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Australia: Journo union in Australia MEAA outraged at Cairo court's Al Jazeera verdict

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: MEAA
Categories: Labor News

Albertsons LA IBT 848 drivers claim layoffs are unfair in wake of sale to Haggen

Current News - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 00:14

Albertsons LA IBT 848 drivers claim layoffs are unfair in wake of sale to Haggen

A Vons truck with an Albertsons trailer is shown here at the Albertsons Brea Distribution center. (Courtesy)
By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Haggen’s entry into California’s ultra-competitive supermarket industry has already resulted in layoffs and reduced hours for workers at company-purchased stores that used to operate as Vons or Albertsons.

But the fallout extends beyond that.

Delivery drivers for Albertsons and Vons supermarkets that weren’t acquired by Haggen are also seeing cutbacks and reduced schedules because there are now fewer stores to service. But the reductions, they say, are being done with little regard for seniority.

“Many of the Vons drivers who continue to work have two to three years seniority, while some of the Albertsons drivers who have been laid off have 15 years of seniority or more,” said Donald Moore, who has worked as an Albertsons driver for 31 years. “Our Albertsons employees who are represented by Teamsters Local 952 in Orange have substantially more seniority than the Vons drivers who are represented by Teamsters Local 848 in Glendora.”


Moore, 60, of Brea, says his job remains secure. But he’s calling for a blended seniority roster between the two union locals that would be more fair to the Albertsons drivers with more experience.

Albertsons and Vons employees both work under the umbrella of AB Acquisition LLC, Moore said, so it makes sense to combine the two rosters.

“I’ve had personal conversations with an Albertsons management official on this and he said blending the seniority rosters is the moral thing — the right thing — to do. But you have two different locals that don’t see eye to eye on this.”

Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer for Local 848 could not be reached for comment Thursday. But Moore said Tate’s contention has been that since Vons and Albertsons drivers only deliver to their respective stores, there should be a separation between the two rosters.

Moore noted, however, that Vons drivers do pickups at Albertsons distribution centers and Albertsons drivers do the same at Vons distributions centers.

In a letter sent to Teamsters International Union President James P. Hoffa, Moore said the Albertsons official told him that Local 848 is blocking the idea of a blended roster because they know that “all forthcoming layoffs would all be (Local) 848 junior members.”

“It is an injustice of Teamster core values not to honor seniority,” Moore wrote in his letter. “We as Teamsters enjoy many privileges due to our strong heritage of rights of seniority.”


Haggen Inc.’s entry into the California grocery industry came about through the merger of Albertsons and Safeway. Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that owns Albertsons, received approval from the Federal Trade Commission in January to buy Safeway (Vons’ parent company) for about $9.2 billion. But in order to comply with antitrust laws that seek to preserve a competitive marketplace, the two grocery chains had to shed a total of 168 stores. Haggen bought 146 of them.

Tags: DriversIBT 848
Categories: Labor News

Greek Dockworkers Against the Troika

Current News - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 22:11

Greek Dockworkers Against the Troika
Greek Dockworker and Union Leader, Giorgos Gogos
Greek Dockworkers Against the Troika

Dockworker and Union Leader, Giorgos Gogos, who is also a member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA says the workers are very ready for the struggle against privatization and austerity in the Memorandum. - August 11, 2015

Sharmini Peries - As a journalist and executive producer, Sharmini harnesses the power of research and policy institutions, independent media, social movements, universities and academics to form strategic partnerships for innovative programming at TRNN. Prior to joining TRNN, she served as the executive director of The International Freedom of Expression Exchange, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Royal Commission on Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and managed the Human Rights Code Review Task Force in Ontario. Sharmini also worked as Economic and Trade Advisor to President Chavez and the government of Venezuela from 2003-2007. She has an MA and PhD (EBD) from York University (Canada).

