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Teamsters Protest as Treasury Debates Allowing Pension Cuts for 1.5 Million Retirees

Current News - Tue, 09/22/2015 - 09:22

Teamsters Protest as Treasury Debates Allowing Pension Cuts for 1.5 Million Retirees
By Bruce Vail, In These Times
21 September 15

bout 300 angry Teamsters descended on Washington, D.C., September 10, demanding federal action to protect the pensions of union members threatened with benefit cuts. The retired Teamsters are among a group of as many as 1.5 million retirees from a long list of different labor unions nationwide that could see their pensions slashed under a new law quietly approved late last year.

The immediate target of the angry Teamsters was the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which is in charge of administering the new law, the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). Government officials sponsored the first-ever public hearing on MPRA last week, and the retired workers swarmed the meeting to make it clear they are alarmed and unhappy at the likelihood that the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund is at the top of the list for cuts.

“We’re turning up the heat, and we are going to keep turning up the heat higher and higher” on federal officials and lawmakers, says Bob Amsden, a retired truck driver from the Milwaukee area who has emerged as a high-profile advocate for Teamster pensioners.

Amsden and other union members face cuts because MPRA allows pension fund trustees new freedom to reduce promised benefits in cases where the long-term solvency of the fund is in danger. Under MPRA, any such cuts must be approved by the Treasury Department first, and government officials are currently in the process of writing the rules and regulations of the approval process.

A secondary target for the riled-up retirees, who travelled to Washington from Ohio, Wisconsin and a number of other states, were members of Congress, who are being lobbied to repeal MPRA outright. As reported at In These Times earlier this year, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is sponsoring repeal legislation that would shore up failing pension funds and protect the income of union retirees.

Following the mass meeting with Treasury Department officials, union members fanned out across Capitol Hill in a coordinated lobby effort aimed at select members of Congress, according to Amsden. The bad news, however, is that the Sanders bill—co-sponsored in the House by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)—has gained only 23 co-sponsors since it was introduced in June, with no public support at all from the Republican Party leaders who control the majorities in both houses, he reports.

With chances of repeal looking slim, attention is focusing on renowned lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who has been appointed by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew as “Special Master” to oversee the process of pension cuts. Feinberg, who took on high profile roles in awarding financial claims related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, has made a good impression on the Teamster retirees in his new MPRA role, Amsden says. That extends to Teamsters President James Hoffa, who told In These Times that “Feinberg is going to help us. He’s a good guy … I think he is a fair man.”

“Feinberg has made a huge impression,” Amsden confirms. “He is not going to be told what to do” by pension officials anxious to impose cuts quickly. “He is not going to be told what to do by Central States, not by anybody,” he says, referring to a Teamsters pension fund.

Hoffa added that that the Teamsters union if firmly allied with the retirees in demanding MPRA repeal and, in the alternate, to ensuring that any cuts from Central States Fund benefits are designed to protect the most vulnerable retirees. In a September 10 joint press conference with Sen. Sanders, Hoffa revealed “we get calls everyday” at union headquarters from worried pensioners. “One member ... was afraid, and he said 'I'm gonna commit suicide [because of loss of income] … It scared the hell out of us.”

Feinberg has offered retirees assurances that any plan to cut benefits will be subject to a fair and deliberative process, Amsden adds. This has calmed initial fears that cuts would be imposed as early as this year, and current predictions are that no cuts can go into effect until mid-2016 at the earliest, he says. Retiree groups have received further assurances that they will be consulted on a regular basis as the process moves forward.

Almost all the attention last week was on the Teamsters and the Central States Pension Fund, but MPRA applies with equal force to any union pension plan that is in financial trouble. No other pension plan has received the same public attention as Central States, but some experts believe there are 100 to 200 other union plans that could be subject to cuts in the future, directly affecting up to 1.5 million retirees.

