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Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:28

Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."
The Globe and Mail (includes correction)
Published Friday, Feb. 03, 2017 10:46AM EST
Last updated Monday, Feb. 06, 2017 1:59PM EST

A struggle for control of the main union representing Toronto Transit Commission employees burst into the open Friday, with the union’s U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials.

The move came after Local 113, under Mr. Kinnear, approached the Canadian Labour Congress with unhappiness about how they were being treated by the international Amalgamated Transit Union.

The ATU claims the move ran afoul of its rules about “disaffiliation,” provoking a battle over the local’s headquarters and $10-million in assets.

Under an ATU-imposed trusteeship, these assets are now under the control of the international union. But local leaders have secured a court hearing in two weeks to argue their case.

The TTC would not comment on what it called “this internal union matter.”

“The TTC is working to ensure this matter has no impact on service,” spokesman Brad Ross said in a statement. “The collective agreements between the TTC and its unions remain in place.”

Late Friday afternoon, the local’s new leadership issued a release in which they characterized the situation as a move by “members of Local 113 … to restore union democracy following a unilateral attempt by suspended president Bob Kinnear to remove the Local from its 120-year-old union.”

However, a letter from the ATU parent union to the Toronto local, obtained by The Globe and Mail, took responsibility for the move. The letter said the international union had acted to push out the local’s leaders because they had begun a process that could ultimately lead to the local leaving, violating the union’s constitution and general laws (CGL).

“Furthermore, President Kinnear’s actions not only violated the CGL, but the bylaws of Local 113, as he improperly bypassed the Local’s requisite decision-making process,” alleged the letter, signed by ATU international president Lawrence Hanley. “As a result, the effective functioning and the performance of the local union’s duties are impaired.”

By Mr. Hanley’s order, control of the local has been placed in the hands of Emanuele Sforza, a Toronto-based international vice-president of the ATU. He did not respond to requests for comment.

According to documents filed by Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers in court, the international ATU constitution contains “unconscionable and penal terms,” including a provision that forces the local to surrender all of its assets if it splits from its parent. The international union’s constitution also blocks any split if just 10 members – or 0.1 per cent of the 10,000 members of Local 113 – oppose the move.

Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers argue these provisions violate the right to free association of Local 113’s members guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as their rights under Ontario’s Labour Relations Act to choose their representatives in collective bargaining.

In a letter to the ATU obtained by The Globe and Mail, Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff criticizes the parent union’s move and declares that the CLC’s normal protections that would prevent other unions from raiding Local 113 for members are no longer in effect.

The local represents about 10,000 employees of the TTC and is midway through a four-year contract. Because the TTC was deemed an essential service in 2011 by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, the union can no longer strike.

But there continues to be friction between the union and management. They have clashed over the TTC’s drug-and-alcohol random-testing policy and the possibility that elements of the city’s transit system could be privatized.

Mr. Kinnear said the local has not received enough support from the international union in these battles, claiming it is treated with “disdain.” He said the local, based on its affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress, used a provision of the CLC constitution to spark a probe into whether it was being represented properly. “Unfortunately, the American-based union has taken this heavy hand and trusteed the board,” he said.

The Maryland-based spokesperson for the international organization of the Amalgamated Transit Union was not available to comment Friday.

Mr. Kinnear has been the elected leader of the often-fractious TTC union since 2004. He has been at odds with the international union for some time. He recently lost a bid to win a post as an international vice-president.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect percentage breakdown for the number of union members needed to block a split.

Follow us on Twitter: Jeff Gray @jeffreybgray, Oliver Moore @moore_oliver

Tags: ATU Local 113Take-overCanadian autonomyTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against Aslef member says colleagues are disappointed with deal in which union concedes on driver operation of doors

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 18:56

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against
Aslef member says colleagues are disappointed with deal in which union concedes on driver operation of doors
Aslef said it was confident drivers would vote for the deal with Govia Thameslink Railway. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Gwyn TophamTransport correspondent
Sunday 5 February 2017 13.20 GMTLast modified on Sunday 5 February 2017 22.00 GMT
The deal reached by Southern and Aslef to bring an end to strikes on the troubled rail service may yet unravel, with a significant number of drivers believed to be planning to vote against the agreement.

Details of the agreement between the union and Southern’s operating company, Govia Thameslink Railway, news of which was announced at the TUC on Thursday, were given to drivers this weekend. The terms were denounced as a “shocking betrayal” by the RMT, which represents conductors who had also been fighting changes imposed by the train company.

The agreement confirms that Aslef has conceded the principle that drivers will operate the doors, and although Southern has said it will roster an onboard supervisor on every train, it has not demanded the same level of competency that guards previously had, and permitted a wide range of circumstances in which a train could run without a guard on board.

Q&A: what does the Southern rail deal over strikes mean?

Unions had previously rejected that offer from GTR, with the RMTsaying the exemptions effectively rendered a guarantee of a second person on every train meaningless.

One driver in Aslef, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had spoken to several colleagues, all of whom were disappointed. He said it gave them “very little for all that – it’s what the company was doing all along”. He also expressed concern about working with onboard supervisors who would not be safety-trained on specific routes, as conductors had been.

Drivers will be holding meetings with union reps in depots in the coming days. Aslef said it was confident drivers would vote for the deal they had recommended. Speaking after the agreement had been reached at the TUC talks, the union’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said it was “no utopia” but had established important principles, including that any operational changes had to have drivers’ consent. He said: “People forget the original dispute was about imposition.”

