Protesting plant closure
Canadian auto union to end blockage of GM
OSHAWA, Ontario – A Canadian Auto Workers official leading protests against General Motors Corp.’s closing of a truck plant says the union is ending a blockade of GM’s Canadian headquarters in Oshawa, Ontario.
CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley says his union will obey an injunction ordering the lifting of the blockade by 7 a.m. Monday.
But Buckley says the battle is “far from over” and people should “stay tuned” for more union actions.
The blockade began June 4 after the Detroit-based automaker announced plans to shut its Oshawa truck plant, eliminating 2,600 jobs.
GM says the decision to close four North American plants followed a sudden collapse in the U.S. market for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.
To help fight inflation
Chavez picks ex-oil chief as head of finance
CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez says he is naming the former chief of Venezuela’s state-run oil company as his new finance minister.
Newly named Ali Rodriguez has served as the president of the state oil company and as Venezuela’s representative within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. He replaces Rafael Isea as finance minister.
Isea is leaving to campaign for a state governorship.
Chavez announced the appointment during his Sunday radio and television program.
Rodriguez will be partly responsible for controlling soaring inflation and spurring slowing economic growth, which hit a four-year low of 4.8 percent in the first quarter.
Annual inflation in Venezuela reached 29.3 percent in April.
Calls to Quitline jump
Sky-high cigarette taxes affecting N.Y. smokers
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York smokers have been sent outside in all kinds of weather, coughed at in disdain, and now are burdened with the most expensive cigarette taxes in the nation. Now, to add cost to injury, the state is declaring its highest-in-the-nation cigarette tax a success.
The number of calls to the state’s Smoker’s Quitline quadrupled to nearly 10,000 calls during the week of June 2, when the full $2.75-a-pack tax kicked in, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines said. Fewer than 2,300 people called for help during the same week in 2007.
The increase that took effect June 3 sent the tax from $1.25 to $2.75 per pack.
In most of the state, cigarettes range between $6 and $8 a pack, depending on brand and store price. They can cost as much as $10 in New York City, which has its own tax.
New Jersey has the next highest cigarette tax, at nearly $2.58 per pack. Missouri has the cheapest tax in the nation, at only 17 cents per pack, although individual counties and cities can impose an additional tax between 4 cents and 7 cents, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.
Smokers calling the Quitline requested nearly 7,900 kits the week the new tax was introduced compared with 1,722 requests the same time last year.