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Iran: Free Ailing Labor Activist Reza Shahabi

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Human Rights Watch
Categories: Labor News

Ireland: Ryanair agrees to recognise pilot unions to avert strike

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RTÉ
Categories: Labor News

Egypt: New trade union law undermines freedom of association

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AI Monitor
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Global turmoil spreads to ICTSI flagship terminal in Australia

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Justice for Dock Workers
Categories: Labor News

Port Of Charleston Drivers Vote To Join Teamsters Local 509

Current News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 22:15

Port Of Charleston Drivers Vote To Join Teamsters Local 509
https://teamster.org/news/2017/12/port-charleston-drivers-vote-join-team...

DECEMBER 13, 2017

Workers Seek Living Wages, Fair Treatment on the Job
(NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.) – In a national move to modernize the port trucking industry to respect the rights of drivers and stabilize their families’ income, drivers at a South Carolina port drayage company have voted to join Teamsters Local 509.
The 53 drivers at Container Maintenance Corporation (CMC) Logistics transport shipping containers between the Port of Charleston and a railyard in North Charleston.
“Local 509 believes this victory is a monumental win because it will pave the way for many others at the Charleston ports,” said James Todd, Local 509 President. “We want to thank everyone for the hard work and dedication to make this campaign successful.”
“This is a victory for all port drivers who are fighting for justice. Despite the company’s vicious anti-worker campaign, these drivers remained strong and united in their fight to win decent, living wages and fair treatment,” said Fred Potter, Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The Port Division worked hand in hand with Local 509 on this victory and stands ready to help negotiate a strong first contract to improve these workers’ lives.”
“We’re all happy because we know we will have a strong voice at work as Teamsters,” said Antoin Jenkins, who has worked at CMC since 2015. “With a strong voice, we can improve things at work. It’s very exciting to be a Teamster.”
“The final straw that led us to unite as Teamsters was in August when the company changed our pay from hourly to ‘production,’ and then cut our pay. I applied for a home loan and when the underwriter called the company to verify my income, the company told them I’m ‘just a production worker’ with no verifiable income so I was rejected. Now as Teamsters, we can negotiate a pay and benefits package that works for families like mine,” said Reggie McQueen, who has worked at CMC since 2015.
Port drivers across America – both those misclassified as independent contractors and employee drivers who are being driven into despair by low wages and unpredictable income – are fighting back against a system that is rigged by America’s largest corporations. The system creates wealth for the CEOs at the expense of working men and women like the drivers who haul cargo from America’s seaports.
The Port of Charleston drivers’ victory is the fourth recent win for workers at intermodal companies. On December 1, 133 workers at ITS ConGlobal in Harvey, Ill., voted to join Teamsters Local 710 in the Chicago area. In November 2016, 777 workers at Parsec, Inc. in Commerce, Calif., voted to join Teamsters Local 986 and this past July, 507 workers at Parsec in Elwood, Ill. voted to join Teamsters Local 179.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

Tags: Port Of CharlestonTeamsters Local 509
Categories: Labor News

Containers at Melbourne’s VICT Still Stranded "MUA claims that the employee was denied shifts “after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment, and acting as an MUA delegate at the site.”

Current News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 22:12

Containers at Melbourne’s VICT Still Stranded
MUA claims that the employee was denied shifts “after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment, and acting as an MUA delegate at the site.”

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/237966/containers-at-melbournes-v...

zoom
Image Courtesy: VICT

Workers have been picketing due to an ongoing dispute involving a casual worker who was denied a security clearance because of a criminal record.

Based on the latest information provided by MUA, the maritime worker at the centre of the industrial dispute at VICT has been granted a security clearance by federal authorities.

MUA claims that the employee was denied shifts “after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment, and acting as an MUA delegate at the site.”

The Australian Supreme Court ordered Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officers on Tuesday to abandon their picket at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), banning them from approaching VICT’s business within a 100-meter radius.
It also issued orders requiring the unions to stop restricting access to the terminal and enable movement of containers which have been stranded at the site for over two weeks.

The union has also been told “not to encourage others to attend the site to do the same.”

Nevertheless, the picket is still in place, despite the court order, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), representing freight operators, said.

“Trucks are not able to access containers at VICT,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.

