Unions

 Dishonest media offensive by PMA jeopardizes contract negotiations and deflects from a growing congestion problem

ILWU - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 16:24

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Monday, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents over 70 multinational ocean carriers and maritime companies in contract negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), began a media offensive against the ILWU. PMA’s media offensive is designed to smear the union and to deflect responsibility from a growing congestion problem that is plaguing major West Coast ports.

PMA’s press statement dishonestly accuses the ILWU of breaking a supposed agreement “that normal operations at West Coast ports would continue until an agreement could be reached.” This is a bold-faced lie. No such agreement was ever made, nor could it be made given the parties’ historic disagreement regarding the definition of “normal operations” – a disagreement that has been the subject of arbitrations for decades. PMA also falsely states that agreement to temporary contract extensions is standard practice.

The ILWU-PMA contract expired on July 1, 2014. Since mid-May, the parties have met to negotiate a new agreement regularly. During this 6-month period, the union has consistently come to the table in good faith despite PMA’s early pressure tactics, which include, among other things, secretly trying to shift away thousands of ocean container chassis traditionally handled and maintained by longshore workers and refusing to bargain a training program that properly trains longshore workers and prevents non-qualified workers from operating dangerous equipment.

Today’s unilateral media blitz by PMA will only delay progress at a critical point in the contract negotiations. Delays at the negotiating table are also reflected in the growing congestion problem at major West Coast ports.

“Congestion at key ports is the result of three factors – some of which is from employer mismanagement, according to industry experts,” said ILWU spokesperson Craig Merrilees. The three factors are:

 

  1. A change in the business model used to maintain and allocate truck chassis. The employer’s decision to change their business model is preventing chassis systems from being delivered to the right place at the right time. The Journal of Commerce reported on Oct. 10, “Chassis shortages and dislocations are believed to be the single biggest contributor to marine terminal congestion in Los Angeles-Long Beach.”

 

  1. A shortage of truck drivers who are needed to move containers at ports has left shippers scrambling to fill vacant positions and haul containers to distribution facilities. On Oct. 13, the JOC quoted an industry insider who said, “Frustrated by port congestion, drayage drivers increasingly looking for other jobs – both in and out of trucking.”

 

  1. A shortage of rail car capacity has led to delays in moving containers from the docks to distant locations via rail. On October 31, Progressive Railroading outlined the issue in an article titled “Rail-car backlog reached record level in 3Q.” Rail capacity has been stretched to the limit by additional shipments of crude oil.

 

The ILWU has called for talks to resume on Wednesday.

Download a copy of the press release here. (PDF)

Categories: Unions

How To Write For The Industrial Worker

IWW - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 10:50

Check out this newly-revised guide on how to effectively write for the Industrial Worker, official newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. 

Click here to download!

Categories: Unions

Rate hikes, more tonnage boost net income, revenue at ArcBest

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 07:02
The City Wire StaffThe City WireNovember 3, 2014View the original piece

Third quarter net income for Fort Smith-based ArcBest was $19.618 million, well ahead of the $13.982 million in the same quarter of 2013, and thanks in large part to an almost 10% gain in ABF Freight revenue.

Per share earnings of 72 cents missed the consensus estimate of 75 cents. Excluding a one-time charge for a pension settlement, the per share earnings were 74 cents.

Click here to read more at The City Wire.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Weak Economic Recovery

IBU - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 18:00
What Happened to the Recovery?

Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Issue #1769, November 2014

IWW - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 10:59

Headlines:

  • Portland IWW Battles With Non-Profits Over Union Busting
  • Fellow Worker Arrested In People’s Climate March
  • In November We Remember Penny Pixler

Features:

  • Making Our Voices Heard Against Sexism In The IWW
  • In November We Remember U.S. Labor Struggles
  • Understanding The Role Of Prisoner Intellectuals

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: Unions

Strikers Defeat Waste Management, Despite Teamster Officials

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 09:50

November 1, 2014: A Hoffa administration VP told Teamsters to cross their picket lines but 130 recycling workers in Northern California have won a strike that will raise their pay from $12.50 to over $20 an hour.

