Thursday, April 24, 2014

Teamsters in NYC ask for intervention in pay discrimination suit

Teamsters Local 237 wants a pay discrimination lawsuit settled before it goes to court. They're asking the mayor to intervene in the case.  

More than 5,000 Teamster school safety agents are bringing the pay discrimination suit -- the largest in the United States -- against the City of New York.

The school safety agents, mostly women, receive $7,000 less pay a year than male-dominated peace officers in the city. Members of Teamsters Local 237 want deBlasio to intervene in the class action suit and fix the problem.

The agents are put in harm's way every day.  They have to confiscate five firearms, patrol New York City's schools and make arrests. They are authorized to use deadly force while protecting children, teachers and staff.

Ohio workers gear up to elect friend of labor, Ed Fitzgerald, as governor

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is up for re-election in Ohio this November, and Teamsters aren't about to forget SB5, Kasich's attempt to destroy government-worker unions.

In 2011, the Ohio Legislature passed SB 5, but a historic campaign succeeded in overturning the anti-worker law.

Now working people in Ohio are gearing up to send Kasich packing despite the vast amounts of Koch-linked campaign money he'll have available to him.

The AFL-CIO just posted this video (above) to kick off the campaign:
In its most targeted Ohio political program to date, the AFL-CIO program of voter education and voter turnout will be broad in its scope. In addition to its traditional labor-to-labor outreach, the AFL-CIO programs will be geared toward all middle-class Ohioans, regardless of union membership, as the organization seeks to educate voters on the economic issues central to the debate in the election. Together with its community-based affiliate Working America, the Ohio AFL-CIO has a traditional universe of more than 1 million voters in Ohio. 
The Labor 2014 operation in Ohio will involve more than 35,000 volunteer shifts that will cover all aspects of the campaign, including voter registration, voter education and voter turnout. The effort is to include an unprecedented level of more than 2 million combined door knocks, phone dials and leaflets distributed at worksites and millions of additional voter contacts through direct mail and electronic and social media.
(Look for our brother Matt Ford, political coordinator for Teamsters Local 507 at about 1:36.).

Taylor Farms workers help push CA bill to protect temp workers

The Teamster organizing struggle at Taylor Farms in California moved to the state capitol yesterday where workers helped push forward a bill to make companies responsible for workers hired through temp agencies.

AB 1897 passed the Committee on Labor and Employment on a party-line vote in a defeat for the 25 corporate lobbyists who tried to paint the bill as a "job killer." Lawmakers, including Republicans on the committee, highlighted Taylor Farms as a "bad apple" whose abusive labor practices make laws like AB 1897 necessary. The California Labor Federation and Teamsters from Locals 439 and 601 stood with Taylor Farms food processing workers who traveled to Sacramento to lobby in support of the legislation.

Teamsters with Assemblymember
Roger Hernandez, author of AB 1897
AB 1897 would hold companies accountable to the temp agency workers they hire -- workers who they constantly deny responsibility for yet depend on for labor. The law will require companies to ensure that the temp workers they use are getting fair pay and a safe work environment, and that the agencies are paying their fair share in taxes.

Taylor Farms workers know firsthand how exploitative the labor contracting system is. At its plants in Tracy, Calif., the company hides behind two staffing agencies, SlingShot and Abel Mendoza. The agencies, which staff up to two-thirds of the facilities, allow the company to get away with serious labor violations. One young worker with SlingShot has worked at Taylor Farms for 10 years -- he started working there on the onion line when he was 9 years-old.

When workers are injured, the company and temp agencies deny being the "employer of record" so workers can't get compensation. Taylor Farms pays Abel Mendoza $14 per hour for each worker but Abel Mendoza pays the workers only $8 per hour, costing already impoverished workers over $10,000 a year.

The temp labor contracting scheme also allows companies like Taylor Farms to crack down mercilessly on workers who try to organize. When Taylor Farms workers tried to join Teamsters Local 601, the company retaliated with a non-stop fear campaign run by paid union-busters who threatened and harassed workers, especially immigrant workers. The company got rid of pro-union workers by making the agencies fire them.

All of this made it easier for the company to effectively steal the election when workers held their vote on union representation, forcing the NLRB to impound ballots while it investigates Taylor Farms' extreme misconduct.

By making companies like Taylor Farms responsible for all of their workers, including "temps," AB 1897 will make it harder to violate workers rights with impunity. Teamster friend Roger Hernandez, a California assemblymember for the 48th District, authored AB 1897 with Taylor Farms workers in mind -- similar to his anti-retaliation law signed by the governor which was inspired by Marquez Brothers workers' fight for Teamster representation.

