Feed aggregator

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

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

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

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

Tags: TWU 100Worker SafetyNYC
Categories: Labor News

Celebrate getting bus service to transit deserts!

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

Supporters are encouraged to join us for a celebratory rally:

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

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

Coffee and noisemakers will be provided :)

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

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

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

Categories: Labor News

IBT 853 Teamster Steward John Joseph releases new CD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: TeamsterMusician
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity Needed Oakland First Student Bus Drivers Under Attack!

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

Solidarity Needed
Oakland First Student Bus Drivers Under Attack!

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

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

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

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

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

The workers are in a Federal Mediation Hearing which continues at

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

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

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

Endorsed by the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee

Tags: First StudentTeamsters 853
Categories: Labor News

Google Express workers join Teamsters

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

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

Photo: Nick And Laura Allen, Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: teamstersGoogle Express
Categories: Labor News

Australia: These condoms are surely having us on

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

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

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

PSR Fleet Memo for August 21 2015

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

South Africa: 50 000 steel industry jobs on the line

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Business Report
Categories: Labor News

No Nooses in the Workplace! Daryle Washington IBT 350 Recology Worker Targeted For Exposing Hanging Noose Racist Incident

Current News - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 14:40

No Nooses in the Workplace! Daryle Washington IBT 350 Recology Worker Targeted For Exposing Hanging Noose Racist Incident

Daryle Washington is a Teamsters Local 350 member who used to work at Recology Corporation in San Francisco.

On December 10, 2013, a coworker named Jon Peralta picked up a noose, walked out of his stall, tightening it as he went, and dropped it in the stall of one of his black coworkers.

Even though Daryle repeatedly spoke up on behalf of his coworkers, the company only suspended Peralta for six days. Later on December 30, Peralta picked up a Jet magazine and threw it at a black coworker. This time Peralta was suspended for only 14 days. Daryle's coworkers feared for their life, but Recology did nothing.

The company refuses to fire Peralta because his mother is in a relationship with one of the managers! Instead, they retaliated against Daryle. They harrassed him, denied him promotions that he was clearly qualified for, transferred him, denied him worker's comp and forced him to continue to work alongside Jon Peralta. He suffered anxiety attacks from the stress.

Meanwhile, Daryle's union won't defend him, because Peralta is in the union too!

Recology has refused to change its policies or apologize. Daryle has sued Recology in court and the company offered a settlement, but he has refused to take it until the company agrees to publicly apologize for tolerating this behavior.

Zero tolerance for racist nooses!
Justice for Daryle Washington!

Contact: Daryle Washington Defense Committee
(415) 832-9480 / darylewashington@yahoo.com

For video:

For more information:
For more video:
For more video:
For more information:
Production of Labor Video Project

Tags: racismhanging noosesIBT 853
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Syriza accuses Canadian gold miner of holding 2,000 workers hostage

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Associated Press
Categories: Labor News

Japan JR East begins decontaminating tracks in areas affected by nuclear crisis despite dangerous levels of radiation

Current News - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 21:23

Japan JR East begins decontaminating tracks in areas affected by nuclear crisis despite dangerous levels of radiation

Workers remove weeds along the JR Joban Line tracks in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 20, 2015, in preparation for work to decontaminate the tracks on a trial basis. (Photo courtesy of JR East Mito branch)
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) began on Aug. 20 to decontaminate tracks on the Joban Line, which have been affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis, on a trial basis, company officials said.

The work, which is part of JR East's efforts to resume services between Tomioka and Namie stations, got under way in a section between Yonomori and Futaba stations where radiation levels are particularly high.

After analyzing data showing how radiation levels have declined following the decontamination, JR East is expected to consider when to resume services between Tomioka and Namie stations.

The company will remove rails and sleepers in a 50-meter section at six separate spots, where radiation levels are 2.8 to 28 microsieverts per hour, and remove surface soil. All these six spots are situated in a zone where it is difficult for evacuated residents to return in the foreseeable future, with annual cumulative radiation levels exceeding 50 millisieverts, in the town of Okuma. All decommission workers are required to put on protective gear.

