Feed aggregator

Sweden: The robots are coming, and Sweden is fine

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Record
Categories: Labor News

UK RMT Launches New Film In Support Of Keep The Guard Campaign

Current News - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 20:53

UK RMT Launches New Film In Support Of Keep The Guard Campaign
https://vimeo.com/248119121

https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-launches-new-film-in-support-of-keep-the...

RMT LAUNCHES NEW FILM IN SUPPORT OF KEEP THE GUARD CAMPAIGN

28 December 2017
RMT Press Office:

RMT launches new film and social media drive in support of "Keep the Guard on the Train" campaign

RAIL UNION RMT today launches a new film and social media drive in support of both the “Keep The Guard” campaign and the workers involved in disputes across the country in defence of rail safety.

A short film “Unguarded”, weaving together stories from three individual passengers based on feedback over the past year, is released and cascaded on social media platforms today (28th December). It will be followed up with short films homing in on the individual passenger stories which will be released over the next three days.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT is committed to using every tool at our disposal to defend the role of the guard and to resist the profit-driven moves to throw these safety critical staff off our trains.

“These films are based on real experiences that have been fed back to us by both passengers and our members who deal with the daily reality of the de-staffing of the railway.

“The themes that are a constant throughout are safety, security and accessibility on the railway and we will not allow those messages to get shoved aside in the barrage of rhetoric from the private companies, the Government and their cheerleaders at the Rail Delivery Group.

“RMT is confident this latest initiative will spark off a new surge in support for the “Keep The Guard” campaign and for our members who find themselves at the sharp end.

Tags: UK RMTsafetyRail GuardsKeep the Guard on the Train
Categories: Labor News

UK: Britain set for worst real wage growth of all advanced economies in 2018, says TUC

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Independent
Categories: Labor News

Lewis “Lou” Loveridge: important So Cal union leader passes

ILWU - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 11:32

Lou Loveridge was an active participant and shaper of history during his ninety years that included a deep commitment to the ILWU and lifelong devotion to trade unionism that ended peacefully on November 16, 2017.

He was born on November 13, 1923 in the tiny community of Jefferson, South Dakota, a farm town located near the Missouri River in the farthest southeast corner of the state. His parents, Paul and Magel, raised their family with Lou and seven other children during the difficult years of the Great Depression, finally moving west to California in search of a better life when Lou was 14. When the Second World War erupted, Lou and his three other brothers – Fuzz, Chick and Joe – all served in the military. Lou joined the Navy where he became a Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class, assigned to duty aboard the U.S.S. Moctobi, an ocean-going tug that remained afloat until she was finally scrapped in 2012 at Mare Island, Vallejo, CA.

Lou had many loves, beginning with his wife Dorothy who passed  in 2000, his daughter Cheryl, and another daughter Stephanie who preceded him in death. His six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren were his pride and joy.  Other loves included a large number of pet dogs that he adored over many years; trying his luck at Las Vegas, Laughlin and local race tracks; his beautifully-restored bright-red Mustang; the Rams and Angels; collecting coins and donating to charities; listening to music and enjoying a glass of good wine.

His love for the ILWU and union causes of all kinds was also a deep devotion. Lou and all three of his brothers became longshoremen and members of Local 13. His skills and commitment were recognized by co-workers, who elected him to serve as their Vice President from 1973-74. A few years later he was elected to the top post at Local 13, serving as President during 19781979, again in 1982-1983 and a final term in 1986-1987.

He attended Longshore Caucus meetings regularly, both as a member and later as a Pensioner. After retiring from the job but not the struggle, he was elected President of the Southern California Pensioners’ Group. Three days before his passing, Lou celebrated his 90 birthday surrounded by a group of active Pensioners who brought him a cake.

“It was the last thing he ate,” said his daughter Cheryl. While confined to bed for his birthday, Lou expressed “how lucky I am to have the ILWU in my life,” and told everyone that he owed “everything I attained in life to the ILWU Harry Bridges.” A memorial service was held on December 2 in Rancho Palos Verdes that drew a large number of family, friends, union and community members who came from throughout the region to pay their respects to Lou.

