Friday, September 4, 2015

Teamster airline mechanics fight for safety

Members of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition (TAMC) came to Washington last week to air their grievances and fight to improve airline safety.

TAMC members held several Capitol Hill meetings.
TAMC Chairman Chris Moore led the effort to meet with a bipartisan group of policy experts and legislative staff. He was joined by International Representative and TAMC Board Member Bob Fisher; Gary Kagel, a member of the TAMC Steering Committee from Local 769; Tom Reid, a TAMC Steering Committee member from Local 210; and Greg Unterseher, a business agent from Local 1224.

The TAMC requested that global drug testing standards be brought into uniform parity so that testing can be fair and equal for all airline mechanics.Airline repair stations exist all over the world and many carriers based in the U.S. outsource their repairs to foreign countries.Each nation has different standards for their drug testing, some of which are lower that the standards in the U.S.

Additionally, the TAMC lobbied for a moratorium on the certification of new repair stations worldwide following three consecutive reports by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General detailing an extensive failure by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to properly oversee existing repair stations.The TAMC believes that if the FAA cannot oversee existing repair stations, new ones should not be certified until all of the existing stations are able to be examined for compliance on a regular basis.

Moore was pleased with the meetings and is hopeful that action on these items can happen soon:
Our number-one goal is to improve safety and conditions for airline mechanics and the flying public. To that extent, these past two days have been full of productive and informative meetings with policy makers across the political spectrum and I’m hoping we can get some attention paid to these issues.
Captain David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division, applauded the efforts of the TAMC to pressure lawmakers on airline safety issues:
I’m grateful for the work of the entire TAMC. The FAA needs to remember their commitment to the safety of the flying public. The efforts of the TAMC are important in keeping the spotlight on these issues.
The TAMC represents more than 18,000 aviation mechanics and related workers at seven airlines, including United, ExpressJet, Frontier, Horizon Air, NetJets, Piedmont Airlines and UPS. The Coalition will continue to fight for good working conditions for airline mechanics and safer skies.
For more information, visit www.teamsterair.org/tamc.

Today's Teamster News 09.04.15

Teamsters
Teamsters Announce National Carhaul Contract  Transport Topics  ...The Teamsters announced a tentative contract agreement with the National Automobile Transporters Labor Division covering about 6,000 workers, including two of the largest auto and light truck carriers. The Teamsters National Automobile Transporters Industry negotiating committee didn’t disclose any details, including the length or terms of the deal that now will be reviewed by affected local union officials before it is put to a membership vote...
Teamsters call out UPS over ALEC politics  Freight Week  ...The U.S. Teamsters Union has joined a broad-based coalition of 84 investor, public interest and civil rights groups to persuade the United Parcel Service (UPS) to cut its ties with the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to public interest non-profit SourceWatch, ALEC is a corporate "bill mill" dominated by Republican politicians that enables corporations to provide state legislators wishlists that benefit their bottom line...
'Scab' labor threatens to prolong Sun Tran strike, scramble Tucson election  Tucson Sentinel  ...It's not just the drivers and mechanics of Teamsters Local 104 who are upset — it's their parent organization, the Arizona AFL-CIO, sounding the alarm.  "This is a pivotal point in labor's history in Tucson," said Rebekah Friend, state AFL-CIO executive director "Will it affect local politics? Of course it will"...

Global Labor & Trade
Auto-Parts Dispute Taps the Brakes on Pacific Trade Deal  Wall Street Journal   ...A  fight over how cars are assembled is pitting North America’s auto industry against Japan’s in a dispute now holding up a major trade agreement spanning the Pacific. The spat over which cars should be eligible for duty-free trade surfaced during high-level talks in late July that failed to wrap up the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. The auto impasse is the most recent complication to finishing the TPP talks, along with dairy...
Mustapa: Progress being made on TPP negotiations  The Star  ...Malaysia remains optimistic about resolving issues in the best interest of the nation before coming to any conclusion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said much progress had been made since Malaysia first entered into negotiations five years ago...
Mexico Throws a Wrench Into Trade Talks  Bloomberg  ...When exhausted officials from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership wrapped up a week of talks in Hawaii at the end of July without reaching a deal, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, brushed off efforts to pin the delay on him. Guajardo is fighting to ensure that the TPP does not jeopardize gains his country has made under the North American Free Trade Agreement...
Trade agency names chief transparency officer  The Hill  ...U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman on Thursday tapped Timothy Reif to be the USTR’s chief transparency officer, a job established by the trade promotion authority law signed this summer by President Obama. Many lawmakers have complained that the direction of trade negotiations, especially those on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), have been closed off to all but high-level negotiators and large corporations...
Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership an Environmental Pollution Pass for Corporations?  Huffington Post  ...Nearly a decade in the making, advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) promote it as a necessary step to free trade and a robust global economy. Critics are skeptical saying the agreement will be harmful to the environment and economically benefits large corporations...
Travellers face delays as train and airport workers strike across Spain  The Local  ...Train worker unions began a 24-hour strike on Friday while the first in a series of many baggage handler strikes also launched ahead of the weekend. Train workers are disgruntled after the unions and train operator Renfe failed to come to agreement on working conditions, including about outsourcing workloads and hiring new personnel...
'Victory for the People' as Guatemalan President Resigns in Disgrace  Common Dreams  ...School of the Americas-trained Guatemalan President Otto PĂ©rez Molina, who oversaw acts of torture and genocide during the country's decades-long civil war, stepped down just before midnight Wednesday disgraced by unprecedented corruption charges—and by a popular movement against impunity for the ruling elite...
How the Refugees Crisis Is Wreaking Havoc on the European Union  Mother Jones  ...Talk of a euro exit dissipated. But the conversation in Europe is now dominated by the astronomical rise in the number of migrants trying to enter the continent, both refugees from wars in Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries, as well as job seekers from elsewhere in Europe. The influx is again pitting EU states against each other...

