Friday, February 06, 2009

Change to Win Statement on GOP Obstruction of Solis Confirmation

Change to Win executive director Chris Chafe issued the following statement on Rep. Hilda Solis' nomination as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

"A strong Department of Labor is vital to helping American families stay afloat during this severe economic crisis. As our nation hemorrhages millions of jobs -- this morning's announcement indicates that over one million workers have lost their jobs just since Thanksgiving -- America's workers are continuing to be denied a leader that can help restore the economy, rebuild the middle class and renew the American Dream because of the partisan politics of a few.

"The Republican obstruction of the nomination of Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary is a slap in the face to America's hardworking men and women and to the economic recovery our nation so desperately needs. Americans voted for change in historic numbers in November, and today's economic news speaks to the bold actions needed from our nation's leaders. Yet, instead of working together to provide relief, Senate Republicans are offering more of the same divisive politics of the past.

"The seven unions and six million members of Change to Win renew our call urging the Senate to swiftly vote for the confirmation of Hilda Solis as the U.S. Secretary of Labor and help put working people back on the path of prosperity."

598,000 Jobs Lost as Jobless Rate Hit 7.6% in January

The country moved into its second year of uninterrupted job losses last month, with companies shedding another 598,000 jobs and the unemployment rate moving up to 7.6 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

Economists had forecast a loss of 540,000 jobs and a unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.

Job losses were once again spread across both manufacturing and service industries, reinforcing the picture of an economy that is contracting at its fastest pace in decades.

Employers in the United States have shed jobs every month since January 2008, for an aggregate decline in payroll employment of 3.2 million.

The Labor Department also revised its numbers from December, saying that the economy lost 577,000 jobs compared with an initial reading of a loss of 524,000. Full Story..

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

UPS Reports Results for 4th Quarter, Full Year

UPS today announced adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.83 for the fourth quarter, a 22% decline from the $1.07 adjusted diluted earnings per share for the same period last year. On a reported basis, diluted earnings per share were $0.25 and a loss of $2.52 for the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2007, respectively.

Reported results for the 2008 fourth quarter include the impact of a $575 million non-cash impairment charge primarily related to the UPS Freight business unit due to an extremely challenging LTL environment. Reported results for the 2007 fourth quarter included a $6.1 billion charge in the U.S. Domestic Package segment related to the withdrawal of UPS employees from the Central States Pension Plan. That withdrawal followed ratification of a long-term national master agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

For the full year, UPS posted adjusted operating profit of $6.0 billion and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $3.50, within the range the company provided mid-year. On a reported basis, operating profit was $5.4 billion and diluted earnings per share were $2.94.

"The severe decline in economic activity around the world resulted in sharply lower package and freight volumes for UPS," said Chairman and CEO Scott Davis. "Consequently, we're making the tough decisions necessary to adapt our enterprise to today's realities. This includes changes in organizational structure, compensation and network configuration."

For example, UPS has consolidated operating districts, reduced air segments and eliminated some package handling operations. The company also announced it is freezing management salaries and suspending the match for its 401(k) plans. It did not make any changes to its long-standing defined benefit pension plans. Full Story....

Monday, February 02, 2009

YRC Driver Arthur Cage Reaches Safety Milestone of 5 Million Accident-Free Miles

Professional driver Arthur Cage has achieved the elite status of driving 5 million accident-free miles, making him the only driver in the history of the company to achieve this accomplishment.

Mr. Cage, 62, has driven for Roadway for 35 years. He is a linehaul driver working out of the service center in Memphis, Tenn. In a typical week, Mr. Cage makes three trips from Memphis to Houston, driving 1,160 miles each round trip.

"Arthur Cage is truly a leader and sets the highest standard of safety and professionalism with every mile that he drives," said Mike Smid, president of YRC National Transportation. "He exemplifies the engagement and pride essential to make our highways safe while meeting our customers' needs."

Driving 5 million miles without a preventable accident is an amazing safety accomplishment. It is equal to 10 round trips to the moon and back (238,857 miles each way) and is the equivalent of driving 909 round trips between Los Angeles and New York City.

Mr. Cage was recognized for his achievement at a safety celebration at the YRC service center in Memphis. He was honored with a police escort the last few miles into the service center, and was joined there by family, friends and fellow employees. Mr. Cage was presented a new Roadway tractor with his name and safety accomplishment emblazoned on the side. The tractor will be his to drive exclusively during the remainder of his career with YRC. Also at the celebration, a custom-designed trailer decorated with Mr. Cage's name, photo and safety accomplishment was unveiled. This trailer will be dedicated to the city operation in Memphis.

