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UK: Tax workers stage more strikes over job cuts

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: PCS
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Medical consultants caution govt against use of military doctors to break strike

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Bangladesh: Garment workers begin fast until death

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Prothom Alo
Categories: Labor News

Palestine: IUF backs ITUC call for immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

Global: Red Card Child Labour

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ILO
Categories: Labor News

LaborFest Building Bridges Tour 2014 Photos - Mike Melnyk Photography

Current News - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 15:50

LaborFest Building Bridges Tour 2014 Photos - Mike Melnyk Photography
http://www.mikemelnyk.com/LaborFest_Bridges_Tour_2014/
LaborFest Building Bridges Tour 2014
www.laborfest.net

Tags: ibu bay area
Categories: Labor News

Sikorsky union chief accused of embezzlement

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 07:56
Frank JulianoConnecticut PostJuly 28, 2014View the original piece

The top official of the union representing Sikorsky Aircraft Co. employees has been accused by an independent review board of embezzling at least $13,000 in union funds.

Harvey Jackson, the president and business agent of Teamsters Union Local 1150, charged his family's cellphone bills to his union credit card and used it to buy cameras, stereo speakers, a high-end DVD player, projector and other electronics for his personal use, the report states.

Rocco Calo, the secretary-treasurer of the Stratford-based union local, said he doesn't have the authority to remove Jackson from the union's board of directors.

The independent review board, which includes former FBI Director William H. Webster, issued a report July 17 that recommends internal charges be brought against Jackson for violating Teamsters bylaws, obstructing the board's investigation and "bringing reproach upon the IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters)."

Embezzlement "is an act of racketeering all members are enjoined from committing under the consent order in United States v. IBT," the report states.

"I'm extremely disappointed,'' Calo said. "We have internal processes to deal with this, and we'll recommend that (Jackson) contact the (review board) and discuss a resolution."

Calo said he has not been contacted by federal prosecutors or anyone else about possible criminal charges against Jackson. Criminal charges are outside the review board's authority, but its report could become the basis for federal charges.

Thomas Carson, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deidre M. Daly, said federal prosecutors had no comment.

During hearings held in May, Jackson claimed that purchases he made at a Best Buy in Orange or online were for the union local's conference hall and meeting room. But investigators could not find the items when they visited the Stratford facility, and Jackson in some cases gave vague or conflicting explanations for the purchases, the report states.

Cellphone bills subpoenaed from Sprint show the charges Jackson used his union credit card to pay were for phones used by his wife and daughter, investigators said.

Phone calls to Jackson's home, cellphone and his union hall office were not returned.

Jackson, a Bridgeport resident, was paid $141,744 by the union in 2013, according to Teamsters for a Democratic Union, a Detroit-based group that is challenging current International Brotherhood of Teamsters leadership.

Local 1150 represents more than 4,400 employees at Sikorsky plants in Stratford, Alabama and Florida.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Shares Of A Major US Trucker Are Crashing After Management Says It Can't Find Drivers For Its Trucks

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 07:50
Rob WileBusiness InsiderJuly 28, 2014View the original piece

Shares in Swift Transportation, the largest truckload carrier in North America, were down 14% Friday after management warned it was going to have to invest more to address a driver shortage.

The New Jersey-based firm now says it's going to have to spend more on wages and training to hold onto and attract ore drivers.

...We were constrained in the truckload and (central refrigerated systems)  segments by the challenging driver market. Our driver turnover and unseated truck count were higher than anticipated. Therefore, we sold more trucks in the second quarter to offset the impact of idle equipment, which drove additional gains on sale of equipment this period. After assessing the current and expected environment, we believe the best investment we can make at this time, for all of our stakeholders, is in our drivers. Our goal is to clear the path for our drivers by helping them overcome challenges, eliminate wait times and take home more money.

It now sees "cost headwinds" going into the second half of the year.

The American Trucking Association has warned the country is short 30,000 drivers, and that the gap could climb to 200,000 in the next decade.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Palestine: Gaza's unions under fire

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Solidarity Center
Categories: Labor News

BNSF Railway Engineers to Ride Solo

Current News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 18:02

BNSF Railway Engineers to Ride Solo
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/16987/bnsf_railway_engineers_to_ri...
WEDNESDAY, JUL 23, 2014, 6:00 AM
BNSF Railway Engineers to Ride Solo
BY COLE STANGLER

BNSF trains are expecting to switch to a one-member crew system. (David Wilson / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Originally publised at DeSmogBlog.

