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Netherlands: Success for Deliveroo riders in the Netherlands as strike action forces investigation

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Trump administration wants to sell National and Dulles airports, other assets around U.S. in privatization

Current News - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:00

Trump administration wants to sell National and Dulles airports, other assets around U.S. in privatization drivehttps://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/trump-administr...

People gather in Gravelly Point Park as an aircraft prepares to land at Reagan Washington National Airport. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
By Michael Laris February 12 at 12:42 PM Email the author
The Trump administration is making a push to sell off federal assets as part of its infrastructure plan released Monday.

Among the targets: Reagan National and Dulles International airports and two major parkways serving the Washington region, as well as power assets around the country, according to a copy of the proposal.

Power transmission assets from the Tennessee Valley Authority; the Southwestern Power Administration, which sells power in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas; the Western Area Power Administration; and the Bonneville Power Administration, covering the Pacific northwest, were cited for potential divestiture. The Washington Aqueduct, which supplies drinking water in D.C. and Northern Virginia, also is on the list.

“The Federal Government owns and operates certain infrastructure that would be more appropriately owned by State, local, or private entities,” the Trump plan says. It calls for giving federal agencies “authority to divest of Federal assets where the agencies can demonstrate an increase in value from the sale would optimize the taxpayer value.”

The Washington region’s George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, both run by the National Park Service, are listed as “examples of assets for potential divestiture.” It was not immediately clear what public or private entity might buy those roads, whether they might be tolled, or other details. Same with the two airports in Virginia, which are leased from the federal government.

The Trump proposal is consistent with an overall $200 billion infrastructure initiative, a year in the making, that is focused on speeding up permitting by reducing environmental regulations, and trying to prompt state and local governments and private industry to spend more on projects without making major new federal investments.

[Trump advisers call for privatizing some public assets to build new infrastructure]

Some state officials said they were uncertain about how their residents would benefit from such a proposal. Federal assets come with crucial federal dollars that could not easily be replaced, officials said.

“All I can see now is a federal obligation that they're trying to push off. Where would we get the money from without a revenue source?” asked Virginia Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne.

Layne, an accountant and former transportation secretary, said numerous unanswered questions make it impossible to gauge the administration’s proposal at this point.

“I don’t even know what’s being sold — I don’t mean just physical, I mean obligations,” Layne said. “What level of funding? Is the federal government just going to wash their hands of it?”

Administration officials said Saturday that the $200 billion in planned federal spending on its infrastructure plan is meant to spur some $1.5 trillion in activity overall. Some critics on Capitol Hill have dismissed the administration’s math and the thrust of its approach, and pointed to cuts in infrastructure spending long proposed by the administration, which also released its budget request Monday.

Efforts to privatize federal assets were discussed early in the administration by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn and other advisers as a preferred way to come up with capital for much needed improvements. But it was also lambasted as irresponsible by opponents.

A high-profile Trump effort to move the nation’s air traffic control system out of government hands was blocked in Congress.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Tags: privatizationairportsunion bustingNational AirportDulles Airport
Categories: Labor News

‘A Taxi Driver’ Honors a Humble Hero in South Korea

Current News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 21:50

‘A Taxi Driver’ Honors a Humble Hero in South Korea
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/movies/a-taxi-driver-review.html
A TAXI DRIVER Directed by Hun Jang Action, Drama, History 2h 17m
By ANDY WEBSTERAUG. 10, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbUwOP9HZQk

From left, Thomas Kretschmann and Song Kang-ho in “A Taxi Driver,” based on a true story of heroism in South Korea in 1980. CreditCho Won Jin/Well Go USA
With (“The Front Line”) takes historical events in South Korea — the imposition of martial law in 1980 by the dictator Chun Doo-hwan — to construct an affecting what-if tale. The plot has a factual basis: the relationship between a German TV journalist, Jürgen Hinzpeter, and the cabdriver who drove him from Seoul to the locked-down city of Gwangju, at the time a hotbed of pro-democracy student rebellion and violent repression. While the real-life name of the cabby and his ultimate fate are unclear (his name may have been Kim Sa-bok), the film calls him Kim Man-seob and gives him a poignant back story and destiny.

A preview of the film. By WELL GO USA on Publish DateAugust 10, 2017. Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.Watch in Times Video »
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Kim (Song Kang-ho) is a garrulous if gruff widowed father to an 11-year-old girl, impatient with traffic jams resulting from protests in Seoul. If it weren’t for the back rent he owes, he wouldn’t need to take Hinzpeter (Thomas Kretschmann) to the besieged Gwangju. But when he does, they witness a huge street demonstration that is met with tear gas and military brutality. The soft-spoken Hinzpeter is determined to smuggle footage of the dictatorship’s abuses to a German news organization, while the heretofore neutral Kim comes to realize the urgency of Hinzpeter’s mission.

The film climaxes with a breathless escape from Gwangju, as Kim and Hinzpeter elude government vehicles with the aid of other cabdrivers. But most impressive is Mr. Song, who persuasively conveys a working stiff’s political awakening.

