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Info Requests: Defending Yourself With Information From Your Boss

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 08:03

May 20, 2015: Using your union’s legal right to acquire information from the employer can help you defend your rights and win grievances and arbitrations.

This right is established by the National Labor Relations Act. Unfortunately, many members don’t know about this right, and many union representatives don't use it unless members specifically ask them to. This article outlines some of the basics of the right to information and how to use it. You will need more detailed information to effectively put this into practice. Books are available from TDU that outline your rights under the grievance procedure in more detail. When can you request information? The union may request information to:
  • monitor the employer’s compliance with the contract.
  • investigate whether a grievance exists.
  • prepare for a grievance meeting.
  • decide whether to drop or prioritize a grievance.
  • prepare for an arbitration hearing.
What can you request? The obligation of an employer to provide information is extremely broad. It includes relevant documents, data, and facts. Information is considered relevant if it might be useful to the union or could lead to the identification of useful information. How specific does the request have to be? Information requests can be quite general. For example, employers must respond to broad inquiries such as: “Please supply all documents or records which refer to or reflect the factors causing you to reject this grievance.” “Please supply all factual bases for the company’s decision.” “Please provide all documents, reports, and other evidence utilized in making the decision to discipline the employee.” Management may complain that such information requests are “fishing expeditions,” but this language has been upheld by the NLRB, which has ordered employers to comply. These kinds of requests can be extremely useful in nailing down management’s position so that they cannot shift their argument later in the grievance procedure or at arbitration. Other information requests can be very specific. The union is entitled to a wide variety of specific documents. See examples in the box accompanying this article. What if management refuses to provide the information? Refusals to provide information or unreasonable delays violate Section 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act. The union can file an unfair labor practices charge with the NLRB if the company refuses to cooperate with an information request. Who can request information from the employer? Only shop stewards and union officers can request information from the company. Although shop stewards can request information, if the employer is intent on blocking the request or stalling, the backing of the business agent can be crucial to winning an NLRB charge. So whenever possible, it is best to get your business agent on board with an information request. What can you do with a timid business agent? Many business agents aggressively use information requests as a tactic to win grievances. If you are worried that your business agent might not be eager to request the information, ask them to request information from the company and explain specifically in writing what information you would like them to request.What Info Can You Request, and When to Request It The union is entitled to examine a wide variety of records to investigate a grievance or to prepare for bargaining. Documents. The union is entitled to examine a wide variety of records to investigate a grievance or to prepare for bargaining. Examples include: accident reports, air quality studies, attendance records, bargaining agreements for other units or facilities, bargaining notes, bonus records, contracts with customers, suppliers and contractors, correspondence, customer lists, disciplinary records, employer manuals, guidelines and policies, evaluations, interview notes, investigative reports, job descriptions, memos, schedules, time cards, videotapes, wage and salary records. Data. Employers must provide the union with lists, statistics, and other relevant data even if management must spend hours or longer putting it together. You can request data on prior disciplinary actions, promotional patterns, and overtime assignments. Employers are not excused from producing relevant data because of the size of the union’s request, although the employer can bargain on reimbursement for its costs. Requests for data going back five years have been enforced by the NLRB. Facts. Employers must answer pertinent factual inquiries. For a misconduct case, ask for the names and addresses of witnesses and descriptions of their testimony. For an arbitration hearing, ask for the names of persons the employer intends to call to the stand. Disciplinary grievance. When grieving disciplinary action, always request a copy of the grievant’s personnel file. If unequal punishment is an argument in the case, ask for the names of other employees who have committed the same offense and the penalties imposed. Contract interpretation grievance. When a grievance concerns disputed contract language, request the employers bargaining notes from the session during which the clause was negotiated, the dates and contents of any union statements upon which the employer is relying, and descriptions of any incident which the employer says supports its position. TDU can advise you on what information you should request to help you strengthen your grievance. Contact us at 313-842-2600 or email info [at] tdu.org


Rights & Resources: EducationTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 293 Summer 2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Leaked Email Exposes Hoffa’s Support for Pension Cuts

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 07:32

May 20, 2015: A leaked email from the Central States Pension Fund Director obtained by TDU blasts Hoffa for pretending to oppose pension cut legislation that he actually supports.

