Unions

Tentative Deal to Avert Strike at Produce Market in Hunts Point

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 07:31
Winnie HuThe New York TimesJanuary 19, 2015View the original piece

The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market reached a tentative contract agreement on Saturday with more than 1,200 workers, averting a potential strike that could have disrupted the region’s supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The three-year agreement would give workers a raise of $20 a week the first year, $22 the second year and $24 the third year. The increases represented a compromise between the union’s earlier push for a raise of $25 a week each year, and the merchants’ counteroffer of $16 in the first year and $22 thereafter.

Click here to read more at The New York Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

London IWW: Picket the Leicester Square School of English this Saturday!

IWW - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 17:54

The London IWW branch and the Angry Language Brigade will be holding a protest picket at Leicester square School of English:

When: 11:30am until 2:00pm on Saturday 17th Jan
Where: 22 Leicester Square, WC2H 7LE (map - https://goo.gl/maps/JeBKl )

Click here for Facebook Event Page

THE STORY SO FAR

Having already occupied their school, staff at the Leicester Square School of English are organising a picket this Saturday, 17th of January. Here's why.

Since the Christmas holidays, workers at the Leicester Square School of English have been in a major wage theft dispute with the school and its owner, Craig Tallents. Both the Angry Language Brigade and the IWW have been organising the dispute.

read more

Categories: Unions

It’s time to fight back

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 14:03

"I hauled cars out of Selkirk, New York for 31 years. I worked for a number of different companies – Automobile Transport, Nu-Car Carriers, Anchor Motor Freight, M&G Convoy, Leaseway, Ryder and finally, Allied. I retired in 2002.

I worked extremely hard in 35 below zero weather and 110 degrees in the shade. I went through lay offs, mergers, loss of seniority, company closings and now they want to cut my pension. That just isn’t right.

Welcome to the new U.S.A. It’s time to fight back."

John Raffiani Sr.Local 294 Retiree Click here to join our Campaign for Pension Justice. Sign up for email updates at www.tdu.org and like us on facebook.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

What Hoffa Tried to Do to Your Right to Vote – and the Results

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 09:55

January 15, 2015: Hoffa went to court to try to destroy our Right to Vote. Teamsters fought back. Get the detailed run-down on the rights that Hoffa tried to gut -- and the outcome.

The Consent Order of 1989 is likely to soon be replaced by a Final Order issued by federal judge Loretta Preska, who will hold a hearing on February 11.

What does it mean for Teamsters?

Hoffa tried to destroy our right to vote. You can see that for yourself in what the IBT attorneys filed with the court last June. The US Attorney filed a reply to that, and TDU filed a reply also. You be the judge: who was standing up for you?

Now, the matter is being settled, and a permanent settlement agreement, enforced by the order of the court, is before judge Preska. Thanks go out to our TDU counsel Barbara Harvey, and to the thousands of Teamsters who petitioned the court in defense of Teamsters’ rights.

Here are some key rights that Hoffa tried to destroy, and the outcome: 

  • HOFFA TRIED TO END the consent order, with NO permanent settlement in the form of a Final Order issued by the judge, to protect the right to vote or monitor corruption. This would mean any Teamster leadership which had the majority of delegates at the Convention could end the right to vote, and also have no check on corruption.
  • RESULT: A permanent settlement order which protects the Right to Vote for IBT officers and delegates, with an election supervisor, and the election rules; and the present injunctions on corruption are permanent also (Paragraphs 1-10 and 12-16 of the order)
  • HOFFA TRIED TO RAISE THE 5% BAR FOR NOMINATION to make it difficult or impossible for opposition candidates to be nominated at the IBT Convention. They could raise the percent of delegates needed to whatever it would take to eliminate opposition candidates.
  • RESULT: The 5% threshold is guaranteed by the Final Order for the 2016 and 2021 elections (Paragraph 11 of the order). It’s time to vote out those who want to steal or weaken your right to vote!
  • HOFFA TRIED TO GET SOLE POWER to appoint the Election Supervisor, so he may be able to appoint a weak one. 
  • RESULT: He will NOT have that appointment power for our 2016 election. After that, the GEB will have appointment power (Paragraph 15). It’s time to vote out those who want to steal or weaken your right to vote!
  • HOFFA TRIED TO BLOCK IMPROVEMENTS to the Election Rules.
  • RESULT: We won two new improvements. First, the IBT will have to mail a packet with campaign materials from all IBT candidates – not just in the magazines but a separate mailing – one week prior to mailing the ballots. (Paragraph 19). Second, candidates have expanded rights to use IBT emails and digital media to reach Teamster members on line (Exhibit C of the order).
  • HOFFA TRIED TO END ANY CORRUPTION OVERSIGHT immediately.
  • RESULT: The Independent Review Board (IRB) shall continue as-is for one year, then be replaced by an Independent Investigations Officer and Independent Review Officer. After five years, appointment power of these Officers will go to the GEB (Paragraphs 24-42).

