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Swedish APM Terminals Plans Partial Lockout of Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) At Port of Gothenbergy

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 17:29

Swedish APM Terminals Plans Partial Lockout of Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) At Port of Gothenbergy

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/219838/apm-terminals-plans-partia...

Terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg has decided to implement a partial lockout at the container terminal in response to the planned industrial action by members of the Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU).

As disclosed, the lockout will commence on May 19 and continue until June 30. During this period, the lockout will occur on weekdays between 16:00 and 7:00.

The measure is intended to protect operations at the terminal from the most recent threats of industrial action against the company by the SDU, the terminal operator said.

Consequently, port employees working the evening shift will be excluded from the workplace from 16:00 and not receive any salaries for their work, the union informed.

“We have done everything in the last year to solve the conflict with the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union…The steady deterioration in the situation cannot go on, and in order to protect the business APM Terminals Gothenburg is taking protective action against the latest series of planned industrial action,” Henrik Kristensen, CEO of APM Terminals Gothenburg, commented.

During the past six months, APM Terminals Gothenburg has allegedly seen productivity decline by approximately 20 percent of normal weekly capacity. This is equivalent to around 2,000 containers every week.

“We see no alternative solution to this dispute other than a withdraw of current industrial actions and entering a long-term agreement including a period of time without any industrial actions. We also need an amendment to the legislation in such way that an employer who has a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) cannot be subjected to blockades or other industrial action by a trade union, who does not hold a CBA,” Kristensen added.

As explained by the APM Terminals, last week SDU cancelled their planned strikes and overtime blockade to sit down in a meeting with APM Terminals together with Jordi Aragunde president of IDC.

However, the meeting did not result in any kind of agreement as SDU and IDC came to the meeting demanding that a new agreement be signed on the spot, while the terminal company saw the meeting as “a first step towards a negotiation together with the National Swedish Mediation Institute.”

“We need to be able to focus on recovering our business and developing our services instead of cutting staff, which is the unfortunate consequence of the disturbances in our service that the conflict results in,” the company management said in a customer advisory.

“The way forward is via dialogue, where the outcome of the discussions must follow the Swedish model and arbitrary law, and ensuring that such negotiations are made via the National Swedish Mediation Institute. Only then can we ensure that the agreement will not be discarded by Labor Arbitration Court and resulting in fines and that the agreement is annulled. An agreement outside the Swedish arbitrary law would only be a short-term solution and lead to further conflicts in the future,”the advisory further reads.

Separately, the SDU said it understands that APM Terminals has the legal right to lock out their employees “but expects management to take responsibility for their own actions”.

Furthermore, the SDU said it is open to all kinds of collective solutions at the terminal and rejects APM Terminals’ claim that the union refuses to sign the CBA.

The conflict, caused by a change in APM Terminals’ personnel policies, has been ongoing since spring 2016.

Last month, the terminal operator started with layoffs and the implementation of new work patterns. The measures have been reportedly implemented without discussion with the SDU.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU)LockoutAPM Terminals
Categories: Labor News

Swedish APM Terminals Plans Partial Lockout of Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) At Port of Gothenbergy

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 17:29

Swedish APM Terminals Plans Partial Lockout of Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU) At Port of Gothenbergy

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/219838/apm-terminals-plans-partia...

Terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg has decided to implement a partial lockout at the container terminal in response to the planned industrial action by members of the Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU).

As disclosed, the lockout will commence on May 19 and continue until June 30. During this period, the lockout will occur on weekdays between 16:00 and 7:00.

The measure is intended to protect operations at the terminal from the most recent threats of industrial action against the company by the SDU, the terminal operator said.

Consequently, port employees working the evening shift will be excluded from the workplace from 16:00 and not receive any salaries for their work, the union informed.

“We have done everything in the last year to solve the conflict with the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union…The steady deterioration in the situation cannot go on, and in order to protect the business APM Terminals Gothenburg is taking protective action against the latest series of planned industrial action,” Henrik Kristensen, CEO of APM Terminals Gothenburg, commented.

During the past six months, APM Terminals Gothenburg has allegedly seen productivity decline by approximately 20 percent of normal weekly capacity. This is equivalent to around 2,000 containers every week.

“We see no alternative solution to this dispute other than a withdraw of current industrial actions and entering a long-term agreement including a period of time without any industrial actions. We also need an amendment to the legislation in such way that an employer who has a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) cannot be subjected to blockades or other industrial action by a trade union, who does not hold a CBA,” Kristensen added.

As explained by the APM Terminals, last week SDU cancelled their planned strikes and overtime blockade to sit down in a meeting with APM Terminals together with Jordi Aragunde president of IDC.

However, the meeting did not result in any kind of agreement as SDU and IDC came to the meeting demanding that a new agreement be signed on the spot, while the terminal company saw the meeting as “a first step towards a negotiation together with the National Swedish Mediation Institute.”

“We need to be able to focus on recovering our business and developing our services instead of cutting staff, which is the unfortunate consequence of the disturbances in our service that the conflict results in,” the company management said in a customer advisory.

“The way forward is via dialogue, where the outcome of the discussions must follow the Swedish model and arbitrary law, and ensuring that such negotiations are made via the National Swedish Mediation Institute. Only then can we ensure that the agreement will not be discarded by Labor Arbitration Court and resulting in fines and that the agreement is annulled. An agreement outside the Swedish arbitrary law would only be a short-term solution and lead to further conflicts in the future,”the advisory further reads.

Separately, the SDU said it understands that APM Terminals has the legal right to lock out their employees “but expects management to take responsibility for their own actions”.

Furthermore, the SDU said it is open to all kinds of collective solutions at the terminal and rejects APM Terminals’ claim that the union refuses to sign the CBA.

The conflict, caused by a change in APM Terminals’ personnel policies, has been ongoing since spring 2016.

Last month, the terminal operator started with layoffs and the implementation of new work patterns. The measures have been reportedly implemented without discussion with the SDU.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU)LockoutAPM Terminals
Categories: Labor News

EGT Grain terminal, ILWU Local 21 have smooth labor talks

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 13:23

EGT Grain terminal, ILWU Local 21 have smooth labor talks

Marissa Luck mluck@tdn.com

http://tdn.com/news/local/grain-terminal-ilwu-have-smooth-labor-talks/ar...

The local longshoremen’s union has quietly reached an agreement with the operators of the Longview Export Grain Terminal, avoiding the strife that plagued the negotiations five years ago.

Negotiations only lasted about a month, according to the union, and EGT and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 came to an agreement smoothly, according to both sides.

Members unanimously voted to approve the new contract in April, and the five-year contract went into effect last week. Local 21 represents 283 members, but only about 65 people typically work at EGT.

“I think they were looking for stability. … We were able to come to an agreement for the benefit of both sides,” Billy Roberts, Local 21 president, said Wednesday. “It wasn’t hostile.”

The new contract retains the union’s job jurisdiction spelled out in the old contract, so EGT will continue to hire workers out of the Local 21. In 2011, the company’s initial refusal to hire ILWU workers sparked a contentious labor dispute that resulted in protests, blocked rail lines and a storming of terminal property. There were hundreds of arrests and thousands of dollars in fines.

The two sides appear to have mended their relationship over the last five or six years. “We wanted to build our relationship and move on. No one wins with these confrontations,” Roberts said.

“Basically both sides wanted to just go to work,” added Jake Ford, Local 21 vice president.

For the past year, EGT’s business has been thriving. In 2016, the terminal moved 6.6 million tons of grain , its best year since the terminal opened in 2012, according to the Port of Longview. Matthew Kerrigan, EGT manager, said the terminal expecting another strong year for exports in 2017.

The new contract will maintain the same wage structure as the previous contract, and any salary increases will be based on changes in the market, Roberts said. Local 21 also represents workers at the Temco grain terminal in Kalama, and its goal is to have all of its grain terminal workers make the same wages.

Tags: egtGrain Terminal ContractILWU Local 21
Categories: Labor News

EGT Grain terminal, ILWU Local 21 have smooth labor talks

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 13:23

EGT Grain terminal, ILWU Local 21 have smooth labor talks

Marissa Luck mluck@tdn.com

http://tdn.com/news/local/grain-terminal-ilwu-have-smooth-labor-talks/ar...

The local longshoremen’s union has quietly reached an agreement with the operators of the Longview Export Grain Terminal, avoiding the strife that plagued the negotiations five years ago.

Negotiations only lasted about a month, according to the union, and EGT and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 came to an agreement smoothly, according to both sides.

Members unanimously voted to approve the new contract in April, and the five-year contract went into effect last week. Local 21 represents 283 members, but only about 65 people typically work at EGT.

“I think they were looking for stability. … We were able to come to an agreement for the benefit of both sides,” Billy Roberts, Local 21 president, said Wednesday. “It wasn’t hostile.”

The new contract retains the union’s job jurisdiction spelled out in the old contract, so EGT will continue to hire workers out of the Local 21. In 2011, the company’s initial refusal to hire ILWU workers sparked a contentious labor dispute that resulted in protests, blocked rail lines and a storming of terminal property. There were hundreds of arrests and thousands of dollars in fines.

The two sides appear to have mended their relationship over the last five or six years. “We wanted to build our relationship and move on. No one wins with these confrontations,” Roberts said.

“Basically both sides wanted to just go to work,” added Jake Ford, Local 21 vice president.

For the past year, EGT’s business has been thriving. In 2016, the terminal moved 6.6 million tons of grain , its best year since the terminal opened in 2012, according to the Port of Longview. Matthew Kerrigan, EGT manager, said the terminal expecting another strong year for exports in 2017.

The new contract will maintain the same wage structure as the previous contract, and any salary increases will be based on changes in the market, Roberts said. Local 21 also represents workers at the Temco grain terminal in Kalama, and its goal is to have all of its grain terminal workers make the same wages.

Tags: egtGrain Terminal ContractILWU Local 21
Categories: Labor News

Another FedEx Worker Misclassification Case Settled for $227 million

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:07

Another FedEx Worker Misclassification Case Settled for $227 million

http://www.talentwave.com/fedex-worker-misclassification-case-settled-fo...

MAY 9TH, 2017 | KIMBALL NORUP

Last week FedEx announced that it had reached a $227 million joint settlement of independent contractor misclassification class action lawsuits across 19 states. The District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted final approval of the settlements, with payments to the 12,627 driver-plaintiffs residing in Indiana and 18 other states ranging from $250 to more than $116,000. This settlement follows a $226 million dollar settlement in June 2015, for a California class action. Both settlements resolve claims that FedEx misclassified its Ground and Home Delivery drivers as independent contractors, with the drivers alleging they were undercompensated and should have been classified as employees under applicable laws.

Background on the FedEx Case

The legal trouble for FedEx began in 2005, when a group of FedEx drivers filed the first of many misclassification lawsuits against the company. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco handed down a blockbuster decision on August 27, 2014, concluding that FedEx had misclassified its Home Delivery and Ground Division drivers as independent contractors. That decision was quickly followed by a similar decision from the Supreme Court of Kansas, and the Kansas decision was then adopted in July 2015 by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. All three of those decisions reached the same conclusion: FedEx had in fact established an employment relationship with its delivery drivers, despite classifying and treating the workers as independent contractors.

The courts largely based their decisions on the FedEx independent contractor agreement, which FedEx had drafted itself and used across all its Ground Division drivers. The Kansas Supreme Court wrote a harsh critique of the contract, stating that FedEx’s independent contractor agreement was a “‘brilliantly drafted contract creating the constraints of an employment relationship with [the drivers] in the guise of an independent contractor model—because FedEx not only has the right to control, but has close to absolute actual control over [the drivers] based upon interpretation and obfuscation.’”

Following those three decisions, FedEx changed legal course and decided to stop fighting and settle, resulting in these settlements totaling $453 million.

Is It Too Risky to Engage Independent Contractors?

With the combined $453 million that FedEx has paid in settlements of worker misclassification lawsuits, companies that use independent contractors may be wondering if it is too risky to engage independent contractors.

