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ILWU Opposes Fast Track Deal

Current News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 21:20

ILWU Opposes Fast Track Deal
Bipartisan agreement gives trade pact a boost

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), left, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate panel's chairman, converse during the panel’s Thursday hearing. (Gabriella Demczuk / Getty Images)
By DON LEEcontact the reporter

Deal would give President Obama fast-track authority on Pacific Rim trade talks
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the economic centerpiece of Obama's policy shift toward Asia
Congressional leaders reached agreement Thursday on a bipartisan bill that should ease passage of a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal, giving a boost to one of President Obama's top foreign policy goals but putting him in an unusual alliance with Republicans against many in his own party.

The so-called fast-track legislation was seen as a necessary step for the White House to bring to a conclusion the long-delayed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Proponents said the 12-nation trade deal would deliver significant benefits by opening markets and establishing rules on commerce and investment that will help American workers and an array of U.S. industries, including West Coast ports, entertainment companies and drug makers.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the economic centerpiece of Obama's policy shift toward Asia. He has staked his legacy as the self-proclaimed "first Pacific president" on completing the deal, even at the expense of alienating many Democrats who remain deeply suspicious of claims that free-trade deals are good for American workers.

While Obama and many businesses lauded the agreement announced Thursday by key House and Senate leaders, Democratic lawmakers, trade unions and environmental groups responded with a flurry of statements and news conferences denouncing the legislation.

The AFL-CIO said it would launch a large-scale campaign to pressure more than 50 Democratic members of Congress who may be on the fence to vote against the bill.

Fast-track authority would let Obama strike a trade agreement with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, Canada and Mexico, with the assurance that Congress must approve or reject it with no amendments. The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are in the last stages, but Japan and some other countries have been reluctant to show all their cards, concerned that Congress might alter the final agreement.

The push to pass the bill will trigger a high-stakes political battle. Republican leaders generally favor speeding up the path to a trade agreement and have highlighted the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a rare issue of agreement with the Obama administration.

But the president will need to overcome resistance from many Democrats worried about the trade pact's impact on U.S. jobs. Some tea party Republicans, particularly in the House, also complain the president has already exceeded his executive authority and should not be given new powers.

The issue also is likely to play a role in the 2016 presidential campaign, particularly for Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. She will face pressure from unions and progressive Democrats to oppose fast-track authority and the agreement, though it was her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who oversaw passage of the last big trade pact, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Obama vowed to take congressional concerns into consideration, but stressed that the trade pact was critical to boosting U.S. exports and responding to the economic threat from China, which would not be part of the agreement. The pact, one of the largest in history, would join countries that make up 40% of the world's gross domestic product.

"It's no secret that past trade deals haven't always lived up to their promise, and that's why I will only sign my name to an agreement that helps ordinary Americans get ahead," Obama said Thursday.

"At the same time, at a moment when 95% of our potential customers live outside our borders, we must make sure that we, and not countries like China, are writing the rules for the global economy," he said.

California farmers, devastated by the region's relentless drought, could be among the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement.

Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual, said an agreement could provide much-needed relief by reducing steep tariffs growers face when exporting to Asia, particularly Japan. About 25% of California's $2.4-billion citrus production is shipped overseas, much of it to Asia, he said.

"It gives us a fighting chance to sustain sufficient revenue per acre to pay for our higher water," Nelsen said. "Citrus Mutual has always been supportive of the effort, as long as it addresses the imbalance in the tariff rates, and we believe that's what's going to happen."

Democratic lawmakers and opponents of fast-track authority complained that Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have been conducted in secrecy and said it would be a mistake for Congress to give up its ability to change elements of an agreement before voting on it. Liberal Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are expected to launch a fierce legislative push to block the bill.

Opponents also warn the pact will hurt the environment, kill U.S. jobs and benefit mostly large multinational corporations. Hollywood has been lobbying hard for the deal, which promises to bring tighter copyright protections for movie and music firms.

Among critics of the proposed agreement is the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

"The ILWU handles containers that represent millions of outsourced and offshore industrial jobs," said Craig Merrilees, an ILWU spokesman. The agreement is "a grab-bag of goodies for corporate America."

Thursday's compromise, aimed at getting enough Senate Democrats to break with their party to support the deal, would require White House trade officials to provide Congress with greater access to the terms of the deal and make updates and full details available to the public before it is signed.