For decades, the U.S. railroad industry has successfully shed labor costs by shifting to smaller and smaller operating crews. Now, it’s on the verge of what was once an unthinkable victory: single-member crews, even on dangerous oil trains.

A tentative agreement reached by BNSF Railway and the Transportation Division of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) union would allow a single engineer to operate most of the company’s routes. It would mark a dramatic change to a labor contract that covers about 3,000 workers, or 60 percent of the BNSF system.

It’s not just bad news for workers. The contract has major safety implications—especially amid North America’s dangerous, and sometimes deadly, crude-by-rail boom. Last year’s Bakken shale oil train derailment and explosion in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people, brought increased scrutiny to oil trains.

In response, Canadian regulators outlawed one-person crews on trains carrying hazardous materials. (A single engineer was in charge of the ill-fated train, although it was unmanned when it rolled into the town center.)

BNSF spokesperson Roxanne Butler told DeSmogBlog the new contract would not apply to so-called “key trains”—loads of crude oil, ethanol and other hazardous materials.

As it stands, she says, the company mandates two-member crews for such shipments, and those are the terms of BNSF’s existing labor agreement.

But there is no federal law on the books that requires two-person rail crews for shipments of dangerous goods. The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) is expected to issue a proposed rule on the subject by the end of the year.

Workers worry that without contract guarantees, and no federal protections in place, BNSF will make the cost-cutting shift to one-person crews.

“If you look at the contract, there’s nothing that shows they will exempt oil trains,” says Ron Kaminkow, general secretary of Railroad Workers United, a labor group that opposes single-employee freight trains.

“[BNSF] will do whatever they want to do,” says Robert Hill, a BNSF engineer based in Hauser, Idaho, roughly 20 miles east of Spokane, a major rail hub for the Northwest. “At some point, you eventually will see a one-man crew on these oil [trains]. There’s nothing specific in their company policy that says they have to have two-man crews on oil trains.”

When asked to respond to these criticisms, BNSF’s spokesperson simply insisted the contract proposal does not apply to shipments of crude and other hazardous materials.

“This agreement would not impact [crude oil trains] because of our BNSF operating rules,” Butler said. “That’s the basic fact of it.”

In spite of the company’s line, though, nothing in the contract itself bars the use of one-person crews on freight routes. It simply states: “In all through freight service, on every through freight train where positive train control is in use upon departing the terminal/crew change point and in use on such train on the territory traversed, no ground service crew shall be required.”

In other words, on routes that abide by “positive train control”—a Congressionally-mandated set of safety practices that the nation’s biggest rail lines such as BNSF must implement by the end of 2015—the engineer will be free to ride solo. As the contract clarifies, “Any member of any train or yard crew, other than a single locomotive engineer on any such crew, shall be a ground service employee.”

Meanwhile, freight trains that operate without “positive train control”—a dying breed—would still require the two-person minimum.

Workers point out that crude isn’t the only dangerous product they’re shipping across the country. Railroads regularly move other toxic substances like ammonia, chlorine, cyanide and radioactive materials—a risky business made even riskier, workers say, when there’s only one crew member who can respond to an accident.

Robert Hill, a dues-paying member of SMART and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), the other major union in the rail industry, says the contract proposal undermines BNSF’s public safety pledges.

“As far as safety goes, that’s bullshit coming from BNSF,” Hill says. “They don’t care about it. It’s lip service, that’s all it is. Something bad is going to happen. I can guarantee it.”

While BNSF may tout its current operating procedures, the rail industry has long downplayed the safety advantages of using multi-member crews.

In April, after the FRA announced that it was going to issue a proposed rule on crew size, the Association of American Railroads, the industry’s principal lobby group, which includes BNSF, came out strongly against a two-person mandate.

“We actually think one-man crews are safer than two man-crews because there’s less distraction,” one railroad CEO told reporters last year after the disaster in Quebec.

The FRA tends to disagree.

“FRA continues to believe that the highest level of safety is ensured with the use of a multiple person crew,” agency spokesperson Kevin Thompson says.

Thompson declined to comment on the agency’s upcoming proposed rule. BNSF and SMART’s labor agreement would have to comply with any federal regulation that emerges. That means if the FRA mandates two-employee freight trains, then the contract would have to be updated.