As well as losing money through strike action, drivers have been hit by the ban on overtime, a regular source of income for many. The agreement does not include any pay rises or improved terms, although an appendix on the “restoration of positive relationships” states a new agreement between drivers and the company will be formalised when pay talks are completed.

The RMT, which has held a series of strikes over Southern’s plans since April last year, but was excluded from the TUC talks, attacked the deal as a “stitch-up and disgrace”. Its general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “This so-called agreement is a shocking betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers, but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, described the deal as a ‘shocking betrayal’. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA
He said the number of ways in which a train could operate without a second member of staff would leave both driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable, and would lead to the destaffing of trains.

Cash said the RMT would remain available for talks, to which it has now been invited at the TUC.

Campaigners also expressed dismay, saying the plans for driver-only trains would make travel increasingly difficult for passengers with disabilities.

Emily Yates, of the Association of British Commuters, which is taking legal action against the governmentover its handling of GTR’s franchise, said the deal was “extremely bad news for accessibility”.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, speaking on the BBC Andrew Marr Show, said of the Aslef deal: “I hope that’s a way forward for the future, and I very much hope now that the RMT will come back to the table and will sort out an arrangement that looks after its own members.”

He added: “I don’t believe we need fewer people on the railways – a railway bursting at the seams will not mean fewer jobs. We’re going to need as many staff in the future – the jobs may change, the technology may change, but the customer service piece can’t change.”

Southern drivers will vote on the deal over the next nine days, with the result due on 16 February.

Tags: UK RMTrail contract votesell out
Categories: Labor News

Is Uber Screwing Over Its Drivers? "For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months"

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 11:44

Is Uber Screwing Over Its Drivers? "For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months"

For those who’ve been wondering, I wanted to let things cool down a bit before I posted anything about Uber’s recent fare cuts. Some of my worst decisions in life have been made impulsively and if given the opportunity, I think it’s always better to ‘sleep on it’. And as we all know with the internet, once you write, tweet or post something, it can’t be deleted.
Well, I’ve slept on it long enough and I still can’t help but feel like, as drivers, we’re getting screwed over by Uber right now. I mean there are only so many times you can handle getting your pay slashed and be expected to go out there on the road and stay positive. For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months. And although Uber claims lower fares means higher earnings for drivers, I think we all know by now that statement is bullshit.

Compare declining driver pay with the growth at Uber and the salaries/equity of Uber employees and that will probably make you even madder as a driver. Uber recently raised another $1.2 billion and is currently valued at just over $40 billion. My hope has always been that ‘partners’ would see parallel growth, but it appears we’re headed in very different directions.

The Rate Cuts Have Hit Hard

The rate cuts in 48 cities have been tough on drivers and they even hit home last week when rates in the LA/OC area were dropped down to 90 cents/mile. Over the past two weeks, there has been a lot of anger on social media, driver forums and even my own site (normally a safe haven against this kind of stuff), but I don’t blame those drivers. It’s human nature to be upset knowing that you have to go out and do the same job that you did last week but for less pay.

Over the past year, we’ve seen fare cuts of up to 50% in cities across the US. Maybe drivers were paid too much a year ago but the overwhelming sentiment right now is that drivers are not paid enough. As you guys know, I’m a part-time driver so I have the luxury of scaling back my hours if I’m not making enough, but not everyone is so fortunate.

There are also ‘partners’ who have made life-altering decisions to drive full-time and they are now at the mercy of Uber. Looking back now, that obviously seems like a poor decision but there was a lot of promise at one point with rideshare and I don’t think anyone ever figured rates could drop this low. And there are others who just enjoy driving and don’t want to give it all up because Uber won’t pay them a fair wage.

Let’s Dispel The Earnings Myth Once And For All

Uber loves to cite the ‘fact’ that lower fares means higher earnings for drivers. But as any seasoned driver can tell you, they are now working harder than ever, putting more miles on their car and most definitely making less money.

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Uber seems stuck on the notion that lowering prices increases ridership (thus increasing earnings for drivers) but maybe they should pick up a copy of the book Freakonomics. I read this book a few years ago and one of the biggest takeaways I got was that just because there is a correlation between two variables that doesn’t mean one necessarily causes the other. There could easily be a third variable that causes this correlation.

In this case, it is beyond clear to me that lower prices are not the only thing causing increased ridership. Unlike Uber HQ, I actually get out on the road and drive. I listen to passengers and I talk to hundreds of other drivers on a weekly basis. One of the reasons why my site has struck such a cord with drivers is because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. There is a huge disconnect between drivers and Uber HQ because they don’t know what it’s like to be a driver. I do.

Do Riders Even Care?

A majority of riders actually don’t even know how pricing works half the time. Here’s a screen shot (to the left) from my phone taken just a few days ago. There aren’t any prices listed per mile, per minute or even the base fare.

The only way to get this information is to log on to Uber’s website, find your city and then look up the rates manually. I can guarantee you there aren’t too many riders willing to go through that trouble just to figure out whether their fare is going to be $7 or $8.50.

Lower pricing may have helped increase ridership but it’s definitely not the only reason:

• Uber gives out free rides to new users like candy to kids on Halloween. Uber is still giving out $20 free rides to new passengers and who doesn’t like free money? This referral program has worked very well for them and I know many passengers who have been enticed by this offer.
• Riders prefer the convenience and superior quality compared to a taxi. I can’t tell you how many times I used to walk, bike or even make my mom drop me off somewhere because I refused to get into a taxi. I didn’t even know how to call one. Now with the click of a button you can have an Uber at your house in less than 5 minutes.
• Uber has replaced the word taxi in the English language. I often hear friends say “Let’s get an Uber” even if they are getting a Lyft or a taxi! There are hundreds of companies popping up that dub themselves “Uber for Mechanics”, “Uber for food delivery”, etc. and all of this usage has clearly played a huge part in Uber’s recent growth.
But Uber Has Data!

