438,000 jobs are eliminated
since January 2008
BY BEN JOYCE
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that a net total of 62,000 jobs were lost in June, the sixth consecutive month employment has declined.
The bosses have cut nearly 438,000 jobs since January. One of the heaviest-hit sections of the working class is in the construction industry. Construction jobs fell by 43,000 in June. Manufacturing jobs fell by 33,000. Mining jobs grew by 8,000; food services by 16,000. The largest number of new jobs came from local government.
Despite this, the official unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent. Official unemployment statistics do not include workers who are employed only part-time. Other large sections of the working class, including those who have stopped looking for work, are also excluded in the official statistics.
The major auto companies said they will lay off at least 25,000 workers this summer and fall from more than 15 assembly plants nationwide. General Motors will lay off 11,000 employees, some for weeks and some for months. Ford will lay off some 5,000 and Chrysler, about 9,500.
Since 2006, GM, Ford, and Chrysler have cut more than 100,000 jobs through contract buyouts and other special retirement programs.
The airlines bosses also continue to slash jobs. Delta Airlines will get rid of 4,000 jobs. Continental is cutting 3,000 workers. American Airlines says it will cut 900 flight attendant jobs and also reduce the number of pilots and mechanics it employs.
Part-time work has surged over the past year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the category it terms "working part time, but want full-time work" has risen more than 25 percent since June 2007 to 5.4 million.
Today 18 percent of teenagers age 16 to 19 are officially unemployed, two percent higher than one year ago.
Calero calls for massive
public works program
BY CINDY JAQUITH
The millions of unemployed could be put to work at union-scale wages right now, said Róger Calero, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. president, in a July 6 interview. He said the SWP is campaigning for a massive, federally funded program to build affordable housing, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and public transportation.
When elected, I will also initiate federal legislation to shorten the workweek, with no cut in take-home pay, to spread the available work to all and reduce the competition between workers that the employers use to divide us, the socialist said. He will end the rigging of unemployment statistics by the government to mask the true number of workers without jobs or working part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time ones.
Those who are targets of discriminationBlacks, Latinos, womenare always the first to be laid off, Calero said. As president I will fight to strengthen and extend affirmative action programs.
The socialist candidate said these measures to protect workers from unemployment will be combined with regular cost-of-living increases in all wages and benefits and an increase in the federal minimum wage to protect working people from the ravages of inflation.
In this struggle the workers are up against the entire capitalist class and its government. Were not going to win by just fighting them plant by plant. We have to also take them on in the political arena, Calero explained. The working class needs our own political party, a labor party based on a fighting union movement. He said such a party would contest the Democrats, Republicans, and other capitalist parties in the elections and it will mobilize working people by the millions to defend their own interests.