Unions

Ex-Kroger CEO Admits He Was Paid A 'Ludicrous' Amount

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 07:02
Kevin ShortThe Huffington PostAugust 27, 2014View the original piece

CEO pay has skyrocketed over the last few decades, and corporate leaders are usually tight-lipped on the subject.

But we were offered a rare moment of candor last month from David Dillon, chairman and former CEO of the grocery chain Kroger, who called his own eight-figure paycheck "ludicrous" during an Aspen Ideas Festival panel.

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

Issues: Grocery
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Longshore Workers’ Vote Ratifies Northwest Grain Agreement;  Union Workers to Return to Jobs on Wednesday

ILWU - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 08:59

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 26, 2014) – Longshore workers who load grain in Pacific Northwest export terminals have voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies. The vote included members of ILWU Local 8 in Portland, Ore., and Local 4 in Vancouver, Local 21 in Longview, Local 19 in Seattle, and Local 23 in Tacoma, Wash., who collectively voted 88.4% in favor of a tentative agreement with Louis Dreyfus Commodities, United Grain Corporation and Columbia Grain Inc. that will be in effect until May 31, 2018. Members voting in favor totaled 1,475; those voting against numbered 193.

Negotiations for the new agreement began in August of 2012, involved 70 separate sessions, and included lockouts at Portland’s Columbia Grain and Vancouver’s United Grain facilities. Terms of the agreement include work rule changes and wage increases over the life of the agreement.

ILWU members will resume their jobs at the locked-out facilities on Wednesday. All picketing has ceased, and the parties have agreed to drop all pending NLRB and other legal actions associated with the dispute.

Bargaining was difficult, but in the end, both sides compromised significantly from their original positions, resulting in a workable collective bargaining agreement that preserves the work of the ILWU-represented workforce and fosters stability for the export grain industry.

The men and women of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have loaded grain for export in the Pacific Northwest since 1934.

Categories: Unions

Starbucks: Give us a fair work week!

IWW - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 07:46

Please sign and share our petition calling on Starbucks to provide fair schedules for their employees!

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union (SWU) has been working with the media since August 10th to bring attention to scheduling practices in the Food and Retail Industry, and Starbucks in particular.

read more

Categories: Unions

Baltimore Jimmy John’s Workers Stop Work, March on Boss

IWW - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 15:37

By the IWW Jimmy John's Workers Union

BALTIMORE, MD- On Friday morning, August 22nd, Jimmy John’s workers at Pratt Street engaged in a short work stoppage and marched on the boss to demand the right to organize without retaliation. They gathered in front of the store at approximately 10:30 AM. Workers and supporters made speeches outside of the store. The workers told stories of their working conditions and retaliation for organizing.

read more

Categories: Unions

IRB Charges All Local 710 Officers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 10:01

August 21, 2014: The Independent Review Board (IRB) has moved to bring charges against all the officers of Chicago Local 710. According to the report of charges dated August 15, all members of the Executive Board violated their fiduciary duty when they repeatedly approved the purchase of excess visa gift cards under the control of Local Secretary Treasurer Pat Flynn.

Flynn was charged in July, and on July 30 the local was put into trusteeship following a recommendation by the IRB. Those actions are detailed here.

The new charges hit Local 710 president Mike Sweeney and fellow officers Gerald Pauli, Charles DeCola, Larry Alexander, Anthony Lamy, and Kevin Wagoner. They were already removed from office when the trusteeship was imposed. Now they face a hearing and possible expulsion or suspension from Teamster membership.

The report states that between 2008 and September 2013, the officers breached their fiduciary duty and failed to protect the members’ assets. For example, in November 2011 they approved the purchase of 1000 visa gift cards to be given to meeting attendees, but only 600 members were present, and the remaining 400 cards were under Flynn’s personal control.

Hoffa appointed International vice president John Coli as Trustee of Local 710. Coli has no experience in representing the UPS, freight, trucking, and grocery Teamsters who make up the 13,000 member local. He has political operative Brian Rainville running the local. Rainville was paid $178,080 in 2013 by the International and Chicago Joint Council 25. Some 7000 UPS Teamsters in Local 710 rejected a concessionary contract last February by 73% No vote, and have heard nothing since about negotiating an improved contract.

Issues: Local Union ReformHoffa Watch
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Local 4 longshoreman helps save life of Vancouver police officer

ILWU - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:37

A Vancouver, WA police officer is alive today thanks to the medical training and quick-thinking of ILWU Local 4 longshoreman James Bridger Jr. On June 30th Bridger was leaving his neighborhood when he saw Earlene Anderson holding a police officer in her arms as he slumped to the ground. Bridger knew something was wrong and immediately stopped to help.

