Labor News

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela

Current News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:49

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela
https://youtu.be/SNcU37rL2Ng
Rachel Varela who is a history professor and researcher at IISH, UFF, UNL, discusses the attacks on dockers, shipyard workers, technology and imperialism on 7/17/17 in San Francisco.
For more information:
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY-Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
For more information
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY
https://raquelcardeiravarela.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/automation-in-port...
Posted on July 20, 2017
By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)
robertngregg@yahoo.comholdfam@comcast.netbobirm@sbcglobal.netleithkahl@gmail.comsasha@greens.org
Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and benefits of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net financial benefits and losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eficiency viewed by operators and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not profitable for the operators. We discussed briefly the losses for the public of the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rendered with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the first section we relate the analysis of precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.
Full study in pdf
https://raquelcardeiravarela.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/studyautomation...
Production of
Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: dockersAutomationshipyard workerstechnologycapitalismimperialismsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016

Current News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:49

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
For more information
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY
https://raquelcardeiravarela.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/automation-in-port...

Posted on July 20, 2017

By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)

Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and
benets of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes
and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net nancial benets and
losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eciency viewed by operators
and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not
protable for the operators. We discussed brie y the losses for the public of
the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states
and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we
discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is
a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost
all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to
minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rened with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the rst section we relate the analysis of
precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning
as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short
overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and
unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we
discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the
welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research
done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.

Full study in pdf

https://raquelcardeiravarela.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/studyautomation...

Keywords Labour Relations, automation, employmnet, unemployment,
precarity, automated crane

Tags: International Dockworkers CouncilIDCAutomationtechnology
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Popular Front of Brazil to Lead Protests Against Temer's Labor Reform

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Why dock workers can change the world

Current News - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 08:42

Why dock workers can change the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1paOv1xdwQY&feature=youtu.be

Raquel Varela

Raquel Varela is a historian, researcher and university professor. Starting Grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology / New University of Lisbon / IHC and Fellow of the International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam). International visiting professor at the Fluminense Federal University, where she teaches a chair in the area of​​global history of work in the postgraduate program in History. He is a member of the NIEP. She is an international evaluator of CNPQ / Brazil. She is Vice-Coordinator of the Portuguese Network for the Study of Labour, Labour Movements and Social Movements (RE), she coordinates the labour network of the European Social Science History Conference (2012-2014 - ESSHC). In 2013 she was awarded the Santander Prize for Internationalization of Scientific Production.
Raquel Varela obtained her graduation in 2005 in ISCTE-IUL (cum laude), post graduation in FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa (cum laude), and her PhD (cum laude) in Political and Institutional History at ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, in 2010. Previously she studied Law at the Law Faculty of Coimbra University (1997-2000).Raquel Varela publishes at a high level in the field of the history of labour relations. She is the author of 4 books, editor of 9 books (one published in German, one in English and 5 in Portuguese) and the author of 58 chapters in books, both nationally and internationally published.
She is the author of 23 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals (independently from her PhD supervisor). Of these, 5 were published in major multidisciplinary scientific journals, including Hispania and Revista Brasileira de História. 5 of these 19 peer-reviewed articles are indexed in the ISI Thompson and in Capes A. In 2014 she was nominated national scientific coordinator of the Historical Itinerary of 25 April 1974 – National Official Celebrations.
She is a member of the editorial board of a peer-reviewed international history journal (Workers of the World. International Journal on Strikes and Social Conflicts, Campinas, Amsterdam), and referee for several international journals. In 2011 she was invited to the Board of Trustees of the ITH-International Conference of Labour and Social History, an international network of associations, research institutes and historians of labour and social movements (based in Vienna, Austria). She is the president (2 mandates 2011-2013; 2013-2015) of the academic association International Association Strikes and Social Conflicts. Her main areas of interest are global labour history, history of labour relations, and contemporary history of Portugal.
http://socialhistory.org/en/staff/raquel-varela
http://ihc.fcsh.unl.pt/pt/ihc/investigadores/item/1242-rcvarela
raquel_cardeira_varela@yahoo. co.uk

Tags: dockersglobalizationjust in time productionsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:47

