December 9 2011

Protected: CWA Says AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Boon for Jobs, Broadband Access

(UCS) While acknowledging anti-trust concerns about the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) December 2 urged the government to “move to seize the real opportunity of increased jobs, investment and economic development.”

AT&T withdrew its merger application November 24; the Department of Justice had filed suit in August to block the merger and the FCC released a report on November 29 that said the deal would cost consumers and “result in a net loss of direct jobs.”

The union argued that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger “will be a real source of quality jobs, returning outsourced jobs from Asia and supporting economic development, especially in rural areas.” CWA said that the proposed merger’s investment of $8 billion for broadband buildout would bring “a much needed high speed network and accompanying economic development to an additional 55 million Americans, covering 97 percent of the country.”

CWA directly challenged the FCC’s argument that the merger will result in fewer jobs for T-Mobile workers, noting that AT&T has provided job guarantees for current T-Mobile employees and committed to retain all call center workers at both companies who are on payroll at the time of the merger. Call center workers are the largest employee group at either company. “AT&T also pledged to bring back 5,000 jobs now overseas,” CWA said.

“Jobs, employment and workers’ rights matter,” said CWA. “We hope that the government will not overlook important opportunities for employment, investment and economic security.”

CWA represents much of the AT&T workforce, while T-Mobile workers are not unionized.

Protected: Postal Unions Warn Reduced Delivery Will Harm Service

(UCS) Apparently the plan is to save the Postal Service by destroying it.

Postal Service plans to eliminate next-day delivery for first-class mail “will hasten the demise of the USPS,” American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Cliff Guffey said in response to the agency’s December 5 announcement that it’s moving forward with plans to shut about half of its 487 mail processing centers nationwide. The plan would wipe out about 28,000 jobs and reduce delivery standards for first-class mail for the first time in 40 years.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has called for closing up to 3,700 of the nation’s 32,000 post offices, reducing deliveries to five days a week from six, cutting the agency’s work force of 653,000 employees by more than 100,000.

“The USPS should be modernizing and striving to remain relevant in the digital age, not reducing service to the American people,” Guffey said. “Degrading service is a direct consequence of Postal Service plans to eliminate half of its mail processing centers,” he added.

“We are very concerned about the proposal to reduce delivery standards,” said National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President Fredric Rolando. “High-quality service is essential to preserving the value of our networks and to any future growth strategy. Degrading standards not only hurts the public and the businesses we serve, it’s also counter-productive for the Postal Service because it will drive more people away from using the mail.”

“Dismantling the Postal Service’s processing and distribution network will devastate mail service, damage the economy, and drive customers away,” Guffey agreed. “The USPS network is still a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure and destroying it will hurt, not help, the Postal Service.”

Guffey and Rolando that bills currently pending in the House and Senate would result in “drastic cuts to the USPS network and service.”

H.R. 2309, which was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, would require the USPS to make a minimum of $3 billion worth of cuts in post offices and mail processing facilities within two years. S. 1789, which was approved by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, would give the USPS short-term financial relief, “but, because it fails to adequately address the cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties, also would force the agency to dismantle its retail and mail-processing network,” Guffey said.

The immediate cause of the current USPS financial crisis is a mandate in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund the healthcare benefits for future retirees, which costs the Postal Service approximately $5.5 billion annually, and forces the USPS to pay a 75-year liability in just 10 years. At the same time, the Postal Service has overfunded its pension accounts to the tune of some $11 billion.

Protected: How the Richest 400 Can Help Save America

(UCS) While the 535 people in Congress can’t seem to figure out how to solve the nation’s economic crisis, there are 400 families who can.

The nation’s 400 wealthiest families, recently made so infamous by the Occupy movement, collectively own $1.37 trillion dollars.

That’s enough to do any of the following:
- pay off every student loan for every student in the United States
- pay the rent of every renter in the country for three years
- pay the mortgages of every house in the United States for 14 full months
- pay off all credit card debt for everyone in the United States
- give a $10,000 bonus to every worker in the country
- triple the number of teachers in the United States, then give them all a $30,000 raise

“With this money has come a great deal of political influence, often in the form of tax breaks and tax loopholes,” says United for a Fair Economy (UFE), which put together the list of “11 Things the Richest U.S. Households Can Buy That You Can’t.” Until this winner-take-all economy changes, UFE added, “it will remain nearly impossible for us regular folks to get ahead, no matter how hard we work.”

Last Updated: 12/09/2011

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