Starting on Friday, August 22nd, IWW workers at a UPS sorting facility in Minneapolis began organizing against their and their coworkers' labor supporting the ongoing police violence against the population of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man. In a series of actions aimed at a local company shipping questionable shooting-range targets to law enforcement agencies nationwide, workers stood up to the idea that they should have to support racism, brutality, or murder in order to make ends meet. This action was organized in conjunction with, and under the banner of Screw Ups, a rank-and-file newsletter published by IWW workers at the facility for the past year.
ILWU Rank and File Back Picket Of Zim ship Piraeus At Port Of Oakland
In a four day labor community picket at the Port of Oakland, ILWU
rank and file from Local 10 and Local 34 abided by a picket line
despite the presence of hundreds of police and Alameda County
Deputies to force the longshore workers to cross the picket lines.
The picketing which took place between August 17 through
August 20, 2014. After failing to get longshore to work the cargo
at port operator SSA. The ship left the terminal went out to sea
and then returned to Ports America where efforts were made to
unload the cargo by deceiving members of the unions. Only a
small percentage of the cargo was removed and the ship left for
Russia without fully unloading and not picking up any cargo. This
successful solidarity picket against the role of Israel in the bombing
and massacres of the people of Gaza backed by US military and
economic aid is a real threat to the Israel shipping line.
For more video:
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org
On Labor Day - Monday, Sept. 1st - workers at a Jimmy Johns franchise in Baltimore, Maryland are taking action with their union - the IWW Jimmy Johns Workers Union! They will be flyering outside of their store today in order to press for their demands. Lets give their action a little more oomph and show the bosses that we union members stick together! We will be in front of the store from noon (12:00) EST until 2:00 EST, lets keep the phones ringing! A couple of ground rules: no threatening, try to avoid profanity, and most importantly call often!
Here are the numbers to call:
Mike Gillett (franchise owner): 410-404-5684
Daniel Dolch (franchise owner): 443-797-2472
And here is what you should say (feel free to add more though!):
Bosses Pushing ILWU Rank And File For Concessions And Give-Backs Using Panama Canal "A constructive labor-management partnership"
Reposted From San Francisco Chronicle Owned by the union busing Hearst Corporation
Bosses Pushing ILWU Rank And File For Concessions And Give-Backs Using Panama Canal "A constructive labor-management partnership"
Widened Panama Canal may threaten West Coast port jobs
By Michael Nacht and Larry Henry
August 29, 2014 | Updated: August 30, 2014 1:47pm
Rodrigo Arangua, AFP/Getty Images
View of the Panama Canal locks under construction in Cocoli, near Panama City, on August 8, 2014. Next August 15 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, considered to be one of the 20th century's marvels of engineering and through which goes five percent of the maritime world trade. Panama took control of the 80-km-long canal and the 1,426-square-km enclave that surrounds it at midnight on December 31, 1999 according to the 1977 handover treaty signed by then-presidents of the US, Jimmy Carter and Panama, Omar Torrijos. AFP PHOTO/ Rodrigo ARANGUARODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images
After three months of negotiations, there is no agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association that represents port employers at 27 West Coast ports. The contract expired July 1, and the parties did reach a tentative agreement on health benefits Aug. 26. The immediate goal is to avoid serious disruption of trade from East Asia that could have deleterious economic effects throughout the West Coast. A longer-term concern, however, is whether a widened Panama Canal will harm the West Coast economy as more shippers shift to all-water routes through the canal to Gulf Coast and East Coast ports.
The Panamanian government began in 2007 to widen the canal in order to accommodate bigger, faster ships, thus doubling its cargo-moving capacity. Completion, scheduled for 2016, will change trade patterns.
Globalization of trade has steadily reduced supply-chain shipping costs. The extra capacity offered by the widened Panama Canal may continue this trend. That, in turn, could result in at least a 6 percent to 8 percent reduction in volume for the West Coast ports. Millions of dollars in lost revenue and the loss of thousands of jobs could follow.
In the past two decades, West Coast ports have benefited enormously from the vast export volume generated from East Asia, especially China, to the United States. To get an idea of the effect of this increased trade, in 2013, businesses providing the cargo handling and vessel services at the West Coast ports — railroads, terminal operators and stevedores, cargo consolidators and others — directly created almost 130,000 jobs (including those held by nearly 13,500 ILWU members). This in turn generated $35.2 billion in expenditures and indirect personal income. These operations produced directly or indirectly almost $10 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
Today, the bulk of the action is at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, which handles more than 70 percent of the imports and exports, followed by Seattle/Tacoma (16 percent) and Oakland (11 percent), according to the Pacific Maritime Association. Roughly 40 percent of all containers received by these ports are shipped by rail to major population centers in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast.