SMART’s historic concession to BNSF is contentious within labor’s ranks—indeed, even within the leadership of the union itself. The president of SMART’s transportation division, John Previsich came out firmly against the proposal, penning an email to members entitled “Safe, secure operations require two-person crews.”

“No one would permit an airliner to fly with just one pilot, even though they can fly themselves,” Previsich wrote. “Trains, which cannot operate themselves, should be no different.”

SMART did not respond to request for comment.

Kaminkow and others from RWU say the antiquated structure of railroad unions is partly to blame for the unprecedented proposal.



Unlike most private sector unions, railroad unions are organized by craft, which, he says, makes it easier for companies to extract sector-wide concessions at its many different bargaining tables. The RWU advocates one union to represent workers across the industry.

And while the contract only immediately impacts part of BNSF operations, Kaminkow says the effects could be more widely felt.
“If this is adopted and approved and put into effect on [60 percent] of the BNSF…then you can bet the pressure will be enormous on the other 40 percent…to also move in this direction. And the dominoes will fall,” he says. “The industry as a whole is watching this avidly and you can bet your ass they’re all pulling for the BNSF to make this happen.”

Tags: RWU
Categories: Labor News

Canada: IKEA rapped for unfair labour practices in year-long lockout

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CBC
Categories: Labor News

PMA and ILWU Provide Update on Contract Talks

ILWU - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 16:04

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO (July 25, 2014) – The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) today issued the following statement:

After several days of productive contract talks, both parties concluded negotiations on Friday afternoon. No talks will take place from July 28 to Aug. 1 so that the ILWU can resume unrelated contract negotiations in the Pacific Northwest.

The PMA and ILWU will resume their contract negotiations on Monday, August 4, in San Francisco.
The previous labor contract covering nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports expired
July 1. While there is no contract extension in place, both parties have pledged to keep cargo moving.

The coast-wide labor contract is between employers who operate port terminals and shipping lines
represented by the PMA and dockworkers represented by the ILWU. The parties have negotiated a West
Coast collective bargaining agreement since the 1930s.

Download a PDF of the release here

Categories: Unions

IBU Members with WSF at Anacortes

IBU - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:53
All IBU Members with WSF working at Anacortes: Please open, read, and post the attachment regarding two additional days added to voting the TA'd proposals: Sunday and Monday, July 27 and 28, 2014.
Categories: Unions

8/2 Solidarity Picket Of Israel Zim Ship In Oakland

Current News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:02

8/2 Solidarity Picket Of Israel Zim Ship In Oakland
https://www.facebook.com/256406377889015/photos/gm.1447374822195843/2564...

In Solidarity with Palestinians, especially those beseiged and bombarded in Gaza, we will block 2 Israeli ZIM Ships from docking and unloading at the Port of Oakland like we did in 2010.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Hundreds-in-Oakland-protest-Gaza-b...

The Palestinian people are under attack from the state of Israel. Palestinian children are being murdered, their hospitals are being bombed, and Palestinian workers are being fired, beaten, arrested, and killed for striking in response. We call on a broad coalition of Pro-Palestinian labor, human rights, and anti-war organizations to join us for direct actions and pickets against the Israeli Shipping company ZIM!

To help Organize the actions email: blocktheboat@riseup.net
___________________________________________

The Plan for August 2nd:

-Meet at West Oakland BART at 5 AM where we will march to SSA Berth 57 of the Port at 5:10 SHARP!

-If you can't make the 5 am shift show meet at Berth 57 ASAP where we will be picketing all day!
________________________________________

Shuttles will be provided back and forth from the West Oakland Bart to the SSA Terminal.

There is no parking at the port! If driving, you can park at West Oakland BART for free, and/or shuttle folks to the port!

Bring food, water, layers, comfortable shoes, and picket signs!
___________________________________________
Use our HashTags!
#BlockTheBoat and #PicketForPalestine to spread the word!

Also #SF2Palestine and #Youth4Palestine to connect to local networks

Please copy, paste, and share this event!

___________________________________________

(Apologies for cross-postings)

Fellow trade unionists,

We have already passed the 100 mark for initial signers to the Labor for Palestine statement (below), and more endorsements continue to roll in.

To accommodate this growing number, additional initial endorsements will be accepted until 9 pm tonight, July 25. (Subsequent endorsements will be added after the statement is posted at Change.org.)

Please forward this message privately to others who may be interested, but please do not yet post publicly.

