Current News

Subscribe to Current News feed
Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

No Preparation For NYC TWU 100 Contract Expiration-TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster

Sat, 01/07/2017 - 16:10

No Preparation For NYC TWU 100 Contract Expiration-TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster
TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster!
http://www.lrp-cofi.org/TWU100/RTW/rtw63.html
Mass meetings for a union contract round should mobilize the ranks for a militant fight. This meeting in particular should be a springboard both for a fight against the hated MTA and a broader political struggle in unity with other workers. With our contract set to expire on January 15, just five days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Local 100 should be in a unique position to both benefit from the mass protests against Trump and to give that movement a powerful boost.

But President Samuelsen has never provided the leadership we need, and every indication is that he plans to have the union sit out a crucial battle in Washington while setting us up for betrayal in the contract round. This misleadership is a big reason why many workers feel passive and intimidated by the intensifying capitalist attack against workers and oppressed people.

Local 100’s uninspiring contract demands have kept us off combat footing. There are few if any calls for strike, though Samuelsen and TWUA President Lombardo vaguely and insincerely hint at the possibility. A strike normally requires serious preparation – something Samuelsen is not providing. If the union leaders are forced to call a strike vote, we would vote “yes” and solidarize with workers who want to demonstrate the power we really have as a mass organization of workers. We would fight within a strike for measures like elected strike committees to give practical leadership to the best fighters in the union. That is not now the situation before us, however.

Trump and Allies Planning Attacks on Whole Working Class
Donald Trump’s election shocked the world. The primary targets of his openly racist and sexist campaign are immigrants, Muslims, Blacks and Latinos, and women. The rise in violent racist attacks since Trump’s victory warns of the dangers facing all people of color from thugs and police. The latter are eager to reassert their authority after being challenged by years of Black Lives Matter protests. Trump has vowed that his Supreme Court will remove any constitutional right for women to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Other targets of Trump’s White House and the Republican Congress are also clear – and public workers like us are high on that list. There is every reason to think that these reactionaries will also be committed to banning dues check-off for public-sector unions. Given the current state of the union movement nationally, that could be a death blow.

Beyond any specific measure, public workers have already been increasingly used as scapegoats for the failings of government. We’ve been pilloried in the media and by politicians as an example of what is wrong with the country. The Republican Party platform explicitly says that Federal workers are paid too much and need to be brought in line with lower-paid workers.

Trump’s rule will be autocratic and unstable. But it promises an acceleration of these attacks. When a union leader pointed out how Trump lied about how many jobs he ‘saved’ at the Carrier plant, Trump’s Twitter attacks on that leader led to an avalanche of death threats and other harassment.

Samuelsen Refuses to Protest Trump
In the face of these threats, Samuelsen has ignored the many protests against Trump. He has refused to build them and done nothing to commit the union’s resources to them. In contrast, supporters of the LRP have had success in putting forward motions in division meetings to mobilize the union against Trump – an indication that the sentiment to fight Trump exists in the union and can be tapped. Samuelsen & Co have restricted our contract fight to a public relations media campaign. Instead of emphasizing our potential power on the job, or with other workers and oppressed people in joint struggle, they present us as powerless victims.

Samuelsen says little about the MTA bosses’ plans and occasionally criticizes them, gently. He pals around with MTA chief Prendergast at the new Second Avenue Subway. Meanwhile, he calls for improvements in the Tier 6 Pension (technically up to the NYS government but in reality subject to bargaining), and in the progression to top wage rate for many members. But he bargained away these positions himself! Apparently he hopes we will forget that these take-backs were his doing.

Many of TWU Local 100’s demands deserve support, but Samuelsen shows no recognition that a massive struggle will be necessary to win them, preferring mildly pro-union editorials in the Daily News. But those won’t do anything for us against the reactionary and racist forces Trump is mobilizing.

Samuelsen’s Silence on the Fare Hikes Is a Trap
The union lists opposition to the fare hikes as an official contract demand. But when supporters of Revolutionary Transit Worker spoke against the fare hikes at MTA hearings this past fall, we didn’t see any union officials there. And we have seen nothing else from them on this issue.

When the cost of living in NYC is driving even union workers out of the city, to remain silent on an increase in the fare hikes is to cut us off from other workers and make us look like we’re only fighting for ourselves.

