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Walkouts Planned across EU Ports to Back Spanish Dockworkers-Strike On March 10 Goes Forward "” This day, to be held on March 10, will see ports in Europe stop work for three hours and ports in the rest of the world stop work for one hour. The IDC has met

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 18:44

Walkouts Planned across EU Ports to Back Spanish Dockworkers-Strike On March 10 Goes Forward "” This day, to be held on March 10, will see ports in Europe stop work for three hours and ports in the rest of the world stop work for one hour. The IDC has met with leaders of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to coordinate this joint action,” the IDC said."
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/214493/walkout-planned-across-eu-...

Image Courtesy: IDC
As the Spanish government postpones voting on the port reform for another week, international dockworkers unions from neighboring countries are planning to join industrial action in support of their Spanish colleagues.

Namely, the bill amending the Ports Act of 2010 was scheduled to be debated and voted on in plenary session in congress on Thursday, as announced by the Minister of Public Works, Inigo de la Serna, however, the matter has been pushed until Thursday next week in order for the opposition groups to submit their opinion.

Political parties from the opposition have already voiced their disapproval of the royal decree on port reform the Spanish Council of Ministers approved on February 24, thus enabling the stakeholders to open a new dialogue on the reform.

As a result, Spanish dockworker unions, Coordinadora, UGT, CCOO, CIG and CGT, said that they would call off the strikes scheduled for March 6 and 8 in order to continue negotiations on the port reform model.

The move was taken as a sign of goodwill, hoping to encourage the Ministry of Public Works to engage in “real” negotiations that would result in amending the bill before it is passed.

However, as tensions continue to heat up, the planned strike of Spanish trade unions announced as a response to the government’s reform plan according to which at least 6,500 dockworkers could be laid off in the future remains in place for March 10.

In line with the reform, the new law would enable ports to hire non-unionized dockworkers instead of the unionized ones and stevedoring companies would not have to be members of local stevedoring societies known as Sociedad Anonima de Gestion de Estibadores Portuarios (SAGEP).

Reacting to the Spanish government’s move, the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) said that it has arranged through its affiliates in neighboring countries’ ports to boycott unloading of Spanish cargo during upcoming dockworkers’ strikes in Spain.

” This day, to be held on March 10, will see ports in Europe stop work for three hours and ports in the rest of the world stop work for one hour. The IDC has met with leaders of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to coordinate this joint action,” the IDC said.

What is more, the IDC added that, together with its associated unions, it would ensure that the ports of neighboring countries will not be used for the unloading of cargo destined for Spain while Spanish dockworkers are on strike.

This includes IDC affiliates in Marseille-Fos, France and Lisbon, Portugal and the ITF affiliate in Tangier, Morocco. Portuguese unions will also call on dockers in the port of Lisbon to ensure that no Spanish cargo is unloaded in the southern Portuguese port of Sines.

“Furthermore, if this conflict is not resolved by the end of March, the IDC will investigate measures that will directly target Spanish foreign trade, both imports and exports. Solidarity actions will also be scheduled for workers at various Spanish embassies around the world, and IDC members are asked to anticipate the need to send representatives to Spanish ports to support the dockers there,” the union stressed.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: Spanish Dockers StrikeIDCderegulationITF
Categories: Labor News

NLRB Reviews Wave of Truck Driver Workplace Retaliation Claims

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 15:16

NLRB Reviews Wave of Truck Driver Workplace Retaliation Claims
https://www.trucks.com/2017/03/07/truck-drivers-nlrb-claims/
CLARISSA HAWES MARCH 7, 2017 LABOR

Humberto Canales, a driver for XPO Cartage. (Photo: Barbara Maynard/Trucks.com)

Truckers have asked the National Labor Relations Board to intervene in a string of cases in which the drivers say they have become victims of workplace retaliation, including termination, as they pushed for collective bargaining and better working conditions.

The truck drivers allege that employers use tactics such as withholding jobs or triggering calculated dispatch delays that leave truckers waiting for hours at loading docks for work. The drivers claim the lack of loads given to them are not enough loads necessary to make a living or pay expenses owed on leased trucks.

The NLRB, an independent federal agency charged with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of private-sector employees, has interceded in some of the cases.

Last month, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Benjamin W. Green ordered Dawn Trucking of Saint Albans, N.Y., to reinstate and provide back pay to six truck drivers who were fired one day after voting to unionize in 2015.

The judge ruled that dump truck company owner Henry Burey stopped assigning work to the drivers after they voted 6-0 to join a union. Burey later contacted the drivers about rehiring them as long as they rejected the union, which they refused, according to the NLRB judge’s ruling.

In another case, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia issued a judgment on Jan. 26 against Atlantic Northeast Transport Inc. of Kearny, N.J., ordering the intermodal company to follow the NLRB’s order to reinstate and provide back pay to a driver who was retaliated against for engaging in protected union activity.

The NLRB told the company to stop intimidating employees with the threat of termination dependent on whether they cease to engage in protected activities such as filing a lawsuit for the purpose of employees’ mutual aid and protection. The agency also told the company to stop interfering with, restraining or coercing employees from exercising their rights guaranteed by the NLRA.

The NLRB also has scheduled a hearing on April 3 to review a consolidated case against XPO Cartage Inc.

Humberto Canales and other XPO Cartage drivers alleged they were retaliated against for engaging in protected union activities and that the company made coercive statements and changed the drivers’ terms and conditions of employment after they signed a petition to support joining a union. The drivers then filed a complaint with the NLRB. The agency found merit in the case and has allowed the complaint to move forward.

“I ended up leaving XPO because of retaliation,” Canales told Trucks.com.

Canales said he was months away from paying off his truck through XPO’s lease-purchase programwhen he was forced to turn over the keys in May 2016. He claimed he couldn’t get enough work from the XPO Logistics division to meet his payments.

On Feb. 3, Canales, an intermodal driver, filed a second NLRB complaint against XPO Cartage claiming he was not rehired by the company because of his union activities. The NLRB has not made a determination in this case on whether it will move forward.

A similar consolidated case has also been filed against XPO Port Services Inc., another XPO Logistics division.

The NLRB alleges in its July 26, 2016, complaint that Fidel Gonzalez was suspended by XPO management after being interrogated by an XPO employee about the driver’s “union and protected concerted activity.”

The NLRB complaint also alleges that Gonzalez and other truck drivers were threatened with termination in retaliation for engaging in union and protected concerted activity in which employees are allowed to act together to try and improve their pay and working conditions, with or without a union.

The NLRB complaint alleges that XPO also engaged in surveillance by photographing and recording drivers engaged in union activities.

A trial date in that case is set for July 24.

XPO declined to discuss the cases with Trucks.com.

However, in a recent interview with The Loadstar, a logistics industry news site, XPO Logistics Chief Executive Bradly Jacobs said he isn’t against unions. He said he doesn’t like working with the Teamsters union, which has been working to organize XPO drivers.

“I don’t believe in the Teamsters. That’s not about unions — we work with unions across Europe and I never have these sort of problems there. There are work councils in Europe and the whole interaction is done respectfully and on the basis of cooperation,” Jacobs told The Loadstar. “The Teamsters are completely out of control. I don’t see the value they bring to members.”

Dawn Trucking and Atlantic Northeast Transport Inc. did not respond to Trucks.com’s phone or email requests for comment.

In recent years, the NLRB has been sympathetic to drivers in retaliation claims associated with unfair labor practices, especially regarding the issue of misclassification of drivers as independent contractors. Contractors are not provided employee protections under the National Labor Relations Act.

Last July, the NLRB issued a consolidated complaint against Intermodal Bridge Transport, a subsidiary of Chinese-owned COSCO Group, accusing the company of “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed” to form a union, according to the NLBR’s complaint.

The complaint alleges that the classification of drivers as independent contractors is a violation of the federal labor law because it interferes with the workers’ rights under Section 7 of the NLRA to organize and collectively bargain. IBT had denied the charges.

The trial in the IBT case lasted six weeks and concluded on Dec. 7. A ruling is expected in April.

Retaliation is a powerful tool companies use to silence drivers and keep them from organizing or to force them to leave for engaging in union activity, said Julie Gutman Dickinson, a labor attorney at the Bush Gottlieb law firm.

“This is a pervasive problem in the trucking industry,” Gutman Dickinson told Trucks.com. “The carriers instill fear that if [drivers] support the union, they will be terminated.”

Oftentimes, owners threaten to close the company rather than have union representation, she said.

Another tactic companies use to prevent drivers from organizing is a promise to pay them benefits as long as they vote no to join a union, Gutman Dickinson said.

Tags: nlrbTruckershealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Uber And Unbridled Capitalism-A car-on-demand race to the bottom

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 06:16

Uber And Unbridled Capitalism-A car-on-demand race to the bottom
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/car-on-demand-race-bottom-article-1.2...
A car-on-demand race to the bottom

Empire of exploitation
Empire of exploitation (DANISH SIDDIQUI/REUTERS)
BY
BHAIRAVI DESAI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 6, 2017, 5:00 AM
Last week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was caught on video berating one of the company’s drivers who said fare cuts had caused him financial devastation. The driver, Fawzi Kamel, told Kalanick he was $97,000 in debt after purchasing a luxury car necessary to drive for Uber — and unable to make ends meet as Uber slashed fares and flooded the streets with vehicles.

We hear stories like this from Uber drivers every day, of chaotic and shifting rules of the road that leave drivers in the dust.

Drivers buy expensive SUVs only to be downgraded to the low-end UberX fares. UberX fares started at $3 per mile but were cut to $1.75 per mile.

In January, after changing its prices multiple times, Uber introduced flat fares that often leave the driver with a lower share of the fare paid. The same month, New York City Uber Black drivers — those who drive on the higher-end, better-paying part of the platform — were forced to meet a 4.75 rating, 90% or higher acceptance rate and 10% or lower cancellation rate requirement or be downgraded to those poverty rates.

So Uber’s problem isn’t just a volatile CEO or start-up growing pains. It’s an entire business model predicated on the exploitation of workers. Every move Uber has made since its inception has been on the backs of workers — here in New York, seeking to wipe out an entire industry of professional taxi drivers and replace them with an underpaid workforce with zero labor protections.

Uber calls its workers independent contractors instead of employees so that it can skirt minimum wage laws and avoid paying into unemployment insurance funds or contributing to payroll taxes.

But three of our members have been determined employees of Uber for the purposes of unemployment insurance. Jeffrey Shepherd was granted unemployment by our state’s Department of Labor after earning poverty pay. One week, after working more than 47 hours and serving 56 trips, and after Uber’s commission, car lease and fuel charges were deducted, Jeffrey, a 4.8-star-rated driver, earned just one penny.

Uber is appealing these employee determinations and refuses to recognize its drivers as anything but expendable sweated labor. This is offensive and absurd.

Uber uses investor money to lure drivers with sign-on bonuses and incentives so they can overwhelm the competition. But once the bonuses end and drivers are dependent on Uber’s falling fares, they often sink into poverty.

As the vehicles multiply, it’s a race to the bottom. Not only Uber drivers but all drivers in New York City have watched their incomes plummet. In 20 years of organizing, I have never seen professional drivers in more dismal times.

Now, Uber is pushing for a special carve-out in state law so it can dispatch to private motorists in personal vehicles in upstate New York, with little regulation and zero labor protections.