Categories: Unions

Fiji: Locked-out Fijian airport workers denied access to water

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RNZI
Categories: Labor News

Australia: How 'young tech dudes' are decentralising unions with blockchain, AI

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFR
Categories: Labor News

Campaign For Framed Up Railroad Workers Facing Trial For Lac-Mégantic Wreck

Current News - Wed, 12/27/2017 - 04:13

WW12-26-17 Campaign For Framed Up Railroad Workers Facing Trial For Lac-Mégantic Wreck
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww12-26-17-campaign-for-railroad-w...
Pacifica KPFA WorkWeek Radio looks at a railroad workers defense campaign taking place in Quebec , Canada. In 2014 a major train wreck took place in Lac-Mégantic when a run away train with loaded with highly dangerous fuel smashed into the Lac-Mégantic city center killing 47 people. The company Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) and the Canadian government blamed three workers for this catastrophic wreck.
USW Locomotive engineer Tom Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railroad employees along with operations manager Jean Demaître and railway traffic controller Richard Labrie who were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly derailment and explosions at Lac-Mégantic.
With growing rail and transit disasters in Washinton, New York City and throughout the country are the workers really to blame? We look at the deregulation and the attack on rail workers and health and safety conditions by railroad bosses. On January 4th there will be protests at Canadian consulates in the US and around the world to demand freedom for these railroad workers.
WorkWeek is joined with Railroad Workers United RWU and Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN member Mark Burrows who is a retired SMART 1433 Canadian Pacific railroader and is helping to organize the defense campaign. We also interview Fritz Elder who is a veteran Locomotive engineer, and chair of the Lac-Mégantic rail workers defense committee and a special rep for Railroad Workers United RWU.
For more information and media:
http://hardingdefense.org/
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3...
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonat...
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-r...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begin...
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/
Production of
KPFA WorkWeek Radio
workweek@kpfa.org
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio

1/4/18 International Day Of Action To Defend Framed Lac-Mégantic Railway Workers-Stop One Person Crews And Destruction Of Health & Safety Standards in Transportation System

1/4/18 Thursday Jan 4th, 2018
Press Conference and Rally in San Francisco on Thursday Jan 4, 2017 at 12:00 noon at the

San Francisco Canadian Consulate 580 California St. San Francisco, California

Additional information about actions in the US and internationally will be forthcoming.

On Thursday January 4, 2018 there will be an international day of action to defend three USW Canadian railway workers. Locomotive engineer Tom Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railroad employees along with operations manager Jean Demaître and railway traffic controller Richard Labrie who were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly derailment and explosions at Lac-Mégantic that killed 47 people. As a direct results of the elimination of crews leading to a one person crew, this disaster was man made by the corporations which are eliminating railway safety protections and who control the politicians. The Canadian government in fact like the US government is controlled by these same rail bosses who are only interested in more profits at the cost of lives, communities and the environment.

Increasing rail wrecks and explosions throughout North American are endangering workers, members of the community and creating havoc. These so called “accidents” around the world are a direct result of deregulation, privatization and the attack on transportation workers and their unions.
Not surprisingly, no charges were brought against MMA owner Ed Burkhardt or against the federal Conservative government that allowed the use of single-worker train crews without an inquiry into the implications of its decisions.

The scheme to blame the workers for these disasters is a cynical ploy to shift the real responsibility for the growing number of transportation catastrophes taking place in North America and in country after country.
We call for the dropping of charges and for the real criminals who are the executives of MMA and the government officials to be prosecuted for endangering the community and the workers.

Put the real criminals on trial!

In San Francisco there will be a press conference and protest at the Canadian Consulate at 12:00 noon. The consulate is located at 580 California St. San Francisco.
This international day of action has been endorsed by
Workers Solidarity Action Network
https://www.facebook.com/workerssolidarityactionnetwork/
http://www.workerssolidarityactionnetwork.org
Railroad Workers United
http://railroadworkersunited.org
United Public Workers For Action
www.upwa.info

Additional media:
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3...
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonat...
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-r...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begin...
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/

Tags: Lac-Mégantic Wreckrailroad workers framed upMMARailroad Workers United
Categories: Labor News

Fiji: Human rights group stands in solidarity with Fiji airport workers

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RNZI
Categories: Labor News

Scores were injured & about 40 arrested after security forces brutally attacked a Tehran rally in support of Iranian Bus Driver Leader Reza Shahabi Iran

Current News - Tue, 12/26/2017 - 09:09

Scores were injured & about 40 arrested after security forces brutally attacked a Tehran rally in support of Iranian Bus Driver Leader Reza Shahabi
Iran: Breaking news:

Scores were injured & about 40 arrested after security forces brutally attacked a rally in support of Iranian Bus Driver Reza Shahabi

Robabeh Rezaee, Hassan Saeidi, Mohammad Aslaghi & Gholamreza Gomar among the arrestees.