The bill also includes a mechanism that would essentially revoke fast-track authority should U.S. trade negotiators fail to meet certain objectives, including promoting human rights, improving labor conditions and safeguarding the environment, said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Wyden, whose support for fast-track authority was seen as key to bringing along other Democrats, struck the deal with Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate panel's chairman, and Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), head of the House Ways and Means Committee.

In announcing the bill, the three lawmakers issued a joint statement saying that the legislation "establishes concrete rules for international trade negotiations to help the United States deliver strong, high-standard trade agreements that will boost American exports and create new economic opportunities and better jobs for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs."

Democratic lawmakers, however, said the measure — introduced in the Senate and to be followed in the House — did not include any language to prevent currency manipulation and was no better overall than the previous fast-track legislation that expired in 2007.

"It's worse than the [previous] version," said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), who called the legislation a "sellout."

"Those are noble goals that won't be enforced in any way," he said of the provisions on human rights, which were not in the prior fast-track authority.


A separate but similar House version of the legislation could face a tougher test as the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and other top Democratic lawmakers are opposed to fast-track. Sherman said he expected House Republicans to try to win a few more Democrats by tacking on sweeteners, like aid for Africa.


Times staff writer Stuart Pfeifer in Los Angeles contributed this report.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

Tags: ilwuFast Track
Categories: Labor News

Global: Corporate Greed campaign launched in ITUC May Day statement

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Korean Union Federation KCTU Calls For General Strike On April 24

Current News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 16:55

Korean Union Federation KCTU Calls For General Strike On April 24

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions added 2 new photos.

April 13 at 5:48am · Edited ·
Korean Workers Strike on April 24!

The national congress of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) resolved to call a general strike against the government’s comprehensive policy package to attack working and living conditions for all workers. In a nation wide ballot carried out on March 21~April 8, 84.35% of all voters were in favor of going on a general strike. On April 24, striking workers will have rallies in 20 different cities. On May 1, 100,000 workers will gather in Seoul.

Abolish the retrogressive ‘labour market reform’!
Stop the Public Pension Cuts! Improve National Pension System!
KWR10,000 (per hour) for Minimum Wage!
Fundamental Labour Rights for All!

The era of zero percent growth of the real wage?

As the impact of the global economic crisis remains, the economic outlook of Korea is so negative as the finance minister warns of deflation risk. While Korea ranked top in taxation inequality among OECD countries due to the former government’s policy of ‘more tax from the poor and less tax from the rich’ and the 4th in income inequality, the real wage growth rate has decreased for the last 6 quarters successively. (It was 3.4 percent in the second quarter of 2003 and 0.08 percent in the third quarter of 2014.) The total number of the unemployed is 4,456,000, and the real unemployment rate is 15.8 percent. The poverty rate among the elderly is 48 percent, which means 1 out of 2 among those who are 65 years or older is living in poverty. More than 50 percent of the whole working population is in a precarious situation in terms of employment, and they are paid half of the average wage and not eligible for social security.

Wages, employment and social security of all workers are under attack

Recently, social polarization on a global scale has been pointed out as a key obstacle to economic growth. Even the major fora and financial institutions such as the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, Davos Forum, IMF and OECD suggest tackling income inequality as a key priority. However, the Park Geun-hye government is taking an opposite direction and all of its policies are focusing on giving privilege to the conglomerates and stimulating the real estate market, which would result in the institutionalization of restructuring, decreases in wages and the expansion of employment insecurity.
Comprehensive Measures for Non-Regular Workers, which is a major part of the ‘labour market reform plan’ and claimed by the government as a solution to various problems with so-called ‘dual structure of labour market, is in fact a comprehensive neoliberal labour policy attacking wages, employment and trade union rights of all workers. Using the above mentioned title, the government is laying the blame on the ‘over-protected regular workers’ or ‘vested interests of organized workers’, instead of the ‘inheritance and unequal distribution of wealth by the conglomerates’ for the income & social inequality.

