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Jimmy John’s Workers Picket In Baltimore

IWW - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:50

By the Baltimore IWW

Baltimore Jimmy John’s worker and veteran James Hegler was fired on Sept. 5 in retaliation for organizing a union at his workplace and participating in concerted activity against low wages and appalling working conditions. On Sunday, Oct. 19, workers and supporters picketed outside the Pratt Street Jimmy John’s to demand both the reinstatement of James Hegler and an end to illegal retaliation against workers.

By firing James, Jimmy John’s management made it clear that they are willing to violate federal labor law in order to punish workers for organizing a union. By ignoring attempts to meet and discuss terms for his reinstatement, Jimmy John’s management hopes to break the organizing drive through intimidation and contempt for the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Workers responded with a picket to show Jimmy John’s that this behavior will not be tolerated.

read more

Categories: Unions

Contracting Out At Airlines Threatens Health And Safety-Airlines Not Doing Enough To Protect Aircraft Cleaners And Passengers From Ebola Risk, Union Charges

Current News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 10:42

Contracting Out At Airlines Threatens Health And Safety-Airlines Not Doing Enough To Protect Aircraft Cleaners And Passengers From Ebola Risk, Union Charges
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoglia/2014/10/19/airlines-not-doing-eno...
LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION 10/19/2014 @ 6:12AM 1,211 views
Airlines Not Doing Enough To Protect Aircraft Cleaners And Passengers From Ebola Risk, Union Charges

As I wrote recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued specific guidelines for airline crews, including cleaning crews, to prevent the potential for the Ebola virus to spread on our nation’s airliners as they carry people that may be infected with the virus. But according to one of the largest unions representing airport ground workers – including aircraft and airport cleaners and wheelchair agents – these frontline workers in the effort to prevent contamination from infectious diseases, including Ebola, on aircraft and in airports are not equipped or trained to do the job.

In response to written questions from Forbes, a Service Employees International Union spokesperson, Graham Copp, stated “It’s hard to see how the airline industry is playing its part to keep workers and passengers safe, when there are so many reports of under-trained, under-equipped workers coming into contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, feces and vomit.”

He further stated: “We have real concerns about the safety of cleaning crews and other people who work at airports, such as wheelchair agents. We have been supporting airport workers in their efforts to raise health and safety standards for several years now. In that time, we’ve seen a pattern of poor protective equipment, such as thin gloves that break easily, understaffing of cleaning crews and huge time pressure, at multiple airports. This is an infection-control concern that goes beyond Ebola.”

Although employers are responsible for providing training and protective equipment, the union has stepped in recently to provide informational training at JFK International Airport, where the majority of passengers from West Africa enter the United States. The union called the training “awareness” training in an October 9 press conference. The purpose of the training, according to the union, is to inform workers of the additional CDC guidelines for dealing with potential exposure to bodily fluids infected with the Ebola virus. These enhanced protections include, plastic shoe covers, full-length, full-sleeve gowns, face shields or goggles and double layers of gloves. According to Mr. Copp, the training was not meant “to replace employers’ obligation to provide comprehensive training on infection control to the people who keep our airports and airplanes clean.” The union plans to provide training at additional airports in the coming weeks.

The union’s concern regarding airport ground worker training and experience on safety issues is one I am personally familiar with as a former airline employee and Member of the National Transportation Safety Board. Airline cost-cutting measures over the years have resulted in airlines contracting out work that was once performed by the airlines themselves. Often, these contracts go to the lowest bidders, who in turn pay their workers very low wages. These low wages result in high worker turnover at many facilities as employees change jobs frequently for even a small increase in salary. In addition, low wages frequently result in employees working two or even three jobs, making them vulnerable to fatigue and fatigue-related mistakes, which can present a problem for workers complying with infectious waste protocols. Proper adherence to protocols is especially important when removing protective gear that may have become contaminated to avoid the risk of infection to the worker or contamination of others. [Dislosure: Earlier in the year, I submitted written testimony to the California State Assembly Labor Committee reviewing airport ramp worker safety at the request of SEIU.]

According to Mr. Copp, the union spokesperson, “the CDC guidelines provide a good level of protection for cleaners. The problem is with implementation. We have not yet seen the large-scale culture shift needed among many airline cleaning contractors.” In addition, Mr. Copp stated that the “patchwork system of low-bid subcontractors with little to no enforcement and ineffective oversight is inadequate to deal with this current crisis, and needs to be fixed immediately at airports across the country.” CDC Guidance to airline cleaning crews, updated on October 15, is provided here.

Tags: EbolaContracting outairline workershealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Union Pacific boosts rail inspections in high-hazard mountain passes “We’re ensuring we keep crude oil trains on the track,”?

Current News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 09:46

Union Pacific boosts rail inspections in high-hazard mountain passes
http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article3076881.html
BY TONY BIZJAKTBIZJAK@SACBEE.COM
10/19/2014 4:58 PM 10/20/2014 7:06 AM

Mike Stoddard oversees the operation of Union Pacific Railroad’s EC-4 as it makes its way out of the Roseville yard on Oct. 6 in Roseville. The EC-4 is a 96-ton, 82-foot-long rolling track inspection car which travels 800-1500 miles a week making sure that heavily used railroad tracks are in good working order.RANDY PENCH/RPENCH@SACBEE.COM

Faced with public concern about the risks of crude oil shipments, the Union Pacific railroad last month boosted its rail inspection program on mountain passes in California and the West, dispatching high-tech vehicles with lasers to check tracks for imperfections.

