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WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 22:10

WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits
http://www.king5.com/news/local/ferry-galley-workers-frustrated-by-lack-...
Ed Friedrich , The Kitsap Sun , KING 9:26 AM. PDT March 28, 2017

Galley workers remain without health care insurance six months after their new company began providing food services on state ferries.

In late March, Washington State Ferries awarded Connecticut-based Centerplate the galley and vending contracts for four years with a six-year option. The corporation employs 30,000 people at arenas, cinemas, convention centers and other venues in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including Safeco Field and the Tacoma Dome. Its revenues were $850 million in 2014.

Former food vendor Olympic Cascade Services challenged the contract in court, delaying it until October. The Bremerton company employed about 75 workers, for whom it provided insurance through Group Health. Centerplate says no major carrier will cover the galley workers because the risk is too high — mostly women, older than 45 and on the water.

"It's pretty unbelievable that it's a national company and they can't find comparative health care," said Chris Simmons, business agent with the Inlandboatmen's Union.

The contract neither requires Centerplate to provide health insurance nor to participate with the union.

"It's really between labor and the employees," WSF spokesman Ian Sterling said. "We're not involved in it. At the time (of the change), what we tried to do was protect jobs (of Olympic Cascade workers). We were neutral on whether they were in a union."

The company recognized the union from the beginning and quickly negotiated most issues. None can be administered until the entire package, which is awaiting health insurance and pay, is approved. Galley employees now start at $12 an hour. The union is requesting an increase to Seattle's minimum wage of $15 an hour plus 60 cents. Centerplate appeared to find that reasonable, Simmons said.

"This (insurance) is what's holding up negotiations, so the galley employees are upset," Simmons said. "We would have a contract if they had offered us a decent health care package, so right now we have no health care at all."

The Inlandboatmen's Union offered to add the ferry workers to the union insurance, but Centerplate said the cost was too high. Centerplate countered with a self-insure plan, but the union found it no better than catastrophic care and wouldn't accept it.

"We're trying to work with this company because we want them to succeed, but I tell them I can't sign a contract that (the workers) can't afford," Simmons said.

A Centerplate spokeswoman said the company is in contract negotiations with the union.

"As part of those negotiations, we have made an economic offer, which includes health insurance," Diana Evans said. "Beyond that, we are not at liberty to discuss specifics other than reiterate our commitment to continue to negotiate in good faith."

The combination of low pay and no insurance has hindered the hiring and retaining of employees, said Simmons and Wayne Stapelton, a galley worker on the Bainbridge-Seattle route who serves on labor relations and contract negotiation teams. The workforce has dropped to the 80s from 110. Galleys are operating with skeleton crews. It is unclear how the Affordable Care Act mandate would apply to this situation.

"I'm still on their side (compared to Olympic), but when it comes down to them making money hand over fist, why are we the ones being asked to bite the bullet?" Stapleton said. "These (Centerplate) people treat us like human beings. The only problem here is age-old corporate greed."

Tags: WA State Ferry Galley WorkersIBU ILWUhealthcare
Categories: Labor News

WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 22:10

WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits
http://www.king5.com/news/local/ferry-galley-workers-frustrated-by-lack-...
Ed Friedrich , The Kitsap Sun , KING 9:26 AM. PDT March 28, 2017

Galley workers remain without health care insurance six months after their new company began providing food services on state ferries.

In late March, Washington State Ferries awarded Connecticut-based Centerplate the galley and vending contracts for four years with a six-year option. The corporation employs 30,000 people at arenas, cinemas, convention centers and other venues in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including Safeco Field and the Tacoma Dome. Its revenues were $850 million in 2014.

Former food vendor Olympic Cascade Services challenged the contract in court, delaying it until October. The Bremerton company employed about 75 workers, for whom it provided insurance through Group Health. Centerplate says no major carrier will cover the galley workers because the risk is too high — mostly women, older than 45 and on the water.

"It's pretty unbelievable that it's a national company and they can't find comparative health care," said Chris Simmons, business agent with the Inlandboatmen's Union.

The contract neither requires Centerplate to provide health insurance nor to participate with the union.

"It's really between labor and the employees," WSF spokesman Ian Sterling said. "We're not involved in it. At the time (of the change), what we tried to do was protect jobs (of Olympic Cascade workers). We were neutral on whether they were in a union."

The company recognized the union from the beginning and quickly negotiated most issues. None can be administered until the entire package, which is awaiting health insurance and pay, is approved. Galley employees now start at $12 an hour. The union is requesting an increase to Seattle's minimum wage of $15 an hour plus 60 cents. Centerplate appeared to find that reasonable, Simmons said.

"This (insurance) is what's holding up negotiations, so the galley employees are upset," Simmons said. "We would have a contract if they had offered us a decent health care package, so right now we have no health care at all."

The Inlandboatmen's Union offered to add the ferry workers to the union insurance, but Centerplate said the cost was too high. Centerplate countered with a self-insure plan, but the union found it no better than catastrophic care and wouldn't accept it.

"We're trying to work with this company because we want them to succeed, but I tell them I can't sign a contract that (the workers) can't afford," Simmons said.

A Centerplate spokeswoman said the company is in contract negotiations with the union.

"As part of those negotiations, we have made an economic offer, which includes health insurance," Diana Evans said. "Beyond that, we are not at liberty to discuss specifics other than reiterate our commitment to continue to negotiate in good faith."

The combination of low pay and no insurance has hindered the hiring and retaining of employees, said Simmons and Wayne Stapelton, a galley worker on the Bainbridge-Seattle route who serves on labor relations and contract negotiation teams. The workforce has dropped to the 80s from 110. Galleys are operating with skeleton crews. It is unclear how the Affordable Care Act mandate would apply to this situation.

"I'm still on their side (compared to Olympic), but when it comes down to them making money hand over fist, why are we the ones being asked to bite the bullet?" Stapleton said. "These (Centerplate) people treat us like human beings. The only problem here is age-old corporate greed."

Tags: WA State Ferry Galley WorkersIBU ILWUhealthcare
Categories: Labor News

WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 22:10

WA State IBU ILWU Ferry galley workers frustrated by lack of benefits
http://www.king5.com/news/local/ferry-galley-workers-frustrated-by-lack-...
Ed Friedrich , The Kitsap Sun , KING 9:26 AM. PDT March 28, 2017

Galley workers remain without health care insurance six months after their new company began providing food services on state ferries.

In late March, Washington State Ferries awarded Connecticut-based Centerplate the galley and vending contracts for four years with a six-year option. The corporation employs 30,000 people at arenas, cinemas, convention centers and other venues in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including Safeco Field and the Tacoma Dome. Its revenues were $850 million in 2014.

Former food vendor Olympic Cascade Services challenged the contract in court, delaying it until October. The Bremerton company employed about 75 workers, for whom it provided insurance through Group Health. Centerplate says no major carrier will cover the galley workers because the risk is too high — mostly women, older than 45 and on the water.

"It's pretty unbelievable that it's a national company and they can't find comparative health care," said Chris Simmons, business agent with the Inlandboatmen's Union.

The contract neither requires Centerplate to provide health insurance nor to participate with the union.

"It's really between labor and the employees," WSF spokesman Ian Sterling said. "We're not involved in it. At the time (of the change), what we tried to do was protect jobs (of Olympic Cascade workers). We were neutral on whether they were in a union."