Should companies stop engaging independent contractors entirely?

The short answer is an emphatic “no”.

If you improperly vet, document, structure, and manage your working relationship with ICs you are exposing the organization to risk of fines, penalties, lawsuits, and reclassification. These negative outcomes could easily be avoided by implementing an IC compliance and engagement program.

Classifying workers as independent contractors is a perfectly legal and acceptable form of worker classification, so long as you do it correctly. An Independent Contractor Compliance and Engagement expert, like TalentWave, can build a comprehensive IC engagement program which enables your organization to gain business flexibility in uncertain times, and attract and retain talent (including independent contractors), all while mitigating the risks and streamlining the process.

Lessons for Businesses That Engage Independent Contractors

These monumental FedEx Ground settlements offer two clear lessons to businesses that use independent contractors:

First and foremost, it demonstrates the legal principle that contract law does not supersede employment law. Just because the contracts stated an IC relationship, and both FedEx and the drivers signed it, did not make it so. The best protection for companies using independent contractors is to structure, document, and manage the independent contractor relationship in a manner that is consistent with the laws in the states in which the business operates.
Second, while the laws surrounding independent contractor classification vary significantly across states, most have a common element: direction and control. Specifically, the less direction and control over the workers in question, the better protection the organization has against a misclassified independent contractor.
There is good news for businesses that want to engage independent contractors and mitigate the risks of doing it incorrectly. TalentWave’s IC Compliance and Engagement solutions offer enterprise clients a turn-key solution that dramatically reduces the risk of a misclassified independent contractor, while offering an efficient and cost-effective engagement solution.

Extra – State-by-state Details on the Settlements

In case you were wondering what drivers actually will receive from these settlements, following are the settlement distributions by state:

— Indiana: 791 drivers will divide a settlement of $33.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $29,520. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $116,028.

— Alabama: 375 drivers will share a settlement of $3.2 million. Average recovery per class member will be $5,620. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,100.

— Arizona: 380 drivers will share a settlement of $4.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $8,699. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,149.

— Georgia: 867 drivers will share a settlement of $4.94 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,785. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,711.

— Louisiana: 315 drivers will share a settlement of $5.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $11,061. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,743.

— Maryland: 533 drivers will share a settlement of $9.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,047. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $29,455.

— Minnesota: 455 drivers will share a settlement of $8.3 million. The average recovery per class member will be $12,312. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $44,701.

— New Jersey: 901 drivers will share a settlement of $25.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,301. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $71,194.

— New York: 1,602 drivers will share a settlement of $42.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $18,421. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $68,880.

— North Carolina: 707 drivers will share a settlement of $20 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,250. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $53,440.

— Ohio: 878 drivers will share a settlement of $8.35 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,363. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,611.

— Pennsylvania: 1,265 drivers will share a settlement of $23 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,442. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $45,647.

— Rhode Island: 125 drivers will share a settlement of $1.6 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,352. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,332.

— South Carolina: 274 drivers will share a settlement of $3.1 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,405. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $19,682.

— Tennessee: 762 drivers will share a settlement of $12.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $10,863. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,838.

— Texas: 1,515 drivers will share a settlement of $8.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,938. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,880.

— Utah: 171 drivers will share a settlement of $2.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $9,130. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,886.

— West Virginia: 107 drivers will share a settlement of $3.75 million. Average recovery per class member will be $22,306. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $76,456.

— Wisconsin: 604 drivers will share a settlement of $5.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,126. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $21,842.

The settlements were based on rates of payment for each week a driver worked in excess of 35 hours, plus a separate, lower payment rate for each week a driver worked fewer hours. These amounts vary according to compromises reached through mediation based on the laws of each state. Additionally, the court awarded plaintiffs’ legal fees and costs, at least in part, in each of the suits. Fees awarded in some cases reached 30 percent of the total settlement.

Tags: FedExworker misclassificationindependent contractor
Categories: Labor News

Another FedEx Worker Misclassification Case Settled for $227 million

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:07

Another FedEx Worker Misclassification Case Settled for $227 million

http://www.talentwave.com/fedex-worker-misclassification-case-settled-fo...

MAY 9TH, 2017 | KIMBALL NORUP

Last week FedEx announced that it had reached a $227 million joint settlement of independent contractor misclassification class action lawsuits across 19 states. The District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted final approval of the settlements, with payments to the 12,627 driver-plaintiffs residing in Indiana and 18 other states ranging from $250 to more than $116,000. This settlement follows a $226 million dollar settlement in June 2015, for a California class action. Both settlements resolve claims that FedEx misclassified its Ground and Home Delivery drivers as independent contractors, with the drivers alleging they were undercompensated and should have been classified as employees under applicable laws.

Background on the FedEx Case

The legal trouble for FedEx began in 2005, when a group of FedEx drivers filed the first of many misclassification lawsuits against the company. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco handed down a blockbuster decision on August 27, 2014, concluding that FedEx had misclassified its Home Delivery and Ground Division drivers as independent contractors. That decision was quickly followed by a similar decision from the Supreme Court of Kansas, and the Kansas decision was then adopted in July 2015 by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. All three of those decisions reached the same conclusion: FedEx had in fact established an employment relationship with its delivery drivers, despite classifying and treating the workers as independent contractors.

The courts largely based their decisions on the FedEx independent contractor agreement, which FedEx had drafted itself and used across all its Ground Division drivers. The Kansas Supreme Court wrote a harsh critique of the contract, stating that FedEx’s independent contractor agreement was a “‘brilliantly drafted contract creating the constraints of an employment relationship with [the drivers] in the guise of an independent contractor model—because FedEx not only has the right to control, but has close to absolute actual control over [the drivers] based upon interpretation and obfuscation.’”

Following those three decisions, FedEx changed legal course and decided to stop fighting and settle, resulting in these settlements totaling $453 million.

Is It Too Risky to Engage Independent Contractors?

With the combined $453 million that FedEx has paid in settlements of worker misclassification lawsuits, companies that use independent contractors may be wondering if it is too risky to engage independent contractors.

Should companies stop engaging independent contractors entirely?

The short answer is an emphatic “no”.

If you improperly vet, document, structure, and manage your working relationship with ICs you are exposing the organization to risk of fines, penalties, lawsuits, and reclassification. These negative outcomes could easily be avoided by implementing an IC compliance and engagement program.

Classifying workers as independent contractors is a perfectly legal and acceptable form of worker classification, so long as you do it correctly. An Independent Contractor Compliance and Engagement expert, like TalentWave, can build a comprehensive IC engagement program which enables your organization to gain business flexibility in uncertain times, and attract and retain talent (including independent contractors), all while mitigating the risks and streamlining the process.

Lessons for Businesses That Engage Independent Contractors

These monumental FedEx Ground settlements offer two clear lessons to businesses that use independent contractors:

First and foremost, it demonstrates the legal principle that contract law does not supersede employment law. Just because the contracts stated an IC relationship, and both FedEx and the drivers signed it, did not make it so. The best protection for companies using independent contractors is to structure, document, and manage the independent contractor relationship in a manner that is consistent with the laws in the states in which the business operates.
Second, while the laws surrounding independent contractor classification vary significantly across states, most have a common element: direction and control. Specifically, the less direction and control over the workers in question, the better protection the organization has against a misclassified independent contractor.
There is good news for businesses that want to engage independent contractors and mitigate the risks of doing it incorrectly. TalentWave’s IC Compliance and Engagement solutions offer enterprise clients a turn-key solution that dramatically reduces the risk of a misclassified independent contractor, while offering an efficient and cost-effective engagement solution.

Extra – State-by-state Details on the Settlements

In case you were wondering what drivers actually will receive from these settlements, following are the settlement distributions by state:

— Indiana: 791 drivers will divide a settlement of $33.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $29,520. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $116,028.

— Alabama: 375 drivers will share a settlement of $3.2 million. Average recovery per class member will be $5,620. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,100.

— Arizona: 380 drivers will share a settlement of $4.95 million. Average recovery per class member will be $8,699. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,149.

— Georgia: 867 drivers will share a settlement of $4.94 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,785. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,711.

— Louisiana: 315 drivers will share a settlement of $5.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $11,061. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,743.

— Maryland: 533 drivers will share a settlement of $9.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,047. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $29,455.

— Minnesota: 455 drivers will share a settlement of $8.3 million. The average recovery per class member will be $12,312. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $44,701.

— New Jersey: 901 drivers will share a settlement of $25.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,301. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $71,194.

— New York: 1,602 drivers will share a settlement of $42.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $18,421. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $68,880.

— North Carolina: 707 drivers will share a settlement of $20 million. Average recovery per class member will be $19,250. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $53,440.

— Ohio: 878 drivers will share a settlement of $8.35 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,363. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,611.

— Pennsylvania: 1,265 drivers will share a settlement of $23 million. Average recovery per class member will be $12,442. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $45,647.

— Rhode Island: 125 drivers will share a settlement of $1.6 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,352. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $20,332.

— South Carolina: 274 drivers will share a settlement of $3.1 million. Average recovery per class member will be $7,405. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $19,682.

— Tennessee: 762 drivers will share a settlement of $12.25 million. Average recovery per class member will be $10,863. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $39,838.

— Texas: 1,515 drivers will share a settlement of $8.9 million. Average recovery per class member will be $3,938. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $13,880.

— Utah: 171 drivers will share a settlement of $2.4 million. Average recovery per class member will be $9,130. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $28,886.

— West Virginia: 107 drivers will share a settlement of $3.75 million. Average recovery per class member will be $22,306. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $76,456.

— Wisconsin: 604 drivers will share a settlement of $5.5 million. Average recovery per class member will be $6,126. Settlements per driver may range from $250 to $21,842.

The settlements were based on rates of payment for each week a driver worked in excess of 35 hours, plus a separate, lower payment rate for each week a driver worked fewer hours. These amounts vary according to compromises reached through mediation based on the laws of each state. Additionally, the court awarded plaintiffs’ legal fees and costs, at least in part, in each of the suits. Fees awarded in some cases reached 30 percent of the total settlement.

Tags: FedExworker misclassificationindependent contractor
Categories: Labor News

5/12 SF Protest-Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW! Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea Stop Privatization, Deregulation & Union Busting Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 17:08

5/12 SF Protest-Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW! Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea Stop Privatization, Deregulation & Union Busting Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW!
Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea
Stop Privatization, Deregulation and Union Busting
Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Stop Militarization, Thaad and War Moves

Rally and Speak Out
Friday May 12, 2017 12:00 Noon

San Francisco Korean Consulate
3500 Clay St./Laurel
San Francisco

The former President Park Geun-hye and her government have been impeached for corruption and violating the democratic, human and labor rights of the Korean people. She and her cronies were paid off by union busting corporations like Samsung, Hanjin and others to allow company unions, to deregulate health and safety and to harass and intimidate democratic trade unionists. She also used mass repression to stop the Korean Rail Strike against privatization and has put many union leaders and rank and file trade unionists in jail.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions KCTU president Han Sang-gyun was sentenced by her corrupt judges to five years in July 2016 for supporting political organizing against the government. In December, Park Won-h, president of the KPTU-Truck Sol of the Korean public Service Division. KCTU organising secretary Bae Tae-sun received an 18-month sentence with a 100,000 won fine. Railway trade unionists like Lee Jin Young have also been jailed to silence and intimidate workers.

Public Workers and teachers have also been jailed for trying to form unions and the government is supporting the privatization of all public services while pushing militarization.
While President Park Geun-hye and others in her government are in jail, the illegal jailing of workers and opponents of her government are still in jail as well. It is time to free all political prisoners and stop the continuing repression. The Park Geun-hye government also stepped up war moves with the construction of the Jeju military base and the installation of the US Thaad military weaponry despite mass opposition of the public and the KCTU. These war moves are a threat to democratic rights as well.