UP officials say they have leased two rail inspection vehicles, called geometry cars, doubling the number of computer-based safety cars in use on the company’s tracks. The move comes amid mounting public concern about hazardous-material shipments, including a growing quantity of highly flammable crude oil from North Dakota being shipped to West Coast refineries.

The inspection cars will supplement similar geometry cars UP owns that it uses to inspect hundreds of miles of tracks daily on the company’s main lines west of the Mississippi River. Running at regular train speeds, the inspection vehicles can detect tiny deviations and wear on rail lines that could cause a derailment if allowed to grow, UP officials said.

The new cars will patrol the main mountain routes into the state, UP officials said. Northern California sites will include Donner Pass, the Feather River Canyon and grades outside Dunsmuir. The state has designated all those areas high hazards for derailments.

In Southern California, the inspection vehicles will patrol UP’s looping line over the Tehachapi Mountains, as well as the line on the Cuesta grade in San Luis Obispo County. The trains also will check mountain rails in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.

“We’re ensuring we keep crude oil trains on the track,” said David Wickersham, UP’s chief maintenance engineer in the West. “We are going to time it so we are hitting California every three months.”

State rail safety chief Paul King of the California Public Utilities Commission applauded the move. “It’s easy to maintain a straight (flat) railroad, but it’s not as easy to maintain a curved rail like you find in the mountains,” King said.

Grady Cothen, a retired Federal Railroad Administration safety official, said the type of high-tech inspections cars UP is using have become a must for major railroad companies. With more freight moving through limited rail corridors, especially mountains, the financial and political implications of a major derailment that causes damage are huge for railroads.

“They have every incentive to keep their trains out of the river,” Cothen said.

Over the last five years, UP has suffered about 180 derailments in California, according to the federal government’s rail incident database. Most were minor. Only one caused an injury. But the reportable damage costs to UP were listed at $19 million.

Although derailments per mile have been dropping nationally for decades, concern has skyrocketed in the last year, prompted by major shifts in the oil industry. New hydraulic fracturing technology, commonly called fracking, has led to a boom in crude oil being moved by rail. Several dramatic, explosive derailments have occurred, including one last year that killed 47 people in a Canadian town.

More crude oil shipments are expected in California in the coming years. Oil companies are pursuing plans that would bring daily trains through downtown Sacramento to refineries in Benicia, Santa Maria and possibly Bakersfield.

Federal officials are calling for a host of safety changes for crude oil shipments, including stronger tanker cars, reduced train speeds, better braking systems, computerized train controls and rail-route risk assessments.

“The challenges of crude oil (rail transport) mean we have to rethink everything that we have historically done in order to get to the next generation of safety,” Federal Railroad Administration chief Joe Szabo told The Sacramento Bee on a visit to Sacramento last month. “We are really focusing on prevention, mitigation and the third step, emergency response.

“But you really want the highest focus on prevention. Let’s prevent accidents from happening to begin with.”

Forty-five percent of derailments nationally are caused by track problems, such as broken or missing cross ties, or worn rails at track junctions, federal data show. The remaining 55 percent involve a combination of factors, mainly human error, but also train equipment failure, signal malfunctions and other issues.

In California, the state PUC plans to increase its track-inspection workforce in the coming months, and has formed a Crude Oil Reconnaissance Team to review rail tracks that are being used or will be used for crude oil transports. But state and federal rail safety officials admit they largely rely on the railroads to self-police. Most state and federal track inspectors, in fact, serve mainly in an auditing role, checking in on railroad companies’ inspection programs.

UP – the biggest freight railroad west of the Mississippi, with 32,000 miles of mainline tracks – and other railroad companies typically disclose little about in-house activities, leaving government officials questioning if railroads are taking proper steps to protect the public from oil and other hazardous waste spills. UP and BNSF sued the state this month in an attempt to nullify a new state law that requires the railroads, among other things, to submit to the state their plans for responses to waterway spills.

The company, however, gave The Bee a glimpse last week into a key part of its inspection program, allowing a reporter and photographer to ride on one of UP’s high-tech inspection cars as it analyzed the tracks between Roseville and Marysville. The vehicle was on an inspection run that day from Roseville to Klamath Falls, Ore.

The bright yellow car is a self-propelled rolling office and computer lab, although it is often pulled by a locomotive. Several inspectors sat at each end of the vehicle at banks of computers, reading live data streaming from sensors mounted under the vehicle as it rolled at 53 mph west of Lincoln on the line known as the Valley Subdivision. The sensors can detect tiny deviations, such as rail alignment and height, or rail head wear. Rails that show wear or defects are noted. Some are marked for near-term replacement or repair. Other issues are put on a watch list.

The inspection car weighs 100 tons, which allows it to assess the rails when they have nearly as much vertical and horizontal pressure on them as all but the heaviest freight cars impose. Grain and coal cars can weigh as much as 140 tons. Full crude oil cars are nearly as heavy, weighing 134 tons, UP officials said.

“This car finds things the naked eye can’t find,” said Wickersham, UP’s regional maintenance chief. He pointed to one of a series of undulating lines on a pair of computer monitors in front of him. Each line shows deviations from the norm. “Here is a spot of alignment the car picked up at milepost 111, plus 2,500 feet,” showing a rail section that is slightly out of alignment. “That is one of those locations that our manager of track maintenance for the area will fix within 30 days.”

UP officials say the company has spent $1.4 billion in California on track upgrades between 2009 and 2013, including replacing a quarter of its ties, the wooden beams that connect the two rails, every eight years. Many of the new ties, especially in the mountains, are concrete.

