Unions

PMA and ILWU Continue Talks on a New Labor Agreement as the Existing Contract Expires

ILWU - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 16:43

SAN FRANCISCO (July 1, 2014) – Negotiations for a new labor contract covering nearly 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports will continue to move forward as the existing, six-year coast-wide labor agreement expires today at 5 p.m. PST.

While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support.

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 joint press release here.

Categories: Unions

Insurer Warns Some Pooled Pensions Are Beyond Recovery

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 08:55
Mary Williams WalshThe New York TimesJuly 1, 2014View the original piece

More than a million people risk losing their federally insured pensions in just a few years despite recent stock market gains and a strengthening economy, a new government study said on Monday.

The people at risk have earned pensions in multiemployer plans, in which many companies band together with a union to provide benefits under collective bargaining. Such pensions were long considered exceptionally safe, but the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation reported in its study that some plans are now in their death throes and cannot recover.

Click here to read more at The New York Times.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

The United States, on the verge of a retirement crisis

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 08:08
The Yucatan TimesJune 30, 2014View the original piece

“For retirement, the answer is 4-0-1-k,” proclaimed Tyler Mathisen, then editor of Money magazine in 1996. “I feel sure that someday, like a financial Little-Engine-That-Could, it will pull me over the million-dollar mountain all by itself.”

For this sentiment, and others like it, Mathisen was soon rewarded with an on-air position at financial news network CNBC, where he remains to this day. As for the rest of us? We were had.

Click here to read more at The Yucatan Times.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

The Largest Lockout You've Never Heard Of

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 14:29
June 27, 2014: More than 500 Teamsters in South Carolina Local 509 have been locked out for two months by the AGY corporation, in the largest Teamster labor struggle in the country.  

These brothers and sisters deserve all our support and solidarity, as they are fighting unjust demands that would eliminate job security, all seniority rights for layoffs, recall, and job bidding, holiday pay, and bring other concessions.
 Read one Teamster's story, and more on the AGY Employees Speaking Out: Putting "Feet To Our Faith" Facebook group.
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Yuti Tuvalu: quiet leader of “Gang Uso”  

ILWU - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:25

Less than one month before Bonilla’s passing, another union brother, Yuti Tuvalu, passed on April 21 due to natural causes. Yuti was a member of the unofficial “Gang Uso” which is comprised of longies of Polynesian descent working on the docks. “Uso” is the Samoan word for brother.

While he never held union office, Tuvalu often helped the leadership with security or chauffeuring for union events. Tuvalu was also one of the Gang Uso brothers who most often provided the volunteer “muscle” behind operations such as HelpSamoa.com, which provided containers filled with relief goods for the tsunami-stricken islands in 2009, as well as other events like “Bloody Thursday” that honor our union’s fallen martyrs from the 1934 strike.

“Yuti paved the way for many of us Usos to get involved serving the local,” said Tony Luafalemana, fellow Gang Uso member. “He wouldn’t think twice about calling a “reap” (replacement worker) if one of the officers asked him for any kind of help. Luafalemana added that many of the gains won by lashers on the southern California waterfront are due to the solid reputation Tuvalu helped to establish for workers.

“This is really hard for us because we lost two good union brothers back to back,” said Sam Moega, Executive Board member and former Chief Dispatcher of Local 13. “Berto was my best friend and Yuti was my uso. I consider both of them my brothers and we could always count on them to do anything for our union. Berto was on the frontline and Yuti was the quiet guy in the back. We are really going to miss them.”

Written by Local 13 member Vivian J. Malauulu

Categories: Unions

Loss of a talented young leader: Alberto Bonilla

ILWU - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 10:12

The ILWU lost a kind and energetic young leader on May 17 when Alberto Bonilla passed with his family by his side, following a cardiac arrest that left him in a coma for almost a week. Bonilla was 43 years-old.

“Berto,” as he was affectionately known, was very active within the union as both a rank-and-file member and officer. He held numerous leadership positions at Local 13 including Dispatcher, Business Agent, Caucus Delegate, Executive Board member, and Coast Education Committee member. He became known to many beyond Local 13 because he served as Sergeant-At-Arms at many sessions of the Coast Longshore Caucus and was often involved in solidarity efforts to help others. He shared his love for the union with his twin brother Alonzo, and other brothers Nickolas and Jose Luis Rigo.

