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Carhaul Negotiations Open

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 14:43

June 4, 2015: Teamster and employer negotiators met today to exchange initial proposals, with bargaining set to begin on June 10. The union’s proposals are available here. The contract expires on August 31.

The union’s initial proposals cover a number of important working conditions and competitive rates issues (Article 22), but not proposals on wages, pension, health benefits and other monetary issues. Those will be addressed later in bargaining.

Bargaining has barely started but Hoffa is already putting politics ahead of the contract.

The union committee chosen by James Hoffa and Carhaul Director Kevin Moore omits leaders from important locals, including Local 89, one of the largest carhaul locals, and St Louis Local 604. The leaders of those locals – Fred Zuckerman and John Thyer – are candidates on the Teamsters United slate.

Some 300 carhaul members joined a Teamsters United conference call last month to discuss the contract and upcoming election, and to form a national contract solidarity network among carhaulers.

Get involved in the fight to save our contract and our union. 

Issues: Carhaul
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Cleveland Retirees Tell White House Conference: Don’t Cut Social Security

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 12:43
Bruce BostickLabor NotesJune 4, 2015View the original piece

Emboldened after winning a big Congressional majority last year, Republicans are taking another swipe at Social Security. Hundreds of retirees recently rallied in Cleveland to raise the alarm.

Among the new Republican majority’s first legislative acts were attacking Social Security payments to disabled recipients—an attempt to split retirees from disabled workers—and weakening pension protections.

Click here to read more at Labor Notes.


Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Video: Pension Movement Spreads

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 08:31

June 4, 2015: The movement to stop the pension cuts in the Central States Plan – and for positive alternatives – is growing and spreading out. Last weekend, hundreds of Teamsters turned out for meetings in Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Watch the news report from the NBC affiliate. The interviewee is Karen Friedman, Policy Director of the Pension Rights Center.


Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Uzbekistan: Brutal police attack on activist

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Human Rights Watch
Categories: Labor News

UK: Trade union membership is as valued as ever, says TUC

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: FIFA Turmoil: Qatar Risks Losing World Cup

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Donald Watson May 3, 1929 – March 25, 2015

ILWU - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 10:07

Don Watson (left) with UFW leader Cesar Chavez.

Don Watson was a quiet and determined ILWU activist who spent his life gently but effectively leading progressive organizing efforts in the union he loved. Watson died peacefully at his home in Oakland, CA on March 25. “He was content in the knowledge that he had a long and good life, had touched the lives of many people, and had contributed to making the world a better place,” said his wife Jane Colman.

Early years

A childhood in New York City during the Great Depression allowed him to witness struggles by labor organizers, including those by his father, Morris Watson, a respected writer for the Associated Press who organized newspaper workers and helped found the American Newspaper Guild before being fired. Watson’s termination became a high-profile test-case that helped establish the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act.

Like millions of Americans during the Depression, Morris Watson was attracted to left-wing political movements, and met Harry Bridges in 1942, who persuaded the family to relocate to San Francisco where Morris became founding editor of the new ILWU Dispatcher newspaper.
At sea with left-wing politics

As a teenager, Don recalled hearing Harry Bridges tell stories about his exciting times on the high seas, which encouraged Watson to join the merchant marine when he was still in high school. He traveled the world and met many trade unionists, including some who belonged to the Communist Party, whom he found to be especially impressive.
They encouraged him to join their ranks and get involved in the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union in 1948. That was a tumultuous year, with his union joining ILWU members in a waterfront strike challenged by the Taft- Hartley Act which had had just been enacted to limit union power. Also that year, third-party candidate Henry Wallace ran against Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Thomas Dewey, in an effort backed passionately by Don Watson, other Communist Party members and some liberals that received only a handful of votes on election day.
Political repression

The late 1940’s and early 50’s were hard times for Watson and other leftwing activists, with the U.S. government waging a Cold War with the Soviet Union, fighting the Chinese in Korea, while anti-Communist hysteria became a national preoccupation. Watson was eventually barred from working at sea because of his political views, a process known as “screening” that was administered

by the U.S. Coast Guard. The practice was eventually ruled unconstitutional, but back then he and his supporters did their best to resist by organizing daily protests at the Coast Guard headquarters. Watson was drafted to fight in the Korean War but the Army first ordered him to admit that his father had been a member of the Communist Party – which Don refused to do – resulting in a questionable discharge

that was finally classified as “Honorable” years later.
At home in the ILWU

While still a members of the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union (MCS), Watson supported an ILWU organizing effort in 1955 to help his fellow MCS members find a safe haven in the Longshore union. That effort was blocked by government officials who were fearful and hostile toward left-wing members and leaders at both the MSC and ILWU.