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: We're in the port city of Piraeus. It is the largest port in the Mediterranean Sea, located just outside of Athens. It services 24,000 ships each year, including cruise liners, containers, and ship repairs. It is the major port of entry for the two largest Greek industries, shipping and tourism, employing about 1,500 workers. The Greek Hellenic fleet is the world's most valuable merchant shipping system, valued at $106 billion, largely owned by the Greek oligarchy.
The Chinese state-owned shipping company, Cosco, owns the rights to two container terminals at this port. The memorandum that Syriza is currently negotiating with European creditors means that this port will be entirely privatized in the coming years. This will happen in spite of the fact that Cosco has been reporting ongoing losses, and has not bounced back from the 2008 recession.
In the July 5 referendum, over 75 percent of the residents living in this port city voted oxhi, no, supporting the Syriza call, in spite of the fact that both the local church and the mayor, who are supported by the shipping magnates in the city, advise them to vote yes. This port has been the site of struggle against privatization and austerity, not only in these recent times, but for the last decade.
With me to discuss these developments is Giorgos Gogos. He's a Greek dock worker and union leader from the city. He's a member of Syriza's central committee, and he's active in the regional and union levels of the party. He's engaged in local organizing efforts in Piraeus, he supported the Syriza oxhi vote, and urged his union members to do so as well.
GIORGOS GOGOS: Welcome. I am general secretary the last five years of the dockworkers' union of Piraeus Port Authority, and I work in the port the last ten years, since 2005.
PERIES: So tell me a little bit about the challenges you're facing in this port.
GOGOS: It's ten years now that they are trying to privatize the port. The first strike, it was when Cosco established themselves in the bigger part of the container terminal. This took place in June 2010. So we have already experienced five years of establishment of a private company, the bigger part of the container terminal of Piraeus Port Authority. Now we have a challenge in front of us. The entire privatization of Piraeus Port Authority. Out of 75 percent of the total shares that the state owns, they're going to privatize 51 percent.
So this, it was a decision of the previous government. Initially they started by privatizing 67 percent. And the new government changed this condition to 51 percent. We are against this privatization for several reasons, and we are not the only ones that resist this decision.
PERIES: Tell me a little bit about the union. How large is it, and what are some of the challenges you're facing in organizing against privatization in this port?
GOGOS: Our union represents the traditional dockworkers. We're about 300 working in the public port. There are three more unions in the public port, and they're organizing other specialties. Like people working in the administration. The other union is for technicians and operators of the machines. And the third one is for foremen and supervisors.
We're not organizing people in the Cosco terminal. Recently, before a year, they made their first strike so as to demand their rights. And so far they didn't succeed to conclude in the first basic collective bargain agreement, unfortunately, because they are quite biased by the management of Cosco company.
PERIES: Do the workers in the Cosco port, are they employees of Cosco? Or are they employees of the managers of the Cosco port here?
GOGOS: A few of them they are employed fully by the Cosco company. And a big majority they are employed through a complex system of subcontractors. There is a big company which is called the [akinesis] Port, and they have a number of eight and nine individuals who are providing also people to the [akinesis] and the [akinesis] is providing labor first to the two piers of Cosco.
PERIES: Okay. And so what are the education levels of the workers? One thing that I found very intriguing of working people in Greece is that they're highly educated in terms of what's going on economically, what's going on in terms of the debt crisis, what Alexis Tsipras is actually negotiating, and the impact it has on them and their work. And their site of work, in this case, this port. So give me a sense of the level of worker education and knowledge about what's going on in the economy.
GOGOS: Yes. The last five years that we've had memorandums and Troika presence in the country raised very much the interest of people for politics. And inevitably because these memorandums affected so much our lives we are well informed about what it's happening and why it's happening, this.
People here, especially in this area, they voted with vast majority of 70 percent for no, and this no was against the austerity and continuation of the memorandums. It was not clear that all of this amount of people wanted to exit from Eurozone or from Europe in general, but all of them it's clear--it's clear that we didn't want to continue with the austerity measures we faced that we faced over the last four years.
So I have to tell you that this area has a big percentage of unemployment. So people are really eager to find a job.
PERIES: Well, what percent of unemployment?
GOGOS: National level is about 25, 27. Here I think it raises more than 35. Especially the kind of, the terminal of Cosco, there is the ship repair zone, which was a very productive one and was giving employment to thousands of people. Especially living in the neighboring, [inaud.] in the neighboring municipalities. The lest eight or nine years the employment in this sector of economy, it's about 90 percent. So you can imagine that there are dwellings that don't have a working person in this area. So the real numbers are really high.
So it was something that Cosco took advantage. And because there is a huge pool of unemployed people seeking for job, they took advantage of this and they are paying very low wages. They have these humiliating labor conditions. We're not given the right for people to organize themselves. And it's--we can say in a few words that it manipulates the labor conditions.
PERIES: And did you see the new deal, or the new memorandum of agreement that Alexis Tsipras is about to sign on to, affecting your ability to negotiate and advertise even more?
GOGOS: Yes, that's true. The final product of the agreement, it's worse than the day we've done. We know that this is the product of blackmailing and huge pressure over the government. Unfortunately our government was believing that we could have allies within the Eurozone. And that the humanitarian crisis in Greece, it would trigger changes within the Eurozone.
Unfortunately this didn't come true. And Schauble and [extra] neoliberals within the Eurozone. They defeated our negotiators, our government. And the final result was after a huge dilemma with--they had to choose between a Grexit without any conditions and the memorandum like they said that they are going to sign and to implement.
PERIES: And one other thing that is in the way of port workers organizing against privatization is the rise of the Golden Dawn, here. And I was wondering, the--and that is also sliced by the fact that the rise of the neo-Nazis or Nazis in this area is also on the rise, preventing some of the port worker organizing that's going on. Tell me about some of that complexity.
GOGOS: Yes. It's a bit strange. But in this, let's say labor municipalities, the rise of Golden Dawn is quite high. It's more than the average percentage in a national way, the percentage. Unfortunately these ideas and these practices, they find a field and they cultivate among the poorer societies.
In the port we don't have indications that Golden Dawn has been intervening. But especially in the ship repair zone that they have this huge employment, they have created a, let's say a trade union, which is not a trade union but a tool by employers that are covering this sector so as to minimize the wages and to further cut off labor rights.
This is a challenge that we have to face, and we work in this field so as to prevent expansion of Golden Dawn and Nazis in our working places.
PERIES: So given the majority of the people voted against the referendum here, what are their thoughts now? Or what are your thoughts now that the memorandum has been approved by the parliament, and it's gone against the will and the democratic will of the people have done in this area, and perhaps unions in this as well. What are your thoughts, what do you think the next steps are?
GOGOS: We have mixed feelings. Passing from hunger, disappointment. We are not feeling well. It's a new agreement, as I told you, a product of huge pressure. We know that it's not going to be sustainable, it's not going to be viable, it's going to destroy certain sectors of Greek economy. And we know that we are going to reject it sooner or later. We are in a state of shock these days, because we saw our prime minister negotiating about 17 hours in a table with all these neoliberals trying to promote their plans.
It will take some time. I don't think it will be a long time. But we're going to organize ourselves and start fighting and struggle against these pressures. It's very strange because a left party's in power and they plan to impose these measures. It's something very contradictory. But the target remains the same, these measures should not happen, should not take place, should not be implemented.
So we still want to continue our struggles. The point is organizing better so as to have better results. I think that very soon we're going to have elections, and people will be asked again to say his opinion. So we're continuing, so we remain vigilant to continue our fight.
PERIES: One of the things that will occur as a result of the as a result of the memorandum is that more and more parts of the port will be privatized. However, this, the issue of Grexit, if you exit the Euro the port will also subside in terms of business. Is that your anticipation?
GOGOS: First of all we have to say that we're not talking about privatization like the others that happened in the European Union. Meaning concession to several providers, certain cargo terminals, et cetera. Here the case is the privatization of entire Piraeus Port Authority. It's not only the cargo terminals, it's not only the cruise terminal, it's not only the passenger terminal that connects the ferry lines between the Greek islands and the mainland. It's about privatizing public authorities. And this is unique in the European Union, with one exception. The changes, the reforms in port policy in Britain during the Thatcher era. And they are still trying to recover after 25 years of these reforms. So it's something unique for the European continent.
And I think that even the people in the government, they're not happy at all to implement this privatization. So taking into consideration that we have not the only ones that the resist to this privatization goes form other stakeholders around Piraeus. And being precise, it's the local municipalities of [former] [inaud.] surrounding the port, it's the commerce of--the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of middle-scale business. The bar association and other trade unions in the area of Piraeus.
So whole local society is against this decision. We're not alone in this fight. And we are hoping we are going to win and keep the port under public control.
PERIES: Giorgos, thank you so much for coming on the Real News Network and speaking with us today.
GOGOS: Thank you very much.