On Aug. 20, workers removed weeds around the tracks and created roads through which necessary equipment will be brought into these areas.

Services on the Joban Line have been suspended in some sections in Fukushima Prefecture since the outbreak of the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

JR East aims to resume services on the Odaka-Haranomachi section by the spring of 2016, the Namie-Odaka section by March 2017, the Tatsuta-Tomioka section by March 2018 and the Soma-Hamayoshida section by the spring of 2017.

Click here for Japanese article
August 21, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

Tags: Railroad workersRadiationFukushima
Categories: Labor News

Solidarity message from MUA Queensland branch

ILWU - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 10:52

Members of the Maritime Union Australia, Queensland Branch in Brisbane recently  recorded a solidarity message to the ILWU while on the picket line.

Categories: Unions

Uber’s Attempt To Silence Its Drivers May Have Just Backfired

Current News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 22:19

Uber’s Attempt To Silence Its Drivers May Have Just Backfired
WEDNESDAY, AUG 19, 2015, 5:56 PM
Uber’s Attempt To Silence Its Drivers May Have Just Backfired

A judge has ruled that Uber's requirements of its drivers are unfair and illegal. (Flickr / Joakim Formo)

Much has been made over how Uber, the car service that enables users to hail a car within minutes of pressing a few keys on their smartphones, is jumpstarting the “gig-economy.” Frequently lost amid the discussion over disrupting existing industries, however, is the fact that workers in this new economy often gett the short-shrift. That fact was made extremely evident in a recent order against the company written by U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen in which he found that the terms Uber imposes upon its drivers as a condition of driving for the company, including a forced arbitration clause, are unconscionable and unenforceable under California law. In plain English, he ruled that the provisions were so unfair and one-sided in favor of Uber that they could not be enforced in a court of law.

The case was brought by Ronald Gillette and Abdul Mohamed, who began driving for Uber in California in 2013 and in Boston in 2012, respectively. Not only do riders arrange their rides via smartphone, but drivers also arrange to work for Uber via smartphone. When Gillette and Mohamed decided to work for Uber, they logged on to the app to join the Uber “fleet” and a message popped up on their screens asking if they agree to “all the contracts” listed. If they indicated they agreed, another message popped up that said “PLEASE CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE REVIEWED ALL THE DOCUMENTS AND AGREE TO ALL THE NEW CONTRACTS.” The two choices were “YES, I AGREE” and “NO.” After clicking the “YES, I AGREE” option, both Gillette and Mohamed gained access to the app and began driving for Uber.

Gillette was subsequently terminated by Uber because “’something had come up’ on his consumer background report.” Mohamed’s access to the app was subsequently revoked “at least in part as a ‘result of information obtained [by defendants] through [a] Consumer Reporting Agency’,” and he lost his ability to pick up passengers as an Uber driver. This was only the beginning of their troubles with Uber.

To understand how forced arbitration squeezes workers and deprives them of the protections otherwise guaranteed by law, we have to get into a bit of legalese. The terms to which Gillette and Mohamed agreed by clicking the “YES, I AGREE” option on their phones included a clause stipulating that any dispute between Uber and the driver will be resolved in an arbitration proceeding rather than in open court.

As almost any first year law student can tell you, a party is bound by the contract she signs. Even if a court determines that a contract was validly made, however, there are a number of bases upon which courts can deem contracts unenforceable. These include, among others, contracts considered to be against the law, contracts signed under duress and contracts that are unconscionable.

For example, a court wouldn’t enforce a contract in which one party contracts with another to commit a crime because the agreement is against the law. A court would not enforce a contract signed by someone with a gun to their head as that would clearly constitute duress. Although there is no one test to determine if a contract is unconscionable, “gross inequality of bargaining power, together with terms unreasonably favorable to the stronger party,” may lend credence to an argument that a contract or a particular clause within it is unconscionable.

After evaluating Uber’s arbitration provision, Judge Chen found that the clause was, in fact unconscionable, and thus unenforceable. In coming to this decision, Judge Chen reviewed all of the language in Uber’s contracts, taking readers of his opinion on a tour of the worst aspects of this one-sided deal.

