The nation’s biggest Teamsters local rigged its October election for president, a challenger in the race for the top spot charges.
Jakwan Rivers — who lost by about 1,100 votes to incumbent Gregory Floyd — said Local 237 made sure more than 5,000 ballots were ignored by deliberately not paying the bill for its post-office box.
Click here to read more at the New York Post.Issues: Local Union Reform
December 4, 2014: Thanks to a UPS driver, the Supreme Court and Congress are taking up pregnancy discrimination by employers. Thank Peggy Young for standing up to UPS.
Women should not have to worry about losing their income just because they become pregnant. But that’s the reality for Teamsters and other women workers.
Peggy Young, a UPS driver, was denied temporary light duty and forced to take unpaid leave when her doctor put her on a temporary twenty-pound lifting restriction until after she gave birth.
Peggy knew this was wrong and she fought back. Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young to thank her for standing up to UPS.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Peggy Young v. UPS yesterday.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has been introduced in Congress, a bill that will protect the right of pregnant workers to keep their jobs and support their families.
And UPS has changed its policy and will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other restrictions because of pregnancy.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union took up this issue when UPS began discriminating against pregnant employees and the Hoffa administration did nothing.
Peggy Young took this fight to the highest court in the land.
Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young for standing up to UPS and standing up for all workers.Issues: UPS
Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans.
Several unions and pension advocates opposing the move, which would be unprecedented, say that permitting financially strapped plans to cut retiree benefits would violate the central promise of traditional pensions: that they would provide a defined benefit for life.
Click here to read more at The Washington Post.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Congress is nearing a vote on arguably the biggest change to private pension law in decades.
The proposed reforms would grant sweeping new authority to the trustees of some “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to slash benefits promised to current retirees—something that’s illegal under existing law. A cornerstone of some collective bargaining agreements, multi-employer plans cover more than 10 million workers, mostly in construction but also in the transportation, manufacturing, retail and service sectors.
Click here to read more at In These Times.Issues: Pension and Benefits
December 3, 2014: Behind closed doors, a handful of Congressional representatives are planning to pass a major change to federal pension law, by making a last-minute amendment to the omnibus budget bill which Congress must pass by December 11 to avoid a shutdown. You need to take action now to stop this sneak attack.
Does that seem like the right way to consider the future of pensions for hundreds of thousands of Teamsters and millions of Americans?
We say No.
And we are not alone. The AARP, the Pension Rights Center and some unions such as the International Association of Machinists are working hard to head-off this deal, so that hearings will be held on a proposed bill to consider amendments, improvements, and alternatives to it.
We need Teamster president James Hoffa to use the political weight of the Teamsters Union to help stop this sneak attack. You can email your request that Hoffa to call upon all congressional reps and senators to say No to junking the anti-cutback rule of ERISA by a sneaky deal. Put the millions of Teamster dollars given to politicians to good use, right now.
One year ago, Hoffa sent a letter to Congress on this issue. But a year-old letter is not what’s needed. Now is the time to press the case, with all the clout the Teamsters Union can muster. Call on Hoffa to take action.
This proposal has nothing to do with the federal budget. It has everything to do with the future of workers’ hard-earned pensions.
Alex Adams, a retired Teamster out of Cleveland Local 407 speaks for thousands of other Teamsters facing these cuts:
“I’ve been retired for ten years after working for over 36 years moving freight across the country. In 1980, due to government deregulation, many companies went out of business in the freight industry. I worked for ten companies at one time (on call) to make sure I stayed active to receive contributions into the pension. I earned my pension the hard way as I have a clear memory of giving up many possible wage increases so that money could go towards benefits.”
Because the deal is being done secretly, we don’t have all the terms of the proposed pension change. But it will allow “deeply troubled” pension plans—including the Central States Pension Fund—to slash existing pensions and those already vested. Central States officials have said the cuts will be about 30%.
We recognize that Central States and some other funds are in trouble, but Teamsters and retirees deserve an open discussion of the terms of the law, and possible protective amendments to it, before Congress rushes it through.