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Contract-extenstion...
Keep 29 West Coast Ports Open
Contract extension at West Coast ports would support jobs, trade
By Mickey Kantor and Norman MinetaJuly 17, 2017 Updated: July 17, 2017 4:26pm

Photo: JOSH EDELSON, JOSH EDELSON / SAN FRANCISCO CHR
IMAGE 1 OF 2Erasmo Barrera, an employee for Impact Transload and Rail, moves a pallet of beer at the Port of Oakland on Jan. 26, 2017. The port is trying to convince shipping companies arriving from Asia to first visit its ... more

Twice in the last 15 years, labor disputes between dockworkers and the maritime companies that employ them have led to severe disruptions at West Coast ports. Now these parties have an opportunity to preserve labor peace and solidify West Coast trade for the foreseeable future. Doing so would be good for workers, good for the industry and good for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on trade.

This summer, International Longshore and Warehouse Union members from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest will vote on a proposal that would extend their current labor contract through 2022. It would raise wages, preserve virtually no-cost health care coverage and increase pensions — all at a time when unions nationwide are facing challenging headwinds.

Approving this contract would send a strong signal to retailers, manufacturers and others who rely on the ports that the West Coast intends to remain competitive, despite slipping market share in recent years. It would also reward dockworkers by raising base wages to more than $46 per hour, while preserving no-premium health insurance that features $1 prescriptions, and increase pensions to a maximum of more than $95,000 per year, according to news reports.

Among those who would breathe a sigh of relief would be West Coast agricultural growers, whose trade association reported that sales to Asian markets were down as much as 25 percent during the latest disruption in 2014-2015. Also impacted were automakers and other manufacturers, as well as retailers — large and small — across the country.

The stakes are high in markets from Washington state to Southern California. An estimated 2 in 5 Washington-state-area jobs are connected to international trade. In Southern California, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach support enormous economic activity, and are investing $6.5 billion in capital projects toward a clean and reliable future for this crucial international gateway.

The Port of Oakland is the fourth-busiest of the 29 West Coast ports, ranking behind Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma.

A report by maritime economist John Martin estimates that West Coast ports support upwards of 9 million American jobs. The cargo moving through these ports has a value in the trillions of dollars, supporting a healthy chunk of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

Strong West Coast ports are also important for the environment. California and Washington ports are leading the way to reduce harmful emissions from ships, and by updating cargo terminals with the latest in low-impact environmental technology. That means electric yard equipment, more on-dock rail and other advances toward green terminals. In this case, environmental and economic growth can go hand in hand.

Few Americans understood the huge impacts of maritime trade on the national economy before the 2002 port shutdown, in which West Coast ports were shuttered for 10 days until President George W. Bush ordered them re-opened. The subsequent disruptions during the last contract talks — which once again required federal intervention — have left some wondering if the relationship between ILWU dockworkers and their employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, is permanently broken.

Given the current political climate, there are those in Washington who have considered extreme solutions that would handcuff future negotiators and transfer local decision-making to Washington, D.C.

Such proposals would no doubt gather steam if the contract proposal is rejected, likely leading to acrimonious talks again in two years. Yet by agreeing to a contract extension now, workers and their bosses can show that no such intervention is needed, and that the West Coast can continue to be a thriving and vital trade hub with a stable and reliable workforce.

It is rare to have an opportunity in which workers, industry and the U.S. economy can all so clearly be winners. This is one such opportunity. At a time of much uncertainty, passage of this contract would be a step in the right direction.

Mickey Kantor served as both U.S. trade representative and secretary of commerce. Norman Mineta, who represented San Jose in Congress for two decades, served as both secretary of commerce and secretary of transportation.

Tags: ilwuShipping BossesMaritime bosses shillsstrikesDisruption
Categories: Labor News

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:19

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
https://youtu.be/FNbvWfS1HYs
Longshore Work , Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives was the title of an education conference held at the ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco on July 15, 2017. This presentation was made to the conference by Bobby Carnegi, MUA Queensland Branch Secretary.
The conference was sponsored by LaborTech.net, LaborFest.net, ILWU Local 10, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC.
For additional media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LbMYXeRElM&feature=
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: technologyMUALaborTech.net
Categories: Labor News

Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:15

Automation and jobs in the world's docks

https://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2017/07/automation-and-jobs-in-worlds...
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Below is a brief summary of a conference on automation that the author attended.

