Feed aggregator

Peru: Govt. Declares State of Emergency Amidst Strikes

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Bangladesh: Vacuousness of CSR on Display in Loblaws’ Victory in Rana Plaza Class Action Lawsuit

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Law of Work
Categories: Labor News

Australia: The power and passion of union boss Sally McManus

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian Australia
Categories: Labor News

Chicago ATU 308 Kenneth Franklin of the CTA on Chicago Radio About Contract Fight, Union Busting And Health And Safety

Current News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 08:56

Chicago ATU 308 Kenneth Franklin of the CTA on Chicago Radio About Contract Fight, Union Busting And Health And Safety
https://soundcloud.com/chicagosprogressivetalk/kenneth-franklin-of-the-c...
Chicago ATU 308 Kenneth Franklin talks about the union busting attack and privatization by Mayor Ralm Emanuel. UAW 551 Vice President Scott Houldierson called in to support the transit workers in their fight for a contract.

Tags: ATU 308Ralm EmanuelsolidarityUAW 551privatization
Categories: Labor News

Southwest Airlines Bullies, Abuses and Fires Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says

Current News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 08:55

Southwest Airlines Bullies, Abuses and Fires Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says
https://www.thestreet.com/story/14238377/1/transport-workers-union-leade...
Ted Reed Follow Jul 21, 2017 9:55 AM EDT

The president of the Transport Workers Union, the largest labor union at Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) has written a scathing letter that condemns "intolerable and cancerous" working conditions for the carrier's groundworkers and decries mistreatment including 2,700 disciplinary actions and 468 terminations since January 2015.

"Groundworkers are flagrantly mistreated and abused by management," wrote John Samuelsen, president of the New York-based union that represents 12,000 Southwest groundworkers as well as 15,000 flight attendants. The letter refers to the ground workers, members of TWU Local 555.

In 2017, Samuelsen said, "Southwest is writing up nearly three workers per day and firing one worker every other day."

"The outright hostility to the workforce has obliterated morale, which can only have a negative impact on the passenger experience," he wrote. "The TWU finds it hard to believe that Southwest finds this to be an ideal business model."

The letter, sent late Wednesday, was signed by Samuelsen, Local 555 President Greg Puriski and 13 other TWU leaders. They said they are available to meet with airline executives as soon as possible.

In morning trading, Southwest shares were down 0.51%.

Russell McCrady, Southwest's vice president of labor relations, said the carrier is committed to "efforts to maintain strong, constructive relationships with our employees' representational groups including TWU 555.

"Discipline is a necessary part of business but any discipline we administer is far from 'arbitrary,'" McCrady said in a prepared statement. "We do not take for granted that Southwest continues to be named a best place to work and best employer by national publications and we are very proud that our employee culture is the foundation for these designations."

McCrady said Southwest will respond to Samuelsen's letter and welcomes the opportunity to meet.

Southwest employs about 54,000 workers including about 7,200 hired in both 2016 and 2015, said spokeswoman Beth Hardin. She said the number of terminations over three years is not atypical for the number of workers involved.

Local 555 signed a five-year contract in 2016. In an interview, Samuelsen said the letter is not related to contract negotiations but rather represents an effort "to fight Southwest on working conditions that are now entrenched on the property, on an antiquated labor relations model designed to drive production {that} drives morale down across Southwest properties."

TWU has about 200,000 members, including 42,000 in Local 100, which represents New York City bus and subway workers. Samuelsen headed Local 100 until he took over the TWU presidency in May.

"I'm a new president, taking note of a situation at Southwest where people are being fired and unfairly disciplined," he said. "I found that to be intolerable."