Officer Dustin Goudschaal had been shot several times while making a traffic stop. Anderson was driving in the opposite direction when the shooting occurred. She ran over to help after the suspect driving a black truck sped off just before Bridger came on the scene. Goudschaal had been struck several times in his bullet proof vest and once in the neck which was bleeding profusely. He was unable to speak because of his wounds.

After helping apply pressure to the bandage, he reached across Goudschaal’s chest, grabbed his radio, and yelled: “Code 33!” He said that an officer was shot and that they needed help immediately.

Bridger had worked as reserve officer with the Battle Ground Police Department and as a volunteer with Fire District 3. “Even though it’s been a few years, my training just sort of kicked in,” said Bridger. Goudschaal thanked Bridger when he visited him in the hospital the next day. “He told me, ‘It’s because of you that I’m here,’” Bridger said.

A few months earlier, Bridger’s relationship with the Vancouver police was not as friendly. Bridger had been arrested for “malicious mischief” after he was struck by a van while walking the picket line outside of the United Grain terminal. The van driver was not arrested.

Both Bridger and Anderson were honored by the Vancouver City Council on July 7 for their role in helping to save the life of Officer Goudschaal. Vancouver police officers lined the walls of the council chambers during the meeting.

Goudschaal was still recovering from the shooting and was unable to attend. A friend read a statement from Goudschaal and his wife Kate: “I choose to believe, that for whatever reason, those two good Samaritans were meant to be there in that moment to help Dustin, and for this, we are eternally grateful.”

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Bridger said. “This was just one union brother helping another union brother. That’s the way I see it.”

Categories: Unions

47th Annual Pensioners Convention

ILWU - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:28

The 47th Annual Convention of the Pacific Coast Pensioners Association will convene at 9:00 AM on Monday, September 15, and adjourn at about Noon on September 17, 2014.

Place: Holiday Inn – Vancouver Centre
711 West Broadway
Vancouver, British Columbia

Contact your local Pensioners Club to get a registration form and lodging information.

• Labor leaders and lawmakers from Canada will address the Convention

• ILWU Officers, the Coast Committee, and Local Officers will be join us.

• Help welcome our guests from Australia, Colombia, and perhaps other nations.

• You will hear a report on 2014 U.S. Longshore Division Negotiations.

• Information about health care and pensions will be provided.

The Vancouver Host Committee has scheduled a number of fun and exciting activities and side trips. A Banquet will be held Tuesday night. Join the fun. Enjoy a fine meal. Dance your socks off. Meet and greet old friends and new.

For more information contact your local Pensioners Club.

See you there!

In unity, Rich Austin – President, PCPA

 

Categories: Unions

Chicago Movers Stage Groundbreaking Strike

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:22
Kari LydersenIn These TimesAugust 19, 2014View the original piece

Every morning, workers at Golan’s Moving & Storage in the Chicago suburb of Skokie are ordered to arrive at work by 6 a.m. to prepare trucks for the day. If they are late, they can be suspended for several days or otherwise disciplined. Yet they typically don’t even start getting paid until about 8 a.m.—when they board a truck bound for their assignment.

This situation is among the many injustices that spurred Golan’s workers to organize with the faith-based workers rights group Arise Chicago last year before unionizing with Teamsters Local 705. Since December 2013, the first contract negotiations have dragged on, with management canceling planned sessions 12 times in six months, according to the Teamsters.

So on July 28, about four-fifths of Golan’s workers walked out on strike. Negotiations are theoretically continuing, but Teamsters Local 705 business agent Richard De Vries says that the company officials walked out of their most recent session, on August 14, after just 41 minutes. 

The union has filed various Unfair Labor Practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board, and a federal mediator was brought in to oversee the negotiations. Still, De Vries tells In These Times that these measures have so far not prevented Golan’s from essentially refusing to bargain. He thinks that the company is trying to delay signing a contract until December, at which point under labor law they can call for an election to decertify the union—because a year will have passed with no contract signed.

“This is our remedy: going on strike,” says De Vries. He reports that more than 80 workers out of a total of about 100 are on strike, including members of the company’s two separate sections, which do local and long-distance moves.

