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Southwest Airlines Fires And Bullies Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 08:17

Southwest Airlines Fires And Bullies Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says
"Southwest is writing up nearly three workers per day and firing one worker every other day.”
"intolerable and cancerous" working conditions for the carrier's groundworkers and decries mistreatment including 2,700 disciplinary actions and 468 terminations since January 2015.
Ted Reed Follow Jul 21, 2017 9:55 AM EDT

The president of the Transport Workers Union, the largest labor union at Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) has written a scathing letter that condemns "intolerable and cancerous" working conditions for the carrier's groundworkers and decries mistreatment including 2,700 disciplinary actions and 468 terminations since January 2015.

"Groundworkers are flagrantly mistreated and abused by management," wrote John Samuelsen, president of the New York-based union that represents 12,000 Southwest groundworkers as well as 15,000 flight attendants. The letter refers to the ground workers, members of TWU Local 555.

In 2017, Samuelsen said, "Southwest is writing up nearly three workers per day and firing one worker every other day."

"The outright hostility to the workforce has obliterated morale, which can only have a negative impact on the passenger experience," he wrote. "The TWU finds it hard to believe that Southwest finds this to be an ideal business model."

The letter, sent late Wednesday, was signed by Samuelsen, Local 555 President Greg Puriski and 13 other TWU leaders. They said they are available to meet with airline executives as soon as possible.

In morning trading, Southwest shares were down 0.51%.

Russell McCrady, Southwest's vice president of labor relations, said the carrier is committed to "efforts to maintain strong, constructive relationships with our employees' representational groups including TWU 555.

"Discipline is a necessary part of business but any discipline we administer is far from 'arbitrary,'" McCrady said in a prepared statement. "We do not take for granted that Southwest continues to be named a best place to work and best employer by national publications and we are very proud that our employee culture is the foundation for these designations."

McCrady said Southwest will respond to Samuelsen's letter and welcomes the opportunity to meet.

Southwest employs about 54,000 workers including about 7,200 hired in both 2016 and 2015, said spokeswoman Beth Hardin. She said the number of terminations over three years is not atypical for the number of workers involved.

Local 555 signed a five-year contract in 2016. In an interview, Samuelsen said the letter is not related to contract negotiations but rather represents an effort "to fight Southwest on working conditions that are now entrenched on the property, on an antiquated labor relations model designed to drive production {that} drives morale down across Southwest properties."

TWU has about 200,000 members, including 42,000 in Local 100, which represents New York City bus and subway workers. Samuelsen headed Local 100 until he took over the TWU presidency in May.

"I'm a new president, taking note of a situation at Southwest where people are being fired and unfairly disciplined," he said. "I found that to be intolerable."

Tags: Bullyingretaliationharassmenthealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Dockworkers squeezed by automation, abandoned by politicians

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:27

ILWU Dockworkers squeezed by automation, abandoned by politicians
By Jack Heyman

July 20, 2017 Updated: July 20, 2017 4:21pm

The ink wasn’t even dry on the West Coast longshore contract when the head of the employers’ group, the Pacific Maritime Association, proposed to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union a three-year extension, making it an eight-year contract. While the number of registered longshore jobs, 14,000, is the about same as in 1952, the volume of cargo passing through the 29 ports has increased 14 times to a record-breaking 350 million revenue tons a year.

Under the current contract, employers have eliminated hundreds of longshore jobs through automation on marine terminals such as the fully automated Long Beach Container Terminal and the semi-automated TraPac freight-forwarding facility in the Port of Los Angeles.

“By the end of an extended contract in 2022, several thousand longshore jobs will be eliminated on an annual basis due to automation,” warned Ed Ferris, president of ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco. With driverless trucks and crane operators in control towers running three cranes simultaneously, the chance of serious and deadly accidents are enormous.

Now maritime employers are pulling out all stops to push through this job-killing contract extension, using both Democratic and Republican politicians, high-powered PR firms and even some union officials.

On July 18, The Chronicle published an Open Forum by Democrats Mickey Kantor, former U.S. secretary of commerce who led the U.S. negotiations to create the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which cost millions of jobs, and Norman Mineta, also a former secretary of commerce.

The authors of this pro-employer piece talk of preserving “labor peace” and refer to West Coast port shutdowns over the last 15 years. Yes, there is a class war on the waterfront, but it’s being waged by the employers: Those port closures were caused by employer lockouts in 2002, 2013 and 2014 during longshore contract negotiations.

The 2002 lockout was ended after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on President George W. Bush to invoke the antilabor Taft-Hartley Act — not against the maritime employers’ lockout but against the longshore union. The only time the ILWU shut down Pacific Coast ports between 2002 and today was May Day, 2008, in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the first-ever labor strike in the United States to protest a war.

In their Chronicle commentary, the two Democrats cite figures for wages and pensions that reflect only the highest skill level after a lifetime of work in one of the most dangerous industries. And then they threaten that “if the contract proposal is rejected,” it could lead Republicans and Democrats alike to impose antistrike legislation on the waterfront.

The ILWU backed Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary and then Hillary Clinton in the election. Yet no matter who leads it, the Democratic Party represents Wall Street on the waterfront. Clearly what’s needed is a workers’ party to fight for workers’ interests. And that includes fighting for nationalization without compensation of the transport industry while establishing workers’ control.

The so-called “friends of labor” Democrats have been enlisted by the Pacific Maritime Association because earlier this year at the Longshore Caucus, a union meeting representing West Coast dockworkers, the San Francisco delegates voted unanimously to oppose a contract extension. Saturday, they held a conference at their union hall on automation and the proposed contract extension. One proposal was to make automation benefit dockworkers by reducing the workweek to 30 hours while maintaining 40 hours pay, creating another work shift.

There are tens of millions of unemployed people in this country. The labor movement should launch a new campaign for a shorter workweek at no loss in pay as part of a struggle for full employment to benefit all, not President Trump and his Wall Street cronies. In resisting this contract extension, ILWU waterfront workers can stand up for all workers.

Jack Heyman, a retired Oakland longshoreman, chairs the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee.

The ILWU, Automation, Longshore Workers & The 8 Year Contract With Jack Heyman
Jack Heyman a retired ILWU Local 10 member and chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee spoke at a conference on Longshore Work, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives. The conference took place on July 15, 2017 at ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco.
For additional media:
Production of Labor Video Project

Tags: ILWU Local 10Automationtechnology8 year contractpoliticians
Categories: Labor News

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:49

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela
Rachel Varela who is a history professor and researcher at IISH, UFF, UNL, discusses the attacks on dockers, shipyard workers, technology and imperialism on 7/17/17 in San Francisco.
For more information:
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY-Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
For more information
Posted on July 20, 2017
By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)
Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and benefits of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net financial benefits and losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eficiency viewed by operators and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not profitable for the operators. We discussed briefly the losses for the public of the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rendered with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the first section we relate the analysis of precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.
Full study in pdf
Production of
Labor Video Project

Tags: dockersAutomationshipyard workerstechnologycapitalismimperialismsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:49

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
For more information

Posted on July 20, 2017

By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)

Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and
benets of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes
and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net nancial benets and
losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eciency viewed by operators
and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not
protable for the operators. We discussed brie y the losses for the public of
the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states
and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we
discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is
a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost
all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to
minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rened with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the rst section we relate the analysis of
precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning
as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short
overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and
unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we
discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the
welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research
done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.

