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UK Southeastern rail and contractor fined £3.6m over cleaner's death

Current News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:16

UK Southeastern rail and contractor fined £3.6m over cleaner's death
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/17/southeastern-railway-con...

Firms guilty of health and safety breaches after Roger Lower, 46, fell on to a live rail while cleaning a train at Sussex depot
A Southeastern train at Greenwich station in south-east London
Southeastern’s owner was fined £2.5m, and Wettons Cleaning Services fined £1.1m. Photograph: Alamy
Gwyn TophamTransport correspondent
@GwynTopham
Friday 17 November 2017 12.09 EST
Southeastern railway and its cleaning firm have been fined a total of £3.6m for the death of a cleaner who was electrocuted by a live rail.

Roger Lower, 46, fell on to the 750-volt rail during a night shift cleaning trains at one of Southeastern’s Sussex depots, where equipment designed to protect workers was found not to be in use.

The father of two from Hastings was found by colleagues lying on the rail. Emergency services were called but were unable to save him.

Southeastern’s owner, London and South Eastern Railways, and its contractor, Wettons Cleaning Services, were fined £2.5m and £1.1m respectively at Guildford crown court on Friday.

The firms were earlier found guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, in a prosecution brought by the rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road. The ORR inspectors found there was a culture of cutting corners, exposing workers to serious risks.

Lower had worked for Wettons for three months before his death at Southeastern’s West Marina Depot in St Leonards-on-Sea on 24 May 2014. Protection boards to keep workers from the live rail were not in use, inspectors found, with all four available leant up against buffers.

Colleagues of Lower said they were not trained to use the equipment, and had concerns about his safety while cleaning the outside of the train.

An ORR investigation found health and safety failures by both Southeastern and Wettons. It accused the firms of relying on paperwork, and of failing to check on working practices and adequately train and supervise workers.

Ian Prosser, the HM chief inspector of railways, said: “The failings by Wettons and Southeastern were unacceptable and show the consequences of not abiding by health and safety, including the provisions of the law. As always, ORR is committed to monitoring compliance and taking tough enforcement action when necessary, as this tragic case demonstrates.”

Southeastern said it commissioned an independent review after the incident and introduced additional safety checks and equipment. David Statham, its managing director, said: “We deeply regret that we did not prevent the death of Roger Lower. At Southeastern, we set ourselves high safety standards underpinned by robust procedures. We recognise that on this occasion there’s more we and our contractors could have done to meet those high standards.”

Southeastern and Wettons were ordered to pay costs of £162,000 each.

Tags: health and safetyrail workers death
Categories: Labor News

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Portland Local 8 has been found guilty of violating U.S. federal labor laws by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Current News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:35

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Portland Local 8 has been found guilty of violating U.S. federal labor laws by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/235426/us-court-ilwu-guilty-of-lab...
Namely, the court affirmed two National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions based on which the ILWU “engaged in deliberate work stoppages and slowdowns, made false safety claims, and engaged in other coercive conduct against terminal operator ICTSI Oregon and its customers.”

As informed by ICTSI in a statement, the court found that ILWU committed these acts to pressure the Port of Portland to reassign the work of plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers at Terminal 6 from the Port’s union-represented electricians to the ILWU.

“We are extremely pleased with the DC Circuit decisions because this means that the Court, as well as the NLRB, confirmed our position that the ILWU’s actions at Terminal 6 violated federal labor law. Our effort continues in federal court here in Portland to hold the ILWU accountable and obtain compensation for the harm it has done,” ICTSI Oregon’s CEO Elvis Ganda, said commenting on the ruling.

Due to the labor disputed, ICTSI Oregon decided early this year to terminate its 25-year lease contract to operate a port in Portland, Oregon.

The agreement with the Port of Portland allowed ICTSI Oregon to be relieved of its long-term lease obligations effective March 31.

Under the agreement, ICTSI agreed to pay USD 11.45 million in compensation to the Port of Portland ‘to rebuild business’, as well as additional container handling equipment, spare parts and tools at the terminal, worth an estimated USD 10 million.

ICTSI Oregon and Port of Portland inked the lease agreement in 2010, with the company taking over Terminal 6’s operations in 2011. However, disputes with ILWU had brought operations at the Terminal 6 to a standstill for more than a year.