“Alberto Bonilla was truly a member who embodied everything we aspire to be in this union,” said Local 13 President Bobby Olvera, Jr. “His spirit was bound in brotherhood and his contribution of countless hours towards the benefit of the union and his community is unparalleled. As a member he was exemplary, and as an individual he was a humanitarian. He will be missed by all of us at Local 13.”

Berto was extremely well-liked and respected, qualities that drew hundreds to his funeral. Among those attending were International President Bob McEllrath, International Vice Presidents Ray Familathe and Wesley Furtado, and International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams. ILWU members attended from locals in Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii.

“Alberto was a great friend of mine and he was always willing to volunteer and step-up for his union,” said President McEllrath. “We need more young leaders like him, and his loss was felt far and wide.”

“Berto will be missed as a friend and as a union brother,” said Vice President Furtado. “He embodied so much of what the ILWU is about. He fought to keep this union strong and was always there to lend a hand to those in need.”

“I think my husband always had a premonition that something was going to happen to him,” said Marla Piceno Bonilla, Berto’s widow and high-school sweetheart. “He would always tell our son that ‘someday this will be yours’ and he often took Junior with him to union activities.”

“My father named me after him for a reason,” said Alberto Bonilla, Jr., “I will keep his name going and his legacy continuing down on the docks. When I work there someday, I hope to be as good as my dad was because I have big shoes to fill.”

Written by Local 13 member Vivian J. Malauulu

Categories: Unions

Local 43 Merges into Local 200

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/26/2014 - 06:47
Olivia HitchcockThe Journal TimesJune 26, 2014View the original piece

With the addition of Racine Teamsters, the Milwaukee-based Teamsters chapter now has more than 600 new members.

After an “overwhelming” vote by the Racine Teamsters chapter, Local 43, the group will be merging with Milwaukee in an attempt to increase resources and power for members, according to a press release sent by the Milwaukee group.

Click here to read more at The Journal Times.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

MUA’s campaign to counter Chevron labor attacks goes global with help from ILWU & other allies

ILWU - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 14:42

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is working closely with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the ILWU and other allies on a global education campaign to show why Chevron – not workers – is responsible for bloated budgets and growing delays on a massive natural gas project in northwestern Australia.

Blaming workers

Chevron triggered the campaign by blaming members of the Maritime Union of Australia for self-inflicted problems with the company’s “Gorgon” project that intends to develop, produce and ship natural gas in liquefied form (LNG) from offshore locations. The project’s initial price tag of $37 billion has since swollen to $54 billion.

Lawsuit and threats

When the MUA tried to negotiate an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for maritime workers in the offshore oil and gas sector, Chevron rejected the union’s proposals and dug in their heels. Despite repeated efforts by the union, Chevron stopped talking. Following a legitimate health & safety dispute that briefly delayed the departure of a barge, Chevron declared war on union members by filing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the MUA. Chevron then upped the ante with an expensive and deceptive public relations campaign to smear the union by claiming that workers were making unreasonable demands for hundreds of dollars an hour, thus jeopardizing the project and causing cost-overruns.

Exploiting foreign workers

Chevron and other corporate investors in Australia have been testing the waters with a strategy to lower labor costs and destroy unions. The scheme involves importing contract laborers from low-wage countries to work on projects in Australia – paying the immigrants half or less of the Australian union rate – with no worries about unions, safety complaints or other problems.

Dave Noonan of Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says his union has filed complaints about foreign worker abuse since 2010, but little has been done by the Australia’s anti-union government.

“Australian workers are telling us they are applying for jobs on these projects and don’t even get a call back,’’ he said. Mega-profits & dangerous blunders Chevron, like other oil companies, has enjoyed massive windfall profits in recent years with earnings further enhanced by huge taxpayer subsidies.

The Northern California-based corporation reported profits of $21.4 billion in 2013 and $26.2 billion in 2012. Once seen by investors as the hottest growth prospect among major oil companies, Chevron has stumbled recently in the wake of a refinery explosion and fire in Richmond, CA that nearly killed a dozen Chevron workers and sent over 10,000 residents to local hospitals with concerns about respiratory problems.

