Current News

Subscribe to Current News feed
Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance "But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaks

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 21:10

China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance "But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa."
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15U2VM
Thu Feb 16, 2017 | 3:50 AM EST
Exclusive: China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance

By Shihar Aneez | COLOMBO
China will delay a planned $1.1 billion investment in a port on its modern-day "Silk Road" until Sri Lanka clears legal and political obstacles to a related project, sources familiar with the talks said, piling more pressure on the island nation.

Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be held up by several weeks or months, the sources added.

After signing an agreement last December, state-run China Merchants Port Holdings had been expected to buy an 80 percent stake in the southern port before an initial target date of Jan. 7.

Beijing also has a separate understanding with Colombo to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the same area, a deal that Sri Lanka was hoping to finalize later.

But Colombo's plans to sell the stake and acquire land for the industrial zone have run into stiff domestic opposition, backed by trade unions and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A legislator close to Rajapaksa is also challenging the government's plans in court.

Now Beijing has linked the signing of the port deal with an agreement to develop the industrial zone, saying it would hold off on both until Colombo resolved domestic issues, officials on both sides of the talks said.

"China has said that when they start the port, they want the land also," Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, although he added that China had not made it a precondition.

Yi Xianliang, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, said the two deals were related.

"If we just have the port and no industrial zone, what is the use of the port? So you must have the port and you must have the industrial zone," he said.

A source familiar with China's thinking said it may wait until May, when Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visits Beijing, to sign both deals.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Hambantota project was important for both countries.

"As far as we understand, at present the project is still progressing steadily," he told reporters in Beijing.

The previously unreported setback for Sri Lanka suggests Beijing is digging in its heels as it negotiates its global "One Belt, One Road" initiative to open up new land and sea routes for Chinese goods.

SPEED BUMPS, MOUNTING DEBTS

President Maithripala Sirisena is struggling to contain popular opposition to land acquisition for the huge Chinese industrial zone, including from Rajapaksa, who remains an influential opposition legislator.

The deal for the port development and industrial zone has also been challenged in court, which means it is stuck at least until the next hearing on March 3.

Asked whether the agreement would be delayed until the court had ruled, Yi, the Chinese ambassador, said: "Oh yes. We will follow the rule of law. We have the patience to wait."

Rajapaksa's role, the court case and violent protests by people afraid they could be evicted from their land underlined how Beijing does not always get its own way even in countries that badly need investment. Sri Lanka wants Chinese money to help alleviate its debt burden; the government had expected to have the proceeds from the stake sale within six months of signing the agreement before Jan. 7.

Sri Lanka has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to cut its deficit, shore up foreign exchange reserves and increase tax revenues as part of a $1.5 billion loan agreement struck in 2016. At least part of the money from the port deal would have gone toward paying down some of the more expensive loans on the government's books, some of which are from China, a senior Sri Lankan government official said.

Hambantota port and a nearby airport were built from 2008 by the Rajapaksa government with the help of $1.7 billion in Chinese loans.

When Sirisena unseated Rajapaksa in an upset victory in 2015, he froze all Chinese investments, alleging unfair dealings by his predecessor.

Sirisena eventually negotiated a new deal with the Chinese government that involved the stake sale and further plans for the Chinese to develop an industrial zone.

The Chinese government expects to invest about $5 billion to develop the area within 3-5 years. Sirisena also agreed to give land to the Chinese on a 99-year lease. The terms did not go down well with port trade unions, which have asked the government to reduce the Chinese stake to 65 percent and lease period to 50 years.

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in January when a demonstration against the planned industrial zone turned violent.

(Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal, and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Paritosh Bansal)

Tags: privatization Sri Lanka Portsunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 12:46

Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs
America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers. Once trucks become automated, where will these jobs go?
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/16/self-driving-trucks-a...
Once replaced by automation, where will all the trucking jobs go? Photograph: Wojciech Lorbiecki/Alamy

Martin Ford
Thursday 16 February 2017 07.00 EST
In April 2016, Uber announced the acquisition of Otto, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed a kit that can turn any big rig into a self-driving truck.
The Otto technology enables complete autonomy on highways: trucks can navigate, stay in their lane, and slow or stop in response to traffic conditions completely without human intervention. Otto’s equipment currently costs about $30,000, but that is certain to fall significantly in the coming years.
Otto is by no means alone. Massive automated vehicles are already commonly used to move materials for the Australian mining industry. Daimler, the German multinational company, has likewise demonstrated its own model, a giant 18-wheeler with a “highway pilot” mode available (meaning a driver has to remain present, promptingthe head of the US branch to say that “tomorrow’s driver will be a logistics manager”). Another approach is to use automated convoys, in which self-driving trucks follow a lead vehicle.
It seems highly likely that competition between the various companies developing these technologies will produce practical, self-driving trucks within the next five to 10 years. And once the technology is proven, the incentive to adopt it will be powerful: in the US alone, large trucks are involved in about 350,000 crashes a year, resulting in nearly 4,000 fatalities. Virtually all of these incidents can be traced to human error. The potential savings in lives, property damage and exposure to liability will eventually become irresistible.
There’s only one problem: truck driving is one of the most common occupations in the US.
Once replaced by automation, where will these jobs go?

In Australia, the world’s most truck-dependent nation, mining giants are using remote-controlled lorries to shift iron ore around massive mining pits. Photograph: Reuters
As of 2015, a typical production worker in the US earned about 9% less than a comparable worker in 1973. Over the same 42 years, the American economy grew by more than 200%, or a staggering $11tn.

For millions of average Americans, the reasonable expectations of their youth – a steady job, home ownership, college education for their children – have degraded into decades of stagnation, even as they have been continuously bombarded by news of the overall growth and prosperity of the US economy.
The driving force behind this transition has been technology. It is widely recognized among economists that while the impact of globalization has been significant, especially in specific regions of the country, robots and factory automation have been a far more powerful force. Indeed, even those jobs that did migrate to China are now evaporating as factories there aggressively automate.
Among those workers who remain employed, it has become almost cliche to complain about good, well-paying factory jobs that have degraded into far less lucrative and reliable positions at Walmart. The few good working class jobs that remain are those that – at least so far – have been exempt from the forces of both globalization and automation.

Chips with everything - The Guardian The Ratio Club and the rise of British cybernetics – tech podcast
Listen
Jobs such as long-haul driving.
Indeed, truck driving is arguably one of the final barricades protecting a traditional world where diligent effort exerted in a blue-collar profession is respected, essential – and well compensated. It is likely no coincidence that a map highlighting the states where truck driving reigns as the lead occupation is closely correlated with a map showing the states that voted for Donald Trump.
This perfect storm creates the perception that America is “no longer winning” at manufacturing and that “we don’t make anything any more”. This could not be more wrong. Since 1990, the total value of goods produced in American factories has increased by 73% (after accounting for inflation).
The jobs story is very different, however. That near doubling in output has been accompanied by a 30% decline in manufacturing employment – a loss of more than 5m jobs.
America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers.
•••
For the foreseeable future, automated trucks are likely to be limited to long-haul highway operations, and it will probably require human intervention to pilot the truck along the final few miles to its destination.
In other words, there will still be some jobs, but it is easy to imagine that the nature of the “truck driving” occupation might be radically transformed. Piloting a future, computerized truck might well be perceived as a “technology” job. These workers will be freed from days and nights on the road and would be able to live normal lives, often in desirable urban locations.
In other words, piloting trucks for those final few miles might eventually evolve into a white-collar profession actively sought after by college graduates. This might be especially true in the wake of the onslaught of software automation in many other traditional white-collar, knowledge-based occupations (financial analysts, lawyers, computer programmers – any job that involves manipulating information in a predictable way).

Matt Grigsby, senior program engineer at Otto, takes his hands off the steering wheel of a self-driving, big-rig truck during a demonstration on the highway, in San Francisco in 2016. Photograph: Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Tags: Automationtruck driversjob loss
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Govt Settles Lawsuits with Seafarers Union "SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage.

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:52

Canadian Govt Settles Lawsuits with Seafarers Union "SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations."
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/212891/canadian-govt-settles-laws...

Image Courtesy: SIUC
The Government of Canada has settled the pending lawsuits filed by the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIUC) alleging systematic breaches of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The SIUC filed 42 lawsuits in 2015 saying that, instead of providing Canadian seafarers with the opportunity to work, and in violation of the TFWP, the Government of Canada was systematically issuing work permits to the non-Canadian crew members of hundreds of foreign ships engaged in shipping in Canadian waters.

SIUC said that it had found evidence that some of these temporary foreign workers made as little as $2.41 per hour while working in Canada, when they should have been paid the Canadian prevailing wage. In July 2016, the SIU filed an additional 13 lawsuits with similar allegations.

In July 2016, the Government of Canada admitted that it improperly issued work permits to the foreign crew members of the New England, a Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker that engaged in shipping in Canada. The Federal Court granted SIUC’s judicial review applications and set aside 11 work permits for the crew of the New England.

Canadian Federal Court had been set to hear arguments in dozens of lawsuits filed by SIUC against the Government of Canada as of next week, however, the case has now been resolved with the union accepting a last-minute settlement offer put forward by the government.

In addition, the union added that it had also reached a settlement of the remaining outstanding 44 lawsuits with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The terms of the settlement include full review of ESDC’s TFWP policies and procedures in relation to TFWP on foreign-flagged vessels engaged in Canadian domestic shipping and investigations into the SIUC’s allegations that seafarers admitted to work in Canada as temporary foreign workers are not being paid the proper Canadian prevailing wage.

“After 18 months of litigation, I am very happy to see the government finally agree to what we sought all along – enforcement and a review of the rules with the full participation of the SIU Canada,”SIUC President James Given said.

Tags: SIUC Canadian Seafarers Uniontemporary workers
Categories: Labor News

UK Southern rail RMT workers set new strike date after talks collapse

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:34

UK Southern rail RMT workers set new strike date after talks collapse
RMT members to walk out on 22 February after row over role of conductors remains deadlocked
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/15/southern-rail-workers-n...
Strike threatens fresh misery for the 300,000 Southern rail users. Photograph: Philip Toscano/PA

Press Association
Wednesday 15 February 2017 14.54 GMTLast modified on Wednesday 15 February 2017 22.00 GMT
Workers on Southern rail are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running staffing dispute after the collapse of talks.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are to walk out for 24 hours on 22 February, threatening fresh travel disruption for Southern’s 300,000 passengers.

The two sides met at the conciliation service Acas on Tuesday, but the row over the role of conductors remains deadlocked.

Leaders of the drivers’ union, Aslef, reached a deal with Southern’s owner, Govia Thameslink Railway, earlier this month in a separate row over driver-only trains, which its members have been voting on, with the result due on Thursday.

The deal was reached after 11 days of talks co-chaired by the TUC.

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The abject failure by Southern rail in yesterday’s talks to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action.

“These disputes could have been settled if Southern had listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on their trains.

“Instead they have shifted the goalposts even further and have now created a ‘strike-breakers’ charter’, where one of the numerous new conditions where trains can run driver-only is during industrial action.”

Cash added: “The full detail of Southern’s plan is far worse than anyone could have anticipated. This is dire news, not just for staff but for passengers, who rightly demand a safe, reliable and accessible service.

“It is now down to Southern to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.”

Tags: Southern RailRMT strikeprivatization
Categories: Labor News

Toronto ATU 113 Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 10:03

Toronto ATU 113 Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis
http://ht.ly/LAuE308VqeD
Posted on February 10, 2017 in ATU, CLC, Raiding
UPDATE: This article was published at 2:30am on February 10. Hours after publication Hassan Yussuff of the CLC sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, informing him that article 4 was being reinstated for Local 113 and the justification process would proceed. We also received a complaint and request from Unifor for a retraction over two parts of our story. The first involves our statement claiming that if Kinnear took the actions he did at a Unifor local he would “most likely” be trusteed. We referenced and linked to Unifor’s Guide for Local Union By-Laws and its constitution. Unifor disagrees. We think our interpretation is a fair one and we will leave it up to you the reader to decide. The second call for retraction is over this statement: “Unifor is now openly raiding ATU Local 113. Organizers from Unifor will be visiting job sites and hoping to sign up ATU members to Unifor cards.” Unifor denies signing any cards. We never claimed they did. We wrote that they will be visiting job sites and hoping tosign cards. We believe this was a reasonable interpretation of the facts as they were. Our statement was based on multiple independent sources and the public statements made by Jerry Dias. After the reinstatement of the article 4 protections, which Unifor says they support, we believe the situation has changed and we will continue to follow the story.

====================================================================================================

Toronto Sun coverBy David Bush, Gerard Di Trolio and Doug Nesbitt

Late on February 2, the Amalgamated Transit Union International trusteed the Toronto-based ATU Local 113. The 10,000 members of Toronto’s TTC transit workers union awoke to the news that their elected leadership, headed by President Bob Kinnear, had been ousted. The initial news reports painted this as an attack on local Canadian autonomy by a big American labour union. The Sun even went so far as to decry the trusteeship as an American “invasion.”

Is this depiction accurate? What has slowly emerged over the last week is not simply a story of an imposed trusteeship by a U.S. based international union, but a story of CLC-sanctioned raiding and inter-union power politics. All of which has gone on behind the backs of ATU Local 113 members and threatens to tear apart the Canadian labour movement.

What we know so far

On February 1, Kinnear sent a letter to Hassan Yussuff, President of the CLC. In this letter Kinnear, appearing to speak for the Local, requests access to section for 4.9 of the CLC constitution to which outlines the process for justifying changing unions.

