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Global: Precarious workers exposed to higher health and safety risks

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

New help for unions to challenge aviation flags of convenience

ITF - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 16:20
The ITF has produced a new education module to help its affiliates organise around the growing trend of flags of convenience (FOCs) in aviation.
Categories: Union Federations

Coalition demonstrates against Canada-EU trade agreement

ITF - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 15:32
Around 400 people protested on 26 September in Ottawa against the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as officials met in the city to announce they had concluded the trade negotiations.
Categories: Union Federations

ITF welcomes latest blow to Veolia over West Bank involvement

ITF - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 15:14
The ITF has welcomed the latest evidence – the decision by Kuwait City to exclude Veolia from a multi-million dollar solid waste management contract – that vociferous Palestinian and international campaigning over Veolia’s complicity in Israeli projects which violate international law is hurting the company.
Categories: Union Federations

Third ITF humanitarian shipment reaches Gaza

ITF - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 13:48
Two hundred wheelchairs, 200 adult and paediatric walkers and 3,000 school bags with student kits were included in the delivery to Gaza on 29 September of the third ITF shipment of humanitarian aid.
Categories: Union Federations

Help IWW General Headquarters Recycle!

IWW - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 12:55

Chicago does not provide a public recycling scheme, but we can recycle for about $400 per year, working with a non-profit environmental education organization. Help General Headquarters "recycle as feasible," as our constitution suggests for all IWW shops. Click here to donate!

Categories: Unions

Federal mediator joins Fred Meyer warehouse talks

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 06:47
Super Market NewsOctober 2, 2014View the original piece

Contract talks between Teamsters Local 117 and Fred Meyer were scheduled to resume Monday with a federal mediator.

The union said issues include health care and the desire by Kroger, Fred Meyer’s parent company, to include language that would allow the company to outsource worker jobs to a third-party subcontractor.

Click here to read more at Supermarket News.

 

Issues: Warehouse Newswire
Categories: Labor News, Unions

China: Samsung supplier suing China Labor Watch executive

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labor Watch
Categories: Labor News

USA: New ‘Yelp’ for Guest Workers in U.S. Challenges the Employer Power Dynamic

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Labor News

Hong Kong: 10,000 Workers Strike in Support of Hong Kong's Protests

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Nation
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity with the struggling foreign workers in Japan! Crush neoliberalism of privatization and war by the united power of international solidarity!

Current News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 12:02

Solidarity with the struggling foreign workers in Japan!

Crush neoliberalism of privatization and war by the united power of international solidarity!
Doro-Chiba Quake Report

October 1, 2014/issue 63

International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba)

Solidarity with the struggling foreign workers in Japan!

Crush neoliberalism of privatization and war by the united power of international solidarity!

October 1, 2014
International Labor Solidarity Committee of Doro-Chiba

Refugees speaks at the National Workers’ Rally on November 3, 2013 held in Hibiya Open-air Concert Hall in Tokyo. The banners read “don’t deport us with charted planes.” And “Treat refugees as human beings!”

Prime Minister Abe recently reshuffled its cabinet. It has brought forth an ultra-reactionary right wing government. 15 cabinet members out of 19 are from the Japan Conference, a notorious den of reactionaries. It is disclosed that three figures of the Abe administration had taken phots together with members of a Neo-Nazi organization* and other racists: they are Sanae Takaichi, Internal Minister; Tomomi Inada, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) policy chief and Eriko Yamatani, National Public Safety Commission Chair (Police Minister). Furthermore, people in Japan and around the world are outraged by their disguised “Hate Speech Regulation Project” that mainly discussed ban on demonstrations near the Parliament Building, depicting the anti-nuclear demonstration as “too loud and disturbing.”

Another cabinet member, Yuko Obuchi, Trade and Industry Minister, State Minister for Nuclear Damage

Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., has declared to restart nuclear plants.

The Abe administration revised the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act in June for promotion of accepting workforce from abroad to vitalize Japanese economy. Coupled with this, control over foreign residents in Japan has been strengthened as a part of Abe’s “Growth Strategy”. A plan is under way which intends to mobilize foreign workforce to the construction sites of the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled in 2020*** and also to decontamination work in Fukushima. Now it is discussed to introduce a large number of foreign workers especially from Asian countries for this work by means of the Technical Intern Training Program for Foreigners**, which is harshly criticized as a forced labor system. On the occasion of the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998, foreign workers mainly from Iran, who had been put into the

1

construction work of the stadium, were forcibly deported once its construction was over. We are afraid that the similar thing would be repeated by Abe.

