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Several San Diego First Student bus lines shut down as IBT 542 union drivers go on strike

Current News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 08:09

Several San Diego First Student bus lines shut down as IBT 542 union drivers go on strike
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/may/25/bus-drivers-strike-...
By Debbi Baker | 8:51 a.m. May 25, 2016

First Transit bus drivers strike in front of company headquarters in Kearny Mesa Wednesday morning. — John Gastaldo

Hundreds of bus drivers went on strike Wednesday morning leaving thousands of commuters who rely on public transportation without rides.

The First Transit union workers walked out after they and their employer reached an impasse in contract negotiations over wages.

Teamsters union 542 said on its website that it had rejected the company's "last, best and final offer" and the drivers formed picket lines beginning at 3 a.m. this morning. The union said that strikers will be picketing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to MTS officials, the work stoppage will not affect most routes and all trolleys, however at least 18 lines are being disrupted.

They are 14, 18, 25, 83, 84, 88, 833, 851, 870, 944, 945, 945A, 964, 965, 972, 973, 978 and 979, said MTS spokesman Rob Schupp. Lines 25 and 964 will, however, have some limited service, said Schupp.

Some 4,300 people travel on those routes on weekdays and they should all "seek other arrangements," Schupp said.

Contingency plans have also been made for the people who take the MTS Access service, which caters to those who need help getting on and off public transportation. The spokesman said that 1,400 trips have been scheduled today and that all of those buses will be replaced by non-union drivers or Yellow cabs.

People who need more information can call (619) 233-3004 or check the company's website.

Tags: IBT 542First Studentstrike
Categories: Labor News

School Bus Company First Student to pay $11.5 million to settle SF school-bus lawsuit after driver health and safety whistleblowers sued

Current News - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:48

School Bus Company First Student to pay $11.5 million to settle SF school-bus lawsuit after driver health and safety whistleblowers sued
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Firm-to-pay-11-5-million-to-s...
By Jill Tucker
May 25, 2016 Updated: May 25, 2016 5:52pm

The company that supplies San Francisco’s school buses will pay $11.5 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the buses had safety violations.
A school bus company has agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit claiming that the firm used unsafe buses to transport San Francisco students, plaintiffs’ attorneys said Wednesday.

Two mechanics with First Student Inc. filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court, claiming that the company’s buses, provided through the subsidiary Laidlaw Transit, had threadbare tires, worn brakes and other problems because of improper maintenance.

The San Francisco Unified School District will receive $3.5 million of the settlement, and the mechanics and their attorneys will receive the rest.

The lawsuit claimed that the alleged safety violations happened from 2006 through 2011. While the California Highway Patrol performed inspections annually as required during that time, officers did not identify issues. The mechanics, William Padilla and Manuel Contreras, provided records that showed the company misrepresented the safety of the vehicles, attorneys said.

Over a nine-month period, for example, First Student’s records showed 300 violations of the requirement that company mechanics inspect vehicles every 45 days, the attorneys said.

In addition, the bus company ignored reports from mechanics and drivers about the condition of the buses, including “metal-on-metal” sounds when braking, the attorneys said.

“This case is a clear example of predatory corporate conduct, where profits are placed at a higher priority than the safety of children,” said Russell Budd, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

First Student representatives could not be reached for comment. The company replaced its San Francisco fleet of 230 buses last fall after signing a new, five-year contract with the school district.

The mechanics filed the suit in San Francisco Unified’s name.

“When the district heard the allegations, we met with First Student and demanded proof that they were maintaining our buses,” school district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said in a statement. “First Student assured us that these allegations were untrue and, based on our records, we have not been made aware of any safety incidents related to these allegations.”

The district, however, required First Student to submit more frequent evidence that it was complying with safety requirements. Attorneys for the plaintiffs said First Student is now meeting those requirements.

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jtucker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: jilltucker

Tags: SMART UTU1741School bus health and safety
Categories: Labor News

Seattle’s bus drivers ‘forced to wear adult diapers or carry a jar on their route because toilet access was so bad’

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 21:57

Seattle’s bus drivers ‘forced to wear adult diapers or carry a jar on their route because toilet access was so bad’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2847613/Seattle-s-bus-drivers-fo...
By OLLIE GILLMAN
PUBLISHED: 11:47 EST, 24 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:54 EST, 24 November 2014

Bus drivers in Seattle were forced to wear diapers or carry a jar with them on their route because access to toilets was so bad, a report has claimed.
Drivers' restrooms were not open all hour buses run and some routes did not have toilets within walking distance of bus stops, forcing drivers to wet themselves or urinate in a bottle.
King County Metro Transit had to replace 60 urine-soaked driver's seats in a year and have been fined for not providing facilities for their workers.

Bus drivers in Seattle were forced to wear diapers or carry a jar with them on their route because access to toilets was so bad (file picture)
At times, drivers who went to search for toilets were subsequently punished for running late, according to a report from the Department of Labor and Industries.
King County Metro Transit also failed to ensure Othello Station, Rainier Valley, had running water, paper towels and soap for six years, the Seattle Times reported.
Drivers may have put passengers at risk by holding it in and losing their composure at the wheel because of the lack of bathroom facilities and could have also damaged their kidneys.