In Rochester, Uber has promised only $350 per month for its drivers before expenses. Count on it: When Wall Street investor money is used to flood Rochester streets with vehicles, the city’s 300 current full-time taxi drivers will lose their livelihoods.

This bill won’t just impact upstate drivers. Unregulated vehicles will pour into our city, the country’s biggest taxi market, in search of customers, making things even worse for cabbies and others who are trying to hack it.

What passengers upstate want is the convenience of app-dispatched taxis. Which they deserve — without Uber’s worker exploitation.

The governor should refuse any special carve-out for Uber and instead ensure minimum wage and overtime protections for drivers. He could regulate fares and commission rates, similar to protections taxi drivers in New York City enjoyed before Uber deregulation began to undermine them.

Here in the city, if the mayor refuses to regulate Uber as the taxi service that it is, then he must modernize black car regulations to include a cap on vehicles and set a minimum fare requirement. He must also enforce against wage theft, such as Uber unlawfully taking sales tax and injured workers’ fund contributions out of drivers’ meager pay.

Kalanick’s on-camera response to Kamel when he spoke of economic hardship was, “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s--t.”

Well, Travis, it’s time you take responsibility for the devastation you’ve wreaked on workers and start treating them with respect. Start by recognizing drivers as employees of your company.

Desai is the executive director of the 19,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

Tags: Ubercapitalismderegulationindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Spanish Dockworkers Cancel Strikes to Resume Talks

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 14:21

Spanish Dockworkers Cancel Strikes to Resume Talks
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/214270/spanish-dockworkers-cancel...
zoom
Image Courtesy: Coordinadora
Spanish dockworkers unions have decided to call off the strikes scheduled for March 6 and 8 as a new window of opportunity opens for continuation of negotiations on the port reform model.

Namely, the opposition parties have denied their support to the royal decree on port reform the Spanish Council of Ministers approved on February 24, thus enabling the stakeholders to open a new dialogue on the reform.

The unions Coordinadora, UGT, CCOO, CIG and CGT agreed to suspend strike calls foreseen for March 6 and 8, as a sign of goodwill, hoping to encourage the Ministry of Public Works to engage in “real” negotiations that would result in amending the bill before it is passed.

The bill in its current form proposed by the government denies any possibility of agreement with the companies, as it “offers international financial groups, shareholders and owners of the terminals in all Spanish ports, the opportunity dispose of their workers,” the union said.

Specifically, the new law would enable ports to hire non-unionized dockworkers instead of the unionized ones and stevedoring companies would not have to be members of local stevedoring societies known as Sociedad Anonima de Gestion de Estibadores Portuarios (SAGEP).

The unions added that there has been no breakthrough in negotiating with companies despite the technical meeting held yesterday afternoon at CES headquarters, as they failed to show any sign of willingness to keep their port workers.

According to Antolín Goya, General Coordinator of Coordinadora, the reasonable thing during the talks would be to guarantee the continuity of employment to the workers.

Spanish trade unions announced strikes as a response to the government’s reform plan according to which at least 6,500 dockworkers could be laid off in the future.

Ports in Spain were planned to be affected by industrial actions on March 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24. Strikes were scheduled for every other hour, starting at 8:00 a.m. local time. The union did not disclose whether the remaining strikes would be staged.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: Spanish DockersStrike Cancellationderegulaton
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Union Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees In Fight With ATU International Trusteeship Of Toronto ATU Local 113

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:01

Canadian Union Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees In Fight With ATU International Trusteeship Of Toronto ATU Local 113
http://ht.ly/dUgx309vPeo
Posted on March 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

By David Bush

The intense legal battle being waged over the fate of ATU Local 113 is not simply a two-sided affair between Bob Kinnear and ATU International. RankandFile.ca has learned that Bob Kinnear’s legal fees are being paid for by Unifor. This should not come as much of a surprise after Dias announced in his February 7 press conference with Kinnear, “if there are lawsuits and one of you gets sued. I’ll pay the lawyers’ bills.” C4EwchTWAAAFO4i

In a leaked audio recording of a meeting this week between Kinnear and members of Local 113, Kinnear is asked by a member of the union, “who is paying all the legals costs you are incurring right now?”

Kinnear said, “Unifor is paying.”

The member replied, “why would Unifor pay that?”

Kinnear’s legal costs are not insignificant, because much of the fight over the fate of ATU Local 113 has taken place in the courts and law offices. Currently, Kinnear and ATU International are in mediation over the allegations that Manny Sforza, the former trustee, was in contempt of court. The mediation dealing with the contempt of court issue may expand to include other disputes between Kinnear and ATU International. But as far as we know, none of the legal battles between Kinnear and ATU International deal with defending him from lawsuits.

Heated exchange with members

The lengthy recording, which is punctuated by many heated exchanges between Kinnear and members, outlines his reasoning for initiating the CLC justification process (process for leaving current union/joining another union) and explains why Unifor is supporting him. Kinnear admitted he was in contact with Unifor before the trusteeship was filed, which is confirmed by a previously leaked email. Kinnear also stated he was initially supported by other Canadian unions in his battle with ATU International, though he does not not name these unions.

Kinnear strenuously and repeatedly denies Unifor is interested in representing ATU members. He stressed the point that Unifor was standing up for the rights of Canadian union members. He claims Unifor “took on the battle because the International trusteed us. They believed that the membership should have the opportunity to discuss and if they so choose to have a vote.”

Kinnear argues that Local 113 pays 2 million per year to the International, but the local is essentially acting like a national union and not getting proper training and resources from the International office.

Kinnear goes it alone

Kinnear explains he initiated the justification process because he knew a trusteeship would occur and that he wanted to give members a choice. Members in the room pressed him repeatedly about why he didn’t bring it to the executive board or to the membership before he filed the CLC justification. He argued that the local would have been trusteed if he brought it up first. At multiple points in the meeting members questioned him about this. One member stated “you should have brought that up to the board members and all of us here, before you made a decision all on your own to go ahead and do so. That is only to benefit you, not for the members, you are not thinking of the members.”

Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A7 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.
Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A6 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.
Another member stated, “why, not just you, but everybody go through this, what is the reason?”

Bigger questions for labour

While the leaked audio confirms that Unifor is paying Kinnear’s legal fees and is involved in the intra-ATU fight, it also raises a number of questions for ATU members and the wider labour movement.

Are Unifor members aware they are paying Kinnear’s legal fees? When exactly was Unifor contacted by Kinnear about this situation? Kinnear claims Unifor only got involved because of the trusteeship. Yet he also claims they were in contact before the trusteeship. Could this be considered a violation of the CLC’s justification process?What other unions did Kinnear say were onside with him?

Did Kinnear himself pay the over $50,000 price tag to the Toronto Star and other papers last week for the full page open letter from Kinnear to 113 members announcing his legal victory, or did other parties help foot the bill?

ATU 113 members will have to judge for themselves the merits of the claims coming from the executive board, the International and Kinnear. Why did the trusteeship happen? Was it justified or not? Do Kinnear’s reasons for wanting to leave the International hold water?

March 19 meeting

The answers to these questions are not all simple. Kinnear argues that a large local like ATU 113 doesn’t get anything from the International, it simply pays money into it. As in all unions large locals help sustain smaller locals and give them greater access to resources. This is not an act of altruism, but a strategic question of ensuring industry standards are raised across the board. If a large union local like 113 goes out on its own, how will that shape standards and working conditions in public transit in Ontario and Canada long-term?

On March 19, ATU Local 113 will hold a meeting at which Kinnear plans on introducing a motion that will allow ATU 113 members to vote on their union affiliation.

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5 thoughts on “Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees”


David Schokman
March 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Reply
Using a rival raiding Unions money to further his personal monetary gains is truly remarkable, I trust the CLC rules and regulations don’t apply to crooks like Kinnear and Dias. To my brothers and sisters of ATI 113 on March 19th send this bafoon packing with a no vote on leaving the international and further bring forward a motion of ” non confidence” against Bob and put an end to this fiasco that has cost us dearly monetarily and a loss of face in the labor movement.

Stephen G. Burley
March 1, 2017 at 2:25 pm
Reply
Dear Bob, (alright …………forget the dear part!)
For no-one really knows how long now, you have been sneaking around trying to either flip over a 10000 member union, single handedly, and without JUST CAUSE, or feeding your personal greed monster. Either is just plain stupid, or really, really misguided.
Further, your actions spell TREASON to most of us, of this, I am totally confident. You didn’t ask your Executive board, you didn’t ask IATU, you didn’t ask the true governors of the local 113, the most important of all, US!! When I stand up and throw my opinions out there, I do so as an individual, and as such I expect OPINIONS in return, which I GET, ALWAYS. Never does what I say change too much, because, as I said, they were OPINIONS. If I wanted to change something, I would do it through the PROPER venues, using the prescribed procedures.
What you have done, and I, personally have experienced sooooo many people in my life that are just like you, speak happiness from the left side or your mouths, and betray, and steal, from them from the right. Your actions have been met with feelings of total betrayal, and, in any (as you keep calling it) DEMOCRACY, it is more accurately known as treason……..if it fits, it sticks, from my point of view!!
So now you want to have a meeting, now you want to HEAR FROM THE MEMBERS……………….oh, and, my friend (loosely used) you will certainly succeed that much. WE the ATU, that’s right, THE COLLECTIVE, you know Bob, the UNION you LEFT the day you tried to throw us all to the dogs, to a FAILING UNION at that, remember US!!!??
Give it up, Bob, we are beyond you, and the thought of ever dumping the entity that built this corporation, and our benefits, pay structure, working conditions, the united embrace of belief, and ultimately, our pensions! THAT, (sir) was dead, even before you pulled that idea out of your toilet.
Save us some $$, save yourself the embarrassment, and humiliation, and simply go away……………. you WILL be vocally destroyed, and removed from office by way of the greater majority having already decided upon their belief; one of honesty, integrity, and brotherhood, and register a vote of non-confidence against you and your new girlfriend, and obvious bed partner, Diaz.
We are patient, but this too, is wearing thin. One day, just maybe, someone who knows much about the law, may just petition the court with their own request. A member, for example, who believes his portion of $$$ is, or has been used for non LOCAL 113 business, but to intentionally sabatoge any given corporation, namely, OUR LOCAL. I think that corporate conspiracy, perhaps even embezzlement, is getting real close to the crimes I BELIEVE you and Diaz have committed. An AUDIT that could, and SHOULD be added into the order, would suffice to see you answer for your actions.
em·bez·zle·ment
/əmˈbezəlmənt/
noun
noun: embezzlement; plural noun: embezzlements
theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.
“charges of fraud and embezzlement”
synonyms: misappropriation, theft, stealing, robbery, thieving, pilfering, purloining, pilferage
Best of Luck in your future, Bob. I hope you are intelligent enough to pick up what’s left of your bubblegum, and go home to someone who HAS to listen to your lies.
Yours truly,
ME!
PROUD MEMBER IATU-ATU Local 113!!

