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Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 NZ Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 22:29

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?
http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/03/20/shocking-new-revelations-about-cia-...
By Martyn Bradbury / March 20, 2017

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.
It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

Extraordinary new claims about our NZ history that I think I can safely predict won’t see the coverage it deserves from the mainstream corporate media…

Secret CIA flights helped break 1951 New Zealand waterfront strike, files reveal

hey were the self-proclaimed “secret soldiers of the Cold War”, flying covert missions for the United States’ government, using rags and coffee cans to light runways for moonlit landings and attracting “lovely, friendly, curious lassies” at every airport.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret airline flew covert missions to fight communism in China, Vietnam and Korea in the 1950s and 60s, but newly released US files reveal the airline also operated in New Zealand to help break the 1951 Wellington waterfront dispute.

Civil Air Transport (CAT) is called “the world’s most shot-at airline” by veterans and was secretly owned by the CIA. It ran passenger and cargo services as a cover for secret missions from 1950 to 1968.

The new CIA files, published online with 13 million other documents in January, reveal a Kiwi mission called “Operation Railhead”.

The airline was contracted by the New Zealand Government to fly about 8000 tonnes of “everything from brewery malt to racehorses” more than 150,000 kilometres in 1300 crossings of the Cook Strait from May to June 1951.

The US provided four Curtiss C-46 Commando planes and crew to fly cargo between Paraparaumu Airport near Wellington to Woodbourne in Blenheim on the South Island.

It was chartered to ensure that goods could still be shipped around New Zealand during the waterfront dispute of 1951. The pay dispute was the largest industrial confrontation in New Zealand history bringing the nation’s ports to a standstill and, at its peak, taking 22,000 workers off the job from February to July 1951.

Left-leaning political commentator Chris Trotter said the secret Kiwi mission was a revelation.

“It is an important historical detail because it shows how real the ideological battle was and it shows that a lot of the fears on the left have some real basis in fact.

“There was always a suspicion that the US was manipulating events from behind fronts. This detail reinforces all the worse fears of the people involved in the dispute.”

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.

It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

It’s amazing that we’ve had to wait over half a century before being told of this collusion.

If the CIA were prepared to step in over 60 years ago to ensure their interests were protected, what do you think the American’s are prepared to do now we have been given access to their mass surveillance 5 Eyes program?

It’s a question that has demanded answering ever since NZ became immersed in the US Intelligence web with the building of the Waihopai Spy base.

NZ is handed soft wear and hard wear that allows us to spy on anyone at anytime. Do you think America allows that transfer of power without demanding economic sovereignty?

Right now, Parliament is ‘debating’ vast new mass surveillance powers and the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are none the wiser about the enormous scale of what is being proposed.

Labour have walked away from any pretence of holding the powerful to account and have spinelessly thrown their lot in with the Deep State establishment by promising them power without restraint.

Labour claim they ‘won’ us the right to not have 2 day warrantless searches by cutting that down to 24 hours, as if that is some type of grand concession on the part of the mass surveillance Deep State.

The current debate in parliament is a fucking joke that we should all be deeply embarrassed by…

‘What’s your spy name?’: Spying debate goes off track

The acrimonious debate on New Zealand’s spying agencies four years ago appeared to be long forgotten as MPs tackled a new round of spying reforms this week.

In 2013, activists marched on the streets, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) was accused of mass surveillance, and political parties were at each others’ throats.

But as the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill returned to Parliament on Wednesday, debate instead centred on which MP had the best “spy name” and who the best fictional spy was.

Speaking on a part of the legislation which dealt with covert activities, Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson introduced a ” little game” which he learned in his former role as a diplomat.

“If want to create your own spy identity, what you should do is take your middle name and the street where you grew up.”

He showed the other MPs how do it.

“I myself am Murray Pretoria … which I think makes me sound like a South African spy, but that is me.

“So I invite other members of the House to have a think about where they are at in terms of their identity.”

…oh ha ha, hahahahaha, Hahahahaha. Ha. How fucking hilarious. The Parliament is about to hand over vast new powers of mass surveillance to an organisation with all the checks and balances of your average Apartheid South African justice system and we’re all having a laugh about spy names.

For fucks sakes people.

In the post-Snowdon world where we know the NSA have almost God like powers via the mass surveillance networks, we are making jokes about spy names.

At a time when the UK are about to merge big data with mass surveillance just as NZ is about to, we are making jokes about spy names.

When technical attache’s at the US embassy in Wellington who work at the GCSB can escape legal scrutiny for their actions , we are making jokes about spy names.

As we find out the CIA were 60 years ago involving themselves directly in our internal domestic affairs, we are ramming through mass surveillance powers controlled by the NSA and making jokes about spy names.

So why are these new laws so dangerous to NZ democracy?

We’ve blogged, over, and over, and over again about the reasons why.

So let’s spell them out again.

• The Bill unnecessarily allows for greater surveillance of New Zealanders by our intelligence services and intrudes further on our privacy. The definition of national security is so broad that it could enable even more surveillance of legitimate political dissenters by the intelligence services than has happened to date.
• The NZ Intelligence Agencies have a long history of spying on political activists, not terrorists. These powers will be used in against NZers who threaten the economic status quo of the powerful, it won’t be sued to protect us from actual terror attacks.
• Over two decades, our laws have become a more and more disproportionate response to the actual threats faced in New Zealand. So although there has been no demonstrable increase in risk the resources and invasive powers of the intelligence agencies have steadily increased.
• The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill is the culmination of twenty years of increases in the powers of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It gives them everything they could hope for. The Bill radically broadens the focus of the SIS and the GCSB so they can run operations on almost anything. It allows them to do literally anything to advance on operation or to cover it up. It allows them to co-opt anybody else into an operation. And it grants immunity from prosecution to everyone involved.
• Political campaigns that include any acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations where people get arrested come under “unlawful acts”. Communicate with groups overseas and you’ve ticked the “foreign interference” box. Apply this to criticisms of free trade, the dirty dairy industry, the 100% Pure marketing hype or any number of other issues and you’re talking about “quality of life”, “economic security” or “international relations”. And since being seen by the spies as a potential threat is enough for them to come after you, few movements would be safe.
The broader scope comes from the Bill defining “national security” to include protections against the following:

-“potential threats to New Zealand’s status as a free and democratic society from … foreign interference”;
-“potential threats that may cause serious harm to the … quality of life of the New Zealand population”;
-“unlawful acts or acts of foreign interference that may cause serious damage to New Zealand’s economic security or international relations”;
-“potential threats to the integrity of information … of critical importance to New Zealand”.

Once a warrant is issued, Sections 65 and 66 of the Bill give the SIS and GCSB the power to:

-“do any … act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to achieve the purposes for which the warrant is exercised”; and

-“do any act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to conceal the fact that anything has been done under the warrant and to keep the activities of the intelligence agency covert”.

As Dr David Small, the Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury points out, “These are open-ended powers. They exclude nothing. They do not exclude getting people to do things by using threats, or blackmail or even framing people for serious crimes. The night I caught the SIS spies in 1996, they could have beaten me up in that empty street. During their house searches, they could have planted and claimed to have found items forensically linked to the “APEC bomb”.

On top of this, the Bill allows these agencies to deputise anyone they want to also be protected from prosecution for illegality and it allows for anyone whistle blowing to the media about illegal activity by the Government to be jailed for 5 years.

Beyond all those arguments is the fundamental problem that America empowers us with this mass surveillance software and hardware and they demand a high price for that power. Everything scooped up here in NZ is available to the NSA despite all the waffle about checks and balances. we are giving NZ spy agencies vast new powers which will cal all be exploited by our American Intelligence masters.

The so called ‘flop’ of the Moment of Truth, where Kim Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden all proved without a shadow of doubt that NZ has lied about mass surveillance for the NSA, has had an even more damaging long term impact.

New Zealand was ready in 2013 to challenge these mass surveillance powers and the building of an advanced Police State, but since the corporate mainstream media all wrote those concerns off as conspiratorial by denouncing the Moment of Truth, NZers have self censored themselves and allowed silence to rule the day.

The 2014-2015 budget for the GCSB was $86, 843, 000. Their budget for 2015-2016 is $143, 568, 000. That’s almost a $60million dollar increase in one year, this is becoming a monster with no leash on it.

These new spy powers won’t make anyone of us safer, they are far more likely be abused and damage this democracy.

But let’s all get upset over caged eggs sold as free range and a dog that gets shot at our airport.

Tags: CIA Union Busting In New Zealanddock workers
Categories: Labor News

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 NZ Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 22:29

Shocking new revelations about CIA breaking 1951 Union Waterfront lock out – so why are we ramming through a new Intelligence and Security Bill for America?
http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/03/20/shocking-new-revelations-about-cia-...
By Martyn Bradbury / March 20, 2017

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.
It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

Extraordinary new claims about our NZ history that I think I can safely predict won’t see the coverage it deserves from the mainstream corporate media…

Secret CIA flights helped break 1951 New Zealand waterfront strike, files reveal

hey were the self-proclaimed “secret soldiers of the Cold War”, flying covert missions for the United States’ government, using rags and coffee cans to light runways for moonlit landings and attracting “lovely, friendly, curious lassies” at every airport.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret airline flew covert missions to fight communism in China, Vietnam and Korea in the 1950s and 60s, but newly released US files reveal the airline also operated in New Zealand to help break the 1951 Wellington waterfront dispute.

