HUNTINGTON, W.Va.: 500 workers, students protest Bush

“I was invited to Mr. Bush’s rally down the road,” Huntington Mayor David Felinton told 500 coal miners, steelworkers, building trades workers, firefighters and students, April 2. “But I chose to come here with working families. We’ve seen too many of our jobs disappear. And we are in a war fighting for Halliburton.”

Defeating Bush in the November election is the mission for the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said state federation President Jim Bowen. Turnout for the “dump Bush” demonstration defied a driving, cold rain.

In 2000, West Virginia voted for Bush. According to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), over 20,000 state residents have lost their jobs since 2001 when Bush was sworn in.

Don Stiltner, business agent for Sheetmetal Workers Local 24, brought 25 unemployed union members to the anti-Bush rally. “If Bush is not defeated, the working man will be,” he said.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Demand for jobs heats up

Scores of protesters lined the street as the Bush motorcade sped past them to a $2,000-a-plate Republican fundraising dinner, April 5.

Swooz Glenn, a member of the National Organization for Women and a hair stylist, proudly held her sign, “Shame on you – Don’t you know $2,000 could feed a lot of people?”

Other protesters demanded jobs and an end to the occupation of Iraq.

Since the Bush administration took office, 162,800 manufacturing jobs – 22 percent of the state’s total – have been lost. Working families are hungry.

Local press reports said that Bush told reporters that he joked with Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) on Air Force One flying into Charlotte about hunting and fishing. Hayes’ district includes Pillotex, which laid off 4,800 workers, the largest layoff in the state’s history.

The Bush campaign war chest is reported to stand at $182.7 million.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: How to maximize profits? Steal

Ever wonder how retail stores could “slash prices” and still make a profit? According to Drew Pooters, formerly of Toy ‘R’ Us, and other department managers for similar franchise stores, their bosses electronically cut workers’ paychecks.

Pooters, a father of five and a former Air Force military policeman, blew the whistle on a widespread practice known as time-shaving, where managers use computers to change the number of hours workers have worked, slashing their paychecks.

To date, courts have forced Kinko’s to settle lawsuits for $56,600 for time-shaving at their stores in Ithaca, N.Y., and Hyannis, Mass.

Attorney William Rutzick represented Taco Bell workers, who just won $1.5 million in back pay and damages. He said the reason companies get away with time-shaving is because they have no job protections, like a union. “A lot of this is that district managers might fire you as soon as look at you.”

Workers and managers have Wal-Mart and Pep Boys in court to restore workers’ paychecks.

ELBACON, W.Va.: Seventh miner killed on job in 2004

A miner at the Brooks Run Mine in Webster County, whose name had not yet been released at press time, died on the job when mining machinery pinned him to the wall of the underground mining complex. Brooks Run Mining is a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources.

Kerry Holliday, 50, died in the same mine on March 2, prompting an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Holliday died because the company failed to follow routine procedure, MSHA concluded.

In addition to the deep mine in Webster County, Brooks Run owns numerous strip mines. The company has a history of environmental and safety violations at their strip operations going back to 1980.

DETROIT: Car dealers sue DaimlerChrysler

In two separate lawsuits filed by car dealers in two separate states, DaimlerChrysler is being asked to explain why it changed a computer program that reviews loan applications for new cars, trucks and other vehicles. The ACE program is designed to examine an applicant’s credit, income and other factors to grant a loan. It originally didn’t consider race, but supervisors at DaimlerChrysler’s finance department, do consider race and changed the program, the suits allege.

Gerald Gorman, who owns a dealership in Chicago, is suing DaimlerChrysler on behalf of his customers because nonwhite buyers have been routinely denied loans to buy a car. In October an employee in the AG department sent Gorman a fax of an official memo detailing company policy, * whereby certain ZIP codes come under super-scrutiny. Usually, said Gorman, loans were denied to customers who were not white.

Gorman’s lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in March 2005.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards. Paul Kaczocha contributed to this week’s clips.