Section 4.9 of the CLC constitution is initiated when the CLC “receives a request from a group of workers wanting to leave their own union.” The CLC’s first response upon receiving such a request, according to section 4.9a, is to “encourage those members to work within the constitutional provisions and policy procedures of their own union,” and to “also contact the ranking officer of the members’ union to convene a meeting within one week with the workers and their union in an attempt to mediate and resolve the situation.”

The letter of February 1 from Kinnear to the CLC, although written as speaking on behalf of his Local, is signed by Kinnear only. At no point did Kinnear get a mandate from the membership to initiate section 4.9, nor did he even get the executive board approval of his own Local.

In the February 1 letter Kinnear makes reference to being insulted by the International leadership, the lack support for the Local’s campaigns, the absence of support in opposing essential services legislation Bill 150, the denial of Canadians to choose representatives to the ATU International Executive Board (despite two Canadians being elected to the ATU International Executive Board) and a groundswell of membership wondering why they are sending money to Washington D.C.

A day later CLC president Hassan Yussuff sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, informing him that the CLC received an application for 4.9 at ATU Local 113.

Email about the impending trusteeship. Unifor staffers cc’d.
Later that day Bob Kinnear’s public relations officer, paid for by 113, received a forwarded email from union consultant Bill Reno and was told to give it to Kinnear. The email, from a lawyer at Dewart Gleason, was cc’d to Anthony Dale, Unifor staff lawyer and director of their legal department, Scott Doherty, assistant to the President of Unifor, and lawyers from two law firms. The email outlined what to do if police arrive in the event of a trusteeship, it also had a draft notice of motion, for unknown purposes attached to it. It was clearly part of an on-going discussion between Kinnear and Unifor.

Later on February 2, the ATU International sent a letter to Kinnear, Kevin Morton, the Local’s financial secretary, and Bill Chrisp, the executive vice-president, informing them of the trusteeship. The International immediately appointed International Vice President Emanuele “Manny” Sforza as trustee. Sforza had been an executive-vice president of Local 113.

The following day, February 3, Yussuff sent a letter to Paul Thorp, President of ATU Canada, cancelling a planned meeting between Kinnear, Yussuff and Thorp to address proceeding with article 4.9. Yussuff stated in the letter that the trusteeship violated section 4.9, claiming workers have the right to engage in the justification process without reprisal. Yussuff then informed the International that Local 113 had been suspended from the anti-raiding protections of Article 4 of the CLC’s constitution. Yussuff’s letter effectively opened the door to CLC-sanctioned raiding of Local 113.

Also on February 3, ATU International President Larry Hanley sent out a letter to Local 113 members notifying them of the trusteeship, and a subsequent hearing to be held within 30 days. In the letter Hanley says Kinnear violated the local’s bylaws by not going through the proper channels, which would mean either a membership vote or executive board vote. Hanley also stated Kinnear violated the ATU Constitution and General Laws, specifically section 22.2 which outlines the charges of dual unionism as “such persons are affirmatively engaged in promotion, implementation, furtherance, or support of any other union or collective bargaining group with the purpose or intent of supplanting the ATU.”

Hanley also sent a letter to Yussuff the same day outlining the above reasons for the trusteeship. By the end of the weekend the majority of the Local’s executive board has been reinstated and sided with the ATU International against Kinnear, even signing letters denouncing Kinnear’s unilateral actions. To date 13 of the 17 board members have been reinstated. The Local leadership is now claiming support from 90% of stewards. Kinnear claims board members have been coerced, no evidence nor statements have been produced to back his claim up.

BOBKinnear’s motivation

As soon as the trusteeship came down Kinnear went on an aggressive media blitz. Much of what he had to say focused on the fact that ATU is a US-based union. On Monday he told the Toronto Star, “I’m hopeful that other organizations, the labour movement, are going to stand behind us and say that we are not alone, that the Canadian labour movement will take on this hard-ass American union that thinks they can come into Canada and squash our democratic rights.”

The ATU represents 200,000 members in North America, with 30,000 members in Canada. From multiple Local 113 members we talked to Kinnear has long been at odds with the International.

Kinnear, who was first elected Local 113 president in 2003, won a scandal-ridden fifth consecutive election in 2015 by a 51 percent. Kinnear had originally declared he was not going to run for a fifth term, but then announced his re-election bid using the union email system and phone directory to set-up robocalls. These actions directly violated the Local’s by-laws, as no other candidate was given access to these resources. A complaint was made and the International ordered a rerun of the election after Kinnear’s appeal failed. A new election was ordered for September 2016 and Kinnear won by 61 percent. He didn’t have to face his previous challenger Rocco Signorile, who had by that time retired.

In the fall of 2015, the ATU reorganized its Canadian section, by forming ATU Canada in order to give Canadian locals more autonomy, control and coordination. It also gave smaller locals in Canada more of a voice compared to 113. Bob Kinnear was elected President of this newly formed body, but then quit just months later after his local election was contested and ultimately overturned.

At the last ATU International convention, held in Toronto in October of 2016, Kinnear ran for the 18th International Vice-President position, which was open after his father, Larry Kinnear, who held the seat, retired. In a contested election Kinnear ran against and lost to another Local 113 member, Manny Sforza. Sforza is now the acting trustee at Local 113.

While it is hard to say with complete accuracy, it looks like some of the issues at Local 113 and the ATU can be chalked up to internal union power politics. Kinnear was popular enough to have won several elections (some acclaimed), but it is also clear he overstepped the line in the 2015 election.

Bill 150, Kinnear, and the International

In 2010 Larry Hanley, the former president of the Staten Island ATU Local 726, defeated the incumbent Ronald Heintzman to become the President International of the ATU. Hanley, represented a leftward and more activist shift for the union and was unanimously supported by the 113 executive board. Hanley is a regular at Labor Notes conferences and the union was one of a handful to endorse the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Kinnear’s complaints about the International revolve around the charge that they have hindered the actions of 113. For instance, Kinnear complained that “when our right to full collective bargaining was wiped out by Ontario Bill 150 by the Liberal government, ATU International was nowhere to be seen.” The bill, passed in 2011, less than a year after Hanley came to power, was indeed sweeping and terrible. However, what was it that the international was supposed to do, but didn’t?

When essential services legislation was being requested by Toronto City Council in the lead up to the Liberals passing Bill 150, Kinnear was promising not to strike before a new contract was even signed in exchange for essential services legislation being taken off the table. Outside of launching a court challenge against 150, Kinnear did not prepare his members for a fight beyond the rhetoric. He even went so far as to publicly state that he hoped any essential service legislation would mean steady pay increases and good benefits as happened with firefighters. Kinnear wouldn’t be the first union leader to wrongly imagine that higher pay and better benefits would be the trade-off for losing the right-to-strike.

The same threats without action were made when the TTC contracted out 160 cleaning jobs. Kinnear said he would void the overtime agreement with the province in protest. But this never happened. The jobs were contracted out, and Kinnear then spent hundreds of thousands on a smoke-and-mirrors “Protecting What Matters” ad campaign.

Bill 150 should be a dead letter because of the January 2015 Supreme Court ruling saying the right-to-strike was protected under the Charter of Rights. Rather than gear up the membership to break Bill 150 and build a legal strategy around collective action, Kinnear has filed a Charter challenge instead, leaving the membership to wait around while lawyers rake it in.

There is no doubt that the International, even under progressive leadership, is not beyond criticism from members and local officials. However, it is also all too easy for local leadership to excuse their inaction and ineffectiveness by simply blaming the International.

Kinnear is playing the old game of bashing the US-based International leadership, saying that Canadian union members are losing out. Kinnear called the trusteeship, “an attack on Canada and our autonomy.” Every media appearance and interview Kinnear has given since last week has gone out of its way to frame the battle along national lines.

“I have been consistent in standing up for Canadian values and standing up for the members I was elected to represent. I will continue to do that despite all the assertions,” Kinnear said at a Tuesday press conference. “I am trying to provide a democratic opportunity for our members so they can control their future and not my future.”

But has Kinnear respected democracy? In a recent Globe and Mail article he said, “If I had brought this to a full board meeting, and not talked to people individually, I would have been ousted five minutes after that board meeting was over.”

Kinnear was unable and unwilling to go through his own local’s process to decide to disaffiliate from the ATU. So he himself, without consulting membership or winning a democratic mandate of the Local’s executive board, initiated the CLC’s justification process.

The CLC and raiding

This whole affair is a serious crisis in the CLC. As soon as the ATU trusteeship came down, the CLC suspended its own anti-raiding rules, section 4 of the CLC constitution, for Local 113 of the ATU. Yussuff unilaterally cancelled the meeting to follow up on the justification process in Section 4.9. This amounts to the CLC declaring that it is okay for unions to raid ATU Local 113.

The CLC, which is normally silent on most internal matters, had made statements showing it is taking sides in this dispute. Chris MacDonald, a former Unifor staffer and now CLC assistant to Yussuff, told the Toronto Star the ATU trusteeship was “payback” for Kinnear going to the CLC.

Section 4 of the constitution, dealing with disputes, was adopted in 2002 as is, in response to a series of raids by the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW). Section 4.9 was a process designed for members who wanted to leave their union and join another. The first step of Section 4.9 is to encourage members to use official channels and then set up a mediated process to find a solution. The mediator/investigator examines the claims made by the members, and makes sure no other affiliate union is attempting to influence them either directly or indirectly. The mediator then makes a binding decision, such as ordering elections, making them a directly charted local, or setting a cooling-off period. The process ensures fairness for the members making the complaint and also helps ensure no other union is interfering directly or indirectly. In short it helps to prevent raiding.

What is clear from the documents and letters now publicly available is that there was collusion between Kinnear and Unifor before, during, and after the trusteeship. On-going investigations inside the ATU is likely to reveal more evidence as to the extent of it. By suspending the justification process, the CLC has also suspended the formal investigation. The unilateral suspension of the justification process by Yussuff makes getting more facts and a more accurate account of what happened more difficult.

Kinnear was trusteed because as a local president he violated his duty to abide by the constitution of the ATU and the local by-laws by himself initiating the justification process without going through the proper democratic channels. His active communication with another CLC affiliate about this makes his actions hard to defend. It makes it next to impossible for the CLC to justify its actions, as well.

If all it takes for the CLC to suspend article 4.9 of the constitution is a local leader being trusteed for violating democratic procedures, then what good is it? Local leaders should not be afforded protection to undemocratically facilitate a raid.

Trusteeship is heavy-handed and flies in the face of local democracy. It is an action that certainly gives Kinnear some ammunition, but it is not a reason for the CLC to suspend the justification process.

Kinnear and Dias at joint press conferenceUnifor raiding

Unifor claims that it did not interfere with internal matters in Local 113, though it does admit to offering legal advice to Kinnear before the trusteeship. The leaked communication between Unifor and Kinnear after the justification process was enacted is itself a violation of the justification process as laid out in section 4.9j which states:
“If the Investigator/Mediator concludes that another affiliate has attempted to influence or interfere with an affiliate’s membership either directly or indirectly, in any matter covered by this protocol, the offending affiliate will not be entitled to exercise any rights under this protocol.”

On Tuesday February 7, Jerry Dias sat next to Bob Kinnear at a press conference and slammed the ATU for imposing the trusteeship. “I’m not going to allow somebody in the United States to seize the assets of Canadian workers. That union hall is owned by the workers. They don’t have the right to take out of office those who were democratically elected,” said Dias.

It is worth noting that if Kinnear had engaged in the same action but as a Unifor Local president, he would have most likely been trusteed for violating Unifor’s by-laws under section 5b of the Guide for Local Union By-Laws, which states:
“A member in exercising the foregoing rights and privileges shall not take any irresponsible action which would tend to jeopardize or destroy, or be detrimental to, either the Local or National Union as organizations, or their free democratic heritage, or which would interfere with the performance by this Local Union or the National Union of its legal or contractual obligations as a collective bargaining agent, or interfere with the legal or contractual obligations of this Local Union as an affiliate of the National Union.”

Unifor is now openly raiding ATU Local 113. Organizers from Unifor will be visiting job sites and hoping to sign up ATU members to Unifor cards. Unifor needs to get 40 percent of members signed to cards to trigger a vote. This is happening because the CLC has suspended Section 4.

Better contracts? Fighting P3s?

This situation is very dangerous. If Unifor and the CLC are allowed to proceed, it opens the door for more widespread and flagrant raiding across the country. A practice which does not build the density or power of the union movement. It means the anti-raiding language in the CLC constitution is a dead letter at the whim of the CLC leadership. There is no reason to think Unifor will stop at Local 113 because it has a long history of raiding through its CAW roots. If they are successful they will go after every other ATU local in the country.

Of course that is easier said than done. The recent big three auto deals Unifor signed had big concessions to their pension plan for new hires. There is no reason to think that Unifor is better positioned to represent ATU members just because they are a Canadian union.

After a decade-long effort, the CAW successfully raided the Vancouver local of the Independent Canadian Transit Union representing Metro Vancouver public transit workers in 2000. The agreements reached under Unifor are worse than Local 113’s deal with the TTC. Unifor’s deal has a grow-in twice as long, and wages for drivers are significantly less.

The ATU has, especially since Hanley’s election, taken a political line that governments need to invest more in public infrastructure and mass transit. The ATU in Ontario and across Canada has taken a strongly pro-NDP line and spurned the Liberals. During the last election in Ontario, Local 113 itself was one of the major critiques of Wynne’s privatization schemes and lack of public funds devoted to transit. Contracting out and privatized P3 infrastructure under Trudeau and Wynne continue to be major political problems for the union.

