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9/18 SFO AA TWU 505/591 Workers Picket For A contract

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:39

9/18 SFO AA TWU 505/591 Workers Picket For A contract
Brothers & Sisters,

Please join Transport Workers Union Local 505 and 591 for an informational picket on September 18th, 10am-noon & 3pm-5pm. American Airlines promised the the best contract in the industry but after two years there is still no contract. Today, approximately 40% of American Airlines maintenance is being outsourced to foreign facilities with very little FAA oversight.

Date: Monday, September 18, 2017
Time: 10:00 am - noon & 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location:
Assembly Point - Courtyard 3, between T-2 & T-3, Downstairs
Picket Point - Terminal 2, Doorway 6, Upstairs

In Solidarity,
Susan Charles, Office Manager
San Mateo County Central Labor Council
1153 Chess Dr., Suite 200, Foster City CA 94404
Telephone: 650-572-8848
www.sanmateolaborcouncil.org

flyer

https://actionnetwork.org/user_files/user_files/000/017/726/original/TWU...

Tags: TWU 505TWU 591AA Contractunion bustingoutsourcingsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

LA ILWU Local 63 casuals protest outside union hall in Wilmington, demanding more work, benefits

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 06:01

LA ILWU Local 63 casuals protest outside union hall in Wilmington, demanding more work, benefits
http://www.presstelegram.com/social-affairs/20170908/ilwu-casuals-protes...

A casual worker grabs a sign as she walks the picket line as casual workers strike outside ILWU hall in Wilmington Friday, September 8, 2017. Several hundred casuals strike through out the day. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Daily Breeze/SCNG)
By Rachel Uranga, Long Beach Press Telegram
POSTED: 09/08/17, 6:52 PM PDT | UPDATED: 7 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

Casual workers walk the picket line as casual workers strike outside ILWU hall in Wilmington Friday, September 8, 2017. Several hundred casuals strike through out the day. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Dozens of part-time dockworkers who have been waiting for years to land a full-time job protested outside their Wilmington union hall Friday, demanding they be given benefits and more work.

“They are frustrated,” said Paul Trani, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 63, representing marine clerks. “They have been sacrificing their family. Many have two jobs.”

It was unclear how many casuals demonstrated. Unconfirmed reports put the number at 300 Friday morning, with another gathering slated for Friday afternoon.

Officials from three ILWU locals — Locals 63, 13 and 94 — issued a joint statement Friday saying that they did not condone the action.

“As always, Locals 13, 63 and 94 are committed to fill all labor needed for the movement of cargo in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the brief statement said. More than 5,000 casuals pick up intermittent work along the docks at a dispatch center in Wilmington. The workers have been preselected in a random lottery, and once they build up enough seniority, they can qualify to pick up full-time work. But those rolls are rarely opened, and many part-timers have been waiting for more than a decade to land a gig.

One woman, who did not want to give her name, said she is a 35-year-old mother who has worked on the docks for 14 years and deserves to have job security and benefits.

Earlier this year, the Pacific Maritime Association, representing shippers and terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, along with the ILWU, held a random lottery for more part-timers, effectively expanding the list and making the wait times longer for those at the very bottom.

ILWU Local 13 asked the PMA to hire 600 casuals on a full-time basis, and ILWU Local 63 asked that 100 positions be filled in its union.

“We don’t have enough clerks to fill these jobs. We want more clerks,” Trani said. “Every day there’s at least a couple hundred jobs that go unfilled by (full-time) marine clerks.”

The PMA declined to comment.

About 46 percent of those casuals trained and approved to work make themselves available during any given week last year, according to the PMA statistics. And those casuals worked on average 1.6 eight-hour shifts per week.

Tags: ILWU 63casualssolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Canada Winnipeg Airports Authority accuses striking Public Service Alliance of Canada workers of intimidation, obstructing traffic- Airports authority asks court for amendments to injunction that limits activities of striking employees

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 10:43

Canada Winnipeg Airports Authority accuses striking Public Service Alliance of Canada workers of intimidation, obstructing traffic-
Airports authority asks court for amendments to injunction that limits activities of striking employees

http://ht.ly/s5rB30eYDwj

By Dean Pritchard, CBC News Posted: Sep 06, 2017 6:01 PM CT Last Updated: Sep 06, 2017 6:01 PM CT

The Winnipeg Airports Authority was in court Wednesday seeking amendments to an injunction restricting the activities of striking employees. (CBC)

l
As a strike by 150 airport employees entered its seventh week, the Winnipeg Airports Authority returned to court Wednesday and accused striking employees of intimidating staff and patrons, obstructing traffic to the airport and wielding cameras "like weapons."

The airports authority is asking Justice Herbert Rempel to beef up and amend an interim court injunction issued Aug. 4 that limits the activities of striking employees.

Duty managers, administrative workers, various tradespeople, IT workers, airfield maintenance personnel and labourers at the airport went on strike July 24 and set up a picket line at the airport.

Winnipeg Airports Authority wins court injunction against striking workers
"All of this conduct is new, it's egregious, it's threatening," Winnipeg Airports Authority lawyer Rod Roy told Rempel.

Roy alleged striking employees have obstructed traffic at Wellington Avenue and Route 90, a major route to the airport, putting motorists at risk. Police have been unresponsive, which leaves only the courts to resolve the issue, Roy argued.

"God forbid that something should happen at the intersection" and someone gets hurt, Roy said.

No evidence police haven't acted on complaints: PSAC lawyer

Rempel questioned whether he has authority to restrict activities on a public roadway well off the airport authority's property.

"If something bad is happening, isn't that on the police?" Rempel said. "As I see it, these would be offences under the Highway Traffic Act. The police don't have discretion when and when not to enforce the law."

Roy said it doesn't matter whether the traffic obstruction occurs "10 feet, 100 feet or 1,000 metres away" from airport property — the goal is the same, and is "to inconvenience and create a nuisance for the WAA."

The court has been provided no evidence motorists complained to police about the road obstruction and nothing was done, said John Harvie, lawyer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing the striking workers.

"Where is that evidence?" Harvie said. "It's not here."

Airports authority seeks injunction against employees accused of picketing at private homes
Strike begins for 150 Winnipeg airport workers
Roy alleged striking workers have actively harassed employees who have chosen to return to work.

"They are being pilloried, vilified and, indeed, threatened implicitly or explicitly by having their personal information and images put on social media, they are being accosted in grocery stores," Roy said. "Who is going to protect them if not the airport and the court?"

Roy also accused striking workers of aggressively filming employees and others as they entered the airport.

"They are filming as a weapon … right in their face, within a few feet, circling them," Roy said. "It has nothing to do with monitoring the picket line."

Harvie said there is no need to "parse" what kind of filming is and isn't allowed, arguing that question can be adequately addressed by the existing injunction.

Rempel will deliver his decision on the amendment motion Thursday afternoon.

Transport Canada is "monitoring the strike situation" and working with the WAA "to verify that airport operations continue to meet aviation safety and security regulations," a spokesperson said in an email to CBC.

"Transport Canada has not taken enforcement action at the Winnipeg International Airport during the strike period," the spokesperson said.

Tags: Public Service Alliance of CanadaWinnipeg Airport Workersstrike actionrepression
Categories: Labor News

Long Island Local 813 Teamster with no criminal record deported to Guatemala days after immigration check-in — with no notice to his family

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 20:34

Long Island IBT Local 813 Teamster with no criminal record deported to Guatemala days after immigration check-in — with no notice to his family
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/teamster-deported-notice-family-supp...
Eber Garcia Vasquez pictured with one of his grandchildren. Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children, and three grandchildren.
Eber Garcia Vasquez pictured with one of his grandchildren. Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children, and three grandchildren.(COURTESY OF EBER VASQUEZ)

GINGER ADAMS OTIS
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2017, 4:52 PM
Thirteen days after he showed up for his annual check-in with immigration officials, Eber Garcia Vasquez — a 26-year Teamster living on Long Island with a clean criminal record — was deported with no notice to his family.

Garcia, 54, called his wife Wednesday from Guatemala to let her know he'd been sent back to the country of his birth, which he'd left nearly three decades ago in the middle of a violent civil war to seek asylum in the U.S.

His abrupt removal from the country came just one day after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents denied two appeals of his deportation order filed by Garcia's attorney.

An immigration Board of Appeal also denied a motion filed by Garcia's attorney to reconsider his deportation because the married father of three American-born children has a valid green card application pending.

Guatemalan mom seeks refuge from deportation at NYC church

He was detained by ICE officials Aug. 24 and sent to a federal holding facility in Bergen County, N.J.

When his appeals were denied Tuesday, an ICE official told Garcia's attorney his deportation was imminent.