Time To Stand Up For Democratic Labor Rights!
End Repressive Labor Laws, Deregulation and Privatization
Stop Militarization, THAAD and War Moves

Initiated by
United Public Workers For Action www.upwa.info

www.upwa.info

Endorsed by

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
www.transportworkers.org

For more information and to endorse:
(415)282-1908

Jailed Korean Trade Unionists
1. Kim Gyeongdo : The Metal Union Korea GM car brench
2. Han Sanggyun ; KCTU The President
3. Choi Yeongcheol : Construction Union
4: Kim Gihong : Construction Union
5. Park Junseon : KCTU The director of organization
6. Lee Jaesik : The Cargo union
7. Nam Jeongsu : KCTU The director of education and publicity
8. Choi Jaegeun : The Metal Union Korea GM car branch
9. Lee Geumju : The Metal Union Ssangyoung car branch
10. Joe Seongdeok : KPTU The vice president (Public & Transport)
11. Bae Taeseon : KCTU The Director of Organization
12. Jeong Yeonghyeon : Construction Union
13. Lee Hyeondae : KCTU The director of organization
14. Lee Jin Young, KRWU

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=VZltuJaBlQA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=525SAeBiFYk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAEvgdFKkLc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9sS5vYoRiw
Additional information
https://www.facebook.com/kctueng
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/729162.html
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/723488.html
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/722989.html
http://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/04-13-15ResReWMDTPP...
http://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/01-12-15ResSptKorea...
http://sflaborcouncil.org/sites/labor/uploads/01-24-11ResOpposingKORUS.pdf

South Korea: Release Jailed Trade Unionists, Respect Workers’ Rights
http://www.tradeunionfreedom.co.uk/south-korea-release-jailed-trade-unio...
Posted on October 11, 2016 by admin

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The assault on workers’ rights in South Korea is intensifying, with more than 20 trade union leaders and members now imprisoned including seven KCTU leaders and officials namely KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, KPTU vice president Cho, Sung-deok and KPCWU president Lee, Jong-hwa. President Park Guen-hye’s government has been throwing people into prison simply for standing up for workers’ rights.

Currently, the strike of public sector workers against the regressive labour reform and performance based pay system was declared ‘illegal’ and nine leaders of Korean Railway Workers Union are accused for the notorious ‘obstruction of business’.

In order to end the strike, the government is seeking ’emergency arbitration’, a practice denounced by the ILO as infringement of freedom of association. The self-employed truck drivers also face criminal and civil charges for a strike they planned.

While the focus of international protest has been mostly on the government itself, the role of Korean business, and especially the shadowy Chaebol conglomerates which dominate the national economy, is coming under the spotlight.

A new ITUC/IndustriALL report on Samsung details the lengths to which some Korean employers will go to bust unions and repress workers’ rights inside Korea and in international supply chains.
President Park will have to step down at the end of her term in December 2017, and it is crucial to keep up the pressure to break the stranglehold that a few corporations have over the state.

A new President should mean a new start for Korea, one where fundamental rights, economic security and safe work for ordinary people are the order of the day. In the coming weeks and months, every bit of pressure on the current regime of President Park will make it that much harder for corporate greed to maintain its grip on one of the world’s most significant economies.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and Public Services International (PSI) are calling for unions to picket outside South Korean embassies on 12 October to urgently protest against government repression of trade unions in South Korea.

They are in jail because of supporting 'the people rising up rally at 13th Nov' last year.
Korean Strikes Hamper Surface Transport at Korean Ports "The rail strike, now entering its third week, has taken out about half of the nation's freight train capacity."
http://www.maritime-executive.com/…/strikes-hamper-surface-…

Truckers' labor action at Busan (courtesy KPTU)
By MarEx 2016-10-12 17:43:44

Truckers and rail workers in South Korea have launched simultaneous strikes, raising difficulties for ports already challenged by container overcrowding from the Hanjin Shipping crisis.

The Cargo Truckers Solidarity (CTS, or TruckSol) union launched a general strike Monday against a government proposal to deregulate the number of small trucks used for home deliveries, and are demanding the introduction of “standard rates” for trucking services. Korea Bizwire reports that the strike has removed a third of the container trucking capacity available at Busan, South Korea's largest port.

The two Hanjin terminals at Busan are nearing maximum capacity, Bizwire says, at about 80 percent – the point where excess numbers begin to impede operations. Other terminals may face the same difficulties soon, especially since the strike has taken out part of Busan's inter-terminal transfer service for transshipments.

While Busan has been affected, Korea Herald reported that the trucker strike was not having a widespread impact across the nation due to a low participation rate. In addition, the deployment of police, military transport vehicles and non-union trucks has blunted the labor action’s impact.

“The government will sternly deal with this strike in accordance with the law and its principle,” said Transport Minister Kang Ho-in in a statement Monday.

The international Transport Worker’s Union accused the Korean government of a heavy-handed response to the strike. “It is unacceptable that the South Korean government is responding to the legitimate demands of workers with intimidation, violence and arrests,” said Tony Sheldon, the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s road transport chair. The union said that the arrests and injuries occurred after thousands of police surrounded a union rally in front of the Busan New Port; further, it said that the government has threatened strikers with reprisals, including license suspensions and criminal charges.

Strikers and police at Busan

The rail strike, now entering its third week, has taken out about half of the nation's freight train capacity. The Korea Herald estimated that over 7,000 members of the rail union are participating, about 40 percent, including workers on Seoul’s subway system.

Korea Railroad Corporation is reported to be using emergency staff to operate container freight services in an attempt to alleviate the port congestion.

The labor dispute comes amidst other bad news for Korean port activity. South Korea's export volume shrank at six percent year on year in September, due mainly to another ongoing strike at automaker Hyundai Motor and a multi-billion-dollar recall on Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone – in addition to the logistics problems stemming from the collapse of Hanjin.

Korean Education Ministry mandates disciplinary action for teachers’ full-time union activity
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/790241.html
Posted on : Apr.11,2017 16:43 KSTModified on : Apr.11,2017 16:43 KST
Printfacebook5twitter

<149189534148_20170412.JPG>
Members of the Korean Teachers’ and Education Workers’ Union have their heads shaved outside of the Central Government Complex in Seoul, calling on the government to withdraw plans to revoke the union‘s legal status, Mar. 2016. (by Lee Jeong-yong, staff photographer)
Teachers union plans to lodge a complaint with Prosecutors, alleging abuse of power by Minister of Education
The Ministry of Education demanded that metropolitan and provincial offices of education revoking permissions for full-time union activities by schoolteacher members of the Korean Teachers’ and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), and take disciplinary action against them by Apr. 28.

The ministry also plans to consider criminal complaints against education superintendents who continue refusing to comply, including charges of dereliction of duty.

The KTU said it would “hold the ministry accountable for its abuse of power in infringing on the authority assigned to metropolitan and provincial education superintendents and trampling on labor union rights with its ex officio revocation of full-time unionist [permissions].”

The ministry announced on Apr. 10 that it had “sent a notice to the various metropolitan and provincial offices of education demanding that they carry out disciplinary action by Apr. 28 against KTU teachers who have not been going to work at schools because of their union activities, and submit their results.”

The ministry stressed that it could not permit full-time union activities because the KTU does not constitute a labor union as specified in Article 5 of the Act on the Establishment and Operation of Teachers’ Unions. It also said it “plans to consider making criminal complaints against superintendents of offices of education that continue refusing to carry out disciplinary action in connection with the KTU’s violations of its service obligations.”

“These offices of education must stop infringing on the right to learn and causing chaos in educational settings with their arbitrary enforcement of the law,” it said. The ministry previously demanded that the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) and other metropolitan and provincial offices of education revoke permissions for full-time union activities by KTU teachers, but some refused.

The offices of education remained on the fence about the measure.

“Now that the procedures for revoking authority have begun, there’s about a two-week period left for related administrative procedures. We plan to conclude submission of opinions from the parties involved and other procedures before deciding our position,” the SMOE said.

The South Gyeongsang Province Office of Education said its decision would “take into account equity with other metropolitan and provincial offices of education.”

The KTU plans to lodge a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors‘ Office on Apr. 11 charging four ministry officials with abuse of power, including Minister of Education Lee Joon-sik. Currently, a total of 16 KTU-affiliated schoolteachers are not reporting to work at schools for reasons of full-time union activity.

By Jung Eun-joo and Kim Mee-hyang, staff reporters

Korean Gov Park Prosecutors seek two-year prison sentence for organizer of Sewol ferry march of silence over government cover-up
http://english.hani.co.kr/…/english_…/e_national/770031.html
Nov.13,2016 11:59 KSTModified on : Nov.13,2016 11:59 KST

25-year-old Yong Hye-in speaks at a citizens’ filibuster in front of the National Assembly in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood on Feb. 25, opposing anti-terror legislation. (by Kim Myoung-jin, staff photographer)
Organizer says her life was changed by the Sewol sinking, and she hopes her case will show the country “that it’s not a crime to fight injustice”
On Nov. 2 South Korean prosecutors asked a court to give a two-year prison sentence to Yong Hye-in, who organized a much-discussed march of silence called “Stay Where You Are” after the sinking of the Sewol ferry.
Yong is charged with having allowed protests that she had organized to exceed the scope approved by the authorities (obstruction of traffic) and with having organized a march without first receiving permission from the authorities (violating the Assembly and Demonstration Act). Yong was behind the march of silence for the Sewol, protest demonstrations during a hunger strike by the Sewol victims’ families and several other commemorative demonstrations in 2014.
Yong shared the news about the sentence the prosecutors are seeking on her Facebook page on Nov. 2 along with the final testimony she made at Seoul Central District Court. “During the 1,000 days that have passed since the Sewol Ferry sank in the waters off the coast of Jindo [in South Jeolla Province], many things have happened, and my life has changed a great deal,” Yong said at the beginning of her testimony. Then she asked the judge, the prosecutors and the lawyers in the courtroom whether they remembered the moment that they learned about the Sewol accident on Apr. 16, 2014.

Yong Hye-in participates in a silent demonstration that she initiated with other young people after the Sewol tragedy in April. The signs read, “Stay where you are”.
On the day of the Sewol tragedy, Yong got to school early and was talking with some of her friends. One friend sent her news about the Sewol on her mobile phone. Yong had lived in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province and she had wanted to get into Danwon High School (which many of the students who died in the sinking attended). While she was absorbed in thought about Danwon High School on her way to class, she heard to her relief that all the passengers had been rescued. But to Yong’s dismay, that good news turned out to be completely incorrect.
“I was shocked to learn about the false report, but I stopped worrying when I heard that a massive rescue effort was underway, involving hundreds of divers, hundreds of boats, several helicopters and hundreds of flares. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but even then I assumed that at least a few of the passengers would be rescued and that there would be a moving scene of a tearful reunion with their families in front of media cameras,” Yong said.
“The entire country was plunged into sorrow” by the Sewol tragedy, said Yong, as she continued her testimony. “The media was talking about the Werther Effect and expressing concern about how the tragedy might affect the public. This was also when some people started talking about the blow to consumer sentiment,” Yong said.
“After the tragedy, there were many people who said they were sorry. I thought that this was because they felt responsibility as members of society for having created a society in which 304 people’s lives could be taken from them like that, a society in which people have to suddenly learn that their family members have died,” Yong said.
It was around this time, Yong explained, that she planned the “Stay Where You Are” march of silence out of a desire to create an opportunity to talk to and comfort those who were grieving. Several dozen people came together at Yong’s suggestion and walked together through central Seoul, carrying chrysanthemums tied with yellow ribbons and small pickets that read, “Stay Where You Are.”
During the testimony, Yong also expressed her feelings about the trial, which had lasted for two years: “I’ve had a hard time during the two years of this trial. I was arrested for the first time in my life after the Sewol sinking; I spent two nights in a police station; I was shuttled around by the police and the prosecutors; and I saw my first search warrant.” At the same time, Yong was confident that if someone asked her if she regretted it all, she would say she didn’t. “I want to live as a member of society, as the kind of person who fulfills their responsibilities as a human being,” she said.
“Many South Koreans are infuriated about the recent scandal involving Park Geun-hye and [her confidante and unofficial advisor] Choi Sun-sil. I think they’ve learned over the past two years that resisting injustice and corruption in society is never a crime. I hope that my trial will set a good precedent that it’s not a crime to fight injustice,” Yong told the Hankyoreh in a telephone interview on Nov. 3. Yong’s verdict will be read on Dec. 7.
By Park Soo-jin, staff reporter

