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Daimler Trucks Debuts Self-Driving ‘Future Truck 2025’

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 06:37
Transport TopicsJuly 8, 2014View the original piece

Daimler Trucks debuted its self-driving “Future Truck 2025” during an on-highway test drive on a section of the autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany.

The truck uses the company’s Highway Pilot system to drive completely autonomously at speeds up to 53 mph. The system could be launched in production vehicles as early as 2025 if conditions permit, according to Daimler.

“Autonomous driving will revolutionize road freight transport and create major benefits for everyone involved. With the Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks is once again highlighting its pioneering role in innovative technologies and opening up a new era in truck transport.

“We aim to be the No. 1 manufacturer in this market of the future, which we believe will offer solid revenue and earnings potential,” Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s board of management responsible for Daimler trucks and buses, said in a statement.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

United to Outsource Jobs at 12 U.S. Airports

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 18:04

United to Outsource Jobs at 12 U.S. Airports
Move Is Part of Carrier's Effort to Lift Its Flagging Fortunes Through Cost-Cutting
July 7, 2014 4:37 p.m. ET
Airline representatives at U.S. airports increasingly aren't employees of the carriers they represent.

United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL -3.16% said Monday it will outsource jobs at 12 U.S. airports in cities including Buffalo, N.Y., Charlotte, N.C., and Detroit on Oct. 1 to vendors who will perform the duties at lower cost. The jobs currently employ about 635 workers in areas including check-in, baggage-handling, and customer service.

The move, part of a broader effort by United to lift its flagging fortunes through cost-cutting, reflects how big U.S. airlines are using vendors to handle key jobs at most domestic airports, a trend that can reduce expenses but also risks hurting customer service. American Airlines Group Inc., AAL -3.65% Delta Air Lines Inc., DAL -4.40%and Alaska Air Group Inc. ALK -2.22% 's Alaska Airlines are among the carriers that already outsource a large share of this work—although in some cases the carriers use their own contractors.

Passengers often don't realize the check-in agents they deal with at U.S. airports don't work for the airline they are flying. Often, at smaller airports, the same workers may represent multiple competing carriers at different times on different flights.

United declined to comment on the expected savings. airline pays such workers from $12 to $24 an hour, while some vendors start workers at $9 an hour—$1.75 more than the federal minimum wage—and don't offer health coverage or travel benefits.

According to Rich Delaney, president of the International Association of Machinists union district that represents the United airport agents and baggage handlers, outsourcing the work at the dozen airports will save United $1.6 million to $3.5 million per airport a year, depending on the size and the worker population.

"It does make economic sense," said Michael Boyd, a consultant at Boyd Group International. "It's not a $40,000 job to load bags. Cleaning planes is not a $20-an-hour job." But the outsourced work offers "no career path, no loyalty. By its nature, it's temporary, until the next bid comes up," he said. "When you replace employees with Air Fred, you'll see the bottom line improve, but you'll get more lost bags."

Indeed, the transition can be bumpy. When Alaska Airlines decided to use Menzies Aviation, a unit of John Menzies MNZS.LN -1.43% PLC of Scotland, to handle ramp jobs at its Seattle hub in 2005, the shift was marked by misplaced luggage, late flights and an incident in which a damaged aircraft had to make an emergency landing. But the problems eventually were corrected.

In some cases, airlines are outsourcing airport work to their competitors. United last year turned to vendors at six U.S. airports and three in Canada, affecting nearly 500 jobs. The U.S. airport work was given to Envoy Air Inc., a wholly owned unit of American Airlines. Envoy, formerly called American Eagle, is a regional airline subsidiary of American that also has a thriving, nonunion business in servicing airports, working for American and about 20 other airline customers at 125 airports.

United, the nation's No. 2 airline by traffic, has no such unit of its own. It said the six airports that switched to Envoy staffing last October are performing "on par" with other airports in United's system, and that one received a prize for punctuality and service. Despite the "learning curve" of the new workers, only one aircraft was damaged in the aftermath of the change, the company said.

Delta also has a nonunion subsidiary called Delta Global Services that provides airport handling work at about 100 airports, doing work for Delta and about 10 other carriers. There are plenty of other vendors in the field, including Air Serv, a unit of ABM Industries Inc., as well as regional airlines such as US Airways's Piedmont unit and SkyWest Inc.

Delta Global Services employees receive medical benefits, a 401(k) plan and travel privileges. Pay starts at about $8 an hour but tops out at $18. Envoy workers receive medical coverage and travel privileges. Starting pay is $9.20 an hour, higher in more expensive cities, and can top out at nearly double that amount.

