Bus drivers in northern Vermont have voted 53-4 to strike against unsafe conditions, surveillance and discipline, and part-time status. The walkout is set for March 10.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Bus Drivers
February 28, 2014: YRCW announced their 2013 annual and fourth quarter numbers and it’s clear that the regional carriers are pulling their weight. Operating profits were up to $22.7 million in 2013 for the regionals – Holland, New Penn, and Reddaway - while YRC Freight posted a 2013 loss of $15.4 million. YRC claimed losses due to weather, workers’ compensation claims, and weaker rates.
In late 2013, Jeff Rogers was removed as president of YRC Freight. He has been replaced by Darren Hawkins – formerly senior VP of sales and marketing at the company. CEO James Welch had held the post briefly prior to the change.
Upper management clearly needs a better plan to right the ship at YRC Freight. Teamster members have made countless sacrifices since 2009. James Welch needs to stop pointing fingers like he did in his February 14 letter to Teamsters. The focus needs to be on issues with YRC Freight management and operations – not the thousands of Teamsters who have done their part.Freight
Filed under: shipping oil by rail
Protest Against Scabs At United Grain in Port Of Vancouver, WA Where ILWU Local 8 Is Locked Out
Union protesters block Port of Vancouver
By KOIN 6 News StaffUpdated:
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 7:37 amPublished: Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 7:15 am
Police at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., where union protesters blocked the entrance, preventing workers from getting in Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)
VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) – A blockade of union protesters prevented workers from getting into the grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver Wednesday morning.
Trooper William Finn, a Washington State Patrol spokesman, told KOIN that troopers were escorting a busload of workers to the port at about 6 a.m., a standard daily practice since the union lockout began in February 2013.
However, they were met at the gate by a small group of about 10 protesters. Troopers were unsuccessful in getting the workers through, and called in Vancouver police for help. The bus was forced to turn around. Police closed West Mill Plain Boulevard at Thompson Avenue, near Gate 2 of the port, Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.
The protesters were carrying signs and a blow horn. They eventually left sometime after 7 a.m. and the workers were able to get in.
Kapp said officers responded to reports of threats, vandalism and criminal mischief this morning. However, she later confirmed that the protest ended without any damage or arrests.
According to The Columbian newspaper, the protest is in response to a messy and ongoing contract dispute between terminal owner United Grain Corp. and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union that began one year ago. On Feb. 27, 2013, the port locked out 44 union dockworkers, accusing them of sabotaging company equipment during the negotiations. United Grain brought in replacement workers to operate the export terminal.
A year on, the lockout has not yet been resolved.
Kapp said Wednesday that, since the lockout began, it is common practice for grain inspectors to be escorted to the port by WSP. She was unsure if any inspectors had been brought in this morning.
– Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.Tags: ILWU 8Port of VancouverWAscabsUnited GrainMatsui
Egyptian army runs Cairo buses amid ongoing strikes
Around 100,000 workers have taken industrial action this year over demands for minimum wage to be rolled out nationwide
• Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
• theguardian.com, Thursday 27 February 2014 10.18 EST
Bus commuters stuck in traffic in Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Eman Helal/AP
The Egyptian army temporarily took over parts of Cairo's bus system this week, after strikes stopped services in most of the capital's 28 municipal garages amid ongoing industrial action in which a reported 100,000 workers have downed tools this year.
The surge in worker activism was one of the main reasons for the mass resignation of Egypt's interim cabinet on Monday. Strikers' demands differ from sector to sector, but the most common is a plea for the new minimum wage – awarded to around a third of state employees in January – to be rolled out to all public- and private-sector workers.
The labour movement was a leading force behind the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, while strikes also helped to destabilise the rule of Mohamed Morsi during the final months of his presidency.
Now, several months after his overthrow, workers had finally given up hope of his successors doing any better, said Hoda Kamel, a senior official with the Egyptian Federation for Independent Trade Unions(Efitu), a group founded during the 2011 uprising.