By Wednesday, he was back in Guatemala and his family only learned of his removal when he called to tell them where he was, his union said.

An ICE official confirmed his deportation.

"Garcia Vasquez was removed to his native country yesterday without incident," the spokeswoman said.

Teamsters Local 813, which represents workers at the Long Island waste facility where Garcia worked since 1991, had mounted a determined effort to pressure ICE and Homeland Security officials into releasing him.

Backed by elected politicians, the Teamsters held a press conference in front of ICE offices in lower Manhattan — but their pleas to allow Garcia to remain in the U.S. while his green card was processed came to naught.

"I am saddened, and frankly shocked that Eber was deported so quickly. This is happening to thousands of immigrants across the country and the inhumanity is obvious in each story. Today a family was torn apart, and now is without a breadwinner," said George Miranda, head of Teamsters Joint Council 16.

Family devastated after L.I. father detained for deportation

Garcia at work for Teamsters Local 813, where he worked for 26 years.
Garcia at work for Teamsters Local 813, where he worked for 26 years. (COURTESY OF EBER VASQUEZ)
"Our union lost a valued member ... In the coming days we will be setting up a fund for the Garcia Vasquez family to help them cover their expenses. We will continue fighting for justice for all immigrants," Miranda said.

Garcia's wife Maria, who recently moved with their youngest daughter to Virginia to escape gang violence on Long Island, has been in a wheelchair for the past four months after a horrific car accident.

Without Garcia's earnings, the family could lose its Virginia home, their attorney said.

Garcia came to the U.S. in the 1980s and filed an asylum claim with the government. He was granted permission to work while his case wound its way through the courts.

Rally held in NYC to free Guatemalan set for deportation

Several of his family members in Guatemala, including his mother, have been killed.

Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children and three grandchildren.

His asylum case was finally resolved in 2013, and not in his favor. The courts denied Garcia asylum status but under President Obama's policies he was allowed to stay in the U.S. while his green card petition was sorted out.

Garcia, with his clean criminal background and solid work history, was given the okay to return to his life as long as he checked in annually with ICE.

Guatemalan immigrant denied motion for stay of deportation

When he went for his annual check-in Aug. 24, officials told his attorney his stay of deportation would not be renewed and he was marked for deportation.

His wife and his oldest son Melvin, 25, are U.S. citizens and both have filed green card applications for him — which could possibly get him back into the U.S. within one or two years, his attorney said.

But as the sole means of financial support for his family, the economic damage done to them by Garcia's absence will be hard to repair, the attorney noted.

Tags: IBT Teamster Deportedimmigrant deportedTeamsters Local 813
Categories: Labor News

Long Island Teamster with no criminal record deported to Guatemala days after immigration check-in — with no notice to his family

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 20:34

Long Island Teamster with no criminal record deported to Guatemala days after immigration check-in — with no notice to his family
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/teamster-deported-notice-family-supp...
Eber Garcia Vasquez pictured with one of his grandchildren. Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children, and three grandchildren.
Eber Garcia Vasquez pictured with one of his grandchildren. Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children, and three grandchildren.(COURTESY OF EBER VASQUEZ)

GINGER ADAMS OTIS
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2017, 4:52 PM
Thirteen days after he showed up for his annual check-in with immigration officials, Eber Garcia Vasquez — a 26-year Teamster living on Long Island with a clean criminal record — was deported with no notice to his family.

Garcia, 54, called his wife Wednesday from Guatemala to let her know he'd been sent back to the country of his birth, which he'd left nearly three decades ago in the middle of a violent civil war to seek asylum in the U.S.

His abrupt removal from the country came just one day after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents denied two appeals of his deportation order filed by Garcia's attorney.

An immigration Board of Appeal also denied a motion filed by Garcia's attorney to reconsider his deportation because the married father of three American-born children has a valid green card application pending.

Guatemalan mom seeks refuge from deportation at NYC church

He was detained by ICE officials Aug. 24 and sent to a federal holding facility in Bergen County, N.J.

When his appeals were denied Tuesday, an ICE official told Garcia's attorney his deportation was imminent.

By Wednesday, he was back in Guatemala and his family only learned of his removal when he called to tell them where he was, his union said.

An ICE official confirmed his deportation.

"Garcia Vasquez was removed to his native country yesterday without incident," the spokeswoman said.

Teamsters Local 813, which represents workers at the Long Island waste facility where Garcia worked since 1991, had mounted a determined effort to pressure ICE and Homeland Security officials into releasing him.

Backed by elected politicians, the Teamsters held a press conference in front of ICE offices in lower Manhattan — but their pleas to allow Garcia to remain in the U.S. while his green card was processed came to naught.

"I am saddened, and frankly shocked that Eber was deported so quickly. This is happening to thousands of immigrants across the country and the inhumanity is obvious in each story. Today a family was torn apart, and now is without a breadwinner," said George Miranda, head of Teamsters Joint Council 16.

Family devastated after L.I. father detained for deportation

Garcia at work for Teamsters Local 813, where he worked for 26 years.
Garcia at work for Teamsters Local 813, where he worked for 26 years. (COURTESY OF EBER VASQUEZ)
"Our union lost a valued member ... In the coming days we will be setting up a fund for the Garcia Vasquez family to help them cover their expenses. We will continue fighting for justice for all immigrants," Miranda said.

Garcia's wife Maria, who recently moved with their youngest daughter to Virginia to escape gang violence on Long Island, has been in a wheelchair for the past four months after a horrific car accident.

Without Garcia's earnings, the family could lose its Virginia home, their attorney said.

Garcia came to the U.S. in the 1980s and filed an asylum claim with the government. He was granted permission to work while his case wound its way through the courts.

Rally held in NYC to free Guatemalan set for deportation

Several of his family members in Guatemala, including his mother, have been killed.

Garcia built a life here with his wife, four children and three grandchildren.

His asylum case was finally resolved in 2013, and not in his favor. The courts denied Garcia asylum status but under President Obama's policies he was allowed to stay in the U.S. while his green card petition was sorted out.

Garcia, with his clean criminal background and solid work history, was given the okay to return to his life as long as he checked in annually with ICE.

Guatemalan immigrant denied motion for stay of deportation

When he went for his annual check-in Aug. 24, officials told his attorney his stay of deportation would not be renewed and he was marked for deportation.

His wife and his oldest son Melvin, 25, are U.S. citizens and both have filed green card applications for him — which could possibly get him back into the U.S. within one or two years, his attorney said.

But as the sole means of financial support for his family, the economic damage done to them by Garcia's absence will be hard to repair, the attorney noted.

Tags: IBT Teamster Deportedimmigrant deportedTeamsters Local 813
Categories: Labor News

British Airways risks strike action by Unite and GMB over plans to curb pension benefits

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 20:06

British Airways risks strike action by Unite and GMB over plans to curb pension benefits
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/07/british-airways-naps-pe...
Unite and GMB unions make veiled threat after airline proposes overhaul to limit payouts from defined benefits scheme
A BA plane
BA says it has put £3.5bn into the Naps scheme since 2003. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA
Rob Davies
@ByRobDavies
Thursday 7 September 2017 14.31 EDTFirst published on Thursday 7 September 2017 13.45 EDT
British Airways could face further industrial action, this time over plans to curb retirement benefits for 17,000 pension scheme members, a move unions say would have consequences for the carrier.

The airline is proposing an overhaul that would limit retirement payouts from its defined benefit scheme (Naps). It blamed low interest rates and rising life expectancy for an increase in the scheme’s deficit to £3.5bn from £2.8bn in 2015.

British Airways cabin crew extend strike for further two weeks
Read more
BA will close the scheme to future accruals, meaning that staff will not see their retirement payout increase in line with their salary and the length of their service. Instead the airline is understood to be considering opening a new scheme that will include the Naps members along with 20,000 members of its less-generous defined contribution scheme (Barp), under which payouts are tied to the performance of investments.

Despite claiming this would yield “improved terms for the majority of UK colleagues”, BA faced a veiled threat from the Unite and GMB trade unions of fresh strikes, adding to 85 days of industrial action so far this year.

“Unite and GMB within British Airways must express on behalf of our members and in the strongest possible terms, both our dismay and bitter disappointment,” the unions said a joint statement.

“Thousands of loyal and long-serving staff, who have helped build British Airways into a world-class flag carrier for this country and one of the most recognisable global brands, now face uncertainty in their retirement. Both unions jointly demand urgent talks to discuss both the impact of this announcement, if a solution can be found and, if not, the consequences the airline may face.”

Financial analysts employed by the unions are understood to have made proposals to whittle down the scheme’s deficit that would have seen members accept lower payouts in return for higher contributions from the airline.