Sign up for email updates at www.tdu.org and like us on facebook.

Issues: Hoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

With end of Teamsters supervision, an era passes

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 08:24
Marianne Levine and Brian MahoneyPoliticoJanuary 15, 2015View the original piece

The U.S. government is ushering in a new era for the Teamsters, ending its 25-year supervision of a union once infamous for its ties to organized crime.

Teamster corruption has held the federal government’s attention since the late 1950s, when Robert F. Kennedy first pursued the matter as counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, also known as the McClellan committee. Kennedy continued to investigate the Teamsters after he became attorney general in 1961, and those investigations continued in one form or another through the 1980s.

Click here to read more at Politico.

 

Issues: Hoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters’ 25 Years of Federal Oversight to End

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 08:04
Kris MaherThe Wall Street JournalJanuary 15, 2015View the original piece

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the federal government said Wednesday they had reached an agreement to end 25 years of strict oversight designed to root out corruption and alleged Mafia influence in the union’s highest ranks.

The proposed deal, which was reached with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in Manhattan, would end a 1989 consent decree stemming from a landmark racketeering lawsuit brought a year earlier by the Justice Department. Prosecutors alleged that organized crime members had seized “an interest in and control of” the 1.3 million-member union.

The agreement calls for government oversight to be phased out over five years. Eventually, the union will appoint independent officers to probe corruption allegations, a task currently handled by a three-member independent review board that includes a government appointee.

The Teamsters also agreed to maintain an election process for top officers mandated by the consent decree in which all union members can vote. At many other unions, only convention delegates cast ballots.

Union officials said they expect a federal judge to approve the agreement at a Feb. 11 hearing.

Mr. Bharara said that while the Teamsters have made significant progress in ridding its ranks of corruption, the threat of wrongdoing by organized crime still exists and the government would continue to monitor the union’s handling of disciplinary matters.

“While threats persist, the organized crime influence the government found to have reached the highest echelons of IBT leadership in 1988 has long been expunged,” Mr. Bharara and the union wrote in a joint statement to the judge.

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, who fought the consent decree for years, said it was a historic day for the union.

“After decades of hard work and millions of dollars spent, we can finally say that corrupt elements have been driven from the Teamsters and that the government oversight can come to an end,” Mr. Hoffa said.

Ken Paff, national organizer with a rank-and-file group called Teamsters for a Democratic Union and a Hoffa critic, praised the continuation of election rules.

He said a new requirement that the union pay for one mailing of campaign materials to all members before elections would help level the playing field for challengers to Mr. Hoffa.

“We’re pleased because we have protected and even enhanced the supervised right to vote for all members,” Mr. Paff said.

The Teamsters originally agreed to government oversight to settle the broad racketeering lawsuit. At the time, then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani alleged the union had made a “devil’s pact” with the Mafia by allowing it to control officer elections.

The suit named as defendants 18 members of the union’s executive board and 26 alleged organized-crime members, 25 of whom had been convicted of crimes such as extortion, embezzlement and illegal union payoffs.

On Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani said he believed the consent decree had been a success, noting that oversight continued across Republican and Democratic administrations. He said he believed the union had cleaned up corruption, but noted that the Mafia is far weaker today.

