Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today's Teamster News 08.28.14

Teamster News
Teamsters At Fred Meyer Warehouse Vote To OK Strike  The Stand   ...Teamster warehouse workers employed at the Fred Meyer grocery distribution center in Puyallup voted overwhelmingly over the weekend to authorize a strike. The final vote was 241-2. Voting took place at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila...
Safety Agents and de Blasio Administration Reach Labor Deal  New York Times   ...Mayor Bill de Blasio and Teamsters Local 237, the municipal union representing school safety agents and special officers, announced a tentative contract and the proposed settlement of a pay equity lawsuit on Tuesday that would distribute $38 million in back pay to current and former school safety agents who are overwhelmingly female...
City Pays $38M To Settle Equal Pay Lawsuit From Female Safety Agents Being Paid Far Less Than Male Counterparts  New York Daily News   ...In a move timed to Women’s Equality Day, the city announced Monday it had settled a four-year-old lawsuit from a group of safety agents who were paid far less than their male counterparts. The suit was settled for $38 million as part of a new labor agreement with Teamsters Local 237...
Mayor’s Office: Union Contract Means Pay Equity For Largely Female School Safety Agents  CBS News   ...The deal with Teamsters Local 237, which represents both the largely female school safety agents and special officers, was reached Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced...
Union Employees Air Contract Dispute On MDI  Bangor Daily News   ...Municipal employees of three Mount Desert Island towns who are members of the Teamsters labor union are airing their grievances as they try to reach a new labor contract with the towns...
Contract Disputes Lead To Demonstrations On Mount Desert Island  Maine Public Broadcasting   ...Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are demonstrating on Mount Desert Island this afternoon to draw attention to ongoing contract disputes with three area towns...
Weary U.S. Workers Are Still Experiencing Hard Times (opinion)  Huffington Post   ...Despite a dip in unemployment during the past few years, low pay continues to plague many employees while their corporate bosses rake in record profits...
Trade
TPP: Expansive Rights for Big Pharma, Expensive Medicines for U.S. Consumers  Public Citizen   ...Leaked draft intellectual property texts for the TPP reveal broad monopoly protections for pharmaceutical corporations, which elevate the costs of medicines and medical procedures...
Turkish Firms Hit By Anti-Dumping Duties On Steel Pipes To US  Todays Zaman   ...The US International Trade Commission (USITC) decided to impose anti-dumping duties on Turkish steel pipes last week following an investigation into export prices, a development that is likely to hurt Turkish pipe exporters to this country...
State Battles
Minimum Wage Bump Would Help Close Wealth Gap For 23% In S.F.  San Francisco Chronicle   ...If San Francisco voters approve raising the minimum wage law in November, 142,000 workers - or 23 percent of the city's workforce - would get a raise by the time it fully kicks in to $15 an hour by 2018...
Scott Walker, J.B. Van Hollen Again Ask Court To Reinstate Voter ID  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are asking a federal court to reinstate Wisconsin's voter ID law, but they have not finalized a plan to comply with a different court's decision requiring the state to provide IDs to people who don't have birth certificates...
War On Workers
Market Basket Revolt Ends as Arthur T. Demoulas Wins Bid  Bloomberg   ...Arthur T. Demoulas, the ousted chief executive officer of the Market Basket supermarket chain whose employees gained national attention in a revolt to get him back, won his bid to buy the company...
Why America’s Workers Need Faster Wage Growth—And What We Can Do About It  Economic Policy Institute   ...Comparing the first half of 2014 with the first half of 2013, real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wages fell for workers in nearly every decile—even for those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree...
The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism (opinion)  New York Times   ...Sentinel Offender Services … oversees case management, including breath alcohol and drug-testing services, “all at no cost to county taxpayers.”…Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor...
Caught on Tape: What Mitch McConnell Complained About to a Roomful of Billionaires (Exclusive)  The Nation   ...At a secret meeting of elite donors convened by the Koch brothers, McConnell laid out his plan for shrinking the federal government and whined about having to vote on minimum wage bills...
At Koch Retreat, Top GOP Senate Candidates Credited Koch Network For Their Rise  Huffington Post   ...Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton directly credited donors present at the June 16 retreat in Dana Point, California, for propelling them forward. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner told attendees that his race would likely be decided by the presence of "third party" money -- an obvious pitch for generosity from the well-heeled crowd...
Argentina Set for Second National Strike as Economic Woes Deepen  Bloomberg   ...Argentina is bracing for a day of road blocks and disruption as labor unions stage a second national strike in less than five months while July’s bond default threatens to fuel inflation and undermine growth...
40 Percent of Restaurant Workers Live In Near-Poverty  Mother Jones   ...The industry's wages have stagnated at an extremely low level. Restaurant workers' median wage stands at $10 per hour, tips included—and hasn't budged, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 2000...
Miscellaneous
U.S. Budget Gap Narrows to Smallest Since 2007, CBO Says  Bloomberg   ...The projected shortfall will be $506 billion in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, compared with an April prediction for $492 billion and a $680 billion gap posted last year, the nonpartisan CBO said today in a report. In 2015 it’s projected to shrink for a sixth straight year, to $469 billion, capping the longest stretch of fiscal improvement since 2000, near the end of an era of surpluses...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today's Teamster News 08.27.14