Contact your Congressperson and Senators. Tell them making a sneaky deal is no way to respect their constituents. Retirees and hard working Teamsters deserve better.
For more information:Pension and Benefits
Tom Petri (R-Wis.), the outgoing chairman of the subcommittee on highways, said he will become a co-sponsor of a bill that would increase federal fuel taxes to support the nation’s transportation system.
The measure would gradually raise the 18.4-cent gasoline tax to 33.3 cents a gallon starting in 2016 and the 24.4-cent diesel tax to 39.3 cents. The levies would be kept in place until 2025.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: Freight
Here’s what’s really being missed in most snapshot explanations of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the unprecedented hit being taken by retirees who believed that, after working throughout their lives, they would be secure in their old age.
And Detroit sets a dangerous precedent. Your city’s retirees may be next in the crosshairs.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Pension and BenefitsLabor Movement
- Whole Foods Workers Demand Higher Wages And A Union
- Toronto Harm Reduction Workers Organize With The IWW
- IWW Resurgence In Bellingham, Washington
- Farewell, Fellow Worker Fred Lee
- Oregon Canvassers Continue Push For Unionization
- Understanding Co-ops And The IWW
Download a Free PDF of this issue.
December 1, 2014: UPS CEO cashed in 40,000 shares of company stock two days before Thanksgiving for $4.3 million. Starting pay for UPS part-timers, in several areas, has fallen behind the minimum wage.
Davis still owns another 246,412 shares of UPS stock worth $26.5 million.
CEOs make more than Teamsters. We get that. But this is obscene, especially when many UPS part-timers are making poverty wages. Starting pay for UPS part-timers is frozen at just $10 an hour until 2018.
Legislation has been introduced to raise the federal minimum wage to higher than that: $10.10 an hour.
In several areas, the minimum wage has already surpassed starting pay under the UPS contract negotiated by Ken Hall.
Hawaii and Maryland voted to phase in hikes to the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Seattle will phase in a new minimum wage of $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 500 workers must meet that level within three years. That includes the UPS hub.
San Francisco will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the same period. A UPS hub will be covered there too.
UPS part-timers at the hub in Richmond, California will make $12.30 starting in 2017 thanks to a minimum wage hike there with a COLA after that.
This list will continue to grow by 2018.
It’s time to End Part-Time Poverty at UPS. That starts with building a movement to elect new International Union leadership in 2016.Issues: UPS
December 1, 2014: Walmart workers and allies ramped up the pressure for $15-an-hour with protests across the country.
Walmart workers held pickets, rallies and walk-outs at more than 1,600 stores nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year. Some workers fasted and risked arrest to highlight their demands for $15-an-hour and full-time work at Walmart, the nation’s largest employer. In Washington, organizers reported protests at 64 stores—every store in the state.
Click here to read more from protesting Walmart workers and see a survey of the protests.Issues: Labor Movement
Red November, Black November
Red November, black November,
Bleak November, black and red.
Hallowed month of labor’s martyrs,
Labor’s heroes, labor’s dead.
Labor’s wrath and hope and sorrow,
Red the promise, black the threat,
Who are we not to remember?
Who are we to dare forget?
Black and red the colors blended,
Black and red the pledge we made,
Red until the fight is ended,
Black until the debt is paid.
— Ralph Chaplin (1932)
This is a somber month for labor.
The Haymarket Martyrs were executed in November. Joe Hill was put before a firing squad in Utah during November. Bueventura Durruti was killed in November. The Centralia, Everett and the First Columbine massacres all occurred in November.
Come in solidarity to celebrate the victories we have won together over the last year and raise a glass to many more in 2015.
Tuesday, December 16th
Dark Horse Bar, 17 Murray St., downtown Manhattan, near City Hall (A/C to Chambers, 2/3 to Park Place).
The bar serves both food and drinks.
Email nytdu [at] tdu [dot] org to let us know if you can stop by.
According to a Bloomberg BNA report, unions won more representation elections, with a higher win rate, in initial NLRB-monitored representation elections in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, but the number of newly organized employees fell drastically, and unions have been losing decertification elections more often.