The company recognized the union from the beginning and quickly negotiated most issues. None can be administered until the entire package, which is awaiting health insurance and pay, is approved. Galley employees now start at $12 an hour. The union is requesting an increase to Seattle's minimum wage of $15 an hour plus 60 cents. Centerplate appeared to find that reasonable, Simmons said.

"This (insurance) is what's holding up negotiations, so the galley employees are upset," Simmons said. "We would have a contract if they had offered us a decent health care package, so right now we have no health care at all."

The Inlandboatmen's Union offered to add the ferry workers to the union insurance, but Centerplate said the cost was too high. Centerplate countered with a self-insure plan, but the union found it no better than catastrophic care and wouldn't accept it.

"We're trying to work with this company because we want them to succeed, but I tell them I can't sign a contract that (the workers) can't afford," Simmons said.

A Centerplate spokeswoman said the company is in contract negotiations with the union.

"As part of those negotiations, we have made an economic offer, which includes health insurance," Diana Evans said. "Beyond that, we are not at liberty to discuss specifics other than reiterate our commitment to continue to negotiate in good faith."

The combination of low pay and no insurance has hindered the hiring and retaining of employees, said Simmons and Wayne Stapelton, a galley worker on the Bainbridge-Seattle route who serves on labor relations and contract negotiation teams. The workforce has dropped to the 80s from 110. Galleys are operating with skeleton crews. It is unclear how the Affordable Care Act mandate would apply to this situation.

"I'm still on their side (compared to Olympic), but when it comes down to them making money hand over fist, why are we the ones being asked to bite the bullet?" Stapleton said. "These (Centerplate) people treat us like human beings. The only problem here is age-old corporate greed."

Tags: WA State Ferry Galley WorkersIBU ILWUhealthcare
Categories: Labor News

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 20:40

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.
http://ht.ly/meDE30aki8k
GRT workers reject tentative deal
Union must give two days notice before a strike takes place
CBC News Posted: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET

The union representing GRT workers must give two days notice if strike action will occur.

Unionized Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

The tentative deal was reached about a week ago, but members of Unifor Local 4304 did not agree to the proposal.

Local 4304, who represents 644 workers, have been without a contract since the end of 2016 and negotiations for a new contract began in December.

Buses will continue to run as usual this morning as both sides go back to the negotiation table.

Workers are still in a legal strike or lockout position, but the union must give two days notice before a strike can take place, if an agreement can't be reached.

Unifor Local 4304, represents the transit service's drivers, service attendants, fleet mechanics and dispatchers.

Tags: Canadian Grand River Transit workersUniform 4304
Categories: Labor News

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 20:40

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.
http://ht.ly/meDE30aki8k
GRT workers reject tentative deal
Union must give two days notice before a strike takes place
CBC News Posted: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET

The union representing GRT workers must give two days notice if strike action will occur.

Unionized Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

The tentative deal was reached about a week ago, but members of Unifor Local 4304 did not agree to the proposal.

Local 4304, who represents 644 workers, have been without a contract since the end of 2016 and negotiations for a new contract began in December.

Buses will continue to run as usual this morning as both sides go back to the negotiation table.

Workers are still in a legal strike or lockout position, but the union must give two days notice before a strike can take place, if an agreement can't be reached.

Unifor Local 4304, represents the transit service's drivers, service attendants, fleet mechanics and dispatchers.

Tags: Canadian Grand River Transit workersUniform 4304
Categories: Labor News

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 20:40

Unionized Canadian Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.
http://ht.ly/meDE30aki8k
GRT workers reject tentative deal
Union must give two days notice before a strike takes place
CBC News Posted: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 28, 2017 7:26 AM ET

The union representing GRT workers must give two days notice if strike action will occur.

Unionized Grand River Transit workers have rejected a deal for a new contract with the Region of Waterloo.

The tentative deal was reached about a week ago, but members of Unifor Local 4304 did not agree to the proposal.

Local 4304, who represents 644 workers, have been without a contract since the end of 2016 and negotiations for a new contract began in December.

Buses will continue to run as usual this morning as both sides go back to the negotiation table.

Workers are still in a legal strike or lockout position, but the union must give two days notice before a strike can take place, if an agreement can't be reached.

Unifor Local 4304, represents the transit service's drivers, service attendants, fleet mechanics and dispatchers.

Tags: Canadian Grand River Transit workersUniform 4304
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Calgary ATU 583 Union ads targeting job outsourcing sparks war of words with city councillor

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:11

Canadian Calgary ATU 583 Union ads targeting job outsourcing sparks war of words with city councillor
http://ht.ly/uY1w30afyt3
BILL KAUFMANN
More from Bill Kaufmann
Published on: March 22, 2017 | Last Updated: March 22, 2017 4:14 PM MDT

Coun. Ward Sutherland COLLEEN DE NEVE / CALGARY HERALD

Radio and Internet ads attacking proposals to contract out 80 transit jobs has driven a city councillor to push back against the union running them.

Amalgamated Transit Union 583 is trying to put the brakes on a bid to outsource cleaning and maintenance work at LRT stations through a three-week campaign on 10 radio stations.

A companion website ad singles out Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland for what it calls misleading rhetoric in pushing for private industry to take over the work in an effort to shave $2.7 million from city spending.

The union condemns as “inflammatory” Sutherland’s contention that ATU 583’s stance on outsourcing is “disingenuous.”

“I call it an alternative facts website,” said the city councillor, who has campaigned consistently for allowing private industry delivery for some city work.

He said a zero-based budget review conducted by an independent auditor cited outsourcing the janitorial/maintenance work as one way to ultimately cut $9.2 million from the transit budget.

“They look at the best practices from all over North America and have no vested interests other than delivering a report,” said Sutherland.

Holding the line on taxes amid an economy still reeling from low energy prices means making decisions on the structure of city services, he said.

“We’re going to have to start deciding what services we should and should not be in,” said Sutherland, who also argues that a third of waste removal should also be privatized.

But the union contends the review’s details haven’t been shared with them and that the two meetings it’s had with city officials since last June haven’t revealed much.

ATU 583’s counter-proposal has been brushed off by the city, said union vice-president Neil McKinnon.

“They didn’t even respond to us and, at the second meeting when we asked for numbers, they said it’s none of our business,” said McKinnon.

As for its own proposal, “I can’t say it adds up to $2.7 million in savings,” he said, but added doubts remain over the ultimate savings in the privatization proposal.

The union’s “The truth comes to the surface” campaign cites multiple instances in which cities reversed service privatization after negative results.

And McKinnon said a 20-year-old contract that has private firms cleaning bus shelters regularly ends up relying on ATU 583 sweat.

“When the 311 calls go out, our people go out and clean them, it happens many times a day,” he said.

“This is what we’re afraid will happen with these 80 positions.”

Union officials plan to meet with city councillors before they vote on the issue in June, said McKinnon.

Sutherland said ATU’s push to protect its members is no surprise given three city union contracts expire at year’s end.