Speaking to transport magazine Crosscut, Metro operator Hal Poor said: 'We’ve had drivers wear Depends diapers [a brand of adult diaper]. We’ve had operators carry a jar for urination.
'We’ve got pregnant women who are still driving. You know what kind of pressure that puts on your bladder. We have gentlemen 60 or older. They can’t hold it anymore.'
Drivers get a five-minute break between runs and are supposed to have 15-minute break every five hours - but Mr Poor in reality breaks of this length are few and far between.

Drivers' restrooms were not open all hour buses run and some routes did not have toilets within walking distance of bus stops, forcing drivers to wet themselves or urinate in a bottle (file picture)
'How guaranteed is the 15-minute break if you want to stay on schedule and you’re 12 minutes late?' he asked.
'It’s on paper, but if you get caught in traffic, it doesn’t mean you’re getting it.'
King County Metro Transit was ordered to pay a $3,500 fine by December 22 and come up with a plan to tackle the problem.
Kevin Desmond, Metro’s general manager, said the fine was a wake-up call. He said: 'I would not characterize this as a program failure or a management failure. We learn as people help us see issues we’re challenged with.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2847613/Seattle-s-bus-drivers-fo...
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Tags: ATU Seattle Bus DriversoshaBathrooms
Categories: Labor News

France: Scuffles and smoke bombs as protesters step up fight against labour bill

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

France: Union revolt puts both Hollande's future and France's image on the line

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

USA: McDonald's closes headquarters due to expected worker protests

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Yahoo
Categories: Labor News

Cuba: Country Is Seeing Increasing Work Protests

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Times
Categories: Labor News

General Strike In France Getting Closer-Truckers At Refineries Join Strike

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:44

General Strike In France Getting Closer-Truckers At Refineries Join Strike
French government seeks to crush strikes against labor law
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/05/25/fran-m25.html
By Alex Lantier
25 May 2016
In the face of expanding strikes by refinery workers and truckers against the new French labor law, the Socialist Party (PS) government sent security forces yesterday to crush oil installation occupations and break the growing oppositional movement.
Since the beginning of the week, all of France's refineries have gone on strike or shut down operations, and truckers have joined to blockade refineries and halt fuel deliveries to gas stations. Broader layers of workers are also moving into struggle. Some port, rail and autoworkers are already on strike, and the trade unions have issued strike calls and requested legal authorization for strikes from June 3 to June 5 at civil aviation facilities and for an unlimited strike against the Paris mass transit system starting June 2.
Early yesterday morning, security forces attacked some 200 members of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union who were blockading oil installations at Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille. “The paramilitary police arrived around 4:30 am and used water cannon and tear gas,” said Olivier Mateu, the regional secretary of the Stalinist-controlled CGT.

Confrontation with police over labor law [Photo: Flickr user laetitiablabla]
Police assaults wounded a number of strikers, according to CGT sources, who denounced “virtual war scenes, with volleys of rubber bullets being fired to clear the blockade.”
“The police charges were incredibly violent,” said CGT-Petroleum National Secretary Emmanuel Lépine. Police authorities criticized “significant resistance” by the strikers to the repression, which left seven of their men slightly wounded.
After the clash between strikers and security forces ended, around 6 am, tanker trucks entered the site under police escort. The Fos-sur-Mer site, near France's main oil port in Marseille, plays a critical role not only in France, but in all of Europe, supplying pipelines carrying petroleum to refineries in Cressier in Switzerland and Karlsruhe in Germany.
Despite the brutal repression of the protests, the expanding mobilization of workers has staggered and destabilized the PS government. Yesterday, Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said 20 percent of France's 12,000 gas stations either had “totally run dry or faced shortages of one or two products.”
Trampling on the right to strike, which is inscribed in the French Constitution, the PS is provocatively threatening to crush strikes and blockades across France. On Monday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, “We are totally in control of the situation. I think that a certain number of refineries and fuel depots that have been blockaded are being cleared or will be cleared in the coming hours and days.”
Yesterday, on an official visit to Jerusalem, Valls tried to posture as a defender of auto drivers threatened by fuel shortages, declaring, “We will not allow the French people to face shortages or blockades.” He insisted the PS would impose the labor law even though the population overwhelmingly rejects it. “There will be no retraction of the law,” he said. “Otherwise, we will no longer be able to reform the country.”
It is not the working class but the PS that is threatening basic democratic and social rights, which it is tearing up in authoritarian fashion to conform to the dictates of the banks. Three-quarters of the French people oppose the law, which increases work hours, undermines overtime pay and job security, and allows the unions to negotiate contracts that violate the Labor Code. Due to its unpopularity, the PS imposed the law without a formal vote in the National Assembly, using the reactionary provisions of Article 49-3 of the Constitution.
The PS is signaling that it will seek to break opposition in the working class by force, aiming to isolate and smash successive protests by different sections of workers and youth against the law. In doing so, the PS is carrying out the agenda of austerity and police repression advanced by the ruling class across the European Union (EU). The PS labor law is largely the application in France of the Hartz laws imposed in the face of protests by German workers by the Social Democratic Party a decade ago.
Now, opposition to austerity and the dictatorship of the banks is rising across the EU, including the struggles of Greek workers against the austerity measures of the Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) government.
The blockades of ports, refineries and transport systems is already creating crisis conditions across the French economy. Strikes in Le Havre, France's second port after Marseille, which is strategically important due to its role in supplying northern France and the Paris area, are forcing logistics and shipping companies, as well as the Renault plant in Sandouville, to shut operations.
The corporations and the political elite are terrified of a broader struggle of workers against the PS. Olivier Jean Baptiste, a manager at XPLog, a logistics company in Le Havre, told L'Express: “We worked 24 hours a day over the weekend to try to catch up on the backlog. When the blockades were lifted on Friday, we began work again. Since then we are doing the best we can… If things are cut off again, it will be a catastrophe.”
“Basically, everyone is in a panic,” said an anonymous manager in Le Havre's industrial zone.
Right-wing politicians are even suggesting that the PS might be forced to abandon the labor reform, at least temporarily, in the face of rising opposition from workers. Philippe Vigier, the parliamentary group leader of the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) in the National Assembly, said, “The government has deepened its own isolation. They will have no other option besides retracting the bill.”
Christian Jacob of the right-wing The Republicans (LR) dismissed PS assurances that there would be no retreat on the labor law, declaring, “That is what one says until the day one drops something.”
“We know something about that,” Jacob added, referring to right-wing President Jacques Chirac's decision to suspend the promulgation of the First Job Contract (CPE) in 2006 in the face of mass protests by workers and youth.
An effective struggle against the labor law and EU austerity can be waged only as a conscious international struggle of the European working class, organized independently of the trade union bureaucracies and their political allies, including the Left Front and the New Anti-capitalist Party. The current so-called radical turn of the CGT, layers of which are now publicly calling for strike action against the PS, will prove to be a political trap and dead end for workers seeking to fight the Socialist Party’s policies.
CGT leader Philippe Martinez is pushing the union to adopt demands that are emerging spontaneously among workers, partly to better position the CGT against competing union bureaucracies, but above all to avoid a rebellion of the working class against the entire political setup and confine the workers to the straitjacket of a national struggle.
Le Monde analyzed his strategy yesterday as follows: “Without calling for a general strike, he calls for renewable strike action… Perpetually in crisis, weakened in its traditional bastions of support, threatened with losing its place as France's biggest union to the [pro-PS] French Democratic Labor Confederation in 2017, the CGT is playing for high stakes.”
The union bureaucracies themselves are longstanding political instruments of the same ruling class and political establishment against which the working class is mobilizing in struggle. For four years following the election of a PS government in 2012, they organized no opposition to the government’s savage austerity policies, including the initial negotiation of the labor law.
Dependent on corporate and state financing for 95 percent of their budgets, they are not workers’ organizations, but hollow shells dominated by the financial aristocracy. They will prove not only incapable of leading a longer-term opposition to the PS, but utterly hostile to the explosive opposition that is now emerging in the working class to the PS and the EU.