Teamster News
Teamsters vow to fight IDOT layoffs  State Journal-Register   ...Lawyers representing Teamsters Local 916 said Tuesday they want 55 members of the union who were put in Illinois Department of Transportation jobs as staff assistants … to be able to continue working for the agency...
1934 Minneapolis Teamsters Strike, One Key Precursor To Wagner Act  People's World   ...Wagner wrote the National Labor Relations Act(NLRA), the nation's basic labor law, in early 1935, then convinced a reluctant Roosevelt to support it. The Senate passed the NLRA 63-12, the House approved it by voice vote, and Roosevelt signed it on July 5, 1935...
Trade
Petition to Sen. Wyden — “Smart Track” cannot be “Fast Track” in Disguise  Public Citizen   ...Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has been working on what he calls a new form of trade authority. What we need is a replacement for Fast Track — the Nixon-formulated process that allowed presidents to sign “free trade” deals before Congress got to vote on them, and then railroad the deals through Congress in only 90 days with limited debate and no amendments...
Import Competition and the Great U.S. Employment Sag of the 2000s  National Bureau of Economic Research   ...“Our central estimates suggest net job losses of 2.0 to 2.4 million stemming from the rise in import competition from China over the period 1999 to 2011...”
Registered Lobbyists Elbow Their Way Back Into TPP Committees  Electronic Frontier Foundation   ...Special interests won a federal court ruling earlier this year, where the judge in the case suggested that President Obama's ban on registered lobbyists serving on federal advisory committees violated those lobbyists' rights...the White House has sent a memo specifying new rules, permitting lobbyists to once again officially serve on federal agencies if they are representing a specific client...
State Battles
John Nichols: Scott Walker, mine money and the 'appearance of corruption'  The Cap Times   ...Gogebic Taconite moved $700,000 to the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which in turn steered resources to other groups that cheered on Walker and his Republican allies. "Because Wisconsin Club for Growth's fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker's agents at the time of Gogebic's donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited," argued Dean Nickel, the former head of the state Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit...
Nearly Half Of Workers In California Don’t Get Paid Sick Days, Analysis Finds  Washington Post   ...Forty four percent of workers in California don’t get any paid sick days, according to a new analysis...
Angry About Ferguson? Oppose Voter ID Laws  Daily Beast   ...Even a study that voter ID proponents frequently cite because it minimizes the problem readily admits that that “the adverse effects fall disproportionately on women, African-Americans, and Democrats.”...
O'Connell: Council Can Raise Minimum Wage  Louisville Courier Journal   ...Scott requested an opinion from the office on whether the council could establish a minimum wage. Council members have not introduced a proposed ordinance, but members of the Democratic majority have voiced their support for an increase...
War On Workers
Burger King swallows Tim Hortons; new firm is Canada-bound  Los Angeles Times   ...Burger King Worldwide Inc. said Tuesday it would buy the Tim Hortons coffee-and-doughnut chain for about $11.4 billion and place the new firm's headquarters in Canada, where the corporate tax rate is lower than in the U.S...
Burger King Fans Call For Boycott Over Tax Dodge  Huffington Post   ...People flooded the fast-food chain’s Facebook page on Monday with threats of a boycott after the company announced talks to merge with Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons. The combined company would be headquartered in Canada...
A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate  New York Times   ...there seems to have been an increase in the number of people who once would have qualified as officially unemployed and today are considered out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for work...
Contract Worker Killed In Accident At NewPage In Rumford  River Valley Sun Journal   ...A man was killed in an accident at the NewPage mill Monday afternoon, according to mill spokesman Tony Lyons...
Worker killed, others hurt in July explosion  Associated Press   ...The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says a fatal July explosion at a fish processing plant on the Mississippi Coast occurred during “hot work” on a tank...The board says no combustible gas testing was done on the contents of the tank before the hot work began...
Poor Door’ in a New York Tower Opens a Fight Over Affordable Housing  New York Times   ...A 33-story glassy tower rising on Manhattan’s waterfront will … also cater to renters who make no more than about $50,000. They will not share the same perks, and they will also not share the same entrance...
Miscellaneous
Amid job stagnation, a prosperous class grows (opinion) AlJazeera America   ...A small group of very well-paid workers is earning a third of the nation’s wages...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teamsters settle pay equity case with NYC. Woot!