On Saturday, August 16, more than 100 supporters, including Teamsters members from other companies, joined the workers on the picket line. Leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths spoke to the crowd and asked the owners—Israelis who reportedly named the company for the region Israel captured from Syria during the Six-Day War—to recognize the concepts of workers’ rights and human dignity enshrined in all three world religions.

Onesimo Peña was one of the workers who contacted Arise last summer, frustrated with what he told In These Times was “so many abuses” suffered by his co-workers. He also notes that in more than a decade working for the company, his wages have only risen from $12 to $12.50 an hour, even though he has often been called on in emergencies or for important jobs.

“We’ve tried too many times to get the owners to listen to us but they wouldn’t,” says Peña. “So we went to Arise Chicago.”

In turn, Arise connected the workers with Teamsters Local 705. And marshaling support for unionizing was easy, Peña remembers.

“Everyone was tired of this situation,” he says.

Shortly after the workers voted to unionize, Peña says his wages increased to $14 an hour. The company also started paying overtime and made a few other concessions, including with regard to safety. De Vries says he can only speculate as to why, though Golan's may have been trying to dissuade workers from going on strike or trying to weaken the union in bargaining.

Golan’s workers don’t have insurance, paid sick days or vacation days or any other benefits. According to organizers, such as Arise Chicago’s Jorge Mujica, “There is wage theft all over the place,” including the aforementioned unpaid preparation work time, and logged hours that go missing from paychecks until workers complain.

Plus, workers’ wages are often further reduced by fines for a wide range of infractions. Jose Reyes, a Golan’s employee for 10 years, says he was once fined $700 because one of the other movers in the crew he oversaw had a small tear in his pants. Reyes tells In These Times that workers could also be charged for forgetting to leave the keys to their personal car with management before they head off to a job, or for failing to call the customer to say they are running late.

“There’s no warning, you get back from the job and they are waiting for you with a fine,” he says.

He and Peña also say managers have offered them incentives for reporting other workers for violations.

“They approached me and said, ‘If you turn people in, you will have your job forever, you can have a raise,’” says Reyes, who is on the union negotiating committee. “They were trying to buy me off.”

Worker Miguel Flores tells In These Times that under the terms worked by long-distance drivers who move customers to other states, he has earned only $40 for spending 10 hours unloading boxes at a home. (Mujica explains that this is likely technically legal under labor provisions for interstate commerce.)  

Movers in the long-distance unit are particularly upset that they are not compensated for waiting time of up to a day or more if customers are not ready when they arrive. These employees are paid based on factors such as miles driven and the volume of the move. So when a customer isn’t ready, they’re forced to spend time on the road unpaid, sleeping and waiting in their truck when they otherwise could be earning money.

De Vries says payment for such “detention time” is a major demand in negotiations. So far, though, management has offered only token concessions during the negotiation sessions that have occurred. “They have agreed to pay for showers at a truck stop,” which cost a few dollars, he says. And in response to union demands for paid days off, Golan’s offered a total of $10 a day for up to 10 vacation days, De Vries continues.

Golan’s also employs workers under the J-1 visa “work and study-based exchange” program, drawing students from around the world for 90-day stays in the United States. Silviu Radu joined the program while studying for his Masters in business administration at a university in his home country of Romania. After starting work at Golan’s in June and got to know many of his co-workers. He hadn’t been present for many of the complications surrounding organizing and negotiating, so the strike came as a bit of a surprise to him.

“I rode my bike to work and everyone was outside,” he tells In These Times. “I was like ‘Hey guys, what’s going on?’”

Once he learned about the walkout, though, he promptly joined it, as did several other J-1 workers, according to Radu and De Vries. The visa does not allow companies involved in walkouts to staff J-1 employees, so Radu is looking for another job while spending time on the picket lines.

“You get to bond with your colleagues,” Radu says. “These are good people, hard-working people who help each other.”

The J-1 visa—which has drawn controversy in the past over its reported abuse by employers including Hershey’s—cost Radu about $2,000, he says, including other fees connected to the program. Even so, he notes, laughing, that he “was making $10.50 an hour on the truck.”

For its part, Golan’s has largely responded to the actions with denial. Two large green signs outside the company, dated August 12 and addressed to workers from company secretary Yehuda Bitton, read: “The many reckless and dishonest statements about Golan’s and me are fabrications by the union and its representatives. Those of you who have worked for Golan’s for many years know these statements are not true.”

A Golan’s official inside the company during the rally declined to talk, and the spokesperson he referred In These Times to did not return a call for comment.

