girls and women interested in science, math and technology, advocates say there is still a long way to go. A 2002 study from the Department of Labor's women's bureau found...


India's Trade Deficit Nearly Doubles
India's trade deficit nearly doubled in the April-June quarter, despite a 20 percent rise in exports, according to government data released Monday. The trade deficit widened to $11.5 billion in the first quarter of India's fiscal year compared with $6...


Friday, July 15, 2005

HP expected to announce massive layoffs
By By MATTHEW FORDAHL, AP Technology Writer
Hewlett-Packard Co. is widely expected to cut thousands of jobs next week as part of a long-expected restructuring that will attempt to bring the computer maker's costs in line with business and its rivals' numbers, according to industry analysts.


British Parliament's cleaners to strike
Cleaners who service the Houses of Parliament will hold their first ever strike next Wednesday (20th July) after voting today to take industrial action in a dispute over low pay. The cleaners, many of whom are migrant workers, are paid just £5 per hour with no company sick pay or pension, and have been balloted for action by their union, the Transport and General Workers' Union, after the parliamentary authorities failed to act.


300 more US Airways Flight Attendants to leave
About 300 more flight attendants at US Airways will take voluntary leave from the troubled airline by year's end, bringing the total to more than 1,200, their union chief said Thursday.


NWA, union closer to impasse
In Business
The National Mediation Board on Thursday urged Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union to resolve their contract dispute through binding arbitration, but that offer is likely to be declined by at least one side to make way for a 30-day strike countdown.


UnitedHealth in Minnesota will hire 600
In Business
UnitedHealth Group Inc. announced Thursday that it has embarked on a $75 million, 600-person hiring spree as it prepares for the government's new Medicare prescription drug benefit to be rolled out next year.


June Industrial Production Roars Ahead (AP)
AP - Industrial production roared ahead in June at the fastest pace in 16 months, with half of the gain attributed to a big increase in output at the nation's utilities, reflecting the onset of hot weather.


Wal-Mart fired VP for fraud / Exec who said he blew whistle aided another, firm says
Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday that a former vice president who contended he was fired for helping to uncover wrongdoing by another executive was himself involved in the fraud.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gov. Acts to Keep Labor Institute
By Evan Halper Times Staff Writer
July 14, 2005 SACRAMENTO

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will ask the University of California not to close a controversial labor studies program that he had targeted for elimination from the state budget, administration officials say.

The governor had used his veto authority Monday to block the $3.8-million program, which has been under attack by conservatives for years. The budget cut appeared to violate a backroom deal he made with Democratic legislative leaders.

But administration officials said Wednesday that Schwarzenegger would honor the agreement by directing the UC system to use other funds to keep the labor studies program going. "We're pleased the governor has recognized the labor institute should be permanently funded," said Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles). "The speaker is thankful."

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the program was not deleted from the budget in error. He said that the UC system would receive a funding increase of $76 million next year, and that it was appropriate to use that money to pay for the institute. "It was not a mistake at all," Palmer said. "It is wholly and totally consistent with other actions we took on the UC budget."

UC officials said Wednesday they had not yet heard from the governor.

Conservative groups have labeled the labor institute "Union U," a hotbed of antibusiness propaganda and leftist political organizing.

Angie Wei, a lobbyist for the California Federation of Labor, says the institute is detested by the right because it has produced what she characterized as indisputable, empirical research that validates such things as prevailing-wage laws.


British workers protest at 350 P&O job losses
Angry workers staged a demonstration at a ferry port over P&O's decision to close its route to Le Havre in France, which will lead to 350 jobs losses. Their protest at Portsmouth Ferry Port on Wednesday, follows the company's announcement last year that it was shutting four of its 13 routes.


EU Commission Rebukes Britain on Cuts (AP)
AP - The European Commission rebuked Britain on Thursday for proposed cuts in next year's European Union budget, saying they would undermine efforts to help poor nations and modernize Europe's economy.


Consumer Inflation Absent Again in June (AP)
AP - Inflation pressures on the consumer were absent for a second straight month in June, reflecting another drop in energy costs, the government reported Thursday.