Watson and many other U.S. seafarers soon found themselves “screened out” of work by the Coast Guard. Watson found temporary work as a rivet-catcher in a metal shop. It was during this period of upheaval that Watson was treated kindly by an Assistant Dispatcher at Local 34 who got him a permit card that allowed him to work on the docks. Within a year he became a member of the Marine Clerks Union – the same year that he quit the Communist Party after learning of mass killings in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin’s brutal regime that crushed democratic dissent inside the USSR and surrounding nations, including Hungary.

Retaining his left-wing values of social justice and worker rights, Watson operated with a persistent but low-key approach that won respect from his co-workers. He was elected to serve on the Local 34 Executive Board for 24 years and served as Chairman for 19.
Political action

Having experienced harsh treatment from reactionary politicians during the 1950’s, Watson understood the importance of supporting progressive political leaders. He became active in the ILWU’s Northern California District Council and served as the ILWU’s lobbyist in Sacramento. He joined the Young Democrats and the California Democratic Council – voice of the Democratic= Party’s liberal wing that supported civil and labor rights. In 1962 he was elected Vice Chair of the ILWU’s West Bay Legislative Committee. Within Local 34, he joined a group of reform activists who backed Jim Herman to replace a leader who resisted admitting African Americans and left-wing seamen to the Local, according to Watson.

Farm worker organizing

In the 1960’s, Watson began volunteering to help the United Farm Workers union (UFW), and encouraged the ILWU to support the UFW in every way possible, including actions on the docks and conducting research to help UFW lawyers in Salinas. With help from Herb Mills and Whitey Kelm of Local 10, he created a “$5-a-month club” to generate donations for the UFW. Watson also organized annual holiday drives, and during the 1970’s organized a monthly labor caravan that travelled from the

Bay Area to the UFW headquarters in Delano. By this time, Watson was volunteering most of his time to help the UFW and working only 800 hours a year on the waterfront.
UFW solidarity repaid

When longshore workers and clerks went on strike in 1971 for 134 days, Bay Area ILWU leaders chose Don Watson to serve as Secretary of the Joint Longshore Strike Assistance Committee. Watson was able to secure help from the United Farmworkers Union which organized massive food caravans to help striking longshore families the Bay Area.

Documenting labor history

Beginning in 1975, Watson began documenting the history of agricultural workers in California, going back to the 1930’s. In 1980 he co-founded the Bay Area Labor History Workshop to get feedback and support for himself and others who were documenting labor history without formal academic training. He ended up writing many papers and made presentations at meetings of historians, including the Southwest Labor History Association. He also supported the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University and served on their Advisory Board. During his final years, Watson struggled to collect his own papers and write his own personal history, making frequent trips to the ILWU International offices in San Francisco where he spent time in the Library, Archives and Communications Department.

Fortunately, Watson’s experiences and views were captured in detail thanks to an oral interview he conducted with historian Harvey Schwartz that was published in the 2009 book, Solidarity Stories. In that interview, Watson said he was thankful for the excellent health and pension benefits enjoyed by Longshore workers and Marine Clerks – but noted other workers haven’t been so lucky:

“We’re all facing ongoing privatization, deregulation, huge tax cuts for the wealthy along with growing state and national deficits – all of which hurts working people,” said Watson, who remained committed to reaching out to non-union workers and helping them organize – because he believed it would benefit both the “unorganized” and ILWU members alike.

During the mid-1990’s, Watson became interested in a San Francisco labor history project that aimed to honor waterfront workers by preserving a vintage crane on the City’s waterfront. Watson served Secretary for many years on the Copra Crane Labor Landmark Association (CCLLA), an effort now being overseen by the Port of San Francisco.

Fighting NAFTA

As a pensioner, Watson remained active in his union through the Bay Area Pensioners club and continued to be active in community politics, including a feisty campaign that pushed for labor and environmental standards in the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico (NAFTA). In that struggle against powerful corporate interests backing NAFTA, Watson joined with labor and community activists who challenged local politicians, including Congress member Nancy Pelosi, who ended up voting for the controversial corporate trade pact.

