Feed aggregator

Costa Rica: Banana Workers’ Strike Highlights Abuses by Corporations

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IPS
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: ITF warns of crisis as Kenyan police make ready to attack drivers

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Global: PSI calls for new global tax body

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: PSI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Bosses Journal Of Commerce Receives Copy of ILWU Coast Wide Concession Contract Before Rank And File

Current News - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:58

Bosses Journal Of Commerce Receives Copy of ILWU Coast Wide Concession Contract Before Rank And File
ILWU Tops Keep Contract From Membership In Order To Push Concessions


Tentative West Coast contract offers union perks, new way to settle disputes

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Mar 16, 2015 8:09PM EDT

The tentative West Coast waterfront contract that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will vote on next month includes plenty of perks for the union and could revolutionize how day-to-day disputes on the waterfront are adjudicated.

But more than nine months of negotiation and the resulting standoff that brought ports to the brink of gridlock all could be for naught if ILWU locals decide to reject the tentative agreement over manning issues.

The tentative agreement that was signed on Feb. 20 by the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association includes wage increases that are more generous than in previous agreements, full dockworker maintenance of benefits to be paid for by the PMA and a new arbitration system that replaces individual arbitrators in the local ports with a three-member panel.

JOC.com received a copy of the ILWU/PMA Pacific Coast Longshore and Clerks’ Agreement that was tentatively approved by the ILWU and PMA after nine months of negotiations, the last four of which were tarnished by work slowdowns that contributed to severe congestion at West Coast ports. The contract, if approved, will run for five years.

The 70-page document addresses issues such as straight-time wages, skill differential pay rates, pensions and welfare, improvements to the pay guarantee plan, a chassis inspection and repair requirement and changes to local contracts on the coast.

The ILWU will invite 90 delegates from all port regions to a caucus in San Francisco scheduled for the week of March 30. The delegates will vote either to recommend approval or rejection of the agreement. If the delegates vote against the agreement, the ILWU and PMA will return to the bargaining table. If the caucus votes to recommend approval, the local leadership will hold meetings with the rank and file in their respective ports. Voting by the membership will be by secret ballot in April.

Changes to the arbitration process are the most significant provision. These changes could actually be interpreted as a victory for employers in a contract that otherwise was a resounding success for the ILWU. The proposed arbitration process would establish a three-member panel in each of the four port regions. One arbitrator would be nominated by the PMA and another by the ILWU. The third position on the panel would be filled by a neutral person, who is a non-lawyer, but who is a member of either the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service or the American Arbitration Association.

Under current procedures, there are four local arbitrators — one each in Seattle-Tacoma, Portland, Northern California and Southern California. The arbitrators in Los Angeles-Long Beach and Seattle-Tacoma are nominated by the ILWU and approved by the PMA. The arbitrators in Oakland and Portland are nominated by the PMA and approved by the ILWU. Each local arbitrator handles the health and safety and work-rule disputes that occur regularly at West Coast ports.

For example, if longshoremen walk off the job because of a dispute over manning, the arbitrator is called. The arbitrator listens to evidence and rules on the legality of the job action. If either party disagrees with the local arbitrator’s decision, the matter is elevated to the coast arbitrator in San Francisco. Employers claim that some job actions are legitimate, but others are nothing more than the ILWU hard-timing a terminal operator in order to achieve a certain end.

When a contract expires, the arbitration process is suspended. If the ILWU refuses to extend the previous contract, as it did on July 1 last year, the union is free to engage in work slowdowns. The PMA noted repeatedly in recent months the ILWU work slowdowns aggravated already existing congestion at West Coast ports and resulted in 40 or more vessels being idled each week outside the ports.

The proposed arbitration panel could result in a more equitable arbitration process. Under the new system, it is assumed that the votes of the ILWU-nominated and PMA-nominated arbitrators will oftentimes cancel each other, and the neutral, professional arbitrator will cast the deciding vote. This could bring more balance to all of the ports, because under the old system an ILWU-nominated arbitrator usually ruled in favor of the union and the PMA-nominated arbitrator usually ruled in favor of the employer.