"For the past six months, the people waited for the government to be the government of the revolution – as they had promised," Kamel said. "But when January came, people realised it was a trick because the minimum wage is just for a very small part of people working in the government, not for the private-sector or most government workers."
Doctors have also called for an increase in salaries and the health budget. Labour leaders said 87% of state doctors joined strikes on Wednesday, though ministry spokesmen said only 23% took part.
Officials said Egypt could not afford to pay people more.
"Making demands that exceed logic will destroy the country," the new prime minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, said during his first speech in office this week.
But the labour movement is furious that decade-old demands which contributed to the overthrow of two presidents had still not been met. Even those allocated the new wage are themselves frustrated because the sum – 1,200 Egyptian pounds (£120) a month – is a figure that workers first demanded in 2008, and it has not been updated to reflect huge increases in commodities prices.
Kamel said: "Six years later it's not enough at all to pay for food, for rent, for medical treatment, for clothes. Now we need 2,000 at the minimum – and even in a year that will not be enough."
Bus drivers reached an agreement with the government on Thursday afternoon, and the current wave of strikes is still smaller than an earlier series in 2012.
But leaders warned that wider labour action would clearly worsen in the months ahead, destabilising whoever is elected to succeed Morsi as president this spring.
Tarek Elbehiry, vice-president of the bus drivers' syndicate, said: "We thank the armed forces for their efforts to solve the citizens' problems, but who is going to solve ours? Who is going to meet our legitimate demands? I'm disappointed indeed, and I'm afraid of a third revolution that will be carried out by the workers."
• Additional reporting by Manu AbdoTags: Egyptian bus driversstrike
New records obtained by the Defending Dissent Foundation prove that the United States Army used a multi-agency spy network to gather intelligence on nonviolent, antiwar protesters and to disseminate their findings to both the FBI and local police departments.
Activists filed a lawsuit against Thomas Rudd and John Towery — Panagacos v. Towery — in 2007, alleging that the U.S. Army had directed operatives to infiltrate and collect information about the activist movement in the Washington area.
According to the newly released documents, the U.S. Army paid Towery, a Criminal Information and Systems Officer, to spy on the antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), as well as the Students for a Democratic Society, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
"Defend The Right To Strike For Korean Workers " SF Rally For Korean Feb 25 General Workers Strike
Trade unionists, activists and youth joined together at the San Francisco Korean consulate to support the Korean general strike called by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions on February 25, 2014. The San Francisco solidarity protesters were met again with Park government supporters who tried to disrupt the workers support rally with their bullhorn. The rally was supported by the San Francisco Labor Council, other unions and left organizations. Also Ken Riley president of ILA 1422 Charleston, South Carolina gave solidarity greetings from the International Longshore Workers Union and Jordi Aragunde gave greetings from the International Dockworkers Council IDC and coordinator of the Catalan-Balearic Area and the Port of Barcelona stevedores.
For more video of labor solidarity actions for Korean workers:
Battle At SF Korean Consulate "Hands Off Korean Workers"
South Korean Consulate Disrupts Solidarity Rally for Korean Rail Workers
For more information about the Korean Railway Workers Union KRWU struggle
Korean Confederation Of Trade Unions
Rally initiated by Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
Feb 26, 2014: Local 745 members held a TDU meeting in El Paso, Texas to talk about enforcing their contracts, the future of the union and rebuilding Teamster Power.
Teamsters in El Paso are members of Local 745 in Dallas which is 635 miles away!
That kind of distance takes the “local” right out of local union. So members decided to cook up some Teamster Unity of their own and organized a TDU meeting in El Paso on Feb. 22.
The meeting was organized by Teamsters at UPS and UPS Freight. Different generations of Teamsters came together with the common goal of building a stronger union for the future.
Members shared strategies for dealing with contract violations, including seniority, supervisors working, excessive overtime and production harassment.