Kinnear says he wants to help the Local 113 membership, but joining Unifor means lining up with Dias who is a backer of Wynne and Trudeau, two of the country’s biggest proponents of P3 and privatized infrastructure projects. P3 and privatization aren’t just cash cows for corporations. It is no secret privatization and P3s are also weapons against workers, their unions, and collective agreements.

Fighting Right-to-Work

South of the border the ATU like many other public sector unions is under the gun. Right-to-Work laws have just been in Missouri and Kentucky and they will significantly impact the ATU. The union will have to devote large resources to battle RTW in those states and restructure those locals unions so they can survive. A national Right-to-Work law has been introduced by the Republican-controlled Congress, which would be the greatest assault on American trade union rights since Taft-Hartley.

To effectively fight this attack, the ATU and other international unions will need resources and solidarity to sustain the fight. Unifor, with the CLC’s blessing, is trying to divide and weaken the ATU and by extension attacking all international unions through nationalism.

This is a gift not just to Trump and the Republicans south of the border, but a gift to the Tories in Ontario who would be happy to take power when unions are paralyzed by leadership power games. Hudak wanted right-to-work in Ontario in the last election and Brown is staying quiet on it now. We can’t put it past the Tories to introduce it with no notice if they take power. The struggle against anti-union Right-to-Work needs to be fought on both sides of the border as part of a common fight, not divided through nationalism.

IMG_58245602ea2530868What’s next?

What Local 113 needs is a principled and organized caucus of rank-and-file members whose goal is building a strong, democratic union that can actually fight management when it needs to, and work with other locals in ATU and other unions to fight for common goals: like public infrastructure, strong worker rights, and democratic unions.

Lessons can be learned from 113’s own great history, from the experiences of other ATU locals across Canada and the US, the RMT in Britain, as well as the lessons of the “New Directions” caucus of TWU Local 100 in New York City.
The future of 113, how it should handle the trusteeship, should ultimately be up to the members of the local, not Yussuff, not Kinnear, not Dias or Hanley.

The labour movement should take a strong position against this raiding by Unifor and demand the CLC restart the justification process. Internal matters inside the ATU should be left to ATU members to sort out themselves. The labour movement is facing many threats in Canada and the United States. The palace intrigue and power politics of leadership are a dangerous distraction from the true fights that lay ahead.

FollowShare
Previous Post: Solidarity in Action? COPE 225 vs. Canadian Association of University Teachers
Next Post: Weekend Video: York unites for food service workers
15 thoughts on “ATU Trusteeship, Unifor Raid, CLC Crisis”


David Schokman
February 10, 2017 at 10:24 am
Reply
Open Letter to All Parties Concerned!
February 9, 2017
Some very serious questions should be answered to prevent the callous nature with the way this problem is been handled. Bob’s Robo Calls were not made by physically dialling one’s number as that would be technically impossible, so had Bob taken the lists as claimed, then Bob would have“divulged private and confidential information to a third party” to be fed into a computer dialling software system.
The names, addresses and phone numbers are that of the employees of the Toronto Transit Commission and are given by the TTC to ATU local 113 strictly for purposes pertaining to internal use in the administration of its membership in matters solely related to the extent of the relationship between the TTC and it’s legally mandated Union ATU 113. The use of this data for any other purpose is a direct violation of one’s rights and a culpable offence.
While I can’t speak for the other members, I assure you I treat this as a very serious violation of my “Privacy Rights” having unsavoury characters like Bob, and the others to whom he divulged information, to be in possession of my personal information is not only frightful but outrageous.
The stake holders in this fiasco is solely the TTC and ATU Local 113 and therefore it is paramount that these two parties “immediately file an injunction” against Bob Kinnear and any and all other relevant parties to “cease and desist” the use of the employees personal information in the possession of these unauthorized parties before any further irreparable harm occurs.
Common sense dictates, one does not close the barn door after the horse has left the barn, further this pumped horse is still outside in the corral and must be tranquillized and roped in before he jumps the fence and causes any further damage to the membership at large.
The prima facie pertaining to Bob’s actions is overwhelming thus the mere inconvenience of obtaining such an order should not be the order of the day.
In self-incriminating statement’s Bob’s actions clearly, defines his intent with regard to the lists containing the personal data of our membership and fits the definition for “Commercial Purposes” a violation under, the “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Act”
Extract on the application of the PIPEDA :-
Unions’ duties under PIPEDA imposes requirements on every “organization” in respect of personal information that the organization collects, uses or discloses in the course of “commercial activities.” The term “organization” is defined so that it expressly includes a trade union. Therefore, the real question is whether the union is engaged in “commercial activities. There have been no authoritative decisions defining the term “commercial activities”, but PIPEDA defines the terms so that it includes any conduct of a “commercial character.” Most union activities – representing members in grievances and collective bargaining – are probably not of a commercial character. Therefore, PIPEDA does not necessarily apply to every aspect of a trade union’s activities. However, some of a trade union’s activities may likely by covered by PIPEDA. For example, if your union provides supplementary health insurance or manages a retirement fund, these could be considered commercial activities. Also, PIPEDA specifically states that bartering membership or other fundraising lists is a commercial activity. Therefore, if your union provides membership lists to other organizations, this may also be considered a commercial activity. The actual requirements in PIPEDA are based on the Canadian Standards Association model “Privacy Code” with certain amendments. PIPEDA requires an organization to: 1. Designate an individual or individuals accountable for the organization’s compliance with PIPEDA and its principles. 2. Prior to or at the point of collection, identify the purpose(s) for which personal information is collected and limit the collection, use or disclosure to what is necessary for that purpose. 3. Seek appropriate consent for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. 4. Protect personal information in its possession in a manner appropriate to the sensitivity of the information (for instance, personal health information requires special safeguarding). 5. Keep personal information accurate for the purpose for which it is to be used.
Based on factual observations in that Bob did “Robo Call” our membership, using information without the express consent of the membership and or the parties entrusted with and in possessions of this private and confidential information and taken by Bob is complacent with the long standing dictatorial and arbitral behaviour by Bob in the running of the Local.
It would be very foolish for one to believe the reasons for Bob’s actions to be anything but for reasons of personal gain with a lucrative pay- off and patronage appointment if he was successful in his quest to move an almost 11,000 member Union.
Warning operators:- “Do Not Attempt While Operating Moving Vehicle” One should do the math, union dues times its membership, the staggering result will make you keel over in shock as to why we have some sleazy characters in our Local Executive.
While respecting the democratic vote of our membership in the election of Bob Kinnear I personally would not entrust or allow Bob to “walk my dog”
The Local should be focussing on the long term ramifications of the actions of Bob Kinnear on the membership in that, the damage on our local perpetrated by Bob has far and reaching consequences. The possession and use of the membership’s private and confidential information by Bob can now be used by any individual or entity for fraudulent purposes and for further attempts to raid our Union.
A well advised, deterrent for this type of rogue behaviour by an executive of our local should be a class action suit for punitive damages brought against Bob Kinnear and all others responsible for the unauthorised use of personal information. Approximate 11,000 members times $200/- per member plus legal costs would set back Bob and his band of merry conspirators into oblivion.
The decision of the International office with regard to allowing Bob to re-run for office notably the answer to Question 2. in the insert of IN-TRANSIT Journal titled “Union democracy, due process, and Local 113’s election challenges” is not only mind boggling but will dazzle some of the “best Legal Minds in the country”
By virtue of the contents, in the answer, here is an individual who not only was “in direct violation of the Local’s bylaws” but acted in every way possible to bully, rig, manipulate and defraud the election process and is rewarded with the ability to run again for office, are we for real? Now the same leaders are wondering why we are in this mess today, for those of you who have grey hair like me, Manuel Noriega and the Shah of Iran comes to mind, aid and abet as long as it benefits the status quo, then when this individual turns renegade we have the leadership running like chickens with their heads cut off.
While been well versed on Pension Regulations applicable to Ontario, “Take the money and run” would definitely not be in my response.had I chose to address the long and complicated regulations.
I will refrain from commenting at this time pending the response of brother Frank’s Lawyer.
I don’t appreciate the spin on pension benefits been in peril, as then we feed into the exact dishonest and crooked behaviour perpetrated by Bob. However, I will give brother Frank the benefit of the doubt as he stated he has a good Lawyer probably the best in the city, no the province, maybe the country, I am eagerly awaiting this Lawyer’s response in an orderly time frame.
Finally, it is imperative that the Local immediately amend its by-laws with regard to the “possession and use of private data by the Executive Members of ATU Local 113” we also should very seriously consider and have a membership vote on “Time Limits” for all Local Elected Positions. We must position ourselves to Act, not react, be active, not reactive.
David Schokman
Badge # 23641
Dictated Not Read

Tags: ATU 113CLCTrusteeshipHanley
Categories: Labor News

NYC TWU 100 Rookie conductor tries to mobilize his fellow transit union members to vote down MTA contract deal "The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 18:27

NYC TWU 100 Rookie conductor tries to mobilize his fellow transit union members to vote down MTA contract deal "The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly 7,000 members."
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rookie-brooklyn-conductor-leads-figh...
Tramell Thompson, an MTA conductor and founder of Progressive Action, hands out flyers to campaign against the MTA union contract agreement on the platform at the Jay Street MetroTech station Thursday in Brooklyn.
Tramell Thompson, an MTA conductor and founder of Progressive Action, hands out flyers to campaign against the MTA union contract agreement on the platform at the Jay Street MetroTech station Thursday in Brooklyn. (BYRON SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
BY
DAN RIVOLI
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 4:06 PM
The transit union heralded its recent contract deal with the MTA as a rare victory for workers during dark times for the labor movement.

But that's not how Tramell Thompson, a 35-year-old conductor from Brooklyn who's been on the job for a scant three years, sees it.

"The contract was one of the worst contracts we've ever had," Thompson said of the deal Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John Samuelsen cut.

The Flatbush native may be new to the tracks and even newer to the union hall, but he's organizing an aggressive campaign for the group's rank-and-file members to vote down the contract. TWU members have until Wednesday to mail in their ballots.

MTA, Transit Workers Union reach deal on raises, TWU says

Meanwhile, Thompson is building recognition among the TWU ranks for a movement he calls Progressive Action.

The conductor started Progressive Action last year as an internet radio show, blog and bustling private Facebook group that's attracted nearly 7,000 members.

"They respond better through internet interactions versus the old-fashioned tactics the union is using, (like) mass membership meetings," Thompson said.

He is acerbic and blunt when it comes to TWU leadership, critical of how it runs the organization and the benefits it gets for workers.

MTA urged to nix planned Uber contract for Access-A-Ride

A flank of the TWU that supported former union president Roger Toussaint, who organized the 2005 transit strike, has allied with Progressive Action.

"We're like-minded," said Joe Campbell, a car inspector for 27 years with the MTA who twice ran unsuccessfully against Samuelsen and was a Toussaint ally. "He's bringing along a lot of the younger members."

On the Facebook group, transit workers have been posting pictures of their contract ballot with the "no" box checked.

To push the no vote, Thompson and three fellow union members hit the Jay St.-MetroTech station in Brooklyn during Thursday's snowstorm to hand out flyers to conductors passing by the platforms. He claimed 200 members were involved with Progressive Action's no vote campaign.

Strike's off! MTA chairman, LIRR union leader sign contract

Transit union workers protest amid contract negotiations with the MTA Nov. 15 outside the Bowling Green subway station in Manhattan.
Transit union workers protest amid contract negotiations with the MTA Nov. 15 outside the Bowling Green subway station in Manhattan. (ROSE ABUIN / NY DAILY NEWS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
The deal that 38,000 union members are voting on calls for 5% raises over 28 months, plus a $500 bonus, outpacing inflation. It also holds sweeteners to certain workers, like a pay boost for drivers behind the wheel of accordian-style buses.

The flyers implore workers, "Don't fall for their 'alternative facts.' " The flyers point out the raises come to 2.14% a year and "even the 'perks' don't perk."

Thompson and his team dashed between both sides of the station platform to make sure conductors pulled out of the station with a flyer in their hand. If a conductor said the ballot never arrived in their mailbox, they scrambled to give them a business card with a number to request one.

"Why should I vote 'no'?" one F train conductor asked while giving the flyer a glance.

LIRR unions ratify tentative contract with MTA

Another conductor told Thompson he was "on the fence."

Thompson replied that he's "gonna get off that fence."

Eric King, a conductor on an A train, stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station.

King later told the Daily News the size of the pay bump and benefits simply don't cut it in the city nowadays. He also said he sees a familiar face in Thompson.

"I see Tramell as a modern-day Toussaint," said King.

Samuelsen may agree, though not in the complimentary manner King intended. Samuelsen — himself once an insurgent at the TWU who led a slate that toppled its leadership — denounced Thompson and Progressive Action as "proteges of Toussaint."

Samuelsen rejected the suggestion that Thompson had any substantive following in the TWU. He angrily and repeatedly denounced Thompson as a "scab" — a reference to a Facebook post in which Thompson said he wouldn't strike under the TWU chief's leadership. Thompson said it was "hyperbole."

After Thompson handed him a flyer, conductor Eric King stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station.
After Thompson handed him a flyer, conductor Eric King stuck his head out of his cab to start a hearty chant of "Vote 'no'! Vote 'no'!" as his train pulled out of the station. (BYRON SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Thompson's critics have posted memes on Facebook with his face superimposed on a picture of a crusty old wound and left flyers in crew rooms.

