Labor News

Benin: Public sector workers strike for the right to strike News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: News24
Categories: Labor News

Fiji: Fiji warned aviation stand-off will hurt tourism News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RNZI
Categories: Labor News

Germany: Thousands join industrial Worker strikes, Opel next News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

Russia: ITUC Denounces Court Decision to Dissolve Trade Union News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Transit Equity Video Townhalls "Memories of our lives, or our works and our deeds will continue in others" - Rosa Parks

Current News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:53

Transit Equity Video Townhalls "Memories of our lives, or our works and our deeds will continue in others" - Rosa Parks

Transit Equity Video Townhalls

"Memories of our lives, or our works and our deeds will continue in others" - Rosa Parks

Transit Equity Video Townhalls

"Memories of our lives, or our works and our deeds will continue in others" - Rosa Parks

Join One of Two Townhalls:
Sunday, January 28th, 2018
5:30 PM Eastern Time
and 5:30 PM Pacific

Transit Equity Day is a collaborative effort of several organizations and unions to promote public transit as a civil right and a strategy to combat climate change.
We are choosing Rosa Parks’ birthday because she is an iconic figure of the civil rights era who chose the tactic of refusing to give up her seat on the bus.[1] We want to make the connection to this act of resistance to highlight the rights of all people to high-quality public transportation powered by clean/renewable energy. This day of action will also help to enforce a broader strategy that promotes a “full spectrum” just transition from the fossil fuel economy (energy, energy efficiency, transportation, waste, agriculture…) to clean, renewable energy as part of confronting the climate crisis. Increasing, non-fossil fuel, public transportation is a foundation to achieving this transition.
A just transition requires that we uphold worker and civil rights. This means that everyone should have the right and access to free (or at least affordable) public transportation regardless of age, race, or class. It also includes supporting the rights of workers to organize in the sectors that will build, operate and maintain public transportation infrastructure, as well as provide the services.
We also want to promote the principle of public vs. private investment in public transportation – the need for public resources and infrastructure (public transportation, public regulation of our energy systems, a stronger public sector overall, etc.), to lead and administer the transition to fossil fuel free public transportation.
[1] Rosa Parks’ Birthday is February 4 and falls on a Sunday. Because of this, we are choosing Monday, February 5 as the day of action.

Tags: ATU Transit Equity Video Townhallsatuenvirornment
Categories: Labor News

Russia: Union-busting, Russian style News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: openDemocracy
Categories: Labor News

Fiji: Amnesty concerned about Fiji airport worker lockout impasse News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Fiji Times
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Teachers Union and Independent Trade Unions Blame Regime for Nationwide Protests News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Iran News Update
Categories: Labor News

Greece: No public transport in Athens as workers strike, protest austerity News - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Kathimerini
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Unions strike over curbs on right-to-strike in austerity bill News - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Deutsche Welle
Categories: Labor News

Israel: Histadrut chief: Teva is spitting in Israel's face News - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Globes Israel
Categories: Labor News

Fired Florida CSX conductor seeking whistleblower protection, changes within company

Current News - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 18:02

Fired Florida CSX conductor seeking whistleblower protection, changes within company
By: Kevin Clark , Action News Jax

Updated: Dec 1, 2017 - 9:46 AM

A former CSX employee says he was fired for speaking out about safety concerns to the company and in an interview with Action News Jax.

Louis Billingsley is now seeking whistleblower protection.

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He was fired by CSX this month after nearly 12 years as a conductor.

During a July interview with Action News Jax, Billingsley shared his concerns about the abolition of certain safety procedures for rail workers.

One policy change eliminated the three-step rule, an extra safeguard to keep cars from moving when employees are working between or under them.

Another change banned the use of the brake stick, meaning conductors now have to tie the brakes by hand.

“It’s just a matter of time before someone seriously gets hurt,” Billingsley told Action News Jax Thursday.

CSX has been under scrutiny for other operating changes since CEO Hunter Harrison took over earlier this year.

