Thursday, July 24, 2014

Today's Teamster News 07.24.14

Teamster News
Teamsters Back Rubain Dorancy for Central Brooklyn Senate Seat  New York Observer   ...Council 16 of the union representing drivers of various trades decided to back the education activist in his primary race against Mr. Adams’ former aide Jesse Hamilton and Community Board 9 member Demetrius Lawrence. ...
Bus Strike: GET Board Meets To Consider Union Proposal  KBFX   ...Golden Empire Transit District board members first met in open session to take public input, then they held a closed meeting to consider the proposal from the Teamsters...
Servisair Inc. and Teamsters reach new collective agreement  CNW   ...Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, congratulated Servisair Inc. and Teamsters Local 419 on ratifying a collective agreement for members working at Toronto Pearson International Airport...
Trade
Senate advances bill to end tax breaks for outsourcing  The Hill   ...The Senate voted 93-7 on Wednesday to advance a bill that would end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas...
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and “Police Militarization”: The Coming Calamity, The Coming Resistance  Centre For Research On Globalization   ...While many praise the Trans-Pacific Partnership as free trade, one must be wary not only due to the geopolitical aspects, but also due to it being so secret that “often times, members of Congress and Parliament are denied access to them, even though the agreement will set out legal obligations that these elected officials will be expected to meet.”...
State Battles
Lake County judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work ban on union fees in 2nd blow to law  The Republic   ...Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Paras determined the law violates the state constitution by forcing unions to provide services to workers without payment...
Sealed Air jobs leaving the area  Racine Journal Times   ...All of the approximately 300 local Sealed Air jobs will leave the Racine area within the next three years, with the moves starting next year...
'Brain Drain' Continues As More Young Graduates Leave Wisconsin  Wisconsin Public Radio   ...UW Professor Says State Loses 14K College Graduates Per Year, Most Of Them Between Ages Of 21 And 29...
Unemployment up in Wisconsin's largest cities  Associated Press   ...The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11...
Scott Walker Gets Very Little Money From The Little People  Cap Times   ...Of the $8.2 million the governor raised in the first six months of the year, only $1.3 million – less than one sixth – came from such donors giving $75 or less. Nearly as much came from the 106 donors who gave him the maximum contribution of $10,000, and nearly twice as much – $2.47 million – came from donors who gave at least $5,000. Most of Walker’s money, $4.7 million, came from those who gave at least $1,000...
War On Workers
United Airlines' Outsourcing Jobs To Company That Pays Near-Poverty Wages Is Shameful  Huffington Post   ...On October 1, United Airlines is planning to outsource 630 gate agent jobs at 12 airports to companies that pay near-poverty level wages. The airports affected include Salt Lake City; Charlotte, North Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa. As a result hundreds of employees who formerly made middle-class, living wages will be forced to transfer to other cities, take early retirement or seek employment elsewhere...
Postal Workers Protest Staples In Chicago  NBC Chicago   ...Hundreds of members of the American Postal Workers Union protested outside a Staples in Chicago Tuesday in hopes to keep mini-post offices from opening up inside the business...
ODOT Worker Killed During Workplace Accident In Eastern Oregon  KATU   ...A 54-year-old Oregon Department of Transportation worker was killed on the job Tuesday, the agency said...
Koch Brothers Back 'Creepy Carenival' Where Clowns Deter Millennials From Obamacare  Forbes Magazine   ...Creepy Uncle Sam is back. This time, he’s bringing you to a “Creepy Carenival” – an anti-Obamacare spectacle backed by the billionaire Koch brothers where smirking clowns choose patients’ surgeries by throwing knives at a revolving wheel, insurance premiums explode and a “Dropped Coverage” game dunks millennials into a “High-Risk Pool.”...
Miscellaneous
60 Percent Of Incoming College Football Players Support Unions, Says Survey  SB Nation   ...60 percent of the 2015 recruiting class is in favor of unionization for college athletes, and more than 86 percent are in favor of athletes receiving some sort of stipend...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oh joy. Now the Kochs are pushing phony science.