“This arrogant defiance of a Supreme Court order is continuing to disrupt activities at the terminal, as well as trade and commerce throughout the state during the busiest time of the year for small businesses that are being denied access to their goods.”

Anderson urged all parties to use the industrial relations system and Fair Work Commission to have workplace disputes resolved.

Over 1,000 containers are kept motionless at Port of Melbourne’s container terminal at Web Dock after members of MUA walked off the job amid an industrial dispute.

Workers have been picketing due to an ongoing dispute involving a casual worker who was denied a security clearance because of a criminal record.

Based on the latest information provided by MUA, the maritime worker at the centre of the industrial dispute at VICT has been granted a security clearance by federal authorities.

MUA claims that the employee was denied shifts “after taking action against management over workplace bullying and harassment, and acting as an MUA delegate at the site.”

“The worker in question was granted a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) card last Friday by federal authorities and the company can end this dispute right now by offering him his job back,“ MUA Deputy Secretary Will Tracey said.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: MUApicket linesolidarityVICTunion bustingworkplace bullying
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Unions Strike as Bailouts to End With Austerity Blitz

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: US News and World Report
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: Union members banned from holding elected office, confrontation coming with government

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Nation
Categories: Labor News

China's Silk Road, One Belt One Road "Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" Privatizing More Ports Around the World

Current News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:53

China's Silk Road, One Belt One Road "Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" Privatizing More Ports Around the World
Sri Lanka, Struggling With Debt, Hands a Major Port to China
" In recent months, however, there have been signs that China’s partners are starting to become wary over the terms being dictated to build projects under the One Road banner. Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar have all recently cancelled or sidelined major hydroelectricity projects planned by Chinese companies. The projects would have been worth a total of $20bn.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/world/asia/sri-lanka-china-port.html?...

查看简体中文版 查看繁體中文版
By KAI SCHULTZDEC. 12, 2017
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page

Photo

The Hambantota port on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. China has been shoring up its presence in the Indian Ocean. CreditLakruwan Wanniarachchi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
NEW DELHI — Struggling to pay its debt to Chinese firms, the nation of Sri Lanka formally handed over the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease last week, in a deal that government critics have said threatens the country’s sovereignty.

In recent years, China has shored up its presence in the Indian Ocean, investing billions of dollars to build port facilities and plan maritime trade routes as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to help increase its market reach.

Along the way, smaller countries like Sri Lanka have found themselves owing debts they cannot pay. Sri Lanka owes more than $8 billion to state-controlled Chinese firms, officials say.

Sri Lankan politicians said the Hambantota deal, valued at $1.1 billion, was necessary to chip away at the debt, but analysts warned of the consequences of signing away too much control to China.

“The price being paid for reducing the China debt could prove more costly than the debt burden Sri Lanka seeks to reduce,” said N. Sathiya Moorthy, a senior fellow specializing in Sri Lanka at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.Sri Lanka has long been in India’s orbit, but its relationship with China has strengthened in recent years. As Western nations accused Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former president, of grievous human rights abuses during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s nearly 26-year civil war, China extended billions of dollars of loans to Mr. Rajapaksa’s government for new infrastructure projects.

In July, the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings Company signed a deal with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to control a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port, which lies on the southern coast of the country.

Last Friday, Sri Lanka’s Parliament voted to grant tax concessions to a joint venture led by China to develop the port. On Saturday, the government completed the handover of the port to two state-controlled entities run through China Merchants Port Holdings, which has already made its first payment of $300 million to the Sri Lankan government.

“With this agreement, we have started to pay back the loans,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an address to Parliament. “There will be an economic zone and industrialization in the area which will lead to economic development and promote tourism.”

Critics said the lease could set a precedent for Sri Lanka and other countries that owe money to China to accept deals that involve the signing over of territory. After the original port deal was signed in July, Namal Rajapaksa, a member of Parliament and son of the former president, asked on Twitter whether the government was “playing geopolitics with national assets.”

Perceiving a threat to its regional hegemony, India has also watched with suspicion as cranes operated by Chinese firms began to dot the skyline in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. To reset the imbalance, India has partnered with Japan to develop a port on Sri Lanka’s eastern coastline, and it has entered into talks to invest in an airport near Hambantota.

“India has been overwhelmed by China’s offensive in its strategic backyard,” said Constantino Xavier, a fellow at Carnegie India in New Delhi.

