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Long-time Hoffa Rep and his Enforcer Convicted of Racketeering

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:36

November 20, 2014: A jury in Boston yesterday convicted a former member of the Hoffa administration of racketeering and extortion. His “enforcer” was convicted also, and both will be sentenced to a federal prison term in February.

John Perry, who was Hoffa’s Trade Show National Director until the IRB and the feds removed Perry from the union, was convicted of multiple counts, along with Joseph “Jo Jo” Burhoe, Perry’s enforcer.

TDU members and other concerned trade show Teamsters, took a stand against Perry, who headed Boston Local 82, and fought for democratic reforms and against sweetheart contracts in their union ratified by phony votes. Perry and Burhoe responded with intimidation and violence, sending one member to the hospital. Members appealed to Hoffa for help, but he replied that he would do nothing about his appointee’s corruption and violence. That struggle is reported here.   

In May 2011, TDU members’actions led the Independent Review Board (IRB) to throw Perry and Burhoe out of the Teamsters, after Hoffa tried to cover it up.

Burhoe then went to work for management. Hoffa then merged Local 82 into Local 25. 

Perry and Burhoe were convicted yesterday after a seven-week trial.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Charlotte FedEx Freight Votes Teamster

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:19

November 20, 2014: The 222 city and road drivers at the big Charlotte terminal voted Yes for the Teamsters Union in an NLRB election. It’s the largest union win at FedEx Freight to date, and brings the number of Teamster-represented FedEx Freight workers to about 400.

Congratulations to the FedEx Freight brothers and sisters, and to Local 71.

The IBT press release on the vote is here.



Issues: Labor MovementFreight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

The truth about multiemployer plans

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:47
Nick ThorntonBenefits ProNovember 20, 2014View the original piece

Could it be that the vast majority of the country’s multiemployer pension plans are in fine shape? 

The headlines around multiemployer plans this year have not been pretty, so it’s easy to assume they’re all in trouble.

Click here to read more at Benefits Pro.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

LA Strike by Teamster port truck drivers expands to comprise six companies

Current News - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 04:58

LA Strike by Teamster port truck drivers expands to comprise six companies
Teamsters Reyes Magana, right, and Fausto Castillo, behind him, join a picket at the entrance to Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) in the Port of Long Beach on Monday. Los Angeles and Long Beach truck drivers are conducting a 48-hour strike for fair and lawful treatment against the Ports of LA/Long Beach terminals.

Teamsters Reyes Magana, right, and Fausto Castillo, behind him, join a picket at the entrance to Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT) in the Port of Long Beach on Monday. Los Angeles and Long Beach truck drivers are conducting a 48-hour strike for fair and lawful treatment against the Ports of LA/Long Beach terminals.


Published: Nov. 18, 2014 Updated: 7:22 p.m.
Port truck drivers on Tuesday expanded their strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to include two new companies. That brings to six the companies that are targets of the strike.
The strike is exacerbating congestion at the ports, which is already high due to a lack of truck chassis and rising trade volume from the improving economy.
Dockworkers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been working without a contract since July and have faced recent accusations from the Pacific Maritime Association that the union is intentionally orchestrating the slowdown.
Drivers from QTS Inc., LACA Express and WinWin Logistics Inc. went on strike Monday, and drivers from Pacer and Harbor Rail Transport struck on Tuesday.
Port truck drivers want to be classified as employees and not independent contractors. As employees, they would be able to form a union and receive workplace protections.
“Port truck drivers are on strike to protest their misclassification as independent contractors, to end wage theft and to have access to common workplace protections that every American worker has the right to,” said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for the Teamsters Union, which is backing the drivers.
“We are sick of this misclassification scam,” said Ricardo Ceja, a trucker at LACA Express, in a statement. “We are coming out of the shadows to demand our rights as company employees to provide a better future for our families.”
Officials of trucking companies didn’t return requests for comment.
The strike began last week when drivers for Pac 9 and TTSI protested at company yards. Many marine terminals turned drivers away, though, in an effort to avoid the pickets.
On Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti got company representatives to begin talks with drivers and Teamsters.
Maynard said the talks were the first of their kind. “Because of the progress of these drivers who have been on strike, we are seeing drivers from five different companies come forward and say they want to go on strike as well because they realize there is hope.”
Contact the writer: hmadans@ocregister.com or Twitter: @HannahMadans