In Japan, currently 5,000 foreigners are applying for asylum. They are mostly from Turkey (including Kurdish people), Myanmar and African countries. They are seeking freedom in Japan. But their expectation to be entitled as refugees is scarcely met. Only seven people of the asylum applicants were granted refugee status last year. The other applicants are, however, prohibited to work and need to get permission from the immigration authority for the visit on friends in detention houses outside the designated residence area. Almost all applications for travel were rejected in recent months.

Against these harsh circumstances, in which not only the rights of refugees but also the fundamental rights of foreign residents were brutally denied and neglected,

they are striving to live in Japan with all of their power.

The Abe administration is promoting total outsourcing and attempting to replace workers in regular employment with irregular employment, thus demolishing organic unity of work place. His policy focuses on destroying workers’ unity, throwing 99% into poverty and mobilizing them into war.

Time has come to create militant labor movement in every work place with national railway struggle as its pivotal position. We are firmly determined to organize a huge mobilization to the November 2 National Workers’ Rally with a strong solidarity with foreign workers fighting courageously in Japan.

Capitalist attack of deregulation, outsourcing and casualization are in catastrophic bankruptcy. Let’s crush neoliberalism in its desperate drive toward war by the united power of international solidarity.

* Takaichi and Inada took photos with neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada, the leader of the National Socialist Japanese Workers Party, and Yamatani and Prime Minister Abe himself have close relationship with Zaitokukai, the most notorious xenophobic organization that marches neighborhoods where many ethnic Koreans live chanting “kill, kill Koreans!” with apparent police protection from counter demonstrators.

For Zaitokukai, see: http://www.dw.de/japan-conservatives-hate-speech-goes-too-far/a-16938717
** The Technical Intern Training Program for Foreigners has been repeatedly criticized on domestic and international

papers: see: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2010/12/07/issues/abuse-rife-withi... *** Tokyo Olympic Games, see Doro-Chiba Quake Report issue 59

You can find the archive of Doro-Chiba Quake Report here: http://dorochibanewsletter.wordpress.com/

Nov.2 National Workers Rally

Reinstate Fired 1,047 National Railway Workers!
Stop Outsourcing of Railway Jobs!
Stop Abe’s “Collective Self-Defense”—Constitutional Revision and War!

In Solidarity with People in Fukushima, Abolish All Nuclear Power Plants Now!

Sponsored by:

Solidarity Union of Japan Construction and Transport Workers Kansai Area Branch (Kan-nama) Metal and Machinery Workers’ Union in Osaka (Minato-Godo)
National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba)
Nation-wide Campaign of National Railway Struggle

Speakers include:

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Seoul Regional Counsel United Teachers Los Angeles
Fukushima Delegation

Time: Sunday, November 2, 2014, noon

Venue: Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall, Hibiya Koen Web site: http://www.geocities.jp/nov_rally/

Tags: privatizationunion bustingnuclear workersrailway workersDoro-Chiba Railway Workers
Categories: Labor News

Industrial Worker - Issue #1769, October 2014

IWW - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 11:00

Headlines:

  • IWW UPS Workers Organize Against Police Brutality
  • The 2014 IWW General Convention: Learning From Our Mistakes, Moving Forward
  • Baltimore Jimmy John’s Workers File ULP Lawsuit

Features:

  • A Labor Day Weekend For The Unseen Laborers
  • New Survey Of Online IWW Sign-Ups: A Wake-Up Call And Call To Action
  • Review: Wobbly Poet Keeps Tradition Of Labor Poetry Alive

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: Unions

Union Busting Wal-Mart Blaming Tracy Morgan For Accident Caused By Company Driver Who Did Not Have Enough Sleep

Current News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 09:23

Union Busting Wal-Mart Blaming Tracy Morgan For Accident Caused By Company Driver Who Did Not Have Enough Sleep
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/tracy-morgan-wal-mart-bl...
Tracy Morgan: ‘I can't believe Wal-Mart is blaming me for an accident that they caused’
‘He’s very upset,’ lawyer Benedict Morelli told the Daily News of his client’s reaction to Wal-Mart’s blame-the-victims defense. ‘(Morgan is) struggling every day, fighting hard just to get incrementally better, and they hit him with this.’
BY DAREH GREGORIAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4:05 PMUpdated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4:05 PM