Endorsers should email their name, labor affiliation/organization (including local number, if any), union position (if any), and location to laborforpalestine.us@gmail.com

Thanks for taking a stand.

Michael Letwin
Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW L. 2325; co-founder, Labor for Palestine, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, NYC Labor Against the War; USACBI

--------------

Trade Unionist Call:
Stop the War on Gaza: No Arms for Apartheid Israel -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!
Labor for Palestine (U.S.), July XX, 2014

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”
Beyond Vietnam, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967

"We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid."
Palestinian Trade Unions and Civil Society, Stop Arming Israel, July 20, 2014

* * *

As workers and trade unionists, we join with Palestinian trade unions, the South African Congress of Trade Unions, Unite (UK/Ireland), and labor organizations around the world to urgently condemn Israel's barbaric war on Gaza, which has taken thousands of lives since 2006, including many hundreds in recent days.

With them, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people against more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, apartheid and genocide.

With them, we support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which demands an end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194.

Therefore:

• We call on the US government and its allies to end all aid to Israel.

• We call on workers to emulate dockers in South Africa, India, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, the US west coast, and elsewhere, by refusing to handle military or any other cargo destined for Israel.

• We call on labor bodies to divest from Israel Bonds, and cut ties with the Histadrut, Israel's racist labor federation. (See model resolution, below)

Labor for Palestine (U.S.)
laborforpalestine.net

Initial Signers (affiliation shown for identification only)

Monadel Herzallah, former member, Arab American Union Members Council, San Francisco, CA; co-founder, Labor for Palestine
Michael Letwin, former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW L. 2325; co-founder, Labor for Palestine, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, NYC Labor Against the War; USACBI
Larry Adams, former President, NPMHU L. 300; co-founder, NYC Labor Against the War; People’s Organization for Progress
Brenda Stokely, former President, AFSCME DC 1707; co-founder, NYC Labor Against the War; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Judith Ackerman, 1199SEIU, AFT, UFT, AFTRA, SAG, New York NY
Joseph Agonito, former President, L. 1845-NYSUT, AFT
Faiz Ahmed, Chairperson/président Canadian Union of Public Employees, L. 3903 - http://3903.cupe.ca
Anthony Arnove, National Writers Union/UAW L. 1981, Brooklyn NY
Dave Bleakney, National Union Representative, CUPW, Ottowa
Gene Bruskin, founder, US Labor Against the War
Alexandra Bradbury, co-editor, Labor Notes
Richard Deaton, Ph.D., LL.B., Asst. Director of Research, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)(retired)
Prof. Patrick J. Finn, Ph. D., United University Professionals, State University of New York at Buffalo
Prof. Mary E. Finn, Ph. D., United University Professionals, State University of New York at Buffalo
Prof. Manzar Foroohar, former Chapter President, California Faculty Association-Cal Poly
Sheena Foster, Global Labour University Alumni
Carol Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council
Carl Gentile, National Representative, American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO)
Mike Gimbel, Chairperson, Labor/Community Unity Committee, L. 375, AFSCME
Marty Goodman, former Executive Board member, Transport Workers Union L. 100
David Heap, University of Western Ontario Faculty Association
Stanley Heller, 40-year AFT member, West Haven, CT, now AFT 933 (retired)
Michael Hirsch, National Writers Union/UAW L. 1981
Jim Holstun, UUP Buffalo Center Chapter, NYSUT, AFT
Cherrene Horazuk, President, AFSCME L. 3800
Jonathan House, President (1979-1981), Executive Director (1982-1989), Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU
Joe Iosbaker, Executive Board, SEIU L. 73
James Jordan, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
Dan Kaplan, Executive Secretary, AFT L. 1493, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers
Russell Kilday-Hicks, Vice President, California State Employees Association
Bud Korotzer, Shop Steward, AFSCME District Council 37, L. 371 (retired)
Francine Korotzer, Shop Steward, AFSCME District Council 37, L. 2054 (retired)
Zoe Lawlor, Unite Teacher, University of Limerick, Ireland
Howard Lenow, American Jews For A Just Peace, trade union lawyer
John McColgan, SENA 9158, United Steelworkers of America
Amir M. Maasoumi, former member, Federation des travailleurs du Quebec (FTQ)
Nathaniel Miller, Industrial Workers of the World
Marion Pollack, retiree, Vancouver BC
Peter Rachleff, Labor Educator; UALE
Mimi Rosenberg, ALAA/UAW L. 2325, Brooklyn NY
Keith Rosenthal, AFSCME L. 3650, Somerville MA
Christina Rousseau, CUPE 3903, Toronto ON
Keith Sadler, UAW L. 2, Toledo OH
Helen Scott, United Academics AAUP/AFT L. 4996, Burlington VT
Mary Scully, IUE-CWA L. 201 (retired)
Tyler Shipley, CUPE L. 3903; Toronto ON
Sid Shniad, former Research Director, Telecommunications Workers Union, Canada
Larry Smallwood, former Telecommunications Workers Union of Canada; Volunteer President L. 7; human rights officer; union activist for equity rights
Nancy Snyder, Recording Secretary Emeritus, SEIU L. 1021
Susan Stout, Unifor 2002, Canada (retired)
Peter Waterman, Researcher/writer on labour internationalisms; ABVA-KABO, The Hague, Netherlands
Nancy Welch, delegate, UVM United Academics AFT/AAUP

