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Unemployment Monitor & a ‘New’ Idea

The federal government reported Thursday that fewer workers filed for unemployment compensation during the week of Nov. 15.

Initial claims dropped to 291,000, which is 2,000 less than the week before.

Some economists are claiming the lower number means the labor market is improving as the number of out-of-work women and men who continue to file for UC benefits also decreased.

But not everyone believes the dropping unemployment rate and fewer people claiming UC benefits are a good sign of economic improvement. One of the non-believers is former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, a Scranton native.

unemployment“All it means is fewer people are eligible for unemployment benefits. In fact, only 23 percent of the unemployed now get benefits – the lowest percent in over 70 years,” Reich said yesterday on his Facebook page. “Of the 9 million unemployed, almost a third have exhausted their benefits because they’ve been out of work six months or longer, and House Republicans refuse to extend benefits to them.”

Compound the statistics with the fact that 2 million fewer Americans have full-time jobs since the recession started and wages have stagnated, and Reich says there’s little to jump for joy about, economically.

While it would have little to do with the state of the economy, the idea to privatize the unemployment compensation system is reemerging after a long hiatus.

According to U.S. Daily Review editor Kevin Price, such a move away from the norm could deliver more than just benefits to the suddenly jobless.

“This policy could have substantial flexibility in plan design, allowing individuals to store up money for the purpose of creating a business at the event of unemployment,” Price wrote for the Huffington Post.

“People would be able to design (UC) plans to meet their specific needs,” he said. They would also “have an incentive to get back to work quicker (or to create a business) in order to keep their rates low. Over usage would lead to higher rates, similar to the way other insurance are determined.”

What do you think about this idea? Let me know.

Labor Strife at Philly International

Baggage Handlers Go On Strike At PHLMore than 100 baggage handlers went on strike yesterday at Philadelphia International Airport to protest lower-than-promised wages and poor working conditions.

According to CBS 3, the organized members of 32BJ SEIU are upset that their employer, Prime Flight, has not come through with promises to increase their hourly stipend from $9 to $10.88.

SEIU claims many workers are only being paid minimum wage.

Some workers have been quoted as claiming the baggage handlers do not have a break room and are disrespected by management.

Prime Flight has not commented on the story.

Philly International says affected airlines have contingencies in place to cover what is expected to be a one-day strike and no delays were reported.

A Union Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingAs you prepare for your Thanksgiving festivities, remember to buy union and give thanks to the hardworking men and women of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP); International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM); United Steelworkers (USW); and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Their efforts will help you enjoy a wide variety of high-quality products during your holiday, and every day.

The following list is brought to you by the PA AFL-CIO, Union Label and Service Trades Department (ULSTD), Union Plus and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411. 

Kraft/Nabisco crackers—BCTGM
Nabisco (Mondelez) crackers—BCTGM
Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM

Boar's Head—UFCW
Foster Farms—UFCW

Side Dishes
Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce—IAM
Birds Eye vegetables—UFCW

Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and ready to bake rolls/breads—BCTGM
Pillsbury pie crusts—BCTGM
Stroehmann bakery products (for stuffing)—BCTGM

Sara Lee pumpkin, apple pie—BCTGM
Mother’s Kitchen cheesecakes—BCTGM
Nabisco (Mondelez) cookies—BCTGM
Rich Products pies and cakes—BCTGM

Cutco knives—USW
All-Clad cookware—USW
Anchor Hocking—GMP





Sterlingwear Baggage Handlers Go On Strike At PHL