Tags: Jailed Korean Trade UnionistsKCTU
Categories: Labor News

5/12 SF Protest-Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW! Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea Stop Privatization, Deregulation & Union Busting Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 17:08

5/12 SF Protest-Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW! Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea Stop Privatization, Deregulation & Union Busting Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Free The Jailed Korean Trade Unionists NOW!
Democratic Rights For All Working People In Korea
Stop Privatization, Deregulation and Union Busting
Free All Political Prisoners of Former Corrupt President Park Geun-hye

Stop Militarization, Thaad and War Moves

Rally and Speak Out
Friday May 12, 2017 12:00 Noon

San Francisco Korean Consulate
3500 Clay St./Laurel
San Francisco

The former President Park Geun-hye and her government have been impeached for corruption and violating the democratic, human and labor rights of the Korean people. She and her cronies were paid off by union busting corporations like Samsung, Hanjin and others to allow company unions, to deregulate health and safety and to harass and intimidate democratic trade unionists. She also used mass repression to stop the Korean Rail Strike against privatization and has put many union leaders and rank and file trade unionists in jail.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions KCTU president Han Sang-gyun was sentenced by her corrupt judges to five years in July 2016 for supporting political organizing against the government. In December, Park Won-h, president of the KPTU-Truck Sol of the Korean public Service Division. KCTU organising secretary Bae Tae-sun received an 18-month sentence with a 100,000 won fine. Railway trade unionists like Lee Jin Young have also been jailed to silence and intimidate workers.

Public Workers and teachers have also been jailed for trying to form unions and the government is supporting the privatization of all public services while pushing militarization.
While President Park Geun-hye and others in her government are in jail, the illegal jailing of workers and opponents of her government are still in jail as well. It is time to free all political prisoners and stop the continuing repression. The Park Geun-hye government also stepped up war moves with the construction of the Jeju military base and the installation of the US Thaad military weaponry despite mass opposition of the public and the KCTU. These war moves are a threat to democratic rights as well.

Time To Stand Up For Democratic Labor Rights!
End Repressive Labor Laws, Deregulation and Privatization
Stop Militarization, THAAD and War Moves

Initiated by
United Public Workers For Action www.upwa.info

www.upwa.info

Endorsed by

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
www.transportworkers.org

For more information and to endorse:
(415)282-1908

Jailed Korean Trade Unionists
1. Kim Gyeongdo : The Metal Union Korea GM car brench
2. Han Sanggyun ; KCTU The President
3. Choi Yeongcheol : Construction Union
4: Kim Gihong : Construction Union
5. Park Junseon : KCTU The director of organization
6. Lee Jaesik : The Cargo union
7. Nam Jeongsu : KCTU The director of education and publicity
8. Choi Jaegeun : The Metal Union Korea GM car branch
9. Lee Geumju : The Metal Union Ssangyoung car branch
10. Joe Seongdeok : KPTU The vice president (Public & Transport)
11. Bae Taeseon : KCTU The Director of Organization
12. Jeong Yeonghyeon : Construction Union
13. Lee Hyeondae : KCTU The director of organization
14. Lee Jin Young, KRWU

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=VZltuJaBlQA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=525SAeBiFYk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAEvgdFKkLc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9sS5vYoRiw
Additional information
https://www.facebook.com/kctueng
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/729162.html
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/723488.html
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/722989.html
http://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/04-13-15ResReWMDTPP...
http://sflaborcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/01-12-15ResSptKorea...
http://sflaborcouncil.org/sites/labor/uploads/01-24-11ResOpposingKORUS.pdf

South Korea: Release Jailed Trade Unionists, Respect Workers’ Rights
http://www.tradeunionfreedom.co.uk/south-korea-release-jailed-trade-unio...
Posted on October 11, 2016 by admin

<3190.jpg>
The assault on workers’ rights in South Korea is intensifying, with more than 20 trade union leaders and members now imprisoned including seven KCTU leaders and officials namely KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, KPTU vice president Cho, Sung-deok and KPCWU president Lee, Jong-hwa. President Park Guen-hye’s government has been throwing people into prison simply for standing up for workers’ rights.

Currently, the strike of public sector workers against the regressive labour reform and performance based pay system was declared ‘illegal’ and nine leaders of Korean Railway Workers Union are accused for the notorious ‘obstruction of business’.

In order to end the strike, the government is seeking ’emergency arbitration’, a practice denounced by the ILO as infringement of freedom of association. The self-employed truck drivers also face criminal and civil charges for a strike they planned.

While the focus of international protest has been mostly on the government itself, the role of Korean business, and especially the shadowy Chaebol conglomerates which dominate the national economy, is coming under the spotlight.

A new ITUC/IndustriALL report on Samsung details the lengths to which some Korean employers will go to bust unions and repress workers’ rights inside Korea and in international supply chains.
President Park will have to step down at the end of her term in December 2017, and it is crucial to keep up the pressure to break the stranglehold that a few corporations have over the state.

A new President should mean a new start for Korea, one where fundamental rights, economic security and safe work for ordinary people are the order of the day. In the coming weeks and months, every bit of pressure on the current regime of President Park will make it that much harder for corporate greed to maintain its grip on one of the world’s most significant economies.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and Public Services International (PSI) are calling for unions to picket outside South Korean embassies on 12 October to urgently protest against government repression of trade unions in South Korea.

They are in jail because of supporting 'the people rising up rally at 13th Nov' last year.
Korean Strikes Hamper Surface Transport at Korean Ports "The rail strike, now entering its third week, has taken out about half of the nation's freight train capacity."
http://www.maritime-executive.com/…/strikes-hamper-surface-…

Truckers' labor action at Busan (courtesy KPTU)
By MarEx 2016-10-12 17:43:44

Truckers and rail workers in South Korea have launched simultaneous strikes, raising difficulties for ports already challenged by container overcrowding from the Hanjin Shipping crisis.

The Cargo Truckers Solidarity (CTS, or TruckSol) union launched a general strike Monday against a government proposal to deregulate the number of small trucks used for home deliveries, and are demanding the introduction of “standard rates” for trucking services. Korea Bizwire reports that the strike has removed a third of the container trucking capacity available at Busan, South Korea's largest port.

The two Hanjin terminals at Busan are nearing maximum capacity, Bizwire says, at about 80 percent – the point where excess numbers begin to impede operations. Other terminals may face the same difficulties soon, especially since the strike has taken out part of Busan's inter-terminal transfer service for transshipments.

While Busan has been affected, Korea Herald reported that the trucker strike was not having a widespread impact across the nation due to a low participation rate. In addition, the deployment of police, military transport vehicles and non-union trucks has blunted the labor action’s impact.

“The government will sternly deal with this strike in accordance with the law and its principle,” said Transport Minister Kang Ho-in in a statement Monday.

The international Transport Worker’s Union accused the Korean government of a heavy-handed response to the strike. “It is unacceptable that the South Korean government is responding to the legitimate demands of workers with intimidation, violence and arrests,” said Tony Sheldon, the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s road transport chair. The union said that the arrests and injuries occurred after thousands of police surrounded a union rally in front of the Busan New Port; further, it said that the government has threatened strikers with reprisals, including license suspensions and criminal charges.

Strikers and police at Busan

The rail strike, now entering its third week, has taken out about half of the nation's freight train capacity. The Korea Herald estimated that over 7,000 members of the rail union are participating, about 40 percent, including workers on Seoul’s subway system.

Korea Railroad Corporation is reported to be using emergency staff to operate container freight services in an attempt to alleviate the port congestion.

The labor dispute comes amidst other bad news for Korean port activity. South Korea's export volume shrank at six percent year on year in September, due mainly to another ongoing strike at automaker Hyundai Motor and a multi-billion-dollar recall on Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone – in addition to the logistics problems stemming from the collapse of Hanjin.

Korean Education Ministry mandates disciplinary action for teachers’ full-time union activity
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/790241.html
Posted on : Apr.11,2017 16:43 KSTModified on : Apr.11,2017 16:43 KST
Printfacebook5twitter

<149189534148_20170412.JPG>
Members of the Korean Teachers’ and Education Workers’ Union have their heads shaved outside of the Central Government Complex in Seoul, calling on the government to withdraw plans to revoke the union‘s legal status, Mar. 2016. (by Lee Jeong-yong, staff photographer)
Teachers union plans to lodge a complaint with Prosecutors, alleging abuse of power by Minister of Education
The Ministry of Education demanded that metropolitan and provincial offices of education revoking permissions for full-time union activities by schoolteacher members of the Korean Teachers’ and Education Workers’ Union (KTU), and take disciplinary action against them by Apr. 28.

The ministry also plans to consider criminal complaints against education superintendents who continue refusing to comply, including charges of dereliction of duty.

The KTU said it would “hold the ministry accountable for its abuse of power in infringing on the authority assigned to metropolitan and provincial education superintendents and trampling on labor union rights with its ex officio revocation of full-time unionist [permissions].”

The ministry announced on Apr. 10 that it had “sent a notice to the various metropolitan and provincial offices of education demanding that they carry out disciplinary action by Apr. 28 against KTU teachers who have not been going to work at schools because of their union activities, and submit their results.”

The ministry stressed that it could not permit full-time union activities because the KTU does not constitute a labor union as specified in Article 5 of the Act on the Establishment and Operation of Teachers’ Unions. It also said it “plans to consider making criminal complaints against superintendents of offices of education that continue refusing to carry out disciplinary action in connection with the KTU’s violations of its service obligations.”

“These offices of education must stop infringing on the right to learn and causing chaos in educational settings with their arbitrary enforcement of the law,” it said. The ministry previously demanded that the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) and other metropolitan and provincial offices of education revoke permissions for full-time union activities by KTU teachers, but some refused.

The offices of education remained on the fence about the measure.

“Now that the procedures for revoking authority have begun, there’s about a two-week period left for related administrative procedures. We plan to conclude submission of opinions from the parties involved and other procedures before deciding our position,” the SMOE said.

The South Gyeongsang Province Office of Education said its decision would “take into account equity with other metropolitan and provincial offices of education.”

The KTU plans to lodge a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors‘ Office on Apr. 11 charging four ministry officials with abuse of power, including Minister of Education Lee Joon-sik. Currently, a total of 16 KTU-affiliated schoolteachers are not reporting to work at schools for reasons of full-time union activity.

By Jung Eun-joo and Kim Mee-hyang, staff reporters

Korean Gov Park Prosecutors seek two-year prison sentence for organizer of Sewol ferry march of silence over government cover-up
http://english.hani.co.kr/…/english_…/e_national/770031.html
Nov.13,2016 11:59 KSTModified on : Nov.13,2016 11:59 KST

25-year-old Yong Hye-in speaks at a citizens’ filibuster in front of the National Assembly in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood on Feb. 25, opposing anti-terror legislation. (by Kim Myoung-jin, staff photographer)
Organizer says her life was changed by the Sewol sinking, and she hopes her case will show the country “that it’s not a crime to fight injustice”
On Nov. 2 South Korean prosecutors asked a court to give a two-year prison sentence to Yong Hye-in, who organized a much-discussed march of silence called “Stay Where You Are” after the sinking of the Sewol ferry.
Yong is charged with having allowed protests that she had organized to exceed the scope approved by the authorities (obstruction of traffic) and with having organized a march without first receiving permission from the authorities (violating the Assembly and Demonstration Act). Yong was behind the march of silence for the Sewol, protest demonstrations during a hunger strike by the Sewol victims’ families and several other commemorative demonstrations in 2014.
Yong shared the news about the sentence the prosecutors are seeking on her Facebook page on Nov. 2 along with the final testimony she made at Seoul Central District Court. “During the 1,000 days that have passed since the Sewol Ferry sank in the waters off the coast of Jindo [in South Jeolla Province], many things have happened, and my life has changed a great deal,” Yong said at the beginning of her testimony. Then she asked the judge, the prosecutors and the lawyers in the courtroom whether they remembered the moment that they learned about the Sewol accident on Apr. 16, 2014.

