This week a state senate panel in South Carolina approved a bill that would force unemployed workers to take drug tests in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.
It appears both the U.S. and South Africa are discussing simliar issues such as rising income inequality and the challenges of advancing a progressive agenda.
National labor leaders are telling GOP lawmakers to stop playing partsian games on the question of jobs and that come Nov., 2012, Republicans will be next on the unemployment lines.
A report on U.S. occupations - sorting 366 defined jobs data into high-income, middle-income and low-income posts - reveals data to back what workers know by instinct: The jobs that disappeared in the Great Recession were middle-class, and the fewer jobs created now pay a lot less.
Labor leaders say the nation's real crisis is not a debt crisis but an unemployment crisis and spending cuts could, in fact, spiral the country into an even deeper recession.
"Industries that once were great contributors to our country - auto, shipbuilding, machine tools and even electronics - are shadows of what they once were," declares the Task Force on Job Creation, in its report, released in July.
Labor activists are blasting the GOP "free trade" proposals to cut public workers' jobs and to lessen unemployment benefits.
The nation's unemployment rate declined 0.4 percent in December but only because unprecedented numbers have dropped out of the workforce altogether.
"Soon, the same lawmakers who fought to get tax cuts for millionaires will come after Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction and 'shared sacrifice'," AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka warned.
The 13-year veteran of Bricklayers Local 1 in New York has been out of work since October. And the West Babylon, Long Island, resident, who provides for his wife, two kids and 86-year-old mother who lives with the family, doesn't see any work coming along for "another five or six months."