Jobless claims up; factory layoffs cited (Reuters)
Reuters - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose a sharper-than-expected 16,000 last week, reflecting temporary layoffs in the factory and service sectors, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit
The Internet Archive, which stores snapshots of ever-changing Web sites, is on the defensive in a legal case that represents a strange turn in the debate over copyrights.


Shell Settles Employee Suit About Overstated Reserves
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group has agreed to pay about $90 million to settle a lawsuit brought by its U.S. employees after the company overstated its reserves.


NWA seeks release from talks with mechanics
In Business
Northwest Airlines management has joined the mechanics union in urging the National Mediation Board to release them from negotiations, a step that could lead to a strike deadline in August.


Wales DVLA clerk sacked after sex film
A woman is dismissed after mobile phone clips of her having sex were seen by hundreds of colleagues. The Swansea-based Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) clerk filmed herself having sex with her


UK labour market 'is softening'
Analysts say a rise in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits could justify a cut in interest rates.


Call for India tea strike talks
The government of India's West Bengal state calls for a meeting with tea workers' unions to end a damaging strike.


European Union not ready to grant China market economy status (Canadian Press)
Canadian Press - BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Commission said Wednesday it was not ready to grant market economy status to China - a move that would help Beijing avoid punitive anti-dumping measures.


Nurses, hospital group reach tentative deal / Wages, benefits would rise 26 percent over 4 years

The California Nurses Association, which has been locked in bitter contract disputes with Sutter Health and the University of California, tentatively agreed to a labor pact Tuesday with Catholic Healthcare West, one of Northern California's largest hospital...


Factory Inspections Uncover Abuses at Gap
Gap Inc.'s continuing crackdown on labor abuses at the overseas factories making the retailer's clothes identified hundreds of plants engaged in a wide range of unsavory practices, including excessive overtime, paltry wages and fining workers who wanted to...


US Trade Deficit Shows Modest Improvement (AP)
AP - The trade deficit fell in May, reflecting a rise in U.S. exports to the highest level in history and a temporary decline in foreign oil prices. But the improvement is likely to be short-lived, with oil prices again hovering around record levels.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bernanke upbeat on outlook for US economy ( - Ben Bernanke presented an upbeat economic outlook on Tuesday in his first speech as chairman of George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, pointing to a "healthy and sustainable" expansion and stable core inflation.


SACRAMENTO Budget signed, but work not done Structural deficit still a problem, governor says - Lynda Gledhill, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California's budget on Monday, but as Sacramento braces for a week of sweltering weather the political battles in the Capitol may just be heating up. State leaders congratulated themselves for reaching a compromise on a $90 billion general fund budget just 11 days into the fiscal year, expressing a desire to use that political will to solve some of the state's other problems.

"No matter how good this budget is, we still have a problem with our structural deficit," Schwarzenegger said before signing the budget in the Capitol rotunda. "But I am convinced that ... with the same kind of team effort and bipartisanship we can also fix our broken budget system. I know that we can do it because where there's a will there's a way."

But as he was professing goodwill, the governor angered labor groups -- with whom he has battled constantly this year -- by using his line-item budget veto power to eliminate funding for two University of California labor research centers.

The $3.8 million cut will eliminate about 70 percent of the centers' funding, said Katie Quan, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. There is also a branch at UCLA.
The centers, strongly supported by Democrats, hold workshops on how to increase union membership, get more at the bargaining table and fight globalization. They sponsor research on a range of workplace topics, from sex discrimination and health care to the role of unions in the economy.

"By picking on a research entity dedicated to helping create understanding of and opportunities for California's workforce, the governor has shown again how anti-worker he is," said Art Pulaski, the head of the California Federation of Labor. "Getting the next campaign contribution from his anti-worker supporters is more important than the changing needs of California's workers."
H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Finance Department, said the money given to the center last year was one-time only and funds were not available again this year.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, said he would have preferred to see the institute money stay in the budget and said the governor isn't helping his own call for cooperation.
"The irony is that he's trying to work on a compromise, he would have been better advised, that this is something that is very important to labor, and he shouldn't add twist to the tail," Perata said. "It makes it a little harder to get something done."

Union groups have been upset with Schwarzenegger's policies all year, and nurses, teachers and firefighters protested the governor again Monday, when he made a private visit to Yahoo in Sunnyvale to talk to employees as part of a guest speaker series.