As CSX has cut jobs to try to increase efficiency, it has consolidated trains to make them longer.

Billingsley claims the trains have become too long, making it hard for rail employees to communicate from one end to the other.

The longer trains often block neighborhoods and streets for hours at a time on their way in and out of railyards.

“We need to show that we care about the public, we care about the people, and sometimes that’s worth more than record-breaking profits,” Billingsley said.

But Billingsley says when he raised these concerns, CSX became retaliatory.

A day after Billingsley interviewed with Action News Jax in July, he received a short voicemail telling him he’d been fired.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was like, ‘Wow, they really want to shut you up,’” said Billingsley.

Not 40 minutes later, another voicemail from CSX told him he’d been rehired.

“I think they realized what they did, and they put me back into service,” he said.

But for the next couple of months after that, Billingsley claims he was targeted, and that his superiors followed him around and watched his every move.

“Almost two months later, they got me. On a minor infraction,” he said.

The dismissal letter obtained by Action News Jax says Billingsley was fired for running in the gauge of the rail, operating a switch with one hand, and “not maintaining visual contact with the equipment while making a shove move.”

But Billingsley tells us everyone within CSX knew he was fired because he spoke out against the changes associated with Precision Railroading, and what he calls the “culture of fear” within the company.

“It was all from that interview I placed,” he said. “And I did the interview because I think the public needs to know what kind of environment CSX has become.”

When Action News Jax reached out to CSX for this story, a company spokesperson told us:

"CSX does not comment on individual personnel matters. Safety remains CSX’s highest priority in every aspect of our operations."

She then added:

"CSX denies any allegation that it would retaliate against an employee who raises safety concerns."

Billingsley has retained an attorney, who is filing a complaint with OSHA.

The attorney, John Magnuson, told Action News Jax that if Billingsley doesn’t get his job back, they’ll likely file a whistleblower protection lawsuit in federal court.

“I’m an example of what happens when you open your mouth and voice a concern,” Billingsley said.

Tags: CSX safetyhealth and safety whistleblower
Categories: Labor News

Florida CSX railroad worker fights firing after speaking out safety

Current News - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 17:56

Florida CSX railroad worker fights firing after speaking out safety

Vol. 82/No. 2 January 15, 2018

Fla. rail worker fights firing after speaking out
on safety

Louis Billingsley, a freight rail conductor with 12 years experience, is fighting his firing after speaking out against unsafe practices and conditions at the CSX railroad in a televised interview on CBS Action News Jax in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is CSX’s corporate headquarters.
CSX, one of the two large Class 1 railroads covering the eastern half of the country, along with Norfolk Southern, has been on a drive to combine trains, eliminate workers’ jobs and make more profit for the bosses and bondholders.

Action News Jax reported last June that freight trains often keep traffic backed up in the area for hours, preventing people from getting to work or to medical or other appointments.

One woman interviewed had to miss her treatment for Stage 3 cancer, as all roads out of her neighborhood were blocked by a train.

These longer trains are part of a drive for profits in the rail industry, especially in the seven Class 1 roads in North America — which each rake in at least $453 million annually. Together they control 69 percent of the industry’s trackage, 90 percent of its workers and 94 percent of all freight revenue.

When Billingsley was on a train crew that kept a series of crossings closed, he told Action News in July that seeing people disrupted this way “was heartbreaking.” Billingsley told the reporter that at one point he separated one of the trains in the Dinsmore neighborhood that had blocked traffic for two hours.

“These trains are getting longer and doubling up,” Billingsley told Action News, adding that CSX “stocks are going up, that’s all they care about.”

“I have to walk back here and fix the train, and my radio can’t even reach the engineer it’s so long,” he said.

The day after the interview was aired, CSX sent Billingsley a voicemail saying he was fired. Then 40 minutes later the company sent another voicemail saying he was rehired.