Running and romance

In the late 1970’s, Watson resumed an interest in long-distance running that started on his high school track team. He joined several Bay Area running clubs, including the Berkeley Running Club after moving to Oakland in 1982, where he met his wife Jane Colman, with whom he shared the love of running. They ran many races together, including 5 kilometers, half-marathons and the Pikes Peak Ascent. He told ILWU Librarian Robin Walker that one of his greatest experiences involved visiting South Africa for the Comrades Marathon. After he stopped running in 2005, Watson remained active by walking in races, taking photographs and encouraging the runners. A serious bout with scoliosis left him hunched over with limited mobility, but he never complained and remained active until his final days.

Watson leaves behind his wife Jane Colman, sisters Priscilla Laws and Wendy Watson, stepchildren Caitlin and Roland McGrath, nieces, nephews and many friends who will miss his sweet smile and gentle manner. A celebration of his life will be held at 1pm on Saturday, May 23 at the Local 34 Hall in San Francisco. Donations in Don Watson’s memory can be made to the Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460, San Francisco State University, 1630 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132.

Categories: Unions

Convention Delegate Count is Set

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 08:33

June 3, 2015: Candidates for International Union office will be officially nominated at the Teamster Convention next year. Now you can find out how many Convention Delegates will be elected in your Local Union.

Every Local Union will hold an election for delegates to the Teamster Convention where International Union candidates will be officially nominated.

The Election Supervisor has just announced how many delegates each local union will elect. You can now find out how many delegates your local will elect.

The exact dates for Convention Delegate nominations and elections in each local will be available by September 30, the deadline for all locals to publish their Local Union plan; members will have 15 days to make comments on the proposed Plan.

Presently, only a few seasonal food-processing locals in the West have published their official Convention Delegate election plans.

Check out this timeline for the election of delegates and IBT officers. And this information on delegate elections.   (TDU delegate leaflet)

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Oriental Star Accident Highlights Increase in Safety Problems on Yangtze Cruises

Current News - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 01:09

Oriental Star Accident Highlights Increase in Safety Problems on Yangtze Cruises

Rescue efforts near Nanjing, China, on Tuesday. In 2013, inspectors found safety problems on six of 10 Yangtze cruise boats. CreditChinafotopress, via

BEIJING — For much of recorded history, traveling up the Yangtze meant braving turbulent currents and shoals. In recent years, a more prosaic risk has been growing: poorly maintained ships and inexperienced crews.

Nature can still play a role. Initial reports indicate that the capsizing of a cruise ship on Monday may have been partly caused by hurricane-force winds that hit the ship. But most of the challenges facing passenger ships in China’s waterways are economic, brought about by cutthroat competition in the passenger ship industry.

High-end cruises have become popular as China has seen the rise of a wealthy class of tourists. Large companies such as Carnival Group have moved personnel to China, now second only to the United States in the number of cruise passengers. In 2014, the number of tourists on cruises leapt 43 percent from the year before to 862,000, according to an industry report. Industry estimates say that by 2020, the Chinese cruise ship industry might grow to 4.5 million passengers and could have an economic impact of $8 billion.
Where the Oriental Star Capsized on the Yangtze River
A cruise ship carrying 456 people capsized on the Yangtze River on Monday night.

River travel up China’s waterways is a different story. Industry data and reports suggest that at best, the number of tourists traveling the Yangtze has stagnated, and many of them are budget-conscious retirees. According to a report in The Yangtze Daily, 408,000 tourists traveled on boats in 2002, when the Three Gorges Dam was built. Since then, tourism has grown slowly: 450,000 took cruises to the Three Gorges in 2011, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

A separate report from the Hubei tourism board showed that the number of tourists going to the Three Gorges, the primary destination for Yangtze cruises, dropped 3 percent in the first half of 2013 compared with the same period the year before.

Some of the danger of traveling the Yangtze has been tamed by technological prowess. The Three Gorges Dam has made the river much less choppy, especially through the gorges where the Oriental Star, the boat carrying 456 passengers and crew on Monday, was heading. According to a senior marine safety official from Chongqing cited by the Xinhua news agency last year, that city once averaged 57 accidents a year but now has just 13 on average.

But while the dam has calmed the river by flooding the gorges, it has made them less spectacular, reducing the appeal for high-end travelers. It also flooded major cultural sites. That caused international tourism to plummet, and luxury ships that used to charge 3,700 renminbi, or about $600, for standard rooms sometimes now charge just 1,000 renminbi.

