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MTA, NY TWU 100 mull ditching subway booth workers for ‘ambassadors’ to boost communication with riders “They just want to combine both, where they work the platform and they also work on the other side of the turnstile,” said Kia Phua, the union’s vic

Current News - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 12:48

MTA, transit union mull ditching subway booth workers for ‘ambassadors’ to boost communication with riders
“They just want to combine both, where they work the platform and they also work on the other side of the turnstile,” said Kia Phua, the union’s vice president of rapid transit operations. “It is a job cut.”

BY
DAN RIVOLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 9, 2017, 4:00 AM
The subway station clerk soon may go the way of the token.

In what could be the beginning of the end for booth-dwelling workers, the MTA is in negotiations with the transit union to create a new title, “customer service ambassador,” with new duties, the Daily News has learned.

Ambassadors will roam stations and aid riders, in effect offering concierge services befitting the subway.

“These ambassadors will improve communication with riders by providing real-time information about the system and their commutes,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Shams Tarek said.

It’s all part of improving customer service, Tarek said, which is key to MTA chairman Joe Lhota’s Subway Action Plan.

As they did back when riders used tokens, station agents still handle MetroCard transactions and take questions and complaints from tourists and New Yorkers alike. But in anticipation of the day when the MetroCard is retired for smart card and phone payments, and fewer people line up at booths, the MTA and the union representing transit workers have tried to negotiate new responsibilities for station agents.

Riders got their first glimpse of the new subway ambassadors at the reopening of the 53rd St. stop on the R line in Brooklyn, following the station’s six-month makeover. The workers were handing out flyers detailing the station renovations and new artwork.

MTA workers in yellow and black shirts labeled with “Customer Service Ambassador” (pictured) greeted riders after the reopening of the R train in Brooklyn in Sept. 2017. (KEVIN C. DOWNS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Commuter Will O’Connor, 42, thinks having roving workers makes more sense than the booths. He said he never goes to a booth anymore and thinks their locations are inconvenient when he needs help.

Gov. Cuomo orders panel to bust NYC gridlock, bring money to MTA

“I’ve tried to bark information to one of those booths through the turnstile,” the tech worker from Carroll Gardens said of one fruitless effort to figure out when his next train would show up.

Jean-Claude Quintyne, 25, from Crown Heights, thought it would help make his commute smoother, particularly when he’s at the busy Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center station. The ambassador concept, Quintyne said, is a sign that the MTA is “moving to improve things, instead of trying to empty our pockets.”

Not everyone is thrilled with the plan.

Some representatives of Transport Workers Union Local 100 say the MTA is trying to cut its work force by merging the role of station agent and platform controller – who are train conductors assigned to thin crowds at stations – into a single title.

Tags: TWU 100layoffs
Categories: Labor News

UK: How Uber Stalled in London

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 10/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NYRB
Categories: Labor News

Puerto Rico: Teamsters Denounce False Reports of Work Stoppage by Union Drivers

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 10/07/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Teamsters
Categories: Labor News

State agency slaps BART with a nearly $220,000 fine for 2013 worker deaths; blames management, safety culture but no one is prosecuted and goes to jail

Current News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 20:57

State agency slaps BART with a nearly $220,000 fine for 2013 worker deaths; blames management, safety culture but no one is prosecuted and goes to jail
State agency slaps BART with a nearly $220,000 fine for 2013 worker deaths; blames top management, safety culture

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/10/06/state-finds-bart-management-safet...

BART employees, along with the National Transportation Safety Board investigate the scene on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, where a four-car northbound Bay Point train was involved in the deaths of two workers in Walnut Creek, Calif. (File photo by Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group Archives)
By ERIN BALDASSARI | ebaldassari@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: October 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm | UPDATED: October 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm
A state regulatory agency is slapping a nearly $220,000 fine on BART after concluding that its top management and safety culture were to blame for the deaths of two workers during the 2013 labor strikes.

The decision comes nearly four years to the day after a BART train, operated by a trainee with no direct supervision, struck and killed BART employee Christopher Sheppard, 58, of Hayward, and a contractor, 66-year-old Fair Oaks resident Laurence Daniels. The California Public Utilities Commission launched its investigation last year into the workers’ deaths, following investigations from other state and federal agencies.