"And believe me, the retirees here (at the Sept. 10 public hearing) represent only a fraction of those affected. Hundreds of thousands of retired food workers, bricklayers pipefitters and other retirees are also in danger of losing up to 60 percent of their pensions. Most of them just don't know it yet," said Karen Friedman, Executive Vice President of the Washington-based Pension Rights Center. "This isn't just unfair—it is outrageous and undemocratic."

Tags: teamstersPensions
Categories: Labor News

IBT 350 Worker Accuses SF Recology Of Discrimination, Retaliation For Reporting Hanging Noose

Current News - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 20:17

IBT 350 Worker Accuses SF Recology Of Discrimination, Retaliation For Reporting Hanging Noose

A former Recology worker is suing the garbage company for retaliation after he says he complained of a racist incident.

Updated 1 hr 42 mins ago
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A former Recology worker is suing the garbage company for retaliation after he says he complained of a racist incident.

Daryle Washington claims a fellow worker placed a hanging noose on top of a black employee's personal belongings. That worker was suspended for six days.

But when he came back, Washington says the harassment continued. He is upset the city never investigated the 2-year-old incident.

"When you have something that symbolizes hate like that, that is a problem," he said. "There is no joke there. There is nothing to be taken lightly. There is nothing to be taken as if it is funny."

Washington is suing Recology for discrimination and retaliation.

In a statement to ABC7 News, Recology's Human Resource Manager Varessa Scott said: "No bullying has been reported or witnessed by anyone, and there has been no retaliation of any kind."

The company added that the offending employee was disciplined.

Tags: Daryle Washingtonhanging nooseIBT
Categories: Labor News

Saudi Arabia: Stop the trafficking of Mauritanian women to Saudi Arabia

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Bay Area Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet

Current News - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 08:26

Bay Area Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet
By Wendy LeeSeptember 21, 2015
September 21, 2015 6:00am

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The ChronicleApple bus driver Scott Peebles naps between shifts. He lives in his van because he can’t afford a place to live.
Scott Peebles drives employees to their jobs at Apple, the wealthiest tech company in the world, yet he can’t afford a place to live.

The 53-year-old sleeps on an inflatable mattress in the back of his green 1997 Dodge Caravan, a space smaller than a walk-in closet. His morning routine is an exercise in hiding the fact he is homeless — he slides on his dry-cleaned uniform, shaves behind tinted car windows and uses a work restroom to freshen up before shuttling tech workers from Fremont to the company’s Sunnyvale campus.

“Living in a car is hard,” said Peebles, who is 6 feet tall and, after almost two months of sleeping in the car, has developed muscle aches and a stiff neck. “I don’t care who you are. ... It’s too small of a space.”

Peebles is part of a growing segment of homeless people who have full-time jobs but can’t make ends meet.

In the past decade, as tech jobs have boomed in Silicon Valley, so has rent. Average monthly rents for a one-bedroom apartment are $2,186 in San Jose, $2,469 in Oakland and $3,361 in San Francisco, according to research firm Real Answers. Salaries for tech shuttle drivers start at around $2,900 a month — making even modest nearby apartments unaffordable.

Instead of moving somewhere cheaper on the outskirts of the Bay Area — hours from their jobs — Peebles and several other tech bus drivers live in their cars.

“Right now I have a lot of financial obligations to take care of before I can even think of getting a place to live,” said one driver, who transports Apple employees from San Francisco to Cupertino. The driver, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, has been sleeping in the backseat of his Subaru for months, saving up to pay for health care related expenses and other bills.

As demand for even the tiniest apartments grows, landlords have the power to be extremely picky about tenants. Several struggling bus drivers have thousands of dollars in credit card debt and are single, which could make them less desirable than dual-income renters. Peebles has racked up $20,000 in credit card debt, some that was accumulated when he was caring for his mother. He’s open to having roommates, but says it’s hard to find a good match — someone his age without a volatile personality.

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The ChroniclePayPal employees exit a bus run by Compass Transport ation, which contracts with several tech companies.
Apartments go fast

When Peebles finds apartments in his range, they get snapped up quickly, sometimes before he can even visit them. Scrolling through listings on his phone, he once saw an ad for studio apartments in San Jose for rent between $850 and $1,200 month. He checked in with the manager 30 to 40 times hoping to land a space.

