Feed aggregator

Malta: Journalists unions condemn murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

China: Min. pay rises trumpeted prior to Party Congress; rates barely catch up with increased costs

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

Global: Govts have tools: Now deliver an international agreement on modern slavery

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

Pacific Coast Pensioners Celebrate 50th Anniversary

ILWU - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 16:05

The 50th Annual Convention of the ILWU’s Pacific Coast Pensioners Association (PCPA) was held September 18-20 in Long Beach.

The 50th Annual Convention of the ILWU’s Pacific Coast Pensioners Association (PCPA) was held September 18-20 in Long Beach, California where delegates marked their important organizational milestone. The convention was hosted by the Southern California Pensioners.

Golden Anniversary

“This year’s event is extra-special because it marks our ‘Golden Anniversary’ in honor of the 1967 founding of our group with help from ILWU President Harry Bridges, who encouraged us to come together, grow and become a vital part of the ILWU, which we continue to do,” said PCPA President Greg Mitre.

Record Attendance

The Southern California Pensioners Group rolled out the red carpet for all the delegates, officials and special guests who attended the event. Record-breaking attendance of over 250 people were packed into 4 days of events that began with a spirited PCPA Executive Board meeting on Sunday where issues were discussed and debated in front of a large group of observers.

Bags full of history

Sunday was also check-in day when delegates and guests first met the large team of volunteers composed of Convention Committee members who helped everyone register and receive their official 50th Anniversary Convention bag filled full of goodies. Included were boxes of See’s candy (union-made), a book of remarkable poems written by Jerry Brady, the Poet Laureate of the ILWU Pensioners. Also included was a beautiful hardcover book: “The Port of Los Angeles, An Illustrated History from 1850 to 1945,” which was provided courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

Delegates and members meet

A reception was sponsored by Local 13 members on Sunday evening to welcome delegates, allow them to mingle with old friends and meet with active members and officers, including Local President Mark Mendoza and Vice President Gary Hererra. The event was held on the beautiful grounds of the Maya Hotel in Long Beach, which served as convention headquarters for the next four days. Drinks were served along with countless appetizers and a popular taco bar. Members of the ILWU Auxiliary hosted a Hospitality Room that became “the place to be and be seen” during the welcome reception and it remained open during the following four days, providing delegates and guests with complimentary beverages, fresh fruit, snacks and a place to meet, relax, and catch-up with old friends.

Opening with three anthems

Monday marked the official opening of the Convention, beginning with the National Anthems of the U.S., Canada and Panama. Words for each anthem were displayed on large screens which encouraged everyone to join in and sing words that were previously unknown to many in the audience.

Honoring the departed

A somber moment of silence followed the anthems, in honor of Pensioners who had passed-on since the last convention. Included was a special tribute to George Cobbs Jr., well-known and much-loved pensioner from the S.F. Bay area who helped countless ILWU members win the struggles against drug and alcohol addiction during his lifetime. A complete list of the dozens more pensioners who were honored by delegates after passing during the previous year are contained in the Convention’s official minutes and record.

 Officials in attendance

An introduction of ILWU officials and special guests who attended the convention was the next order of business. ILWU International President Bob McEllrath, Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams, Vice President Ray Familathe were all introduced, along with Coast Committeemen Cam Williams and Frank Ponce De Leon. Also attending were a dozen local union presidents from up and down the coast, each of whom was introduced, welcomed and invited to deliver brief remarks during the proceedings.

Overview of the Port

The Convention was held along the waterfront of America’s largest Port complex that encompasses both the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, which are administered under separate political jurisdictions. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka delivered the convention’s first major address with opening remarks and a power point presentation that emphasized growing consolidation within the global shipping industry that now has fewer but more powerful multinational players.

Time to learn and enjoy

Monday afternoon was dedicated to some fun and an educational tour. A fleet of modern buses took delegates on an informative Labor History tour with guides on each bus who noted points of interest, emphasizing dates of important longshore and other labor struggles. The final stop included a tour of Local 13’s new dispatch hall that is expected to open soon.

Catalina King tour

The highlight on Monday was a memorable cruise, dinner, and dance aboard the historic Catalina King vessel that accommodated 300 guests who were wined and dined while enjoying a fascinating narrated tour of both the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach. Providing facts and details about the Port of Long Beach was PCPA’s own President, Greg Mitre, who at one time used to work as a Captain of the Catalina King. Details about the Port of Los Angeles were provided by Port Director Gene Seroka, who was onboard to give an impressive account of the Port’s operations. Dinner served onboard during the tour featured a fabulous BBQ selection of ribs, chicken and brisket, provided by retired ILWU crane operator Marvin Hardley & his amazing family. Live music and dancing moved many onto the floor thanks to the popular local band, “Time Machine,” that performed hits until the Catalina King returned to her berth in Long Beach.