American said the vast majority of its domestic airports already are staffed by Envoy or other contractors. Delta said only 42 of its 230 domestic airports employ Delta employees exclusively. Thirty-three airports have Delta workers as customer-service agents and Delta Global Services workers employed as ramp workers. In 80 airports, Delta Global Services workers perform both functions. Another 75 airports use other outside vendors.

United said it employs its own workers at 47 of 227 domestic airports and 27 airports use a mix of United and vendor employees. Fully 153 airports use outside handlers.

United has said that as many as 30 more airports may be targeted for outsourcing, based on their higher expenses when benchmarked against competitor airport costs. The company said it hasn't finished selecting the vendors for the latest dozen airports. The workers who are being displaced will be able to apply for openings elsewhere, or if they have enough seniority, bump someone else out of a job. Or they will receive severance packages, United said.

The company said it also is "in-sourcing" jobs for its own employees in Denver, Phoenix, Honolulu and Washington's Dulles International Airport, creating 400 new positions.

United, as part of its 2013 labor agreement with the Machinists union, agreed to protect jobs at 30 of its busiest airports, including its hubs. Those airports are where 92% of the Machinists-represented agents and ramp workers are employed. In the new contract, United also agreed that if smaller airports are targeted for outsourcing, the union and company would negotiate to see if changes in wages and benefits could be negotiated to let the work be retained.

On Monday, United said workers at three smaller Hawaiian airports tentatively agreed to make wage and work-rule concessions to keep their jobs, and will vote on the changes this week. Two-thirds of the total 236 employees must approve the new terms as well as two-thirds at each of the three airports.

Mr. Delaney of the Machinists union said because United doesn't have its own vendor operation, the labor group was hoping to do something similar at individual airports by letting workers agree to concessions without affecting the compensation for the entire group. But he estimated with medical benefits, a pension plan, 401(k) and travel benefits, his members might cost $35,000 a year more than an outsourced worker.

"The hurdle we have to get over at every station is sizable," he said.

Write to Susan Carey at susan.carey@wsj.com

Tags: UALIAMoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles truck drivers begin strike, allege unfair labor practices

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:55

Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles truck drivers begin strike, allege unfair labor practices

By Karen Robes Meeks, The Whittier Daily News

United Farm Workers join Teamsters as they delay a truck from entering Green Fleet Systems in Carson, CA, on Monday, July 7, 2014. Truckers picketed several trucking companies and shipping terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles claiming they are treated unfairly and are demanding better pay and working conditions. (Scott Varley / Staff Photographer)
More than 100 drivers who haul goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their supporters protested three Harbor Area trucking companies Monday, calling for the firms to improve working and wage conditions for truckers and to stop retaliating against drivers who want to unionize.

In what they say is the start of “indefinite strikes” at truck yards and marine terminals, protesters swarmed Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. to rally against what they say is the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, a practice they said allows the companies to skirt labor laws and avoid paying them fair wages.

“We’re staying out here till the industry changes, until they stop breaking the law,” said former five-year TTSI driver Alex Paz, who added that drivers face harassment, retaliation and even death threats from the companies.

Alex Cherin, a spokesman for the companies, denied the allegations. The companies are “discouraged to learn that outside interest groups have again decided to block the rights of these drivers to go to work and earn a living,” according to a statement released by Cherin.

“Time and time again every segment of the industry has rejected the efforts of these groups and their agenda. It is unfortunate that once again we must wait out what has become a distraction.”

Protesters gathered at the Wilmington Waterfront Park on Monday, calling the demonstration a success. The strike left some 400 truckers unable to drive to the ports because they were reportedly told not to come to the terminals for fear that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union would have to honor the picket line. If longshore workers walked off the job, it would cause a significant disruption in the goods movement chain.

“If these trucks aren’t working, there’s nothing to picket,” said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for a campaign to organize truckers. “The minute they send a truck down, we’re going to put a picket line right there on that marine terminal.”

Cherin said the decision to not dispatch workers had more to do with the closure of several terminals to commemorate Bloody Thursday, which honors ILWU workers who were killed during demonstrations to establish the waterfront union in the 1930s.

Officials at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports reported minimal disruption Monday.

The three trucking companies have approximately 400 trucks registered at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — less than 10 percent of those that operate on a regular day, port officials said.

Complicating matters is longshore workers working without a contract since their six-year agreement with the association representing shipping lines and West Coast port terminal operators expired July 1. There were no formal contract talks Monday and none expected for the next few days.

Both sides have said they do not want a disruption in the flow of goods.