A protest rally was held at 10 am today, Tuesday, December 26th, 2017, outside the Ministry of Labour in Tehran, to address the alarming situation and the deteriorating health conditions of Reza Shahabi, a jailed labour activist and an executive board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company.

This gathering was brutally attacked from the beginning by security forces and reportedly about 40 people, many of whom women, have been arrested. Robabeh Rezaee, Reza Shahabi’s wife, as well as some well-known members of the bus workers’ syndicate, including Hassan Saeidi, Mohammad Aslaghi and Gholamreza Gomar, were among the arrestees. There are reports of injuries as well. Tehran bus workers’ syndicate reported that some of the arrestees including Robabeh Rezaee have been transferred to the Evin prison. As the above picture illustrates, Hassan Saeidi, was badly beaten by a number of security agents as a result of which he was taken to the emergency.

There have been growing protests in Iran and internationally for Reza Shahabi’s freedom. Workers’ organizations and unions around the world have been calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Shahabi has been a target of an ongoing persecution and prosecution since 2010. He has had 2 minor strokes within the past two weeks. He has been denied hospitalization or release despite ending his 6-year prison term. He was re-incarcerated in Rajaee Shahr Prison in City of Karaj, notorious especially for its substandard health and safety conditions, on August 9, 2017 and since then has been denied freedom unless he agrees to stop his union activities.

IASWI strongly condemns the brutal attack on demonstrators who had done nothing but raising their concerns for Shahabi’s deteriorating health. We strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest of Robabeh Rezaee, Hassan Saeidi, Mohammad Aslaghi, Gholamreza Gomar and others and call for their immediate and unconditional release. The continued imprisonment and abuse of Reza Shahabi is a gross violation of all internationally recognised human and labour rights. IASWI urges all workers’ and human rights’ organizations internationally to take all necessary measures to ensure that Reza Shahabi and other jailed labour activists and political prisoners in Iran are freed immediately and unconditionally.

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
December 26, 2017
info@workers-iran.org;
www.workers-iran.org;
https://twitter.com/IASWIinfo
https://www.facebook.com/IASWI

PLEASE SEND protest letters to the electronic addresses below: Email: info_leader@leader.ir or contact@leader.ir ; Email: media@rouhani.ir; info@humanrights-iran.ir; iran@un.int; infopack@irimlsa.ir;
Cc: info@workers-iran.org;

Tags: Reza ShahabiTehran bus driversworkers repressionTehran Bus Workers Syndicate
Categories: Labor News

As a former BLE rail engineer, what happened in Lac-Mégantic is linked to the continent-wide, 30-year erosion of rules, procedures, equipment and infrastructure in the rail industry, and a culture of corporate acquisition by non-railroad

Current News - Mon, 12/25/2017 - 22:57

Opinion: As a former rail engineer, I need to speak out

what happened in Lac-Mégantic is linked to the continent-wide, 30-year erosion of rules, procedures, equipment and infrastructure in the rail industry, and a culture of corporate acquisition by non-railroad interests that has led to deferred maintenance and deep cost cutting.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Opinion+former+rail+engineer+need+speak/8...
JAMES GOODRICH, THE GAZETTE 08.09.2013

James Goodrich is a former rail engineer who worked for three railroad firms. He currently works as a self-employed researcher in the energy and transportation fields. He lives in Brewster, Mass.
James Goodrich is a former rail engineer who worked for three railroad firms. He currently works as a self-employed researcher in the energy and transportation fields. He lives in Brewster, Mass.
A train wagon that carried crude oil sits burned and and warped from the heat at the scene of the explosion in the town of Lac-Mégantic, 100 kilometres east of Sherbrooke on Thursday, July 11, 2013.
A train wagon that carried crude oil sits burned and and warped from the heat at the scene of the explosion in the town of Lac-Mégantic, 100 kilometres east of Sherbrooke on Thursday, July 11, 2013.DARIO AYALA / THE GAZETTE
Some 25 people are dead and other 25 missing as a result of what happened last Saturday in Lac-Mégantic — and investigators and media are looking for answers as to what caused this accident. Among other things, they are looking into railway-industry operating practices.