Tags: Bullyingworker rightsunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Southwest Airlines Fires And Bullies Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says

Current News - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 08:17

Southwest Airlines Fires And Bullies Too Many People, TWU 555 Labor Union Leader Says
"Southwest is writing up nearly three workers per day and firing one worker every other day.”
"intolerable and cancerous" working conditions for the carrier's groundworkers and decries mistreatment including 2,700 disciplinary actions and 468 terminations since January 2015.
https://www.thestreet.com/story/14238377/1/transport-workers-union-leade...
Ted Reed Follow Jul 21, 2017 9:55 AM EDT

The president of the Transport Workers Union, the largest labor union at Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) has written a scathing letter that condemns "intolerable and cancerous" working conditions for the carrier's groundworkers and decries mistreatment including 2,700 disciplinary actions and 468 terminations since January 2015.

"Groundworkers are flagrantly mistreated and abused by management," wrote John Samuelsen, president of the New York-based union that represents 12,000 Southwest groundworkers as well as 15,000 flight attendants. The letter refers to the ground workers, members of TWU Local 555.

In 2017, Samuelsen said, "Southwest is writing up nearly three workers per day and firing one worker every other day."

"The outright hostility to the workforce has obliterated morale, which can only have a negative impact on the passenger experience," he wrote. "The TWU finds it hard to believe that Southwest finds this to be an ideal business model."

The letter, sent late Wednesday, was signed by Samuelsen, Local 555 President Greg Puriski and 13 other TWU leaders. They said they are available to meet with airline executives as soon as possible.

In morning trading, Southwest shares were down 0.51%.

Russell McCrady, Southwest's vice president of labor relations, said the carrier is committed to "efforts to maintain strong, constructive relationships with our employees' representational groups including TWU 555.

"Discipline is a necessary part of business but any discipline we administer is far from 'arbitrary,'" McCrady said in a prepared statement. "We do not take for granted that Southwest continues to be named a best place to work and best employer by national publications and we are very proud that our employee culture is the foundation for these designations."

McCrady said Southwest will respond to Samuelsen's letter and welcomes the opportunity to meet.

Southwest employs about 54,000 workers including about 7,200 hired in both 2016 and 2015, said spokeswoman Beth Hardin. She said the number of terminations over three years is not atypical for the number of workers involved.

Local 555 signed a five-year contract in 2016. In an interview, Samuelsen said the letter is not related to contract negotiations but rather represents an effort "to fight Southwest on working conditions that are now entrenched on the property, on an antiquated labor relations model designed to drive production {that} drives morale down across Southwest properties."

TWU has about 200,000 members, including 42,000 in Local 100, which represents New York City bus and subway workers. Samuelsen headed Local 100 until he took over the TWU presidency in May.

"I'm a new president, taking note of a situation at Southwest where people are being fired and unfairly disciplined," he said. "I found that to be intolerable."

Tags: Bullyingretaliationharassmenthealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Dockworkers squeezed by automation, abandoned by politicians

Current News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 20:27

ILWU Dockworkers squeezed by automation, abandoned by politicians
http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Dockworkers-squeezed-by-automati...
By Jack Heyman

July 20, 2017 Updated: July 20, 2017 4:21pm

The ink wasn’t even dry on the West Coast longshore contract when the head of the employers’ group, the Pacific Maritime Association, proposed to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union a three-year extension, making it an eight-year contract. While the number of registered longshore jobs, 14,000, is the about same as in 1952, the volume of cargo passing through the 29 ports has increased 14 times to a record-breaking 350 million revenue tons a year.

Under the current contract, employers have eliminated hundreds of longshore jobs through automation on marine terminals such as the fully automated Long Beach Container Terminal and the semi-automated TraPac freight-forwarding facility in the Port of Los Angeles.

“By the end of an extended contract in 2022, several thousand longshore jobs will be eliminated on an annual basis due to automation,” warned Ed Ferris, president of ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco. With driverless trucks and crane operators in control towers running three cranes simultaneously, the chance of serious and deadly accidents are enormous.

Now maritime employers are pulling out all stops to push through this job-killing contract extension, using both Democratic and Republican politicians, high-powered PR firms and even some union officials.

On July 18, The Chronicle published an Open Forum by Democrats Mickey Kantor, former U.S. secretary of commerce who led the U.S. negotiations to create the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which cost millions of jobs, and Norman Mineta, also a former secretary of commerce.