Civil Air Transport (CAT) is called “the world’s most shot-at airline” by veterans and was secretly owned by the CIA. It ran passenger and cargo services as a cover for secret missions from 1950 to 1968.

The new CIA files, published online with 13 million other documents in January, reveal a Kiwi mission called “Operation Railhead”.

The airline was contracted by the New Zealand Government to fly about 8000 tonnes of “everything from brewery malt to racehorses” more than 150,000 kilometres in 1300 crossings of the Cook Strait from May to June 1951.

The US provided four Curtiss C-46 Commando planes and crew to fly cargo between Paraparaumu Airport near Wellington to Woodbourne in Blenheim on the South Island.

It was chartered to ensure that goods could still be shipped around New Zealand during the waterfront dispute of 1951. The pay dispute was the largest industrial confrontation in New Zealand history bringing the nation’s ports to a standstill and, at its peak, taking 22,000 workers off the job from February to July 1951.

Left-leaning political commentator Chris Trotter said the secret Kiwi mission was a revelation.

“It is an important historical detail because it shows how real the ideological battle was and it shows that a lot of the fears on the left have some real basis in fact.

“There was always a suspicion that the US was manipulating events from behind fronts. This detail reinforces all the worse fears of the people involved in the dispute.”

…so the bloody CIA intervened directly in our domestic affairs to break an Industrial dispute that was caused by a Government intent on damaging the Unions.

It kinda makes the accusations that Russia interfered in the most recent US Election look quaint.

It’s amazing that we’ve had to wait over half a century before being told of this collusion.

If the CIA were prepared to step in over 60 years ago to ensure their interests were protected, what do you think the American’s are prepared to do now we have been given access to their mass surveillance 5 Eyes program?

It’s a question that has demanded answering ever since NZ became immersed in the US Intelligence web with the building of the Waihopai Spy base.

NZ is handed soft wear and hard wear that allows us to spy on anyone at anytime. Do you think America allows that transfer of power without demanding economic sovereignty?

Right now, Parliament is ‘debating’ vast new mass surveillance powers and the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are none the wiser about the enormous scale of what is being proposed.

Labour have walked away from any pretence of holding the powerful to account and have spinelessly thrown their lot in with the Deep State establishment by promising them power without restraint.

Labour claim they ‘won’ us the right to not have 2 day warrantless searches by cutting that down to 24 hours, as if that is some type of grand concession on the part of the mass surveillance Deep State.

The current debate in parliament is a fucking joke that we should all be deeply embarrassed by…

‘What’s your spy name?’: Spying debate goes off track

The acrimonious debate on New Zealand’s spying agencies four years ago appeared to be long forgotten as MPs tackled a new round of spying reforms this week.

In 2013, activists marched on the streets, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) was accused of mass surveillance, and political parties were at each others’ throats.

But as the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill returned to Parliament on Wednesday, debate instead centred on which MP had the best “spy name” and who the best fictional spy was.

Speaking on a part of the legislation which dealt with covert activities, Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson introduced a ” little game” which he learned in his former role as a diplomat.

“If want to create your own spy identity, what you should do is take your middle name and the street where you grew up.”

He showed the other MPs how do it.

“I myself am Murray Pretoria … which I think makes me sound like a South African spy, but that is me.

“So I invite other members of the House to have a think about where they are at in terms of their identity.”

…oh ha ha, hahahahaha, Hahahahaha. Ha. How fucking hilarious. The Parliament is about to hand over vast new powers of mass surveillance to an organisation with all the checks and balances of your average Apartheid South African justice system and we’re all having a laugh about spy names.

For fucks sakes people.

In the post-Snowdon world where we know the NSA have almost God like powers via the mass surveillance networks, we are making jokes about spy names.

At a time when the UK are about to merge big data with mass surveillance just as NZ is about to, we are making jokes about spy names.

When technical attache’s at the US embassy in Wellington who work at the GCSB can escape legal scrutiny for their actions , we are making jokes about spy names.

As we find out the CIA were 60 years ago involving themselves directly in our internal domestic affairs, we are ramming through mass surveillance powers controlled by the NSA and making jokes about spy names.

So why are these new laws so dangerous to NZ democracy?

We’ve blogged, over, and over, and over again about the reasons why.

So let’s spell them out again.

• The Bill unnecessarily allows for greater surveillance of New Zealanders by our intelligence services and intrudes further on our privacy. The definition of national security is so broad that it could enable even more surveillance of legitimate political dissenters by the intelligence services than has happened to date.
• The NZ Intelligence Agencies have a long history of spying on political activists, not terrorists. These powers will be used in against NZers who threaten the economic status quo of the powerful, it won’t be sued to protect us from actual terror attacks.
• Over two decades, our laws have become a more and more disproportionate response to the actual threats faced in New Zealand. So although there has been no demonstrable increase in risk the resources and invasive powers of the intelligence agencies have steadily increased.
• The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill is the culmination of twenty years of increases in the powers of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It gives them everything they could hope for. The Bill radically broadens the focus of the SIS and the GCSB so they can run operations on almost anything. It allows them to do literally anything to advance on operation or to cover it up. It allows them to co-opt anybody else into an operation. And it grants immunity from prosecution to everyone involved.
• Political campaigns that include any acts of civil disobedience and demonstrations where people get arrested come under “unlawful acts”. Communicate with groups overseas and you’ve ticked the “foreign interference” box. Apply this to criticisms of free trade, the dirty dairy industry, the 100% Pure marketing hype or any number of other issues and you’re talking about “quality of life”, “economic security” or “international relations”. And since being seen by the spies as a potential threat is enough for them to come after you, few movements would be safe.
The broader scope comes from the Bill defining “national security” to include protections against the following:

-“potential threats to New Zealand’s status as a free and democratic society from … foreign interference”;
-“potential threats that may cause serious harm to the … quality of life of the New Zealand population”;
-“unlawful acts or acts of foreign interference that may cause serious damage to New Zealand’s economic security or international relations”;
-“potential threats to the integrity of information … of critical importance to New Zealand”.

Once a warrant is issued, Sections 65 and 66 of the Bill give the SIS and GCSB the power to:

-“do any … act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to achieve the purposes for which the warrant is exercised”; and

-“do any act that is reasonable in the circumstances and reasonably required to conceal the fact that anything has been done under the warrant and to keep the activities of the intelligence agency covert”.

As Dr David Small, the Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury points out, “These are open-ended powers. They exclude nothing. They do not exclude getting people to do things by using threats, or blackmail or even framing people for serious crimes. The night I caught the SIS spies in 1996, they could have beaten me up in that empty street. During their house searches, they could have planted and claimed to have found items forensically linked to the “APEC bomb”.

On top of this, the Bill allows these agencies to deputise anyone they want to also be protected from prosecution for illegality and it allows for anyone whistle blowing to the media about illegal activity by the Government to be jailed for 5 years.

Beyond all those arguments is the fundamental problem that America empowers us with this mass surveillance software and hardware and they demand a high price for that power. Everything scooped up here in NZ is available to the NSA despite all the waffle about checks and balances. we are giving NZ spy agencies vast new powers which will cal all be exploited by our American Intelligence masters.

The so called ‘flop’ of the Moment of Truth, where Kim Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden all proved without a shadow of doubt that NZ has lied about mass surveillance for the NSA, has had an even more damaging long term impact.

New Zealand was ready in 2013 to challenge these mass surveillance powers and the building of an advanced Police State, but since the corporate mainstream media all wrote those concerns off as conspiratorial by denouncing the Moment of Truth, NZers have self censored themselves and allowed silence to rule the day.

The 2014-2015 budget for the GCSB was $86, 843, 000. Their budget for 2015-2016 is $143, 568, 000. That’s almost a $60million dollar increase in one year, this is becoming a monster with no leash on it.

These new spy powers won’t make anyone of us safer, they are far more likely be abused and damage this democracy.

But let’s all get upset over caged eggs sold as free range and a dog that gets shot at our airport.

Tags: CIA Union Busting In New Zealanddock workers
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Docker Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

IDC Cancels Worldwide Strikes to Enable New Talks in Spain
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/215574/idc-cancels-worldwide-stri...

Image Courtesy: IDC
The International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) has called off strikes planned for March 23, which were previously scheduled to be held in ports around the world, to enable new negotiations in the Spanish port sector.

The move follows the decision from March 16 of the Spanish parliament to reject the royal decree on the port system reform. The decree, which was supposed to put thousands of dockers’ jobs at risk, was presented by the country’s Ministry of Public Works earlier this year.