International guests

Panama Solidarity: Panama Canal Pilots President Londor Rankin gave a
detailed update on the ILWU’s Panama Canal Division.

Tuesday provided delegates a chance to hear from distinguished guests who travelled thousands of miles to attend, beginning with Londor Rankin, President of the Panama Canal Pilots Union. Rankin was responsible for initiating contact many years ago with Vice President Familathe that eventually led to the formation of the ILWU’s Panama Canal Division. Captain Rankin, gave a detailed report regarding the newly-expanded canal that recently opened – along with some important labor and safety struggles between workers and their employers in the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Rankin delivered good news about growth in the Panama Canal Division, thanks to a new group of stevedores who are ready to affiliate. Another very interesting report was presented by Raul Feuillet, who is also a Panama Canal pilot and President of the Panama Canal Pilots Credit Union. He explained how important the credit union has become to provide retirement savings to retirees there who would otherwise receive only modest Social Security payments. Following the Panama reports, brothers and  sisters from Canada and Alaska were welcomed and presented reports. Canadian pensioners continue to have a strong program and good participation. The Alaska report was focused on the dramatic growth and organizing that has taken place during the past year, making them now the fastest growing region of ILWU pensioners.

Overview from “down under”

Following lunch, President Barney Sanders of the Australian pensioners delivered a rousing speech that had many listening closely to better appreciate his sharp wit, charming accent and unusual Aussie expressions. As President of the Maritime Union of Australia Veterans (the Australian term for “Pensioners”), Sanders also travelled thousands of miles from his home in Brisbane to deliver a blistering account of labor struggles in Australian ports involving automation, mass lay-offs and firings, along with employer demands to “casualize” the maritime workforce. He noted that workers down under are facing the same ordeals as workers elsewhere, because the same global employers are increasingly controlling operations in ports around the world. He pointed to the current effort by big employers in Australia to eliminate local workers from staffing coastal vessels, similar to efforts underway in the U.S. to eliminate the Jones Act, which requires U.S. vessels serving domestic ports to hire U.S. crews.

Awards Tuesday

Stranahan Award: Southern California
Pensioner Herman Moreno was the recipient of this year’s Jesse and Lois Stranahan Award, which is given to an individual who represents the values of the ILWU and goes beyond the call of duty.

Tuesday night featured a big awards banquet. After a delicious dinner, several awards were presented, beginning with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who received the “friendly politician” award. Hahn has been a great friend of the ILWU for many decades, beginning with her service as a Los Angeles City Council member, then U.S. Congresswoman, and now County Supervisor. George Cobbs Jr., was honored posthumously with a special award for his many decades of service to the ILWU, particularly his leadership in the Drug & Alcohol Recovery Program. Next up was the Jesse and Lois Stranahan Award, which is given to an individual who represents the values of the ILWU and goes beyond the call of duty. Southern California Pensioner Herman Moreno received this year’s award from PCPA President Greg Mitre who fought back tears as he explained how Herman has been a lifelong mentor to him and many others.

Special honors

Honoring the President: ILWU International President Robert McEllrath (right) was given a special award from the convention by PCPA President Greg Mitre (center). The award recognized McEllrath for his dedication and service to the ILWU. Southern California Pensioner and PCPA Poet Laureate, Jerry Brady, (left) composed an epic poem for McEllrath.

The last award of the evening was presented to International President Bob McEllrath, who was honored for his years of dedication and service to the ILWU. McEllrath was first presented with an epic poem composed by the ILWU Pensioner Poet Laureate, Jerry Brady, then thanked repeatedly for serving in so many different capacities over the years, including Coast Committeeman, International Vice President, and his current post as International President. At the previous ILWU Convention, McEllrath announced he would not seek another term and that he was looking forward to becoming a pensioner soon – reminding the Award Banquet audience that he will soon be joining their ranks. After receiving more thanks and praise from the pensioners for his  lifetimes of service and support,  McEllrath was presented with a special gift that he is expected to utilize during his upcoming retirement.