The company has also attempted to play on the fears on many of its workers regarding deportation. The signs, which are written in English and Spanish, go on to read that the union has threatened to call immigration authorities. De Vries says the U.S. State Department found out about the strike through the J-1 students, likely spurring the company to make that statement. The union has not contacted immigration authorities and would not do so, he argues.

Various workers tell In These Times they are confident the strike will force the company into meaningful negotiations for a contract with significant improvements. They say they’ve heard customers have canceled jobs because of the strike, and that little or no work has been happening at Golan’s. During the Saturday rally a moving truck entered the facility, but because it was manned by only one employee, De Vries said it was likely just a “show.” “You can’t move furniture with one person,” he says.

“We’ve seen trucks leaving and then find them parked 20 blocks away; they’re not working,” Mujica adds.

De Vries says that very few moving companies are organized, and most non-unionized workplaces do not offer their largely immigrant workforce insurance or benefits. Hence, the Golan’s workers’ unionization and strike could be seen as a precedent-setting development for the industry.

Both Reyes and Peña says they take pride in their work and want to continue at Golan’s, only under better conditions. Still, Reyes says he tells his three kids, only half joking, “When you see a Golan’s truck, run and hide, so you don’t end up like me.”

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Here's The Real Reason Why The Trucking Industry Is Running Out Of Drivers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:59
Mamta Badkar and Rob WileBusiness InsiderAugust 19, 2014View the original piece

Higher driving costs and falling pay have created a truck-driver shortage that's likely to worsen in the coming years.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the U.S. is short 30,000 truck drivers — a number expected to surge to 239,000 by 2022.

In July 2013, new federal hours-of-service rules went into effect. 

The key provision was a limit to the use of a 34-hour "restart." Drivers have a 70-hour-a-week cap on how much time they can be on the road. Previously, they'd been able to artificially reset that cap to zero if they took 34 consecutive hours off. Now, many are unable to do so.

As a result, according to a survey from the American Transportation Research Institute, more than 80% of motor carriers have experienced a productivity loss, with nearly half saying they require more drivers to haul the same amount of freight.

"Smaller 'owner/operator' firms are increasingly dropping by the wayside as the cost of operations and maintenance are simply becoming too expensive to stay in business," Paul Pittman, a planner at a North Carolina-based logisitcs company, told Business Insider by email. 

So drivers are suddenly faced with the choice of leaving the profession entirely or moving to a larger company where wages are likely to be lower. 

"As controls continue to tighten, many of the existing drivers currently employed are turning to other areas of employment simply to get off the road and escape some of the regulations implemented to govern their operations," Pittman said.

To hang on, small operators are forced to cut corners. For Jeff, a driver who asked to be identified by only his first name, the pay isn't the biggest issue — it's the compromises some firms are making on driver compliance.

"With how my lifestyle is [the pay is] pretty decent. I don’t go out and blow money on speed boats, or the best electronics, or hookers and blow," Jeff said. "I’m married and I have four children. We prioritize our finances. Two years ago we finally bought an HDTV. My main issue is the safety aspect."

Violating Rules

His primary issue with trucking companies is the pressure they put on drivers to violate federal rules. Jeff worked for a small outfit in the Midwest. The owner of that company, he says, wanted him to take a dry van load from Hubbard, Ohio, to Syracuse, New York, which is about 327 miles.

Jeff explained that this trip takes longer for trucks than it does for cars, because trucks carry heavier loads, and it takes longer for them to speed up and slow down. It would take a truck about five hours and 15 minutes from Hubbard to Syracuse. 

The owner, whom Jeff didn't want named, asked him to drive back to Hubbard empty, do a drop-and-hook (drop one trailer, hook another) and take another trailer up to Binghamton, New York, the same day. And the trip from Hubbard to Binghamton is about five and a half hours, meaning a round trip would only leave him about 30 minutes of driving for the day and legally Jeff couldn't.

"When you're non-compliant as a driver you run the risk of fatigue and the risk of hurting other people," he said. "And as a driver it's my license on the line." Jeff said he was asked by multiple trucking companies to falsify his logs, but he refused to.

"I consider myself a safety-oriented driver, and I have found that is a bad thing," Jeff said. "Because since I got my CDL [commercial driver's license] in 2008, I have worked for about 10 different trucking companies. That doesn't look good because it looks like it is job hopping ... I'm sticking to my guns."