A Taxi Driver
Director Hun JangStars Kang-ho Song, Thomas Kretschmann, Hae-jin Yoo, Jun-yeol Ryu, Hyuk-kwon ParkRunning Time 2h 17mGenres Action, Drama, History
Movie data powered by IMDb.com
Last updated: Nov 2, 2017
Not rated. In Korean, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 17 minutes.

Film Review: ‘A Taxi Driver’
An entertaining journey into a tragic and violent chapter of Korean modern history.
http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/a-taxi-driver-review-taeksi-woonjun...
By Maggie Lee @maggiesama
Maggie Lee
Chief Asia Film Critic

Director: Jang HoonWith: Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Ryoo Yun-ryul, Oh Dal-su. (Korean, English, German dialogue)
Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6878038/
Revisiting the 1980 Gwangju Massacre, a landmark historical event in South Korea’s march towards democracy, director Jang Hoon brings a sappy, feel-good touch to a tragic subject by focusing on the bond between a German reporter (Thomas Kretschmann) and the taxi driver(Song Kang-ho) who helped him get the news out to the world.

Jang, who’s established himself as a hit-maker with features like “Secret Reunion” (also starring Song) and “The Front Line,” again worked B.O. miracles, earning the third highest domestic opening score of all time with “A Taxi Driver.” While the film clearly taps into the national zeitgeist, buoyed by a sweeping show of people’s power that ousted the president, international audiences should also appreciate the actors’ feisty turns. (It opened in the U.S. on Aug. 11.)“A Taxi Driver” is the first major production to tackle the Gwangju Uprising head-on since the 2007 blockbuster “May 18.” Having less pretensions to epic grandeur than that film, it instead gains credibility from being based on a true story, and closing footage of the German reporter returning to the democratized country in 2003 certainly adds historical heft.

The script by Uhm Yoo-na and Jo Seul-ye has drastically simplified the political context that triggered the uprising, but this in turn helps foreign viewers grasp the plot more easily than denser, more intellectual probings of the subject in such films as Im Sang-soo’s “The Old Garden” or Lee Chang-dong’s “Peppermint Candy.” Opening titles explain how the 1979 assassination of dictator Park Chung-hee sparked hopes of democracy among the younger generation, though the power vacuum was soon filled by Gen. Chun Doo-hwan, who declared martial law in a 1980 coup. In Gwangju, protest quickly spilled out of universities and engulfed the southwestern city.

Despite the government’s attempts at keeping foreign press in the dark, Juergen Hinspeter (Kretschmann), correspondent for a German broadcast channel, gets wind of the unrest brewing in South Korea. From his base in Tokyo, he flies to Seoul where his contact helps him book a taxi to drive him south to the beleaguered city. When the protagonist (Song) whose real name is never revealed in the film, overhears that a foreigner is forking out about $900 for the fare, the cash-strapped single father cunningly steals the job from the intended driver.

They arrive on May 19, a day after the uprising broke out, to find the city completely sealed off by the army, although the two still manage to bluff their way pass blockades. Initially, they come across a group of students whose youthful innocence is expressed by the way they sing and dance like revelers at a Woodstock concert, but eventually wind up at a hospital where the casualties provide raw evidence of the bloody crackdown.

The protagonist becomes embroiled in a squabble with local taxi drivers, who scoff at his mercenary attitude. Jang makes good-humored fun of biases between Seoul citizens and natives of the Jeolla district, where the film takes place, but later demonstrates how humanist values transcend regional differences. Although the driver initially displays cowardice in the face of conflict, his personal struggle is rendered agonizing enough by Song to give full force to a climactic U-turn.

Apart from re-creating one incident in which paratroopers tried to wipe out a whole crowd in front of a broadcast station, the film eschews the kind of bombastic, effects-heavy setpieces that characterized “May 18.” Instead, it depicts the regime’s brutal repression implicitly through its blatant attack on press freedom and shameless distortion of the truth. This in turn accentuates Hinzpeter’s role in raising international awareness for their crimes.

According to historical records, on May 20, hundreds of taxis mobilized themselves in a parade to support marching citizens and rescue the injured. Hailed as “drivers of democracy,” many lost their lives. Since only a few taxis are deployed in any given scene, the film hasn’t re-created an adequate sense of the scope of their heroism. However, the power of solidarity is conveyed in a late car-chase sequence that’s choreographed to rousing effect. (The film looks polished overall, its mood buoyed by a playful, jazzy score.)

Although the film’s portrayal of its main characters has recognizable precedents, the two lead actors calibrate their mutual respect and co-dependency to engaging effect, as the escalating violence and peril heighten their sense of personal mission. Echoing the role of American correspondent Sydney Schanberg in “The Killing Fields,” Hinzpeter arrives in Korea as an opportunistic newshound rather than a champion of justice. Kretschmann plays him initially with an unlikable cold efficiency, treating his driver and other Koreans as mere tools or fodder for his article. Impressively, there are no overnight changes in his persona. Rather, the actor maintains a certain stiff composure even as his passion and affection for the democracy fighters visibly grows. The final parting is genuinely touching as the two men now relate to each other as equals.