Advertisement

But BA said it had put £3.5bn into Naps since 2003, the year it was closed to new members, but had been unable to plug an

Tags: BA StrikeUniteGMBPensions
Categories: Labor News

British Airways risks strike action by Unite and GMB over plans to curb pension benefits

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 20:06

British Airways risks strike action by Unite and GMB over plans to curb pension benefits
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/07/british-airways-naps-pe...
Unite and GMB unions make veiled threat after airline proposes overhaul to limit payouts from defined benefits scheme
A BA plane
BA says it has put £3.5bn into the Naps scheme since 2003. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA
Rob Davies
@ByRobDavies
Thursday 7 September 2017 14.31 EDTFirst published on Thursday 7 September 2017 13.45 EDT
British Airways could face further industrial action, this time over plans to curb retirement benefits for 17,000 pension scheme members, a move unions say would have consequences for the carrier.

The airline is proposing an overhaul that would limit retirement payouts from its defined benefit scheme (Naps). It blamed low interest rates and rising life expectancy for an increase in the scheme’s deficit to £3.5bn from £2.8bn in 2015.

British Airways cabin crew extend strike for further two weeks
Read more
BA will close the scheme to future accruals, meaning that staff will not see their retirement payout increase in line with their salary and the length of their service. Instead the airline is understood to be considering opening a new scheme that will include the Naps members along with 20,000 members of its less-generous defined contribution scheme (Barp), under which payouts are tied to the performance of investments.

Despite claiming this would yield “improved terms for the majority of UK colleagues”, BA faced a veiled threat from the Unite and GMB trade unions of fresh strikes, adding to 85 days of industrial action so far this year.

“Unite and GMB within British Airways must express on behalf of our members and in the strongest possible terms, both our dismay and bitter disappointment,” the unions said a joint statement.

“Thousands of loyal and long-serving staff, who have helped build British Airways into a world-class flag carrier for this country and one of the most recognisable global brands, now face uncertainty in their retirement. Both unions jointly demand urgent talks to discuss both the impact of this announcement, if a solution can be found and, if not, the consequences the airline may face.”

Financial analysts employed by the unions are understood to have made proposals to whittle down the scheme’s deficit that would have seen members accept lower payouts in return for higher contributions from the airline.

Advertisement

But BA said it had put £3.5bn into Naps since 2003, the year it was closed to new members, but had been unable to plug an

Tags: BA StrikeUniteGMBPensions
Categories: Labor News

MI Grand Rapids ATU 836 Members and Supporters disrupt planned Labor Day walk by Union Busting Mayor

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 08:53

MI Grand Rapids ATU 836 Members and Supporters disrupt planned Labor Day walk by Union Busting Mayor
"Members of the ATU have been without a contract for over two years and Mayor Bliss is a Rapids Transit board member. The board voted in favor of a merit increase for Rapid CEO Peter Varga during the August 30, 2017 board meeting where DeShane was arrested."
http://www.therapidian.org/placematters-protesters-disrupt-planed-labor-...

John Rothwell
9/05/17 03:58pm - Place Matters
During the Grand Rapids Labor Day Bridge Walk, on Monday, September 4, 2017, protestors disrupted Mayor Bliss' planned remarks.

/John Rothwell
ATU supporters protest at the start of Grand Rapids Labor-day walk

Protesters block Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss from addressing walker at the start of the local Labor Day Bridge Walk /John Rothwell

Michelle Covington (Left) Mayor Bliss and Lupe Ramos-Montigny (Red white and blue top) Walking in the Labor day walk. /John Rothwell

After a one-year hiatus, the Grand Rapids Labor Day Bridge Walk was back in full stride on Monday, September 4, 2017. As hundreds of participants lined up to start the five-mile walk, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss was disrupted from addressing the crowd when she was met by protesters supporting the local Amalgamated Transit Union. She stepped back and started the walk early as a result.

The ATU has been in a contract dispute with The Rapid for over two years. Social Alternative Grand Rapids members came out to work with, and support the ATU in shutting down Mayor Bliss from speaking to the walkers and to bring attention to the lack of contract.

“She is largely responsible for this union busting that is going on with The Rapid,” branch organizer of Social Alternative Grand Rapids Philip Snyder said. “Frankly, how dare she speak on Labor Day at Laborfest as a quote union supporter, when in actuality she is fighting unions every step of the way.”

As the protest was taking place, walking participants involved were booing and yelling at the protesters. Many could be overheard asking the protesters why they were disrupting a family event and what were they doing protesting on a holiday, with some going as far to call the protesters anti-American and Commies.

“It was certainly ironic, but somewhat expected, that people were booing. The protest and support being held in a conservative town such as Grand Rapids (is ironic),” Snyder said. “Labor Day has lost a lot of its meaning as a holiday for workers. It is now a long weekend to shop at sales, go to the beach, camp or a last time downtown. We are having a beer tent. People do not associate the day with labor anymore.”

Walking participant Michelle Covington felt that the Mayor needed some security or a body guard, reporting her concern to the Grand Rapids Police. Shortly after, Mayor Bliss was met by Grand Rapids Police where she exited the walk on her own behalf as participants continued on.

Lupe Ramos-Montigny walked next to the Mayor in support of Labor Day and general labor in the area.

“I believe in open protest, that we have the freedom of speech, but what I do not agree with is harassment," Ramos-Montigny said.

Protesters were glad to see the mayor leave.

"It's Labor Day, she's a union buster. She (Bliss) does not belong here, so we came here and started chanting, go home Bliss, union busting is disgusting,” Local ATU member Louis DeShane said. “At Scribner and Bridge we finally blocked her at the corner there, and she finally left. So we were like na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey good-bye. Our goal was accomplished, we shut her down.”

Members of the ATU have been without a contract for over two years and Mayor Bliss is a Rapids Transit board member. The board voted in favor of a merit increase for Rapid CEO Peter Varga during the August 30, 2017 board meeting where DeShane was arrested.

The War On Grand Rapids ATU 836 Pensions & Union Rights With Local 836 Pres RiChard Jackson
https://youtu.be/MZdN76_uG8c
Union busters and politicians in Grand Rapids, Michigan have sought to break the ATU Local 836 transit workers union reported ATU 836 president RiChard Jackson. They have sought to ban the members from handing out flyers on off-work time and have ordered the police to visit students and workers who are supporting this fight to defend their defined pension benefits. This presentation and interview took place in Chicago on April 3, 2016 at the 2016 Labor Notes convention.
For more information media:
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww3-22-16-atu-hanley-on-sanders-tr...
Facebook ATUGR
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww2-15-16-chicago-fired-atu241-ex-...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5jaBcpHZGc
http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=6121
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ATU 836union bustingGrand Rapids Mayor
Categories: Labor News

Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 14:40

Boston area transit privatization plan goes forward amid allegations of corruption/mismanagement
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/09/02/mbta-s02.html
By John Marion
2 September 2017
The privatization of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) serving greater Boston is moving forward, amidst allegations of mismanagement and corruption on the part of state officials. This has included the hiring of a General Executive to head the system with no previous transportation experience and conflicts of interest in the hiring of contractors.
After record snowfalls in February 2015 caused the near-collapse of Boston’s public transportation system, the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker jumped at the opportunity to use the crisis as an excuse for the privatization of the system. The MBTA — including buses, subways, trolleys, and heavy commuter rail — had been a public agency for more than 50 years.
Baker created an unelected Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), which has attacked workers’ benefits while privatizing cash handling, spare parts warehouses, customer service jobs, and now three of the system’s bus maintenance yards. In December 2016 the FMCB used the threat of privatization to force Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589, the largest MBTA union, into a deal which slashed raises in a contract that wasn’t set to expire for another two years.
A Human Resources Workforce & Strategy update, summarizing the first six months of this year and available on the FMCB’s web site, states that 746 workers have been “separated,” through being either fired or goaded into early retirement agreements. The average yearly salary of these workers is $76,000; the average salary of the 348 new hires during this period is $60,900. The report boasts that 65 workers were fired during the first six months of this year for attendance violations.
However, neither price nor quality is being considered in the hiring of executives, who are euphemistically referred to as “talent.” On August 15 the MBTA announced that Luis Manuel Ramírez, a former Siemens and General Electric executive with no public transportation experience, has been hired as the system’s General Manager.
The MBTA paid Lochlin Partners, a recruiting firm, $93,000 for the hire and will be paying Ramírez more than $300,000 per year plus bonuses.
After his GE career, Ramírez was President and CEO of Global Power Equipment Group from 2012 to 2015. Accounting and audit controls at the company were so bad that in March 2017 it submitted a filing to the SEC admitting that its financial statements from 2011-2015 could “‘not be relied on.’” Its stock value has dropped by nearly 75 percent since then, according to a report aired on radio station WBUR.
On May 6 2015, less than two months after Ramírez left the company, Global Power issued a press release admitting that it had understated the cost of sales in its 2014 financial statements, the effect of which was to inflate the profits shown on its income statement. One week later a class action lawsuit against Global Power was filed by stockholders stating that the company’s financial statements had been “materially false and misleading.” Ramírez had signed off on the 2014 financial statements.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, who made the decision without public input, told WBUR that she “‘selected Luis Ramírez based on his long and successful career of transforming and turning around complex organizations.” In other words, she hired a financial con man to accelerate the privatization of the MBTA and clamp down on workers.
After the February 2015 winter crisis, the Massachusetts legislature — both houses of which were controlled by Democrats — passed a measure sought by Governor Baker to exempt the MBTA from an existing law that limited the privatization of government services. The 2015 measure also gave the Transportation Secretary authority to hire a General Manager without the public input that was previously part of the process.
Pollack appointed a five-member “advisory committee” for the selection process, and it included two members of the FMCB. One of them, Monica Tibbits-Nutt, was interviewed by WBUR after the scandal broke.
Claiming that “‘our job was to give the potential candidates a really thorough understanding of what the MBTA needs,’” Tibbits-Nutt told the interviewer that she had only two meetings with Ramírez and the second was “‘just a handshake.’” She defended the hire with the excuse that “‘a lot of litigation happens in the corporate world,’” and admitted that she had been told nothing about the lawsuit, the SEC investigation, or the financial restatements.
This combination of corporate plunder and irrationality is not limited to the hiring of a public transportation General Manager with no public transportation experience. On Tuesday the Boston Globe reported that a contract to CH2M Hill Companies to manage the construction of a 4.7-mile Green Line trolley extension has been canceled because an engineering company it would have managed on the project has bought CH2M Hill.
The MBTA plans to hire another contractor and is claiming that the project schedule will not change, but this development adds to 27 years of delays. The construction, which would extend trolley service from Lechmere station in Cambridge to Somerville and Medford, was first approved by the state legislature in 1990.
The project was almost cancelled at the end of 2015 because cost estimates had increased by more than $1 billion. An Interim Project Management Team was appointed and released its final report in May 2016, stating that not enough MBTA staff were working on the project to handle “the dozens of consultants,” and “too much autonomy and authority was ceded to consultants who took full advantage by charging too much.”
Money also would have been siphoned off by bond investors after then-Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, signed a law authorizing the issuance of $1.3 billion worth of capital bonds.
A cheaper construction plan was then devised which would eliminate escalators and toilets and reduce shelter at stops to open-air roofs over the platforms. The Medford Street and School Street bridges in Somerville, which would have been replaced to provide a better right-of-way, will instead have tunnels dug under their abutments.
The Democratic Party has enabled these schemes while working with the unions to contain workers’ anger. US Senator Edward Markey spoke at an August 11 picket at the Lynn bus maintenance facility, one of the three facing privatization.
However, all sides agree that the maintenance jobs must be “saved” at the expense of the workers. Indeed, the mechanics union has offered some $29 million in concessions in ongoing contract talks. The unions main concern is not workers jobs and benefits, but their right to continue the collection of dues payments.

Tags: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)privatizationcorruptiontransit workers
Categories: Labor News

Japan Rail And Militant Unions Call For Rally On Nov 5 In Tokyo

Sun, 09/03/2017 - 14:15

Revive Militant Labor Unions! Victory for the Struggle of National Railways!
10 Thousand Workers’ Grand March against War, Privatization and Dismantling of Labor Laws

Call for endorsement to, and participation in,
November 5 National Workers’ All-Out Rally /
Stop Constitutional Revision! 10 Thousand Workers’ Grand March

Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)
Metal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)
Nationwide Movement against the Division and Privatization of National Railways and for the Withdrawal of the Dismissal of 1047 National Railway Workers (Nationwide Movement of National Railway Struggle)

It was 1998 when we, the three unions—Kan-Nama, Minato-Godo and Doro-Chiba—started holding the November National Workers All-out Rally with a call for establishing a nationwide network of militant labor unions. Though we were well aware at that moment that our endeavor was too reckless as a small stream, we boldly dared to issue an appeal to workers all over the country. And now this autumn we are going to hold the 20th November rally. We would like to express our greatest thanks for the efforts of all the organizers, participants and supporters toward the realization of our ideals. And again we appeal to you. The time has come for us to rise up with firm determination. After 20 years of strenuous efforts to revive labor movement, the time is coming to closely associate our efforts with a furious voice of people now filled in our society.
The brake on war drive is going to be released. The crisis of war over Korean Peninsula and East Asia is imminent. Abe government forcibly enacted recently security-related laws1) (war laws) and conspiracy law2), and in line with that, declared to have a new Constitution enacted in 2020. A string of recent suspicious political issues—Moritomo Gakuen3) &Kake Gakuen4) Scandals and Defense Ministry’s disclosure of daily report issue5) have exposed evil and corruption prevail in Abe’s inner circle. Although being on the verge of a crisis, Abe does not change his policy to submit a draft of revised Constitution of Liberal Democratic Party to an extraordinary Diet session scheduled for this fall. “Stop war” has been a consistent and biggest agenda for Japan’s postwar labor movement. We shall never let war start again. It is high time to go back to the starting point and unite every angry voice of working class people.
1. Security related laws: the laws allow Japan to fight overseas in the name of “right to collective self-defense” for the first time after WWII under the war-renouncing Constitution.
2. Conspiracy Law: the law allows authorities to criminalize planning and preparations to commit crime.
3. Moritomo Gakuen Scandal: a private educational firm with a nationalist bent, secured a huge and suspicious discount on state-owned land at a seventh of its listed price for a new elementary school. Shinzo Abe, his wife Akie and prominent politicians support its conservative education ethos.
4. Kake Gakuen Scandal; Kake Gakuen won approval from the central government to open a new veterinary department of its Okayama University of Science in a special strategic zone. It is suspected that the government might have chosen Kake Gakuen for the deregulation project because of Abe’s close friendship with Kake.
5. Defense Ministry’s daily report issue: The allegations of a cover-up involving logs that recorded the daily activities of troops serving as UN peacekeepers in South Sudan and the then Defense Minister Tomomi Inada’s alleged involvement. The logs described particularly tense situations in the fledgling African country and their disclosure last year could have adversely affected the government's push to continue the troop deployment and assign new, and possibly riskier, security responsibilities during the UN mission.
Abe government is attempting to deliver a death blow to the postwar labor laws by establishing so-called “Work Style Reform.” The core intent of this reform is to abolish regulation on dismissal and create a society where there are no regular job workers (total casualization of workers). “Zero Overtime Pay Bill” will be submitted to an extraordinary Diet session this fall. The conversion of fixed-term employment to permanent employment begins from April next year. This really is a brutal attack on 4.5 million targeted workers that force them into a “regular employee in name only” who will be paid at about the same level as minimum wages. Employment system is now going to be destroyed fundamentally. The government is promoting to privatize all public services and works, dismantle social security system and abandon rural areas. A total breakdown of society is now beginning.
Some executives of Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) are showing their readiness to accept the Zero Overtime Pay Bill at the meeting with Prime Minister Abe. But a large number of labor unions and workers affiliated to Rengo opposed it and protested calling for the federation to withdraw the acceptance of the government’s request immediately. Although the Abe government attempted to create its power base within Rengo to publicly support its policy of Constitutional revision that can legally wage war and dismantling of the labor law, it has failed for the time being because it was too coercive. In the prewar period, the government abolished independent labor unions and organized all industrial workers into company-by-company political cells called Industrial Patriotic Associations (Sangyo Houkokukai) in 1940. In postwar period, in 1946, the Japanese Congress of Industrial Organizations (Sanbetu Kaigi) was formed but disbanded during the Korean War in 1950. Instead, the General Council of Japanese Trade Unions (Sohyo) was established. The division and Privatization of Japan National Railways (JNR) in 1987 resulted in breaking-up of the Sohyo and was replaced by the Rengo. The forth transformation of national federation of labor unions is now going to start in Japan. This shows that the time has come to discuss about how we transform and reorganize our labor movement.
The 30-year struggle against the division and privatization of JNR has been actually the biggest showdown over union busting in post-war Japan. At the same time, it has played a decisive role in stopping the revision of the Japanese Constitution. From the onset, the underlying intention of the division and privatization of JNR has been the “laying the foundations for enshrining a strong Constitution through the privatization and division of the JNR, that would bring about destruction of the National Railway Workers’ Union”. It was openly declared by the then Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Now, under the banner of “Withdraw the dismissal of 1,047 National Railway Workers! Smash the outsourcing, personnel transfer and irregular employment!” we are determined to launch fierce counter-offensive.
The November Rally has been developed into international solidarity struggle against war and neoliberalism since 2003 by demanding an end to the Iraq war. Last year, we successfully started to organize this rally as part of the epoch-making “International Joint Action in November in Tokyo and Seoul” with a call for all over the world. This year, the November Rally will be held by welcoming Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and many foreign union representatives.
We have decided with a fresh determination for a significant leap forward, to carry out the 20th anniversary of the rally on November 5th with a new scheme in two steps:
From noon to 2pm: National Workers All-out Rally against war, privatization and dismantling of the labor law
From 2pm: People’s All-out Rally against constitutional revision and Ten Thousand People’s March in Ginza, downtown Tokyo
We would like to step into a new phase of revitalizing labor movement. Let’s stop the revision of the Japanese Constitution and war! Let’s crush neoliberalism! We sincerely ask your endorsement to and participation in November 5 National Workers All-out Rally and Ten Thousand People’s Grand March”.