Schwarzenegger has put on a special election ballot in November measures that would change teacher tenure, redraw legislative boundaries and cap spending. Democrats are pushing ballot initiatives that would force drug manufacturers to establish a discount prescription drug program for poor Californians and change the way the state regulates its energy market.

Separately, Democrats are pushing for increased spending for education. Although they dropped the issue during the budget negotiations, Democrats say Schwarzenegger broke his promise to schools and still owes them $3 billion.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, said at the budget-signing ceremony that the state needs to continue to invest in education.
"It is my hope that with the same spirit and enthusiasm we can come together to tackle to some of the bigger problems Californians continue to face today ... and work to build a California we can all be proud of," Núñez said.

With the budget behind them at the earliest date in five years, most lawmakers are preparing to head to their districts at the end of the week for a month-long recess. But legislative leaders said they would remain available to talk about a variety of issues.
Perata said the governor should move quickly to convene legislative leaders if he wants to strike a deal.
"If this were an Olympic event, the degree difficulty would be 10," he said. "And every day that we delay is one day more that it is less likely to happen."

A spokeswoman for the governor said his staff continues to meet to discuss issues.
Lawmakers and the governor agreed on a budget deal last week that spends $1.3 billion on transportation, $3 billion more than last year on education, gives $1.2 billion to cities and counties but does not contain new borrowing or taxes.

The state's credit rating went up on the news of the budget signing, with Moody's Investment Service raising the state's score from A3 to A2. California is still one of the lowest ranked states, however.
Moody's said the state's economy is doing better than expected and has a "moderately improved financial outlook for 2006 and beyond."

Exercising his executive power, Schwarzenegger vetoed $190 million from the budget, which totals $117.5 billion in general fund and special fund spending. Along with the labor center money, Schwarzenegger vetoed:
-- $20 million to ease the impacts of tribal gambling on local governments. The administration said it supports the effort but local governments have not filed the proper reports on how past assistance money has been used.
-- $3 million to expand a prostate cancer treatment. The administration said too much of the money already going into the program is spent on overhead.
-- $23.7 million, including $13.7 million in federal funds, to help the food stamp program. The administration believes it can achieve savings in the program and does not need the money.
-- $5 million for 40 new fish and game wardens to save the state money.


Chronicle press operators protest paper's proposals
The union representing press operators at The Chronicle staged a rally and picketed outside the newspaper's Mission Street headquarters on Monday, protesting proposed concessions in its contract.


Job openings drop, hirings rise in May (Reuters)
Reuters - The number of U.S. job openings fell in May but more positions were filled, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.


Confidence in economy slips in July-report (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. consumers were less optimistic about the economy in July as gasoline prices edged higher, according to a survey released on Tuesday.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Jobless claims up on auto, school layoffs
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless aid rose 7,000 last week, and a significant portion of the rise was due to temporary layoffs in the auto and school sectors, the government said on Thursday.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Fired Officer is Suing Wal-Mart
NY Times Article, May require registration
A former Wal-Mart executive responsible for inspecting apparel factories says he was fired for being too aggressive about finding workplace violations.


Maine steeling itself for fallout from MBNA Corp. acquisition
By Sasha Talcott and Murray Carpenter, Globe Correspondent
BELFAST, Maine -- Bank of America Corp.'s planned acquisition of MBNA Corp. calls into question the future of the credit card company's extensive operations in Maine, where MBNA is the state's seventh-largest employer.


UAE bans working in summer sun
A ban on labourers working in the hot afternoon sun comes into effect in the United Arab Emirates.


Shanghai, Beijing Raise Minimum Wages
SHANGHAI, China China has raised minimum monthly wages in its capital Beijing and commercial hub Shanghai by an average of 45 yuan ($5), the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.


Spanish job boom cuts European unemployment
1 July 2005 BRUSSELS - Strong job creation Spain and Germany pushed the European unemployment rates lower in May, Eurostat data shows.


U.S. Mobile Workforce Hits 50 Million
July 1, 2005 -- Almost 40% of all workers -- around 50 million people -- in the U.S. can be considered mobile, according to a new report from Yankee Group.


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