It’s Labor Day. Do You Know Where Your Rights Are?

Today is Labor Day. Today especially, we should celebrate the contributions of labor unions to improving the lives of workers.

Among these contributions are the 8-hour day, overtime pay, the weekend, better wages, and workplace health and safety standards.

These benefits didn’t just happen all by themselves. They required struggle and sacrifice. They came about only because workers fought for them. And the workers won only because they fought together. Solidarity was the key.

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Bad Economic News From the Census Department

You’ve seen the “good” news headlines on Yahoo:
“Number of uninsured drops; poverty holds steady”

But there’s a catch: the number of people covered by private plans actually dropped again in 2007, as it has in most recent years. The only reason the number of uninsured people declined was because government health insurance programs more than made up the difference.

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Jobs With Justice Hit With Frivolous Lawsuit

Smithfield Foods is attempting to use the courts to intimidate and silence those who are publicizing dangerous and otherwise unpleasant conditions at Smithfield’s packing plant.

On October 17, Smithfield filed a racketeering lawsuit against a union and community groups that are trying to organize workers at Smithfield’s plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Among the activities that Smithfield alleges are criminal: publishing a report, passing resolutions, and speaking to the press.

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PA Secretary of Ag Screws Consumers, Helps Monsanto

In October, Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture, gave a huge gift to the Monsanto company.

Bovine growth hormone (BGH) is an artificial additive used by industrial dairies to increase milk production. Wolff issued an order banning dairies from using labels that say their products are free of BGH – even when those labels are telling the truth.

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Cuban Health Care: Why So Good?

When CNN attacked Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”, they made errors, used outdated statistics, and are now defending their numbers. See here. Moore has responded by documenting where all his numbers come from. See here.

One of their disputes is about Cuba. Moore, using numbers from the UN, says Cubans live 0.1 years longer than Americans. CNN, using World Health Organization (WHO) numbers, says Americans live 0.2 years longer than Cubans.

Perhaps CNN and Moore could agree that this difference is virtually insignificant.

But that raises this question: Cuba is a poor country. We spend more per person on health care than any other country, not to mention Cuba. So, why isn’t our life expectancy much higher than Cuba’s?

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Turnpike Privatization: Conflict of Interest and Secrecy

Don’t let this happen in your state!

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has hired the investment firm Morgan Stanley to advise him about whether the Pennsylvania Turnpike should be privatized.

Will Morgan Stanley’s advice be objective and accurate? Or will their advice be biased and worthless because Morgan Stanley makes money when roads are privatized?

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