When Waste Management supervisors ordered some recycling workers to go home and lose a day’s pay in retaliation for organizing for a fair contract, the entire workforce walked out on in solidarity.

The walkout was soon sanctioned as an unfair labor practice strike by Local 6 of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU). But International Union Vice President Rome Aloise had Teamsters drivers cross the picket line.

No thanks to Aloise, workers won their contract in less than a week on strike, including living wages and affordable family healthcare.

Management Pushes Too Far

The victorious strike was set off by unfair labor practices by Waste Management.

Last week, rank-and-file members of the contract negotiating committee got permission from a supervisor to hold a shop floor meeting to update members on contract negotiations.

These update meetings are a long-time tradition in ILWU Local 6. But another supervisor objected and ordered members back to work. Members held the union meeting anyway.

The majority of the shift was ordered to clock out, go home and lose a day’s pay while a skeleton crew was told to stay and work. Instead, the entire shift walked out in solidarity.

The rank-and-file walk-out transformed contract negotiations that had dragged on for three years into a very public dispute that played out in the streets and the media.

Which Side Are You On: the workers or the corporation? Poverty wages or respect and dignity? Union rights or strikebreaking? Unions, community groups and clergy knew the answer. They rallied around the striking workers.

But Aloise, the president of Teamsters Joint Council 7, refused to sanction the strike. Local 70 officials waved Teamster drivers through the picket lines.

Teamster Fatcat: Living Wages are “Crazy”

Long before the strike, Aloise, who made $322,838 last year in total compensation from three Teamster salaries, was denouncing the recycling workers’ wage and benefit demands.

"The slogan and campaign that has been developed is based on a promise that cannot be met and is designed to create false hope for the workers," Aloise said in a letter to the Alameda Central Labor Council dated Aug. 22.

Aloise told the press the strike was unrealistic and called the workers “pawns” of the union leadership. 

Teamsters Local 70 officials issued a statement saying it would be “crazy” to ask drivers to honor the pickets “for these kinds of proposals and we’re not going to do it.”

Thankfully, the striking workers were able to win their “crazy demands” despite the sabotage by Aloise and Teamster officials.

Before last week’s strike, a typical Waste Management recycling worker was paid $12.50 an hour. Under the new contract, workers won major annual raises and will make $20.94 in 2019, along with affordable family health benefits.

Waste Management is one of the largest Teamster employers. Is it really too much to ask that International Union officials would back Waste Management workers and not the corporation?

For more on the strike, and a related union organizing victory, read this excellent piece of reporting.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Immigrant Recycling Workers Win Strike, Union Drive in East Bay

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 06:36
David BaconIn These TimesNovember 1, 2014View the original piece

SAN LEANDRO, CA—Within days of each other last week, two groups of Northern California recycling workers declared they'd had enough of what they see as regimes of indignity and discrimination. One group voted to unionize, and another, already union members, walked out on strike.

"They think we're insignificant people," declares striker Dinora Jordan. "They don't think we count and don't value our work. But we're the ones who find dead animals on the conveyor belts. All the time we have to watch for hypodermic needles. If they don't learn to respect us now, they never will."

Jordan's employer is Waste Management, Inc. (WMI), a giant corporation that handles garbage and recycling throughout North America. In just the second quarter of 2014 WMI generated $3.56 billion in revenue and $210 million in profit, "an improvement in both our net cash provided by operations and our free cash flow," according to CEO David P. Steiner.

Shareholders received a 35 cent per share quarterly dividend, and the company used $600 million of its cash in a massive share buyback program. Two years ago Steiner himself was given 135,509 shares (worth $6.5 million) in a performance bonus, to add to the pile he already owns.