The company employs 43 track inspectors in California. That includes people who drive pickup trucks on the tracks, essentially clamped onto the rails, doing visual inspections and follow-up reviews after the inspection cars come through.

The state’s second-largest freight rail company, BNSF, said in an email that it also takes rail inspection seriously, using geometry vehicles up to six times annually on key routes, as well as radar to inspect for problems under the rail’s ballast, and ultrasound to find other hidden weaknesses.

“It’s not rocket science,” said UP’s Wickersham, “but it’s technical. This is not your great-great-grandfather’s railroad.”

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article3076881.html#stor...

Tags: union pacificaBNSF
Categories: Labor News

FedEx Ground: Employees or "contractors"

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 07:54

Five days a week for 10 years, Agostino Scalercio left his ouse before 6 a.m., drove to a depot to pick up a truck, and worked a 10-hour shift delivering packages in San Diego. He first worked for Roadyway Package System, a national delivery company whose founders included former United Parcel Service managers, and continued driving trucks when FedEx bought RPS in 1998. FedEx Groung assigned Scalercio a service area. The company, he says, had strict standards about delivery times, the drivers' grooming, truck maintenance, and deadlines for handing in paperwork, and deducted money from his pay to cover the cost of his uniform, truck washings, and the scanner used to log shipments.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Block The Boat Tampa-ILA 1402 Member Support The Picket Line

Current News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 18:53

Block The Boat Tampa-ILA 1402 Member Support The Picket LIne
http://vimeo.com/108943539
from Nick Armero

Tags: ILA 1402 blockade Zim
Categories: Labor News

Stop the Argentina government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!

Current News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 18:35

Stop the Argentina government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!
http://solidaritywiththeworkersofargentina.wordpress.com/news/stop-the-g...

Condemn Randazzo’s attack on the Sarmiento shop stewards committee!

Stop the government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!
End the criminalization of protest!

Just one day after the successful August 28 general strike in Argentina, Minister for Transport and the Interior Florencio Randazzo launched a legal attack against several railway union delegates from the Sarmiento line in Buenos Aires. Randazzo filed a criminal complaint and a request for the desafuero [the impeachment and taking away of industrial rights] of these unionists. These actions are an attempt to behead the Cuerpo de Delegados[Shop Stewards Committee] and the local branch of the Railway Union led by Rubén Sobrero. Rubén, better known as “Pollo” [“Chicken”], has been a consistent opponent of the government and has fought to defend the rights of workers in the face of the lies from the government and its so-called “railway revolution”.

Without any evidence, delegates Mónica Schlottauer, Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet and Rubén Maldonado, along with union member Julio Capelinsky from the cleaning section, have all been accused of a supposed “attack” against railway property. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to government photographs, this “attack” is nothing more than a pile of rubbish found on a train carriage. The whole thing is totally absurd.

These false accusations aim to not only intimidate unionists who are fighting back and leaders who have not sold out; they are also an attempt to undermine the effects of the massive national strike.

These false charges are part of the national government’s policy of criminalizing protest, the same process that is occurring in other countries. In just one of many examples, the government has upheld the life sentences brought down against oil workers in the town of Las Heras. These workers were charged for the death in 2006 of a police officer, despite no one ever being identified as the killer and no murder weapon ever being found. An international campaign for the acquittal of these oil workers is currently underway. In Argentina there are over six thousand activists and unionists who have either been prosecuted or are facing trial for charges arising from various protests. Back in 2011 the government accused Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero of burning trains and tried to legally frame him. The government was forced to back down and acquit “Pollo” because there was simply no proof. Nevertheless they are trying to do exactly the same thing again.

The government of Argentina is attacking union leaders and delegates who stand up and do not bow to its dictates. This is just another part of the government’s anti-union stance and we reject it.

An international campaign in defense of these railway workers is underway. We are calling for the broadest unity and solidarity from unions, neighbourhood, student and human rights organizations, public figures, parliamentarians and political parties. We urge you to add your name to this campaign.

End the criminalization of protest!
Stop the government’s legal attacks against the militant railway workers!

The full list of signatories can be found on the website of Izquierda Socialista here (in Spanish only).

See below for details of how to add your name to the campaign to stop Randazzo’s legal attacks against the railway workers.

_____

English / inglés

We, the undersigned are strongly opposed to the request on the part of the Minister for Transport Florencio Randazzo for the desafuero [the impeachment and taking away of industrial rights] of the Sarmiento railway delegates, headed by Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero.

The accused are union delegates Mónica Schlottauer, Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet and Rubén Maldonado and union member Julio Capelinsky from the cleaning section, for their involvement in a supposed “attack” against railway property. It is clear that there was no “attack” and no destruction or damage.

The only “proof” is a video that the government itself has produced and distributed. These false accusations are an attempt to both intimidate unionists who are fighting back and the continuation of the criminalisation of social protest.

Spanish / español

Los abajo firmantes nos pronunciamos contra el pedido de desafuero sindical y la denuncia penal contra los delegados del ferrocarril Sarmiento, encabezados por Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, por parte del ministro de Transporte Florencio Randazzo.

Los acusados son la delegada Mónica Schlottauer, los delegados Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet y Rubén Maldonado, y el trabajador Julio Capelinsky – del sector limpieza -, por protagonizar un supuesto “atentado” contra los trenes.Está claro que no hubo ningún atentado, ni destrozos.

Lo “prueban” los propios videos difundidos por el gobierno. Es una acusación falsa con el objetivo de intimidar a los que luchan y seguir criminalizando la protesta social.