By Joel Schor
Member, Sailors Union of the Pacific S.U.P.
Casual working under the contract of: International Longshore and Warehouse Union ILWU- Local 10.

The unions basically had the position most of us would, that the primary issue is not whether automation will happen or not but who will control it in the workplace and beyond that, how will a fight be initiated for a shorter work day/week to create more work for all?

A speaker who came later in the day was somewhat interesting in tying the development of automation to the increase of fixed long term costs ( machinery) over variable costs (mostly labor ) in this industry as leading to the declining overall rate of profit.

The particular speaker, a professor from Lisbon Portugal who had apparently studied maritime labor relations the world over, was very focused on what she termed "the advanced core nations of the world" as opposed to the "peripheral nations". What was missing from her analysis as well as most of the union leaders who spoke from the Maritime Union of Australia and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the West Coast of America, is the phenomena of China. Is it a "developed" country or a "developing" country?

The professor emphasized that automation only or mainly occurs in the "core" countries where wages are high and automation makes the long-term costs of expensive machinery worthwhile. Why then is the most advanced automated facility in the world in China ahead of Europe and the United States? It could be argued that wages in China are relatively high in certain key industrial sectors, but from what I understand the conditions and wages of the Chinese stevedores lags behind most of the countries where unions have been around longer.

Chinese stevedores work in excess of 12-hour shifts with no extra pay; they sleep and eat in the ports where they work. I can see that much has improved for them in having been there over a 12-year period on ships from 2002 to 2012. In that period China took on on economies of great scale and it continues to seek to capture and control markets. Chinese companies including the state subsidized shipping conglomerate Cosco spent over $20 billion last year up to June investing in and buying up European ports. (Financial Times 7-17-17)

In the last period of China's rapid export growth, that country’s share of world exports was large enough to make economies of great scale possible for their enterprises. There is much more that could be discussed about this. *

As far as the union leadership is concerned, ignoring the fact of China's rapid growth by conquering markets gives a false message to the rank and file. We had presentations from the Maritime Union of Australia talking about partially automated ports where the workforce has been cut down in container terminal operations.
Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
https://youtu.be/FNbvWfS1HYs
There has also been much discussion about a port on the US West Coast in Longbeach which will be fully automated and operational in 2020.

The fact is, China is fully automated and operating now. The emphasis on ports in Europe and America where this imminent reality of full scale automation has not manifested itself as it has in China, creates a vague hope for the workers to fight against the threats to their jobs and security.The reality is much more imminent than what is being presented to them by the leadership. Perhaps the union leaders don't even know or want to know about this, or possibly they have some other plan which remains to be seen at this point.

Tags: AutomationdockssolidarityChinese dockers
Categories: Labor News

Colombia: Trade Unionists Murdered As Peace Process at Risk

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Saudi Arabia: Teachers unions call to halt execution of peaceful protestors

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Haft Tapeh sugar workers are fighting for their wages, pensions and rights!

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

British Airways cabin crew strikers prepared for long haul

Current News - Sat, 07/15/2017 - 23:22

British Airways cabin crew strikers prepared for long haul
Mixed fleet staff have fought for better pay for six months but, despite plans for further action, the airline won’t settle
BA cabin crew demonstrate outside parliament in February.
BA cabin crew demonstrate outside parliament in February; the airline insists the action is not affecting passengers nor its bottom line. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/15/british-airways-cabin-c...

Gwyn Topham
Saturday 15 July 2017 11.00 EDTLast modified on Saturday 15 July 2017 17.00 EDT

The sweep of silver hair, fierce stare and rousing speech by Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner was vintage 1980s strike-era. “I’m as proud of you as I was of the miners,” he told striking British Airways cabin crew demonstrating outside parliament this week.

Most were born long after Margaret Thatcher closed down the pits, but the comparison was rapturously welcomed. If this 21st-century action, mainly organised via social media, has had little of the miners’ economic or political impact, it has already, under the radar, become a six-month-long standoff.

BA insists the action is not affecting its customers, or its bottom line unduly, even as thousands of its youngest, newest recruits angrily walk out.

Business Today: sign up for a morning shot of financial news
Read more
A two-week strike comes to an end on Sunday; a further fortnight of strikes has been called from Wednesday. It encompasses a significant minority of BA’s cabin crew: the “mixed fleet”, around one-third of the airline’s 16,500 crew, operating both short-haul and long-haul flights.