Uber is known as the king of data but unfortunately for drivers, the media and the public we don’t get access to any of that information. In fact, their recent nationwide fare cut was predicated on data from only two cities that showed lower fares meant more income for drivers.

Uber provided us with some nifty graphs for New York a few months ago but this data is beyond useless to me considering that NYC operates nothing like traditional UberX markets. In NYC, you need a TLC license and they limit the number of UberX partners. Right now, you can’t even sign up as an UberX driver in NYC. So the ‘data’ from New York is useless for comparison’s sake.


Uber’s data from Chicago is really the only thing we can trust at this point (and given Uber’s track record I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was some massaging of this data). I won’t go too in depth into the numbers since there is a great analysis over on Pando by Michael Carney, but their Chicago data showed a 45% increase in demand over the course of one year and an 11% increase in the average driver’s earnings.

11% or $1.79 per hour sounds alright, but Uber’s analysis doesn’t take into account the increased operating costs (and mental strain) that come along with 45% more rides. That cuts into nearly half of the 11% increase meaning drivers are now working 45% harder and earning $1.09 per hour more than before. Sounds pretty good for Uber since they get 20% of each ride and a $1 safety fee but no so good for us partners.

My Plan Going Forward

I’m not planning on swearing off Uber completely, but my hope is that every driver out there realizes that Uber doesn’t want to be our friend. They want to grow. And unless driver unrest gets in the way of that growth, things will continue to trend downwards. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen the usual social media angst and even a couple protests over the recent fare cuts, but there are still a lot of drivers who need to work (it did not appear as if the protests had much of an effect on driver availability). They can’t afford to take time off or stop driving, they just have to roll with the punches.

Uber has deflected some of this criticism with their new ‘hourly guarantees’ but there are definitely strings attached. Guarantees sound great for drivers but it reminds me of a strategy that companies like Walmart used to use: they would come in to a new city and lower prices so everyone would shop there instead of the local businesses. Then once the competition went out of business, they jack up their prices again.

I feel like Uber’s guarantees are doing just that. They are a clear attempt to pull drivers away from Lyft (that along with their $500 promotion for Lyft drivers who switch to Uber) and I’m not going to be falling for it. Despite what some of you may think, competition is a good thing for drivers and I hope that Lyft stays around for good.

Going forward, I’m definitely going to be shifting more of my attention towards Lyft and my hope is that they do not try and lower fares to compete with Uber. My strategies for driving haven’t really changed, I’ll likely be making less money but I’m still going to do my best to leverage both apps whenever it suits me best. I have always maintained that I prefer driving for Lyft but I make more money with Uber. Well now the latter isn’t true anymore so it looks like my decision just became a lot easier.

If you want to see how much money you’ll make driving Lyft vs Uber in your city, I’ve just updated my fare calculation spreadsheet. You can view it here.

Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s treatment of drivers? Do you think there are enough drivers who are upset about fare cuts to do something about it?

Update (1/19/2015): Looks like Lyft is reducing fares in certain cities too.

Tags: UberDriverswage cuts
Categories: Labor News

Total War In Spanish Ports! Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 09:36

Total War In Spanish Ports! Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)

Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)
DANIEL MOLERO 02/03/2017
The main representatives of the port stowage sector met yesterday in ministerial headquarters with the holder of the Portfolio of Development, Íñigo de la Serna. After the meeting, this morning there has already been a halt and slowdown of activity in the main ports of the Spanish system ... and what remains. "We will defend the jobs by all means. We tried it through the dialogue and they deceived us ": are words of Antolín Goya, leader of the Coordinating union, the maximum exponent of the workers.

A series of historic mobilizations in Spanish ports are expected to be a miracle (or a rectification by the minister) ... and it will not be just a stoppage in activity. It will go beyond even the Spanish borders.

The minister has said "No" to the workers' register. It wants to make the Companies of Estiba (Sagep) disappear to transform them into Temporary Work Enterprises whose workers can be hired for a certain newspaper ... and all through the arbitration of the Port Authorities that, although belonging to the framework of Development, are not of Agreement (at least the big three - Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona) in which they endorsed the dead.

In short, inactivity in Spanish ports could paralyze the economy of the country because of the ineptitude of some ... with supposed hidden interests ... and all when the Spanish ports closed 2016 at the stroke of historical records in moving goods

De la Serna, has been badly advised by the President of Ports of the State, Jose Llorca and by the Secretary of State (and husband of one of the ideologues of the conflict, cousin-by the way-of a stevedore), Julio Gómez-Pomar; He told the workers, in a strict way, that the Government intends to reform the Spanish port system unilaterally and via Decree Law, with publication in the Council of Ministers before the end of March. And although it says to have parliamentary consensus the truth is that it does not have supports. And, at least, the PSOE should give its approval to carry it forward and become law.

From the dialogue agreed with her predecessor in office, Ana Pastor, nothing at all. From listening to the comments of companies and workers - who agree on the main points of the reform - nothing at all. The minister is protected in Brussels. He says that they will finalize Spain if the reform is not approved ... and it does not lack reason.