State & Living Wage Battles
'Our Votes Matter': Rights Marchers in North Carolina Call for End to Voter Suppression  Common Dreams  ...Over one month into their multi-state trek, civil rights leaders and activists on Thursday are descending on the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh to call attention to what they say is a flagrant "crime against democracy," the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act...
Walmart and Walker: Always Low Wages  Truthout  ...When Walmart announced with great fanfare that it was boosting pay for frontline workers, CMD questioned the spin. Bloomberg reported that Walmart is cutting hours for its workers. Scott Walker raised eyebrows when he signed a contract with a big pay boost for the state troopers who provide his security detail. Now the US Department of Labor has found that Team Walker violated the law by failing to pay overtime for state troopers...
Michigan prevailing wage supporters allege misleading sales pitches in petition drive  MLive  ...Michigan prevailing wage supporters are accusing paid circulators of misleading the public about petitions seeking to repeal the 1965 law, a claim that a handful of sympathetic observers are vouching for. Bruce Sage, an attorney from Metro Detroit, told MLive he was approached this June by a man in a Meijer parking lot who asked him to sign a petition for a proposal to "ensure transparency in government"...
Sharron Angle seeks voter ID ballot measure  Elko Daily  ...Conservative activist Sharron Angle wants Nevada voters to decide whether to abolish the state health insurance exchange and require photo identification at the polls. The Republican former assemblywoman and former U.S. Senate candidate filed two petitions this week with the Nevada Secretary of State...
Voters Increasingly Favor Minimum Wage Hike  US News & World Report   ...With many of the jobs created by the recovering U.S. economy concentrated in low-paying sectors, likely voters in next year's presidential contest are increasingly supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage. In 2014, voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota as well as several U.S. cities opted to raise the minimum wage above the current federal mandate of $7.25 per hour, and another seven states and the District of Columbia will vote on increases in 2016...
Fight For 15 Has Helped Pass Minimum Wage Hikes, But Yet To Deliver Broad-Based Pay Gains  International Business Times  ...The protests aren’t without impact. Major cities and states have lifted their minimum pay floors, the Democratic Party has officially embraced the call for $15 an hour and polls show the demands resonate with the broader public. These trends all bode well for the future pay prospects of low-wage workers. But for now, at least, millions are still waiting on that raise...

U.S.  Labor
Unemployment Drops To Lowest Rate Since April Of 2008  Think Progress  ...The economy added 173,000 jobs in August while the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 220,000 jobs to be added. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since March of 2008. August jobs reports are frequently unreliable, however...
OSHA Is Still Working on Silica  Bloomberg  ...The struggle to control silica is part of a pattern of weakness that characterizes OSHA. “They aren’t able to address a long list of commonsense problems, because the process of addressing them is just too hard,” says Harris, now a private attorney and a distinguished scholar at Cornell. The agency has a small budget and an ever-lengthening list of bureaucratic boxes it needs to check each time it wants to toughen regulations...
Detroit Three show interest in UAW healthcare overhaul idea  Reuters  ...The Detroit Three automakers are showing increased interest in the United Auto Workers union's proposal that they pool their healthcare systems, a sign that contract talks between the union and manufacturers are down to the big money issues. The UAW and bargainers for General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles face a Sept. 14 deadline to negotiate new labor agreements for 142,000 U.S. workers...
More Bad News for A&P Supermarket Workers as Judge OKs Assaults on Union Contracts  In These Times  ...Union members at the A&P supermarket chain took a financial beating in federal court this week, as the company’s senior managers renewed their legal assault on the labor contracts covering some 25,000 employees in six mid-Atlantic states. The worst is yet to come for the low- to moderate-income grocery workers, however, as the judge in charge of the case made only limited rulings while indicating he may move more forcefully against the union as mass firings go forward...
Tech Companies Ordered To Pay Employees $415 Million For Working Together To Lower Wages  Think Progress  ...Nearly 65,000 employees for Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit in 2011 after the government uncovered emails between Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and other executives that showed companies conspired to not poach one another’s employees in an effort to keep salaries low and reduce turnover...