The poor widdle Koch brothers. Now people are making fun of them for backing a phony science group, the American Foundation on Science and Health (ACSH). It claims opponents of GMOs are causing blindness around the world (really). It claims e-cigarettes are safe and fracking will lead to energy independence, even as energy companies that frack are pushing to export more liquid natural gas to Russia.

As much as the Koch brothers try to protect their secrecy privacy, people keep insisting on prying into their business. Just the other day the Center for Media and Democracy reported the Kochs' political spending is even more enormous than we thought. It turns out David Koch secretly writes millions of dollars in personal checks to stink tanks that spew propaganda against unions, public education, environmental protection, voting rights and consumer safety.

Now CMD is at it again, making fun of the Kochs for bankrolling the American Foundation on Science and Health. The Kochs profit from petroleum products like ammonia fertilizers and other agribusiness-related operations, so of course they'll pay for a propaganda machine that tells us GMO food is safe. Writes CMD:
ACSH has also published claims about GMOs that make outrageous statements like "opposition to agricultural progress . . . causes blindness and death worldwide." ACSH has also made patently false and easily disprovable claims such as, "[T]here are no alternative technologies available to plant breeders with which new improved varieties can be created to overcome the current limitations of global agriculture to produce sufficient food, feed, fuel, and fiber on available land."
Then there's this on liquid natural gas:
ACSH has published reports calling fracking "a safe and efficient path to energy independence," despite the hazardous chemical cocktail used in hydraulic fracturing, which spoils millions of gallons of fresh drinking water each year. ACSH's spin also ignores the growing amount of "natural gas" fracked in the U.S. that is exported to foreign countries ... Now, the New York Times and other outlets are writing about the strong push by energy companies like Exxon for large quantities of liquid natural gas from fracking to be exported to Russia and elsewhere rather than kept for domestic use.
And surprise! ACSH now says e-cigarettes are safe -- perhaps because it's getting money from e-cigarette makers. The phony science group says "electronic cigarettes should be made as accessible as cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes should be sold widely and lightly regulated..."

No one likes them but their fellow plutocrats. All because they're spending so much money to turn the United States into a feudal serfdom.



Remembering James Garner, a strong union brother

James Garner, the handsome leading man who played Rockford and Maverick, was also an active member of his union, the Screen Actors Guild, later SAG-AFTRA

Garner died on July 29 at his home in California. He was 86.

He was a strong supporter of union rights and civil rights. According to Wikipedia,
On August 28, 1963, Garner was one of several celebrities to join Martin Luther King, Jr. in the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." In his autobiography, Garner recalled sitting in third row listening to King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Garner was a former SAG 2nd vice president (1960-61), SAG National Board member (1959) and a recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award.

SAG-AFTRA issued a statement on the death of James Garner: 
Garner received the award in 2004 for exemplifying the highest ideals of the acting profession, both in front of the camera and in his philanthropic endeavors. ... Garner dedicated time and resources to showing support for America’s service members and various political causes. He was a veteran of the Korean War and joined Martin Luther King Jr. for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. 
When he received the SAG Life Achievement Award, Garner expressed his appreciation for his fellow actors and his union. 
“Actors are very special people, and I love each and every one of you. I have been a member of this guild for over 50 years, and it’s a great guild,” he said. “It’s the best guild in the world. I’m proud to be part of it. And just remember, you take damn good care of it, okay?” 
“James Garner was the definition of the smooth, dashing leading man, but his talents were so much more than skin deep. He was a hard worker who dedicated himself wholly to whatever he set out to accomplish, whether it was serving his country or performing for the camera,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard.
Rest in peace, brother.