During past trucker strikes, dockworkers stopped working in solidarity but quickly returned when an arbitrator ruled the job action was not permissible under their contract. With no contract in place, the arbitration process is not in effect. If dockworkers walk, their employers can’t force them back to work.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees would not speculate on what dockworkers might do if picketers set up outside marine terminals. A spokesman for the maritime association had no comment.

In a statement, the California Trucking Association said it strongly disagrees with the timing of the protests.

“While the California Trucking Association respects individuals’ rights to peacefully exercise free speech, the timing of this labor disruption is highly irresponsible,” said association CEO Shawn Yadon. “At a time when the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association have demonstrated great restraint during their contract negotiations, the Teamsters have instead chosen to create disruption.

“If these disruptions spill over into marine terminals, the national economy could lose hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, who stood alongside drivers Monday, spoke about the economic generators driven by the twin ports and how the drivers who haul goods to retailers should be paid fairly.

“The transportation-related jobs that handle this valuable cargo should be good paying local jobs that fuel economic growth and prosperity throughout Southern California,” Hahn said. “But unfortunately there is one group of skilled, hard-working men and women among us that have been stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder because of long-standing unfair employment treatment. And this unfair treatment must end.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Karen Robes Meeks at 562-714-2088.

Tags: Teamster truckersPort Of Los Angeles
Categories: Labor News

SF TWU 250 A Muni union vote on contract delayed a week

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 17:19

SF TWU 250 A Muni union vote on contract delayed a week
By Jessica Kwong @JessicaGKwong

• Approval of a tentative agreement between Muni and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A was rescheduled for July 14.
Approval of a tentative agreement between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A was delayed today and rescheduled for July 14.

"We needed to clarify an aspect of the tentative agreement and we've reached a resolution on that regard and are optimistic about the vote on [July 14]," said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.

The union plans to release details of the "aspect" that needed clarification to its membership Tuesday night, Rose said.

"We've made a commitment not to discuss details until they had a chance to do that," he said.

Eric Williams, president of Local 250-A, did not immediately return calls for comment today.

The union on its website posted a notification dated last Wednesday informing transit operators and fare inspectors, for whom the contract applies, and the rest of its membership that the contract ratification vote for today had been canceled.

Under the new tentative agreement, Muni operators and fare inspectors would receive a 14.25 percent wage increase over three years. That breaks down to an up to 9.5 percent wage increase depending on an employee's seniority, that is intended to offset a 7.5 percent contribution in worker pensions, as well as a 4.75 percent cost of living increase.

Those terms came June 27, a few days before the expiration date of the old contract.

Following the union's anticipated approval of the tentative agreement today, the SFMTA board of directors planned to vote on the contract July 15. Rose said he did not have details on whether that date will hold or what the new timeline might be.

There is no deadline to approve the tentative agreement, he said, and the new terms for workers will be retroactive to July 1.

Tags: SF TWU 250 A
Categories: Labor News

Port truck drivers picket LA harbor-area trucking companies

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 15:19

Port truck drivers picket LA harbor-area trucking companies


Only 10% of Southern California's roughly 12,000 short-haul truckers are directly employed by companies, industry experts estimate.

Southern California port truck drivers loading up on wage-theft cases
July 7, 2014, 7:43 a.m.
More than 120 truck drivers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports walked off the job Monday morning, organizers said, launching an indefinite protest against what they say are widespread workplace violations.

The picket lines are the largest demonstration yet against several regional truck companies that haul freight from the nation's largest port complex. Drivers argue they are improperly classified as independent contractors, leaving them with fewer workplace protections and lower pay than if they were company employees, protest organizers said.

Unlike previous protests, organizers haven't set an end date. Monday's picket lines, backed by Teamsters Local 848, target three harbor-area companies: Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation.

It is the fourth such protest in the last year. Drivers plan to picket at the firms' trucking yards and then follow the rigs to port terminals. The protests had not disrupted operations at the Port of Long Beach as of 8:30 a.m., a port spokesman said. At the Port of Los Angeles, operations were also unaffected as of 9 a.m., a spokesman said.

The action comes as nearly 20,000 West Coast dockworkers are working without a contract.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents employers, are negotiating a new agreement after a six-year deal at 29 West Coast ports expired July 1.

It wasn't immediately clear if dockworkers would honor Monday's picket lines.

In a joint news release, issued July 1, the longshoremen's union and the maritime association pledged to keep cargo moving until an agreement was reached.

Of Southern California's roughly 12,000 short-haul truckers, only 10% are directly employed by companies, industry experts estimate. In 2008, California started to crack down on trucking companies that misclassified employees as independent contractors.

Currently, the state labor commissioner's office is examining more than 300 claims of wage theft related to misclassification. In 2011, drivers filed just two such complaints.