But at its San Leandro, California, facility, WMI had been unwilling to settle a new contract with Jordan's union, Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, for three years.

Last week, she and members of the negotiating committee returned to the facility after another fruitless session. They called workers together to offer a report on the progress in bargaining—standard practice in Local 6.

One supervisor agreed to the shop floor meeting, but another would not. The workers met anyway. Then the second supervisor told the vast majority of the workers except a handful needed to continue running the facility to clock out and go home—a disciplinary measure that would at least dock the rest of the day's pay.

"That's when we finally said 'Enough!'" Jordan explains. "As a union, we support each other. If some of us can't work, then none of us will."

Workers walked out on an unfair labor practice strike, and immediately met at the union hall and voted to strike. That strike ended yesterday, after a week.

At another facility in the same city, workers at Alameda County Industries were equally angry. At the end of a late night vote count in a cavernous sorting bay, surrounded by bales of recycled paper and plastic, agents of the National Labor Relations Board unfolded the ballots in a union representation election.

When they announced that 83 percent had been cast for Local 6, workers began shouting "¡Viva La Union!" and dancing down the row of lockers.

Sorting trash is dangerous and dirty work. In 2012, two East Bay workers were killed in recycling facilities. With some notable exceptions, putting your hands into fast moving conveyor belts filled with cardboard and cans does not pay well—much less, for instance, than the jobs of the drivers who pick up the containers at the curb. And in the Bay Area, the sorting is done almost entirely by women of color, mostly immigrants from Mexico and Central America and African Americans.

This spring, recycling workers at Alameda County Industries—probably those with the worst conditions—began challenging their second-class status. Not only did they become activists in a growing movement throughout the East Bay, but their protests galvanized public action to stop the firings of undocumented workers.

At ACI, garbage trucks with recycled trash pull in every minute, dumping their fragrant loads gathered on routes in Livermore, Alameda and San Leandro. These cities contract with the firm to process their trash. In the Bay Area, only one city, Berkeley, picks up its own garbage. All the rest hold contracts with private companies; even Berkeley contracts recycling to an independent sorter.

ACI contracted with a temp agency, Select Staffing, to employ the workers on the lines. Sorters therefore have no health insurance, vacations or holidays. Wages are very low, even for recycling: After a small raise two years ago, sorters get $8.30 per hour on day shift and $8.50 at night.

A year ago, workers discovered this was an illegal wage. San Leandro passed a Living Wage Ordinance in 2007, mandating (in 2013) $14.17 per hour or $12.67 with health benefits. Last fall, some of the women on the lines received leaflets advertising a health and safety training for recycling workers put on by Local 6.

The union's organizing director Agustin Ramirez says, "When they told me what they were paid, I knew something was very wrong."

Ramirez put them in touch with a lawyer, who sent ACI and Select a letter stating workers' intention to file suit for back wages. In early February, 18 workers, including every person but one who'd signed, were told that Select had been audited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a year before. ICE, the company said, was questioning their immigration status.

Instead of quietly disappearing, though, about half the sorters walked off the lines on February 27, protesting the impending firings. They were joined by faith leaders, members of Alameda County United for Immigrant Rights, and workers from other recycling facilities, including WMI. The next week, however, all eighteen accused of being undocumented were fired.

"Some of us have been there 14 years, so why now?" wondered sorter Ignacia Garcia.

Despite fear ignited by the firings and the so-called "silent" immigration raid, workers began to join the union. Within months, workers were wearing buttons and stickers up and down the sorting lines. At the same time, sorters went to city councils, denouncing the raid and illegal wages, asking councilmembers to put pressure on the company processing their trash.

By the time Local 6 asked for the election, ACI had stopped campaigning against the union, likely out of a fear of alienating its city clients, and had ended its relationship with the temp agency. In last week's balloting, only one worker voted for no union, while 49 voted for the ILWU.