The wage increases in the proposed agreement appear to be higher than in past contracts. In most contracts from the early 1980s through 2013, the increases varied between 50 cents and $1 per hour. Under the tentative agreement, the hourly wage will increase $1, retroactive to June 28, 2014. The base wage will increase $1.50 in 2015, $1.25 in 2016, $1.50 in 2017 and $1.25 in 2018 when the straight-time wage will become $42.18 an hour. There will also be wage increases for skilled worker categories, with skilled-pay differentials ranging from 15 to 30 percent on top of the straight-time wage. Many positions on the waterfront include skilled-pay differentials, which accounts for the average annual earnings of full-time longshoremen in 2013 being $147,000, according to the PMA.

Some employers say the more generous wage hikes reflect a realization on the part of the ILWU that automation and the use of information technology are eliminating certain jobs, so it is time to focus on higher wages for those jobs that remain. Others say the annual increases are greater, but the percentage increase stays about the same. Others say somewhat cynically that when the ILWU drags the negotiations on for nine months and creates great harm to ports, employers, cargo interests and the national economy, the higher wage increases simply corroborate the ILWU’s negotiating strategy, which is that the longer the negotiations last, the more the union can obtain from employers.

Automation was not addressed directly in the tentative agreement because employers in the 2008 contract achieved the right to introduce any types of automated cargo-handling equipment they wish. Manning of the new machines is determined on a terminal-by-terminal basis. Employers say the ILWU local may hard-time a terminal as it prepares to automate cargo-handling functions in order to secure a certain level of manning. Normally a compromise is reached and the automation is implemented.

The contract also includes an interesting provision on chassis inspections and maintenance and repair work. The tentative agreement gives the ILWU mechanics the jurisdiction to inspect and repair non-trucker-owned chassis. “Red-circled” terminals that have contracts with other unions such as the International Association of Machinists are also exempt from ILWU inspection and repair provision.

Chassis jurisdiction was an important issue in the negotiations and delayed a settlement. Now that ocean carriers have sold most of their chassis to equipment-leasing companies, there is some question as to the legality of terminals requiring that the ILWU inspect chassis before they leave the facilities, and requiring that the ILWU perform any needed repairs. The chassis-leasing companies are not PMA members and they have no contractual relationship with the ILWU.

The tentative agreement states that both parties will petition the Federal Maritime Commission on the chassis provision, and if anything in the requirement is judged to be illegal, the PMA and ILWU will renegotiate those provisions to make them legal.

During the contract negotiations last fall, the California Trucking Association charged that in order to hard-time employers, the ILWU was requiring drivers to exit their trucks while the longshore mechanics performed lengthy inspections that went beyond the normal eight-point inspection. Those actions also aggravated the port congestion problem and cost the drivers time and money because drivers are paid by the trip.

If the contract is approved, the ILWU will not be held financially responsible for any delays and extra costs associated with the lengthy, tumultuous negotiations. The proposed contract states, “There will be no discipline, grievance or legal claims, and any pending claims will be withdrawn, against the union or any individual bargaining unit worker for any acts of alleged misconduct that may have occurred between July 1, 2014, and the signing of the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding.”

The PMA and ILWU declined to comment on the details of the tentative agreement, and they refused to speculate on its chances of being approved by the rank and file. Employers generally expect ILWU Local 10 in Oakland to vote against the contract, which that militant local usually does, even when the contract is approved by the other locals on the coast. This time, Local 10 attempted to increase the number of dockworker positions for cargo-handling equipment, but that demand did not make it into the final agreement.

The key to passage will be with Local 13 in Southern California, which is by far the largest local. President Bobby Olvera is considered a major player in the fate of the contract. During the lengthy negotiations, Olvera pushed for a provision that would guarantee ILWU mechanics in Los Angeles-Long Beach 10 hours of pay each day even if the mechanics work only eight hours. That demand was rejected. Olvera last week was re-elected president of the local. It is not known if he will recommend a vote against the agreement in order to re-open that issue. Olvera declined through a spokesman to comment for the story.

Another interesting provision in the proposed contract is that the existing arbitrators in Northern and Southern California “shall be released within 14 days of ratification of the contract.” Another ILWU demand that held up negotiations was that the ILWU and the PMA be allowed to unilaterally fire an arbitrator at the end of the contract. The PMA resisted that demand, saying that the ILWU wanted to get rid of the arbitrators in Northern and Southern California only because those arbitrators ruled against the ILWU at times.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.