Tags: LA Port Truckers Strike
Categories: Labor News

American Airline flight attendants and the global airline industry

Current News - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 03:46

American Airline flight attendants and the global airline industry
By Shannon Jones
20 November 2014
The rejection by American Airlines and US Airways flight attendants of the recent tentative agreement submitted by their union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), takes place amidst cutthroat competition in the global airline industry.
Through their vote American Airlines flight attendants demonstrated their determination to resist further attacks on working conditions and living standards. In considering how to carry forward their struggle, flight attendants need to look at the broader issues confronting airline workers in the US and internationally.
All the major global airlines are seeking to slash costs in order to maximize profits under conditions of continued global slump. Opposition to the mounting attacks on wages, pensions and working conditions has erupted recently in strikes by pilots at Air France and Lufthansa. For their part the unions have sought to stifle these struggles in the name of maintaining the global competitiveness of their respective air carriers.
In the United States a series of bankruptcies and mergers over the last 12-13 years have led to the consolidation of what were formerly 10 major airlines down to just four, which dominate the national market. Major bankruptcies during this period include: United (2002), Northwest (2005), Delta (2005), US Airways (2002 and 2004) and, most recently, American (2011).
The consolidation in the US airline industry parallels a similar process internationally. A few of the largest global mergers include multiple acquisitions by Lufthansa between 2005 and 2009 when it purchased Swiss Air, Australia Airlines and BMI. In 2004 Air France merged with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and in 2006 Cathay Pacific Purchased Dragon Air. In 2010 Caribbean Airlines acquired Air Jamaica.
The global economic meltdown of 2008 accelerated the crisis in the airline industry, as air traffic fell internationally. Between 2008 and 2013 a total of 375 airlines went out of business worldwide. Airline workers have borne the brunt of this with the destruction of jobs and demands for higher productivity and wage cuts for those remaining on the job. In 2012 American alone eliminated 13,000 jobs, 16 percent of its workforce. The cuts included 2,300 flight attendants and 400 pilots. Its bankruptcy plan called for a $2 billion cost reduction, $1.25 billion of which would come from employees.
In Spain, unions at Iberia Airlines this summer agreed to an additional 1,427 job cuts, bringing the total slashed at the airline to 4,600 since 2012.
Earlier this year Australian-based Qantas Airlines announced the layoff of an additional 5,000 workers and the imposition of a wage freeze. The airline is looking for $800 million in cost savings and to reduce its debt by $1 billion.
As a result of continuous cost cutting, along with the fall in oil prices, US airlines are now realizing enormous profits. In the third quarter of 2013 American recorded net income of $942 million, an 87 percent improvement of the combined profits of American and US Airways before their merger last year. Southwest saw its profits jump to $329 million, a 27 percent rise. United saw its profits increase to $924 million, a 144 percent rise since last year, while Delta had $579 million in adjusted net earnings.
This situation is a stark expression of the failure and bankruptcy of the capitalist profit system. Since the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 all the claims that free market competition is the best guarantor of quality, efficiency, safety and low prices have been exposed as lies. The turn to deregulation was, in fact, part of a policy of class war launched by the ruling elite aimed at destroying all the gains workers had won through past struggles.
The unions collaborated in this process. They worked with management to impose round after round of concessions and to block any attempt at organized resistance on the part of workers, beginning with the isolation and betrayal of the strike by PATCO air traffic controllers in 1981. The defeat of the air traffic controllers was followed by a wave of wage cutting and strikebreaking throughout the US. Airline workers were a particular target. Strikes were broken at a series of companies in the 1980s including United, Continental, Northwest and Eastern.

American Airlines strikers in 1993
The last major strikes by airline workers came in 1993, when American Airlines flight attendants struck against concession demands. However, instead of supporting the strike, the pilots’ union ordered its members to cross the picket lines and continue to fly planes. APFA called off the strike after only five days, agreeing to a deal for binding arbitration brokered by the administration of President Bill Clinton. It required flight attendants to return to work under terms of the same draconian work rule concessions that were the immediate catalyst for the walkout.
There has not been another significant airline strike in the US for the past two decades. In one case where workers did walk out, the strike by Northwest Airlines mechanics in 2005, the Air Line Pilots Association, the International Association of Machinists and other AFL-CIO unions ordered their members to cross picket lines. This open strikebreaking led to the isolation and defeat of the mechanics, whose union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Organization, was broken and workers victimized.
In the American Airlines bankruptcy, the unions agreed to a package of concessions and then, to add insult to injury, imposed an anti-democratic gag order prohibiting workers from criticizing executive compensation packages. One executive alone, former American CEO Thomas Horton, received a payout of close to $17 million.
The deplorable role played by the unions is not simply the result of mistaken policies or bad leaders. As organizations based on the defense of the capitalist profit system and tied to the nation state, the unions responded to the rise of globalized production by seeking to defend the competiveness of “their” employers by lowering wages and attacking working conditions. At the same time they have created a whole web of relations with management aimed at preserving the institutional interests of the union bureaucracy.
To advance their interests airline workers need a new program and strategy. What is required are genuinely democratic organizations of struggle based on the fight for the socialist reorganization of society. US airline workers must join hands with their brothers and sisters internationally in a common fight against the multinational airline conglomerates. This includes fighting for the program of nationalization of the airline industry under the democratic ownership and control of the working class.
This is necessarily a political struggle. The alliance of the unions with the Democratic Party signifies the political disenfranchisement of the working class. The working class must build its own party, independent of the two parties of Wall Street, the Democrats and Republicans. Only in this way can workers begin to mobilize their full strength in the fight to establish a workers government.

Tags: American AirlinesFlight Attendants
Categories: Labor News

Facebook Drivers Vote To Join Teamsters 853

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:42

Facebook shuttle drivers vote to unionize with IBT 853
By Patrick Maypmay@mercurynews.com
POSTED: 11/19/2014 06:36:58 PM PST1 COMMENT| UPDATED: 67 MIN. AGO
Facebook shuttle drivers voted on Wednesday to unionize, triggering what some believe could be an organizing trend among service workers who perform many of the utilitarian duties that help keep Silicon Valley's tech boom on track.