However, except for those shipping “fast fashion” clothing, consumer electronics and other goods that must reach their markets quickly, many shippers could find the somewhat slower all-water route preferable if it proves to be more reliable and cheaper than the West Coast ports’ water-and-rail approach to cargo handling.
Ports and rail carriers on the Gulf Coast and East Coast are investing tens of billions of dollars in anticipation of more imports coming by ship through the canal as well as more exports going to the growing Latin American middle class.
For example, the Port of Miami has just finished a $2 billion infrastructure improvement program that included deepening port waters to 50 feet, constructing a port tunnel for more efficient access to island facilities, and providing links to the national rail network.
Shippers, too, are investing in major new facilities in the American Heartland where 65 percent of the U.S. population lives. Walmart, for example, has announced construction of an enormous distribution and e-commerce fulfillment center near Indianapolis that will take advantage of a rail hub and all-water routes to East Coast ports. This center will have access to 85 percent of the U.S. population within a two-day truck drive.
Lois Kazakoff, The Chronicle
Photo by Lois Kazakoff/March 2014 Lock gates for the new third lane stand on cleared land near the historic Gatun Locks at the Atlantic entrance to the 100-year-old Panama Canal.
To protect West Coast jobs and trade flows, the ILWU and the PMA must work closely together to protect their respective interests by:
•Establishing better cooperation with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific rail carriers on service and cost policies so shippers still find it more profitable to use these carriers to reach Midwest and East Coast destinations.
•Working to expand land-use policies that establish warehouses in the vicinity of the ports. These reduce supply-chain costs and air pollution from idling trucks. The Tagami project at the Oakland Army Base is an example.
•Developing smoother labor-management relations to change the West Coast ports’ reputation of unreliability, stemming from the 2002 lockout and work stoppage.
•Improving technologies at the terminals for better container tracking to reduce wait times for containers leaving the ports.
•Moving aggressively to expand exports to Latin America to compensate for possible revenue loss from reduced East Asian imports.
The negotiators need to come to an agreement soon and remember: A constructive labor-management partnership is the best strategy to ensure that both will prosper in the challenging economic times ahead.
Michael Nacht is the Thomas and Alison Schneider Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a former assistant secretary of defense for Global Strategic Affairs (2009-10). Larry Henry is the founder of ContainerTrac Inc., a Richmond company that inventories and tracks shipping containers for the seaport and rail industries. It was recently acquired by Mi-Jac Industries. To comment, submit your letter to the editor at www.sfgate.com/submissions/#1.Tags: ilwuPanama canal
‘Hands Up, Don’t Ship!’ Minneapolis UPS Workers Protest Shipments to Missouri Police
August 26, 2014 / Flintheart Glomgold and Launchpad McQuackenlarge or shrink textlogin or register to comment
A dozen part-time UPS workers took protest action after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company whose shipments they handle each day.
A dozen part-time UPS workers in Minneapolis took protest action on the job August 22, after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company, Law Enforcement Targets, whose shipments we handle each day.
Some of us removed the company’s packages from trucks that would deliver them to law enforcement. Others, in solidarity, refused to ferry these packages to their intended trailers.
Others posed with a sign reading “#handsupdontship.” The phrase “hands up, don’t shoot” has come to symbolize protest over the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.
We decided we could not be silent while our work was contributing to the militarized violence that police are directing at Ferguson residents in the aftermath of Brown’s death.
‘Urban Street Violence’
Law Enforcement Targets is based in Blaine, Minnesota. The company produces cardboard, steel, and plastic shooting-range targets. Some feature photos of people for police to practice shooting at.
It holds hundreds of contracts with police departments, federal agencies, and military branches across the country. At least 10 of these contracts are with federal agencies in Missouri, and far more are with county and local police departments and other agencies in the state.
After public controversy last year, Law Enforcement Targets withdrew a line of targets called “No More Hesitation,” which featured young children and pregnant women with guns.
It still offers an “Urban Street Violence” line that’s predictably messed-up, and a “Missouri” line designed with the Kansas City police. (See photos.) These targets are designed to train cops to shoot first and ask questions later, to view everyone as a threat.
All this is shipped through the UPS sorting facility in Minneapolis, which ships several hundred thousand packages each day. Several hundred low-wage, part-time employees do all the sorting work, which includes unloading incoming trucks, sorting packages based on their destinations, and placing them in their intended trailers.