Tags: Greek Dockworker
Categories: Labor News

Judge issues TRO to stop The Rapid's interference in Grand Rapids ATU 836 worker leaflet distribution

Current News - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 21:00

Judge issues TRO to stop The Rapid's interference in Grand Rapids ATU 836 worker leaflet distribution

Union can hand out leaflets critical of bus system leaders, judge says
PrintEmailBy John Agar | jagar@mlive.com
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on August 27, 2015 at 8:01 PM, updated August 28, 2015 at 10:47 AM

A flier distributed by union members at The Rapid Central Station and bus stops.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to prevent The Rapid officials from interfering with union members distributing leaflets at Central Station.

The union is in contentious negotiations after its contract expired nearly two months ago.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff earlier issued a temporary restraining order in favor of Amalgamated Transit Union, which said the Interurban Transit Partnership, or The Rapid, violated workers' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights with threats of discipline and arrest.

After hearing testimony Thursday, Aug. 27, Neff said workers could continue to hand out leaflets outside of Central Station. She said transit officials, who contended that the Central Station was not a public forum, had earlier allowed – or failed to halt – political gatherings and voter-registration drives.

The Rapid also passed out T-shirts for bus drivers to wear urging support of public transit, RiChard Jackson, a bus driver and president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 836, told the judge.

Neff said that policies cited by Interurban Transit Partnership, or ITP, stating it was not a public forum differed from its practice.

"Actual practice speaks louder than words," she said, in her ruling from bench.

Neff said that the plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success at trial. She said the possible deprivation of constitutional rights, in particular, the right to free speech, is of utmost concern, too.

"It is clearly in the public's interest to prevent the violation of the (union workers') constitutional rights," Neff said.

Union workers have been handing out leaflets over a proposal by The Rapid to change workers retirement plans from a defined pension plan to a 457 plan, similar to a 401(k) plan. The leaflets say Rapid CEO Peter Varga and others are collecting high salaries while forcing bus drivers to lose retirement security.

The union said transit officials were upset with the content of their speech, not necessarily their actions. The ITP contended that it's "no solicitation" policy prevented such acts.

ITP Chief Operating Officer Brian Pouget said that the bus service policy says only passengers and patrons are allowed at the bus platform. Others are asked to leave for both security and safety reasons. He insisted that union workers were violating company policy by being on the property while off-duty.

A large gathering of non-riders "would be very disruptive to our patrons, certainly. ... It matters not what the message is," he said.

ITP attorney Gregory Longworth contended that handing out leaflets violated a "no-solicitation policy."

But the judge said that the simple act of offering a leaflet put little to no burden on potential recipients who could decline the flier or throw it away.

Union attorney Sean Morales-Doyle said the transit authority, no matter its stated policy, created an "unreasonable restraint on speech" based solely on the union's message.
He said such rules have not been enforced until now.

Both the union and ITP are operating under a contract extension that expires on Saturday, Aug. 29.

