United Airlines IBT Maintenance Workers Warn Shareholders Of Problems At Airline
Teamsters Call for Fair Agreement at Company's Annual Shareholders' Meeting
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
CHICAGO, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Airlines [NYSE: UAL] aviation maintenance technicians and related support personnel rallied outside the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Chicago today to warn investors and customers of problems at the airline.
More than 9,000 Teamster aviation maintenance workers are seeking a fair collective bargaining agreement. The workers' last contract became amendable in January 2013.
The maintenance workers, who are critical to the airline's operations, are losing patience as the company drags its feet on reaching a fair collective bargaining agreement five years after the United-Continental merger announcement.
"United-Continental workers, shareholders and customers have been loyal through tough times. They have shouldered the burden of myriad problems—including integration and customer service issues—that have taken a toll on United's earnings and reputation," said David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. "The company appears willing to risk United's turnaround by provoking a labor dispute with its aircraft maintenance technicians and related workers. And the timing couldn't be worse."
United Airlines came in last among traditional carriers in the JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey released in May.
"As employees and shareholders of this company, we have a long-term interest in the success of the airline and it's time for management to do the right thing and offer us a well-deserved, industry-leading contract," said John Laurin, a 29-year United Airlines maintenance technician.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Kara Deniz, (202) 624-6911
SOURCE International Brotherhood of TeamstersTags: IBT United Airlines
Amtrak Engineer Not on Phone at Time of Derailment, Investigators Find
By RON NIXONJUNE 10, 2015
Brandon Bostian in 2007, when he was an Amtrak assistant conductor.CreditHuy Richard Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press
Graphic: Investigating the Philadelphia Amtrak Train Derailment
WASHINGTON — An examination of the cellphone used by the engineer on the Amtraktrain that crashed just outside Philadelphia last month turned up no evidence that he was on the phone at the time of the accident, federal investigators said Wednesday.
The question of whether the engineer driving the train, Brandon Bostian, might have been using a cellphone has been a critical part of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the crash, with investigators trying to determine if he had been distracted by a call or text. The train, en route from Washington to New York on May 12, was traveling at 106 miles per hour as it entered a curve where the speed limit was 50 m.p.h.
Mr. Bostian’s lawyer, Robert Goggin, has said in interviews that his client suffered a concussion in the derailment and “has absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events.”
He said that Mr. Bostian had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that his cellphone had been turned off and was in a bag. Mr. Goggin said that his client remembered only “coming to, finding his bag, getting his cellphone and dialing 911.”
Investigators with the N.T.S.B. had worked for weeks to match Mr. Bostian’s cellphone records with other data — including the locomotive event recorder, video taken from the train, recorded radio communications and surveillance video — to provide clues about the cause of the accident, which killed eight passengers and injured more than 200.
But the investigation was slowed because of the way cellphone data and calls are routed across a carrier’s network. For example, investigators said, the voice calls on Mr. Bostian’s phone were in one time zone, while the texts were in another.Tags: railroad safetyd
PMA On The Attack After Contract Fight-Feds asked to prevent alleged illegal ILWU chassis inspections
PMA On The Attack After Contract Fight-Feds asked to prevent alleged illegal ILWU chassis inspections
Feds asked to prevent alleged illegal ILWU chassis inspections
JOC › Trucking Logistics › Drayage
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Jun 08, 2015 5:03PM EDT
Chassis leasing companies and California truckers are asking federal agencies to act quickly to prevent what they say are illegal chassis inspections by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at U.S. West Coast ports.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in these unnecessary inspections since the contract was ratified last month,” said Alex Cherin, executive director of California Trucking Association’s intermodal conference.