Today's Teamster News 07.23.14

Teamster News
Protecting Two-Person Crew Is Still Our Goal  BLET   ...We will continue to work with the National Representatives of SMART’s Transportation Division wherever and whenever in an effort to preserve and protect two-person crews...
Chicago Teamsters Will March to Department of Human Rights on July 28  teamster.org   ...A Chicago sink manufacturer that’s restricting employees’ time in the bathroom is now refusing to negotiate with unionized workers until they keep quiet about the discriminatory policy...
Seattle Teamsters Ratify Contracts With Three Major Grocers  IBT   ...Hundreds of Teamsters at three grocery warehouses – Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers – voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contracts over the weekend. The agreements contain annual wage increases and protections against subcontracting and the rising cost of health care...
GET Board To Vote On Proposal From Striking Union  Bakersfield Californian   ...he proposal was put forward by union negotiators during a Friday morning bargaining session between GET and Visalia-based Teamsters Local 517, which represents more than 250 striking GET bus drivers and mechanics...
Chesco Human Services Employees Ratify Contract  The Mercury   ...Unionized employees of the Chester County Department of Human Services have ratified a new contract that will guarantee them annual raises of about 9.25 percent over the next three years combined, according to those involved with negotiations. The contract comes about 15 months after the employees, who serve county residents needing social services, voted to be represented by Teamsters Local 384 ...
Trade
Administration Flooded with 26,000 Comments Opposing Proposal to Disguise Offshoring of U.S. Manufacturing  Public Citizen   ...More than 26,000 people nationwide have submitted comments opposing Obama administration proposals that would severely distort U.S. job and trade data by reclassifying U.S. corporations that offshore American jobs as “factoryless goods” manufacturers...
A quarter of McDonald’s restaurants in China may have been serving expired meat  Washington Post   ...  The supplier, Shanghai-based Husi Food Co Ltd, was forced to shut down after local television station Dragon TV (link in Chinese) ran footage of the company's factory workers picking hamburger patties and meat from off the factory floor and throwing them directly into meat mixers, and using bare hands to handle poultry and beef on the assembly line. The footage also showed sewage and trash spread on the floor of the processing plant; in addition, expired meat, which was described as “stinky” by workers themselves, was either concealed by mixing it together with non-expired meat, or simply altering its expiration date...
State Battles
Taxi Group Unveils Plan To Boost Fares, Fees To Help Drivers' Plight  Chicago Sun-Times   ...Mileage and waiting times that drive up Chicago taxicab fares would rise by 25 percent under a 10-point plan proposed Monday to put more money into the pockets of struggling cabbies...
Poor Job Growth Still Afflicts Kansas Despite Sam Brownback's Tax Cuts  Kansas City Star   ...Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his advisers want to create an alternate reality when it comes to job growth in the state. They keep throwing out misleading numbers to the public while trying to cloud Kansas’ mediocre jobs picture...
War On Workers
BNSF Moves Toward Allowing Trains With Only One Engineer  Omaha World-Herald   ...BNSF Railway said Monday it has reached a tentative agreement with its largest labor union to permit single engineers to drive trains equipped with a pending new safety system mandated by Congress...
City of Austin worker killed in southeast Travis County crash  KXAN   ...A City of Austin worker was killed following a crash involving an 18-wheeler and a pickup truck on FM 973 just north of Highway 71...
Construction Worker Killed In 50-Foot Fall From Ladder  Q13Fox   ...A construction worker was found dead Monday at Bellevue College after what appeared to be a fall from a ladder around 50 feet above the ground, police said...
Miscellaneous
Imposter Uber Driver Reported In Virginia Highland Area  NBC News   ...She said when they arrived at her location she could see her friends standing on the sidewalk directly across the street, but the driver refused to let her get out and he quickly drove to another secluded location. She stated he demanded all of her money...
Workers At A Subway Sandwich Shop Vote To Unionize  Huffington Post   ...A group of Subway sandwich makers just proved that it isn't impossible for fast food workers to unionize. Workers at a Subway location in Bloomsbury, N.J., on Friday voted in favor of joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The 13 workers are employed by the Tennessee-based travel center company Pilot Flying J, but they all work inside the company's Subway franchise at the rest stop...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How one man forced a greedy corporation to do the right thing by leaking a memo

If you do something careless or stupid or illegal that costs other people money, you should reimburse them, right?

Even though corporations are people, some of them get away with breaking the law or costing other people money. They destroy the environment and make other people pay for the cleanup, or they pay their workers so little they rely on taxpayer-funded government assistance.

Carl Pope, president of the Sierra Club, once forced a greedy corporation to do the right thing simply by exposing its plans to evade the law.