Tags: ILWU Coast Wide ContractConcession Bargaining
Categories: Labor News

Independent Election Supervisor Appointed for IBT Election

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 12:52

March 17, 2015: Richard Mark, who served as the independent Election Supervisor in the 2006 and 2011 IBT elections, will again supervise the 2015-2016 elections of delegates from all local unions to the IBT Convention, and the IBT Election of officers in 2016.

Mark will hire a national staff to handle the election, communicate with members, and investigate all protests filed. We expect that the Election Rules will issue by May. The Rules will be very similar to the 2010-2011 Rules, with minor changes, mainly in dates and housekeeping. There will be a comment period after the proposed Rules are issued.

Unlike local union officer elections, the Rules, protests and appeals are not handled by incumbent union officials, but by the Election Supervisor.

An Election Appeals Master will be appointed as well (jointly appointed by the U.S. Attorney and the IBT) to settle any appeals of protest decisions made by the Election Supervisor.   

The Election Agreement and Order signed by Judge Loretta Preska details these matters.

By June we expect the period of Petitioning to Accredit Candidates will be opened up. 

If you questions on the rules or the process, contact us by email or call (313) 842-2600. You can also check the election timeline.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

A Smart Strategy to Defeat ‘Right to Work’

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 09:46
Rand WilsonLabor NotesMarch 17, 2015View the original piece

Wisconsin is now the 25th state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law, which allows workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay for it.

It joins Michigan and Indiana, which both adopted right to work in 2012. Similar initiatives, or variants, are spreading to Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia—and the National Right to Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council probably have a well-developed list of additional targets.

Click here to read more at Labor Notes.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UK RMT Union Warnings Of Lethal Overcrowding Ignored At Clapham South

Current News - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 09:15

UK RMT Union Warnings Of Lethal Overcrowding Ignored At Clapham South

13 March 2015
RMT Press Office

‎Union warnings of lethal overcrowding at "death trap" tube station were ignored by underground bosses.

Tube union RMT revealed today that it formally warned underground bosses of lethal overcrowding at Clapham South station in a specially convened safety meeting last week, warnings that were ignored. That most recent warning followed previous alerts flagged up by the union over the past year about death trap overcrowding ‎at stations along sections of the Northern Line.

Yesterday, in a terrifying incident on Clapham South's overcrowded platform a woman was dragged between the platform and the train in exactly the kind of scenario RMT safety reps have been warning of.
RMT is now demanding a top level meeting on serious overcrowding and staffing issues across London's transport network in the wake of Clapham South and serious incidents at Brixton and Oxford Circus last week and the continuing chaos at London Bridge.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
"It is frankly disgraceful that tube bosses are ignoring overcrowding warnings from RMT safety reps while passengers themselves are all over social media supporting the unions concerns.

"The terrifying incident at Clapham South yesterday, added to major issues at Brixton and Oxford Circus last week and the chaos at London Bridge, show that transport bosses are taking serious risks with life and limb as they try to squeeze a quart into a pint pot while at the same time hacking back staffing levels.

"The only solution to overcrowding on both tube and mainline ‎is more capacity, proper planning and increases in staffing levels to deliver a safe environment.

"This critical situation cannot be allowed to continue until we have a fatality on our hands. Our members know where the death traps are and where the pressures are building up and we are demanding a top level safety summit to allow us to get our safety fears addressed and dealt with and that also means an immediate halt to the job cuts. "

Tags: RMThealth and safetyTube
Categories: Labor News

Teamsters United Kicks Off in NYC and New England

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 09:11

March 17, 2014: On Saturday, March 14, New York Local 804 President Tim Sylvester announced he’s running for Teamster General President.

Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman joined him and more than 200 Teamsters from across the region to launch Teamsters United, a coalition of officers and members committed to winning new Teamster leadership in 2016.

“It’s great to see people supporting a strong candidate like Tim Sylvester,” said Local 384 member Scott Black, who travelled in from Philadelphia to be at the meeting. “Our union needs new leadership that will be proactive and address problems, instead of sitting back in Washington D.C.”

Sylvester and Zuckerman then made it up to Worcester, Mass. the following day for another energized meeting with New England Teamsters.

Momentum is already building. Find out more about Teamsters United at www.teamstersunited.org



Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Dangerous Trains, Aging Rails

Current News - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 21:16

Dangerous Trains, Aging Rails

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days.