But across South Asia, there have been some signs of pushback to Chinese investment, including the recent sidelining of hydropower projects in Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Mr. Xavier said Sri Lanka’s dependency on China has alarmed some countries. “Countries in the region are beginning to realize the long-term costs of Beijing’s massive investment promises,” he said.

China signs 99-year lease on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port

Critics denounce move as an erosion of country’s sovereignty
https://www.ft.com/content/e150ef0c-de37-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c

China signs 99-year lease on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port Critics denounce move as an erosion of country’s sovereignty Read next Manufacturers respond to health edicts in food and drink recipes For Beijing the Hambantota port project is a linchpin of the 'One Belt One Road' initiative
Kiran Stacey in New Delhi DECEMBER 11, 2017 4 Sri Lanka has formally handed over its southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, which government critics have denounced as an erosion of the country’s sovereignty. The $1.3bn port was opened seven years ago using debt from Chinese state-controlled entities. But it has since struggled under heavy losses, making it impossible for Colombo to repay its debts. In 2016, Sri Lankan ministers struck a deal to sell an 80 per cent stake in the port to the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings. But that agreement sparked protests from unions and opposition groups, forcing the government to renegotiate it. Under the new plan, signed in July, the Chinese company will hold a 70 per cent stake in a joint venture with the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s prime minister, welcomed the deal during the official handing over ceremony at the weekend. He said: “With this agreement we have started to pay back the loans. Hambantota will be converted to a major port in the Indian Ocean. “There will be an economic zone and industrialisation in the area which will lead to economic development and promote tourism.” Share this graphic But the renegotiated plan has failed to quell dissent within Sri Lanka. When it was first signed Namal Rajapaksa, Hambantota’s MP and son of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, tweeted: “Government is playing geopolitics with national assets? #stopsellingSL”. For Beijing, the Hambantota project is a linchpin of the “One Belt One Road” project, which aims to build a new Silk Road of trade routes between China and more than 60 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. That project is underpinned by a network of harbours across the world that have put China in a position to challenge the US as the world’s most important maritime superpower. Other similar developments in the region include the Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is the centrepiece of the $55bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But some have accused Beijing of using projects such as this to increase its regional political power, noting the length of the lease agreed by Sri Lanka is the same as that which gave Britain control over Hong Kong in the 19th century. Constantino Xavier, a fellow at foreign policy think-tank Carnegie, said: “This is part of a larger modus operandi by China in the region. Hambantota port lying virtually empty last month © Simon Mundy “Beijing typically finds a local partner, makes that local partner accept investment plans that are detrimental to their country in the long term, and then uses the debts to either acquire the project altogether or to acquire political leverage in that country.” New Delhi has become so concerned about Beijing’s plans at Hambantota that it has entered talks with Sri Lanka to operate an airport nearby. In recent months, however, there have been signs that China’s partners are starting to become wary over the terms being dictated to build projects under the One Road banner. Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar have all recently cancelled or sidelined major hydroelectricity projects planned by Chinese companies. The projects would have been worth a total of $20bn.

Tags: ChinaOne BeltOne RoadSocialism With Chinese Characteristics
Categories: Labor News

China's Silk Road, One Belt One Road "Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" Privatizing More Ports Around the World

Current News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:53

China's Silk Road, One Belt One Road "Socialism With Chinese Characteristics" Privatizing More Ports Around the World
Sri Lanka, Struggling With Debt, Hands a Major Port to China
" In recent months, however, there have been signs that China’s partners are starting to become wary over the terms being dictated to build projects under the One Road banner. Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar have all recently cancelled or sidelined major hydroelectricity projects planned by Chinese companies. The projects would have been worth a total of $20bn.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/world/asia/sri-lanka-china-port.html?...

查看简体中文版 查看繁體中文版
By KAI SCHULTZDEC. 12, 2017
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page

Photo

The Hambantota port on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. China has been shoring up its presence in the Indian Ocean. CreditLakruwan Wanniarachchi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
NEW DELHI — Struggling to pay its debt to Chinese firms, the nation of Sri Lanka formally handed over the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease last week, in a deal that government critics have said threatens the country’s sovereignty.

In recent years, China has shored up its presence in the Indian Ocean, investing billions of dollars to build port facilities and plan maritime trade routes as part of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to help increase its market reach.

