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Hong Kong: A new era for the democratic mvt begins in Hong Kong

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: HKCTU
Categories: Labor News

HOS Restart Rule Reverts to Pre-July 2013 Status; Questions and Answers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 06:58
Transport TopicsDecember 17, 2014

Questions and answers on the impact of the suspension of the HOS restart provision approved by Congress (as supplied by American Trucking Associations): 

On Dec. 13, Congress passed the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, providing funding for the vast majority of the federal government, including the Department of Transportation, for the current fiscal year. The President signed the bill into law Dec. 16. Officially titled the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, the bill is over 1,700 pages long and has a host of detailed spending and policy-related provisions affecting many industries. 

The most important trucking-related provision is language that provides relief from the two new restrictions of the hours-of-service restart rule. Specifically, the legislation suspends the requirement that all qualifying restarts contain two consecutive periods of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and that it can only be used once every 168 hours (or seven days). In other words, the restart rule reverts back to the simple 34-hour restart in effect from 2003 to June 2013.

Below are some frequently asked questions to help understand the impact of this action.

1. What does the Congressional language actually say, and what does it mean?

The legislation says:

“Section 133 temporarily suspends enforcement of the hours-of-service regulation related to the restart provisions that went into effect on July 1, 2013 and directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July 1, 2013. The Inspector General is directed to review the study plan and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations whether it meets the requirements under this provision."

Essentially, this law eliminates, temporarily, the two new restrictions on the use of the 34-hour restart, namely the 1-5 a.m. provision and the 168-hour rule. Drivers will be permitted to restart their weekly hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty, regardless of whether or not it includes two periods of time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. A driver can also utilize the restart more than one time per week if necessary.

2. When is the new 34-hour restart effective?

The 34-hour restart rule reverted to its pre-July 1, 2013 version on Dec. 16 when the President signed the bill into law. 

3. How long will this change last?

Because the language resides in an annual spending bill, its terms expire at the end of FY2015, which is Sept. 30, 2015.  It’s important to note that the legislation also directs the Department of Transportation to conduct a study comparing the effectiveness of the 34-hour restart rules in place before July 1, 2013 with those that took effect after. During 2015, ATA will continue to pursue strategies in an effort to keep the simple 34-hour restart rule in place for a longer period of time.

4. Does the legislation include any other changes to the hours-of-service rules?

No, all other hours-of-service rules, including the 30-minute rest break provision, remain unchanged and must be complied with.

5. If our trucks have ELDs, will we be able to use the simple 34-hour restart immediately?

Carriers are encouraged to work with their ELD suppliers to determine what software updates are necessary to comply with this legislatively directed rule change. A short transition period may be necessary, and ATA encourages fleets to be patient as ELD suppliers will need some time to write and deploy the software updates.

6. Will enforcement officials know about this change?

Soon after the law is signed, ATA fully expects the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to issue enforcement memos describing the changes and their impact to law enforcement personnel. The enforcement memos/guidance will be distributed by ATA to its members as they become available. Motor carriers may experience minor disruptions at roadside as law enforcement adapt to the changes. If a driver experiences a problem at roadside, you should contact head of the commercial vehicle safety program in that state’s lead MCSAP agency.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ILWU recesses caucus, awaits PMA response to contract proposal

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 23:33

ILWU recesses caucus, awaits PMA response to contract proposal
http://www.joc.com/port-news/longshoreman-labor/international-longshore-... union/ilwu-recesses-caucus-awaits-pma-response-contract-proposal_20141216.html
Published on JOC.com (http://www.joc.com)
JOC › Port News › Longshoreman Labor › International Longshore and Warehouse Union

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Dec 16, 2014 7:02PM EST

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union today recessed the caucus that it opened on Monday as the union awaited a response from the Pacific Maritime Association on its latest contract proposal.

Last Thursday, the PMA presented a new contract offer to the ILWU. Union negotiators reviewed the proposal over the weekend, and on Monday returned it to the PMA with the ILWU’s comments. That is where the negotiations stood today.

PMA spokesman Steve Getzug said employers continued to review the document, and they expect to meet again with the ILWU later this week. No date was given.

ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said the union caucus completed its work for now, and the approximately 90 representatives were returning home today to their home ports. The caucus can be reconvened on short notice, he said.

When the ILWU negotiating team receives an offer that it deems acceptable, the caucus will reconvene. If the caucus approves the document, the tentative contract will be presented to the general membership for a vote. The voting process can take several weeks.

PMA said the ILWU work slowdowns that began in late October, and the union’s refusal to dispatch sufficient skilled operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach, continue to harm productivity at U.S.West Coast ports.

However, the Marine Exchange of Southern California today reported that there were two container ships at anchor. That was two fewer than on Monday, and the lowest count in recent weeks, which could indicate that container volumes have dropped off considerably now during this slack end-of-the year period.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo

Tags: ILUW Coast Caucus
Categories: Labor News

Hong Kong: Free arrested Hong Kong union leaders

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Palestine: Gaza civil servants stage general strike

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: World Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:42

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/us-usa-ports-westcoast-idUSKBN...
BY STEVE GORMAN
LOS ANGELES Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:35pm EST
(Reuters) - The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.

However, neither side has ventured to say how much longer it might take to reach a settlement, and both parties continued to abide by a news blackout on the details of their talks and the issues that divide them.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines at the ports, opened their talks in May and mutually agreed to keep negotiating after their old contract expired June 30.

The parties said in August they had reached a tentative deal on healthcare benefits, "but apart from that everything else remains on the table," association spokesman Steve Getzug said.

Since resuming talks after a hiatus in November, negotiators have met on a fairly regular basis, they said.

"Both sides are working hard, and every day they get a little more done, and every day they get closer to a settlement," union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

"Any time you're meeting and talking, that's progress," Getzug said.

Ninety union delegates from all 29 ports were expected to review the status of talks when they convened on Monday in San Francisco for a caucus, Merrilees said, adding that the session may be adjourned early to allow negotiations to resume.

DELAYS AND DIVERSIONS

Management sees an eventual settlement as key to easing severe cargo delays that began in mid-October at several container ports that account for nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent of imports from Asia.

The congestion has been most pronounced at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest shipping hubs, which together handle 43 percent of all container cargo entering the United States.

The number of freighters stuck waiting at anchor for berths to open in Los Angeles and Long Beach has ranged from about a half dozen to 18 on any given day since backups began. Seven ships were waiting at anchor on Monday, down from 13 on Friday, port officials said.

Management has accused the union of orchestrating some slowdowns to bolster leverage at the bargaining table. Union officials deny organizing delays but acknowledge some dockworkers may be acting on their own out of frustration over the pace of contract talks.

They point to other factors that port officials cite as the main causes of gridlock. Chief among them is a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo from the ports to warehouses, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to third-party equipment-leasing companies.

Union and port officials also point to record import levels, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes all at once.

The port slowdowns, coming just after the peak holiday shipping season, have nevertheless rippled through the commercial supply chain, with prolonged days in the delivery of goods ranging from apparel to apples and grain.

Cargo that normally takes two to three days to clear the ports now faces lag times of up to two weeks, and shipments of some goods, such as coffee, are being diverted from the West Coast to other ports, like Houston.

Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said congestion was starting to ease and that the backlog hopefully will be cleared before the next heavy cargo season in February.

Insisting that labor tensions are distracting from efforts to ease the cargo crunch and could lead to a worsening situation, the National Retail Federation has urged the White House to appoint a federal mediator to help settle the talks.

The union has opposed mediation, Merrilees said, because the two sides are still making headway. Getzug said management was open to the idea.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Eric Beech)

Tags: ILWU Coast Contractlabor tensions
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:42

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/us-usa-ports-westcoast-idUSKBN...
BY STEVE GORMAN
LOS ANGELES Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:35pm EST
(Reuters) - The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.

However, neither side has ventured to say how much longer it might take to reach a settlement, and both parties continued to abide by a news blackout on the details of their talks and the issues that divide them.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines at the ports, opened their talks in May and mutually agreed to keep negotiating after their old contract expired June 30.

The parties said in August they had reached a tentative deal on healthcare benefits, "but apart from that everything else remains on the table," association spokesman Steve Getzug said.