John Agar covers crime for MLive/Grand Rapids Press E-mail John Agar: jagar@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ReporterJAgar

Tags: ATU 836
Categories: Labor News

China: Official trade union ACFTU takes a holiday in dreamland

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

Poland: Global campaign launched to end sackings and union busting at Polish port

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF
Categories: Labor News

Thailand: Court sends labour rights activist Andy Hall for trial

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

SF Bauer’s accused of forming ‘sham’ union, Owner Gary Bauer Set Up Company Union To Thwart Teamsters

Current News - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 08:27

SF Bauer’s accused of forming ‘sham’ union, Owner Gary Bauer Set Up Company Union To Thwart Teamsters

Teamsters and shuttle drivers for Bauer's Intelligent Transportation protest against company practices on Aug. 11 at the corner of Valencia and 24th streets. (Michael Ares/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on August 27, 2015 2:00 am

A local private bus company’s CEO set up a company-run union to thwart Teamsters’ efforts to build a legitimate workers’ union, according to recent court filings.

Now, a federal agency is moving to halt what it calls a “sham” union.

In a rare move, the National Labor Relations Board filed a petition for an injunction against Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, requesting the U.S. District Court to step in and halt the practice.

Bauer’s runs commuter shuttles for Bay Area tech companies like Cisco Systems and Electronic Arts. The NLRB and Teamsters allege Bauer’s engaged in “intimidation” tactics, such as following employees and photographing them as they met with union organizers.

The Teamsters said they are trying to organize the tech shuttle drivers in efforts to garner higher wages and fair working practices.

The injunction was filed by the NLRB’s Region 20, headquartered in San Francisco. The filings express support for Teamsters Local 665 in seeking temporary relief from Bauer’s practices until matters are resolved at the NLRB.

That resolution is likely a year down the road, the NLRB argues, which is why it’s asking the court to halt Bauer’s alternative union in the short term.

“Such restraint is necessary now to prevent the irreparable harm likely to result from Respondent’s unlawful foisting upon its employees of a textbook, sham ‘company union,’” wrote local NLRB attorney Carmen Leon, to the court.

The “sham” union in question is the Professional Commuter Drivers’ Union. In the filings, Leon wrote that a Bauer’s road supervisor, Clarence Murdock, with support from Bauer’s owner Gary Bauer, “prevailed on employees to sign a blank piece of paper — not disclosing that their signatures would be used to furnish a veneer of legitimacy” to the commuter drivers’ union.

The San Francisco Examiner was unable to reach Bauer’s for comment.

In a filing to the NLRB, Bauer’s attorneys provided few details.

“Respondents deny each and every allegation contained therein,” Bauer’s wrote in the filings more than a dozen times, without specifics.

“It’s been one thing after another,” said Rome Aloise, principal officer of Teamsters Local 853, of organizing Bauer’s drivers. He alleged Bauer’s alternative union won’t protect workers.

With Bauer’s union, he said, “Let’s say you get fired or disciplined improperly, who makes the decision? Your employer, [who is also] the head of the phony union.”

Labor attorneys the Examiner spoke with described requests for injunctions from the NLRB as extremely rare, though that may be changing. According to its website, the NLRB issued less than 60 requests a year since 2012.

“I’ve been around for a long long long time, and I haven’t seen this happen very often,” Aloise said.

The U.S. District Court may consider the injunction in October, according to filings.

Tags: sham unionBauer's
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Do our soldiers need a union?

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Now
Categories: Labor News

In memory of longshore workers killed in 1886 at the port of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

ILWU - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:50

In the late 1800s, when a cargo vessel entered the Puget Sound, it would take on longshoremen at its first port of call, then those men would remain on the ship to work the vessel at all ports in the area.

In mid-June of 1886, the “Queen of the Pacific” put into Seattle where she took on six longshoremen. The longshoremen were charter members of the newly established Seattle Stevedores, Longshoremen and Riggers Union (SL&RU), predecessor of ILWU Local 19. During June and July, the= vessel discharged and loaded cargo at docks in the Puget Sound, working its way up to British Columbia.

On June 9, 1886, the Queen was docked in Nanaimo, British Columbia, where a powerful blast ripped through the ship’s hold, taking the lives of the six charter members of the SL&RU: Hans Hanson, August Johnson, William Kade, William McDonald, Patrick Priestly and William Robee. For 59 years, the tragedy was the worst waterfront accident in the history of the West Coast.

The explosion occurred at five minutes before noon on July 29, 1886, at the Nanaimo coal dock where Seattle coal passers were winging coal into the corners of the ship’s hold. Suddenly, a ton of coal hit the center of the lower deck; a clap shook the ship from aft to stern anda sheet of flame flashed upward from the hold to the upper deck.

The SL&RU coal gang was engulfed by flames. As they were carried out of the lower hold, eyewitnesses saw that hair had been burned from their heads and faces; flesh hung in shreds and their “cries were most heart-rending.”

The severely burned men also included eight seamen. Horse-drawn wagons carried the injured to the Nanaimo Hospital where three doctors worked around the clock for two weeks to save lives. One by one, all of the longshore workers and two sailors died from seared lungs and skin burns A court of inquiry later determined that coal dust had ignited from spontaneous combustion. They ruled that the explosion was an accident that could not have been prevented. Ten months later, an explosion killed 155 miners at the same mine that provided coal for the “Queen of the Pacific.” Another court of inquiry found the second explosion also an “unavoidable accident.”