For the next two months, CSX managers followed Billingsley, looking to pressure him into any infraction of their rulebook. They found a pretext to fire him. Billingsley’s “crimes?” They said he stepped on a rail and threw a switch with one hand, neither of which was any conceivable threat to the communities residing near the tracks.

Billingsley has refused to be intimidated. He retained a lawyer, John Magnuson, and filed a claim with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They are considering a “whistle-blower” suit through the federal courts.

In August 2017, just eight months after CSX inaugurated its “Precision Scheduled Railroading” — a term coined by its new CEO Hunter Harrison — a two-mile-long train, hauling dangerous chemicals, derailed in Hyndman, Pennsylvania.

Tank cars filled with liquid propane and molten sulfur ruptured and burst into flames, forcing the evacuation of over 1,000 people from the town and surrounding areas for days.

Harrison’s version of “precision” railroading is admired and imitated by profit-hungry rail bosses across North America.

Harrison died suddenly in December. The bosses at CSX and its shareholders had brought him over from Canadian Pacific Railway earlier in 2017 because of his record of “turning around” the profit rates at Illinois Central Railway and Canadian National Railway.

He led the bosses there in attacks on jobs, safety conditions, elimination of less profitable yards and train combinations that led to stockholders pocketing higher returns on their shares — 516 percent at Illinois Central, 1989-97; 353 percent at Canadian National, 1998-2009; and 319 percent at Canadian Pacific.

In addition to dangerously increasing train lengths and eliminating safer practices and rules, Harrison and CSX bosses closed major yards, including in Atlanta and Cumberland, Maryland, and they’ve laid off close to 10 percent of the railroad’s 28,000 workers. Nine cars derailed on another CSX train in Hyndman Dec. 29. Management at CSX — and their competitors across the continent — have made clear they will continue their productivity and profit drive, as they have done throughout the industry for decades.

Tags: Rail safetyhealth and safetyCSX retaliation
Categories: Labor News

Protests Coast To Coast, And Even Abroad Meet The Final Phase Of The Lac-Mégantic Trial

Current News - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 16:55

Protests Coast To Coast, And Even Abroad Meet The Final Phase Of The Lac-Mégantic Trial

Richard LabrieTom Harding
The most important rail safety trial of our time will soon be in the hands of the jury. They are tasked with the difficult decision of whether or not to hold rail workers accountable for actions of their employers because it’s plain that there will be no other accountability, despite what is now a matter of public record.

The wrong people are on trial. Check out this interview with RCI, Radio Canada International.

The stakes are high. But fortunately, many people across North America are not fooled by the Crown’s phony veneer of holding people personally accountable for the tragedy. No such real personal accountability will ever be made, since the government made it’s decision to target only the last persons in a danger chain that continues across every railroad to this moment.

On January 4th and 5th, in cities across America, people took their call for real rail safety, No More Lac-Mégantics and opposition to scapegoating workers to Canadian consulates as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil. In several cases, they had to experience severe weather but came out anyway, knowing how important this case is. Active rail workers, Union members, working class militants, rail and other retirees protested in San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Washington DC and Minneapolis. Solidarity activists, Climate Change fighters, volatile oil opponents and environmental activists turned out their support to add their voices to the protests and delivering notice to the Canadian government that justice and rail safety cannot be served by framing up rail workers for the conditions they are forced, with government complicity, to work under. In some cities, they delivered printed statements and letters to consular officials.

Members of rail unions, Railroad Workers United, the United Electrical workers, Communication Workers of America and others were joined by the Workers Solidarity Action Network, the Backbone Campaign, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and many others stood up to oppose scapegoating and stand with the community of Lac-Mégantic, whose activists have an ongoing fight for the safety of their town more than 4 years after the government appointed scapegoats have had no role.

These stand up people across the country have taken their time, money and energy into the street and to the Canadian consulates because they know that their own concerns, health and safety are at stake in the outcome of the Lac-Mégantic trial.