Time Away From Home

Another problem is lack of time spent at home. Todd Feucht of Wisconsin says drivers can expect to spend as little as 52 days at home a year. Feucht, who hauls oversize loads, averages about three to five weeks. Last year he was home 54 days, including his vacation days. "Back in the day you were treated like a knight, but now you're treated like a peon," Feucht says.

All of this helps explain why the turnover rate at large truckload carriers was 92% annualized in Q1, according to the ATA. Turnover refers to the rate at which drivers leave the industry and are replaced.

"One-hundred percent turnover doesn’t mean that every driver left," ATA chief economist Bob Costello says. "If you keep a driver for 90 days, the rate generally drops in half. However, there are a group of drivers that churn, and they generally stay at a carrier for a short length of time (just weeks or a couple of months). Many drivers stay with a carrier for years."

Getting Squeezed

Meanwhile, drivers with less experience or bargaining power get squeezed. Feucht has been driving trucks for 20 years and thinks trucking companies need to be more honest when recruiting.

The new drivers are "greener than grass," he said. Those who attempt to lease trucks quickly discover the significant cost of maintenance and overhead. Young drivers who go this route end up having very little to show for it. 

"I meet these guys at truck-stops and they can barely afford to eat ramen during the week," Feucht told Business Insider. "They're dropping $850 on a truck a week."

Truck drivers typically get paid hourly or by the mile. Some get a percentage of the load. If you're getting less than 33 cents a mile "you're getting ripped off," Jeff, a 36-year old truck driver from Ohio, told Business Insider.

The truck drivers suggest if these companies want to see this turnover decrease they need to focus on improving pay, improving training for new entrants, and they need to not push them to violate federal regulations.

There may finally be some movement on this front. Last month, Swift, one of the largest haulers in the U.S., announced it would refocus expenditures on better labor conditions for employees, including higher wages.

"After assessing the current and expected environment, we believe the best investment we can make at this time, for all of our stakeholders, is in our drivers," the firm said in its earnings release. "Our goal is to clear the path for our drivers by helping them overcome challenges, eliminate wait times and take home more money."


 

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamster Rail Workers Revolt vs Driving Solo

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:41

August 19, 2014: There’s a rank and file rebellion brewing among rail workers, and Teamster engineers are in the thick of it. They are fighting back against a deal made secretly by the conductors union with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway.

Most rail engineers belong to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) which is a part of the Teamsters Union. The organization leading the charge against the deal to allow one-person crews is Rail Workers United (RWU), a solidarity network of rail workers in various unions.

Read the story here:  http://labornotes.org/2014/08/rail-workers-revolt-against-driving-solo

Categories: Labor News, Unions

ILWU recyclers win big raises in Oakland’s new waste franchise deal

ILWU - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:41

An 18-month campaign by Bay Area recycling workers to improve pay and benefits hit a new milestone on July 30 when the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to raise recycler wages in the city’s new 10-year residential waste and recycling service franchise agreements.

“This victory means that ILWU recycling workers have successfully implemented their higher wage and benefit standards at two of the largest city franchises in Alameda County,” said ILWU Vice President Ray Familathe. “This is an impressive demonstration of the recyclers’ persistence and courage.”

Recyclers organize

Recyclers launched their campaign on February 2, 2013, when hundreds gathered for a historic “Convention of Recycling Workers,” at the Local 6 union hall in Oakland.

Workers employed by four different recycling firms in Alameda County attended the event. They were joined by religious, labor, immigrant rights, environmental and political allies who all pledged to support the effort for better wages and improved safety through the “Campaign for Sustainable Recycling.” At the Convention, workers voted to adopt a new wage standard that would raise hourly pay to $20 – almost double what many recycling workers were being paid – and include affordable family health benefits.

Action at Waste Management

Recycling workers employed by Waste Management in Oakland and San Leandro led the way early in the campaign by demanding raises, even before last February’s Convention of Recycling Workers. Rank-and-file union leaders met on weekends in the Local 6 union hall to make plans for involving co-workers in the campaign to win a raise. They circulated petitions and held meetings with management.

When the company refused to support a request for real raises, workers protested in front of the company’s headquarters in Oakland. Then the company retaliated against immigrant workers, so an “unfair labor practices” strike was organized on March 15. The protest shut down the company’s East Bay operation beginning at 2am. Teamster and Machinist Union officials agreed to support the strike for several hours. Within months, the company agreed to settle separate ILWU contracts covering ILWU workers at the landfill and clerical/customer service units – but not recyclers.

