United Parcel Service Inc. on Tuesday said Chief Executive David P. Abney’s total compensation for 2014 more than doubled, including a base salary increase he received in September when he was promoted to the helm of the package-delivery giant.
Mr. Abney, who had been the company’s chief operating officer, succeeded Scott Davis, who retired as CEO but stayed on as chairman. The move signaled the U.S. shipping giant’s growing focus on its international operations.
Click here to read more at The Wall Street Journal.Issues: UPS
Former ILWU Local 34 President Frank Billeci died on February 1 at the age of 79. Frank was a member of Local 34 for 42 years and served his local in several positions starting in 1969 when he was elected to the Local 34 Investigating Committee.
In 1971 he was elected to the Local 34 Labor Relations Committee and in 1973 was a delegate to the Longshore Caucus and Convention. He also served on the International Executive Board and the ILWU Container Freight Station Committee. In1977, Frank was elected Vice President of Local 34 and after six months, he assumed the office of Local 34 President when Jimmy Herman was elected ILWU International President.
He served as Local 34 President until 1989 when he took a break from elected office to return to the docks and work on projects with the International. He was again elected Local 34 President in 1994 and served in that position until his retirement in 1999.
After retiring, Frank spent time with his wife and family. He enjoyed following his favorite teams, the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers, camping on the Sacramento River, fishing with his son and being a grandfather.
“Frank’s dedication to his work and the ILWU family was unsurpassed,” said Local 34 Secretary-Treasurer Allen Fung. “He never made himself the spotlight; instead he was always the one to give others the opportunity to shine. If there is one word that can be used to remember Frank, that word would be ‘integrity.’”
Frank is survived by Joan, his wife of 44 years, his daughter Tina, his son, Roger, his sister, Rose, and four grandchildren: Peter, Nathan, Lauren and Caroline.
. The building located at 110 The Embarcadero on the City’s waterfront will become the permanent headquarters of The Commonwealth Club of California. The 112-year old public affairs forum bought the building two-years ago but the project has been delayed by a neighborhood group that opposed the project.
The building was the headquarters for the longshoreman during the City’s historic 1934 waterfront strike and was the site of pitched battles between workers, police and private security forces. Two workers, Nicholas Bordois and Howard Sperry, were shot and killed by police on Bloody Thursday—July 5th, 1934. Their bodies laid in the longshoremen’s hall until their funeral. The deaths of Bordois and Sperry rallied public support for the strikers and eventually sparked a four-day general strike in San Francisco.
The building has been vacant for years. A previous development project, which was ultimately rejected by the Board Supervisors, proposed tearing down the building entirely and replacing it with a high-rise condominium project. The ILWU passed a resolution at its convention in 2009 opposing that project.
The Commonwealth Club reached out to the ILWU from the outset of the new project and wanted to ensure that the building’s history would be appropriately honored. The façade on Steuart Street, where the longshoreman occupied the building, will be restored to its original 1934 appearance.
The building’s history will also be commemorated with a plaque on the outside and a historical exhibit inside. The side of the building facing the Embarcadero, which no longer bears and resemblance to its 1930s character, will be replaced with a modern curtain-wall façade.
Local 10 member Felipe Riley, Bay Area pensioner John Fisher and ILWU historian Harvey Schwartz spoke in favor of the project because of the Commonwealth Club’s commitment to honoring the history of the ILWU and the important role the 1934 waterfront strike played in the City’s history.
The Commonwealth Club will be working with the ILWU to design the marker and exhibit detailing the building’s history that will be seen by thousands of people attending the Club’s events every year.
The Tamarkin union members overwhelmingly voted in favor of Giant Eagle’s severance package Wednesday.
The vote was 129 to 4. Teamsters Local 377, which represents the workers, has been told by the company with passage of the package the plant employees will be able to stay through June.
Click here to read more at The Vindicator.