Audiences familiar with Korean cinema will instantly recognize a resemblance between the character of the taxi driver and Song’s role in “The Attorney,” in which he transforms from a mercenary tax solicitor to an altruistic human-rights lawyer. And yet Song makes a subtle distinction between the two characters, as his comic charm betrays the tough-talking character’s soft heart, as when he keeps letting passengers in need short-change him.

Film Review: 'A Taxi Driver'

Reviewed at Korean Film Council screening room, Aug. 4, 2017. Running time: 137 MIN. (Original title: "Taeksi Woonjeonsa”)

PRODUCTION: (S. Korea) A Showbox Mediaplex (in South Korea), Well Go USA (in U.S.) release of The Lamp production in association with Ace Investment & Finance, Leo Partners Investment, Signature Film, Interpark, Huayi Investment, Huayi Brothers Korea, Korea Broadcast Advertising Corp. (International sales: Showbox) Producer: Park Un-kyoung. Executive producer: You Jeong-hun. Co-executive producers: Hwang Young-won, Kim Song-soo, Han Suk-woo, Park Jin-young, Oh Seung-wook, Ji Seung-bum, Kwak Sung-moon. Co-producer: Choi Ki-sua.

CREW: Director: Jang Hoon. Screenplay: Ho Kei-ping. Camera (color, widescreen): Ko Nak-sun. Editors: Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum. Music: Cho Young-wook.

WITH: Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Ryoo Yun-ryul, Oh Dal-su. (Korean, English, German dialogue)

FEATURED POSTINTERVIEW
INTERVIEW: DIRECTOR JANG HOON ON THE MAKING OF ‘A TAXI DRIVER’
http://www.awardscircuit.com/2017/11/18/interview-director-jang-hoon-mak...
By Shane Slater - Nov 18, 2017

Released earlier this year to strong box office both at home and abroad, “A Taxi Driver” shines a spotlight on South Korean history with poignant and entertaining results. Now, director Jang Hoon hopes to make some history of his own. The film is now an official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar, an award for which South Korea has never been nominated. And for Jang Hoon, it will be his second chance at bat. As we await this year’s nominations, I caught up with the promising filmmaker for a chat about the making of the film and his Oscar hopes. Below is an edited version of our conversation.

Shane Slater: How did you come across this taxi driver’s story?

Jang Hoon: The production company saw the awards speech of the German journalist Mr. Hinzpeter in 2003. They got the idea from watching that speech. It took a while and the first draft of the screenplay was completed in 2015. Then they sent the draft to me and I read the script and decided to join the team.

SS: How did you choose the right actor for this role?

JH: Song Kang-ho was the first person that occurred to me when I read the script. I couldn’t think of anyone else.

SS: There seems that there was a great atmosphere of denial surrounding the events depicted. What is the public’s perception of it today?

JH: Those who actually had to live through this tragedy of the Gwangju Uprising, they knew about it of course. And their contemporaries learned about it through many testimonies, including the reporter and his documentary. Of course, there are younger generations who didn’t know about it and I guess the film helped these younger generations to understand what really happened in Gwangju.

SS: The Gwangju Uprising happened when you were very young. Did your understanding of the events change during the process of making the film?

JH: Yes, I was young at the time. The first time I heard about the Gwangju Uprising was when I was in college. I knew a little bit, not too much. So while preparing for the film I had to do a lot of research and I got to know the details really well.

SS: You’ve made a number of genre films before and some of those elements are included here. Were those action scenes like the car chase based on real life?

JH: The car chase didn’t happen, but it was a known fact that taxi drivers in Gwangju helped out the citizens a lot and made a lot of sacrifices themselves. It’s a symbolic expression of their sacrifice and their help. To be honest with you, that scene was really hard. I felt a lot of pressure. It’s the most cinematic scene.

SS: Do you find it easier to direct true stories, or do you prefer fictional ones?

JH: That’s a difficult question. Both have easy and difficult parts. I understand that when you create something based on a piece of history, I don’t have complete liberty. Certain facts must be there. So what’s hard about making a film based on a true story, is that I have to keep those facts in mind but I also have to create a movie that will appeal to audiences effectively. So while I was working on “A Taxi Driver” I deeply felt that my next project should be completely fiction.

SS: This is such an important part of South Korean history and the film is also representing the country at the Oscars. Is there added pressure?

JH: Yes, I feel added pressure. If I was chosen as an Oscar contender with a completely fictional story, I would feel less pressure. But this is based on a true story, so yes, there is extra pressure.

SS: South Korea has never been nominated before. Is there excitement from the public for this film to finally make it?

JH: I was in the race with my previous movie “The Front Line” in 2011. This is my second time as a contender and yes, I feel the expectations are higher this time. But of course, I’m telling you from my own experience.
ogle.com/d/optout.