Tags: ILWU Local 8Port Of PortlandUS Labor Laws
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Subway workers not thrilled about new post as ‘customer service ambassadors’

Current News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:26

NYC TWU 100 Subway workers not thrilled about new post as ‘customer service ambassadors’
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/subway-workers-not-thrilled-new-amba...
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Subway workers have expressed their concerns about the risks they see in the “customer service ambassadors” job title.
Subway workers have expressed their concerns about the risks they see in the “customer service ambassadors” job title. (KEVIN C. DOWNS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
BY
DAN RIVOLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 10:50 PM
These subway workers are not rolling out the red carpet for their new ambassador jobs.

From being attacked by angry members of the public to losing their jobs, “customer service ambassadors” are not thrilled with the risks they see the job title, and its responsibilities, presenting.

And they said so Thursday at morning and evening informational meetings in the Transport Workers Union Local 100 hall in Brooklyn. Workers attending asked about and criticized the deal the TWU struck with the MTA to bring station clerks out of their booths and onto platforms to help riders.

A one-year pilot program will put 355 ambassadors on the ground at the subway system’s busiest and tourist-heavy hubs. Ambassadors will earn an extra $1 an hour over conductor pay.

MTA, TWU Local 100 agree on deal to boost station agents

But they’re worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them. Frankly, the ambassadors prefer the sanctuary of their booths.

“Our quality of life is put in jeopardy,” a young station agent with four years on the job said at the evening meeting in the TWU hall.

“The extra work ain’t worth the money we’re being paid,” the agent told the Daily News.

John Ferretti, a conductor and TWU shop steward, described the ambassador pilot program as a chance for the MTA to close even more booths, saying the authority recently eliminated overnight cleaning positions to focus on rush hours.

“It’s a massive invitation to close those booths,” Ferretti said after the meeting.

Anthony Staley, a TWU shop steward, said the MTA should focus on fixing the subway, not creating the ambassador post, which copies a program in London’s transit system.

Some agents worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them.
Some agents worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them. (DAN RIVOLI/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“That’s a distraction,” Staley said. “This is New York. You can’t compare us to London.”

Union officials who brokered the deal have said station agents’ jobs are already at risk with rider-managed tap-and-go bank cards and smart phones that will replace the MetroCard by 2023, cutting down on the need for riders to go to a booth for help.

“Drive over the Henry Hudson Bridge or through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. How many toll collectors do you see?” TWU spokesman Pete Donohue said, referring to the new electronic, cashless tolling the MTA introduced. “This is about being proactive, getting ahead of technological changes and protecting union jobs into the future.”

Donohue stressed that workers contract with the MTA and the new deal for the ambassador position protects them from combining responsibilities between job titles, known as “broad-banding.”

Derick Echevarria, the TWU vice chair for station workers, said the union is avoiding layoffs that hit booth agents in the past. He said the ambassador role would be separate from conductors who work the station platforms to manage crowds moving in and out of trains.

“We have to be prepared for the future,” said Echevarria, who attended the union meeting. "Our job is strictly customer service."

The boosted pay would mean an extra $2,800 a year without overtime for station agents who become ambassadors, according to Donohue.

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said transit employee concerns will be worked out.

“Working with our partners in labor, we’re looking forward to providing a higher, better level of customer service. Employee relations is an essential piece of the puzzle, and we’re going to work through any concerns that are raised.”

Tags: TWU 100health and safetyprivatization
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Subway workers not thrilled about new post as ‘customer service ambassadors’

Current News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:26

NYC TWU 100 Subway workers not thrilled about new post as ‘customer service ambassadors’
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/subway-workers-not-thrilled-new-amba...
email
Subway workers have expressed their concerns about the risks they see in the “customer service ambassadors” job title.
Subway workers have expressed their concerns about the risks they see in the “customer service ambassadors” job title. (KEVIN C. DOWNS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
BY
DAN RIVOLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 10:50 PM
These subway workers are not rolling out the red carpet for their new ambassador jobs.

From being attacked by angry members of the public to losing their jobs, “customer service ambassadors” are not thrilled with the risks they see the job title, and its responsibilities, presenting.

And they said so Thursday at morning and evening informational meetings in the Transport Workers Union Local 100 hall in Brooklyn. Workers attending asked about and criticized the deal the TWU struck with the MTA to bring station clerks out of their booths and onto platforms to help riders.