The trucking association has warned the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association that when longshore mechanics pull over drivers for unwarranted inspections or verifications of ownership, they contribute to congestion at the terminals and this is both time consuming and costly for truckers. The union and the employers understand the impact the mandatory inspection clause is having on truckers, he said. “It’s disappointing. We’re asking both sides to make good on this,” Cherin said
Feds asked to prevent alleged illegal ILWU chassis inspections Page 2 of 3
At the national level, the Institute of International Container Lessors, which represents chassis leasing companies, asked the Federal Maritime Commission to “take such actions as are necessary and appropriate to remedy the violations.” Although the IICL letter refers only to the West Coast, chassis jurisdiction is also a major issue for the International Longshoremen’s Association at East Coast ports.
The West Coast waterfront contract that was ratified in late May by the ILWU and the PMA states that ILWU mechanics have the authority to inspect chassis before they are pulled from marine terminals, and to repair any defects before releasing the equipment.
Trucker-owned chassis are exempt from the ILWU inspection requirement, but some longshore mechanics are requiring that the drivers verify trucker ownership before releasing the chassis, Cherin said.
IICL maintains that such actions are illegal under federal law, which states that the intermodal equipment provider, which today is mostly the chassis-leasing companies, must at the time of interchange with the trucker provide a roadworthy chassis and must give the driver an opportunity to perform the required pre-trip inspection for damage, defects or deficiencies.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations “the drivers should make the visual inspection,” before the trucker even brings the chassis to the terminal, the IICL letter stated. Nevertheless, the PMA-ILWU contract states that ILWU labor must in effect re-inspect the chassis and repair any alleged defects at the marine terminal, “the charges for which are passed on to the chassis lessors who own the chassis and who are not parties to the agreement (ILWU coastwide contract).”
Curtis Whalen, executive director of the American Trucking Associations’ intermodal council, said the FMCSA has inspectors at ports and the ATA would like them to immediately respond if truckers believe they are being pulled over for ILWU inspections that should not be taking place.
Additionally, the ILWU contract clause exempting trucker-owned chassis from inspections discriminates against the many truckers that lease chassis under long-term leases, IICL stated.
The letter noted that under the long-term lease between the motor carrier and the chassis leasing company, the trucking company becomes the intermodal equipment provider and is therefore responsible, under federal law, for ensuring roadability and making repairs.
“As a result, there is no logical or reasonable basis upon which to justify mandatory inspection for long-term leased chassis but not require inspections for motor-carrier owned units. The only distinction between the two types of chassis is who owns them,” IICL stated, “This undue and unreasonably discriminatory practice is having a chilling effect on the ability of the leasing companies to lease chassis to motor carriers.”
That charge is borne out anecdotally by a trucking company executive in Southern California that took out a long-term lease for chassis as the rates are much more favorable. The executive ended up returning the chassis to the leasing company and leasing the equipment on the higher daily rate because his drivers were being held up by the ILWU inspections.
The PMA and ILWU suspected that the mandatory inspections would precipitate challenges on the legality of the requirement. The new contract states that the PMA and ILWU would ask the FMC to review the requirement, and if the commission suspects something is illegal, the PMA and ILWU would modify the requirement to remove the illegality. The IICL said the PMA and ILWU have not yet requested that the FMC review the inspection requirement, and a
Feds asked to prevent alleged illegal ILWU chassis inspections Page 3 of 3
spokeswoman for the commission said no such review request has crossed her desk. Neither the PMA nor ILWU would comment on the matter.
The IICL is also asking the FMC to look into the legality of the ILWU chassis inspections under the terms of a discussion agreement the commission recently approved that allows West Coast terminal operators to cooperate among themselves in order to improve efficiency.
The Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement includes the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Agreement and the West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association. The individual members of both organizations are also members of the PMA and are therefore parties to the ILWU coastwide contract.
In filing for FMC approval of the the Pacific Ports operational agreement, the terminal operators and shipping lines agreed that nothing in the discussion agreement would allow them to impose rates, charges or other fees on non-parties.