Tags: General StrikeFranceRefinery Truckers
Categories: Labor News

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 08:55

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Muni slams brakes on excessive breaks
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-slams-brakes-excessive-breaks/

Muni bus drivers usually take their break at the end of their transit line but some operators are taking too many breaks during their runs. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 24, 2016 1:00 am
Much to the surprise of passengers riding a 9-San Bruno Muni bus in February, their operator hopped out of the vehicle for a 20-minute meal at McDonald’s — while the passengers waited on the bus.

Video of the incident was pulled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after a passenger complained. The images confirmed the operator did, in fact, force passengers to wait while eating at the fast food restaurant, said Paul Rose, an agency spokesperson.

It wasn’t the first video the SFMTA has pulled of operators taking breaks — and it won’t be the last.

Muni drivers who take too many “personal necessity” breaks are coming under scrutiny from their bosses — and may even be captured leaving their vehicles on video by The City in an attempt to catch the frequent break-takers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The agency is assembling monthly lists of bus and train operators who use the bathroom or otherwise take breaks too often, according to an internal SFMTA memo obtained by the Examiner.

These breaks are called “702s,” which refers to the communication code an operator gives Muni central control when they need to take an immediate break.

But operators who did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation said pulling video of operators who may be on their way to the bathroom, or simply smoking a cigarette, is an invasion of their privacy.

“They’re trying to intimidate our members,” said Eric Williams, head of Muni’s Transit Workers Union Local 250-A.

“This is not kindergarten,” he added. “You push the button to notify central control, ‘I’m going out on a 702,’” he said, adding that sometimes after a bus run, operators are simply “burnt” and need a moment to rest.

The SFMTA, however, told the Examiner the agency needs to crack down on the worst offenders because excessive breaks could slow down the Muni system.

The vast majority of operators “use these 702s responsibly,” but there are about 10 operators out of the total 2,200 who use breaks excessively, said Rose.

“When these unscheduled breaks occur repeatedly on some of our community lines, like the 37-Corbett, which has a limited amount of vehicles on the line, it can significantly impact the system,” he added.

While such breaks can be taken at any time — operators can even halt a train to hop into a bathroom at a cafe, for instance — operators and the SFMTA described the practice as rare. The majority of breaks are taken at the end of a run.

But the increased number of 702s prompted the SFMTA to start tracking them this year, Rose said.

The memo on tracking breaks from an SFMTA superintendent reads, “NEW OCC PROCEDURES FOR DOCUMENTING OPERATOR 702’S.” It then lists procedures for tracking driver breaks, including asking for reason and length of time of the break. If there is a delay caused to a bus schedule, that information must be forwarded to Muni superintendents.

“Call to have video pulled at a level 2 priorities using the arrival time to the departure time of the 702,” the memo continues.