What they do not say from the Ministry is that the European Commission agrees with the workers in that any legislative changes that affect the working environment should be agreed with employers and unions. Nor does it say that Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc pointed out weeks ago to Antolín Goya himself that the Judgment must be strictly complied with, but not that this way is unilaterally agreed by a particular government.

According to Goya, "We feel cheated." More clear, impossible. For the coordinator general of Coordinadora, "they want to impose a Decree Law in which they say that there is no room for any modification, they do not provide the document, all communication is verbal. The minister puts Spain to the dictatorship of the officials of the Commission because, he says, Spain can not legislate in port matters except under the terms that authorize it in Brussels, including, including restrictions on collective bargaining that "although they do not consider it Necessary ".

In fact, the reality is that what the Spanish Government proposes is based on conditions far more radical than those sought by Brussels ... and much more than the judgment of the Luxembourg Court itself.

It should also be recalled that a recent regulation approved by the European Parliament "excludes stowage from European legislation to allow each Member State to legislate freely on it." For the time being, and returning to Spain, the Socialist Party seems to disagree with the one-sidedness of a 'decree'. They also believe it is necessary to dialogue with the parties and reach a resolution agreed to the conflict before it is a reality ... but seeing the instability in the PSOE and that its current responsible is a man of straw or know what they will do.

For now neither PSOE nor PNV, let alone the Catalan parties or We can, know the content of the 'decree'. Obviously neither do workers nor companies. Everything is done with secrecy and treachery ... but be careful, they did the same thing two years ago ... when from NAUCHERglobal we uncovered the whole network and had to withdraw. Anyone knows if it could happen now.

For now neither PSOE nor PNV, let alone the Catalan parties or We can, know the content of the 'decree'. Obviously neither do workers nor companies. Everything is done with secrecy and treachery ... but be careful, they did the same thing two years ago ... when from NAUCHERglobal we uncovered the whole network and had to withdraw. Anyone knows if it could happen now.

For the time being, the dialogue with the Government was broken and "in the face of the authoritarian attitude of the Minister", in the words of Antolín Goya "we will initiate mobilizations and union actions to reestablish communication, demand from companies the culmination of the negotiation effort developed, and expose To parliamentary groups the error of an imposed norm that destabilizes a sector and destroys jobs. We will defend our profession by all means. We see no other way out. We are thousands of families who live in this sector, thousands of workers we have managed to build it to release figures that beat records year after year and we will not allow them to eradicate us from the equation, only to enrich the few that are obeyed by governments , At the expense of working in indecent conditions ".


Asambleas de estibadores en diferentes puertos (Coordinadora)


DANIEL MOLERO 03/02/2017
Los principales representantes del sector de la estiba portuaria se reunieron ayer en sede ministerial con el titular de la cartera de Fomento, Íñigo de la Serna. Tras el encuentro, esta mañana ya ha habido paralización y ralentización de la actividad en los principales puertos del sistema español... y lo que queda. “Defenderemos los puestos de trabajo por todos los medios. Lo intentamos a través del diálogo y nos engañaron”: son palabras de Antolín Goya, líder del sindicato Coordinadora, el máximo exponente de los trabajadores.

Se prevén, de no mediar milagro (o de una rectificación del ministro), una serie de movilizaciones históricas en los puertos españoles… y no se tratará sólo de paros en la actividad. Irá más allá incluso de las fronteras españolas.

El ministro ha dicho "No" al registro de los trabajadores. Quiere hacer desaparecer las Sociedades de Estiba (Sagep) para transformarlas en Empresas de Trabajo Temporal cuyos trabajadores puedan ser contratados para un determinado jornal... y todo mediante el arbitraje de la Autoridades Portuarias que, aún perteneciendo al entramado de Fomento, no están de acuerdo (al menos las tres grandes -Algeciras, Valencia y Barcelona-) en que les endosen el muerto.

En suma, la inactividad en los puertos españoles podría paralizar la economía del país por culpa de la ineptitud de algunos… con supuestos intereses ocultos… y todo cuando los puertos españoles cierran 2016 a golpe de récords históricos en movimiento de mercancías

De la Serna, ha estado mal asesorado por el presidente de Puertos del Estado, José Llorca y por el Secretario de Estado (y marido de una de las ideólogas del conflicto, prima –por cierto- de un estibador), Julio Gómez-Pomar; les dijo a los trabajadores, de forma taxativa, que el Gobierno pretende reformar el sistema portuario español de forma unilateral y vía Decreto Ley, con publicación en el Consejo de Ministros antes de que acabe el mes de marzo. Y aunque dice tener consenso parlamentario lo cierto es que no tiene apoyos. Y, al menos, el PSOE debería dar su beneplácito para llevarlo adelante y que se transforme en Ley.

Del diálogo pactado con su predecesora en el cargo, Ana Pastor, nada de nada. De escuchar los comentarios de empresas y trabajadores –que están de acuerdo en los principales puntos de la reforma- nada de nada. Se ampara el ministro en Bruselas. Dice que multarán a España si no se aprueba la reforma… y no le falta razón.

Lo que no dicen desde el Ministerio es que la Comisión Europea está de acuerdo con los trabajadores en que cualquier modificación legislativa que afecte al entorno laboral debería ser pactada con patronal y sindicatos. Tampoco dice que la comisaria de Transporte, Violeta Bulc, señaló semanas atrás al propio Antolín Goya que la Sentencia debe cumplirse de manera estricta, pero no que esta manera sea la que unilateralmente acuerde un Gobierno en concreto.