Tags: Korean martial lawGwangjusolidarityrepression
Categories: Labor News

South Africa: Marikana massacre: Witnesses to slaughter at Scene 2

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: City Press
Categories: Labor News

Ship Queue Grows as Truck Strike Slows Argentina Grain Exports

Current News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 23:09

Ship Queue Grows as Truck Strike Slows Argentina Grain Exports
http://gcaptain.com/ship-queue-grows-truck-strike-slows-argentina-grain-...
February 9, 2018 by Reuters

argentine grain exports
Ships used to carry grains for export are seen next to a dredging boat (L) on the Parana river near Rosario, Argentina, January 31, 2017. File photo. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Some 93 cargo ships were waiting to load soy and corn from Argentina’s main exporting hub of Rosario on Friday, more than a week into a truck owners strike, the spokesman for an industry group said.

That was up from just over 60 on Thursday, said Andres Alcarez, spokesman for export company chamber CIARA-CEC.

Truck owners went on strike last week in a bid to force the adoption of mandatory minimum grains hauling rates. The work stoppage also slowed the unloading of beans at soyoil and meal manufacturing sites.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soybeans and soymeal and the No. 3 exporter of both corn and soymeal. Some 80 percent of Argentina’s agricultural exports depart from Rosario. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Caroline Stauffer Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Tags: Argentina truckerssolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Ship Queue Grows as Truck Strike Slows Argentina Grain Exports

Current News - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 23:09

Ship Queue Grows as Truck Strike Slows Argentina Grain Exports
http://gcaptain.com/ship-queue-grows-truck-strike-slows-argentina-grain-...
February 9, 2018 by Reuters

argentine grain exports
Ships used to carry grains for export are seen next to a dredging boat (L) on the Parana river near Rosario, Argentina, January 31, 2017. File photo. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Some 93 cargo ships were waiting to load soy and corn from Argentina’s main exporting hub of Rosario on Friday, more than a week into a truck owners strike, the spokesman for an industry group said.

That was up from just over 60 on Thursday, said Andres Alcarez, spokesman for export company chamber CIARA-CEC.

Truck owners went on strike last week in a bid to force the adoption of mandatory minimum grains hauling rates. The work stoppage also slowed the unloading of beans at soyoil and meal manufacturing sites.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soybeans and soymeal and the No. 3 exporter of both corn and soymeal. Some 80 percent of Argentina’s agricultural exports depart from Rosario. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Caroline Stauffer Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Tags: Argentina truckerssolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Help Kill Right To Work

IBU - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:18
Categories: Unions

New SF TWU 250A Muni union president to take office after dispute

Current News - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 09:52

New SF TWU 250A Muni union president to take office after dispute

http://www.sfexaminer.com/new-muni-union-president-take-office-dispute/

Newly appointed Muni Union President Roger Marenco poses for a portrait in front of a Muni bus in San Francisco’s Mission District on Wednesday, Feb. 7th, 2018. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on February 7, 2018 8:10 pm

Muni service, the backbone of San Francisco’s transit infrastructure, lives or dies by its operators. Now those operators have a new union president, known for his dogged organizing and fiery rhetoric: Roger Marenco.

Yet his rise in Muni’s union ranks has been accompanied by strife.

At union meetings, the 35-year-old Muni operator and Mission District local often wears his brown Muni jacket around his shoulders like a cape. His last assignment was to operate trains on the F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar line.

Marenco won the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A election in a landslide victory of 725 Muni operator votes. The next runner up, DeJohn Williams, received 231 votes. Some operators credit Marenco’s win to his text message group, which includes 1,200 Muni operators, as well as to his YouTube show exclusively targeted at educating Muni operators called “The Transit Talk.”

The election took place in mid-December, but was contested by union election officials. The dispute, which involved allegations of Marenco “interfering” with the election, was only resolved in recent weeks, according to an explanation in Marenco’s show, The Transit Talk.

“These charges are based on inaccurate statements, incorrect information, rumors, etcetera,” Marenco said, in his video. “Don’t believe the rumors.”

Though his opponents sought to invalidate the election, in the end Marenco was only delayed in assuming the presidency, which will begin in April.

TWU Local 250-A executive vice president Pete Wilson said it was against the union constitution to discuss member disputes.

The terms of the appeal and resolution with the union mean Marenco cannot talk directly about his union presidency yet. Generally, however, he told the San Francisco Examiner he sees much opportunity for Muni service to improve.

“There’s a tremendous lack of morale among operators,” he said, “Many politicians think ‘I’m going to fix Muni.’ You know what operators really want and need?”

“Dignity,” he said.

Operators also are seeking better restroom facilities, time to move between yards for runs, more publicity around assaults on operators and a shorter wage progression for new operators to obtain full pay, Marenco said.

The freshman union president will have a year to prepare to negotiate the next contract between 2,000-plus Muni operators and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Irwin Lum, a past Muni union president, said he was concerned Marenco may not yet have enough experience to negotiate a contract with The City.