“Unions are a business and that’s how they get their dues,” he said.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

on Twitter: @billkaufmannjrn

Tags: ATU 583outsourcingtransit jobs
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Calgary ATU 583 Union ads targeting job outsourcing sparks war of words with city councillor

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:11

Canadian Calgary ATU 583 Union ads targeting job outsourcing sparks war of words with city councillor
http://ht.ly/uY1w30afyt3
BILL KAUFMANN
More from Bill Kaufmann
Published on: March 22, 2017 | Last Updated: March 22, 2017 4:14 PM MDT

Coun. Ward Sutherland COLLEEN DE NEVE / CALGARY HERALD

Radio and Internet ads attacking proposals to contract out 80 transit jobs has driven a city councillor to push back against the union running them.

Amalgamated Transit Union 583 is trying to put the brakes on a bid to outsource cleaning and maintenance work at LRT stations through a three-week campaign on 10 radio stations.

A companion website ad singles out Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland for what it calls misleading rhetoric in pushing for private industry to take over the work in an effort to shave $2.7 million from city spending.

The union condemns as “inflammatory” Sutherland’s contention that ATU 583’s stance on outsourcing is “disingenuous.”

“I call it an alternative facts website,” said the city councillor, who has campaigned consistently for allowing private industry delivery for some city work.

He said a zero-based budget review conducted by an independent auditor cited outsourcing the janitorial/maintenance work as one way to ultimately cut $9.2 million from the transit budget.

“They look at the best practices from all over North America and have no vested interests other than delivering a report,” said Sutherland.

Holding the line on taxes amid an economy still reeling from low energy prices means making decisions on the structure of city services, he said.

“We’re going to have to start deciding what services we should and should not be in,” said Sutherland, who also argues that a third of waste removal should also be privatized.

But the union contends the review’s details haven’t been shared with them and that the two meetings it’s had with city officials since last June haven’t revealed much.

ATU 583’s counter-proposal has been brushed off by the city, said union vice-president Neil McKinnon.

“They didn’t even respond to us and, at the second meeting when we asked for numbers, they said it’s none of our business,” said McKinnon.

As for its own proposal, “I can’t say it adds up to $2.7 million in savings,” he said, but added doubts remain over the ultimate savings in the privatization proposal.

The union’s “The truth comes to the surface” campaign cites multiple instances in which cities reversed service privatization after negative results.

And McKinnon said a 20-year-old contract that has private firms cleaning bus shelters regularly ends up relying on ATU 583 sweat.

“When the 311 calls go out, our people go out and clean them, it happens many times a day,” he said.

“This is what we’re afraid will happen with these 80 positions.”

Union officials plan to meet with city councillors before they vote on the issue in June, said McKinnon.

Sutherland said ATU’s push to protect its members is no surprise given three city union contracts expire at year’s end.

“Unions are a business and that’s how they get their dues,” he said.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

on Twitter: @billkaufmannjrn

Tags: ATU 583outsourcingtransit jobs
Categories: Labor News

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 NZ Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 22:29

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?
http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/03/20/shocking-new-revelations-about-cia-...
By Martyn Bradbury / March 20, 2017

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.
It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

Extraordinary new claims about our NZ history that I think I can safely predict won’t see the coverage it deserves from the mainstream corporate media…

Secret CIA flights helped break 1951 New Zealand waterfront strike, files reveal

hey were the self-proclaimed “secret soldiers of the Cold War”, flying covert missions for the United States’ government, using rags and coffee cans to light runways for moonlit landings and attracting “lovely, friendly, curious lassies” at every airport.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret airline flew covert missions to fight communism in China, Vietnam and Korea in the 1950s and 60s, but newly released US files reveal the airline also operated in New Zealand to help break the 1951 Wellington waterfront dispute.

Civil Air Transport (CAT) is called “the world’s most shot-at airline” by veterans and was secretly owned by the CIA. It ran passenger and cargo services as a cover for secret missions from 1950 to 1968.

The new CIA files, published online with 13 million other documents in January, reveal a Kiwi mission called “Operation Railhead”.

The airline was contracted by the New Zealand Government to fly about 8000 tonnes of “everything from brewery malt to racehorses” more than 150,000 kilometres in 1300 crossings of the Cook Strait from May to June 1951.

The US provided four Curtiss C-46 Commando planes and crew to fly cargo between Paraparaumu Airport near Wellington to Woodbourne in Blenheim on the South Island.

It was chartered to ensure that goods could still be shipped around New Zealand during the waterfront dispute of 1951. The pay dispute was the largest industrial confrontation in New Zealand history bringing the nation’s ports to a standstill and, at its peak, taking 22,000 workers off the job from February to July 1951.

Left-leaning political commentator Chris Trotter said the secret Kiwi mission was a revelation.

“It is an important historical detail because it shows how real the ideological battle was and it shows that a lot of the fears on the left have some real basis in fact.

“There was always a suspicion that the US was manipulating events from behind fronts. This detail reinforces all the worse fears of the people involved in the dispute.”

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.

It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

It’s amazing that we’ve had to wait over half a century before being told of this collusion.

If the CIA were prepared to step in over 60 years ago to ensure their interests were protected, what do you think the American’s are prepared to do now we have been given access to their mass surveillance 5 Eyes program?

It’s a question that has demanded answering ever since NZ became immersed in the US Intelligence web with the building of the Waihopai Spy base.

NZ is handed soft wear and hard wear that allows us to spy on anyone at anytime. Do you think America allows that transfer of power without demanding economic sovereignty?

Right now, Parliament is ‘debating’ vast new mass surveillance powers and the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are none the wiser about the enormous scale of what is being proposed.

Labour have walked away from any pretence of holding the powerful to account and have spinelessly thrown their lot in with the Deep State establishment by promising them power without restraint.

Labour claim they ‘won’ us the right to not have 2 day warrantless searches by cutting that down to 24 hours, as if that is some type of grand concession on the part of the mass surveillance Deep State.

The current debate in parliament is a fucking joke that we should all be deeply embarrassed by…

‘What’s your spy name?’: Spying debate goes off track

The acrimonious debate on New Zealand’s spying agencies four years ago appeared to be long forgotten as MPs tackled a new round of spying reforms this week.

In 2013, activists marched on the streets, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) was accused of mass surveillance, and political parties were at each others’ throats.

But as the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill returned to Parliament on Wednesday, debate instead centred on which MP had the best “spy name” and who the best fictional spy was.

Speaking on a part of the legislation which dealt with covert activities, Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson introduced a ” little game” which he learned in his former role as a diplomat.

“If want to create your own spy identity, what you should do is take your middle name and the street where you grew up.”

He showed the other MPs how do it.

“I myself am Murray Pretoria … which I think makes me sound like a South African spy, but that is me.

“So I invite other members of the House to have a think about where they are at in terms of their identity.”

…oh ha ha, hahahahaha, Hahahahaha. Ha. How fucking hilarious. The Parliament is about to hand over vast new powers of mass surveillance to an organisation with all the checks and balances of your average Apartheid South African justice system and we’re all having a laugh about spy names.

For fucks sakes people.

In the post-Snowdon world where we know the NSA have almost God like powers via the mass surveillance networks, we are making jokes about spy names.

At a time when the UK are about to merge big data with mass surveillance just as NZ is about to, we are making jokes about spy names.

When technical attache’s at the US embassy in Wellington who work at the GCSB can escape legal scrutiny for their actions , we are making jokes about spy names.

As we find out the CIA were 60 years ago involving themselves directly in our internal domestic affairs, we are ramming through mass surveillance powers controlled by the NSA and making jokes about spy names.