During the century that followed, coal miners in North America fought to end coal dust and methane explosions that were claimed by employers and their experts to be “unavoidable.”

Union members in the United States finally succeeded in passing the Mine Safety and Health Act in 1977 that led to significant safety and health improvements.

Seattle longshore workers installed a plaque at the Nanaimo gravesite in 1886 to commemorate the deaths of their union brothers and to thank the people of Nanaimo for caring for them. But after 128 years, the plaque had disintegrated. Seattle Pensioners commissioned Local 19 member and artist Ron Gustin to replicate the original plaque.

The new monument is a bronze relief mounted on charcoal black granite that measures 20 x 6 x 28, and weighs 575 pounds. Father Piotr Lapinski, who was in charge of St. Peter’s Cemetery, graciously agreed to the re-installation.

At the 2015 rededication Lapinski’s successor Father Krzysztofy (Chris) Pastuszka delivered the benediction for the fallen six.

Seattle Pension President Carl Woeck read the original SL&RU message that was dedicated in 1886:

“We wish to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation of the services rendered our six comrades by the citizens of Nanaimo and missionary Charles Seghers following the recent accident on the Queen of the Pacific. Our fallen union brothers Hans Hanson, August Johnson, William Kade, William McDonald, Patrick Priestley and William Robee rest in peace in your care. Should the opportunity ever present itself, the people of Nanaimo may rest assured that the longshoremen of Seattle will endeavor to repay the debt that they so justly owe them.”

Stevedores, Longshoremen and Riggers Union of Washington Territory
Frederick D. Sprague, President
Henry Storey, Secretary
August 7, 1886

After the graveyard ceremony, Americans and Canadians met at the Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo for lunch. Seattle Pensioner Vice President Ian Kennedy was the banquet emcee.

Speakers included ILWU Canada President Mark Gordienko, Local 19 President Jason Gross, Seattle Pensioner President Carl Woeck and ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams. Comradeship between Canadian and American longshoremen was the theme of the remarks. All stressed that remembrance of the terrible tragedy had strengthened the bonds of friendship, and that we are part of a worldwide family who will always be considered brothers and sisters.

At the luncheon, it was noted that another longshore tragedy happened in Vancouver, British Columbia, on March 6, 1945. The steamship Green Hill Park blew up and killed six longshoremen and two seamen. Somehow, whisky, flares and sodium chlorate had been stored together in ‘tween decks in Hold 3. The flammable cargo exploded and blew out a steel bulkhead that killed Donald G. Bell, Joseph A. Brooks, William T. Lewis, Morton McGrath, Montague E. Munn and Walter Peterson. Seamen Julius Kern and Donald Munn, who were in a room directly above the exploding cargo, also perished from asphyxiation.

Ronald Magden, historian; with Mark Gordienko, President ILWU and Charles Zuckerman, Local 500

Categories: Unions

Legislative attack targets ILWU longshore workers

ILWU - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:29

Photo by Robin Doyno

Elections have serious consequences for ILWU members and their families – especially for ILWU longshore workers who recently found themselves being targeted by Republican members in Congress. Here’s how it happened.

In 2014, Republicans took over the United States Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party played it safe and failed to outline a progressive agenda for working families. In the absence of a Democratic agenda to vote for, voters found something to vote against, registering their anger against growing unfairness in the economy.

Attitudes measured by exit polls were negative in the extreme, with 8 in 10 saying they were dissatisfied by the performance of Congress, and 54 percent giving the thumbs down to Obama. A majority of voters were unhappy with the U.S. economic system itself, with nearly two thirds saying it’s unfair and favors the wealthy – and only 32 percent saying it’s fair to most people.

Instead of changing the economy to work for the majority of Americans, the newly elected Republican Congress decided to throw their weight behind the rich and powerful, trampling the working class.

One unifying belief held by the Republican leadership is that they do not like strong unions, so they have focused their efforts against a strong union – the ILWU – that fights without apology for good wages, health and pension benefits, and safe workplaces.

In the last month, U.S. Senators, Senator Cory Gardner (Republican from Colorado) and Senator John Thune (Republican from South Dakota) made speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate, asking other Senators to support their efforts to punish the ILWU for standing up to employers. Senator Gardner proposed legislation to extend powers to Governors to meddle in the collective bargaining process between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association.

Senator Thune introduced legislation (The Port Performance Act) which mandates that the federal government monitor productivity and gather statistics on longshore workers.

Unfortunately, a part of the Port Performance Act (S. 1298) was included in a comprehensive transportation bill that passed the Senate.

Senator Mazie Hirono (Democrat- Hawaii) prepared an amendment to the bill that would have struck the port metrics section from the bill, but Senate Republicans refused to allow her to offer the amendment on the floor. The Senate Republican leadership also slipped in a provision that would allow automation costs to be funded through federal government grants to ports.

The ILWU Washington office and the ILWU grassroots legislation action committee are working long hours to stop the Port Performance Act and government-funded automation from being considered in the House of Representatives. We are engaged in meetings with House members who serve on the Transportation Committee including moderate Republicans.