“She told me to call every Wednesday. I called every Wednesday. (And it was) ‘Nope, nothing available,’” Peebles said. “So you give up. Why keep calling these people who are not going to move out?”

In August, he inflated an air mattress in a minivan and called it home. He hangs his shirts on the hooks above the doors and spends nights reading books at Barnes & Noble until closing time. He used to check out movies like “Field of Dreams” from the public library and watch them on his handheld DVD player — until it was stolen from his van.

“I don’t see myself in this minivan,” said Peebles, who showers at his sister’s apartment in San Jose. “I see myself in an apartment or mobile home, living in a comfortable setting.”

Santa Clara County, where Apple, Google and Yahoo are based, estimates it has more than 6,500 homeless people, and a growing number of them — 23 percent — are living in cars or RVs, according to a 2015 census by Applied Survey Research. In 2013, 16 percent of the area’s homeless population was living in vehicles, the nonprofit said. About 8 percent of 900 homeless people in Santa Clara County surveyed in 2015 earn more than $1,500 a month, according to Applied Survey Research.

The Chronicle interviewed several drivers employed by Compass Transportation, a firm with contracts at Apple, Zynga, eBay, Yahoo, PayPal and Genentech, who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity due to fears they would lose their jobs.

It’s difficult to tell which drivers are homeless because they take pains to hide the fact they live in their cars. They sip frappuccinos and charge their smartphones at Starbucks, wash their clothes at Laundromats and shower at 24-hour gyms. At night, some South Bay parking lots are dotted with cars hiding people catching a nap before their day jobs.

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The ChronicleCompass Transportation bus driver Letetia Davis (right) now has a four-hour round-trip commute to her San Jose job.
Pay doesn’t keep up

Peebles moved to San Jose last fall to escape a bedroom infested with bedbugs in New York, where he worked driving a shuttle transporting disabled people. His uncle took pity on him and paid for his plane ticket to San Jose, so Peebles could be closer to his sister and start anew.

Working for Compass Transportation, Peebles started at $18 an hour. His wages rose to $19.50 when he completed a professional certification. Earlier this year, amid a campaign to unionize tech bus drivers, Apple raised the base salaries of its drivers and offered a bonus for employees like Peebles, who work a morning and evening shift on the same day. But even with that raise to about $30 an hour, Peebles hasn’t been able to find a place near the bus yard.

Long commute, little sleep

Letetia Davis, a single mom who shuttles eBay employees, couldn’t afford her Oakland apartment after rent went up in 2013. She now endures a grueling four-hour round-trip commute from north Stockton, operating on just four hours of sleep each night. Davis, 42, makes $2,400 after taxes each month, and her living expenses come dangerously close to what she makes.

She pays $900 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. Her car’s transmission died, so she recently bought a used 2013 Ford Fusion, and payments are nearly $500 a month because of Davis’ poor credit history. Then, there is more than $1,000 in other necessary expenses — food, electricity, gas and cell phone bills. Not to mention tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

“It’s like you’re a paycheck from being homeless,” Davis said. “It turns into a vicious cycle because you never catch up.”

She once was a cardiac technician, but after failing to land jobs in that field, she studied to become a bus driver. Now, most of her days are spent on the road.

Her iPhone alarm jolts her awake at 3 a.m. She drops off her 12-year-old daughter, Lisa, at grandma’s and then heads to the Compass bus yard in San Francisco, arriving by 5 a.m. Her morning shift ends at 10:15 a.m. at the Compass bus yard in San Jose. She doesn’t work again until 4 p.m., but during that time she does not get paid. Davis spends her long break napping in her bus, or gobbling up instant noodles from the lot’s vending machine. Then, she musters up the energy for the long haul back.

“You’re so tired, you’re struggling to keep your eyes open,” Davis said.

It’s around 10 p.m. by the time Davis sees her daughter in Stockton. “I want to make sure you got home,” her daughter says. Sometimes Davis is so tired she doesn’t even eat dinner.