Two examples of the products Law Enforcement Targets sells: images for police to practice shooting at.
“If you’ve got the cash, UPS will ship it,” said one worker who was involved in organizing the action on his section, “even if it’s part of this f***ed-up system that winds up with a kid getting executed by cops and then this military invasion of the town where it happened.
"Give them the check and they couldn’t care less. Well, we care.”
A First Step
Although people in various jobs and work areas took part, the action was symbolic. No packages wound up being halted. We wanted to make a convincing point to other workers while not exposing ourselves to an excessive risk of disciplinary action.
Management hasn’t responded, and may not even have understood that this was done in a concerted way. This is a large facility, and it’s possible supervisors on opposite ends of the building thought this was just one or two workers on their sections.
But we hope this action is just the first step. We shouldn’t have to go into work and support the murder of any more black youth, just because UPS makes a buck off of it. We believe it’s important to find ways of refusing.
The action has already been replicated by other workers in other parts of the building. As soon as we started talking to people, it became clear many were interested in finding ways to take a stand on the shop floor, on this and other issues.
We encourage workers elsewhere, especially at UPS, to think about how their labor contributes to the situation in Ferguson, and what we can do together to stand against it. And we want to help you make it happen.
Flintheart Glomgold and Launchpad McQuack are the obvious pseudonyms of part-time UPS workers in Minneapolis. We’re part of the group ScrewUps, a rank-and-file newsletter for employees of UPS sorting hubs. To find out more or get involved in similar actions, or if you have an idea of how to take a stand but need help, please contact us at email@example.com.
For more on the protests in Missouri, see ‘Mike Brown Is Our Son’ and Ferguson: A String of BetrayalsFergusonHands Up Don't Shootupsteamsters
August 29, 2014: Happy Labor Day Weekend, from your brothers and sisters in Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
On Labor Day, we celebrate the union movement—the folks that brought you the weekend, the 8-hour day, retirement with dignity and the middle class.
Employers and corporate politicians want to roll these gains back. To defend them, we’ve got to put more movement back in the labor movement. That’s what TDU is all about.
Enjoy the long weekend with family and friends. Wear your Teamster colors proudly at the Labor Day Parade. Then let’s hit the ground running this fall working to rebuild union power.
TDU members are gearing up for our 2014 Convention in Cleveland from November 7-9.
Now’s the time to book your travel and make plans to attend 3-days of the best educational workshops for Teamsters around and join the growing movement to Take Back Our Union.
Click here to register for the 2014 TDU Convention today. Or give us a call at 313-842-2600.
Israeli Company Targeted by Oakland Blockade Imports Ammunition Into US
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
By Darwin BondGraham, Truthout | Report
Activists in Oakland picketed the city's busy port for five days starting August 16, preventing longshore workers from unloading the Zim Piraeus, one of 89 ships in the Zim fleet. Oakland, CA, August 16, 2014. (Photo: Alex Chis)
Israeli-owned shipping company Zim, the target of recent port blockades organized by Palestinian solidarity activists in California, is importing millions of rounds of small arms ammunition into the United States each year.
Pro-Palestinian activists in California stopped Israeli-owned cargo ships from unloading olives, wines and ceramics at busy marine terminals in Oakland and Los Angeles last week. Import records show, however, that Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., the Israeli company that was the target of last week's "port blockades," is also delivering millions of rounds of Israeli-manufactured small arms ammunition to the United States each year. Zim also delivers weapons systems components for the Israeli and Greek governments to contractors in the United States for repairs and upgrades.
Activists in Oakland picketed the city's busy port for five days starting August 16, preventing longshore workers from unloading the Zim Piraeus, one of 89 ships in the Zim fleet. The Zim Haifa was scheduled to dock in Long Beach on Saturday, August 23, but protesters there said they delayed its unloading, too. In Washington, protesters rallied at the Port of Tacoma where another Zim ship was scheduled to arrive on August 25.
Bills of lading for the vessels that docked in Oakland and Long Beach show mostly agricultural goods and building materials were carried in the ships' containers.
But on August 15, just a few days before the blockade of the Zim Piraeus in Oakland, the Zim Constanza arrived at the Port of Savannah, along the Atlantic coast of Georgia, laden with millions of rounds of Israeli-manufactured 5.56-millimeter rifle bullets destined for sale in the United States. Records show that the Zim Constanza was also carrying 1.3 million rounds of 9-millimeter Luger bullets.The ammunition was destined for Federal Cartridge of Anoka, Minnesota. The company (which also operates under the name Federal Premium Ammunition) sells rounds of these exact specifications to the public, but also to the US military, and federal and local police agencies.
Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, one of the groups involved in the port blockades, told Truthout she isn't surprised by Zim's ammunition shipments, but called the imports disturbing. "We already know that Israel trains local law enforcement, and that the US supports Israel militarily and economically," Kiswani said. "This shows that Israel plays a role in the militarism and repression of our local communities, not only through trainings and sharing of repressive tactics and strategies, but also through its material support of weaponry and technology."
"Because of companies like Zim, because of the apartheid State of Israel and the US government, from Oakland to Ferguson to Palestine, we are seeing the same weapons being used to murder people, the same technology surveilling our movements, the same torture tactics used on our prisoners, and the same tear gas assaulting communities," Kiswani said.
Bills of lading for the August 15 small arms shipment delivered by Zim show that the bullets were manufactured by Israel Military Industries Ltd., a weapons manufacturing company located in the city of Ramat Hasharon, north of Tel Aviv in Israel. Israel Military Industries supplies the Israel Defense Forces with many of its weapons, including missiles and artillery. Records show that the Israeli ammunition carried by Zim is being imported primarily by Federal Cartridge, but that several smaller companies in Tennessee and Washington State are also receiving small arms shipments delivered by Zim ships.
Federal Cartridge did not respond to a request for information for this article. It's not clear, therefore, whether the Israel Military Industries ammunition Federal Cartridge is importing on Zim ships is destined for sale to the public, the US military or police agencies. Federal Cartridge is a subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems, the largest provider of ammunition for the US military. Alliant Techsystems also supplies the US military with missile and artillery ordnance. Local police forces in the United States are also major customers of Alliant Techsystems and its subsidiary Federal Cartridge.
A year's worth of data reveals that a prolific quantity of ammunition manufactured by Israel Military Industries is being imported by Federal Cartridge on Zim ships into the United States. Several Zim vessels made at least 17 different trips between Haifa, Israel and the Port of Savannah over the last year, shipping ammunition for delivery to Federal Cartridge's facilities in Minnesota. Most of the ammunition consisted of 5.56-millimeter rifle bullets, but in July, the Zim Tarragonaarrived at the Port of Savannah carrying 20 pallets, or 1.3 million rounds, of 9-millimeter hollow point bullets. Hollow point rounds expand on contact with human flesh and do greater damage than most other types of ammunition.
Maor Aharoni, a spokesperson for Zim, provided the following statement to Truthout: "As always, ZIM [is] striving to maintain its high level of service at all times, and especially at the current political environment. Delivering best service possible is our top priority, and we are working in full cooperation with local authorities where we operate to secure smooth operation to our vessels." Aharoni did not address the issue of ammunition shipments.
Federal Cartridge's contracts since 2007 to provide the US Navy with 5.56-millimeter rifle ammunition have exceeded $180 million in value, according to a government contract database. Last year, Federal Cartridge was selected by the FBI to supply 9-millimeter Luger ammunition to the agency.
Alliant Techsystems produces a trademarked law enforcement brand of ammunitionthrough Federal Cartridge that includes a 115-grain, 9-millimeter bullet, the exact type of bullet the company is importing from Israel. Other federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement purchase ammunition from the Federal Cartridge Company. Federal Cartridge did not return phone calls as of publication to explain whether or not it sells Israel Military Industries ammunition to military and law enforcement customers.
"These types of rounds are the same ones used in the Negev light machine gun that have killed and maimed Palestinian men, women and children during Israel's past and current attacks on civilians in Gaza," Jaime Omar Yassin, an Oakland resident who was involved in the organizing of the port blockade there, told Truthout. "If this ammunition is indeed being bought by federal agencies like the FBI and ICE, they will kill and terrorize mostly black and brown civilians in the drug war and the war against the undocumented here."
Zim's ships also haul weapons systems into the United States for repairs and re-export. For example, in January 2014, the Zim Rio Grandedelivered a shipment of aircraft parts sent by the Greek Ministry of Defense to the Port of New York. The parts were imported by Integrated Procurement Technologies, a Goleta, California-based distributor of spare parts for aerospace weapons systems. The same ship offloaded another batch of military aircraft parts bound for Kellstrom Industries, a weapons systems reseller located in Florida.
On August 8, 2014, Lockheed Martin, the largest US military contractor, imported an amphibious vehicle manufactured by Plasan Ltd., an Israeli arms manufacturer. Lockheed has also used Zim ships to transport military aircraft components sent to its US facilities by the Greek Air Force.
