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What we talk about when we talk about Uber and Lyft

Current News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 20:20

What we talk about when we talk about Uber and Lyft
(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
By Kelly Dessaint on June 24, 2016 1:00 am

It’s 2:35 a.m. and I’m looking for a cabstand showing signs of life now that everyone’s in motion, either trying to go home or get to an after-hours joint.

In front of 1015 Folsom, a large crowd is milling about in the street among several dozen unmarked sedans blocking the flow of traffic while a few taxis wait patiently outside the club.

As I slow down to suss out the situation, a young guy approaches my window. He wants to know the fare to Berkeley.

“Around $35-$40,” I tell him. “Plus the bridge toll.”

“But Lyft is only $20.” He holds up his phone as proof.

“Then take Lyft,” I say.

I start to roll up my window but he has another question.

“Why are cabs so expensive?” he asks. “Don’t you guys want to be competitive with Uber and Lyft?”

“The City determines taxi rates,” I tell him. “I don’t have any control over them. Neither does my cab company.”

“Really?” he asks, genuinely surprised.

“You think we just charge more because we’re bad at business?”

He’s about to respond when another guy approaches my cab and asks if I’ll take him to the Richmond District for $10.

“You gotta be kidding me?” I laugh. “Sorry, that’s a $20 ride.”

“But an UberPool is only $7.”

“Then take Uber!” I say abruptly.

“I would,” the guy tells me. “But my phone’s dead.”

“You know what, then,” I say with a smirk. “The fare’s now $30. My cab just went into surge pricing.”

The guy scoffs while the first one laughs.

“Come on,” Mr. Richmond pleads. “None of these taxis are going anywhere anytime soon.”

“That may be true, but I still have my dignity. Why don’t you ask another cab driver?”

“I asked them all. You’re the last in line.”

“Then the price to the Richmond is now $40. My surge multiplier just went up!”

“Come on!”

“Tell me something,” I address the two of them. “Do you guys really think it’s acceptable for these companies to charge half the price of a taxi and justify it by calling it a disruptive business model? You know that’s bullshit, right? That’s not disruption. It’s predatory pricing, plain and simple. And who pays for all these cheap rides? Not you. Not Uber. Not Lyft. It’s their drivers who get screwed so you guys can get a good deal.”

“Nobody is forced to do anything,” Mr. Berkeley points out.

“Because jobs grow on job trees?” I ask. “I think most people who decide to use their own cars as taxicabs are doing so out of desperation.”

“Everyone has options,” adds Mr. Richmond.

I decide to change my approach. “Tell me, do you guys support Bernie Sanders?”

“Of course!” Mr. Berkeley declares. “Love him!”

“Bernie’s my man!” says Mr. Richmond.

“Then why are you participating in the exploitation of workers? Isn’t that something Bernie is fighting against?”

They both shrug, not seeing the connection.

“The people who drive for Uber and Lyft don’t make shit and assume all the risk involved with driving a car on the congested streets of San Francisco just to make four or five bucks off a $7 ride. You think that’s cool?”

“I’ve never heard a driver complain.”

“You hold a rating over their heads,” I say. “They’re afraid of losing their jobs.”

“But …”

“Well …”

“Look, you guys are obviously confused about what being progressive means. This new gig economy is regressive. It pushes the most vulnerable members of our society into wage slavery, where they’re paid for piecework rather than given an opportunity to secure a stable income. And what’s worse, instead of seeing their profits increase by working more, due to the constant Uber-Lyft price wars, they actually make less in the process. How can you support a system like that?”

“But if people stopped using these services,” says Mr. Berkeley, “it’ll hurt the drivers more because they won’t have a job left.”

“Yeah, less of something is better than nothing!” Mr. Richmond pipes in.

I’m about to launch into another tirade when I notice the time. It’s 3:15. I’ve already wasted over half an hour arguing with these guys. I might as well be making some money along the way.

“Guess what? My cab just turned into a TaxiPool. I’ll do $10 to the Richmond and $25 to Berkeley. But, goddamn it, you better give me decent tips. Get in and let’s go.”

I don’t even bother hitting the meter as I speed away.