During his earlier speech, McEllrath said: “This is the last time I’ll be speaking to you as your International President – and the next time I’m here, it will be as Big Bob the pensioner.” McEllrath said the Pensioners remain a critical part of the union, and noted, “We’re all still in the struggle and when a union brother needs help, we’ll be there.” Conclusion, resolutions & Portland Wednesday marked the culmination of the Convention, including the election of PCPA officers. Elected to serve without objection by acclimation were President Greg Mitre, Vice President Lawrence Thibeaux, Recording Secretary Kenzie Mullen and Treasurer Christine Gordon.  Several resolutions were considered with all passing unanimously on Tuesday:

  • Support for new “Medicare for All” legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, California Senator Kamala Harris, and others;
  • Support for Alaska Pensioners including a visit by Vice President Lawrence Thibeaux to attend their upcoming convention on October 4;
  • A letter urging the Coast Committee to continue doing everything possible to implement improve-ments for pension benefits to surviving spouses;
  • Support for a documentary film effort to interview 50 waterfront families living and working in LA and Long Beach;
  • Opposition to President Trump’s racist remarks and hate groups he has encouraged;
  • Directing the PCPA to implement a 2009 resolution to create an Education Committee.

Prints of a group photo were distributed on Wednesday morning to each delegate, thanks to efforts on the previous day by Local 13 member Robin Doyno. President Mitre thanked all who attended the event and brought the entire committee of volunteers up on stage, and they received a rousing round of applause. After announcing the next ILWU-PCPA Convention will be held in Portland, Oregon in September of 2018, delegates adjourned and headed home.

Categories: Unions

fleet memo for October 14 2017

IBU - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:13
.
Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for October 7 2017

IBU - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:11
.
Categories: Unions

Indonesia: Dockworker demands pushed by unions in Indonesia and Madagascar

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Business Recorder
Categories: Labor News

USA: Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico.

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NY Times
Categories: Labor News

Réforme du code du travail : la victoire des dockers October 19, the day of the next demonstration at the call of the CGT.

Current News - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 12:36

Réforme du code du travail : la victoire des dockers
October 19, the day of the next demonstration at the call of the CGT.
https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/politique/reforme-du-code-du-travail-la-... Amélie Bonté, France Bleu Normandie (Seine-Maritime - Eure) et France BleuVendredi 13 octobre 2017 à 17:02

Au Havre, près de 2 500 dockers travaillent sur le port © Radio France - Amélie Bonté
La Fédéréation Nationale des ports et docks CGT a obtenu après plusieurs réunions que son accord de branche prime toujours sur les accords d'entreprises, alors que les ordonnances signées mettant en place la réforme du code du travail permettent d'inverser cette hiérarchie des normes.

La réforme du code du travail ne s'appliquera pas aux dockers. En tout cas, une partie de cette réforme, celle qui met en place l'inversion de la hiérarchie des normes dont on a beaucoup parlé et qui a fait bondir les syndicats. La fédération Nationale des ports et docks vient d'obtenir une victoire face au gouvernement : que sa convention collective prime sur les accords d'entreprises.

2.500 dockers concernés au Havre

Les dockers sont en général de toute les manifestations au Havre. Souvent redoutés d'ailleurs par les autorités locales et les acteurs du Port car ils peuvent à eux seuls bloquer facilement la ville et le premier port Français qu'est Le Havre pour le trafic de conteneurs. Ce fût d'ailleurs le cas l'année dernière, régulièrement, durant 4 mois avec la loi El Khomri. C'est donc une victoire pour cette profession, qui annonce par communiqué que sa convention collective primera sur des accords d'entreprises. Pourtant la réforme du code du travail c'est bien l'inverse et le gouvernement a accepté de faire cette exception, au terme de plusieurs réunions entre ministères des transports, du travail et des organisations patronales. Pour justifier cette exception, CGT et gouvernement avancent la spécificité du "monde portuaire" déjà acté via deux textes de lois, en 2008 et en 2015.

Impossible d'avoir une réaction notamment du secrétaire général de la CGT dockers du Havre, à part le communiqué de presse envoyé, ils ont décidé de ne pas répondre aux questions. La réforme du code du travail, en tout cas cette partie là, ce n'est donc pas pour les dockers, en revanche, ils disent vouloir continuer, par solidarité à s'opposer aux ordonnances de la loi travail qu'ils qualifient de "régression sociale". Les dockers devraient donc faire partie des cortèges le 19 octobre, jour de la prochaine manifestation à l'appel de la CGT.

The National Federation of Ports and Docks CGT has obtained after several meetings that its branch agreement always takes precedence over company agreements, whereas the signed ordinances putting in place the reform of the labor code make it possible to reverse this hierarchy of standards.

The reform of the labor code will not apply to dockworkers. In any case, part of this reform, the one that puts in place the reversal of the hierarchy of norms that has been much talked about and that has made the unions jump. The national federation of ports and docks has just won a victory against the government: that its collective agreement takes precedence over company agreements.