Since resuming talks after a hiatus in November, negotiators have met on a fairly regular basis, they said.

"Both sides are working hard, and every day they get a little more done, and every day they get closer to a settlement," union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

"Any time you're meeting and talking, that's progress," Getzug said.

Ninety union delegates from all 29 ports were expected to review the status of talks when they convened on Monday in San Francisco for a caucus, Merrilees said, adding that the session may be adjourned early to allow negotiations to resume.

DELAYS AND DIVERSIONS

Management sees an eventual settlement as key to easing severe cargo delays that began in mid-October at several container ports that account for nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent of imports from Asia.

The congestion has been most pronounced at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest shipping hubs, which together handle 43 percent of all container cargo entering the United States.

The number of freighters stuck waiting at anchor for berths to open in Los Angeles and Long Beach has ranged from about a half dozen to 18 on any given day since backups began. Seven ships were waiting at anchor on Monday, down from 13 on Friday, port officials said.

Management has accused the union of orchestrating some slowdowns to bolster leverage at the bargaining table. Union officials deny organizing delays but acknowledge some dockworkers may be acting on their own out of frustration over the pace of contract talks.

They point to other factors that port officials cite as the main causes of gridlock. Chief among them is a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo from the ports to warehouses, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to third-party equipment-leasing companies.

Union and port officials also point to record import levels, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes all at once.

The port slowdowns, coming just after the peak holiday shipping season, have nevertheless rippled through the commercial supply chain, with prolonged days in the delivery of goods ranging from apparel to apples and grain.

Cargo that normally takes two to three days to clear the ports now faces lag times of up to two weeks, and shipments of some goods, such as coffee, are being diverted from the West Coast to other ports, like Houston.

Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said congestion was starting to ease and that the backlog hopefully will be cleared before the next heavy cargo season in February.

Insisting that labor tensions are distracting from efforts to ease the cargo crunch and could lead to a worsening situation, the National Retail Federation has urged the White House to appoint a federal mediator to help settle the talks.

The union has opposed mediation, Merrilees said, because the two sides are still making headway. Getzug said management was open to the idea.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Eric Beech)

Tags: ILWU Coast Contractlabor tensions
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:42

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/us-usa-ports-westcoast-idUSKBN...
BY STEVE GORMAN
LOS ANGELES Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:35pm EST
(Reuters) - The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.

However, neither side has ventured to say how much longer it might take to reach a settlement, and both parties continued to abide by a news blackout on the details of their talks and the issues that divide them.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines at the ports, opened their talks in May and mutually agreed to keep negotiating after their old contract expired June 30.

The parties said in August they had reached a tentative deal on healthcare benefits, "but apart from that everything else remains on the table," association spokesman Steve Getzug said.

Since resuming talks after a hiatus in November, negotiators have met on a fairly regular basis, they said.

"Both sides are working hard, and every day they get a little more done, and every day they get closer to a settlement," union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

"Any time you're meeting and talking, that's progress," Getzug said.

Ninety union delegates from all 29 ports were expected to review the status of talks when they convened on Monday in San Francisco for a caucus, Merrilees said, adding that the session may be adjourned early to allow negotiations to resume.

DELAYS AND DIVERSIONS

Management sees an eventual settlement as key to easing severe cargo delays that began in mid-October at several container ports that account for nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent of imports from Asia.

The congestion has been most pronounced at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest shipping hubs, which together handle 43 percent of all container cargo entering the United States.

The number of freighters stuck waiting at anchor for berths to open in Los Angeles and Long Beach has ranged from about a half dozen to 18 on any given day since backups began. Seven ships were waiting at anchor on Monday, down from 13 on Friday, port officials said.

Management has accused the union of orchestrating some slowdowns to bolster leverage at the bargaining table. Union officials deny organizing delays but acknowledge some dockworkers may be acting on their own out of frustration over the pace of contract talks.

They point to other factors that port officials cite as the main causes of gridlock. Chief among them is a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo from the ports to warehouses, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to third-party equipment-leasing companies.

Union and port officials also point to record import levels, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes all at once.