Along the way, smaller countries like Sri Lanka have found themselves owing debts they cannot pay. Sri Lanka owes more than $8 billion to state-controlled Chinese firms, officials say.

Sri Lankan politicians said the Hambantota deal, valued at $1.1 billion, was necessary to chip away at the debt, but analysts warned of the consequences of signing away too much control to China.

“The price being paid for reducing the China debt could prove more costly than the debt burden Sri Lanka seeks to reduce,” said N. Sathiya Moorthy, a senior fellow specializing in Sri Lanka at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.Sri Lanka has long been in India’s orbit, but its relationship with China has strengthened in recent years. As Western nations accused Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former president, of grievous human rights abuses during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s nearly 26-year civil war, China extended billions of dollars of loans to Mr. Rajapaksa’s government for new infrastructure projects.

In July, the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings Company signed a deal with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to control a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port, which lies on the southern coast of the country.

Last Friday, Sri Lanka’s Parliament voted to grant tax concessions to a joint venture led by China to develop the port. On Saturday, the government completed the handover of the port to two state-controlled entities run through China Merchants Port Holdings, which has already made its first payment of $300 million to the Sri Lankan government.

“With this agreement, we have started to pay back the loans,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an address to Parliament. “There will be an economic zone and industrialization in the area which will lead to economic development and promote tourism.”

Critics said the lease could set a precedent for Sri Lanka and other countries that owe money to China to accept deals that involve the signing over of territory. After the original port deal was signed in July, Namal Rajapaksa, a member of Parliament and son of the former president, asked on Twitter whether the government was “playing geopolitics with national assets.”

Perceiving a threat to its regional hegemony, India has also watched with suspicion as cranes operated by Chinese firms began to dot the skyline in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. To reset the imbalance, India has partnered with Japan to develop a port on Sri Lanka’s eastern coastline, and it has entered into talks to invest in an airport near Hambantota.

“India has been overwhelmed by China’s offensive in its strategic backyard,” said Constantino Xavier, a fellow at Carnegie India in New Delhi.

But across South Asia, there have been some signs of pushback to Chinese investment, including the recent sidelining of hydropower projects in Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Mr. Xavier said Sri Lanka’s dependency on China has alarmed some countries. “Countries in the region are beginning to realize the long-term costs of Beijing’s massive investment promises,” he said.

China signs 99-year lease on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port

Critics denounce move as an erosion of country’s sovereignty
https://www.ft.com/content/e150ef0c-de37-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c

China signs 99-year lease on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port Critics denounce move as an erosion of country’s sovereignty Read next Manufacturers respond to health edicts in food and drink recipes For Beijing the Hambantota port project is a linchpin of the 'One Belt One Road' initiative
Kiran Stacey in New Delhi DECEMBER 11, 2017 4 Sri Lanka has formally handed over its southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, which government critics have denounced as an erosion of the country’s sovereignty. The $1.3bn port was opened seven years ago using debt from Chinese state-controlled entities. But it has since struggled under heavy losses, making it impossible for Colombo to repay its debts. In 2016, Sri Lankan ministers struck a deal to sell an 80 per cent stake in the port to the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings. But that agreement sparked protests from unions and opposition groups, forcing the government to renegotiate it. Under the new plan, signed in July, the Chinese company will hold a 70 per cent stake in a joint venture with the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s prime minister, welcomed the deal during the official handing over ceremony at the weekend. He said: “With this agreement we have started to pay back the loans. Hambantota will be converted to a major port in the Indian Ocean. “There will be an economic zone and industrialisation in the area which will lead to economic development and promote tourism.” Share this graphic But the renegotiated plan has failed to quell dissent within Sri Lanka. When it was first signed Namal Rajapaksa, Hambantota’s MP and son of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, tweeted: “Government is playing geopolitics with national assets? #stopsellingSL”. For Beijing, the Hambantota project is a linchpin of the “One Belt One Road” project, which aims to build a new Silk Road of trade routes between China and more than 60 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. That project is underpinned by a network of harbours across the world that have put China in a position to challenge the US as the world’s most important maritime superpower. Other similar developments in the region include the Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is the centrepiece of the $55bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. But some have accused Beijing of using projects such as this to increase its regional political power, noting the length of the lease agreed by Sri Lanka is the same as that which gave Britain control over Hong Kong in the 19th century. Constantino Xavier, a fellow at foreign policy think-tank Carnegie, said: “This is part of a larger modus operandi by China in the region. Hambantota port lying virtually empty last month © Simon Mundy “Beijing typically finds a local partner, makes that local partner accept investment plans that are detrimental to their country in the long term, and then uses the debts to either acquire the project altogether or to acquire political leverage in that country.” New Delhi has become so concerned about Beijing’s plans at Hambantota that it has entered talks with Sri Lanka to operate an airport nearby. In recent months, however, there have been signs that China’s partners are starting to become wary over the terms being dictated to build projects under the One Road banner. Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar have all recently cancelled or sidelined major hydroelectricity projects planned by Chinese companies. The projects would have been worth a total of $20bn.