Key points of the government led ‘Labour-Market Reform
- Relaxation of requirements for ordinary dismissal and introduction of dismissal of underperforming workers
- Flexibilization of wage system: based on job function and performance payment
- Incapacitation of the condition of ‘collective agreement by workers’ required at the time of unfavorable change of rules of employment
- Exclusion of regularly paid bonus in ordinary wage calculation
- Extension of working hours
- Retrogressive amendment of Labour Standards Act which runs counter to the idea of reduction of working hours
- Extension of limit of fixed term contract period from current two years up to four years
- Expansion of the range of jobs where labour dispatch is permitted.
- Legalisation of in-house subcontracting.

The government's unilateral push for Labour Market Reforms

In the New Year’s address of 2015, President Park emphasized “Labour Market Reform is not optional but essential for the survival of Korean economy”. She also urged the “Special Committee on Structural Reforms of the Labour Market” in the Economic and Social Development Commission (ESCD) to agree on the government’ plan within March 2015. Without participation by the KCTU, the Special Committee [composed of FKTU, KEF and the government] were convened several times but failed to draw an agreed conclusion. Just a day after the FKTU walked out of the negotiation finding there is no point of compromise, the government announced that it will unilaterally pursue the retrogressive amendment of related labour laws in the interim session of the National Assembly in April. Moreover, the Ministry of Employment and Labour declared that it will push for a variety of guidelines for collective bargaining, enforcement decree of the laws, and directives in order to accomplish the plan at every workplace. This shows that the government had no intention to listen to the workers' voice from the beginning.

The Right to Strike is an internationally protected fundamental right!

In Korea, the right to strike is guaranteed by the Constitution. However, in practice, as the purposes, methods, procedure, and subject are excessively regulated, it is almost impossible for workers to strike legally. Union leaders and members quickly face criminal sanction, a lawsuit for compensation for damage, and disciplinary measures including dismissal. International support and solidarity have played a crucial role for Korean workers to exercise their fundamental rights.

The Four Demands of the Workers
1. Abolish the retrogressive ‘labour market reform.'
What the government wants are easier dismissal, lower wage and more precarious jobs. The government-led labour market reform plan would deteriorate living and working conditions of all workers. It should not be promoted in any form.

2. Stop the public pension cuts and improve the National Pension System!
The government is pushing ahead with the deterioration of the public pension system and activation of private pensions. The president herself failed to implement her election pledge to increase the benefit of Basic Old-age Pension and has no policy to improve the National Pension System whose affiliate and benefit rates are too low. On the contrary, the government is promoting a deterioration of the Government Employees Pension Scheme under the pretense of ‘equity among difference pension systems’. This will exacerbate the situation of poverty and income inequality in old age. What government should do is an upward equalization of pension systems by increasing the benefits level of the National Pension System and Basic Old-age Pension. At the same time, it should be accountable for the stable funding as an employer of the public servants.

3. KRW 10,000 for minimum hourly wage!
As of 2015, the statutory minimum wage is KRW 5,580 per hour (KRW 1,166,220 per month) which is even less than actual living cost of a single worker without dependents (KRW 1,506,179, as of May, 2014). The minimum wage that was applicable in 2014 (KRW 1,088,890 per month) was 41.1 percent of the regular wage of the regular workers in the workplace with 5 or more employees and 32.7 percent of the total wage. This is too little to meet the purpose of the minimum wage system- eradication of low paid group, reduction of wage disparity and improvement of the distribution system. It is the minimum safeguard for low-waged workers. KRW 10,000 of the minimum wage will contribute to economic growth and the original purpose of the minimum wage system.

4. Fundamental Labour Rights for ALL! Application of Labour Standards Act for ALL! Revision of Article 2 of TULRAA!
The number of workers in workplaces with less than five employees is 3,480,000, accounting for 19.15 percent of the whole working population. The Labour Standards Act does not cover all of them. Precarious Workers including workers in the disguised employment relationship and indirect employment relationship are not able to exercise the right to organize and right to bargain collectively.***

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions's photo.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions's photo.
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Tags: KCTUGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News

As Gig Workers, Uber and Lyft Drivers Struggle With Taxes

Current News - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 09:34

As Gig Workers, Uber and Lyft Drivers Struggle With Taxes

A Lyft driver navigates through Potrero Hill in San Francisco. (Sara Bloomberg/KQED)

By Sam Harnett
APR 15, 2015
Taxes have always been pretty easy for Enrique. He received W-2s, did the calculations himself and usually got a nice return. Then last year all that changed, after he signed up to drive for Lyft and Uber.