Photo: Scott Strazzante, The ChronicleA PayPal bus driver sleeps in his vehicle on a dead end street in San Jose at 2 a.m. Many bus drivers do their best to hide the fact that they are homeless.
Can’t qualify for aid

Davis tried to apply for financial assistance through federal housing vouchers, but was told she didn’t qualify because she earns too much. To qualify for assistance in Stockton, Davis would need to make $23,850 or less. She makes a gross annual salary of roughly $34,500.

“I have to worry about, ‘Am I going to come home and the landlord changes the locks because I didn’t pay the rent?’” Davis said. “But I can’t get help, because I make too much money. How does that work?”

Similar programs in Oakland and San Francisco have closed their wait lists because of an abundance of demand.

“The need far outweighs the supply of housing,” said regional spokesman Ed Cabrera of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “People are vying for a spot on a wait list that is years long.”

Push for unions

In a push for higher wages, some tech shuttle drivers have joined unions. Compass is negotiating with the Teamsters union, which represents tech bus drivers, but so far, Compass has not agreed to the proposed union contract, which includes 11 paid holidays, higher salaries and overtime pay.

“Compass has long been committed to providing our valued employees competitive wages and benefits and a respectful work environment,” said Bryan O’Connell, senior vice president of the bus division for Compass Transportation, via e-mail.

O’Connell pointed out that drivers at the high end of Compass’ pay scale can earn as much as $72,000 per year.

Peebles hopes that one day he won’t be homeless. After all, it’s hard to date someone when you’re living in your car.

On Friday, Peebles learned he was at the top of the list for a San Jose garage that had been converted into a windowless 400-square-foot studio. The monthly rent is $1,395 — but Peebles said it beats living in his car.

“I can’t live like this. My health is suffering,” Peebles said.

If all goes well, Peebles plans on cleaning out his Caravan and giving it to his colleague who sleeps in his Subaru. At least his co-worker could stretch out in the van.

Wendy Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: wlee@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @thewendylee

Tags: Tech drivershomeless
Categories: Labor News

Oakland ILWU Local 10 and 34 longshore workers oppose shipping coal at new terminal

Current News - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 14:20

Oakland ILWU Local 10 and 34 longshore workers oppose shipping coal at new terminal
By Mike Blasky mblasky@bayareanewsgroup.com
OAKLAND — Longshore workers at the Port of Oakland are opposing a developer's plan to ship coal to Asia through a new terminal at the old Army Base.

Members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and Local 34 voted to oppose the handling of coal at a new bulk maritime terminal being built by developer Phil Tagami's company California Capital & Investment Group, union officials announced Friday. The unions join several elected officials, port commissioners, environmental groups and members of the community in objecting to the plan.

An uncovered coal car rumbles along the tracks in Richmond, Calif. on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. (Kristopher Skinner/Staff file photo)
"When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash," Sean Farley, president of Local 34 said in a statement. "They made a 'no coal' promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise."
The City Council on Monday will hold a public hearing to discuss Tagami's controversial plan, which was revealed when a Utah newspaper reported this spring that a state agency had approved a $53 million investment to ship coal through the new terminal.
That contradicted Tagami's previous public statements that he wouldn't support exporting coal at the base and drew the ire of Mayor Libby Schaaf and several council members.

"He said it to my face," Councilman Dan Kalb said. "He said, 'Dan, climate change is the premiere issue of the day. I care very much about my children and I would never let coal go through any of my property or terminal.' And he was very passionate about that."
Since it was discovered, residents have routinely filled City Hall to protest the coal transport plan.
Councilman Larry Reid and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan co-sponsored Kalb's hearing proposal. Monday's special hearing starts at 4 p.m.
Mike Blasky covers Oakland City Hall. Contact him at 510-208-6429. Follow him at Twitter.com/blasky.