If we get a raise while everyone else gets slapped in the face, a year or two from now Trump or one of his flunkies will want to make an example of us as living high on the hog at taxpayers expense. That lie is going to find more fertile ground thanks to Samuelsen. An editorial from the Daily News won’t save us (and we probably won’t get it either). If we don’t build a united fight with all those under the gun, we will isolate ourselves and we will be set up for failure ourselves.

The Democratic Party Paved the Way for Trump
The Democratic Party has offered less and less to working class and oppressed people for decades, but never so little as Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. Eight years after the outbreak of the financial crisis on Wall Street, with millions still suffering from foreclosures and job losses, her campaign offered no real means to address the plight of working-class people. In response to the Black Lives Matter protest movement, Clinton looked concerned about Black people’s suffering at the hands of racist police, but refused to promise any specific response. She and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership hoped that Trump’s monstrous racism and sexism would scare so many people into voting for her that she would not have to offer the masses anything, making it easier for her to please her backers on Wall Street and the rest of the capitalist class.

At the same time, the leaders of this country’s unions increasingly avoided mobilizing working-class and poor people in mass protests and strikes to defend their interests – the way that the unions were built in the first place. Instead, they told workers that striking was too risky: we should elect Democrats and then lobby them for improvements. The result was a labor movement that grew smaller and weaker, lurching from one sellout to another.

Break Samuelsen’s Sellout Alliance with Cuomo!
With the brief exception of our 2005 strike which then-president Roger Toussaint sold out after just three days, Local 100 has been burdened for generations by leaders who pursued the strategy of avoiding mobilizing for struggle. The result has been one contract after another featuring givebacks of hard-won gains. (In 2005, RTW fought for a powerful strike strategy that could have defeated the Taylor Law; see our account New York Transit Strike Shows Working-Class Power.)

The current Samuelsen leadership of Local 100 has continued to pursue that losing strategy, in recent years focusing on collaboration with Governor Cuomo. The results have been disastrous for Local 100 members as well as other unions and the rest of the working class.

In 2012, Cuomo was looking to hand Wall Street more than $30 billion in debt repayments and billions more in interest. He wanted NYS workers to pay the price with massive pension givebacks. Samuelsen rushed to help Cuomo, agreeing to the Tier 6 pension for new hires, tripling their pension deductions – really a massive wage cut. He even called this a “victory” because he got a deal to make it less-bad for us than other workers. But this is exactly the kind of divide-and-conquer strategy we should be fighting.

During Local 100’s last contract round, Long Island Rail Road workers were preparing to strike after being forced to work without a contract for more than three years. A Federal mediator appointed by President Obama found that the MTA should accept the LIRR workers’ union leaders’ proposal. But Cuomo figured that being tough with the unions could win him ruling-class support for his presidential ambitions, so he pushed the MTA to reject the deal. With the LIRR unions refusing to give in, the stage was set for a strike.

Samuelsen again helped out. He agreed to a significantly worse deal for Local 100 including beneath-inflation wage raises for all, and an extra 2 years of work for new hires to reach top pay. So the LIRR workers were unable to threaten a united struggle with the TWU. Cuomo and the MTA charged them with greed for wanting more, and their leaders caved in. This is what Samuelsen is setting us up for under Trump.

Meanwhile, Samuelsen is continuing his treacherous collaboration with Cuomo. Cuomo has been working to replace Bill de Blasio as mayor with a complete flunkey. So Samuelsen had a big editorial in the Daily News that accurately attacked de Blasio for selling out unions that supported him to advance his political career. But Samuelsen did not hold Cuomo to the same standards, only attacking De Blasio for things Cuomo isn’t also guilty of. So in an editorial dealing with NYC working-class issues, Samuelsen said nothing about rising rents! Again, this is how we isolate ourselves and set up great defeats. If TWU Local 100 stood up against all the politicians presiding over astronomical rent increases, we’d not only be helping ourselves – we’d be setting an example of how to fight for everyone else and winning new allies.