The chassis leasing companies are not parties to the PMA-ILWU coastwide contract, yet the contract authorizes the ILWU to perform repairs to their allegedly defective chassis “without the prior knowledge, consent or supervision of the chassis owner lessors.”
As a practical matter, the chassis lessors “have no ability to determine that the repair was necessary or that the work was in fact performed,” the IICL stated. The cost of the parts, repairs and ILWU labor “are charged to the chassis lessors who own the chassis and who are not party to the agreement,” IICL stated.
Even though trucker-owned chassis are exempt from the inspection requirement, ILWU mechanics require that some drivers verify proof of motor carrier ownership. “That is, in and of itself, a significant burden on the motor carrier. The proof of ownership is not required by law and it results in significant delays to the motor carriers and the drivers. In addition, every chassis has a small box affixed that contains the chassis registration card,” the IICL stated.
Whalen of ATA said the ILWU inspections and requests for verification of tucker-owned chassis will continue to cause delays and impose extra costs on motor carriers and drivers until the appropriate federal agencies take a stand. “There are a lot of frustrated drivers out there being harangued for heaven knows how long,” he said.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.
Trucking Logistics › Drayage Port News
Source URL:Tags: ilwuContractPMA
President Barack Obama's administration could soon increase wages for millions of American workers by doubling the salary levels that would require employers to pay overtime. The bold move, to be discussed later this week, would not need approval from the Republican-controlled Congress.
The Labor Department could propose the rule as early as this week; it would raise the current overtime threshold of $23,660 to an expected range of $45,000 to $52,000, Politico reported Monday.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor Movement
The National Transportation Safety Board on June 8 issued a recommendation that collision avoidance systems be standard equipment on all new cars and commercial trucks. The recommendation was contained in a new NTSB investigative report, “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes,” that said deployment of the technology would prevent or lessen the severity of rear-end crashes, mitigating more than 80% of the 1,700 deaths and half-million injuries each year in the United States.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
We Must Stand Up for Airline Employees
Don Harvel is a retired Air Force brigadier general, a member of the Air Line Pilots Association and a Union Veterans Council board member.
More than 60% of the current pilots working at Delta Air Lines are veterans. I also was very fortunate to start my aviation career as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
During most of my career at Delta, I also have served as a member of the Air National Guard. I flew combat missions as a C-130 pilot in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I also participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). Since 1986, I have worked for Delta and have been a proud member of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Earlier this year, I was honored to be named as a member of the Union Veterans Council (UVC) as a board member.
At this time, my job and the jobs of other U.S. airline employees (and veterans) are being threatened by the clear violation of the existing Open Skies agreements by three Middle East air carriers. The three carriers are being subsidized by their governments. Aviation trade agreements, known as Open Skies, have existed for more than 20 years, and the United States has agreements with 115 other nations. These agreements have worked wonderfully for U.S. airlines, consumers and aviation employees. ALPA is calling on the Obama administration to open consultations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as provided in the current Open Skies agreements. The consultations must address violations by the Middle East carriers and impose a freeze on the expansion of passenger service from these countries while the consultations are conducted.
Evidence gathered during a global two-year investigation shows that Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates airline received $42 billion in quantifiable subsidies and other unfair benefits in the past decade.
We can stop this! This issue is being debated in the U.S. Senate over the next few days. Please contact your senator and tell her or him to support the current Open Skies agreement. It is not fair for the three Gulf carriers to use their subsidized advantage to take significant market share from the U.S. and other countries' airlines. The Middle East carriers are not meaningfully creating new demand, which is the only way there would be net benefits for U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy in the long term. This merely shifts the economic benefits and jobs that come from serving the U.S. market from the United States to the Gulf.
I welcome and encourage fair competition within air carriers serving the United States. The massive subsidies received by the three Middle East carriers distort the world market and tilt the playing field drastically against the air carriers that abide by the Open Skies rules. We have no choice but to come together to defend the jobs of our U.S. airline employees.Tags: pilotscompetition
Bill Would Authorize Governors to Intervene in Port Strikes
Bill Would Authorize Governors to Intervene in Port Strikes
A bill introduced on June 5 would expand the powers granted by the Taft-Hartley Act regarding labor disputes at U.S. ports.
The Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act would grant to state governors the intervention powers currently reserved for the President “whenever a port labor dispute is causing economic harm” and it would define “labor slowdowns” as well as strikes as triggers for invoking Taft-Hartley provisions by the President or by governors.
More specifically, the measure would enable governors when faced with “slowdowns, strikes, or lockouts at ports in their states” to convene a board of inquiry. Once such a board reports, governors could petition federal courts to enjoin against job actions rather than wait for the President to act under Taft-Hartley.
The PORTS Act is co-sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). In a statement, they said the bill was needed because “labor disputes at our ports disrupt trade and hurt local and national economies,” and noted that “Many economists, including the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, cited the most recent West Coast ports dispute as a primary cause of a 0.7 percent decline in GDP in the first quarter of 2015.”
“This year’s slowdown at West Coast ports demonstrated the disastrous consequences that labor disputes at our ports can have on businesses, consumers, and the entire economy,” said Sen. Gardner. “Labor union bosses should not be allowed to hold the economy hostage, nor should they be allowed to use the livelihoods and jobs of millions of Americans as bargaining chips. This Act would empower local leaders, who are most affected by these port disruptions, to apply pressure to their state governments to bring these damaging disputes to an end.”
“A labor dispute at one of our ports can cause significant damage to U.S. employers and to our economy – the recent nine-month dispute at the West Coast ports made it difficult for auto manufacturers and suppliers in Tennessee to keep production lines running,” Sen. Alexander said. “This legislation will empower state governors to take steps to resolve port labor disputes and avoid economic disaster if the president is unwilling to act.
Last month, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ratified by an overwhelming margin the tentative contract agreement reached in February-- after more than nine months of negotiations-- with the Pacific Maritime Association. The new five-year contract will cover 13,000 workers at all 29 West Coast ports.
Per the co-sponsors, the bill is supported by an array of business lobbies, including the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Agriculture Transportation Coalition.
“The nation’s retailers and supply chain community wholeheartedly endorse and support the PORTS Act,” said David French, National Retail Federation senior vp for government relations. “Reforming the Taft-Hartley Act to empower governors to intervene in a port disruption will help the nation’s supply chain stakeholders and the millions of American jobs and workers who rely on the efficient flow of goods through our nation’s ports.”
Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the PORTS Act “will not interfere with the labor management negotiations necessary, and appropriate, to resolve disputes between the parties, but will provide a type of failsafe mechanism to limit damages to outside parties through revisions of the existing Taft-Hartley emergency procedures.”
“The U.S. cannot afford another collapse of our gateway container ports,” said Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition. “We cannot standby and wait for U.S. West Coast ports, which have now shut down twice over the past 13 years, to do it again when the recently approved ILWU- PMA contract expires in just four years, in 2019.”Tags: port strikesAnti-labor
The ILWU Library and Archives website is a digital collection of the some the materials in the ILWU library. The website allows you to browse through digital version of the ILWU Dispatcher newspaper, Voice of the Federation, and the Waterfont Worker.
New York court guts a groundbreaking health-care fund that would have changed taxi drivers’ lives
By Lydia DePillis April 16, 2014
These guys' lives aren't easy. (Flickr user hof_paris under a Creative Commons Attribution License)
Harminder Singh, a taxi driver who's worked nights in New York City since 2001, says he knew the job was making him sick.
He felt fit enough, even as a diabetic in his 50s, to heave luggage out of his trunk and onto the sidewalk. But a few years ago, his blood pressure started rising, and he started to feel weakness in his right arm. A doctor told him that his kidneys were beginning to fail, and that he should take it easy.