Rigging
March 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm
Reply
In that meeting with the members Kinnear also said he would resign if the members wanted him to , , let’s see if he is a man of his word on march 19 at the meeting

Rigging
March 1, 2017 at 7:44 pm
Reply
Well said , my brother , I too am a proud 113 member , ,and I look forward to the meeting on march 19!, maybe Kinnear will come to his bit of sense left and resign with the little dignity he has left, there is absolutely no confidence in our so-called president ,

Cynthia Kelly
March 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm
Reply
Unifor de-chartered staff unions in BC for daring to call out leadership on their collusion with rat union BCNU. And directed members to cross the licket lines of their own co- workers, leaving it to former crony Gary Fane to decide which members would get the work.
All the former CEP staff have drunk Dias’ koolaid, and are huffing and puffing at the fed and labour councils when they are called out on his bull.
Now this.
I

Tags: Toronto ATU Local 113raidingbusiness unionism
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Union Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees In Fight With ATU International Trusteeship Of Toronto ATU Local 113

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:01

Canadian Union Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees In Fight With ATU International Trusteeship Of Toronto ATU Local 113
http://ht.ly/dUgx309vPeo
Posted on March 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

By David Bush

The intense legal battle being waged over the fate of ATU Local 113 is not simply a two-sided affair between Bob Kinnear and ATU International. RankandFile.ca has learned that Bob Kinnear’s legal fees are being paid for by Unifor. This should not come as much of a surprise after Dias announced in his February 7 press conference with Kinnear, “if there are lawsuits and one of you gets sued. I’ll pay the lawyers’ bills.” C4EwchTWAAAFO4i

In a leaked audio recording of a meeting this week between Kinnear and members of Local 113, Kinnear is asked by a member of the union, “who is paying all the legals costs you are incurring right now?”

Kinnear said, “Unifor is paying.”

The member replied, “why would Unifor pay that?”

Kinnear’s legal costs are not insignificant, because much of the fight over the fate of ATU Local 113 has taken place in the courts and law offices. Currently, Kinnear and ATU International are in mediation over the allegations that Manny Sforza, the former trustee, was in contempt of court. The mediation dealing with the contempt of court issue may expand to include other disputes between Kinnear and ATU International. But as far as we know, none of the legal battles between Kinnear and ATU International deal with defending him from lawsuits.

Heated exchange with members

The lengthy recording, which is punctuated by many heated exchanges between Kinnear and members, outlines his reasoning for initiating the CLC justification process (process for leaving current union/joining another union) and explains why Unifor is supporting him. Kinnear admitted he was in contact with Unifor before the trusteeship was filed, which is confirmed by a previously leaked email. Kinnear also stated he was initially supported by other Canadian unions in his battle with ATU International, though he does not not name these unions.

Kinnear strenuously and repeatedly denies Unifor is interested in representing ATU members. He stressed the point that Unifor was standing up for the rights of Canadian union members. He claims Unifor “took on the battle because the International trusteed us. They believed that the membership should have the opportunity to discuss and if they so choose to have a vote.”

Kinnear argues that Local 113 pays 2 million per year to the International, but the local is essentially acting like a national union and not getting proper training and resources from the International office.

Kinnear goes it alone

Kinnear explains he initiated the justification process because he knew a trusteeship would occur and that he wanted to give members a choice. Members in the room pressed him repeatedly about why he didn’t bring it to the executive board or to the membership before he filed the CLC justification. He argued that the local would have been trusteed if he brought it up first. At multiple points in the meeting members questioned him about this. One member stated “you should have brought that up to the board members and all of us here, before you made a decision all on your own to go ahead and do so. That is only to benefit you, not for the members, you are not thinking of the members.”

Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A7 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.
Open letter from Kinnear to ATU Local 113 members appearing in A6 of the Toronto Star on February 23. This also appeared in two other papers.
Another member stated, “why, not just you, but everybody go through this, what is the reason?”

Bigger questions for labour

While the leaked audio confirms that Unifor is paying Kinnear’s legal fees and is involved in the intra-ATU fight, it also raises a number of questions for ATU members and the wider labour movement.

Are Unifor members aware they are paying Kinnear’s legal fees? When exactly was Unifor contacted by Kinnear about this situation? Kinnear claims Unifor only got involved because of the trusteeship. Yet he also claims they were in contact before the trusteeship. Could this be considered a violation of the CLC’s justification process?What other unions did Kinnear say were onside with him?

Did Kinnear himself pay the over $50,000 price tag to the Toronto Star and other papers last week for the full page open letter from Kinnear to 113 members announcing his legal victory, or did other parties help foot the bill?

ATU 113 members will have to judge for themselves the merits of the claims coming from the executive board, the International and Kinnear. Why did the trusteeship happen? Was it justified or not? Do Kinnear’s reasons for wanting to leave the International hold water?

March 19 meeting

The answers to these questions are not all simple. Kinnear argues that a large local like ATU 113 doesn’t get anything from the International, it simply pays money into it. As in all unions large locals help sustain smaller locals and give them greater access to resources. This is not an act of altruism, but a strategic question of ensuring industry standards are raised across the board. If a large union local like 113 goes out on its own, how will that shape standards and working conditions in public transit in Ontario and Canada long-term?

On March 19, ATU Local 113 will hold a meeting at which Kinnear plans on introducing a motion that will allow ATU 113 members to vote on their union affiliation.

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Previous Post: Fighting for $15 and Fairness is a matter of health
Next Post: Family leave for Albertans?
5 thoughts on “Unifor footing Kinnear’s legal fees”


David Schokman
March 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Reply
Using a rival raiding Unions money to further his personal monetary gains is truly remarkable, I trust the CLC rules and regulations don’t apply to crooks like Kinnear and Dias. To my brothers and sisters of ATI 113 on March 19th send this bafoon packing with a no vote on leaving the international and further bring forward a motion of ” non confidence” against Bob and put an end to this fiasco that has cost us dearly monetarily and a loss of face in the labor movement.

Stephen G. Burley
March 1, 2017 at 2:25 pm
Reply
Dear Bob, (alright …………forget the dear part!)
For no-one really knows how long now, you have been sneaking around trying to either flip over a 10000 member union, single handedly, and without JUST CAUSE, or feeding your personal greed monster. Either is just plain stupid, or really, really misguided.
Further, your actions spell TREASON to most of us, of this, I am totally confident. You didn’t ask your Executive board, you didn’t ask IATU, you didn’t ask the true governors of the local 113, the most important of all, US!! When I stand up and throw my opinions out there, I do so as an individual, and as such I expect OPINIONS in return, which I GET, ALWAYS. Never does what I say change too much, because, as I said, they were OPINIONS. If I wanted to change something, I would do it through the PROPER venues, using the prescribed procedures.
What you have done, and I, personally have experienced sooooo many people in my life that are just like you, speak happiness from the left side or your mouths, and betray, and steal, from them from the right. Your actions have been met with feelings of total betrayal, and, in any (as you keep calling it) DEMOCRACY, it is more accurately known as treason……..if it fits, it sticks, from my point of view!!
So now you want to have a meeting, now you want to HEAR FROM THE MEMBERS……………….oh, and, my friend (loosely used) you will certainly succeed that much. WE the ATU, that’s right, THE COLLECTIVE, you know Bob, the UNION you LEFT the day you tried to throw us all to the dogs, to a FAILING UNION at that, remember US!!!??
Give it up, Bob, we are beyond you, and the thought of ever dumping the entity that built this corporation, and our benefits, pay structure, working conditions, the united embrace of belief, and ultimately, our pensions! THAT, (sir) was dead, even before you pulled that idea out of your toilet.
Save us some $$, save yourself the embarrassment, and humiliation, and simply go away……………. you WILL be vocally destroyed, and removed from office by way of the greater majority having already decided upon their belief; one of honesty, integrity, and brotherhood, and register a vote of non-confidence against you and your new girlfriend, and obvious bed partner, Diaz.
We are patient, but this too, is wearing thin. One day, just maybe, someone who knows much about the law, may just petition the court with their own request. A member, for example, who believes his portion of $$$ is, or has been used for non LOCAL 113 business, but to intentionally sabatoge any given corporation, namely, OUR LOCAL. I think that corporate conspiracy, perhaps even embezzlement, is getting real close to the crimes I BELIEVE you and Diaz have committed. An AUDIT that could, and SHOULD be added into the order, would suffice to see you answer for your actions.
em·bez·zle·ment
/əmˈbezəlmənt/
noun
noun: embezzlement; plural noun: embezzlements
theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one’s trust or belonging to one’s employer.
“charges of fraud and embezzlement”
synonyms: misappropriation, theft, stealing, robbery, thieving, pilfering, purloining, pilferage
Best of Luck in your future, Bob. I hope you are intelligent enough to pick up what’s left of your bubblegum, and go home to someone who HAS to listen to your lies.
Yours truly,
ME!
PROUD MEMBER IATU-ATU Local 113!!

Rigging
March 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm
Reply
In that meeting with the members Kinnear also said he would resign if the members wanted him to , , let’s see if he is a man of his word on march 19 at the meeting

Rigging
March 1, 2017 at 7:44 pm
Reply
Well said , my brother , I too am a proud 113 member , ,and I look forward to the meeting on march 19!, maybe Kinnear will come to his bit of sense left and resign with the little dignity he has left, there is absolutely no confidence in our so-called president ,

Cynthia Kelly
March 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm
Reply
Unifor de-chartered staff unions in BC for daring to call out leadership on their collusion with rat union BCNU. And directed members to cross the licket lines of their own co- workers, leaving it to former crony Gary Fane to decide which members would get the work.
All the former CEP staff have drunk Dias’ koolaid, and are huffing and puffing at the fed and labour councils when they are called out on his bull.
Now this.
I

Tags: Toronto ATU Local 113raidingbusiness unionism
Categories: Labor News

ILA Pres Daggett Calls Off Protest Strike, Wants To Beg Congress “I strongly urge all ILA members not to engage in any work stoppage or any other violations of our current Master Contract,” Daggett pointed out."

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 19:53

ILA Pres Daggett Calls Off Protest Strike and Wants To Beg Congress To Help Longshore Workers
“I strongly urge all ILA members not to engage in any work stoppage or any other violations of our current Master Contract,” Daggett pointed out."
http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/214039/ila-calls-off-strike-seeks-...
Image Courtesy: South Carolina Ports
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) urged its members not to stage any strikes as the union intends to seek emergency meeting with members of the US Congress.

Last week, the association called for a one-day shutdown of US East Coast and Gulf Coast ports to protest over job losses.

The protests were planned due to hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports, which result in reducing the numbers of stevedores.

“ILA members announced last week that their frustration over South Carolina Ports Authority robbing their members of ILA jobs at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor interfering with the ILA’s Collective Bargaining Agreements had reached a boiling point,” the ILA said.

Now, Harold Daggett, President of the ILA, plans to meet with members of Congress to address the growing concerns of ILA longshore workers.

“With a delegation of ILA leaders, I will be heading to Washington to seek help for our industry from Congress,” Daggett said.

“I strongly urge all ILA members not to engage in any work stoppage or any other violations of our current Master Contract,” Daggett pointed out.

“Let the leadership of the ILA meet with Congress in Washington. I am confident Congress will understand the urgency of our issues and help us resolve any and all problems,” he added.

In February, ILA members and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents employers of stevedores, started informal talks about the new collective bargaining agreement. The dockworkers’ current contract is valid until September 30, 2018.

The association intends to put greater emphasis on local contract bargaining and oppose to fully-automated terminals during the negotiations with the USMX.