I used to work for one of Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway’s predecessor companies, Iron Road Railways, as well as two other railroads in Colorado and New England. I have been a freight conductor, yardmaster and locomotive engineer — and I need to speak out.

In my view, what happened in Lac-Mégantic is linked to the continent-wide, 30-year erosion of rules, procedures, equipment and infrastructure in the rail industry, and a culture of corporate acquisition by non-railroad interests that has led to deferred maintenance and deep cost cutting.

The first fact to consider is that this train in Lac-Mégantic had 72 cars of oil on it — and a single crew member. That equals 46,285 barrels of oil in cars that carry approximately 102,000 litres each. By contrast, the tanker trailer you see on the highway is carrying about 34,000 litres or 214 barrels of product. Thirty years ago, most trains had five-man crews — three on the head of the train and two on the rear in the caboose. Now there are mostly two man crews on the head end, with few exceptions, one of those apparently being the MMA.

There are many hazardous materials that cannot move on the highway and thus move by rail. This train was by definition a “Hazmat” train, and yet I notice that media reports that I have seen in the U.S. have reported that there were 5- and 10-mile-per-hour track-speed limits on the rails in the area where the train was parked. Five miles per hour (or 8 kilometres per hour) is an extremely slow order speed for rail, even in areas between Nantes and Lac-Mégantic where there are major differences in elevation above sea level. Even in the Rocky Mountains, rail beds are carefully designed so that track speeds are rarely less than 15 mph. The only other reason I can think of for a speed this slow would be known problems with rail track in the Lac-Mégantic area. I have only seen order speeds of 5 mph twice — after flash floods in Colorado, and in nearly abandoned Boston yards where no rail maintenance was being done at all.

This is not just an issue for rural Canada. On the Springfield Terminal Railroad (now Pan Am), I used to pull cars of hydrocyanic acid and chlorine through the suburbs of Boston. Policy-makers should take a close look at the emergency-response guidelines for the evacuation radius of those materials. Imagine the implications for accidents in major cities.

I was a proud member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and I followed the rules, sometimes at great personal cost. I worked for and left three railroads because the personal costs were too high, and yet I have not been this upset since I went to the funerals of two co-workers killed in a derailment on Tennessee Pass in 1996. The railroad unions have been gutted in the past three decades, but if they cannot find their voice now, after the terrible accident in Lac-Mégantic, then they deserve irrelevance.

We all need to speak out for the sake of the people who move our planes, trains and trucks with inadequate support and respect for their health and welfare. We need to speak out for the safety of those who live close to our transport infrastructures and to renew our critical railway infrastructure to make up for deferred maintenance and decay. We also shouldn’t let Lac-Mégantic be turned into a sales pitch for pipelines. Pipelines do not carry hydrocyanic acid and chlorine and other hazardous materials, and they will not save you in the middle of the night. The men and women I worked with will.

Tags: Rail safetyLac-Mégantic
Categories: Labor News

Global: 2017 – a year of global solidarity in the textile and garment sector

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 12/25/2017 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

1/4/18 Thursday Jan 4th, 2018 International Day Of Action To Defend Framed Lac-Mégantic Railway Workers-Stop One Person Crews And Destruction Of Health & Safety Standards in Transportation System

Current News - Mon, 12/25/2017 - 12:16

1/4/18 International Day Of Action To Defend Framed Lac-Mégantic Railway Workers-Stop One Person Crews And Destruction Of Health & Safety Standards in Transportation System

1/4/18 Thursday Jan 4th, 2018

Press Conference and Rally in San Francisco on Thursday Jan 4, 2017 at 12:00 noon at the

San Francisco Canadian Consulate 580 California St. San Francisco, California

Additional information about actions in the US and internationally will be forthcoming.

On Thursday January 4, 2018 there will be an international day of action to defend three USW Canadian railway workers. Conductor Tom Harding is one of three former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) railroad employees along with operations manager Jean Demaître and railway traffic controller Richard Labrie who were each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly derailment and explosions at Lac-Mégantic that killed 47 people. As a direct results of the elimination of crews leading to a one person crew, this disaster was man made by the corporations which are eliminating railway safety protections and who control the politicians. The Canadian government in fact like the US government is controlled by these same rail bosses who are only interested in more profits at the cost of lives, communities and the environment.