Social Justice & Other News
18-year-olds driving 18-wheelers?: Our view  (editorial) USA Today   ...As you hit the road this holiday weekend, with AAA predicting the highest travel volume in seven years, think about what travel might look like on Labor Day 2016. If the powerful trucking industry gets its way on Capitol Hill this month, interstate highways could be clogged with longer trucks, sleepier drivers and 18-year-olds behind the wheel of big rigs...
Chicago Hunger Strikers Enter Day 19 Challenging Rahm Emanuel’s Push to Privatize Public Schools  Democracy Now  ...In Chicago, a group of public school parents, grandmothers and education activists are entering the 19th day of a hunger strike to save Dyett High School, the only remaining open-enrollment public high school left in the community of Bronzeville. Supporters say the city neglected the school for years before announcing plans to close it. Under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor and former Obama chief of staff, the city has closed about 50 schools in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods...
No, Protests Against Police Brutality Are Not Increasing Crime  The Nation  ...Much has been made in recent months of a series of isolated crime increases in a handful of US cities. Breathless accounts of a new crime wavehave appeared in both liberal and conservative media. Right-wing pundits and some police leaders have claimed that there is a “Ferguson effect”—a significant crime increase due to the “Black Lives Matter” protests against police violence. This is both junk science and political opportunism...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Corporations don't join in on growing love of unions

There is renewed energy in the labor movement. Polls show American support of unions is growing, the data shows union members are paid more than non-union workers, and more and more there is a belief that corporations are taking advantage of employees in an effort to pocket even more profits.

Big business is getting wise to these changing winds as well. And they're doing all they can to clamp down on it before they lose control. In some instances, that means even creating their own fake unions so they can trick workers into accepting lower salaries. The New York Times details one such case in the carnival industry:
[W]hen a new union signed contracts with dozens of companies that operate at fairs and carnivals, it seemed that a group of workers long considered exploited had found a new ally. 
Labor advocates, however, have since charged that the new union was really a stalking-horse for industry, not a champion for laborers, many of whom come from Mexico. And instead of demanding that companies pay the carnival workers more, the advocates say the union deals assured the employers they would not have to do so. 
Several officers of the union, the Association of Mobile Entertainment Workers, also had close ties, it turned out, to two businessmen — one in Texas, the other in Mexico — who have long supplied carnivals and fairs with itinerant Mexican workers.
Other more established companies are putting the screws to workers the old fashion way -- by not giving an inch. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW) went into early September in continuing contract talks with Verizon – talks, IBEW said, that featured absolutely no change in the firm’s wide-ranging giveback demands. The talks cover more than 40,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast. Verizon makes some $12 million in profits a day.
In response, the unions took to the streets to show mass solidarity for their bargaining teams, with rallies all over the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. And they enlisted political support, from New York state lawmakers and the mayors of Salisbury, Md., and Yonkers, N.Y. In Albany, N.Y., CWA members demanded the New York Public Service Commission – which regulates telecom firms – get involved and pressure Verizon to bargain in good faith.
Taken together, it is further proof that while the public may increasingly have the back of workers, companies are not joining in. It's part of the reason the Teamsters are pushing forward with our new "Let's Get America Working" platform that not only calls for greater investment, but an increased focus on worker rights as well.
Everyday Americans trying to make ends meet won't be bullied by big business.
  • Press Associates contributed to this report.

