Unions

BLET President blasts CP for unsafe rail practices and threatening employees

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 13:41
BLETFebruary 16, 2015View the original piece

Dennis Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and President of the Teamsters Rail Conference (U.S.), blasted Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) today for its growing culture of threats and intimidation toward its employees in the U.S. and Canada. Pierce commented following CP’s issuance of a letter to the BLET representatives on its U.S. operations, Soo Line and the Delaware & Hudson.

In those notices, CP threatened its U.S.-based locomotive engineers who work into Canada with disciplinary action, even termination, if they refuse to cross picket lines manned by their legally striking Canadian Brothers and Sisters belonging to Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).

Click here to read more.

Issues: Rail
Categories: Labor News, Unions

With port talks gridlocked, White House move ramps up pressure for a deal

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 10:44
Los Angeles TimesFebruary 16, 2015View the original piece

With idled cargo ships piling up along the coastline, President Obama ordered his labor secretary to California to try to head off a costly shutdown of 29 West Coast ports.

Obama dispatched Tom Perez on Saturday to jump-start stalled labor talks between shipping companies and the dockworkers' union. The move ramps up pressure to resolve a dispute that stranded tens of thousands of containers on cargo ships over the holiday weekend.

Click here to read more at Los Angeles Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Union retirees fear dramatic pension cuts under new federal law

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 10:21
Jim Mackinnon Ohio.comFebruary 16, 2015View the original piece

Bill Hendershot and his wife live on his union pension and Social Security. Hendershot, a retired Consolidated Freightways long-distance truck driver, gets around now in a 12-year-old Toyota Corolla. The couple still pay a mortgage on their home in Canal Fulton.

And he’s among a huge group of union retirees nationwide who could see their monthly private pension payments cut as much as 60 percent under a national reform measure signed into law in December by President Barack Obama.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Ruling Delayed on Teamsters Oversight

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:11
The Detroit NewsFebruary 13, 2015

Judge reserves decision on deal to end fed consent order.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Labor Movement Files ConsentOrderHearing.pdf
Categories: Labor News, Unions

West Coast Terminal Operators to Halt Loadings a Second Time

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:13
Lynn DoanBloomberg NewsFebruary 12, 2015View the original piece

Terminal operators at ports along the U.S. West Coast will, for the second time in less than a week, suspend vessel loadings amid a labor dispute with dockworkers.

Vessel loadings and unloadings will be stopped Feb. 12 and again Feb. 14-16, the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing employers in the negotiations with longshoremen, said by e-mail Feb. 11. Association members cited “ongoing and costly” worker slowdowns in their decision to halt vessel traffic. Some yard, gate and rail operations will continue.

Click here to read more at Transport Topics.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ILWU President Robert McEllrath’s message to the membership (video)

ILWU - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 17:36

February 11, 2015

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath has released the following update on the contract talks with the Pacific Maritime Association.

Categories: Unions

Farmer Brothers leaving the state, in bitter blow to family of workers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:55
Steve LopezLos Angeles TimesFebruary 11, 2015View the original piece

Farmer Brothers, the iconic coffee company based on the border of Torrance and Los Angeles, likes to market a sweet story about how it came to be.

In 1912, Roy E. Farmer thought restaurants should be serving a better cup of coffee, so he started a bean delivery business in the back of his brother's bicycle shop. And from those humble beginnings, the business became a national success, with Farmer later handing the reins to his son.

Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters give CP Rail 72-hour strike notice

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:53
Tracy JohnsonCBC NewsFebruary 11, 2015View the original piece

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has given Canadian Pacific Railway 72-hour strike notice, meaning 3,300 locomotive engineers, conductors and other train workers could walk off the job midnight on Saturday.

Union president Doug Finnson is in Montreal this week negotiating with CP, with the help of federal mediation, but says the union has not made headway on issues such as working conditions.

Click here to read more at CBC News.