The authors of this pro-employer piece talk of preserving “labor peace” and refer to West Coast port shutdowns over the last 15 years. Yes, there is a class war on the waterfront, but it’s being waged by the employers: Those port closures were caused by employer lockouts in 2002, 2013 and 2014 during longshore contract negotiations.

The 2002 lockout was ended after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on President George W. Bush to invoke the antilabor Taft-Hartley Act — not against the maritime employers’ lockout but against the longshore union. The only time the ILWU shut down Pacific Coast ports between 2002 and today was May Day, 2008, in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the first-ever labor strike in the United States to protest a war.

In their Chronicle commentary, the two Democrats cite figures for wages and pensions that reflect only the highest skill level after a lifetime of work in one of the most dangerous industries. And then they threaten that “if the contract proposal is rejected,” it could lead Republicans and Democrats alike to impose antistrike legislation on the waterfront.

The ILWU backed Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary and then Hillary Clinton in the election. Yet no matter who leads it, the Democratic Party represents Wall Street on the waterfront. Clearly what’s needed is a workers’ party to fight for workers’ interests. And that includes fighting for nationalization without compensation of the transport industry while establishing workers’ control.

The so-called “friends of labor” Democrats have been enlisted by the Pacific Maritime Association because earlier this year at the Longshore Caucus, a union meeting representing West Coast dockworkers, the San Francisco delegates voted unanimously to oppose a contract extension. Saturday, they held a conference at their union hall on automation and the proposed contract extension. One proposal was to make automation benefit dockworkers by reducing the workweek to 30 hours while maintaining 40 hours pay, creating another work shift.

There are tens of millions of unemployed people in this country. The labor movement should launch a new campaign for a shorter workweek at no loss in pay as part of a struggle for full employment to benefit all, not President Trump and his Wall Street cronies. In resisting this contract extension, ILWU waterfront workers can stand up for all workers.

Jack Heyman, a retired Oakland longshoreman, chairs the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee. https://www.transportworkers.org/

The ILWU, Automation, Longshore Workers & The 8 Year Contract With Jack Heyman
https://youtu.be/WHjq-MNnr5s
Jack Heyman a retired ILWU Local 10 member and chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee spoke at a conference on Longshore Work, Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives. The conference took place on July 15, 2017 at ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco.
For additional media:
http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Dockworkers-squeezed-by-automati...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
https://youtu.be/FNbvWfS1HYs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LbMYXeRElM&feature=
https://youtu.be/SNcU37rL2Ng
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
https://raquelcardeiravarela.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/automation-in-port...
https://raquelcardeiravarela.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/studyautomation...
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ILWU Local 10Automationtechnology8 year contractpoliticians
Categories: Labor News

Turkey: Cumhuriyet journalists face trial on 24 July

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

China: VW workers in China issue letter in German calling for union solidarity

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela

Current News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 14:49

Labor, Dockers, Technology, Internationalism & Imperialism with Professor Rachel Varela
https://youtu.be/SNcU37rL2Ng
Rachel Varela who is a history professor and researcher at IISH, UFF, UNL, discusses the attacks on dockers, shipyard workers, technology and imperialism on 7/17/17 in San Francisco.
For more information:
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY-Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
For more information
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY
https://raquelcardeiravarela.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/automation-in-port...
Posted on July 20, 2017
By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)
robertngregg@yahoo.comholdfam@comcast.netbobirm@sbcglobal.netleithkahl@gmail.comsasha@greens.org
Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and benefits of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net financial benefits and losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eficiency viewed by operators and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not profitable for the operators. We discussed briefly the losses for the public of the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rendered with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the first section we relate the analysis of precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.
Full study in pdf
https://raquelcardeiravarela.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/studyautomation...
Production of
Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: dockersAutomationshipyard workerstechnologycapitalismimperialismsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016

Current News - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:49

Raquel Varela International Dock Workers Council Miami Meeting SEP 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGTcJXCDjq0
For more information
AUTOMATION IN PORTS AND LABOUR RELATIONS IN XXI CENTURY
https://raquelcardeiravarela.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/automation-in-port...