PHIL MCCARTEN/REUTERS
'After I heard what Wal-Mart said in court I felt I had to speak out. ... My friends and I were doing nothing wrong': Tracy Morgan reacted Monday to Wal-Mart's assertion that their lack of seatbelts — not the company's trailer-tractor driver plowing into them — caused the injuries and death in the June 7 accident.
Tracy Morgan isn’t amused that Wal-Mart is blaming him for the injuries he suffered when one of their truck drivers smashed into him on the New Jersey Turnpike — injuries that may have ended his stand-up career, his lawyer said Tuesday.

“He’s very upset,” Benedict Morelli told the Daily News of his client’s reaction to Wal-Mart’s blame-the-victims defense.

“He's struggling every day, fighting hard just to get incrementally better, and they hit him with this.”

In a statement, the funny man said, “After I heard what Wal-Mart said in court I felt I had to speak out. I can't believe Wal-Mart is blaming me for an accident that they caused. My friends and I were doing nothing wrong.”

In court filings Monday, the retail giant said injuries suffered by Morgan and his fellow passengers, Jeffrey Millea and Ardley Fuqua, “if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seatbelt device.”

Tracy Morgan Has Strong Words for Walmart
Actor lashes out at the retail giant

The lawyer called Wal-Mart's arguments responding to the negligence suit he filed on behalf of the victims “callous” and “disingenuous.”

“Seatbelts had nothing to do with it,” Morelli said

He noted that Morgan’s limousine bus was “at a dead stop” because of road work on June 7 when “it was hit in the rear by a tractor trailer going 65 miles per hour.”

“The driver never braked, never swerved,” Morelli said, and smashed straight into the limo, killing Morgan’s comedian pal James (Jimmy Mack) McNair, and severely injuring Morgan, Millea and Fuqua.

Seatbelts had nothing to do with it.
The driver, Kevin Roper, has been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.

“It wasn’t the seatbelts,” Morelli said.

He noted the police report said seatbelts weren't an issue in the case — and that none of the occupants can remember if they were wearing them or not.

Morgan, Millea and Fuqua all suffered traumatic brain injuries in the crash, and don’t remember it, the Morelli, Alters, Ratner lawyer said.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wal-Mart's response came Monday, the Daily News reported earlier.
He said all three need to undergo more surgeries, and undergo hours of rehab treatment every day.

Their treatments include speech therapy and cognitive therapy, the lawyer said.

“They're trying to get their brains to work the way they worked before the accident,” Morelli said.

He said it's unclear whether Morgan, 45, will be able to resume his stand-up career.

WILL VAULTZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on its side early June 7 on the New Jersey Turnpike.
“He's been offered his own show, a movie — he can't do any of those things” right now, he said.

“He spends hours and hours a day in rehab, struggling and fighting to get better,” Morelli said.

“It can't even be assessed, what the outcome is going to be.”

He noted that both Morgan and Fuqua are standup comics. “They need to be razor sharp. They need to think on their feet. They need to be so right on the edge.”

NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE
Kevin Roper, 35, drove the truck that crashed into the limousine bus.
Asked if the “30 Rock” star would ever be able to get back on stage, he said, “I don’t know the answer.”

Also galling to Morelli was Wal-Mart’s refusal to admit to even basic information in their response to the victims’ lawsuit.

“They won’t admit the driver works for them or that he’s a truck driver,” Morelli said, accusing the company of talking out of both sides of its mouth.

“They say publicly if we were involved in this accident we will take full responsibility and then they won't even admit Roper's their driver. . . It’s despicable.”

RICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tracy Morgan puts on a brave face July 14 after spending more than a month in medical facilities for injuries he suffered in the New Jersey Turnpike crash.
“They know they caused this accident,” Morelli said, and they should pay for it — big time.

“They want to play hardball? I invented it,” Morelli said. “Bring it.”

In the meantime, Morelli said, Morgan will continue to “fight” through his injuries — which also included broken ribs and a broken leg — to reclaim his life.

He said the former “Saturday Night Live” star has been getting psychiatric help to deal with the trauma of the accident, which he blames himself for.

RICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
'I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time. I love you all. I'm fighting hard every day to get back,' Tracy Morgan, pictured in July, said Tuesday.
“He’s so upset. One of his friends died in the accident. He hasn’t gotten over that,” Morelli said.

“Jeff was his assistant. Artie was his opening act. They were there because of him. He feels responsible for these people,” which is one reason why Wal-Mart’s legal tactic hit him so hard.

And while the comic, who Morelli spoke to on Monday, is “emotionally very upset” with the big box retailer, he’s been very moved by the outpouring of support for him in the months since the accident.

“Tracy loves the fact everyone cares about him so much,” Morelli said.

In his statement, Morgan said, “I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time. I love you all. I'm fighting hard every day to get back.”

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company “is committed to working to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident.

“As part of the ordinary course of legal proceedings, Wal-Mart filed an initial response yesterday to the lawsuit that included facts and defenses that may impact the case moving forward," said spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan. "While we were required to respond to the lawsuit, we have also taken steps to encourage settlement discussions. Our thoughts continue to go out to everyone involved, and we remain committed to doing what's right."

Tags: Wal-MartoshaDriverhealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

FedEx’s Culture of Misclassification Dealt Yet Another Blow, This Time By U.S. Court of Appeals

Current News - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 09:14

FedEx’s Culture of Misclassification Dealt Yet Another Blow, This Time By U.S. Court of Appeals
http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2014/10/01/fedexs-culture-of-misclassifica...
A federal court has ruled that misclassified employees can recover monetary damages under state laws based on the value of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefits that the defendant failed to provide to them. The decision in Gray v. FedEx Ground Package System highlights the limits of ERISA’s preemption clause.

In prior related cases, the broad scope of ERISA’s preemption clause has been used to dismiss claims under state laws. However, the court’s detailed systematic analysis of the preemption clause in the Grayruling shows that the misclassification of employees as independent contractors could have a broader impact than just the calculation of back pay.

Some background on the case from Mark Thomas of the Williams Mullen law firm:

The Gray decision was the latest in a long-running case brought by plaintiffs who were full-time package delivery drivers for the defendant package delivery service, FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx”). Plaintiffs asserted, among other things, a claim under state law that FedEx had misclassified them as independent contractors when, in fact, they were employees entitled to benefits under FedEx plans for medical, dental, vision, disability, life, travel and accident insurance (“the FedEx welfare benefit plans”) and under FedEx’s Pension and 401(k) retirement plans. The plaintiffs also claimed that FedEx had wrongfully withheld information from them that prevented plaintiffs from determining whether they would be eligible for benefits under those plans.

FedEx denied that it had misclassified the plaintiffs’ employment status, and contended also that the plaintiffs could only have pursued these claims for benefits in a federal multi-district case in Indiana. There the court had dismissed the claims without prejudice because that set of plaintiffs had not exhausted administrative remedies. FedEx also contended in Gray that plaintiffs’ state law claims for money damages were barred by ERISA’s preemption clause. On these two grounds, FedEx moved the court to grant summary judgment against the plaintiffs.

ERISA’s section 514(a) generally provides that, except as limited in section 514(b), ERISA’s provisions “shall supersede any and all State laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan” covered by ERISA. The U. S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts have held that a state law, including a state’s common law, “relates to” an ERISA plan if the state law (1) expressly refers to the ERISA plan or (2) has a connection with it. ERISA plan defendants typically invoke ERISA preemption to dismiss state law claims when possible, because the remedies under ERISA are usually much more limited than those allowed under state law, for example, compensatory and punitive damages.

By ruling in favor of the workers the court established that FedEx’s business model of misclassifying workers — already reeling from a class action loss in California — is wholly unscrupulous. The ruling is explained in detail by Thomas:

The Gray court acknowledged that FedEx had always maintained that the plaintiffs were independent contractors, not employees eligible for the disputed plan benefits, but the court concluded that, under state law, FedEx controlled the manner and means of the plaintiffs’ work to such an extent that they were in fact FedEx employees. Among other factors, FedEx controlled the drivers’ work dispatches and routes, required that packages be dropped off and picked up at certain times, and determined what the drivers wore. However, until the court had resolved this question of employee status, the plaintiffs could not have asserted their claims in the federal case in Indiana, and the Gray court therefore rejected that defense.