So why are these new laws so dangerous to NZ democracy?

We’ve blogged, over, and over, and over again about the reasons why.

So let’s spell them out again.

• The Bill unnecessarily allows for greater surveillance of New Zealanders by our intelligence services and intrudes further on our privacy. The definition of national security is so broad that it could enable even more surveillance of legitimate political dissenters by the intelligence services than has happened to date.
• The NZ Intelligence Agencies have a long history of spying on political activists, not terrorists. These powers will be used in against NZers who threaten the economic status quo of the powerful, it won’t be sued to protect us from actual terror attacks.
• Over two decades, our laws have become a more and more disproportionate response to the actual threats faced in New Zealand. So although there has been no demonstrable increase in risk the resources and invasive powers of the intelligence agencies have steadily increased.
• The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill is the culmination of twenty years of increases in the powers of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It gives them everything they could hope for. The Bill radically broadens the focus of the SIS and the GCSB so they can run operations on almost anything. It allows them to do literally anything to advance on operation or to cover it up. It allows them to co-opt anybody else into an operation. And it grants immunity from prosecution to everyone involved.
• Political campaigns that include any acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations where people get arrested come under “unlawful acts”. Communicate with groups overseas and you’ve ticked the “foreign interference” box. Apply this to criticisms of free trade, the dirty dairy industry, the 100% Pure marketing hype or any number of other issues and you’re talking about “quality of life”, “economic security” or “international relations”. And since being seen by the spies as a potential threat is enough for them to come after you, few movements would be safe.
The broader scope comes from the Bill defining “national security” to include protections against the following:

-“potential threats to New Zealand’s status as a free and democratic society from … foreign interference”;
-“potential threats that may cause serious harm to the … quality of life of the New Zealand population”;
-“unlawful acts or acts of foreign interference that may cause serious damage to New Zealand’s economic security or international relations”;
-“potential threats to the integrity of information … of critical importance to New Zealand”.

Once a warrant is issued, Sections 65 and 66 of the Bill give the SIS and GCSB the power to:

-“do any … act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to achieve the purposes for which the warrant is exercised”; and

-“do any act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to conceal the fact that anything has been done under the warrant and to keep the activities of the intelligence agency covert”.

As Dr David Small, the Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury points out, “These are open-ended powers. They exclude nothing. They do not exclude getting people to do things by using threats, or blackmail or even framing people for serious crimes. The night I caught the SIS spies in 1996, they could have beaten me up in that empty street. During their house searches, they could have planted and claimed to have found items forensically linked to the “APEC bomb”.

On top of this, the Bill allows these agencies to deputise anyone they want to also be protected from prosecution for illegality and it allows for anyone whistle blowing to the media about illegal activity by the Government to be jailed for 5 years.

Beyond all those arguments is the fundamental problem that America empowers us with this mass surveillance software and hardware and they demand a high price for that power. Everything scooped up here in NZ is available to the NSA despite all the waffle about checks and balances. we are giving NZ spy agencies vast new powers which will cal all be exploited by our American Intelligence masters.

The so called ‘flop’ of the Moment of Truth, where Kim Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden all proved without a shadow of doubt that NZ has lied about mass surveillance for the NSA, has had an even more damaging long term impact.

New Zealand was ready in 2013 to challenge these mass surveillance powers and the building of an advanced Police State, but since the corporate mainstream media all wrote those concerns off as conspiratorial by denouncing the Moment of Truth, NZers have self censored themselves and allowed silence to rule the day.

The 2014-2015 budget for the GCSB was $86, 843, 000. Their budget for 2015-2016 is $143, 568, 000. That’s almost a $60million dollar increase in one year, this is becoming a monster with no leash on it.

These new spy powers won’t make anyone of us safer, they are far more likely be abused and damage this democracy.

But let’s all get upset over caged eggs sold as free range and a dog that gets shot at our airport.

Tags: CIA Union Busting In New Zealanddock workers
Categories: Labor News

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 NZ Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 22:29

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?
http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/03/20/shocking-new-revelations-about-cia-...
By Martyn Bradbury / March 20, 2017

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.
It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

Extraordinary new claims about our NZ history that I think I can safely predict won’t see the coverage it deserves from the mainstream corporate media…

Secret CIA flights helped break 1951 New Zealand waterfront strike, files reveal

hey were the self-proclaimed “secret soldiers of the Cold War”, flying covert missions for the United States’ government, using rags and coffee cans to light runways for moonlit landings and attracting “lovely, friendly, curious lassies” at every airport.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret airline flew covert missions to fight communism in China, Vietnam and Korea in the 1950s and 60s, but newly released US files reveal the airline also operated in New Zealand to help break the 1951 Wellington waterfront dispute.

Civil Air Transport (CAT) is called “the world’s most shot-at airline” by veterans and was secretly owned by the CIA. It ran passenger and cargo services as a cover for secret missions from 1950 to 1968.

The new CIA files, published online with 13 million other documents in January, reveal a Kiwi mission called “Operation Railhead”.

The airline was contracted by the New Zealand Government to fly about 8000 tonnes of “everything from brewery malt to racehorses” more than 150,000 kilometres in 1300 crossings of the Cook Strait from May to June 1951.

The US provided four Curtiss C-46 Commando planes and crew to fly cargo between Paraparaumu Airport near Wellington to Woodbourne in Blenheim on the South Island.

It was chartered to ensure that goods could still be shipped around New Zealand during the waterfront dispute of 1951. The pay dispute was the largest industrial confrontation in New Zealand history bringing the nation’s ports to a standstill and, at its peak, taking 22,000 workers off the job from February to July 1951.

Left-leaning political commentator Chris Trotter said the secret Kiwi mission was a revelation.

“It is an important historical detail because it shows how real the ideological battle was and it shows that a lot of the fears on the left have some real basis in fact.

“There was always a suspicion that the US was manipulating events from behind fronts. This detail reinforces all the worse fears of the people involved in the dispute.”

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.

It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

It’s amazing that we’ve had to wait over half a century before being told of this collusion.

If the CIA were prepared to step in over 60 years ago to ensure their interests were protected, what do you think the American’s are prepared to do now we have been given access to their mass surveillance 5 Eyes program?

It’s a question that has demanded answering ever since NZ became immersed in the US Intelligence web with the building of the Waihopai Spy base.

NZ is handed soft wear and hard wear that allows us to spy on anyone at anytime. Do you think America allows that transfer of power without demanding economic sovereignty?

Right now, Parliament is ‘debating’ vast new mass surveillance powers and the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are none the wiser about the enormous scale of what is being proposed.

Labour have walked away from any pretence of holding the powerful to account and have spinelessly thrown their lot in with the Deep State establishment by promising them power without restraint.

Labour claim they ‘won’ us the right to not have 2 day warrantless searches by cutting that down to 24 hours, as if that is some type of grand concession on the part of the mass surveillance Deep State.

The current debate in parliament is a fucking joke that we should all be deeply embarrassed by…

‘What’s your spy name?’: Spying debate goes off track

The acrimonious debate on New Zealand’s spying agencies four years ago appeared to be long forgotten as MPs tackled a new round of spying reforms this week.

In 2013, activists marched on the streets, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) was accused of mass surveillance, and political parties were at each others’ throats.

