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Colombia: 330K teachers to gather in capitals for nationwide strike

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Colombia Reports
Categories: Labor News

Longshore Workers’ Vote Ratifies Northwest Grain Agreement;  Union Workers to Return to Jobs on Wednesday

ILWU - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 08:59

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 26, 2014) – Longshore workers who load grain in Pacific Northwest export terminals have voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies. The vote included members of ILWU Local 8 in Portland, Ore., and Local 4 in Vancouver, Local 21 in Longview, Local 19 in Seattle, and Local 23 in Tacoma, Wash., who collectively voted 88.4% in favor of a tentative agreement with Louis Dreyfus Commodities, United Grain Corporation and Columbia Grain Inc. that will be in effect until May 31, 2018. Members voting in favor totaled 1,475; those voting against numbered 193.

Negotiations for the new agreement began in August of 2012, involved 70 separate sessions, and included lockouts at Portland’s Columbia Grain and Vancouver’s United Grain facilities. Terms of the agreement include work rule changes and wage increases over the life of the agreement.

ILWU members will resume their jobs at the locked-out facilities on Wednesday. All picketing has ceased, and the parties have agreed to drop all pending NLRB and other legal actions associated with the dispute.

Bargaining was difficult, but in the end, both sides compromised significantly from their original positions, resulting in a workable collective bargaining agreement that preserves the work of the ILWU-represented workforce and fosters stability for the export grain industry.

The men and women of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have loaded grain for export in the Pacific Northwest since 1934.

Categories: Unions

Starbucks: Give us a fair work week!

IWW - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 07:46

Please sign and share our petition calling on Starbucks to provide fair schedules for their employees!

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) has been working with the media since August 10th to bring attention to scheduling practices in the Food and Retail Industry, and Starbucks in particular.

read more

Categories: Unions

Disputed reefer jobs back in play as Port of Portland cancels deal with ILWU longshore union

Current News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 22:47

Disputed reefer jobs back in play as Port of Portland cancels deal with ILWU longshore union
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2014/08/disputed_reefer_job...

A union electrician prepares to plug in a refrigerated container in this August 2012 photo at the Port of Portland's Terminal 6. The jobs were disputed by the Port, the electrical workers and the longshore unon in a dispute that eventually involved the current and former Oregon governors. On Friday, the Port told the longshore local it was terminating the contract under which longshore workers performed the jobs. (Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian)
PrintBy Mike Francis | mfrancis@oregonian.com
Follow on Twitter
on August 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM, updated August 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Nine months after the Port of Portland awarded two hotly disputed jobs at the Port's Terminal 6 to members of the longshore union, the Port has taken them back.

In a letter sent Friday to Mike Stanton, president of Local 8 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said the Port was terminating the contract with longshore workers because of their low productivity.

"The extremely low productivity at T6 remains unacceptable and negatively impacts all of the people whose livelihood is connected with working at or providing services to T6 and those who depend on the facility to efficiently ship products worldwide," the letter read, in part.

The letter was accompanied by a bar chart showing declines in the number of crane moves per hour since the the jobs were awarded to the longshore workers in December.

Read the letter: Reefer work reassignment.pdf

In a Friday night statement, ILWU spokesperson Jennifer Sargent blasted the Port's letter.

"Productivity at the ICTSI facility is directly related to ICTSI's irresponsible and incompetent management. Nothing more," she wrote, referring to the terminal operated by International Container Services Oregon Inc., a subsidiary of a Philippine conglomerate. "A big part of the problem is the Port's blind support of ICTSI."

The decision by the Port to terminate the contract may reopen one of the most bitterly contested local labor questions of the last two years: Do the jobs of plugging in and unplugging refrigerated containers, or reefers, belong to the Port's workers in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or to longshore union workers?

The battle over the equivalent of two jobs at Terminal 6 caused slowdowns that led shippers to avoid the Port of Portland and Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co. to say it was considering ending its calls at Portland. After former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski tried unsuccessfully to broker a deal between the unions, the Port in December awarded the jobs to the longshore workers after the electrical workers gave their consent.

"At the end of the day we have to rise above our parochial interests and look to the bigger picture and do what's in the best interests of everyone," Gary Young, IBEW Local 48 business manager, said at the time.

Late Friday, Gov. John Kitzhaber said through a spokesperson he supports the Port's decision to terminate its contract with the longshore union for the reefer jobs.

"The Port of Portland, ICTSI, and IBEW have all made good faith compromises to find middle ground and bring productivity back to Terminal 6. ILWU has not," the governor said in an emailed statement. "Despite efforts to meet ILWU more than halfway, Oregon continues to have a container terminal on the brink of losing international service because of endless slow-downs, job actions, and conflict. Oregon businesses large and small are paying the price, when what they really need is a productive and competitive container terminal."

Elvis Ganda, president of ICTSI Oregon, said he, too, supports the Port's decision to end the contract with the ILWU.

"Since the labor dispute arose in June of 2012, the level of efficiency at the container terminal has not been equal to that of other West Coast container terminals," Ganda said in a written statement Saturday morning. "We can understand why the Port acted at this time as production levels continue to steadily decline. We hope the Port's decision leads to a positive response."

In May, a National Labor Relations Board judge found the longshore workers had conducted deliberate slowdowns at Terminal 6 between September 2012 and June 2013. When the Port sought to conduct an analysis of diminished productivity at Terminal 6 in March, the ILWU refused to participate, calling the analysisrequested by the governor "a sham."

The decision by the Port to terminate the contract for the reefer jobs comes at a time of great labor uncertainty at West Coast ports and the Ports of Portland and Vancouver in particular.