2,500 dockers involved in Le Havre

The dockers are generally from all the demonstrations in Le Havre. Often feared by the local authorities and the players of the Port because they can easily block easily the city and the first French port that is Le Havre for the traffic of containers. This was the case last year, regularly, for 4 months with the El Khomri law. It is therefore a victory for this profession, which announces by press release that its collective agreement will take precedence over company agreements. Yet the reform of the labor code is the reverse and the government has agreed to make this exception after several meetings between ministries of transport, labor and employers' organizations. To justify this exception, CGT and government put forward the specificity of the "port world" already registered through two texts of laws, in 2008 and 2015.

Unable to have a reaction from the general secretary of the CGT Dockers of Le Havre, apart from the press release sent, they decided not to answer the questions. The reform of the labor code, in any case this part, is not for the dockers, on the other hand, they say they want to continue, by solidarity to oppose the ordinances of the labor law which they call " regression ". The dockers should therefore be part of the processions on October 19, the day of the next demonstration at the call of the CGT.

Tags: CGTFrench dockers
Categories: Labor News

Bay Area ILWU locals help North Bay fire victims

ILWU - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:02

In order to provide support and relief to the many fire victims in the North Bay, all ILWU Bay Area locals are collecting donations at the ILWU Dispatch hall at 400 North Point St in San Francisco. SSA Matson has generously donated a 40 ft. container for use in this relief project. It will be delivered the week of Oct 16th.

Please give what you can to help provide support and comfort to those who have lost so much. Essential supplies include clothes, blankets, new pillows, new underwear, packaged prepared foods, diapers, baby food and water.

Categories: Unions

Georgia: Georgian workers beaten by security guard

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Global: Unions Call on IMF and World Bank to Support Global Wage Rise

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Kyrgyzstan: Trade unions vow to protect labour rights ahead of Sunday’s elections

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

Could this study explain why DC Metro is losing riders to Uber and Lyft? Downsizing Public Transit Leads To Privatization

Current News - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:05

Could this study explain why DC Metro is losing riders to Uber and Lyft? Downsizing Public Transit Leads To Privatization
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/10/11/could-this...

By Faiz Siddiqui October 11 at 12:00 PM

New data from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer shows Uber is often a faster way around the District than Metro. (Mike Blake / Reuters)
Metro is the most efficient means of commuting to and from the D.C. suburbs, but when it comes to intra-city travel — trips beginning and ending in the District — Uber is often the faster way around, according to a new analysis from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer. And though ride-hailing is almost always more expensive than public transit, lower-cost pooling options make it nearly as affordable to hail a car in the District as to take Metro, while adding only marginally to travel times.

According to the study, which examined travel times during afternoon rush, the duration of a commute on Metro and Uber is often similar. But variables, such as Metro delays or the night and weekend service reductions so familiar to riders, put the transit system at a disadvantage, while heavier-than-usual traffic can set back ride-hailing users.

Consider this: When the wait for a Metro train is 10 minutes, Uber is the quicker option in 99 of 114 scenarios, according to the research. (During off-peak hours, Metro trains arrive about every 12 minutes; after 9:30 p.m., the frequency is reduced to every 15 to 20 minutes, making a 10-minute wait more likely.) And even during rush hour, when service is at its peak levels, trips that would normally require a transfer on Metro generally favor Uber, according to the analysis.

Still, the study shows, when train service is frequent and reliable, Metro is the fastest way around the region. In a scenario where trains arrived every three minutes — assuming a 10-minute walk to the station — Metro matched or beat out Uber in 67 of 114 trips, according to the analysis. Trains currently arrive every eight minutes across the system, with more frequent service on the Red Line from Grosvenor to Silver Spring.

Metro is fastest for getting to the suburbs. But for travel within the District, or trips requiring a transfer, Uber is often faster and nearly as affordable, according to the study. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).
“Metro is especially efficient for longer trips from downtown to the suburbs that do not require transfers,” the study says.

The comparison solely encompassed Uber because the ride-hailing company has made a trove of data available to city planners that makes its travel times easy to weigh against Metro’s. The app launched in January, Uber Movement, contains travel times and congestion data for select cities. Metro’s travel times were pulled from its online trip planner.

[Uber’s new tool is a glimpse of how much it knows about cities. Planners want the full picture.]

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Metro essentially agreed with the study’s conclusions on long-distance travel but disagreed that the system falls short when it comes to trips within the District.

“While we have not analyzed the report or its assumptions, we agree that Metrorail is often faster and more cost effective than other options,” Metro spokesman Richard L. Jordan said. “In fact, Metrorail’s cost per mile is less than Uber or taxi services, regardless of the trip distance, making it an excellent value.”

In a statement, an Uber spokesman said the ride-hailing service doesn’t see Metro as a competitor.