Increasing rail wrecks and explosions throughout North American are endangering workers, members of the community and creating havoc. These so called “accidents” around the world are a direct result of deregulation, privatization and the attack on transportation workers and their unions.
Not surprisingly, no charges were brought against MMA owner Ed Burkhardt or against the federal Conservative government that allowed the use of single-worker train crews without an inquiry into the implications of its decisions.

The scheme to blame the workers for these disasters is a cynical ploy to shift the real responsibility for the growing number of transportation catastrophes taking place in North America and in country after country.
We call for the dropping of charges and for the real criminals who are the executives of MMA and the government officials to be prosecuted for endangering the community and the workers.

Put the real criminals on trial!

In San Francisco there will be a press conference and protest at the Canadian Consulate at 12:00 noon. The consulate is located at 580 California St. San Francisco.
This international day of action has been endorsed by

Railroad Workers United RWU,
Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN ,
United Public Workers for Action
UPWA and Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC
For more information and to endorse call (415)282-1908
Endorsed by
Workers Solidarity Action Network
https://www.facebook.com/workerssolidarityactionnetwork/
http://www.workerssolidarityactionnetwork.org
Railroad Workers United
http://railroadworkersunited.org
United Public Workers For Action
www.upwa.info

Additional media:
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3...
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonat...
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-r...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begin...
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/

Tags: Lac-Mégantic Railway WorkersTom Hardinghealth and safetyWorker Safetyone person crewMMA
Categories: Labor News

Fired DC ATU 689 track inspectors may see relief under binding arbitration over attacks by bosses on health and safety

Current News - Mon, 12/25/2017 - 09:51

Fired DC ATU 689 track inspectors may see relief under binding arbitration over attacks by bosses on health and safety
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/fired-track-ins...
By Martine Powers December 23
One year after Metro fired 16 track workers for allegedly falsifying inspection reports, their cases have gone to binding arbitration, and Metro’s largest union is suing the transit agency — accusing it of stalling the arbitration process.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Virginia, attorneys for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 said Metro is demonstrating a “refusal to participate in the arbitration proceedings.”

The union wants the court to instruct arbitrators to consider all 16 cases as one “group grievance” — the equivalent of a class-action lawsuit. But Metro’s lawyers argue that the arbitration board does not have the power to require that the 16 disparate cases be considered as one entity.

And though the lawsuit centers on a technical question within the arbitration process, it’s the first public acknowledgment that the high-profile case of the fired track inspectors has reached binding arbitration, a common practice in disagreements between Metro and union officials that has served as a political flash point in recent years.

Some politicians have argued that arbitrators usually side with the union, amping up the costs to taxpayers or offering second chances to poorly performing workers. Others would support more long-term funding to Metro if binding arbitration is eliminated, though a recent funding bill floated by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) stops short of that requirement.

[Dec. 4: Rep. Comstock’s bill would give Metro more federal money in exchange for reform board and controls on labor costs.]

Still, if the terminated track inspectors are rehired by Metro, it could bring more scrutiny to the agency and its embattled union.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The 16 track inspectors at issue were terminated after an investigation into the July 2016 derailment at East Falls Church station, which resulted in several minor injuries and more than $1 million in damage to the tracks and train.

The derailment was caused by a train that skidded off the rails because the tracks had spread too wide, a defective condition that usually happens after years of inattention and postponed repairs.

Metro has accused the 16 track inspectors of fabricating measurements on track inspection reports in the months before the derailment. Managers also fired five supervisors, who are not represented by ATU Local 689. In total, one-third of Metro’s track inspection department was terminated, and others were disciplined.

[Jan. 26: One-third of Metro’s track inspection department has been fired for falsifying records, Wiedefeld confirms]

But union representatives point out that Metro has provided no proof that the workers who were fired had maintained the section of track where the derailment occurred.

They also argue that workers did not receive adequate training.

In the lawsuit filed last week, the union’s lawyers assert that Metro’s track inspection program was designed to keep the trains running, not to shut down stretches of track for safety maintenance.

“ . . . WMATA is scapegoating these workers for insufficient track inspection which was intentionally designed by WMATA so as to avoid speed restrictions and immediate repair costs,” read court documents filed by the workers. “The culture and practice in track inspection has been to file routine reports and to discourage reporting problems which might disrupt rail operation.”

The lawsuit also included an account from one terminated track inspector, John Evans, who wrote that he was never properly trained on that protocol for track inspections.

“Only had 1 day of training on how to perform switch inspection and had to learn procedures in the field on my own or from senior track personnel,” Evans wrote in his grievance document.