All new recruits join the flexible mixed fleet, set up in 2011 during the last bitter BA industrial dispute, and have poorer terms and conditions than other crew. Around 3,100 have joined Unite and voted to strike, concluding that pay on the “flexible” fleet doesn’t represent a living wage.

Pay was the trigger for the dispute: basic salary starts at £12,100, although BA said an independent audit showed full-time crew earned at least £21,000 with add-ons. The union says £16,000-17,000 is a typical figure, and crew at the Westminster rally agree: one, now a customer service manager earning £27,000, says they had worked for five years before promotion “and every P60 says I’ve earned under £20k”.

Long-haul stopovers have lost their allure for many, with allowances that do not cover the cost of the cheapest meal in most airport hotels abroad where staff stay – even before the value of the pound tumbled. “We take Pot Noodle in our luggage because food costs so much,” says Suzie, a striking crew member.

Unite reps say second jobs for supposedly full-time crew are not uncommon. Alex, a purser with three years’ service at BA, moonlights in hospitality on her days off. “They should be rest days after long flights, acclimatising to UK time. Instead, I work for £10 an hour in central London, serving drinks, on a zero-hours contract. When I joined BA I thought it would be different.” She was recently turned down for a small bank loan. “They said my payslips don’t show the figures BA tells people we earn.” Allowances, incentives and bonuses over basic pay count for little when applying for a mortgage, crew say.

People say, why don’t you quit and get a better-paid job? But I love the job. I just want a living wage
Alex, BA purser
While a pay deal of 7% over three years has been agreed in principle, crew have refused to accept sanctions against those involved in earlier walkouts: the withdrawal of bonuses and travel perks. That has been exacerbated by £250 rewards dangled before those who now come to work: paid for from bonuses stripped from strikers, as internal emails to staff show.

Labour has backed the strikers: an early-day motion tabled by Lisa Nandy MPnotes that group chief executive Willie Walsh is paid 533 times the starting basic pay of a mixed fleet crew member. Nandy says: “MPs from all parties have been shocked to hear from young women in particular, struggling on poverty wages at the national carrier, having to take out payday loans to survive. This is not an acceptable face of British business.”

She adds: “BA could resolve this simply and easily if it stopped spending time and energy on trying to break the strike and instead spent it on its own staff.”

Wet-leasing, or hiring aircraft and crew from elsewhere, has allowed BA to operate 99.5% of its flights during the recent action. Nine Qatar Airways planes, otherwise grounded by sanctions brought by neighbouring countries in the Gulf, have been flying a chunk of BA’s short-haul schedule.

The airline refuses to discuss costs, instead focusing on what it says is the most important thing: that every passenger will get to their destination during the strikes. Walsh, who has faced down strikes at numerous airlines, said earlier this year that the strike was having “no impact at all”, although he conceded that BA’s costs might run to a few million pounds. He said there are no shortage of recruits; BA puts the number of job applications at 17,000 this year.

British Airways cabin crew to stage six-day walkout in pay dispute
Read more
Compared to the damage recently caused by one technician accidentally pulling the power in BA’s computer nerve centre, which led to widespread cancellations and headline news, the strike is having relatively little immediate impact. But City analysts have expressed concern about the reputational damage.

BA insists that customer service has been unaffected, yet internal emails from managers admit that flights have operated with fewer crew than usual. Some customers who did find themselves on Qatar’s planes have enthused about the apparent upgrade: more comfortable cabins and the return of complimentary refreshments recently axed by BA.

For now, there’s little prospect of an immediate resolution to the dispute: no talks are likely, and those who have gone on strike for better pay have been infuriated by BA’s financial recriminations. Among the crew, Alex’s feeling is commonly echoed: “People say, why don’t you quit and get a better-paid job? But I love the job. I just want a living wage.”