Tags: Los Angeles teamster truckers
Categories: Labor News

120 California Truck Drivers in LA Go On Indefinite Strike

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 14:15

120 California Truck Drivers in LA Go On Indefinite Strike

California’s ports have seen significant labor unrest since last year.

More than 120 truck drivers who haul consumer goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to retail warehouses launched an indefinite strike on Monday, according to MSNBC, escalating a tumultuous multi-year union organizing effort among the drivers. The consumer brands whose supplies could be affected by the strikes include Skechers shoes, Ralph Lauren, Walmart, and Home Depot, according to a press release from strike organizers.

The core complaint underlying the union drive is thatcompanies like Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), Green Fleet Systems, and Pacific 9 Transportation deem their drivers “independent contractors” in order to avoid paying overtime and prevent their workers from enjoying various other labor law protections. The drivers say they are misclassified and should be treated as full employees, and have begun to flood the California Labor Commission with wage theft complaints in order to fight the misclassification and seek the pay that the “independent contractor” label has cost them over the years.

The short-haul trucking industry, known as the drayage business, is a key link in the nation’s supply chain between ports and the logistics warehouses that are crucial to low-cost retail companies from Amazon.com to Walmart. Misclassification helps make drayage cheaper and more profitable, which in turn helps support the cheap prices and high profits of the broader retail sector. Wage theft complaints and driver organizing threaten that arrangement.

Drayage companies have retaliated against the by firing workers who seek to organize, among other violations of the drivers’ labor rights. Green Fleet was charged with 50 separate labor law violations last month by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), including allegations that an agent of the company leveled death threats at drivers involved in the union push. A separate NLRB finding in March held that Pacific 9 drivers were being misclassified and suffering illegal retaliation for their organizing efforts. The largest company in the California drayage industry, Pacer Cartage, Inc., was ordered to pay misclassified drivers more than $2.2 million in back pay in April.

Monday’s strikes look to build on the momentum from those legal judgments in drivers’ favor. Previous strikes have lasted just a day or two, but the new round of picketing is intended to continue indefinitely. The drivers and their Teamsters allies have chosen a particularly tense time for the strikes, the Los Angeles Times notes, because the state’s roughly 20,000 dockworkers are currently working without a contract as union and port leaders work to negotiate a new deal. Labor leaders have “pledged to keep cargo moving until an agreement was reached,” according to the Times, but “it wasn’t immediately clear if dockworkers would honor Monday’s [drayage driver] picket lines.”

By one estimate, two-thirds of all short-haul drayage drivers nationwide are misclassified, but these companies are far from alone in using “independent contractor” rules to cut their labor costs. Misclassification of employees is among the most widespread labor law violations in the country. A company can save roughly $4,000 per misclassified worker per year, according to a 2012 Treasury Department study, by ducking unemployment taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. Those savings starve state and federal treasuries of resources and deny working people benefits they are supposed to have earned.

One Department of Labor study from more than a decade ago estimated that between 10 and 30 percent of all employers misclassify their workers. The total number of misclassified workers is somewhere in the millions, but no national data exist, according to a fact sheet from the labor coalition Change To Win. Misclassification cases have made the news in recent years in sectors ranging from private shipping and mail carriers to strip clubs.

The post California Truck Drivers Go On Indefinite Strike appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Original Page: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/07/07/3456891/port-truck-drivers-s...

Tags: teamstersPort Of LA
Categories: Labor News

Los Angeles/Long Beach port truck drivers launch strike with no planned end

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 13:43
Brian WattThe BreakdownJuly 7, 2014View the original piece

Truck drivers for three companies that move cargo in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach launched a strike early Monday morning, with the support of organizers of the Teamsters union the drivers are hoping to join.

The strike involves 120 drivers for three transport firms including Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9. The drivers have staged strikes and labor actions in the past year, but this is the first time they've walked off the job with no plans to return.

Click here to read more at The Breakdown.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Pregnancy and Your Rights

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 13:32
Marsha MercerThe News & AdvanceJuly 7, 2014View the original piece

If you were outraged by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, take a deep breath and get ready for the next battle over women’s rights.

A case that will affect millions of working women is on the Supreme Court docket for the term beginning Oct. 6. Young v. United Parcel Service will test the law prohibiting employment discrimination against pregnant women. And it’s anybody’s guess how this court will rule.

Click here to read more at The News & Advance.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Plans to Invest $1 Billion in European Operations

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 09:19
Transport TopicsJuly 7, 2014View the original piece

UPS Inc. plans to invest $1 billion in its European operations in the next three to five years, chief financial officer Kurt Kuehn told a German newspaper, Reuters reported.