Support to set the record straight

In early May, 2014, Will Tracey, MUA’s Assistant Secretary for the Western Australia Branch and ITF Australia Campaign Director Shannon O’Keeffe arrived in California to conduct research and establish new contacts. They were assisted by the ILWU and the United Steelworkers Union, which represents refinery workers in many Northern and Southern California sites – including Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, CA where the 2012 explosion nearly killed a dozen of their members.

After meeting with the ILWU International Executive Board, who pledged their solidarity and support, Tracey and O’Keeffe met with other unions, community and environmental organizations that monitor Chevron’s behavior in Richmond and around the world.

The whirlwind tour included interviews on a local radio station, briefings with Richmond City officials who are trying to hold the company more accountable, and discussions with key environmental leaders from Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Movement Generation, Amazon Watch, and others.

“We learned a lot from our visit, including the fact that Chevron’s disrespectful behavior in Australia is similar to how they seem to operate in Richmond and around the world,” said O’Keefe, who ventured with Will Tracey to Chevron’s headquarters in the pristine suburb of San Ramon, CA to inspect the corporate campus.

Lessons learned from the MUA’s California visit include:

• Chevron has cut corners on safety by avoiding preventive

• Chevron has been charged with serious violations by state a federal safety inspectors;

• Chevron had 5 significant accidents at their Richmond refinery in the past 10 years;

• Chevron admitted committing six criminal charges at their Richmond refinery in 2013;

• Chevron received Cal/OSHA’s highest safety-related fines in history in 2013;

• Chevron has committed 169 air quality violations during the past six years; and,

• Chevron plans to increase cancer causing chemicals and greenhouse gas released in Richmond;

Meeting with Wall St. analysts Armed with new information and contacts from their California visit in early May, the MUA team returned to Australia for some catch-up and preparations. But within two weeks, O’Keefe and the campaign were back in the United States in late May. Their first stop was a New York City meeting with Wall Street analysts who closely follow Chevron’s operation in order to alert investors of potential problems ahead.

Analysts were interested in hearing more about the Gorgon gas project, especially details about the delayed timelines, budget problems and company’s provocative labor posture that includes growing litigation expenses.

Texas shareholder meeting

The next stop on the campaign trail was Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting on May 28, where investors are allowed to ask top management questions about company policies. Previous

Chevron shareholder meetings have taken place in the San Francisco Bay area, near the company’s headquarters. But this year, Chevron tried to hide from critics and the media by moving the shareholder meeting to Midland, Texas. The MUA team and their allies weren’t subdued by Chevron’s last-minute

switch and came prepared with proof of their shareholder status. The campaign delegation included MUA National Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin, Western Australian Branch Assistant Secretary Will Tracey and ITF Australia Campaigns Director Shannon O’Keeffe. The trio listened patiently until the floor was opened for questions.

Counterpunching

Then they set the record straight about the real reasons why Chevron’s massive Gorgon project had gone off the rails in Australia. They explained how the company wasted money on expensive public-relations and lobbying consultants who unfairly blamed the Gorgon’s bloated budget and tardy timelines on the MUA.

“Gorgon is an important project for both Chevron and the Australian national interest in the development of our nationally-owned resources,” said MUA National Secretary and ITF President Paddy Crumlin. “We’ve been trying to reach a reasonable agreement with Chevron for years, but each approach has been firmly rebuffed by the company. Chevron should sit down with the unions to develop a sustainable and functional relationship with its workforce.”

Crumlin noted that the Gorgon is one of the largest LNG (liquefied natural gas) projects in the world – and that those energy resources belong to the Australian people. He said Chevron should develop a good relationship with workers on the project and maintain community support. So far, he said, it has been a dismal failure. Crumlin concluded with some colorful Aussie language that may have baffled Chevron’s top brass: “The company needs to get a grip, cop its stuffups on the chin and return to a mature and balanced industrial relations model, more suited to Australian values underpinning economic and commercial success.”