The 43-28 vote by drivers with Facebook's shuttle-bus contractor, Loop Transportation, to join the Teamsters Local 853 was viewed as a possible flip-switch on union organizing among drivers for other tech companies like Google and Apple. Some of the 84 part- and full-time Facebook drivers have complained for months about how their $18-an-hour wage and split shifts make surviving in one of the nation's most expensive regions a daily struggle. Many drivers say they have to sleep in their cars or at Loop's shuttle yard in the hours between bringing Facebook employees to work each morning and then picking them up in the afternoon.

The fact that the average Facebook software engineer makes almost $120,000 year, according to Glassdoor, made their own modest wages seem even more offensive, the drivers said.

"This is the change we've been waiting for, but we'll see what happens when we start negotiating a contract," said elated driver Cliff Doi. "That's when the real battle begins. We just hope the rest of the shuttle drivers around the Bay Area will join us in our fight."

Loop's vice president, Blake Rhodes, said after the vote that "Loop Transportation respects the election results and the decision of our drivers who service Facebook. Even though we don't feel that our drivers' interests are best served by union representation, our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process."

Representatives with the National Labor Relations Board could not be reached immediately after the vote for comment.

Teamsters representative Rome Aloise said the company's efforts to discourage drivers from voting in the union had failed.

"I believe this fight will now move to other companies in the Valley," said Aloise, secretary-treasurer for Local 853. "And we'll set a pattern where so that all these dot-com companies can make sure the people who support them as they make billions of dollars in profits will be provided in a decent fashion to be able to support their families."

With Wednesday's vote, the next step is a seven-day timeout when either or both parties may challenge the results, said Tim Peck, assistant to the regional director for the National Labor Relations Board's San Francisco office. His office oversaw the vote.

Peck said that such challenges are rare, occurring only in about 15-20 percent of all union votes. He said sometimes one side or the other will object when "someone feels the vote was unfair. That triggers an investigation into the process."

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689 or follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc

Facebook Drivers Vote To Join Teamsters
NOVEMBER 19, 2014
Drivers With Facebook Contractor Loop Trans. Win Teamsters Local 853 Representation, Look Forward To Improvements
Rome Aloise
Email: raloise@teamsters853.org
Phone: (510) 895-8853
(WASHINGTON) – Drivers who shuttle Facebook employees to and from the company headquarters in Menlo Park., Calif., have voted in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.
The 87 drivers, employees of Loop Transportation, organized to improve their working conditions, including low pay and an abusive split shift schedule.
“The only way that Loop will listen to us is with a union and a collective voice. I’m very relieved that we have that now,” said Demaurae Hooston, a driver.
Loop Transportation is one of a number of operators that Silicon Valley companies contract with to provide transportation for their employees.
“These companies need to step up and stop demanding the lowest bid contract. They need to all agree to pay their contractors an amount that allows the union to negotiate for decent wages and benefits. Of all the industries in the world, the tech industry can afford to compensate those that help make them successful,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 853. “We’re ready to get to work at Loop to help these drivers better their lives and the conditions they face at work - to get them some justice.”
The effort of Facebook drivers to organize a union has drawn attention from all over the world. Drivers are forced to work split shifts, often waiting six hours in between picking up and dropping off Facebook employees—all unpaid. The drivers often start work at 6 a.m. and end the day at 9:45 p.m.
“We can’t continue 16-hour days, having drivers sleeping in the cold in their cars while we wait five hours to be able to start our next shift. It’s inhumane,” said Cliff Doi, a driver. “With our union, we can find solutions to these problems.”
Yesterday, a rally was held outside Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, Calif., where community, political and religious leaders and Teamsters demanded that Facebook respect the rights of its bus drivers to organize a union without interference.
“These drivers are part of the invisible work force that makes Silicon Valley run,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA, a community group that participated in the rally. “They are members of our communities that work hard every day, but live in poverty, and the business model of tech companies like Facebook counts on that. Tech companies write the checks to subcontractors who hire these drivers and the thousands of other service workers who make these tech giants able to function. They need to set the standards, too, and say ‘no’ to poverty jobs.”
The delegation delivered a petition containing thousands of signatures, calling on Facebook to stop condoning anti-worker, anti-union behavior by Loop Transportation. Facebook refused to accept the petition when it was delivered.
To view the petition, go to: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/facebook_bus_drivers.
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dated October 2, Aloise wrote, “This is reminiscent of a time when noblemen were driven around in their coaches by their servants. Frankly, little has changed; except the noblemen are your employees, and the servants are the bus drivers who carry them back and forth each day.”
The letter to Zuckerberg and a letter to the company as well as the stories of drivers can be seen at http://teamster.org/facebook-drivers-deserve-union.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