It’s the second fine levied against BART for the incident, though BART is still appealing the first penalty it received in 2014 from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA). That agency in July downgraded its initial penalty of $210,000 to just $95,000, which BART is asking Cal-OSHA to reconsider. And, in October, BART agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a wrongful death suit brought by Daniels’ family.

The decision, from the presiding officer in the investigation, Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Kim, describes the violations as a “breach of commitment” from top managers to enforce safety standards in their departments. Kim’s decision will become final in 30 days, unless the full commission decides it warrants review, or if BART files an appeal, according to a commission spokesman.

“These are serious and egregious violations, particularly in view of the fact that they were violations committed by BART’s top level veteran managers, reflecting BART’s organizational and management culture and attitudes,” the decision reads.

In a statement Friday, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency was still determining whether it would appeal the decision. In the past, it has denied its safety culture was to blame, citing instead the failure of the workers to follow its policies for working near the tracks, as well as the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2013 strikes, when managers were performing essential tasks and the agency was preparing to offer limited service from the East Bay to San Francisco.

In a formal response to the commission, BART contended that the supervisor in charge of overseeing the trainee was an experienced and qualified train operator. But the commission’s investigation revealed the supervisor was not in the cabin with the trainee at the time and had been using his cellphone throughout the day, a possible violation of both state regulations and BART’s own policies.

The supervisor sent or received 47 text messages and logged 11 calls between 6 a.m. and the time of collision, 1:44 p.m., on Oct. 19, 2013, including one text message sent just one minute before the men were struck by the train, the commission’s investigation found.

It took just 4.7 seconds from the moment the operator in training saw Daniels and Sheppard, who were out inspecting a dip in the tracks near the Walnut Creek station, and the time of impact. The inexperienced operator slammed on the emergency brake and tried to sound the train’s horns to alert the workers but hit the door control button instead, according to the commission’s investigation.

Two state investigations and an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board also cited the inherent danger in a workplace procedure BART was employing at the time, called “simple approval.” That policy allowed workers to operate within a certain distance of the tracks and made workers responsible for their own safety.

Under the procedure, the workers should have designated a member of their team to watch for passing trains, but that didn’t happen the day Daniels and Sheppard were killed.

BART acted quickly to eliminate the procedure, and the agency now requires all workers to request a “work area clearance,” a more stringent policy that prevents trains from entering areas where workers are present. The agency also requires three-way communication among workers, the train control center and train operators and reduced speeds near work zones. And it has invested $4 million in physical safety barriers, among other changes that resulted from the workers’ deaths.

“Safety is our highest priority,” Trost said Friday. “There is nothing more important than providing a safe working environment for our employees.”

But, as part of the decision, the commission is requiring even more stringent action during a three-year probationary period, mandating BART immediately begin tracking and submitting annual reports of any violations of safety rules, practices, policies or procedures, along with the corrective action taken as a result of those violations. The agency must re-evaluate its current safety training programs and design a plan to improve their effectiveness.

The agency must also develop and implement “annual safety rules, practices, policies, procedures and culture refresher courses for all of its essential managers” and brief the commission annually on its efforts. The commission will monitor BART’s compliance during the probationary period, after which the commission could issue more penalties if BART violates the order or extend the probationary period, according to the decision.

Hearing officer recommends $220,000 fine for BART in 2013 deaths
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/PUC-judge-recommends-220-000-...

By Bob EgelkoOctober 6, 2017 Updated: October 6, 2017 7:25pm
BART should be fined $220,000 and overhaul lax safety rules and practices that contributed to the deaths of two workers on a track near Walnut Creek in 2013, a state hearing officer recommended Friday.

“The evidence in this case shows that there may be a serious safety culture problem at BART,” said Kimberly Kim, an administrative law judge for the state Public Utilities Commission.

Christopher Sheppard, 58, of Hayward, a BART track engineer, and Lawrence Daniels, 66, of Fair Oaks (Sacramento County), a contract employee, were fatally struck by a train in October 2013 while they were checking on a reported dip in the tracks between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations.