March 24, 2015: Over 200 active and retired Teamsters packed the Cincinnati Local 100 hall for the monthly Retirees Club meeting to hear speakers address the pending cuts to Central States pensions. Mike Walden, chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, told a standing room only audience that it was time to organize to push back the attacks on retirement security.
That same day, 150 Teamster retirees met at the Columbus union hall and heard Greg Smith, an Akron Local 24 retiree, speak on the pension issue. Representatives from U.S. Senators Brown and Portman’s staffs were also present to hear retirees speak out on the importance of maintaining the pensions they rely on for their retirement. See the article covering the meeting in the Columbus Post Dispatch.
Tom Kreckler, a retired Local 114 Teamster and Secretary-Treasurer of the retirees club, said, “Out of this meeting, we’re organizing a pension committee. We need to get the word out to hundreds of members who know nothing about what’s coming. We got a number of volunteers to sign up to help out. Spouses are getting involved too. We need to let Central States know that we won’t accept cuts without a fight.”
A committee was also formed in Columbus to carry forward the struggle to protect pensions. On March 21, a conference call of 100 pension committee and activists, convened by TDU, got reports from some committees and from the staff of the Pension Rights Center in Washington DC, on where the grassroots campaign is headed.
The campaign is spreading throughout the Central and Southern regions, and beyond.Pension and Benefits
March 24, 2015: The Central States Pension Fund trustees have set up a briefing for local union officers on April 8. Will this be the big announcement regarding their proposed pension cuts – or a background briefing?
The announcement states only that they will “provide Local Union officers with background information on the MPRA [pension cut legislation], review the process and timetable…and outline a communication plan for our participants.” It goes on to state that the Board of Trustees [four Teamster officials and four management reps] are “currently reviewing options.”
We believe that review needs to be expanded.
The Fund has stepped up security at their building in Rosemont Illinois, and this announcement states that only pre-registered union officers will be allowed in the meeting, with “no walk-ins.”
We will provide more information as soon as it is available.
Teamster retirees and members are fighting back against cuts, and for better and more equitable solutions. If you think there should be an independent audit before any cuts are proposed, and that the process should be more equitable, then find out how you can be part of making it happen.Pension and Benefits
Starting next month, Target will raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour. Sound familiar? That's because Target’s decision comes just one month after its competitor Walmart said it would raise its starting wage to $9 and eventually $10 per hour. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have also announced a new $9 an hour base. These minimum wage increases reflect an improving economy and the impact of widespread protest through campaigns like the fast food strikes and OUR Walmart.
The business press, unsurprisingly, chalks up the hikes to an improving economy. The Wall Street Journal writes, "Target’s move is the latest example of a tightening labor market and rising competition for lower paid workers amid declining joblessness and signs that consumer confidence is returning." At 5.5%, the country's unemployment rate is at its lowest in six years. Earlier this year, a review of several studies found that higher wages led to more productivity and lower turnover rates, which can then lead to higher profits for companies.
Click here to read more at In These Times.Issues: Labor Movement
Since Whitley Wyatt retired in 2000 after 33 years as a trucker, he’s collected a pension of $3,300 a month.
Now, the 71-year-old says as much as $2,000 of his monthly check is at risk because of legislation passed by Congress last year that is meant to help underfunded multiemployer pension plans bolster their finances by giving them a way to cut benefits for some retirees.
Click here to read more at The Columbus Dispatch.Issues: Pension and Benefits
YRC Worldwide Inc.'s top executives received large increases in total compensation in 2014, according to the company's annual proxy statement.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Overland Park-based less-than-truckload carrier (Nasdaq: YRCW) filed its annual proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing disclosed the amount paid to YRC's top executives and directors in 2014.
Click here to read more.Issues: Freight
ILWU members in Portland joined other union and community activists on March 9 to protest the latest “free trade” agreement, called the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP). Corporate interests are trying to ram the deal through Congress using a process known as “Fast Track” – the same tactic used to streamline passage of the NAFTA with Mexico and subsequent deals with Colombia and Korea.