Tags: IBT 853Facebookteamsters
Categories: Labor News

No Federal Arbitrator In ILWU-PMA Negotiations For Now

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:15

No Federal Arbitrator In ILWU-PMA Negotiations For Now
http://www.joc.com/regulation-policy/transportation-policy/us-transporta... 80%99t-wade-ilwu-pma-contract-
Obama won’t wade into ILWU-PMA contract talks
Mark Szakonyi, Associate Managing Editor | Nov 19, 2014 9:34AM EST
WASHINGTON — Despite the pleas of major shippers, President Obama won’t send a federal mediator to help U.S. West Coast longshoremen and waterfront employers reach a labor contract.
The president’s decision to let the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association go it alone further reflects the rut the labor and congestion situation at West Coast ports has ground into. Cargo is moving, albeit at a much slower pace than usual, and ILWU work slowdowns aren’t severe enough to spur federal action.
“Just last year, there was a long negotiation at the East and Gulf Coast ports,” White House spokesman Frank Benenati told Bloomberg in an e-mail. “And just as the two sides in that case were able to resolve their differences through the time-tested process of collective bargaining, we’re confident that management and labor at the West Coast ports can do the same.”
But in the case of the East and Gulf Coast port contract, Obama did send a federal mediator to aid negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance in 2012. Obama’s decision then to send George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, came after the ILA threatened to strike if a bargaining standoff didn’t end.
The ILWU and the PMA, which represents U.S. West Coast waterfront employers, would both have to request a federal mediator to get the process going. Obama, however, could encourage the duo to use a mediator, as he did during East and Gulf Coast labor negotiations two years ago.
Unlike today’s situation in which the ILWU has rejected PMA calls for contract extensions, the ILA and USMX had agreed to several extensions during their negotiations. Without an extension of a contract, there is no grievance procedure in place to quickly arbitrate health and safety claims and work slowdowns.
The ILWU, which denies its members are causing slowdowns, has shown no signs of wanting to strike. The PMA says the union’s work slowdown tactics continue unchanged, but the employers do not indicate that they are ready to lockout the ILWU as they did during a contract impasse in 2002. President George W. Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to end the 10-day lockout.
ILWU and PMA negotiators are meeting daily in the hopes of ending seven months of talks. The latest report of progress between both sides came at the end of summer, when the two parties jointly announced a tentative agreement on the important issue of health care benefits.
Still, the lack of a contract since July 1, which has exacerbated congestion at West Coast ports, particularly at Los Angeles and Long Beach, is testing the nerves of shippers. That’s spurred a full-court lobbying press on Congress, the Obama administration and the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission to do something to help resolve the problems the ports and shippers face.
“After months of hard negotiations, we strongly believe that the parties will benefit from using a federal mediator to help them reach a deal, just as the East Coast did,” Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, told JOC.com. He added that the ILA and USMX were only able to reach a deal after a federal mediator got involved.
Contact Mark Szakonyi at mszakonyi@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @szakonyi_joc.

Tags: ILWU Coast Wide ContractPMAObamaFederal Mediator
Categories: Labor News

USA: Facebook Drivers Vote To Join Teamsters

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Teamsters
Categories: Labor News

$15 an Hour and Full-Time

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:47

November 19, 2014: Walmart workers are planning protests, sit-ins and strikes at stores across the country on Black Friday.

Protests against low-wages, lack of full-time jobs, inadequate and expensive healthcare, and disrespect from management will take place at 1,600 locations nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Walmart employs more than 1.4 million workers—who they term “associates”—making it the largest employer in the country. “Associates” make on average just $8.81 an hour.

Walmart workers need allies to show their support—click here to find a Black Friday action to join up with.

And click here to hear stories from Walmart workers and learn more about what they’re fighting for.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Don't mourn, ORGANIZE!

IWW - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:45

On this day, Nov. 19, 1915, Joe Hill was murdered by the State of Utah.

A songwriter, itinerant laborer, and union organizer, Joe Hill became famous around the world after a Utah court convicted him of murder. Even before the international campaign to have his conviction reversed, however, Joe Hill was well known on picket lines and at workers’ rallies as the author of popular labor songs and as an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) agitator. Thanks in large part to his songs and to his stirring, well—publicized call to his fellow workers on the eve of his execution—”Don’t waste time mourning, organize!”—Hill became, and he has remained, the best—known IWW martyr and labor folk hero.

read more

Categories: Unions

Truckers Stranded in New York Storm Along Thruway

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:10
Michele FuetschTransport TopicsNovember 19, 2014View the original piece

Record-breaking snowfall and winds have stranded truckers and other travelers on a 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway that’s been shut down for nearly two days.

“It’s bad; it’s definitely an emergency situation out there,” said Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

“I don’t know what the exact number is, but they have vehicles that are basically buried, both cars and trucks,” Hems said. “And it’s not just the Thruway. It’s other roads in the area.”

Cars and trucks are stranded on shoulders, in highway lanes and on access and exit ramps, she said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard is helping clear snow and rescue stranded motorists.

“They’re running against time, though, because there’s another storm system coming through that could dump another 2 to 3 inches of snow,” Hems said.

Tandem trucks were ordered off at about 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, and within two hours, the stretch of the highway running east-west through Buffalo into Pennsylvania was closed, she added.

Right now, the most important task is to rescue stranded motorists and get vehicles off the roads so they can be reopened, Hems said.

“I think their decision to shut the road was made in a fairly timely fashion based on the information they were given,” she added. “I think where the questions are going to be and what needs to be discussed to hopefully prevent this in the future is ‘OK, well, now you’ve shut the road down, what do we do about getting everybody off it and where do you put everybody that’s trying to get on it?’ ”


Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Defend Teamster Jobs at Sysco-US Foods

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:17

November 19, 2014: Teamsters spoke out at the annual shareholders meeting of Sysco to defend Teamster jobs and contracts in the face of the proposed merger of Sysco and US Foods.

Last December, Sysco announced it would buy its competitor US Foods for $8.2 billion. Both companies sell food products to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and schools.

More than 7,600 Teamsters work at Sysco and another 4,000 Teamsters work as US Foods.