“Uber has long believed that the Metro is, and will continue to be, the backbone of the region’s transportation system,” the spokesman said. “We are proud to provide first- [and] last-mile options that extend the reach of the public transportation infrastructure hundreds of thousands of Metro commuters rely on every day.”

Researchers said they chose the 114 routes in the analysis because they were common — with a transfer-free trips from Gallery Place or Metro Center to nearly every station in the system. Routes also included trips to common job centers — such as Foggy Bottom and Navy Yard — nightlife hubs such as Shaw, or residential and commercial areas like Columbia Heights. The researchers admit they “purposefully included some trips” where they thought Uber would beat Metro to fully demonstrate the scale of differences in travel times.

Of course, there’s often a simple way to avoid a time-consuming transfer on Metrorail: the bus. Jordan said it was “surprising” that the study didn’t “fully consider” the vast Metrobus network, as buses carry more riders than the rail system in the District — at a cost of $2 per trip.
In fact, the study’s authors did acknowledge that many of the points entailing longer commutes on Metrorail were easily connected by Metrobus.

“With Metro’s spoke-and-hub configuration, it’s not surprising that trips requiring a transfer that have origins and destinations relatively close to each other are quicker in an Uber than on Metro,” the analysis said, noting how the X2 bus, for example, links Union Station and Minnesota Avenue, and the H4 bus connects Columbia Heights and Cleveland Park. “Some folks have their own work-arounds, and might bike between these locations. All of this is to say that even if Uber is faster than Metro for trips with a transfer, there are other modes of transit a person can use to make this sort of trip.”

Uber was often the faster option for trips within the District. Here are the 10 routes where Uber is fastest compared to Metro. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).

Metro was the faster option when there were no transfers or trips extended to the suburbs. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).
As the authors point out, nights and weekends are likely when transit users in the District would find ride-hailing more appealing. A trip between two residential and entertainment hubs is an example. When the wait for a train is 10 minutes, the research says, the Metro trip from Columbia Heights to Eastern Market takes 47 minutes. The Uber trip clocks in at 38 minutes— nine minutes faster. If the wait for a train had only been three minutes, the authors point out, Metro would have been the faster option.

Cost is another consideration. Saving nine minutes by using Uber will cost a rider, or group of riders, an extra $10 total. But if the customer is cost-conscious, they might opt for UberPOOL, which would still take them to Eastern Market faster — in 43 minutes — for a dollar more. The study assumes an extra five minutes for UberPOOL, consistent with Uber’s predictions.

For 74 of 114 trips, the analysis concludes, Uber costs no greater than $5 more than what a rider would pay for the same Metro trip. But $5 can be a lofty sum for riders on a system where the max fare is $6.

And the current costs aren’t guaranteed.

No matter how many seats are filled in an Uber or Lyft, one thing that’s clear is that ride-hailing isn’t a feasible replacement for mass transit — as the companies themselves admit. While an Uber ride might be faster in some cases, a single Metro train can whisk more than 1,000 people from the District to the Maryland or Virginia suburbs in a matter of minutes. To attempt the same with Uber or Lyft would be a guaranteed recipe for Gridlock.“It is unclear how long Uber prices will remain this low,” the analysis notes. “Several news outlets have reported that Uber subsidizes its rides with money from investors, meaning current fares might not reflect the full cost of a ride.”

In a statement, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt said the study underscored the importance of finding a long-term funding solution for Metro, to ensure the system is safe and reliable.

“When Metro is reliable it’s the most cost effective option for riders and why it is so important the region come together on a long term funding solution,” his office said in a statement.

Tags: Public TransitDC MTAprivatization
Categories: Labor News

Could this study explain why DC Metro is losing riders to Uber and Lyft? Downsizing Public Transit Leads To Privatization

Current News - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:05

Could this study explain why DC Metro is losing riders to Uber and Lyft? Downsizing Public Transit Leads To Privatization
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/10/11/could-this...

By Faiz Siddiqui October 11 at 12:00 PM

New data from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer shows Uber is often a faster way around the District than Metro. (Mike Blake / Reuters)
Metro is the most efficient means of commuting to and from the D.C. suburbs, but when it comes to intra-city travel — trips beginning and ending in the District — Uber is often the faster way around, according to a new analysis from the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer. And though ride-hailing is almost always more expensive than public transit, lower-cost pooling options make it nearly as affordable to hail a car in the District as to take Metro, while adding only marginally to travel times.

According to the study, which examined travel times during afternoon rush, the duration of a commute on Metro and Uber is often similar. But variables, such as Metro delays or the night and weekend service reductions so familiar to riders, put the transit system at a disadvantage, while heavier-than-usual traffic can set back ride-hailing users.