While the NLRB investigates charges against the company, Teamsters and Taylor Farms workers are expanding the campaign for union representation in Tracy by reaching out to allies, the media and political leaders.

Teamsters, Taylor Farms workers at the state capitol

AB 1897 now moves to the Appropriations Committee. As the labor contractor system has moved from the fields of the Central Valley into the food processing facilities -- and as corporations throughout the economy increasingly adopt this employment scheme -- laws like AB 1897 are becoming more urgent than ever.

Taylor Farms workers and the Teamsters plan to continue holding up Taylor Farms as a poster child for temp labor abuses.

UPS National Master Agreement In Effect Starting April 25, 2014

Here's official news about the UPS contract from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters:

The Teamsters UPS National Negotiating Committee, pursuant to Article XII of the IBT Constitution, announced that the 2013 National Master United Parcel Service Agreement, All Supplements, Riders and Addenda is in effect starting April 25, 2014.  
The wages contained in the agreement are retroactive to August 1, 2013 and UPS has committed to expediting the checks for Teamster members’ retroactive wage increases. The retro check will be a separate check to avoid being taxed at a higher rate. In addition, UPS will begin making retroactive contributions to the health and welfare and pension funds immediately. UPS currently owes over $300 million to Teamster members and funds. Now Teamsters will be made whole.  
The agreement contains unparalleled wage and benefit increases. New language offers strong protection from harassment and retaliation. In addition, the new 9.5 language, protections regarding SurePost and all of the other improvements and protections contained in the new agreement will be in effect.
For more information, click here.

Today's Teamster News 04.24.14

Teamster News
New Teamsters Report Details Mounting Liabilities For One of Republic Services' Nuclear Waste Landfills   ...Today the Teamsters released a report that details the escalating costs to the public and investors for Republic Service Inc's management of its Bridgeton/West Lake Superfund landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri...
Teamsters, Other Unions Pledge Support to Regional Pilots   ...The head of one of the largest Teamster pilot unions joined other union leaders across the industry in spearheading an agreement to set new standards for regional pilot contracts and to stand together during negotiations...
UPS Employees Union votes to override local bargaining units  Atlanta Business Chronicle   ...The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said in the memo that the UPS national negotiating committee "voted overwhelmingly" to declare the new contract in effect...
Workers Memorial Day to highlight jobs that kill  People's World   ..."Forty-three years ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job," Teamsters President James Hoffa adds.  "Decades of struggle by workers and their unions resulted in significant improvements in working conditions...
Obama trade push gets thumbs down from Democrats  Politico   ...In an atmosphere in which populism is driving both parties’ bases and more represented in the Senate than ever, convincing members to sign on to multinational trade deals is next to impossible...
Obama fails to secure breakthrough in Japan trade talks  CNN Money   ...Trade talks between the United States and Japan failed to produce a breakthrough Thursday, in yet another blow to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement...
State Battles
Paycheck Protection heard in Senate  Missouri Times   ...So-called “paycheck protection” legislation that would be placed on the 2014 ballot if approved was heard in a senate committee today, marking another step in the fight between labor leaders and conservative Republicans...
Karl Rove And Americans For Prosperity Join Forces To Aid ALEC Stalwart in North Carolina Race  PR Watch   ...Some powerful players are coming to the aid of ALEC board member Thom Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, who seeks to challenge Democrat Kay Hagen for her U.S. Senate seat...
War On Workers
Massive new fraud coverup: How banks are pillaging homes — while the government watches
Salon   ...Joseph and Mary Romero of Chimayo, N.M., found that their mortgage note was assigned to the Bank of New York three months after the same bank filed a foreclosure complaint against them; in other words, Bank of New York didn’t own the loan when they tried to foreclose on it... Housing Rebound in U.S. Losing Steam as Prices Rise  Bloomberg   ...Sales dropped a surprising 14.5 percent to a 384,000 annualized pace, lower than any forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the weakest since July, Commerce Department data showed today in Washington. Three of the four regions saw setbacks, with demand in the West slumping to the lowest level in more than two years...
The Koch Brothers Extra Baggage  Washington Post   ...The Republican Party's biggest sugar daddies, the Koch brothers are a mixed bag for the GOP: They bring money, but lots of baggage. Their downside isn't only that they're a convenient foil for Democratic turnout, but they could exacerbate existing tensions within the Republican Party...
Fast Food CEOs Earn Super Sized Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes  NPR   ...At a time when fast-food workers earn an average of about $9 an hour, what are the chief executives bringing home? According to a new report, YUM! (Owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013...
Kellogg Locked Out Kevin to Cut Costs, Paid CEO $8 Million  AFL-CIO Now   ...For 13 years Kevin worked at the Kellogg Co.’s Memphis, Tenn., cereal plant, until the company locked out him and 225 of his co-workers in October. While they missed the rest of the year’s paychecks—and continue to do so—Kellogg CEO John Bryant pocketed nearly $8 million in 2013 compensation...
Northwestern Football Players To Vote On Union Friday  Chicago Tribune   ...Northwestern University football players are scheduled to vote Friday morning on whether they want to be represented by a union. Northwestern, which is a private university, is not allowing reporters on campus at Welsh-Ryan arena, citing the players' wishes to avoid media attention...
US Workers Were Once Massacred Fighting For The Protections Being Rolled Back Today  Moyers & Company   ...On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard and a private militia employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company opened fire on a tent camp of striking coal miners at Ludlow, Colorado. At least 19 people died in the camp that day, mostly women and children...
Students Seek Loan Forgiveness In Overwhelming Numbers  MSNBC   ...Enrollment in federal student loan debt forgiveness programs skyrocketed nearly 40 percent in the last 6 months, the U.S. Education Department told the Wall Street Journal as education costs rise...
New Records: IRS Targeted Progressive Groups More Extensively Than Tea Party  ThinkProgress   ...A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.”...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Costs mount for Republic Services over burning, radioactive landfill

