April 1, 2005  Volume 106 Number 7

Health Care Fraud Squad hits Portland streets
Over 100 union members engaged in an hour of pageantry in downtown Portland March 18 to protest price-gouging in the health care industry.

[Left: “Health Care Action Man” and yellow-caped members of the “Health Care Fraud Squad” announce their debut.]

Beware of false comparisons: Social Security is an insurance program
Imagine a private insurance company trying to offer a policy to 205 million Americans that would cover death, disability and retirement. The policy would guarantee a monthly check to the policy-holder and their dependent spouse and children. And all the benefits would be adjusted with an annual cost-of-living increase. Plus the insurer could make no profit. And the administrative costs would be just six-tenths of a percent.

Debate rages about the fate of Social Security
America’s high-profile debate about Social Security continued in March, with President George W. Bush still touring the United States touting his proposal for privatizing Social Security, and Democrats, labor unions and AARP countering him at every move.

Anti-worker CAFTA treaty may be nearing vote in Congress
Since it was signed by the presidents of five nations in May 2004, CAFTA — the grandson of NAFTA — has taken a long rest. Now, a hearing is scheduled April 6 before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Both Oregon senators are members of the 20-member committee.

BOLI rules multi-use housing project subject to wage laws
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has ruled that a multi-use project involving the Housing Authority of Portland is subject to prevailing wage regulations. UA Local 290 instigated the review after filing a prevailing wage complaint.

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