Additional Signers:

Tanya Akel, IBT L. 2010, AFT L. 1521
B. Ross Ashley, SEIU L. 204 (retired), Toronto ON
John Bail, National Director, Pacific Region Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Sarah Barker, Organiser, New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Julia Barnett, Steward, CUPS, L. 79
Bill Bateman, Coordinator, RI Unemployed Council, RI Campaign for Work & Wages
Richard Berg, Past President, IBT L. 743
Rebecca Bor, Chicago Teachers Union, AFT L. 1
Tibby Brooks, National Writers Union/UAW L. 1981
Gabriel Camacho, UNITE HERE L. 66L Cambridge MA
David Chavez, UAW L. 2865, UC Riverside
Len Cooper, Victorian Secretary, Communication Workers Union, Australia
Krista L. Cortes, Unit Chair, UAW L. 2865, UC Berkeley
Mike Cushman, Membership Secretary, London School of Economics, University and College Union branch (UCU)
Joe Davies, Organizer, Southern Local Government Officers Union, Christchurch NZ
Tim Dubnau, Organizing Coordinator, CWA District One
Shelley Ettinger, AFT L. 3882, NYC
Mark Evard, National Director, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Ottawa ON
Gord Fischer, National Director, CUPW Prairie Region, Winnipeg MB
Christine Geovanis National Writers Union/UAW L. 1981
Alborz Ghandehari, Recording Secretary, San Diego Unit, UAW L. 2865 (UC Student-Worker Union)
Ira Grupper, Delegate (retired), Greater Louisville (KY) Central Labor Council, BCTGM L. 16T
Fred Hirsch, Vice President, Plumbers and Fitters L. 393, San Jose CA
Alexandra Holmstrom-Smith, Chair, UCLA Unit, UAW L. 2865 (UC Student-Worker Union)
Evert Hoogers, National Union Rep., CUPW (retired)
Sean Howard, Shop Steward, IBT L. 559, Hartford CT
Janet Hudgins, CUPE (retired)
Malathi Iyenga, San Diego Unit Chair, UAW L. 2865
John Kirkland, Carpenters L. 1462, Bucks County PA
Dennis Kortheuer, California Faculty Association
Richard Koritz, Former President, NALC Branch 630, Greensboro NC
Dennis Kosuth, Shop Steward, Convention Delegate, National Nurses Organizing Committee, National Nurses United
Maureen McDermott, UFT, NYC
Henry Maar, Trustee, UAW L. 2865
Cindy McCallum Miller, President, Castlegar Local Canadian Union of Postal Workers, BC
Edward Miller, Strategic Adviser, FIRST Union, Auckland NZ
Gail Miller, UFT, NYC
Susan Olivia Morris, Alternate Vice President, ALAA/UAW 2325
Irene Morrison, Recording Secretary, UAW 2865, UC Riverside
Raquel Pacheco, UAW L. 2865, San Diego CA
Meredith Palmer, Head Steward, UAW L. 2865, UC Berkeley
Andre' Powell, AFSCME Delegate, Baltimore Central Labor Council
Croft Randle, Retired Local Officer and Provincial Representative, Telecommunications Workers Union, BC Canada
Gillian Russom, Board of Directors, United Teachers Los Angeles, AFT L. 1021
Carl Sack, AFT-3220, UW-Madison Teaching Assistants' Association
Lauren Schaeffer, Head Steward, UAW L. 2865, Los Angeles CA
Robert M. Schwartz, National Writers Union/UAW L. 1981, Boston MA
Ahmad Shirazi, Former Board Member, IATSE Local 700, NYC
Sid Shniad, Former Research Director, Telecommunications Workers Union, Vancouver BC
Jerry Silberman, Senior Staff Rep., Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals
Peter Spitzform, AFT/AAUP, University of Vermont
Rick Sullivan, BC Retired Teachers' Association, Parksville BC
Alice Sturm Sutter, NYSNA (retired), NYC
Steve Terry, ALAA/UAW L. 2325
Elizabeth Thornton, Head Steward, UCLA Unit, UAW L. 2865 (UC Student-Workers Union)
Joanne Tien, Head Steward, UAW L. 2865, Oakland CA.
Azalia Torres, Former Executive Board Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325
Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union NZ
Corey Uhl, IBT L. 79, Tampa FL
Unite Union NZ
Jaime Veve, Transport Workers Union L. 100, NYC (retired)
Sherry Wolf, CWA L. 1032
Cynthia Wright, CUPE 3903
Carol F. Yost, Organization of Staff Analysts, NYC (retired)