Today's Teamster News 09.03.15

Teamsters
Teamsters Launch: 'Let's Get America Working!'  Teamster.org  ...Today, the Teamsters Union launched the “Let’s Get America Working!” campaign to encourage both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to work together to focus on creating good jobs through investment in our infrastructure. Representatives from the Teamsters delivered packets to the offices of every member of Congress today that outlined the key areas the union believes lawmakers must focus on to help build, maintain and repair our infrastructure...
Teamster Skyway Toll Collectors Stand Together to Secure New Contract  Teamster.org  ...Chicago Skyway toll collectors stood together to secure a new three-year contract that gives them a living wage and critical new job protections. The workers ratified the agreement on Sept. 2. “Because our members stood together and made their voices heard, the union and our bargaining committee were able to stay strong throughout these difficult contract negotiations,” said John Coli Jr., President of Teamsters Local 727...
NLRB Determines Funeral Industry Giant SCI Violated Labor Laws  Local 727  ...Region 13 of the National Labor Relations determined that funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (SCI) and SCI d/b/a Alderwoods violated labor laws by failing to provide relevant information on myriad issues to Teamsters Local 727. The NLRB ordered the company to post a notice at locations managed by SCI or SCI d/b/a Alderwoods locations...
Local 727 Fights Management’s Mistreatment of Coca-Cola Workers  Local 727  ...Teamsters Local 727 is fighting Reyes management’s attempts to renege on its agreement to give “clean slates” to hundreds of workers after assuming operations at the Great Lakes Coca-Cola Chicago and Alsip locations. “The union vehemently opposes the company’s bad faith actions, and we are fighting this tooth-and-nail,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727...
More Than 80 Groups Call on UPS to Leave American Legislative Exchange Council  Teamster.org  ...A broad-based coalition of 84 organizations has written a letter urging the United Parcel Service (UPS) to cease its membership to the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The religious, environmental, labor, investor, public interest, public health, and civil rights groups encouraged UPS join a mass exodus of companies that left ALEC over concerns about the organization’s extreme agenda and secretive practices...
Teamsters upset about Craigslist ads for Sun Tran drivers  Tucson News  ...Ads recently posted on Craigslist for temporary drivers during the Sun Tran strike are causing controversy. The Teamsters Local 104 Union held a press conference on Wednesday to express their concern that ads were posted in several cities across the country looking for bus drivers to fill their positions during the bus strike...

Global Labor & Trade
Canada scuttles Australia’s TPP bid  Macro Business  ...When final negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement failed in Hawaii in late-July, proponents of the deal were hopeful that negotiators could come together and strike-up a deal by the end of August. With that date now passed, it looks as if the TPP could finally be ‘dead and buried’ – a view confirmed today via The Australian Dairy Farmer, which claims that Canada’s refusal to give ground on dairy protection has helped scuttle the deal...
How Washington Put Economics Ahead of Human Rights  Foreign Affairs  ...Credible reports from Reuters citing whistleblowers from within the State Department suggest that, for Malaysia, the upgrade to the Tier 2 Watch List had everything to do with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When the bill authorizing Trade Promotion Authority passed, it contained a section authored by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez that ruled that any trade agreement that included a country on Tier 3 of the TIP Report would not be eligible for Fast-Track status...
Big business-funded committee must not influence TTIP talks, says campaigner  RT.com  ...Secretive EU-US trade negotiations that could enable corporations to sue governments were infiltrated by a British committee that peddles the interests of the City of London while bypassing parliament, it has emerged. Academic and campaigner Linda Kaucher, who has long criticized the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty, said the negotiations are heavily influenced by Big Tobacco and British financiers...
Local councils are starting to tear strips off TTIP  OpenDemocracy  ...An exciting new front is emerging in the battle against TTIP, harnessing the energy of grassroots groups to push opposition to the corporate power grab up the political food chain via the power of local councils. In the UK and across Europe, TTIP Free Zones are popping up like people power mushrooms...
Millions of Indian workers strike against ‘anti-labor policies’  Aljazeera  ...Millions of Indian workers launched a 24-hour strike on Wednesday against what they said were Prime Minister Narendra Modi's “anti-labor policies,” prompting billions of dollars in economic losses. The unions — which represent a wide range of industries, from banking to coal mining — are demanding the government dump plans to sell off stakes in state-run companies...
Bangladesh Garment Workers Win Factory Improvements   Solidarity Center  ...Garment workers at Sin Sin Poly factory in Bangladesh’s export processing zone (EPZ) won increased pay and leave benefits in August after forming a workers’ welfare association and successfully negotiating with management. Mehedi Hasan, 35, was among workers helping form the association. When Mehedi began work at the factory, where he was hired to make plastic and polyethlene bags,  he says instead he was asked to perform janitorial duties...