Full study in pdf

Keywords Labour Relations, automation, employmnet, unemployment,
precarity, automated crane

Tags: International Dockworkers CouncilIDCAutomationtechnology
Categories: Labor News

Why dock workers can change the world

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 08:42

Why dock workers can change the world

Raquel Varela

Raquel Varela is a historian, researcher and university professor. Starting Grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology / New University of Lisbon / IHC and Fellow of the International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam). International visiting professor at the Fluminense Federal University, where she teaches a chair in the area of​​global history of work in the postgraduate program in History. He is a member of the NIEP. She is an international evaluator of CNPQ / Brazil. She is Vice-Coordinator of the Portuguese Network for the Study of Labour, Labour Movements and Social Movements (RE), she coordinates the labour network of the European Social Science History Conference (2012-2014 - ESSHC). In 2013 she was awarded the Santander Prize for Internationalization of Scientific Production.
Raquel Varela obtained her graduation in 2005 in ISCTE-IUL (cum laude), post graduation in FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa (cum laude), and her PhD (cum laude) in Political and Institutional History at ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, in 2010. Previously she studied Law at the Law Faculty of Coimbra University (1997-2000).Raquel Varela publishes at a high level in the field of the history of labour relations. She is the author of 4 books, editor of 9 books (one published in German, one in English and 5 in Portuguese) and the author of 58 chapters in books, both nationally and internationally published.
She is the author of 23 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals (independently from her PhD supervisor). Of these, 5 were published in major multidisciplinary scientific journals, including Hispania and Revista Brasileira de História. 5 of these 19 peer-reviewed articles are indexed in the ISI Thompson and in Capes A. In 2014 she was nominated national scientific coordinator of the Historical Itinerary of 25 April 1974 – National Official Celebrations.
She is a member of the editorial board of a peer-reviewed international history journal (Workers of the World. International Journal on Strikes and Social Conflicts, Campinas, Amsterdam), and referee for several international journals. In 2011 she was invited to the Board of Trustees of the ITH-International Conference of Labour and Social History, an international network of associations, research institutes and historians of labour and social movements (based in Vienna, Austria). She is the president (2 mandates 2011-2013; 2013-2015) of the academic association International Association Strikes and Social Conflicts. Her main areas of interest are global labour history, history of labour relations, and contemporary history of Portugal.

Tags: dockersglobalizationjust in time productionsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:47

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract
Keep 29 West Coast Ports Open
Contract extension at West Coast ports would support jobs, trade
By Mickey Kantor and Norman MinetaJuly 17, 2017 Updated: July 17, 2017 4:26pm

IMAGE 1 OF 2Erasmo Barrera, an employee for Impact Transload and Rail, moves a pallet of beer at the Port of Oakland on Jan. 26, 2017. The port is trying to convince shipping companies arriving from Asia to first visit its ... more

Twice in the last 15 years, labor disputes between dockworkers and the maritime companies that employ them have led to severe disruptions at West Coast ports. Now these parties have an opportunity to preserve labor peace and solidify West Coast trade for the foreseeable future. Doing so would be good for workers, good for the industry and good for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on trade.

This summer, International Longshore and Warehouse Union members from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest will vote on a proposal that would extend their current labor contract through 2022. It would raise wages, preserve virtually no-cost health care coverage and increase pensions — all at a time when unions nationwide are facing challenging headwinds.

Approving this contract would send a strong signal to retailers, manufacturers and others who rely on the ports that the West Coast intends to remain competitive, despite slipping market share in recent years. It would also reward dockworkers by raising base wages to more than $46 per hour, while preserving no-premium health insurance that features $1 prescriptions, and increase pensions to a maximum of more than $95,000 per year, according to news reports.

Among those who would breathe a sigh of relief would be West Coast agricultural growers, whose trade association reported that sales to Asian markets were down as much as 25 percent during the latest disruption in 2014-2015. Also impacted were automakers and other manufacturers, as well as retailers — large and small — across the country.

The stakes are high in markets from Washington state to Southern California. An estimated 2 in 5 Washington-state-area jobs are connected to international trade. In Southern California, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach support enormous economic activity, and are investing $6.5 billion in capital projects toward a clean and reliable future for this crucial international gateway.

The Port of Oakland is the fourth-busiest of the 29 West Coast ports, ranking behind Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma.

A report by maritime economist John Martin estimates that West Coast ports support upwards of 9 million American jobs. The cargo moving through these ports has a value in the trillions of dollars, supporting a healthy chunk of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

Strong West Coast ports are also important for the environment. California and Washington ports are leading the way to reduce harmful emissions from ships, and by updating cargo terminals with the latest in low-impact environmental technology. That means electric yard equipment, more on-dock rail and other advances toward green terminals. In this case, environmental and economic growth can go hand in hand.

Few Americans understood the huge impacts of maritime trade on the national economy before the 2002 port shutdown, in which West Coast ports were shuttered for 10 days until President George W. Bush ordered them re-opened. The subsequent disruptions during the last contract talks — which once again required federal intervention — have left some wondering if the relationship between ILWU dockworkers and their employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, is permanently broken.

Given the current political climate, there are those in Washington who have considered extreme solutions that would handcuff future negotiators and transfer local decision-making to Washington, D.C.

Such proposals would no doubt gather steam if the contract proposal is rejected, likely leading to acrimonious talks again in two years. Yet by agreeing to a contract extension now, workers and their bosses can show that no such intervention is needed, and that the West Coast can continue to be a thriving and vital trade hub with a stable and reliable workforce.

It is rare to have an opportunity in which workers, industry and the U.S. economy can all so clearly be winners. This is one such opportunity. At a time of much uncertainty, passage of this contract would be a step in the right direction.

Mickey Kantor served as both U.S. trade representative and secretary of commerce. Norman Mineta, who represented San Jose in Congress for two decades, served as both secretary of commerce and secretary of transportation.

Tags: ilwuShipping BossesMaritime bosses shillsstrikesDisruption
Categories: Labor News

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:19

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
Longshore Work , Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives was the title of an education conference held at the ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco on July 15, 2017. This presentation was made to the conference by Bobby Carnegi, MUA Queensland Branch Secretary.
The conference was sponsored by,, ILWU Local 10, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC.
For additional media:
Production of Labor Video Project

Categories: Labor News

Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:15

Automation and jobs in the world's docks
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Below is a brief summary of a conference on automation that the author attended.

By Joel Schor
Member, Sailors Union of the Pacific S.U.P.
Casual working under the contract of: International Longshore and Warehouse Union ILWU- Local 10.

The unions basically had the position most of us would, that the primary issue is not whether automation will happen or not but who will control it in the workplace and beyond that, how will a fight be initiated for a shorter work day/week to create more work for all?

A speaker who came later in the day was somewhat interesting in tying the development of automation to the increase of fixed long term costs ( machinery) over variable costs (mostly labor ) in this industry as leading to the declining overall rate of profit.

The particular speaker, a professor from Lisbon Portugal who had apparently studied maritime labor relations the world over, was very focused on what she termed "the advanced core nations of the world" as opposed to the "peripheral nations". What was missing from her analysis as well as most of the union leaders who spoke from the Maritime Union of Australia and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the West Coast of America, is the phenomena of China. Is it a "developed" country or a "developing" country?

The professor emphasized that automation only or mainly occurs in the "core" countries where wages are high and automation makes the long-term costs of expensive machinery worthwhile. Why then is the most advanced automated facility in the world in China ahead of Europe and the United States? It could be argued that wages in China are relatively high in certain key industrial sectors, but from what I understand the conditions and wages of the Chinese stevedores lags behind most of the countries where unions have been around longer.

Chinese stevedores work in excess of 12-hour shifts with no extra pay; they sleep and eat in the ports where they work. I can see that much has improved for them in having been there over a 12-year period on ships from 2002 to 2012. In that period China took on on economies of great scale and it continues to seek to capture and control markets. Chinese companies including the state subsidized shipping conglomerate Cosco spent over $20 billion last year up to June investing in and buying up European ports. (Financial Times 7-17-17)

In the last period of China's rapid export growth, that country’s share of world exports was large enough to make economies of great scale possible for their enterprises. There is much more that could be discussed about this. *

As far as the union leadership is concerned, ignoring the fact of China's rapid growth by conquering markets gives a false message to the rank and file. We had presentations from the Maritime Union of Australia talking about partially automated ports where the workforce has been cut down in container terminal operations.
Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
There has also been much discussion about a port on the US West Coast in Longbeach which will be fully automated and operational in 2020.

The fact is, China is fully automated and operating now. The emphasis on ports in Europe and America where this imminent reality of full scale automation has not manifested itself as it has in China, creates a vague hope for the workers to fight against the threats to their jobs and security.The reality is much more imminent than what is being presented to them by the leadership. Perhaps the union leaders don't even know or want to know about this, or possibly they have some other plan which remains to be seen at this point.