Name of the event: November 5th National Workers All-out Rally for victory of national railway workers’ struggle and revival of militant labor unions.
Ten Thousand People’s Grand March (International Joint Action in Tokyo and Seoul) against war, privatization and dismantling of labor law
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Time: 12:00 noon
Venue: Hibiya Open-air Music Hall, Tokyo
Contact: Doro-Chiba@doro-chiba.org

Tags: Doro-ChibaMetal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-Nama)Warimperialism
Categories: Labor News

The US celebrates Labor Day because of a bloody railroad clash over 100 years ago that left 30 people dead and cost $80 million in damages

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 16:55

The US celebrates Labor Day because of a bloody railroad clash over 100 years ago that left 30 people dead and cost $80 million in damages
http://www.businessinsider.com/labor-day-history-2017-8?r=UK&IR=T

Áine Cain
12h 6,272

Fighting in Chicago spiraled out of control and cost 30 people their lives. Wikimedia Commons

• Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, after the Pullman strike.

• The bloody strike led to 30 deaths and millions of dollars in damage.

• The strike prompted Congress and US President Grover Cleveland to establish the holiday.

Labor Day tends to be a pretty low-key US holiday.

Workers across the country typically receive a Monday off to enjoy the unofficial end of summer and shop the sales.

But the history behind the day is far more dramatic and charged than this modern day observance suggests. US President Grover Cleveland signed the holiday into law just days after federal troops brought down the bloody Pullman strike in 1894.

Indiana state professor and labor historian Richard Schneirov, who edited "The Pullman Strike and the Crisis of the 1890s," told Business Insider that this particular strike proved to be a sort of "culmination" of the fraught debate over labor, capital, and unions in the 19th century.

The setting for the strike was the company town of Pullman, Chicago. The Pullman Company hawked an aspirational product: luxury rail cars.

A contemporary drawing depicts strikers clashing with troops.Wikimedia Commons

Engineer and industrialist George Pullman's workers all lived in company-owned buildings. The town was highly stratified. Pullman himself lived in a mansion, managers resided in houses, skilled workers lived in small apartments, and laborers stayed in barracks-style dormitories. The housing conditions were cramped by modern standards, but the town was sanitary and safe, and even included paved streets and stores.

Then the disastrous economic depression of the 1890s struck. Pullman made a decision to cut costs — by lowering wages.

In a sense, workers throughout Chicago, and the country at large, were in the same boat as the Pullman employees. Wages dropped across the board, and prices fell. However, after cutting pay by nearly 30%, Pullman refused to lower the rent on the company-owned buildings and the prices in the company-owned stores accordingly.

Schneirov said it became more and more difficult for the Pullman workers to support their families.

Sympathy for the Pullman workers' plight spread throughout the city — even the Chicago police took up collections for those affected.

The workers ultimately launched a strike on May 11, 1894, receiving support from the American Railway Union.

Immediately, different groups stepped in to intervene, including The Chicago Civic Foundations and the US Conference of Mayors.

But Pullman was unmoved. He refused to even meet with the strikers.

"He just wouldn't talk," Schneirov said. "He refused. Until the age of Reagan, this is the last great situation where a leading capitalist could get away with that."

Pullman's stance earned him widespread rebuke. Fellow business mogul and Republican politician Mark Hanna called him a "damn fool" for refusing to "talk with his men." Chicago mayor John Hopkins loathed Pullman, having previously owned a business in the rail car magnate's Arcade Building. As a result, the local police did little to quell the growing unrest.

The tension then escalated when Eugene Debs, president of the nationwide American Railroad Union (ARU), declared that ARU members would no longer work on trains that included Pullman cars. The move would be widely criticized by other labor groups and the press, and the boycott would end up bringing the railroads west of Chicago to a standstill. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, 125,000 workers across 29 railroad companies quit their jobs rather than break the boycott.

Eugene Debs was widely criticized for disrupting train traffic.Wikimedia Commons

When the railroad companies hired strikebreakers as replacements, strikers also took action.

Schneirov said it was common for working class communities to come together to support striking workers.

"When they began running the trains, crowds of railroad workers would form to try to stop them from running," Schneirov said. "There was a lot of sympathy from people. They'd come out and try to help the railroad workers stop the trains. They might even be initiators of standing in front of the tracks and chucking pieces of coal and rocks and pieces of wood. Then there would be lots of kids, lots of teenagers, out of work or just hanging around and looking to join in for the fun."

Things escalated from there.

The General Managers Association, a group which represented 26 Chicago railroad companies, began to plan a counterattack. It asked attorney general Richard Olney, a former railroad attorney, to intervene. Indianapolis federal courts granted him an injunction against the strike, on the grounds that law and order had broken down in Chicago.

Pro-labor Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld refused to authorize President Cleveland to send in federal troops, asserting that allegations of societal breakdown had been grossly exaggerated. But the federal government ultimately sent in soldiers to enforce the injunction. Meanwhile, the General Managers Association was able to deputize federal marshals to help put down the strike.

"The whole thing is the most one-sided, biased action on the part of the federal government in a labor dispute that you could think of," Schneirov said.

Violence raged as Chicago swelled with soldiers and strikers clashed with troops on railroads across the west. Federal forces went city by city to break the strikes and get the trains running again. In the end, 30 people died in the chaos. The riots and sabotage caused by the strike ultimately cost $80 million in damages.

Schneirov said Cleveland's decision to declare Labor Day as a holiday for workers was likely a move meant to please his constituents after the controversial handling of the strike. The president was a Democrat, and most urban laborers at the time were Catholic Democrats.

"It's also part of the growing legitimacy of labor unions in the country," he said. "Unions were becoming very popular with working people. Even if they couldn't join a union, the idea of the union was popular."

Labor Day wasn't the only product of the strike. Debs was arrested and jailed for six months. The ARU, one of the biggest unions of its time, fell apart. Pullman died of a heart attack three years after the riots. Investigations were launched over the incident and found that Pullman was partly to blame for what happened. These reports helped to warm public opinion to the idea of unions.

However, Schneirov said the positive view of unions the Pullman strike ultimately brought about has faded in recent years.

"This idea that free competition and the self-regulating market are sufficient, and that working people shouldn't have the right to combine and form unions, this idea has become dominant again since the 1980s," Schneirov said. "But most people would still join a union if it wasn't so damn hard."

Tags: Pullman StrikeRailroad workers
Categories: Labor News

Tokyo Metro plans safety gates for all stations by FY25-BART and Other Transit Systems Have No Plans To Protect Passengers Who Fall Or Are Pushed Onto Tracks

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 12:37

Tokyo Metro plans safety gates for all stations by FY25-BART and Other Transit Systems Have No Plans To Protect Passengers Who Fall Or Are Pushed Onto Tracks
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709020003.html
Tokyo Metro plans safety gates for all stations by FY25
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
September 2, 2017 at 07:10 JST

A safety gate installed at Kanamecho Station on Tokyo Metro Co.'s Yurakucho Line (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tokyo Metro Co. is spending 60.2 billion yen ($547 million) to have safety gates installed on the platforms of its 179 subway stations by fiscal 2025 to prevent people from falling on the tracks.

Platform screen doors were set up at 82, or 46 percent, of the stations by April this year, according to Tokyo Metro officials.

The subway operator plans to introduce the safety features at an additional 50 or more stations before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to increase the ratio to 77 percent.

It also intends to install the platform doors at all stations used by 100,000 or more passengers daily by fiscal 2024.

The 60.2 billion yen includes investments already made since April 2016.