Tags: BA Cabin Workers StrikeUNITE UnionUK BA
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Cricket's pay dispute is a wonderful ad for joining a union

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/15/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Argentina: Doctors Join Call for National Strike Against Macri

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Venezuela: Global and regional unions condemn use of violence in Venezuela

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Russia: In Russia the North Koreans Work ‘Basically in the Situation of Slaves’

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: New York Times
Categories: Labor News

USA: Gov. Coopers signs anti-worker, anti-immigrant bill in NC

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: FLOC
Categories: Labor News

China: VW workers call on parent company to assume responsibility for violations

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

7/15 ILWU Local 10 "Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives"

Current News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:46

7/15 ILWU Local 10 "Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives"

24th Annual LaborFest 2017
The Future is in Our Hands
This year marks the 83rd anniversary of the San Francisco General Strike and West Coast Maritime Strike. The General Strike was not only a victory for the ILWU longshoreman but also for hundreds of thousands of workers who joined unions from hotel workers and clerical workers to public workers. (Labor Fest)
www.laborfest.net

Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives
July 15 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Henry Schmidt Room, ILWU Local 10
400 Northpoint St.
San Fancisco

Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives – Conference

The drive to automate the docks and the maritime industry is moving forward rapidly and, in some European ports, the transfer of cargo has been automated forcing thousands of longshore workers out of the industry. The capitalists are also already working on designing automated ships with almost no crews to cut their labor costs and increase their profits. This educational conference will look at the history of containerization in the past and what longshore workers face today and in the future to defend labor union and worker rights.

Initial Speakers:

Ed Ferris: President of ILWU Local 10
Bob Carnegie: Maritime Union of Australia Queensland Branch Secretary
Raquel Varela: Instituto de História Contemporânea
Honorary Fellow IISH (Amsterdam), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Study Group on Labor and Social Conflicts
Ken Riley: President of Charleston ILA 1422 and International Dockworkers Council, North American Representative

Jack Heyman: ILWU Local 10 pensioner

Sponsored by LaborTech.net, ILWU Local 10, LaborFest, TWSC

Tags: longshorelabortechAutomationAI
Categories: Labor News

Letter To NYC TWU 100 For National March On Washington For Healthcare

Current News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:43

Letter To TWU 100 For National March On Washington For Healthcare
https://campaignforamarchonwashington.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/why-union...
CAMPAIGN FOR A MARCH ON WASHINGTON
ABOUT