Victory in Fremont

The first success in adopting the new wage standard was achieved last December by 65 recycling workers employed by the BLT recycling company in Fremont. Like the Waste Management workers, recyclers in Fremont also organized actions on the job to demand raises. They circulated petitions and presented them to management as a group to demonstrate unity.

When the company agreed to work together with the union, they jointly approached Fremont City Council members about passing a modest residential rate increase of just one penny per day from each ratepayer so recyclers could earn a living wage of $20.94 by 2019. The Council adopted the small rate increase and the company agreed to begin paying the scheduled pay raises.

Management sparks big strike

Unlike the experience with BLT in Fremont, officials at Waste Management and California Waste Solutions continued opposing real raises for recycling workers during 2013. Both companies offered recyclers only meager raises and refused to cooperate with workers by approaching the City Council about including the new wage standard in the city’s pending franchise agreement. Frustrations reached a boiling point on July 30 when workers from both companies united in a joint strike action. Two hundred recycling workers converged on the Oakland City Hall where their noisy picket lines and rally received major media attention – and plenty of notice from elected officials.

Groups of workers met during the day with City Council members and state legislators. They gathered in the late afternoon for a rally on the City Hall steps, then went inside to speak at the City Council meeting. Dozens of workers spoke at the rally and meeting, explaining why their families needed the raises to survive, and urged the Council to include a recycling wage standard in the new franchise agreement.

Community support

The efforts by workers in Fremont and Oakland were supported by allies in the Campaign for Sustainable Recycling (CSR) who attended Council meetings, sent letters of support, and joined workers to meet with individual Council members. Organizations participating in the CSR include the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Worksafe, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project, Center for Environmental Health, Northern California Recycling Association, California Immigrants Policy Center, Mujeres Unidas & Activas, Clean Energy Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, and SEIU 1021.

Disappointment with WM

After 18 months of worker and community action, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously on July 30, 2014 to include the new recycler wage standard in their franchise agreement. This marked an important victory – but it also disappointed 130 recycling workers employed by Waste Management (WM) because that firm’s bid to continue providing those services for another 10 years was unanimously rejected by the City Council.

Waste Management has been collecting all of Oakland’s residential waste and processing half the City’s recycling for decades, but that work will now end on July 1, 2015 when California Waste Solutions assumes all those responsibilities.

Without the new Oakland franchise agreement and revenue stream it provides for worker wage increases, Waste Management is less likely to provide recyclers the same pay raises that are now part of Oakland’s new franchise agreement with California Waste Solutions (CWS).

Surprising shake-up

The City Council’s vote surprised observers who thought Waste Management was likely to continue sharing the franchise agreement with CWS, a much smaller, locally-owned competitor who employs unionized mechanics and drivers.

Labor relations factor

But the bid submitted by Waste Management was more expensive for ratepayers than the one submitted by CWS. And CWS included some extra services in their bid which appealed to Council members. Officials at both Waste Management and California Waste Solutions initially resisted supporting the pay raises sought by recycling workers that became part of the new franchise agreement. A few days before the final City Council hearing on July 30, California Waste Solutions signed a new contract with Local 6 members that guaranteed a schedule of pay raises and family health benefits with no monthly premium cost share.

On the day of the City Council decision, Waste Management officials met with the Local 6 Negotiating Committee and made significant movement, but failed to reach agreement. As The Dispatcher was going to press, a follow-up meeting had been scheduled for August 12.

ILWU leaders and staff refused to take sides or play favorites with either company during the franchise selection process, because ILWU members were employed by both firms.

Rubbed the wrong way

At the City Council meeting on July 30, it was clear that Waste Management had rubbed City Council members the wrong way. During the meeting, one Council member recalled how the company had angered many by locking-out Teamster and Machinist union members during a month-long contract dispute in 2007 that brought the city’s garbage collection to a halt and triggered a public health crisis.

During that dispute, ILWU recycling workers courageously honored the Teamster and Machinist union picket lines, despite threats and retaliation from Waste Management. The company’s decision to outsource dozens of Oakland-based customer service jobs done by ILWU members after the lockout was cited as a sore point by several City Council members. City Council members also complained that top Waste Management officials showed a lack of “flexibility” and were “unwilling to compromise.” When the meeting was over and the vote was taken, not a single member of the City Council supported Waste Management.