“The Teamsters is now free to operate as a very legitimate union. There’s no burden placed on it to operate as a subsidiary of organized crime,” he said.

Before reaching the agreement under the Obama administration, union officials had lobbied unsuccessfully in the past for an end to the decree, including through negotiations with the Clinton administration.

The current deal was the result of years of settlement negotiations, the union and prosecutors said in their memorandum to the judge.

Last summer, the Teamsters asked a federal judge for the first time to end the consent decree.

At that time, prosecutors responded that they would support scaling back government control over the union but not eliminating the measures, saying that “corrupt and undemocratic practices persist at all levels of the union.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday on the earlier statement.

The union wrote in a court filing last year that charges of corruption had dropped precipitously. Cases that involved alleged racketeering or other activity that prompted the consent decree fell to 33 in the past decade, from 144 in the first five years of the consent decree, the union wrote.

Issues: Hoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters Save Their Right to Vote

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:29

January 14, 2015: Teamster members’ Right to Vote will be protected under fair rules and independent supervision under a motion filed in court today on the future of government supervision in the Teamsters Union.

After months of negotiations, the International Union and the US Attorney have agreed on a joint proposal for a transition to a new system for monitoring and investigating internal union corruption and electing International Union officers.

In a victory for Teamster members, the 2016 and 2021 IBT elections will be conducted under the same rules, independent supervision and procedures as the 2011 election. Members’ right to vote under fair rules in supervised elections will be protected.

Last June, the Hoffa administration filed court papers to end the Independent Review Board and fair elections for International Union officers.

TDU and Teamster members launched a national campaign and petition drive to protect members’ Right to Vote for International Union officers in elections governed by fair rules and monitored by an independent election supervisor.

The Settlement Agreement summary filed in court today preserves these rights. The settlement will be reviewed by Judge Loretta Preska and a hearing will be held on February 11.

TDU proposed important improvements to the Election Rules that are included in the proposed agreement, including the right of candidates to a free mailing to the entire Teamster membership one week prior to the mailing of the International Union election ballots.

In the past, only Hoffa and incumbent officers could afford a union-wide mailing. Now the members will get a mailing from all candidates.

General President Hoffa announced that today is a new day for the Teamsters Union, but thanks to Teamster members and TDU, Hoffa cannot go back to the old days when corruption was ignored and members were denied the right to vote for our International Union leaders.

If approved, the settlement agreement will replace the Consent Order with a permanent settlement agreement and permanent injunction that protects important fundamental rights.

Under the agreement:

  • The 2016 and 2021 IBT elections will be conducted under the same rules, independent supervision and procedures as 2011, with the improvement that all candidates will be entitled to a free mailing to the entire membership. 
  • Through 2021 a candidate for International Union office can be nominated by a vote of five percent of Convention delegates. Beginning in 2026, the threshold for nominating candidates can be changed by a vote of the delegates at the Teamster Convention.
  • The Independent Review Board will continue for one more year. Following that, the IRB’s anti-corruption functions will be assumed by an Independent Investigations Officer and Independent Review Officer who are jointly-appointed by the US Attorney and the Union. Five years after that, the IBT will have the sole authority to appoint these officers.
  • The government will retain the power to enforce the settlement agreement if it shows by a preponderance of evidence the agreement has been violated. The anti-corruption injunctions of the consent order are made permanent.

TDU Counsel Barbara Harvey is reviewing the full 133-page settlement to examine the details.

TDU fought to protect the Right to Vote and we plan to use it.

Click here to be part of the nationwide effort to elect new International Union leadership in 2016.  

Issues: TDUHoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamsters vote to authorize strike over commercials contract

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 12:30
Richard VerrierLos Angeles TimesJanuary 13, 2015View the original piece

A Contract dispute between commercial producers and Teamsters Local 399 has escalated, raising the prospect of the first Hollywood strike by the union in nearly two decades.

On Sunday, Teamsters drivers, location managers and scouts voted by a 10-to-1 margin to reject a contract proposed by the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers and to authorize their leaders to stage a walkout should they fail to reach an agreement by the end of the month.

Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

TeamCare Report: Flush with Money

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 11:48

January 13, 2015: The Central States Health and Welfare Fund (TeamCare) is flush with money, as Hoffa and Hall make excuses for benefit cuts that UPS Teamsters and retirees have suffered.

The latest (2nd quarter 2014) TeamCare Financial and Analytical Report shows that its reserves continued to grow at an annual rate of $326 million per year during the first half of 2014. 

The report notes that UPS paid a lump sum of $1.713 billion to cover the future benefits of retirees. With that payment, UPS dumped its obligation to retirees onto Central States.

As a result of a contract concession, UPS retirees in the fund will pay higher monthly premiums for health care.

In addition to that $1.7 billion, the fund has an additional $2.2 billion in reserves, which increased by $163 million during the first half of 2014.

On March 1, 2014, some 10,000 UPS Freight Teamsters joined the fund, and some 72,000 UPS package Teamsters did so on June 1, 2014. About 9,000 Local 705 Teamsters will join TeamCare on February 1, and about 6,000 Local 710 Teamsters are expected to join soon after.

Because the report only covers until June 30, 2014, the impact of some 100,000 new participants is not detailed in the report. The third quarter report – expected soon – may be more informative.

Sign up for email updates

Follow us on Facebook at Teamsters for a Democratic Union and Make UPS Deliver.

Note: The report was submitted by the Independent Special Counsel on December 3, but the Central States Fund delayed providing it until January 12. They are bound by a court order which we won to provide the quarterly financial reports to the attorney for retirees who sued the fund.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is the only source which makes these financial reports available to members.

Issues: UPSPension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Central States Pension Financial Update

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 11:26

January 13, 2015: A review of the 2nd quarter 2014 financial report of the Central States Pension Fund shows that the fund had $18.7 billion as of July 1, 2014.

The fund made big investment returns in the first six months of last year, netting slightly over $1 billion, as the stock market moved up. This allowed the fund to tread water: the $1 billion was just enough, along with $400 million in employer contributions and withdrawal payments, to cover $1.4 billion in benefits. The information is detailed in the quarterly Financial and Analytical Report and the Independent Special Counsel Report.

The number of working Teamster participants declined to 60,000, reflecting the Hoffa administration’s lack of commitment to defend the fund. The number of retirees was 209,000, slightly down.

The average pension paid to retirees and surviving spouses is $1,123 per month.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is working to fight any pension cuts and build a movement for pension justice. Click here to find out how you can be a part of it.

Note: The report is dated December 3, 2014 but the Central States Fund delayed providing it until January 12. They are bound by a court order which we won to provide the quarterly financial reports to the attorney for retirees who sued the fund.

TDU is the only source which makes these financial reports available to members and retirees. We expect the third quarter report to issue soon.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

PMA officials admit today that West Coast congestion crisis has been caused by managerial mistakes and not primarily due to dockworkers

ILWU - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 08:10

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In contract negotiations this afternoon, officials from the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) told a federal mediator and longshore negotiators that West Coast ports have reached a point where there is little space available for additional import containers arriving on the docks – and no space for export and empty containers returning to the docks.

The PMA made it clear in the negotiating session that they were not blaming union workers for the primary causes of the congestion crisis, explaining that the lack of space for returning empty and export containers was exacerbating the existing chassis shortage – because the export-bound containers are a key source of desperately needed chassis that have become the #1 choke-point, ever since shipping lines recently stopped providing a chassis for each container arriving to West Coast ports.

After explaining how the lack of dock space for containers and shortages of chassis were crippling the ports, the PMA announced an illogical plan to eliminate night-shifts at many ports.  In addition to cutting shifts at major container ports, the PMA cutbacks would also apply to bulk and break-bulk operations – for no apparent reason other than as a cynical tactic to generate anxiety among workers.

The union has noted that cancelling night shifts and reducing bulk operations will do nothing to ease the congestion crisis. The PMA appears to be abusing public ports and putting the economy at risk in a self-serving attempt to gain the upper hand at the bargaining table, and create the appearance of a crisis in order to score points with politicians in Washington.