The income Enrique earns from driving for these ride-service companies makes him a sort of independent contractor, which raises a lot more tax questions than working as an employee does. Now Enrique has to keep track of his income and deductions, maintain records and save receipts.

“It’s a brand-new world,” Enrique says. And he’s still trying to figure it all out.

Enrique does not want to use his full name because he is afraid the companies won’t appreciate his criticism. He says it’s pretty much all up to the drivers to figure out everything about this job — what’s legal, what’s safe and how to do the taxes.

I’ve got firsthand experience for this story. Last winter I drove some for Lyft. I was interviewing passengers to make a podcast. I’ve worked as a freelancer for years, so I was used to handling more complicated taxes. But that is not the case for Enrique.

Albert Einstein once said, ‘The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.’
Quote on Lyft website
Like many new gig workers, Enrique has never owned a business nor been an independent contractor. He is unsure what to deduct and what records to keep. He says it is hard to get the information he needs. That’s why he met with tax adviser Matthew Whatley.

Uber and Lyft provide drivers with statistics about their rides, but on their websites they urge drivers to seek professional tax advice. Whatley says people who come to him, like Enrique, are unprepared come tax time.

“I’ve never seen a single person from Lyft or Uber come in that had any idea of what their tax liability was or what kind of records to keep,” Whatley says. “Not one.”

Taxes for this new kind of gig work are confusing, Whatley says. Not every gig company handles taxes the same way. Sometimes workers get tax forms stating their income; other times they don’t. Some drivers haven’t paid taxes for a few years, he says. Others are paying more than they should.

“These people are literally thrown to the wolves,” Whatley says. “They are being put in a tax meat grinder.”

‘I’ve never seen a single person from Lyft or Uber come in that had any idea of what kind of records to keep. Not one.’
Matthew Whatley, tax adviser
Whatley says many don’t realize the extra load put on contractors when it comes to taxes. First, contractors have higher tax burdens than employees. That’s because for employees, companies pay half the Social Security and Medicare taxes. Contractors also have to keep their own records — mileage logs, gas receipts and other deductible expenses.

This is all a surprisingly big obligation the companies are not upfront about, Enrique says. The advertisements soliciting drivers say how much they will make hourly — before expenses, taxes and the time spent maintaining records and figuring out deductions.

Screen shot of an Uber ad promising hourly rates.
One of the things gig workers like Enrique have to figure out is a relatively new tax form, the 1099-K. It is different from the 1099 form contractors normally use.

The 1099-K shows total credit card transactions, in this case between the riders and the company. Drivers then have to subtract expenses like tolls and fees they pay to Uber and Lyft. This makes it trickier for drivers to keep track of income, says Patricia Cain, law professor at Santa Clara University.

Cain gives this example: Let’s say a driver earns $18,000 of income, but there was $3,500 in fees and tolls that Uber charged to riders. The 1099-K the driver receives would show $21,500 gross income because that was the total of credit card transactions between the riders and Uber. The driver would then have to account for all the expenses that make up the difference.

Cain says 1099-Ks were not originally designed for this kind of gig work. They were developed in 2008 to track income that people make from sites like eBay and Etsy.

More and More Businesses Relying on Gig Economy to Find Short-Term Labor

California DMV Retracts Notice That UberX, Lyft Drivers Need Commercial Plates

Taxi vs. Lyft: Come Along for the Ride (Video)
So, why are these gig companies using the new forms? In an email, Lyft wrote that the 1099-K complies with tax rules. Uber did not respond.

David Gamage is a professor of tax law at UC Berkeley. He says the 1099-K could be part of a business strategy. It may be an effort to look more like an online marketplace that connect drivers with riders, rather than a company that contracts with those drivers.

“It’s entirely possible that a primary reason for their adopting these structures is to want to distance themselves from the actions of their drivers,” Gamage says.

The exact nature of the relationship between the companies and drivers is an important issue. Right now there are two class-action lawsuits in California in which drivers are alleging that they are actually employees rather than independent contractors. If the lawsuits succeed, companies like Uber and Lyft would have to pay a lot more in taxes.

For Enrique, doing his taxes has been illuminating. He finally saw what he was actually earning — less than minimum wage. He realized he needed to drive more than 30 hours a week to have anything left over after expenses.