“I think he needs to get a handle on it and pull ideas from the membership,” Lum said.

The last major contract negotiation, in 2014, was led by past president, Eric Williams, and resulted in the “sickout” that saw hundreds of Muni operators simultaneously calling in sick, crippling The City’s transit.

When asked if he thought San Francisco would experience another “sickout,” Marenco said “ I hope not,” and said better treatment of operators would make for smooth negotiations.

Born and partially raised in El Salvador, Marenco said his family brought him to San Francisco when he was seven years old. He attended Mission High School.

Tags: TWU 250ARoger Marenco
Categories: Labor News

New SF TWU 250A Muni union president to take office after dispute

Current News - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 09:52

http://www.sfexaminer.com/new-muni-union-president-take-office-dispute/

Newly appointed Muni Union President Roger Marenco poses for a portrait in front of a Muni bus in San Francisco’s Mission District on Wednesday, Feb. 7th, 2018. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on February 7, 2018 8:10 pm

Muni service, the backbone of San Francisco’s transit infrastructure, lives or dies by its operators. Now those operators have a new union president, known for his dogged organizing and fiery rhetoric: Roger Marenco.

Yet his rise in Muni’s union ranks has been accompanied by strife.

At union meetings, the 35-year-old Muni operator and Mission District local often wears his brown Muni jacket around his shoulders like a cape. His last assignment was to operate trains on the F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar line.

Marenco won the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A election in a landslide victory of 725 Muni operator votes. The next runner up, DeJohn Williams, received 231 votes. Some operators credit Marenco’s win to his text message group, which includes 1,200 Muni operators, as well as to his YouTube show exclusively targeted at educating Muni operators called “The Transit Talk.”

The election took place in mid-December, but was contested by union election officials. The dispute, which involved allegations of Marenco “interfering” with the election, was only resolved in recent weeks, according to an explanation in Marenco’s show, The Transit Talk.

“These charges are based on inaccurate statements, incorrect information, rumors, etcetera,” Marenco said, in his video. “Don’t believe the rumors.”

Though his opponents sought to invalidate the election, in the end Marenco was only delayed in assuming the presidency, which will begin in April.

TWU Local 250-A executive vice president Pete Wilson said it was against the union constitution to discuss member disputes.

The terms of the appeal and resolution with the union mean Marenco cannot talk directly about his union presidency yet. Generally, however, he told the San Francisco Examiner he sees much opportunity for Muni service to improve.

“There’s a tremendous lack of morale among operators,” he said, “Many politicians think ‘I’m going to fix Muni.’ You know what operators really want and need?”

“Dignity,” he said.

Operators also are seeking better restroom facilities, time to move between yards for runs, more publicity around assaults on operators and a shorter wage progression for new operators to obtain full pay, Marenco said.

The freshman union president will have a year to prepare to negotiate the next contract between 2,000-plus Muni operators and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Irwin Lum, a past Muni union president, said he was concerned Marenco may not yet have enough experience to negotiate a contract with The City.

“I think he needs to get a handle on it and pull ideas from the membership,” Lum said.

The last major contract negotiation, in 2014, was led by past president, Eric Williams, and resulted in the “sickout” that saw hundreds of Muni operators simultaneously calling in sick, crippling The City’s transit.

When asked if he thought San Francisco would experience another “sickout,” Marenco said “ I hope not,” and said better treatment of operators would make for smooth negotiations.

Born and partially raised in El Salvador, Marenco said his family brought him to San Francisco when he was seven years old. He attended Mission High School.

Tags: TWU 250ARoger Marenco
Categories: Labor News

Call to the 37th Convention

ILWU - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 15:45
Categories: Unions

Turkey: ITUC dennounces the arrest of trade union leader in Turkey

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Global: Meet the Coalition Building a Global Union Movement Against Capitalism

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: In These Times
Categories: Labor News

A NYC Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy

Current News - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 11:44

A NYC Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/nyregion/livery-driver-taxi-uber.html

Big City
By GINIA BELLAFANTE FEB. 6, 2018
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
Photo

Doug Schifter, a New York livery driver, said he killed himself to illuminate how ride hailing services have devastated taxi workers financially.Creditvia Black Car News
Last spring, Bhairavi Desai, a middle-aged woman without a driver’s license and thus an unlikely leader for thousands of mostly male drivers in the world’s largest market for hired vehicles, delivered emotional testimony in front of New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission about the mounting existential difficulties in her field.

The executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Ms. Desai had been a labor activist for 21 years but she had never seen anything like the despair she was witnessing now — the bankruptcies, foreclosures and eviction notices plaguing drivers who were calling her with questions about how to navigate homelessness and paralyzing depression.

“Half my heart is just crushed,’’ she said, “and the other half is on fire.”