East Bay Labor Unions Say 'No' to Coal in Oakland
By Darwin BondGraham

• A Union Pacific train laden with coal passing through the Sierra Nevada foothills toward the Bay Area in August 2015.
The official voice of the labor movement in the East Bay has come out against plans to export coal from Oakland. This morning, the Alameda Labor Council’s executive committee passed a resolution opposing the export of coal from the bulk commodity terminal planned for construction at the city’s former Army Base.

The resolution cites health hazards and environmental harms that are likely to result from shipping and storing coal in West Oakland — hazards that will impact both workers and Oakland residents.

“Jobs involving coal are unhealthy and unsafe due to dust emissions; coal is increasingly an anti-union industry,” states the resolution. “West Oakland residents are already twice as likely to visit the emergency room for asthma as the average Alameda County resident, and are also more likely to die of cancer, heart and lung disease… .”

Terminal Logistics Solutions, the company proposing coal exports from the terminal, has claimed that the facility will be served by covered rail cars to reduce the amount of coal dust that drifts into nearby neighborhoods. TLS recently unveiled sketches on its website depicting dome-covered silos and enclosed conveyor belts that will store and load the coal onto ships for export overseas.

• A conceptual rendering of TLS's bulk commodity terminal planned for construction at the old Oakland Army Base.
Opponents of the coal plan have said, however, that covered rail cars, silos and chutes are not used anywhere in the United States today, and their efficacy hasn’t been studied.

The Labor Council’s resolution states that despite the unions’ “unified opposition to coal,” they believe that the project can move forward without coal. Their resolutions welcomes commodities such as steel, wood, grains, sand, gravel ,and other "non-hazardous materials."

A special meeting of the Oakland City Council is scheduled for Monday. The city clerk’s office has already received more than three hundred speaker cards from members of the public.

Tags: ILWU Local 1034Coal
Categories: Labor News

There will be no unpaid workers at the Co-op!

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:29

By Dorsett IWW - Dorsett IWW, September 17, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Dorset IWW General Members’ Branch is pleased to announce that our dispute with a Bournemouth outlet of the Co-operative has been settled amicably. We have a verbal assurance from local management who are USDAW members, that they have no wish to exploit unpaid workers on their premises, and that their connection with ‘Prospects’ has been severed. We congratulate them on their principled decision and affirm our commitment to defeat the government’s work programme and end unpaid labour.

Nationally however, the situation is less clear; we have had sight of a Co-op internal document that sets out the parameters of their unpaid work experience programme. Whilst it insists that placements must be voluntary and offer meaningful experience, we note that vulnerable adults are being conscripted who may not be fully aware of their rights. It’s highly likely some of them will not be able to make an informed decision and/or will get browbeaten by jobcentre staff with targets to meet. Once they are on the scheme if they leave they may be deemed to have made themselves intentionally unemployed, and be sanctioned. Lastly of course, however you dress it up, it’s unpaid labour. How long does it take to assess a person’s suitability for working in a grocer’s shop? A week, two? Why then should a national chain not speculate a fortnight’s minimum wage to find out?

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Categories: Unions

Friedrichs v. CTA: the Supreme Court Case That Could Destroy Labor Unions as We Know Them

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:18

By Andrew Stewart - CounterPunch, September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

This Presidential campaign has become even more of a media spectacle than the last two were, which in and of itself proves our electoral system is broken because the voters treat governance like professional wrestling. The Republican field is so close to a Vince McMahon Slam-O-Rama match that we do not even need to come up with silly stage names for these doofuses.

But what stuns me most about the Democratic field is that, even in the midst of our kinda-sorta dialogue about democratic socialism brought about by the Sanders dog-and-pony show, not a single candidate has yet to talk about the cornerstone of a socialist society, our barely-breathing labor unions. We have heard news stories about everyone’s favorite walrus, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, coming down from on high and reminding the masses that he, not they, get to choose whether the unions endorse Sanders or Clinton. But the elephant in the room which no one is talking about is the Friedrichs v. CTA Supreme Court case, which has seen the Petitioner Brief filed on September 4, 2015, followed by nineteen amicus curiae briefs on September 10 and. For those just tuning in, this is the case that will destroy labor unions as we know them in our country. This omission from our national dialogue is analogous to the three months before 9-11 when everyone was telling President Bush that something was going to happen but he was too busy farting around on his ranch to care.