The list the Examiner obtained shows the top operators using 702 breaks between March 11 and April 11 used 19 breaks that month, followed by 16, 14, 13 and 12 breaks for the next most frequent users.

Rose said the first step after identifying an operator taking excessive breaks is to assess their health, then later, to reevaluate whether SFMTA gave enough time for breaks in their schedules.

“Discipline is a last resort,” Rose said, though Williams said disciplining operators for taking 702s is not possible in the current contract.

Operators on background told the Examiner the rise of 702 breaks is a result of cutting back on the number of scheduled breaks provided during a shift. The breaks are used not only for the bathroom, but to stretch
or rest after a trying run, Williams said.

Echoing the story of the driver who pulled over to eat at McDonald’s, Williams agreed that eating lunch is an abuse of a 702.

“Now, do we want our members to break out a Yogi bear picnic in the bus? You can’t use an excuse that you need to eat your lunch. You’re already paid for a lunch.”

But Williams also pointed out that in an effort to penalize less than a dozen operators, SFMTA is putting a chilling effect on the other 2,000 or so operators who follow the rules — a possible danger to their health.

“I have members that tell me, ‘I don’t want to use the restroom because I’m not going to have enough time,’” Williams said. “This is what’s frustrating to me.”

Tags: oshaSFMTATWU 250Ahealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 08:51

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Muni slams brakes on excessive breaks
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-slams-brakes-excessive-breaks/

Muni bus drivers usually take their break at the end of their transit line but some operators are taking too many breaks during their runs. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 24, 2016 1:00 am
Much to the surprise of passengers riding a 9-San Bruno Muni bus in February, their operator hopped out of the vehicle for a 20-minute meal at McDonald’s — while the passengers waited on the bus.

Video of the incident was pulled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after a passenger complained. The images confirmed the operator did, in fact, force passengers to wait while eating at the fast food restaurant, said Paul Rose, an agency spokesperson.

It wasn’t the first video the SFMTA has pulled of operators taking breaks — and it won’t be the last.

Muni drivers who take too many “personal necessity” breaks are coming under scrutiny from their bosses — and may even be captured leaving their vehicles on video by The City in an attempt to catch the frequent break-takers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The agency is assembling monthly lists of bus and train operators who use the bathroom or otherwise take breaks too often, according to an internal SFMTA memo obtained by the Examiner.

These breaks are called “702s,” which refers to the communication code an operator gives Muni central control when they need to take an immediate break.

But operators who did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation said pulling video of operators who may be on their way to the bathroom, or simply smoking a cigarette, is an invasion of their privacy.

“They’re trying to intimidate our members,” said Eric Williams, head of Muni’s Transit Workers Union Local 250-A.

“This is not kindergarten,” he added. “You push the button to notify central control, ‘I’m going out on a 702,’” he said, adding that sometimes after a bus run, operators are simply “burnt” and need a moment to rest.

The SFMTA, however, told the Examiner the agency needs to crack down on the worst offenders because excessive breaks could slow down the Muni system.

The vast majority of operators “use these 702s responsibly,” but there are about 10 operators out of the total 2,200 who use breaks excessively, said Rose.

“When these unscheduled breaks occur repeatedly on some of our community lines, like the 37-Corbett, which has a limited amount of vehicles on the line, it can significantly impact the system,” he added.

While such breaks can be taken at any time — operators can even halt a train to hop into a bathroom at a cafe, for instance — operators and the SFMTA described the practice as rare. The majority of breaks are taken at the end of a run.

But the increased number of 702s prompted the SFMTA to start tracking them this year, Rose said.

The memo on tracking breaks from an SFMTA superintendent reads, “NEW OCC PROCEDURES FOR DOCUMENTING OPERATOR 702’S.” It then lists procedures for tracking driver breaks, including asking for reason and length of time of the break. If there is a delay caused to a bus schedule, that information must be forwarded to Muni superintendents.

“Call to have video pulled at a level 2 priorities using the arrival time to the departure time of the 702,” the memo continues.

The list the Examiner obtained shows the top operators using 702 breaks between March 11 and April 11 used 19 breaks that month, followed by 16, 14, 13 and 12 breaks for the next most frequent users.

Rose said the first step after identifying an operator taking excessive breaks is to assess their health, then later, to reevaluate whether SFMTA gave enough time for breaks in their schedules.

“Discipline is a last resort,” Rose said, though Williams said disciplining operators for taking 702s is not possible in the current contract.

Operators on background told the Examiner the rise of 702 breaks is a result of cutting back on the number of scheduled breaks provided during a shift. The breaks are used not only for the bathroom, but to stretch
or rest after a trying run, Williams said.

Echoing the story of the driver who pulled over to eat at McDonald’s, Williams agreed that eating lunch is an abuse of a 702.

“Now, do we want our members to break out a Yogi bear picnic in the bus? You can’t use an excuse that you need to eat your lunch. You’re already paid for a lunch.”

But Williams also pointed out that in an effort to penalize less than a dozen operators, SFMTA is putting a chilling effect on the other 2,000 or so operators who follow the rules — a possible danger to their health.

“I have members that tell me, ‘I don’t want to use the restroom because I’m not going to have enough time,’” Williams said. “This is what’s frustrating to me.”