Turning to FedEx’s preemption defense, the court noted that plaintiffs’ expert had opined that each plaintiff lost $6,000 annually for benefits that such plaintiff otherwise would have received under the FedEx welfare benefit plans, and $1,000 annually for estimated benefits, including matching 401(k) contributions, under the FedEx retirement plans. FedEx did not assert that plaintiffs’ state law misrepresentation claims explicitly “referred to” the FedEx plans, but contended that they were preempted because they had a “connection” to the plans.

Considering several factors under cases in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in which the Gray court is located, the court rejected FedEx’s preemption argument. The court held that the plaintiffs were not seeking to recover benefits due under the FedEx plans, enforce rights under the plans or clarify rights to future benefits, pursuant to ERISA’s civil remedies section 502(a). They sought instead to recover damages arising from their misclassification as independent contractors, and the damages would be paid by FedEx, not the plans. Thus, their state law claims “would not have any significant economic impact on FedEx’s plans.” In addition, the dispute was between FedEx and the plaintiffs as employees, not as ERISA participants, and thus would not affect relations among the ERISA entities (such as the plans and plan administrators), or impact the structure of the plans or plan administration. Although the plaintiffs’ claims required some reference to the plan documents in order to calculate damages, this relationship was too tenuous to trigger ERISA preemption. FedEx’s summary judgment motion was therefore denied.

Tags: FedExderegulation
Categories: Labor News

Con-way Freight plans $60 million LTL driver pay hike

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:22
William B. CassidyThe Journal of CommerceOctober 1, 2014Con-way Freight today said it will boost truck driver pay by $60 million in 2015, restructuring pay rates for more than 14,000 line-haul and pickup-and-delivery drivers nationwide. The second-largest U.S. less-than-truckload carrier said it will raise pay, align rates with geographic markets and reduce the time it takes for drivers to reach the top pay scale. The new pay plan at Con-way Freight comes as trucking companies of all types are pulling out all the stops to recruit truck drivers, including the promise substantial pay increases. “Our LTL company, along with Con-way Truckload, is facing the most pronounced driver shortage we’ve ever seen,” Douglas W. Stotlar, president and CEO of parent company Con-way, said in a statement. Con-way Truckload increased driver compensation last month. “The overall amount and timing of the increase are designed to improve Con-way Freight’s ability to attract and retain professional drivers in the context of a critical industrywide driver shortage,” Con-way Freight said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Starting Jan. 4, all locations will be aligned to a common schedule in which drivers will reach top scale at three years from their date of hire, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, company said. Con-way Freight estimated the wage increase would cost the company $60 million in 2015. “In recent years, the comparable year-over-year impact of an annual driver wage increase has been about half of this amount,” the company said in its SEC filing. The shortage of experienced truck drivers is one factor behind the increased costs, Con-way said. The LTL pay increase has been in the works for years, the company said, as Con-way Freight implemented “phased changes” to its compensation program to reflect evolving market conditions and ensure the non-union carrier remained competitive in driver pay. The additional $60 million in compensation equates to about a 6 percent pay increase for Con-way Freight drivers, according to SJ Consulting Group.   The new pay structure is the last step in a transition away from multiple legacy pay plans left over from the days before the national LTL carrier was created by the merger of three separate regional carriers, Greg Lehmkuhl, president of Con-way Freight, said in a statement. “Our simplified pay structure enables us to more effectively align driver pay with the market-based cost of labor, and provides increased flexibility to react to market conditions over time so we can ensure our drivers’ compensation remains competitive,” he said. Con-way Freight also is facing an organizing campaign led by the Teamsters union. On Sept. 12, 113 Con-way Freight drivers and dockworkers in Laredo, Texas, voted to join the Teamsters — making Laredo the only unionized facility among Con-way’s 300 terminals. The Teamsters are calling for elections at three Southern California terminals as well. Other LTL carriers won’t necessarily change lanes and raise pay in reaction to Con-way’s announcement. For one, YRC Freight, UPS Freight and ABF Freight are union carriers, with contracts in place covering wage increases. “Old Dominion and Saia are already planning on giving normal annual wage increases and do not seem to have any ‘catch-up’ increases to make,” David G. Ross, a managing director at Stifel, said in a Sept. 30 note to investors. “Truckload carriers should continue to see much more significant driver pay pressure, in our opinion, than the LTL market, as absolute wage levels are significantly lower,” Ross said. Con-way Freight is far from the bottom pay rank in the LTL industry. The company ranks third in terms of hourly pickup and delivery driver pay, following Old Dominion Freight Line and industry pay leader UPS Freight, according to SJ Consulting Group data.  Following Con-way Freight with lower hourly wages are FedEx Freight, the largest U.S. LTL carrier, ABF Freight System, Saia and YRC Freight, SJ Consulting Group said. The gap SJ Consulting shows between UPS Freight and YRC Freight pay is nearly 21 percent. Con-way Freight still expects “margin expansion” — improved profitability — next year, despite higher driver costs. In the second quarter, the LTL division’s operating profit jumped 51.8 percent to $83 million on a 5.4 percent increase in revenue to $940.5 million. “If the LTL tonnage remains as strong as it is presently, we believe any driver wage increases should be covered by higher rates in 2015, including at Con-way Freight,” Ross said.Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Hong Kong: Trade unions in Europe question China's trustworthiness, watch HK protests