Tags: ILADaggettstrike
Categories: Labor News

Spanish Government Declares War on the Wharfies of Spain-International Day of Action March 10

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 23:50

Spanish Government Declares War on the Wharfies of Spain-International Day of Action March 10
• IDC encourages affiliated members to reach out to/hold demonstrations at embassies abroad.

No. 78 – Tuesday 1 March, 2017
FELLOW WORKERS
The Spanish Government is hellbent on attempting to destroy the most MILITANT and principled industry organised workers in Spain – the Spanish Dockers.

We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our Spanish

brothers and sisters. I urge all member to read this leaflet from the IDC and to fight for the dockers of Spain and when the Branch calls on you, to support our fellow comrades. WE DO IT AS ONE!

IDC Response to the Royal Decree to Reform the Spanish Port System
February 27 2017. Last Friday, the Spanish Minister of Public Works announced his plan to reform the Spanish port system. He will enact a decree issued by the Court of Justice of the Union European Union, a modification which will result the sacking of 6,500 dockworkers. The plan is to fire Spanish dockworkers at a rate of 25% of their full strength each year, which means an absolute extinction of their employment within three years. Sacked dockworkers are to receive a severance packages of only 20 paid days per year worked.

"The Spanish Government threatens the growth of the Spanish economy and seeks to make the dockworker profession disappear from national ports," rules Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator.

The Spanish port workers ́ union Coordinadora Estatal de Trabajadores del Mar – CETM plans to hold industrial action in the ports of Spain for 12 hours during each of the following days: The days 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, and 24 of March, 2017.

It remains for IDC to raise support to resist this modification of the Spanish Port System. Following the Emergency IDC ZCO Meeting in Algeciras, Spain on February 28, 2017, IDC decided to take the following actions:

1. A unified action of solidarity with Spanish Dockworkers as they strike on March 10, 2017. All European Ports are to suspend work from 12:00pm-3:00pm, and all other ports outside of Europe are to suspend action from 12:00pm - 1:00pm.

2. IDC will stage a walk out of the Sectoral Social Dialogue on Ports Meeting at the European Commission on March 1, 2017.

• IDC will meet with ITF to collaborate in a joint action in support of Spanish dockworkers.

• IDC will work to ensure ports neighbouring Spain will not receive re-routed cargo turned away form Spain due to industrial actions [in Marseille, FOS, Lisbon (IDC); and Tanger (ITF)].

• IDC will ask Lisbon to hold actions in Sines to avoid further conflicts.

• At the end of March, if no changes have occurred, IDC will organize differential treatment/boycotts of strategic Spanish export cargo.

• IDC encourages affiliated members to reach out to/hold demonstrations at embassies abroad.

• IDC will continue to offer support to /Coordinadora/ and work to show Spanish dockworkers that they are not alone.

• IDC will make the situation in Spanish Ports priority for all IDC Zone Coordinators, who will be responsible for coordinating actions in their respective regions.

IDC supports Spanish Dockworkers in their struggle to defends their professions and protect their families from looming insecurity.

WE WILL NEVER WALK ALONE AGAIN!

In solidarity,

Jordi Aragunde
IDC General Coordinator

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockerssolidarity
Categories: Labor News

ILA Longshore Union Calls for East Coast Port Shutdown

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:23

ILA Longshore Union Calls for East Coast Port Shutdown
http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/longshore-union-calls-for-port...

ILA members protest the Waterfront Commission's oversight policies, 2014 (file image courtesy ILA)
By MarEx 2017-02-23 14:01:00

The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) is calling for a shutdown at ports along the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast to protest hiring practices that allegedly reduce the number of dockworkers. The union said that dates for a labor action would be announced next week, and singled out the South Carolina Port Authority and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for policies that allegedly lead to "job loss and economic injury."

The Waterfront Commission was created in 1953 to fight corruption and organized crime at the Port of New York and New Jersey (PNYNJ). To further this goal, it is authorized by Congress to conduct criminal background checks and ensure non-discrimination in hiring. In August, the ILA (and other plaintiffs) lost a case against the Waterfront Commission that claimed that the regulator's attempts to prevent racial discrimination were beyond the bounds of its authority and were an impediment to port operations. The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the union, affirming that the Waterfront Commission "was within its statutory authority to require shipping companies and other employers to certify that prospective employees had been referred for employment pursuant to federal and state non-discrimination policies."

In its statement Tuesday, the ILA reiterated its belief that "the commission's self-created system of background checks for all that work . . . is resulting in job shortages throughout the [port] and damaging the U.S. economy."

In South Carolina, the ILA is protesting the use of non-union labors to operate cranes, receive and deliver cargo and perform terminal work. According to Kenneth Riley, ILA Vice President and President of ILA Local 1422, this policy causes “unemployment, unskilled and unsafe dock labor, and injury to the coastal economy.”

“We will wake up the decision makers and force them to focus on our ports,” said Riley. “If we don’t stop the destruction caused by overreaching bureaucracies, America will pay an even bigger price.”

On Thursday, the National Retail Federation called on the U.S. Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association to work together to avoid the shutdown. “Thousands of companies and millions of workers rely on these ports and any disruption to their activity . . . could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” said NRF vice president Jon Gold. “While the union might have concerns with certain local government actions, engaging in a coastwide shutdown is not the answer.”

Tags: ILAEast Coast Shutdown
Categories: Labor News

SF TWU 250A Muni union members vote to approve new contract with 6 percent raise

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 18:32

SF TWU 250A Muni union members vote to approve new contract with 6 percent raise
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-union-members-vote-approve-new-contract-6...
Muni riders wait for a train at Van Ness Station in San Francisco. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on February 23, 2017 3:05 pm

Looks like there’ll be no “sick out” for Muni operators this year.

Three years after stalled contract negotiations allegedly prompted hundreds of Muni operators to call in sick to work, bringing Muni service to a standstill, the next round of contract negotiations were quietly approved without a hitch this week.

Muni operators voted through their union to accept and approve their contracts with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Tuesday night, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

“They passed it, membership ratified it,” confirmed Eric Williams, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, the union of Muni operators.

That approval maintained the current contract nearly verbatim for the next two years, plus a 6 percent wage increase over those next two years, pending budget shortfalls.

Members turned in paper ballots by hand at Muni bus yards across The City. Of the 1,352 operators who voted, 1,031 voted to approve the contract. Operators also voted to reject a more technical decision that may impact bus and light rail service.

Operators were asked to vote on extending a sign-up period to assign operators to new bus yards –– called the general sign ups –– to every three years instead of every two, which Williams said the SFMTA wanted to help ease their training burden.

The sign-ups let operators change what lines they drive. During the last general sign-up, the F-Market & Wharves streetcar line saw enough drivers change assignments that SFMTA had to, for a time, run buses to replace the streetcar line while they trained bus drivers to become streetcar operators.

“Their training department cannot deliver,” Williams said, but, “our members are saying ‘no.’”

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the SFMTA, said the sign-ups “can result in additional training if operators choose to switch modes, but when the time comes, we will work to minimize any impact to service by calling in off-duty operators to fill shifts.”

Operators also overwhelmingly rejected a provision to give newer operators a quicker raise, which would have eventually capped their overall salary for a longer period.

Tags: TWU 250AContract City and County Of San FranciscoSFMTA
Categories: Labor News

ILA 1422 Union leader Riley calling for work stoppage at Port of Charleston, other maritime facilities and march on Washington

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 13:14

ILA 1422 Union leader Riley calling for work stoppage at Port of Charleston, other maritime facilities and march on Washington
The International Longshoremen's Association says non-union state employees who operate the cranes are taking jobs from union members.

http://www.postandcourier.com/business/union-leader-riley-calling-for-wo...
By David Wren dwren@postandcourier.com
Feb 22, 2017 Updated 21 hrs ago

The setting sun silhouettes container cranes at the State Ports Authority’s Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. The International Longshoremen's Association says state employees who operate the cranes are taking jobs from union members.

A key leader of the union that represents dock workers in Charleston and other at East and Gulf Coast ports is threatening a work stoppage and a march on Washington, D.C., to protest what he says is the loss of jobs to over-regulation and interference by government-run maritime agencies.

"We are protesting damage to the nation’s economy that is caused by the kind of interference that President Donald Trump promised to stop," said Kenneth Riley, vice president of the International Longshoremen's Association and president of the union's Charleston branch.

Kenneth Riley is president of the International Longshoremen's Association No. 1422. File/Wade Spees/Staff

By Wade Spees wspees@postandcourier.com
Riley said the ILA plans to choose a date for the work stoppage in the next couple of weeks. It will coincide with thousands of union members traveling to the nation's capital to "wake up the decision makers and force them to focus on our ports," he said.

Initial reports said the work stoppage would take place Monday, but Riley said that would not give the union enough time to prepare.

"We’re going to do this the right way," he said. "We're not going to fly by the seat of our pants and be irresponsible. First, we have to organize and educate our rank and file members up and down the coast."

The U.S. Maritime Alliance, the employer group that negotiates a master contract with ILA members, called the threat of work stoppage "disturbing."

"The master contract between the ILA and (the alliance) forbids any unilateral work stoppage by the ILA for any reason," the group said in a written statement. The alliance said it "will enforce the contractual rights of its members to the fullest" if a work stoppage occurs.

Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the State Ports Authority, said gates at the agency's Charleston and Georgetown terminals will operate normally regardless of the ILA's actions.

"It will be business as usual for us," he said, adding that while the SPA operates the terminals, it does not control work on ships that visit the port.

Newsome said the ILA's contract includes a no-strike clause, "so one could assume someone would seek injunctive relief and that could be rather quickly granted."

That's what happened in 2013 when ILA members staged a work stoppage in Charleston as part of a dispute with a stevedore firm that oversees the handling of cargo. A federal judge ordered the longshoremen to return to work with an order signed nine hours after the stoppage had begun.

Riley said government-operated ports, including Charleston's, are reducing union jobs by hiring non-ILA workers to operate cranes, receive and deliver cargo and perform other duties. Also, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is creating new layers of background checks and other regulatory hurdles that are creating job shortages there.

Both of those issues were discussed during ILA meetings last week in Florida as the union prepares to negotiate a new master contract for about 65,000 members working at ports along the East and Gulf coasts. The current contract expires on Sept. 30, 2018.

"All we want to do is work, build this economy and keep the nation strong," Riley said. "But over-regulating agencies, enabled by the federal government, want something else, and that’s just not right for America."

Newsome said the ILA's claims of job losses are unfounded. He said union members in Charleston worked more than 1.7 million hours in 2016 - a 42 percent increase over 2010 figures that equates to about 250 full-time jobs.

The ILA's current contract calls for the union and maritime alliance to conduct a study to show how crane operator and other jobs currently performed by non-union workers in Charleston and other state-operated ports could instead by done by ILA members.

"To my knowledge, such a study has never been done," Newsome said. Other state-run maritime facilities that hire non-union workers include ports in Savannah and Wilmington, N.C.

"This is not an issue specific to our port but encompasses state-owned and operated ports in the Southeast and has been a subject of discussion periodically for quite some time," Newsome said.

The ILA has not issued a statement on Riley's plans. On its Facebook page, the union described its informal talks last week with the maritime alliance as "productive and fruitful."