“I know I need to be driving more,” Enrique says, “but I want to be able to live a life and see the sun.”

Now though, Enrique is committed to gig work. Last year he quit his day job and bought a Prius. He has car payments and high insurance premiums.

Enrique’s plan is to drive more. He just signed up to deliver food through another gig website.

Tags: UberDrivers
Categories: Labor News

ILA Has Close Connections to Walter Scott, Man Murdered In South Carolina By Policeman; Victim’s brother Rodney Scott, Is Member of Charleston ILA Local 1422

Current News - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 20:40

ILA Has Close Connections to Walter Scott, Man Murdered In South Carolina By Policeman; Victim’s brother Rodney Scott, Is Member of Charleston ILA Local 1422


North Bergen, NJ – (April 9, 2015) The nation was shocked and deeply saddened by the video showing the killing of an unarmed African American male, Walter Scott, by a white North Charleston, SC police officer Michael T. Slager. The victim’s brother – Rodney Scott - is a member of ILA Local 1422 and two other ILA Local 1422 members – Marion Green and James Gibbs – are also close relatives. The entire ILA family expresses its condolences to the Scott family and offer our prayers and support. ILA Local 1422 President Kenneth Riley, also an International Vice President, issued the following statement on the killing of Walter Scott:

Once again, we are watching the coverage of an African American male senselessly gunned down by a white police officer. The officer has several options available to him but he decided to use lethal force and fired 8 times at the back of Mr. Scott.The family, the community and now the entire country mourn the loss of Walter Scott. ILA Local 1422 mourn along with the family and are particularly saddened because of Mr. Scott’s connection to our local. Walter Scott’s brother, Rodney Scott joined our workforce two years ago. One of Local 1422’s dispatchers, Marion Green and James Gibbs a forman are all close relatives. The Scott family and the Riley family worshipped together for many years at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Mission and remain close.Local 1422 recognize that we have a social responsibility to our community and we take that responsibility very seriously. That is why Leonard Riley, Jr. took the lead and arranged the organizational meeting for the protest at the North Charleston City Hall. He and other members also participated in the rally. Local 1422 will continue to stand up and speak out against injustice in any form, whether it is racial profiling, racial discrimination or as in this case racial homicide. We along with every civil rights organization are calling for justice for Walter Scott. We will continue to work with community leaders and lawmakers throughout the State of South Carolina to prevent these types of tragedies from ever happening again, not in our state or in our nation.

Kenneth Riley

Tags: ILA 1422Walter ScottPolice MurdersCharleston
Categories: Labor News

USA: Fight for $15 swells into largest protest by low-wage workers in US history

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Central States Drops Pension Cut Bomb

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 14:03

April 15, 2015: The Central States Pension Fund has launched a PR offensive to sell their fast-track pension cut plan as the only way to “rescue” members’ retirement. Teamster members and retirees are demanding a review by independent actuaries and consideration of alternative proposals before the cuts are imposed.

Central States Director Thomas Nyhan pitched his plan in a letter and national conference call, calling for deep cuts on a fast track with no amendments permitted.

Nyhan’s conference call was scripted from start-to-finish. The “question-and-answer” segment consisted of softball questions with pre-scripted answers.

“We just got a rehash of what we already know,” said Dave Scheidt, a retiree from Kansas City Local 41. “We’re paying Nyhan $662,000 a year for that? He needs to go.”

“Nyhan said that some will tell you that there are easier solutions, but there are not. He's right, that's the easiest way --just cut pensions!” said Mike Walden, chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions. “We need a real look at all the alternatives.”

Teamster members and retirees are calling for an independent review of the fund that evaluates possible alternatives to Nyhan’s pension demolition plan.

The Save Our Pensions movement is growing and organizing meetings to inform Teamsters and build grassroots pressure to win changes to the Nyhan plan.

Click here to find out more and to get involved.

Why is an independent review necessary?

Even if you have a good doctor, it’s wise to get a second opinion before undertaking a serious operation. In this case, the pensions of 400,000 Teamsters and retirees are going under the knife.

Under the law, Teamsters are entitled to a retiree representative to the Fund to watchdog for their interests during the pension cut process. But Central States appointed Sue Mauren to be the fund’s retiree representative—a retired official with multiple pensions and close ties to the Hoffa administration. That doesn’t cut it.