But as the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill returned to Parliament on Wednesday, debate instead centred on which MP had the best “spy name” and who the best fictional spy was.

Speaking on a part of the legislation which dealt with covert activities, Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson introduced a ” little game” which he learned in his former role as a diplomat.

“If want to create your own spy identity, what you should do is take your middle name and the street where you grew up.”

He showed the other MPs how do it.

“I myself am Murray Pretoria … which I think makes me sound like a South African spy, but that is me.

“So I invite other members of the House to have a think about where they are at in terms of their identity.”

…oh ha ha, hahahahaha, Hahahahaha. Ha. How fucking hilarious. The Parliament is about to hand over vast new powers of mass surveillance to an organisation with all the checks and balances of your average Apartheid South African justice system and we’re all having a laugh about spy names.

For fucks sakes people.

In the post-Snowdon world where we know the NSA have almost God like powers via the mass surveillance networks, we are making jokes about spy names.

At a time when the UK are about to merge big data with mass surveillance just as NZ is about to, we are making jokes about spy names.

When technical attache’s at the US embassy in Wellington who work at the GCSB can escape legal scrutiny for their actions , we are making jokes about spy names.

As we find out the CIA were 60 years ago involving themselves directly in our internal domestic affairs, we are ramming through mass surveillance powers controlled by the NSA and making jokes about spy names.

So why are these new laws so dangerous to NZ democracy?

We’ve blogged, over, and over, and over again about the reasons why.

So let’s spell them out again.

• The Bill unnecessarily allows for greater surveillance of New Zealanders by our intelligence services and intrudes further on our privacy. The definition of national security is so broad that it could enable even more surveillance of legitimate political dissenters by the intelligence services than has happened to date.
• The NZ Intelligence Agencies have a long history of spying on political activists, not terrorists. These powers will be used in against NZers who threaten the economic status quo of the powerful, it won’t be sued to protect us from actual terror attacks.
• Over two decades, our laws have become a more and more disproportionate response to the actual threats faced in New Zealand. So although there has been no demonstrable increase in risk the resources and invasive powers of the intelligence agencies have steadily increased.
• The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill is the culmination of twenty years of increases in the powers of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It gives them everything they could hope for. The Bill radically broadens the focus of the SIS and the GCSB so they can run operations on almost anything. It allows them to do literally anything to advance on operation or to cover it up. It allows them to co-opt anybody else into an operation. And it grants immunity from prosecution to everyone involved.
• Political campaigns that include any acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations where people get arrested come under “unlawful acts”. Communicate with groups overseas and you’ve ticked the “foreign interference” box. Apply this to criticisms of free trade, the dirty dairy industry, the 100% Pure marketing hype or any number of other issues and you’re talking about “quality of life”, “economic security” or “international relations”. And since being seen by the spies as a potential threat is enough for them to come after you, few movements would be safe.
The broader scope comes from the Bill defining “national security” to include protections against the following:

-“potential threats to New Zealand’s status as a free and democratic society from … foreign interference”;
-“potential threats that may cause serious harm to the … quality of life of the New Zealand population”;
-“unlawful acts or acts of foreign interference that may cause serious damage to New Zealand’s economic security or international relations”;
-“potential threats to the integrity of information … of critical importance to New Zealand”.

Once a warrant is issued, Sections 65 and 66 of the Bill give the SIS and GCSB the power to:

-“do any … act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to achieve the purposes for which the warrant is exercised”; and

-“do any act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to conceal the fact that anything has been done under the warrant and to keep the activities of the intelligence agency covert”.

As Dr David Small, the Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury points out, “These are open-ended powers. They exclude nothing. They do not exclude getting people to do things by using threats, or blackmail or even framing people for serious crimes. The night I caught the SIS spies in 1996, they could have beaten me up in that empty street. During their house searches, they could have planted and claimed to have found items forensically linked to the “APEC bomb”.

On top of this, the Bill allows these agencies to deputise anyone they want to also be protected from prosecution for illegality and it allows for anyone whistle blowing to the media about illegal activity by the Government to be jailed for 5 years.

Beyond all those arguments is the fundamental problem that America empowers us with this mass surveillance software and hardware and they demand a high price for that power. Everything scooped up here in NZ is available to the NSA despite all the waffle about checks and balances. we are giving NZ spy agencies vast new powers which will cal all be exploited by our American Intelligence masters.

The so called ‘flop’ of the Moment of Truth, where Kim Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden all proved without a shadow of doubt that NZ has lied about mass surveillance for the NSA, has had an even more damaging long term impact.

New Zealand was ready in 2013 to challenge these mass surveillance powers and the building of an advanced Police State, but since the corporate mainstream media all wrote those concerns off as conspiratorial by denouncing the Moment of Truth, NZers have self censored themselves and allowed silence to rule the day.

The 2014-2015 budget for the GCSB was $86, 843, 000. Their budget for 2015-2016 is $143, 568, 000. That’s almost a $60million dollar increase in one year, this is becoming a monster with no leash on it.

These new spy powers won’t make anyone of us safer, they are far more likely be abused and damage this democracy.

But let’s all get upset over caged eggs sold as free range and a dog that gets shot at our airport.

Tags: CIA Union Busting In New Zealanddock workers
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:00

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?
http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170318/port-of-las-automated-termina...

TraPac is a partially automated terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. Part of the terminal operates traditionally while the automation is phased in. There are hands on from ship to shore and the final point to truck but in between the yard is automated with people operating the machines from behind desks. Wilmington March 14, 2017.
‹›
By Rachel Uranga, LA Daily News
POSTED: 03/18/17, 5:57 PM PDT | UPDATED: 14 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

These cranes in the former Hanjin Terminal, now TTI Terminal are unloading a ships containers on to UTR’s in the yard. The majority of cranes in the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles are still driven manually but a couple of terminals have switched to automated cranes. Long Beach February 22, 2017 Photo by Brittany Murray, Press Telegram/SCNG
Along a bustling yard at the Port of Los Angeles’ TraPac terminal, robots rule.

Four-stories tall, mammoth two-legged machines scurry around the terminal, snagging shipping containers the size of delivery vans and stacking them like shoeboxes — and occasionally bumping into each other.

The expansive concrete container terminal, where humans are blocked from entering, looks more like a “Star Wars” backlot where all the AT-AT Walkers scurried loose.

But this is no special effect. It’s real-live port-side automation. And, most experts agree, it’s the future of cargo handling.

“If not for automation, we would become obsolete,” said Robert Owens, vice president of automation and information technology at TraPac LLC, the terminal operators owned by Japanese shipping carrier Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Canadian Brookfield Asset Management.

The robots ferry 40-foot-long shipping containers to massive shipside stacks. From there, more megamachines roll in to place the containers on trucks bound for warehouses in the Inland Empire and retailers across the country.

Most of this commercial waltz is orchestrated by programmed algorithms, with no human interference.

Such automation allows the terminal to handle greater volumes of goods in a tighter, more efficient space, Owens said. The electric- and hybrid-powered equipment also produces lower emissions.

Labor advocates, however, see no beauty in this gargantuan choreography. For the union representing dockworkers, new-age terminals are job killers that threaten Southern California’s shrinking blue-collar class.

“Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs,” said Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13. “It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.”