Samuelsen Sitting out Fight Against Racist Police Brutality
Samuelsen certainly didn’t mention crimes like de Blasio’s appointment of the racist Bill Bratton as police chief and his support of “Broken Windows” policing. That’s the policy that made cops prioritize cracking down on misdemeanors in poor Black and Latino neighborhoods, the policy that infamously got Eric Garner choked to death by police in Staten Island. De Blasio promised to veto a city council bill banning cops from using choke holds and is fighting to keep cops’ disciplinary records secret from the public.

The most common cause for arrest in this city stems from the “Broken Windows”-linked policy of cops hiding in subway stations to arrest turnstile jumpers. With Trump’s election, limiting the cops’ power and excuses to brutalize and criminalize people is more important than ever. Yet Samuelsen has done nothing to mobilize our union with others against this policy.

What Must Be Done
While Trump’s election promises harsher attacks, Cuomo’s political maneuvering and an improved MTA budget could bring Samuelsen a contract deal that will look good compared to what we’re used to and what others are getting. We’ve argued above why even in that best-case scenario his strategy sets us up for disaster.

The main opposition caucus, Joseph Campbell’s “Transport Workers United,” is a shameful excuse for an alternative leadership. Their latest effort is an alliance with the podcast and Facebook group “Progressive Action,” whose leader, Tramell Thompson, promised the MTA he would organize scabbing if Samuelsen called a strike.

Given this balance of forces, those who see the need to change course, to start turning this union around as part of a broader fight against Trump and all he stands for must come together to discuss the way forward and get organized so that we can play a bigger role.

Tags: TWU 100Contract ExpirationSamuelson
Categories: Labor News

No Preparation For NYC TWU 100 Contract Expiration-TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster

Sat, 01/07/2017 - 16:10

No Preparation For NYC TWU 100 Contract Expiration-TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster
TWU 100 Samuelsen’s Contract Strategy Is a Set-Up for Disaster!
http://www.lrp-cofi.org/TWU100/RTW/rtw63.html
Mass meetings for a union contract round should mobilize the ranks for a militant fight. This meeting in particular should be a springboard both for a fight against the hated MTA and a broader political struggle in unity with other workers. With our contract set to expire on January 15, just five days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Local 100 should be in a unique position to both benefit from the mass protests against Trump and to give that movement a powerful boost.

But President Samuelsen has never provided the leadership we need, and every indication is that he plans to have the union sit out a crucial battle in Washington while setting us up for betrayal in the contract round. This misleadership is a big reason why many workers feel passive and intimidated by the intensifying capitalist attack against workers and oppressed people.

Local 100’s uninspiring contract demands have kept us off combat footing. There are few if any calls for strike, though Samuelsen and TWUA President Lombardo vaguely and insincerely hint at the possibility. A strike normally requires serious preparation – something Samuelsen is not providing. If the union leaders are forced to call a strike vote, we would vote “yes” and solidarize with workers who want to demonstrate the power we really have as a mass organization of workers. We would fight within a strike for measures like elected strike committees to give practical leadership to the best fighters in the union. That is not now the situation before us, however.

Trump and Allies Planning Attacks on Whole Working Class
Donald Trump’s election shocked the world. The primary targets of his openly racist and sexist campaign are immigrants, Muslims, Blacks and Latinos, and women. The rise in violent racist attacks since Trump’s victory warns of the dangers facing all people of color from thugs and police. The latter are eager to reassert their authority after being challenged by years of Black Lives Matter protests. Trump has vowed that his Supreme Court will remove any constitutional right for women to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Other targets of Trump’s White House and the Republican Congress are also clear – and public workers like us are high on that list. There is every reason to think that these reactionaries will also be committed to banning dues check-off for public-sector unions. Given the current state of the union movement nationally, that could be a death blow.

Beyond any specific measure, public workers have already been increasingly used as scapegoats for the failings of government. We’ve been pilloried in the media and by politicians as an example of what is wrong with the country. The Republican Party platform explicitly says that Federal workers are paid too much and need to be brought in line with lower-paid workers.

Trump’s rule will be autocratic and unstable. But it promises an acceleration of these attacks. When a union leader pointed out how Trump lied about how many jobs he ‘saved’ at the Carrier plant, Trump’s Twitter attacks on that leader led to an avalanche of death threats and other harassment.