Republic Services is facing a major increase in costs for dealing with the burning, radioactive Bridgeton landfill near St. Louis, according to a new report.

The company's mismanagement and refusal to deal honestly with the problem at Bridgeton hurts investors as well as the local community and workers, the report concludes.

The Teamsters, who represent Republic Services employees, issued a statement:
“Today’s report highlights how Republic is risking investors’ money and the public’s safety by mismanaging the clean-up in Bridgeton, Missouri,” said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “The report raises a question that we all should be asking Republic – is Bridgeton just the tip of the toxic landfill iceberg?”
The nuclear waste remediation has already cost Republic Services $219 million and may cost much more if the Army Corps of Engineers takes over the site. The company's effort to avoid any Army Corps of Engineers' involvement failed, and it is now resorting to such desperate tactics as impersonating the EPA, creating a front group headed by an extremist blogger, opposing radioactive waste cleanup and lobbying the Missouri Legislature to pass a law stripping local authorities of their right to sue.

This is an ongoing and developing crisis, as engineering efforts to control the fire aren't working. Let's hope Republic decides to do the right thing and clean up the landfill instead of trying to deny there's a problem.

In the meantime, Republic Services investors can ask this question and more on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. ET during the company’s first quarter investor conference call. The call can be accessed by logging onto the Republic Services’ Investor Relations page on or by dialing (800) 369-3117 or (210) 234-0084, passcode "Republic Services."

Teamsters mourn the dead, fight for the living

Our Teamsters brothers and sisters from
Local 200 in Milwaukee have been to this
memorial  honoring 3 fallen ironworkers
Teamsters will honor fallen workers on April 28, Workers' Memorial Day, a little over a year after 15 workers died in a West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion and more than 1,100 died in the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.

Sadly, those aren't the only workplace deaths over the past year. Just do a Google news search of 'worker killed' or 'worker died.' You'll read about the oilfield worker killed in a West Texas drilling accident, the Illinois highway worker killed by a sleepy driver, the Aberdeen Proving Grounds worker killed in a grass-cutting accident in Maryland, the construction worker who died on the job in Ottawa. All in the past few days.

An average of 4,400 people are killed every year at work, 50,000 workers die from occupational diseases and millions are injured on the job.

That's why working people throughout the world mourn for the people who were hurt or killed on the job on Workers' Memorial Day. Then they organize, because the best way to make workplaces safe is to make sure workers have the freedom to join in a union.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa is urging members of the Teamsters Union to honor Workers' Memorial Day. Today in a statement he said,
On this Workers’ Memorial Day, we need to join hands to seek stronger safety and health protections and better standards and enforcement.  To quote Mother Jones, a small woman but a giant in the American labor movement, “Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
Honor our fallen brothers and sisters at a workers' memorial near you. You can find a list of workers' memorials here. If you hold an event, tell us about it here. Learn more about Worker's Memorial Day here.