Owens takes another view. TraPac largely morphs routine jobs into more specialized roles, including mechanics who maintain and repair these iron giants.

The opposing perspectives on automation — arriving late to Southern California’s ports compared with some other industries — provide a snapshot of a larger debate playing out on factory floors, in grocery warehouses, even along assembly-line sushi bars, ­and at family kitchen tables where workers wonder where they fit in among their robotic counterparts.

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Experts say the change is inevitable — especially for local ports — to keep pace with international competitors and the swiftly shifting marketplace.

“There are few new terminals (in the world) that aren’t automated,” said Mark A. Sisson, a senior port planner and analyst with engineering firm AECOM.

Falling behind isn’t an option, Owens said.

“If the ports become irrelevant,” he said, “all the jobs are going to go.”

FUTURE PORTS

Over the past four years, the 210-acre terminal that sits at one of the innermost sections of the Port of Los Angeles has been undergoing the transformation. By 2018, the port terminal (or Trapac) will be mostly automated.

Two years later, the $1.3 billion Middle Harbor, Long Beach’s automated terminal, should be up and running. Operated by the Long Beach Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line, the container yard is the port’s largest development project.

Together, the two terminals could handle about a third of the twin ports’ cargo volume.

Across the world, dozens of ports have opted for human-free machines. Rotterdam’s port has been automated for decades.

“The pace of automated terminals is accelerating,” Sisson said. “They are building at record pace at a global level.”

Why are American ports behind the pace?

Shipping companies that lease terminals were hamstrung in recent years by sluggish trade growth that left behind little capital to install the expensive machinery. In addition, unions have strongly resisted supply lines where technology muscles out manpower.

But the door was left ajar when West Coast dockworkers signed a 2008 contract that made automated cargo-handling machines an option.

“We are determined to prevent any automation from coming to the waterfront in the future,” said Olvera, whose family’s history at the ports dates back generations. “We are going to make sure there are no taxpayer dollars spent on automation.”

The towering “straddle carriers” supplant men and women driving forklifts and other cargo-hauling vehicles inside the terminal.

The terminal still requires workers to partner with the robots. They monitor the machines, fix them when they break, and program and adjust their precise movements.

But, yes, fewer workers are required.

“We are looking at a point now with this new equipment that technology is phasing out humans,” said union official Mondo Porras. “It’s like sci-fi movies we used to watch. It is coming to the future.”

THE HUMAN FACTOR

The appeal of robotics to operators is clear. It drives down labor costs, enhances safety, consumes cleaner-burning energy and provides faster service to truckers streaming in and out of ports.

“It is a day-and-night difference between conventional style of operation and the automated,” Sisson said.

At Middle Harbor, a trucking trade group’s analysts estimated that automation cut in half the time big-rig drivers idled while waiting to pick up loads.

Wait times are down at TraPac, too. That cuts congestion at the port, where volumes are expected to rise steeply in coming decades.

On an overcast afternoon at TraPac, three men in safety vests and hard hats sit outside during a break. Asked about the high-tech portscape, they are in no mood to talk.

After a long silence, a worker pipes up. “It’s less jobs for us.”

He waves off a second question.

Porras isn’t as guarded.

“We understand that automation is the future,” he said. “We understand that the companies are trying to get more efficient. But I am losing utility truck drivers. This hurts.”

Those jobs won’t suddenly disappear. It will take six to nine years to install a wave of automation at the twin ports, Sisson said, and that’s only if the money’s there to pay for it.

Nonetheless, workers know change is coming.

“The manning (of equipment) that we know today is going to be off,” Porras said. “Technology is moving faster than we have ever seen it. The future is slim.”

SMARTER ROBOTS

It’s been called the fourth wave of industrialization, the new machine age.

Robots and automation are a reality not just on the docks but for truck drivers, auto workers and retailers.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates nearly 60 percent of all occupations can at least be partially automated with current technology.

By 2055, the company’s analysts say, at least half of all U.S. work activities could be automated.

The jobs most easily replicated by machines involve not just predictable physical activities — like those in factories or warehouses — but also collecting and processing data, as in the financial industry.

Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that the biggest push for automation is often where large numbers of employees work on a single, similar process, such as the tasks in customer-service centers and warehouses.

Automakers such as General Motors used to be the principal employers of robots, largely along their assembly lines, turning screws and fastening parts.

They’ve got company now.

Robotics operate retail-distribution centers, package food products, perform precise aerospace tasks and even pick crops and plow fields.

“Ten or 12 years ago, that would have been a science project,” said Michael Rabina, an engineering manager at Fanuc America, the U.S. arm of the Japanese robotics company. “Before robots were just doing pick-and-place movements that were repeatable and programmable. Now they are using vision to guide them to locations.”

About 80 percent of the robots he sells can “see” and detect when a product or item is either good or bad.

Futurists see roles such as helping doctors interpret X-rays and ultrasound images or laboring in high-risk roles along oil-production lines.

“The robots,” Rabina said, “have become a lot more intelligent.”

NO STOPPING THEM NOW

Among the most aggressive advocates for robotics is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

In 2012, Bezos bought Kiva Systems, a Boston robotics firm, and has equipped his warehouses with tens of thousands of robots that work alongside humans.

He’s made headlines for encouraging consumers to order oft-used products with key-ring-style push buttons and for advocating drone-to-home deliveries.

At Bezos’ enormous fulfillment centers, including the facility in Tracy that stretches the length of 28 football fields, robots “recognize” products and shuttle them on their way.

The company says its superhuman robots create far more jobs than they’ve taken as the company grows amid the warehouse-to-your-house retail boom. Amazon shipped more than a billion items last holiday shopping season, according to the company, and robots did much of the heavy lifting.

Southern California hosts the largest number of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in its California network, centered largely in the Inland Empire, where thousands of workers process online orders and pack items to be sent to customers.

Amazon’s Eastvale location and the newer San Bernardino facility last year added hundreds of orange-hued wheeled robots — already in service at fulfillment centers in Tracy and Patterson — that cruise around the company’s expansive warehouses and carry shelving and products to workers, instead of workers trekking to the shelves themselves to collect products to ship. There are now more than 45,000 robots being used in 20-plus fulfillment centers worldwide, according to Amazon.

The plummeting costs of robots, coupled with their improved capabilities, makes them more and more attractive to industry’s leaders, said Ajay Agrawl, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Roman School of Management who specializes in the economics of artificial intelligence.

“They can now think and handle a situation,” Agrawl said. “It is prediction technology.”

That won’t do much to ease worries about job losses. Even former President Barack Obama warned of the aftershocks of automation.

“Automation is relentless, and it’s going to accelerate,” he said on a podcast hosted by his former aides.

But, unlike some, Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, doesn’t have a dystopian view of this robot invasion.

Job losses are inevitable, he said, but not all jobs can be automated because creativity can’t be programmed.

And economic and industrial change is nothing new. It’s blurred our lives for years, he said.

Just as the internet reshaped lives around the world, it also created new economic models and jobs, he said.

“We have already had a lot of automation,” he said. “The computer was automation; it just doesn’t look like a robot.”

Staff writer Neil Nisperos contributed to this report.

Tags: LA PortAutomationlongshore jobs
Categories: Labor News

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:00

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?
http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170318/port-of-las-automated-termina...