The ILWU said it would announce results Monday of a vote by union members to accept or reject a tentative contract agreement with three grain-handling companies. If accepted, that would end a protracted dispute that has caused congestion and delays for grain shipments out of the Port of Vancouver's United Grain terminal.

At the same time, talks continue between longshore workers and the operators of 29 western ports. The talks between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association are to replace a contract that expired this summer. The sides have agreed to keep cargo traffic moving as talks continue.

Hanjin Shipping said in March it would continue to call in Portland, after the Port of Portland offered incentive payments to keep traffic flowing.

Note: This story has been updated from Friday night to include responses from the ILWU and the governor's office, and to provide more background.

-- Mike Francis

Tags: ILWU Local 8
Categories: Labor News

ITF to send Mission to Gaza, West Bank and Israel-Action Plan Post Cards To UN-No Labor Action From ITF Paddy Crumlin

Current News - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 08:40

ITF to send Mission to Gaza, West Bank and Israel-Action Plan Post Cards To UN-No Labor Action From ITF Paddy Crumlin
http://www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/10819

17 August 2014

The ITF, supported by the ITUC is to send an Executive Board Mission to Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. The mission will be the start of a four year programme to support the ITF’s affiliates and contribute to long term peace and justice for Palestine. ITF affiliates meeting in Sofia on 10-16 August 2014 expressed their horror at the toll of deaths in the conflict, the overwhelming majority of which have been civilians. The ITF has been providing humanitarian support to Gaza. It has already sent two truckloads of humanitarian and medical supplies to Gaza, with more to follow.

ITF President Paddy Crumlin said “The scars of this current tragedy in Gaza will be felt for many generations. And recognizing the trauma and risk to life faced by transport workers in Palestine and Israel, the ITF - with the support of the ITUC – should send an Executive Board Mission to Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Recognizing the urgency, this mission should take place as quickly as possible and should also be used reinforce the ITF project for humanitarian aid for Gaza.”

The mission follows a resolution passed at the ITF Congress being held in Sofia which added the ITF’s voice to the calls by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) for coordinated international union action to press for an end to the occupation of Palestine and for a two-states-for-two-peoples solution. The ITF is committed to the ITUC’s Call for Action on Gaza and theresolution passed at the ITUC Congress in Berlin in 2014.

ENDS

International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF:
HEAD OFFICE
ITF House, 49 - 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871
Email: mail@itf.org.uk
Web: www.itfglobal.org

ITUC Call to Action on Gaza / Thousands of postcards for peace to be delivered to UN Secretary-General
http://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-call-to-action-on-gaza-14985
7 August 2014

• Human and trade union rights
,
• Israel
,
• Palestine
,
• United Nations

The ITUC is horrified by the appalling death toll of civilians in Gaza.

Schools, hospitals and the only power station have been bombed, drawing heavy condemnation from the United Nations, several of whose personnel have also lost their lives. The targeting of civilians is against international law and the UN has called for accountability and justice.

“The only solution is a permanent cease-fire with the intervention of the international community to force the parties to the table to conclude a negotiated settlement that ends the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine. The people of Israel and the people of Palestine will only be assured of a peaceful and secure future with a two-state solution, where all people can live in peace and security and build a future for themselves and their children,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.

The ITUC is calling on governments to intervene and support a five-point plan for peace:

• A permanent cease-fire;
• Humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza;
• The immediate suspension of all transfers of weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology being used against civilians;
• An end of the blockade of Gaza;
• A negotiated settlement to bring about a two-state solution with the legitimacy of international law.
The ITUC is calling on affiliates and trade union members to make a commitment to peace and send a postcard to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to show that he has our support to deliver peace.

To take part in the ITUC postcard campaign, go to the website www.bypost.com/peacelikemine and use a PC or mobile device to send a real postcard which will be delivered to the UN Secretary-General in New York with your personal message and photo.

The photo can show your personal experience of peace, and you can send a message about what you want for the people of Palestine and Israel and call on the UN Secretary-General to protect the people of Gaza and deliver a permanent peace. This website www.bypost.com/peacelikemine will go live Thursday August 7th.

Affiliates can also make urgent financial contributions to the International Transport Workers’ Federation’s (ITF) humanitarian relief initiative for Gaza, at www.itfgazafund.org

Tags: ITFPaddy CrimlinGazaPalestine
Categories: Labor News

Baltimore Jimmy John’s Workers Stop Work, March on Boss

IWW - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:37

By the IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union

BALTIMORE, MD- On Friday morning, August 22nd, Jimmy John’s workers at Pratt Street engaged in a short work stoppage and marched on the boss to demand the right to organize without retaliation. They gathered in front of the store at approximately 10:30 AM. Workers and supporters made speeches outside of the store. The workers told stories of their working conditions and retaliation for organizing.

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Categories: Unions

Denver transit union TWU 1001 vote challenged in court by U.S. Labor secretary

Current News - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 13:48

Denver transit union TWU 1001 vote challenged in court by U.S. Labor secretary
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26388997/denver-transit-union-vote-cha...
By Monte Whaley
The Denver Post
POSTED: 08/22/2014 04:45:38 PM MDT3 COMMENTS| UPDATED: A DAY AGO

RTD passengers wait for light rail and bus service at 16th and Stout in Denver. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file photo)
The U.S. secretary of labor wants the December 2013 election of officers for the Denver-basedTransit Union Local 1001 to be overturned because of election-law violations.

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Denver earlier this week, asking that a federal judge declare the election void and force a new election of officers.