Según Goya, “Nos sentimos engañados”. Más claro, imposible. Para el coordinador general de Coordinadora, “quieren imponer un Decreto Ley en el que dicen que no hay margen para modificación alguna, no facilitan el documento, toda la comunicación es verbal. El ministro pone a España al dictado de los funcionarios de la Comisión porque, según dice, España no puede legislar en materia portuaria sino en los términos que le autoricen en Bruselas, incluso, incluyendo restricciones a la negociación colectiva que, “aunque no la consideran necesaria”.

De hecho, la realidad es que lo que plantea el Gobierno español parte de condiciones mucho más radicales que las que pretendería Bruselas… y mucho más allá de lo que dice la propia sentencia del Tribunal de Luxemburgo.

Recordar, además, que un reciente reglamento aprobado por la Eurocámara “excluye a la estiba de la legislación europea para permitir que cada Estado miembro legisle libremente sobre ella”. Por lo pronto, y volviendo a España, el Partido Socialista parece que está en desacuerdo con la unilateralidad de un 'decretazo'. También creen necesario dialogar con las partes y llegar a una resolución pactada al conflicto antes de que éste sea una realidad… pero viendo la inestabilidad en el PSOE y que su actual responsable es un hombre de paja cualquiera sabe qué harán.

Por lo pronto ni PSOE ni PNV, ni mucho menos los partidos catalanes o Podemos, conocen el contenido del 'decretazo'. Evidentemente tampoco lo tienen los trabajadores ni las empresas. Se hace todo con sigilo y alevosía... pero cuidado, ya hicieron lo mismo hace dos años... cuando desde NAUCHERglobal destapamos todo el entramado y lo tuvieron que retirar. Cualquiera sabe si ahora podría pasar lo mismo.

Por lo pronto, roto el diálogo con el Gobierno y “ante la actitud autoritaria del ministro”, según palabras de Antolín Goya “iniciaremos movilizaciones y acciones sindicales para restablecer la comunicación, exigir de las empresas la culminación del esfuerzo de negociación desarrollado, y exponer a los grupos parlamentarios el error de una norma impuesta que desestabiliza un sector y destruye puestos de trabajo. Defenderemos nuestra profesión por todos los medios. No vemos otra salida. Somos miles las familias que vivimos de este sector, miles los trabajadores que hemos logrado construirlo para que arrojen cifras que baten records año tras año y no permitiremos que nos erradiquen de la ecuación, solo para que se enriquezcan los pocos a los que obedecen los gobiernos, a costa de trabajo en condiciones indecentes”.

Tags: Spanish DockworkersWar On The Spanish Ports
Categories: Labor News

Uber CEO, Trump Face Defeat by New York City's Mainly Immigrant Taxi Workers' Union

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 05:25

Uber CEO, Trump Face Defeat by New York City's Mainly Immigrant Taxi Workers' Union
Published 3 February 2017

Uber CEO retreats from White House group after organized immigrant drivers protested the "Muslim ban" and #DeleteUber went viral.

New York City taxi drivers are celebrating a resounding victory after the shame-faced Thursday resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick from President Donald Trump's business advisory group.

The departure comes after the company faced a massive boycott in the form of the #DeleteUber social media campaign urging users to boycott the ride-sharing app. The boycott was the backlash from an Uber attempt to break a one-hour taxi strike by the New York Taxi Workers Association, or NYTWA, in response to Trump's Muslim travel ban.

The strike, called by NYTWA on Jan. 28, asked the city's yellow cabs, green cars, black limousines and app-hailed Uber and Lyft drivers to refrain from dispatches to JFK International Airport in protest of what the association considered a discriminatory anti-Muslim travel ban.

The strike received overwhelmingly positive coverage amid outrage versus the ban.

Uber then made a move to suspend “surge pricing” – higher fares imposed during times of maximum demand – in a miscalculation seen as an opportunistic scabbing attempt rooted in Kalanick's collaboration with the White House.

Facing a cascade of deletions, the company went on the defensive, declaring that “experience has taught us that change comes from having a seat at the table and speaking up for what is right.” The statement added that the Uber CEO's advisory role “should not be taken as an endorsement of the new administration’s policy positions.”

Invigorated by the outpouring of solidarity, the NYTWA organized a demonstration Thursday at Uber's Long Island City headquarters alongside allied groups and unions to demand that Kalanick pull out of Trump's business advisory group.

On a Facebook event page, the union stated, “Now is the time for all those who value justice and equality to join together in holding Uber accountable, not only for its complicity with Trump’s hateful policies but also for impoverishing workers.”

“I used to work for Uber but I quit. They treated you like an animal. They treat you bad,” Mohammad Salim, a 20-year cab driver and immigrant from Pakistan who attended the protest, said to news site Vocativ. “Trump’s policies are really bad and wrong. We will stand against him and stand united so they can hear our voices.”

Shortly after the protest, the libertarian Kalanick announced his departure from the White House advisory group. However, the damage was already done: the brutal consumer response had already led to 200,000 deleted accounts. Disney CEO Bob Iger pulled out of the group shortly afterwards.

Disney saw what happened with #DeleteUber and backed out of that Trump meeting like

— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 3, 2017
In a statement celebrating the Uber mogul's retreat, NYTWA organizers noted the coinciding interests of the Trump administration and tech entrepreneurs such as Kalanick.

“Trump hurts immigrant and Muslim families with his executive orders. Uber, Lyft, and their cohorts hurt immigrant and Muslim workers with their business practices. Neither believe in minimum wage laws or other basic worker protections. That’s the real connection between the titans of the so-called gig economy and Trump,” the statement said.