TraPac is a partially automated terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. Part of the terminal operates traditionally while the automation is phased in. There are hands on from ship to shore and the final point to truck but in between the yard is automated with people operating the machines from behind desks. Wilmington March 14, 2017.
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By Rachel Uranga, LA Daily News
POSTED: 03/18/17, 5:57 PM PDT | UPDATED: 14 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

These cranes in the former Hanjin Terminal, now TTI Terminal are unloading a ships containers on to UTR’s in the yard. The majority of cranes in the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles are still driven manually but a couple of terminals have switched to automated cranes. Long Beach February 22, 2017 Photo by Brittany Murray, Press Telegram/SCNG
Along a bustling yard at the Port of Los Angeles’ TraPac terminal, robots rule.

Four-stories tall, mammoth two-legged machines scurry around the terminal, snagging shipping containers the size of delivery vans and stacking them like shoeboxes — and occasionally bumping into each other.

The expansive concrete container terminal, where humans are blocked from entering, looks more like a “Star Wars” backlot where all the AT-AT Walkers scurried loose.

But this is no special effect. It’s real-live port-side automation. And, most experts agree, it’s the future of cargo handling.

“If not for automation, we would become obsolete,” said Robert Owens, vice president of automation and information technology at TraPac LLC, the terminal operators owned by Japanese shipping carrier Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Canadian Brookfield Asset Management.

The robots ferry 40-foot-long shipping containers to massive shipside stacks. From there, more megamachines roll in to place the containers on trucks bound for warehouses in the Inland Empire and retailers across the country.

Most of this commercial waltz is orchestrated by programmed algorithms, with no human interference.

Such automation allows the terminal to handle greater volumes of goods in a tighter, more efficient space, Owens said. The electric- and hybrid-powered equipment also produces lower emissions.

Labor advocates, however, see no beauty in this gargantuan choreography. For the union representing dockworkers, new-age terminals are job killers that threaten Southern California’s shrinking blue-collar class.

“Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs,” said Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13. “It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.”

Owens takes another view. TraPac largely morphs routine jobs into more specialized roles, including mechanics who maintain and repair these iron giants.

The opposing perspectives on automation — arriving late to Southern California’s ports compared with some other industries — provide a snapshot of a larger debate playing out on factory floors, in grocery warehouses, even along assembly-line sushi bars, ­and at family kitchen tables where workers wonder where they fit in among their robotic counterparts.

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Experts say the change is inevitable — especially for local ports — to keep pace with international competitors and the swiftly shifting marketplace.

“There are few new terminals (in the world) that aren’t automated,” said Mark A. Sisson, a senior port planner and analyst with engineering firm AECOM.

Falling behind isn’t an option, Owens said.

“If the ports become irrelevant,” he said, “all the jobs are going to go.”

FUTURE PORTS

Over the past four years, the 210-acre terminal that sits at one of the innermost sections of the Port of Los Angeles has been undergoing the transformation. By 2018, the port terminal (or Trapac) will be mostly automated.

Two years later, the $1.3 billion Middle Harbor, Long Beach’s automated terminal, should be up and running. Operated by the Long Beach Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line, the container yard is the port’s largest development project.

Together, the two terminals could handle about a third of the twin ports’ cargo volume.

Across the world, dozens of ports have opted for human-free machines. Rotterdam’s port has been automated for decades.

“The pace of automated terminals is accelerating,” Sisson said. “They are building at record pace at a global level.”

Why are American ports behind the pace?

Shipping companies that lease terminals were hamstrung in recent years by sluggish trade growth that left behind little capital to install the expensive machinery. In addition, unions have strongly resisted supply lines where technology muscles out manpower.

But the door was left ajar when West Coast dockworkers signed a 2008 contract that made automated cargo-handling machines an option.

“We are determined to prevent any automation from coming to the waterfront in the future,” said Olvera, whose family’s history at the ports dates back generations. “We are going to make sure there are no taxpayer dollars spent on automation.”

The towering “straddle carriers” supplant men and women driving forklifts and other cargo-hauling vehicles inside the terminal.

The terminal still requires workers to partner with the robots. They monitor the machines, fix them when they break, and program and adjust their precise movements.

But, yes, fewer workers are required.

“We are looking at a point now with this new equipment that technology is phasing out humans,” said union official Mondo Porras. “It’s like sci-fi movies we used to watch. It is coming to the future.”

THE HUMAN FACTOR

The appeal of robotics to operators is clear. It drives down labor costs, enhances safety, consumes cleaner-burning energy and provides faster service to truckers streaming in and out of ports.

“It is a day-and-night difference between conventional style of operation and the automated,” Sisson said.

At Middle Harbor, a trucking trade group’s analysts estimated that automation cut in half the time big-rig drivers idled while waiting to pick up loads.

Wait times are down at TraPac, too. That cuts congestion at the port, where volumes are expected to rise steeply in coming decades.

On an overcast afternoon at TraPac, three men in safety vests and hard hats sit outside during a break. Asked about the high-tech portscape, they are in no mood to talk.

After a long silence, a worker pipes up. “It’s less jobs for us.”

He waves off a second question.

Porras isn’t as guarded.

“We understand that automation is the future,” he said. “We understand that the companies are trying to get more efficient. But I am losing utility truck drivers. This hurts.”

Those jobs won’t suddenly disappear. It will take six to nine years to install a wave of automation at the twin ports, Sisson said, and that’s only if the money’s there to pay for it.

Nonetheless, workers know change is coming.

“The manning (of equipment) that we know today is going to be off,” Porras said. “Technology is moving faster than we have ever seen it. The future is slim.”

SMARTER ROBOTS

It’s been called the fourth wave of industrialization, the new machine age.

Robots and automation are a reality not just on the docks but for truck drivers, auto workers and retailers.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates nearly 60 percent of all occupations can at least be partially automated with current technology.

By 2055, the company’s analysts say, at least half of all U.S. work activities could be automated.

The jobs most easily replicated by machines involve not just predictable physical activities — like those in factories or warehouses — but also collecting and processing data, as in the financial industry.

Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that the biggest push for automation is often where large numbers of employees work on a single, similar process, such as the tasks in customer-service centers and warehouses.

Automakers such as General Motors used to be the principal employers of robots, largely along their assembly lines, turning screws and fastening parts.

They’ve got company now.

Robotics operate retail-distribution centers, package food products, perform precise aerospace tasks and even pick crops and plow fields.

“Ten or 12 years ago, that would have been a science project,” said Michael Rabina, an engineering manager at Fanuc America, the U.S. arm of the Japanese robotics company. “Before robots were just doing pick-and-place movements that were repeatable and programmable. Now they are using vision to guide them to locations.”

About 80 percent of the robots he sells can “see” and detect when a product or item is either good or bad.

Futurists see roles such as helping doctors interpret X-rays and ultrasound images or laboring in high-risk roles along oil-production lines.

“The robots,” Rabina said, “have become a lot more intelligent.”

NO STOPPING THEM NOW

Among the most aggressive advocates for robotics is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

In 2012, Bezos bought Kiva Systems, a Boston robotics firm, and has equipped his warehouses with tens of thousands of robots that work alongside humans.

He’s made headlines for encouraging consumers to order oft-used products with key-ring-style push buttons and for advocating drone-to-home deliveries.