Tags: twu 250 aEd Leeoshahealth and safetyMTA
Categories: Labor News

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 08:51

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Muni slams brakes on excessive breaks
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-slams-brakes-excessive-breaks/

Muni bus drivers usually take their break at the end of their transit line but some operators are taking too many breaks during their runs. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 24, 2016 1:00 am
Much to the surprise of passengers riding a 9-San Bruno Muni bus in February, their operator hopped out of the vehicle for a 20-minute meal at McDonald’s — while the passengers waited on the bus.

Video of the incident was pulled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after a passenger complained. The images confirmed the operator did, in fact, force passengers to wait while eating at the fast food restaurant, said Paul Rose, an agency spokesperson.

It wasn’t the first video the SFMTA has pulled of operators taking breaks — and it won’t be the last.

Muni drivers who take too many “personal necessity” breaks are coming under scrutiny from their bosses — and may even be captured leaving their vehicles on video by The City in an attempt to catch the frequent break-takers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The agency is assembling monthly lists of bus and train operators who use the bathroom or otherwise take breaks too often, according to an internal SFMTA memo obtained by the Examiner.

These breaks are called “702s,” which refers to the communication code an operator gives Muni central control when they need to take an immediate break.

But operators who did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation said pulling video of operators who may be on their way to the bathroom, or simply smoking a cigarette, is an invasion of their privacy.

“They’re trying to intimidate our members,” said Eric Williams, head of Muni’s Transit Workers Union Local 250-A.

“This is not kindergarten,” he added. “You push the button to notify central control, ‘I’m going out on a 702,’” he said, adding that sometimes after a bus run, operators are simply “burnt” and need a moment to rest.

The SFMTA, however, told the Examiner the agency needs to crack down on the worst offenders because excessive breaks could slow down the Muni system.

The vast majority of operators “use these 702s responsibly,” but there are about 10 operators out of the total 2,200 who use breaks excessively, said Rose.

“When these unscheduled breaks occur repeatedly on some of our community lines, like the 37-Corbett, which has a limited amount of vehicles on the line, it can significantly impact the system,” he added.

While such breaks can be taken at any time — operators can even halt a train to hop into a bathroom at a cafe, for instance — operators and the SFMTA described the practice as rare. The majority of breaks are taken at the end of a run.

But the increased number of 702s prompted the SFMTA to start tracking them this year, Rose said.

The memo on tracking breaks from an SFMTA superintendent reads, “NEW OCC PROCEDURES FOR DOCUMENTING OPERATOR 702’S.” It then lists procedures for tracking driver breaks, including asking for reason and length of time of the break. If there is a delay caused to a bus schedule, that information must be forwarded to Muni superintendents.

“Call to have video pulled at a level 2 priorities using the arrival time to the departure time of the 702,” the memo continues.

The list the Examiner obtained shows the top operators using 702 breaks between March 11 and April 11 used 19 breaks that month, followed by 16, 14, 13 and 12 breaks for the next most frequent users.

Rose said the first step after identifying an operator taking excessive breaks is to assess their health, then later, to reevaluate whether SFMTA gave enough time for breaks in their schedules.

“Discipline is a last resort,” Rose said, though Williams said disciplining operators for taking 702s is not possible in the current contract.

Operators on background told the Examiner the rise of 702 breaks is a result of cutting back on the number of scheduled breaks provided during a shift. The breaks are used not only for the bathroom, but to stretch
or rest after a trying run, Williams said.

Echoing the story of the driver who pulled over to eat at McDonald’s, Williams agreed that eating lunch is an abuse of a 702.

“Now, do we want our members to break out a Yogi bear picnic in the bus? You can’t use an excuse that you need to eat your lunch. You’re already paid for a lunch.”

But Williams also pointed out that in an effort to penalize less than a dozen operators, SFMTA is putting a chilling effect on the other 2,000 or so operators who follow the rules — a possible danger to their health.

“I have members that tell me, ‘I don’t want to use the restroom because I’m not going to have enough time,’” Williams said. “This is what’s frustrating to me.”

Tags: twu 250 aEd Leeoshahealth and safetyMTA
Categories: Labor News

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 08:51

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Muni slams brakes on excessive breaks
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-slams-brakes-excessive-breaks/

Muni bus drivers usually take their break at the end of their transit line but some operators are taking too many breaks during their runs. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 24, 2016 1:00 am
Much to the surprise of passengers riding a 9-San Bruno Muni bus in February, their operator hopped out of the vehicle for a 20-minute meal at McDonald’s — while the passengers waited on the bus.

Video of the incident was pulled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after a passenger complained. The images confirmed the operator did, in fact, force passengers to wait while eating at the fast food restaurant, said Paul Rose, an agency spokesperson.

It wasn’t the first video the SFMTA has pulled of operators taking breaks — and it won’t be the last.

Muni drivers who take too many “personal necessity” breaks are coming under scrutiny from their bosses — and may even be captured leaving their vehicles on video by The City in an attempt to catch the frequent break-takers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The agency is assembling monthly lists of bus and train operators who use the bathroom or otherwise take breaks too often, according to an internal SFMTA memo obtained by the Examiner.

These breaks are called “702s,” which refers to the communication code an operator gives Muni central control when they need to take an immediate break.

But operators who did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation said pulling video of operators who may be on their way to the bathroom, or simply smoking a cigarette, is an invasion of their privacy.

“They’re trying to intimidate our members,” said Eric Williams, head of Muni’s Transit Workers Union Local 250-A.

“This is not kindergarten,” he added. “You push the button to notify central control, ‘I’m going out on a 702,’” he said, adding that sometimes after a bus run, operators are simply “burnt” and need a moment to rest.