Tags: ILA 1422strikeContractjob losses
Categories: Labor News

Spanish Dockworkers Plan Nine-Day Strike

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 10:56

Spanish Dockworkers Plan Nine-Day Strike
http://gcaptain.com/spanish-dockworkers-plan-nine-day-strike/?utm_source...
February 22, 2017 by Reuters
Containers are seen at Barcelona's Port, Spain, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

MADRID, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Spanish dock workers have called nine days of strikes to protest government plans to allow ports to hire non-unionised labour, El Pais newspaper reported on Tuesday, threatening to disrupt trade for up to three weeks from March 6.

Dockers last week called off a planned three-day strike after the government said it would put its reforms on hold and open talks, but the decision to push ahead with a bigger strike came after the government signalled it would not change parts of the plan, El Pais said, citing the CETM union.

Reuters could not reach CETM for comment.

The proposals would allow companies operating in ports to hire staff that do not belong to unions, a move unpopular with union members but which would help bring Spain in line with European Union regulations.

The nine days of stoppages across dozens of Spanish ports would take place on alternate days, meaning disruptions could drag on for three weeks between March 6 and March 24, El Pais said.

Negotiations between the unions and the government were set to continue.

About two-thirds of Spain’s exports pass through the ports, which handle some 500 million tonnes of merchandise a year. (Reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Tags: Spanish Dockworkers StrikeCETMderegulationprivatization
Categories: Labor News

ILA Pres Supports Spanish Dockworkers At Spanish Port Of Algeciras

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 09:19

ILA Pres Supports Spanish Dockworkers At Spanish Port Of Algeciras
21 FEB ILA’S EXECUTIVE VP ADDRESSES TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PROTESTING SPANISH DOCKWORKERS IN ALGECIRAS, SPAIN
http://www.ilaunion.org/ilas-executive-vp-addresses-tens-of-thousands-of...
Posted at 18:53h in ILA News by
ILA’s Vice Presidents Ken Riley and Virgil Maldonado Join In Rally Protesting Government Interference

Tens of thousands of Spanish Dock Workers rallying today at the Port of Algeciras, Spain loudly cheered International Longshoremen’s Association Executive Vice President Dennis Daggett who pledged the ILA’s full support for the Spanish longshore workers in their battle against the Spanish Government.

The Spanish Dock Workers are protesting against the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and their recently announced plans to destroy the Spanish ports and Spanish economy.

In front of a sea of protesting Spanish Dock Workers, ILA’s Daggett echoed the chant of the crowd: “Not even one step back.”

Blaring horns and loud cheers erupted when Dennis Daggett told Sister and Brother Spanish Dock Workers “The ILA is with you all the way!”

Joining ILA Executive Vice President at the rally were Kenneth Riley, ILA Vice President and President of ILA Local 1422, Charleston, South Carolina and Virgil Maldonado, ILA Vice President and President, ILA Local 1588, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Jordi Aragundi, General Coordinator of the worldwide International Dockers’ Council, introduced the ILA officers and extended thanks to ILA President Harold J. Daggett and the entire ILA membership for their overwhelming demonstration of support.

Tags: ILASpanish DockersDaggett
Categories: Labor News

ILA Pres Supports Spanish Dockworkers At Spanish Port Of Algeciras

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 09:19

ILA Pres Supports Spanish Dockworkers At Spanish Port Of Algeciras
21 FEB ILA’S EXECUTIVE VP ADDRESSES TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PROTESTING SPANISH DOCKWORKERS IN ALGECIRAS, SPAIN
http://www.ilaunion.org/ilas-executive-vp-addresses-tens-of-thousands-of...
Posted at 18:53h in ILA News by
ILA’s Vice Presidents Ken Riley and Virgil Maldonado Join In Rally Protesting Government Interference

Tens of thousands of Spanish Dock Workers rallying today at the Port of Algeciras, Spain loudly cheered International Longshoremen’s Association Executive Vice President Dennis Daggett who pledged the ILA’s full support for the Spanish longshore workers in their battle against the Spanish Government.

The Spanish Dock Workers are protesting against the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and their recently announced plans to destroy the Spanish ports and Spanish economy.

In front of a sea of protesting Spanish Dock Workers, ILA’s Daggett echoed the chant of the crowd: “Not even one step back.”

Blaring horns and loud cheers erupted when Dennis Daggett told Sister and Brother Spanish Dock Workers “The ILA is with you all the way!”

Joining ILA Executive Vice President at the rally were Kenneth Riley, ILA Vice President and President of ILA Local 1422, Charleston, South Carolina and Virgil Maldonado, ILA Vice President and President, ILA Local 1588, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Jordi Aragundi, General Coordinator of the worldwide International Dockers’ Council, introduced the ILA officers and extended thanks to ILA President Harold J. Daggett and the entire ILA membership for their overwhelming demonstration of support.

Tags: ILASpanish DockersDaggett
Categories: Labor News

China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance "But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaks

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 21:10

China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance "But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa."
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15U2VM
Thu Feb 16, 2017 | 3:50 AM EST
Exclusive: China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance

By Shihar Aneez | COLOMBO
China will delay a planned $1.1 billion investment in a port on its modern-day "Silk Road" until Sri Lanka clears legal and political obstacles to a related project, sources familiar with the talks said, piling more pressure on the island nation.

Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be held up by several weeks or months, the sources added.

After signing an agreement last December, state-run China Merchants Port Holdings had been expected to buy an 80 percent stake in the southern port before an initial target date of Jan. 7.

Beijing also has a separate understanding with Colombo to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the same area, a deal that Sri Lanka was hoping to finalize later.

But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A legislator close to Rajapaksa is also challenging the government's plans in court.

Now Beijing has linked the signing of the port deal with an agreement to develop the industrial zone, saying it would hold off on both until Colombo resolved domestic issues, officials on both sides of the talks said.

"China has said that when they start the port, they want the land also," Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, although he added that China had not made it a precondition.

Yi Xianliang, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, said the two deals were related.

"If we just have the port and no industrial zone, what is the use of the port? So you must have the port and you must have the industrial zone," he said.

A source familiar with China's thinking said it may wait until May, when Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visits Beijing, to sign both deals.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Hambantota project was important for both countries.

"As far as we understand, at present the project is still progressing steadily," he told reporters in Beijing.

The previously unreported setback for Sri Lanka suggests Beijing is digging in its heels as it negotiates its global "One Belt, One Road" initiative to open up new land and sea routes for Chinese goods.

SPEED BUMPS, MOUNTING DEBTS

President Maithripala Sirisena is struggling to contain popular opposition to land acquisition for the huge Chinese industrial zone, including from Rajapaksa, who remains an influential opposition legislator.

The deal for the port development and industrial zone has also been challenged in court, which means it is stuck at least until the next hearing on March 3.

Asked whether the agreement would be delayed until the court had ruled, Yi, the Chinese ambassador, said: "Oh yes. We will follow the rule of law. We have the patience to wait."

Rajapaksa's role, the court case and violent protests by people afraid they could be evicted from their land underlined how Beijing does not always get its own way even in countries that badly need investment. Sri Lanka wants Chinese money to help alleviate its debt burden; the government had expected to have the proceeds from the stake sale within six months of signing the agreement before Jan. 7.

Sri Lanka has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to cut its deficit, shore up foreign exchange reserves and increase tax revenues as part of a $1.5 billion loan agreement struck in 2016. At least part of the money from the port deal would have gone toward paying down some of the more expensive loans on the government's books, some of which are from China, a senior Sri Lankan government official said.

Hambantota port and a nearby airport were built from 2008 by the Rajapaksa government with the help of $1.7 billion in Chinese loans.

When Sirisena unseated Rajapaksa in an upset victory in 2015, he froze all Chinese investments, alleging unfair dealings by his predecessor.

Sirisena eventually negotiated a new deal with the Chinese government that involved the stake sale and further plans for the Chinese to develop an industrial zone.

The Chinese government expects to invest about $5 billion to develop the area within 3-5 years. Sirisena also agreed to give land to the Chinese on a 99-year lease. The terms did not go down well with port trade unions, which have asked the government to reduce the Chinese stake to 65 percent and lease period to 50 years.

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in January when a demonstration against the planned industrial zone turned violent.

(Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal, and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Paritosh Bansal)

Tags: privatization Sri Lanka Portsunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:46

Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs
America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers. Once trucks become automated, where will these jobs go?
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/16/self-driving-trucks-a...
Once replaced by automation, where will all the trucking jobs go? Photograph: Wojciech Lorbiecki/Alamy

Martin Ford
Thursday 16 February 2017 07.00 EST
In April 2016, Uber announced the acquisition of Otto, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed a kit that can turn any big rig into a self-driving truck.
The Otto technology enables complete autonomy on highways: trucks can navigate, stay in their lane, and slow or stop in response to traffic conditions completely without human intervention. Otto’s equipment currently costs about $30,000, but that is certain to fall significantly in the coming years.
Otto is by no means alone. Massive automated vehicles are already commonly used to move materials for the Australian mining industry. Daimler, the German multinational company, has likewise demonstrated its own model, a giant 18-wheeler with a “highway pilot” mode available (meaning a driver has to remain present, promptingthe head of the US branch to say that “tomorrow’s driver will be a logistics manager”). Another approach is to use automated convoys, in which self-driving trucks follow a lead vehicle.
It seems highly likely that competition between the various companies developing these technologies will produce practical, self-driving trucks within the next five to 10 years. And once the technology is proven, the incentive to adopt it will be powerful: in the US alone, large trucks are involved in about 350,000 crashes a year, resulting in nearly 4,000 fatalities. Virtually all of these incidents can be traced to human error. The potential savings in lives, property damage and exposure to liability will eventually become irresistible.
There’s only one problem: truck driving is one of the most common occupations in the US.
Once replaced by automation, where will these jobs go?

In Australia, the world’s most truck-dependent nation, mining giants are using remote-controlled lorries to shift iron ore around massive mining pits. Photograph: Reuters
As of 2015, a typical production worker in the US earned about 9% less than a comparable worker in 1973. Over the same 42 years, the American economy grew by more than 200%, or a staggering $11tn.

For millions of average Americans, the reasonable expectations of their youth – a steady job, home ownership, college education for their children – have degraded into decades of stagnation, even as they have been continuously bombarded by news of the overall growth and prosperity of the US economy.
The driving force behind this transition has been technology. It is widely recognized among economists that while the impact of globalization has been significant, especially in specific regions of the country, robots and factory automation have been a far more powerful force. Indeed, even those jobs that did migrate to China are now evaporating as factories there aggressively automate.
Among those workers who remain employed, it has become almost cliche to complain about good, well-paying factory jobs that have degraded into far less lucrative and reliable positions at Walmart. The few good working class jobs that remain are those that – at least so far – have been exempt from the forces of both globalization and automation.