At Bezos’ enormous fulfillment centers, including the facility in Tracy that stretches the length of 28 football fields, robots “recognize” products and shuttle them on their way.

The company says its superhuman robots create far more jobs than they’ve taken as the company grows amid the warehouse-to-your-house retail boom. Amazon shipped more than a billion items last holiday shopping season, according to the company, and robots did much of the heavy lifting.

Southern California hosts the largest number of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in its California network, centered largely in the Inland Empire, where thousands of workers process online orders and pack items to be sent to customers.

Amazon’s Eastvale location and the newer San Bernardino facility last year added hundreds of orange-hued wheeled robots — already in service at fulfillment centers in Tracy and Patterson — that cruise around the company’s expansive warehouses and carry shelving and products to workers, instead of workers trekking to the shelves themselves to collect products to ship. There are now more than 45,000 robots being used in 20-plus fulfillment centers worldwide, according to Amazon.

The plummeting costs of robots, coupled with their improved capabilities, makes them more and more attractive to industry’s leaders, said Ajay Agrawl, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Roman School of Management who specializes in the economics of artificial intelligence.

“They can now think and handle a situation,” Agrawl said. “It is prediction technology.”

That won’t do much to ease worries about job losses. Even former President Barack Obama warned of the aftershocks of automation.

“Automation is relentless, and it’s going to accelerate,” he said on a podcast hosted by his former aides.

But, unlike some, Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, doesn’t have a dystopian view of this robot invasion.

Job losses are inevitable, he said, but not all jobs can be automated because creativity can’t be programmed.

And economic and industrial change is nothing new. It’s blurred our lives for years, he said.

Just as the internet reshaped lives around the world, it also created new economic models and jobs, he said.

“We have already had a lot of automation,” he said. “The computer was automation; it just doesn’t look like a robot.”

Staff writer Neil Nisperos contributed to this report.

Tags: LA PortAutomationlongshore jobs
Categories: Labor News

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:58

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle
http://fortune.com/2017/03/18/uber-union-rule-seattle/
David Z. Morris
Mar 18, 2017
A judge in Washington State has rejected Uber’s attempt to overturn a Seattle ordinance that gives its drivers the right to unionize, potentially opening the door for higher rates and labor costs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Teamsters labor union intends to begin working to organize drivers soon.
The legal battle over the rule, which originally passed in December of 2015, has been lengthy. Last August, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group seeking the rule’s suspension.
Uber has extensively lobbied its own drivers to oppose unionization. The company says the rule could impinge on drivers’ flexibility, and has previously protested a provision that would give voting rights on the unionization question only to drivers who make at least 52 trips in a three-month period. Those higher-volume drivers are presumed to be more likely to support unionization.
Observers have long argued that Uber’s business model depends on very low pay for drivers. A British government report last year found that Uber drivers often took home substantially less than that country’s hourly living wage. Elsewhere, Uber has battled lawsuits over its classification of drivers as contractors rather than employees.
Even under such conditions, Uber has repeatedly posted huge operating losses. Drivers pushing for higher fares or pay rates, then, are a major threat to the company's viability.
Uber has not said whether it will appeal the new decision, but according to the Journal, the rule still faces further challenges from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of anti-union drivers.
Uber has previously been extremely hard-nosed in dealing with cities whose ordinances threaten to burden its operations, seeming to fear that such regulation could spread. Both Uber and competitor Lyft stopped operating in Austin, Texas after a rule demanding background checks on drivers went into effect there, and have since stuck to their guns. That raises the possibility that, if things don’t eventually go Uber’s way, the same thing could happen in Seattle.

Tags: Uberunionizationindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:58

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle
http://fortune.com/2017/03/18/uber-union-rule-seattle/
David Z. Morris
Mar 18, 2017
A judge in Washington State has rejected Uber’s attempt to overturn a Seattle ordinance that gives its drivers the right to unionize, potentially opening the door for higher rates and labor costs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Teamsters labor union intends to begin working to organize drivers soon.
The legal battle over the rule, which originally passed in December of 2015, has been lengthy. Last August, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group seeking the rule’s suspension.
Uber has extensively lobbied its own drivers to oppose unionization. The company says the rule could impinge on drivers’ flexibility, and has previously protested a provision that would give voting rights on the unionization question only to drivers who make at least 52 trips in a three-month period. Those higher-volume drivers are presumed to be more likely to support unionization.
Observers have long argued that Uber’s business model depends on very low pay for drivers. A British government report last year found that Uber drivers often took home substantially less than that country’s hourly living wage. Elsewhere, Uber has battled lawsuits over its classification of drivers as contractors rather than employees.
Even under such conditions, Uber has repeatedly posted huge operating losses. Drivers pushing for higher fares or pay rates, then, are a major threat to the company's viability.
Uber has not said whether it will appeal the new decision, but according to the Journal, the rule still faces further challenges from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of anti-union drivers.
Uber has previously been extremely hard-nosed in dealing with cities whose ordinances threaten to burden its operations, seeming to fear that such regulation could spread. Both Uber and competitor Lyft stopped operating in Austin, Texas after a rule demanding background checks on drivers went into effect there, and have since stuck to their guns. That raises the possibility that, if things don’t eventually go Uber’s way, the same thing could happen in Seattle.

Tags: Uberunionizationindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 09:32

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight
ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service
http://ht.ly/DKWK30a1QQT
CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2017 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 2:29 PM ET

Bob Kinnear has resigned as the head of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. (CBC)

Bob Kinnear has resigned as president of the union local that represents TTC workers after a bitter dispute with the U.S.-based parent of the union.

The executive board of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, said in a news release that it has accepted the resignation. It is effective immediately.

"With this distraction behind us, we're now focused on what matters most — representing Toronto's hardworking transit workers," Kevin Morton, Secretary-Treasurer of ATU Local 113, said Friday.

"More united than ever, we're moving forward to fight the TTC's plans for alcohol and drug testing and to prepare for next year's important collective bargaining."

The TTC says 'internal union matters' will not affect service.

The executive board said an investigation by the Canadian Labour Congress, initiated by Kinnear, into relations between the local and its U.S.-based parent organization, ATU International, are over.

The board said it will assume leadership of the union in the wake of the resignation.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, said customers should be reassured that the union dispute will have no effect on service.

Tags: atuCanadaTorontoTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 09:32

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight
ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service
http://ht.ly/DKWK30a1QQT
CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2017 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 2:29 PM ET

Bob Kinnear has resigned as the head of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. (CBC)

Bob Kinnear has resigned as president of the union local that represents TTC workers after a bitter dispute with the U.S.-based parent of the union.

The executive board of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, said in a news release that it has accepted the resignation. It is effective immediately.

"With this distraction behind us, we're now focused on what matters most — representing Toronto's hardworking transit workers," Kevin Morton, Secretary-Treasurer of ATU Local 113, said Friday.

"More united than ever, we're moving forward to fight the TTC's plans for alcohol and drug testing and to prepare for next year's important collective bargaining."

The TTC says 'internal union matters' will not affect service.

The executive board said an investigation by the Canadian Labour Congress, initiated by Kinnear, into relations between the local and its U.S.-based parent organization, ATU International, are over.

The board said it will assume leadership of the union in the wake of the resignation.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, said customers should be reassured that the union dispute will have no effect on service.

Tags: atuCanadaTorontoTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

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