Tags: AutomationdockssolidarityChinese dockers
Categories: Labor News

British Airways cabin crew strikers prepared for long haul

Sat, 07/15/2017 - 23:22

British Airways cabin crew strikers prepared for long haul
Mixed fleet staff have fought for better pay for six months but, despite plans for further action, the airline won’t settle
BA cabin crew demonstrate outside parliament in February.
BA cabin crew demonstrate outside parliament in February; the airline insists the action is not affecting passengers nor its bottom line. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Gwyn Topham
Saturday 15 July 2017 11.00 EDTLast modified on Saturday 15 July 2017 17.00 EDT

The sweep of silver hair, fierce stare and rousing speech by Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner was vintage 1980s strike-era. “I’m as proud of you as I was of the miners,” he told striking British Airways cabin crew demonstrating outside parliament this week.

Most were born long after Margaret Thatcher closed down the pits, but the comparison was rapturously welcomed. If this 21st-century action, mainly organised via social media, has had little of the miners’ economic or political impact, it has already, under the radar, become a six-month-long standoff.

BA insists the action is not affecting its customers, or its bottom line unduly, even as thousands of its youngest, newest recruits angrily walk out.

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A two-week strike comes to an end on Sunday; a further fortnight of strikes has been called from Wednesday. It encompasses a significant minority of BA’s cabin crew: the “mixed fleet”, around one-third of the airline’s 16,500 crew, operating both short-haul and long-haul flights.

All new recruits join the flexible mixed fleet, set up in 2011 during the last bitter BA industrial dispute, and have poorer terms and conditions than other crew. Around 3,100 have joined Unite and voted to strike, concluding that pay on the “flexible” fleet doesn’t represent a living wage.

Pay was the trigger for the dispute: basic salary starts at £12,100, although BA said an independent audit showed full-time crew earned at least £21,000 with add-ons. The union says £16,000-17,000 is a typical figure, and crew at the Westminster rally agree: one, now a customer service manager earning £27,000, says they had worked for five years before promotion “and every P60 says I’ve earned under £20k”.

Long-haul stopovers have lost their allure for many, with allowances that do not cover the cost of the cheapest meal in most airport hotels abroad where staff stay – even before the value of the pound tumbled. “We take Pot Noodle in our luggage because food costs so much,” says Suzie, a striking crew member.

Unite reps say second jobs for supposedly full-time crew are not uncommon. Alex, a purser with three years’ service at BA, moonlights in hospitality on her days off. “They should be rest days after long flights, acclimatising to UK time. Instead, I work for £10 an hour in central London, serving drinks, on a zero-hours contract. When I joined BA I thought it would be different.” She was recently turned down for a small bank loan. “They said my payslips don’t show the figures BA tells people we earn.” Allowances, incentives and bonuses over basic pay count for little when applying for a mortgage, crew say.

People say, why don’t you quit and get a better-paid job? But I love the job. I just want a living wage
Alex, BA purser
While a pay deal of 7% over three years has been agreed in principle, crew have refused to accept sanctions against those involved in earlier walkouts: the withdrawal of bonuses and travel perks. That has been exacerbated by £250 rewards dangled before those who now come to work: paid for from bonuses stripped from strikers, as internal emails to staff show.

Labour has backed the strikers: an early-day motion tabled by Lisa Nandy MPnotes that group chief executive Willie Walsh is paid 533 times the starting basic pay of a mixed fleet crew member. Nandy says: “MPs from all parties have been shocked to hear from young women in particular, struggling on poverty wages at the national carrier, having to take out payday loans to survive. This is not an acceptable face of British business.”

She adds: “BA could resolve this simply and easily if it stopped spending time and energy on trying to break the strike and instead spent it on its own staff.”

Wet-leasing, or hiring aircraft and crew from elsewhere, has allowed BA to operate 99.5% of its flights during the recent action. Nine Qatar Airways planes, otherwise grounded by sanctions brought by neighbouring countries in the Gulf, have been flying a chunk of BA’s short-haul schedule.

The airline refuses to discuss costs, instead focusing on what it says is the most important thing: that every passenger will get to their destination during the strikes. Walsh, who has faced down strikes at numerous airlines, said earlier this year that the strike was having “no impact at all”, although he conceded that BA’s costs might run to a few million pounds. He said there are no shortage of recruits; BA puts the number of job applications at 17,000 this year.

British Airways cabin crew to stage six-day walkout in pay dispute
Read more
Compared to the damage recently caused by one technician accidentally pulling the power in BA’s computer nerve centre, which led to widespread cancellations and headline news, the strike is having relatively little immediate impact. But City analysts have expressed concern about the reputational damage.

BA insists that customer service has been unaffected, yet internal emails from managers admit that flights have operated with fewer crew than usual. Some customers who did find themselves on Qatar’s planes have enthused about the apparent upgrade: more comfortable cabins and the return of complimentary refreshments recently axed by BA.

For now, there’s little prospect of an immediate resolution to the dispute: no talks are likely, and those who have gone on strike for better pay have been infuriated by BA’s financial recriminations. Among the crew, Alex’s feeling is commonly echoed: “People say, why don’t you quit and get a better-paid job? But I love the job. I just want a living wage.”

Tags: BA Cabin Workers StrikeUNITE UnionUK BA
Categories: Labor News

7/15 ILWU Local 10 "Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives"

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:46

7/15 ILWU Local 10 "Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives"

24th Annual LaborFest 2017
The Future is in Our Hands
This year marks the 83rd anniversary of the San Francisco General Strike and West Coast Maritime Strike. The General Strike was not only a victory for the ILWU longshoreman but also for hundreds of thousands of workers who joined unions from hotel workers and clerical workers to public workers. (Labor Fest)

Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives
July 15 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Henry Schmidt Room, ILWU Local 10
400 Northpoint St.
San Fancisco

Longshore Contract, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives – Conference

The drive to automate the docks and the maritime industry is moving forward rapidly and, in some European ports, the transfer of cargo has been automated forcing thousands of longshore workers out of the industry. The capitalists are also already working on designing automated ships with almost no crews to cut their labor costs and increase their profits. This educational conference will look at the history of containerization in the past and what longshore workers face today and in the future to defend labor union and worker rights.

Initial Speakers:

Ed Ferris: President of ILWU Local 10
Bob Carnegie: Maritime Union of Australia Queensland Branch Secretary
Raquel Varela: Instituto de História Contemporânea
Honorary Fellow IISH (Amsterdam), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Study Group on Labor and Social Conflicts
Ken Riley: President of Charleston ILA 1422 and International Dockworkers Council, North American Representative