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Jobs such as long-haul driving.
Indeed, truck driving is arguably one of the final barricades protecting a traditional world where diligent effort exerted in a blue-collar profession is respected, essential – and well compensated. It is likely no coincidence that a map highlighting the states where truck driving reigns as the lead occupation is closely correlated with a map showing the states that voted for Donald Trump.
This perfect storm creates the perception that America is “no longer winning” at manufacturing and that “we don’t make anything any more”. This could not be more wrong. Since 1990, the total value of goods produced in American factories has increased by 73% (after accounting for inflation).
The jobs story is very different, however. That near doubling in output has been accompanied by a 30% decline in manufacturing employment – a loss of more than 5m jobs.
America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers.
•••
For the foreseeable future, automated trucks are likely to be limited to long-haul highway operations, and it will probably require human intervention to pilot the truck along the final few miles to its destination.
In other words, there will still be some jobs, but it is easy to imagine that the nature of the “truck driving” occupation might be radically transformed. Piloting a future, computerized truck might well be perceived as a “technology” job. These workers will be freed from days and nights on the road and would be able to live normal lives, often in desirable urban locations.
In other words, piloting trucks for those final few miles might eventually evolve into a white-collar profession actively sought after by college graduates. This might be especially true in the wake of the onslaught of software automation in many other traditional white-collar, knowledge-based occupations (financial analysts, lawyers, computer programmers – any job that involves manipulating information in a predictable way).

Matt Grigsby, senior program engineer at Otto, takes his hands off the steering wheel of a self-driving, big-rig truck during a demonstration on the highway, in San Francisco in 2016. Photograph: Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Tags: Automationtruck driversjob loss
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Govt Settles Lawsuits with Seafarers Union "SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage.

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:52

Canadian Govt Settles Lawsuits with Seafarers Union "SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations."
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/212891/canadian-govt-settles-laws...

Image Courtesy: SIUC
The Government of Canada has settled the pending lawsuits filed by the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIUC) alleging systematic breaches of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The SIUC filed 42 lawsuits in 2015 saying that, instead of providing Canadian seafarers with the opportunity to work, and in violation of the TFWP, the Government of Canada was systematically issuing work permits to the non-Canadian crew members of hundreds of foreign ships engaged in shipping in Canadian waters.

SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations.

In July 2016, the Government of Canada admitted that it improperly issued work permits to the foreign crew members of the New England, a Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker that engaged in shipping in Canada. The Federal Court granted SIUC’s judicial review applications and set aside 11 work permits for the crew of the New England.

Canadian Federal Court had been set to hear arguments in dozens of lawsuits filed by SIUC against the Government of Canada as of next week, however, the case has now been resolved with the union accepting a last-minute settlement offer put forward by the government.

In addition, the union added that it had also reached a settlement of the remaining outstanding 44 lawsuits with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The terms of the settlement include full review of ESDC’s TFWP policies and procedures in relation to TFWP on foreign-flagged vessels engaged in Canadian domestic shipping and investigations into the SIUC’s allegations that seafarers admitted to work in Canada as temporary foreign workers are not being paid the proper Canadian prevailing wage.

“After 18 months of litigation, I am very happy to see the government finally agree to what we sought all along – enforcement and a review of the rules with the full participation of the SIU Canada,”SIUC President James Given said.

Tags: SIUC Canadian Seafarers Uniontemporary workers
Categories: Labor News

UK Southern rail RMT workers set new strike date after talks collapse

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:34

UK Southern rail RMT workers set new strike date after talks collapse
RMT members to walk out on 22 February after row over role of conductors remains deadlocked
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/15/southern-rail-workers-n...
Strike threatens fresh misery for the 300,000 Southern rail users. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Press Association
Wednesday 15 February 2017 14.54 GMTLast modified on Wednesday 15 February 2017 22.00 GMT
Workers on Southern rail are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running staffing dispute after the collapse of talks.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are to walk out for 24 hours on 22 February, threatening fresh travel disruption for Southern’s 300,000 passengers.

The two sides met at the conciliation service Acas on Tuesday, but the row over the role of conductors remains deadlocked.

Leaders of the drivers’ union, Aslef, reached a deal with Southern’s owner, Govia Thameslink Railway, earlier this month in a separate row over driver-only trains, which its members have been voting on, with the result due on Thursday.

The deal was reached after 11 days of talks co-chaired by the TUC.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The abject failure by Southern rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

“These disputes could have been settled if Southern had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on their trains.

“Instead they have shifted the goalposts even further and have now created a ‘strike-breakers’ charter’, where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action.”

Cash added: “The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff but for passengers, who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.

“It is now down to Southern to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”

Tags: Southern RailRMT strikeprivatization
Categories: Labor News

Toronto ATU 113 Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 10:03

Toronto ATU 113 Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis
http://ht.ly/LAuE308VqeD
Posted on February 10, 2017 in ATU, CLC, Raiding
UPDATE: This article was published at 2:30am on February 10. Hours after publication Hassan Yussuff of the CLC sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, informing him that article 4 was being reinstated for Local 113 and the justification process would proceed. We also received a complaint and request from Unifor for a retraction over two parts of our story. The first involves our statement claiming that if Kinnear took the actions he did at a Unifor local he would “most likely” be trusteed. We referenced and linked to Unifor’s Guide for Local Union By-Laws and its constitution. Unifor disagrees. We think our interpretation is a fair one and we will leave it up to you the reader to decide. The second call for retraction is over this statement: “Unifor is now openly raiding ATU Local 113. Organizers from Unifor will be visiting job sites and hoping to sign up ATU members to Unifor cards.” Unifor denies signing any cards. We never claimed they did. We wrote that they will be visiting job sites and hoping tosign cards. We believe this was a reasonable interpretation of the facts as they were. Our statement was based on multiple independent sources and the public statements made by Jerry Dias. After the reinstatement of the article 4 protections, which Unifor says they support, we believe the situation has changed and we will continue to follow the story.

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Toronto Sun coverBy David Bush, Gerard Di Trolio and Doug Nesbitt

Late on February 2, the Amalgamated Transit Union International trusteed the Toronto-based ATU Local 113. The 10,000 members of Toronto’s TTC transit workers union awoke to the news that their elected leadership, headed by President Bob Kinnear, had been ousted. The initial news reports painted this as an attack on local Canadian autonomy by a big American labour union. The Sun even went so far as to decry the trusteeship as an American “invasion.”

Is this depiction accurate? What has slowly emerged over the last week is not simply a story of an imposed trusteeship by a U.S. based international union, but a story of CLC-sanctioned raiding and inter-union power politics. All of which has gone on behind the backs of ATU Local 113 members and threatens to tear apart the Canadian labour movement.

What we know so far

On February 1, Kinnear sent a letter to Hassan Yussuff, President of the CLC. In this letter Kinnear, appearing to speak for the Local, requests access to section for 4.9 of the CLC constitution to which outlines the process for justifying changing unions.

Section 4.9 of the CLC constitution is initiated when the CLC “receives a request from a group of workers wanting to leave their own union.” The CLC’s first response upon receiving such a request, according to section 4.9a, is to “encourage those members to work within the constitutional provisions and policy procedures of their own union,” and to “also contact the ranking officer of the members’ union to convene a meeting within one week with the workers and their union in an attempt to mediate and resolve the situation.”

The letter of February 1 from Kinnear to the CLC, although written as speaking on behalf of his Local, is signed by Kinnear only. At no point did Kinnear get a mandate from the membership to initiate section 4.9, nor did he even get the executive board approval of his own Local.

In the February 1 letter Kinnear makes reference to being insulted by the International leadership, the lack support for the Local’s campaigns, the absence of support in opposing essential services legislation Bill 150, the denial of Canadians to choose representatives to the ATU International Executive Board (despite two Canadians being elected to the ATU International Executive Board) and a groundswell of membership wondering why they are sending money to Washington D.C.

A day later CLC president Hassan Yussuff sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, informing him that the CLC received an application for 4.9 at ATU Local 113.

Email about the impending trusteeship. Unifor staffers cc’d.
Later that day Bob Kinnear’s public relations officer, paid for by 113, received a forwarded email from union consultant Bill Reno and was told to give it to Kinnear. The email, from a lawyer at Dewart Gleason, was cc’d to Anthony Dale, Unifor staff lawyer and director of their legal department, Scott Doherty, assistant to the President of Unifor, and lawyers from two law firms. The email outlined what to do if police arrive in the event of a trusteeship, it also had a draft notice of motion, for unknown purposes attached to it. It was clearly part of an on-going discussion between Kinnear and Unifor.

Later on February 2, the ATU International sent a letter to Kinnear, Kevin Morton, the Local’s financial secretary, and Bill Chrisp, the executive vice-president, informing them of the trusteeship. The International immediately appointed International Vice President Emanuele “Manny” Sforza as trustee. Sforza had been an executive-vice president of Local 113.

The following day, February 3, Yussuff sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, cancelling a planned meeting between Kinnear, Yussuff and Thorp to address proceeding with article 4.9. Yussuff stated in the letter that the trusteeship violated section 4.9, claiming workers have the right to engage in the justification process without reprisal. Yussuff then informed the International that Local 113 had been suspended from the anti-raiding protections of Article 4 of the CLC’s constitution. Yussuff’s letter effectively opened the door to CLC-sanctioned raiding of Local 113.

Also on February 3, ATU International President Larry Hanley sent out a letter to Local 113 members notifying them of the trusteeship, and a subsequent hearing to be held within 30 days. In the letter Hanley says Kinnear violated the local’s bylaws by not going through the proper channels, which would mean either a membership vote or executive board vote. Hanley also stated Kinnear violated the ATU Constitution and General Laws, specifically section 22.2 which outlines the charges of dual unionism as “such persons are affirmatively engaged in promotion, implementation, furtherance, or support of any other union or collective bargaining group with the purpose or intent of supplanting the ATU.”

Hanley also sent a letter to Yussuff the same day outlining the above reasons for the trusteeship. By the end of the weekend the majority of the Local’s executive board has been reinstated and sided with the ATU International against Kinnear, even signing letters denouncing Kinnear’s unilateral actions. To date 13 of the 17 board members have been reinstated. The Local leadership is now claiming support from 90% of stewards. Kinnear claims board members have been coerced, no evidence nor statements have been produced to back his claim up.

BOBKinnear’s motivation

As soon as the trusteeship came down Kinnear went on an aggressive media blitz. Much of what he had to say focused on the fact that ATU is a US-based union. On Monday he told the Toronto Star, “I’m hopeful that other organizations, the labour movement, are going to stand behind us and say that we are not alone, that the Canadian labour movement will take on this hard-ass American union that thinks they can come into Canada and squash our democratic rights.”

The ATU represents 200,000 members in North America, with 30,000 members in Canada. From multiple Local 113 members we talked to Kinnear has long been at odds with the International.

Kinnear, who was first elected Local 113 president in 2003, won a scandal-ridden fifth consecutive election in 2015 by a 51 percent. Kinnear had originally declared he was not going to run for a fifth term, but then announced his re-election bid using the union email system and phone directory to set-up robocalls. These actions directly violated the Local’s by-laws, as no other candidate was given access to these resources. A complaint was made and the International ordered a rerun of the election after Kinnear’s appeal failed. A new election was ordered for September 2016 and Kinnear won by 61 percent. He didn’t have to face his previous challenger Rocco Signorile, who had by that time retired.

In the fall of 2015, the ATU reorganized its Canadian section, by forming ATU Canada in order to give Canadian locals more autonomy, control and coordination. It also gave smaller locals in Canada more of a voice compared to 113. Bob Kinnear was elected President of this newly formed body, but then quit just months later after his local election was contested and ultimately overturned.

At the last ATU International convention, held in Toronto in October of 2016, Kinnear ran for the 18th International Vice-President position, which was open after his father, Larry Kinnear, who held the seat, retired. In a contested election Kinnear ran against and lost to another Local 113 member, Manny Sforza. Sforza is now the acting trustee at Local 113.