Samuelsen Refuses to Protest Trump
In the face of these threats, Samuelsen has ignored the many protests against Trump. He has refused to build them and done nothing to commit the union’s resources to them. In contrast, supporters of the LRP have had success in putting forward motions in division meetings to mobilize the union against Trump – an indication that the sentiment to fight Trump exists in the union and can be tapped. Samuelsen & Co have restricted our contract fight to a public relations media campaign. Instead of emphasizing our potential power on the job, or with other workers and oppressed people in joint struggle, they present us as powerless victims.

Samuelsen says little about the MTA bosses’ plans and occasionally criticizes them, gently. He pals around with MTA chief Prendergast at the new Second Avenue Subway. Meanwhile, he calls for improvements in the Tier 6 Pension (technically up to the NYS government but in reality subject to bargaining), and in the progression to top wage rate for many members. But he bargained away these positions himself! Apparently he hopes we will forget that these take-backs were his doing.

Many of TWU Local 100’s demands deserve support, but Samuelsen shows no recognition that a massive struggle will be necessary to win them, preferring mildly pro-union editorials in the Daily News. But those won’t do anything for us against the reactionary and racist forces Trump is mobilizing.

Samuelsen’s Silence on the Fare Hikes Is a Trap
The union lists opposition to the fare hikes as an official contract demand. But when supporters of Revolutionary Transit Worker spoke against the fare hikes at MTA hearings this past fall, we didn’t see any union officials there. And we have seen nothing else from them on this issue.

When the cost of living in NYC is driving even union workers out of the city, to remain silent on an increase in the fare hikes is to cut us off from other workers and make us look like we’re only fighting for ourselves.

If we get a raise while everyone else gets slapped in the face, a year or two from now Trump or one of his flunkies will want to make an example of us as living high on the hog at taxpayers expense. That lie is going to find more fertile ground thanks to Samuelsen. An editorial from the Daily News won’t save us (and we probably won’t get it either). If we don’t build a united fight with all those under the gun, we will isolate ourselves and we will be set up for failure ourselves.

The Democratic Party Paved the Way for Trump
The Democratic Party has offered less and less to working class and oppressed people for decades, but never so little as Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. Eight years after the outbreak of the financial crisis on Wall Street, with millions still suffering from foreclosures and job losses, her campaign offered no real means to address the plight of working-class people. In response to the Black Lives Matter protest movement, Clinton looked concerned about Black people’s suffering at the hands of racist police, but refused to promise any specific response. She and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership hoped that Trump’s monstrous racism and sexism would scare so many people into voting for her that she would not have to offer the masses anything, making it easier for her to please her backers on Wall Street and the rest of the capitalist class.

At the same time, the leaders of this country’s unions increasingly avoided mobilizing working-class and poor people in mass protests and strikes to defend their interests – the way that the unions were built in the first place. Instead, they told workers that striking was too risky: we should elect Democrats and then lobby them for improvements. The result was a labor movement that grew smaller and weaker, lurching from one sellout to another.

Break Samuelsen’s Sellout Alliance with Cuomo!
With the brief exception of our 2005 strike which then-president Roger Toussaint sold out after just three days, Local 100 has been burdened for generations by leaders who pursued the strategy of avoiding mobilizing for struggle. The result has been one contract after another featuring givebacks of hard-won gains. (In 2005, RTW fought for a powerful strike strategy that could have defeated the Taylor Law; see our account New York Transit Strike Shows Working-Class Power.)

The current Samuelsen leadership of Local 100 has continued to pursue that losing strategy, in recent years focusing on collaboration with Governor Cuomo. The results have been disastrous for Local 100 members as well as other unions and the rest of the working class.

In 2012, Cuomo was looking to hand Wall Street more than $30 billion in debt repayments and billions more in interest. He wanted NYS workers to pay the price with massive pension givebacks. Samuelsen rushed to help Cuomo, agreeing to the Tier 6 pension for new hires, tripling their pension deductions – really a massive wage cut. He even called this a “victory” because he got a deal to make it less-bad for us than other workers. But this is exactly the kind of divide-and-conquer strategy we should be fighting.