At the same time, inspectors have noticed an increasing number of problems among the ships. In 2013, the Nanjing Maritime Bureau found that six of 10 Yangtze cruise ferries had safety problems. In one case, the crew did not know how to put on life jackets and failed to tell passengers about safety precautions after they boarded. Also that year, a passenger ferry with 415 tourists caught fire, although it was towed to safety and no one was injured.

A survey of shipping companies on the Yangtze showed that 63 percent said they had difficulty hiring experienced, qualified sailors. Over half said they had to go to remote, impoverished regions to find crew members. The primary reason was low pay, with a captain earning just 7,000 renminbi a month, or about $1,100.

The accident Monday is reviving calls for better safety in domestic shipping in East Asia. The loss of the Oriental Star comes less than six weeks after government officials from mostly East Asian nations held a conference in Manila to discuss the need for improved safety in local shipping. Prompted by the loss of the Sewol, a South Korean ferry that capsized on April 16 last year, killing 304 people, the conference was convened by the International Maritime Organization to strengthen regulations on passenger ships serving domestic routes.

Domestic cruises and domestic ferry traffic are not subject to a wide range of international safety rules. “There is an urgent need to enhance the safety of ships carrying passengers on noninternational voyages in certain parts of the world,” said a joint statement by the conference attendees.

Arthur Bowring, the managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, said Tuesday that the capsizing of the Oriental Star had echoes of last year’s accident in South Korea. “It’s just so sad,” he said. “It’s almost exactly like the Sewol.”

According to statistics compiled by the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association in New York, 16,881 people died or were missing in domestic passenger shipping accidents around the world from late 2000 through September of last year.

China had a total of 86 dead and missing from nine accidents in this period, the association’s data show. That does not include Monday’s accident, or the capsizing of a ship in the Yangtze in June 2000 that killed 121 people. Three countries had more fatal domestic shipping accidents during the same time period: Bangladesh, with 37; Indonesia, with 25; and the Philippines, with 14.

But 20 countries have had more deaths than China despite fewer accidents. Senegal had only one accident in this period, but it killed 1,863 people, said Johan Roos, the director of regulatory affairs at Interferry, a trade association of the global ferry industry that is based in Victoria, British Columbia. At the Manila conference in April, there was a clear consensus after the Sewol tragedy that domestic shipping safety standards would have to improve in Asia, said Dracos Vassalos, a professor of maritime safety at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Most of the domestic ships don’t even have basic regulations,” Professor Vassalos said. “If we can do that, many lives will be saved.”

Ian Johnson reported from Beijing, and Keith Bradsher from Hong Kong. Adam Wu and Kiki Zhao contributed research from Beijing.

Tags: maritime safetyChina
Categories: Labor News

Global: Don’t let corporations hijack another trade deal! Show us the text

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Local 34 Ship Clerks Challenge "Cherry Picking" Of PMA Bosses-Oakland work stoppage foreshadows more ILWU contract uncertainties

Current News - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 12:52

ILWU Local 34 Ship Clerks Challenge "Cherry Picking" Of PMA Bosses-Oakland work stoppage foreshadows more ILWU contract uncertainties

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Jun 01, 2015 5:40PM EDT

Cargo interests are hoping that maverick work stoppages at the Port of Oakland, such as the one that shut the port down on the Sunday night shift, will cease now that the new five-year International Longshore and Warehouse Union contract is in effect.

But uncertainties over implementation of the contract are bound to occur in the weeks ahead at all West Coast ports until the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association provide clarity on important provisions in the contract covering work rules and related issues such as mandatory dockworker inspections of chassis at marine terminals.

The ILWU and PMA reached tentative agreement on Feb. 20 on the new contract after nine months of sometimes contentious negotiations and four months of work slowdowns at West Coast ports. The ILWU membership officially ratified the new contract on May 22.

As normally happens after a contract is ratified, implementation of new contract provisions is accompanied by uncertainties as employers and ILWU locals take actions each believes are appropriate in the new environment. Disagreements sometimes occur, and area arbitrators are called in to adjudicate the specific issues. That is what happened Sunday night in Oakland.

Sunday’s incident centered upon a disagreement between terminal operators and ILWU Local 34 over a new provision covering the dispatch of marine clerks for the night shift on Sundays. In the past, terminal operators had to inform ILWU Local 34 by Saturday morning as to its need for marine clerks for the Sunday night shift. Employers said they often had difficulty ascertaining their needs until the day of the dispatch, so the new contract stipulates that the terminals must file their dispatch needs on Sunday mornings for the Sunday night shifts.