---------------

Model Labor for Palestine Resolution: Trade Unionists Stand With Gaza

Whereas, Israel is committing yet another series of massacres in Gaza, many victims of which include workers, children, entire families the elderly, and the disabled; and

Whereas, Palestinian workers and their families continue to be killed and maimed by naval vessels, jet fighters, Apache helicopters, white phosphorous and other weapons supplied by the US and its allies; and

Whereas, Israel claims of "self-defense" are a thinly disguised pretext for more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, and genocide against the Palestinian people; and

Whereas, veteran South African freedom fighters have observed that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “worse than apartheid”; and

Whereas, on July 12, 2014, Gaza civil society issued an urgent appeal for solidarity, calling for an arms embargo and full Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel, which demands an end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194; and

Whereas, on July 10, 2014, the Congress of South African Trade Unions denounced the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza, and called "on the international trade union movement, various civil society organisations, international religious bodies and even business to speak out against savagery and barbarism against fellow human beings"; and

Whereas, on July 11, 2014, Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, stated that it "unreservedly condemns the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and calls for the military strikes and the military build up to be halted immediately," and reiterated its support for BDS; and

Whereas, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel has been endorsed by numerous labor bodies around the world, including the trade union congresses of South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and the UK, and labor bodies in Australia, France, Canada, Norway, Catalunya, Italy, Spain and Turkey; and

Whereas, top U.S. labor officials nonetheless continues to invest billions of from union members’ pension funds in State of Israel Bonds, a pillar of apartheid that enjoys tax-exempt status from the U.S. government; and

Whereas, in opposing the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared: “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent"; and

Whereas, Nelson Mandela declared: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians";

Therefore:

• We call on the US government and its allies to end all aid to Israel.

• We call on workers to emulate dockers in South Africa, India, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, the US west coast, and elsewhere, by refusing to handle military or any other cargo destined for Israel.

• We call on labor bodies to divest from Israel Bonds, and cut ties with the Histadrut, Israel's racist labor federation.

On Monday July 21st there was a General Strike in Israel protesting the bloody and violent occupation of Palestinian lands. We believe that the working class must take a stand to defend the human rights of Palestinians.

An Injury to One is An Injury to All!

Solidarity with Palestine!

Model Labor for Palestine Resolution: Trade Unionists Stand With Gaza

Whereas, Israel is committing yet another series of massacres in Gaza, many victims of which include workers, children, entire families the elderly, and the disabled; and

Whereas, Palestinian workers and their families continue to be killed and maimed by naval vessels, jet fighters, Apache helicopters, white phosphorous and other weapons supplied by the US and its allies; and

Whereas, Israel claims of "self-defense" are a thinly disguised pretext for more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, and genocide against the Palestinian people; and

Whereas, veteran South African freedom fighters have observed that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “worse than apartheid”; and

Whereas, on July 12, 2014, Gaza civil society issued an urgent appeal for solidarity, calling for an arms embargo and full Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel, which demands an end to Israeli military occupation of the 1967 territories; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as affirmed by UN resolution 194; and

Whereas, on July 10, 2014, the Congress of South African Trade Unions denounced the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza, and called "on the international trade union movement, various civil society organisations, international religious bodies and even business to speak out against savagery and barbarism against fellow human beings"; and