During Local 100’s last contract round, Long Island Rail Road workers were preparing to strike after being forced to work without a contract for more than three years. A Federal mediator appointed by President Obama found that the MTA should accept the LIRR workers’ union leaders’ proposal. But Cuomo figured that being tough with the unions could win him ruling-class support for his presidential ambitions, so he pushed the MTA to reject the deal. With the LIRR unions refusing to give in, the stage was set for a strike.

Samuelsen again helped out. He agreed to a significantly worse deal for Local 100 including beneath-inflation wage raises for all, and an extra 2 years of work for new hires to reach top pay. So the LIRR workers were unable to threaten a united struggle with the TWU. Cuomo and the MTA charged them with greed for wanting more, and their leaders caved in. This is what Samuelsen is setting us up for under Trump.

Meanwhile, Samuelsen is continuing his treacherous collaboration with Cuomo. Cuomo has been working to replace Bill de Blasio as mayor with a complete flunkey. So Samuelsen had a big editorial in the Daily News that accurately attacked de Blasio for selling out unions that supported him to advance his political career. But Samuelsen did not hold Cuomo to the same standards, only attacking De Blasio for things Cuomo isn’t also guilty of. So in an editorial dealing with NYC working-class issues, Samuelsen said nothing about rising rents! Again, this is how we isolate ourselves and set up great defeats. If TWU Local 100 stood up against all the politicians presiding over astronomical rent increases, we’d not only be helping ourselves – we’d be setting an example of how to fight for everyone else and winning new allies.

Samuelsen Sitting out Fight Against Racist Police Brutality
Samuelsen certainly didn’t mention crimes like de Blasio’s appointment of the racist Bill Bratton as police chief and his support of “Broken Windows” policing. That’s the policy that made cops prioritize cracking down on misdemeanors in poor Black and Latino neighborhoods, the policy that infamously got Eric Garner choked to death by police in Staten Island. De Blasio promised to veto a city council bill banning cops from using choke holds and is fighting to keep cops’ disciplinary records secret from the public.

The most common cause for arrest in this city stems from the “Broken Windows”-linked policy of cops hiding in subway stations to arrest turnstile jumpers. With Trump’s election, limiting the cops’ power and excuses to brutalize and criminalize people is more important than ever. Yet Samuelsen has done nothing to mobilize our union with others against this policy.

What Must Be Done
While Trump’s election promises harsher attacks, Cuomo’s political maneuvering and an improved MTA budget could bring Samuelsen a contract deal that will look good compared to what we’re used to and what others are getting. We’ve argued above why even in that best-case scenario his strategy sets us up for disaster.

The main opposition caucus, Joseph Campbell’s “Transport Workers United,” is a shameful excuse for an alternative leadership. Their latest effort is an alliance with the podcast and Facebook group “Progressive Action,” whose leader, Tramell Thompson, promised the MTA he would organize scabbing if Samuelsen called a strike.

Given this balance of forces, those who see the need to change course, to start turning this union around as part of a broader fight against Trump and all he stands for must come together to discuss the way forward and get organized so that we can play a bigger role.

Tags: TWU 100Contract ExpirationSamuelson
Categories: Labor News

Iowa public employees' unions oppose bargaining changes

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 17:29

Iowa public employees' unions oppose bargaining changes
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/05/iowa-pub...
William Petroski , bpetrosk@dmreg.com 7:04 p.m. CT Jan. 5, 2017
Buy Photo
(Photo: William Petroski/Des Moines Register)
Unions representing Iowa's public employees are vowing to fight efforts by the Iowa Legislature to rewrite the state's collective bargaining laws, although they face long odds against winning their battle.

A teacher, a nurse, a police officer, a firefighter and a transportation worker all spoke at an Iowa Capitol news conference Thursday, where they called on lawmakers not to weaken public employees' contract laws that were implemented in the 1970s.

They said the laws have ensured adequate staffing levels, helped to recruit and retain top talent and have provided Iowans with quality public schools and efficient public services.

They are worried about Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal to remove health insurance as a subject of collective bargaining for public employees' union contracts, as well as other possible legislation that could hurt their ability to bargain for pay raises and other benefits. Democratic legislators have blocked such proposals in the past, but some changes are likely during the 2017 Legislature's session because Republicans now hold control of the Iowa Senate, House and governor's seat for the first time since 1998.