Kelly Dessaint is a San Francisco taxi driver. Write to him at piltdownlad@gmail.com or visit his blog at www.idrivesf.com.

Tags: UberLyft
Categories: Labor News

Overloaded Sewol Ferry Had Cargo For Jeju Island Military Base And Gov Controlled Press Exposed " 278 tons of materials had been bound for the naval base on Jeju Island."

Current News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 17:27

Overloaded Sewol Ferry Had Cargo For Jeju Island Military Base And Gov Controlled Press Exposed " 278 tons of materials had been bound for the naval base on Jeju Island."
"During the process of planning broadcasts immediately after the Sewol sinking, the executive in question reportedly gave instructions not to criticize the coast guard, while the lawmaker is reportedly accused of having passed these instructions along to the executive and of having put pressure on him.

Sewol Commission lodges suits against lawmaker and journalist
Posted on : Jun.28,2016 17:44 KSTModified on : Jun.28,2016 17:44 KST

A family member of one student who died in the Sewol ferry sinking watches the ongoing efforts to raise the ferry, in the waters off of Jindo, South Jeolla Province. (provided by the Special Sewol Investigative Commission)
Investigative body currently resisting government’s plan to cut its budget by the end of this month
The Special Sewol Investigative Commission has decided to lodge suits with the prosecutors about a Saenuri Party lawmaker in the National Assembly and a former high-ranking executive at a broadcasting studio. The commission has also confirmed that some of the iron bars on the overloaded Sewol Ferry were bound for the naval base in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island.
On June 27, the Sewol Commission held a meeting for all members at its office in Seoul at which it voted to accuse a current Saenuri Party lawmaker identified by the letter K and a journalist identified by the letter N of violating the Broadcasting Act and to ask the prosecutors to investigate the two. Sources say that the lawmaker is a close associate of South Korean President Park Geun-hye and that the journalist is a former senior executive for a broadcasting company.
This is the first time that the Sewol Commission has lodged a complaint against someone using evidence that turned up during its own investigation.
The Sewol Commission explained that it had decided to lodge a complaint against the lawmaker and journalist after finding that they had violated Article 4, Clause 2, of the Broadcasting Act, which states that “no one shall regulate or interfere with the broadcast programming unless as prescribed by this Act or other Acts.”
During the process of planning broadcasts immediately after the Sewol sinking, the executive in question reportedly gave instructions not to criticize the coast guard, while the lawmaker is reportedly accused of having passed these instructions along to the executive and of having put pressure on him.
A document acquired by the Special Sewol Investigative Commission detailing what cargo was aboard the ferry, the highlight row is iron bars for the naval base on Jeju Island.
The motion to lodge a complaint against these two individuals was carried out with few objections, with nine of the attending members in favor and one opposed.
The Sewol Commission also announced that it had confirmed that the Sewol was carrying 2,215 tons of cargo on the day of the accident, which was 1,228 tons above the legal limit of 987 tons.
In addition, while investigators with the police and prosecutors had said that the Sewol was carrying 286 tons of iron bars, the Commission learned that there had actually been 410 tons of iron bars onboard, meaning that 124 tons had been omitted by the previous investigation.
According to a document that the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries submitted to the National Assembly on Monday, 278 tons of materials had been bound for the naval base on Jeju Island.
The Sewol Commission emphasized the need to reassess the timing and causes of the sinking by recalculating the ship’s stability based on the results of its investigation into the cargo overload.
With the Sewol Commission releasing these new findings and lodging its first complaints against people connected with the accident, the debate about the premature conclusion of the commission’s activity is expected to intensify.
During a meeting with Sewol Commission Chair Lee Seok-tae at the National Assembly on Monday, Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the Minjoo Party of Korea, repeatedly expressed his opposition to the government’s plan.
“The government means for the Sewol Commission to wrap up its activity at the end of this month, but that is a far cry from the National Assembly’s intent when it framed the law. If that is the government’s intention, the Minjoo Party of Korea will have no choice but to resist it. This is an issue on which we cannot back down,” Woo said.
Next month, the government is planning to reduce the Sewol Commission’s staff by 20%. On July 1, 12 of the 29 public servants who are currently assigned to the Sewol Commission will return to their original ministries.
By Kim Mi-young, staff reporter