The PMA, in a release, said ILWU Local 34 on Sunday “failed to adhere to the new dispatch procedures.” The PMA submitted the matter to the area arbitrator who ruled that the ILWU took unilateral action in violation of the contract and that the union refused to work with employers to resolve the dispute peacefully.

ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees gave a different account of what happened. Local 34 officials charged that the PMA itself did not follow all of the provisions in the new contract concerning the dispatching of marine clerks, but rather “cherry picked” the provisions it wanted to enforce. Nevertheless, the ILWU worked with the PMA to ensure that dispatching for Monday’s day shift worked smoothly, Merrilees said. The port reported that cargo handling returned to normal on Monday morning.

Although Sunday’s disagreement was a one-and-done incident, the PMA said this was the third work stoppage in Oakland in recent weeks. The ILWU locals in Northern California have a reputation for militancy. “By sanctioning illegal work stoppages, the local ILWU leaders are not just violating the new contract, but are disrespecting the truckers, local residents and small businesses whose livelihoods depend on the efficient and reliable movement of cargo through the port,” the PMA stated.

Cargo interests and truckers are also concerned about issues and disagreements that could cause problems at all ports up and down the coast. For example, another provision in the new contract requires inspection by ILWU mechanics of chassis before they are pulled from the marine terminals. Trucker-owned chassis are exempt.

Problems occurred last week in Northern and Southern California when ILWU locals began to implement the inspection requirement by pulling over certain truckers and requesting proof of ownership of the equipment. Truckers charged that the ILWU demands are illegal because their employers, the shipping lines and terminal operators, no longer own the equipment. The verifications delay truck drivers and reduce their earning power because most drivers are paid by the load and earn nothing when sitting in lines.

Trucking company executives in Northern and Southern California reported Monday that the ILWU has since backed off on its verification demands.

This period of uncertainty in interpreting the new contract and adding clarity to disputed provisions could drag on for awhile. ILWU international officers are leaving this week for the union’s once-every-three-years convention, which will be held the week of June 8 in Hawaii. Those conventions normally result in the passage of resolutions on a number of issues and the nomination of officers for the next three years.

During the coming weeks, individual incidents will be addressed by local arbitrators in the various ports, but coastwide guidance on important issues could take longer to develop..

The new contract calls for a totally new arbitration system in which each port range will have a panel of three arbitrators -- one nominated by the ILWU, one nominated by the PMA and a third, professional arbitrator with no previous affiliation with either the union or the PMA. However, the new arbitration system has yet to be implemented.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bill.mongelluzzo@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo

Tags: ILWU Local 34PMA
Categories: Labor News

'FedEx exposed Korean workers to danger of anthrax'

Current News - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 11:22

'FedEx exposed Korean workers to danger of anthrax'
Posted : 2015-06-02 17:37
Updated : 2015-06-02 22:10
'FedEx exposed workers to danger of anthrax'

By Jun Ji-hye

Activists and labor unions argued Tuesday that FedEx's delivery of live anthrax samples might have exposed its workers to serious danger.

The world's top package courier has delivered anthrax samples to 18 labs in the United States and to Osan Air Base, south of Seoul. The delivery took place over the past year, according to the Pentagon.

Shin Soo-yeon, a member of Green Korea, an environment civic group, said such a delivery is directly related to workers' rights to good health.

"Delivery workers might not have known that they were delivering live anthrax samples," she told The Korea Times. "It is doubtful whether the delivery of live samples through the private company would ever be disclosed to the public if there was no report in the U.S."

The mistaken mailing of live anthrax samples was first revealed after a lab in Maryland, which discovered that the bacteria was not an inert training sample as expected, made a report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Then, the U.S. Department of Defense officially announced mistakes in anthrax delivery, Thursday.

"It could have posed a grave danger to the deliverymen. Possible wrong delivery could have posed an even graver danger to unspecified individuals," Shin said. "It is a must to check which safety measures were taken before the delivery and who needs to take responsibility for the threatened rights of workers' health."

The Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union also issued a statement claiming, "The U.S. government's acts of brutality and Korean government's poor management threatened the lives of laborers and the public."