"Tramell Thompson is a scab. He supported scabbing Local 100 if this ended up in a strike," Samuelsen said.

"There's been a 'no' vote for every contract in local 100 history, except there's never been a 'no' vote that's been led by a scab before," he added.

Samuelsen also defended the deal he cut for his members as one that boosts pay higher than the 2% the MTA wanted and shielded workers from higher health care costs.

"Once ... they take a look at the world around them and the contracts that other unions have delivered, they recognize that this is a solid contract that absolutely deserves to be ratified," he said.

Zachary Arcidiacono, a train operator and union official, also said the contract is a good deal, even if it was not what all members had hoped they'd get.

"It locks us in against a lot of the changes roiling the city, state and the country," he said.

But Thompson's message against the contract has resonated with some younger workers like train operator Kimberly McLaurin, 33, of Harlem.

McLaurin, who helped pass out flyers, said she started to follow Progressive Action after seeing criticism that Thompson faced. She wanted to learn more about how her union operates.

"I actually was a sleeping member for a while," she said. "You start realizing everything is not just about a paycheck. The quality of living down here is horrible. That's what woke me up. And I think that's waking up a lot of members."

Tags: TWU 100contract fightProgressive Action
Categories: Labor News

LA Dockworker lottery is ‘false dream,’ says ILWU Local 13 longshore workers’ union leader

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 23:01

LA Dockworker lottery is ‘false dream,’ says ILWU Local 13 longshore workers’ union leader
http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170210/dockworker-lottery-is-false-d...

ILWU Local 13 President Bobby Olvera, Jr. speaks to hundreds of longshoremen gathered for work at the ILWU dispatch hall in Wilmington on Jan. 2, 2015. File photo. (Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)
By Rachel Uranga, LA Daily News
POSTED: 02/10/17, 5:56 PM PST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

Longshoremen wait for available dock jobs to be called for an evening shift at the ILWU dispatch hall in Wilmington on Jan. 2, 2015. File photo. (Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)
The high-profile drawing for part-time jobs that could lead to full-time positions pulling in more than $100,000 a year creates a “false dream,” the head of the powerful Southern California dockworkers’ union said Friday.

The Pacific Maritime Association, representing shippers and terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, insists the rare lottery prevents labor shortages by creating a ready pool of fill-in workers. The jobs start at about $25 an hour, but wages increase with experience. More appealing to applicants, however, is that the jobs can provide a path for workers to secure full-time union employment.

But union officials, who agreed to the drawing, say current freelancers, known as “casuals,” have been waiting and working for more than a decade in hopes of snagging a union gig.

“You’re winning a ticket to a false dream,” said Bobby Olvera Jr., president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, which represents about 7,000 full-time union workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “There are 5,000 (casuals) down there getting work two days a week.”

Olvera worries that bringing in more casuals allows the PMA — which negotiates and administers labor agreements with the ILWU on behalf of dozens of shipping companies and terminal operators — to dilute the talent pool and pay newer freelance workers less.

PMA spokesman Wade Gates wrote in a statement that terminal employers and the ILWU “work together to maintain a balanced approach on the number of full-time registered workers needed at the ports, as well as the number of approved casual workers.”

“These decisions are based on projected cargo volumes, gradual attrition in the workforce and other factors,” he stated. “Obviously, too many positions dilute the work opportunities for the individuals involved, and too few available workers can limit the ports’ ability to meet cargo-handling needs.”

Olvera maintains that there are too many casual workers for the shifts that are available.

“There is zero labor shortage,” he said, noting that he’s not heard a single case of jobs not getting fulfilled on the docks because there aren’t enough hands to handle it.

There are about 5,000 casuals who pick up intermittent work at a dispatch center in Wilmington.

About 46 percent of those casuals trained and approved to work make themselves available during any given week last year, according to the PMA. And those casuals worked on average 1.6 eight hour shifts per week.

The ILWU and PMA share a long history of contentious relations. Labor strife hobbled trade in 2014 and 2015 during bitter contract talks.

Most recently, the two have been locked in a dispute over the lottery process after some hopefuls who had filled out cards and mailed them in had them returned to their homes. The ILWU initially refused to participate in the drawing.

The lottery was temporarily halted earlier this week until an arbitrator ruled the process must go forward. The ILWU appealed the decision. Its appeal will be heard during a hearing Tuesday.

Meantime, InterOptimis, a business-services company based in Moorpark, is counting and verifying an estimated 80,000 submissions.

The last drawing was held in 2004, when about 18,000 names were pulled. Most eventually went into the casual pool. After years of waiting for full-time work, many frustrated casuals dropped out.

Olvera said the last time the PMA hired casuals on as full-time union members was in 2015, when 600 workers were hired.

In this round, the first 2,400 names picked will be eligible for the freelance positions.

Tags: ilwuLotteryILWU Local 13PMA
Categories: Labor News

Delta Air Lines and three other carriers accused of denying mandated sick leave to workers

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 13:44

Delta Air Lines and three other carriers accused of denying mandated sick leave to workers
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/delta-airlines-accused-denying-...
Delta Airlines and three other carriers have been accused of denying workers' mandated sick leave. (JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS)
BY
REUVEN BLAU
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 10:22 PM
Delta Air Lines and three other carriers have denied workers mandated sick leave, according to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.

Delta, the nation’s second busiest airline, was hit with administrative charges for allegedly violating the city’s Earned Sick Leave Act. Consumer Affairs investigators say the airline failed to give employees their mandated five paid sick days a year.

The case, in front of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, marks the first against the airline industry, where city investigators believe there are widespread abuses.

The Atlanta-based airline — which generated $622 million in net income last year — faces thousands in fines for a series of violations.

Top companies in NYC fined for violating Earned Sick Leave Act

“Sometimes I would go to work sick because I was scared I'd lose my job and I know others who were scared too and did the same thing,” said a Delta flight attendant who asked not to be identified.

The case is based on complaints made by three Delta flight attendants who worked at Kennedy International Airport from August 2014 to April 2015, records show.

Delta defended its sick leave policy, saying it is more generous in some respects than what the city requires.

“However, Delta is confident that the local New York City sick leave law, which applies only to work being performed within New York City, cannot legally or practically be applied to flight attendants who perform nearly all of their work duties in federal air space and other jurisdictions outside of New York City,” said Delta spokesman Brian Kruse.

Trump blames 'big problems' at airports on Delta outage, protests

Consumer Affairs is probing three other unnamed airlines accused of the same violations as well as several subcontractors of the airline industry who employee cleaners and couriers. Many of them earn minimum wage. No charges have been filed in those cases.

Former wheelchair attendant Farouk Salim, 59, said “When we ask for the (sick) days they only pay us for five hours.”(HANDOUT)
“We just get five days of sick leave a year,” said Farouk Salim, 59, who used to work ferrying around passengers in wheelchairs for Pax Assist at Kennedy Airport. “But when we ask for the days they only pay us for five hours.”

Last summer he transferred to a different company, PrimeFlight, subcontracting with JetBlue.

“They are much better,” the father of two from Guyana said. “We get the full five days.”

De Blasio rips Quinn's sick-day bill

Pax Assist did not return a call seeking comment.

All told, the Department of Consumer Affairs has closed more than 1,000 paid sick leave cases, obtaining more than $4.4 million in fines and repayment, the city said. That has helped more than 15,100 staffers. Among the offenders are national businesses like CVS, Toys“R”Us and Lowe's.

“No one wants to get sick while they're traveling and yet the workers who are serving our food and are responsible for our safety in the air are being forced to go to work while sick or they risk retaliation by the airline,” DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas said. “Paid sick leave is a vital law that protects the health and wellbeing of workers and consumers, including airline employees and passengers.”

Mayor de Blasio pushed hard to boost the paid sick leave law shortly after he was elected even though business groups that argued it would unfairly burden small store owners.

More than 150 Delta flights canceled after systems outage

"New York City will defend its workers whether they work at a corner store or for an international airline," de Blasio said in a statement Tuesday. "Working people deserve basic protections like paid sick leave, and we will fight to make sure our laws are enforced."

Tags: Deltalabor rightssick leave
Categories: Labor News

Spanish Dockworkers to Face Massive Layoffs?

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 14:55

Spanish Dockworkers to Face Massive Layoffs?
https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/212198/spanish-dockworkers-to-fac...
zoom
Image Courtesy: Offshore and Home Trade Seamen's Welfare Trust
At least 6,500 Spanish dockworkers could be laid off according to the recently announced plan by the country’s Minister of Public Works to reform the port system.

Inigo de la Serna, the minister, aims to launch a decree issued by the European Union Court of Justice to reform the Spanish Port System, which would result in firing Spanish dockworkers at a rate of 25% of their full strength each year.

This means an absolute extinction of their employment within three years, according to the International Dockworkers Council (IDC). Dismissed dockworkers are to receive severance packages of only 20 paid days per year worked, IDC explained.

“The Spanish Government threatens the growth of the Spanish economy and seeks to make the dockworker profession disappear from national ports,” Jordi Aragunde, IDC General Coordinator, stated.

“Spanish ports are growing. The workers’ wages are also growing… and the Ministry of Public Works intends to act on a decree that prevents the country’s economic recovery,” Aragunde added.

Following the decree, the minister revealed he will not seek dialogue with trade unions to determine how to best carry out the mandatory reform of the Spanish Port System.

The announcement came as a surprise to many, including the Spanish trade union Coordinadora, as the minister’s actions are a “stark contradiction” to the platform maintained by his predecessor Ana Pastor, who always sought sector consensus of both interested companies and unions before enacting changes that would inevitably affect both, IDC said.

As explained by IDC, de la Serna’s decision to resist dialogue and assume an authoritarian attitude towards the inevitable implementation of a new Spanish Port System is viewed by port workers as a deliberate attack on their livelihood.

“We feel cheated,” Antolín Goya, General Coordinator of Coordinadora, said, adding that the minister refused to provide any documentation about the new legislation to the trade union and that he insists on verbal communication only.

“Since Brussels will only work officially with the Spanish government, de la Serna’s refusal to share these documents means that he is dictating the terms of this plan himself,” according to IDC.

“We have met with the European Commissioner for Transport, and we know that the Spanish Government´s approach to this law is much more severe for workers than the actual decree suggests” Goya noted.

Spanish trade unions are expected to raise support from other groups to resist the modification of the country’s port system.

With the support of the International Dockworkers Council, Coordinadora plans to initiate union actions across Europe to demand “clear channels of communication and a seat at the table for port workers” to be able to discuss the implementation of the new system.

Tags: CoordinadoraSpanish Dockersderegulationunion bustingInternational Dockworkers Council
Categories: Labor News

Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:23

Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/world/africa/africa-china-train.html?...
By ANDREW JACOBS
FEB. 7, 2017

By ANDREW JACOBS 00:23
Africa Debuts First Electric Railway
Africa’s first electric, transnational railway took its first journey from the capital of Djibouti toward Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in January. By ANDREW JACOBS on Publish Date February 3, 2017. Photo by Andrew Jacobs/The New York Times.

DJIBOUTI — The 10:24 a.m. train out of Djibouti’s capital drew some of the biggest names in the Horn of Africa last month. Serenaded by a chorus of tribal singers, the crush of African leaders, European diplomats and pop icons climbed the stairs of the newly built train station and merrily jostled their way into the pristine, air-conditioned carriages making their inaugural run.

“It is indeed a historic moment, a pride for our nations and peoples,” said Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister of Ethiopia, shortly before the train — the first electric, transnational railway in Africa — headed toward Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. “This line will change the social and economic landscape of our two countries.”

But perhaps the biggest star of the day was China, which designed the system, supplied the trains and imported hundreds of engineers for the six years it took to plan and build the 466-mile line. And the $4 billion cost? Chinese banks provided nearly all the financing.

Having constructed one of the world’s most extensive and modern rail networks at home, China is taking its prodigious resources and expertise global. Chinese-built subway cars will soon appear in Chicago and Boston, Beijing is building a $5 billion high-speed rail line in Indonesia, and the Chinese government recently christened new rail freight service between London and Beijing. Another ambitious system in the works, the 2,400-mile Pan-Asia Railway Network, would link China to Laos, Thailand and Singapore.

But few places are being reshaped by China’s overseas juggernaut like Africa, a continent that has seen relatively little new railroad construction in a century.

Despite years of steady economic growth, sub-Sahara Africa remains hobbled by an infrastructure deficit, according to the Africa Development Bank, with only half of its roads paved and nearly 600 million people lacking access to electricity.

Chinese companies, many of them state-owned and grappling with an economic slowdown at home, have stepped unto the breach, spending some $50 billion a year on new ports, highways and airports across the continent, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Many of the projects are part of Beijing’s new Silk Road initiative, a $1 trillion effort intended to deepen ties between China and its trading partners in the developing world.

Much of that spending has been directed at rail projects that planners hope will transform the way Africans travel and do business with one another, and the rest of the world.

Chinese-built and -financed projects include a two-year-old light-rail system in the Ethiopian capital; a $13 billion rail link between the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and the port city of Mombasa that will open later this year; and an ambitious rail modernization project in Nigeriathat includes an urban transit system for Lagos.

“For the longest time, railroads across Africa were limping along and in decline, but with the Chinese, that’s definitely changing,” said Andrew Grantham, the news editor at Railway Gazette International, a trade publication.

China’s enthusiasm for constructing railroads, schools and stadiums in Africa stands in marked contrast to the role of the United States, which has largely shied away from financing infrastructure on the continent. One of the few exceptions, Power Africa, a $9.7 billion initiative announced by President Barack Obama in 2013, has fallen far short of its goal of providing electricity to 20 million households within five years.