Kiswani told Truthout that more boat blockades are planned beyond the West Coast: "So long as this repression continues, so too will our community organizing and resistance. Isolating Zionism is more important now than ever, and targeting Zim is one very tangible way of doing so."
August 29, 2014: Teamsters at the Twin River Casino took a gamble that solidarity could beat corporate greed at Twin River Casino. Now they’ve beaten the house.
The money never stops flowing at Twin River Casino, the largest gambling and entertainment venue in Rhode Island.
But the winnings always stopped when it came to Local 251 members who work as parking valets at the Casino. Until now.
With their old local union leadership cozy with management, the odds were stacked against them. Teamster parking valets took concessionary contracts that created three tiers of employees.
The lowest tier of workers made just $2.89 an hour (plus tips). If they wanted family healthcare they had to pay for the coverage themselves.
This summer, Local 251 members at the Casino bet that solidarity could pay off—and they won a new contract with higher wages, work rule improvements and affordable healthcare for members and their families.
How They Did it
Local 251 members elected new union leadership this year and embraced a new approach to contract negotiations. For the first time, rank-and-file members sat on the negotiating committee.
When Twin River Casino management refused to budge, members Voted No to reject the Casino’s concessionary contract offer.
Then workers took their case to the public. They leafleted the Casino and talked to customers. They launched a social media campaign under the theme “Poverty Wages are a losing bet” that targeted fans of the Casino’s own Facebook page.
Local 251 joined forces with the Working Families Party to launch an online petition telling “Twin River Casino should pay its parking valets a fair wage and provide affordable healthcare coverage for their families."
The Working Families Party (WFP) is a grassroots political party of unions and community groups, including some Teamster locals. They teamed up with Teamsters Local 804 in another winning campaign to save the jobs of 250 Teamsters fired by UPS in New York City.
More than 5,000 public supporters signed the Twin River Casino petition in less than 24 hours. The day after the petition was launched, management sat down with the Local 251 bargaining committee and the Casino folded.
The new contract raises wages and delivers affordable family healthcare coverage to workers and their families.
In addition the new contract improves members’ rights and protections on the job, including stronger job security, the right to honor primary picket lines, a better grievance procedure, fairer disciplinary policies, and improvements in union access, job bidding, seniority, and more.
When Twin River management walked into the first bargaining meeting they said, “We like things the way they are.” Members called their bluff. The Casino had nothing. Thanks to rank-and-file unity and organized public support, members had a full house!Issues: Local Union Reform
August 29, 2014: Hoffa administration lawyers are filing a motion before Federal Judge Loretta Preska in a bid to curtail fair, independently supervised elections in the Teamsters.
Judge Preska can’t just hear from Hoffa. She needs to hear from us.
More than 10,000 Teamsters have signed an Open Letter to Judge Preska—including over 3,700 online signatures.
Help defend our right to vote:
Sign the petition online and make your voice heard.
Email a link to the petition to your friends and asking them to and sharing it on your Facebook wall?Issues: Hoffa Watch
August 29, 2014: More than 10,000 Teamsters have signed the petition to save the Right to Vote for International Union officers. There's still time to make our voices heard.
Hoffa administration lawyers are filing a motion before Federal Judge Loretta Preska in a bid to curtail fair, independently supervised elections in the Teamsters.
We launched a petition drive to the judge and set a goal of 10,000 signatures by Labor Day—and we have topped that goal!
More than 10,600 Teamsters have signed petitions to save the Right to Vote for International Union officers. This includes more than 3,600 Teamsters who have signed our online petition as well as 7,000+ petition signatures that have been collected by TDU members.
More signatures are coming in every day and there's still time to make our voices heard.
What Happens Next
The Hoffa administration is filing papers with Judge Preska. Some time in September, Judge Preska is expected to meet with attorneys for the Hoffa administration and the U.S. Attorney.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) will present our position to the court—and we will deliver petition signatures from over 10,000 members. A decision from the Judge could come in early Fall.
There’s still time for Teamsters to make their voices heard.
Members have until September 10 to sign the online petition or mail in their petition signatures.
Help defend the Right to Vote.
Sign the petition online and make your voice heard.
Copy and Email this link to your friends sharing it on your Facebook wall.
Mail your completed petitions to:
PO Box 10128
Detroit, MI 48210
If you’d like to help with this petition effort, contact TDU at 313-842-2600 or info [at] tdu [dot] org. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and mail you a packet of materials immediately.Issues: TDUHoffa Watch