In the court room in Sherbrooke Quebec, one of the scapegoated rail workers, Tom Harding, was able to see photographs of the protests, letting them know they are not alone in the fight for actual accountability.

On Monday, January 8, 2018, attorney Charles Shearson has begun presenting the defense of Tom Harding. That defense will be a summary of the evidence presented by the Crown prosecutors in their attempt to demonize Tom Harding as the criminally negligent cause of the wreck that nearly destroyed Lac-Mégantic and killed 47 outright. It should be noteworthy that the defense has made the determination that the facts supporting acquittal of Harding are already in evidence having been made by the Crown itself.

Sao Paulo, Brazil
The case will go to the jury this week. A conviction of one or both of the scapegoated rail workers is the signal the rail industry across the continent has been waiting for…a signal that they are free to conduct any and all of the dangerous practices and policies documented in the wreck of Lac-Mégantic, without any fear of liability. Some, like the actual policy makers and owners of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA), who are still free and running railroads around the world will breathe even easier as they take their profits; knowing that what they did will never have consequences for them.

People are watching this trial all over the world. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The activists who braved the cold last week to deliver the message that we are all watching will be talking in the coming weeks, along with their Canadian counterparts, about the next necessary steps that we must take if we are truly going to see No More Lac-Mégantics!

Canadian USW Rail Workers Harding & Labrie Are Not Guilty! Drop The Charges NOW! Rally In SF
A solidarity rally was held at the San Francisco Canadian Consulate on January 4, 2018 to demand that charges be dropped against MMA USW union railroad workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie for the deaths of 47 people in the Lac-Mégantic train wreck. The highly flammable cargo on the train cars was only manned by one worker and the evidence at the trial has shown that there were not proper safety measures in place. The company MMA and the Canadian government according to speakers is now scapegoating the workers. The Canadian government like the US government has pushed deregulation and 1 person crews being pushed by the rail owners and the speakers charged this was the real reason for this and other rail disasters in Canada and the US. A letter calling for the dropping of the charges was delivered to the Canadian Consulate.
The speakers also discussed the growing rail wrecks and dangerous transportation system in the United States and this was connected to similar efforts to downsize the staffing of the trains and deregulation. Speakers included trade unionists from SMART Local 1741 SF Bus Drivers, SEIU 1021 Social And Economic Justice Committee, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement Sacramento Chapter and members of Railroad Workers United RWU and Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN. Environmental activists also attended and spoke.
This was an international day of solidarity and there were also support actions in Chicago, Seattle, DC and in Sao Paulo, Brazil at Canadian consulates and embassies.
Additional media:…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher……/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
For further information on the case:
Harding Defense Committee
Railroad Workers United
Workers Solidarity Action Network
Production of Labor Video Project

Tags: Lac-Mégantic TrialsolidarityWSANRail safetyframe-up trial
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: Crack down on organized labour News - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: New Internationalist
Categories: Labor News

India: First IT trade union registered in Pune, aims to fight ‘illegal layoffs’ News - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Indian Express
Categories: Labor News

SF TWU 250A President Elect Roger Marenco Suspended After Winning Election

Current News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 16:21

SF TWU 250A President Elect Roger Marenco Suspended After Winning Election
SF TWU 250a Election Results Dec. 2017 And Challenge To Election of Roger Marenco-
The Transit Talk 15: SF TWU 250a Election
Results Dec. 2017 And Challenge To Election of Roger Marenco
Roger Marenco
Published on Jan 11, 2018
In this episode we do our best to clear up any confusion that our membership might have pertaining to our December 2017 election. This episode contains both good news as well as bad news and we do our best to try and answer many questions that have come forth from all of the confusion. If you still have any questions or concerns after watching the episode, please feel free to express your thoughts. Thank you.

Tags: TWU 250ASan Francisco Transit WorkersRoger Marenco
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Unions strike over new austerity bill, right to strike News - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Xinhua
Categories: Labor News


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