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Israel: Update 3- A new petition filed against attempts by Zarfaty to get rid of the union

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: WAC MAAN
Categories: Labor News

Argentina: National strike over ailing economy

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Al Jazeera
Categories: Labor News

Appeals Court Rules Some FedEx Ground Workers Are Employees

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:21
Transport TopicsAugust 28, 2014View the original piece

In the latest decision on worker status, a federal appeals court in California ruled that 2,300 workers at FedEx Corp.’s Ground unit were employees and not contractors to the package delivery company.

The 35-page decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the Ground workers were misclassified as independent contractors, in violation of California law.

Click here to read more at Transport Topics.

Issues: Grocery
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Shipping containers: 60 years in the box

ILWU - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:04

Gene Vrana, pictured in the bandanna, working on drums cargo at Pier 32, San Francisco, 1980.

On the 60th anniversary of the patent of the shipping container, the website, Tomorrow, collects seven stories with different perspectives on shipping containers and how they have changed the world. One of those perspectives is ILWU pensioner and former ILWU Education Director, Gene Vrana:


My generation, the guys that came in in the mid to late ’60s, just saw it change right before our eyes. Not only was the technology changing but the relationships on the job changed because you were no longer working in a gang of eight to 12 guys. You were working maybe two together, or even solitary, dealing with different aspects of either machinery or gear associated with machinery for moving the containers on and off the ship.

With the change in the social aspect, along with the technology, it just felt that the work experience within any day was just not the same.

I worked in a gang that only worked the old general break, bulk cargo up until ’82. Those of us that were in a gang and working with 12 other guys and talking politics and talking family and whatever, had a very different work life than guys who were driving cranes or other container moving technology where they were isolated during the work shift.

A more unpredictable schedule was more common with the container ships. The ships would come in and turn around – and we’re talking now about the ’70s and ’80s – in between 32 and 36 hours, max. The overtime shift occurs on the last shift in order to finish working the ship, getting it ready to sail.

So if they’re sailing with more frequency, the frequency of working late is greater. That kind of thing had more of an effect than on the old fashioned ship that would be in port for 7-8 days and you would go to the same ship and even the same hold of the ship day after day working from 8 ’til 5.

Read the full article here. 

Categories: Unions

Longshore workers’ grain agreement heralds return to work

ITF - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 09:09
United States longshore workers who load grain in Pacific Northwest export terminals voted on 26 August to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies.
Categories: Union Federations

Argentina: Second National Strike as Economic Woes Deepen

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Bloomberg
Categories: Labor News

Thailand: Support workers's rights defender on trial

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC - Stronger Unions
Categories: Labor News

Four More Canadian National Railway Derailments

Railroaded's Blog - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:50

There seems to be no end to the number of Canadian National Railway derailments lately.

This morning, a CN derailment south of York University in Toronto caused delays for several hours on the Barrie and Richmond Hill GO Transit train lines (City News Toronto). As  a result, there was no train service to York University today; shuttle buses were used instead.

Yesterday, two CN cars full of propane and a third empty car toppled off the tracks in Emerson, Manitoba (CBC News). About 40 people who live near the derailment were forced to evacuate from their homes until the derailed cars could be hoisted back onto the tracks again.

Eight CN cars derailed August 20 at Regina’s Co-op refinery, Saskatchewan: 6 tanker cars full of residue, an empty asphalt car and an empty coke car (CJME).

On August 12, 11 empty CN sulfur and centre beam cars  jumped the tracks near the Parsnip River about 145 km northeast of Prince George, British Columbia (CBC News250 News).

See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of CN derailments. Rail safety experts, environmentalists and hundreds of thousands of residents who live near rail lines are becoming more and more concerned about the growing number of CN derailments and other accidents.

Filed under: Canadian National Railway, Derailment
Categories: Labor News

Canadian National Railway Routinely Does Not Report Derailments

Railroaded's Blog - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:31

Recent comments by Canadian National Railway public affairs spokespeople confirm concerns expressed in the past by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada that CN routinely does not report derailments.

Emily Hamer of CN recently responded to a question by the media why the public was not informed of a derailment in Regina by saying it is not CN’s practice to release derailment information unless asked by the media (CJME). She also said findings from CN investigations into derailments are generally not released.

Jim Feeny of CN recently told the Edson Leader that derailments are not uncommon and are often not reported by CN.

Such under-reporting of derailments by Canadian National Railway certainly has an impact on the perceived safety record of the rail giant, and on its stock performance. It would be interesting to know how existing and prospective shareholders of CN stock would respond if they were made aware of the actual number of derailments, spills and other accidents incurred by the corporation.