Local 237 President Greg Floyd in 2013, demanding a settlement. 
Teamsters Local 237 reached a settlement of its lawsuit with the City of New York for underpaying women who work as school safety agents -- a terrific Teamster victory for Women's Equality Day!!

The settlement covers more than 5,000 Teamster school safety agents, who brought the largest pay discrimination suit in the United States against New York four years ago, when Michael Bloomberg was mayor.

The school safety agents, mostly women, receive $7,000 less pay a year than male-dominated peace officers in the city. The new mayor, Bill de Blasio, intervened in the class action suit (as he said he would) to fix the problem.

Sister Kangela Moore, who worked as a school safety agent for over 22 years, said:
I'm ecstatic—we've made history! I'm thankful for the Mayor's commitment to ensuring full pay equity for all employees, and for Local 237 and President Floyd's critical work to ensure we're getting the same pay as other special officers around the city. This means so much to me, my family, and the over 5,000 school safety agents employed by the City.
The agreement, which must be approved by a judge, would put school safety agents on an accelerated schedule to achieve equal pay by March 2018. According to a press statement from the mayor's office,
In addition to equalization of salary, today's agreement creates a new seven-year step pay plan for both new school safety agents and new special officers, to take effect on September 1, 2014, making permanent the equalization of school safety agent and special officer salaries. 
Incumbent school safety agents will be put on an accelerated schedule in order to achieve full pay equity by March 2018. The City will provide retroactive pay for wages in the amount of approximately $7,000 for each active school safety agent employed for at least three years as of September 1, 2014, and for school safety agents who retired between March 5, 2010 and August 31, 2014. The City will also provide retroactive pay for wages of up to $3,000, pro-rated for time served, for school safety agents who have left service and did not retire and were not discharged for cause. 
Members of the bargaining unit will vote on the contract.

Said Greg Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237:
Today, we celebrate a fair contract for our school safety agents that provides them and their families with the security they need and deserve.

The Whopper is about to become un-American

Burger King is the latest U.S. company to try to buy a smaller foreign country and move its mailing address there so it can pay lower taxes.

Burger King wants to buy Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton's so it can take advantage of Canada's lower corporate tax rate.

Business Insider noticed the Burger King Facebook page was blowing up with criticism of the planned move:
Tax inversions have become a big corporate trend as companies seek to lower their tax bills. This time, though, we have a major household name taking advantage of it, and people have noticed. 
Thousands of Burger King's seven-million-plus Facebook fans have described the fast-food restaurant with words like "traitor" and "un-American."
We took a look. The comments are vivid and frequent:
  • Now that Burger King is moving its headquarters to Canada (to take advantage of a lower corporate tax rate) will U.S. tax payers still be on the hook for food stamps and other benefits paid to Burger King's U.S. employees? If Americans are going to subsidize minimum wage workers they might want to eat their cheeseburgers from a company that at least has enough respect to fly its corporate flag in the U.S.
  • No more whoppers for me.
  • Congrats to BK. Great business thinking. Now that your gonna save all this money why not pass it on to the employees. Raise their pay with all the extra money. You can afford it now.
  • Burger King as dead to me as Walmart.
Finally, here's a priceless rant:
  • We don't believe you and refuse to do business with any corporation that moves from the USA. I will not be going to a Burger King again. Just greedy people trying to drive down the middle class and treating their workers like slaves. Shame on you and the whole corporate America. Your nasty food is no good for Americans to eat anyway. We do pray for the pitiful workers that will get the brunt of this. It is always the middle and lower class that gets the boot while people like CEO's get to pack in fortunes for themselves and their buds. Try to sell all of burgers in Canada. We don't want anymore of them. Fly a Canadian flag.
If you'd like to comment, just click here for the Burger King Facebook page, like it and comment away!