While it is hard to say with complete accuracy, it looks like some of the issues at Local 113 and the ATU can be chalked up to internal union power politics. Kinnear was popular enough to have won several elections (some acclaimed), but it is also clear he overstepped the line in the 2015 election.

Bill 150, Kinnear, and the International

In 2010 Larry Hanley, the former president of the Staten Island ATU Local 726, defeated the incumbent Ronald Heintzman to become the President International of the ATU. Hanley, represented a leftward and more activist shift for the union and was unanimously supported by the 113 executive board. Hanley is a regular at Labor Notes conferences and the union was one of a handful to endorse the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Kinnear’s complaints about the International revolve around the charge that they have hindered the actions of 113. For instance, Kinnear complained that “when our right to full collective bargaining was wiped out by Ontario Bill 150 by the Liberal government, ATU International was nowhere to be seen.” The bill, passed in 2011, less than a year after Hanley came to power, was indeed sweeping and terrible. However, what was it that the international was supposed to do, but didn’t?

When essential services legislation was being requested by Toronto City Council in the lead up to the Liberals passing Bill 150, Kinnear was promising not to strike before a new contract was even signed in exchange for essential services legislation being taken off the table. Outside of launching a court challenge against 150, Kinnear did not prepare his members for a fight beyond the rhetoric. He even went so far as to publicly state that he hoped any essential service legislation would mean steady pay increases and good benefits as happened with firefighters. Kinnear wouldn’t be the first union leader to wrongly imagine that higher pay and better benefits would be the trade-off for losing the right-to-strike.

The same threats without action were made when the TTC contracted out 160 cleaning jobs. Kinnear said he would void the overtime agreement with the province in protest. But this never happened. The jobs were contracted out, and Kinnear then spent hundreds of thousands on a smoke-and-mirrors “Protecting What Matters” ad campaign.

Bill 150 should be a dead letter because of the January 2015 Supreme Court ruling saying the right-to-strike was protected under the Charter of Rights. Rather than gear up the membership to break Bill 150 and build a legal strategy around collective action, Kinnear has filed a Charter challenge instead, leaving the membership to wait around while lawyers rake it in.

There is no doubt that the International, even under progressive leadership, is not beyond criticism from members and local officials. However, it is also all too easy for local leadership to excuse their inaction and ineffectiveness by simply blaming the International.

Kinnear is playing the old game of bashing the US-based International leadership, saying that Canadian union members are losing out. Kinnear called the trusteeship, “an attack on Canada and our autonomy.” Every media appearance and interview Kinnear has given since last week has gone out of its way to frame the battle along national lines.

“I have been consistent in standing up for Canadian values and standing up for the members I was elected to represent. I will continue to do that despite all the assertions,” Kinnear said at a Tuesday press conference. “I am trying to provide a democratic opportunity for our members so they can control their future and not my future.”

But has Kinnear respected democracy? In a recent Globe and Mail article he said, “If I had brought this to a full board meeting, and not talked to people individually, I would have been ousted five minutes after that board meeting was over.”

Kinnear was unable and unwilling to go through his own local’s process to decide to disaffiliate from the ATU. So he himself, without consulting membership or winning a democratic mandate of the Local’s executive board, initiated the CLC’s justification process.

The CLC and raiding

This whole affair is a serious crisis in the CLC. As soon as the ATU trusteeship came down, the CLC suspended its own anti-raiding rules, section 4 of the CLC constitution, for Local 113 of the ATU. Yussuff unilaterally cancelled the meeting to follow up on the justification process in Section 4.9. This amounts to the CLC declaring that it is okay for unions to raid ATU Local 113.

The CLC, which is normally silent on most internal matters, had made statements showing it is taking sides in this dispute. Chris MacDonald, a former Unifor staffer and now CLC assistant to Yussuff, told the Toronto Star the ATU trusteeship was “payback” for Kinnear going to the CLC.

Section 4 of the constitution, dealing with disputes, was adopted in 2002 as is, in response to a series of raids by the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW). Section 4.9 was a process designed for members who wanted to leave their union and join another. The first step of Section 4.9 is to encourage members to use official channels and then set up a mediated process to find a solution. The mediator/investigator examines the claims made by the members, and makes sure no other affiliate union is attempting to influence them either directly or indirectly. The mediator then makes a binding decision, such as ordering elections, making them a directly charted local, or setting a cooling-off period. The process ensures fairness for the members making the complaint and also helps ensure no other union is interfering directly or indirectly. In short it helps to prevent raiding.

What is clear from the documents and letters now publicly available is that there was collusion between Kinnear and Unifor before, during, and after the trusteeship. On-going investigations inside the ATU is likely to reveal more evidence as to the extent of it. By suspending the justification process, the CLC has also suspended the formal investigation. The unilateral suspension of the justification process by Yussuff makes getting more facts and a more accurate account of what happened more difficult.

Kinnear was trusteed because as a local president he violated his duty to abide by the constitution of the ATU and the local by-laws by himself initiating the justification process without going through the proper democratic channels. His active communication with another CLC affiliate about this makes his actions hard to defend. It makes it next to impossible for the CLC to justify its actions, as well.

If all it takes for the CLC to suspend article 4.9 of the constitution is a local leader being trusteed for violating democratic procedures, then what good is it? Local leaders should not be afforded protection to undemocratically facilitate a raid.

Trusteeship is heavy-handed and flies in the face of local democracy. It is an action that certainly gives Kinnear some ammunition, but it is not a reason for the CLC to suspend the justification process.

Kinnear and Dias at joint press conferenceUnifor raiding

Unifor claims that it did not interfere with internal matters in Local 113, though it does admit to offering legal advice to Kinnear before the trusteeship. The leaked communication between Unifor and Kinnear after the justification process was enacted is itself a violation of the justification process as laid out in section 4.9j which states:
“If the Investigator/Mediator concludes that another affiliate has attempted to influence or interfere with an affiliate’s membership either directly or indirectly, in any matter covered by this protocol, the offending affiliate will not be entitled to exercise any rights under this protocol.”

On Tuesday February 7, Jerry Dias sat next to Bob Kinnear at a press conference and slammed the ATU for imposing the trusteeship. “I’m not going to allow somebody in the United States to seize the assets of Canadian workers. That union hall is owned by the workers. They don’t have the right to take out of office those who were democratically elected,” said Dias.

It is worth noting that if Kinnear had engaged in the same action but as a Unifor Local president, he would have most likely been trusteed for violating Unifor’s by-laws under section 5b of the Guide for Local Union By-Laws, which states:
“A member in exercising the foregoing rights and privileges shall not take any irresponsible action which would tend to jeopardize or destroy, or be detrimental to, either the Local or National Union as organizations, or their free democratic heritage, or which would interfere with the performance by this Local Union or the National Union of its legal or contractual obligations as a collective bargaining agent, or interfere with the legal or contractual obligations of this Local Union as an affiliate of the National Union.”

Unifor is now openly raiding ATU Local 113. Organizers from Unifor will be visiting job sites and hoping to sign up ATU members to Unifor cards. Unifor needs to get 40 percent of members signed to cards to trigger a vote. This is happening because the CLC has suspended Section 4.

Better contracts? Fighting P3s?

This situation is very dangerous. If Unifor and the CLC are allowed to proceed, it opens the door for more widespread and flagrant raiding across the country. A practice which does not build the density or power of the union movement. It means the anti-raiding language in the CLC constitution is a dead letter at the whim of the CLC leadership. There is no reason to think Unifor will stop at Local 113 because it has a long history of raiding through its CAW roots. If they are successful they will go after every other ATU local in the country.

Of course that is easier said than done. The recent big three auto deals Unifor signed had big concessions to their pension plan for new hires. There is no reason to think that Unifor is better positioned to represent ATU members just because they are a Canadian union.

After a decade-long effort, the CAW successfully raided the Vancouver local of the Independent Canadian Transit Union representing Metro Vancouver public transit workers in 2000. The agreements reached under Unifor are worse than Local 113’s deal with the TTC. Unifor’s deal has a grow-in twice as long, and wages for drivers are significantly less.

The ATU has, especially since Hanley’s election, taken a political line that governments need to invest more in public infrastructure and mass transit. The ATU in Ontario and across Canada has taken a strongly pro-NDP line and spurned the Liberals. During the last election in Ontario, Local 113 itself was one of the major critiques of Wynne’s privatization schemes and lack of public funds devoted to transit. Contracting out and privatized P3 infrastructure under Trudeau and Wynne continue to be major political problems for the union.

Kinnear says he wants to help the Local 113 membership, but joining Unifor means lining up with Dias who is a backer of Wynne and Trudeau, two of the country’s biggest proponents of P3 and privatized infrastructure projects. P3 and privatization aren’t just cash cows for corporations. It is no secret privatization and P3s are also weapons against workers, their unions, and collective agreements.

Fighting Right-to-Work

South of the border the ATU like many other public sector unions is under the gun. Right-to-Work laws have just been in Missouri and Kentucky and they will significantly impact the ATU. The union will have to devote large resources to battle RTW in those states and restructure those locals unions so they can survive. A national Right-to-Work law has been introduced by the Republican-controlled Congress, which would be the greatest assault on American trade union rights since Taft-Hartley.

To effectively fight this attack, the ATU and other international unions will need resources and solidarity to sustain the fight. Unifor, with the CLC’s blessing, is trying to divide and weaken the ATU and by extension attacking all international unions through nationalism.

This is a gift not just to Trump and the Republicans south of the border, but a gift to the Tories in Ontario who would be happy to take power when unions are paralyzed by leadership power games. Hudak wanted right-to-work in Ontario in the last election and Brown is staying quiet on it now. We can’t put it past the Tories to introduce it with no notice if they take power. The struggle against anti-union Right-to-Work needs to be fought on both sides of the border as part of a common fight, not divided through nationalism.

IMG_58245602ea2530868What’s next?

What Local 113 needs is a principled and organized caucus of rank-and-file members whose goal is building a strong, democratic union that can actually fight management when it needs to, and work with other locals in ATU and other unions to fight for common goals: like public infrastructure, strong worker rights, and democratic unions.

Lessons can be learned from 113’s own great history, from the experiences of other ATU locals across Canada and the US, the RMT in Britain, as well as the lessons of the “New Directions” caucus of TWU Local 100 in New York City.
The future of 113, how it should handle the trusteeship, should ultimately be up to the members of the local, not Yussuff, not Kinnear, not Dias or Hanley.

The labour movement should take a strong position against this raiding by Unifor and demand the CLC restart the justification process. Internal matters inside the ATU should be left to ATU members to sort out themselves. The labour movement is facing many threats in Canada and the United States. The palace intrigue and power politics of leadership are a dangerous distraction from the true fights that lay ahead.