The accident happened on the second day of a strike by union employees that lasted four days. The train, traveling at 60 to 70 mph, was being operated by a manager who was being trained to take over driver duties in the event of an extended walkout.

At the time, BART trains did not slow down during routine track maintenance, and workers were supposed to look out for their own safety. A coroner’s report found that neither of the workers had been acting as a lookout for oncoming trains.

State regulators with Cal/OSHA found the practice unsafe in 2014 and fined BART $210,000. The district has also settled a suit by Daniels’ family for $300,000. BART has since changed its policy.

Kim found numerous safety violations in Friday’s decision. She said a veteran BART manager, Paul Liston, who was supposed to be training and supervising the operator, instead had been on his cell phone for hours, including the moments before the accident. Five “top-level managers” on the train did nothing to stop him, Kim said.

She said neither Liston nor the train operator, Richard Burr, sounded the horn as they approached the work site, and other managers failed to warn them of the presence of track workers. Kim also said BART was supposed to investigate the accident and file its report with the Public Utilities Commission within 60 days, but did not submit its report until January 2017.

Kim said the violations warranted $659,000 in fines, but recommended that BART pay only one-third of that amount while upgrading its practices. She said the transit district, within six months, should propose improvements to its safety training programs and require managers to undergo at least 40 hours of training, with the PUC monitoring its compliance.

BART or a PUC member can seek review of Kim’s decision by the full commission. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the district is reviewing the decision.

After the 2013 accident, Trost said in a statement, “BART moved swiftly to implement profound changes to its trackside procedures.”

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: begelko@sfchronicle.comTwitter:@egelko

Tags: BART Murderosharailways
Categories: Labor News

Fleet Memo for September 30 2017

IBU - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 11:07
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Categories: Unions

IBT Pres Hoffa Wants Trump To Make Corporate Trade Agreement NAFTA Better?

Current News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 05:40

IBT Pres Hoffa Wants Trump To Make Corporate Trade Agreement NAFTA Better?
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2017/10/04/labor-voices-nafta-t...
NAFTA should deal with trucking, labor
James HoffaPublished 12:03 a.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017
As governments continue to grapple with much-needed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. and Canadian Teamsters have joined together to stand up for workers and push for policy changes that will improve their lives and livelihoods.

While the third round of renegotiations of the trade pact ended last week, the status of many important issues remains in flux, including workers’ rights and cross-border trucking. The Teamsters have also joined civil society groups in calling for the elimination of a controversial dispute settlement mechanism in NAFTA’s investment chapter that allows corporations to sue governments.

At the top of the agenda is fixing the mistake of including long-haul trucking in the original NAFTA. The Teamsters have briefed U.S. and Canadian officials on suggested language that would provide a level playing field, improve truck safety and boost working conditions and wages for Mexican drivers.

This issue must be addressed in these negotiations. Not only do truckers stand to benefit, but American lives are at stake. Old and unsafe trucks put our highways at risk and pollute our air, putting the public’s health in jeopardy. That’s not a price people should pay for bad policy.

The first draft of the proposed U.S. labor chapter, which was tabled last week, is inadequate. As it stands, working and middle class families are better served by the current Canadian proposal, which will improve wages and working conditions in all three NAFTA countries and calls for an end to anti-worker right-to-work laws here.

It is imperative that NAFTA 2.0 gets it right when it comes to workers’ rights. The pact in its current form doesn’t work. Instead, it subordinates their interests to the bottom-line profit motives of multinational corporations, suppresses wages and labor standards, and contributes to rising inequality.

Michigan has seen firsthand the terrible damage trade deals like NAFTA have brought to this country. More than 161,000 Michigan workers have lost their jobs to offshoring, while 300,000 more manufacturing jobs have been lost since the deal took effect. Members of the UAW’s Local 600 in Dearborn were particularly hard-hit. It is estimated NAFTA has cost the U.S. more than a million jobs. That is unacceptable. It is time to replace NAFTA with a new model of trade that puts the interests of North American workers above those of multinational corporations and foreign investors.