Tags: Sewol Ferry sinkingJeJu Island cargo
Categories: Labor News

UK: Unions prepare for new Corbyn campaign after revolt

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Rio Police Strike, Threaten to Shut Down Brazil Olympics

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: teleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Global: The world’s losers are revolting, and Brexit is only the beginning

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Washington Post
Categories: Labor News

USA: The Case for Unions to Support a Universal Basic Income

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Atlantic
Categories: Labor News

Taiwanese airline cabin crews strike

Current News - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:48

Taiwanese airline cabin crews strike
By Ben McGrath
27 June 2016
Flight attendants from Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines (CAL) went on strike Friday over attacks on their working conditions. It was the first strike in the history of a Taiwanese airline. After just under five hours of talks between the company and the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union (TFAU), the company supposedly agreed to the workers’ demands and the walk-out was called off. Strikers were set to return to work today.
The strike was preceded on Thursday night by a protest of nearly 500 union members and supporters outside the CAL offices at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. They were joined by another 1,000 flight attendants at midnight when the industrial action officially began. The crew members chanted, “Reverse labor-capital relations” and carried signs that read, “Strike not arbitration.”
TFAU members had overwhelming voted to strike last Tuesday—2,535 flight attendants, or 96 percent of the union’s total membership, took part in the poll to authorize the action. Only nine votes were cast against the walk-out. However, the union isolated the struggle, even from other CAL workers, whose own working conditions are no less under attack. The supposed adoption of the union’s demands also will apply only to TFAU members.
Founded in 1959 as a state-owned enterprise, the government has since privatized CAL, while remaining a major shareholder.
Anger has been building among flight attendants, as well as other workers in the airline industry, for years. Recent changes by CAL, coming on top of already low pay and long working hours, led to the strike, as well as protests in May where the cabin crews denounced “enslavement contracts.”
Before the strike even began, CAL’s new chief agreed to scrap a new plan aimed at cutting official working hours. Ho Nuan-hsuan was appointed chairman of the company last Thursday by the government in a bid to quell discontent. Ho indicated he would drop a further move to enforce speedups and reduce rest time.
The airline’s plan would have changed where flight crews could report for work, from the downtown Taipei International Airport to Taoyuan International Airport, farther from the city. CAL hoped to eliminate the 80-minute commute time between locations, currently considered part of the total working hours. By doing so, the company planned to halve time for preparation and post-flight duties to 90 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. It would also have cut rest times.
In addition, the company pushed for an agreement that would have raised the number of working hours to 220 per month, more than the 174 hours allowed under the Labor Standards Law. Section 84-1 of this legislation allows certain companies, including those in aviation, to ignore this cap. CAL argued the change was necessary due to some long-haul flights, such as those to the US or Europe.
CAL has also reportedly made further concessions. The company has agreed to raise the subsidy for those working overseas from $3 an hour to $4 on July 1 and then $5 next May. Flight attendants will receive 123 off days, up from 118.
CAL’s supposed acquiescence to union demands is a maneuver to buy time while getting flights back into the air; an estimated 20,000 passengers were affected by the strike. The agreement is only preliminary and could change. “We can sign an agreement based on article 84-1, but its content has to be appropriate to our work conditions and environment,” said TFAU vice-president Betty Hung, indicating that concessions to the airline were still on the table.
The TFAU is attempting to portray itself as a radical workers’ organization, saying in a statement it would “become the vanguard of workers in this battle, and tell capitalists and the state that Taiwan must say goodbye to the era of overwork and long hours.” Rather than appealing to workers throughout Taiwan, let alone internationally, the TFAU said it was trying to “wake up” the government stockholders.
Any agreement reached between the company and TFAU will only apply to its members. The majority of CAL’s workers, however, belong to the pro-company Employees Union (CAEU), whose head Ko Tso-liang, denounced the flight attendants for voting to strike. He compared them to “children,” saying they had “battered the company’s reputation and its sustainable development” as well as “affected the livelihoods of the firm’s employees.” TFAU was founded last September after flight attendants got into a dispute with the CAEU.
Other CAL unions include the China Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Labor Union, which had verbally expressed support for the TFAU, but did not join the strike, despite claiming at the end of May it would. The airline is planning to create a subsidiary called Taiwan Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Company to service newer planes in their fleet while also hiring more dispatch workers at hourly rates. The existing CAL workers would continue to service older planes, raising fears of job cuts when those models are retired.
Regardless of how “militant” a union may present itself, these organizations are incapable of a genuine defense of workers’ rights and interests. In conditions of increasingly cut-throat struggles in the global airline industry, the unions invariably side with “their” employers to slash pay and conditions and suppress opposition, so as to try to ensure the “international competitiveness” of the national companies.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s new president, has postured as a friend of the flight attendants, to deflect widespread anger toward social conditions in general, which her administration is incapable of addressing. Tsai, who was sworn in on May 20, currently has an approval rating of 52.4 percent, considered low for a new president. She claimed to respect and defend the right to strike, but her government will defend the interests of the Taiwanese bourgeoisie no less ruthlessly than her predecessors.