In the words of Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, “this (the parliament’s decision) is a step forward, but also a great opportunity given to us (dockworkers) by the opposition parliamentary groups. Dockworkers, together with the government and employers, can come to an agreement on the best conditions for the remodeling of the Spanish Port Model and for complying with the ruling of the European Court of Justice.”

Aragunde thanked IDC affiliates around the world and “their constant show of support for the workers of Spain and the actions they carried out which brought great pressure to bear internationally, and in Spain,”

IDC hopes to return to the EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue process as soon as the issues faced by Spanish workers are resolved and the new regulation is in operation.

“We informed European Commission representatives of this at the meeting held on Monday, March 13. But to reach this point, it is necessary to ensure that all the points that were not prohibited by either the European Commission or the ruling of the European Court of Justice are transferred to the new Spanish law,” Aragunde said.

In this sense, union representatives will go to the meeting with these parties to demand the carrying over of their current contracts and the inclusion of a professional registry of dockworkers, in accordance with the international regulations included in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 137.

Spain has ratified this convention and, as pointed out by the heads of the European Commission in various meetings with workers’ representatives, Brussels does not oppose it.

“Once this conflict in Spain is solved, problems remain in other countries where IDC members are established, such as those in Latin America, Africa, Sweden, Portugal, and the United States – which we will offer our support to in coming weeks,” Aragunde concluded.

Aragunde has been invited to attend the High Level Ministerial Stakeholders Road Safety and Maritime Conference to be held on March 28 and 29 in Malta, a country which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency position. The meeting will include the representatives of the Transport Ministers from all of the EU’s 27 member nations as well as with European Commission representatives led by the European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

In Malta, the Declaration of Valletta that deals with maritime safety, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability is also set to be discussed and adopted. The presence of all EU Transport Ministers at this meeting will enable the European Commission to clarify its position and the real role it intends to adopt in relation to the ports and maritime sector in coming years, according to IDC.

Tags: IDCSpanish Dockersderegulation
Categories: Labor News

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:00

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?
http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170318/port-of-las-automated-termina...

TraPac is a partially automated terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. Part of the terminal operates traditionally while the automation is phased in. There are hands on from ship to shore and the final point to truck but in between the yard is automated with people operating the machines from behind desks. Wilmington March 14, 2017.
‹›
By Rachel Uranga, LA Daily News
POSTED: 03/18/17, 5:57 PM PDT | UPDATED: 14 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

These cranes in the former Hanjin Terminal, now TTI Terminal are unloading a ships containers on to UTR’s in the yard. The majority of cranes in the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles are still driven manually but a couple of terminals have switched to automated cranes. Long Beach February 22, 2017 Photo by Brittany Murray, Press Telegram/SCNG
Along a bustling yard at the Port of Los Angeles’ TraPac terminal, robots rule.

Four-stories tall, mammoth two-legged machines scurry around the terminal, snagging shipping containers the size of delivery vans and stacking them like shoeboxes — and occasionally bumping into each other.

The expansive concrete container terminal, where humans are blocked from entering, looks more like a “Star Wars” backlot where all the AT-AT Walkers scurried loose.

But this is no special effect. It’s real-live port-side automation. And, most experts agree, it’s the future of cargo handling.

“If not for automation, we would become obsolete,” said Robert Owens, vice president of automation and information technology at TraPac LLC, the terminal operators owned by Japanese shipping carrier Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Canadian Brookfield Asset Management.

The robots ferry 40-foot-long shipping containers to massive shipside stacks. From there, more megamachines roll in to place the containers on trucks bound for warehouses in the Inland Empire and retailers across the country.

Most of this commercial waltz is orchestrated by programmed algorithms, with no human interference.

Such automation allows the terminal to handle greater volumes of goods in a tighter, more efficient space, Owens said. The electric- and hybrid-powered equipment also produces lower emissions.

Labor advocates, however, see no beauty in this gargantuan choreography. For the union representing dockworkers, new-age terminals are job killers that threaten Southern California’s shrinking blue-collar class.

“Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs,” said Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13. “It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.”

Owens takes another view. TraPac largely morphs routine jobs into more specialized roles, including mechanics who maintain and repair these iron giants.

The opposing perspectives on automation — arriving late to Southern California’s ports compared with some other industries — provide a snapshot of a larger debate playing out on factory floors, in grocery warehouses, even along assembly-line sushi bars, ­and at family kitchen tables where workers wonder where they fit in among their robotic counterparts.

Advertisement
Experts say the change is inevitable — especially for local ports — to keep pace with international competitors and the swiftly shifting marketplace.

“There are few new terminals (in the world) that aren’t automated,” said Mark A. Sisson, a senior port planner and analyst with engineering firm AECOM.

Falling behind isn’t an option, Owens said.

“If the ports become irrelevant,” he said, “all the jobs are going to go.”

FUTURE PORTS

Over the past four years, the 210-acre terminal that sits at one of the innermost sections of the Port of Los Angeles has been undergoing the transformation. By 2018, the port terminal (or Trapac) will be mostly automated.

Two years later, the $1.3 billion Middle Harbor, Long Beach’s automated terminal, should be up and running. Operated by the Long Beach Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line, the container yard is the port’s largest development project.

Together, the two terminals could handle about a third of the twin ports’ cargo volume.

Across the world, dozens of ports have opted for human-free machines. Rotterdam’s port has been automated for decades.

“The pace of automated terminals is accelerating,” Sisson said. “They are building at record pace at a global level.”

Why are American ports behind the pace?

Shipping companies that lease terminals were hamstrung in recent years by sluggish trade growth that left behind little capital to install the expensive machinery. In addition, unions have strongly resisted supply lines where technology muscles out manpower.

But the door was left ajar when West Coast dockworkers signed a 2008 contract that made automated cargo-handling machines an option.

“We are determined to prevent any automation from coming to the waterfront in the future,” said Olvera, whose family’s history at the ports dates back generations. “We are going to make sure there are no taxpayer dollars spent on automation.”

The towering “straddle carriers” supplant men and women driving forklifts and other cargo-hauling vehicles inside the terminal.

The terminal still requires workers to partner with the robots. They monitor the machines, fix them when they break, and program and adjust their precise movements.

But, yes, fewer workers are required.

“We are looking at a point now with this new equipment that technology is phasing out humans,” said union official Mondo Porras. “It’s like sci-fi movies we used to watch. It is coming to the future.”

THE HUMAN FACTOR

The appeal of robotics to operators is clear. It drives down labor costs, enhances safety, consumes cleaner-burning energy and provides faster service to truckers streaming in and out of ports.

“It is a day-and-night difference between conventional style of operation and the automated,” Sisson said.

At Middle Harbor, a trucking trade group’s analysts estimated that automation cut in half the time big-rig drivers idled while waiting to pick up loads.

Wait times are down at TraPac, too. That cuts congestion at the port, where volumes are expected to rise steeply in coming decades.

On an overcast afternoon at TraPac, three men in safety vests and hard hats sit outside during a break. Asked about the high-tech portscape, they are in no mood to talk.

After a long silence, a worker pipes up. “It’s less jobs for us.”

He waves off a second question.

Porras isn’t as guarded.

“We understand that automation is the future,” he said. “We understand that the companies are trying to get more efficient. But I am losing utility truck drivers. This hurts.”

Those jobs won’t suddenly disappear. It will take six to nine years to install a wave of automation at the twin ports, Sisson said, and that’s only if the money’s there to pay for it.

Nonetheless, workers know change is coming.

“The manning (of equipment) that we know today is going to be off,” Porras said. “Technology is moving faster than we have ever seen it. The future is slim.”

SMARTER ROBOTS

It’s been called the fourth wave of industrialization, the new machine age.

Robots and automation are a reality not just on the docks but for truck drivers, auto workers and retailers.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates nearly 60 percent of all occupations can at least be partially automated with current technology.

By 2055, the company’s analysts say, at least half of all U.S. work activities could be automated.

The jobs most easily replicated by machines involve not just predictable physical activities — like those in factories or warehouses — but also collecting and processing data, as in the financial industry.

Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that the biggest push for automation is often where large numbers of employees work on a single, similar process, such as the tasks in customer-service centers and warehouses.

Automakers such as General Motors used to be the principal employers of robots, largely along their assembly lines, turning screws and fastening parts.

They’ve got company now.

Robotics operate retail-distribution centers, package food products, perform precise aerospace tasks and even pick crops and plow fields.

“Ten or 12 years ago, that would have been a science project,” said Michael Rabina, an engineering manager at Fanuc America, the U.S. arm of the Japanese robotics company. “Before robots were just doing pick-and-place movements that were repeatable and programmable. Now they are using vision to guide them to locations.”

About 80 percent of the robots he sells can “see” and detect when a product or item is either good or bad.

Futurists see roles such as helping doctors interpret X-rays and ultrasound images or laboring in high-risk roles along oil-production lines.

“The robots,” Rabina said, “have become a lot more intelligent.”