For the Chiyoda Line, the screen doors will be introduced by fiscal 2019, a year earlier than initially planned.

Installation will be complete for the Ginza Line by the first half of fiscal 2018, for the Hibiya Line by fiscal 2022, for the Tozai Line by fiscal 2025, and for the Hanzomon Line by fiscal 2023.

Platform doors have already been set up at all stations of the Marunouchi, Yurakucho, Nanboku and Fukutoshin lines.

Tags: Transit SafetySafety Gates In TokyoPlatform safety
Categories: Labor News

Metro-North top union leaders back rail strike vote

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 13:32

Metro-North top union leaders back rail strike vote
http://www.lohud.com/story/news/transit/2017/08/29/metro-north-union-lea...

Thomas C. Zambito, tzambito@lohud.comPublished 2:44 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2017 | Updated 4:30 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2017
The executive board of Metro-North’s largest union today agreed to ask its 2,400 members to authorize a rail strike that could impact the daily commute of tens of thousands of commuters from the Lower Hudson Valley and beyond.

The 5-0 vote by the general chairmen of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees was a clear-cut indication that the union’s leadership has gotten behind executive director James Fahey’s call for a rail strike, something that has not happened on Metro-North in 30 years.

Fahey made the motion to send the vote to members at a meeting today in Manhattan.

“I am one hundred percent happy that everyone wants to stand by and fight for their members,” Fahey said. “We’ll fight for the welfare and the safety of our members. I’m ecstatic that every general chairman voted on my motion.”

There is no timetable for a strike vote or any projected strike date.

STRIKE: Metro-North union boss asking members to back rail strike over contract disputes

CONDUCTOR: Union defends conductor accused of assaulting MTA officers

CRASH: Paralyzed Metro-North worker losing salary as legal case continues

Each voting member of the executive board represents a different segment of Metro-North’s workforce, among them engineers, conductors, rail traffic controllers, signalmen and yard masters.

ACRE is one of a dozen unions representing Metro-North workers and it is unclear whether other unions would support the strike call.

Metro-North officials were dismayed by Fahey's efforts to air contractual issues in public.

“We don’t negotiate labor contracts in the press," spokesman Aaron Donovan said. "We expect any outstanding issues will be resolved. Let’s be clear: threatening an unlawful strike is completely irresponsible and is an insult to hundreds of thousands of Metro-North customers.”

The vote comes while ACRE is working under a contract signed in 2015 that was up for renewal nine months ago. Fahey said there have been no substantive discussions on a new contract.

At issue are a number of grievances that ACRE claims Metro-North has refused to address over the past year.

Topping the list are lengthy delays in the processing of disability pensions for members who’ve been medically disqualified for work. Fahey says the delay has forced the union to enlist doctors and dentists to provide free health care for members who’ve lost insurance benefits.And, the union claims, Metro-North has violated its agreement by hiring locomotive engineers from the outside instead of giving first preference to existing Metro-North workers.

Letters outlining the executive board’s concerns will likely go out to Metro-North members next week, a process that will be handled by an independent agency, the American Arbitration Association.

ACRE’s designated chief counsel, Jeffrey Chartier, will help the union decide which issues are major contractual disputes and which are minor, Fahey said.

Under the terms of the federal Railway Labor Act, railroad employees can only strike to remedy “major” contractual issues.

300,000 could be affected

A strike by key members of Metro-North's workforce could disrupt the daily commute for the nearly 300,000 customers who ride the commuter rail each weekday from points as distant as New Haven, Connecticut, into Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

The head of a Metro-North commuter group says the strike-talk is little more than a negotiating tool for the union.

"I do not think commuters should be alarmed by this 'sabre-rattling' by the unions," said James Cameron, the founder of Commuter Action Group. "I have every confidence that the railroad and unions will negotiate a new contract, as they have done for decades. Nobody wants a strike, certainly not commuters, and neither the railroad workers who are paid handsomely for their labors. A strike would be illegal and hurt the strikers as much, if not more, than commuters."

The last strike on Metro-North was in 1983, soon after the commuter rail took over from Conrail. Metro-North’s 622 conductors and train men struck over who would decide the size of train crews – management or workers, according to a report in United Press International. That strike lasted 42 days, disrupting the commute of some 90,000 customers who were forced to take cars and busses into the city.

Last year, Metro-North set a record for ridership with 86.5 million customers, more than doubling the total from 1983. It is the nation's second busiest commuter rail behind the Long Island Rail Road.

In recent years, Metro-North has been dogged by a series of derailments and mishaps that claimed the lives of customers and rail workers.

In December 2013, a speeding train derailed along a curve near the Spuyten-Duyvil section of the Bronx when an engineer fell asleep at the controls. Four passengers were killed and dozens of passengers were seriously injured.

Twitter: @TomZambito

Tags: Metro-North Rail WorkersAssociation of Commuter Rail EmployeesFederal Railway Labor Act
Categories: Labor News

10 unpaid migrant sailors stuck aboard ship in Busan Korea for 6 months

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:35

10 unpaid migrant sailors stuck aboard ship in Busan Korea for 6 months
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/08/177_235507.htmlPosted : 2017-08-28 16:23Updated : 2017-08-29 10:24

Eight Chinese and two Myanmar sailors have been staying in a Togo ship that has been docked at Busan Namhang Harbor since February because of their unpaid wages amounting to over 90 million won. / Courtesy of Busan Foreign Workers Support Center

By Ko Dong-hwan

Korean fishery authorities have stepped in to help migrant Chinese and Myanmar sailors who have not been paid for months and have been living aboard their vessel in Busan.

The Korea Seafarer's Welfare and Employment Center (KSWEC) and the Federation of Korean Seafarers' Unions have agreed to provide legal support and money for food and daily necessities to the eight Chinese and two Myanmar sailors on the ship from Togo.

Officials from KSWEC and Busan Foreign Workers Support Center (BFC) visited the ship on Aug. 23 and met the sailors and a Korean captain.

According to Korean daily Kookje Shimmun, the captain was "very worried" that the sailors, who do not have permits to disembark, and were growing impatient, might harm him.

While the sailors have been stuck on the ship, one has missed his wife giving birth and another's marine technician license has expired.

The ship's owner, a paper company in Panama, has not fulfilled its tax duties to Togo, causing the ship to lose its legal nationality.

A Busan Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries official said the sailors were owed more than 90 million won ($83,500) in unpaid wages, which they badly needed.

While the unnamed captain had not proposed any specific solutions, the sailors' predicament could only be solved in a civil affairs court using a certificate evincing the unpaid wages, the official said.

Even if the ship were confiscated and auctioned, the value would be only 30 million won.

"As a country actively engaged in international sea trade, South Korea abides by the international agreements and domestic seafarers' laws to protect the lives of their sailors regardless of their nationalities, and financially supports them when extraditing them," a Korea Maritime and Ocean University professor said.

"The situation in question, if handled improperly, may destroy the country's global image big time."

The 422-ton ship, which carried goods between Busan and China, has been docked in Namhang Harbor since February.

The sailors have spent a scorching summer aboard the ship, which had been without electricity after running out of fuel a long time ago.

In June, the sailors contacted a Chinese Consulate in Korea for help, but were told to contact the BFC.

The agency, together with the city's Christian maritime association called BADASEA, helped the sailors with food and amenities, but these were limited.

Tags: migrant sailorsBusan Koreastranded sailors
Categories: Labor News

10 unpaid migrant sailors stuck aboard ship in Busan Korea for 6 months

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:35

10 unpaid migrant sailors stuck aboard ship in Busan Korea for 6 months
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/08/177_235507.htmlPosted : 2017-08-28 16:23Updated : 2017-08-29 10:24

Eight Chinese and two Myanmar sailors have been staying in a Togo ship that has been docked at Busan Namhang Harbor since February because of their unpaid wages amounting to over 90 million won. / Courtesy of Busan Foreign Workers Support Center

By Ko Dong-hwan

Korean fishery authorities have stepped in to help migrant Chinese and Myanmar sailors who have not been paid for months and have been living aboard their vessel in Busan.

The Korea Seafarer's Welfare and Employment Center (KSWEC) and the Federation of Korean Seafarers' Unions have agreed to provide legal support and money for food and daily necessities to the eight Chinese and two Myanmar sailors on the ship from Togo.

Officials from KSWEC and Busan Foreign Workers Support Center (BFC) visited the ship on Aug. 23 and met the sailors and a Korean captain.

According to Korean daily Kookje Shimmun, the captain was "very worried" that the sailors, who do not have permits to disembark, and were growing impatient, might harm him.

While the sailors have been stuck on the ship, one has missed his wife giving birth and another's marine technician license has expired.