Issues: Rail
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Anatomy of a Turnaround: YRC Worldwide

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 07:18
David McCannCFOFebruary 11, 2015View the original piece

This is the first in a series of six articles about the volatile financial misfortunes and turnaround of trucking company YRC Worldwide. See parts twothreefourfive and six.

If there were a Comeback Player of the Year award for corporate performance, YRC Worldwide might have taken home the trophy for 2014. Not that the $5 billion trucking company is now a superstar — far from it. Rather, such recognition would be testimony to how low YRC had sunk.

After years of finance jockeying that barely kept the company from tripping into bankruptcy, its footing is relatively secure now. A smorgasbord of entwined elements converged in the rescue: a new labor deal, a deft debt restructuring, an equity offering that allowed for debt paydown, an operational downsizing, the improving economy, and plain luck.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Union & Toronto IWW Win Termination Pay For Fired Organizer

IWW - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 17:56

On January 7, 2015, two days before the end of her 6 month probationary period, THRWU member S. was terminated from her job as a Senior Harm Reduction Worker at Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre.

S. was terminated immediately and without cause, which is reprehensible but legal in Ontario within a probationary period. During her 6 months-less-two-days at Syme Woolner, S. had advocated for better treatment of workers and against discrimination and disrespect of workers and service users. She was the third person to occupy her position in less than a year.

read more

Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo

IBU - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:15
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Categories: Unions

Multiemployer plans untangle reforms

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 02/10/2015 - 08:01
Hazel BradfordPensions & InvestmentsFebruary 10, 2015View the original piece

Some multiemployer pension fund executives are trying to figure out whether to take advantage of a controversial new reform law that allows potential benefit cuts for participants and retirees. Others are hoping for further reforms to allow for alternative plan designs.

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 — passed swiftly in December — allows deeply underfunded plans to take unprecedented steps to avoid insolvency but comes with strings attached. It also gives federal regulators some new tactics that could help save troubled multiemployer plans (Pensions & Investments, Dec. 22).

Click here to read more at Pensions & Investments.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ILWU statement on port re-opening

ILWU - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 10:12

ILWU statement from 2-19-15 on the  re-opening of West Coast ports:

“West Coast ports re-opened Monday morning after employers closed the docks for two days, increasing delays for customers needing containers.  The union remains focused on reaching a settlement as quickly as possible with employers.  Talks to resolve the few remaining issues between the Longshore Union and Pacific Maritime Association are ongoing.”

Categories: Unions

Aerial photos of ports show what the PMA doesn’t want the public to see

ILWU - Mon, 02/09/2015 - 09:35

The following photographs show, as ILWU International President Bob McEllrath said in a recent news release, that there are acres of asphalt waiting for the containers that sit on dozens of ships waiting to be unloaded at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and sufficient space for thousands of containers on the docks.

The PMA has told the media that the ports are too full to receive cargo, but the photos tell another story. And though the docks are clear, the transportation chain (intermodal squeeze from export energy trains and chassis shortage) remains congested due to factors outside of the scope of the ILWU.

Photos taken Saturday, Feb. 6, 2015, at LB 94 and LBCT, by a team of longshore workers: Pilot Rollo Hartstrom from Local 13, and photographer Bill Kirk from Local 94.

In mid-January, PMA claimed that there was a lack of dock space for containers, and it eliminated night shifts at many ports.

“PMA is leaving ships at sea and claiming there’s no space on the docks, but there are acres of asphalt just waiting for the containers on those ships, and hundreds of longshore workers ready to unload them,” said McEllrath. “The employers are deliberately worsening the existing congestion crisis to gain the upper hand at the bargaining table.”

The union’s photos of marine terminals in Southern California that show large tracts of space that would easily fit thousands of containers.

The PMA is an employer association whose largest members include Denmark-based Maersk Line, Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, Korean-based Hanjin Shipping, Philippines-based ICTSI, Japan-based NYK Line, Hong Kong-based OOCL, China-based COSCO, and other employers based in France, Norway and worldwide.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is based in San Francisco, Calif., and is negotiating a contract that has covered longshore workers at 30 West Coast ports in California, Oregon and Washington since 1934.