CN is currently being sued by several parties for allegedly manipulating data to improve safety and productivity statistics and for allegedly misleading shareholders.

Railroaded has just updated the document CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents which provides a small sample of the number of CN derailments in Canada and the United States.

Filed under: Canadian National Railway, Derailment
Categories: Labor News

PMA and ILWU Update on Contract Talks: Tentative Agreement Reached on Health Benefits, Negotiations Continue on Other Issues

ILWU - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 09:38

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 26, 2014) – The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced today that they have reached a tentative agreement on terms for health benefits, subject to agreement on the other issues in the negotiations. The parties have agreed not to discuss the terms of this tentative agreement as negotiations continue.

Maintenance of health benefits (MOB) is an important part of the contract being negotiated between employers represented by the PMA and workers represented by the ILWU.

The contract being negotiated covers nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports. The previous agreement expired at 5 p.m. on July 1, 2014. Talks began on May 12 and are continuing


Download a the press release here. (PDF).

Categories: Unions

Ex-Kroger CEO Admits He Was Paid A 'Ludicrous' Amount

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:02
Kevin ShortThe Huffington PostAugust 27, 2014View the original piece

CEO pay has skyrocketed over the last few decades, and corporate leaders are usually tight-lipped on the subject.

But we were offered a rare moment of candor last month from David Dillon, chairman and former CEO of the grocery chain Kroger, who called his own eight-figure paycheck "ludicrous" during an Aspen Ideas Festival panel.

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

Issues: Grocery
Categories: Labor News, Unions

"Hands Up, Don't Ship!" Minneapolis UPS workers protest shipments to Missouri police

Current News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 03:36

"Hands Up, Don't Ship!" Minneapolis UPS workers protest shipments to Missouri police

A dozen part-time UPS workers in Minneapolis took protest action on the job August 22, after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company, Law Enforcement Targets, whose shipments we handle each day.

Some of us removed the company’s packages from trucks that would deliver them to law enforcement. Others, in solidarity, refused to ferry these packages to their intended trailers.

Others posed with a sign reading “#handsupdontship.” The phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” has come to symbolize protest over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

We decided we could not be silent while our work was contributing to the militarized violence that police are directing at Ferguson residents in the aftermath of Brown’s death.

'Urban Street Violence'
Law Enforcement Targets is based in Blaine, Minnesota. The company produces cardboard, steel, and plastic shooting-range targets. Some feature photos of people for police to practice shooting at.

It holds hundreds of contracts with police departments, federal agencies, and military branches across the country. At least 10 of these contracts are with federal agencies in Missouri, and far more are with county and local police departments and other agencies in the state.

After public controversy last year, Law Enforcement Targets withdrew a line of targets called “No More Hesitation,” which featured young children and pregnant women with guns.

It still offers an “Urban Street Violence” line that’s predictably messed-up, and a “Missouri” line designed with the Kansas City police. (See photos.) These targets are designed to train cops to shoot first and ask questions later, to view everyone as a threat.

All this is shipped through the UPS sorting facility in Minneapolis, which ships several hundred thousand packages each day. Several hundred low-wage, part-time employees do all the sorting work, which includes unloading incoming trucks, sorting packages based on their destinations, and placing them in their intended trailers.

Tags: upsFerguson
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Struggles 1984-2010, The Struggle Continues

Current News - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 03:31

ILWU Struggles 1984-2010, The Struggle Continues
The ILWU and especially ILWU Local 10 in the bay area has
played a significant role in many labor and solidarity struggles.
These include the struggle against South African apartheid, the
IBU-ILWU strike solidarity action in Redwood City, the Neptune
Jade struggle, the west coast strike for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the 2002 lockout, the
May 2008 strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
struggle to defend Black members Jason Ruffin and Aaron Harrision
in Yolo counties who had been arrested, the action against the
Zim's ship in Oakland to protest the Gaza blockade and the work
action to protest the murder of Oscar Grant and for justice.
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ILWU Local 10History
Categories: Labor News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Unions

Starbucks: Give us a fair work week!

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

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

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

read more

Categories: Unions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the letter: Reefer work reassignment.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Mike Francis

Tags: ILWU Local 8
Categories: Labor News

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

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

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

17 August 2014

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

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

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


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

ITUC Call to Action on Gaza / Thousands of postcards for peace to be delivered to UN Secretary-General
7 August 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: ITFPaddy CrimlinGazaPalestine
Categories: Labor News


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