_____

Send to email to / Envíe un correo electrónico a:
1) monicaireinoso@gmail.com
2) solidaritywiththeworkersofargentina@hotmail.com
with the relevant information below / con la información pertinente a continuación.

1. Individual signatures / Las firmas individuales
I oppose the government’s request for the desafuero of the railway delegates. Please add my name to the International Petition / Estoy en contra el pedido de desafuero a los delegados del ferrocarril. Por favor agregue mi nombre al petitorio internacional.

Name [nombre]:
Position [posición]:
Organisation [organización]*:
[organisation displayed for the purposes of identification only / organización mostrada para los propósitos de identificación solamente].

2. Signatures: Union, political party or other organisation /
Las firmas: sindicato, partido político u otra organización
We are opposed to the government’s request for the desafuero of the railway delegates. Please add our name to the International Petition / Estamos en contra el pedido de desafuero a los delegados del ferrocarril. Por favor agregue nuestro nombre al petitorio internacional.

Name of organisation [nombre de la organización]:
Branch, state etc. [local / sección, estado / provincia etc.]*:
International affiliation [afiliación internacional]*:
* If applicable [si es applicable]

Tags: Argentina railway workers
Categories: Labor News

Stop the Argentina government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!

Current News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 18:35

Stop the Argentina government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!
http://solidaritywiththeworkersofargentina.wordpress.com/news/stop-the-g...

Condemn Randazzo’s attack on the Sarmiento shop stewards committee!

Stop the government’s legal attacks on militant railway workers!
End the criminalization of protest!

Just one day after the successful August 28 general strike in Argentina, Minister for Transport and the Interior Florencio Randazzo launched a legal attack against several railway union delegates from the Sarmiento line in Buenos Aires. Randazzo filed a criminal complaint and a request for the desafuero [the impeachment and taking away of industrial rights] of these unionists. These actions are an attempt to behead the Cuerpo de Delegados[Shop Stewards Committee] and the local branch of the Railway Union led by Rubén Sobrero. Rubén, better known as “Pollo” [“Chicken”], has been a consistent opponent of the government and has fought to defend the rights of workers in the face of the lies from the government and its so-called “railway revolution”.

Without any evidence, delegates Mónica Schlottauer, Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet and Rubén Maldonado, along with union member Julio Capelinsky from the cleaning section, have all been accused of a supposed “attack” against railway property. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to government photographs, this “attack” is nothing more than a pile of rubbish found on a train carriage. The whole thing is totally absurd.

These false accusations aim to not only intimidate unionists who are fighting back and leaders who have not sold out; they are also an attempt to undermine the effects of the massive national strike.

These false charges are part of the national government’s policy of criminalizing protest, the same process that is occurring in other countries. In just one of many examples, the government has upheld the life sentences brought down against oil workers in the town of Las Heras. These workers were charged for the death in 2006 of a police officer, despite no one ever being identified as the killer and no murder weapon ever being found. An international campaign for the acquittal of these oil workers is currently underway. In Argentina there are over six thousand activists and unionists who have either been prosecuted or are facing trial for charges arising from various protests. Back in 2011 the government accused Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero of burning trains and tried to legally frame him. The government was forced to back down and acquit “Pollo” because there was simply no proof. Nevertheless they are trying to do exactly the same thing again.

The government of Argentina is attacking union leaders and delegates who stand up and do not bow to its dictates. This is just another part of the government’s anti-union stance and we reject it.

An international campaign in defense of these railway workers is underway. We are calling for the broadest unity and solidarity from unions, neighbourhood, student and human rights organizations, public figures, parliamentarians and political parties. We urge you to add your name to this campaign.

End the criminalization of protest!
Stop the government’s legal attacks against the militant railway workers!

The full list of signatories can be found on the website of Izquierda Socialista here (in Spanish only).

See below for details of how to add your name to the campaign to stop Randazzo’s legal attacks against the railway workers.

_____

English / inglés

We, the undersigned are strongly opposed to the request on the part of the Minister for Transport Florencio Randazzo for the desafuero [the impeachment and taking away of industrial rights] of the Sarmiento railway delegates, headed by Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero.

The accused are union delegates Mónica Schlottauer, Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet and Rubén Maldonado and union member Julio Capelinsky from the cleaning section, for their involvement in a supposed “attack” against railway property. It is clear that there was no “attack” and no destruction or damage.

The only “proof” is a video that the government itself has produced and distributed. These false accusations are an attempt to both intimidate unionists who are fighting back and the continuation of the criminalisation of social protest.

Spanish / español

Los abajo firmantes nos pronunciamos contra el pedido de desafuero sindical y la denuncia penal contra los delegados del ferrocarril Sarmiento, encabezados por Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero, por parte del ministro de Transporte Florencio Randazzo.

Los acusados son la delegada Mónica Schlottauer, los delegados Edgardo Reynoso, Luis Clutet y Rubén Maldonado, y el trabajador Julio Capelinsky – del sector limpieza -, por protagonizar un supuesto “atentado” contra los trenes.Está claro que no hubo ningún atentado, ni destrozos.

Lo “prueban” los propios videos difundidos por el gobierno. Es una acusación falsa con el objetivo de intimidar a los que luchan y seguir criminalizando la protesta social.

_____

Send to email to / Envíe un correo electrónico a:
1) monicaireinoso@gmail.com
2) solidaritywiththeworkersofargentina@hotmail.com
with the relevant information below / con la información pertinente a continuación.