A one-year pilot program will put 355 ambassadors on the ground at the subway system’s busiest and tourist-heavy hubs. Ambassadors will earn an extra $1 an hour over conductor pay.

MTA, TWU Local 100 agree on deal to boost station agents

But they’re worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them. Frankly, the ambassadors prefer the sanctuary of their booths.

“Our quality of life is put in jeopardy,” a young station agent with four years on the job said at the evening meeting in the TWU hall.

“The extra work ain’t worth the money we’re being paid,” the agent told the Daily News.

John Ferretti, a conductor and TWU shop steward, described the ambassador pilot program as a chance for the MTA to close even more booths, saying the authority recently eliminated overnight cleaning positions to focus on rush hours.

“It’s a massive invitation to close those booths,” Ferretti said after the meeting.

Anthony Staley, a TWU shop steward, said the MTA should focus on fixing the subway, not creating the ambassador post, which copies a program in London’s transit system.

Some agents worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them.
Some agents worried how safe they’ll be on open platforms when angry straphangers confront them. (DAN RIVOLI/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“That’s a distraction,” Staley said. “This is New York. You can’t compare us to London.”

Union officials who brokered the deal have said station agents’ jobs are already at risk with rider-managed tap-and-go bank cards and smart phones that will replace the MetroCard by 2023, cutting down on the need for riders to go to a booth for help.

“Drive over the Henry Hudson Bridge or through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. How many toll collectors do you see?” TWU spokesman Pete Donohue said, referring to the new electronic, cashless tolling the MTA introduced. “This is about being proactive, getting ahead of technological changes and protecting union jobs into the future.”

Donohue stressed that workers contract with the MTA and the new deal for the ambassador position protects them from combining responsibilities between job titles, known as “broad-banding.”

Derick Echevarria, the TWU vice chair for station workers, said the union is avoiding layoffs that hit booth agents in the past. He said the ambassador role would be separate from conductors who work the station platforms to manage crowds moving in and out of trains.

“We have to be prepared for the future,” said Echevarria, who attended the union meeting. "Our job is strictly customer service."

The boosted pay would mean an extra $2,800 a year without overtime for station agents who become ambassadors, according to Donohue.

MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said transit employee concerns will be worked out.

“Working with our partners in labor, we’re looking forward to providing a higher, better level of customer service. Employee relations is an essential piece of the puzzle, and we’re going to work through any concerns that are raised.”

Tags: TWU 100health and safetyprivatization
Categories: Labor News

IBU blows whistle on big oil’s dangerous move in Alaska

ILWU - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:01

The Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), ILWU’s Marine Division, is blowing the whistle on a dangerous plan to replace experienced union mariners who have successfully protected Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound for almost three decades – with a cut-rate, nonunion company that has a poor safety record.

 

The shocking decision was made by oil company executives who own the Alyeska pipeline that carries oil from Alaska’s North Slope oilfield – which is the size of Indiana – across mountains and tundra to Prince William Sound, where it is pumped into giant tankers that carry the crude south to refineries in the lower 48. Low oil prices and falling production have left the Alyeska pipeline operating at only 25% of capacity, and may have been a factor in the oil companies’ decision to take a chance on a low-cost, cut-rate contractor with a dismal safety record.

It was 27 years ago that the Exxon Valdez, filled with North Slope crude, ran aground and dumped millions of gallons into the Prince William Sound, an event that shocked the nation and resulted in massive fines, staggering clean-up costs, and damage to the environment that required a lengthy recovery.

It also demonstrated the need for highly-trained and experienced cleanup crews and safety personnel, including tug operators. Instead of learning from that disaster and the importance of maintaining the highest quality emergency response teams, Exxon and other oil companies have decided to roll the dice by hiring a non-union outfit with a history of mistakes and near-disasters.

Speaking at a press conference in August of last year, IBU President Alan Coté said that the Inlandboatmen’s Union along with the Masters, Mates and Pilot’s union were launching a campaign to warn the public and elected officials about the dangerous decision by oil companies to cut corners on contractors responsible for emergency spill and other services in Prince William Sound.

Both unions represent a total of roughly 230 workers in the region, ranging from cooks to captains on the tugboats that escort tankers in and out of the Sound, to the mariners who staff a fleet of emergency clean-up barges available 24-7 in case of a spill.