Jack Heyman: ILWU Local 10 pensioner

Sponsored by, ILWU Local 10, LaborFest, TWSC

Tags: longshorelabortechAutomationAI
Categories: Labor News

Letter To NYC TWU 100 For National March On Washington For Healthcare

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:43

Letter To TWU 100 For National March On Washington For Healthcare


Why Unions Must Take the Lead and Call a March on Washington to Defend Healthcare – An Open Letter to John Samuelsen, TWU International and Local 100 President
june 15, 2017 by campaignforamarchonwashington
The following letter from TWU Local 100 members was sent to TWU International and Local 100 President John Samuelsen on May 30, 2017. For more information, and to add your name to the list of signatories, write to:
John Samuelsen
Transport Workers Union
International and Local 100 President
May 30, 2017
President Samuelsen:
We are writing to urge you to use your position as TWU Local 100 president and as the TWU’s recently elected International president, to support the call for this country’s unions to take the lead in mobilizing a March on Washington to defend healthcare.
President Trump and the Republicans in Congress are using divide-and-conquer tactics, launching one attack after another on the rights and living standards of working-class and poor people.
First they targeted Muslims, immigrants, and Blacks and Latinos with their “Muslim travel ban,” mass deportations, and end to federal oversight of local police departments found responsible for egregious and systematic racism.
Now they are targeting healthcare, pushing for reforms that will have devastating consequences for tens of millions.
And tomorrow they promise to deal a catastrophic blow to the labor movement, including TWU Local 100, by making anti-union “right-to-work” statutes the law of the land. These statutes, of course, are more accurately referred to as “right-to-scab” laws because they deny unions the right to win the requirement that all workers in an enterprise be represented by a union and have union fees collected from them.
Trump has repeatedly declared his commitment to this union-busting attack and Vice President Pence has brought prominent Republicans to the White House to discuss how to win this battle. Trump has already secured an anti-union majority on the Supreme Court and now right-wing billionaires like the oil industry’s Koch brothers and Walmart-owning Walton family are competing to bring right-to-work cases targeting public sector unions before it. Meanwhile Republicans in Congress have already introduced House Resolution 785 that would apply “right-to-work” nationwide in the private sector.[1] The consequences of these “right-to-work” attacks could be so devastating that prominent figures in the labor movement are referring to it as a potentially “extinction-level-event” for unions in this country.[2]
All these attacks are deeply connected.
Trump and the Republicans’ plan to overturn “Obamacare,” combined with their proposed budget, will:
leave an estimated 23 million people without health insurance over the next ten years;[3]
cut $1.4 trillion in funding from Medicaid;[4]
remove many of the forms of care, such as maternity care, that insurers are currently required to include in their plans as “essential coverage;”
allow states to opt out of covering pre-existing conditions and charge more to people they claim have adverse health histories
defund Planned Parenthood, which is many women’s only health care provider;
allow insurers to increase the prices of their plans; and
it will do all this so that the rich can be gifted massive tax cuts.[5]
Waiting until the next elections with the hope of voting for candidates who promise to undo this damage means accepting the suffering and death of untold numbers of working-class and poor people. Mobilizing now to defeat these outrageous attacks is a matter of life and death.
At “town hall” meetings across the country, thousands have vented their outrage at Trump and the Republicans’ plans. No matter how inspiring they have been, however, it’s clear that such scattered protests will not be enough to stop this attack. The White House’s first attempt to pass its healthcare legislation only failed because some Republicans insisted on even more draconian attacks! So the time is now, while the Senate is considering their latest legislation, to take the protests to another level. And our unions are the only mass organizations to which working-class people can turn to make that happen.
If this country’s unions announced a March on Washington to defend healthcare and then seriously organized for it, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, could be expected to rally in support. That could that deal a massive blow to Trump and the Republicans’ plans. It could create momentum to win the long-standing demand of the TWU and most other unions – quality government-provided healthcare for all, as well as embolden the struggle against Trump’s racist attacks. And it could win widespread public support for our unions – support that we will need if we are to have any hope of defeating the coming “right-to-work” attacks.
In TWU Local 100, morning- and evening-shift meetings of the Track Workers’ Division have already voted unanimously in favor of motions for you and Local 100’s Executive Board to urge all this country’s unions and union federations to call such a March on Washington, so the Division’s officers can be expected to bring it before the Executive Board for a vote at its next meeting. Meetings of the Train Operators’ Department similarly declared unanimous support for taking the idea up, with more Department meetings to come. But why wait?
President Samuelsen, you have just become president of the TWU International and so you are perfectly placed to take this initiative forward by publicly calling on all unions, union federations and councils – as well as organizations dedicated to the rights of women, Blacks and Latinos, immigrants and other oppressed people – to join and build a March on Washington to defend healthcare.
We hope you will do the right thing by advancing this call and look forward to receiving your response.
Jonathan Beatrice, NYCT​ ​Conductor,​ ​Shop​ ​Steward​ ​TWU​ ​Local​ ​100,​ ​Democratic​ ​Socialist​s ​of​ ​America*
John Ferretti, NYCT Conductor, Shop Steward TWU Local 100, Revolutionary Transit Worker newsletter
Jason Hicks, NYCT Track Worker, TWU Local 100 member, Democratic Socialists of America*
Eric Josephson, Retired NYCT Track Worker, TWU Local 100 member, League for the Revolutionary Party
Eric Loegel, NYCT Train Operator, Shop Steward TWU Local 100
Seth Rosenberg, NYCT Train Operator, TWU Local 100 member, Revolutionary Transit Worker newsletter
* Organization listed for identification purposes only

1. Michael Paarlberg, With all eyes on Trump, Republicans are planning to break unions for good,” The Guardian, February 2, 2017; Walker’s Wisconsin could be a model for Trump on unions, Chicago Tribune, February 6, 2017.
2. Harold Meyerson, Donald Trump can kill the American union, Washington Post, November 23, 2016.
3. Rob Pear, G.O.P. Health Bill Would Leave 23 Million More Uninsured in a Decade, C.B.O. Says, New York Times, May 24, 2017.
4. Niv Elis, Trump releases budget that slashes government programs, The Hill, May 23, 2017, .
5. Sullivan, What the GOP’s plan to kill essential health benefits means, The Hill, March 23, 2017;
Sarah Kliff, The American Health Care Act: the Obamacare repeal bill the House just passed, explained, The Hill, May 4, 2017; Josh Barro, This chart shows why the GOP health plan will make health insurance more expensive, Business Insider, March 16, 2017; and Michael Hiltzik, All the horrific details of the GOP’s new Obamacare repeal bill: A handy guide, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2017.

Tags: healthcareTWU 100solidarity march
Categories: Labor News

Should Uber be shut down? Harvard business professor says the real problem in the tech industry is a "contagious" culture of lawbreaking that society shouldn't tolerate

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 17:44

Should Uber be shut down?
Harvard business professor says the real problem in the tech industry is a "contagious" culture of lawbreaking that society shouldn't tolerate
Everyone’s talking about Uber’s latest problems with management style, sexual harassment, company culture … and CEO Travis Kalanick, who embodied all of that, has been forced out.

Big investors hope Kalanick’s resignation and a deep internal investigation will help position the company for an IPO. They want Uber to go public pretty soon, and all of these scandals are tamping down the stock price.

Uber driver blocks the bike lane on Valencia — but who cares? The company was founded on a spirit of lawbreaking
But there’s another interesting perspective on Uber (and Lyft, and some of the other tech disrupters) that has appeared not in The Nation, or Mother Jones, or 48hills but in the Harvard Business Review, the voice of the eminently establishment Harvard Business School.

Harvard Associate Professor Benjamin Edelman presents what sounds like a radical hypothesis, but it actually makes perfect sense. He says that Uber can’t be fixed, that the corporate culture was poisoned from the start – and that the only solution is for regulators to shut it down.

The company’s cultural dysfunction, it seems to me, stems from the very nature of the company’s competitive advantage: Uber’s business model is predicated on lawbreaking. And having grown through intentional illegality, Uber can’t easily pivot toward following the rules.

His analysis also applies to Lyft – and to Airbnb. These companies, he argues, are the equivalent of Napster – they’ve developed a useful new application of technology, but in the process violated a long list of existing laws. Now that the tech is out there, society needs to say: No, you can’t do this.

The end of Napster, which at this point most people agree was a rogue operation, didn’t mean the end of shared online music – we have itunes, and Spotify, and Pandora. The customer still gets the advantages – but the musicians get their royalties and the system that we have carefully evolved to protect the rights of artists hasn’t been completely destroyed.

Let me talk for a second about Napster.

Wow, that was cool: Just sign up and you’ll never pay for music again. The entire entertainment industry was torn up, which is what so many tech types want. Disruption.

And some good friends of mine, who were in bands that were what writers call “mid-list” – that is, not Kendrick Lamar or Bruce Springsteen, but popular enough that they could make a modest living selling records – were totally screwed.

Suddenly, record companies weren’t paying advances any more for mid-list bands to go into the studio and record (which takes time and money). Suddenly, unless you were a superstar who could sell out huge stadiums for live shows, you were out of luck. Suddenly, you couldn’t make new music anymore.

Yeah, startups got rich, and the already rich did fine – but ordinary working musicians saw a threat to their livelihoods. That has been the model for the tech industry: Disrupt and make quick cash for a few (already rich) investors and the lucky folks who found a cool app – but destroy the lives of tens of thousands of working people who had a decent middle-class life.

Napster was shut down; the entertainment industry has a lot of clout. The cab drivers of the world don’t.