A majority of the investment would go to expanding the company’s logistics centers in Germany, one of the company’s fastest growing markets.

Kuehn said the company’s new strategy will be announced in November and involves acquisitions, especially in the health-care sector, according to Reuters.

In January 2013 ,UPS abandoned its $6.8 billion bid to buy European package carrier TNT Express NV after European regulators moved to block the deal. The company said it would focus on other acquisitions consistent with its long-term growth strategy.

UPS is ranked No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

California truck drivers go on strike at Port Of LA

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 09:12

California truck drivers go on strike at Port Of LA


Exclusive: California truck drivers go on strike

07/07/14 08:45 AM—Updated 07/07/14 08:45 AM

By Ned Resnikoff

California truck drivers at three major transportation companies went on strike Monday morning, demanding an end to purported labor law violations such as misclassification and intimidation. This is the fourth strike initiated by the drivers with the backing of the Teamsters union, but it’s the first without a definitive end date; whereas previous strikes have lasted between 24 and 48 hours, the drivers are now saying the won’t return to work until their demands are met.

“We were fed up. It just got to the point where the drivers are done,” said Alex Paz, a former driver with TTSI, one of the three firms affected by the strikes. Paz, who was fired in late May, alleges that the firm retaliated against him after he spoke out regarding purported labor law violations.

Over 120 drivers will be going on strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the main supply arteries on the West Coast. Roughly40% of all imports to the United States go through one of those two ports. The firms affected by the strike are responsible for shipping goods to major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against one of those firms, Green Fleet Systems, in late June over allegations of intimidation and wrongful termination. But even more so than those charges, the key issue at stake in this dispute is alleged misclassification. The three firms affected by the strike – Green Fleet, TTSI, and Pacific 9 Transportation – classify their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, meaning they don’t have to pay various benefits.

“When the company misclassifies you, you’re denied Social Security, you’re denied medical, you’re denied workers comp,” said Paz. He and the other strikers argue that they should legally be classified as employees, which would entitle them to those benefits and allow them to unionize.

Misclassification is endemic to the port trucking industry, according to a joint report [PDF] from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and the labor union coalition Change to Win. They claim that about 65% of the nation’s port truck drivers are misclassified by their employers, costing those drivers a collective $1.4 billion annually.

Tags: LA Truckers
Categories: Labor News

"Remembering Bloody Thursday" At SF ILWU Local 10 On July 5, 2014

Current News - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 08:55

"Remembering Bloody Thursday" At SF ILWU Local 10 On July 5, 2014
ILWU Local 10 & Local 34 members and retirees commemorated
"Bloody Thursday" on July 5, 2014 at their union hall
and spoke about what this event means for them and
working people.
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ILUW Local 10ILWU Local 34
Categories: Labor News

Poland: Solidarnosc fights for union rights at LIDL

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Solidarnosc
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Sugar strike ends with important gains for workers

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Korean government repression continues even after death-Workers And Families Wanting Jusice For The Sewol Ferry Disaster Attacked By Police

Current News - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 06:33

Korean government repression continues even after death
Published 9 June 2014
The situation for workers in South Korea is becoming intolerable with recent suicides of two unionists due to unbearable working conditions. The two workers were Gi-seung Jin, a member of the KPTU Northern Jeolla Bus Branch in Jeonju City Sinseong Yeogaek Chapter (Jeonju City) and Ho-seok Yeom, the chair of the local Samsung Electronics Service union. In an unprecedented move, police stormed the morgue where Ho-seok’s body was stored, beat up the mourners, stole the body and cremated it so that his body could not be commemorated by his co-workers. Meanwhile, workers and families wanting justice for the Sewol ferry disaster were attacked by police and unionists arrested, including Yoo Ki-soo, General Secretary of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

Tags: suicideSewol Ferry Disaster
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Government issues 'civil mobilisation' order to end electricity strike, union vows further action

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Financial Times
Categories: Labor News

Veolia/City Escalate War on USW 8751 Boston School Bus Union

Current News - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 16:50

Veolia/City Escalate War on USW 8751 Boston School Bus Union

Outrageous Union Busting Frame-up Charges filed by Boston Police Department (BPD) against Steve Kirschbaum, Chair of the Grievance Committee & a founder of the Local.