The SFMTA, however, told the Examiner the agency needs to crack down on the worst offenders because excessive breaks could slow down the Muni system.

The vast majority of operators “use these 702s responsibly,” but there are about 10 operators out of the total 2,200 who use breaks excessively, said Rose.

“When these unscheduled breaks occur repeatedly on some of our community lines, like the 37-Corbett, which has a limited amount of vehicles on the line, it can significantly impact the system,” he added.

While such breaks can be taken at any time — operators can even halt a train to hop into a bathroom at a cafe, for instance — operators and the SFMTA described the practice as rare. The majority of breaks are taken at the end of a run.

But the increased number of 702s prompted the SFMTA to start tracking them this year, Rose said.

The memo on tracking breaks from an SFMTA superintendent reads, “NEW OCC PROCEDURES FOR DOCUMENTING OPERATOR 702’S.” It then lists procedures for tracking driver breaks, including asking for reason and length of time of the break. If there is a delay caused to a bus schedule, that information must be forwarded to Muni superintendents.

“Call to have video pulled at a level 2 priorities using the arrival time to the departure time of the 702,” the memo continues.

The list the Examiner obtained shows the top operators using 702 breaks between March 11 and April 11 used 19 breaks that month, followed by 16, 14, 13 and 12 breaks for the next most frequent users.

Rose said the first step after identifying an operator taking excessive breaks is to assess their health, then later, to reevaluate whether SFMTA gave enough time for breaks in their schedules.

“Discipline is a last resort,” Rose said, though Williams said disciplining operators for taking 702s is not possible in the current contract.

Operators on background told the Examiner the rise of 702 breaks is a result of cutting back on the number of scheduled breaks provided during a shift. The breaks are used not only for the bathroom, but to stretch
or rest after a trying run, Williams said.

Echoing the story of the driver who pulled over to eat at McDonald’s, Williams agreed that eating lunch is an abuse of a 702.

“Now, do we want our members to break out a Yogi bear picnic in the bus? You can’t use an excuse that you need to eat your lunch. You’re already paid for a lunch.”

But Williams also pointed out that in an effort to penalize less than a dozen operators, SFMTA is putting a chilling effect on the other 2,000 or so operators who follow the rules — a possible danger to their health.

“I have members that tell me, ‘I don’t want to use the restroom because I’m not going to have enough time,’” Williams said. “This is what’s frustrating to me.”

Tags: twu 250 aEd Leeoshahealth and safetyMTA
Categories: Labor News

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Current News - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 08:51

Corporate Pimp SF Mayor Ed Lee's MTA Attacks TWU 250A Drivers For Taking Breaks Allowed Under OSHA Law

Muni slams brakes on excessive breaks
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-slams-brakes-excessive-breaks/

Muni bus drivers usually take their break at the end of their transit line but some operators are taking too many breaks during their runs. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 24, 2016 1:00 am
Much to the surprise of passengers riding a 9-San Bruno Muni bus in February, their operator hopped out of the vehicle for a 20-minute meal at McDonald’s — while the passengers waited on the bus.

Video of the incident was pulled by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency after a passenger complained. The images confirmed the operator did, in fact, force passengers to wait while eating at the fast food restaurant, said Paul Rose, an agency spokesperson.

It wasn’t the first video the SFMTA has pulled of operators taking breaks — and it won’t be the last.

Muni drivers who take too many “personal necessity” breaks are coming under scrutiny from their bosses — and may even be captured leaving their vehicles on video by The City in an attempt to catch the frequent break-takers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The agency is assembling monthly lists of bus and train operators who use the bathroom or otherwise take breaks too often, according to an internal SFMTA memo obtained by the Examiner.

These breaks are called “702s,” which refers to the communication code an operator gives Muni central control when they need to take an immediate break.

But operators who did not wish to speak on the record for fear of retaliation said pulling video of operators who may be on their way to the bathroom, or simply smoking a cigarette, is an invasion of their privacy.

“They’re trying to intimidate our members,” said Eric Williams, head of Muni’s Transit Workers Union Local 250-A.

“This is not kindergarten,” he added. “You push the button to notify central control, ‘I’m going out on a 702,’” he said, adding that sometimes after a bus run, operators are simply “burnt” and need a moment to rest.

The SFMTA, however, told the Examiner the agency needs to crack down on the worst offenders because excessive breaks could slow down the Muni system.

The vast majority of operators “use these 702s responsibly,” but there are about 10 operators out of the total 2,200 who use breaks excessively, said Rose.

“When these unscheduled breaks occur repeatedly on some of our community lines, like the 37-Corbett, which has a limited amount of vehicles on the line, it can significantly impact the system,” he added.

While such breaks can be taken at any time — operators can even halt a train to hop into a bathroom at a cafe, for instance — operators and the SFMTA described the practice as rare. The majority of breaks are taken at the end of a run.

But the increased number of 702s prompted the SFMTA to start tracking them this year, Rose said.

The memo on tracking breaks from an SFMTA superintendent reads, “NEW OCC PROCEDURES FOR DOCUMENTING OPERATOR 702’S.” It then lists procedures for tracking driver breaks, including asking for reason and length of time of the break. If there is a delay caused to a bus schedule, that information must be forwarded to Muni superintendents.

“Call to have video pulled at a level 2 priorities using the arrival time to the departure time of the 702,” the memo continues.