Yong Hye-in participates in a silent demonstration that she initiated with other young people after the Sewol tragedy in April. The signs read, “Stay where you are”.
On the day of the Sewol tragedy, Yong got to school early and was talking with some of her friends. One friend sent her news about the Sewol on her mobile phone. Yong had lived in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province and she had wanted to get into Danwon High School (which many of the students who died in the sinking attended). While she was absorbed in thought about Danwon High School on her way to class, she heard to her relief that all the passengers had been rescued. But to Yong’s dismay, that good news turned out to be completely incorrect.
“I was shocked to learn about the false report, but I stopped worrying when I heard that a massive rescue effort was underway, involving hundreds of divers, hundreds of boats, several helicopters and hundreds of flares. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but even then I assumed that at least a few of the passengers would be rescued and that there would be a moving scene of a tearful reunion with their families in front of media cameras,” Yong said.
“The entire country was plunged into sorrow” by the Sewol tragedy, said Yong, as she continued her testimony. “The media was talking about the Werther Effect and expressing concern about how the tragedy might affect the public. This was also when some people started talking about the blow to consumer sentiment,” Yong said.
“After the tragedy, there were many people who said they were sorry. I thought that this was because they felt responsibility as members of society for having created a society in which 304 people’s lives could be taken from them like that, a society in which people have to suddenly learn that their family members have died,” Yong said.
It was around this time, Yong explained, that she planned the “Stay Where You Are” march of silence out of a desire to create an opportunity to talk to and comfort those who were grieving. Several dozen people came together at Yong’s suggestion and walked together through central Seoul, carrying chrysanthemums tied with yellow ribbons and small pickets that read, “Stay Where You Are.”
During the testimony, Yong also expressed her feelings about the trial, which had lasted for two years: “I’ve had a hard time during the two years of this trial. I was arrested for the first time in my life after the Sewol sinking; I spent two nights in a police station; I was shuttled around by the police and the prosecutors; and I saw my first search warrant.” At the same time, Yong was confident that if someone asked her if she regretted it all, she would say she didn’t. “I want to live as a member of society, as the kind of person who fulfills their responsibilities as a human being,” she said.
“Many South Koreans are infuriated about the recent scandal involving Park Geun-hye and [her confidante and unofficial advisor] Choi Sun-sil. I think they’ve learned over the past two years that resisting injustice and corruption in society is never a crime. I hope that my trial will set a good precedent that it’s not a crime to fight injustice,” Yong told the Hankyoreh in a telephone interview on Nov. 3. Yong’s verdict will be read on Dec. 7.
By Park Soo-jin, staff reporter

Tags: Jailed Korean Trade UnionistsKCTU
Categories: Labor News

Contentious CLC report on Toronto ATU Local 113 crisis falls short

Fri, 05/05/2017 - 22:04

Contentious CLC report on Toronto ATU Local 113 crisis falls short

http://rankandfile.ca/2017/05/05/contentious-clc-report-on-atu-crisis-fa...
Posted on May 5, 2017 in ATU, CLC, NUPGE, Raiding, UFCW, Unifor, union democracy
By David Bush and Gerard Di Trolio

On March 27, CLC Investigator Barry Thorsteinson submitted an 11 page report

http://rankandfile.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/CLCreport.pdf

to CLC President Hassan Yussuff on the ATU Local 113 crisis. His report notes that with the March 17 withdrawal of Bob Kinnear’s request for the CLC’s justification proceedings, the case ends with the filing of his report. No full investigation is to be conducted.ORIGINAL

The Thorsteinson report makes a number of preliminary findings. The first is that Unifor stands in violation of the CLC Constitution for its interference in this dispute. The report notes that the CLC will determine what response if appropriate.

Thorsteinson’s report also notes that the ATU has failed to cooperate fully with the justification process by ceaseless attempts to discredit the CLC and calls for the process to terminate. To a much lesser extent, during this investigation as described earlier is two specific instances of refusals to cooperate by withholding requested information.

The report also finds that President Yussuff and the CLC were not involved in any plot to assist Kinnear, or Unifor, in the justification process.

Hassan Yussuff sent a letter along with a copy of the report to the affiliates. In that brief letter he notes the investigator cleared the CLC and that he calls for unions to strengthen the Article 4 protocol.

The problems of the CLC report

Both the report and Yussuff’s letter fall far short.

Thorsteinson’s report, while not a full investigation, is riddled with omissions and specious interpretations of events. In one notable section of the report aimed at showing disapproval of the International amongst the membership, Thorsteinson summarizes the minutes of an ATU 113 membership meeting in October where a member questioned belonging to the International “to allegedly strong applause.” How one can can gage the strength of an applause via the minutes is perplexing. This barely noteworthy instance is used by Thorsteinson later in the report to show that there was membership support for Kinnear’s actions.

Thorsteinson, through a handful of interviews and a creative reading of minutes, concludes Kinnear was acting as “a group of workers”, which is the definition required Kinnear to initiate section 4.9a. Kinnear never sought nor got approval from the membership nor the elected executive board of ATU Local 113 to initiate the justification process. But Thorsteinson, in a curious use of logic and the English language, claims because he is a president of a local Kinnear himself is by definition of “a group of workers.”

Where he finds Unifor clearly guilty of the CLC Constitution for interference in another union’s business, he fails to adequately outline what happened. He states there is no need to detail the facts of this interference because Jerry Dias told him, in a 20 minute phone call, Unifor had been in contact with Kinnear a week prior to the trusteeship. Dias admitted to this because the evidence of Unifor collusion by the time of the interview had been overwhelming and public. Kinnear’s legal fees were being paid for by Unifor. Unifor had also been caught colluding with Kinnear about the situation before the trusteeship.

What is revealing is Unifor’s misdeed are left at that. Who paid for the 3 full page ads in Toronto’s major dailies from Kinnear to his membership? When exactly was the first contact between Kinnear and Unifor about the situation at the ATU 113? How did a recorded phone call between 113 executive board members predict with startling accuracy Unifor’s involvement?

While many of these question require a full investigation, Thorsteinson seems uninterested and unwilling to address these questions. The contempt for ATU in Thorsteinson’s report oozes in every section, he talks about reprisals against members (there has been zero evidence this has occurred), the uncooperativeness during the investigation and their attacks on the CLC President.

Thorsteinson also finds the CLC and Hassan Yussuff were not involved in the ATU 113 crisis beyond the role of ensuring the integrity of the justification process. Thorsteinson calls the ATU allegations of the CLC involvement in the crisis at ATU 113 a conspiracy. He argues that Yussuff warned them not to trustee the local. Thorsteinson describes and dismisses the claims by ATU Local 987 President Travis Oberg who stated that Kinnear told him that 113 had a deal Yussuff to take the local out of the International.

On the face of it this claim does seem far fetched, but when put together with other facts it warrants at the very least a serious investigation. The Barbosa call before the trusteeship which described in detail how the CLC would strip article 4 protections for 113. This is exactly what happened after the trusteeship. For no valid reason the CLC stripped article 4 provisions. As we would later learn the affiliates were none too pleased with this action.

Yussuff in his letter about the report states, “as you can imagine, I have been extremely frustrated by the public nature in which the ATU and others have chosen to attack the CLC and my handling of this file.”

However, what this and Thorsteinson’s report fail to address is the very public manner of the CLC intervention into the crisis. It was Chris MacDonald, Yussuff’s assistant, who was talking to the media throughout the weekend when the crisis first broke. He told the Toronto Sun, “Our view is that (the takeover is) an inappropriate, retaliatory response to workers trying to exercise their democratic right to decide which union they want to belong to,” MacDonald said. “The ATU doesn’t own those members.”

What MacDonald knew, and did not disclose, was that no group of members filed the justification process, it was only Kinnear. This selective intervention in the media was one-sided and inaccurate. Thorsteinson makes no mention of this. Yussuff’s outrage about the the public nature of crisis at ATU 113 is hard to stomach. The CLC itself choose to publicly intervene by taking sides in public and then actually withdrawing the Article 4 protections.

As we reported earlier, on March 3 a letter signed by the presidents of NUPGE, CUPE, USW, IAM, UFCW, and endorsed by UNITE HERE, SEIU Local 1, and UA was sent to Yussuff stating the justification process of article 4.9 has been undermined in the Local 113 situation, as the CLC constitution states that 4.9 is to be invoked at the request of “a group of workers,” and that the CLC granting justification to a single member, who is the president of the local, such as Kinnear was a slippery slope.

This letter directly rejects Thorsteinson’s report about Kinnear’s acting as “a group of members,” and clearly shows that Yussuff and Thorsteinson’s report are not reflective of the opinion of the majority of the affiliates.

CLC affiliates respond

In response to the Thorsteinson report presidents of two CLC affiliate unions have expressed deep misgivings towards the report and the circumstances surrounding ATU Local 113.

UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema wrote to Yussuff on April 7. In his letter, Meinema states that it is UFCW Canada’s position that a local union president cannot remove a local from a union on their individual initiative. Meinema was also concerned that Article 4 remained in force even after trusteeship was declared by ATU over Local 113. Meinema argues that this suggests that this means that the CLC Constitution is essentially trying to override ATU’s constitution, and that this conflict could be an issue for the Canadian labour movement moving forward.

Meinema goes on to say that the investigation was vague and shed little light on the issues stating, “the only substantial finding of the report was that an affiliate had violated the CLC constitution, via interference. This was not new information, as it was pretty clear from the very beginning.”

Meinema was concerned over the role the CLC played in the crisis and the lasting impact this will have on the labour movement in Canada:

“We have a situation where the CLC was heavily involved in advance of the Executive Committee meeting, and was not transparent about those prior actions; leaving the committee ill-informed about the matter. Then the CLC then made the decision to join the media circus that erupted, continued to justify its application of Article 4, and launched a questionable investigation that has now submitted a report understating the CLC’s direct involvement. Additionally injurious was the insult to all Canadian presidents of international unions affiliated to the CLC. Not only has the CLC’s reputation been damaged in this respect, but also trust is never regained easily once it has been broken.”

On April 3, NUGPE President Larry Brown sent a letter to the CLC stating his concerns with a number of issues pertaining the the situation.

First, Brown was concerned that all it took was a single individual, in this case Kinnear, as Local 113, in order to have the justification process invoked despite the fact that the CLC Constitution refers to a “group of workers” being needed for Article 4. What constitutes a “group of workers” remains vague.

Brown also notes that questions remain after the posting of a recording that featured two members of Local 113’s executive board successfully predicting many of the things that would happen as a result of Kinnear’s actions.

In his concluding paragraphs, Brown writes of the CLC investigation:

“It is very hard to see where either of those provisions was followed in the ATU case. Everything seems to have been aimed at proving the alleged legitimacy of the complaints, and defending Mr. Kinnear, not at assisting the members to stay with ATU.”

Dias responds

Unifor President Jerry Dias sent a letter on April 4 to all CLC affiliates. Dias says ATU International President Larry Hanley has slandered him and Unifor and lists Hanley’s retraction of his comments.

Dias also goes on to justify Unifor’s actions despite being found in violation Article 4 by the investigation for not notifying the CLC when they learned of Kinnear’s actions:

“The Thorsteinson report finds that Unifor was in violation of Article IV for not notifying the ATU and the CLC when approached by Bob Kinnear. As I explained to the Investigator we did not notify the International for the obvious reasons that the trusteeship demonstrated. I also acknowledged the financial support we provided Bob Kinnear to take legal actions. Without the support of Unifor, the judgement of Ontario Supreme Court Judge Penny overruling the trusteeship and reinstating Kinnear would not have been possible.”