Uber, Edelman notes, wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of offering rides through a smartphone app in private cars. That was Lyft. And Kalanick, who was doing a limo service at the time, was among the first to note that it was utterly illegal:

In a remarkable April 2013 posting, Kalanick all but admitted that casual drivers were unlawful, calling Lyft’s approach “quite aggressive” and “nonlicensed.” (After I first flagged his posting, in 2015, Uber removed the document from its site. But kept a copy. I also preserved a screenshot of the first screen of the document, a PDF of the full document, and a print-friendly PDF of the full document.) And in oral remarks at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in June 2013, Kalanick said every Lyft trip with a casual driver was “a criminal misdemeanor,” citing the lack of commercial licenses and commercial insurance.


Given Kalanick’s statements, you might imagine that Uber would have filed a lawsuit or regulatory complaint, seeking to stop unfair competition from a firm whose advantage came from breaking the law. Instead, Uber adopted and extended Lyft’s approach. Others learned and followed: Knowing that Uber would use unlicensed vehicles, competitors did so too, lest they be left behind. In normalizing violations, therefore, Uber has shifted the entire urban transport business and set an example for other sectors.

No help from City Hall

When Uber and Lyft starting violating San Francisco’s law by running illegal taxis, I met with Chris Hayashi, who was the head of the city’s taxi commission. We sat in her office and she showed me a pink Lyft mustache that she’d bought online. Anyone could buy one, she said; anyone – including criminal predators – could pretend to be a cab driver.

There were reasons that the city had regulations about who could drive a taxi. Uber and Lyft were breaking those rules every single day, with impunity.

In an interview with the Examiner after she left her job, she noted:

Here I am, trying to steer the Titanic and someone hits me over the head with a baseball bat, is pretty much what the TNC issue is like,” Hayashi said. “We were about to clear, and all of a sudden here comes billions of dollars of venture capital for people who are willing to break every law in the book.”

She had no support in the Mayor’s Office, where Gavin Newsom and then Ed Lee were all about supporting tech innovations, no matter who got hurt.

I called Edelman, who has both a law degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, last week and we talked for about half an hour. He told me that the most common tech-industry response to his arguments is that the laws these companies are breaking were bad laws anyway, and that consumers were better off with Uber and Airbnb.

“But a lot of laws weren’t written just to protect buyers and sellers, but to protect third parties,” he said. Car-safety and pollution regulations aren’t just in place because they’re more convenient for drivers, many of whom would never voluntarily pay for them.

“Suppose you go into a parking lot and there are six handicap spots, and nobody is using them, and you are only going to be there for five minutes,” he said. “As an individual, you might say it’s dumb for all those parking spaces to not be available to you. But you still can’t park there.

“There might be conditions – a perfect, flat highway – where it would be safe for me to drive 95, but I still can’t.”

Edelman has been researching hotel fires from the 1940s, when large fatalities weren’t uncommon. “There are reasons that we put in place laws to protect strangers,” he said. “There are reasons hotels have extra exits, sprinklers, bedding that’s more fire resistant. Those rules are basically wise. And Airbnb would prefer to get rid of them.”

Nobody, Edelman says, “wants to pay extra for safety precautions. But if your taxi service doesn’t include a surcharge for wheelchair cabs, then there aren’t going to be any wheelchair cabs.”

A climate of lawbreaking

Edelman argues that allowing one or two companies to break that law is “contagious.” Which is exactly what’s happened in San Francisco.

In the past few years, under Mayor Lee, we have had a climate of consistent, repeated lawbreaking on a level that’s hard to imagine – and was almost never reported in the mainstream news media.

Landlords violated zoning laws to replace industrial jobs with tech offices – with impunity. Airbnb convinced more than 6,000 people in San Francisco to violate the short-term rental laws, every single day – and nobody did anything about it.

Tech companies on the Peninsula chartered private buses that parked in public Muni stops, where ordinary mortals would get a $275 ticket – and City Hall under Ed Lee had a “handshake deal” to look the other way.

Is it any surprise that landlords evict tenants for bogus “owner move-in” claims? Why not? This city never enforces its laws anyway.

Napster wasn’t legislated out of existence – what it was doing was already illegal. When the lawsuits started piling up, though, the company’s assets were soon less than its liabilities.

Edelman suggests that every city where Uber has illegally run taxis (and the same could be applied to Airbnb) should file suit and seek $1,000 in damages for every unlawful ride. That would be enough to force the companies to shut down.

It wouldn’t be the end of the model they have developed; it would just leave room for a service that follows that same model to do it legally.

The result wouldn’t be a cheap as Uber (or Napster) – but he argues that all of us, society as a whole, would be better off.

But making society better off doesn’t seem to be a part of the — yeah, let’s just say it — uber-capitalism that has been driving public policy in this city. It’s not just generic lawbreaking; it’s this idea that the rules don’t apply to the tech masters, because they are better than the rest of us. And that’s what needs to get disrupted.

Tags: UberCriminal Enterpriselawbreaking
Categories: Labor News

Morgan Southern At LA Port fires trucker who spoke about 20-hour workdays

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:31

Morgan Southern At LA Port fires trucker who spoke about 20-hour workdays

Brett Murphy, USA TODAY NetworkPublished 9:50 a.m. ET July 10, 2017 | Updated 11:51 a.m. ET July 11, 201

A USA TODAY Network investigation found a predatory scheme that ensnared thousands of immigrant truck drivers at the port. Scott Hall

Rene Flores lost his job, his truck and $60,000 he paid toward buying it after he spoke to reporters about working conditions

Rene Flores said he regularly broke the law as a port trucker in southern California, hauling shipping containers up to 20 hours straight between Long Beach and Phoenix.

He kept a fake logbook tucked beneath his seat so regulators wouldn’t know he was violating federal fatigue laws for commercial truckers.

He said his company paid him so little -- and charged so much for his leased truck -- that he had no choice.

Flores said his managers at Morgan Southern knew about his hours, but for years the trucking company looked the other way.

Then, the 36-year-old father of two talked publicly about his illegal hours in a USA TODAY Network story.

On June 17, the day after the story published, Morgan Southern fired him.

Flores couldn’t afford to pay off the $30,000 balance on his leased truck, so the company took that too. Flores lost $60,000 in lease payments he had made since 2013.

What happened to Flores is just the latest episode in a decade-long struggle that has seen hundreds of port truckers in California turned into modern-day indentured servants.

As the USA TODAY Network reported last month, many of these drivers say they were forced by their bosses to sign lease-to-own truck contracts, putting them in debt to their own employers. The trucks are so expensive – up to several thousand dollars a month for payments and maintenance – that some drivers say they have no choice but to work 15 to 20 hours a day.

As part of a yearlong investigation into port trucking, the USA TODAY Network interviewed Flores and reported his story. He said that he regularly worked up to 20 hours a day and that he used a fake log book to avoid detection by federal regulators.

“Of course they (his employers) know,” he was quoted as saying in the original story. “But the company doesn’t care.”

Robert Milane, a spokesman and lawyer for Morgan Southern’s parent company Roadrunner Transportation, confirmed that Flores’ public criticism, coupled with the fact that he refused to use electronic logbooks, forced the company to act.

“The fact that he stated that in his interview, we had no choice to terminate his lease,” Milane said.

“He brought this on himself.”

Milane also denied that Flores drove more than federal law permits. He said Morgan Southern’s electronic time logs prevent any driver from doing so.

“What he says wasn’t true,” Milane said. “I know he wasn’t running over hours.”

But Flores said he would simply switch over to paper logbooks when he knew he would be working past federal limits.

Another Morgan Southern driver, Jose Juan Rodriguez, told reporters in December that when he was still leasing his truck he, too, often drove well past the legal limit. "Many times,” he said, “we complain to the supervisor but we’re told that if we aren't willing to work, 'there is the door.'"

Since July, 2015, Morgan Southern has been cited 15 times for hours violations in California, according to Department of Transportation inspection reports.