Kelly McMahon, a kindergarten teacher at Hoover Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, is a member of the Iowa State Education Association. She said she and her fellow public employees work tirelessly every school year to ensure there are strong public schools across the state.

"We are the bus drivers who transport your children safely to and from school, the paraprofessionals who assist the child with autism in the classroom, the school nurses who assist children with insulin shots and tummy aches, the teachers who direct the fall musicals, and the coaches that lead the football teams onto the field for the big Friday night games," McMahon said.

Buy Photo
Kelly McMahon, a kindergarten teacher at Hoover Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, speaks at a news conference Thursday at the Iowa Capitol in opposition to changes in public employees' collective bargaining laws. (Photo: William Petroski/Des Moines Register)
Adam Choat, a Pleasant Hill police officer who has spent 10 years in law enforcement, said police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect Iowans. But finding qualified police officers is a growing concern nationally and a real concern in Iowa, he said.

"If we want to ensure that we have the officers we need to protect our communities and keep our streets safe, we need to ensure fair compensation and benefits for those who answer the call," said Choat, who is a Teamsters' union member. He added that Iowa's collective bargaining laws have served the state well for the past four decades and give officers an opportunity to talk about training and equipment and safety concerns on the job.

Sean Passick, an Iowa Department of Transportation employee, said that besides winter maintenance chores, public employees make sure that roads and bridges are built to specification and ensure the safety of the traveling public. He said his work responsibilities have quadrupled since he started his job 18 years ago because of staffing reductions.

"Sure, I could get more money and do half the work for a private-sector contractor, but I take pride in being a public employee," Passick said. He's a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Union leaders said in a statement that schools and public agencies are already suffering the effects of a series of state "corporate tax giveaways" that have starved budgets for schools and essential public services. They said lawmakers should focus on creating good jobs, funding education, and rebuilding Iowa infrastructure instead of "wasting taxpayers dollars on attacking workers and trying to silence the voices of front-line providers."

Branstad has defended his proposal to remove health insurance from collective bargaining. He said a statewide master health care program — replacing hundreds of locally bargained health insurance plans — will reduce health insurance premiums and make more money available for public employees' pay raises.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have said "everything is on the table" in considering revisions of public employee bargaining, from repealing the law to making what they view as relatively minor changes. Critics contend the current law provides overly generous benefits to public-sector workers and undermines governments’ control over spending. They say Iowa law needs to be rewritten to give more consideration to Iowa taxpayers.

The Iowa Association of School Boards has made reform of contract arbitration a priority. One of the complaints is that school districts may be forced to raise property taxes to pay for salary or benefit increases required in a contract approved by an arbitrator.

Tags: Iowa public workersIowan teachers
Categories: Labor News

UK Railway terror alert reignites train drivers' union ASLEF row over safety staff

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:42

UK Railway terror alert reignites train drivers' union ASLEF row over safety staff
Train drivers' union ASLEF say the view from the cab is blurry and dark - vastly different from claims made by rail firms
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/railway-terror-alert-reignites-trai...
BYMARK ELLIS
• 18:05, 4 JAN 2017

Southern Railway train (Photo: PA)

by Taboola Sponsored Links
San Francisco, California: How 2 Boston Grads Are Disrupting a $19 Billion Industry (EverQuote Insurance Quotes)Tiny Stock, Huge Potential (News-Today)
Get Politics updates directly to your inbox
+ Subscribe
A busy rail route running through London has been put on terrorist alert after staff failed to find a fake bomb in a security test.

And it is doubly embarrassing for Govia Thameslink (GTR), which owns Southern Rail, and is locked in a bitter row with rail unions over the “safety critical” role of guards on trains.

The train drivers’ union Aslef say what drivers can see from their train cabs is a world away from the claims made by Southern Rail.

A leaflet will be handed to passengers next week with images of platforms from monitors issued by the company with clear pictures of passengers about to board, compared with photographs taken by drivers which are blurred and dark.

And they said the incident raised serious concerns over passenger safety at a time when the firm wants to move to driver only-operated trains and downgrade the role of guards.

Yesterday the union cut next week’s planned six-day strike on Southern Railway, used by 300,000 commuters into London, to three days - January 10, 11 and 13.