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Categories: Unions

Porn, Sex Positivity, and Working Class Solidarity

IWW - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 13:09

By Kasparkonsequent - Red and Black Leeds, September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The UK’s gradually expanding porn law restrictions have been going on for years and eventually came to a climax the end of 2014, when previously existing restrictions were applied to all pornographic material made in the UK. Though I still see the occasional protest against this, and a few campaigners are still trying to overturn it, the flurry of outrage has largely died down. My aim here is not to defend the ban, but to critique the way this has been discussed, so we might be able to distinguish in future between what some members of the public want the sex industry to be, and an expression of working class solidarity towards those of us who work in it.

It’s obvious to most people that the list of banned acts represents pure moralising, and that the people who made this list seem to have a particular idea of what normal sex is and should be (part of which, as a number of people have noted, seems to be based on the idea that sex is something that women do for men). The legislation is clearly not about what should or shouldn’t happen on a porn set, but is entirely about what should be depicted and how. This is no mistake, the changes are part of the Obscene Publications Act, designed to outlaw any material that “tends to deprave and corrupt”. The fact that some of the banned acts are also things that many workers will want to avoid at work is coincidental and not the purpose of the ban. This becomes apparent when we see that vomiting, for example from facefucking, is something that is acceptable “if it is not performed as part of the sexual act, and is not visibly enjoyed by the participants”. The important phrase is “visibly enjoyed”, as the issue is not whether or not the worker is actually enjoying having the back of their throat hit until they vomit, but whether or not they have the inclination or acting ability to portray someone who does enjoy it. And according to the OPA they should not appear to enjoy it as it might give people watching the idea that this could be fun. However if your work involves occasional uncontrolled vomiting and you look suitably unimpressed by it when it happens, then as far as this legislation is concerned that’s fine and nothing to worry about.

Whether consciously or not, a lot of the responses to this have mirrored the same attitude in the sense that they’ve not been about what the work is like for those people having sex on camera, but about what consumers think should or shouldn’t be depicted, and how it should be represented, and what porn should look like to portray sex in a certain way to society. Progressives all over the UK have complained that they want female pleasure to be depicted and so are against the ban on female ejaculation, that they want women to be shown as empowered in sex and so are against the ban on face-sitting, that they want a variety of sexual acts to be represented so we aren’t conditioned to masturbate only to the same tired misogynistic porn formula. This is fair enough. It’s not only films and high art that influence our society and how we think, but all the media we consume. Even if all the porn actors on set were to be bored out of their minds, hate each other, and feel disgusted by the thought of having to get it on for the camera, if they produce a work of fiction that depicts the healthy negotiating of consent, where the people having sex are smiling at each other while on camera, where women are portrayed as having their own sexual desires, that could have a positive affect on people watching it.

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Categories: Unions

Global: AUDIO: Labour calls for demonstrations to be held ahead of Paris Climate Summit

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Radio Labour
Categories: Labor News

Longshore Workers Vote to Oppose Coal Exports in Oakland

ILWU - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 15:18

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 18, 2015) – Longshore workers and marine clerks who have moved cargo at the Ports of Oakland and San Francisco since 1934 have rejected a developer’s plan to export coal through former Oakland Army Base. International Longshore and Warehouse Union elected officials say coal is an undesirable, low-value cargo and a broken promise on the part of the developer, and longshore workers are standing by community members who do not want the worry and risks of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. After much research and discussion, the rank and file members of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 have voted to oppose the handling of coal at the site.

“When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash,” said Sean Farley, President of ILWU Local 34. “They made a ‘no coal’ promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise. Waterfront space is in short supply on the West Coast, and it would be a mistake to lock Oakland into a decades-long lease with a coal industry that many say is dying. Coal proposals have failed up and down the West Coast, and Oakland shouldn’t become the dumping ground for dirty, low value cargoes that no one else wants.”