NO STOPPING THEM NOW

Among the most aggressive advocates for robotics is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

In 2012, Bezos bought Kiva Systems, a Boston robotics firm, and has equipped his warehouses with tens of thousands of robots that work alongside humans.

He’s made headlines for encouraging consumers to order oft-used products with key-ring-style push buttons and for advocating drone-to-home deliveries.

At Bezos’ enormous fulfillment centers, including the facility in Tracy that stretches the length of 28 football fields, robots “recognize” products and shuttle them on their way.

The company says its superhuman robots create far more jobs than they’ve taken as the company grows amid the warehouse-to-your-house retail boom. Amazon shipped more than a billion items last holiday shopping season, according to the company, and robots did much of the heavy lifting.

Southern California hosts the largest number of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in its California network, centered largely in the Inland Empire, where thousands of workers process online orders and pack items to be sent to customers.

Amazon’s Eastvale location and the newer San Bernardino facility last year added hundreds of orange-hued wheeled robots — already in service at fulfillment centers in Tracy and Patterson — that cruise around the company’s expansive warehouses and carry shelving and products to workers, instead of workers trekking to the shelves themselves to collect products to ship. There are now more than 45,000 robots being used in 20-plus fulfillment centers worldwide, according to Amazon.

The plummeting costs of robots, coupled with their improved capabilities, makes them more and more attractive to industry’s leaders, said Ajay Agrawl, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Roman School of Management who specializes in the economics of artificial intelligence.

“They can now think and handle a situation,” Agrawl said. “It is prediction technology.”

That won’t do much to ease worries about job losses. Even former President Barack Obama warned of the aftershocks of automation.

“Automation is relentless, and it’s going to accelerate,” he said on a podcast hosted by his former aides.

But, unlike some, Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, doesn’t have a dystopian view of this robot invasion.

Job losses are inevitable, he said, but not all jobs can be automated because creativity can’t be programmed.

And economic and industrial change is nothing new. It’s blurred our lives for years, he said.

Just as the internet reshaped lives around the world, it also created new economic models and jobs, he said.

“We have already had a lot of automation,” he said. “The computer was automation; it just doesn’t look like a robot.”

Staff writer Neil Nisperos contributed to this report.

Tags: LA PortAutomationlongshore jobs
Categories: Labor News

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 09:00

Port of L.A.’s automated terminal: Future of commerce or blue-collar job-killer?
http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170318/port-of-las-automated-termina...

TraPac is a partially automated terminal in the Port of Los Angeles. Part of the terminal operates traditionally while the automation is phased in. There are hands on from ship to shore and the final point to truck but in between the yard is automated with people operating the machines from behind desks. Wilmington March 14, 2017.
‹›
By Rachel Uranga, LA Daily News
POSTED: 03/18/17, 5:57 PM PDT | UPDATED: 14 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

These cranes in the former Hanjin Terminal, now TTI Terminal are unloading a ships containers on to UTR’s in the yard. The majority of cranes in the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles are still driven manually but a couple of terminals have switched to automated cranes. Long Beach February 22, 2017 Photo by Brittany Murray, Press Telegram/SCNG
Along a bustling yard at the Port of Los Angeles’ TraPac terminal, robots rule.

Four-stories tall, mammoth two-legged machines scurry around the terminal, snagging shipping containers the size of delivery vans and stacking them like shoeboxes — and occasionally bumping into each other.

The expansive concrete container terminal, where humans are blocked from entering, looks more like a “Star Wars” backlot where all the AT-AT Walkers scurried loose.

But this is no special effect. It’s real-live port-side automation. And, most experts agree, it’s the future of cargo handling.

“If not for automation, we would become obsolete,” said Robert Owens, vice president of automation and information technology at TraPac LLC, the terminal operators owned by Japanese shipping carrier Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Canadian Brookfield Asset Management.

The robots ferry 40-foot-long shipping containers to massive shipside stacks. From there, more megamachines roll in to place the containers on trucks bound for warehouses in the Inland Empire and retailers across the country.

Most of this commercial waltz is orchestrated by programmed algorithms, with no human interference.

Such automation allows the terminal to handle greater volumes of goods in a tighter, more efficient space, Owens said. The electric- and hybrid-powered equipment also produces lower emissions.

Labor advocates, however, see no beauty in this gargantuan choreography. For the union representing dockworkers, new-age terminals are job killers that threaten Southern California’s shrinking blue-collar class.

“Those robots represent hundreds of (lost) jobs,” said Bobby Olvera Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13. “It means hundreds of people that aren’t shopping. They aren’t paying taxes and they aren’t buying homes.”

Owens takes another view. TraPac largely morphs routine jobs into more specialized roles, including mechanics who maintain and repair these iron giants.

The opposing perspectives on automation — arriving late to Southern California’s ports compared with some other industries — provide a snapshot of a larger debate playing out on factory floors, in grocery warehouses, even along assembly-line sushi bars, ­and at family kitchen tables where workers wonder where they fit in among their robotic counterparts.

Advertisement
Experts say the change is inevitable — especially for local ports — to keep pace with international competitors and the swiftly shifting marketplace.

“There are few new terminals (in the world) that aren’t automated,” said Mark A. Sisson, a senior port planner and analyst with engineering firm AECOM.

Falling behind isn’t an option, Owens said.

“If the ports become irrelevant,” he said, “all the jobs are going to go.”

FUTURE PORTS

Over the past four years, the 210-acre terminal that sits at one of the innermost sections of the Port of Los Angeles has been undergoing the transformation. By 2018, the port terminal (or Trapac) will be mostly automated.

Two years later, the $1.3 billion Middle Harbor, Long Beach’s automated terminal, should be up and running. Operated by the Long Beach Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line, the container yard is the port’s largest development project.

Together, the two terminals could handle about a third of the twin ports’ cargo volume.

Across the world, dozens of ports have opted for human-free machines. Rotterdam’s port has been automated for decades.

“The pace of automated terminals is accelerating,” Sisson said. “They are building at record pace at a global level.”

Why are American ports behind the pace?

Shipping companies that lease terminals were hamstrung in recent years by sluggish trade growth that left behind little capital to install the expensive machinery. In addition, unions have strongly resisted supply lines where technology muscles out manpower.

But the door was left ajar when West Coast dockworkers signed a 2008 contract that made automated cargo-handling machines an option.

“We are determined to prevent any automation from coming to the waterfront in the future,” said Olvera, whose family’s history at the ports dates back generations. “We are going to make sure there are no taxpayer dollars spent on automation.”

The towering “straddle carriers” supplant men and women driving forklifts and other cargo-hauling vehicles inside the terminal.

The terminal still requires workers to partner with the robots. They monitor the machines, fix them when they break, and program and adjust their precise movements.

But, yes, fewer workers are required.

“We are looking at a point now with this new equipment that technology is phasing out humans,” said union official Mondo Porras. “It’s like sci-fi movies we used to watch. It is coming to the future.”

THE HUMAN FACTOR

The appeal of robotics to operators is clear. It drives down labor costs, enhances safety, consumes cleaner-burning energy and provides faster service to truckers streaming in and out of ports.

“It is a day-and-night difference between conventional style of operation and the automated,” Sisson said.

At Middle Harbor, a trucking trade group’s analysts estimated that automation cut in half the time big-rig drivers idled while waiting to pick up loads.

Wait times are down at TraPac, too. That cuts congestion at the port, where volumes are expected to rise steeply in coming decades.

On an overcast afternoon at TraPac, three men in safety vests and hard hats sit outside during a break. Asked about the high-tech portscape, they are in no mood to talk.

After a long silence, a worker pipes up. “It’s less jobs for us.”

He waves off a second question.

Porras isn’t as guarded.

“We understand that automation is the future,” he said. “We understand that the companies are trying to get more efficient. But I am losing utility truck drivers. This hurts.”

Those jobs won’t suddenly disappear. It will take six to nine years to install a wave of automation at the twin ports, Sisson said, and that’s only if the money’s there to pay for it.

Nonetheless, workers know change is coming.

“The manning (of equipment) that we know today is going to be off,” Porras said. “Technology is moving faster than we have ever seen it. The future is slim.”

SMARTER ROBOTS

It’s been called the fourth wave of industrialization, the new machine age.

Robots and automation are a reality not just on the docks but for truck drivers, auto workers and retailers.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates nearly 60 percent of all occupations can at least be partially automated with current technology.

By 2055, the company’s analysts say, at least half of all U.S. work activities could be automated.

The jobs most easily replicated by machines involve not just predictable physical activities — like those in factories or warehouses — but also collecting and processing data, as in the financial industry.

Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, said that the biggest push for automation is often where large numbers of employees work on a single, similar process, such as the tasks in customer-service centers and warehouses.

Automakers such as General Motors used to be the principal employers of robots, largely along their assembly lines, turning screws and fastening parts.

They’ve got company now.

Robotics operate retail-distribution centers, package food products, perform precise aerospace tasks and even pick crops and plow fields.