Consider this: When the wait for a Metro train is 10 minutes, Uber is the quicker option in 99 of 114 scenarios, according to the research. (During off-peak hours, Metro trains arrive about every 12 minutes; after 9:30 p.m., the frequency is reduced to every 15 to 20 minutes, making a 10-minute wait more likely.) And even during rush hour, when service is at its peak levels, trips that would normally require a transfer on Metro generally favor Uber, according to the analysis.

Still, the study shows, when train service is frequent and reliable, Metro is the fastest way around the region. In a scenario where trains arrived every three minutes — assuming a 10-minute walk to the station — Metro matched or beat out Uber in 67 of 114 trips, according to the analysis. Trains currently arrive every eight minutes across the system, with more frequent service on the Red Line from Grosvenor to Silver Spring.

Metro is fastest for getting to the suburbs. But for travel within the District, or trips requiring a transfer, Uber is often faster and nearly as affordable, according to the study. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).
“Metro is especially efficient for longer trips from downtown to the suburbs that do not require transfers,” the study says.

The comparison solely encompassed Uber because the ride-hailing company has made a trove of data available to city planners that makes its travel times easy to weigh against Metro’s. The app launched in January, Uber Movement, contains travel times and congestion data for select cities. Metro’s travel times were pulled from its online trip planner.

[Uber’s new tool is a glimpse of how much it knows about cities. Planners want the full picture.]

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Metro essentially agreed with the study’s conclusions on long-distance travel but disagreed that the system falls short when it comes to trips within the District.

“While we have not analyzed the report or its assumptions, we agree that Metrorail is often faster and more cost effective than other options,” Metro spokesman Richard L. Jordan said. “In fact, Metrorail’s cost per mile is less than Uber or taxi services, regardless of the trip distance, making it an excellent value.”

In a statement, an Uber spokesman said the ride-hailing service doesn’t see Metro as a competitor.

“Uber has long believed that the Metro is, and will continue to be, the backbone of the region’s transportation system,” the spokesman said. “We are proud to provide first- [and] last-mile options that extend the reach of the public transportation infrastructure hundreds of thousands of Metro commuters rely on every day.”

Researchers said they chose the 114 routes in the analysis because they were common — with a transfer-free trips from Gallery Place or Metro Center to nearly every station in the system. Routes also included trips to common job centers — such as Foggy Bottom and Navy Yard — nightlife hubs such as Shaw, or residential and commercial areas like Columbia Heights. The researchers admit they “purposefully included some trips” where they thought Uber would beat Metro to fully demonstrate the scale of differences in travel times.

Of course, there’s often a simple way to avoid a time-consuming transfer on Metrorail: the bus. Jordan said it was “surprising” that the study didn’t “fully consider” the vast Metrobus network, as buses carry more riders than the rail system in the District — at a cost of $2 per trip.
In fact, the study’s authors did acknowledge that many of the points entailing longer commutes on Metrorail were easily connected by Metrobus.

“With Metro’s spoke-and-hub configuration, it’s not surprising that trips requiring a transfer that have origins and destinations relatively close to each other are quicker in an Uber than on Metro,” the analysis said, noting how the X2 bus, for example, links Union Station and Minnesota Avenue, and the H4 bus connects Columbia Heights and Cleveland Park. “Some folks have their own work-arounds, and might bike between these locations. All of this is to say that even if Uber is faster than Metro for trips with a transfer, there are other modes of transit a person can use to make this sort of trip.”

Uber was often the faster option for trips within the District. Here are the 10 routes where Uber is fastest compared to Metro. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).

Metro was the faster option when there were no transfers or trips extended to the suburbs. (Screenshot: D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer).
As the authors point out, nights and weekends are likely when transit users in the District would find ride-hailing more appealing. A trip between two residential and entertainment hubs is an example. When the wait for a train is 10 minutes, the research says, the Metro trip from Columbia Heights to Eastern Market takes 47 minutes. The Uber trip clocks in at 38 minutes— nine minutes faster. If the wait for a train had only been three minutes, the authors point out, Metro would have been the faster option.

Cost is another consideration. Saving nine minutes by using Uber will cost a rider, or group of riders, an extra $10 total. But if the customer is cost-conscious, they might opt for UberPOOL, which would still take them to Eastern Market faster — in 43 minutes — for a dollar more. The study assumes an extra five minutes for UberPOOL, consistent with Uber’s predictions.

For 74 of 114 trips, the analysis concludes, Uber costs no greater than $5 more than what a rider would pay for the same Metro trip. But $5 can be a lofty sum for riders on a system where the max fare is $6.

And the current costs aren’t guaranteed.