The Sierra Club, by the way, has for years fought with the Teamsters against opening the border to unsafe, polluting Mexican trucks.

Pope, writing in EcoWatch, points out that hikers in Sierra County, Calif., have to reimburse the county if they are evacuated by air for a medical emergency. That could cost more than $5,000. A climber air lifted from Yosemites cliffs can easily run $85,000. "But that’s fair—we ought to pay for the costs we create," he wrote.
So how much did the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fine Freedom Industries, the company whose sloppy handling of the toxic chemical MCHM caused 10,000 gallons to spill into the Elk River, poisoning the water supply of hundreds of thousands of Charleston, West Virginia residents? Pathetically, a measly $11,000, less than the cost of a single burst appendix helicopter ambulanced in Sierra County. This when 300,000 people had to find alternative water supplies for ten days.
BP is no different. Nor are the banks, or pharmaceutical companies or automakers. The law sets penalties so low that the corporations shrug them off as the cost of doing business.

Pope explained how it was done in one case. Early in his career, he was slipped a memo about an oil company that had a natural gas field partly in federal waters and therefore subject to federal price controls:
The memo boasted a complex decision tree complete with % estimates of how likely the feds were to discover the liability on their own, what the oil company’s chances of winning in court were (less than half) and finally what were the odds of jail terms for company employees. Each of these had a dollar value attached, and the final conclusion was—don’t report. I shared the leaked document with federal energy regulators. The oil company observed the price controls. 
If only more stories about corporate greed had happy endings like that.







Tom Keegel remembers the 1934 Teamsters strike



There's no one you'd rather hear to talk about the 1934 Teamsters' strike in Minneapolis than Tom Keegel, the former general secretary-treasury of the Teamsters.

Tens of thousands of working people participated in the strike, which began May 16, 1934 and lasted throughout the summer. The Teamsters' strike was one of the main catalysts for the rise of unions in the 1930s. (So were two other strikes, the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike and the 1934 ToledoAuto-Lite Strike.)

Keegel is a third-generation Teamster who joined the union in 1959 after graduated from high school. And he will tell you, "I love this great union for everything it's done for me and for workers across this country."

The local he joined, Local 574, was the predecessor to his local, Local 544. Keegel got to know truckers who'd been part of the strike, and he got to meet Jimmy Hoffa just after joining. That, he said, set the direction in his life. He became recording secretary and business agent in 1977, secretary-treasurer, joint council president and on March 21, 1999 he took office as general-secretary treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, along with General President Jim Hoffa.

If you've never heard Tom Keegel speak, watch the video. He was speaking last weekend, at a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the 1934 Teamsters strike. "People were hungry and hard and looking for work," he said. He described how the Dunn brothers and Farrell Dobbs organized 10,000 workers.

"We need to commemorate them and honor them  because they had the guts to stand up and take on the fight," Keegel said. Without them, workers wouldn't have health insurance, pensions, holidays or vacations.

"We should never ever take for granted the benefits we have under our Teamster contracts," he said. The anti-union businessmen who lost the strike -- called the Citizens Alliance -- are probably rolling over in their graves because Minneapolis is now one of the best union towns in the country.

As a young Teamster, his steward said to him:
Don't ever forget where you come from, don't ever forget where you're going and by God because you're a union member you got what you got and you need to do that for other people as well.
There's one other thing Tom Keegel said at the end of his speech. If you've ever heard him, you know what it is.