Chevron CEO backtracks

Crumlin’s comments drew a response from Chevron’s top dog, CEO John Watson. Their exchange was covered in a Reuters news report about the shareholder meeting. Unlike Chevron’s strategy in Australia that scapegoated the union, Watson was careful to avoid any suggestion that labor costs had contributed to the Gorgon’s busted budget. Instead, the CEO mentioned bad weather, a rise in the valuation of Australia’s currency, and increasing material prices. He added that Chevron is committed to using union labor in Australia and closed with a clear statement that amounted to a welcome and refreshing flip-flop: “We have no intention of blaming organized labor for cost overruns or delays at Gorgon.”

Business school exposé

In addition to verbal sparring with company officials, the MUA team used the shareholder meeting to release a research port about the Gorgon project conducted by the University of Sydney Business School, which offered a thorough analysis of the project’s problems.

Authored by Professor Bradon Ellem, the report titled, “What is Happening on Chevron’s Gorgon Project?” concluded that delays and cost problems were due to logistical challenges and poor management decisions – not unions and labor issues which played a negligible role.

The report noted that wages are only a small part of the project’s overall cost, with maritime labor estimated to be only 1%. He also found that most of the financial figures used in public debates were misleading, and suggested that Chevron should engage workers in a more cooperative approach to increase efficiency.

‘Wealth of untapped worker experience’

The report suggested Chevron should utilize workers’ “untapped wealth of experience and ideas about how to deliver the project on-time and on-budget,” and encouraged Chevron to rethink the issues and stop blaming workers. The report also chided management for shifting responsibility from themselves to workers, noting that “neither Chevron nor the partners and contractors appear to see themselves as in any way accountable for the failings on their project. In short, both the evidence presented here and the pattern of blame-shifting raise questions about management practice and management accountability.”

MUA WA Branch Secretary Christy Cain welcomed the report as a “wake-up call” and hoped it would influence much of the Australian media that has blamed workers for the Gorgon’s problems.

Western Australian Branch Assistant Secretary Will Tracey praised the report for showing how time and money could be saved through closer engagement with union workers who want the Gorgon project to succeed.

“There’s a lesson in this report – not just for Chevron, but for the media commentators pushing for lower labor standards as some sort of economic panacea. The real key to unlocking Australian workplace productivity is through better engagement and cooperation between management and workers – not screwing down wages and eroding conditions in an adversarial environment.”

Categories: Unions

‘Fight for 15’ wins historic wage increase in Seattle

ILWU - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 11:20

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on June 2 to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 hour. The minimum wage ordinance, which more than doubles the current federal minimum wage, was an important victory for labor activists and puts Seattle in the forefront of national efforts to address income inequality by raising the wage floor for the city’s lowest paid workers.

The “Fight for 15” was a major campaign platform for both Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Council member, Kshama Sawant. Sawant’s election received national attention because she ran her campaign as an openly socialist candidate.

The ordinance was passed with several concessions to businesses that have been criticized by labor activists. The wage increase will be phased in over seven years, with different schedules for small and big businesses (defined as more than 500 employees) and for
business that provide health care coverage or where workers receive tips.

In another concession to business, upon the approval of the state Department of Labor and Industries, employers will be allowed to pay a wage lower than the city minimum—but higher than the state minimum—for the employment of “learners, of apprentices, and of messengers employed primarily in delivery of letters and messages,” and “individuals whose earning capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency or
injury.”

The ordinance also contains a provision for a sub-minimum wage-rate for teenagers. Employers will be allowed to pay 85% of the minimum wage to workers under the age of 18. Despite these compromises, Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance is a historic victory for activists. At their May membership meeting, ILWU Local 19 members
voted in favor of a resolution supporting the minimum wage increase.
Even though longshore workers will not be directly affected by the ordinance, Local 19 President Cameron Williams said that it is important to help the City’s lowest paid workers.

“The seventh guiding principle of the ILWU reminds us that unless workers organize, wages, like water, will flow to the lowest level,” Williams said. “Wages in the country have been a downward slide for decades for most workers. It’s time to turn the tide on that trend.”

Local 19 Executive Board member Justin Hirsh said the final ordinance was not perfect and he acknowledged the leadership of Councilmember Sawant. “Kshama and her team fought up to the last minute to make this ordinance the best it could be. This is a
precedent-setting victory and we move forward from here,” Hirsh said.