The economic hardship that Uber and its competitors had inflicted on conventional drivers in New York and London and other cities had become overwhelming. For decades there had been no more than approximately 12,000 to 13,000 taxis in New York but now there were myriad new ways to avoid public transportation, in some cases with ride-hailing services like Via that charged little more than $5 to travel in Manhattan. In 2013, there were 47,000 for-hire vehicles in the city. Now there were more than 100,000, approximately two-thirds of them affiliated with Uber.

While Uber has sold that “disruption” as positive for riders, for many taxi workers, it has been devastating. Between 2013 and 2016, the gross

Tags: taxi workerssuicideUber
Categories: Labor News

The UK RMT On Privatization Of Rail, The Attacks On Workers & The Fightback In The UK with Mark Carden RMT Ass. Gen. Secretary

Current News - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 02:48

The UK RMT On Privatization Of Rail, The Attacks On Workers & The Fightback In The UK with Mark Carden RMT Ass. Gen. Secretary
https://youtu.be/TXQEZNyoAsk
Mark Carden, the Assistant General Secretary of the British Rail, Maritime and Transport Union RMT discusses the result of privatization in rail and the attacks on workers in transportation including the health and safety dangers of privatization. He also discusses the growing attacks on working people including the National Health Service and the growing anger in the working class in the UK. This interview was done on February 5, 2018 at the offices of the RMT in London.
Additional media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZOY7s131js
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jh0WNiXy8
For more information on the RMT
www.rmt.org.uk/home/
Production of the Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: RMTRail Privatizationcapitalismoutsourcinghealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

NTSB: Amtrak engineer sounded horn, applied emergency brake in S.C. crash

Current News - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 02:46

NTSB: Amtrak engineer sounded horn, applied emergency brake in S.C. crash

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/ntsb-amtrak-eng...

FILE PHOTO: Emergency responders are at the scene after an Amtrak passenger train collided with a freight train and derailed in Cayce, South Carolina, U.S., February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo (Randall Hill/Reuters)
By Lori Aratani and Ashley Halsey III February 5 at 7:30 PM Email the author
The engineer of an Amtrak train sounded his horn for three seconds and eventually hit the emergency brake, slowing the train to 50 mph before it slammed head-on into a freight train near Columbia, S.C., federal investigators said Monday.

The impact of the crash early Sunday was so intense that it moved the empty CSX freight train 15 feet from where it was parked on tracks adjacent to the main rail line, according to Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash. The Amtrak train’s conductor and engineer were killed, and 116 others were hospitalized.

Sunday’s crash in Cayce, S.C., about four miles south of Columbia, was the third high-profile incident involving an Amtrak train in less than two months. Last Wednesday, an Amtrak train carrying GOP lawmakers to their annual retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck outside Crozet, Va. No lawmakers were seriously injured, but a passenger in the truck was killed.

The crashes have renewed concern about whether enough is being done to equip railroads with an automatic braking system known as positive train control, which Sumwalt and others say could have prevented Sunday’s fatal crash and one that occurred in December, just outside Seattle.

PTC originally was supposed to be in place by the end of 2015, but after a push by the rail industry, Congress postponed the deadline until the end of this year, with the possibility that it could be extended to the end of 2020.

Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce, South Carolina, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. At least two were killed and dozens injured. (Tim Dominick/The State via AP) (Tim Dominick/AP)
[NTSB investigators focus on why switch was set in the wrong position]

Last month, however, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao sent letters warning railroad industry leaders that they must meet the end-of-year deadline.

On Monday, members of the Association of American Railroads, which lobbies for the freight industry, said its members will meet the deadline.

“The railroads are very far along,” said Michael J. Rush, senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads. “All of the (seven major railroads) are going to make it by (December) 2018.”

What “making it” means will vary. The law passed by Congress puts a December deadline on hardware installation, acquisition of the mandated radio spectrum and training of employees in its use.

The law also requires that 50 percent of the system be switched on by December. If the railroads comply with that deadline they will then be required to complete the balance of the system by the end of 2020.

In the briefing with reporters on Monday, Sumwalt said the information about the Amtrak train’s speed and the engineer’s actions comes from the data recorder, which was retrieved from the wreckage. Investigators were hopeful that the front-facing video camera retrieved from the train’s locomotive Sunday would offer them more insight into what happened before the crash. However, it was discovered that the recording ended a few seconds before the crash. A forensics team in Washington is working on the footage, he said. The train hit a top speed of 57 mph before the engineer began to slow it; the speed limit in the corridor is 59.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt presents the ongoing investigation to the media during a press conference at SC Emergency Management Division in Cayce, South Carolina, on February 4, 2018. Two Amtrak employees were killed and more than 100 other people were injured early Sunday when a passenger train carrying 147 people hit a CSX freight train in South Carolina, authorities said. / AFP PHOTO / Logan CyrusLOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images (Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)
About seven seconds before the end of the recording, the train’s horn was activated for three seconds.

“A lot has been done, and a lot needs to be done,” Sumwalt said. “But I’m confident that our investigator will be able to piece this together.”

He said investigators are expected to remain in Cayce though the weekend.