Using California’s open records law, reporters obtained a port authority database that records the exact time a truck enters or exits the gate at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

A USA TODAY Network analysis of the data shows that Flores’ truck was in operation for at least 14 hours without the required 10-hour break at least nine times between 2013 and 2015. That number is likely an undercount because one of his most frequent routes took at least 13 hours, meaning he wouldn’t pass through port gates enough to be flagged as working too long.

Other Morgan Southern trucks appear to have exceeded hours limits more than 500 times from 2013 to 2016, the data show. Three out of four of the company’s rigs went over hours at least once.

It is not clear whether these instances are violations because two drivers might divide time behind the wheel of a single truck.

Trucking experts and regulators say it can be a federal crime for company managers to knowingly send drivers on the road past federal limits.

Companies are responsible for tracking their workers’ hours, even if they’re classified as independent contractors, said Craig Weaver, a motor carrier safety specialist with the California Highway Patrol.

“They know how many hours their guys are working,” he said. “Or they should.”

Kelsey Frazier is a Teamster trustee and foreman at another California port trucking company, Pasha Hawaii. He said most companies have safety managers whose job is to track how long truckers have been on the road based on their pickups and drop offs, which get called into the office.

Frazier said companies should know if drivers are over on their hours because they control when drivers are dispatched.

“I can promise you the company is tracking this,” he said. “Because you’re liable if you don’t.”

Tags: LA PortTruckers discriminationsolidarityindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Chicago ATU 308 CTA rail union workers favor strike in preliminary vote "Our labor is our weapon."

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:23

Chicago ATU 308 CTA rail union workers favor strike in preliminary vote "Our labor is our weapon."

An outbound Green Line train approaches the 35th Street stop of the CTA 'L' on June 1, 2017, in Chicago. CTA rail workers have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike in a preliminary, unofficial vote, union representatives said on July 10, 2017. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Mary Wisniewski Mary Wisniewski Contact Reporter
Chicago Tribune
Frustrated after 18 months of negotiations for a new contract, CTA rail workers have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike in a preliminary, unofficial vote, union representatives said Monday.

About a third of 3,000 union members cast their ballots last week, with 98 percent favoring a strike, said Kenneth Franklin, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308. Members of the union include those who operate "L" trains, janitors, track welders, car repairers and other rail system workers.

Franklin called the preliminary vote, which has not been tried before in Local 308 history, a "good litmus test" to sound out membership on the possibility of a strike. He could not say when an actual, official strike vote could be taken.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele said a strike would be illegal, under state law and the current collective bargaining agreement, which still applies even though it has expired. Franklin disagreed, noting that the union has consulted lawyers on the issue. Franklin said the Chicago Transit Authority's offers have been "disrespectful."

"Their proposals basically gut our rights," Franklin said. "One of the negotiators for the CTA has stated on more than one occasion that they're in the business of saving money."

One issue cited by the union is a CTA proposal to increase employee contributions to health care costs. "It's a real sore subject for our members," Franklin said.

Franklin said the union also wants better working conditions. He said the "swing shift," which has some operators working from 6 to 10 a.m. and then again from 2 to 6 p.m., compromises quality of life.

Franklin said the union also wants CTA President Dorval Carter and Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson to participate in negotiations.

"I'm not afraid to discuss striking," Franklin said. "Our labor is our weapon."

Steele said swing shifts are necessary in transit, because peak hours of operation are during the morning and afternoon rush hours. He said the CTA is showing respect in negotiations and wants an "open dialogue" with the union. The transit agency requested arbitration last month.

"We have negotiated in good faith — fairly, openly and honestly," Steele said. He said the agency is looking at some practices and work rules that are "inefficient and costly."

Steele said CTA rail operators are among the highest-paid transit workers in the country and have "generous benefits." The average wage for a CTA rail operator ranges from $21.33 to $32.82 per hour.

CTA rail operators last went on strike in 1979, Franklin said.

The CTA bus driver union, ATU Local 241, said it "fully supports the positions taken by its sister Local 308 with respect to the bargaining process and its expression of frustration on behalf of the hardworking members of both locals." The union is also in negotiations for a new contract.

Twitter @marywizchicago

Tags: ATU 308Contractunion bustingstrikeRalm EmanuelCTA
Categories: Labor News

Chicago ATU 308 CTA train operators vote in favor of strike

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 16:25

Chicago ATU 308 CTA train operators vote in favor of strike

The Chicago Transit Authority train operators voted to authorize a srike, as contract negotiations continue.
By Sarah Schulte and Laura Podesta
Updated 1 hr 27 mins ago
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Transit Authority train operators voted to authorize a strike, their union announced Monday, as contentious contract negotiations continue.

In response, CTA management claims that the union does not have the right to strike.

Working without a contract for 18 months, train operators have apparently had enough. Amalgamated Transit Union Lcal 308 is hoping a preliminary strike vote will put some pressure on negotiations with the CTA.

"We do not want to cause the city a heart attack, but our patience has worn out. Our anger is growing," said Kenneth Franklin, president of ATU Local 308.

One-third of union members participated in the vote, which was 98 percent in favor of strike. No strike date has been set.

Calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Dorval Carter to come to the negotiating table, the union accuses the city of being disrespectful by offering proposals that Local 308 says would increase part-time workers and diminish pensions.

Train operators said their jobs have never been more stressful.

"Now with the violence that is on the uprise, the homeless we deal with on a daily basis, it is stressful as an operator," said train operator Deborah Lane.

"You have to deal with human feces in the motor cars, you have to deal with drug needles, drug addicts on the train," operator Kevin Wilson said.

While CTA riders are sympathetic, many said a strike would be devastating for their daily lives.

"It would be extraordinarily difficult to get from this location down to the Loop everyday," said rider Melissa Urbanski.

"I would probably lose my job, If couldn't get to work," said Robert Neason, a CTA rider.

The CTA said a strike can't happen because the union contract prohibits its members for striking for any reason. They call the strike vote a publicity stunt.

The transit authority said workers are not being disrespected.

"Our operators are among the highest paid in the nation. They have great wages, good working environments, good benefits and generally supportive management," said Steve Mayberry, a CTA spokesman.

Statement on ABC’s coverage of today’s ATU 308 press conference

July 10, 2017 - please forward

[warning: they're not neutral]
Statement on ABC’s coverage of today’s ATU 308 press conference

ABC at the git-go here attacks the union, going for a strategy of turning the riding public against ATU 308. Corporate media is not neutral in its reporting the news. It takes pains to turn other parts of the working class against the union. And they find their perfect interview:

"Probably lose my job, not being able to get to work. I have to ride the train. I live out south...two trains and a bus," said commuter Robert Neason. [abc7chicago]

This is why the labor movement in Chicago needs its own 21st-century media apparatus, and why it should not simply rely upon the corporate media to report things fairly. The worker quoted above would not face getting fired for missing his job due to conditions he can’t control, IF he had a strong union to represent him where he works. That is what this possible strike is really about: working people need a good union contract to protect them against unjust management decisions.

The CFL should make a public offer that it will send a union organizing team to the place where this unfortunate worker is employed, to make sure that it becomes unionized so that Robert Neason cannot be victimized unfairly if the ATU has a strike. And it would be best if the CFL also had its own robust media outlet to announce this, so that the statement isn’t undercut in some way.

The Chicago Federation of Labor had at one time its own radio station in the late 40s (WCFL) which reported on labor news, and also a newspaper, the Federation News. It has over the years allowed these two media resources to go defunct. Its sole strategy today is to rely on the ‘fairness’ of corporate media (a real throw of the dice!) and a handful of small-size social media-type pro-labor reporting outlets. It has neglected to develop any cable-tv series through utilizing the public access center CAN TV. The CFL has not invested over the years in beefing up its own, serious labor media defense strategy.

Although Labor Beat is a small media organization and is hardly the answer to filling in this gap, we would be glad to meet with and talk with any representatives of the CFL or ATU, or other unions and share what we know about producing a regular labor tv series and YouTube channel. We would also like to benefit from hearing the creative thinking on this from the rest of the labor movement.

This emerging situation over a possible ATU strike is a chance for all of us together to seriously drill down on this problem so that we are not left defenseless when ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox come after the transit union by using their media muscles to underhandedly torpedo organized labor.