Categories: Unions

Tribute sculpture for former ILWU President Jimmy Herman at SF’s Pier 27 moves forward

ILWU - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 10:50

On June 10th the Port of San Francisco was presented with a gift agreement for the James R. Herman Tribute Sculpture that will be placed at the Pier 27 cruise ship terminal. The terminal is named in honor of former ILWU International President and former San Francisco Port Commissioner, Jimmy Herman. The gift proposal, valued at $250,000, must now be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The sculpture will be a wall-mounted, interactive audio-visual installation measuring 10-feet high by 15-feet long. The sculpture will resemble the waves of the bay. Housed within it will be a touch screen that will allow visitors to scroll through biographical information about Herman and will also include a directional sound system that will allow visitors to hear highlights from Herman’s speeches.

The installation is expected to be completed by the end of October. Sean Farley, ILWU Local 34 President and Chair of the James R. Herman Memorial Committee, said that the purpose of the sculpture is to commemorate Jimmy Herman’s contribution to the labor movement and to the San Francisco waterfront.

“We wanted to reflect what Jimmy was about—his history, his legacy, his commitment to social justice movements and his contributions as a Port Commissioner—all the facets of who he was in his life. We also had to take into account what Pier 27 is—a world-class cruise terminal facility. We wanted a tribute that is commensurate with that facility and we think we’ve done that.”

“Jimmy was a true working class hero. He tried to make everyone around him better,” said ILWU International Secretary Treasurer Willie Adams. Adams also serves as a Port Commissioner and Vice President of the San Francisco Port Commission. “The cruise ship terminal and this sculpture will be a great tribute to his legacy.”

ILWU members along with other members of the local community including former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi formed the James R. Herman Memorial Committee to raise money for the creation of the sculpture and its maintenance for the next 20 years.

The Committee is still $120,000 short of its goal. If you would like to contribute, please contact Sean Farley or Allen Fung at ILWU Local 34: (415) 362-8852. The committee has applied for non-profit status and is awaiting final approval from the IRS.

Categories: Unions

Longshore Safety Committee is negotiating for more protection against deadly hazards

ILWU - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 10:28

While the ILWU’s Longshore Negotiating Committee continues meeting with Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) officials to reach terms on a new Longshore & Clerks Contract that will replace the one expiring at midnight on June 30th, eight members of the ILWU’s Safety Sub-Committee are also trying to negotiate new ways to protect workers from dangerous hazards and deadly injuries.

“We opened our safety negotiations by telling employers that we need a stronger Safety Code to protect everyone on the docks,” said Local 10 member Ed Ferris, Chair of the Safety Sub-Committee. “Our goal is to improve safety on the waterfront.”

The “Safety Code” is a 168-page document formally known as the ILWU-PMA Pacific Coast Marine Safety Code.

“It’s our bible,” says Local 98 member Paul Weiser, a veteran dockworker with over five decades of experience who knows the risks involved. “This job can kill you in a second – before you even know what hit you.”

Weiser serves on the Safety Committee with seven co-workers: Ray Benavente of Local 13 representing Maintenance and Repair; Tracy Burchett of Local 53 representing Small Ports; Committee Secretary Luke Hollingsworth from Local 13 representing the Southern California Region; Committee Vice-Chair Mike Podue of Local 63 representing Marine Clerks; Adam Wetzell of Local 8 representing the Oregon/Columbia River region; and Ryan Whitman of Local 23 representing the Washington/Puget Sound Region.

Local 63’s Mike Podue agrees the work is dangerous. “The last time we crunched the fatality numbers, it showed West Coast longshore workers had higher fatality rates than police officers and fire fighters,” he said. “That leaves a lot of room for improvement.”

Local 8’s Adam Wetzell says he’s seen what can go wrong when companies cut corners on safety and maintenance. “Our container terminal operator in Portland is ICTSI, and they’ve been cited by OSHA for putting workers at risk. Our jobs are already dangerous enough without employers who make it worse.”

The Safety Committee has been meeting steadily since May 12 and aims to make improvements in the Safety Code. “We’ve got work to do that can save lives, but every bit of progress requires a real struggle with the companies,” said Ray Local 13 member Ray Benavente.

“I’ve been through this before and know how hard it is to strengthen the safety rules,” said Tracy Burchett of Local 53. “The employers always have some reason why they resist improving the Safety Code – but it usually comes down to saving time and money.”