Categories: Unions

In Most States, Trucking is the Most Common Job

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:43
Quoctrung BuiNPRFebruary 6, 2015View the original piece

This gives our union leverage; it's time to use it: "Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can't drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can't drive cars."

Click here to view the interactive map and read the full story.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Support the IWW Toronto Harm Reduction Workers!

IWW - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 11:59

Close, oh so close. How about helping the Fellow Workers at Toronto Harm Reduction Worker Union - IWW reach their goal? Every dollar that you can spare helps. Show your support!: http://www.gofundme.com/THRWU

Background

Harm reduction saves lives.

Harm reduction workers make harm reduction work.

Over the last year, harm reduction workers across the city of Toronto have been organizing the world’s first harm reduction workers’ union. We are the kit makers, outreach workers, community workers, and coordinators that reduce the harms associated with bad drug laws, poverty and capitalism.

read more

Categories: Unions

West Coast Port Lockout Threatened, Though Union Says Deal Is Close

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 09:30
Transport TopicsFebruary 5, 2015View the original piece

The top negotiator for West Coast terminal operators and ocean carriers said the region’s docks are nearing “complete gridlock” and raised the prospect of a lockout in as few as five days unless a contract deal is reached.

Pacific Maritime Association President Jim McKenna told reporters productivity has declined 50% because of International Longshore & Warehouse Union slowdowns. As congestion builds, and several dozen ships can’t reach the docks to unload, the union is forcing management’s hand, he said.

The union’s response struck a different tone, saying a deal was “extremely close” after nearly nine months of talks.

PMA presented a new, “best offer” proposal Feb. 4, McKenna said, describing it as “a true goodwill gesture to get the West Coast ports going again.”

The five-year proposal includes 3% higher wages, 11% higher pension benefits and no givebacks. Wages now approach $150,000 annually, and pensions average $80,000 a year, he said.

“We’ve dropped almost all of our remaining issues to help get this settled — and the few issues that remain can be easily resolved,” ILWU President Robert McEllrath said in the statement. “Closing the ports at this point would be reckless and irresponsible.”

The union represents nearly 20,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports.

McKenna stressed that management preferred a settlement and didn’t want to lock out workers. His news conference was the first since talks began nearly nine months ago.

“We are at a critical time right now,” McKenna said during a conference call that lasted nearly an hour. “It can’t keep going on forever. We are trying to give enough notice and lead time for businesses to make the best decisions they can.”

The parties’ six-year contract expired July 1. The recently expired deal was reached without a lockout or strike. In 2002, President George W. Bush had to intervene to stop a 10-day lockout.

“A shutdown is a nuclear option that no one wants to take,” McKenna said. “We will keep talking. The last thing we want is to close this thing down. We are not doing anything rash.”

McEllrath noted that management previously has threatened to shut the ports during the final stage of talks in a reference to 2002. ILWU’s last strike affecting all West Coast ports was in 1971, the union said.

The union’s statement again blamed management for dock problems, which were made worse by the absence of chassis for truckers to move cargo off the docks.

McKenna blamed the union for the slowdowns, saying they weren’t allowing enough workers to report for jobs.

“A lot is at stake here,” McKenna said, noting that trade through West Coast ports accounts for 12% of the U.S. gross domestic product. “It is important for both parties involved and for the nation.”

Customers and industry trade groups ranging from U.S. beef farmers to toy importers have bombarded the parties for months with pleas to resolve their differences so that cargo flows normally again.

A federal mediator has participated in the talks for about one month.

Since May, the parties have acknowledged agreement on two issues – health-care costs and chassis-handling practices. Health-care costs matter because union members could face higher taxes in 2018 under the Affordable Care act.