Amtrak 91, traveling on tracks owned and maintained by freight railway giant CSX, was supposed to pass over the switch to continue onto the main-line tracks. Instead, it was directed onto a portion of track known as “siding,” which was occupied by the parked CSX train, Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt said officials have confirmed that a signal outage along the rail corridor meant that trains had to be manually directed through the area. He said the outage occurred because of upgrades tied to the installation of PTC. Investigators also are focusing on why a railroad switch was locked in the wrong position, sending the Amtrak train off the main line and onto the side track.

Sumwalt said NTSB investigators have also been able to interview four CSX crew members, including the engineer, conductor and the dispatcher who would have been responsible for directing the Amtrak train because of a signal outage along the rail line.

Sumwalt could not say whether the Amtrak engineer’s actions before the collision indicated that he knew the train had detoured off the main line and onto the side track.

[Chao: Rail industry must meet 2018 deadline for installing PTC]

Amtrak trains have PTC equipment, but the freight railroads on which Amtrak trains travel, including the one involved in Sunday’s crash, must install and activate transponders along their rail beds for the system to work.

According to Sumwalt, the Amtrak train was headed south on the main track, as directed by dispatchers with CSX. The empty freight train, which had unloaded its cargo of automobiles, was parked on a side track adjacent to the main line. When the Amtrak train moved past the area, it hit a switch that moved it to the side track where it crashed into the freight train.

Installing PTC is an expensive challenge for the railroads, requiring that hardware be added in 25,000 locomotives and sensors be placed along the railway beds. The payoff, safety advocates say, is that it will help prevent collisions and derailments.

Rush said Monday, that PTC has been implemented on 56 percent of required route miles. He added that 78 percent of locomotives have been equipped with the technology. PTC has also been installed on 72 percent of the track segments required by law.

In addition, 87 percent of railroad employees have been trained in the system.

When the industry appealed to Congress for relief from the looming deadline in 2015, it said it had already invested more than $6.5 billion, anticipated a total price tag of $10.6 billion and needed additional time to put the system in place.

The NTSB says it has investigated 146 rail incidents since 1969 that positive train control could have prevented. The toll in those incidents is 291 people killed and 6,574 injured.

But industry groups have disputed the contention that PTC would prevent most rail crashes.

PTC could prevent only about 4 percent of incidents, said the Association of American Railroads’ Rush. “There are lots and lots of other accidents that are not PTC preventable.”

Tags: Amtrak wreckhealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Algeria: International unions press Algerian government to respect trade union rights

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Andrew Casey speaking for solidarity with Iranian unions

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Tony Brown
Categories: Labor News

UK DPD courier who was fined for day off to see doctor dies from diabetes

Current News - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:33

UK DPD courier who was fined for day off to see doctor dies from diabetes
“How can modern Britain allow workers who are dedicated to their job to be driven to an early grave by such appalling exploitation?” said Field. “DPD have been told time and again that their punitive regime is totally unjust, particularly as their workers are labelled ‘self-employed’. Such mistreatment of workers smacks of sweated labour from the Victorian era.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/05/courier-who-was-fined-f...
Don Lane’s widow says he was afraid of getting fined if he did not ensure his round was covered
Robert Booth
Mon 5 Feb 2018 07.27 GMT

18k
Ruth Lane with Don
A courier for the parcel giant DPD who was fined for attending a medical appointment to treat his diabetes collapsed and died of the disease, it has emerged. Don Lane, 53, from Christchurch in Dorset, missed appointments with specialists because he felt under pressure to cover his round and faced DPD’s £150 daily penalties if he did not find cover, his widow has told the Guardian.

DPD delivers parcels for Marks & Spencer, Amazon and John Lewis but only pays couriers per parcel delivered. It treats them as self-employed franchisees and they receive no sick or holiday pay. The company’s system of charging drivers if they cannot cover their round has been described as appalling by the chairman of the House of Commons’ work and pensions committee, Frank Field.

Lane had collapsed twice, including once into a diabetic coma while at the wheel of his DPD van during deliveries, when the company fined him in July after he went to see a specialist about eye damage caused by diabetes. He collapsed again in September and finally in late December having worked through illness during the Christmas rush. He died at the Royal Bournemouth hospital on 4 January, leaving behind a widow, Ruth, and a 22-year-old son. He had worked for DPD for 19 years.

Ruth Lane
Ruth Lane, the widow of Don Lane, who was a courier with DPD at its Bournemouth depot. Photograph: Richard Crease/BNPS
Ruth Lane told the Guardian: “There was a constant threat of a fine. They had to deliver the parcels to tight slots and the pressure to get them done was huge. He was putting the company before his own health. He wasn’t able to do his parcels first and make the hospital appointments, so he would cancel on the day.

“He collapsed in January 2017 and they knew that because they collected his van. It was after that Don cancelled three appointments. DPD had a duty of care to make sure he got to those appointments, but they failed in it.” She added that in March her husband had told her: “I think I am going to die.”