Ryan Whitman of Local 23 says the Safety Committee’s work is important, “but it’s only half the battle, because we need every longshore worker to respect and understand the rules – and feel comfortable pushing back when corners get cut.”

Safety Committee members intend to keep working down to the June 30th wire – and beyond if necessary – to reach agreement on a revised and improved Safety Code.

“Almost all injuries are preventable,” said Local 13’s Luke Hollingsworth, “and we shouldn’t have to wait for the next tragedy to make things safer.”

Categories: Unions

YRC Freight Proposed Change of Operations

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 09:17

June 25, 2014: YRC Freight has submitted a proposed change of operations to the IBT which would re-open distribution centers in Memphis and Houston, and reclassify Seattle as a distribution center. The change will be heard on July 23, and the company wants implementation on August 17.

119 dock, switcher, road, mechanic, and office jobs will be affected. Losing terminals will be Dallas, Nashville, Jackson, Miss., Little Rock, and Portland, Oregon. The company is proposing a follow the work bidding process. Memphis retains the “retreat rights” from a previous change.

Click here to read the proposed change of operations.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Give Veterans the Health Care They Deserve, Staff the VA

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 07:45
Mike HallAFL-CIOJune 25, 2014View the original piece

The recent revelations of long waiting lists for military veterans seeking treatment at Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities and of management cover-ups has prompted AFGE to again call on Congress to fully staff the VA in order to provide the health care veterans deserve.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

IWOC Statement Against The Felony Question On Job Applications

IWW - Tue, 06/24/2014 - 11:11

The IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee opposes all forms and methods of exploitation that the ruling class use to disempower and disenfranchise working people. IWOC stands in solidarity with those individuals that are released from prison only to find that they are effectively barred from obtaining employment due to the question “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”, which is found on most job applications.

The IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee recognizes that the felony question does not serve the interests of working people, nor does the question improve or fix the work, social, and economic conditions that plague our society. Therefore, our union opposes the employers’ practice of using the generalized felony question on job applications.

read more

Categories: Unions

IBU 2014 Union Elections: Nomination Form

IBU - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 16:23
Dear Puget Sound Members: (Please refer to the article in the June 21, 2014 fleet memo (attached) for more info.) Attached is a nomination form for the 2014 IBU union elected positions.
Categories: Unions

PSR Fleet Memo for June 21 2014

IBU - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 16:14
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Categories: Unions

Central States Fund: $18.7 Billion

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 06/20/2014 - 08:33

June 20, 2014: The overdue year-end 2013 report on the Central States Pension Fund shows that it grew by $1 billion to $18.7 billion on the rising stock market. However the report stresses the fund trustees’ goal of changing federal law to allow them to cut the pensions of current retirees, and active Teamsters with earned vested pensions.

The Teamster officials who are trustees are at odds with the official position of the International Union, which is to oppose a bill to abolish the “anti-cutback” protections in federal law. The report states that the fund could be unable to make pension payments by 2026, as the justification for their stand.

CSPF Benefits Services Director Al Nelson recently called for 30% across the board cuts in present and future benefits.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), along with the Pension Rights Center, the AARP, and several unions are calling for alternative positive action to support pensions, rather than drastic cuts. You can sign the petition to add your support, and you can find out more about this growing movement.

The 2013 report (submitted by the Independent Special Counsel (ISC)) notes that the fund grew by $1 billion in 2013 thanks to outsized stock market returns. The CSPF has 50% of its asset in three different unmanaged index funds, and those did especially well in 2013.

A disturbing note in the report concerns Allied Systems Holdings’ carhaul operation.  Allied went bankrupt in a hedge-fund dispute. Jack Cooper then bought it, and most Allied Teamsters were able to follow their work (and maintain their pension benefits) to Jack Cooper. But the ISC report notes that Jack Cooper will not be assuming the $900 million withdrawal liability owed by Allied to the fund.