Both Justice Penny and Dias believe the trusteeship was used to quell dissent in Local 113. Dias argues in his letter that Kinnear has the local’s support because he has been elected president several times.

However, as been highlighted by Brown and Meinema, and by the letter from 8 affiliates, Kinnear was acting alone in his attempt to get the CLC to invoke Article 4.

Though the Local 113 executive board has withdrawn from some ATU voluntary structures after frustration over events at the 2016 ATU International Convention, withdrawal from the ATU was never discussed. And after trusteeship, 13 out of 17 members of Local 113’s executive board acknowledged their loyalty to the ATU and so did 95 per cent of the 53 stewards.

The investigation itself concluded that “It is impossible to determine the will of the membership in these circumstances and with further examination having been terminated.”

Dias also claims that Kinnear resigned the presidency of Local 113 “because of intimidation and concerns for his personal safety.”

Moving forward from this crisis

Despite Kinnear’s resignation and the termination of the CLC’s investigation, many issues remain. It is only a matter a time before another disagreement over Article 4 provisions emerges from an attempted raid or dispute between a local and its union’s head office. The CLC must clarify what a “group of workers” seeking the justification process actually means.

And while the concern of the presidents of CLC affiliates over this issue is welcome, preventing further crises like this can’t be prevented or solved at a high bureaucratic level.

If the ATU crisis was not dragged out from the back rooms and into the light there was a strong possibility that this whole debacle would have been swept under the rug with little to no accountability. The very fact that some tried to use the issue of nationalism as a cover for misdeeds shows why we must insist on transparent and open debate in our movement.

Unions, whether Canadian based or international, must return to a membership driven model to improve internal democracy, be responsive to workers and prevent the kind of behind the scenes bureaucratic maneuvering that has taken place during the ATU Local 113 crisis.

Tags: ATU 113Trusteeshipraiding
Categories: Labor News

Fired DC ATU 689 track workers sue Metro for racist discrimination, hostile work environment

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 07:16

Fired DC ATU 689 track workers sue Metro for discrimination, hostile work environment
" lawsuit argues that these kinds of retaliatory actions targeted African American workers, and were usually performed by white managers. The five plaintiffs, who are all black, say they were verbally harassed by managers. The lawsuit also points out that, of the 21 people terminated by Metro in the aftermath of inspection report investigation, all but two were black."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/05/02/fired-trac...
By Martine Powers May 2 at 3:02 PM

The July 29 derailment of a Silver Line train outside East Falls Church is believed to have been caused by deteriorating wooden rail ties, allowing the metal rails to spread too far apart. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
Five former employees of Metro’s track inspection department are suing the agency, saying they were wrongfully terminated as part of an investigation into falsified inspection records.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Metro had no evidence that the workers — two track walkers, two supervisors, and one maintenance manager — committed any wrongdoing. Instead, the workers’ lawyers argue, Metro officials sought to blame rank-and-file workers, who are predominantly black, and protect higher-ranking officials within the agency.

“Senior WMATA officials, who are predominantly Caucasian, willfully neglected job functions, including but not limited to, maintenance oversight and approval of safety measures, but were not disciplined,” the lawsuit alleges. “Instead, trackwalkers and other Inspection Department employees, who are predominantly African-American, were targeted for discipline as scapegoats for issues that resulted from the willful neglect of senior WMATA officials.”

[One-third of Metro’s track inspection department has been fired for falsifying records, Wiedefeld confirms]

The workers are suing Metro on one count of racial discrimination and one count of a hostile work environment. They are seeking damages from the transit agency, as well as back pay from the time that they were fired.

“We are unable to comment on active or pending litigation,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

The lawsuit comes three months after Metro officials announced they had fired, suspended or disciplined more than half the agency’s track inspection department as part of an investigation into inspection records that officials believed had not been accurately completed. That investigation came in response to the derailment of a Silver Line train near East Falls Church last July. The derailment was attributed to deteriorated rail ties that failed to keep the tracks from spreading too far apart.

[Metro officials may have known of track defect in 2009, NTSB officials say]

At the time that the firings were announced, General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said there “were systemic issues we were having in that department.” He said that many of the firings were not directly related to the section of the tracks where the derailment occurred.

But the workers’ lawsuit alleges that the wrongdoing came from upper-level management, who they say berated workers for taking tracks out of service due to safety defects. The workers tried to warn their managers about worsening conditions on the tracks or call attention to the problems, attorneys said, but their warnings were not heeded.

Metro’s conclusion that workers had filled out inspection reports without properly performing inspections was “completely fraudulent, and had absolutely no basis in fact,” the lawyers allege.

“It was widely known that senior WMATA officials would target trackwalkers for disciplinary action whenever they imposed legitimate speed restrictions to reduce the speed of trains for safety reasons, despite the fact that this was an essential function of a trackwalkers’ job,” the lawsuit said.

Additionally, the lawyers added, “Inspections Department employees were often punished and labeled as incompetent if they elected to restrict train speed.”

The lawsuit argues that these kinds of retaliatory actions targeted African American workers, and were usually performed by white managers. The five plaintiffs, who are all black, say they were verbally harassed by managers. The lawsuit also points out that, of the 21 people terminated by Metro in the aftermath of inspection report investigation, all but two were black.

Attorneys for the terminated workers argued that the blame for the July 2016 derailment should have been placed on Metro’s track maintenance department, which they say was aware of the worsening defects on the tracks and the urgent need for repairs.

“The Maintenance Department was fully responsible for the derailment, not the Inspections Department,” the lawsuit said. “WMATA chose to take no corrective or disciplinary action against the Maintenance Department, or senior WMATA officials who supervised the Maintenance Department, for the willful neglect of required track maintenance.”

Metro has three weeks to respond to the lawsuit.

[‘I just can’t seem to get a break’: After a year, Metro’s chief still faces an uphill climb]

Categories: Labor News

Fired DC ATU 689 track workers sue Metro for racist discrimination, hostile work environment

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 07:16

Fired DC ATU 689 track workers sue Metro for discrimination, hostile work environment
" lawsuit argues that these kinds of retaliatory actions targeted African American workers, and were usually performed by white managers. The five plaintiffs, who are all black, say they were verbally harassed by managers. The lawsuit also points out that, of the 21 people terminated by Metro in the aftermath of inspection report investigation, all but two were black."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/05/02/fired-trac...
By Martine Powers May 2 at 3:02 PM

The July 29 derailment of a Silver Line train outside East Falls Church is believed to have been caused by deteriorating wooden rail ties, allowing the metal rails to spread too far apart. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
Five former employees of Metro’s track inspection department are suing the agency, saying they were wrongfully terminated as part of an investigation into falsified inspection records.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Metro had no evidence that the workers — two track walkers, two supervisors, and one maintenance manager — committed any wrongdoing. Instead, the workers’ lawyers argue, Metro officials sought to blame rank-and-file workers, who are predominantly black, and protect higher-ranking officials within the agency.

“Senior WMATA officials, who are predominantly Caucasian, willfully neglected job functions, including but not limited to, maintenance oversight and approval of safety measures, but were not disciplined,” the lawsuit alleges. “Instead, trackwalkers and other Inspection Department employees, who are predominantly African-American, were targeted for discipline as scapegoats for issues that resulted from the willful neglect of senior WMATA officials.”

[One-third of Metro’s track inspection department has been fired for falsifying records, Wiedefeld confirms]

The workers are suing Metro on one count of racial discrimination and one count of a hostile work environment. They are seeking damages from the transit agency, as well as back pay from the time that they were fired.

“We are unable to comment on active or pending litigation,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.

The lawsuit comes three months after Metro officials announced they had fired, suspended or disciplined more than half the agency’s track inspection department as part of an investigation into inspection records that officials believed had not been accurately completed. That investigation came in response to the derailment of a Silver Line train near East Falls Church last July. The derailment was attributed to deteriorated rail ties that failed to keep the tracks from spreading too far apart.

[Metro officials may have known of track defect in 2009, NTSB officials say]

At the time that the firings were announced, General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said there “were systemic issues we were having in that department.” He said that many of the firings were not directly related to the section of the tracks where the derailment occurred.

But the workers’ lawsuit alleges that the wrongdoing came from upper-level management, who they say berated workers for taking tracks out of service due to safety defects. The workers tried to warn their managers about worsening conditions on the tracks or call attention to the problems, attorneys said, but their warnings were not heeded.

Metro’s conclusion that workers had filled out inspection reports without properly performing inspections was “completely fraudulent, and had absolutely no basis in fact,” the lawyers allege.

“It was widely known that senior WMATA officials would target trackwalkers for disciplinary action whenever they imposed legitimate speed restrictions to reduce the speed of trains for safety reasons, despite the fact that this was an essential function of a trackwalkers’ job,” the lawsuit said.

Additionally, the lawyers added, “Inspections Department employees were often punished and labeled as incompetent if they elected to restrict train speed.”

The lawsuit argues that these kinds of retaliatory actions targeted African American workers, and were usually performed by white managers. The five plaintiffs, who are all black, say they were verbally harassed by managers. The lawsuit also points out that, of the 21 people terminated by Metro in the aftermath of inspection report investigation, all but two were black.

Attorneys for the terminated workers argued that the blame for the July 2016 derailment should have been placed on Metro’s track maintenance department, which they say was aware of the worsening defects on the tracks and the urgent need for repairs.

“The Maintenance Department was fully responsible for the derailment, not the Inspections Department,” the lawsuit said. “WMATA chose to take no corrective or disciplinary action against the Maintenance Department, or senior WMATA officials who supervised the Maintenance Department, for the willful neglect of required track maintenance.”

Metro has three weeks to respond to the lawsuit.

[‘I just can’t seem to get a break’: After a year, Metro’s chief still faces an uphill climb]

Categories: Labor News

UPS IBT Local 2727 air maintenance workers threaten strike ahead of shareholders meeting

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 19:18

UPS IBT Local 2727 air maintenance workers threaten strike ahead of shareholders meeting

http://in.reuters.com/article/united-parcel-strike-idINL1N1I101E

By Luciana Lopez | APRIL 30
A union representing 1,200 U.S. air maintenance workers at United Parcel Service Inc turned up pressure on the company on Sunday to settle a three-year contract dispute, saying it would seek clearance to strike.

The union is taking its grievances directly to UPS shareholders, running as an advertisement an open letter to David Abney, the company’s chief executive officer, ahead of a Thursday shareholders meeting.

The letter, which has been delivered to board members, was signed by nearly 78 percent of members of Local 2727 of the Teamsters union, asking the company to maintain air mechanics’ current health plan and not demand other concessions.

“We’re not willing to back off of this and we will strike over it,” said Tim Boyle, the local president.

Union members will also protest at the UPS shareholders’ meeting on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware. That will include both protests outside the meeting and, for union members who are also shareholders, questions to company officials inside.

The local plans additional protests on Tuesday in Atlanta, where the company is headquartered.

The union already voted in November to strike, but saw that request denied by federal authorities. The air maintenance workers are governed by the U.S. Railway Labor Act, which only allows strikes after it finds negotiations and mediation have failed.

But if the company does not agree to keep members’ health plans intact at the next bargaining session, on May 11 and May 12, Boyle said the union would ask again for permission to strike.

“If the company doesn’t back off we’ll submit another request to the mediator to be released” to strike, Boyle said.

Even if the board grants permission, though, a strike would take at least another 30 days because of other procedural hurdles.