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ETUC
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Unions across rest of country nervously watching N.S. story

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Chronicle-Herald
Categories: Labor News

United’s Deal With Uber Raises Concerns

Current News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 09:48

United’s Deal With Uber Raises Concerns
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/business/uniteds-deal-with-uber-raises...
SEPT. 29, 2014

By JOE SHARKEY

UNITED AIRLINES has been reprising its old advertising slogan about the “friendly skies.” But some airports think the airline was a bit less than friendly when it formed a partnership with the ride-sharing company Uber without seeking airport input.

At a recent industry conference, Jeffrey T. Foland, United’s executive vice president for marketing, was extolling the airline’s promotions on friendliness, its profitable focus on high-yield passengers and strategic capacity reductions, and its initiatives in mobile technology — including an app in which passengers with iOS and Android mobile devices can book Uber rides when making United reservations.

One airport executive took issue with what some have seen as a unilateral move by United to link up with Uber, even as airports are struggling with whether, or how, to accommodate such rapidly expanding competitors to traditional taxi, limousine and other ground-transit services.

Why would United be so quick to welcome Uber when “a lot of airports in the United States are against Uber, also because the drivers are not vetted and not regulated?” Victoria Jaramillo, the marketing director at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, asked Mr. Foland at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas.

Photo

CreditBoyoun Kim
“I was wondering if that question would come up,” Mr. Foland said. He replied that United was merely responding to customer demands for mobile technology and “emerging views of the marketplace.” With its Uber app, “we want to provide functionality. Our customers want it. They told us they like it and they’re using the product,” he said.

While Uber and other sharing services like Lyft may well be an irresistible force, airports say they do not intend to be an immovable object. Last week, for example, Nashville International Airport became the nation’s first airport to officially recognize Uber and Lyft. The airport struck a deal in which the services must obtain permits and pay airport fees to pick up passengers curbside at designated locations.

“Airports welcome anything that helps them provide better customer service,” said Tom Devine, the general counsel for Airports Council International-North America, a trade group. He pointed out that airports don’t refer to Uber and the like as ride-sharing services, but rather as “ride-booking services,” to more precisely define the commercial nature of the upstarts.

There are 450 commercial airports in the United States, with widely varying ground-transportation services issues, including traffic congestion around terminals and potential liability for passenger pickup and delivery by nonregulated drivers.

The airport trade group has a task force that is considering ways to accommodate and regulate app-driven services, Mr. Devine said. “Airports don’t see themselves as pro-taxi or pro-ride-booking. We’re trying to regulate evenhandedly,” he added.

Revenue is obviously a big issue, since ride-share companies are operating in airport environments where ground-transportation services like taxis, limousines and shuttles pay fees. And that revenue has been rising. At many airports, money from concessions other than airline operations —restaurants and retailing, parking and car rentals, and ground-services fees — can account for half of total revenues.
For example, at Los Angeles World Airports, the authority that operates Los Angeles International and Ontario International airports, airline landing fees accounted for $227.7 million in the 2013 fiscal year — compared with $328.6 million from concessions. Of that concession pot, $9.3 million came from fees on taxis, buses and limousines, up from $8.9 million in 2012 and $6.9 million in 2011.

Major airports have been blocking Uber, and in some cases Uber drivers even have been arrested for operating at airports without permits.