"We are astounded that one of the most hazardous materials used in biochemical weapons has been delivered with other ordinary parcels," it said. "Laborers will be the first that are exposed to the danger of anthrax, and this danger is directly related to the safety of the people."

The union called for strengthening safety measures to prevent recurrence of the incident.

Citizens sympathized with the concerns.

An office worker, surnamed Kim, said, "A very serious tragedy could have occurred if the delivery vehicle had an accident, for example."

FedEx has been quiet about the issue, except for issuing an official statement saying, "All shipments have been safely delivered to their destinations without incident, and we're confident that none of the shipments compromised the health or safety of our employees or customers."

The samples originated from the Dugway Proving Ground that has been testing chemical and biological warfare weapons since it was opened in 1942 on a desert in Utah.

It arrived at the United States Forces Korea's airbase about four weeks ago in a frozen liquid state in a triple wrapped package, according to Korean authorities. Twenty two lab personnel may have been exposed to the anthrax during training last Wednesday. They were given antibiotics for possible exposure, but none have shown any symptoms of infection so far.


Tags: AnthraxFedEx
Categories: Labor News

ILWU leaders join protest in Perth against Chevron projects

ILWU - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 10:48

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath joined a protest against Chevron on May 12 in Perth, Australia.

Docker union leaders from around the world – including ILWU officers – met in Perth, Australia for a strategy meeting in May that included a protest against Chevron for failing to respect workers’ rights in Western Australia.

“Chevron is based in California, but communities back home and around the world are having the same kinds of problems from this company,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath, who spoke at a rally in front of the New Zealand Embassy in Perth. McEllrath joined Vice-Presidents Ray Familathe and Wesley Furtado, and Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams who attended the protest organized by the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).  The protest took place on May 12 during a meeting of the ITF Dockers Section in Perth.
Problems down-under

Chevron is deeply involved with natural gas projects in both Australia and New Zealand. Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members say they’ve been treated unfairly at Chevron’s massive “Gorgon” project, located off the country’s northwest shore. Chevron intends to collect gas from offshore wells then liquefy the product on Barrow’s Island for export using giant LNG tankers. The effort was first estimated to cost $37 billion but exploded to $54 billion because of cost overruns. Instead of cooperating with the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Chevron has refused to respect longstanding union contract standards
and filed a $20 million lawsuit against MUA members over a health and safety dispute.

In New Zealand, Chevron and a partner company were recently awarded lucrative offshore exploration permits. Concerns among members from the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) are running high that Chevron may try to use similar tactics against them.

National Secretary Joe Fleetwood said New Zealand maritime workers are not welcoming Chevron, based on the company’s track record in Australia. He presented a letter to New Zealand consulate officials on May 12 that explained worker concerns about Chevron.

“We support responsible drilling with high safety standards, but we don’t support companies that have an antiworker agenda and bad environmental record.”

Problems in the U.S.

At Chevron’s massive U.S. refinery complex in Richmond, CA, the company hasgained notoriety for endangering workers, surrounding residents and the environment. A huge explosion and fire engulfed the refinery in August of 2012, nearly killing 10 refinery workers and sending over 10,000 residents to local hospitals with concerns about respiratory problems. Federal and state investigators found Chevron was at fault for the explosion because the company had been cutting corners on safety. After Richmond City Council members expressed similar concerns and asked the company to pay their fair share of local taxes, Chevron launched a $3 million political campaign to replace independent City Councilmembers with the company’s hand-picked candidates. The takeover attempt failed after voters rejected all of Chevron’s candidates.

On May 27, Bay Area ILWU members protested on the morning of Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting at company’s corporate headquarters in San Ramon, CA. ITF President Paddy Crumlin,
who also heads the Maritime Union of Australia, conveyed his thanks to ILWU members for their solidarity – and displeasure at Chevron for failing to reach terms with Australian workers;
a struggle he vowed to continue.

“We will keep seeking a settlement with Chevron – while we continue organizing workers at home and abroad to mount a fight – if that’s what the company wants.”