1. Individual signatures / Las firmas individuales
I oppose the government’s request for the desafuero of the railway delegates. Please add my name to the International Petition / Estoy en contra el pedido de desafuero a los delegados del ferrocarril. Por favor agregue mi nombre al petitorio internacional.

Name [nombre]:
Position [posición]:
Organisation [organización]*:
[organisation displayed for the purposes of identification only / organización mostrada para los propósitos de identificación solamente].

2. Signatures: Union, political party or other organisation /
Las firmas: sindicato, partido político u otra organización
We are opposed to the government’s request for the desafuero of the railway delegates. Please add our name to the International Petition / Estamos en contra el pedido de desafuero a los delegados del ferrocarril. Por favor agregue nuestro nombre al petitorio internacional.

Name of organisation [nombre de la organización]:
Branch, state etc. [local / sección, estado / provincia etc.]*:
International affiliation [afiliación internacional]*:
* If applicable [si es applicable]

Tags: Argentina railway workers
Categories: Labor News

Cambodia: Hard times for ‘the Union 23’

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Post
Categories: Labor News

Cambodia: Free Trade Union Proposes $130 Garment Worker Minimum Wage

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Cambodia Daily
Categories: Labor News

Hong Kong: Regime ratchets up talk about foreign meddling just as talks set to start

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/19/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Union Book
Categories: Labor News

Open Letter To Paul Bigman And Labor Notes From Jack Heyman

Current News - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 20:36

Open Letter To Paul Bigman And Labor Notes From Jack Heyman

Paul,

I’ve been overseas for a while and just got back in time to help the Stop Zim Action Committee organize a successful community picket against the Israeli ship, Zim Shanghai, in the port of Oakland on September 27 protesting the genocidal Zionist killing of over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them Gazan civilians. In the best tradition of the ILWU not one container was handled by longshore workers.

On August 16, a community demonstration of a few thousand was called by Block the Boat against the Zim Piraeus. It delayed the ship’s arrival. The next 4 days much smaller spontaneous community pickets were organized and longshoremen honored the line. Zim tried everything to get the ship worked. Finally, after the third day they deceptively reported to Marine Traffic that she was sailing. She left the SSA terminal, headed out the Golden Gate to sea, but then made a Williamson turn and headed back to port, this time to Ports America.

Since there’s no contract in place some longshoremen feeling their power, refused to be shifted to the Zim ship behind the picket line. Others simply worked at a safe snail’s pace. One crane operator boasted barely any cargo was moved before the ship was forced to sail. Yet, the Israeli government disingenuously claimed cargo operations had been completed when the ship sailed. The Palestinian trade union federation commended that solidarity action. But, shamefully echoing the false Israeli statement minimizing the effect of the dock action, ILWU Communications Director Craig Merrilees appeased PMA and Oakland port officials saying "All the work was completed" before the ship left port at 8:45 a.m.” (SF Chronicle 8/20/14)

So, back to your Sept. 10, article “Grain Agreement Ends Lockouts in NW Ports” in Labor Notes, a magazine edited by Merrilees’ friend. You call the concessionary master grain agreement “a hard-won” contract. And you say that “Although the employers attempted to bring lower standards to the Pacific Northwest agreement, the ILWU blocked the majority of objectionable terms.” Both of these contentions obviously fly in the face of easy-to-document facts.

The truth is that the NW grain agreements ceded historic gains, gains that made the ILWU a powerhouse among unions internationally. Now, PMA companies salivating over the huge grain concessions, are acting aggressively in the longshore contract negotiations. If we don’t accede to their demands, they’re threatening to pull the tentative medical agreement or even lock us out. TRAPAC managers in LA were operating transtainers just as consoles are being run by grain terminal managers. TRAPAC, owned by Mitsui, is one of the EGT partners. Had ILWU taken strong action against EGT, the “standardizing” grain contract as Coast Committeman Sundet called it, we wouldn’t be facing such PMA’s threats today.

Yes, the NW lockout was ended but at what cost? ILWU’s history is to fully mobilize the ranks to drive off the scabs and in that way, end lockouts and win strikes. But in the NW grain lockout the McEllrath/Sundet leadership did nothing to stop the scabs who were taking our jobs and thumbing their noses at us as they crossed our picket lines. So, it was no surprise that they’d surrender hard-won gains to end the lockout.

The contract scuttles the union hiring hall, the heart of our union’s power, giving the employer control of the cargo hook or grain console and eliminates clerks. It allows the employer to use non-ILWU labor when work is stopped. It makes a mockery of our hard-won rights to honor picket lines, standby on safety, go to the monthly union meeting or honor the “Bloody Thursday” martyrs or any contract holiday. Maybe you don’t get the impact of these concessions because you never worked as a longshoreman or an ILWU member. You’re perspective comes from someone who used be a paid staffer at the International.

As you yourself admit the ILWU made major concessions: giving away control of the console (cargo handling operations) and the supercargo (No clerks jobs on the ships). The PNGHA got just about everything they’d demanded at the start of negotiations two years ago, using the EGT contract as their boilerplate. The danger of acceding to such demands by the grain monopolies was made clear in a signed leaflet by Local 10 and Local 8 retirees and members, veterans of many ILWU battles--Herb Mills, the late Leo Robinson, Howard Keylor, Larry Wright, Chris Colie, Delbert Green, Jack Mulcahy, Anthony Leviege and myself. (EGT-Longview Longshore Contract - Worst Ever!)