When it comes to trade, China surpassed the United States in 2009 to become Africa’s biggest trading partner.

It remains unclear how that calculus might change under the Trump administration. President Trump has questioned the benefits of free trade agreements, and a questionnaire from his transition team that was sent to the State Department last month expressed skepticism for foreign aid and development efforts in Africa.

That worries some African officials and longtime experts, who fear the loss of American influence and largess — and the good will that is often produced by desperately needed infrastructure projects.

Amadou Sy, director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, said the United States was also missing opportunities to cultivate loyal customers.

“If you’re looking for new markets, Africa is the place to be,” he said. “But right now, the U.S. is not leveraging Africa’s huge potential. By contrast, the Chinese are there, and they are willing to take risks.”

China is placing more than $14 billion worth of bets here in Djibouti, a geopolitically strategic speck of a country beset by soaring poverty and unemployment. The projects include three ports, two airports and a pipeline that will bring water from Ethiopia, its landlocked neighbor and a regional economic power that depends on Djibouti’s ports for 90 percent of its foreign trade.

Also on the drawing board are a series of Chinese-built, coal-fired power plants that would ease summertime electricity failures and help fuel a new tax-free manufacturing zone that officials hope will turn Djibouti into a Hong Kong-style entrepôt and international shipping hub.

Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, said he hoped the new railway linking his country to the Ethiopian capital would be just the first leg of a long-dreamed trans-Africa route, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic.

“The train is already a game-changer,” he said, noting that it will cut to 12 hours what until now had been a grueling three- or four-day trip by truck.

Mr. Hadi praised the Chinese for going all in after Western banks declined to help finance the nation’s glaring infrastructure needs.

“We approached the U.S., and they didn’t have the vision,” he said. “They are not thinking ahead 30 years. They only have a vision of Africa from the past, as a continent of war and famine. The Chinese have vision.”

Not everyone is comfortable with China’s vision. Some worry about the leverage China wields and what happens when countries fall behind on loan payments.

For Djibouti, the debt is especially daunting, amounting to 60 percent of its gross domestic product. But Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, the country’s finance minister, dismissed such concerns, saying Djibouti’s heady 6.7 percent growth rate would allow it to meet its loan payments.

“If we don’t take this risk now and develop our infrastructure, we will remain stuck in poverty,” he said. “Come back in a few years, and you will find that Djibouti has become the logistics hub of the continent.”

Others worry about the Djiboutian government’s lack of transparency, its authoritarian impulses and a vexing legacy of official corruption. Mohamed Daoud Chehem, a leader of Djibouti’s embattled opposition and a former presidential candidate, said the lack of information about the terms of China’s loans raised questions about potential malfeasance.

“We’re talking about billions of dollars and complete opacity,” he said. “Have there been kickbacks to government officials? There is no way to know.”

Others wonder what will happen to the system after the Chinese leave. European imperialists in Africa built a skein of lines, most of which fell into disrepair in the decades after their colonies achieved independence.

Jamie Monson, the author of “Africa’s Freedom Railway,” a book documenting the legacy of the Chinese-built train linking Tanzania and Zambia, said long-term maintenance could be more challenging than initial construction. Built during the Cold War and hailed as a symbol of Chinese-African friendship, the train, the Tazara Railway, has struggled to maintain regular service, prompting talk of a Chinese takeover.

“Without proper maintenance comes problems, which can have a huge impact on a regional economy and local people’s livelihoods,” she said.

For now, however, much of nation is euphoric over the completion of Djibouti’s first modern railway, which follows the path of a creaky French-built line, completed in 1917, that met its demise several years ago after generations of neglect.

Although workers from China did much of the technical and engineering work, thousands of Djiboutian and Ethiopian laborers were hired to lay tracks and dig tunnels, helping to head off some of the local resentment that has dogged other Chinese projects in Africa. The system will be operated by Chinese conductors for five years and then turned over to local citizens, many of them trained in China.

After a boisterous opening day ceremony in the broiling sun, only the best-connected attendees were allowed to board the train, which filled with applause and song as it glided out of the station.

Daha Ahmed Osman, 34, a tech specialist who works for the Djiboutian government, displayed a wide grin as he watched the arid, harshly beautiful landscape spill across the train’s picture windows.

He predicted that the new train would transform Djibouti and Ethiopia, and eventually all of Africa. “For this, we have the Chinese to thank, because they shared with us their money and their technology,” he said. “More than anything we thank them for showing confidence in us.”

Follow Andrew Jacobs on Twitter @AndrewJacobsNYT.

Tags: Chinese railroadsEthiopian laborers
Categories: Labor News

Canadian Ousted Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 TTC union head accuses parent association of intimidating officials

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:22

Canadian Ousted Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 TTC union head accuses parent association of intimidating officials
The suspended president of the TTC’s largest union is accusing the association’s American-based parent organization ATU of coercing union officials into signing a “loyalty pledge” against him.
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/transportation/2017/02/06/ousted-ttc-un...

Bob Kinnear was relieved of his duties as president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 on Friday when ATU International abruptly placed the union under trusteeship. (VINCE TALOTTA / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

By BEN SPURRTransportation Reporter
Mon., Feb. 6, 2017

The suspended president of the TTC’s largest union is accusing the association’s American-based parent organization of coercing union officials into signing a “loyalty pledge” against him.

Bob Kinnear, longtime president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, was relieved of his duties Friday when ATU International abruptly placed the local under a trusteeship.

The Maryland-based parent union alleged that Kinnear had attempted to disaffiliate Local 113 from it without the consent of the local’s members or executive board.

Last week Kinnear wrote to the Canadian Labour Congress last week to begin the process that could have led to disaffiliation, but he has asserted he had the backing of the local’s members and intended to put the issue to vote.

Representatives of ATU International, which represents close to 200,000 transit workers in the U.S. and Canada, removed all 17 union executives from their positions on Friday, but swiftly reinstated 10 of them.

Each reinstated member willingly signed a document denouncing Kinnnear’s “unilateral and unauthorized” attempt to disaffiliate, according to ATU International. Similar letters have since been signed by other officials at the local.

In a news release issued Sunday evening, Kinnear accused ATU International of “intimidating elected local union representatives into signing prepared letters that agree with the American union’s trusteeship of the local.”

The release claimed that local union members had feared for their jobs if they didn’t sign the documents, which Kinnear characterized as a “loyalty pledge” to ATU International.

In an interview Monday morning, the international vice-president of ATU International who is leading the trusteeship called the allegations of coercion “completely absurd.”

“There was never any threats, no intimidation whatsoever. Everybody signed freely and willingly,” said Manny Sforza.

He said the letters were “a message of solidarity and support” for ATU International stepping in to remove Kinnear, “and the support is overwhelming.”

A news release from ATU International said 72 per cent of the ATU Local 113’s shop stewards had voluntarily signed the letters opposing Kinnear’s actions. “It’s not just a majority, it’s a super majority,” Sforza said.

According to the release, all stewards, including those who refused to sign the letter, were still on the job Monday.

While the dispute has exposed rifts at Local 113, it could prove to be a boon for other Canadian unions. According to a letter from the Canadian Labour Congress and provided to the Star by ATU International, the congress has suspended the protections that prevent other unions from “raiding” ATU Local 113’s membership.

Kinnear said that means other unions “can now go into our local and start signing cards.”

A spokesperson for the CLC did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

Asked if he was working with other unions to recruit members of Local 113 into their shops, Kinnear told reporters Monday that he has had “numerous conversations with a variety of organizations.” He said some labour groups had offered financial assistance for the fight against ATU International.

Asked which union he would like to transfer Local 113 members into or which groups he was working with, Kinnear refused to specify.

“I’m hopeful that other organizations, the labour movement, are going to stand behind us and say that we are not alone, that the Canadian labour movement will take on this hard-ass American union that thinks they can come into Canada and squash our democratic rights,” he said.

In a statement posted online Monday, ATU International said Kinnear’s attempts to disaffiliate the local were part of a “campaign” by Unifor, the country’s largest public sector union, to “take over” ATU locals in Canada.

A spokesperson for Unifor didn’t respond to questions from the Star asking if the union was attempting to sign up Local 113 members. The organization represents 310,000 workers across the country, including employees of the Toronto Star.

Kinnear is fighting the takeover of the local in court. A hearing on the matter is expected in about two weeks.

ATU Local 113 represents more than 10,000 transit workers in Toronto. Kinnear was first elected its president in 2003 and has been re-elected several times since then. Late last year he ran for the vice-president’s position at ATU International, but was defeated by Sforza.

The infighting at the TTC’s largest union has not affected transit service. The provincial government designated the TTC an essential service in 2011, which stripped its workers of the right to strike.

Tags: ATU Local 113Canadian labor rightsTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

Drawing for ILWU LA and Long Beach port jobs ordered to restart after abrupt suspension

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:08

Drawing for LA and Long Beach port jobs ordered to restart after abrupt suspension
http://www.presstelegram.com/business/20170206/drawing-for-la-and-long-b...
Dock workers enter the hall to get their jobs for the day. On Monday, those who submitted cards for the lottery were supposed to learn if their names had been drawn to join the casuals, but Monday’s lottery was halted. Brittany Murray — Staff Photographer
By Rachel Uranga, Long Beach Press Telegram
POSTED: 02/06/17, 12:38 PM PST | UPDATED: 45 SECS AGO4 COMMENTS
A drawing for coveted part-time dockworker jobs at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports was abruptly suspended Monday after union officials suddenly pulled out of the process, but an arbitrator ordered the drawing to restart today.

An arbitrator intervened in the dispute after the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to participate in the process negotiated with its employer, the Pacific Maritime Association, said Wade Gates, a spokesperson for the PMA who released information about the ruling.

Officials from the ILWU representing local port workers were not available for comment.

Tens of thousands of hopefuls submitted their names for the drawing, which will guarantee winners a freelance job as a “casual” longshore worker and the possibility of becoming a full-time union member raking in more than $100,000 a year.

Bobby Olvera Jr., president of ILWU Local 13, said in a Monday text that the local, which represents 7,000 dockworkers, decided to withdraw from the lottery Monday after its membership “voted unanimously on Thursday night to pause the process until issues were addressed and resolved.”

Although he declined to specify what those issues were, he said they were serious and “presented by the union and summarily rejected by the PMA.”

“PMA and InterOptimis screwed up the process and violated the joint agreement,” he texted, referring to the Moorpark-based company handling the drawing of names.

InterOptimis on Monday referred calls to the union. In a prepared statement, Gates called the union’s choice unfortunate.

• RELATED: Dockworker jobs at Port of LA, Long Beach up for grabs in rare raffle

Union officials had expressed earlier concerns about problems with the lottery for the nation’s most sought-after blue-collar jobs.

Local 13 Vice President Mondo Porras said last week he had received complaints that some of the submissions were returned from the post office. Then on Friday, the ILWU posted a plea to their membership to report any problems with so-called interest cards.

“It has come to the officers’ attention that many interest and replacement cards were returned to the senders by the U.S. post office in error,” the post said.

Union members and officials were issued those cards to pass on to relatives or friends who wanted to submit their name to the lottery. Interest cards help secure hopefuls a more favorable spot in the drawing.

For its part, the PMA said it wants to move forward with the lottery to help avoid a labor shortage at the docks.

“We are ready to move forward with the thousands of new hires needed to help keep cargo flowing through the Southern California ports,” Gates noted in the statement. “We look forward to working with the ILWU to begin the drawing soon to meet the labor needs of the West Coast waterfront.”

The spat between the union and PMA is not unusual, as the two have a long history of tense relations. In 2012, 2014 and 2015, labor strife hobbled trade at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

The scheduled drawing this week will be the first time in more than a decade that port jobs have become available to outsiders. The high-stakes drawing drew at least 80,000 applicants, according to the PMA.

Tags: PMAilwuLotterylongshore jobs
Categories: Labor News

Chicago Capitalist Mayor Emanuel Rahm's CTA Port-A-Potties Are So Dirty Some Bus Drivers Wear Diapers, ATU 308 Union Says "“The current portable bathrooms the CTA bought are the bottom-dollar model, they don’t even have running water or heat

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 09:38

Chicago Capitalist Mayor Emanuel Rahm's CTA Port-A-Potties Are So Dirty Some Bus Drivers Wear Diapers, ATU 308 Union Says
"“The current portable bathrooms the CTA bought are the bottom-dollar model, they don’t even have running water or heat, and often the hand sanitizer is empty or broken. This is an absolute disrespect to the workers who move nearly 1 million Chicagoans every day,"
https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170207/downtown/cta-worker-port-a-pott...
By Mina Bloom | February 7, 2017 3:34pm
@mina_bloom_
TwitterFacebookEmailMore

The union for CTA workers is complaining about the portable bathrooms provided for them.
View Full CaptionDNAinfo/Ted Cox
CHICAGO — CTA bus workers are taking a stand against the portable bathrooms they're forced to use on the job, which they describe as "unsanitary, unsafe and degrading."

The port-a-potties are so bad that some workers don't stop to relieve themselves, and others have resorted to wearing diapers to avoid them, according to Tommy Sams, president of ATU Local 241, which represents more than 6,000 bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance workers and CTA office staff.

It's especially disconcerting given that the majority of bus drivers are women, who are more likely to suffer from health problems due to lack of bathroom access and poor conditions, the union said.

“The current portable bathrooms the CTA bought are the bottom-dollar model, they don’t even have running water or heat, and often the hand sanitizer is empty or broken. This is an absolute disrespect to the workers who move nearly 1 million Chicagoans every day," Sams said.

