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ILWU Local 13 Dock workers at Port of Long Beach injured in chemical spill

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 22:23

ILWU Local 13 Dock workers at Port of Long Beach injured in chemical spill

Port of Long Beach
Firefighters responding to a hazmat incident board a ship at the Port of Long Beach on Sunday. (Brian Fisk / Long Beach Fire Department via AP)
Thomas Curwen Thomas CurwenContact Reporter
Twelve dock workers suffered minor injuries Sunday morning when a container of flammable liquid began to leak at the Port of Long Beach, officials said.

One worker exposed to the fumes, along with a firefighter who fell while responding to the spill, were transported to a hospital, according to the Long Beach Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard.. Both sustained minor injuries and were in stable condition Sunday afternoon. Workers who were exposed to the leaking chemical, identified as propyl acetate, experienced shortness of breath, said Davonte Marrow, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Long Beach Fire Department received the 911 call at approximately 9:30 a.m., said Brian Fisk, a spokesman for the agency. An engine company was dispatched to Pier G, a 29-acre container terminal south of the Queen Mary, where it found the hazardous material coming from a roughly 6,000-gallon chemical tank onboard a docked container ship.

A hazardous materials unit, a search-and-rescue unit and paramedics were dispatched to the scene. Two Long Beach fire boats and one of the city’s lifeguard rescue boats deployed a 1,000-foot boom in the water alongside the docked ship as a precautionary measure against environmental damage, Fisk said.

With the help of port workers and crane operators, the leaking container was removed from the ship.

A Coast Guard captain set up a safety zone 150 yards around the ship while crews removed the chemical from the water. It’s unclear how much spilled into the water, though authorities expected to finish cleaning up by Sunday evening, Marrow said.

Officials did not know what caused the leak.

Tags: ILWU Local 13health and safetytoxic spillinjured workers
Categories: Labor News

Dockers in Indonesia on Strike

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 12:08

Dockers in Indonesia on Strike
Image Courtesy: ITF

Dockers unions in Indonesia are striking and protesting as they want better working conditions, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) informed.

Namely, Serikat Pekerja Jakarta International Container Terminal (SPJICT) will be striking from August 3 to 10 over “ruthless attacks” to workers’ rights – in particular to pension rights and performance bonuses – which terminal management has been pursuing in the course of negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, according to ITF.

The union has been active at the largest container terminal at the Port of Tanjung Priok, Jakarta since 1999.

Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) has been run as a joint enterprise between Indonesian state-owned enterprise Pelindo II and global port operator Hutchison since 1999. JICT has just been granted an extension on its operating contract until 2039.

However, in June, Indonesia’s Audit Board (BPK) announced that the JICT extension was contrary to local laws and is actually depriving the local state of potential revenue.

The extension deal is now being probed by the Indonesian anti-corruption commission, Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK).

According to the union, management is using the port extension as a smoke-screen to extract more profit from the enterprise by crushing workers’ rights.

Nova Hakim, SPJICT Chair, has issued a call for solidarity, saying: “We urge our comrades in the ITF to support our strike in defense of our national asset, and in protecting the rights of our members. This port extension is robbing the Indonesian people, and we cannot stand idly by.”

“ITF dockers’ unions everywhere will be backing our Indonesian colleagues with lawful solidarity action and messages of support. They say that a fish rots from the head down and this wave of industrial action, coupled with other action at Tanjung Priok proves that something is seriously wrong with labour relations in at the port – something that the employers and government must remedy immediately,” Paddy Crumlin, ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair, commented.

At the same time to the JICT action, dockworkers at ICTSI’s terminal at Tanjung Priok will escalate their own fight for justice to coincide with the start of the SJICT strike and take action to resist harsh management practices.

The workers’ union, the Federasi Serikat Buruh Transportasi dan Pelabuhan Indonesia (FBTPI) has announced it will hold a mass demonstration at the port on August 3 to demand that management end illegal outsourcing, pay unpaid overtime and settle a fair collective agreement with the union.

Tags: Indonesian Dockersstrikesworkers rights
Categories: Labor News

Ex-SF City Hall bigwigs sign on with Uber

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:09

Ex-SF City Hall bigwigs sign on with Uber

By Matier & RossAugust 2, 2017
<920x1240.jpg>Photo: Gene J. Puskar, Associated PressA self-driving Uber sits ready to take journalists for a ride during a media preview in Pittsburgh.