Posted on July 20, 2017

By Raquel Varela, labour historian IISH, UFF, UNL) , Henrique Silveira, mathematician (IST)

Abstract. In this part of the work we analyse mathematically the costs and
benets of automation in ports. In particular we analyse automation in cranes
and its implications to labour, unemployment, and net nancial benets and
losses for the operators. We studied the concept of eciency viewed by operators
and by port clients. We concluded that automation is in general not
protable for the operators. We discussed brie y the losses for the public of
the automation process, measured in net loss of taxes collected by the states
and by unemployment subsidies conceded to discharged dockers. Finally we
discussed the losses in GNP generated by the processes of automation. This is
a general study using averages to generate general results applicable to almost
all cases, we had to make general simplifying assumptions always trying to
minimize possible errors. Particular studies can be rened with actual data
from each local port and social and legislative data for each particular country.
In the second part of this work in the rst section we relate the analysis of
precarious work to the state, in particular, as a direct participant functioning
as both employer and mediator. In the second section we present a short
overview of the evolution of casualization in the context of employment and
unemployment in contemporary Portugal (1974-2014). In the third section we
discuss state policies on labour relations, particularly in the context of the
welfare state. Finally, we compare this present analysis with Swedish research
done from the perspective of the state as a direct participant and mediator
over the past four decades.

Full study in pdf

https://raquelcardeiravarela.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/studyautomation...

Keywords Labour Relations, automation, employmnet, unemployment,
precarity, automated crane

Tags: International Dockworkers CouncilIDCAutomationtechnology
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Popular Front of Brazil to Lead Protests Against Temer's Labor Reform

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Why dock workers can change the world

Current News - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 08:42

Why dock workers can change the world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1paOv1xdwQY&feature=youtu.be

Raquel Varela

Raquel Varela is a historian, researcher and university professor. Starting Grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology / New University of Lisbon / IHC and Fellow of the International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam). International visiting professor at the Fluminense Federal University, where she teaches a chair in the area of​​global history of work in the postgraduate program in History. He is a member of the NIEP. She is an international evaluator of CNPQ / Brazil. She is Vice-Coordinator of the Portuguese Network for the Study of Labour, Labour Movements and Social Movements (RE), she coordinates the labour network of the European Social Science History Conference (2012-2014 - ESSHC). In 2013 she was awarded the Santander Prize for Internationalization of Scientific Production.
Raquel Varela obtained her graduation in 2005 in ISCTE-IUL (cum laude), post graduation in FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa (cum laude), and her PhD (cum laude) in Political and Institutional History at ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, in 2010. Previously she studied Law at the Law Faculty of Coimbra University (1997-2000).Raquel Varela publishes at a high level in the field of the history of labour relations. She is the author of 4 books, editor of 9 books (one published in German, one in English and 5 in Portuguese) and the author of 58 chapters in books, both nationally and internationally published.
She is the author of 23 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals (independently from her PhD supervisor). Of these, 5 were published in major multidisciplinary scientific journals, including Hispania and Revista Brasileira de História. 5 of these 19 peer-reviewed articles are indexed in the ISI Thompson and in Capes A. In 2014 she was nominated national scientific coordinator of the Historical Itinerary of 25 April 1974 – National Official Celebrations.
She is a member of the editorial board of a peer-reviewed international history journal (Workers of the World. International Journal on Strikes and Social Conflicts, Campinas, Amsterdam), and referee for several international journals. In 2011 she was invited to the Board of Trustees of the ITH-International Conference of Labour and Social History, an international network of associations, research institutes and historians of labour and social movements (based in Vienna, Austria). She is the president (2 mandates 2011-2013; 2013-2015) of the academic association International Association Strikes and Social Conflicts. Her main areas of interest are global labour history, history of labour relations, and contemporary history of Portugal.
http://socialhistory.org/en/staff/raquel-varela
http://ihc.fcsh.unl.pt/pt/ihc/investigadores/item/1242-rcvarela
raquel_cardeira_varela@yahoo. co.uk

