Whistling in the wind

Sam Graham-Felsen | AlterNet

Gabe Bruno learned the hard way that blowing the whistle within the federal government is at best a futile endeavor, and at worst a career-destroying choice. Bruno took his fight to the Office of the Special Counsel--an independent federal agency responsible for aiding and protecting whistleblowers within the government. The silencing of Gabe Bruno is far from an aberration; under the tenure of Scott Bloch, such treatment has become standard practice. Since Bloch took office, over 1,000 whistleblower complaints--many leveling serious charges of government corruption and incompetence, including allegations of misconduct within FEMA before the Katrina disaster--have been summarily dismissed. Read the full story.


More stories for January 19, 2006:

Hotel workers union starts wage campaign

Group sues Labor Dept. to get names of workers

Labor federation calls for universal health coverage

AFL-CIO head blasts corporate policies

Solving a $122 billion problem

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Texas firefighter gives birth, takes exam

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Maryland leading the way in states' fights against Wal-Mart
Hotel workers union starts wage campaign

Amy Joyce | Washington Post

The major hotel workers union launched a campaign yesterday designed to narrow the wage gap between workers in various states, pointing out that hospitality employees in highly unionized areas make more than double those in less-unionized areas. Unite Here represents workers employed by the companies that own the majority of hotels in the nation. The union engineered contracts among hotel chains in major cities to expire at the same [time] to gain more bargaining power. The simultaneous expiration creates a threat of strikes that could occur in many cities at once. That possibility puts greater pressure on the companies to provide higher wages and more benefits and job protection. Read the full story.
Group sues Labor Dept. to get names of workers

Steven Greenhouse | New York Times

They are called the unlocatables. They number nearly 100,000, and they are at the center of a lawsuit filed against the Department of Labor. The suit, filed by Interfaith Worker Justice, a group that mobilizes members of the clergy to help low-wage workers, seeks to compel the department to turn over the names of such workers--many of them Mexican immigrants--who are owed a total of $32 million as part of back-wage settlements but who have not received their money because they cannot be located. Read the full story.
Labor federation calls for universal health coverage

Steven Greenhouse | New York Times

John Sweeney, the AFL-CIO's president, called on Congress to enact universal health insurance and to bar American companies from selling goods produced overseas under sweatshop conditions. Mr. Sweeney said the health system was badly broken because it has left 45 million Americans uninsured and undercut the competitiveness of American corporations by saddling them with soaring health costs. Mr. Sweeney said the nation's unions would push in 30 states for legislation like that enacted last week in Maryland requiring large corporations to pay a specific percentage of their payroll toward health insurance. Read the full story.
AFL-CIO head blasts corporate policies

Will Lester, Associated Press | Washington Post

Corporate policies are driving millions of workers out of good-paying jobs, stripping them of health care and killing pension plans in a strategy that is "just suicidal" for the economy, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said. Sweeney outlined a state-by-state effort that was aimed at allowing organized labor "to break free from the gridlock of Washington" and fight for worker benefits such as stronger health care plans and a higher minimum wage. Sweeney, in a speech to the National Press Club on the state of labor in America, pointed to numerous economic developments that suggest the middle class is getting into increasing trouble--an increasing poverty rate, health care costs being shifted to workers and jobs moving overseas. Read the full story.
Solving a $122 billion problem

Marc Gunther, Fortune | CNN/Money

The Securities and Exchange Commission and Christopher Cox, its straight-talking chairman, have begun taking steps that could curb excessive CEO pay. But they have only just begun. The SEC proposed rules on Tuesday that would require companies to more fully and clearly disclose what they are paying top executives. The disclosure rules will go a long way to exposing so-called stealth forms of pay such as deferred compensation, retirement benefits, severance deals, tax payments and perquisites. Here's the problem, though--improved disclosure will only go so far toward fixing the problem of overpaid CEOs. Accountability, as well as transparency, is required. Read the full story.


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