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15 thoughts on “ATU Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis”


David Schokman
February 10, 2017 at 10:24 am
Reply
Open Letter to All Parties Concerned!
February 9, 2017
Some very serious questions should be answered to prevent the callous nature with the way this problem is been handled. Bob’s Robo Calls were not made by physically dialling one’s number as that would be technically impossible, so had Bob taken the lists as claimed, then Bob would have“divulged private and confidential information to a third party” to be fed into a computer dialling software system.
The names, addresses and phone numbers are that of the employees of the Toronto Transit Commission and are given by the TTC to ATU local 113 strictly for purposes pertaining to internal use in the administration of its membership in matters solely related to the extent of the relationship between the TTC and it’s legally mandated Union ATU 113. The use of this data for any other purpose is a direct violation of one’s rights and a culpable offence.
While I can’t speak for the other members, I assure you I treat this as a very serious violation of my “Privacy Rights” having unsavoury characters like Bob, and the others to whom he divulged information, to be in possession of my personal information is not only frightful but outrageous.
The stake holders in this fiasco is solely the TTC and ATU Local 113 and therefore it is paramount that these two parties “immediately file an injunction” against Bob Kinnear and any and all other relevant parties to “cease and desist” the use of the employees personal information in the possession of these unauthorized parties before any further irreparable harm occurs.
Common sense dictates, one does not close the barn door after the horse has left the barn, further this pumped horse is still outside in the corral and must be tranquillized and roped in before he jumps the fence and causes any further damage to the membership at large.
The prima facie pertaining to Bob’s actions is overwhelming thus the mere inconvenience of obtaining such an order should not be the order of the day.
In self-incriminating statement’s Bob’s actions clearly, defines his intent with regard to the lists containing the personal data of our membership and fits the definition for “Commercial Purposes” a violation under, the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Act”
Extract on the application of the PIPEDA :-
Unions’ duties under PIPEDA imposes requirements on every “organization” in respect of personal information that the organization collects, uses or discloses in the course of “commercial activities.” The term “organization” is defined so that it expressly includes a trade union. Therefore, the real question is whether the union is engaged in “commercial activities. There have been no authoritative decisions defining the term “commercial activities”, but PIPEDA defines the terms so that it includes any conduct of a “commercial character.” Most union activities – representing members in grievances and collective bargaining – are probably not of a commercial character. Therefore, PIPEDA does not necessarily apply to every aspect of a trade union’s activities. However, some of a trade union’s activities may likely by covered by PIPEDA. For example, if your union provides supplementary health insurance or manages a retirement fund, these could be considered commercial activities. Also, PIPEDA specifically states that bartering membership or other fundraising lists is a commercial activity. Therefore, if your union provides membership lists to other organizations, this may also be considered a commercial activity. The actual requirements in PIPEDA are based on the Canadian Standards Association model “Privacy Code” with certain amendments. PIPEDA requires an organization to: 1. Designate an individual or individuals accountable for the organization’s compliance with PIPEDA and its principles. 2. Prior to or at the point of collection, identify the purpose(s) for which personal information is collected and limit the collection, use or disclosure to what is necessary for that purpose. 3. Seek appropriate consent for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. 4. Protect personal information in its possession in a manner appropriate to the sensitivity of the information (for instance, personal health information requires special safeguarding). 5. Keep personal information accurate for the purpose for which it is to be used.
Based on factual observations in that Bob did “Robo Call” our membership, using information without the express consent of the membership and or the parties entrusted with and in possessions of this private and confidential information and taken by Bob is complacent with the long standing dictatorial and arbitral behaviour by Bob in the running of the Local.
It would be very foolish for one to believe the reasons for Bob’s actions to be anything but for reasons of personal gain with a lucrative pay- off and patronage appointment if he was successful in his quest to move an almost 11,000 member Union.
Warning operators:- “Do Not Attempt While Operating Moving Vehicle” One should do the math, union dues times its membership, the staggering result will make you keel over in shock as to why we have some sleazy characters in our Local Executive.
While respecting the democratic vote of our membership in the election of Bob Kinnear I personally would not entrust or allow Bob to “walk my dog”
The Local should be focussing on the long term ramifications of the actions of Bob Kinnear on the membership in that, the damage on our local perpetrated by Bob has far and reaching consequences. The possession and use of the membership’s private and confidential information by Bob can now be used by any individual or entity for fraudulent purposes and for further attempts to raid our Union.
A well advised, deterrent for this type of rogue behaviour by an executive of our local should be a class action suit for punitive damages brought against Bob Kinnear and all others responsible for the unauthorised use of personal information. Approximate 11,000 members times $200/- per member plus legal costs would set back Bob and his band of merry conspirators into oblivion.
The decision of the International office with regard to allowing Bob to re-run for office notably the answer to Question 2. in the insert of IN-TRANSIT Journal titled “Union democracy, due process, and Local 113’s election challenges” is not only mind boggling but will dazzle some of the “best Legal Minds in the country”
By virtue of the contents, in the answer, here is an individual who not only was “in direct violation of the Local’s bylaws” but acted in every way possible to bully, rig, manipulate and defraud the election process and is rewarded with the ability to run again for office, are we for real? Now the same leaders are wondering why we are in this mess today, for those of you who have grey hair like me, Manuel Noriega and the Shah of Iran comes to mind, aid and abet as long as it benefits the status quo, then when this individual turns renegade we have the leadership running like chickens with their heads cut off.
While been well versed on Pension Regulations applicable to Ontario, “Take the money and run” would definitely not be in my response.had I chose to address the long and complicated regulations.
I will refrain from commenting at this time pending the response of brother Frank’s Lawyer.
I don’t appreciate the spin on pension benefits been in peril, as then we feed into the exact dishonest and crooked behaviour perpetrated by Bob. However, I will give brother Frank the benefit of the doubt as he stated he has a good Lawyer probably the best in the city, no the province, maybe the country, I am eagerly awaiting this Lawyer’s response in an orderly time frame.
Finally, it is imperative that the Local immediately amend its by-laws with regard to the “possession and use of private data by the Executive Members of ATU Local 113” we also should very seriously consider and have a membership vote on “Time Limits” for all Local Elected Positions. We must position ourselves to Act, not react, be active, not reactive.
David Schokman
Badge # 23641
Dictated Not Read

Tags: ATU 113CLCTrusteeshipHanley
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Rookie conductor tries to mobilize his fellow transit union members to vote down MTA contract deal "The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 18:27

NYC TWU 100 Rookie conductor tries to mobilize his fellow transit union members to vote down MTA contract deal "The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly 7,000 members."
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rookie-brooklyn-conductor-leads-figh...
Tramell Thompson, an MTA conductor and founder of Progressive Action, hands out flyers to campaign against the MTA union contract agreement on the platform at the Jay Street MetroTech station Thursday in Brooklyn.
Tramell Thompson, an MTA conductor and founder of Progressive Action, hands out flyers to campaign against the MTA union contract agreement on the platform at the Jay Street MetroTech station Thursday in Brooklyn. (BYRON SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
BY
DAN RIVOLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 4:06 PM
The transit union heralded its recent contract deal with the MTA as a rare victory for workers during dark times for the labor movement.

But that's not how Tramell Thompson, a 35-year-old conductor from Brooklyn who's been on the job for a scant three years, sees it.

"The contract was one of the worst contracts we've ever had," Thompson said of the deal Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John Samuelsen cut.

The Flatbush native may be new to the tracks and even newer to the union hall, but he's organizing an aggressive campaign for the group's rank-and-file members to vote down the contract. TWU members have until Wednesday to mail in their ballots.

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Meanwhile, Thompson is building recognition among the TWU ranks for a movement he calls Progressive Action.

The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly 7,000 members.

"They respond better through internet interactions versus the old-fashioned tactics the union is using, (like) mass membership meetings," Thompson said.

He is acerbic and blunt when it comes to TWU leadership, critical of how it runs the organization and the benefits it gets for workers.

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A flank of the TWU that supported former union president Roger Toussaint, who organized the 2005 transit strike, has allied with Progressive Action.

"We're like-minded," said Joe Campbell, a car inspector for 27 years with the MTA who twice ran unsuccessfully against Samuelsen and was a Toussaint ally. "He's bringing along a lot of the younger members."

On the Facebook group, transit workers have been posting pictures of their contract ballot with the "no" box checked.

To push the no vote, Thompson and three fellow union members hit the Jay St.-MetroTech station in Brooklyn during Thursday's snowstorm to hand out flyers to conductors passing by the platforms. He claimed 200 members were involved with Progressive Action's no vote campaign.

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Transit union workers protest amid contract negotiations with the MTA Nov. 15 outside the Bowling Green subway station in Manhattan.
Transit union workers protest amid contract negotiations with the MTA Nov. 15 outside the Bowling Green subway station in Manhattan. (ROSE ABUIN / NY DAILY NEWS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
The deal that 38,000 union members are voting on calls for 5% raises over 28 months, plus a $500 bonus, outpacing inflation. It also holds sweeteners to certain workers, like a pay boost for drivers behind the wheel of accordian-style buses.

The flyers implore workers, "Don't fall for their 'alternative facts.' " The flyers point out the raises come to 2.14% a year and "even the 'perks' don't perk."

Thompson and his team dashed between both sides of the station platform to make sure conductors pulled out of the station with a flyer in their hand. If a conductor said the ballot never arrived in their mailbox, they scrambled to give them a business card with a number to request one.

"Why should I vote 'no'?" one F train conductor asked while giving the flyer a glance.

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Another conductor told Thompson he was "on the fence."

Thompson replied that he's "gonna get off that fence."

Eric King, a conductor on an A train, stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station.

King later told the Daily News the size of the pay bump and benefits simply don't cut it in the city nowadays. He also said he sees a familiar face in Thompson.

"I see Tramell as a modern-day Toussaint," said King.

Samuelsen may agree, though not in the complimentary manner King intended. Samuelsen — himself once an insurgent at the TWU who led a slate that toppled its leadership — denounced Thompson and Progressive Action as "proteges of Toussaint."

Samuelsen rejected the suggestion that Thompson had any substantive following in the TWU. He angrily and repeatedly denounced Thompson as a "scab" — a reference to a Facebook post in which Thompson said he wouldn't strike under the TWU chief's leadership. Thompson said it was "hyperbole."

After Thompson handed him a flyer, conductor Eric King stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station.
After Thompson handed him a flyer, conductor Eric King stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station. (BYRON SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Thompson's critics have posted memes on Facebook with his face superimposed on a picture of a crusty old wound and left flyers in crew rooms.

"Tramell Thompson is a scab. He supported scabbing Local 100 if this ended up in a strike," Samuelsen said.

"There's been a 'no' vote for every contract in local 100 history, except there's never been a 'no' vote that's been led by a scab before," he added.

Samuelsen also defended the deal he cut for his members as one that boosts pay higher than the 2% the MTA wanted and shielded workers from higher health care costs.

"Once ... they take a look at the world around them and the contracts that other unions have delivered, they recognize that this is a solid contract that absolutely deserves to be ratified," he said.

Zachary Arcidiacono, a train operator and union official, also said the contract is a good deal, even if it was not what all members had hoped they'd get.

"It locks us in against a lot of the changes roiling the city, state and the country," he said.

But Thompson's message against the contract has resonated with some younger workers like train operator Kimberly McLaurin, 33, of Harlem.

McLaurin, who helped pass out flyers, said she started to follow Progressive Action after seeing criticism that Thompson faced. She wanted to learn more about how her union operates.

"I actually was a sleeping member for a while," she said. "You start realizing everything is not just about a paycheck. The quality of living down here is horrible. That's what woke me up. And I think that's waking up a lot of members."

Tags: TWU 100contract fightProgressive Action
Categories: Labor News

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