The skilled workers are employed by Crowley Marine Services, which has held part of the contract since the emergency response system was put in place after the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in 1989.

Earlier this spring, Crowley announced that the oil companies had eliminated their firm from renewing the contract, immediately raising concern from workers and unions about the future. Everyone’s worst fears were confirmed when the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company announced that they had decided to dump Crowley and to do business with a company called Edison Chouest Offshore. The Louisiana-based outfit is nonunion, and they’re expected to bring many of their own non-union workers from the Gulf of Mexico up to Alaska in order to avoid hiring local residents and longtime union members with good jobs at Crowley Maritime.

Coté says the IBU warned residents about big oil’s plan to hurt local jobs by launching a public education campaign featuring radio advertisements in Anchorage and Juneau.

“Saving these jobs is critically important to the families and local communities in Alaska,” said Coté, but added that the issue involves more than protecting good jobs. Coté emphasizes that an Edison Chouest tugboat was involved in an infamous fiasco in 2012, when the firm was hired to move Shell’s massive drilling rig, the Kulluk, from frozen artic waters to warmer waters further south.

A series of bad decisions involving Edison Chouest and others resulted in Edison Chouest allowing Shell’s massive rig to crash into Kodiak Island where it was grounded and required a major Coast Guard rescue effort that endangered the lives of the crewmembers and Coast Guard responders.

“I was there in 1989 and saw what the Valdez oil spill did to Prince William Sound,” said Coté. “It was devastating and we never want to see anything like that happen again. No one would hire any person or company for a major project without a thorough criminal and performance background check. If one would have been done in this case, serious questions would have been raised about Edison Chouest’s dumping oil in the Antarctic. We have been demanding that hearings be held to determine the truth.”

Carl Jones is an IBU member who worked as an engineer on Crowley tugboats for 15 years. He said there’s no good reason to replace a system that’s working well with newcomers who are unfamiliar with the weather, tides, and geography of a notoriously difficult place to operate.

“Everyone up there has years of training and experience,” he said. “To think that a company from outside could come in and replace 25 years of experience in one day, or ten days or even a hundred days — happen.”

Edison Chouest refused to answer questions from reporters who called the company to account for its poor safety record, training and staffing plans. A spokesperson for the oil companies that own Alyeska, did issue a predictable statement claiming that their Louisiana contractor would meet safety and environmental standards – but her comment also included an admission that Edison Chouest may need more training before being ready for prime time in Prince William Sound.

“Any company that works with us has to meet the expectations of the response plan in Prince William Sound, which are very rigorous, and they have to be demonstrated repeatedly through drills and exercises,” said the spokesperson.

“So there are many opportunities for us to identify if there are gaps and then help bridge those gaps. But we expect them to be an outstanding contractor.”

The spokesperson also admitted that their contract with Edison Chouest includes no requirement for local Alaskans to be hired. She noted Alyeska has a separate policy requiring contractors to hire 20 percent Native Alaskans, but even meeting that goal provides no assurance that existing Native and other workers will be able to keep their jobs.

If Edison Chouest remains the choice of Alyeska to replace Crowley, the new company would take over operations in July of 2018, while hundreds of workers face the prospect of losing their jobs as Crowley is replaced.

“The oil companies are making a terrible decision that’s bad for Alaskan workers and the environment, said Coté. “Picking a cut-rate, nonunion outfit to bolster their bottom line is a penny-wise and pound-foolish proposition. The IBU is committed to helping these workers fight for their jobs, and that fight will continue.”

 

Categories: Unions

IBU blows whistle on big oil’s dangerous move in Alaska

ILWU - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 11:01

The Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), ILWU’s Marine Division, is blowing the whistle on a dangerous plan to replace experienced union mariners who have successfully protected Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound for almost three decades – with a cut-rate, nonunion company that has a poor safety record.

 

The shocking decision was made by oil company executives who own the Alyeska pipeline that carries oil from Alaska’s North Slope oilfield – which is the size of Indiana – across mountains and tundra to Prince William Sound, where it is pumped into giant tankers that carry the crude south to refineries in the lower 48. Low oil prices and falling production have left the Alyeska pipeline operating at only 25% of capacity, and may have been a factor in the oil companies’ decision to take a chance on a low-cost, cut-rate contractor with a dismal safety record.