The complaint alleges the union did not conduct the election by secret ballot, affecting the pick of top officials including the vice president and four chief stewards.

Specifically, the complaint says, union members were permitted to vote together at large tables, and they marked ballots while waiting in line to cast ballots at the election judge's table in plain view of the election judges.

Polling places also had one cardboard voting partition, which was inadequate to accommodate the large number of voters, and members were never instructed to use the cardboard as a partition for voting, according to the complaint.

Transit Union Local 1001 represents about 2,300 transit workers in the Denver area, including Regional Transportation District bus drivers, light-rail operators and mechanics, according to the union's website.

Bill Jones, attorney for the union, said Friday the organization has not been served with any complaint and had no comment.

The suit came after union member Allen Grove protested the Dec. 2, 2013, election.

Grove said Friday in a statement that leading officials in the union have not done a good job representing its members.

"It does not take 'much of a review' of the situation to discover this local union has failed its members," Grove said.

Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907, mwhaley@denverpost.com or twitter.com/montewhaley

Tags: TWU 1001
Categories: Labor News

Long Beach Port Protest: Stop Unloading Zim Haifa Ship 23 Aug 2014-ILWU Local 13 Cancels Shift At LA Port

Current News - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 12:35

Long Beach Port Protest: Stop Unloading Zim Haifa Ship 23 Aug 2014-ILWU Local 13 Cancels Shift At LA Port
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvDS2szjoOc&feature=youtu.be
Published on Aug 23, 2014
A coalition of Block the Boat, BDS-LA, and many other organizations--more than 200 people--protested and were successful to block a Zim Haifa Shipping line, Israeli owned, from unloading its cargo.

Tags: ilwuZim LinesPort Of Long Beach
Categories: Labor News

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 23:41

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma
http://www.joc.com/protesters-fail-disrupt-zim-ship-tacoma_20140823.html

JOC Staff | Aug 23, 2014 2:49PM EDT

The Zim Chicago was being worked at the Port of Tacoma on Saturday morning despite the presence of protesters seeking to disrupt operations of the ship operated by Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

According to an alert from the port, as of 8 a.m. Pacific time, protesters had arrived with the objective of preventing the ship’s cargo from being loaded and unloaded. “We are aware that some protesters have arrived to try to disrupt the loading and unloading of the ZIM Chicago, a ship owned by an Israeli shipping line,” the port said an alert. “This protest action appears related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and meet and protest peaceably and legally.”

Tacoma emphasized the need for operations not to be disrupted: “We’re monitoring the situation and coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to make sure people stay safe, terminals remain secure and cargo keeps moving.”

In a 10 a.m. update, the port said “Longshore workers are loading and unloading the ship, as scheduled.”

According to tweets from a group calling itself Block the Boat, which had disrupted operations of another Zim ship at the Port of Oakland last week, about 100 demonstrators had gathered at about 7:30 AM at Tacoma. Aphoto on the website of the Tacoma News Tribune showed a small number of protesters peaceably demonstrating.

A protest this past week at the Port of Oakland appeared to have greater impact. Protesters under the banner of Block the Boat showed up in larger numbers and prevented the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo and it eventually departed for Asia.

The Zim Chicago was scheduled to call next at the Port of Seattle on Sunday where protesters were also preparing to disrupt operations.

Tags: ilwuPort Of Tacoma
Categories: Labor News

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 23:41

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma
http://www.joc.com/protesters-fail-disrupt-zim-ship-tacoma_20140823.html

JOC Staff | Aug 23, 2014 2:49PM EDT

The Zim Chicago was being worked at the Port of Tacoma on Saturday morning despite the presence of protesters seeking to disrupt operations of the ship operated by Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

According to an alert from the port, as of 8 a.m. Pacific time, protesters had arrived with the objective of preventing the ship’s cargo from being loaded and unloaded. “We are aware that some protesters have arrived to try to disrupt the loading and unloading of the ZIM Chicago, a ship owned by an Israeli shipping line,” the port said an alert. “This protest action appears related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and meet and protest peaceably and legally.”

Tacoma emphasized the need for operations not to be disrupted: “We’re monitoring the situation and coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to make sure people stay safe, terminals remain secure and cargo keeps moving.”

In a 10 a.m. update, the port said “Longshore workers are loading and unloading the ship, as scheduled.”

According to tweets from a group calling itself Block the Boat, which had disrupted operations of another Zim ship at the Port of Oakland last week, about 100 demonstrators had gathered at about 7:30 AM at Tacoma. Aphoto on the website of the Tacoma News Tribune showed a small number of protesters peaceably demonstrating.

A protest this past week at the Port of Oakland appeared to have greater impact. Protesters under the banner of Block the Boat showed up in larger numbers and prevented the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo and it eventually departed for Asia.

The Zim Chicago was scheduled to call next at the Port of Seattle on Sunday where protesters were also preparing to disrupt operations.

Tags: ilwuPort Of Tacoma
Categories: Labor News

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 23:41

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma
http://www.joc.com/protesters-fail-disrupt-zim-ship-tacoma_20140823.html

JOC Staff | Aug 23, 2014 2:49PM EDT

The Zim Chicago was being worked at the Port of Tacoma on Saturday morning despite the presence of protesters seeking to disrupt operations of the ship operated by Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

According to an alert from the port, as of 8 a.m. Pacific time, protesters had arrived with the objective of preventing the ship’s cargo from being loaded and unloaded. “We are aware that some protesters have arrived to try to disrupt the loading and unloading of the ZIM Chicago, a ship owned by an Israeli shipping line,” the port said an alert. “This protest action appears related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and meet and protest peaceably and legally.”

