April

They take care of their own

If anything ever smelled of cronyism and favoritism it was the recent decision by the Federal Reserve to set up a special bargain basement where cheap loans are now available to Wall Street kingpins largely responsible for screwing up our economy.

Why young people should get involved with unions

Scanning the room at my first teachers union event, I could see that I was one of the youngest teachers in attendance. It got me thinking about my generation and possible explanations for its lack of representation. Were new teachers reaping the benefits of a union contract without understanding the decades of struggle that produced it? Was the union leadership resistant to change or out of touch? Were new teachers wary of unions or simply too overwhelmed by the demands of the job to come to a union meeting?

Flag pins dont cover hypocrisy

A disturbing study released last week by the RAND Corporation says about 300,000 service members and veterans — nearly one in five of the 1.6 million U.S. troops who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan — acknowledge experiencing major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. The study also says some 320,000 troops have returned with signs of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which may be hard to recognize or to distinguish from psychological injury.

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India fights soaring food prices

Food prices are soaring around the world. Long lines for rations of rice or wheat flour snake through cities and towns across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Food protests have rocked Haiti, Egypt, Senegal, Bangladesh and the Philippines. A United Nations report last December listed Haiti and Bangladesh among 37 countries who face “food crises” and need external assistance to stave off mass starvation and famine. The capitalist “free market” economy has helped to create this crisis.

American Axle and the 2008 elections

The workers at American Axle are doing all they can. Their cause is just, they are united in battle and unions from all over are coming to this plant on the Detroit-Hamtramck border to lend support. For seven weeks now, 3,650 workers have been on strike, resisting a very profitable company’s efforts to drastically reduce their wages (by as much as 50 percent) and benefits. However, the balance of forces in this fight is anything but even and they sure could use some help from high places.

Beware a wolf in sheeps clothing: a call to vote no on 98, yes on 99!

Dueling ballot initiatives dealing with the same subject — reforming the government’s ability to take private property under eminent domain — will share center stage in California’s June 3 statewide primary election. Though the official titles given propositions. 98 and 99 by the state attorney general are very similar, their intentions and effects couldn’t be farther apart.

U.S., Korean workers: Free trade pact spurs race to bottom

Despite strong resistance from labor and civic organizations in both the United States and South Korea, President Bush and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak vowed to push through the stalled Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

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Talking economy with students

CHICAGO — Last month 80,000 jobs were lost throughout the country and the unemployment rate jumped from 4.8 to 5.1 percent. It was the third consecutive month of job loss. The private sector alone lost 98,000 jobs in March, the fourth consecutive decline. The number of unemployed people in the U.S. grew by 434,000 to 7.8 million.

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Next stops: Indiana, North Carolina

Hillary Clinton kept alive her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination by winning Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary. National attention now turns to the Indiana and North Carolina primaries on May 6. Polls show Obama leading in North Carolina and a dead heat in Indiana.

Hollywood to the docks labor power fills the streets

LOS ANGELES — More than 5,000 union activists and supporters rallied at the harbor here, April 17, roaring their approval of an assertive, one-for-all and all-for-one strategy to change the national and local direction this year.