It was 27 years ago that the Exxon Valdez, filled with North Slope crude, ran aground and dumped millions of gallons into the Prince William Sound, an event that shocked the nation and resulted in massive fines, staggering clean-up costs, and damage to the environment that required a lengthy recovery.

It also demonstrated the need for highly-trained and experienced cleanup crews and safety personnel, including tug operators. Instead of learning from that disaster and the importance of maintaining the highest quality emergency response teams, Exxon and other oil companies have decided to roll the dice by hiring a non-union outfit with a history of mistakes and near-disasters.

Speaking at a press conference in August of last year, IBU President Alan Coté said that the Inlandboatmen’s Union along with the Masters, Mates and Pilot’s union were launching a campaign to warn the public and elected officials about the dangerous decision by oil companies to cut corners on contractors responsible for emergency spill and other services in Prince William Sound.

Both unions represent a total of roughly 230 workers in the region, ranging from cooks to captains on the tugboats that escort tankers in and out of the Sound, to the mariners who staff a fleet of emergency clean-up barges available 24-7 in case of a spill.

The skilled workers are employed by Crowley Marine Services, which has held part of the contract since the emergency response system was put in place after the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in 1989.

Earlier this spring, Crowley announced that the oil companies had eliminated their firm from renewing the contract, immediately raising concern from workers and unions about the future. Everyone’s worst fears were confirmed when the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company announced that they had decided to dump Crowley and to do business with a company called Edison Chouest Offshore. The Louisiana-based outfit is nonunion, and they’re expected to bring many of their own non-union workers from the Gulf of Mexico up to Alaska in order to avoid hiring local residents and longtime union members with good jobs at Crowley Maritime.

Coté says the IBU warned residents about big oil’s plan to hurt local jobs by launching a public education campaign featuring radio advertisements in Anchorage and Juneau.

“Saving these jobs is critically important to the families and local communities in Alaska,” said Coté, but added that the issue involves more than protecting good jobs. Coté emphasizes that an Edison Chouest tugboat was involved in an infamous fiasco in 2012, when the firm was hired to move Shell’s massive drilling rig, the Kulluk, from frozen artic waters to warmer waters further south.

A series of bad decisions involving Edison Chouest and others resulted in Edison Chouest allowing Shell’s massive rig to crash into Kodiak Island where it was grounded and required a major Coast Guard rescue effort that endangered the lives of the crewmembers and Coast Guard responders.

“I was there in 1989 and saw what the Valdez oil spill did to Prince William Sound,” said Coté. “It was devastating and we never want to see anything like that happen again. No one would hire any person or company for a major project without a thorough criminal and performance background check. If one would have been done in this case, serious questions would have been raised about Edison Chouest’s dumping oil in the Antarctic. We have been demanding that hearings be held to determine the truth.”

Carl Jones is an IBU member who worked as an engineer on Crowley tugboats for 15 years. He said there’s no good reason to replace a system that’s working well with newcomers who are unfamiliar with the weather, tides, and geography of a notoriously difficult place to operate.

“Everyone up there has years of training and experience,” he said. “To think that a company from outside could come in and replace 25 years of experience in one day, or ten days or even a hundred days — happen.”

Edison Chouest refused to answer questions from reporters who called the company to account for its poor safety record, training and staffing plans. A spokesperson for the oil companies that own Alyeska, did issue a predictable statement claiming that their Louisiana contractor would meet safety and environmental standards – but her comment also included an admission that Edison Chouest may need more training before being ready for prime time in Prince William Sound.

“Any company that works with us has to meet the expectations of the response plan in Prince William Sound, which are very rigorous, and they have to be demonstrated repeatedly through drills and exercises,” said the spokesperson.

“So there are many opportunities for us to identify if there are gaps and then help bridge those gaps. But we expect them to be an outstanding contractor.”

The spokesperson also admitted that their contract with Edison Chouest includes no requirement for local Alaskans to be hired. She noted Alyeska has a separate policy requiring contractors to hire 20 percent Native Alaskans, but even meeting that goal provides no assurance that existing Native and other workers will be able to keep their jobs.

If Edison Chouest remains the choice of Alyeska to replace Crowley, the new company would take over operations in July of 2018, while hundreds of workers face the prospect of losing their jobs as Crowley is replaced.