The ship's owner, a paper company in Panama, has not fulfilled its tax duties to Togo, causing the ship to lose its legal nationality.

A Busan Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries official said the sailors were owed more than 90 million won ($83,500) in unpaid wages, which they badly needed.

While the unnamed captain had not proposed any specific solutions, the sailors' predicament could only be solved in a civil affairs court using a certificate evincing the unpaid wages, the official said.

Even if the ship were confiscated and auctioned, the value would be only 30 million won.

"As a country actively engaged in international sea trade, South Korea abides by the international agreements and domestic seafarers' laws to protect the lives of their sailors regardless of their nationalities, and financially supports them when extraditing them," a Korea Maritime and Ocean University professor said.

"The situation in question, if handled improperly, may destroy the country's global image big time."

The 422-ton ship, which carried goods between Busan and China, has been docked in Namhang Harbor since February.

The sailors have spent a scorching summer aboard the ship, which had been without electricity after running out of fuel a long time ago.

In June, the sailors contacted a Chinese Consulate in Korea for help, but were told to contact the BFC.

The agency, together with the city's Christian maritime association called BADASEA, helped the sailors with food and amenities, but these were limited.

Tags: migrant sailorsBusan Koreastranded sailors
Categories: Labor News

Teamsters Local 313 Tacoma, WA strike at Veneer Chip Transport enters 5th week

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 05:49

Teamsters 313 Tacoma, WA strike at Veneer Chip Transport enters 5th week
http://www.thestand.org/2017/08/teamsters-strike-at-vct-enters-5th-week/
FIFE (Aug. 24, 2017) — Dozens of Teamsters at Veneer Chip Transport, Inc. have been on an unfair-labor-practice strike for five weeks after their employer unilaterally imposed health care cuts and other changes in the terms of employment in July. VCT is a Fife-based trucking firm that picks up wood chips and residuals from lumber mills all over Western Washington and delivers them to other mills that manufacture paper products.
The striking workers, members of Teamsters Local 313, have kept up their picket line at VCT and also occasionally set up ambulatory picket lines at various mills when VCT trucks are active on the premises.
TAKE A STAND — Join strikers on the picket line at VCT, located at 2205 Pacific Hwy East in Fife. Also, please contribute to the Local 313 Strike Hardship Fund to help these families hold the line. Send checks payable to “Teamsters Local 313” and indicate in the memo line that they are for the VCT Strike Fund. Mail them to Teamsters Local 313, 220 South 27th Street, Tacoma, WA, 98402.
Amid contract negotiations in early July, VCT unilaterally implemented its last wage and health-and-welfare proposal without an agreement or contract ratification vote. The new medical plan imposed significantly higher out-of-pocket costs, especially for employees with family coverage. Local 313 filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board that is still pending, but in the meantime, workers went on strike July 17 and have been on the picket line ever since.
“At this point, the company is not responsive and there are no further negotiations scheduled,” said Local 313 Business Representative Nick Lansdale. “At the end of the day, I feel their intent is to break the union.”
Last week, union log truck drivers honored the Teamsters’ ambulatory picket line that went up outside the Sierra Pacific mill in Aberdeen while a scab VCT trucker was on the property. Six trucks waited about two hours outside the picket line until the scab left the premises. This interruption of work at the mills that continue to use VCT despite the strike has occurred multiple times and will continue. Click here for details.

Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=59884

Tags: Teamsters Local 313Veneer Chip Transportwages
Categories: Labor News

Baltimore transit worker's union ATU 1300, supporters rally against BaltimoreLink changes " drivers are experiencing an increase in harassment, disorder and other issues, including being spit at, with more disgruntled riders on board, said David McClure,

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 05:44

Baltimore transit worker's union ATU 1300, supporters rally against BaltimoreLink changes
" drivers are experiencing an increase in harassment, disorder and other issues, including being spit at, with more disgruntled riders on board, said David McClure, president of ATU Local 1300."
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-bz-union-ral...
Sarah Gantz Sarah GantzContact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun
About 40 members and supporters of Baltimore’s transit worker union gathered at the War Memorial, near Baltimore’s City Hall, on Wednesday to protest changes to the city’s bus routes that they say have harmed riders and drivers.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300 has been vocal in its criticism of Gov. Larry Hogan’s $135 million overhaul of the city bus system, known as BaltimoreLink, arguing that the route changes are creating headaches for riders who must make more transfers or catch buses at different stops.

Meanwhile, drivers are experiencing an increase in harassment, disorder and other issues, including being spit at, with more disgruntled riders on board, said David McClure, president of ATU Local 1300.

“We have a lot of people who are suffering right now because of the way it was implemented,” McClure said.

office did not respond to a request for comment, but the Maryland Transit Administration defended the BaltimoreLink overhaul, which launched in late June.

“The fact is BaltimoreLink is finally changing the unacceptable status quo that has existed in Baltimore City for decades, where disconnected and disorganized transit options simply haven’t connected residents to jobs,” said MTA spokeswoman Sandy Arnette.

She said over 130,000 more residents now have access to high-frequency service within a quarter-mile of their homes, nearly a third more than before BaltimoreLink.

“Since its launch,” Arnette said, “4 BaltimoreLink has consistently improved service and reliability, with on-time performance up nine percent and new dedicated bus lanes providing riders up to 25 percent time savings during rush hour. We are committed to continuing to work with riders to ensure we continue to improve the system every day.”

The union called on Hogan and the MTA to revisit the changes to add service and lines, “because right now, these people are not able to get where they need to be,” McClure said.

Seniors who must walk extra blocks to get to a bus stop are missing doctor’s appointments and some workers who rely on the bus must factor in extra commute time, to account for additional transfers, he said.

Ebony Johnson, 29, said she used to be able to get downtown in 15 minutes on one bus. Now, she has to make multiple transfers and the trip takes about an hour, she said.

“They claim it’s convenient,” she said. “Convenient for who?”

Led by McClure, the group marched from the War Memorial to the Maryland Transit Administration’s offices on St. Paul Street, carrying signs that read “Sink the Link” and “We demand justice & respect for Baltimore.”

Once there, people took turns addressing the crowd.

With an arm over his son, Rev. C.D. Witherspoon said he is worried that children will miss class or skip school entirely if they can’t navigate the new bus routes.

Eight-year-old Cortly Witherspoon Jr. can walk to school, but his other nieces and nephews must take a bus across town to get to school, he said.

“We’ve got a responsibility,” he yelled to the crowd, “and an obligation to hold MTA accountable.”

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahgantz

Tags: ATU 1300transithealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Anti-Fascist Berkeley Protest Stops Trump Supporters From Rallying

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 15:03

Anti-Fascist Berkeley Protest Stops Trump Supporters From Rallying
https://youtu.be/PB0hhAilXEo
Thousands of anti-fascists and opponents of Trump went to Berkeley civic center park on August 27, 2017 to oppose the growing racism, xenophobia, sexism and attacks on Muslims and women and workers. The Trump supporters and right-wingers had called a "No To Marxism" rally and were forced to cancel it after growing mass opposition. The opponents of the right brought thousands of people in protest of their tactics and ideology.
Additional media:
Fascists Out Of SF: Trade Unionists And Community Rally Against Nazis & Racists
https://youtu.be/4jUSc8lER14
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Fascists Out Of SF: Trade Unionists And Community Rally Against Nazis & Racists
https://youtu.be/4jUSc8lER14
Thousands of people in San Francisco on August 26, 2017 rallied in the Castro District and then marched to SF City Hall to protest the Trump administration, the nazis and racists. Included were trade unionists from labor who also spoke out about the dangers of the growing racism, xenophobia and fascist forces that are organizing in San Francisco and nationally.
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: FascismprotestsracismNazis
Categories: Labor News

Canadian ATU 113 TTC union alleges safety double standard after worker hit by bus

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 09:42

Canadian ATU 113 TTC union alleges safety double standard after worker hit by bus
https://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/7520919-ttc-union-alleges-safet...
Contract employees not held to same safety requirements, says union

NEWS Aug 25, 2017 by Rahul Gupta North York Mirror

TTC vehicle operator Neil Cooper suffered several injuries to his face and body after he was hit by a bus at the Wilson garage August 15. - Neil Cooper/Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113
The TTC’s largest labour union accused the commission of maintaining a double standard for workplace safety after one of its members was struck and injured by a bus driven by a contract worker.

The incident, which took place earlier this month at the Wilson garage in North York and was confirmed by the TTC, was severe enough to knock Neil Cooper, a bus operator with 30 years of experience, unconscious for eight seconds according to the union. Cooper also suffered facial lacerations, an injury to his eye as well as multiple dislocated fingers, said Kevin Morton, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113. No charges have been laid.