Negotiators head back to Washington to continue talks next week, and there is a lot at stake. It is essential that workers’ interests take precedence over the desires of big business, which is merely looking to further boost their bottom lines over making policy changes that put people first. That’s what real change would look like.

The Teamsters are North America’s supply chain union. With members in long-haul trucking and freight rail, air, at ports and in warehouses, as well as members in manufacturing and food processing, this union has a big stake in trade policy reform. We will be monitoring the modernization of a flawed and failed NAFTA, and fighting to make sure that the new NAFTA works for working families.

James Hoffa is president of the Teamsters.

Tags: Hoffaderegulationunion bustingNAFTA
Categories: Labor News

IBT Pres Hoffa Wants Trump To Make Corporate Trade Agreement NAFTA Better?

Current News - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 05:40

IBT Pres Hoffa Wants Trump To Make Corporate Trade Agreement NAFTA Better?
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2017/10/04/labor-voices-nafta-t...
NAFTA should deal with trucking, labor
James HoffaPublished 12:03 a.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017
As governments continue to grapple with much-needed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. and Canadian Teamsters have joined together to stand up for workers and push for policy changes that will improve their lives and livelihoods.

While the third round of renegotiations of the trade pact ended last week, the status of many important issues remains in flux, including workers’ rights and cross-border trucking. The Teamsters have also joined civil society groups in calling for the elimination of a controversial dispute settlement mechanism in NAFTA’s investment chapter that allows corporations to sue governments.

At the top of the agenda is fixing the mistake of including long-haul trucking in the original NAFTA. The Teamsters have briefed U.S. and Canadian officials on suggested language that would provide a level playing field, improve truck safety and boost working conditions and wages for Mexican drivers.

This issue must be addressed in these negotiations. Not only do truckers stand to benefit, but American lives are at stake. Old and unsafe trucks put our highways at risk and pollute our air, putting the public’s health in jeopardy. That’s not a price people should pay for bad policy.

The first draft of the proposed U.S. labor chapter, which was tabled last week, is inadequate. As it stands, working and middle class families are better served by the current Canadian proposal, which will improve wages and working conditions in all three NAFTA countries and calls for an end to anti-worker right-to-work laws here.

It is imperative that NAFTA 2.0 gets it right when it comes to workers’ rights. The pact in its current form doesn’t work. Instead, it subordinates their interests to the bottom-line profit motives of multinational corporations, suppresses wages and labor standards, and contributes to rising inequality.

Michigan has seen firsthand the terrible damage trade deals like NAFTA have brought to this country. More than 161,000 Michigan workers have lost their jobs to offshoring, while 300,000 more manufacturing jobs have been lost since the deal took effect. Members of the UAW’s Local 600 in Dearborn were particularly hard-hit. It is estimated NAFTA has cost the U.S. more than a million jobs. That is unacceptable. It is time to replace NAFTA with a new model of trade that puts the interests of North American workers above those of multinational corporations and foreign investors.

Negotiators head back to Washington to continue talks next week, and there is a lot at stake. It is essential that workers’ interests take precedence over the desires of big business, which is merely looking to further boost their bottom lines over making policy changes that put people first. That’s what real change would look like.

The Teamsters are North America’s supply chain union. With members in long-haul trucking and freight rail, air, at ports and in warehouses, as well as members in manufacturing and food processing, this union has a big stake in trade policy reform. We will be monitoring the modernization of a flawed and failed NAFTA, and fighting to make sure that the new NAFTA works for working families.

James Hoffa is president of the Teamsters.

Tags: Hoffaderegulationunion bustingNAFTA
Categories: Labor News

Global: World Teachers Day is celebrated in every corner of the world

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: ITF fights back against ICTSI victimisation

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF
Categories: Labor News

France: Macron accused of 'class contempt' after jibe at protesting workers

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Belarus: Trade union leader freed

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Iran: A glance over the situation of Iranian teachers on World Teachers’ Day

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Iran HRM
Categories: Labor News

Palestine: Palestinian Workers Are Now Unionizing in the West Bank

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Nation
Categories: Labor News

Operations at Barcelona, Tarragona Ports Hit by Catalonia Strike

Current News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 14:07

Operations at Barcelona, Tarragona Ports Hit by Catalonia Strike

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/231502/operations-at-barcelona-ta...