Chassis are an issue because leasing companies and others have acquired chassis that ocean carriers used to provide. That move injected a new element into chassis supply, since the owners of the equipment now aren’t directly involved in contract talks.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

YRC Worldwide posts a stronger fourth-quarter profit of $6.2 million

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 07:17
Mark DavisThe Kansas City StarFebruary 6, 2015View the original piece

Trucking giant YRC Worldwide Inc. on Thursday reported a $6.2 million profit in the final months of 2014 as its national freight business turned in stronger operating results.

The fourth-quarter profit compared with a $400,000 profit in the same quarter a year earlier.

Click here to read more at The Kansas City Star.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article9354956.html#storylink=cpy

 

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ILWU President blasts PMA threat to shut down US ports

ILWU - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 14:58

 

The ILWU has provided the media with several pictures disputing the PMA’s claims that West Coast ports are too congested to unload ships. In fact, they have acres of asphalt waiting for containers and hundreds of longshore workers willing to unload them.

Photos of empty docks show that PMA employers, based largely overseas, are worsening a congestion crisis at West Coast ports to pressure American workers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 5, 2015) – ILWU International President Robert McEllrath today blasted the Pacific Maritime Association for threatening to shut down West Coast ports, bargaining in the media, and distorting the facts.

“What the ILWU heard yesterday is a man who makes about one million dollars a year telling the working class that we have more than our share,” said McEllrath. “Intensifying the rhetoric at this stage of bargaining, when we are just a few issues from reaching an agreement, is totally unnecessary and counterproductive.”

In mid-January, PMA claimed that there was a lack of dock space for containers, and it eliminated nightshifts at many ports. Today, the union provided photos disputing the employer group’s assertion that docks are too congested to unload ships.

“PMA is leaving ships at sea and claiming there’s no space on the docks, but there are acres of asphalt just waiting for the containers on those ships, and hundreds of longshore workers ready to unload them,” said McEllrath. “The employers are deliberately worsening the existing congestion crisis to gain the upper hand at the bargaining table.”

The union provided several photos of marine terminals in Southern California that show large tracts of space that would easily fit thousands of containers.

“The employers’ threat to shut down West Coast ports is a reckless and unnecessary move,” said

McEllrath. “What the employers need to do is stay at the negotiating table and work through a few remaining issues with the workers who have made them successful for the past 80 years. We are very close to reaching an agreement.”

The PMA is an employer association whose largest members include Denmark-based Maersk Line, Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, Korean-based Hanjin Shipping, Philippines-based ICTSI, Japan-based NYK Line, Hong Kong-based OOCL, China-based COSCO, and other employers based in France, Norway and worldwide.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is based in San Francisco, Calif., and is negotiating a contract that has covered longshore workers at 30 West Coast ports in California, Oregon and Washington since 1934.

Download the press release here. (PDF)

Categories: Unions

ILWU tells employers:  finish negotiations, don’t close ports over only a few remaining issues

ILWU - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 16:44

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The ILWU is trying to keep dock employers at the negotiating table to finish an agreement that is “extremely close.”

“We’re this close,” said ILWU President Robert McEllrath, who held up two fingers in a gesture indicating how close the parties are to reaching an agreement.

“We’ve dropped almost all of our remaining issues to help get this settled – and the few issues that remain can be easily resolved.”

The ILWU pledged to keep the ports open and keep cargo flowing, despite the massive, employer-caused congestion crisis that has delayed shipping for most of 2014.

This is the second time in recent memory that the employers have threatened to close ports at the final stages of negotiations. The union has not engaged in a port strike over the coast longshore contract since 1971, 44 years ago.

“Closing the ports at this point would be reckless and irresponsible,” said McEllrath. The ILWU urged the Federal Mediator to keep both parties at the talks until the nearly-finished agreement is concluded.

If the PMA closes the ports, “the public will suffer and corporate greed will prevail,” said McEllrath, who noted that the major powers on the employer side are multi-national corporations who are foreign-owned.

“These foreign-owned companies make billions of dollars and pay their executives millions to do their bidding.”

The ILWU Longshore Division represents 20,000 dockworkers at 29 west coast ports.

Download the press release here. (PDF)

Categories: Unions

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