The Feb. 16 accident was one of a series of recent fiery derailments highlighting the danger of using freight trains to ship crude oil from wellheads in North Dakota to refineries in congested regions along America’s coastlines. The most recent was last week, when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe oil train with roughly 100 cars derailed, causing at least two cars, each with about 30,000 gallons of crude oil, to explode, burn and leak near the Mississippi River, south of Galena, Ill.

These explosions have generally been attributed to the design of the rail cars — they’re notoriously puncture-prone — and the volatility of the oil; it tends to blow up. Less attention has been paid to questions surrounding the safety and regulation of the nation’s aging network of 140,000 miles of freight rails, which carry their explosive cargo through urban corridors, sensitive ecological zones and populous suburbs.

Case in point: The wooden trestles that flank the Mobile and Ohio railroad bridge, built in 1898, as it traverses Alabama’s Black Warrior River between the cities of Northport and Tuscaloosa. Oil trains rumble roughly 40 feet aloft, while joggers and baby strollers pass underneath. One of the trestles runs past the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Yet when I visited last May, many of the trestles’ supports were rotted and some of its cross braces were dangling or missing.

The public has only one hope of finding out if such centenarian bridges are still sturdy enough to carry these oil trains. Ask the railroads. That’s because the federal government doesn’t routinely inspect rail bridges. In fact, the government lacks any engineering standards whatsoever for rail bridges. Nor does it have an inventory of them.

The only significant government intrusion into the railroads’ self-regulation of the nation’s 70,000 to 100,000 railroad bridges is a requirement that the companies inspect them each year. But the Federal Railroad Administration, which employed only 76 track inspectors as of last year, does not routinely review the inspection reports and allows each railroad to decide for itself whether or not to make repairs.

The railroad that operates the Tuscaloosa bridge, Watco Companies, and the Federal Railroad Administration assured me it was safe. But shortly after my reporting was published on the websites of InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel, Watco announced that it would make $2.5 million in repairs. And the Department of Transportation’s inspector general said it would begin a review of the F.R.A.’s oversight of rail bridges.

Even where federal engineering standards do exist, it’s unclear how much safety they provide. For instance, federal track safety standards allow 19 out of 24 crossties to be defective along any 39-foot stretch of the lowest grade of track, where the speed limit is 10 m.p.h. These crossties stabilize the rails. On the best of tracks, which have a speed limit of 80 m.p.h., the standards allow half of the crossties to be decayed or missing.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Five oil trains have exploded in the United States in the last 16 months. Miraculously, there have been no deaths. Canada, however, hasn’t been so lucky. In July 2013, an oil train carrying North Dakota oil burst into flames in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, about 10 miles from the Maine border, killing 47 people.

After that accident, federal officials promised to develop sweeping new regulations to make sure nothing like it happens in the United States. In the interim, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring railroads to get federal permission before leaving trains unattended with their engines running, a major factor in the Lac-Mégantic explosion. And the railroads agreed to a number of voluntary steps, including keeping oil trains under 50 m.p.h.

But more than a year and a half after Lac-Mégantic, new regulations have yet to be finalized as the railroad and oil industries argue about various proposed provisions. The emergency order didn’t end the practice of railroads’ leaving oil trains on tracks with their engines running; it simply required companies to have a written plan for doing so. And without regulations, reporting or penalties, the public has only the railroads’ word they are complying with the 50 m.p.h. speed limit.

For trackside communities, the stakes are obviously high. New hydraulic fracturing technology has allowed oil developers to tap vast amounts of deeply buried oil in parts of North Dakota, Montana and Canada. Without significant new pipeline capacity, the only way to get the oil to refineries is by train. Rail car shipments of crude oil rose from 9,500 in 2008 to more than 400,000 last year.

To protect communities and the environment, the Transportation Department needs to act quickly to require more resilient rail cars, improve the safety of rail infrastructure and operations, and reduce the volatility of oil at the wellhead, before it is loaded onto trains.

Instead, the debate over regulations inches along as oil trains continue to roll through downtown Philadelphia, suburban Chicago and along the Hudson River in New York and the Schuylkill in eastern Pennsylvania, passing close to a nuclear power plant.