State & Living Wage Battles
Future of Missouri 'right to work' bill uncertain  St. Louis Post-Dispatch  ...With less than two weeks until the September veto session, House Republican leaders still are not sure if they will try to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the controversial “right to work” bill. The measure, which prohibits union membership as a condition of employment, caused quite a ruckus at the end of the Legislative session in May...
Nearly 1.5 Million IL Workers Could Benefit From A $12 Federal Minimum Wage  Progress Illinois  ...Of the nearly 1.5 million workers in Illinois who could be impacted directly or indirectly by the Raise the Wage Act, more than half are women and over two-thirds are at least 25 years old. More than one-third of African-American and Hispanic Illinois workers would see a raise, as would 38 percent of single moms in the state...
Texas Two-Steps All Over Voting Rights  Slate  ...Now Texas has upped the ante, arguing that if Section 2 indeed makes its voter ID law illegal, then Section 2 violates the Constitution. That means the other great statutory protection of minority voting rights would suffer the same fate as the preclearance provision and leave minority voters with few protections from unwarranted new voting hurdles...
Nikki Haley defends voter ID laws as “not racist,” ignoring overwhelming evidence  AmericaBlog  ...At the National Press Club earlier today, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley reportedly asserted that voter ID laws are “not racist.” Because apparently she hasn’t ever Googled “disparate impact test.” South Carolina’s voter ID law, in particular, was racist enough to get it blocked by the Department of Justice. According to the agency, minority voters in the state were 20 percent less likely than white voters to have the types of ID required under the law...

U.S. Labor
Wages Have Been Stagnant For 40 Years But It’s Not The Fault Of American Workers   Think Progress  ...Americans keep working harder and producing more economic growth. But they’re not getting rewarded with any extra pay for it, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). As the report’s authors write, “For decades following the end of World War II, inflation-adjusted hourly compensation for the vast majority of American workers rose in line with increases in economy-wide productivity.” But that link was severed starting in 1973...
The Rebellion Against Standardized Tests Is Exploding  The Nation  ...Progressive educators and teachers unions have rallied around opt-out in their increasingly militant resistance to corporate-style education reforms: anti-testing civil disobedience is a symbolic challenge to the ideology of “accountability”-based school policies, from rigid curriculum mandates to expansion of charter schools...
UAW Pitches Health-Care Co-op to Car Makers  Wall Street Journal  ...The United Auto Workers union is pushing Detroit car makers to put all their employees under one health-care umbrella, creating a powerful purchasing group that could upend traditional health care markets. The union’s idea would create a joint purchasing group for the three largest U.S. auto makers that would cover factory and white-collar workers and union-affiliated retirees...
Al Jazeera America Digital Journalists Unionize  Huffingtoin Post  ...Digital journalists at Al Jazeera America have voted to unionize, joining a growing number of digital newsrooms that have organized in recent months. ince June, Gawker, Salon, Guardian US and writers at Vice Media have all organized. Al Jazeera America, like Guardian US, is represented by NewsGuild-CWA...
A Whole Lot Of California Farmworkers Are Landing In The Hospital. Why?  Think Progress  ...As the west coast grapples with a mixture of drought and heat waves, heat-related illnesses among farm workers has continued to persist. Particularly in Caifornia where 70 percent of the state is classified in a state of “exceptional” or “extreme” drought, heat waves are becoming more severe due to higher humidity and warmer nighttime temperatures...
Your Cheap Uber Rides May Be Going Away. And That's a Good Thing.  Mother Jones  ...On Tuesday, a federal judge in San Francisco awarded class-action status to a lawsuit in which three Uber drivers contend they are employees, not independent contractors. If they win the lawsuit, the drivers must be reimbursed by the company for gas, workers compensation, and other benefits. Uber has said losing the suit, which could involve 15,000 of its former drivers, might force it to fundamentally rethink its business model...

Social Justice & Other News
After Mass Hunger Strikes & Lawsuits, Prisoners Force California to Scale Back Solitary Confinement  Democracy Now  ...In a major victory for prisoners’ rights, California has agreed to greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement as a part of a legal settlement that may have major implications in prisons nationwide. The decision on Tuesday came following years of litigation by a group of prisoners held in isolation for a decade or more at Pelican Bay State Prison, as well as prisoner hunger strikes...
Chicago Hunger Strikers Bring The Fight To Keep Their School Open To Washington D.C.  Think Progress  ...Last month, 12 parents and community members decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the closure of Dyett High School in Chicago. Dyett High School is slated to shut its doors by the 2015-16 school year but the hunger strikers advocate converting the high school into the Global Leadership and Green Technology High School instead. Now, in their 17th day of going without solid foods, they’re bringing the protest to Washington D.C...
The Freddie Gray Pre-Trial Begins  The Atlantic  ...Baltimore has found itself the focus of media attention once again as the first hearing for six officers charged with the death of Freddie Gray—who was killed in police custody in April—began Wednesday morning. Baltimore City Court Judge Barry Glenn Williams denied two significant motions for the pre-trial hearings...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Let's get America working!

The Teamsters want greater investment, better jobs.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is unveiling a new “Let’s Get America Working” campaign in advance of the 2016 election that will encourage both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to endorse a pro-worker platform.