When legislation was first being drafted on Capitol Hill in late 2013 to allow pension funds to slash retirees’ benefits, Hoffa made a last-minute show of opposition, even issuing a public statement denouncing the proposed legislation.

It was a strange move. After all, Hoffa is on the board of directors of the group which proposed the pension cut bill. Now we know the truth. 

A leaked email from the Central States Fund Director obtained by TDU shows Hoffa’s letter was just a PR stunt. 

On October 10, 2013, Central States Pension Fund Director Thomas Nyhan sent an email to the then-director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Joshua Gotbaum.

The PBGC Director was concerned about a rumor that Hoffa would oppose the pension cut proposal and asks for advice.

Nyhan’s email lays out the real story and pulls no punches.

Playing Politics with Teamster Pensions

“[Hoffa’s] minions are preparing a letter to the Hill in opposition to the legislative… I do not believe they are planning on dispatching any troops to the Hill or making any visits but simply writ[ing] a letter they will likely post on their website to offset some of the TDU noise.”

No troops. No Capitol Hill visits. No action. Just a post on the website to try to counter TDU. 

Nyhan’s email is a rare look at how Hoffa and other top officials are playing politics with Teamsters’ pensions.

The Central States Director suggests Ken Hall might be willing to convince Hoffa to openly support the pension cuts, but “he has his hands full with the UPS vote.”

Nyhan blasts Hoffa for pretending to oppose pension cut legislation that he actually supports as a, “A true profile in courage.” 

It’s a sad day when Teamsters can only get the straight story on where the General President stands on theirs pensions when TDU obtains a secret email from Central States director. 

Issues: Hoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

HK Airport Mass Sit-in By Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union Members

Current News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 18:37

HK Airport Mass Sit-in By Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union Members
Industrial Action of CX Flight Attendant Union

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendant Union (FAU)is affiliated with HKCTU, and ITF. On May 19 2015, it held EGM to decide on two motions: 1) to agree the Airport Sit in and 2) authorize ExCo to escalate further industrial action if needed. The EGM of FAU was attended by more than 600 members and the two motions were adopted. A Marathon Sit In began after EGM and bus will be arrange for Members to proceed to the HK airport.

According to the FAU, Cathay Pacific Airways has been named Caring Company for 13th consecutive years by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS). However, what’s behind the scene is absolutely on the contrary - i.e. endless dictatorship and oppression. Below are some recent examples:

1. 11% discrepancy of salary increment for Cabin Crew who have their contract renewal in the same month, under the same employment condition.

2. Disregarded her own laid down policy and the agreement signed with the Union in calculating the outport meal allowance.

3. Removal of full coverage in legal support to Cabin Crew when handling unruly passengers.

FAU is calling for public support for their demands and collecting signature to their petition:https://goo.gl/uB1lDS

Tags: Flight AttendantsCathay PacificSit-in
Categories: Labor News

Hong Kong: Hundreds of flight attendants hold mass sit-in at Hong Kong airport

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: HKCTU
Categories: Labor News

Global: Golden Dodges report uncovers McDonald's global tax scam

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: VID: The Hypocrisy World Cup

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: SKINS
Categories: Labor News

New York Can Lead the Way to Higher Pay

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 07:22
The New York TimesMay 19, 2015View the original piece

The Fight for $15, a global effort to raise the pay of low-wage workers, has circled back to where it began. Protests by fast-food workers in New York City in 2012 got the movement started, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now given the effort its biggest boost so far by announcing the creation of a board to look into raising wages for the state’s more than 180,000 fast-food workers. Its first public meeting will be in New York City on Wednesday.

Under New York law, a Wage Board, composed of business, labor and public representatives, has the power to propose a raise for any occupation where pay is judged to be too low to support the health or “adequate maintenance” of its workers. The state labor commissioner can then order the raise without legislative approval.