Lane’s death comes as concern mounts at the human cost of the gig economy, which accounts for 1.1 million people, many working as couriers and minicab drivers. It is likely to increase pressure on the government to make meaningful reforms to employment law in a delayed announcement on modern working practices expected this week.

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Trade unions last night said the government must crack down on bogus self-employment. The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The insecure work free-for-all has to end … this will be a real test of Theresa May’s government. Does she even have a domestic agenda any more?”

DPD, one of the most successful firms operating in the gig economy, made over £100m profit after tax in 2016. Both it and Hermes, another parcel company relying on self-employed couriers, are facing employment tribunal claims from people who believe they should be treated as employed.

Field described Lane’s death as “a new low for the gig economy” and called on Theresa May to urgently introduce new legislation to protect “this small army of workers at the bottom of the pile … who are being badly exploited”.

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Lane disputed the £150 charge in July, insisting that he had told his bosses about the appointment months earlier. According to correspondence seen by the Guardian, he told his manager: “I have cancelled so many appointments because I couldn’t make the time to get there that the renal department have stopped treating me. I had to go.”

His DPD area manager replied: “I fail to understand why a full day off was required and as such do not see that the breach [the £150 fine] should be rescinded.”

During the appointment, doctors found Lane’s blood pressure and cholesterol were high, he had anaemia and rising levels of creatine in his kidneys, a warning sign of renal failure. In September 2017 he collapsed into another diabetic coma.

In the days before he died, he was feeling sick and vomiting blood, Ruth said, adding that he told her: “I really don’t want to work, but I have to.”. “They are like employees, not self-employed,” she said.

A colleague, who asked not to be named for fear that DPD would terminate his contract, said: “Don was falling apart, but they wouldn’t take it easy on him. They push drivers till they break. I definitely think they contributed to this. They knew Don was diabetic. They should have looked after him more.”

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DPD said in a statement that it was “profoundly sorry” that it had charged Lane, but cited “confusion” at the time. “Don attended his appointment, but it isn’t clear why he was then charged, when the charge hadn’t been been applied at any other time,” it said. “We got it wrong on that occasion.”

Lane first collapsed on 27 December 2016 and Ruth texted his manager to say: “he knows he has to come into work tomorrow as he’ll get charged”. On that occasion, the manager responded that “he has no worries about being charged”.

“In relation to Don’s poor health at the end of December 2016 and into January 2017, we refute the claim that he was under pressure and threatened with a £150 charge,” DPD said. It said that it monitored Lane’s health during 2017 but did not know that he had suffered another diabetic coma in September. It said he had a quiet rural route with a relatively small number of deliveries, which suited him “as it was convenient for his hospital appointments”.

“In the runup to Christmas, it is normal in the industry for drivers to work additional days at the weekend and Don was working his normal route,” DPD said. “We weren’t made aware that Don was feeling sick and vomiting up some blood at this time. We were shocked and hugely saddened by Don’s death and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

DPD said its drivers “do not have to provide the service personally, and drivers have the option of providing a substitute driver in the event of sickness. Don was aware of the need to provide a substitute.” It said if a driver cannot find a substitute, it tries to reallocate the route among other drivers.

DPD uses around 5,000 self-employed couriers. They are under pressure to deliver parcels to restricted time slots, must wear a uniform, hire a DPD liveried van and not work for any other courier company. MPs and unions have argued that these strict conditions mean they are bogusly self-employed and should be treated as employed workers. Courier companies using self-employed drivers, including ParcelForce and UK Mail, have also sparked anger by levying fines if rounds are not covered.

DPD said that it charged fines in 4.6% of the cases where couriers did not provide a service, but declined to say how much it raised because this information was “operationally sensitive”.

“How can modern Britain allow workers who are dedicated to their job to be driven to an early grave by such appalling exploitation?” said Field. “DPD have been told time and again that their punitive regime is totally unjust, particularly as their workers are labelled ‘self-employed’. Such mistreatment of workers smacks of sweated labour from the Victorian era.”

Tags: killing workersstress on the jobhealthcarecourier
Categories: Labor News

Chicago ATU Contract Discussion 2018 going on a contract/strike campaign to force the Chicago Transit Authority to accept a better contract.

Current News - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 21:15

Chicago ATU Contract Discussion 2018
going on a contract/strike campaign to force the Chicago Transit Authority to accept a better contract.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phk34Cs9HrU&feature=youtu.be
\
Erek Slater
Uploaded on Feb 4, 2018
This video is a discussion of the Feb. 8th 2018 ratification vote for Amalgamated Transit Unions 241 and 308 in Chicago. Erek Slater, an executive board member for ATU Local 241, outlines a third option for coworkers: going on a contract/strike campaign to force the Chicago Transit Authority to accept a better contract. The views expressed in this video do not reflect the official positions of ATU or CTA. This video is for ATU members to view only.

Please send factual corrections, questions and ideas to trasitworkersunite@gmail.com or eslater@atu241chicago.org

Tags: ATU 241ATU 308contract campaignright to strike
Categories: Labor News

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