Tacoma emphasized the need for operations not to be disrupted: “We’re monitoring the situation and coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to make sure people stay safe, terminals remain secure and cargo keeps moving.”

In a 10 a.m. update, the port said “Longshore workers are loading and unloading the ship, as scheduled.”

According to tweets from a group calling itself Block the Boat, which had disrupted operations of another Zim ship at the Port of Oakland last week, about 100 demonstrators had gathered at about 7:30 AM at Tacoma. Aphoto on the website of the Tacoma News Tribune showed a small number of protesters peaceably demonstrating.

A protest this past week at the Port of Oakland appeared to have greater impact. Protesters under the banner of Block the Boat showed up in larger numbers and prevented the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo and it eventually departed for Asia.

The Zim Chicago was scheduled to call next at the Port of Seattle on Sunday where protesters were also preparing to disrupt operations.

Tags: ilwuPort Of Tacoma
Categories: Labor News

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 23:41

Protesters fail to disrupt Zim ship operations at Tacoma
http://www.joc.com/protesters-fail-disrupt-zim-ship-tacoma_20140823.html

JOC Staff | Aug 23, 2014 2:49PM EDT

The Zim Chicago was being worked at the Port of Tacoma on Saturday morning despite the presence of protesters seeking to disrupt operations of the ship operated by Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

According to an alert from the port, as of 8 a.m. Pacific time, protesters had arrived with the objective of preventing the ship’s cargo from being loaded and unloaded. “We are aware that some protesters have arrived to try to disrupt the loading and unloading of the ZIM Chicago, a ship owned by an Israeli shipping line,” the port said an alert. “This protest action appears related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and meet and protest peaceably and legally.”

Tacoma emphasized the need for operations not to be disrupted: “We’re monitoring the situation and coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to make sure people stay safe, terminals remain secure and cargo keeps moving.”

In a 10 a.m. update, the port said “Longshore workers are loading and unloading the ship, as scheduled.”

According to tweets from a group calling itself Block the Boat, which had disrupted operations of another Zim ship at the Port of Oakland last week, about 100 demonstrators had gathered at about 7:30 AM at Tacoma. Aphoto on the website of the Tacoma News Tribune showed a small number of protesters peaceably demonstrating.

A protest this past week at the Port of Oakland appeared to have greater impact. Protesters under the banner of Block the Boat showed up in larger numbers and prevented the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo and it eventually departed for Asia.

The Zim Chicago was scheduled to call next at the Port of Seattle on Sunday where protesters were also preparing to disrupt operations.

Tags: ilwuPort Of Tacoma
Categories: Labor News

The Latest Defeat-The ILWU leadership has accepted a deal that will further cripple their union.

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 18:58

The Latest Defeat-The ILWU leadership has accepted a deal that will further cripple their union.
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/08/the-latest-defeat/

The Latest Defeat
by Robert Brenner
The ILWU leadership has accepted a deal that will further cripple their union.

The tentative agreement reached between the ILWUand the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association (PNGHA) contains no surprises. It would impose a major reduction in working conditions and shop floor power, the latest in a cascade of defeats that started with the signing of the union’s historic contract with Export Grain Terminal (EGT) atLongview, Washington in February 2012.
Nor does it bode well for the 20,000 members of the union’s Longshore division, whose contract with the Pacific Maritime Association expired on June 30 and whose fate is being decided in ongoing bargaining.

The negotiated agreement closely mirrors the disastrous contract that EGT imposed on the ILWU. The giant corporations of the PNGHA had, from the outset, demanded from the ILWU the same deal as it gave EGT, in order to keep labor costs low and remain competitive with its technologically advanced rival. They are now about to achieve it.

The ILWU’s accord with the PNGHA would give back to the employers virtually all of the impressive gains in work rules and shop floor powers that the union had wrung from them during many decades of struggle in northwest grain, as well as in longshore.

The union would lose control over the hiring hall, the foundation of its power. The companies would get to hire from a list of workers that they had pre-approved.

Gone would be the eight-hour, even the ten-hour day. The employers would now be free to impose twelve-hour shifts with no overtime. They would take over the control room, from which managers would oversee and regulate the entire process of production. They also would assume the strategic job of the supercargo, charged with overseeing the loading of the ship, which had hitherto always been held by the union. Management would, in addition, get the authority to set the skill requirements for the job of millwright, whose task it is to build and repair machines, and by this means gain the potential to exclude union workers.

The employers would gain the right to prevent work stoppages. The ILWU would maintain its traditional rights to honor legitimate picket lines, to attend stop work meetings, and refuse to labor under unsafe conditions. But this would be rendered meaningless by the employers’ right to use its own managers in place of ILWU members whenever ILWU members exercised those rights.

The ILWU leadership has thus accepted, after a year and half in which its members were locked out and replaced by scabs, roughly the same deal that the PNGHA originally proposed as early as September 2012, then imposed at United Grain, Columbia Grain, and Louis Dreyfuss the following December.

The ILWU had secured, on a temporary basis, a highly concessionary but somewhat more worker-friendly agreement with TEMCO, the joint venture headed up by the Cargill Corporation (which had defected for the time being from the PNGHA). But, as per its contract with the ILWU, TEMCO will now revert to the more employer-friendly accord secured by the other PNGHA members. Kalama Export, the last of the major grain export corporations of the region, had long ago secured the profoundly substandard contract that had served as the template for EGT. This means that pretty much the same degraded terms will now apply more or less uniformly across the Pacific Northwest grain handling industry.