“The oil companies are making a terrible decision that’s bad for Alaskan workers and the environment, said Coté. “Picking a cut-rate, nonunion outfit to bolster their bottom line is a penny-wise and pound-foolish proposition. The IBU is committed to helping these workers fight for their jobs, and that fight will continue.”

 

Categories: Unions

ILWU wins major organizing victory on the docks in Southern California

ILWU - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:16

Welcome to the ILWU family: Local 63 President Paul Trani swore in newly organized superintendents from Pasha, Eagle Marine Services (Operations Control), California United Terminals and West Coast Terminal & Stevedore into Local 63 at a stopwork meeting on October 5th.

On October 5th, newly organized ILWU members were sworn into Local 63 as part of an on-going campaign to organize the superintendents in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Superintendents from Pasha, Eagle Marine Services (Operations Center), California United Terminals and West Coast Terminal & Stevedore were sworn in by Local 63 President Paul Trani. These members join Local 63 as part of the new Superintendents’ Unit. This was a historic victory for the ILWU.

These are the first marine terminal superintendents to be represented by any union on the West Coast. The ceremony took place at the local’s monthly “stopwork” meeting after several months of organizing and actions to help the superintendents unionize. Superintendents had become concerned as management increasingly treated them with little respect and required them to work long hours without any additional pay.

“The solution here was to help these workers organize and, at the same time, grow our union,” said International Vice President (Mainland) Ray Familathe, who assisted with the organizing and negotiation effort. Familathe oversees the ILWU organizing program on the Mainland.

NLRB elections

In order to unionize, the superintendents had to go through the traditional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) process of signing cards and filing a petition with the Labor Board for a union election. This is a risky and intimidating process for any worker. It takes a lot of courage and grit to stand up to an employer and assert your right to have a union.

“These superintendents risked their livelihoods when they signed cards with the ILWU,” said Familathe. “These workers were at-will employees and had no dispatch hall to fall back on if they were fired. They took this risk because they wanted to make a better life for themselves and their families, and they’ve seen firsthand what having a strong union behind you can mean.”

The workers knew that the employers would vigorously oppose the organizing effort, which put them at greater risk. Familathe said that the employers threw everything they had at the superintendents to try to stop them from organizing. “They didn’t even want to let the superintendents vote on whether to become part of the ILWU,” Familathe said.

Employer opposition

The employers hired big management law firms to challenge the superintendents’ petitions. To even get the Board order allowing them to vote, the superintendents went through days of grueling hearings at the NLRB in downtown Los Angeles. One of the hearings lasted 8 days.

At the hearings, many of the superintendents had to listen to their managers testify and then had to stand up and testify against their managers, with their managers sitting in the room.

The company lawyers put the superintendents through hours of grilling on the witness stand in some cases. Some of the company lawyers even tried to make it seem like the superintendents were lying under oath, but the superintendents did not bend. In every case so far, the NLRB Regional office has ruled in favor of ILWU Local 63 and ordered that the superintendents should be able to vote on whether or not they want to join the union. In every vote so far, workers have voted in favor of union representation.

Contract negotiations

The superintendents at Eagle Marine and Pasha, with support from the International and Local 63, have bargained their first contracts. The West Coast Terminal & Stevedore superintendents are close behind. These are stand-alone agreements between the units and the individual companies. Although these superintendents are members of Local 63, they do not work under the marine clerks’ contract and they are not part of the ILWU-PMA registration or dispatch system.

Team effort

This organizing was the result of a team effort by the ILWU International Organizing Department, and the officers, staff and rank-and-file members of Local 63, said Familathe. Local 63 President Paul Trani, Local 63 Vice President Joe Gasperov, Local 63 Secretary Maureen Gutierrez, Local 63 Business Agent Cathy Familathe, Local 63 Business Agent Anthony Spanjol and rank-and-file members from Local 63 assisted in the campaign.

Categories: Unions

ILWU wins major organizing victory on the docks in Southern California

ILWU - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:16

Welcome to the ILWU family: Local 63 President Paul Trani swore in newly organized superintendents from Pasha, Eagle Marine Services (Operations Control), California United Terminals and West Coast Terminal & Stevedore into Local 63 at a stopwork meeting on October 5th.