The port slowdowns, coming just after the peak holiday shipping season, have nevertheless rippled through the commercial supply chain, with prolonged days in the delivery of goods ranging from apparel to apples and grain.

Cargo that normally takes two to three days to clear the ports now faces lag times of up to two weeks, and shipments of some goods, such as coffee, are being diverted from the West Coast to other ports, like Houston.

Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said congestion was starting to ease and that the backlog hopefully will be cleared before the next heavy cargo season in February.

Insisting that labor tensions are distracting from efforts to ease the cargo crunch and could lead to a worsening situation, the National Retail Federation has urged the White House to appoint a federal mediator to help settle the talks.

The union has opposed mediation, Merrilees said, because the two sides are still making headway. Getzug said management was open to the idea.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Eric Beech)

Tags: ILWU Coast Contractlabor tensions
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:42

ILWU Longshore union, shippers see slow progress in U.S. West Coast port talks
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/15/us-usa-ports-westcoast-idUSKBN...
BY STEVE GORMAN
LOS ANGELES Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:35pm EST
(Reuters) - The union for 20,000 dockworkers and a group of their employers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports say they are making slow but steady progress in months-long contract talks seen by the shipping industry as a contributing factor in chronic cargo backups.

However, neither side has ventured to say how much longer it might take to reach a settlement, and both parties continued to abide by a news blackout on the details of their talks and the issues that divide them.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, representing terminal operators and shipping lines at the ports, opened their talks in May and mutually agreed to keep negotiating after their old contract expired June 30.

The parties said in August they had reached a tentative deal on healthcare benefits, "but apart from that everything else remains on the table," association spokesman Steve Getzug said.

Since resuming talks after a hiatus in November, negotiators have met on a fairly regular basis, they said.

"Both sides are working hard, and every day they get a little more done, and every day they get closer to a settlement," union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

"Any time you're meeting and talking, that's progress," Getzug said.

Ninety union delegates from all 29 ports were expected to review the status of talks when they convened on Monday in San Francisco for a caucus, Merrilees said, adding that the session may be adjourned early to allow negotiations to resume.

DELAYS AND DIVERSIONS

Management sees an eventual settlement as key to easing severe cargo delays that began in mid-October at several container ports that account for nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent of imports from Asia.

The congestion has been most pronounced at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two busiest shipping hubs, which together handle 43 percent of all container cargo entering the United States.

The number of freighters stuck waiting at anchor for berths to open in Los Angeles and Long Beach has ranged from about a half dozen to 18 on any given day since backups began. Seven ships were waiting at anchor on Monday, down from 13 on Friday, port officials said.

Management has accused the union of orchestrating some slowdowns to bolster leverage at the bargaining table. Union officials deny organizing delays but acknowledge some dockworkers may be acting on their own out of frustration over the pace of contract talks.

They point to other factors that port officials cite as the main causes of gridlock. Chief among them is a shortage of tractor-trailer chassis used for hauling cargo from the ports to warehouses, a situation created when shippers decided to sell off their chassis to third-party equipment-leasing companies.

Union and port officials also point to record import levels, rail service delays and the advent of super-sized container vessels delivering greater cargo volumes all at once.

The port slowdowns, coming just after the peak holiday shipping season, have nevertheless rippled through the commercial supply chain, with prolonged days in the delivery of goods ranging from apparel to apples and grain.

Cargo that normally takes two to three days to clear the ports now faces lag times of up to two weeks, and shipments of some goods, such as coffee, are being diverted from the West Coast to other ports, like Houston.

Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said congestion was starting to ease and that the backlog hopefully will be cleared before the next heavy cargo season in February.

Insisting that labor tensions are distracting from efforts to ease the cargo crunch and could lead to a worsening situation, the National Retail Federation has urged the White House to appoint a federal mediator to help settle the talks.