The real question is: Why did longshoremen in the grain ports vote 93.8% in December 2012 to reject the employers’ last, best and final offer which is essentially the same contract and now vote 88.4% to accept it? Portland Local 8, the largest grain port, voted down the Cargill/TEMCO deal (similar to the final grain agreement). And they tried to stem the tide of concessionary bargaining by holding rallies in the port but were blocked by the International. Local 21 members were not even given the right to vote on the concessions-setting EGT contract as is stipulated in the ILWU Constitution. You failed to report any of these pertinent facts. Could it be that after two years of negotiations and over one year of a lockout and scabbing, that longshore workers had no confidence in their International to stop the scabbing and get a better contract? Such lack of confidence in International leaderships was expressed in your Labor Notes article on the Machinists’ struggle against Boeing.

Starting with the EGT struggle, the ILWU International interceded to prevent mass mobilizations to stop the scabbing even though there was enthusiastic support for it from labor councils, unions and our allies in the Occupy movement. What frightened PMA’s McKenna and the ILWU bureaucrats most was longshoremen leaving work in the major Northwest ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Portland and shutting down those ports to protest the police attack on their sisters and brothers, including McEllrath, blocking a scab grain train in Longview. After that successful rank-and-file action there were no more mass mobilizations.

The power of ILWU on the West Coast docks lay dormant in the fight against EGT. McKenna and McEllrath were also frightened by the Occupy march of 30,000 into the port of Oakland protesting police brutality and in solidarity with the EGT struggle. The Occupy movement would’ve been our ally in this struggle but the International, made sure that didn’t happen.

The International, maintaining top down control, kept members isolated and intimidated. Disruption of a solidarity rally for the Local 21 Longview members’ struggle in the Portland SEIU union hall was led by ILWU bureaucrats. The following day the Seattle Labor Temple solidarity rally was chaired by Gabriel Prawl, a member of ILWU Local 52 and the A. Philip Randolph delegate to the King County Labor Council. ILWU members and an Occupy speaker were at the podium when it was physically broken up by ILWU officials, some members and staffers.

Paul, you had been an ILWU staffer and were there. Maybe you weren’t one of those who physically attacked the rally participants but you defended ILWU officials who did, at the subsequent Seattle Labor Council meeting. Where does Labor Notes stand on this egregious breach of union democracy?

A year later, when Vancouver and Portland longshore locals were locked out, they were pretty much on their own, valiantly picketing the scabs as best they could. A mass mobilization was never called by the International to stop the Gettier Security scabs at United Grain and Columbia Grain at the point of production.

In fact, Gettier scabs were first used in an ILWU dispute in 2010 against our locked out miners in Boron, California. The ILWU International warned striking miners that if they picketed scab borax containers on the LA/LB docks their strike fund money would be cut off. Not one scab box was stopped! ILWU signed a concessionary contract eliminating defined pensions for new miners, just as the Machinists’ bureaucrats did at Boeing. Although scabs were still working in the Boron mine, The Dispatcher declared a “victory” and it was dutifully reiterated in Labor Notes.

The key question in labor struggles is the picket line. The ILWU's Ten Guiding Principles addresses that question head on. “Labor solidarity means just that. Unions have to accept the fact that the solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the so-called sanctity of the contract. We cannot adopt for ourselves the policies of union leaders who insist that because they have a contract, their members are compelled to perform work even behind a picket line. Every picket line must be respected as though it were our own.” The McEllrath-Sundet leadership has consistently violated this fundamental labor principal.

The picket line of LA/LB port truckers is a recent example of ILWU violating the Ten Guiding Principles by crossing a picket line of workers trying to organize a union to represent them against our same employers. We’ve heard the excuse that it was in retaliation against the Teamsters union which was backing the port truckers. The Teamsters union raided our warehouse local in Sacramento three years ago. This should have warranted a front page article in The Dispatcher, but there was not a word. Union officials directed longshore workers to cross our brother port truckers’ picket lines not only in LA/LB but in Oakland and other major ports where there was no Teamster backing. It has got to stop if we expect to gain support for ILWU’s contract struggle against PMA, especially since we’re no longer in the AFL-CIO.

Lastly, I think it’s fitting that your article appeared in Labor Notes which purports to cover the labor movement and support the rank and file. But, they refuse to publish an article in their newsletter signed by 14 ILWU and ILA longshore activists criticizing the ILWU International’s extending the contract for 3 days to allow the arbitrator to make a decision that the LA/LB truckers’ picket is not bona fide as per the PCLCD. The union should’ve defied the arbitrator as we’ve done before and backed the port truckers right to picket and join any union they want ILWU, Teamsters or form their own union. But, longshore officials ordered the men to cross the picket line.

Here’s the other lie, apparently told to Labor Notes by ILWU’s Communications Director Craig Merrilees, which they bought hook, line and sinker: ILWU and PMA stopped negotiations and extended the contract so that negotiators could go to Portland to nail down a contract. The Journal of Commerce, the maritime bosses’ voice had a good laugh on that one, but it’s interesting that Labor Notes bought it.

Paul, I’ve seen the destruction of a once-great union, the National Maritime Union. It was the largest maritime union in the U.S. and the closest ally of the ILWU in the CIO. NMU president Joe Curran during the anti-communist McCarthy period fingered union leaders like Ferdinand Smith to the government who was deported to Jamaica and purged NMU members who had built the militant seamen’s union in the ‘30’s. Some like Blackie Meyers found safe haven in the ILWU. Curran, with no opposition left, became NMU’s corrupt “general” and loyal shipowners’ partner making deals and giving up the union’s power, while the rank and file suffered the loss of jobs, benefits and working conditions. He cynically called his big yacht “Born Free” and each new contract a “victory” as jobs and membership atrophied. I was a seaman and NMU member. Sadly, today the NMU doesn’t exist. It stands for “No More Union.” Can that happen to ILWU? Not if the ranks wake up and change direction.