That the union leadership has meekly accepted almost the same offer it rejected at the start of negotiations two years ago was in fact quite predictable. After all, the ILWU had refused to mobilize its power to stand up to the grain-exporting giants.

The International relied essentially on a strategy of going to the NLRB and the courts, while uttering pathetic nationalistic slurs against the foreign-owned corporations. At no time did it try to stop scabs from working, and it ran roughshod over every initiative by the rank-and-file to organize direct action to that end.

How could there have been any other outcome, especially against wealthy multinational corporations bent on obtaining the lowest possible costs to make the highest possible profits in the spectacularly expanding grain export trade with China and other East Asian countries?

In all likelihood the International’s terrible contract will be ratified, as the ILWU leadership has worn down and demoralized the membership for the better part of a year and a half, forcing them to stand by helplessly as scabs did their work. The International did not even consider building the sort of broad cross-union and extra-union solidarity for mass direct action that had enabled the small, isolated Longview local to put real fear into the heart of the EGT Leviathan — before the ILWU leadership itself brutally undercut it.

Instead, the International has proved its worth to the PMA, pulling the rug out from under a contingent of impoverished port truckers at the very moment ILWU members had begun to honor their picket line and close down several terminals at the Port of Los Angeles. The International justifies this betrayal of its own supposed principles by claiming the Teamsters Union needed to be taught a lesson for encroaching on its jurisdiction at a warehouse in northern California. But with such a weak and self-centered leadership, it would be surprising if the membership saw any alternative to acceding to the concession-ridden contract.

As with EGT in the recent past and no doubt PMA in the near future, the ILWU leadership is demonstrating yet again how a union hierarchy, structurally insulated from the outcome of class struggle — they don’t work on the shop floor but are materially supported by rank-and-file dues — can blithely oversee disastrous defeat for its membership while escaping scot-free.

Also read Robert Brenner and Suzi Weissman’s longform examination of the ILWU’s historic crossroads.

Tags: ilwuConcession Bargaininggrain contract12 Hour Days
Categories: Labor News

Protests targeting Zim to continue in Tacoma, Seattle

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 09:11

Protests targeting Zim to continue in Tacoma, Seattle
http://www.joc.com/maritime-news/container-lines/zim-integrated-shipping...

Corianne Egan, Associate Editor | Aug 22, 2014 4:50PM EDT

Protests will continue on the U.S. West Coast against Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services, as new actions are scheduled in Seattle and Tacoma next week.

Protesters from the activist group “Block the Boat” announced plans to protest in both Seattle and Tacoma, upon the arrival of the ship Zim Chicago. Zim faced protests at the Port of Oakland this week that forced a partially unloaded ship to return to Asia.

The activists have followed Zim’s movements via spotters and also via websites meant to update customers on ship arrival times. According to the Block the Boat Northwest website, the protests, which were widely reported as scheduled for next week, will begin on Friday and run through the weekend. The protesters plan to follow the ship from its first stop in Tacoma to its second stop in Seattle.

In a protest this past week in Oakland, Block the Boat organizers showed up en masse, stopping the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo, and it eventually left for Asia.

The SSA Terminal in Oakland that Zim attempted to dock at also had trouble dealing with workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Workers cited safety concerns in refusing to work, even after protests dispersed. The protest drew hundreds on Sunday, but numbers dwindled to 15-20 by Monday night. SSA had trouble getting longshore workers in on Tuesday. The JOC reported the terminal called for laborers and none showed up to work.

ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said that the ILWU will not take a stance on the protest, but was aware of more plans for protesting in Seattle and Tacoma.

“It will continue to be handled as a situation where the union is not taking a position on any of the partisan aspects of the issue involving the protestors, but it really depends on how the protestors and the police respond,” Merrilees said. “If it escalates to the point where it feels unsafe, the ILWU will be reluctant to work. Union members aren’t going to get in the middle of this and risk health and safety.”

According to the Port of Tacoma’s website, the Zim Chicago is set to berth at the port’s Washington Terminal at 8 p.m. on Friday. Zim’s vessel schedule shows the Chicago left Port Metro Vancouver earlier on Friday, and will call at Tacoma over the weekend, and will be in Seattle from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25.

The Port of Seattle said that it is working with the port’s police department and all of its customers and partners to ensure that cargo transfer goes smoothly. The Port of Tacoma was also aware of the situation.

“We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and to organize protests,” Port of Tacoma spokesperson Tara Mattina said. “We will continue to work closely with customers and police to keep people and cargo safe and secure.”

Contact Corianne Egan at cegan@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @CEgan_JOC.

Tags: ilwuZim Labor Boycott
Categories: Labor News

Protests targeting Zim to continue in Tacoma, Seattle

Current News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 08:51

Protests targeting Zim to continue in Tacoma, Seattle
http://www.joc.com/maritime-news/container-lines/zim-integrated-shipping...