There are more than a dozen portable bathrooms available for bus operators, mechanics and other CTA bus staff to use at bus turnarounds or in parks. Many of them are situated in "dangerous locations" on the South Side, the union said.

The union is holding a news conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St., where Sams; Ken Franklin, president of ATU Local 308; 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and other community leaders are scheduled to speak.

In a prepared statement, Franklin, who represents CTA train workers, lent his support to the cause.

“Transit workers are one the most likely groups of workers to be affected by restroom access. The CTA answers this by absolutely disrespecting us. My sisters and brothers who operate our buses deserve better," Franklin said.

At the news conference, the union will demand the CTA find a "better solution, one that doesn't disrespect the workers."

In response, CTA officials said port-a-potties aren't the only bathrooms available to bus drivers and other CTA employees — they are merely supplementary.

According to officials, there are permanent bathrooms along each driver's route. Drivers and other CTA employees can also stop and use facilities at local businesses or rail stations, officials said.

The CTA defended use of the port-a-potties, saying they are "the same type found in myriad outdoor settings, including construction sites, park facilities and outdoor festivals."

"About 20 of the more than 100 restroom facilities are portable facilities, which are cleaned and serviced multiple times each week," a prepared statement reads.

The port-a-potty at 112th and Torrence. [Provided/ATU Local 241]

Tags: ATU 308health and safetyDriverstoiletshuman rightsworker rights
Categories: Labor News

Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 13:29

Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."
Mr. Kinnear said the local has not received enough support from the international union in these battles, claiming it is treated with “disdain.”
http://ht.ly/1eCd308G5WI
OLIVER MOORE AND JEFF GRAY
The Globe and Mail (includes correction)
Published Friday, Feb. 03, 2017 10:46AM EST
Last updated Monday, Feb. 06, 2017 1:59PM EST

A struggle for control of the main union representing Toronto Transit Commission employees burst into the open Friday, with the union’s U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials.

The move came after Local 113, under Mr. Kinnear, approached the Canadian Labour Congress with unhappiness about how they were being treated by the international Amalgamated Transit Union.

The ATU claims the move ran afoul of its rules about “disaffiliation,” provoking a battle over the local’s headquarters and $10-million in assets.

Under an ATU-imposed trusteeship, these assets are now under the control of the international union. But local leaders have secured a court hearing in two weeks to argue their case.

The TTC would not comment on what it called “this internal union matter.”

“The TTC is working to ensure this matter has no impact on service,” spokesman Brad Ross said in a statement. “The collective agreements between the TTC and its unions remain in place.”

Late Friday afternoon, the local’s new leadership issued a release in which they characterized the situation as a move by “members of Local 113 … to restore union democracy following a unilateral attempt by suspended president Bob Kinnear to remove the Local from its 120-year-old union.”

However, a letter from the ATU parent union to the Toronto local, obtained by The Globe and Mail, took responsibility for the move. The letter said the international union had acted to push out the local’s leaders because they had begun a process that could ultimately lead to the local leaving, violating the union’s constitution and general laws (CGL).

“Furthermore, President Kinnear’s actions not only violated the CGL, but the bylaws of Local 113, as he improperly bypassed the Local’s requisite decision-making process,” alleged the letter, signed by ATU international president Lawrence Hanley. “As a result, the effective functioning and the performance of the local union’s duties are impaired.”

By Mr. Hanley’s order, control of the local has been placed in the hands of Emanuele Sforza, a Toronto-based international vice-president of the ATU. He did not respond to requests for comment.

According to documents filed by Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers in court, the international ATU constitution contains “unconscionable and penal terms,” including a provision that forces the local to surrender all of its assets if it splits from its parent. The international union’s constitution also blocks any split if just 10 members – or 0.1 per cent of the 10,000 members of Local 113 – oppose the move.

Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers argue these provisions violate the right to free association of Local 113’s members guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as their rights under Ontario’s Labour Relations Act to choose their representatives in collective bargaining.

In a letter to the ATU obtained by The Globe and Mail, Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff criticizes the parent union’s move and declares that the CLC’s normal protections that would prevent other unions from raiding Local 113 for members are no longer in effect.

The local represents about 10,000 employees of the TTC and is midway through a four-year contract. Because the TTC was deemed an essential service in 2011 by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, the union can no longer strike.

But there continues to be friction between the union and management. They have clashed over the TTC’s drug-and-alcohol random-testing policy and the possibility that elements of the city’s transit system could be privatized.

Mr. Kinnear said the local has not received enough support from the international union in these battles, claiming it is treated with “disdain.” He said the local, based on its affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress, used a provision of the CLC constitution to spark a probe into whether it was being represented properly. “Unfortunately, the American-based union has taken this heavy hand and trusteed the board,” he said.

The Maryland-based spokesperson for the international organization of the Amalgamated Transit Union was not available to comment Friday.

Mr. Kinnear has been the elected leader of the often-fractious TTC union since 2004. He has been at odds with the international union for some time. He recently lost a bid to win a post as an international vice-president.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect percentage breakdown for the number of union members needed to block a split.

Follow us on Twitter: Jeff Gray @jeffreybgray, Oliver Moore @moore_oliver

Tags: ATU 113Trusteeshipunion democracyToronto driversTake-over
Categories: Labor News

2/17 SF Rally-NO Border Walls-Cancel NAFTA- For Unity Between US & Mexican Workers Against The Multi-Nationals, Racists And Union Busters

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 13:23

2/17 SF Rally-NO Border Walls-Cancel NAFTA- For Unity Between US & Mexican Workers Against The Multi-Nationals, Racists And Union Busters
February 17, 2017 12:00 Noon
San Francisco US Federal Building
90 7th St. Near Mission St.
San Francisco, California
The racist attack by Trump on the Mexican people, all immigrants and Mexican-Americans is escalating. The NAFTA agreement is part and parcel on the attack not only on Mexican working people and farmers but on US workers. It was pushed by the US multi-nationals, the Democrats and Republicans and has harmed workers on both sides of the border. The 3,000 maquiladoras that were set up have been kept non-union by the Mexican government which uses the police and state power to prevent unionization for the US and multi-national companies who really run Mexico.
US workers have been told that if they do not take wage and benefit concessions, their companies will move to Mexico and they have again used NAFTA to impose these wage cuts and destroy decent union jobs here in the US.
The wealth of Mexico has also been sold off to billionaires like Carlos Slim, a pal of Bill Clinton and US and multi-nationals from around the world. Telecom, railroads, water, mines, transit and the lands of Mexico have been privatized and they are trying to destroy public education with charters and other privatization schemes.
At the same time there is a militarization of the border with Plan Merida, Mexico has been given billions for weapons which are being used for massive repression and murders of teachers, students and journalists in Mexico. 43 students were murdered by government forces and the government is covering up the police who were involved in this government organized massacre.
Workers and people on both sides of the border are demanding NO Border Walls, NO NAFTA and UNITY between US and Mexican workers against the real crooks and criminals running these corporations like Driscolls. This California based company owned by the Reider family has fought unionization of the 80,000 farm workers in slave like conditions in San Quintin and Baja, California. These indigenous people were forced off their ejidos lands and they are paid $12 dollars a day which cannot feed, cloth and care for their themselves and their families.
There is an international boycott against all Driscoll products and there will be a US-Mexican Border solidarity action on March 5, 2017 for workers on both sides of the border.
It is time to cancel NAFTA, Fight anymore walls and unify workers and the people on both sides of the border.
Endorsed by
Labor Council For Latin American Advancement Sacramento Chapter
https://www.facebook.com/lclaasacramento/?fref=ts
United Public Workers For Action UPWA.info
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC
www.transportworkers.org
2/18 Special Meeting
War, Labor, Trump, NAFTA and The Border Walls
February 18, 2017 2:00 PM
518 Valencia St.
San Francisco, California
For more information
(415)282-1908
(916)712-4251
For additional media:
http://www.upwa.info/documents/statement-US-Mexico.htm
http://www.upwa.info/docume…/statement-US-Mexico-spanish.htm
February 17, 2017 12:00 Noon
San Francisco US Federal Building
90 7th St. Near Mission St.
San Francisco, California
The racist attack by Trump on the Mexican people, all immigrants and Mexican-Americans is escalating. The NAFTA agreement is part and parcel on the attack not only on Mexican working people and farmers but on US workers. It was pushed by the US multi-nationals, the Democrats and Republicans and has harmed workers on both sides of the border. The 3,000 maquiladoras that were set up have been kept non-union by the Mexican government which uses the police and state power to prevent unionization for the US and multi-national companies who really run Mexico.
US workers have been told that if they do not take wage and benefit concessions, their companies will move to Mexico and they have again used NAFTA to impose these wage cuts and destroy decent union jobs here in the US.
The wealth of Mexico has also been sold off to billionaires like Carlos Slim, a pal of Bill Clinton and US and multi-nationals from around the world. Telecom, railroads, water, mines, transit and the lands of Mexico have been privatized and they are trying to destroy public education with charters and other privatization schemes.
At the same time there is a militarization of the border with Plan Merida, Mexico has been given billions for weapons which are being used for massive repression and murders of teachers, students and journalists in Mexico. 43 students were murdered by government forces and the government is covering up the police who were involved in this government organized massacre.
Workers and people on both sides of the border are demanding NO Border Walls, NO NAFTA and UNITY between US and Mexican workers against the real crooks and criminals running these corporations like Driscolls. This California based company owned by the Reider family has fought unionization of the 80,000 farm workers in slave like conditions in San Quintin and Baja, California. These indigenous people were forced off their ejidos lands and they are paid $12 dollars a day which cannot feed, cloth and care for their themselves and their families.
There is an international boycott against all Driscoll products and there will be a US-Mexican Border solidarity action on March 5, 2017 for workers on both sides of the border.
It is time to cancel NAFTA, Fight anymore walls and unify workers and the people on both sides of the border.
Endorsed by
Labor Council For Latin American Advancement Sacramento Chapter
https://www.facebook.com/lclaasacramento/?fref=ts
United Public Workers For Action UPWA.info
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC
www.transportworkers.org
2/18 Special Meeting
War, Labor, Trump, NAFTA and The Border Walls
February 18, 2017 2:00 PM
518 Valencia St.
San Francisco, California
For more information
(415)282-1908
(916)712-4251
For additional media:
http://www.upwa.info/documents/statement-US-Mexico.htm
http://www.upwa.info/docume…/statement-US-Mexico-spanish.htm

Tags: NAFTAunion bustingsolidarity
Categories: Labor News

Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:28

Canadian TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. ATU International "U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials."
http://ht.ly/1eCd308G5WI
OLIVER MOORE AND JEFF GRAY
The Globe and Mail (includes correction)
Published Friday, Feb. 03, 2017 10:46AM EST
Last updated Monday, Feb. 06, 2017 1:59PM EST

A struggle for control of the main union representing Toronto Transit Commission employees burst into the open Friday, with the union’s U.S. parent organization pushing out Local 113 president Bob Kinnear and 16 other top officials.

The move came after Local 113, under Mr. Kinnear, approached the Canadian Labour Congress with unhappiness about how they were being treated by the international Amalgamated Transit Union.

The ATU claims the move ran afoul of its rules about “disaffiliation,” provoking a battle over the local’s headquarters and $10-million in assets.

Under an ATU-imposed trusteeship, these assets are now under the control of the international union. But local leaders have secured a court hearing in two weeks to argue their case.

The TTC would not comment on what it called “this internal union matter.”

“The TTC is working to ensure this matter has no impact on service,” spokesman Brad Ross said in a statement. “The collective agreements between the TTC and its unions remain in place.”

Late Friday afternoon, the local’s new leadership issued a release in which they characterized the situation as a move by “members of Local 113 … to restore union democracy following a unilateral attempt by suspended president Bob Kinnear to remove the Local from its 120-year-old union.”

However, a letter from the ATU parent union to the Toronto local, obtained by The Globe and Mail, took responsibility for the move. The letter said the international union had acted to push out the local’s leaders because they had begun a process that could ultimately lead to the local leaving, violating the union’s constitution and general laws (CGL).

“Furthermore, President Kinnear’s actions not only violated the CGL, but the bylaws of Local 113, as he improperly bypassed the Local’s requisite decision-making process,” alleged the letter, signed by ATU international president Lawrence Hanley. “As a result, the effective functioning and the performance of the local union’s duties are impaired.”

By Mr. Hanley’s order, control of the local has been placed in the hands of Emanuele Sforza, a Toronto-based international vice-president of the ATU. He did not respond to requests for comment.

According to documents filed by Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers in court, the international ATU constitution contains “unconscionable and penal terms,” including a provision that forces the local to surrender all of its assets if it splits from its parent. The international union’s constitution also blocks any split if just 10 members – or 0.1 per cent of the 10,000 members of Local 113 – oppose the move.

Mr. Kinnear’s lawyers argue these provisions violate the right to free association of Local 113’s members guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as their rights under Ontario’s Labour Relations Act to choose their representatives in collective bargaining.

In a letter to the ATU obtained by The Globe and Mail, Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff criticizes the parent union’s move and declares that the CLC’s normal protections that would prevent other unions from raiding Local 113 for members are no longer in effect.

The local represents about 10,000 employees of the TTC and is midway through a four-year contract. Because the TTC was deemed an essential service in 2011 by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, the union can no longer strike.

But there continues to be friction between the union and management. They have clashed over the TTC’s drug-and-alcohol random-testing policy and the possibility that elements of the city’s transit system could be privatized.