A public outcry against similar plans by Walgreen's forced that company to scrap its plans to flee America's taxes. Let's hope the same happens to Burger King.

Today's Teamster News 08.26.14

Teamsters
Teamsters concerned about cameras monitoring Massena town employees  Watertown Daily Times   ...Teamsters Union business agent Mickey S. Smith claims that town officials have refused to negotiate the use of security cameras in public areas throughout the town, but Supervisor Joseph D. Gray sees it differently...
Trade
UPS, Fedex get approval for express services in more Chinese cities  Reuters   ...After years of waiting, United Parcel Service Inc  and FedEx Corp have received licenses in China to extend domestic express package services to Beijing and other cities without needing joint-venture partners...
State Battles
New Doe document links Walker campaign, two national groups  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...A newly released document alleges Gov. Scott Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with two national groups on political advertising in a way that went further than what had been previously known...
WEDC board OK'd Ashley Furniture getting $6 million tax credit, cutting 1,900 jobs  Wisconsin State Journal   ...The board overseeing the state’s flagship job-creation agency has quietly approved a $6 million tax credit for Ashley Furniture Industries with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce...
6 Reasons Why Rick Scott Is One of the Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections  AFL-CIO   ...Scott rejects policies that would raise wages. “When I hear a politician say that we have to raise the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet, I cringe,” he said...
Companies that hire disabled ordered to pay back wages  The Morning Call   ...The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Pennsylvania organizations to pay $118,000 in back wages to workers with disabilities since 2011, according to records PublicSource obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The workers, who mostly have intellectual and developmental disabilities, already were earning far below minimum wage because the employers have a special license to pay people with disabilities less...
The Con Artistry of Charter Schools  In These Times   ...Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education’s inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud...
Missourians Fight ALEC Over Big Agriculture’s “Right to Farm”  Mint Press News   ...the conflict was essentially between large agricultural factories and consumers increasingly concerned with the sustainability and ethics behind the food they eat...
Educators protest corporate influence on public education  The Legislative Gazette   ...Protestors from New York State United Teachers demonstrated on the steps of the State Education Department building, shredding a Pearson testing contract while speaking out against what they call the growing corporate influence on teaching and learning in New York's public schools and colleges...
Ride-sharing firms shift into overdrive to kill insurance bill  Los Angeles Times   ...The fight pits companies such as Uber and Lyft against insurers, taxicab firms and some consumer advocates. At issue is how much and what kind of insurance should be required for ride-sharing drivers in case of an accident...
War on Workers
Retirees' Social Security checks garnished for student loans  CNN Money   ...It's a growing national trend. Last year, 156,000 Americans had their Social Security checks garnished because of student loans they had defaulted on. It's tripled in number from 47,500 in 2006...
Amazon at odds with Germany over strong union tradition  Seattle Times   ...Unions are a part of the cultural fabric in Germany. For Amazon, that poses a persistent challenge as thousands of its German warehouse workers fight for union recognition, striking occasionally to demonstrate their commitment...
Indiana county highway worker killed when hit by tire rim  Associated Press   ...State safety officials are investigating the death of a northwestern Indiana county highway department worker who was killed when a tire rim blew off a road grader...
McDonald's maintenance worker Jose Carillo, 81, won't let his age keep him from waging the fight for fair wages for fast-food workers  New York Daily News   ...Peruvian immigrant Castillo is paid $8.10 an hour at a Midtown McDonald's and can't afford to retire. He is one of hundreds of fast-food workers campaigning to have their wages raised to $15 an hour...
Despite Economic Recovery, Millions Of Workers Stuck In Part-Time Jobs  NPR   ...Americans who'd like to have full-time jobs are often working two or more part-time jobs to make ends meet. Some are hamstrung by increasingly difficult labor tactics used by their employers...
Taco Bell Owners Sued For Forcing Workers to Give Fake Money as Change  Jezebel   ...The operators of two Manhattan Taco Bells have been handed a class-action lawsuit alleging they forced underage workers to hand out counterfeit $20 bills to customers as change...
The Kochs' commercial appeal  Politico   ...This cycle, Koch-affiliated groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, are expected to spend up to a staggering $290 million to support conservative causes and candidates, much of it on advertising...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Walmart mismanagement: Does it sound like a place where you work?