Tags: China Airlines (CAL) Flight Attendants Strike
Categories: Labor News

Delta Airlines pilots hold protest over stalled contract talks

Current News - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 20:08

Delta Airlines pilots hold protest over stalled contract talks
By Shannon Jones
25 June 2016
Delta Airline pilots conducted informational picketing Friday at eight airports around the United States to protest stalled contract negotiations. Pilots picketed at eight airports where Delta has major operations, including Minneapolis, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Under conditions in which the airline is enjoying booming profits, the pilots are seeking to recoup massive concessions surrendered during Delta’s 2005 bankruptcy, which included average pay cuts in excess of 40 percent. Delta recorded pre-tax income of $1.56 billion in the first quarter of 2016, triple the amount for the same period last year. It made $4.5 billion in 2015.
The pilots’ contract became amendable December 31, 2015, but contract talks began 10 months earlier. The pilots are seeking a 40 percent compounded pay increase while maintaining their current level of profit sharing Starting pilots at Delta earn some $68,000 a year according to one report. That is less, not counting profit sharing, than pilots at United Continental and American, as well as at cargo shippers Fedex and United Parcel Service.

Delta pilots picket at Detroit Metro Airport
Delta and the Air Line Pilots Association have been meeting with the US National Mediation Board since March. Under terms of the Railway Labor Act, pilots are barred from striking without first navigating a maze of legal obstacles, and Delta pilots are only at the beginning of the process.
Pilots rejected an ALPA-recommended tentative agreement in July 2015 by a 65 percent margin, with about 85 percent of Delta’s 12,800 pilots voting. The proposal would have reduced profit sharing and imposed a new, draconian, sick leave policy as well as work-rule changes. It provided for an inadequate wage increase of an immediate 8 percent followed by 6 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent over the next three years.
Following the rejection vote, the ALPA master executive chairman, Captain Mike Donatelli, submitted his resignation. He was replaced by Captain John Malone, a Delta pilot based in Atlanta.
At Detroit Metro Airport, police forced protesting pilots to picket behind metal barricades away from the front entrance to the Delta terminal. About 1,500 Delta pilots are based in Detroit, a regional hub. “Delta Airlines is now the most profitable airline in the history of the industry,” said Captain Mark McClain, a 33-year veteran Delta pilot and an ALPA spokesman in Detroit.
“What we want is a restoration of concessions that recognizes our contribution.
“This job requires a university degree and an FAA rating, which takes an additional two years. Most of the pilots here have eight to 10 years previous experience before they are hired by Delta.”
Asked about the proposal pilots rejected in 2015, McClain replied, “The proposal last year reduced profit sharing. It basically took money out of one pocket and put it in another. We were funding our own pay raises. When a contract is voted down 65-35 percent there is a disconnect.”
“The market rate for pilots has risen,” he said referring to the current shortage of experienced pilots. “We are looking for a contract that recognizes our contribution.”
Captain Tim Hooey, a pilot with 28 years in the cockpit and also an ALPA representative, added, “We are substantially below our other peers right now. We are 40 percent below what we were in 2004. A recent FEC filing showed that Delta was paying big dividends and handing big raises to management, but pilots have gotten no rewards.”
Currently there are tens of thousands of airline workers facing contract expirations or working without a contract. This includes pilots at Southwest Air and United Parcel Service. Pilots at Fedex recently concluded contract negotiations.
In February, 9,000 mechanics and maintenance workers at United Continental Holdings voted to reject a sellout contract negotiated by the Teamsters by a 93 percent margin. The contract would have provided a 25 percent wage increase, but this would have been offset by a raft of concessions including the creation of a new “B” scale for new hires, who would have earned drastically less than veterans. It also imposed higher medical costs. Continental pilots are currently working under a two-year contract extension.