In a bid to smooth tensions over the ride-hailing giant’s rapid expansion on its hometown turf, Uber has brought on Tony Winnicker, one-time press secretary for Lee and former Mayor Gavin Newsom, as a communications consultant.Two top insiders in San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s administration have rolled through the revolving political door at City Hall and hopped on with Uber.

Winnicker was a key player in Lee’s administration, and periodically took leaves from his city job to run various ballot campaigns the mayor supported. He’ll be joined at Uber by Alex Randolph, a San Francisco Community College board member, former aide to ex-Supervisor Bevan Dufty and most recently government affairs manager at the Recreation and Park Department. At Uber, he’ll be Northern California public affairs manager.

Plus, expect a bigger role for David Noyola, a lobbyist who has been working for Uber since 2015, and who once served as a top aide to Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

“We are building a strong team with deep ties to the San Francisco community to strengthen partnerships in our hometown,” said Davis White, a spokesman for Uber.

Uber has been in the news frequently in recent months, often for the wrong reasons — most recently with the resignation of hard-charging chief executive Travis Kalanick, whose reign included not just phenomenal growth but also allegations of questionable business practices and rampant discrimination against women.

And it has no shortage of problems in its headquarters city. Supervisor Jane Kim has proposed charging Uber and other rail-hailing services a fee for every passenger pick-up. City Attorney Dennis Herrera has subpoenaed Uber and Lyft for data on whether they are abiding by laws covering accessibility for low-income and disabled riders, among other things.

The new hires aren’t the only sign that Uber is trying to make nicer with City Hall. It’s worth noting that no fewer than three company reps showed up last week at a Municipal Transportation Agency meeting on curb congestion — something the ride company simply might have blown off in the past.

San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or email Twitter: @matierandross

Tags: Uberprivatizationderegulationunion busting
Categories: Labor News

West Coast Longshore Workers Approve Contract Extension to 2022 By 67%

Sat, 07/29/2017 - 13:12

West Coast Longshore Workers Approve Contract Extension to 2022 By 67%

By Deborah Belgum | Friday, July 28, 2017

It looks like it will be all quiet on the waterfront for the next couple of years.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union approved a three-year extension to their five-year contract with the Pacific Maritime Association, which means their contract won’t expire until July 1, 2022.

Early reporting from voting union workers show that 67 percent approve of the change, the ILWU said. Final results will be announced on Aug. 4.

The contract covers some 20,000 full-time and part-time ILWU employees who work at 29 ports from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. It is the first contract extension of its kind in ILWU history.

“There was no shortage of differing views during the year-long debate leading up to this vote, and members didn’t take this step lightly,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath in a statement.

Extending the labor contract was a topic that has been bandied about since the beginning of 2016 and came after West Coast ports were crippled with a labor slowdown and a chassis shortage during the 2015/2016 holiday season. The paralysis at the ports led to importers, manufacturers and retailers losing millions of dollars in sales during the crucial holiday season, which accounts for 20 percent to 30 percent of retailers’ annual sales.

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the port terminal operators and shipping lines that hire the longshore workers, said that it proposed talks on a contract extension to provide stability at West Coast ports.

“With this contract extension, the West Coast waterfront has a tremendous opportunity to attract more market share and demonstrate that our ports and our workforce are truly world-class. We are fully committed to delivering the highest standards of reliability and productivity for years to come, said PMA President James McKenna.

Under the extended contract, workers will see a 3.1 percent-per-year wage increase from 2019 to 2022, taking their base rate of pay from $42.18 an hour to $46.23 by 2022.

Longshore workers would be eligible to retire early during the three-year contract extension. Instead of a minimum retirement age of 62, they could retire at 59.5 without an early-retirement discount. Workers would be eligible to retire after 13 years of employment.

No change would be made to the ILWU’s topnotch health plan, meaning workers don’t pay monthly premiums, only make a $1 co-pay for prescriptions and have limited deductibles. Employers would also make additional contributions to workers’ pension plans.

West Coast ports and longshore workers are following in the footsteps of similar actions taken by East Coast and Gulf Coast ports and the International Longshoremen’s Association to extend their labor contract that was scheduled to expire Sept. 30, 2018

Tags: ilwuContract Extension8 year contract
Categories: Labor News