In solidarity,

Larry Duncan
Labor Beat co-producer

abc7chicago report:

Labor Beat’s report: ATU 308 Preliminary Strike Vote

Tags: ATU 308right to strikeRahm Emanuelunion bustingcontract fightAmalgamated Transit Union
Categories: Labor News

“The glamour of the job is just a mask” British Airways crew members defy strikebreaking operation

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 10:34

“The glamour of the job is just a mask”
British Airways crew members defy strikebreaking operation
By Ross Mitchell
7 July 2017
British Airways (BA) “mixed fleet” cabin crew at Heathrow airport are striking to oppose poverty pay and in opposition to punitive sanctions against around 1,400 workers involved in previous industrial action.
The strike by crew members—who work a combination of long- and short-haul flights--began on July 1 and will last until July 16. This is the latest job action in one of the longest industrial disputes in the European airline industry this century.
The dispute has comprised a total of 26 days of strikes and bears witness to the resilience and determination of BA workers.
BA mixed fleet crews number 3,000 and have a nominal salary ranging from £12,000 (US $15,561) to £16,000 (US $20,748) with expenses. Some crew members even sleep in their cars between flights to save on accommodation expenses, while others come to work while sick to avoid losing pay.
The sanctions against cabin crew workers, which management describe as the “consequences of striking,” including docking two years of bonuses and removing all staff travel discounts for the next year for anyone joining the strike. The Unite union estimates this would cost strikers an average of £850 (US$1,102).
A statement from the airline read, “We have set out the consequences for crew if they take strike action. The purposes of these consequences are to encourage crew to come to work.”
Management have devised a massive strikebreaking operation. They secured an agreement with the government-backed Civil Aviation Authority--responsible for the regulation of aviation safety in the UK--for the hiring of nine short-haul Airbus A320 jets, plus pilots and cabin crew as well as maintenance workers and an insurance deal from Qatar Airways for the duration of the strike. These are termed “wet-leased” aircraft and are covering for around 30 domestic and European flights a day that have been grounded due to the strike.
Throughout the dispute, the Unite union has sought to keep the strike isolated to the workers at Heathrow. It opposes its extension among the 9,000 workers at other major BA bases at London Gatwick, London City Airport and Stansted airport, let alone workers employed at the international airlines group IAG that BA is part of. IAG employs 60,000 workers worldwide, comprising Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus, and EasyJet.
Unite has done everything to stifle the struggle, repeatedly cancelling scheduled strikes and limiting the walkouts they do call. Most recently, it cancelled a strike due to take place between June 16 to 19 to facilitate talks with management at the government’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
Prior to the talks the union drafted up a "final compromise position" behind the backs of its members, which has not been made public.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said, "The refusal by British Airways bosses to meaningfully consider our compromise offer is deeply disappointing. A resolution to this long-running dispute was within the grasp of British Airways, but instead of grabbing that opportunity, bosses rebuffed it.” It regretted that “British Airways faces an entirely avoidable two-week strike and prolonged legal action on behalf of over 1,400 mixed cabin crew.”
The fact that workers are employed on such inferior contracts in the first place is the responsibility of Unite. The creation of a two-tiered workforce was imposed following the defeat of the national BA strike in 2010, with Unite and the BASSA union playing a critical role. The imposition and continuation of low pay rates for the mixed fleet is part of the strategy by IAG to restructure its global pay levels downwards to be more competitive.
This allowed BA over the years to steadily replace more expensive, better terms and conditions contracts, with cheap labour with the collaboration of Unite.
Mixed fleet crews operate an increasing number of long-haul and short-haul flights inside and outside Europe. They operate on 32 long-haul flights to international destinations such as Abu Dhabi, Houston, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. Short-haul mixed fleet crews cover about 50 European destinations such as Helsinki, St Petersburg, Sofia, Vienna and Kiev.
That such draconian pay levels are now accepted by Unite were made clear in the comments of its spokesperson Alex Flynn, who said prior to the strike, “The issue is now largely around sanctions that have been meted out to the people that went on strike.”
The union’s isolation of workers and their resulting victimisation has resulted in votes in favour of strike action falling. In November 2016, 79 percent of mixed fleet workers voted to strike, with Unite cancelling a planned stoppage at the last minute. A second ballot in December saw 70 percent in favour of a strike. The last ballot in March 2017 saw support down to 56 percent on a turnout of 72 percent.
Back in December 2016 Unite general secretary Len McCluskey personally intervened to call off a planned strike scheduled over the busy Christmas holiday period to oversee negotiations. He declared, “I am delighted that British Airways has heeded our calls for talks. It is only by getting round the table that we can find a solution to my members’ concerns.”
Almost seven months have now elapsed, and BA workers are no further forward in their struggle for better pay and working conditions. 1,400 striking workers are suffering disciplinary sanctions, including removing staff travel, which allows crews to commute with an airline for free to reach the base where they pick up work.
The conditions being imposed on mixed fleet workers are intolerable. One worker speaking anonymously to the World Socialist Web Site said, “We don't have enough money to eat properly in Dubai each time we must stay over until the next flight. The travel enjoyment is not there as we were told as recruits. It has been tough and some of us who strike got punished by management.
“Essentially you are part of the plane. You just fly and stopover and cannot spend because the salaries are crap. Our conditions are not much different from airlines in the Arab countries. The glamour of the job is just a mask.”
Speaking to the Independent, another said she could not buy a house on the money she earned. “I’m required to live within a two-hour radius of Heathrow. I can't buy anywhere with the money I’m on. When I go and ask for a mortgage, they laugh at me." The worker earned less £20,000 last year and said, “I’ve been at British Airways for six years, and I’ve never entered the sickness process.”
The newspaper added, “A male colleague said that he earned more on a zero-hours contract with [budget airline] Ryanair. His P60 [total pay and deductions] showed income for the year at under £18,000.”
According to the Independent, the “Cabin crew say the pay deal comes with unacceptable strings attached: the loss of bonuses and travel concessions for a further year, as punishment for those who go on strike. They must also, say strikers, agree not to carry yellow pens or other yellow symbols. That might sound random, but yellow symbolises to other crew that they are strikers.”
To keep the dispute under its control, Unite has called a further strike to be held over 14 days from July 19, with another call to BA to negotiate “a settlement to this long running dispute.” This is being combined with an appeal to the courts to oppose BA’s leasing of Qatar Airways' aircraft.
Mixed fleet workers at BA must break the stranglehold of the union bureaucracy over the dispute. The prerequisite for a successful struggle is the creation of action committees, independent of Unite and based on the fight to unite airline workers throughout the world in common struggle against the global corporations. Only on this basis can they oppose the dead-end class collaborationist perspective of the trade unions, which has resulted in defeat after defeat.

Tags: BACabin Crewsstrikeliving wagesairline workersUnitesolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Chicago ATU 308 Preliminary 97.4% Strike Vote

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 22:11

Chicago ATU 308 Preliminary 97.4% Strike Vote
Published on Jul 4, 2017
On June 29, 2017 the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, the union of the rail division at the Chicago Transit Authority, held a city-wide preliminary strike authorization vote among its members. Of 927 members who voted, 97.4% voted YES for a strike. Scenes and interviews from the voting locations.

Tags: ATU 308strike voteCTA
Categories: Labor News

Swedish Dockworkers, APMT Gothenburg Mediation Ends without Result

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 14:06

Swedish Dockworkers, APMT Gothenburg Mediation Ends without Result
Image Courtesy: Svenska Hamnarbetarna
The latest mediation round between Swedish Dockworkers’ Union, section 4, and APM Terminals Gothenburg has been terminated after the latest attempt of reaching a deal on collective bargaining agreement fell through.

Dockworkers union said that it had proposed on Tuesday, July 4 that the parties sign a collective agreement built on a previously proposed mediation bid as a temporary solution, “to try to normalize relations and to work towards a sustainable solution in agreement negotiations forward.”

As disclosed, the conditions were that the agreement would be short and clear.

However, APM Terminals rejected the offer, the union informed, adding that, according to the government-appointed mediators, the company was not interested in a short contract.