Fast Track farce
To pass the controversial “free trade” deal, corporate-friendly legislators are proposing the Fast Track maneuver that was originally created during the Nixon-era to expand Presidential powers and weaken Congressional oversight of international agreements. While the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority over trade legislation, and it makes sense to delegate some power to the President to negotiate new deals, it makes no sense to allow the President to do so in secret, without any accountability for meeting negotiating goals set by Congress.
Under Fast Track, Congress must limit debate to just 90 days and then conduct a simple majority, “yes” or “no” vote without allowing any changes or amendments. Corporate goodies Like NAFTA, the TPP is being sold with claims that it will expand trade, create jobs and include “labor and environmental protections” in order to win votes from Congressional Democrats. But unions say these claims amount to little more than window dressing, and fail to address all of the corporate deals concealed inside the secret pact. These include generous patent and intellectual property protections that generally benefit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, especially the working class.
The actual TPP agreement is cloaked in secrecy. Even members of Congress who wish to view the text are required to read it in a secure room, are not allowed to take notes, and cannot bring a staffer with them. The secure room is filled with “experts” from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office – the agency responsible for negotiating and promoting the agreement.
Threat to U.S. laws
The TPP includes provisions for bypassing national sovereignty –allowing U.S. laws to be challenged by corporations who claim our laws amount to unfair trade barriers. This can be used to file claims against environmental protection laws, “Buy American” contract preferences, and public investment programs to promote new energy and transportation industries. Such claims would be reviewed by a three person binding arbitration panel. The ramification is that a multi-national corporation could sue for damages if they believe a U.S. law is cutting into their profit margin.
Money & politics
Corporations hoping to benefit from the TPP have been making campaign donations to Senate and House members in order to influence votes on the trade pact. As with previous “free trade” agreements, this deal has exposed a fault-line in Congress that pits corporate- friendly Republicans and Democrats against progressives and labor allies. Groups outside Congress that oppose Fast Track include National Nurses United, the Sierra Club, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen and the AFL-CIO. Leading proponents include anti-union business lobbies such as the National Retail Federation, Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.
Friends & foes
Last year, 152 House Democrats, including James Clyburn (the third most powerful Democrat in the House) and former California representative George Miller signed letters opposing fast track. Senate minority leader Harry Reid has independently expressed his opposition to Fast Track. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi has avoided taking a clear position, in the same way she did before backing NAFTA in 1993, but she recently expressed concerns about Fast Track when speaking to members of the Steelworkers Union.
Pelosi’s second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, also claims to be “undecided” but tipped his hand in late January by declaring that Fast Track could pass despite opposition from many fellow Democrats.
He went on to assert that previous free trade deals have been “good for the country and for workers.” Former Clinton Labor Secretary and NAFTA booster Robert Reich has flipped sides and now opposes Fast Track and the TPP, which he calls a “corporate Trojan horse.” And two famous Nobel Prize-winning economists, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stieglitz, recently announced their opposition, as did prominent free trade economist Jeffrey Sachs.
ILWU Opposes TPP
At the 35th International Convention of the ILWU in 2012, delegates passed a resolution opposing the TPP, and this resolution continues to guide ILWU policy.
Horrors in Colombia
The passage of the Colombian Free Trade agreement in 2012 has been devastating for longshoremen in that South American nation. Public docks have been privatized and union workers bypassed. Labor provisions in the free trade agreement were supposed to protect workers’ rights, but have proven ineffective. Assassinations, death threats and anti-worker paramilitaries continue to operate in Colombia with impunity. Port operators have bypassed the union in favor of hiring directly off the street. Workers have been forced to live inside containers on the docks when they aren’t needed to load or unload vessels.
Union members who resist these abuses have been blacklisted and union officials are receiving death threats. Some longshoremen have been forced to sign letters promising that they won’t join the union.