We are broadening our coalition to include port managers and some terminal operators who may want to work with the ILWU rather than work against us.

If the Port Performance Act passes both Houses and is signed by President Obama, it would cause many negative – and some unexpected consequences.

It would impose a top-down system of federal productivity measurements on port workers. The bill calls on the federal government to collect metrics from ports, including a count of the number of crane moves made by operators at each of our nation’s largest ports. If the legislation becomes law, some unscrupulous terminal operators will try to speed up operations on the docks in order to appear more appealing to shippers, endangering worker health and safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the number of accident reports in the longshore industry at 6.6 accidents per 100 workers. This is twice the rate of accidents in the coal mining industry. If the proposed legislation becomes law, accidents are likely to increase, with more worker deaths and permanently disabilities.

A provision added to the Senate Transportation bill lists electronic roads and driverless trucks within ports as a project that could be funded through federal freight transportation grants. If this federal subsidy is implemented at maritime facilities, funding for automation projects will expand because of federal tax dollars, not market demands, and the number of workers employed at our nation’s ports could be significantly reduced. Driverless trucks and electronic roads will not increase overall port productivity – but they will destroy thousands of jobs and harm local communities, while the federal subsidies create a windfall for terminal operators – most of whom are foreign-owned.

ILWU members can play an important role in stopping ant-union legislation from becoming law. Your member of Congress can be reached at 202-225-3121. Tell your Representative the following:

  • You are concerned the Senate Transportation bill has been combined with the Port Performance Act and a government subsidy for automation on the docks.
  • The Senate Transportation bill would kill jobs by funding driverless trucks.
  • The Port Performance Act will lead to increased accidents, fatalities and injuries.
  • The Act will harm communities who depend on good jobs at our nation’s ports.
  • Ask that your member of Congress vote against any bill that includes these measures.

This report was prepared by the ILWU’s Legislative Director, Lindsay McLaughlin.

Categories: Unions

9/5 Charleston ILA Local 1442 Organizing Labor Day Weekend "Charleston's Days Of Grace, Love's Work Is Justice"

Current News - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 10:51

9/5 Charleston ILA Local 1442 Organizing Labor Day Weekend "Charleston's Days Of Grace, Love's Work Is Justice"
September 5, 9am, Wragg Square: National Mass March & Rally | September 5, 2-6pm/September 6, 7:30a – 3pm: Strategy Conference

En español

“It would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again”—President Barack Obama (6/26/15)

In recent weeks, the Mother Emanuel AME Church community and the family of Walter Scott have shown the world the radical possibilities of resilience, love, and forgiveness. However, as the President reminded us at Senator Pinckney’s funeral, real healing will take hard work.

Guns inflicted the fatal wounds of April and June, but racism, poverty and the politics of rancor and discord have long inflicted grave wounds on the state’s poor and most vulnerable people. This Labor Day weekend, people of faith and conscience will come together in Charleston to remember our fallen friends and to reflect on the racism and hatred that lay at the root of their deaths, as well as the violence that tears away at the fabric of our communities.

Specifically, the gathering will call for an end to racist violence and the transformation of our commemorative landscape—our monuments, markers, and historic sites—to fully reflect South Carolina’s traditions of diversity and democracy. We will also come together to honor Clementa Pinckney and to affirm the moral principles that he stood for as pastor and public servant. These include:

An end to discriminatory policing
Expanded voting rights
A living wage and collective bargaining rights for all working people
Affordable healthcare and Medicaid expansion
Quality education as a basic human right
An end to gun violence

Out of this mass gathering and a one-day strategy conference, we will build on the efforts of many grassroots organizations who have worked tirelessly and often thanklessly over the years to bring about a better South Carolina.

If you believe that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and if you understand that what happened at Emanuel AME has implications far beyond Charleston, and if you believe that we can build a movement together to save South Carolina’s soul and the soul of the nation, then join us as we proclaim "Forward Together, Not One Step Back!"

Issued by: International Longshoremen’s Association, Local 1422

ILA Local 1442 Organizing Labor Day Weekend "Charleston's Days Of Grace, Love's Work Is Justice"

Posted at 08:00h in ILA News by Steven 0 Comments
ILA Local 1422 Organizing Labor Day Weekend “Charleston’s Days of Grace, Love’s Work Is Justice” Saturday and Sunday, September 5 & 6, 2015; ILA President Harold Daggett Urges Full Participation In March, Rally & Conference

NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (August 12, 2015) Following up on plans first announced by International Longshoremen’s Association Vice President Kenneth Riley at the union’s convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico in July, the ILA Charleston local Riley leads as President (ILA Local 1422) has announced plans for a Labor Day Weekend March, Rally and Conference named “Charleston’s Days of Grace” in the South Carolina city where innocent African-Americans lost their lives in two separate and tragic events in April and June. ILA International President Harold J. Daggett is urging the entire ILA membership to fully support “Charleston’s Days of Grace” in any way they can.

“Guns inflicted the fatal wounds of April and June, but racism, poverty and the politics of rancor and discord have long inflicted grave wounds on the State’s poor and most vulnerable people,” announced ILA Local 1422. “This Labor Day, people of faith and conscience will come together in Charleston to remember our fallen friends and to reflect on the racism and hatred that lay at the root of their deaths, as well as the violence that tears away at the fabric of our communities.”