No matter how many seats are filled in an Uber or Lyft, one thing that’s clear is that ride-hailing isn’t a feasible replacement for mass transit — as the companies themselves admit. While an Uber ride might be faster in some cases, a single Metro train can whisk more than 1,000 people from the District to the Maryland or Virginia suburbs in a matter of minutes. To attempt the same with Uber or Lyft would be a guaranteed recipe for Gridlock.“It is unclear how long Uber prices will remain this low,” the analysis notes. “Several news outlets have reported that Uber subsidizes its rides with money from investors, meaning current fares might not reflect the full cost of a ride.”

In a statement, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt said the study underscored the importance of finding a long-term funding solution for Metro, to ensure the system is safe and reliable.

“When Metro is reliable it’s the most cost effective option for riders and why it is so important the region come together on a long term funding solution,” his office said in a statement.

Tags: Public TransitDC MTAprivatization
Categories: Labor News

Unions cheer as Uber is kicked-out of London

ILWU - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:38

Uber – the anti-union, “disruptive” high-tech darling of venture capitalists – got a bloody nose in London late September from public regulators who refused to issue the company a license and declared them “not fit and proper.”  This wasn’t the first time Uber has clashed with governments in cities including Austin, Texas, Paris and Rio de Janeiro where there have been bitter conflicts. But London is Western Europe’s largest city, the region’s techhub and the biggest body so far to “dis” the “disruptive” technology giant.

Unions speak out

London’s rejection followed militant protests by taxi drivers in Paris, Berlin and Madrid. The decision was celebrated by local and international labor unions because Uber has compiled such a long record of worker and public criticism in such a short period of time, including allegations that workers were cheated, passengers deceived and labor standards lowered for taxi drivers.

Plenty of problems

Uber has been accused and sued for lying and concealing details about accident insurance and driver background checks. Drivers say the company cheated them out of fair pay, tips, benefits and employee status. Pedestrians and bicycle riders have complained that city streets are much more dangerous. San Francisco now has 45,000 new “ride-sharing” drivers on city streets, and they account for a majority of some traffic violations, according to SF police testimony in late September. “Walking on workers for profit” Paddy Crumlin, head of the Maritime Union of Australia’s (MUA) and President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), a global body that includes the ILWU, praised London’s decision for getting tougher with Uber.  “This is another nail in the coffin for a business model that walks all over the rights of workers and the safety of passengers in the name of profits. We are not opposed to new technology in transport, but we are opposed to a return to Victorian working conditions. Workers today need good jobs and strong regulation to keep corporate greed in check,” said Crumlin.

Business model based on subsidy

Crumlin’s critical stance is shared by business analysts who have questioned Uber’s behavior in the pages of Fortune, Forbes, the Washington Post and other outlets. They wonder about the company’s dependence on massive venture capital funding – $15 billion since 2010 – that sustains Uber’s massive losses in order to achieve their goal of dominating the marketplace for ridesharing today, and self-driving cars in the future. Critics say Uber has operated at a loss for eight years since it started, and may continue losing money for years to come. The company reported a loss of $708 million in the first quarter of 2016 and lost $991 the quarter before. But the losses are all part of a business model that subsidizes driver pay, lures riders with unsustainably low rates, and manipulates laws here and abroad to avoid regulations and taxes. Uber has ignored local ordinances in Virginia, Texas and other states where local governments tried to regulate Uber and other ride-sharing companies. Taxpayers foot the bill Uber’s funding doesn’t just come from private venture capital. Taxpayers in San Francisco and other locations are providing Uber and other hi-tech giants with big tax breaks. Two years ago in 2015, the city Controller estimated that Uber and other hi-tech companies had received $34 million in tax breaks that year, and the amount is probably higher today. Those tax breaks are going to companies that claim to be worth billions; Uber’s valuation alone is estimated at $68 billion, and some believe it will soon be $100 billion. Others say Uber is worth far less, but as a private company without public shares and public documents, an accurate valuation is hard to determine.

 Tax avoidance

To qualify for special tax breaks, Uber established their headquarters building on San Francisco’s Market Street, a few blocks from the ILWU International offices. Now the company has added a new headquarters building in the Netherlands, believed to be part of a massive tax-avoidance scheme, similar to ones used by Apple, General Electric and other corporations to avoid paying billions in U.S. taxes. Ironically, the Netherland is now in the process of banning Uber from operating their car-sharing platform there, one of a half-dozen nations that are taking similar action.