Before leaving office last year, Deborah A. P. Hersman, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, questioned whether industry representatives and regulators had a tombstone mentality when it came to oil trains. If nobody dies, she suggested, there’s no pressure to act. So far, the tombstones have all been in Canada.

Marcus Stern has examined the hazards of shipping oil by rail for InsideClimate News, the Weather Channel and the Investigative Fund. He reports for a San Diego-based writers group, Hashtag30.

Tags: train fatigue
Categories: Labor News

Southwest Airlines Settles Whistleblower Suit By Mechanic Disciplined For Reporting Cracks in 737

Current News - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 19:23

Southwest Airlines Settles Whistleblower Suit By Mechanic Disciplined For Reporting Cracks in 737
Southwest Airlines LUV +2.22% has settled a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a mechanic alleging that he was disciplined for finding and reporting two cracks in the fuselage of a Boeing BA +1.39% 737-700 while performing a routine maintenance check. Southwest Airlines has agreed to remove the disciplinary action from the mechanic’s file and to pay him $35,000 in legal fees. The lawsuit was filed under the whistleblower protections of the so-called AIR-21 statute (the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century.) The statute provides an appeal process for airline workers who are fired or otherwise disciplined for reporting safety information. The settlement was reached after a January 8 Department of Labor Administrative Judge dismissed Southwest’s motion for summary judgment and granted in part the mechanic’s motion for summary judgment. The mechanic was represented by attorney Lee Seham (who is also the lead union attorney in the lawsuit filed by mechanics against American Airlines alleging pressure to violate safety rules).

The Judge’s decision summarizes the allegations as follows: “On the evening of July 2, 2014, the [mechanic] was assigned by [Southwest] to perform a [maintenance] check on a Southwest Boeing 737-700 aircraft, N208WN. This maintenance check is part of Southwest’s Maintenance Procedural Manual (MPM). This check requires a mechanic to follow a task card which details the tasks to be accomplished.” The task card requires the ” mechanic to “ walkaround” the aircraft to visually inspect the fuselage. During his inspection, the [mechanic] discovered two cracks on the aircraft’s fuselage and documented them. Discovery of these cracks resulted in the aircraft being removed from service to be repaired.”

Thereafter, the mechanic was called into a meeting with his supervisors to “discuss the issue of working outside the scope of his assigned task.” He was then issued a “Letter of Instruction” advising the mechanic that he had acted outside the scope of work in the task card and warning him that further violations could result in further disciplinary actions. The mechanic alleged in his whistleblower complaint that the letter from Southwest “was calculated to, or had the effect of, intimidating [him] and dissuading him and other Southwest [mechanics] from reporting the discovery of cracks, abnormalities or defects out of fear of being disciplined.”

Southwest responded to the mechanic’s allegations claiming that the mechanic went outside the scope of his duties when he observed the cracks and reported them. The airline further claimed that its Letter of Instruction was issued because the mechanic worked “outside the scope of his task” and not because he reported a safety problem. It further claimed that the letter was not a disciplinary action and the mechanic was not entitled to whistleblower protection.

Fortunately, the administrative judge sided with the mechanic in dismissing Southwest’s claims and finding that the mechanic engaged in activities protected by AIR-21 and that Southwest was aware of it. Although no final decision was reached on the merits of the mechanic’s case, the setttlement followed close on the heels of the judge’s decision.

As a long time safety advocate, former NTSB Member and airline mechanic, reading about these types of cases is very dismaying. It seems to me that any airline whose mechanics find cracks in an aircraft’s fuselage – significant enough to cause the aircraft to be removed from service for repair – should be commended. Certainly not disciplined.

Tags: SouthWest Airlineshealth and safetyoshaworkplace bullying
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: ITF backs truck drivers as protest paralyses Kenya northern corridor

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF
Categories: Labor News

Global: The global plight of domestic workers: few rights, little freedom, frequent abuse

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: The dreams and tears of Indonesia's migrant workers

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Diplomat
Categories: Labor News

How Unions Can Grow Stronger in the Wake of Right To Work

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 14:30
David MobergIn These TimesMarch 16, 2015View the original piece

The late February snow fell lazily on several thousand Wisconsin union members as they gathered on the steps of the capitol building in Madison to protest what picket signs denounced as “the war on workers.” The scene was a smaller replay of the protest four years ago when tens of thousands assembled to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10. Despite a broad, fervent uprising, that act passed and stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