The strikes being staged in Catalonia following the Spanish government’s crackdown on voters of Sunday’s independence referendum in Catalonia is affecting operations at Spanish ports of Barcelona and Tarragona.

Workers in Catalonia took to the streets protesting the violence of the country’s police against the voters which has reportedly left 800 people injured.

Thousands of people joined the demonstrations in Barcelona, including several hundreds of port workers who protested outside the regional headquarters of Spain’s ruling Popular Party, the Associated Press informed.

Maritime unions including the State Coordinator of Sea Workers (CETM), Federation of Port Workers and the Port Stevedores, called for workers to join the strike as a moral obligation to urge politicians to respect democratic values and urge them to turn to dialogue and negotiations, not violence.

According to Spanish Ministry of Public Works, a minimum level of services will be in place with respect to land transport, air transport and some of the country’s ports during the strikes, scheduled to take place from 2nd to 13th of October.

In practice, this means that surveillance, control and security measures necessary to guarantee 50% of the access and exit to ships would be provided at the affected ports.

A minimum of necessary personnel would be provided to guarantee movement of dangerous goods, and perishables, in addition to pilotage, towing, mooring, emergency and stowage activities.

Marine signaling and navigation aid systems would be working at full capacity, the ministry said.

World Maritime News Staff; Illustration; Image Courtesy: Coordinadora

Tags: Federation of Port Workers and the Port StevedoresGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News

Operations at Barcelona, Tarragona Ports Hit by Catalonia Strike

Current News - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 14:07

Operations at Barcelona, Tarragona Ports Hit by Catalonia Strike

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/231502/operations-at-barcelona-ta...

The strikes being staged in Catalonia following the Spanish government’s crackdown on voters of Sunday’s independence referendum in Catalonia is affecting operations at Spanish ports of Barcelona and Tarragona.

Workers in Catalonia took to the streets protesting the violence of the country’s police against the voters which has reportedly left 800 people injured.

Thousands of people joined the demonstrations in Barcelona, including several hundreds of port workers who protested outside the regional headquarters of Spain’s ruling Popular Party, the Associated Press informed.

Maritime unions including the State Coordinator of Sea Workers (CETM), Federation of Port Workers and the Port Stevedores, called for workers to join the strike as a moral obligation to urge politicians to respect democratic values and urge them to turn to dialogue and negotiations, not violence.

According to Spanish Ministry of Public Works, a minimum level of services will be in place with respect to land transport, air transport and some of the country’s ports during the strikes, scheduled to take place from 2nd to 13th of October.

In practice, this means that surveillance, control and security measures necessary to guarantee 50% of the access and exit to ships would be provided at the affected ports.

A minimum of necessary personnel would be provided to guarantee movement of dangerous goods, and perishables, in addition to pilotage, towing, mooring, emergency and stowage activities.

Marine signaling and navigation aid systems would be working at full capacity, the ministry said.

World Maritime News Staff; Illustration; Image Courtesy: Coordinadora

Tags: Federation of Port Workers and the Port StevedoresGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News

Egypt: International trade unions urge Egypt to release detainees

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Associated Press
Categories: Labor News

Spain: Catalan sections of CCOO & UGT unions support general strike; national leaders do not

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Teamsters Denounce False Reports of Work Stoppage by Union Drivers in Puerto Rico

Current News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:22

Teamsters Denounce False Reports of Work Stoppage by Union Drivers in Puerto Rico
https://teamster.org/news/2017/10/teamsters-denounce-false-reports-work-...