Prices too good to be true

A recent ten-mile trip in the Bay Area may illustrate why the economics of ride-sharing may be “too-good-to-be-true.” The rider paid Uber $12.00 for a trek from Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco. The company took 20% of the total, leaving the driver with about $9.60. But that was before the driver had to pay a $6.00 bridge toll, leaving just $3.60 to cover his wage plus the cost of gas, oil, maintenance and depreciation on an expensive automobile. Other drivers in different circumstances may do better, but this example illustrates why the system’s “success” deserves closer scrutiny. In 2015, one transportation analyst used Uber’s own financial documents to conclude that the company was charging only 41% of what their ride service actually costs to operate.

Rates will eventually rise

Analysts and Uber officials admit the company will eventually be raising rates, but probably not until they eliminate the competition and achieve their goal of market domination. One estimate last year put Uber’s market share at 78%, which seems impressive, but the company appears determined to capture an even larger share by quashing Lyft and other competitors.

 Predatory behavior?

Similar business practices were once considered vile, predatory and sometimes illegal. During the turn of the 19th Century, workers and farmers organized against monopolies or “trusts” formed by oil, steel, railroad and grain companies that killed competitors and fixed prices. The result was social unrest, formation of worker political parties and anti-trust legislation. Anger against big banks and Wall Street rose again during the Great Depression in the 1930’s, sparking a new round of political action, mass organizing of workers by the ILWU and other unions, and more laws to control corporations and investors. Enforcement of these laws weakened after the crisis passed and corporate power grew in Washington. In recent decades, politicians have grown increasingly fond of Wall Street investors and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Trump’s new push to lower taxes for these and other corporations, along with super-rich individuals, is a new indicator of how far America has gone down that road.

Amazon’s similar strategy

Uber isn’t the only start-up that’s using massive funding from venture capitalists to incur losses while stomping out the competition. Amazon seeks to dominate retail and delivery markets. But unlike Uber, Amazon directly employs about 180,000 workers in the U.S. with many of them receiving benefits. Another 100,000 will be hired during the coming year, but even when that total hits 280,000 it will still be a small fraction of Walmart’s 1.5 million employees. Like Uber, Amazon also uses vast numbers of “independent contractors” to deliver products. In this way, both Uber and Amazon are cheating workers out of Social Security, disability, benefits or other payroll taxes for their allegedly “independent” workers. Both companies also share an appetite for soliciting hefty taxpayer subsidies as incentives to locate new facilities. Amazon is now soliciting bids to locate a new headquarters building somewhere in the U.S. that will employ thousands of workers; the highest bidder is expected to pay billions in public subsidies to win the contest.

Traditional organizing is tougher

Uber’s “independent contractor” model means organizing traditional unions is much more challenging. Ironically, taxi-drivers who face the same legal obstacles as independent contractors, were among the first to win improvements through organizing a “union” like New York City’s Taxi Workers Alliance. Uber workers have used a similar approach to successfully organize legal and political actions that have yielded some concessions and financial settlements. With anti-union courts now weakening labor laws covering traditional, organizing these “advocacy and action” groups may become more common and necessary. Unions that support and show solidarity to these non-traditional efforts may find themselves in good company with new friends, allies and some public support.

Privatization wedge

Another reason for all workers – not just taxi drivers – to be concerned about Uber, Lyft and similar examples of non-union “disruptive” hi-tech companies, is that they are now actively soliciting business from public transit systems, many operated by union members. The city of Altamonte Springs, Florida near Orlando recently decided to subsidize the cost of Uber rides for residents instead of offering public transit. Lyft says they’re already negotiating similar deals with unnamed “large city transit systems.” A city official at Altamonte Springs says his city allocated $500,000 in Uber ride subsidies for the coming year, that was motivated in part from the failure by local governments to provide decent public transit options for residents in the region. Before settling on Uber, the city considered operating a public van or small bus to shuttle residents, but the estimate of $1.5 million for that service made the $500,000 subsidy to Uber seem like a bargain. Gouged by the gig economy

“All union members, whether they’re in the public or private sector, need to be aware of these non-union ‘gig-economy’ companies who make claims that are “too-good-to-be-true,’” said the ILWU’s Vice President (Mainland) Ray Familathe. “At the same time, we have to help the workers at these new companies learn about their rights and support their efforts to organize for improvements. Our problem isn’t with the drivers; it’s with the owners and investors who are trying to profit on the backs of others.”

 

Categories: Unions

Australia: IMF Report: Taxing the rich will reduce inequality, preserve growth

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ACTU
Categories: Labor News

Turkey: International boycott hits labor meeting in Istanbul

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Al-Monitor
Categories: Labor News

Uzbekistan: 5 Cents Per Kilo: Why Uzbek Government Still Forces People To Pick Cotton

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFE/RL
Categories: Labor News

Pages

Subscribe to Transport Workers Solidarity Committee aggregator