Click here to read more at The New York Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Global: Where are workers less likely to have a permanent contract?

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ILO
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Labour activist arrested in Saveh

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Radio Zamaneh
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: BBC demands explanation for arrest of crew investigating Qatar World Cup

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: Workers protest against dismissals at Holcim Indonesia

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: Sharan Burrow explains why we need to save FIFA from a Qatar 2022 disaster

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Stronger Unions
Categories: Labor News

PMA’s McKenna: West Coast negotiation process isn’t sustainable

Current News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 13:56

PMA’s McKenna: West Coast negotiation process isn’t sustainable
Peter Tirschwell, Senior Director, Content, IHS Maritime and Trade | May 15, 2015 1:07PM EDT

NEW YORK — The leader of the management group that negotiates with West Coast longshoremen said this week that the negotiating process that yielded months of disruption through February is “not sustainable.”

Interviewed at the International Maritime Hall of Fame awards in New York on Wednesday, Pacific Maritime Association President James McKenna said “we absolutely do” need to do things differently to avoid the crippling disruption that caused untold losses to importers and exporters until a contract between the PMA and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union was agreed to on Feb. 20.

“What we’re doing now is not sustainable, not for the industry and not for the country,” McKenna told JOC.com. “Certainly I have to talk to my board and I have to talk to the industry itself, but we have to find a different way to get where we need to be with an agreement between the ILWU and the PMA.”

McKenna wouldn’t get specific on what he has in mind. Absent a change to the law governing longshore contract negotiations, such the suggestion to put the longshoremen under the federal Railway Labor Act. That route is seen as tougher in responding to instances of labor disruption in the interests of the national economy.

Last December David Adam, who head the PMA’s counterpart on the East Coast, the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. or USMX, similarly suggested that a new way be found to conduct longshore labor negotiations. “The process, to me, is not working,” USMX CEO David Adam told the JOC’s Port Performance conference. “It’s old, it’s decrepit, and it really needs to be reviewed.”

Adam’s suggestion was immediately shot down by International Longshoremen’s Association president Harold Daggett, who told JOC.com: “The answer is no. We’re going to continue to negotiate the way we negotiate now.”

However the USMX and ILA did agree to open discussions about a new, long-term contract more than three years before their current East and Gulf Coast labor agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2018 — a tacit acknowledgement that of the uncertainty surrounding longshore negotiations.

McKenna on Wednesday used similar language to describe a system that many believe is broken due to the disruption and uncertainty it creates on a national scale due to nothing more than the vicissitudes of a traditional union-management negotiation.

“Both parties have to realize how times have changed and takes steps to correct it, and one of the biggest steps will be to change the way that we negotiate and actually consumate a contract,” McKenna said. He further suggested that any solution encompass both East and West coasts.

“I think it has to be both coasts. If we do anything that’s a significant change, we can’t say the west coast is one way and the east coast is something else. It has to be a combined effort to do something that works for the industry and the country,” he said.

How viable the prospect is of putting the longshoremen under the Railway Labor Act is a subject of considerable debate. Some see it as a panacea, given the law’s focus on industries like railroads and airlines, which, like seaports, have national economic significance. But others say that politically it’s a waste of time.

“The Railway Labor Act would require an act of Congress to expand the jurisdiction to include longshoremen,” Peter Friedmann, the Washington D.C.-based executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition and a longtime participant in Washington policy debates regarding transportation issues. “Any amendment to the Railway Labor Act, whether it’s regarding longshoremen or anyone else, is such an incendiary topic in the labor movement and with the labor movement’s supporters on Capitol Hill, that I think it would be very difficult to take that battle forward and to actually achieve any change whatsoever.”

If there is a significant change in thinking among members of Congress following the West Coast labor disruption it concerns expectations of the Federal Maritime Commission to get more involved in protecting the interests of American companies that ship goods internationally, Friedmann said.

“There are so many members of Congress now who realize they have constituents who are not involved in providing maritime services, but rather they are constituents who are consumers of maritime services," he said. "Members of Congress are going to expect that the Federal Maritime Commission sees its mission as protecting the consumers of maritime services just like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, just like the Federal Trade Commission.”