OCTOBER 2, 2017 PRESS RELEASES

Stories Fabricated and Spread by Biased Online Sources to Further Anti-Union Agenda
PRESS CONTACT
Galen Munroe
Email: gmunroe@teamster.org
Phone: (202) 624-6911
(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union denounces reports from online, anti-union sources that stated Teamster truck drivers in Puerto Rico have refused to move supplies from the port as part of an effort to leverage wage increases from the government. These reports are false and have no basis in fact.
The truth is that members from Teamsters Local Union 901 in San Juan have been working or volunteering since the day after the hurricane passed, helping with disaster relief and recovery.
“Let me be clear – Teamsters in Puerto Rico have been working on the relief efforts since day one,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 901. “Anyone that has reported anything different is lying. Our only agenda is to help bring Puerto Rico back better and stronger.”
“These viral stories spreading across the internet are nothing but lies perpetrated by anti-union entities to further their destructive agenda,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “The fact that they are attempting to capitalize on the suffering of millions of citizens in Puerto Rico that are dire need of our help by pushing these false stories, just exposes their true nature.”
The union is also coordinating with the AFL-CIO to send Teamster volunteers to Puerto Rico to help augment the relief efforts. Hundreds of Teamsters have volunteered to aid in the recovery in the key areas like the distribution of aid and sanitation.
“The outpouring of volunteers from our membership across the country is truly inspiring,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York, N.Y. “We have had hundreds of members contact us to volunteer their time to go down to Puerto Rico to help with the relief efforts.”
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Tags: teamstersPuerto RicoFake News
Categories: Labor News

Teamsters Denounce False Reports of Work Stoppage by Union Drivers in Puerto Rico

Current News - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:22

Teamsters Denounce False Reports of Work Stoppage by Union Drivers in Puerto Rico
https://teamster.org/news/2017/10/teamsters-denounce-false-reports-work-...

OCTOBER 2, 2017 PRESS RELEASES

Stories Fabricated and Spread by Biased Online Sources to Further Anti-Union Agenda
PRESS CONTACT
Galen Munroe
Email: gmunroe@teamster.org
Phone: (202) 624-6911
(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union denounces reports from online, anti-union sources that stated Teamster truck drivers in Puerto Rico have refused to move supplies from the port as part of an effort to leverage wage increases from the government. These reports are false and have no basis in fact.
The truth is that members from Teamsters Local Union 901 in San Juan have been working or volunteering since the day after the hurricane passed, helping with disaster relief and recovery.
“Let me be clear – Teamsters in Puerto Rico have been working on the relief efforts since day one,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 901. “Anyone that has reported anything different is lying. Our only agenda is to help bring Puerto Rico back better and stronger.”
“These viral stories spreading across the internet are nothing but lies perpetrated by anti-union entities to further their destructive agenda,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “The fact that they are attempting to capitalize on the suffering of millions of citizens in Puerto Rico that are dire need of our help by pushing these false stories, just exposes their true nature.”
The union is also coordinating with the AFL-CIO to send Teamster volunteers to Puerto Rico to help augment the relief efforts. Hundreds of Teamsters have volunteered to aid in the recovery in the key areas like the distribution of aid and sanitation.
“The outpouring of volunteers from our membership across the country is truly inspiring,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York, N.Y. “We have had hundreds of members contact us to volunteer their time to go down to Puerto Rico to help with the relief efforts.”
--
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To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to laborjourno+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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Tags: teamstersPuerto RicoFake News
Categories: Labor News

Puerto Rico, Trump and the Jones Act

Current News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 15:49

By Joel Schor - Facts for Working People, September 27, 2017
The recent extreme weather events effecting the Carribbean have made clear the humanitarian situation in Puerto Rico is dire and in stark contrast to Trump’s drab belittling comments about the National Football League opposing him on the conduct of the players during the national anthem.
As a merchant seaman for over 15 years I am very familiar with the law which protects both the rights of seaman while signed on American flagged Vessels and at the same time grants further monopoly powers to shipping companies that register and flag their vessels in the United States.
The Jones Act enacted shortly after WWI to resurrect what was thought of as a dying Merchant Fleet in the United States at the time, went along with a massive subsidy program whereby the overproduction of Navy bottoms were sold at fire sale prices to private shipping companies who had previously established themselves mostly in the highly monopolized and unregulated coastal trade.
As the era of anti-trust legislation was coming about, the big shipping lines needed a way to secure the lucrative coastal trade as foreign operators came in. The Jones Act basically provides that 1) A seaman is entitled to a certain portion of wages earned during a voyage (foreign or domestic ) whenever a vessel arrives at a U.S. port as well as the right to leave the ship, and also sue a shipping company for any injuries the seaman has incurred.
This first part of the Jones Act law pertaining to seaman's rights came about after a series of legislative efforts were made over two decades by the head of the West Coast section of the Seamans’ Union, a man by the name of Andrew Furuseth, who's cause was to take the seaman "out of slavery" or the conditions which were more akin to indentured servitude at one time.