On July 3, 2014, four plain clothes BPD detectives paid two visits to brother Kirschbaum’s home while he was at the Boston Teachers Union in contract negotiations with Veolia Transportation, Inc. Lieutenant Detective Thomas Hopkins served Steve’s daughter, Hannah, with his Summons to appear on July 14, 2014, at 8:30 am at BMC Dorchester Court, 510 Washington Street, Dorchester MA 02124. The summons says Steve is to be arraigned on charges of Assault and Battery with a dangerous Weapon, Trespass, Breaking and Entering during the Daytime to Commit a Felony, and Malicious Destruction of Property. These false, defamatory, and outrageous charges are identified as “offenses” alleged to have occurred on June 30th at the Solidarity Day rallies and march.

On June 30th Solidarity Day nearly 500 militant USW 8751 Boston School Bus drivers and supporters took the struggle against Veolia/City union busting to the streets surrounding the Freeport bus yard and Veolia Corporate Headquarters. Demonstrators chanted “No Contract. No work!” and “Veolia, We say no, Union Busting has got to go!” Protestors were demanding the rehiring of the 4 illegally fired leaders, a just new contract, and, joining with the community of Boston, saying “NO” to the City’s racist austerity cutbacks and re-segregation plan. The 3 ½ hour protest included an opening rally featuring Labor and Community supporters followed by a march to Veolia HQ for another rally.

The demonstrators then took to the streets again, concluding with an impromptu “union membership briefing” in the Freeport Driver’s Room. The union leaders advised both company representatives and BPD that the union members were asserting their contract right to “access to the property” to conduct “union activity” (Article 15, sec 1 and 3.), namely a critical briefing on that day’s contract negotiations, as the contract expiration was just hours away. The doors to the facility were unlocked and opened. The union, drivers, monitors, families and supporters had access to the drivers` room facilities all day on June 30th, as is always the case. There was no issue of “disruption of operations,” as there was no operations taking place at that time of the day. The company’s illegal efforts to stop the meeting by calling in the police proved ineffective in deterring the union. The meeting was held in an orderly, peaceful manner, and the gathering disbursed at the conclusion without incident. There are scores of witnesses that can confirm that the charges against Steve are absolutely false. These frame-up charges seek to defame Steve Kirschbaum and USW 8751’s 40 year history of militant unionism, social activism and solidarity with labor struggles locally, nationally and globally.

These groundless frame-up charges represent the most recent link in an unbroken chain of vile anti-union attacks against the hard working women and men of USW 8751, their militant fighting union, and the communities they serve. It is part and parcel of the Veolia/City war against USW 8751 that has included the illegal firing of the four USW leaders, 18 Unfair Labor Practice charges against Veolia with the National Labor Relations Board, hundreds of individual and class action grievances, and more.

At the negotiating table the company is seeking to take away 40 years of collective bargaining progress while the city’s racist austerity cuts represent a most serious attack on the community’s right to safe, on time, professional yellow school bus transportation and equal, quality education generally. Today’s obscene, anti-union opinion column by Lawrence Harmon in the Boston Globe lays bare that the intent of Veolia, the City, the Boston Police, and other labor haters is to defame and destroy USW Local 8751.

The Union busters will fail. USW 8751 has a proud and militant history of defending its members, the majority of whom come from Boston’s African American and immigrant communities; winning wages, benefits and working conditions; and ensuring union rights that are the envy of the school bus industry. The unity and solidarity demonstrated by Solidarity Day will prove decisive in the battle to win Safety for the Students and Justice for the Drivers. This is a struggle to defend Local 8751 and the union movement as a whole.

Drop the anti-union charges against Steve Kirschbaum NOW!

Stop Veolia oppression from Boston to Palestine! Rehire the fired leaders! No Concessions! Contract Justice NOW!

Say NO to Boston School Department’s racist austerity cuts. Don’t throw middle school students off the bus!

ALL OUT! July 14 at 8:30 am
BMC Dorchester Court,
510 Washington Street,
Dorchester MA 02124.

For more info: http://tinyurl.com/TeamSolidarity

Tags: USW 8751 Boston School Bus driversrepression
Categories: Labor News

Union Busters Want "flexibility" From Boston USW School Bus Drivers Union

Current News - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 15:46

Union Busters Want "flexibility" From Boston USW School Bus Drivers Union
Boston school bus drivers hurt themselves and alienate others