CONTACT

Why Unions Must Take the Lead and Call a March on Washington to Defend Healthcare – An Open Letter to John Samuelsen, TWU International and Local 100 President
june 15, 2017 by campaignforamarchonwashington
The following letter from TWU Local 100 members was sent to TWU International and Local 100 President John Samuelsen on May 30, 2017. For more information, and to add your name to the list of signatories, write to: campaign4amarchonwashington@gmail.com.
To:
John Samuelsen
Transport Workers Union
International and Local 100 President
May 30, 2017
President Samuelsen:
We are writing to urge you to use your position as TWU Local 100 president and as the TWU’s recently elected International president, to support the call for this country’s unions to take the lead in mobilizing a March on Washington to defend healthcare.
President Trump and the Republicans in Congress are using divide-and-conquer tactics, launching one attack after another on the rights and living standards of working-class and poor people.
First they targeted Muslims, immigrants, and Blacks and Latinos with their “Muslim travel ban,” mass deportations, and end to federal oversight of local police departments found responsible for egregious and systematic racism.
Now they are targeting healthcare, pushing for reforms that will have devastating consequences for tens of millions.
And tomorrow they promise to deal a catastrophic blow to the labor movement, including TWU Local 100, by making anti-union “right-to-work” statutes the law of the land. These statutes, of course, are more accurately referred to as “right-to-scab” laws because they deny unions the right to win the requirement that all workers in an enterprise be represented by a union and have union fees collected from them.
Trump has repeatedly declared his commitment to this union-busting attack and Vice President Pence has brought prominent Republicans to the White House to discuss how to win this battle. Trump has already secured an anti-union majority on the Supreme Court and now right-wing billionaires like the oil industry’s Koch brothers and Walmart-owning Walton family are competing to bring right-to-work cases targeting public sector unions before it. Meanwhile Republicans in Congress have already introduced House Resolution 785 that would apply “right-to-work” nationwide in the private sector.[1] The consequences of these “right-to-work” attacks could be so devastating that prominent figures in the labor movement are referring to it as a potentially “extinction-level-event” for unions in this country.[2]
All these attacks are deeply connected.
Trump and the Republicans’ plan to overturn “Obamacare,” combined with their proposed budget, will:
leave an estimated 23 million people without health insurance over the next ten years;[3]
cut $1.4 trillion in funding from Medicaid;[4]
remove many of the forms of care, such as maternity care, that insurers are currently required to include in their plans as “essential coverage;”
allow states to opt out of covering pre-existing conditions and charge more to people they claim have adverse health histories
defund Planned Parenthood, which is many women’s only health care provider;
allow insurers to increase the prices of their plans; and
it will do all this so that the rich can be gifted massive tax cuts.[5]
Waiting until the next elections with the hope of voting for candidates who promise to undo this damage means accepting the suffering and death of untold numbers of working-class and poor people. Mobilizing now to defeat these outrageous attacks is a matter of life and death.
At “town hall” meetings across the country, thousands have vented their outrage at Trump and the Republicans’ plans. No matter how inspiring they have been, however, it’s clear that such scattered protests will not be enough to stop this attack. The White House’s first attempt to pass its healthcare legislation only failed because some Republicans insisted on even more draconian attacks! So the time is now, while the Senate is considering their latest legislation, to take the protests to another level. And our unions are the only mass organizations to which working-class people can turn to make that happen.
If this country’s unions announced a March on Washington to defend healthcare and then seriously organized for it, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, could be expected to rally in support. That could that deal a massive blow to Trump and the Republicans’ plans. It could create momentum to win the long-standing demand of the TWU and most other unions – quality government-provided healthcare for all, as well as embolden the struggle against Trump’s racist attacks. And it could win widespread public support for our unions – support that we will need if we are to have any hope of defeating the coming “right-to-work” attacks.
In TWU Local 100, morning- and evening-shift meetings of the Track Workers’ Division have already voted unanimously in favor of motions for you and Local 100’s Executive Board to urge all this country’s unions and union federations to call such a March on Washington, so the Division’s officers can be expected to bring it before the Executive Board for a vote at its next meeting. Meetings of the Train Operators’ Department similarly declared unanimous support for taking the idea up, with more Department meetings to come. But why wait?
President Samuelsen, you have just become president of the TWU International and so you are perfectly placed to take this initiative forward by publicly calling on all unions, union federations and councils – as well as organizations dedicated to the rights of women, Blacks and Latinos, immigrants and other oppressed people – to join and build a March on Washington to defend healthcare.
We hope you will do the right thing by advancing this call and look forward to receiving your response.
Jonathan Beatrice, NYCT​ ​Conductor,​ ​Shop​ ​Steward​ ​TWU​ ​Local​ ​100,​ ​Democratic​ ​Socialist​s ​of​ ​America*
John Ferretti, NYCT Conductor, Shop Steward TWU Local 100, Revolutionary Transit Worker newsletter
Jason Hicks, NYCT Track Worker, TWU Local 100 member, Democratic Socialists of America*
Eric Josephson, Retired NYCT Track Worker, TWU Local 100 member, League for the Revolutionary Party
Eric Loegel, NYCT Train Operator, Shop Steward TWU Local 100
Seth Rosenberg, NYCT Train Operator, TWU Local 100 member, Revolutionary Transit Worker newsletter
* Organization listed for identification purposes only
NOTES

1. Michael Paarlberg, With all eyes on Trump, Republicans are planning to break unions for good,” The Guardian, February 2, 2017; Walker’s Wisconsin could be a model for Trump on unions, Chicago Tribune, February 6, 2017.
2. Harold Meyerson, Donald Trump can kill the American union, Washington Post, November 23, 2016.
3. Rob Pear, G.O.P. Health Bill Would Leave 23 Million More Uninsured in a Decade, C.B.O. Says, New York Times, May 24, 2017.
4. Niv Elis, Trump releases budget that slashes government programs, The Hill, May 23, 2017, .
5. Sullivan, What the GOP’s plan to kill essential health benefits means, The Hill, March 23, 2017;
Sarah Kliff, The American Health Care Act: the Obamacare repeal bill the House just passed, explained, The Hill, May 4, 2017; Josh Barro, This chart shows why the GOP health plan will make health insurance more expensive, Business Insider, March 16, 2017; and Michael Hiltzik, All the horrific details of the GOP’s new Obamacare repeal bill: A handy guide, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2017.

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