He also said he did not have access to Metro’s digital database of track inspection reports, suggesting that he would not have been able to copy-and-paste the measurements from previous months.

“WMATA never showed proof of accurate measurement that would prove my work inaccurate or . . . that my documents were falsified,” the track worker wrote.

The union’s lawyers also argue that the terminations were illegitimate, because the employees were fired more than six months after the date of their alleged wrongdoings — exceeding the statue of limitations laid out in Metro’s contract with the union.

Tags: ATU 689health and safetyretaliationbinding arbitration
Categories: Labor News

Ryanair Hit With Its First Pilot Strike, in Germany

Current News - Sun, 12/24/2017 - 18:36

Ryanair Hit With Its First Pilot Strike, in Germany

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/business/ryanair-pilot-strike.html
By AMIE TSANGDEC. 22, 2017

Ryanair was hit by the first strike in its company history on Friday after pilots in Germany staged a four-hour walkout, days after the airline agreed to recognize unions but talks fell apart.

The strike, another blow to the reputation of Ryanair, the largest budget airline in Europe, came during the busy holiday traveling season. It also occurred after the airline had to cancel more than 20,000 flights in recent months because of scheduling problems.

The strike appeared to cause limited disruption to Ryanair’s passengers. The company, which is based in Ireland, said that nine of its morning flights leaving from Germany had been delayed, but that none had been canceled.

The union deemed the strike a success, nonetheless, saying that it had put pressure on the company’s management.

“They had to work all night to mitigate the consequences of the strike and there were nearly no consequences for the passengers,” Markus Wahl, a spokesman for the German union, Vereinigung Cockpit, said on Friday. “It was a win-win situation; we hit the company without hitting the passengers.”The strike came on the heels of an agreement by the company last week to change its longstanding position and recognize pilots’ unions for the first time. Ryanair’s announcement was seen as an indication that it would have to grapple with the same labor costs and issues as its legacy competitors.

But the union said the company appeared to be paying lip service to having a union but was not interested in serious negotiations. Further talks with Ryanair management were canceled, the union said, because the airline rejected the inclusion of two people on the council representing pilots in the negotiations.

On Thursday, the union called for the strike in Germany from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday local time.

“Ryanair’s public offer to conduct negotiations with V.C. can only be classified as a further publicity stunt,” Ingolf Schumacher, the head of the union’s industrial department, said in a statement. “Ryanair is trying to win time and attempting to delay the beginning of collective bargaining.”

Ryanair said it had objected to having a contract pilot, who had not flown with the company for 15 months and was in litigation with the company, at the union talks. The union said this pilot had been fired two days after he publicly said he was a member of the union’s negotiating team and was taking this to court.

But the union said the company had also objected to the participation by another pilot because he also was not a direct Ryanair employee. Many of Ryanair’s pilots are employed on contracts through separate agencies and, as tensions have flared over relations between the company and its pilots, many have voiced their frustration at the demanding work conditions and these atypical work arrangements.

In a letter to its members, the union said Ryanair representatives had refused to enter the negotiating room until the pilot involved in the litigation had left. The union also said that the airline had declined to sign a “good-faith bargaining agreement.”

“Ryanair is still trying to enforce their old habit of dictating the conditions under which negotiations can take place,” the letter said. “Under these conditions, there can be no fruitful negotiations to reach any form of acceptable common labor agreement.”

The union did concede that the company had expressed a desire to “build trust and better cooperation between the pilots and management,” but said that the “underlying control issues are the same.”

In anticipation of the strike in Germany, Robin Kiely, the head of communications for Ryanair, said in a statement on Thursday, “We advise all customers in Germany to turn up as normal tomorrow, as we plan to operate all scheduled flights.”

The statement added, “We will be doing our upmost to minimize any disruptions to the Christmas travel plans of our German customers.”

Ryanair had also written to its German pilots asking them not to strike and to “avoid disrupting the plans of thousands of German passengers during Christmas week.” It also said it had agreed to meet with union representatives on Jan. 5 to discuss a collective labor agreement.

The union, however, said it would not negotiate unless the company backs down on allowing the two pilots to be part of its negotiation team. If Ryanair does not change its stance, Mr. Wahl said, “further strike action will be possible.”

Pilots in other European countries, including Ireland and Italy, have threatened to walk off the job.