Marching Delta pilots at Detroit Metro Airport
Meanwhile, United Continental announced Friday it was close to a tentative agreement with 25,000 flight attendants over terms of a new contract after three years of negotiations. It would be the first joint contract agreement since United and Continental merged in 2010.
The vote by United Continental mechanics followed a contract rejection vote by Southwest Airline pilots last November. Southwest Airline flight attendants rejected a contract proposal last July that included a 3 percent pay increase along with significant concessions in work rules.
Over the past several decades there has been a continuing assault on airline workers, including massive wage cuts and the destruction of pensions and working conditions aided and abetted by the unions. This has continued even as airline profits rebounded, in part because of the plunging price of oil, from which jet fuel is extracted. The year 2015 was the most profitable for the airline industry since the start of deregulation in 1978.
Pilots internationally continue to resist the relentless pressure by the airlines for further cost cutting. Air France workers threatened a four-day strike this week over changes to work rules, before management suspended its cost cutting plan.
EasyJet pilots based in Amsterdam struck Friday over sick pay, rest time and pensions. They are currently working under personal contracts, but demand a collective bargaining agreement. And earlier this month Scandinavian Airlines pilots struck over a wage increase.
The United States appears to be at the beginning of an airline pilot shortage, as airlines expand operations and a wave of retirements is expected as pilots reach the mandatory retirement age of 65. Entry to the profession is difficult. It requires rigorous training and numerous certifications. Meeting the 250-hour minimum flight time requirement can take at least six months and cost up to $100,000, which most pilots are forced to pay out of pocket. New federal regulations impose even more stringent requirements.
The military, which previously provided a large portion of airline pilots, now accounts for only about 30 percent of new airline pilots. This pool is likely to shrink as the military offers incentives for pilots to stay in the service longer.

Tags: Delta pilots
Categories: Labor News

Murder by Drone: Obama US Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom

Current News - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 19:59

Murder by Drone: Obama US Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
JUNE 24, 2016
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom

“President Barack Obama has defended the use of drones in a ‘just war’ of self-defence against deadly militants and a campaign that had made America safer. In a wide-ranging speech on a programme shrouded in secrecy he said there must be ‘near certainty’ that no civilians would die in such strikes.”

— BBC News May 23, 2013.

The prospect of Hillary Clinton being President of the United States of America is one to fill our minds with dread concerning the likely posture of Washington in foreign affairs should she ever attain the Oval Office. There is no doubt she would continue or even increase the intensity of Washington’s military confrontations with China and Russia — and enjoy smacking the wrists of smaller countries whose actions might displease her. Indeed her castigation might go further, even to the extent of rejoicing in the murder of national leaders such as President Gaddafi of Libya, about whom she laughed “We came. We saw. He died.”

Who might be next, with Hillary at the helm?

Under her reign the US military presence around the world would be maintained or expanded — but no matter who is in the White House, the hundreds of military bases surrounding China and Russia will continue operations and the US nuclear-armed fleets that roam the seas and oceans will maintain their aggressive posture.

Drone assassinations will also continue and more innocent people like that poor taxi driver in Pakistan will be killed by US Hellfire missiles guided by gleeful techno-cretins who move control sticks and prod buttons while playing barbaric video games from their comfortable killing couches in drone-control bases.

That taxi driver?