“Longshore workers are ready, willing and able to clear the backlog created by the industry’s poor decisions,” said ILWU President Bob McEllrath. “The employer is making nonsensical moves like cutting back on shifts at a critical time, creating gridlock in a cynical attempt to turn public opinion against workers. This creates an incendiary atmosphere during negotiations and does nothing to get us closer to an agreement.”

Download the press release here. (PDF)

 

Categories: Unions

Industrial Worker - Issue #1771, January/February 2015

IWW - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 18:28

Headlines:

  • Anti-Police Brutality Protest Shakes Things Up At The Mall Of America
  • Strange Encounters: World Meeting Of Popular Movements In Vatican City
  • Windsor Wobblies Build Street Solidarity

Features:

  • The Centennial Commemoration Of Joe Hill
  • Review: Doing (And Making) History From Below
  • Prisoner Letters: Crime And Punishment

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: Unions

Workers of the Beach, Unite!

IWW - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 14:27

On the Beaches of Santa Monica, Temp Workers Organize With the IWW

By Shyolanda Montana, Labor Notes

There’s a hidden underside to Santa Monica, California’s idyllic exterior.

Santa Monica is a beautiful beachfront city: breezes from the Pacific Ocean, a year-round Mediterranean climate, 3.5 miles of beaches. Seven million visitors a year flock here—generating $1.63 billion.

But the workers who maintain the city are hired on an as-needed basis, earning poverty-level wages, lacking benefits and the ability to form a union.

I am one of them. I’ve been employed as a temporary employee in beach bathroom maintenance for four years. I struggle to earn a living and hold an extra job so I can earn enough money to survive.

read more

Categories: Unions

New York's most famous rat

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 01/09/2015 - 09:24
Tobin LowMarketplaceJanuary 9, 2015View the original piece

It's a chilly day in midtown Manhattan, but union organizer Julian Tysh is undeterred. He's here representing Teamsters Local 814 to protest businesses that hire non-union movers. And he's not alone. 

After unfurling what looks like an inflatable mattress, he pulls the cord on a small engine, and a balloon begins to take shape: first the belly, then the claws, then the buck teeth, and finally the yellow eyes.

Click here to read more at Marketplace

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

Teamsters and Retirees Demand Justice

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 01/09/2015 - 09:02

January 9, 2015: Teamsters and retirees from across the Central States Fund and other pension funds are organizing to protect our pensions. Central States was built with pension contributions earned by our blood and sweat.

We demand accountability and justice from the Trustees and from Hoffa. The buck stops with our General President. The Buck Stops with HoffaTeamster officials have 50 percent of the votes in every pension plan. Hoffa should demand that the Teamster-appointed trustees Vote No on pension cuts until all the facts are known and all alternatives have been exhausted. No Cuts Before An Independent AuditNo pension cuts should even be considered before there is an independent audit and actuarial review with the facts being made available to all pension fund participants. It’s time for transparency and accountability—not more sneak attacks. Appoint a Truly Independent Retiree RepresentativeThe new law requires any fund with 10,000+ participants that is considering cuts to appoint a retiree representative “to advocate for the interests of the retirees.” This representative should be a proven independent advocate—not a flunky for the Hoffa administration or Central States trustees. Lift Unfair Reemployment RulesCentral States should put an end to the unfair reemployment rules before any cuts are considered. Central States has no right to cut a Teamster retiree’s pension and then tell them they cannot work to supplement it. Equality of SacrificeAny fund executive or Teamster official that backs the pension cuts should take the same cuts themselves—starting with Central States Director Thomas Nyhan, who was paid $662,060 in 2013. James Hoffa has a special “Family Protection” pension that will pay him well over $1 million in a lump sum—from Teamster dues. What pension cut will he take? Mike Walden for Central States Retiree RepresentativeFederal law now requires any fund with 10,000+ participants that plans to cut pensions to appoint a retiree representative “to advocate for the interests of the retirees.” Mike Walden is the Teamster for the job. Mike, the Chair of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions, helped lead the fight against the pension cut sneak attack by Congress. He is a proven independent advocate. Click here to join our Campaign for Pension Justice.  “Based on the track record we’ve seen from Nyhan and the trustees, can we really trust their claims on how much needs to be cut? We need an independent audit and actuarial assessment of Central States to verify numbers on what it will take to insure the best pension benefits going forward.” Mike Walden, Local 24, Akron, OhioRoadway RetireeChair, Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions 