Jack Heyman #8780 Local 10 (retired) October 18, 2014

Tags: ilwuInternationalConcession contract
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: Gvt of Kenya moves to combat migrant worker abuse in Gulf

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

SEIU 1021 on board with Republican BART director Fang "Fang, although generally not seen as a labor ally, actually walked the picket lines with the striking workers."

Current News - Sat, 10/18/2014 - 08:34

SEIU 1021 on board with Republican BART director Fang "Fang, although generally not seen as a labor ally, actually walked the picket lines with the striking workers."
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SEIU-on-board-with-Republican...
By C.W. Nevius

October 17, 2014 | Updated: October 18, 2014 6:22am

Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle

BART Director James Fang, left, is being challenged by Nick Josefowitz in S.F.
We know that politics makes strange bedfellows, but this couple needs an intervention.

On the left we have the stalwart champions of the left, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, whose members, in trademark purple T-shirts, can often be seen walking the picket line and chanting for worker rights in front of downtown high-rises.

And to their right — way right — is James Fang, who is that rarest of political birds around here, an elected GOP public official. Many San Franciscans have never seen an actual Republican in the wild.

“It’s an odd thing,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Here you have this uber-progressive union, yet they are supporting a Republican candidate in San Francisco against an environmental progressive.”

The latter is Nick Josefowitz, a political newcomer who’s taking on Fang for a seat on the BART Board of Directors. It was definitely predicted to be an uphill slog. Fang was elected to the BART board in 1990 and has successfully fended off challengers for six terms.

“When I first met Nick and he told me he was going to run, I said “You’re crazy,’” said former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos. “But he’s young and new enough to be crazy.’’

However, Josefowitz has unexpectedly lined up a wide range of endorsements from all over the political spectrum. He’s supported by seven of the 11 San Francisco supervisors as well as The Chronicle, the Examiner, the Sierra Club and the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club.

“I’ve been endorsed by everyone from the Bay Guardian to Mark Farrell,” he says.

Fang counters that he has the support of political warhorses House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. However, Agnos says that’s more a reflection of his family’s political clout. The Fangs have owned several newspapers, including the nationally distributed Asian Week, which supported Pelosi and Feinstein and campaigned against Agnos.

Courtesy Photo

Nick Josefowitz
“The Fang family has a well-earned history as a political powerhouse in the city,” he said. “There is the support of Pelosi and Feinstein as political reciprocity, I suppose.”

All of which brings us back to SEIU, which isn’t only supporting Fang, but contributing to some pointed campaign handouts.

A website called The Millionaire Carpetbagger says Josefowitz “only moved to San Francisco from Great Britain two years ago, but he already wants to buy his way onto the BART board, and is expected to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on negative attack ads.”

Although the site says it’s paid for by “Fang for BART,” Fang says he’s never seen it.

“I haven’t looked at it yet,’’ he said. “I’m too busy campaigning.”

I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear that all this is the result of a wink-wink deal between SEIU and Fang cut during last year’s BART worker strike. Fang, although generally not seen as a labor ally, actually walked the picket lines with the striking workers.

“Until now I would characterize Fang’s relationship with labor as benign neglect,” Agnos said. “This is one of the few times he’s been in support of labor. He took advantage of this strike because it was an election year.”

Fang insists his support of the workers was altruistic.

“It may seem a little odd, but in the end it is always about what is good for the people,” he said. “I thought management was beating up on the workers.”

Although the leadership of SEIU must surely be holding their noses as they support the Republican, they’ve doggedly held up their end of the deal. At the Aug. 13 meeting of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, union organizers pushed through a 17-10 vote of “no endorsement” in the BART race.

Which would have been considered classic San Francisco hardball politics, if Fang hadn’t taken it a step farther, sending out literature trumpeting the vote as “San Franciscans Reject Josefowitz.”

“That crossed the line,” Wiener said.

With that in mind, some DCCC supporters of Josefowitz are putting forward a resolution this week calling Fang out for “unauthorized use of the (SFDCCC’s) name ... to attack his Democratic challenger.”

Frankly, the smart money says the resolution doesn’t have the votes. But it does keep the issue, and the election, in the news. As the election approaches, expect the attacks and sniping to increase.

“The way people try to divide people in this city is crazy,” Fang said.

He would know.

C.W. Nevius is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. His columns appear Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail: cwnevius@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @cwnevius

Tags: BARTseiu 1021Fang
Categories: Labor News

ILWU action disrupts work at Portland's Terminal 6

Current News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:19

ILWU action disrupts work at Portland's Terminal 6
http://www.joc.com/port-news/us-ports/port-portland-ore/ilwu-action-disr...
ILWU action disrupts work at Portland's Terminal 6
An on-again, off-again dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and ICTSI, operator of Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland, Oregon, once again shut down the port’s only container terminal for two days this week.

A spokesperson for ICTSI said Thursday that the terminal was shut down for two days beginning on Wednesday because of ILWU work stoppages. ICTSI said the ILWU is “essentially holding the vessel hostage,” referring to a Hanjin ship calling at the terminal this week. The ILWU has been “hard-timing” ICTSI for the past several weeks, the terminal operator stated. Hanjin is the largest container line calling at Portland, accounting for about 70 percent of the port’s container volume.