Tags: ChinaOne BeltOne RoadSocialism With Chinese Characteristics
Categories: Labor News

NTSB blames captain, bad safety culture for loss of El Faro

Current News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 08:11

NTSB blames captain, bad safety culture for loss of El Faro
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ntsb-issue-probable-el-faros-sinking-...
By JASON DEAREN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dec 12, 2017, 6:08 PM ET

The Associated Press
WATCH Discovered Data Recorder May Shed Light On the Mystery of El Faro
A ship captain's unwillingness to listen to his crew's suggestions to change course from the path of a raging hurricane. A weak corporate safety culture that left crewmembers ill-prepared to deal with heavy weather. An old ship with outdated lifeboats, open to the elements.

All these factors contributed to the sinking of the El Faro in the fury of Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015, which killed all 33 people on board, the National Transportation Safety Board announced on Tuesday. The report concludes a 2-year investigation into the worst U.S. maritime disaster in modern history.

The NTSB issued 53 safety recommendations along with its findings, which investigators hope will be adopted by the industry, maritime safety inspectors and weather forecasters to make the seas safer for future generations.

"I hope that this tragedy at sea can serve as a lighthouse to guide the safety of marine transportation," said Robert Sumwalt, the board's chairman.

The El Faro, which means lighthouse in Spanish, sank between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico after losing engine power in the Category 3 storm. The NTSB retrieved the ship's voyage data recorder, or "black box," from the sea floor near the Bahamas, 15,000-feet (4,570 meters) under the surface. The device held 26 hours of data, including audio of conversations on the ship's bridge as the frantic crew struggled to save the ship and themselves.

While the board found no fault with El Faro Capt. Michael Davidson's decision to leave port in Jacksonville, they did blame his reliance on an emailed weather forecasting system that contained hours-old data, rather than online updates from the National Hurricane Center. Investigators believe, based on his decisions and recorded comments, that he wasn't aware of the delay in the data, and that instead of skirting the storm, he sent the El Faro on a collision course with the hurricane.

"Although up-to-date weather information was available on the ship, the El Faro captain did not use the most current weather information for decision-making," NTSB investigator Mike Kucharski said at the meeting, held in Washington, D.C. "The captain did not take sufficient action to avoid Hurricane Joaquin, thereby putting El Faro and its crew in peril."

The board also criticized the "weak safety culture" of ship owner TOTE Maritime, Inc., including the lack of employee training for dealing with heavy weather situations and flooding. A hatch had been left open, allowing water from the roiling sea to flood an interior hold; this led to the ship tilting, disrupting the flow of oil to the engines. Once the freighter lost engine power, it was at the mercy of battering swells.

Also, the ship's wind gauge, called an anemometer, was broken and the 40-year-old freighter's open-top lifeboats would not have protected the crew, even if they had been able to launch them. The El Faro was legally allowed to carry lifeboats that expose people to the elements — just like the lifeboats on the Titanic and the Lusitania — due to safety-rule exemptions for older ships.

Whether the crew could have survived Joaquin's punishing winds and high seas had the El Faro been equipped with the closed-top lifeboats used by newer ships is unknown, but NTSB safety investigator Jon Furukawa said it could have helped crewmembers fighting for their lives .

"We believe that would've been the best method of departing the vessel under these conditions. It is still challenging, and we don't know if they would've survived," Furukawa said. "But enclosed lifeboats are the current standard and the El Faro did not have the current standard."

The board is not only recommending closed-top boats for all merchant ships, but also that the entire industry require crewmembers to carry personal locator beacons to better locate them during marine emergencies.