The proposed deal threatens as many as 2,500 Teamster jobs. Sysco management says it will save $600 million over the next four years. The threat is those savings will come at the expense of Teamster job loss as the company consolidates its operations.

Sysco has not agreed to honor Teamster contracts if the deal goes through.  

The Federal Trade Commission has not approved the purchase. Sysco has twice announced delays in closing the deal since it was announced in December 2013.

A merged Sysco-US Foods would control 25 percent of the market. The danger for customers is if there are few other options, Sysco will be able to raise prices. 

In other news, Teamsters Local 848 is threatening Sysco Foods with strike action and launching a customer outreach campaign. The company is demanding healthcare cuts and to put half of all drivers on four ten-hour schedules.   

Issues: Warehouse Newswire
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Railway Companies’ Bottom Line Continues to Trump Safety

Railroaded's Blog - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:29

In spite of local municipalities, fire departments and other first responders, politicians and rail safety experts pressing Transport Canada and Canadian rail companies to provide real-time information on what dangerous goods railways are moving through our cities, towns and villages, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway and Transport Canada refuse to provide these data (Toronto Star). The information is essentially kept secret until an accident occurs, which is often too late.

Groups like Safe Rail Communities* think any information that would make our rails safer should be made public, particularly following last year’s disastrous derailment, spill, fires and explosions that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. And the situation is getting worse, as Canadian rail companies transport more and more dangerous, hazardous, toxic and flammable goods across Canada, including crude oil.

Transport Canada does not even require railways to disclose their insurance coverage in the event of accidents because that information is considered commercially sensitive. Nor does Transport Canada release information on track maintenance and inspection reports, as they contain what rail companies consider third-party and commercial information. Transport Canada has repeatedly been criticized for letting the rail industry monitor its own safety.

When asked about the secrecy surrounding rail company emergency plans, York University associate professor Mark Winfield said, “The issue again goes to basic issues of accountability and the balance between the economic interests of the railways and the safety interests of the public being struck in the plans.” Peggy Nash, NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park said the Lac-Mégantic tragedy shone a light on Transport Canada’s “lack of enforcement and poor safety culture”. People have lost trust in the government systems designed to protect the public, she said.

As long as Transport Canada continues to let rail companies’ bottom line trump rail safety, the public and the environment will continue to be subjected to derailments and associated spills, fires and explosions.

*Visit the Safe Rail Communities website at this link.

Filed under: Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, Derailment, Safety
Categories: Labor News

Electronic log rule is a year away

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 07:01
Eric MillerTransport TopicsNovember 19, 2014View the original piece

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not expect to publish its final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices for carriers until Sept. 30, 2015, the agency said in its November significant rulemakings report.

The rule would not be effective until two years after it is finalized.

Other regulatory projections affecting truckers:

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will send its heavy-duty truck speed-limiters proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget next month, and publish the rule March 16, 2015. 

• FMCSA plans to send its carrier safety fitness determination rule to OMB in late December and publish its proposed rule April 2, 2015. The rule would replace the current SafeStat system using Compliance, Safety, Accountability data to rate carriers as satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory.

• FMCSA left unchanged its plan to publish an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking this month that will explore whether to raise the current $750,000 insurance minimum for carriers. The ANPRM will seek comments from carriers to assist the agency in deciding whether to move forward with a proposed rule.

• FMCSA expects to issue its final drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule Oct. 30, 2015, and a final rule prohibiting the coercion of drivers by carriers and brokers on Sept. 10, 2015.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Most Big LTLs make Big Profits

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 06:59
SCDigest Editorial StaffSupply Chain DigestNovember 19, 2014View the original piece

We're finishing up this week SCDigest's regularly quarterly review of the results and comments from leading transportation carriers by mode, this week for the less-than-truckload carriers, as the last of them finished up their Q3 2014 earnings reports in the last few weeks.

Last week, we covered the US rail carriers (see Rail Carriers Enjoy Mostly Blow Out Q3 on Strong Volume Growth) and the week before the truckload sector (see Q3 2014 Truckload Carrier Review and Comment).

Click here to read more.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Uber outrage spurs local fear of retaliation

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:54

Uber outrage spurs local fear of retaliation

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez @FitztheReporter

An Oakland journalist says she is fearful Uber — which she uses — could mine data from its app to figure out sources she talked to for a story about CEO Travis Kalanick. - COURTESY UBER.COM
An Oakland journalist says she is fearful Uber — which she uses — could mine data from its app to figure out sources she talked to for a story about CEO Travis Kalanick.
A local journalist fears she may face personal retaliation from app-based transit company Uber, according to her sources at the tech transit company.

The local controversy arises in the shadow of a viral national story, as Buzzfeed reported Tuesday that an Uber executive said he wished to retaliate against journalists writing perceived hostile news coverage.

Now a local reporter says she is worried for her sources, and also for herself.

Ellen Cushing recently wrote a profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for San Francisco Magazine titled "The Smartest Bro in the Room." On Tuesday, she said that her sources for the story, whom she kept anonymous, told her they feared Uber would use GPS travel data from Cushing's use of the app, and use that data to discern their identities.

In her story, Cushing wrote of Uber, "As a matter of course, it routinely and aggressively sidesteps the law and regulation; violates industry norms; ignores ethical boundaries; and tramples on competitive relationships. In this and many other ways, San Francisco's most controversial startup has become a symbol of the place that birthed it, a small city that is rapidly--and at times clumsily--growing into a world power."