The list the Examiner obtained shows the top operators using 702 breaks between March 11 and April 11 used 19 breaks that month, followed by 16, 14, 13 and 12 breaks for the next most frequent users.

Rose said the first step after identifying an operator taking excessive breaks is to assess their health, then later, to reevaluate whether SFMTA gave enough time for breaks in their schedules.

“Discipline is a last resort,” Rose said, though Williams said disciplining operators for taking 702s is not possible in the current contract.

Operators on background told the Examiner the rise of 702 breaks is a result of cutting back on the number of scheduled breaks provided during a shift. The breaks are used not only for the bathroom, but to stretch
or rest after a trying run, Williams said.

Echoing the story of the driver who pulled over to eat at McDonald’s, Williams agreed that eating lunch is an abuse of a 702.

“Now, do we want our members to break out a Yogi bear picnic in the bus? You can’t use an excuse that you need to eat your lunch. You’re already paid for a lunch.”

But Williams also pointed out that in an effort to penalize less than a dozen operators, SFMTA is putting a chilling effect on the other 2,000 or so operators who follow the rules — a possible danger to their health.

“I have members that tell me, ‘I don’t want to use the restroom because I’m not going to have enough time,’” Williams said. “This is what’s frustrating to me.”

Tags: twu 250 aEd Leeoshahealth and safetyMTA
Categories: Labor News

Belgium: Over 60,000 union workers protest labor reform plans in Brussels

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

Cambodia: Workers’ rights, NGOs increasingly under fire

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News

Now Clinton Joins Sanders to block flights between Cork and the United States "US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both Ame

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 13:58

Now Clinton Joins Sanders to block flights between Cork and the United States "US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both America and Europe."
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/now-clinton-fights-to-block-flights...
John Mulligan Twitter

24/05/2016 | 02:30

4
Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail. Insets (clockwise from left): Times Square in New York City and Boston Harbour, two of the destinations targeted by Norwegian Air International; Bernie Sanders
Hillary Clinton has urged US President Barack Obama not to grant Norwegian Air International a permit that would enable the Ireland-based carrier to launch flights between Cork and the United States.

Ms Clinton - who has raised money in Ireland for her presidential campaign - is the latest political heavy-hitter to wade into the debate, with rival democratic runner Bernie Sanders having already said the permit should not be granted. He claimed it would set a "dangerous precedent".

A spokeswoman for Ms Clinton claimed that "too many questions have been raised about Norwegian Air International's practices and plans".
Norwegian Air International (NAI) is based in Dublin but is a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle. NAI wants to use Ireland as its base in order to avail of EU open skies rights that will give it unfettered access to the US market.

But US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both America and Europe.
4
Bernie Sanders. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
Permit

Opponents insist that NAI is using Ireland to circumvent stringent employment laws in Norway. But NAI has dismissed such arguments, while the US department of transportation has already signalled that it intends to grant the permit.
Answers to objections had to be submitted by yesterday and the final permit decision must now clear a review by executive presidential agencies.

"Workers in the US airline industry deserve rules of the road that support a strong workforce with high labour standards - not attempts by airlines to flout labour standards and outsource good-paying jobs," claimed Ms Clinton's spokeswoman on labour, Nikki Budzinski.
"Hillary Clinton urges the Obama administration against moving forward with final approval of Norwegian Air International's application."

Ms Clinton, a former US secretary of state, is the frontrunner in the contest with Mr Sanders to secure the Democratic nomination for the White House. But a new poll also shows Ms Clinton is now almost in a dead heat with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump among voters.
The Clintons have leveraged their connections with Ireland to garner financial support for her current, and previous, presidential bid.

NAI's battle to secure a permit to fly to the United States has been backed by the Government and a number of state agencies such as Fáilte Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, the DAA and Shannon Airport.
The Irish Airline Pilots' Association is among a number of groups in Europe and the US that have opposed NAI's plans.

The airline hopes to fly between Cork and Boston this summer, but that timetable is now likely to be pushed back. NAI intends to launch a service between Cork and New York next year.
A spokesman for NAI said yesterday that the airline remained confident that the US department of transportation would approve its permit. The agency has already pointed out that it can see no reason why NAI's application should be impeded.

"Approval of NAI will result in more US aviation sector jobs, enable Norwegian to expand its already large pool of American crew, and deliver much needed competition and affordable fares to consumers on both sides of the Atlantic," said the spokesman.
Irish Independent

Tags: NAIunon bustingNorwegian Air International
Categories: Labor News

IAM Business Unionists In NYC Cut Deal With Anti-labor Uber In Gig Economy " “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:56

IAM Business Unionists In NYC Cut Deal With Anti-labor Uber In Gig Economy " “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.
Uber Deal Shows Divide in Labor's Drive for Role in 'Gig Economy'"
http://fortune.com/2016/05/23/uber-gig-economy-labor/?xid=gn_editorspicks
MAY 23, 2016, 10:35 AM EDT

But not everyone in the U.S. labor movement is cheering.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trumpeted an agreement reached earlier this month to represent New York Uber drivers, saying it “gives organized labor an opportunity to shape the new economy in a way that supports and values workers and their families.”

But not everyone in the U.S. labor movement is cheering.