The statement ended with a call to continue supporting the workers as they fight “against both the Muslim ban and Uber’s policies of poverty.”

Pesky Humans! Uber Introduces 'Robo Taxis' to Cut Labor Costs

Uber has faced pressure from taxi workers' associations and legislators across the globe for its treatment of drivers, who have complained of poor treatment by the company along with unstable scheduling, deteriorating work conditions and diminished cab fares.

Last November, U.K. Labour MP Frank Field released a blistering reportcharacterizing Uber conditions as resembling “Victorian-style sweated labor.” The report noted that the company's profits are due to the sacrifices of a “sizeable group of people who bear the largely unseen human scars of the 'gig economy.'”

The report also expressed a growing fear that without curbing Uber's practices, growing numbers of workers would find themselves “toiling through anxiety and insecurity, for unsafe lengths of time across seven days a week, in return for poverty pay.”

In an interview Monday with Democracy Now!, NYTWA executive director and co-founder Bhairavi Desai said that the largely Muslim and Sikh immigrant workforce her union represents is “deeply fragmented and impoverished” by Uber's “absolutely atrocious policy in its treatment of the workers,” making it “harder for people to rise up and take collective action.”

Despite the adverse conditions experienced by Uber's drivers, however, Desai expressed pride New York cabbies' coordinated job action: “This was a real act of courage, you know, particularly to have a workforce that’s predominantly black and brown stand up in this time.”

Tags: UberMuslim driversTrump
Categories: Labor News

London tube strikes called off RMT union says industrial action over staff safety and job cuts on London Underground has been suspended

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 20:41

London tube strikes called off
RMT union says industrial action over staff safety and job cuts on London Underground has been suspended
London Underground had been preparing commuters for the strike. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex/Shutterstock

Matthew Weaver
Friday 3 February 2017 15.11 GMTFirst published on Friday 3 February 2017 14.56 GMT
Planned strikes by London Underground workers that were expected to cause widespread disruption on Monday and Tuesday next week have been suspended.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were due to walk out for 16 hours from 6pm on Sunday and again for 15 hours from 10am on Tuesday in a dispute over job losses.

But the RMT said after talks with Transport for London (TfL) that almost 60% of the original job cuts had been reversed.

The dispute was ignited by the closure of ticket offices when Boris Johnson was mayor of London in 2014. Under a cost-cutting plan, up to 953 station staff were due to lose their jobs. The RMT says that after its campaign, including several strikes, 533 of those jobs have been reinstated.

The current mayor, Sadiq Khan, said he was delighted the strike had been suspended. “This shows what we can achieve by talking and engaging with staff,” he tweeted.

In a statement he also said the agreement reached with the union was “an excellent deal that will ensure commuters get the service they need at underground stations, and … fix the mess created by the previous mayor”.

Delighted we have been able to get the tube strikes suspended. This shows what we can achieve by talking and engaging with staff.

The RMT claimed the concessions represented a “tremendous victory” and said it particularly welcomed an agreement to reopen control rooms and a guarantee of promotion into safety-critical grades for customer service assistants.

Last month a 24-hour strike by members of the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association forced the closure of almost all central London tube stations, causing severe disruption and gridlocked streets.

The TSSA, which represents almost 20% of the 3,700 underground station staff, had already suspended a planned strike after TfL committed to restoring 325 posts.

The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “The fighting stance taken by RMT members since the jobs cull on our tube stations was first announced has reversed nearly 60% of those savage cuts.

“That is a tremendous victory and a reflection of the resilience and determination of our reps and the membership right across London Underground. We will now continue to work on implementation of the new staffing arrangements at the local level and as always RMT remains eternally vigilant.”

Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for London Underground, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with both unions and we welcome the RMT’s decision to suspend the strike action planned for next week.

“We agree that we need more staff in our stations and we will be recruiting at least 650 new station staff this year, of which 325 will be additional new roles. The remainder will comprise supervisor and customer service assistant roles and are expected to be a mix of both full time and part time.

“We will continue working with the unions as well as implementing the independent recommendations made by the London TravelWatch review to help meet the needs of our customers and to ensure they feel safe, fully supported and able to access the right assistance at all times.”

Before the suspension of the strike, TfL had advised passengers to allow more time for their journeys next week.

Tags: RMT Tube Strikestrike called off
Categories: Labor News

UBER Stop Screwing The Drivers! Protest Trump & UBER CEO At SF UBER World HQ

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 23:30

UBER Stop Screwing The Drivers! Protest Trump & UBER CEO At SF UBER World HQ
As part of a national protest of UBER, Lyft and Trump, drivers and supporters of drivers rallied, protested and spoke out at UBER SF world headquarters in San Francisco on February 2, 2017.
They protested Trump's attack on Muslim immigrants who include many UBER drivers and also on workers who are being marginalized by the UBER/Lyft platforms.
Speakers also talked about how UBER and the billionaire CEO Travis Cordell Kalanick fights against unionization and worker rights so they can escalate their massive profits.
Additional media:
Production of Labor Video Project

Tags: UberLyftMuslim driversTrumpsolidarityunion bustingracism
Categories: Labor News

Air France union urges members to refuse work on U.S. flights after Trump order

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 14:01

Air France union urges members to refuse work on U.S. flights after Trump order
Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:58pm GMT

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PARIS (Reuters) - The hardline CGT trade union at Air France has called on its members to refuse to work on U.S.-bound flights in protest against the U.S. immigration order that temporarily prevents refugees and travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

The executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump has drawn criticism from airlines body IATA, which said its members were struggling to enforce unclear rules, faced additional costs and were worried they could be fined if they get it wrong.