Categories: Unions

LaborTech 2015 The Gig Economy, Labor Communication Media And The Smart Phone

Current News - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 03:44

LaborTech 2015 The Gig Economy, Labor Communication Media And The Smart Phone
Stanford University July 26, 2015

The development of communication technology has led to major changes in the production chain. Today through the internet, hundreds of millions of workers are now linked together and the smart phone has become for the Chinese, the shouji, or “hand machine.” Tech workers and millions of other workers are now tethered to the internet 24 hours a day and every keystroke can now be watched by their employers on the job and off the job as well as tracking them off the job.
Apps are also being use to put workers in a temporary part time economy and change their conditions of work from taxi workers to call centers as well as healthcare workers and workers in every industry. The gig economy is which more and more workers have no security and benefits is exploding.
LaborTech 2015 will look at how this new technology is being used on workers and how workers are using communication technology to organize from strikes, solidarity and challenging the attack on democratic rights.
It will also provide instruction on how to build labor channels that can get the stories out to workers and the public locally and internationally.
The introduction of technology into the workplace and the labor and human rights of workers including the large number of immigrant workers in the tech industry is a growing issue for not only these workers but all people.
LaborFest 2015 will look at these issues and how labor can confront these issues here and internationally.
The Gig Economy-How Is This Changing The Conditions Of Labor And Our Lives
More And More Workers Are Being Pushed Into The Gig Economy-What Does This Mean?
How Workers and Unions Can Stream Your Stories And Struggles And Build Channels
Using The Smart Phone
How can your union or labor group get your stories out using smart phones and streaming technology
How Is Tech Being Used On The Job And For Workers Struggles & Communication
What Labor Rights Do You Have On The Job With New Technology & How Are Workers Using Video and Communication Media To Get Out Their Stories And Issues.
Techsploitation: How Immigrant Workers and Tech Workers Facing Discrimination
In The Tech Industry And What You Can Do About It

Initial Speakers:
John Parulis, Todd Davies, Jack Linchuan Qiu, Steve Hill, Gail Glick, Ali Ergun Mehmet, Kaveno Hambira, Ruth Silver-Taub, John Han, Scott Barbes-Caminero

Please go to LaborTech www.labortech.net for registration $50.00 and information
Send Check or Money Order to LaborTech P.O. Box 720027, San Francisco, CA 94172
Contact (415)282-1908
Sponsored by LaborTech.net, LaborNet & KPFA WorkWeek Radio,

Tags: labortechUber
Categories: Labor News

World's Largest Flight Attendant Union Leads Charge against Human Trafficking on Airplanes

Current News - Tue, 06/02/2015 - 03:42

World's Largest Flight Attendant Union Leads Charge against Human Trafficking on Airplanes

Association of Flight Attendants Logo.
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) calls on the aviation industry to join forces to abolish human trafficking on our planes. The union is raising awareness and calling for mandatory training for all Flight Attendants to recognize and report human trafficking.

As the world's largest flight attendant union, AFA is speaking out for Flight Attendants everywhere who have the ability to make a major impact in combating this heinous crime.

"There are 4 million innocent victims who are trafficked world-wide each year, and many of those victims are transported on our planes," said AFA International President Sara Nelson. "Recently I spoke with a human trafficking victim about her journey to a hidden dungeon. Alicia Kozakiewicz's abductor stopped for a moment to pay a toll and she had hope for just a second. As tears streamed down her face, she begged with her eyes to be recognized and saved. But no recognition came and Alicia journeyed on to incredible torture and pain. I can't help but wonder how many times I may have been working a flight when someone needed me to recognize them. To save them from pain."

"Many Flight Attendants have spent sleepless nights after having witnessed something that just didn't feel right on their flight, but without the proper tools to act," Nelson explained. "No more. As aviation's first responders, we are charged with the safety, health and security of the passengers in our care. Traffickers steal lives. But for a window of time, we can see it, report it and law enforcement can bring justice. This crime is happening right in front of us. If we fail to act, we are accepting modern day slavery."

The infrastructure and training mechanisms are already in place through the Department of Transportation's Blue Lightning Initiative, launched two years ago on June 6, 2013. Blue Lightning teaches airline personnel about common circumstances with human trafficking in order to recognize and report these instances to law enforcement for swift action.

"We need all of our airlines participating in Blue Lightning," said Nelson. "Everyone immediately recognizes the horror of human trafficking, but we must turn our outrage into concrete action to stop it. We're asking Congress to help us do just that. With the tools already in place and a massive network of trained Eyes in the Skies we can make an immediate difference through U.S. aviation. We have the potential to save millions of lives and stop the $32 billion dollar business built on exploitation of innocents."

To pledge your support and learn more, visit: hiddeninplanesight.org.

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world's largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for 67 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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SOURCE Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA)

Tags: Flight Attendants
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