While an official investigation of the collision is underway, Morton blamed the incident directly on the contract worker involved, identified by the TTC as a service line cleaner hired through a third-party. Unlike their unionized counterparts, Morton said less-skilled contract workers are not held to the same standards, accusing the TTC of compromising the safety of its permanent employees to save money on wages.

“They’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to save money,” said Morton over the phone from Milwaukee. “(Contract workers) could kill, injure or maim someone, but they’re not held to the same standard (as a permanent worker).”

According to Morton, his union has obtained GPS data from the bus, which shows the driver was speeding “nine to 12 kilometres” over the speed limit at the time of the collision.

“It’s all proven, these are facts,” he said.

Contract workers are permitted to drive buses on TTC property provided they have a valid Ontario class A, B or C commercial license just like regular vehicle operators, said spokesperson Stuart Green.

While Green couldn’t comment specifically on the incident pending the completion of the investigation, he said cleaners frequently move buses to the front of the line after they’re serviced.

“This is an unfortunate incident that resulted in injuries to the operator, which were treated in hospital,” said Green.

Contract workers are not subject to random-drug testing as the rank and file, Green said, but contract stipulations require a third party company contracted by the TTC ensure its employees are “fit for duty”.

“This is consistent with the requirement of our (permanent) operators,” he said.
Green said police investigating the collision did not opt to administer a breathalyzer test to the driver.

The incident, which took place on the evening of Aug. 15, represents “a troubling pattern” of compromised worker safety, said Morton who referred to past examples of workplace injury involving contracted workers.

One incident he said took place in 2014, also at Wilson, where a contracted worker crashed a bus damaging multiple vehicles and was ultimately found not to possess any type of valid licence. Metroland Media Toronto was unable to independently verify the allegation and the TTC could not provide confirmation.

“These are not isolated incidents,” said Morton.

Green said the review will involve the TTC and the Ministry of Labour, but could not provide a timeline for its completion.

“Safety is the cornerstone of all TTC operations and we take incidents like this seriously,” he said

Tags: ATU 113health and safetytransit workers
Categories: Labor News

Ahead of regional summit, left-leaning policy groups say ‘No’ to a sales tax for DC Metro "Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metro’s largest union, in opposing the sales tax."

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 17:54

Ahead of regional summit, left-leaning policy groups say ‘No’ to a sales tax for DC Metro "Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metro’s largest union, in opposing the sales tax."
A Metro train passes over the Potomac River in Washington on Aug. 9. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/ahead-of-region...
By Faiz Siddiqui August 27 at 8:13 PM
A regionwide one-cent sales tax to fund Metro would have a disproportionate impact on poor families, taking five times the share of income from the bottom 20 percent of earners when compared with those in the top 1 percent, according to a new analysis from a trio of left-leaning think tanks representing the District, Maryland and Virginia.

Calling recent service cuts, fare hikes and a potential sales tax a “triple whammy” on the region’s low-income residents, the groups are pressing local officials to ditch the sales tax proposal in favor of flexible, jurisdictional financial commitments, with each government finding its own way to pay for Metro’s long-term needs.

“It’s not right to ask the families who are least well-off to shoulder the biggest responsibility for fixing Metro, while leaving busi­nesses and high-income families off the hook,” said Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, one of three groups that participated in the analysis.

The other two organizations who participated are the Maryland Center on Economic Policy and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. The think tanks join labor groups, including Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metro’s largest union, in opposing the sales tax.

The tax burden should be placed on businesses and high-
income earners rather than struggling families, the groups say.

Further, a proposal to limit the growth of annual subsidies that jurisdictions contribute to Metro risks hamstringing the transit agency’s ability to perform critical maintenance and maintain current fares and service, the report argues.

The analysis, conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that while a penny-per-dollar sales tax would cost those making more than $600,000 less than 0.1 percent of their income, those making less than $25,000 would sacrifice 0.5 percent of their earnings. Black and Latino families in the District would be the hardest hit, according to the report, because 38 percent and 35 percent of their households, respectively, have incomes below $50,000, the report says. Meanwhile, families are already grappling with the region’s high cost of living and disproportionate economic growth that has seen overall wages rise but not for the bottom 40 percent of workers.

“When we’re asking a family who maybe tomorrow is skipping a meal, or two or three by the end of the month, ‘Hey, we need another 50 bucks for Metro,’ that is food that’s being taken off their table because they are spending all of their income,” said Benjamin Orr, executive director at the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. “In many cases, their bills and their obligations, and what they need to survive, exceeds what their income is.”

[Metro union calls for flat fares, dedicated taxes to rescue ridership and finances]

The release of the report appears timed to influence Monday’s regional summit of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), where Metro is expected to be a principal topic. The three have been far apart in the past on funding Metro. Bowser strongly supports a uniform, regionwide sales tax, perhaps as much as a penny-per-dollar. McAuliffe would back increased taxes or other new funding mechanisms only after Metro has shown it has made progress on safety, reliability and efficiency. Hogan has ruled out giving Metro any extra money from the Maryland state budget, but he has left open the possibility that Montgomery and Prince George’s counties might tax themselves to pay for Metro.

The three leaders also are due to get an update on work done by former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood, who was recruited byMcAuliffe to devise a package of structural changes and funding plans for Metro that could win support throughout the region. LaHood plans to get feedback from the three and make his recommendations in late September or October.

LaHood has not said anything publicly about his intentions, but officials who have been briefed on his plans said they expect him to discuss Metro’s funding needs, labor costs and governance reforms, as well as other topics.

“We’re hoping that this report helps wake our leaders up that they need to think about who they’re actually asking to help to pay to fix Metro,” Lazere said. “I’m hopeful that it will get people to think twice about the sales tax.”

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld has called for $15.5 billion over 10 years to support the system’s capital needs — including $500 million in new, annual dedicated funding — and a slew of concessions from Metro’s unions to keep the system’s finances healthy and infrastructure in a state of good repair.

Metro, which is funded through a combination of jurisdictional subsidies and federal grants, is alone among the nation’s major subway systems in lacking a significant source of dedicated funding

The jurisdictional subsidy cap is another area of concern, the think tanks say. Such limits to spending could only lead to further maintenance problems, service cuts or fare increases down the line, they argue.

Under Wiedefeld’s proposal, growth in annual subsidies to Metro from the jurisdictions would be capped at 3 percent.

[Metro GM proposes ‘new business model’ and $500 million a year in extra funding to save D.C.-area transit agency]

“A 3 percent cap could . . . force Metro, in a short amount of time to shortchange maintenance, raise fares or cut services, or look for employee concessions,” the report says. “A 3 percent goal can be established but should include flexibility to go above that should a clear need be demonstrated.”

The report says jurisdictions could consider an additional property tax for businesses closest to Metro lines and stations — although it leaves the door open for an exemption for small businesses.

“In addition to business contributions, the remaining costs should be borne largely by higher-income households, both because they can best afford to pay and because they have benefited most from D.C’s growing economy,” the report said.

The groups liken their approach to the “millionaire’s tax” proposed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to fund that city’s struggling subway.

Metro board Chairman Jack Evans, a longtime supporter of a one-cent regional sales tax, acknowledged that such a measure would be felt more deeply by poorer families. But, he said, the sales tax is the simplest mechanism for raising the $650 million Metro needs, referring to the amount in dedicated funding recommended by a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments technical panel. In addition, the region’s lowest-income residents also rely on Metro to get around, so they have a stake in the system, Evans argued.

“I understand, if I’m only making a dollar, a penny’s a lot to me,” Evans said. “If I make a hundred dollars, then a penny’s a lot less work. In the scheme of the world at the end of the day, it is the fairest way. Because everybody benefits from Metro and everybody benefits from Metro’s success.”

Lazere questioned why the region couldn’t use a system akin to the multifaceted funding mechanism that paid for Nationals Park — including the tax on businesses that paid for stadium debt, for example. Evans said, however, that any tax proposal should be bondable, and it wasn’t clear that the alternatives the groups were proposing would be deemed suitable for significant long-term borrowing.

But Lazere, whose think tank studies D.C. budget and tax issues, said the region doesn’t have to be restricted to one source of revenue for dedicated funding.

“As long as there’s a commitment and every jurisdiction puts the full faith of their government against it, I don’t see why there has to be a single revenue source from one jurisdiction to another,” he said. “The notion that you can’t have a bond backed by more than one revenue source — it just seems sort of too simplistic an answer.”

Robert McCartney contributed to this report.

Tags: DC ATU 689regressive transit sales taxCost Shiftingregressive taxes
Categories: Labor News

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