Some layoffs possible When Waste Management’s franchise agreement with Oakland expires next July, there will be some layoffs at Waste Management, but it is not clear how many. The city’s new franchise agreement includes a provision – supported by the union – allowing workers to transfer from Waste Management to new positions at California Waste Solutions. There may be waiting lists for some jobs.
Another route to raises

Fortunately, Waste Management has franchise agreements with other cities besides Oakland that provide the company with a steady revenue stream and secure employment for recycling workers, even after the July 2015 franchise agreement expires with Oakland. The other franchise agreements are with the cities of Emeryville, Albany, and Hayward plus the Castro Valley and Ora Loma Sanitation Districts.

Elected officials in those cities can authorize tiny rate increases that will provide enough revenue for Waste Management to pay better wages and good benefits for recycling workers.

“We’ve learned from the Oakland experience and can apply those lessons as we approach other cities for their support to help us – and it will only cost those residents a few pennies a month to provide us with living wages and decent benefits,” said Waste Management recycling worker Xiomara Martinez.

Extending a hand

Local 6 will continue extending a hand to Waste Management officials in an effort to achieve the same labor management cooperation that helped recycling workers in Fremont.

“We’re hoping that officials from the company and other unions will work with us this time, because all of us should be working together to solve this problem,” said recycling worker Mirella Jauregui.

Categories: Unions

Central States Extends YRC’s $100M Debt till 2019

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:37

August 15, 2014: The Central States Pension Fund has given YRCW an extension until 2019 to repay $109 million that YRC owes the pension fund. This was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in the 2014 First Quarter Report filed by the Independent Special Counsel on July 30.

That report, along with the Financial and Analytical Report obtained by TDU, indicates that the fund’s assets fell from $18.7 billion to $18.5 billion during the first quarter.

YRC has owed the $109 million to the fund since 2009, when it failed to make required payments, and has twice extended the deadline for making a balloon payment. The latest extension came by vote of the Central States union and management trustees in January, 2014. The trustees are reluctant to strain YRC’s weak finances. YRC makes interest payments of $550,000 per month.

While $109 million is small compared to the fund’s assets, it is still a very significant debt obligation to the troubled fund, as some YRC Teamsters and Central States retirees have already noted.

Central States lost $209 million in assets in the first quarter        because the investment return of 1.7% could not keep up with pension payments.

Meanwhile, the Central States Health and Welfare Fund continues to run in the black and build up its outsized reserves. As its number of Teamster participants has more than doubled, with the addition of UPS part-time and full-time members, future reports will bear watching closely. Many UPS Teamsters recently put into the Central States Fund (TeamCare) are finding that certain benefits are falling short of promises made by the Hoffa-Hall administration.

Issues: Pension and BenefitsFreight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Video: Local 6 Rank & File Leader Alejandra Leon and the Sustainable Recycling campaign

ILWU - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:43

Too often, the zero waste workers in our community get zero respect. Check out this great video of Alejandra Leon – recycling sorter at Waste Management and worker leader of ILWU Local 6 – Sustainable Recycling • Justicia Para Recicladores campaign speaking at the “Race, Class & Ecology” series. sponsored by the group, Movement Generation.  Alejandra tells her story of struggling to survive on poverty wages paid to recycling workers, yet “The work that my coworkers and I do gives us great pride because we are among the few people doing something for our planet.”

Categories: Unions

Rail Workers Revolt against Driving Solo

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 10:49
Alexandra BradburyLabor NotesAugust 12, 2014View the original piece

“There’s a real rank-and-file rebellion going on right now,” says Jen Wallis, a Seattle switchman-conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway. “People who’ve never been involved in the union, never went to a union meeting, they are showing up and they’re joining Railroad Workers United in droves.

“People are saying, ‘We have to take action now to stop it. We can’t let our union officers do this to us.’”

What’s all the fuss? On July 16, thousands of railroaders abruptly learned their union officers had held secret negotiations with BNSF, one of the country’s biggest freight carriers, and reached a deal to allow single-person train crews: a safety disaster.

Ballots on the tentative agreement went out in early August, and are due back in early September. If the vote goes up, huge freight trains could rumble through towns across the western U.S. with just an engineer onboard, no conductor.

This would be a first on a major railway, and a foot in the door for the whole industry. BNSF is owned by Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest people.

“Members had no clue this was even coming,” said John Paul Wright, a locomotive engineer working out of Louisville, Kentucky. “The membership is basically saying, “What in the hell is going on? We never thought our own union would sell us out.’”

Wright is co-chair of the cross-union, rank-and-file group Railroad Workers United, which has been campaigning against the looming threat of single-person crews for a decade. With just weeks to go, its members are suddenly busy sending out “vote no” stickers and appealing to local labor councils to pass resolutions backing two-person crews.