By Lawrence Harmon
Globe Columnist July 05, 2014


Globe Columnist July 05, 2014

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe
Steve Kirschbaum, center, speaks to school bus drivers in October, after the drivers refused to work and stood outside the Readville bus yard in protest after being locked out.
UNITED STEELWORKERS Local 8751, which represents about 700 Boston school bus drivers, is a throwback. Labor leaders in Boston are trying to keep the union from becoming extinct. But it will be hard to dredge up any sympathy from Bostonians. Nothing short of mass amnesia is likely to blot out the public’s memory of last October’s wildcat strike, which left thousands of children stranded on city sidewalks.
On Monday, about 200 drivers and their supporters protested at the Dorchester headquarters of Veolia Transportation, the contractor responsible for transporting 33,000 Boston students to and from school. The union is furious that Veolia fired five of its leaders after last fall’s illegal strike. Protesters demanded their reinstatement.
But the fired workers, it turns out, haven’t gone very far. Some of them, including firebrand Steve Kirschbaum, played significant roles in orchestrating this week’s protest, which coincided with the expiration of the collective bargaining contract between Veolia and the drivers.
Local 8751 has a special way of endearing itself to the city’s taxpayers. On Thursday, Boston Police filed a complaint against Kirschbaum in Dorchester District Court for allegedly breaking into Veolia headquarters during the demonstration and assaulting an employee with a dangerous weapon. For some ungodly reason, Kirschbaum remains a member of the union’s negotiating team.
School officials, meanwhile, are busy trimming the roughly $100 million school transportation budget. Come fall, middle-school students will receive MBTA passes instead of service on yellow buses. The union has denounced the move as a “racist” attack on Boston’s schoolchildren. Actually, it’s a sensible plan that would allow the city to redirect about $8 million into classroom improvements.
There may be legitimate issues on the collective bargaining table, including hourly wages, health insurance premiums, pay periods, and leaves of absence. Drivers, who earn on average about $43,000 annually, deserve a fair wage and decent benefits. But it was galling to listen to speaker after speaker at the demonstration argue that Kirschbaum and the other fired workers were the real victims, not the pupils abandoned on the streets in October.
Back then, the United Steelworkers called on its local to “immediately cease this strike.” But at Monday’s demonstration, the Steelworkers were peddling a pathetic story that it wasn’t really a strike after all. Richard Rogers, executive secretary of the AFL-CIO-affiliated Greater Boston Labor Council, derided Veolia as a French firm intent on “union busting.” He assured the protesting drivers that Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, is “100 percent behind your struggle.” But somehow Tolman seems to be out of town whenever this marginal union mounts a demonstration. Good judgment on his part.
Summer school starts on Monday. Parents of Boston school kids should be on alert. The bus drivers’ expired contract prohibited strikes. Now, with no agreement in place, the drivers could strike without warning or consequences.
Before he left office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg scrapped a provision that requires new bidders for school bus contracts to choose from a list of current drivers based on seniority and union pay scale. That’s food for thought. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he wouldn’t entertain such a notion. He’s as labor-friendly a mayor as they come. But even Walsh sees red when it comes to Local 8751.
“I have major concerns about leaving kids on the sidewalks,” he said.
Walsh, who headed the city’s unionized building trades before his election, said it is important for unions to “adapt and change.” Those that do, he said, are on the upswing. A case in point is Unite Here Local 26, which represents housekeepers, banquet servers, and other service personnel in 29 hotels in Boston and Cambridge. That’s up from just 12 hotels a decade ago. The union has added about 1,000 new members in Boston since 2011, according to Local 26 president Brian Lang. He attributed some of the union’s success to its willingness to adapt to changes in the hospitality industry and show flexibility around union work rules.
How about a little flexibility on the part of the bus drivers’ union? Instead of filing dozens of grievances, coddling its lunatic fringe, and ranting about injustices in far-off lands, perhaps the union could see its way to extend and honor the no-strike clause in the expired contract during negotiations on a new contract. Such a courtesy would relieve Boston parents from worrying that their children might be abandoned on the city’s street corners. And Local 8751, for the first time in recent memory, might actually appear levelheaded.

Tags: Boston USW School Bus Drivers
Categories: Labor News

When S.F. waterfront was scene of bloody riots

Current News - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 10:04

When S.F. waterfront was scene of bloody riots
By Carl Nolte

July 5, 2014 | Updated: July 5, 2014 8:46am

The Chronicle

Workers who handled cargo on San Francisco's waterfront struggled to unionize. Their battle turned bloody July 5, 1934, when police shot into a crowd of strikers, killing two men.
No place in San Francisco has changed more than the Embarcadero, which is now mostly a grand promenade. It wasn't always so peaceful. Saturday is the 80th anniversary of a day of riots and deadly violence, a reminder of the bloody history of the city's waterfront.

On July 5, 1934, striking workers and police clashed in a series of riots that swept the waterfront from Rincon Hill to the Ferry Building. Two men were killed by police and more than 100 were injured.

The governor called in the National Guard, the unions called a general strike that paralyzed the city.

"There were tanks patrolling the Embarcadero and machine gun nests. It had the look of a European-style revolution," said historian Kevin Starr.