 

Issues: Pension and BenefitsTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 292 January/February2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

ABF Logistics Buys Oklahoma Brokerage Firm

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 01/09/2015 - 07:30
Transport TopicsJanuary 9, 2015View the original piece

ABF Logistics has purchased Smart Lines Transportation Group, a truckload brokerage firm based in Oklahoma City, for $5.17 million.

Smart Lines, which primarily serves the food, energy and industrial sectors, has 24 employees and generates about $18 million in annual revenue, ABF said.

ABF Logistics is the third-party logistics arm of ArcBest Corp. and a sister company to less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight.

The acquisition, completed Jan. 2, expands ABF Logistics into the Oklahoma City market.

“The purchase of Smart Lines Transportation Group is an important step in our strategy to grow the emerging businesses at ArcBest and provide a variety of supply chain services to our customers in the way they expect,” ABF Logistics President Jim Ingram said in the Jan. 5 statement.

Greg Roush, Smart Lines’ founder and former president, is now branch director for the Oklahoma City location, which is officially operating under the ABF Logistics name.

ArcBest, based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, ranks No. 13 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

The Hoffa-Hall Concessions Stand

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 12:06

January 8, 2015: They’ve delivered contract givebacks, healthcare cuts, and a pension disaster in the Central States.

Join the rank-and-file movement to close the Hoffa-Hall concessions stand. From UPS to YRC to retirees, Teamsters were hammered with concessions in 2014. Now members and local leaders who opposed these concessions and fought for good contracts are building a coalition for change. Teamster Voice details the latest attack on our benefits and what it will take for members to close the Hoffa-Hall concessions stand for good.Issues: Hoffa WatchTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 292 January/February2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Hospital Teamsters Unite for a Fair Contract

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 11:57
January 8, 2015: A new leadership team took office in Rhode Island Teamster Local 251 last year after members organized a grassroots movement for change.  Now 2,500 Local 251 members who work at Rhode Island Hospital are taking that grassroots approach to the bargaining table in a campaign to win a fair contract. Their contract demands include wage increases, better retirement benefits, and job security. Union contract proposals address problems that undermine working conditions and patient care at the same time, including inadequate equipment and short staffing. As a nonprofit, Rhode Island Hospital is supposed to put the healthcare needs of the community first. But while Lifespan paid just ten executives more than $16.6 million, they’ve implemented cost-cutting measures, causing shortages in equipment and staff that undermine patient care. To address these issues and win a fair contract, Local 251 is teaming up with community allies in a campaign to win a Fair Contract, Good Jobs & Quality Care. As we go to press, members are organizing a Worker & Community Speak-Out that will bring together hospital Teamsters, community groups, religious leaders, labor activists, elected officials, and concerned members of the public. “We need good jobs in our community and we need good healthcare too,” said Armando Brasil, a negotiating committee member. “By mobilizing ourselves and uniting with the public, we can win a fair contract, good jobs in our community, and better care for the patients,” Brasil said.Issues: Public SectorTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 292 January/February2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Strikers Win at Waste Management

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 11:34

January 8, 2015: A Hoffa administration VP told Teamsters to cross the picket line. But Waste Management workers won a strike that will raise their pay from $12.50 to $20 an hour.