But Aslef announced fresh strikes on January 24, 25 and 27 and said the week-long action had been cut because of the impact on the travelling public who have suffered months of disruption caused by staff shortages and industrial action.

The terror alert was issued by GTR to staff on Southern and Thameslink, the Brighton to Bedford line via London, which it also runs.

An internal memo urged staff to be “extra vigilant” after the firm failed a security test in which inspectors from the Department for Transport left an unattended bag containing a ‘suspicious item’ on a Thameslink train last November.

Tony Holland, GTR’s crime and security manager, told staff in the memo:”Disappointingly, the bag was not found despite being positioned in a public area of the train and railway personnel were seen to walk past the location.

Southern Rail passenger trains (Photo: Getty)
“This incident further highlights the need for us to be alert and identify any unattended items that may be left on trains and stations. Please remain vigilant at all times.”

A spokesman for Aslef said:”How does this reassure passengers. It is quite extraordinary that Southern Railway has failed a DfT security test while getting rid of the guards on trains.”

Meanwhile,the Southern Railway dispute intensified yesterday with both sides deadlocked over the safety of driver only operated trains.

Aslef accused the government of being behind the dispute and using the Southern as “a battleground” ahead of other train companies, such as Northern and London Midland, planning to bring in driver only operations.

Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, insisted the dispute was about safety and not pay and strike action had been taken as a last resort.

He said:“We are taking a longer-term view of this trade dispute. The company has not been prepared to move - it is simply going through the motions.

“We remain committed to a negotiated settlement, as was reached with ScotRail, but it is difficult to negotiate with people who are not prepared to be flexible.

Southern Rail (Photo: PA)
“We still believe a deal can be done but we are, at the moment, a long way from that position. It is time for the company to come up with a genuine offer rather than carry on posturing.”

The union said it had raised 50 reported faults with the driver only-operated images seen in the driver’s cab since last October, but states:”We continue to raise the same issues and continue to be ignored. We are going around in circles.”

Aslef members are operating an overtime ban that is leading to services being cancelled or delayed every day.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union is also locked in a dispute with Southern over changes to the role of conductors, which has led to a series of strikes.

A Southern spokesman said: “This is a cynical ploy to minimise the impact on Aslef’s drivers’ pay packets and maximises misery, disruption and hardship for passengers.

“Aslef’s move shows pure contempt for the travelling public and it still causes massive disruption over next week.

“These strikes are pointless and they should call the whole thing off and let common sense prevail.”

And Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “Fewer strike days will still cause massive disruption for passengers. I urge Aslef to call off these wholly unnecessary strikes and come to the table for talks.

“This modern way of running trains has been safely used elsewhere in the UK for 30 years. There is no safety issue; the independent rail regulator has confirmed it is safe.”

Tags: Rail safetyUK ASLEFUK RailMaritime and Transport union
Categories: Labor News

DC ATU 689 President Jackie L. Jeter's Message to Membership And Firing of 1,000 Workers

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 10:31

DC ATU 689 President Jackie L. Jeter's Message to Membership
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGCsfwEJuLw&feature=youtu.be
stpatuorg
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Union City Radio
Weekdays, 7:15am
WPFW-FM 89.3 or click here.
Town Halls to generate “People's Agenda for Metro”:The Coalition of Metro Labor Unions is planning a series of Town Halls this month to develop a “People’s Agenda for Metro.” “With the finalization of the FY2018 budget just months away, it is clear to us that the WMATA Board is not going to effectively get public input from each jurisdiction before approving this budget,” says ATU 689 president Jackie Jeter (click here for her brief video). Current budget proposals include longer wait times for trains, elimination of essential bus lines, and firing of 1,000 workers. “These proposals will have real consequences for the people who depend on Metro and the public’s input must be heard,” Jeter said. The coalition, comprised of ATU Local 689, OPEIU Local 2 and Teamsters Locals 922 and 639, represents more than 13,000 workers at Metro, and is urging attendance by allies and the public. “It is important to listen to our ridership so that we can face these challenges together,” Jeter said. The Town Hall dates are January 5 (Prince George’s County), January 18 (Montgomery County) and January 24 (Arlington, Virginia). Click herefor complete details on locations and times.

Tags: ATU 689DC Metro
Categories: Labor News

Pages