The union has opposed mediation, Merrilees said, because the two sides are still making headway. Getzug said management was open to the idea.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Eric Beech)

Tags: ILWU Coast Contractlabor tensions
Categories: Labor News

Threatening America Oil Trains: Unsafe (and Unnecessary) at Any Speed

Current News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 09:41

Threatening America
Oil Trains: Unsafe (and Unnecessary) at Any Speed
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/16/oil-trains-unsafe-and-unnecessary...
DECEMBER 16, 2014

Threatening America
Oil Trains: Unsafe (and Unnecessary) at Any Speed
by RALPH NADER
Back in 1991 the National Transportation Safety Board first identified oil trains as unsafe — the tank cars, specifically ones called DOT-111s, were too thin and punctured too easily, making transport of flammable liquids like oil unreasonably dangerous. As bad as this might sound, at the very least there was not a lot of oil being carried on the rails in 1991.

Now, in the midst of a North American oil boom, oil companies are using fracking and tar sands mining to produce crude in remote areas of the U.S. and Canada. To get the crude to refineries on the coasts the oil industry is ramping up transport by oil trains. In 2008, 9,500 crude oil tank cars moved on US rails. In 2013 the number was more than 400,000! With this rapid growth comes a looming threat to public safety and the environment. No one — not federal regulators or local firefighters — are prepared for oil train derailments, spills and explosions.

Unfortunately, the rapid increase in oil trains has already meant many more oil train disasters. Railroads spilled more oil in 2013 than in the previous 40 years combined.

Trains are the most efficient way to move freight and people. This is why train tracks run through our cities and towns. Our rail system was never designed to move hazardous materials, however; if it was, train tracks would not run next to schools and under football stadiums.

Last summer, environmental watchdog group ForestEthics released a map of North America that shows probable oil train routes. Using Google, anyone can check to see if their home or office is near an oil train route. (Try it out here.)

ForestEthics used census data to calculate that more than 25 millionAmericans live in the oil train blast zone (that being the one-mile evacuation area in the case of a derailment and fire.) This is clearly a risk not worth taking — oil trains are the Pintos of the rails. Most of these trains are a mile long, pulling 100-plus tank cars carrying more than 3 million gallons of explosive crude. Two-thirds of the tank cars used to carry crude oil today were considered a “substantial danger to life, property, and the environment” by federal rail safety officials back in 1991.

The remaining one-third of the tank cars are not much better — these more “modern” cars are tested at 14 to 15 mph, but the average derailment speed for heavy freight trains is 24 mph. And it was the most “modern” tank cars that infamously derailed, caught fire, exploded and poisoned the river in Lynchburg, West Virginia, last May. Other derailments and explosions in North Dakota and Alabama made national news in 2014.

The most alarming demonstration of the threat posed by these trains happened in Quebec in July 2013 — an oil train derailed and exploded in the City of Lac Megantic, killing 47 people and burning a quarter of the city to the ground. The fire burned uncontrollably, flowing through the city, into and then out of sewers, and into the nearby river. Firefighters from across the region responded, but an oil fire cannot be fought with water, and exceptionally few fire departments have enough foam flame retardant to control a fire from even a single 30,000 gallon tank car, much less the millions of gallons on an oil train.

Given the damage already done and the threat presented, Canada immediately banned the oldest of these rail cars and mandated a three-year phase-out of the DOT-111s. More needs to be done, but this is a solid first step. Of course, we share the North American rail network — right now those banned trains from Canada may very well be transporting oil through your home town while the Department of Transportation dallies.

The immense public risk these oil trains pose is starting to gain the attention it deserves, but not yet the response. Last summer, the U.S. federal government began the process of writing new safety regulations. Industry has weighed in heavily to protect its interest in keeping these trains rolling. The Department of Transportation, disturbingly, seems to be catering to industry’s needs.

The current draft rules are deeply flawed and would have little positive impact on safety. They leave the most dangerous cars in service for years. Worse yet, the oil industry would get to more than double its tank car fleet before being required to decommission any of the older, more dangerous DOT-111s.

We need an immediate ban on the most dangerous tank cars. We also need to slow these trains down; slower trains mean fewer accidents, and fewer spills and explosions when they do derail. The public and local fire fighters must be notified about train routes and schedules, and every oil train needs a comprehensive emergency response plan for accidents involving explosive Bakken crude and toxic tar sands. In addition, regulations must require adequate insurance. This is the least we could expect from Secretary Anthony Foxx, who travels a lot around the country, and the Department of Transportation.