Airlines have already juggled crew rosters to make sure staff holding passports from the affected countries don't fall foul of the new rules.

On Tuesday, the CGT said Air France employees were within their rights to decline to work on U.S.-bound flights to object against what the union described as "anti-humanist" practices.

"Staff should let their managers know that they don't want to work on affected flights," Miguel Fortea, secretary general of CGT Air France, told French broadcaster BFM TV.

"Staff have a conscience; with political action, by refusing to apply the Trump order on French territory we can make start to make a change," he added.

Air France, part of the Air France-KLM group, has come under fire on social media for preventing passengers from boarding as a result of the new rules.

In response, the carrier has said that like other airlines, it had to abide by immigration requirements of the countries that it flies to, which means not allowing passengers to board a flight to a destination where they would be refused entry.

It was not immediately available for comment on the union's remarks on Tuesday.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the order, which the White House has said is needed to protect the citizens of the United States.

On its website, the CGT described the executive order as xenophobic and illegal.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents travel industry executives, said suspending travel based only on a person's nationality or origin was wrong and called on the Trump administration to reconsider the ban.

"None of the shocking domestic incidents in the U.S. since 2001 have been attributed to external terrorists who have specifically flown into the country to commit an atrocity," WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill said.

"Preventing 'aliens' from entering the U.S. for legitimate business or leisure purposes is misguided and counter-productive for the American economy."

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mark Potter)

Tags: French Union CGTTrump Muslim Ban
Categories: Labor News

Korean Capitalist Corps Samsung, the Hyundai Motor Company, SK and LG Funded Rightist Gangsters With $5.98 Million-They Attacked member of a Sewol sinking victim’s family

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 15:55

Korean Capitalist Corps Samsung, the Hyundai Motor Company, SK and LG Funded Rightist Gangsters With $5.98 Million-They Attacked member of a Sewol sinking victim’s family
Nearly $6 million flowed from chaebol to far right groups over three years
Posted on : Jan.31,2017 17:24 KSTModified on : Jan.31,2017 17:24 KST
Members of the Korea Parents Federation and other right-wing groups hold a protest outside Yeongdeungpo Police Station in Seoul on Sep. 19, 2014, after a driver was allegedly assaulted by a member of a Sewol sinking victim’s family. (Yonhap News)
Alongside blacklist, government also put together whitelist of groups that received financial support
The investigative team of Special Prosecutors has learned that the Blue House received money from South Korea’s four largest chaebols (Samsung, the Hyundai Motor Company, SK and LG) to fund pro-government demonstrations by conservative and far-right organizations such as the Korean Parent Federation (KPF) and the Moms Brigade. An executive from Samsung’s Future Strategy Office personally attended all the fundraising meetings, which were organized by the Office of the Blue House Senior Secretary for Political Affairs, to discuss the amount of funding and the organizations to support. Former Blue House Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon (currently under arrest) was also closely involved, urging the leading chaebol to provide financial support to these organizations. Special Prosecutor Park Young-soo is weighing the option of charging Kim and others with abusing their power by implementing not only a blacklist for suppressing those on the left but also a whitelist for supporting those on the right.
According to sources with the Special Prosecutor’s team and in business on Jan. 30, Shin Dong-cheol and Jung Gwan-ju, former secretaries at the Office of the Blue House Senior Secretary for Political Affairs, met regularly with Samsung Future Strategy Office Senior Managing Director Kim Wan-pyo and Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) Vice Chairman Lee Seung-cheol between 2014 and 2016 to discuss funding organizations that would organize pro-government and pro-business assemblies and demonstrations. At these meetings, the Blue House reportedly requested financial aid for 10 right-wing groups that it had selected, including the KPF, the Moms Brigade, the Korean Disabled Veteran’s Association by Agent-Orange in Vietnam War, and Zeitgeist.