The Port of Portland confirmed the shutdown, and noted workers returned to work for the morning shift today. The Hanjin ship was being unloaded during the morning shift.

ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent issued a statement Friday afternoon. In it, she mentions the collective bargaining agreement between Hanjin and ICTSI expired on July 1. Though there has been no impasse declared, the lack of a contract removed the no strike clause, she said, and makes any arbitration procedure also moot.

The statement reads:

"There are multiple pay disputes and associated grievances related to ICTSI’s mismanagement of Terminal 6 that are causing workers to exercise their legally protected right to collective action. ILWU-represented longshore workers and marine clerks would like to resolve the disputes and return to work. ICTSI was informed both on both Wednesday and Thursday that work would resume upon resolution of the grievances. ICTSI's refusal to resolve the pay disputes is what has caused longshore workers to continue exercising their legally protected collective action.

On Wednesday, ILWU Local 8 took legally protected collective action against ICTSI in an attempt to resolve specific grievances involving pay issues. ILWU Local 40, which represents marine clerks, followed Thursday."

The ILWU has been working without a contract on the U.S. West Coast since July 1, when its agreement with the Pacific Maritime Association ended. Because the two parties have not extended the contract, workers can walk off the job or strike for any reason without violating contract clauses or laws.

The Port of Portland announced Aug. 22 that it would cancel an agreement with the ILWU in regard to two refer jobs, citing a large drop in productivity at Terminal 6. Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt said the jobs would be terminated after a 30-day cooling-off period, which ended on Sept. 22. Port Director of Commercial Development Sam Ruda said he believes the ILWU issues in Portland are more localized, stemming from problems at the port rather than the coastwide negotiations. Nonetheless, the walkoff hurt business, he said.

"At the moment, it's only a Hanjin vessel, but it's very disruptive, not only to Hanjin but to Hapag-Lloyd and Westwood as well," Ruda said. "It clearly isn't good. Because there is no contract, there is no grievance machinery to adjudicate these issues. From a port prospective, we want the container operation to be viable, and this has been horribly disruptive to the shipping community."

Container lifts per crane, per hour, have been around 20, compared with 28 or higher that had been the norm before a jurisdictional dispute between the ILWU and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers broke out two years ago.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.

Contact Corianne Egan at cegan@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @CEgan_JOC.

Tags: ilwuPort Of Portland
Categories: Labor News

Pakistan: The terror of anti-terrorism - laws used against trade union leaders

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Daily Times
Categories: Labor News

USA: Protesters stage sit-in outside Wal Mart heiress’ Park Avenue condo

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Fusion
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Trade unions banned in Swaziland

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

UK: Time to end Britain’s pay lock-out, says TUC

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.

Current News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:41

If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17269/uber_driver_fired_tweet
FRIDAY, OCT 17, 2014, 1:35 PM
If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.
BY MARINA FANG

Uber appears to be monitoring drivers' social media presences. (Adam Fagen / Flickr)

An Uber driver was briefly fired by the company on Thursday for tweeting a semi-critical comment about the company before a social media firestorm that may have helped convince the company to bring him back.

As reported by Gawker, Christopher Ortiz received an email from a company operations manager informing him that his account was “permanently deactivated due to hateful statements regarding Uber through Social Media.”

But the tweet in question does not seem to be anything “hateful.” Ortiz merely tweeted out a link to an article that raised concerns about the ride-sharing service’s safety and added: “Driving for Uber, not much safer than driving a taxi.”

Ortiz's story went viral, causing major backlash on social media. In response, Uber reversed course on Friday morning, telling the Guardian, "This was an error by the local team and the driver’s account should have never been deactivated. We reactivated the account upon discovering the mistake and we apologize to this highly rated driver partner for the inconvenience."

Heralded as an innovative service, Uber follows a philosophy of flexibility, since almost anyone can participate and drivers operate independently. But Uber’s business model is facing growing criticism. The drivers are technically not employees—they’re considered “independent contractors.” Therefore, they are not entitled to rights as workers and do not reap much of the company’s $18 billion in profits.

When the company first began, drivers could make about $15-20 per hour. Today, most barely make minimum wage because the company keeps dropping fares to keep up with competitors.

Drivers also do not receive any financial support from Uber—for example, to pay for car insurance or if their car is broken, thus preventing them from doing their job. Ortiz had to convince Uber to compensate him for damages he incurred when a drunk passenger broke his rearview mirrors. “They made ‘an exception’ for me,” he told Gawker.

Ortiz’s firing also shows that despite Uber’s flexibility, drivers are completely at the behest of the company. Even seemingly innocuous tweets can cost them their jobs, raising the question of what counts as free speech on social media. As Ortiz tweeted later on Thursday: “If you want to be an Uber driver, don’t say mean things about them on Twitter.”

MARINA FANG
Marina Fang is a Fall 2014 editorial intern at In These Times. She is a senior at the University of Chicago. She has also written for The Huffington Post and ThinkProgress. Follow her on Twitter: @thefanger.

Tags: Ubertechnologytweets
Categories: Labor News

Poll: 80% Don’t Want Truckers’ Restricted Driving Hours Relaxed

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:47
Michele FuetschTransport TopicsOctober 17, 2014View the original piece

A new poll commissioned by a coalition of highway safety groups found that 80% of Americans believe Congress should not raise the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to 82 hours from 70.

American Trucking Associations called the results “misleading,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called them a “game changer” that shows the public understands “too many hours on the road” leads to crashes.

Click here to read more at Transport Topics.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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