Her sources said they feared they would be fired, or targeted with punitive action.

Uber did not respond to calls to comment for this article.

Cushing, 23, is legally blind and cannot drive. Living in Oakland, she said Uber is her only reliable mode of travel. This makes her particularly vulnerable to Uber should it mine data to blackmail her.

"I use it all the time," she said, "it's a great product."

But the data could reveal GPS location of her home or any source she comes into contact with, she said.

Buzzfeed reported that Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael said at a dinner that he planned to hire top opposition researchers to "fight back" against journalists whom he found hostile to the transit company.

He'd look into "your personal lives, your families," Michael reportedly said, and "give the media a taste of its own medicine."

Cushing's sources said peering into personal data of Uber users is easy.

Michael focused criticism on journalist Sarah Lacy of Silicon Valley site Pandodaily, who recently wrote an article that featured remarks by Michael that many readers found sexist. In protest, users across the country began deleting Uber from their phones.

"I'm uninstalling Uber. Each of you should do so too," tweeted local columnist Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass-Stuart. "You wanna bully women reporters? We'll bully you with our wallets."

Kalanick apologized via Twitter, writing "[Michael's] remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals."

Tags: Uberretaliation
Categories: Labor News

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:46

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

IMG_0767By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

Doug Porter ably reported the details last week, but what was most important about that moment was not so much the particulars of the policy but the nature of the movement that led to their triumph. As Richard Barrera, Secretary-Treasurer of the Labor Council, put it in his message to labor folks:

The victory by UTWSD comes five years after drivers, improperly classified as independent contractors and without NLRB recognition, came together and organized a strike to protest their wages, benefits and working conditions. Despite constant harassment, retaliation and intimidation by permit holders and dispatch companies over the last five years, and despite obstruction by public agencies, these workers stuck together, fought back against injustice, and prevailed. It reminds and teaches all of us that a union is not formed by formal government recognition, it is formed by workers standing together to fight for justice and a brighter future for their families.

And UTWSD clarifies for all of us a path to victory for workers even in the age of Harris v. Quinn, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and the anti-worker elements of San Diego (see the Regional Chamber of Commerce, which spoke out against the taxi workers last night). Victory comes from organizers listening to workers, developing leaders, planning a path to win and sticking to the plan no matter how hard it gets. The UTWSD path, although creative and relevant to modern times, is the path that built not only the labor movement, but every movement in the history of our country that has pushed us closer to our American ideals.

And there wasn’t a single person in Golden Hall among the hundreds who showed up to support the taxi workers, whether they were from labor or an allied community group, that did not stop, smile, and think: “this is what it’s all about.”

IMG_0771But if we dig a little deeper into the history of American labor, there is not just inspiration but a lesson as to what kind of unionism and working class politics gets the goods—social justice unionism.

In the early days of the American labor movement in the latter part of the 19th century there were two emerging forms of unionism: bread and butter and social justice as practiced by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Knights of Labor respectively.

The AFL was primarily a bread and butter union that focused more narrowly on things like wages and benefits, a philosophy they called “pure and simple unionism.” They recruited predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male skilled workers and initially had no great involvement in politics beyond the work place. They also believed in “volunteerism” or a strict reliance on the union and its members rather than a broader social focus.

Hence the AFL was an exclusive organization. Early AFL unionism was largely conservative and defensive, and its narrow, exclusive focus set the pattern for many unions for the next century and beyond. Simply put, the AFL was not about social, economic, and political transformation but about getting a bigger piece of the pie for their members.

The Knights of Labor was a broader based social justice union whose philosophy is best summed up by their motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” Thus Knights of Labor unionism was more inclusive as it sought to organize workers across barriers, and they included skilled and unskilled workers as well as more women and people of color (although they too were problematic at times with regard to race).

The Knights were also interested in challenging monopoly capitalism, a system they saw as a threat to democracy and proposed the idea of a “cooperative commonwealth” in opposition to the growing plutocracy of the era of the Robber Barons. In a nutshell, the Knights of Labor sought not just to get a bigger piece of the pie for their members but to change the way the pie was made and distributed.

As labor evolved over the next century, while no successful labor organization or workers movement ever gave up on “bread and butter,” it was the broader based, more inclusive and visionary “social justice unionism” of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the thirties and forties that eventually led to the great upsurge of the American labor movement, the gains of the New Deal, and the growth of the middle class and some political power for working people.

In the 1960s it was that impulse that led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis to support striking public sector sanitation workers in a struggle that united labor and civil rights. That same “social justice unionism” spirit also guided Cesar Chavez and the United Farm workers in their fight for economic and social justice.

Over the last several decades of labor’s decline, in addition to external factors like the rise of neoliberalism, globalization, and the subsequent abandonment of any inclination of capital to treat labor as a partner, the loss of that “social justice unionism” spirit is a key reason why unions have faltered.

In his new book The Death and Life of American Labor, Stanley Aronowitz argues that a new workers movement “must be broader and more inclusive than unions . . . When unions form coalitions with community groups to fight for better educations, housing, and public transportation, or against the super-exploitation of the working poor, that shows a broader, grander conception of labor activism and suggests a basis for a new movement.” Along those lines he argues that unions “new and old” should “demand and provoke organization of the vast and growing population of precarious workers whether such unions are recognized by employers or not.” Such work, according to Aronowitz, should include “building alliances” with Workers Centers and organizations, such as the Taxi Workers Alliances.”