At the center of the platform is the need for this country to invest in infrastructure, which in turn will create good jobs for everyday Americans. Working on transportation, energy and water projects will put thousands to work in construction jobs across the country. It will also improve roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure, which in turn will help business and improve the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Labor Department’s own statistics support the Teamsters’ initiative. The median union worker earns more than $200 a week more than the median non-union worker. That’s an extra $10,000 a year that goes into the pockets of union workers. These jobs also offer health benefits and a pension.

Teamster President Jim Hoffa said:
While unemployment is down, the vast majority of jobs being created pay low wages. We can stop this trend and create good-paying union jobs if government invests in our nation’s workforce.
Infrastructure presents an opportunity to break the political gridlock. Congress in late July approved a three-month extension for spending on transportation projects that provides a temporary patch until the end of October for the continuing issue of road and rail funding. But it is not a real solution.

Since 2008, Congress has transferred more than $62 billion from the general fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat, and it has been more than a decade since Congress has passed a highway bill more than two years in duration. Meanwhile, the transportation system continues to crumble and the safety of those who work and travel along the vast network of U.S. roads and rails is being jeopardized. Our nation’s failure to maintain and improve our infrastructure is costing Americans more and more.

There also is a significant need to move forward with a broader agenda that puts U.S. workers first. That means standing up against lousy trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that send American jobs overseas; protecting workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain; increasing affordability of college and vocational schools; and ensuring retirement and pension security for working families.

Lawmakers need to remember that dollars invested in education, job training and supporting retirement for those who worked hard all their lives helps not only individuals, but our society as a whole. These are promises each generation in this country has made to the next and we can’t forget it.

But if this nation is going to improve the lives of its citizens, Congress needs to advance bipartisan policies that will encourage good job growth. And it must put the current and future generations of workers in a position to succeed in the workforce by giving them the skills they need.

There was a time when all these issues weren’t partisan issues – they were American values, something everyone could support. But government is broken. Partisan bickering has replaced finding solutions. That’s why it’s essential for the Teamsters and like-minded allies all over the country to join together and push this message with lawmakers, colleagues, friends and family.

If elected officials from both parties want to rebuild and repair the trust between government and workers, they need to reinvest in people that have and can continue to make this country great. Better pay will lead to more spending and improve workers’ quality of life. That way everyone wins.

Let’s Get America Working! Now is the time to Build, Repair and Maintain America!

Today's Teamster News 09.02.15

Teamsters
New platform makes unions strong, America stronger  The Hill   ...Today, more than 1.4 million members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are compensated for their skills and hard work with salaries and benefits that give them dignity and allow them to live a middle-class lifestyle. If this were true of more American workers, our economy and our country would be better off. This is a message the Teamsters intend to bring to the entire American workforce as part of the union’s new “Let’s Get America Working” campaign...
Labor readies fall highway blitz  The Hill  ...The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union is gearing up for an aggressive fall push to convince lawmakers to approve a long-term highway bill that has eluded transportation advocates for the better part of a decade.  Federal funding for road and transit programs is set to expire on Oct. 29. The Teamsters union is planning to greet Congress upon its return to Washington next week...
Chicago Skyway Toll Workers Plan Labor Day Weekend Strike  NBC  ...Traffic may be moving smoothly along Chicago’s Skyway for the start of September, but it could come to a halt during the busy Labor Day travel weekend. A group of toll collectors may hold a strike over contract negotiations with the Skyway Concession Company, according to Teamsters Local 727, the union that represents them. The 30 workers are on the job without a contract – which expired at midnight – and the members are set to hold a strike vote on September 2...
U employees protest salary talks and administrative pay  Star Tribune  ...University of Minnesota workers gathered at a busy intersection on campus Monday to protest the current state of contract negotiations. The U has offered a 0.75 percent salary increase to employees who are represented by Teamsters Local 320. Among those affected by the proposal are food service, custodial and clerical workers throughout the university system...
Sun Tran's strike position doesn't tell the whole story  Arizona Daily Star  ...Two issues that are also extremely important and have contributed greatly to this strike, which Riley fails to mention, are the 22 assaults of drivers that have taken place over the past 22 months, one of which was a multiple stabbing. The other is the ongoing mold contamination of the Northwest Maintenance and Operations Facility and the buses themselves. Both are major health and safety issues...
Seattle might try something crazy to let Uber drivers unionize  Washington Post  ...Over the past few years, taxi drivers have affiliated with unions in cities across the country. So far, that’s worked out alright for taxi drivers, who’ve worked with the Teamsters in Washington State to make their case in Olympia — especially when they’ve banded together with taxi companies to keep rates high...
State of Illinois, Teamsters Reach New Labor Contract Deal  Progress Illinois  ...A new four-year collective bargaining agreement has been reached between state-employed Teamsters and the Rauner administration, the governor's office announced Monday. "The state previously announced an agreement with Teamsters Local 700, which covered 300 state workers in Cook County," the administration said in a news release...