Whereas, on July 11, 2014, Unite, the biggest union in the UK and Ireland, stated that it "unreservedly condemns the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and calls for the military strikes and the military build up to be halted immediately," and reiterated its support for BDS; and

Whereas, the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against apartheid Israel has been endorsed by numerous labor bodies around the world, including the trade union congresses of South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and the UK, and labor bodies in Australia, France, Canada, Norway, Catalunya, Italy, Spain and Turkey; and

Whereas, top U.S. labor officials nonetheless continues to invest billions of from union members’ pension funds in State of Israel Bonds, a pillar of apartheid that enjoys tax-exempt status from the U.S. government; and

Whereas, in opposing the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared: “For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent"; and

Whereas, Nelson Mandela declared: "We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians";

Therefore:

• We call on the US government and its allies to end all aid to Israel.

• We call on workers to emulate dockers in South Africa, India, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, the US west coast, and elsewhere, by refusing to handle military or any other cargo destined for Israel.

• We call on labor bodies to divest from Israel Bonds, and cut ties with the Histadrut, Israel's racist labor federation.

Tags: labor boycott Israel
Categories: Labor News

Destroying a Local Union in Order to Save It?

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:47

July 25, 2014: Less than 90 days from their election, Hoffa is threatening to trustee and merge a New York City local to try to stop members from voting incompetent officials out of office.

The International Union is threatening to merge or trustee New York Local 584, to try to prevent an election that a reform team, Local 584 Members First, is poised to win.

Local 584 represents “milk men”— drivers and production workers who deliver milk to supermarkets, corner stores and public schools—as well as other food and beverage Teamsters.

For years, being a dairy Teamster has been a route to the middle class with members making $25 to $30 an hour with union pensions. Now, the largest employer in the industry is trying to make that a thing of the past.

Elmhurst Dairy has gobbled up competitors, kicked long-timer Teamsters to the curb and replaced them with low-wage workers who start at under $10 an hour with no pension.

Two hundred fifty good dairy Teamster jobs have been destroyed.

Local 584 members turned to the International Union for help—including blowing the whistle on side deals and financial improprieties by Local 584 officials. But the local is run by Hoffa loyalists and the IBT turned a deaf ear.

So Local 584 members started to organize. They opposed the layoffs of senior members and the destruction of good middle class jobs. This summer they formed Local 584 Members First and formed a reform team to run for local union office this fall.

Support for Members First has grown quickly. Dairy Teamsters united with other food and beverage Teamsters in the local at Tropicana, Norris Foods, and Staten Island College. The majority of the local’s shop stewards have gotten behind the movement. So has Willie Whelan, the retired long-time leader of the local. 

Now the International Union has stepped in—not to help members defend their jobs but to try to stop members from taking back their union.

Hoffa has appointed a personal representative to be his point man on this operation. Thom Conelius, an International Rep on Hoffa’s payroll, is no stranger to the dirty work of fighting union reformers. Last year, he teamed up with another Hoffa International Rep Kevin Currie to try to defeat reform leader Sandy Pope in the Local 805 election. They failed.

In Local 584, Hoffa and company don’t want to risk another election. Officials have talked openly about preventing “another TDU local in New York City” by merging Local 584 out of existence.

It’s been done before. Another New York City local with a growing reform movement, Local 854, was secretly merged into Local 553 before its local election last year. 

Local 854 members voted against Hoffa in the last International Union election and the Joint Council leaders feared a TDU slate in the local union race. So they pushed through a quickie merger during the summer when many of the local’s membership of school bus workers are out of work.

Hoffa and Joint Council 16’s message is clear: “destroy Local 584 in order to save it.”

Local 584 members are saying not so fast. They’ve organizing to defend their right to vote, to run for office and to win.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Golden Gate Ferry, other workers looking at strike options

Current News - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 09:22

Golden Gate Ferry, other workers looking at strike options
http://www.marinij.com/goldengatebridge/ci_26212150/golden-gate-ferry-ot...
Bridge workers among union members taking votes to authorize walkout
By Mark Prado

mprado@marinij.com @MarkPradoIJ on Twitter

POSTED: 07/24/2014 06:14:16 PM PDT

Strike authorization votes are underway with 13 unions that comprise the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition, including those that represent ferry captains and deckhands, potentially threatening the service.

The roughly 450 workers represented by the coalition have been working without a contract since July 1 and have been in negotiations with the district since April.