With last week’s victory for the taxi workers here in San Diego, we just provided a good example of precisely how this new kind of workers movement can succeed. After their victory at City Hall, their ongoing efforts to form a taxi drivers collective, build power, and give a voice to their community will keep the United Taxi Drivers of San Diego moving into the future.

As their Program Director Sarah Saez puts it, “It’s about reaching out with the intention of listening and learning from workers and our community and giving them the support they need to inspire and lead movements. We have to continue to support natural leaders like our President Mikaiil Hussein, organizer Abebe Antallo and all our drivers and community members who are powerful beyond words. Trusting their vision, creating genuine partnerships with the community and nontraditional workers and fighting for issues that are going to fundamentally change people’s lives is how we build power, deepen solidarity, and win.”

Tags: taxi workersunionizationderegulation
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Local 10 Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Over Violation Of Work Rules By SSA

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:06

ILWU Local 10 Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Over Violation Of Work Rules By SSA
http://www.joc.com/port-news/longshoreman-labor/international-longshore-... union/dockworkers-shut-down-ssa-terminal-oakland_20141112.html

JOC › Port News › Longshoreman Labor › International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Nov 12, 2014 4:48PM EST
The tinderbox that is West Coast ports caught fire again today when members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down the SSA Marine terminal at the Port of Oakland.
The incident occurred at 10 a.m. local time when the terminal sent one ILWU work gang home because there were not enough longshoremen to fill that gang. Longshoremen in the other gangs then walked off, according to employers. The ILWU responded by saying SSA did not follow the
http://www.joc.com/print/2765476 11/13/2014
Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Page 2 of 3
proper rules for ordering workers, and SSA fired all of the longshoremen when questions were raised about the employer’s procedures.
Tensions between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association have been so high the past two weeks that incidents such as that that occurred today in Oakland have been flaring up in Seattle- Tacoma and Los Angeles-Long Beach as well. Labor disruptions are fueling the fire of port congestion that has existed up and down the coast in recent weeks. Those conditions have caused political, port and shipper groups to insist that both parties reach a contract before there is a meltdown at West Coast ports.
U.S. senators from the western states sent a letter to the presidents of the PMA and ILWU today, and port directors from Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Oakland wrote to the PMA and ILWU this week saying the inability of both sides to reach a contract is causing economic hardship to retailers and to port-dependent workers at transportation companies across the country.
ILWU-PMA contract negotiations began in May. The ILWU has been working without a contract since July 1. With no contract in place, the grievance procedure is suspended. If there were a contract in place, both the ILWU and the employer could have prevented the incident in Oakland from taking place by immediately seeking intervention by a local arbitrator.
Even without a contract in place, such incidents could be avoided if the ILWU would agree to extend the previous contract while negotiations continue, but the union has refused to do so.
The incident in Oakland began when the terminal operator could not fill one of several gangs dispatched to work a vessel. In such cases, the employer has one hour to decide whether to work with an incomplete gang or to dismiss those workers for the shift. If the workers remain on the terminal for more than one hour, they must be paid for the entire shift. When SSA sent the incomplete gang home, all of the other longshoremen reportedly walked off their jobs.
ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees gave the union’s explanation of what happened. “SSA didn’t follow the proper rules for ordering workers this morning, and when workers questioned the company’s decision not to follow the usual procedures, SSA summarily fired those workers. When the remaining workers raised questions, they were immediately fired along with the others.”
Charges and counter-charges between labor and management have become common now since the PMA last week issued a statement accusing the ILWU of engaging in work slowdowns in Seattle-Tacoma. PMA issued a second release the next day saying the ILWU in Los Angeles- Long Beach was refusing to dispatch sufficient skilled equipment operators for cargo-handling machines in the yard.
Oakland had been calm, by comparison, until this past weekend when the ILWU said it discovered a safety defect on a cargo-handling machine, and when it called for safety inspections of other equipment, the workers were fired for the day. The PMA has been saying for two weeks now that a surge in safety claims and walkouts is common when the ILWU is working without a contract, and this calls into question the validity of such claims.
A coalition of about 100 groups representing cargo interests, intermediaries and other organizations that do business at West Coast ports has been pleading with the PMA and ILWU since spring to reach a speedy conclusion to the contract negotiations. Those shipper organizations continue to issue statements directed at the PMA and ILWU, and of late they have been requesting federal mediation.
http://www.joc.com/print/2765476 11/13/2014
Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Page 3 of 3
Gene Seroka, executive director at the Port of Los Angeles, told freight forwarders and customs brokers meeting in San Diego in October the ongoing efforts to reduce congestion at the ports would be compromised unless the PMA and ILWU reached a contract.
Jon Slangerup, chief executive of the Port of Long Beach, said today that a contract resolution is crucial, but the port is nevertheless doing everything possible with its supply chain partners to address all of the factors contributing to port congestion.
The letter by the executive directors of the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Oakland said those ports have also been working closely with their supply chain partners, “but uncertainty and delay on the docks sends the wrong signal to the global marketplace at a time when shippers have many more options for moving their goods to market.”
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.