“Airports want to make sure that everybody in ground transportation pays their fair share,” Mr. Devine said.

Uber contends that it is catering to consumer demand.

“Taking Uber to and from the airport is the safest, most reliable and affordable option around,” said Lane Kasselman, a spokesman. “We welcome the opportunity to show airport administrators how Uber can reduce curbside churn, eliminate deadhead trips and end long taxi queues.”

The huge growth of Uber’s airport service, part of its lower-cost UberX tier, underscores the dissatisfaction many travelers have with existing ground-transportation options at many airports.

Complaints include high prices, long waits and taxi service where technology is unavailable even for credit cards, let alone employing tech like Uber’s. You’ll have your own examples, as do I. For example, take the taxi lines at La Guardia at 9 a.m. on any weekday. (Please.)

Fierce opposition from the taxi industry is understandable, said Clayton Reid, the chief executive of MMGY Global, a travel marketing strategy firm. He pointed out that in New York City, a taxi medallion costs more than $1 million. “If I can come in and start driving and not have a dime invested in it other than the ongoing expense of my car, of course it’s a threat to the traditional medallion operations,” he said.

Airports and political authorities have for decades legislated on who can and who cannot operate commercial services at airports, he pointed out. “I think they’ll continue to have that hammer,” he said. “The pressure will be, will they find common ground between the traditional transportation providers and the new disrupters?”

Email: jsharkey@nytimes.com

Tags: UnitedUberderegulation
Categories: Labor News

Israeli airline urged to stop ‘bullying’ of women by ultra-orthodox passengers

Current News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 09:21

Israeli airline urged to stop ‘bullying’ of women by ultra-orthodox passengers
Petition organiser says airline should find way to accommodate religious requirements without breaching other people’s rights
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/30/israeli-airline-ultra-ortho...
• Harriet Sherwood
• The Guardian, Tuesday 30 September 2014 09.01 EDT

An El Al plane at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. Photograph: David Silverman/Getty Images
Israel’s national airline, El Al, has been criticised for allowing ultra-orthodox Jewish men to disrupt flights by refusing to be seated next to women.

A petition on change.org is demanding that the carrier “stop the bullying, intimidation and discrimination against women on your flights”.

One flight last week, from New York’s JFK airport to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, descended into chaos according to passengers, after a large group of haredim, or ultra-orthodox Jews, refused to take their seats next to women, in accordance with strict religious customs.

The episode has prompted other women to come forward with similar stories on international flights to and from Tel Aviv.

Amit Ben-Natan, a passenger on last week’s El Al flight from New York, said take-off was delayed after numerous and repeated requests by ultra-orthodox men for female passengers to be moved.

“People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward,” she told the Ynet website. “Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman. It was obvious that the plane won’t take off as long as they keep standing in the aisles.”

Another passenger on the flight, named only as Galit, said ultra-orthodox passengers had suggested she and her husband sit separately to accommodate their religious requirements. She refused, but added: “I ended up sitting next to a haredi man who jumped out of his seat the moment we had finished taking off and proceeded to stand in the aisle.”

On a different flight, Elana Sztokman, executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, refused to accede to a request to move seats, triggering “frantic negotiations”, she said, between ultra-orthodox men and airline staff.

“What happened to me on this flight isn’t that different from what happens on almost every flight,” she told Voice of Israel radio. “You get on a plane, and the plane is about to take off but a whole bunch of ultra-orthodox men start playing around, moving around, whispering, moving back and forth trying to find different seats … Anyone who’s ever travelled on El Al has experienced this.”

Sharon Shapiro, from Chicago, the organiser of the online petition – which had attracted about 1,000 backers by Tuesday morning – said it was “not right that female passengers are being intimidated or harassed. It’s one thing to ask nicely, but if someone says no, they should not be put under pressure.”

There was a genuine dilemma for some ultra-orthodox Jews. “What most people don’t understand is that it’s not personal”, but considered by some to be a religious obligation.

Airlines should seek a way of accommodating the religious requirements of passengers without breaching others’ civil rights, she said. “I’m not quite sure why El Al asks passengers to sort these things out among themselves. It would be better if people can get on a plane knowing they’re sitting somewhere they feel comfortable. Otherwise, it adds to tensions and misunderstandings between religious and secular [passengers].”