This time, even the protesters saw little hope of defeating the latest attack by Walker and Republican legislators. The deceptively named “right-to-work” law, aimed primarily at private-sector unions, prohibits labor contracts from requiring all employees to pay their share of union dues. While the Right denounces such payments as “forced unionism,” labor says that it’s only fair for all workers to chip in, because they all benefit from the union’s work.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

California FedEx Terminal Goes Teamster

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:37

March 16, 2015: On March 13, FedEx drivers at the Stockton terminal voted 33-12 to join the Teamsters Union – the fourth FedEx terminal to say Yes to going union. Congrats to the new FedEx Teamsters and to Local 439 and the members who helped make it happen.

FedEx management crows about the terminals which have voted against the union, after heavy management propaganda, threats and an 80c raise, which only happened because of the employees’ interest in our union.

In November, 222 drivers at FedEx Freight in Charlotte NC voted to join Teamsters Local 71. In October, 113 drivers at FedEx Freight in South Brunswick NJ joined Teamsters Local and 47 drivers in Croydon Pa voted to join Teamsters Local 107 in Philadelphia. The drive continues at several other locals.

The drive – organized by a number of locals – shows the potential to build Teamster power in trucking.  The International union should put its full resources behind the organizing and drive this campaign to victory.

Local 439 Ex-Officers Charged

Local 439 won the drive as it shakes off the history of two former officers who were charged by the Independent Review Board (IRB) on February 27 with a pattern of embezzlement, fraud and receiving a motorcycle from an employer.  Former Secretary Treasurer Sam Rosas and former president Armando Alonzo were charged. You can read a report and the full charges.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Port Of Portland Terminal operator, union spar over call for peace

Current News - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 18:14

Port Of Portland Terminal operator, union spar over call for peace

Created on Saturday, 14 March 2015 12:10 | Written by Jim Redden |

The labor-mangement dispute at Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland is continuing. Now the terminal operator and the union representing its workers are sparring over a recent letter from 14 Oregon legislators urging them to make peace.

The terminal is operated by ITCSI Oregon, the local arm of an international terminal operating company based in the Phillipines. The workers are represented by Local 8 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. They have been fighting for years, with each side accusing the other of causing work slowdowns that recently prompted Hanjin Shipping — the largest shipping line serving the terminal — to pull out of the port entirely.

The bi-partisan group of legislators wrote to leaders on both sides on March 10. They also sent the letter to the heads of the ILWU International and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents all port operators on the West Coast.

In the letter, the legislators blamed Hanjin's departure on the dispute that has been happening since 2012 and called it a blow to Oregon's economy. Hanjin provided around 80 percent of the service at Terminal 6.

"We stand unified representing bipartisan leadership of the Oregon Legislature in calling for a fundamental and long-standing resolution of differences that will stabilize the T-6 operation and protect hundreds of ILWU jobs and thousands of trade-dependent jobs in our State," reads the letter.

"We call upon each of you as leaders to come together as champions of our regional and national economy to foster a path forward that serves all our citizens and respective constituencies," it continues.

ICTSI Oregon and ILWU Local 8 issued statements after receiving the letter. The both said it was the first time they had been contacted by the legislators. Then they accused each other of causing the problems.

"ICTSI Oregon, Inc. appreciates the lawmaker’s concern and is open to all constructive efforts to find a resolution. The issue continues to be that the ILWU has engaged in — and been found guilty of — a systematic campaign to undermine the terminal’s success. We are glad that lawmakers understand the importance of Terminal 6 to Oregon’s economy and hope their concern will encourage the ILWU to become a partner for progress. Only then will the terminal once again be an attractive stop for carriers coming into the Port of Portland," said ICTSI Oregon CEO Elvis Ganda, referring to ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon that ILWU Local 8 violated his order to end a slowdown.

The day before the letter was sent, Simon ordered the ILWU to pay $60,000 in attorney's fees to the National Labor Relations Board for violating his 2012 order to end a work slow down.

Union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent says the blame lies with ICTSI Oregon, however.