Walmart has an outsize impact on the U.S. economy as it depresses wages, increases the trade gap with China and destroys locally-owned competitors. The way it treats its workers may have also spread.

Consider this story from the peerless Hamilton Nolan at Gawker. Nolan received a memo from an Oklahoma Walmart manager who described how the company pitted him against low-income employees.

Here are some of the lowlights:
  • Store managers can double their pay if they keep payroll costs down. "Which means gradually forcing the long time employees out. And replacing them with temporary workers, who are not eligible for healthcare, time off, or even a discount card. Most of these people start off at $7.90 an hour and are already on public assistance. That ends up backfiring because the new hires most of them end up quitting within a month."
  • Plenty of labor law violations. "I've had to cut many of my Cashiers hours and as a result less registers have been open which means longer lines. We've even had to make many cashiers not take their 15 minute break. I've also had to work 60 hour weeks while not receiving any overtime pay."
  • Wage theft by failing to pay overtime. "I ended up working 65 hour weeks (which has been hard on my family) doing tasks such as stocking shelves, running a register, while also being responsible for electronics." Walmart did not pay overtime.
  • Ripping off the customer: A reader commented: Walmart forces managers to do all sorts of questionable things to insure their bonus. One example that is rarely mentioned is the practice of 'pricing mistakes'. Walmart is fond of making items ring up at a higher rate than the displayed signage. They typically do this for popular items and by a small amount. This is done at the store level so that there is not a systematic parity. This is also a violation of the law in most states. To be clear, Walmart doesn't just let this happen. They actively request it(or at least have in the past).
Does this sound like someplace you work?


Today's Teamster News 08.25.14

Trade
Cambodian rat meat: A growing export market  BBC News   ...A unique harvest is under way in the rice fields of Cambodia where tens of thousands of wild rats are being trapped alive each day to feed a growing export market for the meat of rural rodents...
Steel Institute, Others Visit South Carolina to Address Currency Manipulation  Trade Reform   ...unfair currency policies hurt American job creation and economic growth – impacting the more than 3,000 steel jobs in South Carolina...
State Battles
Troubled New York Hedge Fund Billionaire Sent Scott Walker $1 Million  Political Environment  ...The firm’s founder, Steven A. Cohen, has so far escaped criminal charges. But the firm that bore his initials agreed in November to plead guilty to an array of insider trading allegations and to pay overall penalties totaling $1.8 billion...
War on Workers
The US Is One Of The Last Developed Countries Where It Can Still Take Days For Money To Show Up In Your Bank Account  Business Insider   ...while regulators and some financial institutions are finally recognizing this should no longer be the case, it will likely take years for any reforms to take effect...
Study: Overtime rules could benefit 6M  The Hill   ...Regulations now under construction at the Labor Department could expand the sphere of workers eligible for overtime pay by more than 6 million, according to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)...
No to Walmart-Style Classrooms  Making Change at Walmart   ...the Walton family, who owns Walmart, is also trying to spread the Walmart business model to our classrooms...
Dollar stores in battle to double down on the poor  Reuters   ... Family Dollar Stores,, which operates about 8,200 stores in mainly urban sections of the U.S., is the target of an $9 billion cash takeover offer from rival Dollar General and an $8.5 billion cash and stock offer from Dollar Tree. Both competitors are betting not only on the health of the deep discount retail sector but also on the intractability of poverty in America...
Burger King the Latest to Jump on the Corporate Tax Inversion Bandwagon  naked capitalism   ...Burger King Worldwide Inc. is in talks to buy Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc., a deal that would be structured as a so-called tax inversion and move the hamburger seller’s base to Canada...
Robots Able to Pick Peppers, Test Soil, and Prune Plants Aim To Replace Farm Workers  Singularity Hub   ...Farm robots are increasingly capable of autonomously performing complex tasks including plowing, plant and soil surveillance, and even the harvesting of fruit and vegetables...