Tags: dockersglobalizationjust in time productionsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:47

Shills For Shipping Maritime Bosses Along With ILWU International Leadership Want ILWU Members To Support 7 Year Contract
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Contract-extenstion...
Keep 29 West Coast Ports Open
Contract extension at West Coast ports would support jobs, trade
By Mickey Kantor and Norman MinetaJuly 17, 2017 Updated: July 17, 2017 4:26pm

Photo: JOSH EDELSON, JOSH EDELSON / SAN FRANCISCO CHR
IMAGE 1 OF 2Erasmo Barrera, an employee for Impact Transload and Rail, moves a pallet of beer at the Port of Oakland on Jan. 26, 2017. The port is trying to convince shipping companies arriving from Asia to first visit its ... more

Twice in the last 15 years, labor disputes between dockworkers and the maritime companies that employ them have led to severe disruptions at West Coast ports. Now these parties have an opportunity to preserve labor peace and solidify West Coast trade for the foreseeable future. Doing so would be good for workers, good for the industry and good for the millions of Americans whose jobs depend on trade.

This summer, International Longshore and Warehouse Union members from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest will vote on a proposal that would extend their current labor contract through 2022. It would raise wages, preserve virtually no-cost health care coverage and increase pensions — all at a time when unions nationwide are facing challenging headwinds.

Approving this contract would send a strong signal to retailers, manufacturers and others who rely on the ports that the West Coast intends to remain competitive, despite slipping market share in recent years. It would also reward dockworkers by raising base wages to more than $46 per hour, while preserving no-premium health insurance that features $1 prescriptions, and increase pensions to a maximum of more than $95,000 per year, according to news reports.

Among those who would breathe a sigh of relief would be West Coast agricultural growers, whose trade association reported that sales to Asian markets were down as much as 25 percent during the latest disruption in 2014-2015. Also impacted were automakers and other manufacturers, as well as retailers — large and small — across the country.

The stakes are high in markets from Washington state to Southern California. An estimated 2 in 5 Washington-state-area jobs are connected to international trade. In Southern California, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach support enormous economic activity, and are investing $6.5 billion in capital projects toward a clean and reliable future for this crucial international gateway.

The Port of Oakland is the fourth-busiest of the 29 West Coast ports, ranking behind Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma.

A report by maritime economist John Martin estimates that West Coast ports support upwards of 9 million American jobs. The cargo moving through these ports has a value in the trillions of dollars, supporting a healthy chunk of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

Strong West Coast ports are also important for the environment. California and Washington ports are leading the way to reduce harmful emissions from ships, and by updating cargo terminals with the latest in low-impact environmental technology. That means electric yard equipment, more on-dock rail and other advances toward green terminals. In this case, environmental and economic growth can go hand in hand.

Few Americans understood the huge impacts of maritime trade on the national economy before the 2002 port shutdown, in which West Coast ports were shuttered for 10 days until President George W. Bush ordered them re-opened. The subsequent disruptions during the last contract talks — which once again required federal intervention — have left some wondering if the relationship between ILWU dockworkers and their employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, is permanently broken.

Given the current political climate, there are those in Washington who have considered extreme solutions that would handcuff future negotiators and transfer local decision-making to Washington, D.C.

Such proposals would no doubt gather steam if the contract proposal is rejected, likely leading to acrimonious talks again in two years. Yet by agreeing to a contract extension now, workers and their bosses can show that no such intervention is needed, and that the West Coast can continue to be a thriving and vital trade hub with a stable and reliable workforce.

It is rare to have an opportunity in which workers, industry and the U.S. economy can all so clearly be winners. This is one such opportunity. At a time of much uncertainty, passage of this contract would be a step in the right direction.