"He said, 'You know your work is no good, I think this is coming from your job,'" Singh says. "But I cannot stay home, because I got to do something." So he kept driving to support his wife and two sons -- up until this February, when things got bad enough that his doctor told him he'd have to go into the hospital within the next couple of days. He's been on dialysis three days a week since, and is still too weak to drive safely.
Medicare covers Singh's medical bills. But because he's an independent operator who leases a taxi medallion from an individual owner, he doesn't have disability insurance, which would compensate for his lost income. Since he'll be disabled for a long time, he's applied for Social Security benefits, and the request is still pending. So now, he has no way to pay the $1,400 rent on his apartment in Richmond Hill, Queens, other than the kindness of friends.
"I need help right away," says Singh, a tall, lean man who now moves cautiously, slowly. "I don't know how long they are going to take."
Until late last week, help seemed close. In 2012, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission had voted to take six cents on every fare for a fund that would help with exactly these kinds of situations, providing upwards of $300 per week in assistance as soon as a driver could produce a doctor's note. The money started flowing in February, and Singh was just waiting for newly installed Mayor Bill DeBlasio to greenlight a contract for the fund's administrator, who could then begin doling out cash.
And then, on Friday, Singh's hopes fizzled: A New York State Supreme Court judge struck down the TLC's rule, in a decision that may limit how independent workers -- who are exposed to the most economic risk and enjoy the fewest legal protections -- can collectively organize for benefits that are otherwise beyond their reach.
To understand the implications here, you need a little backstory. The health-care fund is a direct outgrowth of pressure by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a 16-year-old group that claims 17,000 out of the city's 50,000 registered drivers as dues-paying members. The Alliance estimates that about half of New York City's taxi drivers don't have health insurance, since there's no employer to provide it, and projected that many wouldn't be able to afford even the plans offered on an exchange when the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
So the fund is designed to fill in the gaps: Along with prompt disability payments, it contracts with a group of vendors to provide dental and vision coverage, mental health counseling, a 24-hour physician hotline, a small life insurance policy, and help with problems that come specifically from driving 12 hours a day, like back and neck pain. That would allow drivers to opt for the most basic plans available, and let the fund cover the rest.
There's at least one example of contractors organizing to buy health insurance: The Freelancer's Union, which started offering plans before Obamacare took effect. But the approach of creating a communal benefits pool to supplement commercial plans by levying independent workers in a regulated industry is actually unique, and an example of how alternative labor groups can provide services for people who aren't represented by traditional unions. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance also won the contract to administer the fund, and executive director Bhairavi Desai says cities like Philadelphia and Chicago were interested in the model as well.
"I just think that the fund would begin to change the dynamic," says Desai. "I think it could be the first institution that would really put labor at the table in a significant way."
The court decision is a serious blow, and makes several assumptions. In her nine-page decision, Judge Margaret Chan writes that "if obtaining health insurance is the goal here," the Affordable Care Act contains provisions that would perform the same functions proposed by the taxi workers' fund. But as outlined by Desai, the fund is mainly meant to supplement health insurance with services that otherwise make plans cost more. Also, Chan cites the American Association of People with Disabilities to argue that Obamacare already provides disability insurance, which isn't true -- it only bans discrimination on the basis of a disability in selling health insurance, but doesn't replace someone's income in the event that he becomes disabled.
"To me, it was just such a hateful decision," Desai says. "It's really missing the point of the program."
A TLC spokesman says the agency is still considering whether to appeal the ruling. In the meantime, Singh is gathering documents for his Medicaid appointment next month, which will decide whether he gets food stamps, and waiting on a decision from the Social Security office.
"I like to work, because I'm very strong. But this is not an excuse -- I am really helpless," Singh says. He hasn't been able to build up any savings over 13 years of driving, earning $800 on his good weeks, and is grateful that medical bills are taken care of. "But what about the house?" he asks. "How can you survive yourself? This is the big question."
Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.Tags: taxi drivers allianceNY