Because cities give contracts for recycling services, they indirectly control how much money is available for workers' wages. That's taken the fight for more money and better conditions into city halls throughout the East Bay.

Waste Management, Inc., has the Oakland city garbage contract, and garbage truck drivers have been Teamster members for decades. When WMI took over Oakland's recycling contract in 1991, however, it signed an agreement with ILWU Local 6. Workers had voted for Local 6 on the recycling lines, at the big garbage dump in the Altamont Pass and even among the clerical workers in the company office.

At WMI, workers also faced immigration raids. In 1998, sorters at its San Leandro facility staged a wildcat work stoppage over safety issues, occupying the company's lunchroom. Three weeks later, immigration agents showed up, audited company records and eventually deported eight of them. And last year, three more workers were fired at WMI, accused of not having legal immigration status.

When Teamster drivers were locked out of WMI in 2007 for more than a month over company demands for concessions, Local 6 members respected their lines and didn't work. That was not reciprocated, however, when recyclers staged their walkouts over firings last year.

Last week the Teamsters told drivers to cross Local 6 lines again. One unidentified Teamster officer told journalist Darwin Bond-Graham that Local 6 had not asked for strike sanction.

"Our members can’t just stop working," he said. 

Local 6 officers say they have asked for sanction. Relations between the two unions grew even tenser when the Teamsters, which also represent drivers at Alameda County Industries, appeared on the ballot in the election for the recycling workers. The Teamsters received nine votes.

Under the contract that expired three years ago, WMI sorters got $12.50—more than ACI, but a long way from San Francisco, where Teamster recyclers get $21 an hour. To get wages up, recycling workers in the East Bay organized a coalition to establish a new standard, the Campaign for Sustainable Recycling.

Two dozen organizations belong to it in addition to the ILWU, including the Sierra Club, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Movement Generation, the Justice and Ecology Project, the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy and the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy.

San Francisco, with a $21 per hour wage, charges garbage rates to customers of $34 per month. East Bay recyclers pay half that wage, but East Bay ratepayers still pay $28-30 for garbage, recycling included. The bulk of that money clearly isn't going to the workers.

Fremont became the test for the campaign's strategy of forcing cities to mandate wage increases. Last December, the Fremont City Council passed a 32 cent rate increase with the condition that its recycler, BLT, agree to raises for workers. The union contract there now mandates $14.59 per hour for sorters this year, finally reaching $20.94 in 2019.

Oakland has followed, requiring wage increases for sorters as part of its new recycling contract. That contract was originally going entirely to California Waste Solutions, but after WMI threatened a suit and a ballot initiative, it recovered its half of the city's recycling business.

The new Local 6 contract which ended the strike yesterday follows the pattern laid out by the new Oakland city requirement on its recyclers. Workers will get a signing bonus of $500 to $1,500, depending on seniority, to compensate for the three years worked under the old contract.  They will all get an immediate raise of $1.48 per hour, and 50 cents more on New Year’s. Starting next July, wages will rise $1.39 per year until 2019, when the minimum wage for sorters will be $20.94. The strikers at WMI ratified their new agreement by a vote of 111 to 6.

Yet this strike was about much more than money.  Over the last week, workers from Alameda County Industries would come by the picket lines after their shift ended, to help the strikers. While they also undoubtedly would like their wages to rise to this new standard, for both groups, this was a battle to end the second class status of the sorters.

Issues: Waste NewswireLabor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Immigrant Recycling Workers Win Strike, Union Drive in East Bay

ILWU - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 15:48

SAN LEANDRO, CA—Within days of each other last week, two groups of Northern California recycling workers declared they’d had enough of what they see as regimes of indignity and discrimination. One group voted to unionize, and another, already union members, walked out on strike.

“They think we’re insignificant people,” declares striker Dinora Jordan. “They don’t think we count and don’t value our work. But we’re the ones who find dead animals on the conveyor belts. All the time we have to watch for hypodermic needles. If they don’t learn to respect us now, they never will.”