The deal falls short of actual union representation, and it has revealed sharp divisions among labor advocates about how to address a central reality of the so-called gig economy: The classification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Under the terms of its agreement with Uber Technologies Inc, the Machinists will form an “Independent Drivers Guild” that will be able to intervene with the company on behalf of wrongly terminated drivers and negotiate for benefits, such as disability insurance and roadside assistance.

The Machinists also agreed to refrain for five years from organizing strikes or unionizing drivers and said they would not push regulators to change the status of drivers from contractors to employees.

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, decried the deal as a “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.

She said her organization had been in talks with the Machinists about collaborating on a driver unionization campaign before the agreement with Uber. The Machinists had successfully organized car service drivers in the past, and Desai said her group believed a similar path would work with Uber drivers.

Jim Conigliaro Jr, general counsel for Machinists Union District 15, said the agreement can help Uber drivers earn more money and work under better conditions in the short term. Longer term, if the National Labor Relations Board were to rule that drivers should be classified as employees, then a unionization drive would be possible.

“To us this deal is the best of both worlds,” Conigliaro said.

Rideshare companies say contracting, rather than employing, workers keeps costs down and provides the flexibility drivers say they want.

But contract workers are not entitled to the same legal protections employees enjoy, including minimum wage guarantees and overtime pay.

Organized labor has struggled with how to react with the new realities of the rapidly growing part of the economy dominated by gig, or temporary and contract, workers. Some union officials have argued it’s crucial to engage in new ways with the changing nature of labor, while others have doubled down on traditional organizing.

“We desperately need risk-taking innovation in search of the next model,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) vice president David Rolf.

Traditional collective bargaining does not work with on-demand tech companies, but new models, such as the Uber deal, can introduce worker organizing, he said.

Last month, the SEIU drew flack from another union, Unite Here, for negotiating with internet-based home rental company Airbnb Inc to encourage its hosts to hire union-approved house cleaners who would make at least $15 an hour.

The deal was abandoned after Unite Here, which represents hotel workers, attacked the arrangement as “cheap cover” for Airbnb.

“We are appalled by reports that SEIU is partnering with Airbnb,” Unite Here spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said at the time. She accused the rental service of “driving up housing costs and killing good hotel jobs in urban markets across North America.”

Seth Harris, a Washington D.C. lawyer who was deputy U.S. labor secretary from 2009 to 2013, said both unions and companies like Uber are formulating strategies for the new labor market in the face of outmoded labor and antitrust laws that restrict their options.

“Both sides are hemmed in, so they have found a way to navigate the narrow path those laws have carved for them,” Harris said.

The Machinists are not the only union to engage with Uber drivers. Earlier this year, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers launched a campaign to represent 600 of the company’s drivers at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. The union, which like the Machinists is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, backed off after the Machinists launched their drive.

Last month, Uber agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by California and Massachusetts drivers for up to $100 million. Drivers would remain independent contractors under the deal, but Uber said it would help establish an association for them to communicate with the company.

The next day the Teamsters, in conjunction with worker rights group Silicon Valley Rising, announced it would launch a driver association in California. Kara Deniz, a spokeswoman for the International Teamsters, said it is difficult to predict what kind of organization will ultimately be formed.

“As a union whatever we do will be based on discussions with the drivers and their wishes,” Deniz said.

The Machinists’ deal could make it difficult for other labor groups to take a harder line with Uber, unless drivers are united and clear in their demands, said Catherine Fisk, a labor law professor at the University of California Irvine.

“In the end what any worker organization can get is a function of the solidarity of the workers,” she said.

In Seattle, Uber and Lyft drivers worked with the Teamsters to lobby officials for an ordinance allowing them to bargain collectively. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit to block it, which is pending.

Fasil Teka, an Uber driver who helped found the App Based Driver Association in Seattle, said collective bargaining – and the ability to strike – was his main reason for organizing.

Otherwise, he said, “there would be no point in having a union.”

The one thing all sides agree on is that the struggle over how to organize labor in the new economy is just beginning, and for some observers, that’s not a terrible thing.

“Unions are in a state of crisis and are desperately trying to figure out a model to stay relevant,” said Phil Wilson, president of the Labor Relations Institute Inc, which casts itself as “the preeminent firm in countering union organizing campaigns.”

Tags: IAMbusiness unionismUber
Categories: Labor News

Argentine Transportation Workers Call for General Strike Against Macri

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 11:17

Argentine Transportation Workers Call for General Strike Against Macri
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Argentine-Workers-Call-for-General...

Argentine workers during April's general strike | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2016

Transportation unions have also joined and supported the call for a general strike due to the large amount of layoffs in the country.
Workers unions have called for a general strike to protest that Argentine President Mauricio Macri vetoed a law that would have forbidden layoffs.

"The veto is legal, but not legitimate, the workers want and need this law to guarantee their sources of employment, so the response must be immediate," said Pablo Micheli, one of the leaders organizing the strike, which includes more than 20 unions in the country.

In the first five months of Macri's administration, over a 150,000 people have lost their jobs.

This is the first time that the new president used his veto capacity to overturn a law, as the bill had been previously approved by the Senate. The bill declared a labor emergency and forbid layoffs for 180 days.

Macri blames former President Cristina Fernández of supporting this law, which he says discourages investment.

Workers unions had organized a strike against Macri in April, as more than 150,000 people have lost their jobs since the conservative government took power.

Tags: transportation workerssolidarityGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News

Belgium: Unions call mass protest over work hours

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Expatica
Categories: Labor News

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