So far, Secretary Foxx is protecting the oil industry, not ordinary Americans. In fact, Secretary Foxx is meeting with Canadian officials this Thursday, December 18, to discuss oil-by-rail. It is doubtful, considering Canada’s strong first step, that he will be trying to persuade them to adopt even stronger regulations. Will Secretary Foxx ask them to weaken what they have done and put more lives at risk? Time will tell. He has the power, and the mandate, to remove the most dangerous rail cars to protect public safety but he appears to be heading in the opposite direction. Earlier this month ForestEthics and the Sierra Club, represented by EarthJustice, filed a lawsuit against the DOT to require them to fulfill this duty.

Secretary Foxx no doubt has a parade of corporate executives wooing him for lax or no oversight. But he certainly doesn’t want to have a Lac Megantic-type disaster in the U.S. on his watch. It is more possible now than ever before, given the massive increase in oil-by-rail traffic.

Pipelines, such as the Keystone XL, are not the answer either. (Keystone oil would be routed for export to other countries from Gulf ports.) Pipelines can also leak and result in massive damage to the environment as we have seen in the Kalamazoo, MI spill by the Enbridge Corporation. Three years later, $1.2 billion spent, and the “clean up” is still ongoing.

Here’s the reality — we don’t need new pipelines and we don’t need oil by rail. This is “extreme oil,” and if we can’t transport it safely, we can and must say no. Secretary Foxx needs to help make sure 25 million people living in the blastzone are safe and that means significant regulations and restrictions on potentially catastrophic oil rail cars.

Rather than choosing either of these destructive options, we are fortunate to be able to choose safe, affordable cleaner energy and more efficient energy products, such as vehicles and furnaces, instead. That is the future and it is not a distant future — it’s happening right now.

Tags: Oil Trainshealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Brief Summary of Pension Legislation

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 09:35
Segal ConsultingDecember 16, 2014

Click here to read a brief summary of the Multiemployer Pension Reform passed by Congress expected to become law.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Self-Driving Trucks Could Revolutionize Package Delivery, DHL Predicts

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:30
Richard WeissBloomberg NewsDecember 16, 2014View the original piece

While Google Inc. plans to someday unleash driverless cars on public streets, the logistics industry will probably be one of the first training grounds for such automated vehicles.

Shipping companies will probably adopt the technology faster than other industries as moving cargo in non-public areas like storage facilities and warehouses offers a way to test such devices with less risk to human life, according to a study published by DHL, the freight and express arm of Deutsche Post AG. Eventually vehicles might bring packages to a pick-up station where a consumer could find them, the shipper said.

DHL plans to “maintain pole position in the world of self-driving vehicles,” wrote Matthias Heutger and Markus Kueckelhaus, the authors of the study. “The question is no longer ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ autonomous vehicles will drive onto our streets and highways.”

A boom in electronic commerce is making it harder for delivery companies from DHL to UPS Inc. to satisfy consumers who expect first-attempt delivery even though they’re not home during daytime hours.

With online retailers including Amazon.com Inc. and Google developing drones to push into the delivery business, companies are contemplating new solutions, such as making deliveries to the trunk of a customer’s parked car.

Warehouses have been using robots and automated pallet movers for decades, however, the systems typically stop when they encounter obstacles to ensure safety, the study said. The robots will in the future deploy vision-guidance technologies including depth cameras and lasers to improve efficiency, and include more steps of the shipping process.

Robots will also increasingly be used outdoors at shipyards, ports and airports to automatize movement of pallets and swap containers, the study said.

On roads, existing driver assistance systems will be enhanced to ensure vehicles stay in their lanes, obey speed limits and eventually automate functions like overtaking and leaving a highway, while semi-automatic trucks will develop from being able to drive parts of a journey themselves before driverless trucks become reality, the study said.

Automation will improve road safety and fuel efficiency and increase the economics of the logistics chain, the study said.

Komatsu Ltd. is already developing driverless dump trucks and Caterpillar Inc. deploys driverless hauling vehicles to improve productivity in mines for BHP Billiton Plc. Further out, the DHL study envisaged more “futuristic” solutions such as self-driving parcels that may one day arrive through small gates in consumers’ doors, similar to a cat flap.