The Central States Health and Welfare Fund continues to operate in the black with its reserves topping $2 billion. The fund has 83,102 participants at the end of the year, but that number has now doubled with the addition of so many UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ABF Road Driver Bret Subsits: 'Supporting Hoffa was The Biggest Mistake of My Life'

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 09:06
June 13, 2014: Bret Subsits is an ABF road driver in Local 710, a truck driver for over 30 years, formerly in Chicago locals 703 and 705. Bret was a Hoffa supporter in 1996 and 1998. He says that was “the biggest mistake of my life.” He’s been active in fighting back against concessions, and wants to rebuild Teamster power in trucking. What's the situation in trucking like right now? “I see a company out of control, and no push-back from our union. I see a lot of nonunion carriers doing too much of our work, and even pulling our trailers out of end-ofline terminals. I see an International doing nothing to organize in freight or trucking, or organize the nonunion carriers that the International expects us to work with.” Bret has been networking with Teamsters and posting on Facebook pages “No More Concessions” and “Rebuild the IBT”. What do you think about the 2016 IBT Election? “We’ve had 15 years of Hoffa and little to show for it. This year, we had to give up a seven percent wage cut and a week’s vacation due to poor leadership at the top. We desperately need change at the International. With the 2016 election, we can start organizing now. We need to educate and involve members. Get back to basics. We need to defend our contracts and fight for better ones.” Why did you join TDU? “I think James P Hoffa is out of touch with members. He gives employers what they want, and lacks the backbone to fight for members. In the last contract fight, the International couldn’t hear our voice, but TDU did. Teamsters are talking more about TDU. More get information from the TDU website, as members get more computer savvy. We need organization and knowledge. That’s how we are going to get our union back on track."ABF Proposes Change to Realign System ABF submitted paperwork to the National Utility Employee Review Committee for a change of operation they propose to implement on or about July 13, 2014. The company requested the hearing be held on June 19 in Houston. The change calls for a realignment of “High Velocity Exchange Points” and the use of utility drivers. ABF terminals and networks aligned with Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle will be affected. The numbers are essentially a wash as UE, local cartage, and road bids are reshuffled. The proposed change also addresses “end of the line” terminals in parts of the Central and Southern regions. Again it calls for a reshuffling or realignment of UE work. ABF proposes a total realignment of 42 bids shifting to UE designation that were either formerly UE or also local cartage and road positions. The company claims the change is essential to increase market share and efficiencies for three to five day service lines.Issues: FreightTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 290 June/July 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

80th Anniversary Celebrates Historic '34 Teamster Strike

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 08:58
June 13, 2014: Eighty years ago, in a defining moment for the American labor movement, the Teamsters Union defeated employers in a titanic truck strike in Minneapolis. It made Minneapolis a union town, spurred over-the-road organizing across the Midwest and paved the way for the Teamsters to become a powerhouse international union. The strike will be celebrated in Minneapolis in July with two events:
  • A street festival on Saturday, July 19 from 4 to 10 p.m. at 7th Ave and 3rd St. Music will include acoustic folk, classic rock and hip hop, along with speakers and an historical display.
  • A family picnic on Sunday, July 20 from noon to 4 p.m. at Wabun Picnic Area D, at Minnehaha Park. There will be short speeches, free lunch, children's games, an historical display and music. Strike descendants will be honored.
The July weekend was chosen because it coincides with a turning point in the strike that occurred on July 20, 1934 when police opened fire on unarmed strikers, shooting 60 people, almost all in the back and killing two strikers, Henry Ness and John Belor. The Remember 1934 Committee is organizing the event and includes rank-and-file activists and support from a large group of Minnesota labor unions, including Teamster locals. Members of the Minnesota chapter of Teamsters for a Democratic Union are helping organize the events. Teamsters Local 120 has called a march of its members from the Star Tribune printing plant to the festival on July 19. The Minneapolis struggle employed innovative strategies and tactics that provide valuable lessons on how to win a strike, including a daily strike newspaper, cruising pickets, a committee of 100 that consulted with the leadership, and mass mobilizations of workers and the unemployed. More information about the July 19-20 events commemorating this historic strike can be found here.Issues: Labor MovementTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 290 June/July 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Top 10 Tips for Protecting Yourself from Harassment