Today's Teamster News 07.22.14

Teamster News
Rep. Ellison Statement On The 80th Anniversary Of The 1934 Minnesota Teamsters Strike  Rep. Keith Ellison   ...The rights and protections that we enjoy today, from the 40-hour workweek to the minimum wage, are all thanks to the men and women of organized labor who faced violent backlash for their organizing....
Teamsters move to restrict obscene payout to McKesson CEO  teamsternation   ...The Teamsters are more than a little annoyed that McKesson CEO John Hammergren stands to take home $616.5 million if the company were sold tomorrow...
McKesson CEO's $292 Million Golden Parachute Faces A Proxy Fight  Bloomberg Businessweek   ...Hammergren’s potential payout under a change in control would include equity awards worth $140.6 million that were set up to vest only over time. They’d be his right away, though, if he were terminated after a sale. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which calls that kind of pay “unearned compensation for top executives on their way out the door,” has proposed a ballot measure urging McKesson’s board to reduce the accelerated vesting...
Trade
Proposed U.S.-China Treaty Would Expose U.S. Laws to Extrajudicial Attacks by Chinese Corporations, Incentivize More U.S. Job Offshoring  Public Citizen   ...Chinese Acquisitions, Establishment of U.S. Subsidiaries Growing at 80 Percent Annual Rate with 820 Major Deals Totaling More Than $37 Billion Since 2000...
US loses multi-billion dollar court cases against China and India  Reuters   ...The World Trade Organization agreed on Monday this week to side with claims against the United States made by both China and India concerning US-imposed tariffs on products exported to America...
Production Halted At Samsung China Supplier Amid China Labor Probe  Reuters   ...Production has been indefinitely halted at a Chinese supplier to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd after the factory was suspected of using child workers...
No US-Japan TPP framework seen until fall  Nikkei Asian Review   ...The mood was strained at times during negotiations Tuesday in Washington, and differences remain, but both sides agreed to work toward an early agreement, fearing that delays could derail the wider talks...
State Battles
Private Prison CEO Will Host Governor At $10-K-A-Plate Fundraiser  Think Progress   ...Over the past few years, private prison firm GEO Group has become known for inmate abuse, workplace violence, and fraudulent reporting at its U.S. facilities. ... But on Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) will headline a $10,000-per-person VIP fundraiser at the home of GEO Group Chief Executive Officer George Zoley...
States That Raised Minimum Wage See Faster Job Growth, Report Says  NPR   ...New data released by the Department of Labor suggests that raising the minimum wage in some states might have spurred job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen...
Walker spent $320,000 from campaign on Doe defense attorneys  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...The latest legal expenses come on top of almost $650,000 that Walker's campaign paid to attorneys during an earlier John Doe investigation into his aides and associates during his time as Milwaukee County executive. That brings the total the governor has had to spend on John Doe investigations to nearly $1 million...
Gov. Walker's Cross Country Cash Grab Rolls On  One Wisconsin Now   ...Fully 52 percent of his money raised from individuals ($4 million) came from donations in excess of $1,000 and 106 individuals gave Walker the maximum allowable contribution of $10,000 in the last six months...
War On Workers
Is the Employment Situation Really Improving?  Wall Street Cheat Sheet   ...The labor participation rate peaked at a little over 67 percent in the year 2000, and it has been declining ever since. It is now 62.8 percent, which is the lowest level since 1978, and it has been declining especially rapidly since the financial crisis when it was about 66 percent...
1 Worker Killed, 2 Hospitalized In Fort Lauderdale Construction Site Accident  NBC South Florida   ...One worker was killed and two others were hospitalized following an accident at a construction site in Fort Lauderdale Monday morning...
New college grads hit by slow wage growth: Fed study  Reuters   ...The researchers found that the slow wage growth does not reflect any shift in the types of jobs college grads get, and argued it would be "misguided'' to conclude that going to college is a poor investment...
Is Your Job Becoming Obsolete? 10 Most Endangered Careers of 2014  Wall Street Cheat Sheet   ...The jobs to be wary of? Anything paper related. The decrease in paper can be attributed to several factors, including people reading the news on their tablets and smartphones, in addition to using email and social media to stay in touch rather than writing letters, per Forbes...
Rep. Keith Ellison Wants To Make Union Organizing A Civil Right  MSNBC   ...Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison plans to unveil legislation that would make unionization into a legally protected civil right, the congressman said on Saturday. The bill, which he plans to formally introduce on July 30, would make it easier for workers to take legal action against companies that violate their right to organize...
Miscellaneous
Bad bet: Atlantic City's future looks bleak thanks to glut of casinos  FOX News   ...The rapid disintegration of Atlantic City's casino market might be an early indicator of what could happen in other parts of the country that have too many casinos and not enough gamblers...