To remind you: on May 21 a taxi driver called Mohammad Azam was earning his tiny daily wage by picking up passengers who crossed the Iranian border into Pakistan. Sometimes he would take them only to nearby villages, but that day he picked up a client who wanted to go to the city of Quetta, eight hours drive away. He drove off in his Toyota Corolla, and a few hours later, when he stopped for a rest, Obama’s Hellfires struck and blasted the car to twisted shards of metal — and reduced Azam and his customer to smoking corpses.

Another case of “We came. We saw. He died.”

Azam’s passenger was the evil Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, travelling under a false name. His sought-for anonymity didn’t do him much good, because he had been traced and tracked, and while he was in Iran or when he was going through border crossing examination on the Pakistan side it’s likely that a US-paid agent planted a chip on him or in his baggage that signaled his whereabouts to the drone-controlling video-gamers.

Azam the taxi-driver didn’t know Mullah Mansour and was not associated with the Taliban or any such organization. He was an entirely innocent man trying to earn enough money to feed his family — his wife, four small children and a crippled brother who stayed with them.

But Azam was killed by the same US Hellfire missiles that killed Mullah Mansoor.

The Pentagon stated that “Mansur has been an obstacle to peace and reconciliation between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, prohibiting Taliban leaders from participating in peace talks with the Afghan government that could lead to an end to the conflict.” So they killed him. And without the slightest hesitation they also killed the taxi driver Mohammad Azam.

If a person in a foreign country that can’t retaliate to drone strikes is considered an enemy of the United States there is no question of arrest, charge and trial. When it can be done they are killed by drone missile strikes, personally authorized by President Obama who stressed that there must be “near certainty that non-combatants will not be injured or killed,” and that “the United States respects national sovereignty and international law.”

But the US president ordered the assassination of two people in a country whose prime minister said that the US drone attack was a gross violation of national sovereignty. And although the White House and the Pentagon might — just might — be able to convince a War Crimes Tribunal that their killing of Mullah Mansur was in some fashion reasonable, how could they possibly claim that their murder of the taxi driver Azam was justified? When did it become “respectful of international law” to deliberately slaughter a taxi driver?

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, declared that Mansoor’s obliteration “sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners as they work to build a more stable, united, secure and prosperous Afghanistan.” Which was no doubt solace to Azam’s widow and her two little boys and two little girls when his hideously charred fragmented corpse arrived next day.

People like Obama and Kerry and Clinton and countless millions of others simply don’t care about the smashing, flashing, hideously agonizing death of the innocent taxi driver Azam.

The US President’s professional video-gamers had killed yet another totally innocent non-combatant, but no doubt they all slept soundly on the night that Azam’s children began to realize their terrible loss.

Three weeks after the drone murder of taxi driver Azam there was a massacre of 49 people in the US city of Orlando. It was horrible. Much of the world was aghast, and there was emotion displayed in Europe and North America, with candle-lit vigils, solemn silences of respect in parliaments and other demonstrations of sympathy and solidarity. And when a British female Member of Parliament was killed by a lunatic on June 16 there was an amazing outpouring of grief in the country. Her husband said after her murder that “the two things that I’ve been very focused on is how do we support and protect the children.”

Quite right. And understandable and most admirable.

But who is going to support and protect the children of the US drone-killed taxi driver Azam?

The slaughter of innocent human beings is an everyday occurrence in Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan, where countless thousands have died — without a single western candle being lit in sorrowful commemoration of any Iraqis, Libyans or Afghans who have died in the savage chaos caused by the catastrophic military fandangos in their countries by US-led western powers.

Western countries are highly selective in displaying disapproval and grief following killings, be they mass or individual, and it could hardly be expected that the US assassination of a Pakistani taxi driver would attract the slightest sympathy or censure.

The murder-by drone of taxi driver Azam by the Pentagon’s video-gamers could be summed up by Hillary Clinton’s happy rejoicingabout the murder of President Gaddafi during the US-NATO blitz on Libya, when she laughingly declared that “We came. We saw. He died.”

And thinking about the future . . . Would you be surprised if in twenty years or so one of the children of taxi driver Azam were to take up a gun and kill Americans?