How to stop concessions at UPS and UPS Freight was another hot topic.
“When we spoke up at the contract vote here in El Paso, they told us, ‘If you don’t like it, get out of the union,’” one UPS Freight Teamster said. “No way are we getting out of the Union. We’re getting even more involved.”
Rebuilding Teamster Power by informing and involving members. That’s what TDU is all about.
Click here to read more about TDU: Who We Are, What We’ve Won, Where We Stand.
Active and retired Teamsters in northeast Ohio are organizing a meeting for Saturday, March 8 to address pension issues. The meeting is sponsored by TDU and will be held at the Days Inn - Richfield at 10 am. Ann Curry Thompson, an attorney well versed in pension law, will be a guest speaker.
The meeting comes in response to Congress considering changes to pension law. Teamsters are encouraged to invite co-workers and spouses to learn more about possible cuts for those already retired or soon to be.
Details are available on this flier.Issues: TDUPension and Benefits
Feb 24, 2014. Fairbanks, St. Louis County, Minnesota. 50 CN cars plus 2 locomotives derailed. The train was loaded with iron ore pellets and was bound for Two Harbors. 2 engineers on the train were taken to a local hospital. (Duluth News Tribune)
Feb 23, 2014. Saint-Henri, Montreal, Quebec. 2 CN locomotives and 2 cars carrying grain fell off the rails on a CN main line close to homes, community organizations and schools. About 3,500 litres of diesel fuel spilled from one of the locomotives and caused an undisclosed amount of environmental damage. (Global News, Globe and Mail)
Feb 9, 2014. New Lenox, Illinois. 3 to 4 CN cars derailed near Lincoln-Way High School and one of the cars hit and damaged a locomotive that was stopped on an adjacent track. One of the derailed cars was carrying plastic; the others were apparently empty. Motorist traffic was blocked and had to be rerouted. This particular area is contentious among New Lenox residents because when CN bought the former EJ&E tracks, they announced plans to quadruple the number of freight trains. Local officials tried to get CN to build an overpass at one of the major crossings to mitigate the additional train traffic, but CN refused. (CBS Chicago)
Jan 31, 2014. Outside New Augusta, Mississippi. 19 CN cars fell off the tracks, spilling 50,000 gallons of crude oil, 17,000 gallons of fertilizer and 10,000 gallons of petroleum distillate. Other hazardous goods reported spilled included undisclosed volumes of fuel oil, methanol and ethanol. Most of the hazardous goods spilled from 3 of the derailed tank cars, although other derailed cars were also spilling hazardous products. About 50 nearby Perry County residents were evacuated for over 2 days and sheltered in a special Red Cross facility set up for those affected by the derailment. About 100 railroad employees and 50 government officials, firemen and police officers were on site assisting with clean up efforts which were estimated to take about a week to complete. The extent of environmental damage was not disclosed. (The Republic, Hattiesburg American 1, Hattiesburg American 2)
Jan 28, 2014. Mundelein, Illinois. A CN freight train derailed and forced Metra commuters on the North Central Services to make other transportation plans for at least a day. The cold hampered CN from repairing the tracks and moving the derailed cars, one of which was carrying plastic pellets. Several other CN freight trains were halted on the single track and had to be moved before the Metra service could be restored. (Daily Herald)
Jan 26, 2014. Saint-Basile, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 5 CN freight cars jumped the tracks; 3 were carrying automobiles, one was carrying clay and the 5th car was carrying flammable propane. The cars tipped over and were lying on their side in a ditch. A local farmer had warned CN last summer that repairs were required at the site of the derailment. (CBC News 1, CBC News 2)
See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of CN derailments. The escalating number of CN derailments and spills on main and non-main lines, plus those incurred by companies other than CN, are strong indications that the rail industry is currently not in a position to safely transport dangerous and hazardous products in North America. Significant changes are required to improve rail safety.
Filed under: Canadian National Railway, CN Railway, Derailment, Spills