Global Labor & Trade
Labor Leader Urges Clinton to Reject Pacific Trade Agreement  Newsweek   ...Labor leader Richard Trumka has an idea for Hillary Clinton to energize her presidential campaign after a listless summer: take a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Specifically, the head of the AFL-CIO suggested that coming out against the 12-country trade deal would help generate excitement for the Democratic front-runner...
Could Tobacco Carveout Kill TPP?  Roll Call  ...The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s rocky road in Congress faces a fresh threat from tobacco-state senators. Reuters reported the administration had been considering allowing tobacco to be carved out of the investor-state dispute settlement, which, among other things, would give tobacco companies little protection against stiff regulation by trade partners...
Canada’s auto towns have huge stake in Pacific trade talks  Edmonton Journal  ...Windsor’s auto industry would suffer if Canadian negotiators at Trans-Pacific Partnership talks succumb to pressure from Japan and the U.S. for an “unreasonably” low content limit for auto parts and new vehicles, Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, warned Monday...
Austerity Economics is Fraying Europe’s Social Contract  (opinion) Fair Observer  ...Austerity as an economic strategy is about more than just throwing a scare into countries that, exhausted by years of cutbacks and high unemployment, are thinking of changing course. It’s also about laying the groundwork for the triumph of multinational corporate capitalism and undermining the social contract between labor and capital that’s characterized much of Europe for the past two generations...
Indian workers strike over Modi labour reforms  BBC  ...Workers across India are staging a day-long strike to protest at the economic policies of the government. They say the "pro-business" policies of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government will put their jobs at risk and hurt ordinary people. The unions are demanding the government drop plans to sell off stakes in state-run companies and change labour laws...
Everyday People Put Solidarity Into Action Helping Refugees in Greece  Truthout  ...As Greece replaces Italy as the main European gateway for refugees fleeing their war-torn homelands, the country is battling to cope with the huge influx of souls at a time when it doesn't have much to give. Nevertheless, the deus ex machina in this case is not the government, but local residents and activists from near and far who are gathering food, medicine, clothes, toys and other equipment for the refugees...

State & Living Wage Battles
New California Law Is A Big Step Forward For Working Women  Think Progress  ...On Monday, the California Senate unanimously passed an equal pay bill with the strongest measures aimed at closing the gender wage gap in the country. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has said that he’ll sign it into law. The bill has a number of provisions, but the piece that stands out the most is one that requires employers to pay men and women the same for “substantially similar work”...
Group: Minimum wage hike needed in state  Bradford Era  ...A Harrisburg think-tank says it’s getting harder for rural Pennsylvanians to make ends meet and that a minimum wage increase is needed to bridge the gap. But some area politicians remain skeptical of the claims as well as the group behind them.   A new report issued by the Keystone Research Center (KRC) says the annual cost of living in rural Pennsylvania — places like McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter counties — is $27,357 for a single person...
‘Prevailing wage’ protects workers, taxpayers  (opinion) SC Times  ...The Times recently published a letter authored by a special interest group arguing that Minnesota should follow Wisconsin in repealing our prevailing wage law. Unfortunately, the letter displayed a shocking ignorance of both the mechanics of prevailing wage and the public policy underpinning this long-standing component of our public works bidding process...
Paid leave makes sense  (editorial) Philly.com   ...Only New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and a handful of U.S. cities have caught up with other parts of the modern world by requiring some form of paid leave for employees who need to care for sick or disabled family members or a new child. It's time for that to change. U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez noted in a recent interview with the Inquirer Editorial Board, "We are the only civilized nation on the planet which doesn't have it"...
One Simple Change Could Drastically Improve Voter Turnout In California  Think Progress  ...As soon as this week, the California Senate could pass a bill to address its dismally low voter turnout by making registration automatic for the millions of residents with drivers licenses. Copying a landmark law passed by Oregon earlier this year, the policy would connect DMV records with voter registration rolls, putting the burden on the voter to opt-out rather than opt-in...