Source URL: http://www.joc.com/port-news/longshoreman-labor/international-longshore-... union/dockworkers-shut-down-ssa-terminal-oakland_20141112.html

Tags: ILWU Local 10SSAWork Rules
Categories: Labor News

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 03:57

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn
NOV. 18, 2014

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, apologized on Twitter about Emil Michael’s comments. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo

In just four years of operation, Uber has ignited a new global ride-sharing industry with the promise of transforming urban transportation and helping many people get by without owning cars.

But these days, the hot start-up is facing its toughest challenge yet — curbing its ugliest, most aggressive impulses before its win-at-all-cost culture begins to turn off investors, potential employees and the ride-hailing public at large.

The revelation, reported on Monday by BuzzFeed, that an executive publicly floated the idea of investigating the private lives of journalists who criticize Uber was only the latest in a parade of unflattering news about Uber’s tactics as it navigates the next phase of its growth.

Uber has grown into one of the most valuable start-ups in Silicon Valley, with outposts around the world. It has raised about $1.5 billion and is valued at more than $17 billion, with the inevitable talk of a public offering.

Emil Michael, Uber’s senior vice president for business, was said to lay out a plan to hire a team to investigate journalists and defend the company from perceived negative coverage.Uber Executive’s Comments Leave Company ScramblingNOV. 18, 2014
Uber’s hard-charging culture is in many ways characteristic of start-ups in general. But fostering such a culture can become a losing proposition faster than you might imagine.

“The dangerous thing in tech is a narrative,” said Jan Dawson, an independent industry analyst. “The more stories that come out about Uber behaving badly — whether it’s about the way it competes with rivals or the fact that an executive discussed looking into journalists — the risk is that it starts to become the main story about the company, rather than the great service it provides or its low prices.”

On Tuesday afternoon, after the journalist-spying story had captivated much of Silicon Valley’s clubby tech press, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, made an apologetic series of posts on Twitter regarding the executive, Emil Michael.

“Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company,” Mr. Kalanick wrote in the first of 14 posts, none of which mentioned Mr. Michael’s future with the company.

Technology companies live and die by culture; “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is among the most cherished sayings in Silicon Valley. What that means is that a company’s ultimate success or failure is determined less by anodyne technological prowess than by the values and behavior of people who work there.

This may be particularly true for Uber, which is in many ways an incorporeal company. It owns no cars, its drivers are at-will contractors who can easily switch to rival services, and its customers are just one tap away from some other service. What’s more, though it is growing quickly, it is still young, and many people haven’t ever used one of its cars.

If Uber’s brand becomes associated with bad behavior, what’s to stop people from choosing its rival Lyft — or from just hailing a taxi?

Uber has recently been dogged by accusations of various sorts. Last New Year’s Eve, a driver hit an immigrant family in San Francisco, killing a 6-year-old and leading to a wrongful-death lawsuit against the company. There have also been several accusations of Uber drivers sexually assaulting passengers.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Meanwhile, some drivers have protested over their wages and working conditions. And this summer, The Verge reported that Uber was waging a sophisticated campaign to recruit drivers from its archrival Lyft, a plan that “resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides.”

Mr. Kalanick later told Vanity Fair that he also tried to crimp Lyft’s recent round of fund-raising by calling venture capitalists and issuing a not-so-veiled threat that anyone who invested in Lyft could be blackballed from investing in Uber.

Some passengers have also worried whether the company plays fast and loose with riders’ privacy — whether an Uber employee will one day be able to track where you went, and with whom. Uber says it has a strict policy that forbids employees and drivers to check into riders’ travel habits.

Still, the new revelations could increase that fear. The idea that a senior executive at the company thought it would be fine to publicly reveal a plan for spying makes you wonder if anything is considered off-limits at Uber — and that may be the sort of deep-seated worry that an apologetic series of tweets can’t do much to fix.
Uber and its investors believe that the company’s long-term mission is to reinvent transportation, to become not just a taxi service but also a replacement for private cars. That mission can be realized only if people trust the company implicitly and automatically.

Mr. Dawson noted that Uber wasn’t in any serious danger of losing it all. It will surely keep growing, at least for the foreseeable future. The trouble may come when Lyft and other rivals become a more dominant force in a larger share of Uber’s markets.

“In places like San Francisco, where you have an abundance of options for ride-sharing, this is more likely to affect people’s willingness to use Uber,” he said. “In other places right now, people may not have much of a choice.”

Uber wouldn’t be the first start-up to see its early success overshadowed by problems with its culture and image. Consider Myspace, the once fast-growing social network whose rise was marked by internal struggle, and with a failure to take its millions of mostly teenage users’ privacy very seriously.

Myspace’s problems left a wide opening for a more disciplined start-up to take over social networking — an opportunity that Facebook was happy to exploit.

During its subsequent rapid rise, Facebook, too, was often the subject of outrage by its users over the indiscriminate way it seemed to alter people’s privacy settings. But brushes with users eventually prompted a shift in tone by the company.

Today, Facebook takes pains to offer plenty of warning to people about changes to its privacy options, and when it introduces products — like a new location-sharing app — it often leads its marketing pitch with its privacy options.

“I think that there’s a lesson there for Uber,” said Mark Rogowsky, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has closely followed the battle between Lyft and Uber. “Uber today is at the stage where Facebook was several years ago — they’re growing ridiculously fast, and we’re all wondering whether this will be the moment that they see they need to make a change.”

He added, “We just don’t know yet.”

Email: farhad.manjoo@nytimes.com;

Tags: Ubertechnology
Categories: Labor News


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