Corianne Egan, Associate Editor | Aug 22, 2014 4:50PM EDT

Protests will continue on the U.S. West Coast against Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services, as new actions are scheduled in Seattle and Tacoma next week.
Protesters from the activist group “Block the Boat” announced plans to protest in both Seattle and Tacoma, upon the arrival of the ship Zim Chicago. Zim faced protests at the Port of Oakland this week that forced a partially unloaded ship to return to Asia.
The activists have followed Zim’s movements via spotters and also via websites meant to update customers on ship arrival times. According to the Block the Boat Northwest website, the protests, which were widely reported as scheduled for next week, will begin on Friday and run through the weekend. The protesters plan to follow the ship from its first stop in Tacoma to its second stop in Seattle.
In a protest this past week in Oakland, Block the Boat organizers showed up en masse, stopping the Zim Piraeus from fully unloading. Though the ship came into port on Sunday, it was not unloaded until Tuesday night, when it was berthed at a different terminal. Crews did not finish unloading the ship’s cargo, and it eventually left for Asia.
The SSA Terminal in Oakland that Zim attempted to dock at also had trouble dealing with workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Workers cited safety concerns in refusing to work,even after protests dispersed. The protest drew hundreds on Sunday, but numbers dwindled to 15-20 by Monday night. SSA had trouble getting longshore workers in on Tuesday. The JOC reported the terminal called for laborers and none showed up to work.
ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said that the ILWU will not take a stance on the protest, but was aware of more plans for protesting in Seattle and Tacoma.
“It will continue to be handled as a situation where the union is not taking a position on any of the partisan aspects of the issue involving the protestors, but it really depends on how the protestors and the police respond,” Merrilees said. “If it escalates to the point where it feels unsafe, the ILWU will be reluctant to work. Union members aren’t going to get in the middle of this and risk health and safety.”
According to the Port of Tacoma’s website, the Zim Chicago is set to berth at the port’s Washington Terminal at 8 p.m. on Friday. Zim’s vessel schedule shows the Chicago left Port Metro Vancouver earlier on Friday, and will call at Tacoma over the weekend, and will be in Seattle from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25.
The Port of Seattle said that it is working with the port’s police department and all of its customers and partners to ensure that cargo transfer goes smoothly. The Port of Tacoma was also aware of the situation.
“We respect the right people have to express diverse opinions and to organize protests,” Port of Tacoma spokesperson Tara Mattina said. “We will continue to work closely with customers and police to keep people and cargo safe and secure.”

Tags: ilwuZim
Categories: Labor News

Cal/OSHA fines aviation company in death of LAX baggage worker

Current News - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:31

Cal/OSHA fines aviation company in death of LAX baggage worker
http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81134932/

AL SEIB / LOS ANGELES TIMES

Baggage tugs and carts are parked in a busy ramp area of Los Angeles International Airport. In February, a worker driving a baggage tug fell off the vehicle and was killed near the Virgin Australia terminal.

BY DAN WEIKEL
August 20, 2014, 4:15 p.m.
State officials fined an aviation services company $77,250 on Wednesday for five safety violations related to the death of a baggage worker in February at Los Angeles International Airport.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health leveled the penalty against Menzies Aviation, whose employee,Cesar Valenzuela, 51, died after being thrown from a baggage tug that did not have a functional seat belt.

Cal/OSHA investigators said seatbelts were required for the vehicle and that Menzies' safety policies related to baggage tugs did not require and even discouraged the use of restraints in certain areas of LAX.

"This fatality could have been prevented with a well thought out and implemented safety plan as is required for all worksites in California," said Christine Baker, director of the state Department of Industrial Relations.

Menzies and other aviation service companies contract with airlines to provide cabin cleaners, security personnel, custodians, wheel-chair assistants and baggage handlers.

The citations prompted union officials and service company employees to renew their calls for improvements to working conditions at LAX, the nation's third-busiest airport.

"Workers punching in at the start of a shift ought to be able to finish the day without risking their health or losing their life," said David Huerta, president of SEIU United Service Workers West, which represents 2,500 airline employees at LAX.

Valenzuela, a ramp agent, was driving a baggage tug on the morning of Feb. 21 to haul cargo around the airport.

Investigators said he lost control of the vehicle, struck a curb and was thrown out. He was later found near the Virgin Australia terminal with his head pinned beneath one of the tug's rear tires.

According to Cal/OSHA, a portion of the tug's seatbelt was missing, although state safety regulations require restraint systems on such vehicles. The agency also found that Menzies' inspection procedures were inadequate.

During their investigation, Cal/OSHA officials said they frequently spotted company employees driving baggage tugs without wearing seat belts or other restraints.

They added that Menzies' written safety program required the use of seat belts only on marked roads and vehicle service roads, but not around terminal gates or aircraft parking areas.

The state further cited Menzies for inaccurately reporting the fatal accident to Cal/OSHA as a heart attack. Companies are required to accurately report work-related deaths within eight hours of their occurrence.

Menzies officials said they disagreed with Cal/OSHA's findings and were disappointed that investigators apparently did not consider the company's 147-page response. They added that they would appeal the citations.

"Menzies is confident that, through the appellate process, our company's ongoing commitment to workplace safety will be made evident and that the citations will be overturned or revised," company officials said in a prepared statement.

Tags: LAX Baggage WorkerVirgin Australiaosha
Categories: Labor News

Oakland Activists ‘Block the Boat’ for Three Days Running

Current News - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 18:52

Oakland Activists ‘Block the Boat’ for Three Days Running
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17106/oakland_activists_block_the_...
WEDNESDAY, AUG 20, 2014, 9:00 AM
Oakland Activists ‘Block the Boat’ for Three Days Running
BY JULIA WONG

Activists hoist the Palestinian flag as they move to prevent International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers from unloading an Israeli ship in the Port of Oakland. (Julia Wong)

In response to the recent war between Israel and Gaza, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions has issued a call urging American labor unions “to condemn the Israeli aggression and to boycott Israel through various means.” In the Bay Area, that condemnation has emerged in the form of “Block the Boat,” a campaign to stop the unloading of an Israeli-owned Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel in the Port of Oakland.

This weekend, thousands of protesters massed in Oakland to prevent members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 from emptying the ship, effectively uniting the community in support of the international Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel campaign, known as BDS. As of Monday evening, the boat had still not managed to successfully deposit its cargo.