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 08:50
June 13, 2014: Harassment isn’t an accident at UPS. It’s a strategy, called management-by-stress. Under management-by-stress, the company uses harassment to try to intimidate us into working faster. Sometimes, they’re trying to provoke you into losing your temper. In extreme cases, they’ll try to harass workers into quitting. TDU asked experienced package car stewards for suggestions on how Teamsters can protect themselves from harassment at UPS. Here were their Top 10 tips. Don’t Make it Easy for Them You know the cardinal sins. Don’t commit them. Take your breaks and lunch according to the contract. Sheet every package in your truck and do it accurately. Make sure to be at the customer's address when making DIAD entries. Don’t turn late Air or a missed package into a dishonesty issue. If management is coming after you, don’t make it easy for them. Don’t Overreact Supervisors use harassment as a strategy to get results. If it’s not working, they’ll stop wasting their time on you. Try not to let management get under your skin—and never let them know it when they do. If you turn into a runner after you get called into the office, you’re teaching your manager that harassment works. Work safe and smart. Practice following the methods every day. If you work inside, focus on safety, sort/load quality and protecting the packages. Don’t play into management’s hands by blaming coworkers for slacking; help them out instead and stick together so everyone can work at a sustainable pace.This will be good for your body and your wallet. Be Strategic In the Office If you get called into the office, always bring your steward. Management’s goal in the office is to pressure you, get a rise out of you or fish for information. Be strategic. Answer management’s questions with clear, simple answers. Whether they’re fishing or trying to goad you into reacting, don’t take the bait. Keep your cool and never make up an answer. If you don’t know or don’t remember, just say so. When you leave the office, document what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind. Put the Problems Back on Management Inform management of unusual situations that come up. Send a DIAD message if there's a problem with your Air, if you need help with your pickups, or if you will have missed pieces. Don’t take shortcuts or count on supervision to always look the other way. Put the problems back on management and work as directed. Don’t Let them Dirty Up Your Record If you get a warning letter or other discipline, grieve it right away. If you get in more trouble later, a grievance panel or an arbitrator will hold it against you if you haven't challenged previous warnings. Document Everything Document your day with a Package Car Log Book, a notebook that fits in your pocket or on your smart phone. Keep track of your stops, pick-ups and circumstances that affect your production, like being sent off route, changes in your work, construction, bad traffic, etc. Use your smart phone to take pictures of DIAD messages or summary screens for documentation. Management is less likely to pick on the drivers who keep track of their days. When they know you’re prepared for them, they tend to leave you alone. Track Management & Use that Smart Phone If a supervisor gives you an instruction that violates the methods, make a record of it. If you get an inappropriate message on your DIAD board take a photo and save it. File Harassment Grievances If management is trying to build a case against you, you need to build a case of your own. If you’re being targeted by management, it’s too late to fly under the radar. File grievances and build a paper trail. Especially useful are well-documented, clear instances of harassment, discrimination or instructions that violate UPS’s own policies and procedures. Include in your remedy that you want a record of the incident to be retained in your personnel file. Put Management to Work Make management pay for petty discipline by prolonging grievance meetings and using your rights in the grievance procedure. Caucus with your steward in the hall. Have the steward ask detailed questions about the company’s investigation and evidence. Article 4 requires the company, upon request, to provide the local union or designated shop steward with documents and information that is “reasonably related” to a pending grievance. Managers that issue frivolous warning letters are sending the message that they love paperwork. So put them to work producing more of it for the union's grievance investigation. Strength in Numbers If you're being harassed, odds are you're not the only one. Talk to your steward or other drivers and work together. If you see a driver who's feeling the heat, help them out before they get to the breaking point. Teamsters are stronger standing up to harassment when we work together.

Never Let Them See You Sweat

“Managers use harassment to get results. If it’s not working, they’ll stop wasting their time on you. “Try not to let management get under your skin—and never let them know it when they do. “If you turn into a runner after you get called into the office, you're teaching your manager that harassment works.” Thomas Oliver, Steward, Local 804, New York

What Is Management by Stress?

Invented by Toyota and now championed by UPS, management by stress is a strategy for boosting productivity (and profits) by keeping employees under constant pressure. Management-by-stress techniques include intense monitoring of the workforce, and constantly demanding more production, in less time, with fewer employees. Other management-by-stress strategies are constantly changing how work is done or mounting revolving campaigns on different methods that that must be followed or mistakes that need to be eliminated at any given time.

 

Issues: UPSTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 290 June/July 2014
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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