A version of this piece appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on June 19.

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Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

More articles by:BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

Tags: US Obama Murder Of Taxi Drivers
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: Over 20,000 tea pickers in Kericho on hunger strike over salary dispute

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News

UK RMT Transport union reiterates "Vote Leave" message on eve of EU referendum.

Current News - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:31

UK RMT Transport union reiterates "Vote Leave" message on eve of EU referendum.
22 June 2016
RMT Press Office:

Transport union reiterates "Vote Leave" message on eve of EU referendum.

One of Britain's most powerful unions today urged its members and trade unionists to vote for "hope not fear" in the EU referendum and support a leave vote.

In an email to union members, RMT leader Mick Cash voted urged union members and their families to :

"….ignore the scare mongering of recent weeks and vote for hope over fear."

In the letter RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says:

" Millions of trade unionists and working people will be voting leave because they want the hope of a better future at work and at home."

"Hope that we can be free to develop our industries and public services free, from EU driven privatisation and deregulation.

"Hope that we can be free to pursue policies that promote jobs and prosperity, free from EU driven austerity.

"Hope for fair employment where all workers get the proper rate for the job, free from undercutting and a EU race to the bottom.

"Hope that we can take back democracy so we can make laws that benefit our communities not corporations - and be free from laws and corporate carve ups that we have never voted for such as TTIP."

"Hope for a better world and true international solidarity beyond fortress Europe."

Tags: RMTEUprivatization
Categories: Labor News

Greek dockers fight privatisation and sale of ports to Chinese capitalists COSCO

Current News - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 17:29

Greek dockers fight privatisation and sale of ports to Chinese capitalists COSCO
Greek dockers fight privatisation
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Greek dockers fight privatisation
Greek dockworkers marching against privatisation and drastic changes in labour conditions
DOCKWORKERS of the two main Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki have completed one month of strike action against privatisation and consequent dramatic change in labour conditions.

Next week the SYRIZA-ANEL Greek coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to verify in the Vouli (Greek parliament) the selling off of the Piraeus port, the biggest in the eastern Mediterranean, to the Chinese state company COSCO which already owns two docks in the commercial port.

Last Thursday, hundreds of dockworkers marched under a scorching sun through the Piraeus port to the Ministry for Naval Affairs.

They shouted slogans against Tsipras and the Naval Affairs Minister Thodoris Dritsas. Both fly off to China next week. Yiorghos Yeorgakopoulos, the President of the OMYLE federation of dockers and port workers, said that the government work hand-in-hand with COSCO and big business to sell off everything. He insisted on building up the union to prepare for the great battles ahead.

Last Monday, the Piraeus Port Workers trade union leaders broke ranks and became strike-breakers as they accepted government assurances over labour conditions. In the port of Piraeus, there are still over 1,000 refugees who live in appalling conditions in tents with nowhere to go.

In the refugee camps on the Greek island of Khios and Lesbos there is a continuous tension and fights as refugees demand their freedom. A 32-year-old Egyptian refugee was stabbed to death on Thursday morning inside the Souda refugee camp on Khios. Authorities said that he was killed in a fight.

Tags: Greek Dockworkers Strikeprivatizationunion busting
Categories: Labor News

NJ Transit, unions preparing for strike

Current News - Sat, 06/25/2016 - 09:10

NJ Transit, unions preparing for strike
JUNE 24, 2016, 6:33 PM LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016, 9:45 AM
NJ Transit, unions preparing for strike

Commuters board a Hoboken-bound NJ Transit train in Rutherford on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

Leaders of NJ Transit’s two largest rail unions did not respond to an offer to continue contract negotiations before a Friday afternoon deadline, moving the two sides closer to a strike or lockout next week that could disrupt commutes for tens of thousands of New Jersey residents.

As a result, NJ Transit will announce its plans for a possible strike on Monday, said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the agency.

“Although the unions and NJ Transit have been in contact many times over the last few days, their bargaining remains unresolved,” Snyder said. “NJ Transit is committed to ensuring that customers suffer the least inconvenience possible as a result of these unions’ inflexibility.”