On Saturday afternoon, more than 1,000 protesters gathered at the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station before marching about 1.5 miles to the Port of Oakland, where they planned to erect a picket line. Midway through the journey, however, organizers announced that they had received word the ship would not dock for the rest of the day.

“On August 16, 2014,” Sameh Ayesh of the San Francisco-headquartered Arab Youth Association (AYO) cried over a loudspeaker, “we have stopped the ZIM Line from docking in the United States.”

The protesters continued to the Port anyway, where they held a victory rally upon arrival. Clarence Thomas, a member of ILWU Local 10 who was supportive of the blockade, addressed the crowd.

“I want everyone to know an injury to one is an injury to all,” he said, invoking the ILWU’s historic slogan.

"What you’ve done here will reverberate around the world,” he continued. “This action needs to be duplicated at other ports around the country.”

Although there was backing from some rank-and-file members of the ILWU Local 10 for the action, including Thomas, the union itself did not take an official position. Organizers proceeded with the action in the hopes that union members would honor the community picket line and decline to work their shift.

Local 10 is currently in negotiations for a new contract, its last one having expired July 1. According to Roy San Filippo, a spokesperson for the ILWU, Local 10’s executive board does not accept outside speakers during contract negotiations, preventing it from formal consideration of an endorsement.

ILWU Local 10 has a long history of undertaking international solidarity actions, such as the union’s refusal to load bomb parts intended for the military dictatorship of Chile in 1978 and a 10-day 1984 strike against South African goods in protest of apartheid.

Because of this, community activists often assume that even without explicit endorsement from the ILWU, union members will not cross the picket line.

"Usually if a picket line is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough, the ILWU will respect that,” says Peter Olney, the former Organizing Director of the ILWU. Olney is now retired, and does not speak for the union.

Indeed, Local 10 has a contract provision that allows for a shift to be cancelled to protect the health and safety of its members if a picket line is in place at the Port. (The union points to a demonstration in 2005 when ILWU members were struck by rubber bullets fired by Oakland police as an example of why such language is needed.)

The contract provision has become well known in activist circles in the Bay Area, making the Port an attractive target for direct action because of the potential for dramatic victory. In 2011, all ILWU work at the Port of Oakland was stopped twice by Occupy Oakland activists, first in November as part of a citywide “general strike” called in response to the police raid of the Occupy Oakland camp, and again in December as part of a planned shutdown of all U.S. ports on the West Coast. Then, in August, October, and November of 2013, picketing truckers and their supporters shut down the Port to protest working conditions for the drivers. (Port truck drivers cannot unionize because they are independent owner-operators.)

The frequency of these actions has led to a feeling amongst some ILWU members and leaders that workers are being used as an “instrument,” rather than approached as allies.

“Certain groups feel a huge sense of euphoria and power from shutting down the Port, but it’s important to remember that power comes from the sacrifice of workers willing to go without pay,” says Olney. “If groups abuse that power, certainly resentment will develop. Some groups have abused the goodwill and solidarity traditions of the ILWU.”

Olney contrasted Occupy Oakland activists unfavorably with community organizations involved in the resistances to South African apartheid and South American dictatorships, with whom he said the union had “worked closely and harmoniously” to carry out major actions.

This weekend’s “Block the Boat” action, too, had the potential to cause another rift between the union and community activists. The action was initially created by a handful of advocates on July 25, who planned to obstruct the ZIM vessel arriving on Saturday, August 2. This short time frame left little room for outreach to the ILWU. The Bay-based grassroots group Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), which had also been considering a Port action, intervened.

“We proposed to [the original groups of] local activists to push it back to give us some time to do some outreach to the ILWU,” says Lara Kiswani, the executive director of AROC. Some ILWU members joined planning meetings for the protest, and young members of AROC went to the ILWU’s union hall every morning and afternoon to speak with workers about the situation in Israel and Palestine.

Saturday’s demonstration concluded with a declaration of victory in delaying, at least for one day, the docking and unloading of the Israeli ship. On Sunday, however, a rank-and-file longshoreman informed AROC organizers that the ship planned to dock that afternoon, and that union members had been called in to work to unload the cargo. Phone calls, emails, and messages on Facebook and Twitter began circulating around 4:00 p.m., calling on activists to return to the Port to put up a community picket line.

By 5:30 p.m., about 40 picketers were in place to block ILWU members from going to work. The crowd grew over the next hour, with volunteers shuttling picketers and supplies from the BART station. About 50 police officers were present, but they did not prevent the picket lines from forming.

Anthony, a member of ILWU Local 10 who had worked with organizers of the blockade action and asked that his last name not be used, was prepared to mediate with workers and try to talk them into honoring the picket line.

“I’m angry at any official government organization gunning down people who can’t defend themselves with the support of the U.S. government,” he said of his reasons for joining in the protest. He anticipated that his fellow union members would honor the picket line, but said, “As far as consciousness about Israel, I don’t know that there’s much of that.”

As workers arrived for the evening shift, they congregated on the side of the road about 100 yards from the picket line and waited for Melvin MacKay, the president of Local 10, to decide their course of action. None of those workers agreed to be interviewed, with one saying, “I’m not a politician. I don’t talk politics.”

MacKay, who has been a member for Local 10 for more than 20 years, told In These Times that he did not intend for his members to cross the picket line. “I think it’s a health and safety issue for my men to go across the line,” he said. “If they’re trying to block the line, we’re not going to cross.”

