Labor Secretary Tom Perez directed the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to reach a tentative contract deal today or face the prospect of talks next week in Washington’s politically charged environment, news services reported.
Perez was dispatched to San Francisco earlier this week by President Obama to resolve the long-running talks, which now are in their 10th month. Negotiations involve 20,000 workers who handle about half of U.S. containerized freight at 29 West Coast ports.
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Laval -- On the morning of Monday, February 16, 2015, the IWW Montreal, the Student Workers Union of the University of Quebec at Montreal, as well as several other citizens, took part in the disruption of a Canada Post distribution center in Laval, Quebec.
This action in solidarity with postal workers is set in a current context of struggles against austerity, and in the scope of the campaign for a social strike on May 1st 2015.
Today, many workers are directly confronted with the effects of budget cuts to health services, to municipal employees, to firemen and firewomen, to postal workers, to students, to workers in the private sector...
Yet, resistance is organizing itself everywhere. We will not let different governments (whether conservative or liberal) and the bosses impose their anti-social measures on us. The time of a minority enriching itself on the back of an impoverished majority is finished.
A federal judge late Tuesday approved a landmark settlement that will phase out and end the government’s oversight and 25-year consent decree to keep mob influence out of the 1.4 million-member union.
Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said in a four-page ruling that a “thorough review of the final agreement and order reveals that the settlement must be approved.” She added that “there is no doubt that the decree is procedurally proper, that its terms are clear, that it reflects a resolution of the claims at issue, and that it is untainted by collusion or corruption.”
Click here to read more are The Detroit News.Issues: Labor Movement
A strike by about 3,000 locomotive engineers and conductors at the Canadian Pacific Railway unexpectedly ended on Monday, its second day, as both sides agreed to arbitration. The announcement came about half an hour before a bill was to be introduced in Parliament ordering the members of the union, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, back to work.
Canadian Pacific said the “ramp-up process” to resume train service had begun. Though it could not say precisely how long that would take, a spokesman, Martin Cej, said “it will be fast.”
Click here to read more at The New York Times.Issues: Rail
Dennis Pierce, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and President of the Teamsters Rail Conference (U.S.), blasted Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) today for its growing culture of threats and intimidation toward its employees in the U.S. and Canada. Pierce commented following CP’s issuance of a letter to the BLET representatives on its U.S. operations, Soo Line and the Delaware & Hudson.
In those notices, CP threatened its U.S.-based locomotive engineers who work into Canada with disciplinary action, even termination, if they refuse to cross picket lines manned by their legally striking Canadian Brothers and Sisters belonging to Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).
Click here to read more.Issues: Rail
With idled cargo ships piling up along the coastline, President Obama ordered his labor secretary to California to try to head off a costly shutdown of 29 West Coast ports.
Obama dispatched Tom Perez on Saturday to jump-start stalled labor talks between shipping companies and the dockworkers' union. The move ramps up pressure to resolve a dispute that stranded tens of thousands of containers on cargo ships over the holiday weekend.
Click here to read more at Los Angeles Times.Issues: Labor Movement
Bill Hendershot and his wife live on his union pension and Social Security. Hendershot, a retired Consolidated Freightways long-distance truck driver, gets around now in a 12-year-old Toyota Corolla. The couple still pay a mortgage on their home in Canal Fulton.
And he’s among a huge group of union retirees nationwide who could see their monthly private pension payments cut as much as 60 percent under a national reform measure signed into law in December by President Barack Obama.
Click here to read more.Issues: Pension and Benefits
Judge reserves decision on deal to end fed consent order.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor Movement Files ConsentOrderHearing.pdf
Terminal operators at ports along the U.S. West Coast will, for the second time in less than a week, suspend vessel loadings amid a labor dispute with dockworkers.
Vessel loadings and unloadings will be stopped Feb. 12 and again Feb. 14-16, the Pacific Maritime Association, a San Francisco-based group representing employers in the negotiations with longshoremen, said by e-mail Feb. 11. Association members cited “ongoing and costly” worker slowdowns in their decision to halt vessel traffic. Some yard, gate and rail operations will continue.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: Labor Movement
February 11, 2015
ILWU International President Robert McEllrath has released the following update on the contract talks with the Pacific Maritime Association.
Farmer Brothers, the iconic coffee company based on the border of Torrance and Los Angeles, likes to market a sweet story about how it came to be.
In 1912, Roy E. Farmer thought restaurants should be serving a better cup of coffee, so he started a bean delivery business in the back of his brother's bicycle shop. And from those humble beginnings, the business became a national success, with Farmer later handing the reins to his son.
Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.Issues: Labor Movement
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has given Canadian Pacific Railway 72-hour strike notice, meaning 3,300 locomotive engineers, conductors and other train workers could walk off the job midnight on Saturday.
Union president Doug Finnson is in Montreal this week negotiating with CP, with the help of federal mediation, but says the union has not made headway on issues such as working conditions.
Click here to read more at CBC News.Issues: Rail
If there were a Comeback Player of the Year award for corporate performance, YRC Worldwide might have taken home the trophy for 2014. Not that the $5 billion trucking company is now a superstar — far from it. Rather, such recognition would be testimony to how low YRC had sunk.
After years of finance jockeying that barely kept the company from tripping into bankruptcy, its footing is relatively secure now. A smorgasbord of entwined elements converged in the rescue: a new labor deal, a deft debt restructuring, an equity offering that allowed for debt paydown, an operational downsizing, the improving economy, and plain luck.
Click here to read more.Issues: Freight
On January 7, 2015, two days before the end of her 6 month probationary period, THRWU member S. was terminated from her job as a Senior Harm Reduction Worker at Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre.
S. was terminated immediately and without cause, which is reprehensible but legal in Ontario within a probationary period. During her 6 months-less-two-days at Syme Woolner, S. had advocated for better treatment of workers and against discrimination and disrespect of workers and service users. She was the third person to occupy her position in less than a year.
Some multiemployer pension fund executives are trying to figure out whether to take advantage of a controversial new reform law that allows potential benefit cuts for participants and retirees. Others are hoping for further reforms to allow for alternative plan designs.
The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 — passed swiftly in December — allows deeply underfunded plans to take unprecedented steps to avoid insolvency but comes with strings attached. It also gives federal regulators some new tactics that could help save troubled multiemployer plans (Pensions & Investments, Dec. 22).
Click here to read more at Pensions & Investments.Issues: Pension and Benefits
ILWU statement from 2-19-15 on the re-opening of West Coast ports:
“West Coast ports re-opened Monday morning after employers closed the docks for two days, increasing delays for customers needing containers. The union remains focused on reaching a settlement as quickly as possible with employers. Talks to resolve the few remaining issues between the Longshore Union and Pacific Maritime Association are ongoing.”
The following photographs show, as ILWU International President Bob McEllrath said in a recent news release, that there are acres of asphalt waiting for the containers that sit on dozens of ships waiting to be unloaded at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and sufficient space for thousands of containers on the docks.
The PMA has told the media that the ports are too full to receive cargo, but the photos tell another story. And though the docks are clear, the transportation chain (intermodal squeeze from export energy trains and chassis shortage) remains congested due to factors outside of the scope of the ILWU.
Photos taken Saturday, Feb. 6, 2015, at LB 94 and LBCT, by a team of longshore workers: Pilot Rollo Hartstrom from Local 13, and photographer Bill Kirk from Local 94.
In mid-January, PMA claimed that there was a lack of dock space for containers, and it eliminated night shifts at many ports.
“PMA is leaving ships at sea and claiming there’s no space on the docks, but there are acres of asphalt just waiting for the containers on those ships, and hundreds of longshore workers ready to unload them,” said McEllrath. “The employers are deliberately worsening the existing congestion crisis to gain the upper hand at the bargaining table.”
The union’s photos of marine terminals in Southern California that show large tracts of space that would easily fit thousands of containers.
The PMA is an employer association whose largest members include Denmark-based Maersk Line, Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, Korean-based Hanjin Shipping, Philippines-based ICTSI, Japan-based NYK Line, Hong Kong-based OOCL, China-based COSCO, and other employers based in France, Norway and worldwide.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is based in San Francisco, Calif., and is negotiating a contract that has covered longshore workers at 30 West Coast ports in California, Oregon and Washington since 1934.
This gives our union leverage; it's time to use it: "Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can't drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can't drive cars."
Close, oh so close. How about helping the Fellow Workers at Toronto Harm Reduction Worker Union - IWW reach their goal? Every dollar that you can spare helps. Show your support!: http://www.gofundme.com/THRWU
Harm reduction saves lives.
Harm reduction workers make harm reduction work.
Over the last year, harm reduction workers across the city of Toronto have been organizing the world’s first harm reduction workers’ union. We are the kit makers, outreach workers, community workers, and coordinators that reduce the harms associated with bad drug laws, poverty and capitalism.