• First, the clause prohibited the plaintiffs from bringing enforcement actions on behalf of other individuals—an essential tool for enforcing civil rights laws—as provided for by California state law.
• Second, the clause required the plaintiffs to pay a portion of the arbitrator’s costs and fees, whereas in court they would not have to pay a judge for his or her time.
• Third, the clause required that any arbitration proceeding be confidential, contrary to open access to court proceedings.
• Fourth, in a brazen move, while Uber denied its drivers access to court and forced them to proceed to arbitration, it carved out a provision which enabled the company to bring a case in court under certain circumstances.
• Fifth, and last, the provision allowed Uber to modify the terms of the contract at any time, without granting its drivers the same ability.
Arbitration is an alternative method of dispute resolution that bypasses our civil justice system. It can be an appropriate forum when it is knowingly and voluntarily agreed to by the individual as well as the company after a dispute arises.

But a recent study found that outcomes in arbitration for workers—win rates, damage awards, and settlement amounts—are starkly inferior to outcomes workers receive when they go to court. As one federal judge lamented in a forced arbitration case, “there is a reason that arbitration is the favored venue of many businesses for deciding employment disputes, and it is not to ensure that employees are afforded the best chance to have their claims adjudicated by a judge or jury picked from the community.”

Arbitration proceedings are not governed by the same rules of procedure which exist in a court proceeding and are designed to ensure fairness and due process. For example, those who have been wronged are generally able to gain access to the key documents that the other side possesses and that are often crucial to prove their cases. In contrast, arbitration proceedings are often secret and deprive aggrieved individuals the opportunity to present their case to a jury of their peers. Because arbitration proceedings are secret and not public, they shield companies that break the law from public accountability and scrutiny. And arbitration clauses frequently prohibit individuals from appealing a ruling against them.

Even worse is the fact that forced arbitration clauses such as the one used by Uber are on the rise. In 2010, 27 percent of non-unionized workers—or 36 million people—were subject to forced arbitration clauses. That figure is likely much higher now as the Supreme Court has issued two decisions in recent years that have made arbitration even more favorable to employers.

Indeed, management-side attorneys have written about how forced arbitration clauses help their clients’ bottom lines, especially those provisions that include language banning workers or consumers from joining together to form a class to obtain collective relief. A 2015 report by a national management firm shows that the percentage of employers using forced arbitration and class action bans more than doubled from 21% in 2011 to almost 46% in 2014.

If Uber had its way, its drivers would be bound to address disputes with the company through forced arbitration in a secret, private tribunal. The drivers would also be prohibited from joining together in class action suits—which is often the only way individuals can hold large companies accountable for their wrongdoing.

Thankfully, Judge Chen recognized the unfairness that “permeated” Uber’s terms with Gillette, Mohamed, and the other drivers in their lawsuit and found it unenforceable. Uber has appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—remember, the kind of appeal that is not allowed under forced arbitration—so we will soon find out if other judges share Judge Chen’s perspective on what is fair and what is not.

For the record, Uber doesn’t stop at imposing forced arbitration on its drivers. Uber also refuses to classify its drivers as employees and treats them instead as independent contractors, who are not entitled to the rights and protections afforded employees. We need updated laws to handle these new employment arrangements that are becoming more and more frequent in our sharing economy. Until we have such laws, drivers like Gillette and Mohamed will not only be denied the basic rights and benefits associated with being classified as employees; they will continue to be subject to a sham system of justice in which they cannot have their claims heard in open court with the basic protections afforded by a court proceeding.

Tags: Uberlabor rights
Categories: Labor News

Iraq: Iraq’s new labour law: positive but ‘clipped’

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Stronger Unions
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: Crisis of leadership in Indonesian trade unions

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Jakarta Post
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Foreign Slave Ship Trading in Australian Waters

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: MUA
Categories: Labor News

Global: Industry bargaining for living wages

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

India: 'Don't call me Room Boy!' say hotel housekeepers fighting for respect

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News


Subscribe to Transport Workers Solidarity Committee aggregator