The El Faro had an older emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or EPIRB, which did not transmit global position system coordinates, and that made locating the ship more difficult for search-and-rescue crews. Given the heavy weather, rescuers probably couldn't have reached the ship any sooner, but the board believes the new requirement would help in future sea accidents.

The NTSB's draft recommendations are not law, but are used to guide industry changes or updates to existing safety procedures overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard and so-called "classification societies" like the American Bureau of Shipping, which conducts a large percentage of marine inspections on the Guard's behalf. The recommendations also can be used by Congress to create new laws meant to improve safety.

Larry Brennan, a maritime law professor at Fordham Law School and retired U.S. Navy captain, said the NTSB's recommendations highlighted major safety problems in the entire industry, including the Coast Guard and classification societies that are in charge of inspecting vessels for safety.

"El Faro was a worn, aged ship which succumbed to heavy weather in large part because of multiple unseaworthy conditions, poor leadership and bad decisions by the captain, American Bureau of Shipping, the owners as well as inadequate surveys and inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard," Brennan said.

——

Follow Jason Dearen on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen

Tags: NTSBsafetyEl Faro deathsEl Faro sinking
Categories: Labor News

California judge rules COSCO-affiliated port truckers were misclassified

Current News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 16:14

California judge rules COSCO-affiliated port truckers were misclassified
https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/port-truck-driver-misclassification...
AUTHOR

Jennifer McKevitt
@mckvt
PUBLISHED

Dec. 6, 2017
Dive Brief:

In a driver misclassification case, Judge Dickie Montemayor ruled against Intermodal Bridge Transport (IBT), stating the company violated federal law by engaging in unfair labor practices, including misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, Trucks.com reported.
IBT is a subsidiary of the Chinese-owned COSCO Group. In Montemayor's ruling, the company was also ordered to cease and desist from behavior that includes interrogating, threatening or coercing employees who support union membership at its Wilmington, Calif. terminal.
California truckers have filed more than 800 wage claims, alleging they have been misclassified as independent contractors since 2011, and have been awarded roughly $40 million in compensation across 300 cases as a result.
Story continues below

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Recognition and favorable litigation toward misclassified drivers is growing, with legal tolerance correspondingly shrinking. In Los Angeles, the port of L.A. is considering blocking access to companies relying on contract labor, while companies such as Celadon and Swift have moved to mitigate the risk by turning away from using owner operators in the case of Celadon, or are setting aside large cash reserves should a negative ruling occur in the case of Swift.

Differing legal views of the situation are common.

"By misclassifying the drivers, IBT is preventing the individuals taking concerted activity, and depriving them of rights that employees are entitled to under the National Labor Relations Act," Jordan Schwartz, Partner, Labor and Employment Practice at Conn Maciel Carey LLP told Supply Chain Dive.

In other words, by denying the drivers the right to talk about working conditions or form a union, protections they would otherwise be entitled to, were they not misclassified, have been infringed upon.

Other attorneys attribute at least some of the emerging precedents to location.

"California is all over this issue," David Ritter, Partner at Barnes and Thornburg, LLP told Supply Chain Dive. "They're digging in, because the state and federal government are not receiving their fair share of taxes."

Ritter further notes the specific conditions of the case.

"IBT had full control over the means and the manner of work performed by the drivers," he said. "They established the rules, and when those rules were broken, drivers were disciplined."

"In fact, IBT even tried to cover its tracks by changing some of the contract wording," he added, "which further implicated the company. This is a situation where the black letter of the law is applied: in other words, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are, it's a duck."

Tags: CoscoPort Truckers Misclassified
Categories: Labor News

USA: Working People Propel Doug Jones to Historic Alabama Senate Victory

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Labor News

South Africa: Why changes to labour laws are an assault on workers' rights

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Mail and Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Kazakhstan: Coal Miners' Strike Spreads In Kazakhstan As Workers Stay Underground

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFE/RL
Categories: Labor News

Another Worker Death Underscores ‘Atrocious Safety Record’ at Hutchison Terminal in Jakarta

Current News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:47

Another Worker Death Underscores ‘Atrocious Safety Record’ at Hutchison Terminal in Jakarta
http://gcaptain.com/itf-another-worker-death-underscores-atrocious-safet...

December 11, 2017 by gCaptain

container terminal
Photo: By tcly / Shutterstock
Another worker has died in an accident at the Hutchison terminal in Jakarta, marking the fourth fatality in just the past 15 months at the terminal, the International Transport Workers’ Federation has reported.