“Ten or 12 years ago, that would have been a science project,” said Michael Rabina, an engineering manager at Fanuc America, the U.S. arm of the Japanese robotics company. “Before robots were just doing pick-and-place movements that were repeatable and programmable. Now they are using vision to guide them to locations.”

About 80 percent of the robots he sells can “see” and detect when a product or item is either good or bad.

Futurists see roles such as helping doctors interpret X-rays and ultrasound images or laboring in high-risk roles along oil-production lines.

“The robots,” Rabina said, “have become a lot more intelligent.”

NO STOPPING THEM NOW

Among the most aggressive advocates for robotics is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

In 2012, Bezos bought Kiva Systems, a Boston robotics firm, and has equipped his warehouses with tens of thousands of robots that work alongside humans.

He’s made headlines for encouraging consumers to order oft-used products with key-ring-style push buttons and for advocating drone-to-home deliveries.

At Bezos’ enormous fulfillment centers, including the facility in Tracy that stretches the length of 28 football fields, robots “recognize” products and shuttle them on their way.

The company says its superhuman robots create far more jobs than they’ve taken as the company grows amid the warehouse-to-your-house retail boom. Amazon shipped more than a billion items last holiday shopping season, according to the company, and robots did much of the heavy lifting.

Southern California hosts the largest number of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in its California network, centered largely in the Inland Empire, where thousands of workers process online orders and pack items to be sent to customers.

Amazon’s Eastvale location and the newer San Bernardino facility last year added hundreds of orange-hued wheeled robots — already in service at fulfillment centers in Tracy and Patterson — that cruise around the company’s expansive warehouses and carry shelving and products to workers, instead of workers trekking to the shelves themselves to collect products to ship. There are now more than 45,000 robots being used in 20-plus fulfillment centers worldwide, according to Amazon.

The plummeting costs of robots, coupled with their improved capabilities, makes them more and more attractive to industry’s leaders, said Ajay Agrawl, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Roman School of Management who specializes in the economics of artificial intelligence.

“They can now think and handle a situation,” Agrawl said. “It is prediction technology.”

That won’t do much to ease worries about job losses. Even former President Barack Obama warned of the aftershocks of automation.

“Automation is relentless, and it’s going to accelerate,” he said on a podcast hosted by his former aides.

But, unlike some, Alec Levenson, a research scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, doesn’t have a dystopian view of this robot invasion.

Job losses are inevitable, he said, but not all jobs can be automated because creativity can’t be programmed.

And economic and industrial change is nothing new. It’s blurred our lives for years, he said.

Just as the internet reshaped lives around the world, it also created new economic models and jobs, he said.

“We have already had a lot of automation,” he said. “The computer was automation; it just doesn’t look like a robot.”

Staff writer Neil Nisperos contributed to this report.

Tags: LA PortAutomationlongshore jobs
Categories: Labor News

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:58

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle
http://fortune.com/2017/03/18/uber-union-rule-seattle/
David Z. Morris
Mar 18, 2017
A judge in Washington State has rejected Uber’s attempt to overturn a Seattle ordinance that gives its drivers the right to unionize, potentially opening the door for higher rates and labor costs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Teamsters labor union intends to begin working to organize drivers soon.
The legal battle over the rule, which originally passed in December of 2015, has been lengthy. Last August, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group seeking the rule’s suspension.
Uber has extensively lobbied its own drivers to oppose unionization. The company says the rule could impinge on drivers’ flexibility, and has previously protested a provision that would give voting rights on the unionization question only to drivers who make at least 52 trips in a three-month period. Those higher-volume drivers are presumed to be more likely to support unionization.
Observers have long argued that Uber’s business model depends on very low pay for drivers. A British government report last year found that Uber drivers often took home substantially less than that country’s hourly living wage. Elsewhere, Uber has battled lawsuits over its classification of drivers as contractors rather than employees.
Even under such conditions, Uber has repeatedly posted huge operating losses. Drivers pushing for higher fares or pay rates, then, are a major threat to the company's viability.
Uber has not said whether it will appeal the new decision, but according to the Journal, the rule still faces further challenges from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of anti-union drivers.
Uber has previously been extremely hard-nosed in dealing with cities whose ordinances threaten to burden its operations, seeming to fear that such regulation could spread. Both Uber and competitor Lyft stopped operating in Austin, Texas after a rule demanding background checks on drivers went into effect there, and have since stuck to their guns. That raises the possibility that, if things don’t eventually go Uber’s way, the same thing could happen in Seattle.

Tags: Uberunionizationindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:58

Judge Upholds Uber Drivers’ Union Rule in Seattle
http://fortune.com/2017/03/18/uber-union-rule-seattle/
David Z. Morris
Mar 18, 2017
A judge in Washington State has rejected Uber’s attempt to overturn a Seattle ordinance that gives its drivers the right to unionize, potentially opening the door for higher rates and labor costs. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Teamsters labor union intends to begin working to organize drivers soon.
The legal battle over the rule, which originally passed in December of 2015, has been lengthy. Last August, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group seeking the rule’s suspension.
Uber has extensively lobbied its own drivers to oppose unionization. The company says the rule could impinge on drivers’ flexibility, and has previously protested a provision that would give voting rights on the unionization question only to drivers who make at least 52 trips in a three-month period. Those higher-volume drivers are presumed to be more likely to support unionization.
Observers have long argued that Uber’s business model depends on very low pay for drivers. A British government report last year found that Uber drivers often took home substantially less than that country’s hourly living wage. Elsewhere, Uber has battled lawsuits over its classification of drivers as contractors rather than employees.
Even under such conditions, Uber has repeatedly posted huge operating losses. Drivers pushing for higher fares or pay rates, then, are a major threat to the company's viability.
Uber has not said whether it will appeal the new decision, but according to the Journal, the rule still faces further challenges from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a group of anti-union drivers.
Uber has previously been extremely hard-nosed in dealing with cities whose ordinances threaten to burden its operations, seeming to fear that such regulation could spread. Both Uber and competitor Lyft stopped operating in Austin, Texas after a rule demanding background checks on drivers went into effect there, and have since stuck to their guns. That raises the possibility that, if things don’t eventually go Uber’s way, the same thing could happen in Seattle.

Tags: Uberunionizationindependent contractors
Categories: Labor News

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 09:32

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight
ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service
http://ht.ly/DKWK30a1QQT
CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2017 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 2:29 PM ET

Bob Kinnear has resigned as the head of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. (CBC)

Bob Kinnear has resigned as president of the union local that represents TTC workers after a bitter dispute with the U.S.-based parent of the union.

The executive board of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, said in a news release that it has accepted the resignation. It is effective immediately.

"With this distraction behind us, we're now focused on what matters most — representing Toronto's hardworking transit workers," Kevin Morton, Secretary-Treasurer of ATU Local 113, said Friday.

"More united than ever, we're moving forward to fight the TTC's plans for alcohol and drug testing and to prepare for next year's important collective bargaining."

The TTC says 'internal union matters' will not affect service.

The executive board said an investigation by the Canadian Labour Congress, initiated by Kinnear, into relations between the local and its U.S.-based parent organization, ATU International, are over.

The board said it will assume leadership of the union in the wake of the resignation.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, said customers should be reassured that the union dispute will have no effect on service.

Tags: atuCanadaTorontoTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 09:32

Bob Kinnear quits as head of TTC union local after bitter fight
ATU Local 113 says resignation has been accepted, TTC says matter won't affect service
http://ht.ly/DKWK30a1QQT
CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2017 1:48 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 2:29 PM ET

Bob Kinnear has resigned as the head of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. (CBC)

Bob Kinnear has resigned as president of the union local that represents TTC workers after a bitter dispute with the U.S.-based parent of the union.

The executive board of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, said in a news release that it has accepted the resignation. It is effective immediately.

"With this distraction behind us, we're now focused on what matters most — representing Toronto's hardworking transit workers," Kevin Morton, Secretary-Treasurer of ATU Local 113, said Friday.

"More united than ever, we're moving forward to fight the TTC's plans for alcohol and drug testing and to prepare for next year's important collective bargaining."

The TTC says 'internal union matters' will not affect service.

The executive board said an investigation by the Canadian Labour Congress, initiated by Kinnear, into relations between the local and its U.S.-based parent organization, ATU International, are over.

The board said it will assume leadership of the union in the wake of the resignation.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, said customers should be reassured that the union dispute will have no effect on service.

Tags: atuCanadaTorontoTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

MA MBTA IAM mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:31

MA MBTA mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization
http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/74446
On March 15, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

— Photos courtesy of IAM&AW Local 264
By International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) Local 264

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

A large crowd descended on MBTA headquarters in downtown Boston on Monday as transit mechanics rallied with allies to defend taxpayers, workers, and riders against the latest MBTA privatization scheme.

The MBTA mechanics were joined by community allies and elected leaders, including State Senator Marc Pacheco and State Representatives Mike Connolly and Michelle DuBois (each of whom spoke), and multiple rider coalitions. All in attendance were united in opposing new for-profit privatization aimed at outsourcing core MBTA bus maintenance services.