At the time, The Chronicle called that July 5 "the darkest day in San Francisco since the 1906 earthquake." The unions called it "Bloody Thursday."

Establishing union power

The 1934 strike is "a basic part of the history of San Francisco and a seminal event in labor history in general," said Catherine Powell, director of the Labor Archives Project at San Francisco State University.

Labor strife may seem a distant and irrelevant memory to people strolling on the Embarcadero these days, but the events of that summer 80 years ago established union power in the Bay Area, and turned the International Longshore and Warehouse Union into a major player on the Pacific Coast.

Although San Francisco has faded away as a major port, the ghosts of 1934 still walk the docks up and down the coast: The ILWU contract with Pacific Coast maritime interests expired Wednesday. The union and management are in the middle of contract talks.

ILWU at state ports

The ILWU handles cargo at Oakland and at Los Angeles and Long Beach. The two Southern California ports are the busiest in the country and a strike could cause serious economic problems.

The Chronicle

San Francisco Waterfront strike 1934Longshoremenlikely Chronicle photo but this appears to be a reprint. ran 3/31/1987, p. 2
A union contract that covers all West Coast ports was a major victory for unions in 1934. Without it different ports could play one group against another, said Harvey Schwartz, who has written books about the ILWU.

In the early 1930s, San Francisco was the top port on the Pacific Coast; 1 in 4 jobs in the city was connected to the port - dock workers, sailors, marine engineers, truckers, warehouse workers. It was the economic engine that drove the city.

But it was a tough place to work. The jobs were dangerous and the pay was low. The employers, who were closely allied with the city government and the police, had succeeded over the years in crushing the unions.

By 1934, longshore workers could not get jobs unless they belonged to a company union, and even then could not work unless they were picked in a daily "shape up" in front of the Ferry Building.

Here supervisors, the so-called "walking bosses," chose men they wanted out of a crowd. There were side deals and bribes.

The setup was challenged by the International Longshore Union, led by an Australian former sailor named Harry Bridges. A strike was called in early May, and it touched off what author William Martin Camp called "the most violent days San Francisco ever endured."

'It was war'

The employers were determined to break the strike. Each side had an ample supply of toughs. They used axes, clubs, fists, guns. "It was war in every sense of the word," Camp wrote.

On July 3, employers tried to ship cargo by truck from a warehouse near where the baseball park now stands. There was a riot.

After a break for the Independence Day holiday, the employers tried again, this time around Piers 30-32. Pickets resisted, the police moved in with shotguns and tear gas. The strikers threw rocks and bricks. "Don't think of this as a riot. It was a hundred riots," The Chronicle wrote.

It was the depths of the Depression, thousands were out of work, and the strikers thought they had nothing to lose. "They had people willing to get out there and fight and die, and two did die," Schwartz said.

Finally, in the afternoon of July 5, police fired on strikers at the corner of Steuart and Mission streets. Howard Sperry, a sailor, and Nick Bordoise, an unemployed cook, were shot and died on the sidewalk.

A few days later, more than 15,000 union men marched up Market Street from the waterfront to Valencia Street in a solemn public funeral for the two men who had been transformed into martyrs. There were no speeches, no shouted slogans. The only sound was muffled drums and a funeral march played by a union band.

"It was a stupendous and reverent procession that astounded the city," The Chronicle said.

"The public took a look at that and sympathy swung to the labor side," Schwartz said.

That was followed by a four-day general strike, and a settlement that was generally seen as a victory for the unions.

"Is San Francisco still a union town? I would say yes," said Powell. She cited Local 2 of Unite Here, the hotel workers union, the ILWU, and the public sector unions. "They are all still pretty powerful."

Working-class aristocrats

The longshore union has become the aristocrat of the working class; a top member can earn over well over $100,000 a year with excellent benefits. The jobs are so good that it's almost as tough to get in the ILWU as it is to get into Stanford; thousands apply for vacancies, sometimes tens of thousands. "These are dream blue-collar jobs," said Craig Merrilees, the union's communications director.

And the city has changed. The spot on lower Mission Street where strikers were shot and died is now the entrance to Boulevard, one of the best restaurants in the United States. Rincon Hill, where rioters threw rocks and bricks at police, is the site of two high-rise apartment towers.

Saturday also marks another occasion: In the evening, a simulcast of "La Traviata," direct from the San Francisco Opera House, will be broadcast at AT&T Park, right on what was once the working waterfront.

Recalling a turning point for labor
Where: Longshoremen's Hall, 400 North Point St., near Fisherman's Wharf.

When: 10 a.m. Saturday.

Carl Nolte is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: cnolte@sfchronicle.com

Tags: ilwuGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News


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