The incident is the latest to underscore the what the ITF described as an “atrocious” safety record at the Hutchison terminal.

“We are shocked and alarmed by the continuing carnage at the Hutchison’s terminal in Jakarta. Two workers have died within two months, and four within the past 15 months. This is an atrocious record that speaks for itself,” said Nova Hakim, chair of the Serikat Pekerja Jakarta International Container Terminal (SPJICT).

While details of the accident are unclear, the ITF said the worker died as the result of a fall.

The ITF and SPJICT are calling on the company to conduct an official inquiry into the death and the circumstance “surrounding how the worker fell overboard,” the ITF said in a statement.

“Hutchison needs to answer serious questions,” commented ITF president, Paddy Crumlin. “Was this man provided with adequate fall protection? Was the outboard fencing on this vessel complete and compliant with international and class standards?

“Falls from height – and falls overboard – are 100% preventable. On a modern vessel, there is no reason why a worker should die from a fall from height with proper inspections, proper management of the work environment, proper equipment and engineering controls.

“When a person falls overboard, management are often quick to blame the worker. We need to dig deeper to find the root causes of this horrible tragedy,” Crumlin said.

Tags: death in Jakartahealth and safetyHutchison Terminal Jakarta
Categories: Labor News

MN ATU 1005 Metro Transit workers rally in Minneapolis as negotiations continue to avert Super Bowl strike

Current News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:22

MN ATU 1005 Metro Transit workers rally in Minneapolis as negotiations continue to avert Super Bowl strike
http://www.twincities.com/2017/12/11/metro-transit-workers-rally-as-nego...
By RYAN FAIRCLOTH | rfaircloth@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press
December 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Around 70 unionized transit workers assembled at a Metropolitan Council transportation committee meeting in Minneapolis Monday to voice concerns over an ongoing contract dispute.

Job safety, arduous schedules and employee benefits were among many concerns raised by the Metro Transit workers. The demonstration coincided with a new round of contract negotiations in St. Paul between the Met Council and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 that extended into the early evening.

“We care about getting a decent and fair contract, and we’re willing to fight to have a fair contract. It just seems a shame that we are not treated like the backbone to this company,” said Metro Transit bus driver Theresa Collins, who attended the demonstration.

Unionized transit operators and support personnel rejected the Met Council’s contract offer in November, citing operator safety as a main concern. Assaults on Twin Cities bus and light-rail operators have grown more common over the past five years. In 2016, 162 assaults were reported among more than 1,500 Metro Transit operators.

Collins has driven Metro Transit buses for 29 years. She said she’s been assaulted, spat on and threatened during her career.

“Driver assault is really big on the forefront right now for all of us,” Collins said. “I personally think that every driver that’s going to retire from this company will have been assaulted at least one time in their career.”

Union workers have called for Metro Transit to retrofit buses with protective driver enclosures in response to assault concerns, and have threatened to strike during the Feb. 4 Super Bowl if their demands aren’t met. The transit agency announced Dec. 1 that protective shields would be installed in 20 buses in the coming weeks as part of a pilot test.

David Dittbenner, a Metro Transit mechanic who attended the demonstration, said workers deserve a contract that offers better wages, benefits and scheduling.

Despite working for Metro Transit for 16 years, he said he isn’t able to get full weekends off from work.“We’re here for a better contract than what they originally offered,” Dittbenner said.

Mark Lawson, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, said the two parties made progress in negotiations Monday.

“On some things we’ve come closer to each other, and there’s a few key points where we’re not there yet as far as coming to an agreement,” he said.

Transit workers presented the Met Council with an updated proposal Monday evening, Lawson said, adding that a mediator will return with a response from Metro Transit by the end of the week.

He said he’s hopeful an agreement will be reached before a potential Super Bowl strike.

Tags: ATU 1005health and safetycontract rights
Categories: Labor News

MN ATU 1005 Metro Transit workers rally in Minneapolis as negotiations continue to avert Super Bowl strike

Current News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 10:22

MN ATU 1005 Metro Transit workers rally in Minneapolis as negotiations continue to avert Super Bowl strike
http://www.twincities.com/2017/12/11/metro-transit-workers-rally-as-nego...
By RYAN FAIRCLOTH | rfaircloth@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press
December 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Around 70 unionized transit workers assembled at a Metropolitan Council transportation committee meeting in Minneapolis Monday to voice concerns over an ongoing contract dispute.