The budget carrier has been trying to stanch a growing backlash among its ranks, after scheduling problems led the company to threaten to cancel pilots’ holidays. The pilots pushed back, and Ryanair cut thousands of flights instead.

But the episodes galvanized the pilots, who started organizing for better conditions and more secure contracts.

Union negotiations have not been as disastrous in Ireland, where Impact, which represents Irish pilots, said on Thursday that the company had confirmed its recognition of the union in writing and that both sides had agreed to meet on Jan. 3 to establish collective bargaining procedures.

Follow Amie Tsang on Twitter: @amietsang.

Tags: Ryanair
Categories: Labor News

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Categories: Labor News

TWSC Statement of Protest Against The Attack On Striking Women Workers of the Cavite Export Zone

Current News - Sat, 12/23/2017 - 08:50

TWSC Statement of Protest Against The Attack On Striking Women Workers of the Cavite Export Zone

Philippine Government Officials and Cavite Export Zone Officials

The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC condemns the vicious attack on the women workers of the Cavite export loan. The attack on the picket line and the beating of women workers on strike is a crime against all working people including those in the US. We demand justice for these striking women worker and protest this union busting attack. We call on the company and the Philippino government to end these attacks and also for prosecution of those criminals hired by the company to attack the striking women workers.
We will work to get support from the rest of the US labor movement to prove that you are not alone and those responsible for these crimes are held accountable. We will also inform US working people about the role of this company in the use of these vicious tactics.

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
www.transportworkers.org

Solidarity Needed For Philippine Lakepower Women Workers
Statement of Support for the Fight of Lakepower Women Workers

We express our support for the fight of women workers of the electronics company Lakepower Converter Inc. who are facing union busting and discrimination by management. Likewise we voice our condemnation of the violent dispersal by Cavite export zone security personnel of the picketline during the dead of the night and early morning of December 7 to 8.

Security guards contracted by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) led strike breakers at the picketline. Two women workers—Maricar Orque and Magdalena Peña—were hurt in the commotion that followed the forcible dismantling of the picketline.

Company guards, export zone security guards and other men wearing ski masks but clad in PEZA police uniforms repeatedly tore down placards and makeshift tents. The men arrived in motorcycles and bearing side arms.

The strike started on the afternoon of December 7 after mediation meetings collapsed as management refused worker’s demands that the termination and suspension of union officers and members be stopped.

A PEZA firetruck along with security guards went to the picketline area. They also set up barricades at two points leading to the factory and refused entry to workers going to the picketline. All these are violations of the official “Guidelines on the Conduct of Police and Security Personnel During Labor Disputes.”

We hold the PEZA and Atty. Norma Tañag, administrator of the Cavite ecozone, responsible for the violent attacks on the women workers strike. Aside from the direct involvement of PEZA police, firefighters and guards in the harassment and attacks, PEZA has administrative control of the ecozone and is liable for such repeated incidents of violence.

Unrest has festered at Lakepower for the last few months. Among workers grievances is the removal of the door of the women’s restroom so that the company can spy on workers. Almost all of the 200 workers in the factory are women. They are also outraged at the unreasonable limits on the use of the restroom which has led to numerous cases of workers suffering from urinary tract infection. Workers are also complaining of excessive quota and the exclusion of unionists from receiving Christmas packages.

Workers are unionizing in the ecozones to improve their working conditions but are being met by extreme interference from capitalists unwilling to share the fruits of production.

Lakepower is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Taiwanese company Coil Technology Corp. that manufactures transformers for electronic components.

Please send messages of concern to:

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III
osec@dole.gov.ph, secshb3@dole.gov.ph

Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita
DOLE Calabarzon Regional Director
dole4imsd@yahoo.com

BGen Charito B. Plaza
PEZA Director General
odg@peza.gov.ph

Atty. Norma B. Tañag
Administrator, Cavite Economic Zone
cez@peza.gov.ph

Coil Technology Corporation
No.206 Feng-Reng Rd. Feng Shan District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
sales@ctc-dc-dc.com

Lakepower Converter Inc.
Cheng Jen Chao
Vice General Manager
power_lci@yahoo.com

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PARTIDO MANGGAGAWA (PM)
15 Clarion Lily St., St. Dominic Subdivision, Proj. 8, Quezon City
Telefax (02) 4396829
E-mail: partido_ng_manggagawa@yahoo.com
Website: www.laborpartyphilippines.org
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