Portraits of former President Park Chung-hee (left, in office 1961-79) next to his daughter and current President Park Geun-hye hang in the office of the Korea Parent Federation, a right-wing group, in Seoul’s Jongno district, Apr. 21. (by Kim Seong-gwang, staff photographer)
By tracking bank accounts, the Special Prosecutor’s team confirmed that over 7 billion won (US$5.98 million) flowed from these four chaebols to conservative and far-right organizations over the past three years. Samsung, the country’s largest chaebol, provided the most financial support. Typically, Samsung and the FKI would determine the total amount of support and assign smaller amounts to the Hyundai Motor Company, SK and LG. Over 2 billion won was given in 2014, which surged to 3.3 or 3.4 billion won in 2015, the year after the Sewol ferry sinking. The total amount of funding decreased to around 1 billion won last year, after charges were raised in Apr. 2016 that the Blue House had used the FKI to fund the KPF and after the Choi Sun-sil scandal broke.
Sources with the Special Prosecutor’s team explained that the four biggest chaebols were used to fund conservative and right-wing organizations (starting in 2014, President Park Geun-hye’s second year in office) in a manner similar to how the Mir and K-Sports Foundations were established. The Office of the Blue House Senior Secretary for Political Affairs raised a huge amount - 7 billion won over three years - that the FKI used to “voluntarily” fund 10 or so organizations, including the KPF and the Moms Brigade.
But the purpose of the funding was much more overt than with the Mir and K-Sports Foundations, which at least had the plausible goal of bringing about a renaissance in culture and sports. By holding secret meetings and providing billions of won in funding to pro-government and pro-business groups that occupy the far right of the country‘s ideological spectrum, the Blue House and the country’s best-known global chaebols entered unchartered territory in the collaboration between government and big business, critics say. The revelation that the four largest chaebols provided direct funding to organizations that are opposed to economic democratization is likely to have political fallout, coinciding as it does with the early presidential election.
Kim Wan-pyo played a critical role in this process. While it had been previously assumed that FKI chairman Lee Seung-cheol had severed as the go-between, Samsung reportedly worked directly with the FKI to determine the amount of funding, with Kim personally attending the related meetings. That is to say, Samsung did not hesitate to participate in meetings organized to provide large sums of money to organizations that would obviously create a social uproar and damage Samsung’s corporate image if they came to light.
Samsung, which donated 20.4 billion won (more than any other company) to the Mir and K-Sports Foundations, claims that it was a “victim” and that the Blue House extorted that money. But these conservative and far-right organizations were funded in a similar manner, and the fact that Samsung took the initiative in funding them undermines its claims of being the victim of extortion.
The Special Prosecutor’s team placed Shin Dong-cheol, former Blue House Public Relations Secretary, under arrest and filed charges against him on Jan. 30 and announced that it is planning to do the same to Kim Ki-choon before long. While the team has already charged Kim with extortion and abuse of power in connection with his composition and implementation of the blacklist designed to suppress artists on the left, it is also looking into the possibility of charging Kim with ordering the implementation of a whitelist for funding people on the right.
With this in mind, the Special Prosecutor‘s team once again called in Kim Ki-choon and former Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Cho Yoon-sun on Jan. 30 for additional questioning. Recently, the team has questioned people who served as Blue House Senior Secretaries for Political Affairs between 2014 and 2016 - including Cho, Park Jun-woo and Hyeon Gi-hwan - to investigate the triangle linking the Blue House, Samsung and the FKI, and right-wing groups.
As concrete evidence of Kim’s involvement comes to light, the Special Prosecutor‘s team is also leaving open the possibility that Park Geun-hye was aware of the composition and implementation not only of the blacklist but of the whitelist as well.
By Kim Nam-il and Seo Young-ji, staff reporters

Tags: Korea Sewol FamiliesRightwingKorean Government
Categories: Labor News

NYC IBT Teamsters Joint Council 16 union linked to Puerto Rico stands by leaders who denounce President Trump’s travel ban order

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 13:12

NYC IBT Teamsters Joint Council 16 union linked to Puerto Rico stands by leaders who denounce President Trump’s travel ban order
"Teamsters Joint Council 16 will keep marching in protest and reaching out in support of New York lawmakers who are fighting Trump's executive order.
NYC union linked to Puerto Rico stands by leaders who denounce President Trump’s travel ban order"
Plinio Cruz-Alvarez, formerly an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, says many forget America is a country made up of immigrants.
Plinio Cruz-Alvarez, formerly an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, says many forget America is a country made up of immigrants. (ALEX MOORE )

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 11:51 AM
A New York City union with deep ties to Puerto Rico issued a sharp rebuke Wednesday of President Trump's controversial travel ban.

The head of Teamsters Joint Council 16, which reps 120,000 laborers in the city and Puerto Rico, joined with the Teamsters' National Hispanic Caucus to thank the elected officials who have opposed the executive order issued by Trump on Friday.

Joint Council 16 President George Miranda said many of his members — who are immigrants — are "scared" by what they see as divisive policies coming from the White House.

"President Trump's immigration orders — including banning immigrants from several Muslim countries, closing our doors to refugees fleeing persecution, increasing deportations that tear apart families, and building a needless wall — do not represent the values that make America great," Miranda said.

His own union's membership, both locally and nationally, includes workers from all around the globe.

One of them, Plinio Cruz-Alvarez, originally from the Dominican Republic, said he had once been an undocumented worker.

Now a legal citizen, he worked in private sanitation and is an organizer for Teamsters' local 813.

"I am a citizen of this country now, every day I contribute to build what we have ... and will continue contributing and fighting for all workers regardless of how or when they got here," he said.

He said he was happy to see the Teamsters — who also marched Sunday in a protest of Trump's travel ban — taking a stand on behalf of its members.

Joint Council 16 President George Miranda
Joint Council 16 President George Miranda(STEVEN M MEYER/STEVE MEYER FOR NEW YORK DAILY N)
"Even though we don't always agree on every issue, at least most of us respect the rights of others and stand for what is right. If you believe that immigrants shouldn't have the right to earn a living for their families, I suggest you look through your past which many of us are reluctant to do and others intend to ignore," Cruz-Alvarez said.

"Somehow, somewhere you will find out either you admit that or not, that you are also part of a lineage that came from somewhere else," he said.

President Trump has continued to defend his temporary halt on immigration and refugees from seven majority Muslim countries, saying it’s legal and it’s in the best interests of the country's national security.

Miranda said he, like other union leaders, understood the need to protect the public. But he feared the White House wasn't getting the message that "immigration makes us stronger," not weaker.

"New York Teamsters come from just about every country. We do the jobs that run America, from trucking and airlines, to sanitation and government," Miranda said.

He also hopes America's union movement will be a force in bringing together workers from all backgrounds and creeds to fight for better working conditions for everyone.

"Union workers learn that the threat is not the immigrant working next to you, but the company exploiting both of you," Miranda noted.

In coming days, Miranda said, Teamsters Joint Council 16 will keep marching in protest and reaching out in support of New York lawmakers who are fighting Trump's executive order.

Tags: IBTimmigrationracismteamsters
Categories: Labor News