“Giving up control of public transit to for-profit corporations has been a very bad deal for Massachusetts taxpayers, workers, and riders,” said Michael Haywood a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Arlington Ave. garage. Mike has 11 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Just look at the disaster with handing over the commuter rail to Keolis. We care about our riders and we don’t want to see the same expensive nightmare happen again by privatizing core bus services.”

Despite a diverse and aging fleet of buses, federal data shows MBTA mechanics to be the best performing in the nation. The latest available data indicates MBTA busses travel an average of 12,964 between breakdowns. That is the best performance in the country by a difference of more than 6,000 miles. In fact, the invention of an MBTA mechanic and IAM 264 member is credited as playing the key role in improved winter performance by the MBTA this year. Public transit advocates warn that losing this kind of ingenuity and experience to outsourcing could destabilize the MBTA bus system.

“Too many of the bus routes are not running frequent enough schedules to serve our riders as it is,” said William Hallsen, a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Everett garage. William has 15 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Ceding control of bus maintenance to a for-profit company who will underbid, get rid of experienced mechanics, and cut corners is absolutely not the solution. Frankly, it’s dangerous.”

Since the MBTA allowed for-profit Keolis to take control of public commuter rail services, the results for riders and taxpayers have been disastrous. Millions have been spent to bail out the for-profit company after they underbid their contract. Even privatization proponents acknowledge that the largest and most critical privatization effort by the MBTA so far has been a massive failure. Data shows that Keolis continues to struggle with providing on-time service, despite the bailouts.

“Enough is enough,” said Mike Vartabedian, an IAM Local 264 representative with more than 20-years frontline experience fixing MBTA vehicles. “When you talk about destroying the best performing bus maintenance department in the country, that’s not a business decision, that’s a political decision. These for-profit, out-of-state companies can make up all the numbers they want to get their claws into the system, but when they lie or don’t deliver, Massachusetts residents pay the price – and that’s not right.”

Meanwhile, other key outsourcing contracts including with S.J. Services, ABM Industries, and the Maine Military Authority [6] have also been dramatically underbid. Results of the underbidding have included major repair delays to key MBTA fleet vehicles and attempts by janitorial contractors to rip health insurance coverage away from workers.

More than 450 mechanics, fuelers, and other skilled professionals united in IAM Local 264 proudly contribute to the operation of the MBTA and to our communities every day. We believe in ensuring safety for our riders and in professionally negotiating contracts that guarantee our members have a say in their job and can perform those jobs in workplaces that are safe. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) and Local 264 have been fighting for workers, their families, and our communities for over 120 years.

Tags: IAMprivatizationMBTAoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

MA MBTA IAM mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:31

MA MBTA mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization
http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/74446
On March 15, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

— Photos courtesy of IAM&AW Local 264
By International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) Local 264

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

A large crowd descended on MBTA headquarters in downtown Boston on Monday as transit mechanics rallied with allies to defend taxpayers, workers, and riders against the latest MBTA privatization scheme.

The MBTA mechanics were joined by community allies and elected leaders, including State Senator Marc Pacheco and State Representatives Mike Connolly and Michelle DuBois (each of whom spoke), and multiple rider coalitions. All in attendance were united in opposing new for-profit privatization aimed at outsourcing core MBTA bus maintenance services.

“Giving up control of public transit to for-profit corporations has been a very bad deal for Massachusetts taxpayers, workers, and riders,” said Michael Haywood a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Arlington Ave. garage. Mike has 11 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Just look at the disaster with handing over the commuter rail to Keolis. We care about our riders and we don’t want to see the same expensive nightmare happen again by privatizing core bus services.”

Despite a diverse and aging fleet of buses, federal data shows MBTA mechanics to be the best performing in the nation. The latest available data indicates MBTA busses travel an average of 12,964 between breakdowns. That is the best performance in the country by a difference of more than 6,000 miles. In fact, the invention of an MBTA mechanic and IAM 264 member is credited as playing the key role in improved winter performance by the MBTA this year. Public transit advocates warn that losing this kind of ingenuity and experience to outsourcing could destabilize the MBTA bus system.

“Too many of the bus routes are not running frequent enough schedules to serve our riders as it is,” said William Hallsen, a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Everett garage. William has 15 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Ceding control of bus maintenance to a for-profit company who will underbid, get rid of experienced mechanics, and cut corners is absolutely not the solution. Frankly, it’s dangerous.”

Since the MBTA allowed for-profit Keolis to take control of public commuter rail services, the results for riders and taxpayers have been disastrous. Millions have been spent to bail out the for-profit company after they underbid their contract. Even privatization proponents acknowledge that the largest and most critical privatization effort by the MBTA so far has been a massive failure. Data shows that Keolis continues to struggle with providing on-time service, despite the bailouts.

“Enough is enough,” said Mike Vartabedian, an IAM Local 264 representative with more than 20-years frontline experience fixing MBTA vehicles. “When you talk about destroying the best performing bus maintenance department in the country, that’s not a business decision, that’s a political decision. These for-profit, out-of-state companies can make up all the numbers they want to get their claws into the system, but when they lie or don’t deliver, Massachusetts residents pay the price – and that’s not right.”

Meanwhile, other key outsourcing contracts including with S.J. Services, ABM Industries, and the Maine Military Authority [6] have also been dramatically underbid. Results of the underbidding have included major repair delays to key MBTA fleet vehicles and attempts by janitorial contractors to rip health insurance coverage away from workers.

More than 450 mechanics, fuelers, and other skilled professionals united in IAM Local 264 proudly contribute to the operation of the MBTA and to our communities every day. We believe in ensuring safety for our riders and in professionally negotiating contracts that guarantee our members have a say in their job and can perform those jobs in workplaces that are safe. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) and Local 264 have been fighting for workers, their families, and our communities for over 120 years.

Tags: IAMprivatizationMBTAoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

MA MBTA IAM mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:31

MA MBTA mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization
http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/74446
On March 15, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

— Photos courtesy of IAM&AW Local 264
By International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) Local 264

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

A large crowd descended on MBTA headquarters in downtown Boston on Monday as transit mechanics rallied with allies to defend taxpayers, workers, and riders against the latest MBTA privatization scheme.

The MBTA mechanics were joined by community allies and elected leaders, including State Senator Marc Pacheco and State Representatives Mike Connolly and Michelle DuBois (each of whom spoke), and multiple rider coalitions. All in attendance were united in opposing new for-profit privatization aimed at outsourcing core MBTA bus maintenance services.

“Giving up control of public transit to for-profit corporations has been a very bad deal for Massachusetts taxpayers, workers, and riders,” said Michael Haywood a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Arlington Ave. garage. Mike has 11 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Just look at the disaster with handing over the commuter rail to Keolis. We care about our riders and we don’t want to see the same expensive nightmare happen again by privatizing core bus services.”

Despite a diverse and aging fleet of buses, federal data shows MBTA mechanics to be the best performing in the nation. The latest available data indicates MBTA busses travel an average of 12,964 between breakdowns. That is the best performance in the country by a difference of more than 6,000 miles. In fact, the invention of an MBTA mechanic and IAM 264 member is credited as playing the key role in improved winter performance by the MBTA this year. Public transit advocates warn that losing this kind of ingenuity and experience to outsourcing could destabilize the MBTA bus system.

“Too many of the bus routes are not running frequent enough schedules to serve our riders as it is,” said William Hallsen, a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Everett garage. William has 15 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Ceding control of bus maintenance to a for-profit company who will underbid, get rid of experienced mechanics, and cut corners is absolutely not the solution. Frankly, it’s dangerous.”

Since the MBTA allowed for-profit Keolis to take control of public commuter rail services, the results for riders and taxpayers have been disastrous. Millions have been spent to bail out the for-profit company after they underbid their contract. Even privatization proponents acknowledge that the largest and most critical privatization effort by the MBTA so far has been a massive failure. Data shows that Keolis continues to struggle with providing on-time service, despite the bailouts.

“Enough is enough,” said Mike Vartabedian, an IAM Local 264 representative with more than 20-years frontline experience fixing MBTA vehicles. “When you talk about destroying the best performing bus maintenance department in the country, that’s not a business decision, that’s a political decision. These for-profit, out-of-state companies can make up all the numbers they want to get their claws into the system, but when they lie or don’t deliver, Massachusetts residents pay the price – and that’s not right.”

Meanwhile, other key outsourcing contracts including with S.J. Services, ABM Industries, and the Maine Military Authority [6] have also been dramatically underbid. Results of the underbidding have included major repair delays to key MBTA fleet vehicles and attempts by janitorial contractors to rip health insurance coverage away from workers.

More than 450 mechanics, fuelers, and other skilled professionals united in IAM Local 264 proudly contribute to the operation of the MBTA and to our communities every day. We believe in ensuring safety for our riders and in professionally negotiating contracts that guarantee our members have a say in their job and can perform those jobs in workplaces that are safe. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) and Local 264 have been fighting for workers, their families, and our communities for over 120 years.

Tags: IAMprivatizationMBTAoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

MA MBTA IAM mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 12:31

MA MBTA mechanics and allies rally to protect taxpayers, workers, riders from further transit privatization
http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/74446
On March 15, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

— Photos courtesy of IAM&AW Local 264
By International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) Local 264

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

A large crowd descended on MBTA headquarters in downtown Boston on Monday as transit mechanics rallied with allies to defend taxpayers, workers, and riders against the latest MBTA privatization scheme.

The MBTA mechanics were joined by community allies and elected leaders, including State Senator Marc Pacheco and State Representatives Mike Connolly and Michelle DuBois (each of whom spoke), and multiple rider coalitions. All in attendance were united in opposing new for-profit privatization aimed at outsourcing core MBTA bus maintenance services.

“Giving up control of public transit to for-profit corporations has been a very bad deal for Massachusetts taxpayers, workers, and riders,” said Michael Haywood a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Arlington Ave. garage. Mike has 11 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Just look at the disaster with handing over the commuter rail to Keolis. We care about our riders and we don’t want to see the same expensive nightmare happen again by privatizing core bus services.”

Despite a diverse and aging fleet of buses, federal data shows MBTA mechanics to be the best performing in the nation. The latest available data indicates MBTA busses travel an average of 12,964 between breakdowns. That is the best performance in the country by a difference of more than 6,000 miles. In fact, the invention of an MBTA mechanic and IAM 264 member is credited as playing the key role in improved winter performance by the MBTA this year. Public transit advocates warn that losing this kind of ingenuity and experience to outsourcing could destabilize the MBTA bus system.

“Too many of the bus routes are not running frequent enough schedules to serve our riders as it is,” said William Hallsen, a mechanic and IAM 264 shop steward at the Everett garage. William has 15 years of experience repairing MBTA fleet vehicles. “Ceding control of bus maintenance to a for-profit company who will underbid, get rid of experienced mechanics, and cut corners is absolutely not the solution. Frankly, it’s dangerous.”

Since the MBTA allowed for-profit Keolis to take control of public commuter rail services, the results for riders and taxpayers have been disastrous. Millions have been spent to bail out the for-profit company after they underbid their contract. Even privatization proponents acknowledge that the largest and most critical privatization effort by the MBTA so far has been a massive failure. Data shows that Keolis continues to struggle with providing on-time service, despite the bailouts.

“Enough is enough,” said Mike Vartabedian, an IAM Local 264 representative with more than 20-years frontline experience fixing MBTA vehicles. “When you talk about destroying the best performing bus maintenance department in the country, that’s not a business decision, that’s a political decision. These for-profit, out-of-state companies can make up all the numbers they want to get their claws into the system, but when they lie or don’t deliver, Massachusetts residents pay the price – and that’s not right.”

Meanwhile, other key outsourcing contracts including with S.J. Services, ABM Industries, and the Maine Military Authority [6] have also been dramatically underbid. Results of the underbidding have included major repair delays to key MBTA fleet vehicles and attempts by janitorial contractors to rip health insurance coverage away from workers.

More than 450 mechanics, fuelers, and other skilled professionals united in IAM Local 264 proudly contribute to the operation of the MBTA and to our communities every day. We believe in ensuring safety for our riders and in professionally negotiating contracts that guarantee our members have a say in their job and can perform those jobs in workplaces that are safe. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW) and Local 264 have been fighting for workers, their families, and our communities for over 120 years.

Tags: IAMprivatizationMBTAoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

Spanish parliament defeats government plan to deregulate hiring of dock workers

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:15

Spanish parliament defeats government plan to deregulate hiring of dock workers
https://www.thelocal.es/20170316/spanish-parliament-defeats-government-p...
AFP
news@thelocal.es
16 March 2017
14:23 CET+01:00

Shipping containers and cranes dockside at the "Terminal de Contenidors de Barcelona SL" (TCB) cargo terminal. Photo: AFP
Spanish lawmakers on Thursday defeated a decree that would deregulate the hiring of dock workers at the county's ports, in a blow to conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's minority government.
The proposed reform, fiercely opposed by dockers who threatened to stage a nationwide strike that would hurt exports if it went ahead, was shot down with 175 votes against, 142 in favour and 33 abstentions.

It is the first major defeat for Rajoy's Popular Party, which has since October headed a minority government that has just 137 seats in the 350-seat lower house of parliament.

The cabinet gave the green light to the decree more than two years after the EU Court of Justice ruled Spain must reform the sector, or face sanctions.

Currently, domestic or foreign companies can only hire dockers to load and unload ships from specific, already-established Spanish groups known as Sagebs that select, train and provide personnel, and no other firm.

The decree would allow companies to contract workers wherever they want.

"It is a European directive that we must follow," Rajoy said ahead of the vote in parliament on the decree.

"We have delayed its approval, we have given all the time in the world to reach an agreement."

Spain's 6,150 dockers fear that opening up the sector to competition will put their jobs and salaries at risk.

With aortic stenosis, the opening in the heart's aortic valve becomes narrow. Here are eight things you should know about this serious condition.

Over 60 percent of Spain's exports pass through the country's 46 main ports.

Spain, with its nearly 6,000 kilometres of coastline, is also a key transit point for exports from Europe to the rest of the world.

The International Dockworkers Council (IDC), an umbrella group of 91 unions in 41 countries, has also threated to stage coordinated strikes around the world in a show of support for Spanish dockers.

Tags: Spanish DockersderegulationIDCunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Spanish parliament defeats government plan to deregulate hiring of dock workers

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:15

Spanish parliament defeats government plan to deregulate hiring of dock workers
https://www.thelocal.es/20170316/spanish-parliament-defeats-government-p...
AFP
news@thelocal.es
16 March 2017
14:23 CET+01:00

Shipping containers and cranes dockside at the "Terminal de Contenidors de Barcelona SL" (TCB) cargo terminal. Photo: AFP
Spanish lawmakers on Thursday defeated a decree that would deregulate the hiring of dock workers at the county's ports, in a blow to conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's minority government.
The proposed reform, fiercely opposed by dockers who threatened to stage a nationwide strike that would hurt exports if it went ahead, was shot down with 175 votes against, 142 in favour and 33 abstentions.

It is the first major defeat for Rajoy's Popular Party, which has since October headed a minority government that has just 137 seats in the 350-seat lower house of parliament.

The cabinet gave the green light to the decree more than two years after the EU Court of Justice ruled Spain must reform the sector, or face sanctions.

Currently, domestic or foreign companies can only hire dockers to load and unload ships from specific, already-established Spanish groups known as Sagebs that select, train and provide personnel, and no other firm.

The decree would allow companies to contract workers wherever they want.

"It is a European directive that we must follow," Rajoy said ahead of the vote in parliament on the decree.

"We have delayed its approval, we have given all the time in the world to reach an agreement."

Spain's 6,150 dockers fear that opening up the sector to competition will put their jobs and salaries at risk.

With aortic stenosis, the opening in the heart's aortic valve becomes narrow. Here are eight things you should know about this serious condition.

Over 60 percent of Spain's exports pass through the country's 46 main ports.

Spain, with its nearly 6,000 kilometres of coastline, is also a key transit point for exports from Europe to the rest of the world.

The International Dockworkers Council (IDC), an umbrella group of 91 unions in 41 countries, has also threated to stage coordinated strikes around the world in a show of support for Spanish dockers.

Tags: Spanish DockersderegulationIDCunion busting
Categories: Labor News

UK train conductors strike three rail companies

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 11:08

UK train conductors strike three rail companies
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/03/14/rail-m14.html
By Robert Stevens
14 March 2017
Train conductors at Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Southern Rail struck Monday to oppose the planned introduction of Driver Only Operated services (DOO). Management’s proposals, backed to the hilt by the Conservative government, would lead to the loss of thousands of conductors’ jobs and undermine public safety.
The strike demonstrates the strength of the working class. Although the walkout involved only 2,000 conductors nationally, the rail firms were forced to cancel far more services than expected—with well over a 1,000 scheduled train journeys halted.
At Merseyrail, many drivers belonging to the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) union refused to cross picket of conductors who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union. Only minimal services ran on the network, with all services ceasing at 7pm. Between 11am and 2pm, Merseyrail was forced to suspend all trains.
Merseyrail normally transports 110,000 passengers each weekday, via 67 railway stations on one of the most heavily used rail networks outside London. Whole sections of the network were halted, with no trains running between Hunts Cross/Kirkby and Liverpool Central and between Ellesmere Port and James Street. Services did not run to many stations, including Bidston, Birkenhead Park, Conway Park and Manor Park.