The petition says: “If a passenger was being verbally or physically abusive to airline staff, they would immediately be removed from the plane … If a passenger was openly engaging in racial or religious discrimination against another passenger or flight attendant, they would immediately be removed from the plane. Why then, does El Al Airlines allow gender discrimination against women?

“Why does El Al Airlines permit female passengers to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to by El Al Airlines?

“One person’s religious rights does not trump another person’s civil rights.”

It suggests that El Al reserves a few rows of segregated seating available in advance for a fee.

Among comments posted on change.org, Judith Margolis from Jerusalem said: “The behaviour involving harassing women in the name of religious observance is outrageous. That airlines allow some passengers to disrupt flights is unacceptable.”

Myla Kaplan of Haifa said: “I no longer feel comfortable flying on El Al due to the bullying and delays and general humiliation of being asked to move out of a seat I reserved in advance.”

In a statement, El Al said it made “every effort possible to ensure a passenger’s flight is as enjoyable as possible while doing our utmost to maintain schedules and arrive safely at the destination.

“El Al is committed to responding to every complaint received and if it is found that there are possibilities for improvement in the future, those suggestions will be taken into consideration.”

Female passengers on other airlines flying to and from Israel, such as British Airways and easyJet, have also been asked to move seats at the request of ultra-orthodox men. Some airlines close toilets for periods during flights to allow men to gather to pray.

The outcry over flights comes against a backdrop of moves by hardline ultra-orthodox communities in Israel to impose dress codes on women, restrictions on where they can sit on public buses, segregated checkout queues in supermarkets and the removal of women’s images from advertising hoardings.

Sztokman – whose flight came at the end of a US speaking tour on her new book, The War on Women in Israel: A Story of Religious Radicalisation and Women Fighting for Freedom – said such demands had increased over the past decade.

“A lot of what we’re seeing today … is about the erasure of women’s faces from the public sphere, the erasure of women’s names from newspaper articles, the refusal to let women talk on radio stations

“It’s a whole array of practices of women’s exclusion and women’s degradation that has got much worse.”

Tags: discriminationel Alsexism
Categories: Labor News

The Stop ZIM Action Committee thanks participants and supporters of the Zim Shanghai blockade on Saturday, September 27, and salutes ILWU Local 10 longshore workers for honoring the picket lines.

Current News - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 08:25

The Stop ZIM Action Committee thanks participants and supporters of the Zim Shanghai blockade on Saturday, September 27, and salutes ILWU Local 10 longshore workers for honoring the picket lines.

September 29, 2014

In another resounding victory for Palestine solidarity, labor, Palestine solidarity and community activists successfully picketed the Israeli-owned container ship Zim Shanghai on Saturday, September 27th at the Port of Oakland. ILWU Local 10 longshore workers refused to cross the picket line and sent the ship back to sea with all its cargo still on board.

The Zim Shanghai arrived at the Port of Oakland early Saturday morning, docking at Stevedore Services of America (SSA) at 5:16am. Following in the tradition of the 2010 labor/community picket protesting the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the August 2014 action against the Zim Piraeus initiated by the Block the Boat coalition, the Stop ZIM Action Committee organized pickets of the ZIM ship during two work shifts at SSA, which ILWU Local 10 longshore workers respected.

Changing its departure time and itinerary, the Zim Shanghai, originally scheduled to leave at 1:00pm for Vostochnyy, Russia, instead left at midnight for the Port of Long Beach, most likely to try and unload its Oakland cargo in Los Angeles to be trucked back up to Oakland at considerable expense.

The Stop ZIM Action Committee would like to express its gratitude to all the organizations and individuals who gave so generously of their time and energy, publicized the event to their networks, sent messages of support, endorsed the picket and brought friends and family to the picket line. Most importantly, we salute the longshore workers of ILWU Local 10, who stood aside, gave up a day's pay and respected the picket lines we put up.

We want to thank everyone who participated in this Saturday’s peaceful direct action and we hope this will lead to more actions of this kind in Oakland, other ports in the West and East Coasts, and worldwide.

Stop ZIM Action Committee

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The Stop ZIM Action Committee is comprised of labor, Palestine solidarity and community activists united to end the siege of Gaza by picketing vessels of the Israeli Zim Lines

Tags: Stop Zim Action CommitteeilwuZim ShanghaisolidarityAttach PDF:  Zim Action Committeethank you letter FINAL 092914.pdf
Categories: Labor News

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