A strike could ground the package delivery company’s airplanes and disrupt packages sent by air, even as UPS and its rivals grapple with higher costs for surging e-commerce business.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Tags: IBT UPS Mechanicsstrike
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity From TWSC to 13 Jailed India Murati Suzuki Auto Workers

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 16:25

Solidarity From TWSC to 13 Jailed India Murati Suzuki Auto Workers
The Transport Workers Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC) sends greetings to the 13 jailed auto worker of Murati Suzuki plant on May Day 2017. Your fight for freedom is part of our international struggle for worker and human rights. The Indian government like the US government represent the same multi-nationals that have framed you up and jailed you. We will continue to demand your freedom and support the international campaign. An injury to one is an injury to all!
For Your Freedom and Victory,
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
www.transportworkers.org

Tags: India Suzuki Murati Workersrepression
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity From TWSC to 13 Jailed India Murati Suzuki Auto Workers

Sun, 04/30/2017 - 16:25

Solidarity From TWSC to 13 Jailed India Murati Suzuki Auto Workers
The Transport Workers Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC) sends greetings to the 13 jailed auto worker of Murati Suzuki plant on May Day 2017. Your fight for freedom is part of our international struggle for worker and human rights. The Indian government like the US government represent the same multi-nationals that have framed you up and jailed you. We will continue to demand your freedom and support the international campaign. An injury to one is an injury to all!
For Your Freedom and Victory,
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
www.transportworkers.org

Tags: India Suzuki Murati Workersrepression
Categories: Labor News

West Coast ILWU dockworkers to vote on deal seeking labor peace

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 21:33

West Coast ILWU dockworkers to vote on deal seeking labor peace
Updated 8:42 pm, Friday, April 28, 2017
http://www.timesunion.com/news/us/article/West-Coast-dockworkers-to-vote...

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dockworkers were given the chance Friday to vote on a new contract extension that could provide long-term labor peace at West Coast seaports, where in recent years work slowdowns and strikes have affected billions of dollars in cargo.
Union delegates for 29 ports from Washington to California voted to allow about 20,000 rank-and-file members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to vote on a proposal from employers.
The deal from the Pacific Maritime Association would move the expiration date of the current contract from 2019 to 2022.
The offer includes a wage increase of 3.1 percent per year and pension increases.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and port terminal operators, praised the decision to bring the offer to a vote.
"Extending our contract would maintain stability on the waterfront for the next five years - a crucial time as the West Coast waterfront faces increased competition from other North American ports, and as the maritime industry continues to battle global economic challenges," spokesman Wade Gates said.
West Coast ports handle a huge volume of trans-Pacific trade that is vital to the U.S. economy. They include the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports which together form the largest container shipping port in the nation.
But the ports also have a contentious labor history.
In early 2015, bitter negotiations over the contract now in effect caused major disruptions in the flow of cargo. Ports from San Diego to Seattle were all but shut down as the two sides haggled. Companies that accused workers of coordinated slowdowns decided to cut their shifts, shuttering ports on nights and weekends.
The tit-for-tat led to long lines of ships queueing outside of harbors, waiting for space at the docks.
Other strikes and lockouts affecting longshoremen, port clerks and truckers have also proven costly over the years.
The contract extension is aimed at ensuring West Coast ports remain a reliable gateway for international commerce. Importers and exporters have another option in the newly expanded Panama Canal, which allows larger ships to ply the route between the East and Gulf coasts and Asia. Ports on the Pacific coast of Mexico and Canada also are vying for U.S. business.

Tags: ilwuWest Coast ContractPMA6 year contract
Categories: Labor News

DC ATU 689 Metro Workers Turn Backs on WMATA Board, Walk Out of Meeting: "Who moves this city? We move this city!" Relations between WMATA and ATU Local 689 took a turn for the worse at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 09:44

DC ATU 689 Metro Workers Turn Backs on WMATA Board, Walk Out of Meeting: "Who moves this city? We move this city!" Relations between WMATA and ATU Local 689 took a turn for the worse at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - April 27, 2017 4:26 pm ET

https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/metro-workers-turn-back...
By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - April 27, 2017 4:26 pm ET

WASHINGTON, DC — Metro workers marched out of a contentious WMATA board meeting in D.C. Thursday afternoon as the contract dispute between the two sides continue to intensify. The video of the confrontation is embedded below.

The video shows the workers, who were wearing shirts that say "Stop Service Cuts" and "Bargain in Good Faith," walking out of the meeting while chanting, "Who moves this city? We move this city!"

Earlier this week, WMATA responded to a rumored Metro worker "sick-out" by denying the requests of 500 workers who asked for sick days this weekend. ATU Local 689 denies it was behind the "sick-out," but also slammed WMATA for rejecting the sick day requests and criticized Metro's policy of requiring advance notice.

The union announced in a statement issued at around 4 p.m. Thursday that a protest including "doctors, WMATA employees, riders and advocates" would take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the Western Bus Garage in Northwest.

"WMATA’s sick leave policy requires that workers call out of work 72 hours in advance if they need to take a sick day," the statement reads. "This policy is unsafe, and further illustrates WMATA’s complete disregard for the health, safety and well-being of their employees and riders."

The disagreement between Metro and the union go far deeper than the sick leave policy. As part of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld's efforts to bring costs under controls, WMATA is proposing to scale back worker benefits and force them to compete with contractors in some cases, prompting a backlash from the union.

Tags: ATU 689DC Metro
Categories: Labor News

DC ATU 689 Metro Workers Turn Backs on WMATA Board, Walk Out of Meeting: "Who moves this city? We move this city!" Relations between WMATA and ATU Local 689 took a turn for the worse at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 09:44

DC ATU 689 Metro Workers Turn Backs on WMATA Board, Walk Out of Meeting: "Who moves this city? We move this city!" Relations between WMATA and ATU Local 689 took a turn for the worse at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - April 27, 2017 4:26 pm ET

https://patch.com/district-columbia/washingtondc/metro-workers-turn-back...
By Dan Taylor (Patch Staff) - April 27, 2017 4:26 pm ET

WASHINGTON, DC — Metro workers marched out of a contentious WMATA board meeting in D.C. Thursday afternoon as the contract dispute between the two sides continue to intensify. The video of the confrontation is embedded below.

The video shows the workers, who were wearing shirts that say "Stop Service Cuts" and "Bargain in Good Faith," walking out of the meeting while chanting, "Who moves this city? We move this city!"

Earlier this week, WMATA responded to a rumored Metro worker "sick-out" by denying the requests of 500 workers who asked for sick days this weekend. ATU Local 689 denies it was behind the "sick-out," but also slammed WMATA for rejecting the sick day requests and criticized Metro's policy of requiring advance notice.

The union announced in a statement issued at around 4 p.m. Thursday that a protest including "doctors, WMATA employees, riders and advocates" would take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the Western Bus Garage in Northwest.

"WMATA’s sick leave policy requires that workers call out of work 72 hours in advance if they need to take a sick day," the statement reads. "This policy is unsafe, and further illustrates WMATA’s complete disregard for the health, safety and well-being of their employees and riders."

The disagreement between Metro and the union go far deeper than the sick leave policy. As part of Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld's efforts to bring costs under controls, WMATA is proposing to scale back worker benefits and force them to compete with contractors in some cases, prompting a backlash from the union.

Tags: ATU 689DC Metro
Categories: Labor News

DC ATU 698 Union walkout, board grilling on safety, leave Metro GM Wiedefeld on the defensive

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 09:42

DC ATU 698 Union walkout, board grilling on safety, leave Metro GM Wiedefeld on the defensive
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/d2efb006-2b72-11e7-a616-d7…
Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. (Cliff Owen/AP)
By Faiz Siddiqui and Robert McCartney April 27 at 6:42 PM
Federal concerns about worker safety lapses combined with growing union tensions and an early morning Red Line meltdown culminated in one of the most contentious board meetings of Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld’s tenure Thursday.
As board members scrutinized Wiedefeld’s progress on safety, scores of union workers stormed out of the agency’s headquarters chanting “Who moves this city? We move this city!” in the latest example of rising tensions between the two sides during contentious labor negotiations.
Wiedefeld spent much of the meeting on the defensive — at one point forced to reaffirm his faith in top Metro leadership after a board member questioned whether any progress was being made, or the beleaguered agency was simply slipping back into old habits.
The protest — the second in a row at a board meeting — underscored the potential for labor unrest at a time when Wiedefeld is seeking major concessions from the union. He also is engaged in discussions with elected officials and business groups who are pushing Metro to cut labor costs in exchange for more money for operations and capital projects.
[FTA threatens to withhold millions in funding if Metro doesn’t make urgent fixes to address worker safety]
“Any time you’re in contract negotiations, it can be tough,” Wiedefeld said after the demonstration. “Unfortunately, I think we’ve had some issues here that I’m raising that I feel need to be addressed. It plays out the way it plays out. I intend to be very civil in our reaction, and professional in anything we do.”
Speaking to reporters outside Metro headquarters shortly after the chanting exodus, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said Metro management is seeking concessions that would reduce workers’ total wage and benefits package by $100 million.
[How best to pay for Metro’s needs? A regionwide sales tax, say local officials in major report.]
“They want to change everything: wages, pensions, health care, vacation,” Jeter said.
She said management is not offering any wage increases in the next contract, while the union is seeking annual 2 percent increases for the life of the contract. The last contract was four years; the length of the contract under negotiation has not been determined.
Jeter accused Wiedefeld of publicly saying that only future hires would receive less-generous pension benefits, while at the same time negotiating to reduce the value of pensions for current employees, as well.
Wiedefeld declined to discuss contract negotiations.
“We have a confidentiality agreement,” Wiedefeld said. “We signed onto it, and I’m going to hold onto it.”
Jeter said she was breaking the agreement because in her view, Wiedefeld had done so when he outlined his long-term financial plan for Metro last week, which includes several concessions he is seeking from the unions.
[Metro says it will expedite Red Line repairs after nightmare commute Thursday morning]
The union protest was part of what had been a bad morning for Wiedefeld. A chaotic commute drew national attention to the transit system after stray electrical current caused smoke to pour into a Red Line tunnel in one of the system’s busiest corridors. Wiedefeld said the meltdown underscored the need for the preventive maintenance program he plans to institute beginning July 1.
“We have to work through decades of not maintaining things, things aging out, and we have to replace them,” he said. “That is not going to be solved overnight.”
Then the board hammered Wiedefeld and his safety chief with questions about a Federal Transit Administration letter that cited the agency for ongoing deficiencies in safety protocol for track workers, which have placed them in harm’s way four times recently, the federal oversight body said.
[FTA threatens to withhold millions in funding if Metro doesn’t make urgent fixes to address worker safety]
FTA wrote to Metro this week ordering the agency to submit plans to address six deficiencies related to roadway worker protection within five business days or risk losing up to 25 percent of formula-based grant funds until the issues are addressed. The agency stands to lose millions in federal funding.
Metro said it will submit the plans by Monday
Among those plans, it said, is a multitiered safety system, including a track worker waving a large orange flag to mark a work zone, and a blinking light as an additional precaution. Meanwhile, train operators will hear a “script” with specific information about the work zone and protective measures in place. Metro said it will inform workers of the changes at a safety stand-down in May.
Still, board members said the letter — raising renewed concerns over the agency’s troubled Rail Operations Control Center — highlights an information disconnect between the transit agency and its governing board.
“What I’m reading between the lines is we’re not getting an accurate portrayal of what’s going on,” said board member Leif A. Dormsjo, pressing Wiedefeld on ongoing issues in the ROCC. “We’re kind of slipping back into old WMATA, where management kind of glosses over problems and doesn’t provide us a clear understanding of what’s going on.
“We’ve been through other safety directors and we may have to go through more,” said Dormsjo, who is director of the District Department of Transportation.
The ROCC, which acts like air traffic control for the rail system, was cited by the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the January 2015 L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident.
“I would disagree — I think we are not glossing over anything,” Wiedefeld said. “We’ve worked through this, we are working through this and we continue to do it. There’s other issues that we need in terms of resources.”
“I know there’s been a tremendous change in the approach,” Wiedefeld added later.
In one incident noted in the FTA letter, a train nearly struck two federal inspectors and a Metro track worker near Reagan National Airport station in October, after a train zipped around a blind corner faster than the 10 mph speed limit, forcing the three to jump out of the way.
“I was surprised by the letter, because I thought relationships and work relationships were proceeding well,” said board member Carol Carmody. “FTA said they are — they were satisfied with the relationship here. They thought WMATA was working very hard. Their concern was there have been some incidents with roadway safety and they felt that as a regulator they needed to get out there with the letter, with recommendations and some actions required.”
Board member Michael Goldman pressed Wiedefeld and Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin on why Metro had continued trouble hiring and maintaining qualified rail traffic controllers. Lavin and Wiedefeld said the process requires time and rigorous training, with Lavin adding that it took eight months to ready a rail controller for the job, and that failure and attrition rates also interfered with the process.
“Through the years, I’ve heard that,” Goldman said. “Every CEO, every chief safety officer has told this board that . . . new controllers would be hired and the problem resolved soon. There seems to be something much more going on if we really can’t staff up the number of rail operations control center controllers after two-and-a-half, three years.”
Later at the full board meeting, dozens of union members, wearing black T-shirts with “Fix It Fund It” and “Bargain in Good Faith” packed the hearing room and then erupted in chants.
The woman who led the cries, union organizer Jampsea Campbell, accused Wiedefeld of divisive tactics intended to break up the union.
Wiedefeld, peering over his shoulder at the demonstration, folded his hands in his lap before turning back to the board.