The picket line at Huddersfield rail Station
A Merseyrail spokesman said the firm was not able to run its previously advertised timetable, as “train drivers, who are not part of the industrial action taking place on the Merseyrail network today, have decided not to cross RMT picket lines.”
Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail have refused to relent on plans to introduce DOO over the next three years. Merseyrail is procuring a new £460 million fleet of trains by 2020, designed to enable drivers to entirely control the opening and closing of doors--one of the main roles of conductors who are trained in up to 35 safety critical tasks. The plan, if implemented will result in the loss of 220 conductors’ jobs at Merseyrail.
Arriva Rail North, which covers rail services connecting cities including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, claimed around 40 percent of services ran Monday. However, no services ran before 7am, with trains stopping completely from 5pm to 7pm. The strike’s impact resulted in Arriva Rail North having to hire 300 buses to transport passengers. The two main stations in Manchester—Piccadilly and Victoria—were much quieter than normal with Victoria’s concourses and platforms empty during the morning rush hour.
At Southern, conductors and drivers have been fighting plans to introduce DOO over the last year. In striking Monday, RMT members at Southern were taking their 30th day of intermittent job actions. According to Southern it ran nearly a full service, after it drafted in managers and other scabs to replace conductors.
However, Southern has constantly inflated figures during strikes. Many of its planned services to and from London did not run, with several lines completely unable to operate. The propaganda was belied by scenes of many virtually empty and quiet train stations in various towns and cities.
The RMT noted in a March 9 press release, “The company claims on the number of trains that they are set to run are bogus, rigged and not borne out by the passenger feedback on strike days…” It added, “Managers from elsewhere in GTR operations are being swung in at considerable cost, both in cash terms and disruption to work elsewhere, to try and break the strike.”
Last month, Go-Ahead, which owns 65 percent of Southern's operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), reported that half-year profits from its rail business had fallen 35 percent to £26.9 million.
Letting the cat out of the bag as to what the rail companies eventually want to impose, Angie Doll, Southern's passenger services director said Monday, “Our on-board supervisors [the job title conductors are being forced into] are now established in their roles and passengers are beginning to see the benefits of having someone whose sole job is customer service.” In other words, underpaid staff will operate solely as revenue collectors, with no responsibilities for public safety.
The strike proves the willingness of transport workers to fight the destruction of their terms, conditions and livelihoods. The action by the ASLEF drivers at Merseyrail was in direct opposition to the ongoing sabotage of their struggle by the trade union bureaucracy. Since the beginning of the Southern dispute, the unions have sought to divide conductors and drivers from waging a unified offensive against DOO, which is the spearhead of attacks on gains rail workers have won over generations.
Last month, Southern GTR drivers, members of ASLEF, voted down a sell-out deal that fully accepted DOO, negotiated by the union under the auspices of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Following its rejection, Southern management and ASLEF have resumed private talks at a secret location.
Despite describing the actions of ASLEF as a “historical betrayal,” the RMT kept up the division of drivers and conductors by insisting that the deal was an internal affair of ASLEF’s, blocking any common struggle of rail workers.
The offensive against rail workers is set to intensify with the Department of Transport’s announcement that DOO must be included by whichever private firm wins the next two franchises due to be awarded, South Western and West Midlands.
Opposed to the mobilisation of its more than 80,000 membership nationally in support of rail workers, RMT officials have simply called for more negotiations. Even though conductors are fighting the same attacks, the RMT issued separate press releases regarding each company. For Arriva Rail North, the union said, “It is now down to the company to ‎get that pledge back on the table and engage with the union in talks over a safe and sustainable future built around the guarantee of a guard on the trains." Regarding the Southern strike, the RMT declared, “[I]t is about time Southern/GTR got out of the bunker and got back round the table with the union in serious and meaningful talks." Merseyrail management should get out of “the bunker and started serious talks with the union that secure a safe future for their services and the guarantee of a guard on their trains.”
As for ASLEF, the union has refused to even report on its web site or twitter account that its members struck in solidarity with conductors at Merseyrail.

Tags: UKRMTAssociated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF)
Categories: Labor News

UK train conductors strike three rail companies

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 11:08

UK train conductors strike three rail companies
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/03/14/rail-m14.html
By Robert Stevens
14 March 2017
Train conductors at Arriva Rail North, Merseyrail and Southern Rail struck Monday to oppose the planned introduction of Driver Only Operated services (DOO). Management’s proposals, backed to the hilt by the Conservative government, would lead to the loss of thousands of conductors’ jobs and undermine public safety.
The strike demonstrates the strength of the working class. Although the walkout involved only 2,000 conductors nationally, the rail firms were forced to cancel far more services than expected—with well over a 1,000 scheduled train journeys halted.
At Merseyrail, many drivers belonging to the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) union refused to cross picket of conductors who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union. Only minimal services ran on the network, with all services ceasing at 7pm. Between 11am and 2pm, Merseyrail was forced to suspend all trains.
Merseyrail normally transports 110,000 passengers each weekday, via 67 railway stations on one of the most heavily used rail networks outside London. Whole sections of the network were halted, with no trains running between Hunts Cross/Kirkby and Liverpool Central and between Ellesmere Port and James Street. Services did not run to many stations, including Bidston, Birkenhead Park, Conway Park and Manor Park.

The picket line at Huddersfield rail Station
A Merseyrail spokesman said the firm was not able to run its previously advertised timetable, as “train drivers, who are not part of the industrial action taking place on the Merseyrail network today, have decided not to cross RMT picket lines.”
Arriva Rail North and Merseyrail have refused to relent on plans to introduce DOO over the next three years. Merseyrail is procuring a new £460 million fleet of trains by 2020, designed to enable drivers to entirely control the opening and closing of doors--one of the main roles of conductors who are trained in up to 35 safety critical tasks. The plan, if implemented will result in the loss of 220 conductors’ jobs at Merseyrail.
Arriva Rail North, which covers rail services connecting cities including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, claimed around 40 percent of services ran Monday. However, no services ran before 7am, with trains stopping completely from 5pm to 7pm. The strike’s impact resulted in Arriva Rail North having to hire 300 buses to transport passengers. The two main stations in Manchester—Piccadilly and Victoria—were much quieter than normal with Victoria’s concourses and platforms empty during the morning rush hour.
At Southern, conductors and drivers have been fighting plans to introduce DOO over the last year. In striking Monday, RMT members at Southern were taking their 30th day of intermittent job actions. According to Southern it ran nearly a full service, after it drafted in managers and other scabs to replace conductors.
However, Southern has constantly inflated figures during strikes. Many of its planned services to and from London did not run, with several lines completely unable to operate. The propaganda was belied by scenes of many virtually empty and quiet train stations in various towns and cities.
The RMT noted in a March 9 press release, “The company claims on the number of trains that they are set to run are bogus, rigged and not borne out by the passenger feedback on strike days…” It added, “Managers from elsewhere in GTR operations are being swung in at considerable cost, both in cash terms and disruption to work elsewhere, to try and break the strike.”
Last month, Go-Ahead, which owns 65 percent of Southern's operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), reported that half-year profits from its rail business had fallen 35 percent to £26.9 million.
Letting the cat out of the bag as to what the rail companies eventually want to impose, Angie Doll, Southern's passenger services director said Monday, “Our on-board supervisors [the job title conductors are being forced into] are now established in their roles and passengers are beginning to see the benefits of having someone whose sole job is customer service.” In other words, underpaid staff will operate solely as revenue collectors, with no responsibilities for public safety.
The strike proves the willingness of transport workers to fight the destruction of their terms, conditions and livelihoods. The action by the ASLEF drivers at Merseyrail was in direct opposition to the ongoing sabotage of their struggle by the trade union bureaucracy. Since the beginning of the Southern dispute, the unions have sought to divide conductors and drivers from waging a unified offensive against DOO, which is the spearhead of attacks on gains rail workers have won over generations.
Last month, Southern GTR drivers, members of ASLEF, voted down a sell-out deal that fully accepted DOO, negotiated by the union under the auspices of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Following its rejection, Southern management and ASLEF have resumed private talks at a secret location.
Despite describing the actions of ASLEF as a “historical betrayal,” the RMT kept up the division of drivers and conductors by insisting that the deal was an internal affair of ASLEF’s, blocking any common struggle of rail workers.
The offensive against rail workers is set to intensify with the Department of Transport’s announcement that DOO must be included by whichever private firm wins the next two franchises due to be awarded, South Western and West Midlands.
Opposed to the mobilisation of its more than 80,000 membership nationally in support of rail workers, RMT officials have simply called for more negotiations. Even though conductors are fighting the same attacks, the RMT issued separate press releases regarding each company. For Arriva Rail North, the union said, “It is now down to the company to ‎get that pledge back on the table and engage with the union in talks over a safe and sustainable future built around the guarantee of a guard on the trains." Regarding the Southern strike, the RMT declared, “[I]t is about time Southern/GTR got out of the bunker and got back round the table with the union in serious and meaningful talks." Merseyrail management should get out of “the bunker and started serious talks with the union that secure a safe future for their services and the guarantee of a guard on their trains.”
As for ASLEF, the union has refused to even report on its web site or twitter account that its members struck in solidarity with conductors at Merseyrail.

Tags: UKRMTAssociated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF)
Categories: Labor News

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