Mr. Kinnear said the local has not received enough support from the international union in these battles, claiming it is treated with “disdain.” He said the local, based on its affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress, used a provision of the CLC constitution to spark a probe into whether it was being represented properly. “Unfortunately, the American-based union has taken this heavy hand and trusteed the board,” he said.

The Maryland-based spokesperson for the international organization of the Amalgamated Transit Union was not available to comment Friday.

Mr. Kinnear has been the elected leader of the often-fractious TTC union since 2004. He has been at odds with the international union for some time. He recently lost a bid to win a post as an international vice-president.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect percentage breakdown for the number of union members needed to block a split.

Follow us on Twitter: Jeff Gray @jeffreybgray, Oliver Moore @moore_oliver

Tags: ATU Local 113Take-overCanadian autonomyTrusteeship
Categories: Labor News

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against Aslef member says colleagues are disappointed with deal in which union concedes on driver operation of doors

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 18:56

Southern rail deal with union fragile as drivers plan to vote against
Aslef member says colleagues are disappointed with deal in which union concedes on driver operation of doors
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/05/southern-rail-deal-aslef...
Aslef said it was confident drivers would vote for the deal with Govia Thameslink Railway. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Gwyn TophamTransport correspondent
Sunday 5 February 2017 13.20 GMTLast modified on Sunday 5 February 2017 22.00 GMT
The deal reached by Southern and Aslef to bring an end to strikes on the troubled rail service may yet unravel, with a significant number of drivers believed to be planning to vote against the agreement.

Details of the agreement between the union and Southern’s operating company, Govia Thameslink Railway, news of which was announced at the TUC on Thursday, were given to drivers this weekend. The terms were denounced as a “shocking betrayal” by the RMT, which represents conductors who had also been fighting changes imposed by the train company.

The agreement confirms that Aslef has conceded the principle that drivers will operate the doors, and although Southern has said it will roster an onboard supervisor on every train, it has not demanded the same level of competency that guards previously had, and permitted a wide range of circumstances in which a train could run without a guard on board.

Q&A: what does the Southern rail deal over strikes mean?

Unions had previously rejected that offer from GTR, with the RMTsaying the exemptions effectively rendered a guarantee of a second person on every train meaningless.

One driver in Aslef, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had spoken to several colleagues, all of whom were disappointed. He said it gave them “very little for all that – it’s what the company was doing all along”. He also expressed concern about working with onboard supervisors who would not be safety-trained on specific routes, as conductors had been.

Drivers will be holding meetings with union reps in depots in the coming days. Aslef said it was confident drivers would vote for the deal they had recommended. Speaking after the agreement had been reached at the TUC talks, the union’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, said it was “no utopia” but had established important principles, including that any operational changes had to have drivers’ consent. He said: “People forget the original dispute was about imposition.”

As well as losing money through strike action, drivers have been hit by the ban on overtime, a regular source of income for many. The agreement does not include any pay rises or improved terms, although an appendix on the “restoration of positive relationships” states a new agreement between drivers and the company will be formalised when pay talks are completed.

The RMT, which has held a series of strikes over Southern’s plans since April last year, but was excluded from the TUC talks, attacked the deal as a “stitch-up and disgrace”. Its general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “This so-called agreement is a shocking betrayal presided over by the TUC of not only the conductor grade and drivers, but also passengers, including disabled passengers, who have lost the guarantee of a second member of staff on their trains.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, described the deal as a ‘shocking betrayal’. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA
He said the number of ways in which a train could operate without a second member of staff would leave both driver and passengers exposed and vulnerable, and would lead to the destaffing of trains.

Cash said the RMT would remain available for talks, to which it has now been invited at the TUC.

Campaigners also expressed dismay, saying the plans for driver-only trains would make travel increasingly difficult for passengers with disabilities.

Emily Yates, of the Association of British Commuters, which is taking legal action against the governmentover its handling of GTR’s franchise, said the deal was “extremely bad news for accessibility”.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, speaking on the BBC Andrew Marr Show, said of the Aslef deal: “I hope that’s a way forward for the future, and I very much hope now that the RMT will come back to the table and will sort out an arrangement that looks after its own members.”

He added: “I don’t believe we need fewer people on the railways – a railway bursting at the seams will not mean fewer jobs. We’re going to need as many staff in the future – the jobs may change, the technology may change, but the customer service piece can’t change.”

Southern drivers will vote on the deal over the next nine days, with the result due on 16 February.

Tags: UK RMTrail contract votesell out
Categories: Labor News

Is Uber Screwing Over Its Drivers? "For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months"

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 11:44

Is Uber Screwing Over Its Drivers? "For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months"
http://therideshareguy.com/is-uber-screwing-over-its-drivers/
BY HARRY CAMPBELL ON JANUARY 19, 2015

For those who’ve been wondering, I wanted to let things cool down a bit before I posted anything about Uber’s recent fare cuts. Some of my worst decisions in life have been made impulsively and if given the opportunity, I think it’s always better to ‘sleep on it’. And as we all know with the internet, once you write, tweet or post something, it can’t be deleted.
Well, I’ve slept on it long enough and I still can’t help but feel like, as drivers, we’re getting screwed over by Uber right now. I mean there are only so many times you can handle getting your pay slashed and be expected to go out there on the road and stay positive. For most drivers, this is their second pay cut in just the past 6 months. And although Uber claims lower fares means higher earnings for drivers, I think we all know by now that statement is bullshit.

Compare declining driver pay with the growth at Uber and the salaries/equity of Uber employees and that will probably make you even madder as a driver. Uber recently raised another $1.2 billion and is currently valued at just over $40 billion. My hope has always been that ‘partners’ would see parallel growth, but it appears we’re headed in very different directions.

The Rate Cuts Have Hit Hard

The rate cuts in 48 cities have been tough on drivers and they even hit home last week when rates in the LA/OC area were dropped down to 90 cents/mile. Over the past two weeks, there has been a lot of anger on social media, driver forums and even my own site (normally a safe haven against this kind of stuff), but I don’t blame those drivers. It’s human nature to be upset knowing that you have to go out and do the same job that you did last week but for less pay.

Over the past year, we’ve seen fare cuts of up to 50% in cities across the US. Maybe drivers were paid too much a year ago but the overwhelming sentiment right now is that drivers are not paid enough. As you guys know, I’m a part-time driver so I have the luxury of scaling back my hours if I’m not making enough, but not everyone is so fortunate.

There are also ‘partners’ who have made life-altering decisions to drive full-time and they are now at the mercy of Uber. Looking back now, that obviously seems like a poor decision but there was a lot of promise at one point with rideshare and I don’t think anyone ever figured rates could drop this low. And there are others who just enjoy driving and don’t want to give it all up because Uber won’t pay them a fair wage.

Let’s Dispel The Earnings Myth Once And For All

Uber loves to cite the ‘fact’ that lower fares means higher earnings for drivers. But as any seasoned driver can tell you, they are now working harder than ever, putting more miles on their car and most definitely making less money.

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Uber seems stuck on the notion that lowering prices increases ridership (thus increasing earnings for drivers) but maybe they should pick up a copy of the book Freakonomics. I read this book a few years ago and one of the biggest takeaways I got was that just because there is a correlation between two variables that doesn’t mean one necessarily causes the other. There could easily be a third variable that causes this correlation.

In this case, it is beyond clear to me that lower prices are not the only thing causing increased ridership. Unlike Uber HQ, I actually get out on the road and drive. I listen to passengers and I talk to hundreds of other drivers on a weekly basis. One of the reasons why my site has struck such a cord with drivers is because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. There is a huge disconnect between drivers and Uber HQ because they don’t know what it’s like to be a driver. I do.

Do Riders Even Care?

A majority of riders actually don’t even know how pricing works half the time. Here’s a screen shot (to the left) from my phone taken just a few days ago. There aren’t any prices listed per mile, per minute or even the base fare.

The only way to get this information is to log on to Uber’s website, find your city and then look up the rates manually. I can guarantee you there aren’t too many riders willing to go through that trouble just to figure out whether their fare is going to be $7 or $8.50.

Lower pricing may have helped increase ridership but it’s definitely not the only reason:

• Uber gives out free rides to new users like candy to kids on Halloween. Uber is still giving out $20 free rides to new passengers and who doesn’t like free money? This referral program has worked very well for them and I know many passengers who have been enticed by this offer.
• Riders prefer the convenience and superior quality compared to a taxi. I can’t tell you how many times I used to walk, bike or even make my mom drop me off somewhere because I refused to get into a taxi. I didn’t even know how to call one. Now with the click of a button you can have an Uber at your house in less than 5 minutes.
• Uber has replaced the word taxi in the English language. I often hear friends say “Let’s get an Uber” even if they are getting a Lyft or a taxi! There are hundreds of companies popping up that dub themselves “Uber for Mechanics”, “Uber for food delivery”, etc. and all of this usage has clearly played a huge part in Uber’s recent growth.
But Uber Has Data!

Uber is known as the king of data but unfortunately for drivers, the media and the public we don’t get access to any of that information. In fact, their recent nationwide fare cut was predicated on data from only two cities that showed lower fares meant more income for drivers.

Uber provided us with some nifty graphs for New York a few months ago but this data is beyond useless to me considering that NYC operates nothing like traditional UberX markets. In NYC, you need a TLC license and they limit the number of UberX partners. Right now, you can’t even sign up as an UberX driver in NYC. So the ‘data’ from New York is useless for comparison’s sake.

Next?

Uber’s data from Chicago is really the only thing we can trust at this point (and given Uber’s track record I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was some massaging of this data). I won’t go too in depth into the numbers since there is a great analysis over on Pando by Michael Carney, but their Chicago data showed a 45% increase in demand over the course of one year and an 11% increase in the average driver’s earnings.

11% or $1.79 per hour sounds alright, but Uber’s analysis doesn’t take into account the increased operating costs (and mental strain) that come along with 45% more rides. That cuts into nearly half of the 11% increase meaning drivers are now working 45% harder and earning $1.09 per hour more than before. Sounds pretty good for Uber since they get 20% of each ride and a $1 safety fee but no so good for us partners.

My Plan Going Forward

I’m not planning on swearing off Uber completely, but my hope is that every driver out there realizes that Uber doesn’t want to be our friend. They want to grow. And unless driver unrest gets in the way of that growth, things will continue to trend downwards. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve seen the usual social media angst and even a couple protests over the recent fare cuts, but there are still a lot of drivers who need to work (it did not appear as if the protests had much of an effect on driver availability). They can’t afford to take time off or stop driving, they just have to roll with the punches.

Uber has deflected some of this criticism with their new ‘hourly guarantees’ but there are definitely strings attached. Guarantees sound great for drivers but it reminds me of a strategy that companies like Walmart used to use: they would come in to a new city and lower prices so everyone would shop there instead of the local businesses. Then once the competition went out of business, they jack up their prices again.

I feel like Uber’s guarantees are doing just that. They are a clear attempt to pull drivers away from Lyft (that along with their $500 promotion for Lyft drivers who switch to Uber) and I’m not going to be falling for it. Despite what some of you may think, competition is a good thing for drivers and I hope that Lyft stays around for good.

Going forward, I’m definitely going to be shifting more of my attention towards Lyft and my hope is that they do not try and lower fares to compete with Uber. My strategies for driving haven’t really changed, I’ll likely be making less money but I’m still going to do my best to leverage both apps whenever it suits me best. I have always maintained that I prefer driving for Lyft but I make more money with Uber. Well now the latter isn’t true anymore so it looks like my decision just became a lot easier.

If you want to see how much money you’ll make driving Lyft vs Uber in your city, I’ve just updated my fare calculation spreadsheet. You can view it here.

Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s treatment of drivers? Do you think there are enough drivers who are upset about fare cuts to do something about it?

Update (1/19/2015): Looks like Lyft is reducing fares in certain cities too.

Tags: UberDriverswage cuts
Categories: Labor News

Total War In Spanish Ports! Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 09:36

Total War In Spanish Ports! Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)
http://www.naucher.com/es/actualidad/guerra-total-en-los-puertos-espanol...
TOTAL WAR IN THE SPANISH PORTS!

Assemblies of stevedores in different ports (Coordinator)
PEOPLE OF THE SEA MARITIME ADMINISTRATION PORTS MARITIME ENVIRONMENT PORT COMMUNITY
DANIEL MOLERO 02/03/2017
BLOG: "TRAMONTANA WIND"
The main representatives of the port stowage sector met yesterday in ministerial headquarters with the holder of the Portfolio of Development, Íñigo de la Serna. After the meeting, this morning there has already been a halt and slowdown of activity in the main ports of the Spanish system ... and what remains. "We will defend the jobs by all means. We tried it through the dialogue and they deceived us ": are words of Antolín Goya, leader of the Coordinating union, the maximum exponent of the workers.

A series of historic mobilizations in Spanish ports are expected to be a miracle (or a rectification by the minister) ... and it will not be just a stoppage in activity. It will go beyond even the Spanish borders.

The minister has said "No" to the workers' register. It wants to make the Companies of Estiba (Sagep) disappear to transform them into Temporary Work Enterprises whose workers can be hired for a certain newspaper ... and all through the arbitration of the Port Authorities that, although belonging to the framework of Development, are not of Agreement (at least the big three - Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona) in which they endorsed the dead.