Eventually, MacKay led the workers away from the site of the protest, to cheers from the picketers. A statement from the ILWU issued Monday morning states, “When it was ascertained that last night’s demonstration and associated police presence created an unsafe environment, dispatched ILWU-represented Longshoremen and Clerks that arrived at the SSA gate to work stood by instead at a safe location away from the demonstration point. SSA, after recognizing the safety situation associated with ingress to their gates, released all ILWU manpower at 7:30 p.m.” SSA Marine is the operator of the terminal at the Port of Oakland.

Although the blockade was only intended to delay and not prevent unloading of the ship, organizers of the action considered it a historic win. “We just got confirmation for the second day in a row ... the ZIM ship did not get unloaded. We won,” Lara Kiswani announced to the picketers at 8:10 p.m., after word came that the workers were going home. “The workers honored our picket line. Israel apartheid is falling.”

Despite AROC’s intention to end the blockade on Sunday, a group of about 20 returned to the Port Monday morning. And though the protest was small, ILWU members again honored the community picket line: The shift was cancelled.

That evening, a larger group of protesters amassed around the Port. While about 50 police officers prevented them from forming a picket line across the entrance to the berth, few, if any, ILWU members entered it. At 9:20 p.m., activists received word that the shift had once again been cancelled, marking the third straight day the ZIM ship had been effectively stymied.

As the picketers prepared to go home, some spoke of returning in the morning at 5:30 a.m. to continue to picket. On Tuesday afternoon, the still-loaded ship left the area, purportedly for Los Angeles. However, after passing through the Golden Gate into the Pacific Ocean, it turned around and returned to a different berth at the Port of Oakland. Although protesters returned to mount another picket line, the ship's cargo was unloaded. Regardless, organizers promise that the actions will not end with this round of barricades.

“This ship comes every week,” warned Kiswani on Sunday. "So we’ll be coming back.”

Tags: ilwuGazaSSA
Categories: Labor News

Poland: ITF and ETF urge action over dismissed aviation union leader in Poland

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF Global Union
Categories: Labor News

IBT DC 7 Daniel Bloch and Rome Aloise, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7 Attack Solidarity Picket With Gaza

Current News - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 11:24

IBT DC 7 Daniel Bloch and Rome Aloise, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7 Attack Solidarity Picket With Gaza
Protest-stalled ship at Port of Oakland finally unloaded, sails away
By Harry Harris and Natalie Neysa AlundOakland Tribune
POSTED: 08/20/2014 10:57:57 AM PDT0 COMMENTS| UPDATED: ABOUT 18 HOURS AGO
Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND -- A container ship delayed by protests at the Port of Oakland for four days was unloaded by longshore workers overnight and sailed away early Wednesday, officials said.

Offloading of cargo on the Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. vessel Piraeus, operated by an Israeli company, had been delayed by Block the Boat activists protesting recent Israeli military actions in Gaza.

The ship was eventually unloaded, starting late Tuesday night, at Berth 22 in the area known as Ports America Outer Harbor, Port spokesman Robert Bernardo said.

The Piraeus had initially docked over the weekend at the Oakland International Container Terminal. Protesters responded, with demonstrations involving hundreds, at times, monitored by large contingents of Oakland police, sheriff's deputies and CHP officers. Longshore workers, concerned for safety reasons, didn't cross picket lines at the terminal, union officials said.

But after four days sitting idle at the terminal, the Piraeus briefly sailed away Tuesday evening and then returned, docking at the different berth.

Because only a small number of protesters and police presence remained, longshore workers "determined that the atmosphere did not pose a threat to their safety," allowing them to safely enter and work the vessel, ILWU Local 10 said in a news release.

Jennifer Sargent, a union spokeswoman, said Wednesday that after some delays, 30 longshore workers began unloading the ship at 10 p.m. Tuesday and finished at 4 a.m. Wednesday. The ship left the port later that morning.

The ship's cargo included sparkling wine and ceramic tiles from Spain, cheese and long-grain rice from Italy, and organic red lentils and marble from Turkey. Commodities also included irrigation equipment, solar heaters for swimming pools, and tires, according to the ship's cargo list.

Even though the ship was eventually unloaded, Block the Boat called the four-day delay a "historic victory."

The delay sparked concerns from another union, the Teamsters Joint Council 7, which represents about 100 truckers and warehouse workers at the Port of Oakland, said Teamsters spokesman Doug Bloch.

During the protest, the Teamsters had issued a statement calling on longshore workers to "immediately unload the ship" and said their issue was not the Gaza conflict, but the impact the protests have on local jobs.

"Our members haul containers from the Port of Oakland by truck and rail and anything that hurts commerce hurts our members and damages the economy of the Bay Area," said Rome Aloise, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7.

"Our position has not changed," Bloch said Wednesday. "If any of the truck drivers get blocked from going in and out, they don't get paid. And more than 90 percent of them are independently contracted. They only get paid if they pick up and drop off containers. That's just one example of the impact."

Mohamed Shehk, a spokesman for Block the Boat, said Wednesday that the ship was "blocked for the longest time it has ever been in history. The losses from the delay were enormous financially."

Neither Port officials nor union representatives could estimate the amount of financial losses posed by the delay.

Shehk said Block the Boat hopes to build on the momentum in Oakland for future actions. Organizers are already coordinating with activists in Tacoma, Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver to continue to block the ship across the West Coast.

David Goodstone, spokesman for the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, said the protesters' actions have little effect on Israel.

"It is the people of Oakland and California who will suffer as a consequence of this deliberate attempt to prevent commerce and jeopardize jobs, and compromise the healthy future of the Oakland Port," he said Wednesday.

Tags: IBT DC 9GazailwuPicket
Categories: Labor News

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