Contact Peter Tirschwell at peter.tirschwell@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @petertirschwell.

Tags: ilwuPMAContractRailroad Labor Act
Categories: Labor News

International Dockworkers Council IDC Demands Healthcare For Mumia And His Freedom

Current News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:47

International Dockworkers Council IDC Demands Healthcare For Mumia And His Freedom

The IDC (International Dockworkers Council) is an association formed by organisations of dockworkers from all over the world. It is defined by its basic principles as being a unitary, independent, democratic, assembly-based working-class organisation.

Barcelona, 18 May 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

Journalist, framed-up black political prisoner and honorary NABET/CWA member, Mumia Abu-Jamal, is now in the hospital for the second time in two months. He was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, May 12th and is seriously ill. If we do not take action on his behalf immediately, it could result in his death, which the state of Pennsylvania has been attempting to do for some 34 years when he was placed on death row.

Mumia was transferred to the hospital for the first time on March 30 after two months of medical neglect from the SCI Mahanoy prison authorities of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. He was close to going into a diabetic coma and had kidney failure. He has lost 70 pounds and has difficulty breathing, walking and talking. There are open wounds, sores and rashes on his skin and his body parts are swelling up. When he was discharged back into prison, he collapsed on the floor of the infirmary bathroom and lay on the floor for 45 minutes before being found. His condition is life-threatening.

Now he is lying on a bed in hospital for the second time, handcuffed to the bed even though he can barely move. His family, friends and lawyers are being denied visits to him, and even though he has a serious medical condition, the prison authorities refuse to allow his doctor to inspect him.

Brother Abu-Jamal has never hesitated to support working and oppressed people. In 1997, he refused to be interviewed in his jail cell by an ABC Television News team which was scabbing on a NABET/CWA strike of technicians. Mumia respected a picket line from behind bars in a death-row cell and gave up publicity for his own case!

Mumia has also spoken up to defend workers all over the world. In 1998, he supported the efforts of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to organize and defend solidarity actions for the besieged Liverpool dockers. In 2012, he condemned the ANC government for ordering police to kill 34 striking miners, now known as the Marikana Massacre. It was the worst killing in South Africa since Sharpeville. Mumia did not hesitate to speak out in defense of the miners in a May Day 2014 address to the ILWU and NUMSA, pointing out that this massacre was a global turning point in the struggle against of neo-liberal capitalism.

The fight for a world based on justice and equality knows no borders. The labor movement around the world has the power to save Mumia's life and we must use it now. In 1999, longshore workers in San Francisco shut down all ports on the West Coast and led a march of 25,000 people to demand freedom for Mumia. Oakland teachers held teach-ins in schools about Mumia and the death penalty. Teachers in Rio de Janeiro organized a work stoppage applauded by Ossie Davis. It is desperately necessary that we organize together to win Mumia's freedom!

We demand forthwith the following from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections:

1) Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man, must be released immediately to get competent medical care!

2) Mumia must be given medical treatment from a doctor of his choice. His doctor should be allowed to conduct an on-site medical examination, to communicate by phone with Mumia, and to communicate freely with prison medical staff.

3) Mumia must be permitted daily visits by his family, friends and lawyers.

4) Provide Mumia with healthful food that meets his medical needs and doesn’t exacerbate diabetes.

5) Conduct an independent investigation of healthcare treatment inside the Pennsylvania prison system.

Brother Abu-Jamal has supported labor struggles many times. Now it is our turn to come to his aid.


In solidarity,

Jordi Aragunde Miguens
IDC General Coordinator

Tags: MumiaIDC
Categories: Labor News

Expand Social Security

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 07:54
MoveOn.orgMay 18, 2015View the original piece

We need to expand Social Security to prevent the looming retirement crisis, and we can do it simply by asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

The Police Officers Association is now attacking the SF Labor Council and ILWU Local 10

Current News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:52

The Police Officers Association is now attacking the SF Labor Council and ILWU Local 10
Posted on May 11, 2015 by Tim Redmond
Don’t these people know that they are just alienating their potential friends and allies?