"Arthur has demonstrated a strong commitment to safety and customer service, going above and beyond to meet customer expectations," said Darrin Washington, director of regional operations in Memphis. "We congratulate Arthur and look forward to his next million safe miles."

Roadway driver named captain for ‘America’s Team’

Jim Gallagher drives a truck from Buffalo to Albany and back five days a week, rolling through all kinds of weather and traffic. The variety appeals to him.

“I might go to the same place every time, but it’s always a different trip,” Gallagher said.

The Amherst resident has built a sterling safety record driving for Roadway, and he shares his driving knowledge with new hires. He has added a responsibility to go with his job, educating the public about highway safety and the trucking industry as a captain on “America’s Road Team” for the next two years.

Making the team is tough. The American Trucking Associations received 2,000 nominations for the latest edition of the team, said Elisabeth Barna, vice president of strategic planning and outreach for the group. Thirty-four professional truck drivers competed as finalists for the team’s 18 spots last month in Virginia.

They answered questions in a personal interview, gave a prepared speech as if addressing their peers and did a mock media interview, all in front of a five-judge panel. The drivers’ safety record, community service involvement, personal statements and nomination statements were also part of the selection process, Barna said.

Gallagher said he was elated to be chosen, especially since two years earlier, he had competed but wasn’t picked.

As a captain, he will have speaking engagements a few days each month, from talking to young people in driver education programs to truckers at industry conferences.

Gallagher, 57, has the experience to back up his message. He has driven trucks on and off since 1971, after getting hooked on the idea while working as a mechanic’s helper when he was 17. “I was fascinated with the size of the trucks and being around guys who spent their lives driving,” he said.

A job with a different company brought the Schenectady native here in 1985. He is in his 18th year as a driver for Roadway, which is a brand of YRC Worldwide.

Gallagher loves being on the road, with a clear view of the weather and all the decision making that comes with operating a big rig. He is among the drivers at the Roadway terminal in Buffalo honored for logging 1 million accident-free miles and he is nearing the 2 million mile mark.

“A lot of it is preparation,” like coming to work well-rested, with a good attitude and leaving your problems outside the cab, he said. He also does a thorough check of his truck and equipment before a trip, since he drives a different truck each day.

America’s Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks North America, was started by ATA in 1986. Gallagher is the sixth captain from New York state in the program’s history.

David May, a Con-Way Freight driver who lives in West Seneca, was a captain on the 2005-06 team and served as a mentor for the current group of professional drivers during the selection process.

During his stint as a captain, May traveled to about 30 states, talking to people about how to safely share the road with trucks and highlighting the industry’s importance to the U. S. economy.

For truckers accustomed to working solo in a cab for hours at a time, getting up to speak before a large group can be an adjustment, May said. But he feels Gallagher is well suited for the role of a captain, given his safety record, experience, people skills and passion for his work.

“To do this program and do it well, you really have to enjoy what you’re doing,” said May, who was also the 2008 ATA National Driver of the Year.

Gallagher sounds ready. “Obviously the more people we can reach with the message, the better off everybody is going to be on the road.”

Groundhog Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

W.Va. labor unions pick up members in 2008, report says

Labor union membership in West Virginia increased last year, according to an annual federal survey.

About 101,000 employed workers in West Virginia -- 13.8 percent of the total -- were members of a labor union in 2008, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In comparison, about 97,000 or 13.3 percent of employed workers in the state were members of a labor union the year before, the bureau said.

Kenny Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said, "I think there was a gain in just about every union. I know the service industry has increased, such as in health care. There was an increase with the Teamsters in their organizing of Overnight Trucking. As I look at those numbers I think of the American Federation of Teachers, which brought the West Virginia school service personnel in. That may not show up yet. Those are jobs in the public sector.

"There has been a continuous effort to organize in West Virginia," Perdue said. "It has not stopped and it will not stop. It is our belief that workers want respect in the workplace. Typically it only comes from being involved in a union. We do think workers want to better themselves and have a decent wage and pension and health care. It is going to be our effort to give them that chance."

The percentage of employed workers in West Virginia who carry a union card has fluctuated in recent years, from a low of 13.1 percent in 2003 to a high of 14.4 percent in 2005.

Perdue said declines can be traced to the loss of large unionized manufacturers, such as steel mills in the Northern Panhandle and chemical plants in the Kanawha Valley. Those businesses offer good-paying jobs with health care benefits and pensions, but many of those jobs "are gone maybe forever," he said. "That's not only a loss for our membership but for the per capita income in West Virginia. It hurts across the board." Full Story..........