After the Oakland City Council granted the California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG) the right to develop the former army base adjacent to the Port of Oakland, CCIG planned to build the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) on the site. CCIG has since turned its “no coal” promise into a “coal or nothing” threat, claiming no other cargo will pay the bills. Meanwhile, other West Coast ports are thriving while exporting products like grain, potash, soda ash, salt, and other commodities and bulk products.

“Coal is not the right way to bring jobs to Oakland,” said ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Derrick Muhammad. “Oakland families are already worried about asthma and other sickness because of highways and port activities. It’s not right to ask them to take on the worry and risk of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. If the developers haven’t found a cleaner, safer product yet, they owe it to the City of Oakland to make good on their promise and keep looking. They’ll find better cargoes if they are truly committed to bringing good, safe jobs to our community.”

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Coast Longshore Division represents approximately 25,000 longshore men and women in 30 West Coast ports from San Diego, CA, to Bellingham, WA.

Categories: Unions

Call for Submissions: In November We Remember Industrial Worker

IWW - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 20:05

Fall is just around the corner, which means it's time for the annual "In November We Remember" issue of the Industrial Worker (which will technically be the Fall 2015 issue now that we've switched to quarterly). NOW is the time to begin discussing with your branches/groups how you will commemorate fallen comrades with messages of solidarity for all the world to see: and for the first time ever you can do it in COLOR, or RED & BLACK! That's right -- there will be pages set aside for full color ads, as well as for red-and-black ads.

The deadline is Friday, October 2, 2015. Email your submissions to iw@iww.org.

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Categories: Unions

Qatar: Masked, gagged Qatar Airways staff protest at London air show

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Minister hopes freedom looms for jailed teacher union protestors

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Radio Zamaneh
Categories: Labor News

Turkey: Erdoğan expands war against dissent with legal action against union head

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Zaman
Categories: Labor News

Syria: Global Powers Should Act to Bring Peace

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Transit Workers Win Victory Against Policy That Led to Bus Drivers in Handcuffs

Current News - Wed, 09/16/2015 - 16:54

NYC TWU 100 Transit Workers Win Victory Against Policy That Led to Bus Drivers in Handcuffs

New York City bus operators signed a monumental legal agreement last week, clarifying the intent of Mayor Bill de Blasio's controversial “Vision Zero” program. The program previously had led to the arrest of six members of the Transport Workers (TWU) union, all bus operators with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). John Samuelsen, TWU executive vice president and president of TWU Local 100, signed the agreement with New York City’s corporation counsel.

The agreement will protect bus operators from being charged criminally in pedestrian crosswalk accidents that are just accidents—not caused by driver recklessness. It settles a federal lawsuit that Local 100 filed against the city in April, challenging the legality of the “Right of Way” clause in the Vision Zero bill.

“This is a huge victory,” Samuelsen said. “Under this well-intentioned, but poorly crafted, law, bus operators were arrested and handcuffed like common criminals. This settlement safeguards all bus operators and other transit workers who drive MTA motor vehicles from arrest if involved in an accident lacking recklessness.”

"The [New York City] labor movement, through the central labor council, came together and made it very clear to our elected officials that workers needed protections under the right of way law," said Samuelsen. ​

In addition to the settlement, the city has affirmed that it’s instructing police officers who investigate crosswalk accidents to consider the very real possibility that a bus operator’s view was blocked by the side-view mirror, taking into account the well-documented blind spots on MTA buses. This also marks huge progress toward a fairer, safer set of laws for transit riders and operators in New York City.

Tags: TWU 100Vision Zero
Categories: Labor News

USA: Think Uber - this is how bad the sharing economy is for workers

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/15/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Nation
Categories: Labor News

Europe: Taxi drivers from across Europe block Brussels over Uber

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/15/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFP
Categories: Labor News

Finland: Stop the government of Finland's massive attack on trade union rights!

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/15/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News


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