Independent actuarial experts could safeguard participants’ interests by evaluating the fund and analyzing alternatives to Nyhan’s Fast-Track plan.

Is there really time for an independent review? Nyhan says there is no time to delay.

Of course, decisive action is required: the fund is in trouble. But the numbers do not justify a rush to judgement—not when the retirement of 400,000 Teamsters who earned their pensions is on the line.

The Fund is not on the brink of bankruptcy. Its assets have actually grown over the past six years. The Fund had $18 billion in assets on September 30, compared to $17.3 billion at the end of 2008 when Wall Street crashed the economy. 

Nyhan claims the Fund will go broke in 11 years—but these charts, based on assumptions used by the fund, show that it would actually be closer to 17 years. We cannot allow Central States to go broke at any time, but it is more evidence of why a full review by independent actuaries is needed. 

What is Hoffa doing to protect our pensions?

Hoffa was not on the call, nor were any International Union officers. Vice President John Murphy showed up at the Save Our Pensions rally to glad hand the crowd and told people he was “sent by the General President to support what they are doing” and that Hoffa will “fight for the repeal” of the MRPA pension cut law.

If that’s the case, why are Teamster Trustees and International Officers lining up in favor of the Central States cuts? Nyhan has repeatedly stated that all the trustees, including the Union Trustees, support his pension cut plan and his schedule which allows for no amendments.

What Can We Do?

The Save Our Pensions movement is growing and organizing meetings to inform Teamsters and build grassroots pressure to win changes to the Nyhan plan.

We are building a united movement with AARP, other unions, the Pension Rights Center and public allies to support a pension relief bill that will soon be introduced in Congress.

We worked our whole lives for our pensions—now we are working together to defend them.

Click here to find out more and to get involved.

Rights & Resources: Pension and Benefits EducationIssues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Nyhan’s Fast-Track: What’s Behind the Curtain

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 13:40

April 15, 2015: Central States Pension Fund Director is giving the hard sell on his fast-track pension cuts, but withholding all the information members need to formulate alternatives.

He states the plan will go broke in exactly 11 years, and says we cannot question his facts. Where does he get this figure? And why hasn’t it changed as the fund’s assets have gone up?

Taking the fund’s current level of employer contributions and benefit pay-out, and the fund’s standard assumption of 8% average return on investment, it would be 17 years (2032) before the fund would go insolvent, according to Chart #1 below.

That’s still a disaster which we cannot let happen, but it is more evidence that we want a full review by independent actuaries and experts of our fund. 

Nyhan, in a speech to officials in Rosemont Illinois on April 8, suddenly “moved the goalposts”  to change the CSPF’s projected return from its long-standing policy of 8% per year to 7% per year. So we prepared Chart #2 using a 7% assumption for investment returns—this leads to a projected insolvency in 15 years.  

Of course, these charts cannot begin to capture the complexity of the pension fund, but they do indicate why an independent review is needed. How did Nyhan and the Trustees make up the 11 year figure?

We’d all like to see all the facts and assumptions behind the curtain, and have a chance to come up with alternatives.   Members and retirees deserve no less.

Chart #1:  Central States Fund Potential Decline

Assumption: Employer contributions do not increase, pension benefits are not cut, the same management is in place, and the CSPF’s policy assumption of 8% per year average return on investment. (Actually, benefit payments will likely decline as benefit cuts of recent years take hold.)

Chart #2: Central States Fund Potential Decline – with modified assumption of only 7% average return on investment.

We cannot allow anything like this to happen. But where did Nyhan cook up the 11 year claim? We demand a review.

Rights & Resources: Pension and Benefits EducationIssues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Pittsburghers for Public Transit supports the Fight for 15!

Pittsburghers for Public Transit - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 08:08
Fast food workers and other low wage workers are going on strike today (4/15) to demand 15 dollars an hour and a union. Many of these workers are transit riders. They all deserve a living wage and respect on the job.

Let's lift up neighborhoods and families across our city and increase the wages of all workers.

-Rally at 12 noon at Market Square downtown

-4:00 PM, Gather at Forbes & Bigelow in Oakland, in front of the Cathedral of Learning.