In short, inactivity in Spanish ports could paralyze the economy of the country because of the ineptitude of some ... with supposed hidden interests ... and all when the Spanish ports closed 2016 at the stroke of historical records in moving goods

De la Serna, has been badly advised by the President of Ports of the State, Jose Llorca and by the Secretary of State (and husband of one of the ideologues of the conflict, cousin-by the way-of a stevedore), Julio Gómez-Pomar; He told the workers, in a strict way, that the Government intends to reform the Spanish port system unilaterally and via Decree Law, with publication in the Council of Ministers before the end of March. And although it says to have parliamentary consensus the truth is that it does not have supports. And, at least, the PSOE should give its approval to carry it forward and become law.

From the dialogue agreed with her predecessor in office, Ana Pastor, nothing at all. From listening to the comments of companies and workers - who agree on the main points of the reform - nothing at all. The minister is protected in Brussels. He says that they will finalize Spain if the reform is not approved ... and it does not lack reason.

What they do not say from the Ministry is that the European Commission agrees with the workers in that any legislative changes that affect the working environment should be agreed with employers and unions. Nor does it say that Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc pointed out weeks ago to Antolín Goya himself that the Judgment must be strictly complied with, but not that this way is unilaterally agreed by a particular government.

According to Goya, "We feel cheated." More clear, impossible. For the coordinator general of Coordinadora, "they want to impose a Decree Law in which they say that there is no room for any modification, they do not provide the document, all communication is verbal. The minister puts Spain to the dictatorship of the officials of the Commission because, he says, Spain can not legislate in port matters except under the terms that authorize it in Brussels, including, including restrictions on collective bargaining that "although they do not consider it Necessary ".

In fact, the reality is that what the Spanish Government proposes is based on conditions far more radical than those sought by Brussels ... and much more than the judgment of the Luxembourg Court itself.

It should also be recalled that a recent regulation approved by the European Parliament "excludes stowage from European legislation to allow each Member State to legislate freely on it." For the time being, and returning to Spain, the Socialist Party seems to disagree with the one-sidedness of a 'decree'. They also believe it is necessary to dialogue with the parties and reach a resolution agreed to the conflict before it is a reality ... but seeing the instability in the PSOE and that its current responsible is a man of straw or know what they will do.

For now neither PSOE nor PNV, let alone the Catalan parties or We can, know the content of the 'decree'. Obviously neither do workers nor companies. Everything is done with secrecy and treachery ... but be careful, they did the same thing two years ago ... when from NAUCHERglobal we uncovered the whole network and had to withdraw. Anyone knows if it could happen now.

For now neither PSOE nor PNV, let alone the Catalan parties or We can, know the content of the 'decree'. Obviously neither do workers nor companies. Everything is done with secrecy and treachery ... but be careful, they did the same thing two years ago ... when from NAUCHERglobal we uncovered the whole network and had to withdraw. Anyone knows if it could happen now.

For the time being, the dialogue with the Government was broken and "in the face of the authoritarian attitude of the Minister", in the words of Antolín Goya "we will initiate mobilizations and union actions to reestablish communication, demand from companies the culmination of the negotiation effort developed, and expose To parliamentary groups the error of an imposed norm that destabilizes a sector and destroys jobs. We will defend our profession by all means. We see no other way out. We are thousands of families who live in this sector, thousands of workers we have managed to build it to release figures that beat records year after year and we will not allow them to eradicate us from the equation, only to enrich the few that are obeyed by governments , At the expense of working in indecent conditions ".

¡GUERRA TOTAL EN LOS PUERTOS ESPAÑOLES!

Asambleas de estibadores en diferentes puertos (Coordinadora)

• GENTE DEL MAR
• ADMINISTRACIÓN MARÍTIMA
• PUERTOS
• ENTORNO MARÍTIMO
• COMUNIDAD PORTUARIA

DANIEL MOLERO 03/02/2017
BLOG: "VIENTO DE TRAMONTANA"
Los principales representantes del sector de la estiba portuaria se reunieron ayer en sede ministerial con el titular de la cartera de Fomento, Íñigo de la Serna. Tras el encuentro, esta mañana ya ha habido paralización y ralentización de la actividad en los principales puertos del sistema español... y lo que queda. “Defenderemos los puestos de trabajo por todos los medios. Lo intentamos a través del diálogo y nos engañaron”: son palabras de Antolín Goya, líder del sindicato Coordinadora, el máximo exponente de los trabajadores.

Se prevén, de no mediar milagro (o de una rectificación del ministro), una serie de movilizaciones históricas en los puertos españoles… y no se tratará sólo de paros en la actividad. Irá más allá incluso de las fronteras españolas.

El ministro ha dicho "No" al registro de los trabajadores. Quiere hacer desaparecer las Sociedades de Estiba (Sagep) para transformarlas en Empresas de Trabajo Temporal cuyos trabajadores puedan ser contratados para un determinado jornal... y todo mediante el arbitraje de la Autoridades Portuarias que, aún perteneciendo al entramado de Fomento, no están de acuerdo (al menos las tres grandes -Algeciras, Valencia y Barcelona-) en que les endosen el muerto.

En suma, la inactividad en los puertos españoles podría paralizar la economía del país por culpa de la ineptitud de algunos… con supuestos intereses ocultos… y todo cuando los puertos españoles cierran 2016 a golpe de récords históricos en movimiento de mercancías

De la Serna, ha estado mal asesorado por el presidente de Puertos del Estado, José Llorca y por el Secretario de Estado (y marido de una de las ideólogas del conflicto, prima –por cierto- de un estibador), Julio Gómez-Pomar; les dijo a los trabajadores, de forma taxativa, que el Gobierno pretende reformar el sistema portuario español de forma unilateral y vía Decreto Ley, con publicación en el Consejo de Ministros antes de que acabe el mes de marzo. Y aunque dice tener consenso parlamentario lo cierto es que no tiene apoyos. Y, al menos, el PSOE debería dar su beneplácito para llevarlo adelante y que se transforme en Ley.

Del diálogo pactado con su predecesora en el cargo, Ana Pastor, nada de nada. De escuchar los comentarios de empresas y trabajadores –que están de acuerdo en los principales puntos de la reforma- nada de nada. Se ampara el ministro en Bruselas. Dice que multarán a España si no se aprueba la reforma… y no le falta razón.

Lo que no dicen desde el Ministerio es que la Comisión Europea está de acuerdo con los trabajadores en que cualquier modificación legislativa que afecte al entorno laboral debería ser pactada con patronal y sindicatos. Tampoco dice que la comisaria de Transporte, Violeta Bulc, señaló semanas atrás al propio Antolín Goya que la Sentencia debe cumplirse de manera estricta, pero no que esta manera sea la que unilateralmente acuerde un Gobierno en concreto.

Según Goya, “Nos sentimos engañados”. Más claro, imposible. Para el coordinador general de Coordinadora, “quieren imponer un Decreto Ley en el que dicen que no hay margen para modificación alguna, no facilitan el documento, toda la comunicación es verbal. El ministro pone a España al dictado de los funcionarios de la Comisión porque, según dice, España no puede legislar en materia portuaria sino en los términos que le autoricen en Bruselas, incluso, incluyendo restricciones a la negociación colectiva que, “aunque no la consideran necesaria”.

De hecho, la realidad es que lo que plantea el Gobierno español parte de condiciones mucho más radicales que las que pretendería Bruselas… y mucho más allá de lo que dice la propia sentencia del Tribunal de Luxemburgo.

Recordar, además, que un reciente reglamento aprobado por la Eurocámara “excluye a la estiba de la legislación europea para permitir que cada Estado miembro legisle libremente sobre ella”. Por lo pronto, y volviendo a España, el Partido Socialista parece que está en desacuerdo con la unilateralidad de un 'decretazo'. También creen necesario dialogar con las partes y llegar a una resolución pactada al conflicto antes de que éste sea una realidad… pero viendo la inestabilidad en el PSOE y que su actual responsable es un hombre de paja cualquiera sabe qué harán.

Por lo pronto ni PSOE ni PNV, ni mucho menos los partidos catalanes o Podemos, conocen el contenido del 'decretazo'. Evidentemente tampoco lo tienen los trabajadores ni las empresas. Se hace todo con sigilo y alevosía... pero cuidado, ya hicieron lo mismo hace dos años... cuando desde NAUCHERglobal destapamos todo el entramado y lo tuvieron que retirar. Cualquiera sabe si ahora podría pasar lo mismo.

Por lo pronto, roto el diálogo con el Gobierno y “ante la actitud autoritaria del ministro”, según palabras de Antolín Goya “iniciaremos movilizaciones y acciones sindicales para restablecer la comunicación, exigir de las empresas la culminación del esfuerzo de negociación desarrollado, y exponer a los grupos parlamentarios el error de una norma impuesta que desestabiliza un sector y destruye puestos de trabajo. Defenderemos nuestra profesión por todos los medios. No vemos otra salida. Somos miles las familias que vivimos de este sector, miles los trabajadores que hemos logrado construirlo para que arrojen cifras que baten records año tras año y no permitiremos que nos erradiquen de la ecuación, solo para que se enriquezcan los pocos a los que obedecen los gobiernos, a costa de trabajo en condiciones indecentes”.

Tags: Spanish DockworkersWar On The Spanish Ports
Categories: Labor News

Uber CEO, Trump Face Defeat by New York City's Mainly Immigrant Taxi Workers' Union

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 05:25

Uber CEO, Trump Face Defeat by New York City's Mainly Immigrant Taxi Workers' Union
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Uber-Trump-Face-Defeat-by-NYCs-Mai...
Published 3 February 2017

Uber CEO retreats from White House group after organized immigrant drivers protested the "Muslim ban" and #DeleteUber went viral.

New York City taxi drivers are celebrating a resounding victory after the shame-faced Thursday resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick from President Donald Trump's business advisory group.

The departure comes after the company faced a massive boycott in the form of the #DeleteUber social media campaign urging users to boycott the ride-sharing app. The boycott was the backlash from an Uber attempt to break a one-hour taxi strike by the New York Taxi Workers Association, or NYTWA, in response to Trump's Muslim travel ban.

The strike, called by NYTWA on Jan. 28, asked the city's yellow cabs, green cars, black limousines and app-hailed Uber and Lyft drivers to refrain from dispatches to JFK International Airport in protest of what the association considered a discriminatory anti-Muslim travel ban.

The strike received overwhelmingly positive coverage amid outrage versus the ban.

Uber then made a move to suspend “surge pricing” – higher fares imposed during times of maximum demand – in a miscalculation seen as an opportunistic scabbing attempt rooted in Kalanick's collaboration with the White House.

Facing a cascade of deletions, the company went on the defensive, declaring that “experience has taught us that change comes from having a seat at the table and speaking up for what is right.” The statement added that the Uber CEO's advisory role “should not be taken as an endorsement of the new administration’s policy positions.”

Invigorated by the outpouring of solidarity, the NYTWA organized a demonstration Thursday at Uber's Long Island City headquarters alongside allied groups and unions to demand that Kalanick pull out of Trump's business advisory group.

On a Facebook event page, the union stated, “Now is the time for all those who value justice and equality to join together in holding Uber accountable, not only for its complicity with Trump’s hateful policies but also for impoverishing workers.”

“I used to work for Uber but I quit. They treated you like an animal. They treat you bad,” Mohammad Salim, a 20-year cab driver and immigrant from Pakistan who attended the protest, said to news site Vocativ. “Trump’s policies are really bad and wrong. We will stand against him and stand united so they can hear our voices.”

Shortly after the protest, the libertarian Kalanick announced his departure from the White House advisory group. However, the damage was already done: the brutal consumer response had already led to 200,000 deleted accounts. Disney CEO Bob Iger pulled out of the group shortly afterwards.

Disney saw what happened with #DeleteUber and backed out of that Trump meeting like pic.twitter.com/6bdEZgheqY

— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 3, 2017
In a statement celebrating the Uber mogul's retreat, NYTWA organizers noted the coinciding interests of the Trump administration and tech entrepreneurs such as Kalanick.

“Trump hurts immigrant and Muslim families with his executive orders. Uber, Lyft, and their cohorts hurt immigrant and Muslim workers with their business practices. Neither believe in minimum wage laws or other basic worker protections. That’s the real connection between the titans of the so-called gig economy and Trump,” the statement said.

The statement ended with a call to continue supporting the workers as they fight “against both the Muslim ban and Uber’s policies of poverty.”

Pesky Humans! Uber Introduces 'Robo Taxis' to Cut Labor Costs

Uber has faced pressure from taxi workers' associations and legislators across the globe for its treatment of drivers, who have complained of poor treatment by the company along with unstable scheduling, deteriorating work conditions and diminished cab fares.

Last November, U.K. Labour MP Frank Field released a blistering reportcharacterizing Uber conditions as resembling “Victorian-style sweated labor.” The report noted that the company's profits are due to the sacrifices of a “sizeable group of people who bear the largely unseen human scars of the 'gig economy.'”

The report also expressed a growing fear that without curbing Uber's practices, growing numbers of workers would find themselves “toiling through anxiety and insecurity, for unsafe lengths of time across seven days a week, in return for poverty pay.”

In an interview Monday with Democracy Now!, NYTWA executive director and co-founder Bhairavi Desai said that the largely Muslim and Sikh immigrant workforce her union represents is “deeply fragmented and impoverished” by Uber's “absolutely atrocious policy in its treatment of the workers,” making it “harder for people to rise up and take collective action.”

Despite the adverse conditions experienced by Uber's drivers, however, Desai expressed pride New York cabbies' coordinated job action: “This was a real act of courage, you know, particularly to have a workforce that’s predominantly black and brown stand up in this time.”

Tags: UberMuslim driversTrump
Categories: Labor News

Pages