The SF police union is calling out the ILWU over a Black Lives Matter protest. Why?

By Tim Redmond

MAY 12, 2105 – The San Francisco Police Officers Association, not content to bully the Board of Supervisors and the Democratic County Central Committee, is now attacking the San Francisco Labor Council and the ILWU.

And once again, it’s all about a rather mild set of statements that never criticized the SFPD or any local officer.

POA President Marty Halloran sent out a missive yesterday to Tim Paulson, the executive director of the Labor Council, and Mike Casey, the president, denouncing the council for even considering a resolution endorsing the ILWU’s May 1 action in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The resolution was introduced by ILWU Local 10 member Marcus Holder, and called for “support of the May 1 union action to stop police killings of people of color.”

The longshore union moved a scheduled work-stoppage day to May 1 to close down the Port of Oakland for about eight hours to support the protests.

Nothing in the resolution mentions any specific police department. It simply notes, correctly, that “there is an epidemic of police killing of people of color, mainly black and brown people, across the country.”

It simply asks the Labor Council to “endorse this critical labor action.”

The measure never got to a vote because the Labor Council was unable to get a quorum at the April meeting where it was introduced. It was tabled at the Executive Committee. So the thing never passed.

Meanwhile, in the days before the May 1 action, an ILWU organizer, Stacey Rodgers, made a fairly straightforward statement to the Chronicle about why her union was working with the activists demanding an end to the brutality and killings:

“I am proud of my union’s history of resistance, and I felt it was time labor came out loudly against police terror,” union organizer Stacey Rodgers said in a statement.

That’s it.

But the SFPOA was incensed, apparently, and the letter that appeared on the group’s May 11 email blast called out Paulson, Casey, and Rodgers, denounced the local labor leaders as “unprofessional” and railed against the ILWU organizer by name:

Dear Mr. Paulson & Mr. Casey,

The recent comments made by Stacey Rodgers, in SF GATE on April 28th, and language within the Labor Council resolution of May 1st, are simply unconscionable.

As brothers and sisters within the Labor community, it is hard to fathom why you would choose not to pick up the phone to discuss this with me first. I understand politics, I understand the need to send messages to your constituency, but this is fear mongering and not constructive in any manner.

I would expect a greater sensitivity and understanding of the work we do every day to keep San Franciscans safe. This is immature and lazy and if you were truly interested in a discussion around how to work together on these issues you would not have taken this approach.

I expected more from you both. Casting negativity on an entire department based on individual actions, especially one that promotes diversity and support for affinity groups within our organization is both unprofessional and reprehensible.

Martin Halloran

SFPOA President

Now: Let’s remember the resolution never even came to a vote. And it never said a single word about the SFPD or suggested that a single SFPD office was guilty of anything (although some of them clearly were, and are).

“A lot of resolutions come before the Labor Council,” Paulson said. “This one was tabled.”

There was no “negativity on an entire department” – no department was ever mentioned.

I called Rodgers, and she told me she was baffled, particularly since she said she doesn’t know anyone at the SFPOA and never said anything about the department. “It’s unconscionable for them to call me out like that,” Rodgers told me. “But the ILWU is not in the least bit intimidated by this.”

Casey said he would like to see the Labor Council be able to work with the POA. “We believe that black lives matter, and we will stand up for that, and we can do that in a way that doesn’t alienate and demonize every cop in the city.”

Yes, that’s entirely possible. If the POA wouldn’t be so reactionary. This stuff can’t be good for the members of the union – or for labor in San Francisco.

Tags: POAILWU Local 10SFLC
Categories: Labor News

Turkey: Thousands of autoworkers join region-wide strikes

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Today's Zaman
Categories: Labor News

Global: Climate deal on the line as Governments review commitments to climate action

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: BBC journos arrested for reporting on Qatar's World Cup labourers

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Political prisoners and COSATU

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News


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