Deutsche Post started a pilot project of sending urgent goods to the island of Juist in Germany’s Wadden Sea, beating Amazon and Google to offer the first scheduled parcel delivery service with drones this year. The company has said it will take time before such services become a widespread possibility.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

New labor board will keep bosses from stalling union elections

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:23
Laura ClawsonDaily KosDecember 16, 2014View the original piece

The National Labor Relations Board finally issued its long-in-the-works rule speeding up union representation elections. Currently, employers can drag out the election process by withholding information from organizers and with frivolous lawsuits, time they often use to intimidate and coerce workers away from union support.

The new rule, set to take effect on April 15, will cut waiting times between when an election is set and when it happens, put off litigation—often filed by businesses to drag out the election process—until after the election, allow election petitions to be filed electronically (hi there, 21st century!), require businesses to share additional worker contact information with union organizers, and consolidate the post-election appeals process.

Click here to read more at Daily Kos.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UK: Inflation fall shows economic need for wage rises, says TUC

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

Colombia: Ruben Montoya: workplace accident finally recognized

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Oil workers begin strike

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

Germany: Amazon workers strike in Germany as Christmas nears

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

Join the Pension Justice Campaign

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:46

December 15, 2014: Congress has passed legislation that guts pension protections and may pave the way for benefit cuts in the Central States Pension Fund.

We’re not going to stand by and let this happen without a fight.

Yesterday, TDU held a conference call with over 400 Teamsters and retirees—and we are just getting started.

Click here to join our Campaign for Pension Justice.

Our Campaign for Pension Justice will make our voices heard from Capitol Hill to the Central States Pension Fund.

We will continue to partner with allies like the Pension Rights Center, the AARP, and unions to challenge the new law and fight for new pension protections.

We’re also organizing Teamsters and retirees to take on the Central States Pension Fund directly.

We are prepared to hold pension organizing meetings around the country to inform and mobilize Teamsters and retirees.

Click here to join our Campaign for Pension Justice.

Our pension funds have been run down by Wall Street and the Hoffa administration. Retirees shouldn’t pay the price for their failures. 

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Workers At Con-Way Freight In Miami Vote To Join Teamsters Local 769

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:22
International Brotherhood of TeamstersDecember 15, 2014View the original piece

A group of 74 drivers and dockworkers at Con-way Freight in Miami Lakes, Fla., voted today to join Teamsters Local 769 in North Miami, Fla.

“The Con-way workers have taken a bold step today to improve their lives and have a more secure future as Teamsters,” said Mike Scott, President of Teamsters Local 769. “As we have seen across the country, the company spent lots of money to wage a vicious anti-worker campaign, but the workers remained strong and united and didn’t let management’s bullying get to them.”

Click here to read more.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Profits Off Pension Cuts

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 07:54

December 15, 2014: The lame duck Congress has attached pension cut legislation to the end-of-year spending bill that will pave the way for the worst pension cuts in Teamster history.

Leave it to UPS to find a way to make billions off this disaster.

UPS lobbyists fought for and won a special interest loophole that shifts $2 billion in the company’s pension responsibilities on to the backs of Teamster retirees in the Central States. These retirees will now face even bigger pension cuts as a result.

UPS is the one and only company that benefits from the loophole on pages 81-82. Its purpose is to ensure that the Central States Pension Fund will not reduce the pensions of UPS workers who retired after January 1, 2008.

Not reducing pensions. Isn’t that a good thing? Of course! But UPS retirees in the Central States are already protected from having their pensions reduced.

In the case of any pension cuts by Central States, Article 34, Section 1 of the UPS master agreement, requires the company to make up any lost pension benefits.

UPS’s special interest loophole means the company won’t have to make up for any pension cuts. The loophole doesn’t save UPS retirees a dime, but UPS will save a fortune.

Teamster retirees and their widows will face $2 billion more in pension cuts so UPS can get out of paying the obligations it agreed to in the contact.

What can Brown do for you? Certainly, not this.

Issues: UPSPension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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