The Golden Gate Bridge district has proposed a three-year contract that would increase wages 6 percent over that period, but also increase the cost of employees' health care premiums, according to union officials. The union is seeking a 4 percent raise for each year of the three-year contract with no increases in health care premiums.

"We need wages to keep up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area," said union spokesman Alex Tonisson. "They are proposing a minor wage increase with higher premiums. It's like giving us $2 and taking $1 back."

Salaries vary widely, ranging from $40,000 a year for ferry deckhands and clerical workers to about $100,000 a year for licensed civil engineers.

Golden Gate Bridge officials did not return calls asking for comment.

No strike can take place until all the votes have been taken. Voting is expected to be completed next week.

"As Bay Area residents and commuters, we know that recent transit strikes have been hard on all of us — from the workers to those who depend on public transportation," Tonisson said. "No one wants the inconvenience associated with transportation workers taking action. But the district is leaving these workers little choice."

Other workers represented by the coalition include: bus mechanics, bridge ironworkers and inspectors, and construction tradesmen and women. Bus drivers are not part of the coalition.

The union says coalition members are 12 percent behind the cost of living compared to other like workers in the Bay Area. During the recession, employees agreed to lower wages and no raises in response to the district's financial concerns. Since then, tolls have increased 20 percent, toll takers were laid off, while coalition concessions help lead to larger reserves and increases in management salaries, according to the union.

In April of 2012 ferry workers participated in a one-day strike.

Larkspur ferry ridership had grown 6.4 percent at the end of April when compared with April 2013, according to ferry officials. There are about 5,400 daily weekday riders.

Tags: IBUatu
Categories: Labor News

U.S. DOT: YRC fleet nears federal intervention level

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 07:37
Austin AlonzoKansas City Business JournalJuly 25, 2014View the original piece

YRC Freight's fleet is in a worse state of repair than most of its main competitors' fleets, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In fact, the state of the YRC Freight fleet's vehicle maintenance is close to a threshold requiring federal intervention according to statistics from the DOT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Click here to read more at the Kansas City Business Journal.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Iran: Jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi ends 50-day hunger strike

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Radio Zamaneh
Categories: Labor News

Oil Train Accidents on Rise as U.S. Proposes New Safety Rules

Railroaded's Blog - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 14:53

More than 1.1 million gallons of oil spilled from rail tank cars in the U.S. in 2013…more than the total volume spilled from 1975 to 2012 combined (New Republic).

These data, together with the disastrous oil train derailment, explosions, fire, spilling of 1.6 million gallons of oil, and the deaths of 47 people last July in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, have brought tremendous pressure on the U.S. and Canadian governments to get back in the business of regulating rail safety, after years of letting the rail industry essentially regulate itself.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed the phasing out of thousands of older DOT-111 tank cars within 2 years. These tank cars have been known for decades to puncture easily during derailments and other accidents. The phase-out period for replacing or retrofitting the DOT-111 tank cars is shorter than Transport Canada’s phase-out period of 3 years for the same cars, announced a few months ago (Edmonton Journal). However, rail safety experts and environmental groups in the U.S. say 2 years is too long to wait. Similar criticisms have been made of the 3-year phase-out period in Canada.

Until sturdier tank cars are phased in, the new U.S. rules would also reduce the speed limit for high-hazard trains to 40 miles per hour. It’s been suggested that even sturdier tank cars traveling at speeds of 30 m.p.h. may not be able to avoid getting punctured. Karl Alexy, the staff director of the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety said, “When you begin to look at cars that are derailing at speeds of 30, 40 miles an hour, it’s very difficult, it’s a big ask, to expect that a tank car get hit and not be breached”.

The proposed new U.S. rules  would also require better labels on hazardous cargo and require rail companies to perform a risk assessment before choosing routes for the transport of hazardous goods.

Fred Millar, an independent rail safety consultant, said the rules for new tank cars and speed limits are “very weak”. He criticized the Obama administration for not requiring more transparency on the oil train routes and the risks they pose to public safety and security.

It’s no surprise that the Association of American Railroads and the American Petroleum Institute are complaining about the proposed rule changes, arguing that lower speed limits are unnecessary and would cut into their profits.

See this link for more information on the many risks associated with shipping oil and other hazardous goods by rail.


Filed under: Derailment, Safety, shipping oil by rail, Spills
Categories: Labor News

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