Jordan’s employer is Waste Management, Inc. (WMI), a giant corporation that handles garbage and recycling throughout North America. In just the second quarter of 2014 WMI generated $3.56 billion in revenue and $210 million in profit, “an improvement in both our net cash provided by operations and our free cash flow,” according to CEO David P. Steiner.

Shareholders received a 35 cent per share quarterly dividend, and the company used $600 million of its cash in a massive share buyback program. Two years ago Steiner himself was given 135,509 shares (worth $6.5 million) in a performance bonus, to add to the pile he already owns.

But at its San Leandro, California, facility, WMI had been unwilling to settle a new contract with Jordan’s union, Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, for three years.

Last week, she and members of the negotiating committee returned to the facility after another fruitless session. They called workers together to offer a report on the progress in bargaining—standard practice in Local 6.

One supervisor agreed to the shop floor meeting, but another would not. The workers met anyway. Then the second supervisor told the vast majority of the workers except a handful needed to continue running the facility to clock out and go home—a disciplinary measure that would at least dock the rest of the day’s pay.

 

Read the rest of the article at In These Times

Categories: Unions

Waste Management recycling workers end strike after winning living wages & affordable health benefits

ILWU - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:30

OAKLAND, CA – A week-long strike by 130 low-wage recycling workers at Waste Management facilities in Oakland and San Leandro ended Thursday afternoon, October 30, after workers secured a contract guaranteeing living wages and affordable family health insurance.

The strike began on October 23 after a workplace incident, but quickly spread to involve nearly all 130 recycling workers.

Workers had been seeking a contract from Waste Management officials for more than three years, but the company refused to provide more than a meager raise of 40 cents an hour.  At the time of last week’s strike, the typical Waste Management recycling worker was paid $12.50 an hour.  Under the new agreement, workers will see significant increases each year, rising to an hourly rate of $20.94 in 2019 – along with affordable family health benefits.

This week’s victory at Waste Management marks the third successful effort in less than a year by East Bay recycling workers to secure dramatic wage improvements with affordable family health benefits.  In December of 2013, workers at BLT in Fremont won a similar package. In July of 2014, recyclers employed by California Waste Solutions in Oakland did the same.  Workers at all three facilities are members of the International Longshore and warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6, headquartered in Oakland, CA.

In February 2013, hundreds of East Bay recycling workers and community supporters attended a historic “Recyclers Convention” where plans were laid to improve the industry’s poverty wages and poor benefits.

Workers scored an important victory this summer when the Oakland City Council voted to improve wages and benefits for recycling workers at the City’s two municipal franchisees:  Waste Management and California Waste Solutions.  California Waste Solutions quickly signed a contract confirming the new wages and benefits, but Waste Management resisted.

Waste Management is one of America’s largest waste and recycling companies, and has reported earning billions in profits during recent years.  During Oakland’s recent franchise agreement hearings, City Council members accused Waste Management executives of being arrogant and heavy-handed.

In 2007, Waste Management locked-out over 600 employees from their East Bay facilities for over a month.  The company directed their attack against members of the Teamsters and Machinists Union, but picket lines were immediately honored by the low-wage recycling workers who voluntarily remained off the job without pay until the dispute was settled.  The company subsequently retaliated against ILWU members by outsourcing dozens of customer service jobs and initiating legal action against ILWU members. As part of Oakland’s 2014 franchise agreement, Waste Management has agreed to restore those customer service positions.

Categories: Unions

Rats, Fatcats, and Corporate Pigs

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:13

October 31, 2014: A New York district judged this week that Scabby the Rat is protected by the First Amendment. So are Fat Cats, inflatable corporate pigs and more. Check out our photo gallery and choose your favorite.

Employers have gone to court to try to deflate Scabby the Rat since he was first introduced by the Bricklayers Union in Illinois in 1990. But judges have repeatedly ruled that Scabby and other inflatable union protest tools are protected free speech.