Tags: ATU 698health and safetycontract fight
Categories: Labor News

DC ATU 698 Union walkout, board grilling on safety, leave Metro GM Wiedefeld on the defensive

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 09:42

DC ATU 698 Union walkout, board grilling on safety, leave Metro GM Wiedefeld on the defensive
https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/d2efb006-2b72-11e7-a616-d7…
Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. (Cliff Owen/AP)
By Faiz Siddiqui and Robert McCartney April 27 at 6:42 PM
Federal concerns about worker safety lapses combined with growing union tensions and an early morning Red Line meltdown culminated in one of the most contentious board meetings of Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld’s tenure Thursday.
As board members scrutinized Wiedefeld’s progress on safety, scores of union workers stormed out of the agency’s headquarters chanting “Who moves this city? We move this city!” in the latest example of rising tensions between the two sides during contentious labor negotiations.
Wiedefeld spent much of the meeting on the defensive — at one point forced to reaffirm his faith in top Metro leadership after a board member questioned whether any progress was being made, or the beleaguered agency was simply slipping back into old habits.
The protest — the second in a row at a board meeting — underscored the potential for labor unrest at a time when Wiedefeld is seeking major concessions from the union. He also is engaged in discussions with elected officials and business groups who are pushing Metro to cut labor costs in exchange for more money for operations and capital projects.
[FTA threatens to withhold millions in funding if Metro doesn’t make urgent fixes to address worker safety]
“Any time you’re in contract negotiations, it can be tough,” Wiedefeld said after the demonstration. “Unfortunately, I think we’ve had some issues here that I’m raising that I feel need to be addressed. It plays out the way it plays out. I intend to be very civil in our reaction, and professional in anything we do.”
Speaking to reporters outside Metro headquarters shortly after the chanting exodus, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said Metro management is seeking concessions that would reduce workers’ total wage and benefits package by $100 million.
[How best to pay for Metro’s needs? A regionwide sales tax, say local officials in major report.]
“They want to change everything: wages, pensions, health care, vacation,” Jeter said.
She said management is not offering any wage increases in the next contract, while the union is seeking annual 2 percent increases for the life of the contract. The last contract was four years; the length of the contract under negotiation has not been determined.
Jeter accused Wiedefeld of publicly saying that only future hires would receive less-generous pension benefits, while at the same time negotiating to reduce the value of pensions for current employees, as well.
Wiedefeld declined to discuss contract negotiations.
“We have a confidentiality agreement,” Wiedefeld said. “We signed onto it, and I’m going to hold onto it.”
Jeter said she was breaking the agreement because in her view, Wiedefeld had done so when he outlined his long-term financial plan for Metro last week, which includes several concessions he is seeking from the unions.
[Metro says it will expedite Red Line repairs after nightmare commute Thursday morning]
The union protest was part of what had been a bad morning for Wiedefeld. A chaotic commute drew national attention to the transit system after stray electrical current caused smoke to pour into a Red Line tunnel in one of the system’s busiest corridors. Wiedefeld said the meltdown underscored the need for the preventive maintenance program he plans to institute beginning July 1.
“We have to work through decades of not maintaining things, things aging out, and we have to replace them,” he said. “That is not going to be solved overnight.”
Then the board hammered Wiedefeld and his safety chief with questions about a Federal Transit Administration letter that cited the agency for ongoing deficiencies in safety protocol for track workers, which have placed them in harm’s way four times recently, the federal oversight body said.
[FTA threatens to withhold millions in funding if Metro doesn’t make urgent fixes to address worker safety]
FTA wrote to Metro this week ordering the agency to submit plans to address six deficiencies related to roadway worker protection within five business days or risk losing up to 25 percent of formula-based grant funds until the issues are addressed. The agency stands to lose millions in federal funding.
Metro said it will submit the plans by Monday
Among those plans, it said, is a multitiered safety system, including a track worker waving a large orange flag to mark a work zone, and a blinking light as an additional precaution. Meanwhile, train operators will hear a “script” with specific information about the work zone and protective measures in place. Metro said it will inform workers of the changes at a safety stand-down in May.
Still, board members said the letter — raising renewed concerns over the agency’s troubled Rail Operations Control Center — highlights an information disconnect between the transit agency and its governing board.
“What I’m reading between the lines is we’re not getting an accurate portrayal of what’s going on,” said board member Leif A. Dormsjo, pressing Wiedefeld on ongoing issues in the ROCC. “We’re kind of slipping back into old WMATA, where management kind of glosses over problems and doesn’t provide us a clear understanding of what’s going on.
“We’ve been through other safety directors and we may have to go through more,” said Dormsjo, who is director of the District Department of Transportation.
The ROCC, which acts like air traffic control for the rail system, was cited by the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation of the January 2015 L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident.
“I would disagree — I think we are not glossing over anything,” Wiedefeld said. “We’ve worked through this, we are working through this and we continue to do it. There’s other issues that we need in terms of resources.”
“I know there’s been a tremendous change in the approach,” Wiedefeld added later.
In one incident noted in the FTA letter, a train nearly struck two federal inspectors and a Metro track worker near Reagan National Airport station in October, after a train zipped around a blind corner faster than the 10 mph speed limit, forcing the three to jump out of the way.
“I was surprised by the letter, because I thought relationships and work relationships were proceeding well,” said board member Carol Carmody. “FTA said they are — they were satisfied with the relationship here. They thought WMATA was working very hard. Their concern was there have been some incidents with roadway safety and they felt that as a regulator they needed to get out there with the letter, with recommendations and some actions required.”
Board member Michael Goldman pressed Wiedefeld and Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin on why Metro had continued trouble hiring and maintaining qualified rail traffic controllers. Lavin and Wiedefeld said the process requires time and rigorous training, with Lavin adding that it took eight months to ready a rail controller for the job, and that failure and attrition rates also interfered with the process.
“Through the years, I’ve heard that,” Goldman said. “Every CEO, every chief safety officer has told this board that . . . new controllers would be hired and the problem resolved soon. There seems to be something much more going on if we really can’t staff up the number of rail operations control center controllers after two-and-a-half, three years.”
Later at the full board meeting, dozens of union members, wearing black T-shirts with “Fix It Fund It” and “Bargain in Good Faith” packed the hearing room and then erupted in chants.
The woman who led the cries, union organizer Jampsea Campbell, accused Wiedefeld of divisive tactics intended to break up the union.
Wiedefeld, peering over his shoulder at the demonstration, folded his hands in his lap before turning back to the board.

Tags: ATU 698health and safetycontract fight
Categories: Labor News

US Congress Declares War on DC ATU 698-They Want Privatization of Metro

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:17

US Congress Declares War on DC ATU 698-They Want Privatization of Metro

DC ATU 698 Union: WMATA workers aren't planning sick out; president calls Metro absentee policy 'asinine'

http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/250902032-story

By: fox5dc.com staff
POSTED:APR 26 2017 03:08PM EDT
UPDATED:APR 26 2017 05:11PM EDT

WASHINGTON - The union representing the majority of Metro’s workers says their members are not staging a “sick out” this Friday for transit agency employees, and that the union stands behind employees who are abiding by the absentee policy laid out by the transit agency.

This comes after WMATA said they had received an “unusually high” number of absence requests for Friday, and rumors surfaced of a possible “sick out” being threatened by employees. In a statement Tuesday, Metro said, “Management is staffing based on an unusually-high number of absence requests to ensure the delivery of service to customers.”

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, union representatives said no “sick out” was being staged by their organization, and they have not been contacted by WMATA about the rumors.

“The members of Local 689 take a great deal of pride in providing public transit in this region, and we would never stage an exercise to intentionally harm the riders of the Washington Metropolitan area,” ATU international representative Anthony Wayne Garland said.

Garland said the union was contacted Tuesday to ask if they were coordinating a sick out on Metro—but not by the transit organization.

“If management thought that there were a sick out stage by Local 689 and its members, it would have contacted the office here at Local 689. To this date, we have not heard from WMATA,” he said.

Union representatives say WMATA’s absenteeism policy requires that employees must give a three-day notice to have an excused absence, and that union workers are following policy. They added that any union member who called in on Tuesday to say they may be sick on Friday did so because WMATA’s absenteeism policy requires it. Garland called the absentee policy “ridiculous,” and Local 689 president Jackie Jeter agreed.

“We’re not calling a sick out,” Jeter said. “What members have done is abide by the rules and regulations that WMATA set forth. Their absenteeism policy requires that anyone who is going sick call out three days ahead of time, and that’s what they did.”

Jeter said she has no idea how many people have called in sick for Friday, and that reporters would have to ask WMATA that question.

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“I don’t know how many people called out,” Jeter said. “I don’t know how many people normally call out. So, I don’t know if it’s normal or not. That’s what someone contacted the media and said. We didn’t.”

On Wednesday, Metro issued this statement on the number of people who requested for the day off on Friday.

"Metro received nearly 500 advance absence requests for Friday from bus and rail employees, a rate that is many times higher than normal," Metro said. "We have denied all of the requests. We expect to offer full bus and rail service for our customers as scheduled on Friday."

In response, Jeter said in a statement sent to the media and intended for Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld:

Mr. Wiedefeld,

Moments ago we received a copy of a statement from 3 media outlets regarding a denial of 500 sick leave request for Friday. Here is our question and response:

Will WMATA accept the responsibility of refusing a person who is legitimately sick from getting a doctor’s care Friday? Further, will you force them to operate vehicles that transport hundreds or possibly thousands of riders while ill?

We Look Forward to Your Response.
Jeter says the policy doesn’t just refer to scheduled time-off requests, but that it includes sick days and that if they don’t abide by the policy, employees will get eight points. WMATA gives points to employees as part of disciplinary action.

“The policy is asinine, because there’s nobody that works for any organization that I know of that can give a three-day notice telling them ‘I’m going sick,’ or ‘I’m going to have the flu on Tuesday, so I’m going to call you on Sunday,’” she said. ”That’s ridiculous. It does not make sense.”

The transit agency is currently in contentious contract negotiations with ATU Local 689, but Jeter said that this has nothing to do with that.

Jeter said the union supports actions of the members 100 percent, when they abide by the policies outlined by WMATA—and she said in this case, they have.

“I want to say again very clearly that we are committed to providing safe, affordable, reasonable, reliable transit system here at WMATA, and as members of Local 689. WMATA needs to get serious about protecting workers and riders, and they need to do it through labor-management collaboration, and stop trying to discipline their way to a safety culture because it does not work,” Garland said.

Tags: ATU 698privatizationconcessionsunion busting
Categories: Labor News

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