Mickey Kantor served as both U.S. trade representative and secretary of commerce. Norman Mineta, who represented San Jose in Congress for two decades, served as both secretary of commerce and secretary of transportation.

Tags: ilwuShipping BossesMaritime bosses shillsstrikesDisruption
Categories: Labor News

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:19

Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
https://youtu.be/FNbvWfS1HYs
Longshore Work , Automation, Technology and the Future of Our Work and Lives was the title of an education conference held at the ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco on July 15, 2017. This presentation was made to the conference by Bobby Carnegi, MUA Queensland Branch Secretary.
The conference was sponsored by LaborTech.net, LaborFest.net, ILWU Local 10, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC.
For additional media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LbMYXeRElM&feature=
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: technologyMUALaborTech.net
Categories: Labor News

Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Current News - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:15

Automation and jobs in the world's docks

https://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2017/07/automation-and-jobs-in-worlds...
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Automation and jobs in the world's docks

Below is a brief summary of a conference on automation that the author attended.

By Joel Schor
Member, Sailors Union of the Pacific S.U.P.
Casual working under the contract of: International Longshore and Warehouse Union ILWU- Local 10.

The unions basically had the position most of us would, that the primary issue is not whether automation will happen or not but who will control it in the workplace and beyond that, how will a fight be initiated for a shorter work day/week to create more work for all?

A speaker who came later in the day was somewhat interesting in tying the development of automation to the increase of fixed long term costs ( machinery) over variable costs (mostly labor ) in this industry as leading to the declining overall rate of profit.

The particular speaker, a professor from Lisbon Portugal who had apparently studied maritime labor relations the world over, was very focused on what she termed "the advanced core nations of the world" as opposed to the "peripheral nations". What was missing from her analysis as well as most of the union leaders who spoke from the Maritime Union of Australia and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in the West Coast of America, is the phenomena of China. Is it a "developed" country or a "developing" country?

The professor emphasized that automation only or mainly occurs in the "core" countries where wages are high and automation makes the long-term costs of expensive machinery worthwhile. Why then is the most advanced automated facility in the world in China ahead of Europe and the United States? It could be argued that wages in China are relatively high in certain key industrial sectors, but from what I understand the conditions and wages of the Chinese stevedores lags behind most of the countries where unions have been around longer.

Chinese stevedores work in excess of 12-hour shifts with no extra pay; they sleep and eat in the ports where they work. I can see that much has improved for them in having been there over a 12-year period on ships from 2002 to 2012. In that period China took on on economies of great scale and it continues to seek to capture and control markets. Chinese companies including the state subsidized shipping conglomerate Cosco spent over $20 billion last year up to June investing in and buying up European ports. (Financial Times 7-17-17)

In the last period of China's rapid export growth, that country’s share of world exports was large enough to make economies of great scale possible for their enterprises. There is much more that could be discussed about this. *

As far as the union leadership is concerned, ignoring the fact of China's rapid growth by conquering markets gives a false message to the rank and file. We had presentations from the Maritime Union of Australia talking about partially automated ports where the workforce has been cut down in container terminal operations.
Longshore, Automation, Technology & The Future of Our Work & Lives By MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bobby Carnegi
https://youtu.be/FNbvWfS1HYs
There has also been much discussion about a port on the US West Coast in Longbeach which will be fully automated and operational in 2020.

The fact is, China is fully automated and operating now. The emphasis on ports in Europe and America where this imminent reality of full scale automation has not manifested itself as it has in China, creates a vague hope for the workers to fight against the threats to their jobs and security.The reality is much more imminent than what is being presented to them by the leadership. Perhaps the union leaders don't even know or want to know about this, or possibly they have some other plan which remains to be seen at this point.

Tags: AutomationdockssolidarityChinese dockers
Categories: Labor News

Colombia: Trade Unionists Murdered As Peace Process at Risk

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Saudi Arabia: Teachers unions call to halt execution of peaceful protestors

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

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