The latest ruling, by Judge Joseph Bianco of the Eastern District of New York, rejected a claim by an asbestos contractor that using the rat was prohibited by a contract clause banning “disruptive activity”.

But the judge ruled that a protest with an inflatable prop like a rat or fatcat doesn’t fall under the same category of “disruptive activity” like strikes, boycotts, and pickets. 

“To hold otherwise would be to prohibit the union from engaging in any speech that is harmful to plaintiff’s business image,” the judge said.

Unions can and will continue to deploy inflatable Rats, Fat-cats, and Corporate Pigs to put the heat on employers who are violating workers’ rights. 

Which one is your favorite?

Scabby the Rat, a trailblazer for union protestors.

UPS Teamsters in New York Local 804 have a custom Fat-Cat choking a UPS worker.

Striking telephone workers at Fairpoint in Northern New England take their message about Corporate Fat-cats straight to the boss.

And for that special landlord or white collar employer, there’s always the Cockroach.

Issues: NY-NJ TDU
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Solidarity with Fairpoint Strikers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:09

October 31, 2014: Two thousand telecommunications workers are on strike against Fairpoint Communications in Northern New England. TDU stands with them.

The joint strike was called by the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW), but it was forced by Fairpoint Communications and the Wall Street hedge funds that are calling the shots behind the scenes.

On August 28, Fairpoint declared bargaining was at an impasse and imposed its final contract offer.

Workers were forced to strike or surrender to a two-tier wage system that would pay little nearly minimum wage to the lower tier, the elimination of defined-benefit pensions for future hires, a freeze on pension contributions to current employees, and higher health care costs.

The hedge funds that own the company are trying to impose these massive concessions to make Fairpoint more attractive to possible buyers, union negotiators told Labor Notes.

The two thousand strikers work in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Most of them belong to the IBEW; 300 strikers are members of the CWA.

Job security is a huge issue.

Fairpoint promised to create at least 675 jobs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont when they bought the network from Verizon. But the company has cut its workforce by almost 22 percent, outsourcing jobs in violation of its promises and its union contracts.

Labor and the community are showing their support and building for a rally against Fairport Greed in Portland, Maine on November 2.

For more information, go to www.FairnessatFairpoint.com or the facebook page Fairness at Fairpoint.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Phone Bank for Labor's Vote

IBU - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 23:18
Phone Bank Volunteers needed for the final get out the labor vote this weekend. Please step up and help labor's voice be heard in the polls.
Categories: Unions

Recyclers Battle Waste Management…and the Teamsters Union

ILWU - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:46
by DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM

It’s 4 AM. The air is cold and damp on 98th Avenue in deep East Oakland, down along the San Francisco Bay’s industrial waterfront. This is a hard geography of concrete and dust and pot-hole riddled roads latticed by train tracks. Much of the earth is landfill, crowded for miles with scrap metal yards, bakeries, machine shops, and warehouses. Behind a chain link fence are about one hundred empty garbage trucks parked in long rows waiting for the next shift of drivers who will fill them with tons of refuse. By 5 AM the trucks are idling, and lining up to roll out. But since last Friday about 130 workers at the Waste Management garbage facility here have been on strike.

Dozens of strikers are picketing the gates where the trucks must exit. Some workers have been there since 3 AM. They come in shifts to pace the sidewalk, men and women, young and old, here to fight. A majority of these workers are immigrants. These are the recyclers, the workers who receive the garbage from the trucks, who pick through it and sort materials inside cavernous warehouses filled with rubbish-dust. It’s messy, dangerous, and hard work.

The strikers at the picket line today say they’re fighting to up their pay from around $12.80 an hour to $15 next year with the ultimate goal of $20 an hour by 2019. And they want safer workplaces. Waste Management, the giant of the global trash industry, agreed to improve the workers’ pay during recent franchise contract talks with the city of Oakland. The workers now fear the company is backpedaling.