Charleston’s Days of Grace comes as the result of two violent and racist acts that occurred earlier this year. In April, Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American was gunned down by a white North Charleston police officer. In June, nine members of the Emanuel AME Church were murdered by Dylann Storm Roof, who the New York Times described as “a 21-year-old white man with an unsettled personal life and a recent history of anti-black views.”

Both violent acts touched the ILA deeply and personally. Walter Scott had relatives who were members of the ILA and two of the nine church victims were relatives of ILA Local 1422 member Tyrone Saunders, including his youngest son.

“As Ken Riley told our ILA delegates at our International Convention in July, we cannot simply mourn the dead and talk about reform – we must act and these Days of Grace is a powerful demonstration of action,” said ILA President Daggett.

President Barack Obama, a close friend of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of AME Church and another victim of the June massacre inside his church, said in his eulogy for of the Pastor: “It would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.”

ILA Local 1422 sees the “Days of Grace” as a means to further the moral principles of Rev. Pinckney including an end to discriminatory policing; expanded voting rights; a living wage and union rights for all working people; affordable healthcare and Medicaid expansion; quality education as a basic human right; and an end to gun violence.

ILA Local 1422 have established a web site for Days of Grace: www.daysofgracecharleston.org. The Saturday, Sept. 5th March and Rally will take place in Downtown Charleston at locations to be determined and the location of the two-day conference, Sept. 5 and 6th, will also be determined at a later time.

Tags: ILA 1422living wage
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Subway Train Operator Talks After Being Violently Attacked On The Job

Current News - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:51

NYC TWU 100 Subway Train Operator Talks After Being Violently Attacked On The Job
J Train Assault Was One Of 3 This Past Saturday Night Alone
August 25, 2015 5:04 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Subway train operators are being attacked on the job, in an alarming trend that has left transit employees worried about their safety.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, one operator said he was violently assaulted while doing his job this past weekend.
“I was dazed for a second, and I’m like, ‘Wow, he just hit me!’” said train operator Vickram Soenda.
Soenda never saw it coming. On Saturday night in the Essex Street station on the Lower East Side, a passenger pushed in his cab door on his J Train, and then unloaded on him.
“He opened the door and just punched me in the face. He said, ‘What are you going to do? What are you going to do?’ and just punched me,” Soenda said. “And as he punched me, three passengers tried to assist me, and he punched them also.”
The attack on Soenda was one of three separate incidents Saturday night.
On a southbound C Train at Euclid Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, another operator was struck in the arm by a beer can that was thrown by a passenger.
And in the Court Square G Train station in Long Island City, Queens, someone spat in the face of a train operator.
Soenda said when his attacker was originally pushing on his cab door, he was afraid to push back because he thought then he would be blamed for whatever happened.
“If I had to fight this guy off, he could sue the MTA. I could lose my job,” Soenda said, “and you know, it goes on and on and on.”
The Transport Workers Union said the subways have become a home for the mentally ill and street criminals, and employees need better protection.
Soenda couldn’t agree more, and he wants something done.
“And it’s like, nobody is doing anything about it,” he said. “And you know, thank God he didn’t have a knife or anything. He could have stabbed me, easily.”
Soenda said his jaw was badly bruised, but not broken, and he has a lot of neck pain. But he wants to go back to work.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is working to catch the suspects in all three cases.

Tags: TWU 100Worker SafetyNYC
Categories: Labor News

Celebrate getting bus service to transit deserts!

Pittsburghers for Public Transit - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 13:44
After being stuck in a transit desert for years, residents are ready to ride! On Wed Sept 9th, join Baldwin and Groveton community members, along with Pittsburghers for Public Transit, as we ride the 44 Knoxville and 20 Kennedy to town. If you live in Baldwin, we're taking the 7:25 am bus from Churchview Garden Apts (3783 Churchview Ave ext). If you live in Groveton, we're taking the 7:30 am bus from Village Dr.

Supporters are encouraged to join us for a celebratory rally:

Wednesday Sept 9th
8:30 am
6th Ave and Wood St

We'll hear from community members who worked hard to get their transit service back! We'll also hear about continued campaigns for adequate and affordable transit service in Allegheny county.

Coffee and noisemakers will be provided :)

A link to the 44 Knoxville route and schedule is here.

A link to the 20 Kennedy route and schedule is here.

For more information about the event:
email: molly@pittsburghforpublictransit.org
call: 412-216-9659

Categories: Labor News

IBT 853 Teamster Steward John Joseph releases new CD

Current News - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 02:13

IBT 853 Teamster Steward John Joseph releases new CD
What do you get when you cross a hard working shop steward with a singer/ songwriter and throw in a little twang? You get a singing Teamster troubadour!

John Joseph has been a member of Local 853 for 32 years. For all but four of those years, he has represented the Cost Plus stores as a Chief Steward. “I have always enjoyed representing our membership for better pay and fairness in the workplace,” he says. “It has been a personal goal of mine to encourage more participation in our union.” Recently John and another steward have launched a campaign to recruit more women to serve as shop stewards. “They are an underrepresented sector and we want them to feel welcome to leadership roles,” John adds.