Waste Management workers

have won a major strike victory, including living wages and affordable healthcare despite sabotage by a top Hoffa administration official who told Teamsters to cross their picket line. When Waste Management supervisors ordered a group of recycling workers to go home and lose a day’s pay in retaliation for organizing for a fair contract, the entire workforce walked out in solidarity. The walkout was authorized as an unfair labor practice strike by Local 6 of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU). Unions, community groups, and clergy rallied around the striking workers. But Rome Aloise, the president of Teamster Joint Council 7 and an International Union Vice President, refused to sanction the strike. Local 70 officials waved Teamster drivers through the picket lines. Teamster Fatcat: Living Wages are ‘Crazy’ Aloise, who made $322,838 last year from three Teamster salaries, denounced the recycling workers’ wage and benefit demands. He told the press that the strike was unrealistic and called the workers “pawns” of their union leadership. Teamster Local 70 officials issued a statement saying it would be “crazy” to ask drivers to honor the pickets. Teamster drivers saw it differently. Some bought lunch for the strikers. Others called out sick. Backed by support from the community and the rest of organized labor, the Waste Management strikers held firm—and won. Before the 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. We need International Union officials who will fight for good contracts, not side with the corporation.Issues: Waste NewswireTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 292 January/February2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

How Did It Happen? Disastrous Pension Bill Is Now Law

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 01/08/2015 - 11:02

January 8, 2015: Congress approved pension cut legislation in a sneak attack amendment to the budget bill.

The fight to protect Teamster pensions is on. Teamsters and retirees are joining the Pension Justice Campaign. Congress approved pension cut legislation in a sneak attack amendment to the budget bill. The legislation guts federal pension protections and paves the way for pension cuts in the Central States Pension Fund and very possibly some other Teamster funds. For 30 years, the anti-cutback rule has made it illegal for pension funds to cut retirement benefits that workers have already earned. But in December, Congress used a loophole to dismantle workers’ pension protections without any up or down vote on the issue, by attaching the change to a budget bill that needed to be approved to avoid a government shutdown. This final blow was fast, but the attack on our pensions was two years in the making, and Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) led the charge against it. TDU mounted a grassroots campaign to protect Teamster pensions. We partnered with the Pension Rights Center and AARP and launched a coalition for pension protections, not cuts. The machinists union (IAM) joined front and center, and some other unions helped. We proposed positive alternative ideas, as did the AARP and the Pension Rights Center. Hoffa was worse than MIA. His allies at the Central States Pension Fund were leading proponents of the pension cut deal, including Central States Executive Director Thomas Nyhan, who testified before Congress in favor of the bill—with the backing of the Teamster appointed Trustees of the fund. Nyhan was paid $662,060 in 2013 to stab Teamsters in the back. Most local unions were in the dark and didn’t even inform members. The IBT did not mobilize retiree clubs to march on Washington. Central States sent reps to local meetings to tell members that the pension cut threat was a hoax made up by TDU. Hoffa waited until the day before the legislation passed. Then he issued a last-minute letter opposing the pension rip-off. The IBT emailed members calling on them to make phone calls. Hoffa stayed quiet to signal politicians that he backed the pension cut bill; then when the bill’s passage was secured, he put on a show of opposition to the membership to cover himself politically. Hoffa gave up fighting for Teamster pensions a long time ago. But working Teamsters and retirees have not. Some Senators and Congresspersons are willing to take up the issue but they will need grassroots support. That’s where we all come in. TDU will work with pension advocates, retiree organizations and unions to build a Pension Justice Campaign. Fight for Teamster Pensions and Rebuild Teamster Power Teamsters expect Congress to play politics. But they deserve more from their own union leadership. The Hoffa administration has spent the last year imposing contract concessions, healthcare cuts and pension cuts. It’s time for change. If you agree, get involved in the movement for change in our union. Join with Teamsters working to defend pensions and change the leadership of the Teamster Union. Together, we can rebuild the Teamsters! 

“Congress passed this bill but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. We’ve put Teamster pressure on the Central States in the past and we can do it again. It’s up to us to organize a political push back, too. Stopping this attack on our retirement security means getting involved NOW!”

Tommy Burke, Local 391 North Carolina, UPS Retiree  

“For the past year, we heard nothing from Hoffa and the IBT as the lobbyists, including Tom Nyhan from Central States, weaseled their way through Congress pushing for changes to allow pension cuts. Hoffa’s last minute letter was an effort to cover his behind. Hoffa and Hall are more concerned with PR than making a real fight. We desperately need change to save our union.”

Willie Hardy, Local 667, Memphis, YRC Retiree

 

Issues: Pension and BenefitsTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 292 January/February2015
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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