The proposed TPP provides a “docking mechanism” that allows additional nations to join after the deal is enacted. Vietnam is of particular concern because it is illegal in that country to form an independent union, and persons who do so can be imprisoned. Similar concerns could apply to other nations, including Burma – renamed “Myanmar” by the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1962 to 2011.
What we can do
To help stop Fast Track and the TPP, call your Senators and Representatives by dialing 855-712-8441 and let them know:
• The TPP is bad for America.
• Fast Track authority should be opposed.
• You will not re-elect any politician who sells out workers and our country.
Many members of Congress are already doing the right thing by opposing Fast Track and the TPP, such as U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio. More grassroots pressure can help others make the same choice. An injury to one is an injury to all.
– Matt Theisen, Local 8
You may donate money for a lawyer here: https://fundly.com/free-keith-brown-el
And keep up with developments here: https://www.facebook.com/events/800882379992714/
Keith has been arrested on purely fabricated charges...
Keith Brown El is a dear friend to many. He is an active member of Missouri Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), the IWW, and the Ida B. Wells Coalition (IBWC,) as well as a volunteer programmer on 90.1 FM/KKFI's Jaws of Justice radio program and a tenacious advocate for homeless people and people in prison. Mr. Brown El has been imprisoned in Jackson County Detention Center since February 10th for a completely bogus weapon’s charge.
March 17, 2015: Richard Mark, who served as the independent Election Supervisor in the 2006 and 2011 IBT elections, will again supervise the 2015-2016 elections of delegates from all local unions to the IBT Convention, and the IBT Election of officers in 2016.
Mark will hire a national staff to handle the election, communicate with members, and investigate all protests filed. We expect that the Election Rules will issue by May. The Rules will be very similar to the 2010-2011 Rules, with minor changes, mainly in dates and housekeeping. There will be a comment period after the proposed Rules are issued.
Unlike local union officer elections, the Rules, protests and appeals are not handled by incumbent union officials, but by the Election Supervisor.
An Election Appeals Master will be appointed as well (jointly appointed by the U.S. Attorney and the IBT) to settle any appeals of protest decisions made by the Election Supervisor.
The Election Agreement and Order signed by Judge Loretta Preska details these matters.
By June we expect the period of Petitioning to Accredit Candidates will be opened up.
Wisconsin is now the 25th state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law, which allows workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay for it.
It joins Michigan and Indiana, which both adopted right to work in 2012. Similar initiatives, or variants, are spreading to Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia—and the National Right to Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council probably have a well-developed list of additional targets.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Labor Movement
March 17, 2014: On Saturday, March 14, New York Local 804 President Tim Sylvester announced he’s running for Teamster General President.
Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman joined him and more than 200 Teamsters from across the region to launch Teamsters United, a coalition of officers and members committed to winning new Teamster leadership in 2016.
“It’s great to see people supporting a strong candidate like Tim Sylvester,” said Local 384 member Scott Black, who travelled in from Philadelphia to be at the meeting. “Our union needs new leadership that will be proactive and address problems, instead of sitting back in Washington D.C.”
Sylvester and Zuckerman then made it up to Worcester, Mass. the following day for another energized meeting with New England Teamsters.
Momentum is already building. Find out more about Teamsters United at www.teamstersunited.org
Issues: Local Union Reform
The late February snow fell lazily on several thousand Wisconsin union members as they gathered on the steps of the capitol building in Madison to protest what picket signs denounced as “the war on workers.” The scene was a smaller replay of the protest four years ago when tens of thousands assembled to oppose Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10. Despite a broad, fervent uprising, that act passed and stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
This time, even the protesters saw little hope of defeating the latest attack by Walker and Republican legislators. The deceptively named “right-to-work” law, aimed primarily at private-sector unions, prohibits labor contracts from requiring all employees to pay their share of union dues. While the Right denounces such payments as “forced unionism,” labor says that it’s only fair for all workers to chip in, because they all benefit from the union’s work.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor Movement