Related: NJ Transit gives rail unions deadline to agree to new negotiations

Steve Burkert, general chairman of United Transportation Union Local 60, and David Decker, general chairman NJ Transit Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment. But in a statement posted on the union’s website on Wednesday, Burkert appeared inclined to reject any offer of extended talks. Instead, Burkert indicated a desire to either agree to a new contract by June 30, or strike.

“Members, we DO NOT have a Temporary Agreement as of today,” Burkert said. “I, HAVE NOT AGREED, at this point to extending the cooling off period as has been mentioned in the news media. I am ready to sit and negotiate a new temporary agreement whenever the Carrier is ready to talk. The cooling off period ends on June 30th, 2016, next Thursday.”

Two weeks ago the National Mediation Board asked NJ Transit and its two largest unions of rail employees to meet for more contract talks, which already have lasted more than five years. NJ Transit accepted the offer, but only if the unions also accepted before 5 p.m. Friday, according to a letter from Gary Dellaverson, NJ Transit’s special labor counsel, which was obtained by The Record.

The unions never responded, Snyder said. The two sides are currently in a “cooling off” period, as defined by the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, which means the unions may not strike and NJ Transit, the carrier, may not bar workers from its properties. The period ends June 30, at which point either side is free to escalate the dispute with a work stoppage

With no answer in hand, NJ Transit “must begin executing its plans for operations in the event of a strike,” according to Dellaverson’s letter.

Together the two unions represent about 1,600 conductors and engineers, nearly 40 percent of the agency’s train workforce. The other nine unions have ratified a new contract, which was announced by Governor Christie in March. The holdouts are pushing to keep their existing health insurance plan, obtain five years’ worth of back pay in one lump sum instead of two, and to win a larger salary increase on par with a contract won in 2014 by similar workers on the Long Island Railroad.

Email: maag@northjersey.com

Tags: NJ Transitrail strike
Categories: Labor News

United clinches long-sought deal with CWA AFA flight attendants union

Current News - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 19:42

United clinches long-sought deal with flight attendants union
Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:33am EDTRelated: U.S., AEROSPACE & DEFENSE
United clinches long-sought deal with flight attendants union

Customers of United wait in line to check in at Newark International airport in New Jersey, November 15, 2012.
United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) has reached a deal for the first labor contract in its history that covers all flight attendants at the company, their union and the airline said on Friday, a breakthrough after workers' protests and years of talks.

The deal with union negotiators requires the approval of leaders of United's unit of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA before it formally becomes a "tentative agreement." They are scheduled to meet next week.

The contract, whose terms were not disclosed, will then go to about 25,000 in-flight crew members for a final vote.

Ratification would mark a victory for new Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz, who has sought new contracts and harmony with workers for the No. 3 U.S. airline by passenger traffic.

A contract also would be an important step toward integrating United and Continental and reducing flight cancellations.

Since the airlines merged in 2010, their crews have continued to staff separate flights. That means when a flight is at risk of being canceled because it is short-staffed, United cannot bring in reserve employees from pre-merger Continental if it is on a pre-merger United aircraft.

A ratified contract would remove "artificial barriers holding back United" from functioning well during incidents like winter storms that ground planes, said Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel consultancy Atmosphere Research Group.

United's previous management struggled to propose terms that the two flight attendant groups, which have different work rules and cultures, found palatable.

Furloughs by the airline after the merger drew workers' ire. That began to end in 2014, when United offered voluntary buyouts that more than 2,500 employees accepted.

The union entered U.S. federal mediation with United in November. It has regularly staged protests at company meetings, underscoring the strained relations the airline has with a group that represents its face to fliers.

Munoz's appointment in September created an opening, however. In his early weeks on the job, he met with workers and said people were his priority. That changed tone has won over many at the company, to the point where Munoz has described a "new spirit" at United.

"It's been a long journey," Munoz said in a news release. "Today's agreement honors the invaluable role that our flight attendants contribute to United's success."

The company recently secured deals for pilots, gate agents and baggage handlers. Mechanics still lack a single contract for the combined airline.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Lisa Von Ahn)

Categories: Labor News

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