U.S. Labor
Airport contract workers protest for union, higher wages  Sun Sentinel  ...Chanting and holding up signs in the sweltering midday heat, contract employees from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport brought their fight for the right to unionize and earn higher wages to downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Service Employees International Union, which is helping to organize the airport contract workers, accuse G2 and Eulen of thwarting their employees' efforts to unionize to improve their wages and working conditions...
With contract expiring, USW workers gather for rally  Chicago Tribune  ...out 2,000 steelworkers, their families and supporters arrived at a Tuesday afternoon rally in Burns Harbor by shuttle bus, cars and on motorcycles, some traveling from as far away as Nebraska, reiterating their resolve to fight for a fair contract for steelworkers across the country. The rally and march was held hours before the United Steelworkers contract with ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel was set to expire, at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and with some optimism...
Judge In California Delivers Uber’s Worst Nightmare  Think Progress  ...Uber’s business model is on the rocks late Tuesday after a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit targeting the company’s treatment of drivers as independent contractors. The case is one of several high-profile suits brought by drivers against the technology start-up that has displaced traditional taxis in many markets...
UAW Workers, BU Reach Contract Accord  BU Today  ...Almost 600 clerical, technical, and service employees on the Charles River Campus will get annual raises of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent over the next five years under the terms of a new contract agreement with United Auto Workers Local 2324. The agreement, which took effect July 1, the start of the University’s fiscal year, incorporates previously announced University-wide changes to BU’s health insurance and long-term disability plan...
UE Becomes First National Union in U.S. To Endorse BDS Against Israel  In These Times  ...On August 20 in Baltimore, the last day of its 74th national convention, United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) became the first national union in the United States to heed the 2005 call made by Palestinian civil society groups for a global Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to protest Israeli violations of international law...

Social Justice & Other News
Donald Trump’s Shaky Grasp on Immigration  New York Times  ...Since the housing bubble burst and construction jobs dried up, more unauthorized immigrants have left the United States than have come in. Careful estimates by the Pew Research Center show that the number of undocumented Mexicans living in the United States shrank by roughly 1.1 million by 2012, from its peak in 2007. Illegal immigration could rebound as the American economy recovers further. But Mr. Massey and others argue that a more powerful force is pulling in the other direction...
Koch Brother Claims He Is a Libertarian, but He Wants to Control a Lot of Our Choices  Truthout  ...David Koch’s claim that he is socially liberal is belied by the fact that his political entities have funneled millions of dollars to Christian Right organizations. PR Watch reported that, “Kochs' Freedom Partners helped funnel at least $3 million as of May 2014 to groups that actively attack marriage equality...
As 'Muslim-Free Zones' Flourish, Groups Demand DOJ Probe  Common Dreams  ...A coalition of 82 civil liberties and human rights organizations, as well as faith-based groups and immigrant rights advocates, on Tuesday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the growing number of businesses around the country declaring themselves 'Muslim-free zones.' Doing so violates the constitutional rights of American Muslims, particularly under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964...
"Mr. Smith Goes to Prison": After Year in Jail, Former State Senator Condemns Mass Incarceration  Democracy Now  ...Smith was elected state senator in 2006 and served until 2009, when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy for an election law violation tied to the 2004 campaign. Smith was sentenced to one year and a day in a Kentucky federal prison. He chronicles his experience in his new book, "Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: What My Year Behind Bars Taught Me About America’s Prison Crisis"...
Robert Reich: Economic redistribution isn’t enough  Salon  ...Keynes may be proven right about technological progress. But he overlooked one big question: How to redistribute the profits from these marvelous labor-saving inventions, so we’ll have the money to buy the free time they provide? Without such a mechanism, most of us are condemned to work ever harder in order to compensate for lost earnings due to the labor-replacing technologies...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NLRB win for Teamsters is a victory for millions

The Teamsters were at the forefront of a significant victory for workers last week. And the decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could provide a voice for millions of additional Americans.

As part of the NLRB's "joint employer" ruling, employers that rely on temporary or contracted workers can now be held accountable for the actions of the firms they use to oversee workers.The ruling will have a significant impact on how franchisers like McDonald's and other mostly low-income employers do business.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said:
This decision will make a tremendous difference for workers' rights on the job. Employers will no longer be able to shift responsibility for their workers and hide behind loopholes to prevent workers from organizing or engaging in collective bargaining. This is a victory for workers across America.
The NLRB ruling resulted from a 2013 case brought by Local 350 in Daly City, Calif. against Browning-Ferris, a waste management company that is owned by Republic Services -- the second-largest waste services company in the U.S. The union maintained that Republic had control over wage and working conditions for its workers employed through Leadpoint Services, a staffing agency, and counted as a joint employer with that agency.

The Teamsters have repeatedly fought against employers shifting responsibility of their workforce, whether through misclassification at companies like FedEx, at our nation's ports or through the use of staffing agencies in the food processing industry at companies like Taylor Farms.

It's time for corporations to realize that mistreatment in the workplace is not acceptable. The NLRB's decision will give more workers the ability to stand up for their rights and to be able to rely on unions to advocate for their jobs. That's real justice for everyday Americans.