On October 5th, newly organized ILWU members were sworn into Local 63 as part of an on-going campaign to organize the superintendents in the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Superintendents from Pasha, Eagle Marine Services (Operations Center), California United Terminals and West Coast Terminal & Stevedore were sworn in by Local 63 President Paul Trani. These members join Local 63 as part of the new Superintendents’ Unit. This was a historic victory for the ILWU.

These are the first marine terminal superintendents to be represented by any union on the West Coast. The ceremony took place at the local’s monthly “stopwork” meeting after several months of organizing and actions to help the superintendents unionize. Superintendents had become concerned as management increasingly treated them with little respect and required them to work long hours without any additional pay.

“The solution here was to help these workers organize and, at the same time, grow our union,” said International Vice President (Mainland) Ray Familathe, who assisted with the organizing and negotiation effort. Familathe oversees the ILWU organizing program on the Mainland.

NLRB elections

In order to unionize, the superintendents had to go through the traditional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) process of signing cards and filing a petition with the Labor Board for a union election. This is a risky and intimidating process for any worker. It takes a lot of courage and grit to stand up to an employer and assert your right to have a union.

“These superintendents risked their livelihoods when they signed cards with the ILWU,” said Familathe. “These workers were at-will employees and had no dispatch hall to fall back on if they were fired. They took this risk because they wanted to make a better life for themselves and their families, and they’ve seen firsthand what having a strong union behind you can mean.”

The workers knew that the employers would vigorously oppose the organizing effort, which put them at greater risk. Familathe said that the employers threw everything they had at the superintendents to try to stop them from organizing. “They didn’t even want to let the superintendents vote on whether to become part of the ILWU,” Familathe said.

Employer opposition

The employers hired big management law firms to challenge the superintendents’ petitions. To even get the Board order allowing them to vote, the superintendents went through days of grueling hearings at the NLRB in downtown Los Angeles. One of the hearings lasted 8 days.

At the hearings, many of the superintendents had to listen to their managers testify and then had to stand up and testify against their managers, with their managers sitting in the room.

The company lawyers put the superintendents through hours of grilling on the witness stand in some cases. Some of the company lawyers even tried to make it seem like the superintendents were lying under oath, but the superintendents did not bend. In every case so far, the NLRB Regional office has ruled in favor of ILWU Local 63 and ordered that the superintendents should be able to vote on whether or not they want to join the union. In every vote so far, workers have voted in favor of union representation.

Contract negotiations

The superintendents at Eagle Marine and Pasha, with support from the International and Local 63, have bargained their first contracts. The West Coast Terminal & Stevedore superintendents are close behind. These are stand-alone agreements between the units and the individual companies. Although these superintendents are members of Local 63, they do not work under the marine clerks’ contract and they are not part of the ILWU-PMA registration or dispatch system.

Team effort

This organizing was the result of a team effort by the ILWU International Organizing Department, and the officers, staff and rank-and-file members of Local 63, said Familathe. Local 63 President Paul Trani, Local 63 Vice President Joe Gasperov, Local 63 Secretary Maureen Gutierrez, Local 63 Business Agent Cathy Familathe, Local 63 Business Agent Anthony Spanjol and rank-and-file members from Local 63 assisted in the campaign.

Categories: Unions

Jones Act

IBU - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 22:21
Jones Act - The Basics The Contribution Of The Jones Act To U.S. Security Research Study Daniel Gouré Executive Summary The United States has always had a special relationship to water.
Categories: Unions

Zimbabwe: UNI Africa calls for calm and democracy in crisis-struck Zimbabwe

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Zimbabwe: Military Must Step Aside for National Reconciliation

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: Striking tea workers threatened with eviction

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: COTU
Categories: Labor News

Pakistan: UPR and the state of trade union rights in Pakistan

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Daily Times
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Labor Activist Returned to Prison Amid Health Concerns

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFE/RL
Categories: Labor News

India: National Trade Union Mobilisation Underway

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

UK: Trade union support for fossil fuel divestment sparks debate

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: ITF: Indonesian Worker Crushed at ICTSI Jakarta Terminal

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Port Technology
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Country Rocked By Workers’ Protests Against New Labour Law

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Newsclick
Categories: Labor News

UK: Uber loses appeal in UK employment rights case

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

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