Unions won 8.6 percent more elections in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 (428 to 465). Unions were more successful not only at increasing the absolute number of representation elections held and won, but also their win rate improved 3.7 percent, to 69.2 percent (428 out of 653 in the first half of 2013, to 465 out of 671 in the first half of 2014).
Click here to read more at The National Law Review.Issues: Labor Movement
Walmart retail workers in Southern California held the first sit-down strike in the company’s history yesterday.
Workers from stores all over California sat down in two Walmart stores in Crenshaw and Pico Rivera, both near L.A., blocking cashier’s lanes and store aisles. They placed tape over their mouths to protest what they say are the company’s illegal efforts to silence those who are calling for better jobs.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Labor Movement
Coverage of the midterm elections has, understandably, focused on the shift in political power from Democrats toward Republicans. But behind the scenes, another major story has been playing out. Wall Street spent upwards of $300M to influence the election results. And a key part of its agenda has been a plan to move more and more of the $3 trillion dollars in unguarded government pension funds into privately managed, high-fee investments — a shift that may well constitute the biggest financial story of our generation that you’ve never heard of.
Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island all recently elected governors who were previously executives and directors at firms which managed investments on behalf of state pension funds. These firms are now, consequently, in position to obtain even more of these public funds. This alone represents a huge payoff on that $300M investment made by the financial industry, and is likely to result in more pension money going into investments which offer great benefits for Wall Street but do little for the broader economy.
Click here to read more at The Intercept.Issues: Pension and Benefits
November 25, 2014: United Airlines (UAL) professional aviation mechanics represented by the Teamsters Union held informational pickets at 10 major airports around the country. United Airlines mechanics are informing the public that they may be forced to strike if the company refuses to keep its promise to reinstate the workers' pension plans.
The protest comes as negotiations enter their 24th month, the last twelve having been overseen by the National Mediation Board. In 2010, United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines and the parties have attempted to amalgamate bargaining agreements representing aircraft maintenance and related workers from three different work groups (Continental, United and Air Micronesia).
The 11,000 Teamster mechanics are determined to defend their family health benefits and restore their pensions.
You can read an IBT press release on the issue.
Students at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma walkedout of their classes at 9:20 A.M. on Monday, November 24th, 2014 greeted by hundreds of activists and supporters boldly standing with them in solidarity. Why?
Throughout the semester, an 18-year-old senior at the school raped three female students, publicized the rapes and humiliated the survivors. These girls were met with bullying and harassment, one being forced to leave the school because of constant hazing; another was not even able to enter the school before being violently confronted by the rapist's friends. Another retaliated when being harassed and was asked to leave the school for the remainder of the year until things "blow over." The administration punished the survivor for self-defense and has done nothing to address rape, sexual assault and harassment in their school community.
We call the entire working class for a
GENERAL STRIKE on 11/27/2014
Against austerity and predatory neoliberal policies
Against the terrorism of poverty and degradation
Against State’s authoritarianism and the policing of public spaces
Against the relentless onslaught of capitalist elites and their state-servant
The working class does not claim fraternal benefits and privileges
It fights for the liberation of all humanity from the tyranny of the capital
Our resistance will be unyielding until they are finally overthrown.
ΓΕΝΙΚΗ ΑΠΕΡΓΙΑ ΔΙΑΡΚΕΙΑΣ
This holiday season, when you pick up another box of heavy gifts left at your doorway by a delivery person, ask yourself: Should a pregnant woman lift this?
The Supreme Court will be asking itself a related question in early December when it considers the biggest test of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act in a generation.
Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.Issues: UPS
Update: Join Whole Foods Workers for a 24 Hour Picket at Whole Foods' Northern California Distribution Center This Weekend! Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/517441525025495/
Whole Foods Union Wins Raise for San Francisco Stores’ Lowest-Paid Employees
By Tim Maher - Whole Foods Workers Union, November 14, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A fledgling union of workers at the South of Market Whole Foods in San Francisco used workplace actions to compel Whole Foods management to implement a $1.25 per hour wage increase for those employees at the lowest wage tier.