Another great passion for John is songwriting and performing. In April, John released his latest CD — Wonders, Worries and Woes — on Lil Red Pony Records. “My songs tell stories about work and love.” Song titles include Almost Gone, Army of One, and Outlaws, Criminals and Thieves. “You can’t go so wrong with subjective and topical songs of work and play,” John says.

The CD took over a year to complete. John says he put lots of consideration into the arrangements, sound quality, and choice of voicing. “I wanted an old timey feel on some it. I also used the best musicians I could find for the genre, such as bluegrass players and a good boogie-woogie piano man.”

John also put a lot of thought into the artwork. “We made the CD cover look like an old-fashioned album cover, with lots of handwork, creative color and lots of footnotes.” He even incorporated the Teamsters logo on the back. “I am very grateful to our union for enabling me to take the time I needed to complete this project without constantly worrying about having enough time off for it.”

You can hear the CD on ITunes and CD Baby, or you can purchase it for $10 from John at johnjoseph1@sbcglobal.net

Tags: TeamsterMusician
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity Needed Oakland First Student Bus Drivers Under Attack!

Current News - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 22:56

Solidarity Needed
Oakland First Student Bus Drivers Under Attack!

First Student school bus drivers in Oakland have been fighting their bosses for a contract since November 2014 to try to win a living wage.

Their wages are substandard. The starting wage is $15 / hour and many drivers have to work other jobs to survive. Meanwhile First Student transit workers in San Francisco are making double their wages for doing the same job. But the management refuses to give a wage increase!

The company, First Student, is retaliating against union activists and workers who speak out about bad working conditions, low wages and sexual harassment.

The workers voted to affiliate with Teamsters Local 853 but have not yet won a contract. They have voted down three contracts and are looking to the community for support.

Transportation workers need to stand together for our brothers and sisters at Oakland First Student. We need your help!

The workers are in a Federal Mediation Hearing which continues at

10am, Tuesday August 25
7677 Oakport St., Suite 550

Please attend the Federal Mediation Hearing and contact us if you want to support their struggle.

Contact: (510) 927-8498 / dlanigersirrom@rocketmail.com

Endorsed by the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee

Tags: First StudentTeamsters 853
Categories: Labor News

Google Express workers join Teamsters

Current News - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 21:22

Google Express workers join Teamsters
By Wendy Lee
August 21, 2015

Photo: Nick And Laura Allen, Associated Press

This undated photo provided by Google shows a Google Shopping express van. Internet search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery. The new service, called Google Shopping Express, will initially provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city. (AP Photo/Google)
This undated photo provided by Google shows a Google Shopping express van. Internet search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery. The new service, called Google Shopping Express, will initially provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city. (AP Photo/Google)
About 150 Google Express workers in Palo Alto will join the Teamsters, the union announced Friday. That is, if they keep their jobs.

The warehouse and shipping workers, employed by vendor Adecco, help operate Google’s online shopping delivery service. The group had 77 members voting in favor of joining the union, with 43 voting against it.

Workers sought union representation after concerns about poor working conditions, including damaged equipment, failing electrical systems and supervisors that follow workers into the bathrooms to make sure breaks aren’t too long, the Teamsters said. Google had no comment on the union vote.

The vote comes after news Thursday that Google plans to close its San Francisco and Palo Alto Google Express delivery hubs, as part of an overall strategy shift. In the past, when Bay Area residents ordered products through Google Express online, Google Express workers at stores would pick up the items ordered off shelves and drop packages at a delivery hub in Palo Alto or San Francisco. Then, couriers delivered those items to Bay Area customers.

Closing the Palo Alto and San Francisco locations could shorten delivery times from the store to the customers’ homes, said Tim Bajarin with advisory services firm Creative Strategies.

“Google is a big company who is looking at the bottom line as well as the quality of the service,” Bajarin said. “If it makes more sense to take out the distribution center in order to be more responsive to the customer, in that case, that is a better business decision.”

Bajarin said he does not believe Google’s change in strategy is related to the union vote.

Gabriel Cardenas, 26, said he hopes the union will push for higher wages and better benefits for Google Express workers. Cardenas, a shift coordinator, makes $17.50 an hour.

“The cost of living in the Bay Area is not meant for a middle working class,” Cardenas said.

The workers who organized under the Teamsters are at the Palo Alto hub.

Adecco did not respond to questions regarding what will happen to workers after the Palo Alto hub closes. The company said it will review the voting results.

“We believe that our associates are better off directly dealing with us as their employer rather than involving a union. However, we are supportive of any direction freely chosen by our associates,” Adecco spokeswoman Vannessa Almeida Adamo said in an e-mail.

Wendy Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: wlee@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @thewendylee

Tags: teamstersGoogle Express
Categories: Labor News

Australia: These condoms are surely having us on

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Sydney Daily Telegraph
Categories: Labor News

Executive Council Response to 6/4/15 Gen Mbrshp Motions

IBU - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 09:10
Attached is the letter presented to the August 18, 2015 Executive Council to the Motions of the June 4, 2015 PSR General Membership Meeting.
Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for August 21 2015

IBU - Mon, 08/24/2015 - 09:08
Categories: Unions


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