"The signers of this letter didn’t contact the union to discuss these issues, and that’s unfortunate. We’d have asked them to consider the fact that the Port of Portland has ten marine terminals, all of which are experiencing good labor relations and optimal production except for the one operated by ICTSI. ICTSI signed conflicting contracts when coming from the Philippines to operate Terminal 6 in 2010, and ICTSI has been sued by its peers in the shipping industry — its fellow employers — for failing to abide by its labor agreement. Terminal 6 doesn’t have a labor problem; it has a management problem. As in any workplace, when poor management improves, productivity follows, said the statement," said Sargent, referring to a lawsuit between ICTSI oregon and the PMA.

Sargent also said ILWU Local 8 is open to discussions, but added, "Perhaps it’s time for the Port to admit that its experiment of having a Philippines-based company run our region’s sole container terminal has failed. Oregon deserves better than the ongoing problems caused by this outlier employer."

Port of Portland Exectuive Director Bill Wyatt says no other operator will take over Terminal 6 if ICTSI Oregon leaves, and they port will have no choice but to close it down.

The PMA and ILWU recently approved a tentative contact expected to restore operations at all West Coast ports. The Terminal 6 dispute has continued, however.

"We understand that this dispute has now been going on since 2012 and we are gravely

concerned that without resolution we will be unable to attract new carrier service to the market and reestablish the jobs and trade flow that our economy depends on," reads the legislative letter.

Signers included State Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Dist. 29) and Oregon representatives Susan McLain (D-Dist. 29), Carl Wilson (R-Dist. 3), Andy Olson (R-Dist. 15), Chris Gorsek (D-Dist. 49), Greg Smith (R-Dist 57), Jeff Reardon (D-Dist 48), John Huffman (R-Dist 59), Carla Piluso (D-Dist. 50), David Gomberg (D-Dist. 10), Vic Gilliam (R-Dist. 18), John Davis (R-Dist. 26), Cliff Bentz (R-Dist. 60), and Sal Esquivel (R-Dist. 6).

Tags: ILWU Porland
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: ‘TUCOSWA disguised meeting’ crushed

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Observer
Categories: Labor News

Global: Why (some) workers have real problems with free trade agreements

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NY Times
Categories: Labor News

USA: VIDEO: Connect the dots: See the war on poor and working families

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 03/14/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Robert Reich
Categories: Labor News

Portland ILWU Longshore union charged $60,000 for work slowdown

Current News - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 18:12

Portland ILWU Longshore union charged $60,000 for work slowdown
Created on Friday, 13 March 2015 15:01 | Written by Jim Redden |

In the latest development in the ongoing labor-management dispute at the Port of Portland, a federal judge has ordered the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to pay nearly $60,000 for slowing down work at Terminal 6.

Tne terminal operator — ICTSI Oregon — says the order by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon shows the union is to blame for the problems at the port.

"Judge Simon ruled that ILWU leadership encouraged ILWU members to engage in unlawful work stoppages and slowdowns and directed and coordinated their actions. Judge Simon also found that, in some cases, ILWU Local 8 officers themselves directly participated in this conduct," ITCSI North American CEO Elvis J. Ganda said.

The money is to be paid to the National Labor Relations Board. It is related to a 2012 ruling by Simon.

The union says the order is nearly meaningless, however.

“It’s standard procedure when the Board prevails in court to pay market rate attorney fees for their time. The money reimbursed to the Board is based on market rates and is far above their actual expenses — so the Board and government actually profit from workers by pursuing litigation against their unions. In this case, though the Board was successful in part, it largely lost, because the Board’s pursuit of contempt charges after August of 2013 going forward was denied by the judge. The contempt finding narrowly applied only to work involving refrigerated containers, and only to a limited period of time that ended almost two years ago,” says ILWU spokesperson jennifer Sargent.

The order comes too late to prevent the largest shipping line from pulling out of the Port of Portland, however. Hanjin Shipping said it will no longer service Terminal 6, the only deep water port in Oregon, after March 9 because of the dispute. It accounted for around 80 percent of the terminal's business.

ICTSI Oregon has accused the union of continuing to slow down work at the terminal, even after the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association reached a tentative labor agreement several weeks ago. The PMA includes ICTSI Oregon.

Simon ordered the ILWU to pay the money to the National Labor Relations Board. I

KOIN News 6 contributed to this story.

Tags: ilwunlrb
Categories: Labor News


Subscribe to Transport Workers Solidarity Committee aggregator