Job safety, arduous schedules and employee benefits were among many concerns raised by the Metro Transit workers. The demonstration coincided with a new round of contract negotiations in St. Paul between the Met Council and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 that extended into the early evening.

“We care about getting a decent and fair contract, and we’re willing to fight to have a fair contract. It just seems a shame that we are not treated like the backbone to this company,” said Metro Transit bus driver Theresa Collins, who attended the demonstration.

Unionized transit operators and support personnel rejected the Met Council’s contract offer in November, citing operator safety as a main concern. Assaults on Twin Cities bus and light-rail operators have grown more common over the past five years. In 2016, 162 assaults were reported among more than 1,500 Metro Transit operators.

Collins has driven Metro Transit buses for 29 years. She said she’s been assaulted, spat on and threatened during her career.

“Driver assault is really big on the forefront right now for all of us,” Collins said. “I personally think that every driver that’s going to retire from this company will have been assaulted at least one time in their career.”

Union workers have called for Metro Transit to retrofit buses with protective driver enclosures in response to assault concerns, and have threatened to strike during the Feb. 4 Super Bowl if their demands aren’t met. The transit agency announced Dec. 1 that protective shields would be installed in 20 buses in the coming weeks as part of a pilot test.

David Dittbenner, a Metro Transit mechanic who attended the demonstration, said workers deserve a contract that offers better wages, benefits and scheduling.

Despite working for Metro Transit for 16 years, he said he isn’t able to get full weekends off from work.“We’re here for a better contract than what they originally offered,” Dittbenner said.

Mark Lawson, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, said the two parties made progress in negotiations Monday.

“On some things we’ve come closer to each other, and there’s a few key points where we’re not there yet as far as coming to an agreement,” he said.

Transit workers presented the Met Council with an updated proposal Monday evening, Lawson said, adding that a mediator will return with a response from Metro Transit by the end of the week.

He said he’s hopeful an agreement will be reached before a potential Super Bowl strike.

Tags: ATU 1005health and safetycontract rights
Categories: Labor News

Tunisians maritime unions declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move

Current News - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 23:23

Tunisians maritime unions declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move
https://english.palinfo.com/news/2017/12/10/Tunisians-declare-boycott-of...

Short url
TUNIS, (PIC) +-
A Tunisian labor union on Sunday evening announced its decision to boycott U.S. ships docking at a seaport in the country’s southern region of Sfax following Trump’s recognition, on Wednesday, of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Spokesman of the Popular Conference for the Palestinians Abroad, Ziad al-Aloul, said on Facebook that the regional executive office of Tunisia’s Trade Unions decided to boycott all American ships docking at Sfax commercial harbor.

As part of the boycott move, workers at the seaport will not empty the shipments onboard boats tied up at Sfax seaport after they had set sail from the U.S.

Prior to the boycott, mass rallies had swept Tunisia with thousands of protesters holding up Palestinian flags and banners. Protesters also burned the U.S. flag and others stepped on images of Israeli flags.

Tags: labor boycott of USPalestiniansTunisian unions
Categories: Labor News

Tunisians maritime unions declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move

Current News - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 23:23

Tunisians maritime unions declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move
https://english.palinfo.com/news/2017/12/10/Tunisians-declare-boycott-of...

Short url
TUNIS, (PIC) +-
A Tunisian labor union on Sunday evening announced its decision to boycott U.S. ships docking at a seaport in the country’s southern region of Sfax following Trump’s recognition, on Wednesday, of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Spokesman of the Popular Conference for the Palestinians Abroad, Ziad al-Aloul, said on Facebook that the regional executive office of Tunisia’s Trade Unions decided to boycott all American ships docking at Sfax commercial harbor.

As part of the boycott move, workers at the seaport will not empty the shipments onboard boats tied up at Sfax seaport after they had set sail from the U.S.

Prior to the boycott, mass rallies had swept Tunisia with thousands of protesters holding up Palestinian flags and banners. Protesters also burned the U.S. flag and others stepped on images of Israeli flags.

Tags: labor boycott of USPalestiniansTunisian unions
Categories: Labor News

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