See below for the ATU International's support for the Fight for 15:

ATU workers nationwide gear up for Fight for $15

Building on three years of successful actions by fast-food workers, tomorrow, Wednesday 4/15, underpaid workers across the country, from restaurant workers, to bus drivers, to adjunct professors, are coming together to demand living wages and the right to unionize.

The first action was over three years ago in New York City when more than 200 fast-food workers walked off the job.

Today, the national conversation around the living wage is moving cities like Seattle and San Francisco, towards a $15 per hour living wage. Within the transportation industry, workers who are employed by private companies often face the same indignities of poverty wages and abusive working conditions. ATU is proud to join our brothers and sisters in fighting back against predatory corporations that take more than their fair share of the profit.

To find a Fight for $15 Rally in your city, click here.
Categories: Labor News

WW4-14-15 ATU Pres Hanley On Transit Worker Rights & TPP and Charleston Police Murders With ILA & ILWU

Current News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 22:43

WW4-14-15 ATU Pres Hanley On Transit Workers Rights & TPP and Charleston Police Murders With ILA 1422 Pres Ken Riley & ILWU 52 VP Gabriel Prawl
WorkWeek talks with ATU International President Larry Hanley about the attack on Chicago ATU transit worker political rights by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the growing attack on public workers by Republicans and Democrats and the affect of the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP on US labors and workers in the Asian rim.
Next WorkWeek looks at the murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina with Ken Riley, president of ILA Local 1422 and Gabriel Prawl, Vice Presdient of ILWU Local 52 and president of the A. Philip RandolphSeattle Chapter
Production of WorkWeek Radio

Tags: ATU HanleyilwuILAracism
Categories: Labor News

UK: Windsor Castle staff back industrial action in pay row

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Global: It’s time to stop ignoring the link between women, work and poor health

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

Palestine: Thousands of workers strike in Gaza

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AIC
Categories: Labor News

USA: Will you join tens of thousands of workers in the streets on April 15?

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: SEIU
Categories: Labor News

Toronto IWW: May 16-17 2015: Organizing 101: Build the Committee Training

IWW - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 09:29

Toronto IWW is pleased to announce opening of registration for the Spring 2015 edition of Organizing 101: Build the Committee Training, our crash course on grassroots, direct action-driven solidarity unionism. 

read more

Categories: Unions

“Save our Pensions” Spreads

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 07:59

April 14, 2015: Under the banner of “Save Our Pensions”, 175 Minnesota Teamsters and retirees met on April 11 in St. Paul to get the facts and build the movement to save pensions. A surprise guest, Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, declared his support for repealing the pension-cut law and replacing it with a fair solution.

The Save Our Pensions Committee called the meeting, and greatly expanded its working committee as a result of it. More meetings are planned in the Midwest, South, and in North Carolina, as the movement spreads.

In addition to backing a bill to be introduced in Congress, the meeting discussed outreach to involve both retirees and active Teamsters, and to build for a strong No vote on the cuts. The vote, which is expected by late summer, will be a way to gain bargaining power for the movement. The law allows the vote to be overruled, but a strong No vote is essential for credibility in Washington and in the union.

Speakers at the Minnesota meeting included Mike Walden, the chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, Karen Friedman, Policy Director of the Pension Rights Center in Washington DC, and Ken Paff, National Organizer of Teamsters for a Democratic Union. But the stars were the retirees and Teamsters who continue to build the momentum we need. 

Click here to send us a message. Contact us to find out more or if you want to help organize a pension meeting in your area.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Preparing for Negotiations with the ‘New’ American Airlines

Current News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 22:49

Preparing for Negotiations with the ‘New’ American Airlines
1COMMENTS04/13/2015Mike Hall

Earlier this spring, Transport Workers Union (TWU) members from locals at American Airlines and US Airways met in Maryland for an intensive six-day contract negotiations training session to prepare for upcoming contract talks with the “new” American Airlines once the merger between American and US Airways is approved. See the video above for a closer look.

About 30,000 TWU and Machinists (IAM) members work at the two carriers and they have come together as the TWU/IAM Employee Association for bargaining.

Find out more from TWU here and from IAM here.

Tags: IAM American AirlinesTWU
Categories: Labor News

Ghana: Police storm hospital to break nurses' strike

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 04/13/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: GhanaWeb
Categories: Labor News


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