March 19, 2010 Volume 111 Number 6
Walmart tops list of Oregon businesses with employees receiving public assistance
Oregon Department of Human Services compiled a list of the top 50 employers that had large numbers of employees receiving public assistance: The list was compiled two years in a row, and almost all the same employers made the top 50 both years. Walmart was number one both years
Congress nears vote on health insurance reform bill
Democratic leaders in Congress said a final vote on major health insurance legislation could take place within a week or so. The legislation would require all uninsured Americans to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty. Subsidies would help lower-income individuals pay for the insurance. Insurance companies would not be allowed to refuse new customers or boot old customers just because they were sick — practices they use now in the market for individual insurance.
Trumka calls new jobs bill 'a Band-Aid on amputated limb'
Responding to continued high unemployment, Congress approved the final version
of a "jobs" bill March 4. Employers will get payroll tax subsidy for all new hires, and a $1,000 tax credit if they continue to employ the new hire a year later. The bill also transfers funds to continue federal surface transportation spending at last year's level.
NLRB grinds to a halt as U.S. Senate fails to confirm
Democratic presidents have historically appointed pro-labor majorities on the five-member National Labor Relations Board, which interprets labor law, while Republicans have appointed pro-management majorities. Now, Senate Republicans are trying to stop the pendulum from swinging back toward labor, using a hold, a hearing, and a filibuster to delay and halt President Barack Obama’s NLRB nominees.
Joblessness worse than stats reveal
While it’s no secret that 9 million U.S. jobs have disappeared since the recession began in December 2007, real unemployment is much worse than it might sound judging by official statistics.
Candidates pick up labor endorsements for May primary
Organized labor is split over which Democrat to back for Oregon governor. Oregon AFL-CIO announced March 5 its endorsements for a number of state-level offices, including John Kitzhaber for governor. But OEA and AFL-CIO affiliates AFT and OSEA are endorsing Bill Bradbury for governor. Meanwhile, AFSCME Local 88 updated its endorsements in Multnomah County races. And Teamsters and ILWU announced they are backing challenger Jesse Cornett in a race against incumbent Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
Lane County Labor Council's Pat Riggs-Henson retires
Pat Riggs-Henson retired as executive secretary-treasurer of the Lane County Labor Council and is running for election to the Lane County Board of Commissioners. The Labor Council elected Cj Mann to succeed Riggs-Henson, and Riggs-Henson's husband Rick Henson as president.