But it’s hard to tell who the recyclers are actually fighting. Their picket is being driven through by other workers, Teamsters who drive the hulking green garbage trucks. The trucks queue up to exit the 98th Avenue yard in long lines. The recyclers block each truck for 30 seconds or a minute, but there are too few of them to sustain an unbreakable picket line.

Most of the drivers smile and nod to their fellow workers on the sidewalk. Some honk their horns and reach out of their windows to shake hands with the strikers. They don’t want to be put in the position of breaking through another union’s picket. They’re sympathetic. They want to help their fellow workers win.

But there’s the Teamster leadership standing by. The vice president of the Teamster’s chapter for the recycling facility stands just steps away from the picket, but inside Waste Management’s gates. An annoyed look wrinkles across his face. He directs his union’s members to break the picket line, waving them through. He asks them why they’re waiting if they linger before the line of strikers too long. The drivers creep through the chain of bodies carefully in their giant trucks and roar off into the dark pre-dawn hours. So much for solidarity?

 

Read the rest of the article at COUNTERPUNCH

Categories: Unions

With Supreme Court case pending, UPS reverses policy on pregnant workers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:54
Brigid SchulteThe Washington PostOctober 29, 2014View the original piece

This week United Parcel Service sent a memo to employees announcing a change in policy for pregnant workers: starting January 1, the company will offer temporary light duty positions not just to workers injured on the job, which is current policy, but to pregnant workers who need it as well.

“UPS takes pride in attaining and maintaining best practices in the area of equal opportunity and employment, and has elected to change our approach to pregnancy accommodations,” a memo sent to workers reads.

Click here to read more.

 

Issues: TDU UPS Freight Network
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Changes Pregnancy Policy, Will Try to Offer Lighter-Duty Jobs

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 09:46
Michele FuetschTransport TopicsOctober 29, 2014View the original piece

UPS is changing its policy with respect to pregnant employees and will try to accommodate them with light-duty work.

The accommodations will be effective Jan. 1, and the policy “will serve to strengthen UPS’s commitments to treating all workers fairly and supporting women in the workplace,” UPS said.

The announcement was made to employees and appended to a brief that UPS filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 24.

“Light-duty work will be provided as an accommodation to pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions to the same extent as such work is available as an accommodation to employees with similar restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries,” the policy statement said.

The carrier is being sued by Peggy Young, who became pregnant in 2006 while she was a driver for UPS in Maryland and asked for light duty, which she said her doctors advised.

At the time, UPS supervisors said they had no policy under which they could accommodate her request because, as in keeping with federal civil rights law, light duty was open only to those who had suffered an injury.

Young sued, saying she had been discriminated against under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Two lower federal courts have upheld UPS’ position. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in December.

Spokeswoman Kara Ross said that in changing its policy, UPS is responding to guidelines issued in July by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and by several states that require lighter duties to be made available to pregnant employees where possible.

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

From Kings of the Road to Serfs of the Company

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:25
Dan La BotzDollars and SenseOctober 29, 2014

The truck driver was once the king of the road, riding high from the 1950s through the 1970s. Sitting up in the tractor, pulling an eighteen-wheler, looking out over America's city streets and country roads and highways, he--back then, the driver was almost always a he--earned a good money, often had health benefits, and may well have had a pension plan.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Hits the Brakes on Pregnancy Discrimination

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 13:08

October 28, 2014: In a victory for women Teamsters, UPS has announced it will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other work restrictions because of pregnancy.

For years, UPS allowed pregnant women with health restrictions to work light duty. But ten years ago, management reversed course company-wide and began denying alternate work to pregnant Teamsters.

Teamster women who were unable to keep working during their pregnancy had to burn their FMLA leave or lost their FMLA benefits altogether because they came up short of the hours they needed to qualify. 