Following the latest developments, the mediators announced that there were no preconditions for a reconciliation of the two parties on the matter, terminating the mediation round that was launched on June 16.

In June, APM Terminals Gothenburg served a notice of termination to 160 staff members, out of a total of 450 employees, due to “a sharp fall in volumes over the past year”.

However, earlier this month, the union said that there was no new information about APM Terminals recent announcement that the company will lay off 150 dockworkers in Gothenburg.

“The Swedish Dockworkers’ Union (SDU), which organises some 85% of the dockworkers at the container terminal, is still barred from participating in the redundancy talks and currently lacks insight in the ongoing related negotiations between APMT and the minority union STWU,” the union added.

In May this year, APMT imposed a partial lockout that was in effect from 4 pm (1600 hrs) on 19 May until midnight (2400 hrs) on 30 June.

According to the union, the employer’s industrial action meant that the dockworkers were shut out from the port without pay and that the terminal was shut down between 16.00 and 07.00 on all weekdays during the said period, resulting in production loss of 371 hours.

APMT had justified the move saying that after 14 blockades and nine days of strike action by SDU over the past year, the company needed a way of ensuring reliable service.

APMT Gothenburg is open but is operating slower than usual due to the recent cyber attack on its parent company Maersk.

World Maritime News Staff

Tags: Swedish dockersunion bustingSwedish Dockworkers’ Union (SDU)
Categories: Labor News

Statement By SF Taxi Workers Alliance On Deregulation And Attack On Taxi Workers

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 11:51

Statement By SF Taxi Workers Alliance On Deregulation And Attack On Taxi Workers

The world is experiencing a change in the way taxicab services are delivered on a global scale. The reason for this change is because of the development of an application (app), utilized on a smart phone that calls a person nearby driving his or her own car. The developers of this app, as a taxi service, call the type of business in which they are engaged peer-to-peer or “sharing.” It was based on illegal file-sharing apps (like Napster) which Kalanick was twice found guilty of running. It is different from the old “gypsy cabs” because the app has a Yelp-like rating system, to alert other users about the quality of the driver, and a built in payment system in which both “peers” are identifiable for potential crimes (failure to pay or kidnapping). The developer of the app makes money by charging the driver a percentage of each ride he/she performs. The driver makes money by charging the customer for the price of the ride. The driver (peer) uses the app entirely voluntarily and is an independent contractor paying a fee to a service for calls.

Those whose job it is to regulate vehicles for hire, at both the city and state levels, have allowed them to operate under the rubric of “not wanting to stifle innovation.” SF Mayor Ed Lee declared July 13, 2013 “Lyft day” after his own MTA was issuing Uber “cease and desist” notices (October 20, 2010).” The CPUC then took it upon themselves to usurp regulatory oversight by declaring them (during a hasty two-day meeting) a new form of livery industry, Transportation Network Company (TNC) which they do regulate. They can therefore go anywhere in the state without regulation from local municipalities. Of course, they do not go anywhere, but rather to the cities with the greatest market for their services; that market is San Francisco. Over fifty thousand TNCs now flock to San Francisco daily to pick up fares, contributing to the air pollution and traffic congestion that everyone now recognizes.

This business has decimated traditional for-hire ride services, particularly taxis. Taxi drivers have seen their number of rides (and income) cut substantially by one third to one half. Many drivers have simply quit driving taxi. Some have become Uber drivers. As a result half of the taxi fleets stand idle. Now Uber and Lyft drivers with grievances against the TNCs have approached labor unions and asked for representation. Their desire for labor recognition belies the fact that for taxi workers they are considered the labor equivalent of “scabs.” Neither taxi drivers nor TNC drivers are strictly speaking workers. If not for the decline in their incomes most taxi drivers and TNC drivers would not have any interest in unions. Why, therefore, should the labor movement have any interest in un-organizable independent contractor taxi drivers?

Taxi drivers were among the first occupations to become “independent contractor” in 1978 when the employer-employee relationship broke down due to Proposition K. Cab companies saw the independent contractor status as a way to shift the risk for taxi operation entirely to the driver. The driver now paid a flat “gate” to take the cab out and returned the cab with a full tank of gas. The companies therefore made a definite profit every day regardless of how poorly the driver did. Independent contractor status has now spread far and wide throughout the workforce, undermining labor’s efforts to organize workers. Taxis, however, have been limited by city regulation by the requirement to possess a medallion, which the city issues. Thus taxi drivers have been able to achieve a decent income, despite the intention of the independent contractor status to drag incomes down. With the over-supply of drivers that the TNCs provide, the independent contractor device works and the incomes of taxi drivers and TNC drivers fall below the minimum wage for employer-employee workers.

To be continued . . . .

Tags: UberLyftderegulationindependent contractorsunion busting
Categories: Labor News

UK BA flying pickets are determined to bring bloody awful bosses back down to earth

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 19:47

UK BA flying pickets are determined to bring bloody awful bosses back down to earth
by Dave Sewell

British Airways (BA) cabin crew were back on the picket lines at London Heathrow airport today, Saturday.

Around 3,000 Unite union members in BA’s “mixed fleet” had began a new walkout. It was the launch of their longest strike to date after a three-month gap and a series of talks, set to continue for 16 days.

Workers are angry as ever at their low pay. Jason, who was on picket line at Hatton Cross Tube station, said, “I’ve had to work second jobs to make ends meet.

“It’s really tiring to come back from a trip and instead of recuperating do an eight or ten hour shift at a bar or waiting tables.

“Because our basic pay is so low we have to live off our flight allowances.

“That means your pay is inconsistent too—it depends what you fly in a given month.”

One worker explained that in a bad month they were paid less than half of what they got in a good month. Other workers are in locked in a trap. They have to get advances on their wages one month to pay off the advance on their wages they needed the previous month.

Many still live with their parents, or rely on the income of a partner. Few come close to the total pay BA advertised when they took the job.

Workers rejected BA’s insulting offer to end the dispute. One picket told Socialist Worker, “It just moved around the same pot of money without adding to it—robbing Peter to pay Paul.”


And it came with a sting in the tail—workers who strike have a series of bonuses taken off them, including the staff travel discount. Sarah told Socialist Worker, “I have two little kids to support, and on this wage that’s not possible.

“Now I’m losing the staff travel allowance it means I can’t take them on holiday. And that’s just because I exercised my legal right to strike for what I believe in.”

Despite this, striker Shane said, “It’s liberating to be on strike. I was worrying about it all last night and I’m definitely glad I came down. We can win if we stick together, and more people seem to be taking action this time.

“They’ve seen that the only way to resolve this is by getting behind the strikes. And they’ve seen what striking is—that what you lose is much less than what you stand to win.”

One first time striker, Harry, was driven to join the walkout by the “unfair treatment of my colleagues and myself”. “We’re responsible for evacuating an aeroplane in an emergency,” he said.

“If that’s the case then we should get a fair wage so we can afford to eat and drink and enjoy our lives a bit.”

In response to the strike BA has cancelled some flights, diverted its other fleets to cover some and “wet-leased” other airlines to cover others. Zak pointed out, “In a way this means we’re already winning—they are having to spend millions on wet-leasing, besides the cancellations.”

And for many pickets, the fact that BA would rather spend money on breaking the strike than paying a living wage only made them angrier.

They largely accept the idea that it’s impossible to ask other workers to refuse to fly their routes.

Nevertheless, the potential is there, particularly among BA’s other fleets where many workers support the strike and stand to gain from beating the penny-pinching bosses.

And to overcome BA’s intransigence this question of solidarity will have to be addressed.

Division and low pay is the point of the mixed fleet. It was set up in 2010 to undercut the collective bargaining of BA’s existing workforce.

It relies on a high turnover of workers, bringing lower expectations and a lower level of organisation. Graham said, “The whole model is that after three years they don’t want you any more.”

But there’s something missing from the model. Bosses didn’t reckon with workers’ determination. Jason said, “We’re striking because we love the job—and we want to be able to afford to do it long term.”

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Tags: BA Flight Attendants strikecabin crewslave wages
Categories: Labor News