Previous acts outlawed flogging at sea, capturing seaman to be forced to work on ships ect. 2) The post WWI Jones Act also made law that the American Shipping Companies would be entitled to a monopoly on all Inter Coastal trade in the United States. In other words, the law mandated that any commerce between one United States port and another US port could only be carried out by a vessel registered and flagged in the United States. The flag registration of a ship entails that it operates under the laws and regulations of that flag country as far as the employment of its crew, the inspections of its seaworthiness according to international standards etc.
As far as the meaning of this for Puerto Rico today, there is a dire need for assistance from any country that can provide it, but only US flagged and registered vessels can conduct commerce directly with Puerto Rico because of its protectorate status under the Jones Act.
Any aid that would come from Mexico or Latin America would have to be shipped to the continental United States, and then transferred to an American flagged vessel to be shipped to Puerto Rico. Although Hawaii is a state and not a protectorate, the provisions of the Jones Act also mandate that foreign originating cargo must land in the continental United States before being shipped to either of these areas. The Jones Act is also a way of keeping these island regions economically dependent on the United States and hinders the development of their own industries except that which assists the American Military for the most part. Hawaii is home to a large military base at Pearl Harbor and Puerto Rico is actually where a large portion of National Guardsmen are recruited to protect Merchant Ships in War Zones.
In 2003 I was on a Merchant Ship taking military equipment to Gulf State ports in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for pre-positioning during that conflict. That ship along with many others I heard of, had crews of National Guardsmen from Puerto Rico patrolling the decks to protect the military equipment. Many of them told me stories of having been on foreign ships as well that the US military had contracted out to transport ammunition containers. The guardsmen were sometimes not given water to drink on their deck rounds in the hot Mediterranean sun and through the Suez Canal. While the Puerto Rican's serve the U.S. military as such, they do not have the right to vote for the president of the United States. 
Another note as to the usefulness and political convenience of the Jones Act. In 2004-2005 during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Maritime Administration of the United States tentatively activated several Ready Reserve Fleet RRF pre-positioned ships to send aid into the disaster zone which were to be Jones Act ships - ie crewed by US civilian mariners.The tentative activation was cancelled by Vice President Dick Cheney who subsequently waived the Jones Act allowing foreign flagged ships to carry the aid into the disaster zone and also house fire fighters and rescue workers. While this may seem expedient, the practice of contracting out to foreign companies in this case most certainly cost much more than pre-positioned RRF government ships which are already manned and in a state of readiness at all times, the cost already accounted for by the Ready Reserve program.
The foreign operator who came into New Orleans - Carnival Cruises - was not only a crony deal for Cheney who had an interest on its board of directors, but also a slap in the face to any kind of public response to disaster relief. By waiving the Jones Act in Maritime and also the Davis Bacon Act prevailing wage law in the disaster area, the capitalists show that they can and will handle things as they see fit and not as the majority of us in society would decide it if we had any choice in the matter.
The Jones Act is a complex law which is played up according to its usefulness politically. Trump claims he was told not to waive the Jones Act in Puerto Rico because " some people in that industry said it was important". Like many of his statements it is vague and cryptic, and most likely without knowledge of what it even is.  His decision also places the profits for US shipping companies above the interests of the people of Puerto Rico.
Joel Schor is a member of ILWU Local 10 and the Sailors Union of the Pacific.

Tags: Jones Actmarine transport workersSUPILWU 10
Categories: Labor News

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