Some pregnant Teamsters even lost their medical benefits before childbirth. (Under the contract, health coverage runs out after six months on disability leave.)

Teamsters for a Democratic Union supported mad moms who protested against UPS. But the Hoffa administration refused to take on the issue and UPS management got away with pregnancy discrimination. 

Until now, that is.

Former Teamster Peggy Young sued UPS for pregnancy discrimination and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. 

Finally, UPS management caved. In a brief to the Supreme Court, UPS has announced that “On a going-forward basis, UPS has voluntarily decided to provide additional accommodations for pregnancy-related physical limitations.”

UPS’s new policy provides: ‘Light duty work will be provided as an accommodation to pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions to the same extent as such work is available as an accommodation to employees with similar restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries.’”

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Fast Food in Denmark Serves Something Atypical: Living Wages

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 10:12
Liz Alderman & Steven GreenhouseThe New York TimesOctober 27, 2014View the original piece

On a recent afternoon, Hampus Elofsson ended his 40-hour workweek at a Burger King and prepared for a movie and beer with friends. He had paid his rent and all his bills, stashed away some savings, yet still had money for nights out.

That is because he earns the equivalent of $20 an hour — the base wage for fast-food workers throughout Denmark and two and a half times what many fast-food workers earn in the United States.

Click here to read more at The New York Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Strike by East Bay recycling workers at Waste Management continues this week

ILWU - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 09:41

OAKLAND, CA – A strike that began last Friday by 130 low-wage recycling workers at Waste Management’s East Bay facilities in Oakland and San Leandro is continuing this week with picketers marching as early as 3 a.m. this morning in front of the company’s headquarters at 172 98th Avenue in Oakland.  Picketers will also be protesting this morning at the company’s recycling facility at 2615 Davis Street in San Leandro.

The worker action was sparked by an incident involving a company manager who retaliated against union members last Thursday, October 23. Federal charges have been filed by the union against the company.

The majority of recycling workers are immigrants who speak Spanish and are paid low wages.

Waste Management recycling workers in Oakland have been seeking better pay and benefits for three years.  In

2013, they joined with hundreds of East Bay recycling workers and community supporters at a historic convention on February 2 where the group pledged to improve the industry’s poverty wages and poor benefits.

Workers scored an important victory this summer when the Oakland City Council voted to improve wages and benefits for recycling workers at both of their municipal franchisees:  Waste Management and California Waste Solutions.  Officials at California Waste Solutions quickly signed a contract agreement confirming the new wages and benefits, but Waste Management has stubbornly refused – despite winning an extension of a lucrative franchise agreement allowing the firm to operate in Oakland for the next 20 years.

Waste Management is one of America’s largest waste and recycling companies, with billions in reported profits during recent years.  City Council members accused company executives of using arrogant and heavy-handed tactics during the recent franchise agreement decision.

In 2007, Waste Management locked-out over 600 employees from their East Bay facilities for a full month. While the company directed their attack against members of the Teamsters and Machinists Union, the lockout picket lines were honored by low-wage recycling workers who voluntarily remained off the job without pay until the dispute was settled.  The company subsequently retaliated against recycling workers by outsourcing dozens of customer service jobs and initiating legal action against the workers.

Categories: Unions

TeamCare Sticks with Healthcare Cuts

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:34

October 24, 2014: The new Health Plan covering UPS Teamsters in the Southwest and New Jersey Local 177 is improving health benefits. Why won’t TeamCare?

Over the past two weeks, UPS Teamsters in most of the West and in New Jersey Local 177 got some good news in the mail: their health and welfare fund is improving benefits. 

The modifications to the plan reduce emergency room co-pays, improve dental and optical coverage, and make other changes, effective September 1.

Members have been up in arms about the cuts in health coverage from day one, and that pressure finally won some improvements.

But what about TeamCare? It’s time for the Hoffa administration to deliver more than healthcare cuts.

Issues: UPSPension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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