“We weren’t expecting it this soon,” says Robert Hill, a BNSF engineer in Spokane, Washington. “We were expecting it.”

Railroaders are seeking out RWU and a new Facebook group, “Spouses & Families Against One-Man Crews,” to get information and coordinate the push for a “No” vote. Much of the opposition is being led by railroaders’ family members.

Engineers and conductors are represented by separate unions. The conductors, members of SMART, are the ones voting on this contract.

“This vote will affect far more people than just the ones that vote on it,” said James Wallace, a BNSF conductor in Lincoln, Nebraska, and RWU co-chair, “because it is going to set a precedent for all freight railroads in the U.S., and potentially endanger the job of every conductor in this country.”

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/08/rail-workers-revolt-against-driving-solo#s...

“There’s a real rank-and-file rebellion going on right now,” says Jen Wallis, a Seattle switchman-conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway. “People who’ve never been involved in the union, never went to a union meeting, they are showing up and they’re joining Railroad Workers United in droves.

“People are saying, ‘We have to take action now to stop it. We can’t let our union officers do this to us.’”

What’s all the fuss? On July 16, thousands of railroaders abruptly learned their union officers had held secret negotiations with BNSF, one of the country’s biggest freight carriers, and reached a deal to allow single-person train crews: a safety disaster.

Ballots on the tentative agreement went out in early August, and are due back in early September. If the vote goes up, huge freight trains could rumble through towns across the western U.S. with just an engineer onboard, no conductor.

This would be a first on a major railway, and a foot in the door for the whole industry. BNSF is owned by Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest people.

“Members had no clue this was even coming,” said John Paul Wright, a locomotive engineer working out of Louisville, Kentucky. “The membership is basically saying, “What in the hell is going on? We never thought our own union would sell us out.’”

Wright is co-chair of the cross-union, rank-and-file group Railroad Workers United, which has been campaigning against the looming threat of single-person crews for a decade. With just weeks to go, its members are suddenly busy sending out “vote no” stickers and appealing to local labor councils to pass resolutions backing two-person crews.

“We weren’t expecting it this soon,” says Robert Hill, a BNSF engineer in Spokane, Washington. “We were expecting it.”

Railroaders are seeking out RWU and a new Facebook group, “Spouses & Families Against One-Man Crews,” to get information and coordinate the push for a “No” vote. Much of the opposition is being led by railroaders’ family members.

Engineers and conductors are represented by separate unions. The conductors, members of SMART, are the ones voting on this contract.

“This vote will affect far more people than just the ones that vote on it,” said James Wallace, a BNSF conductor in Lincoln, Nebraska, and RWU co-chair, “because it is going to set a precedent for all freight railroads in the U.S., and potentially endanger the job of every conductor in this country.”

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/08/rail-workers-revolt-against-driving-solo#s...

“There’s a real rank-and-file rebellion going on right now,” says Jen Wallis, a Seattle switchman-conductor for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway. “People who’ve never been involved in the union, never went to a union meeting, they are showing up and they’re joining Railroad Workers United in droves.

“People are saying, ‘We have to take action now to stop it. We can’t let our union officers do this to us.’”

What’s all the fuss? On July 16, thousands of railroaders abruptly learned their union officers had held secret negotiations with BNSF, one of the country’s biggest freight carriers, and reached a deal to allow single-person train crews: a safety disaster.

Ballots on the tentative agreement went out in early August, and are due back in early September. If the vote goes up, huge freight trains could rumble through towns across the western U.S. with just an engineer onboard, no conductor.

This would be a first on a major railway, and a foot in the door for the whole industry. BNSF is owned by Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest people.

“Members had no clue this was even coming,” said John Paul Wright, a locomotive engineer working out of Louisville, Kentucky. “The membership is basically saying, “What in the hell is going on? We never thought our own union would sell us out.’”

Wright is co-chair of the cross-union, rank-and-file group Railroad Workers United, which has been campaigning against the looming threat of single-person crews for a decade. With just weeks to go, its members are suddenly busy sending out “vote no” stickers and appealing to local labor councils to pass resolutions backing two-person crews.

“We weren’t expecting it this soon,” says Robert Hill, a BNSF engineer in Spokane, Washington. “We were expecting it.”

Railroaders are seeking out RWU and a new Facebook group, “Spouses & Families Against One-Man Crews,” to get information and coordinate the push for a “No” vote. Much of the opposition is being led by railroaders’ family members.

Engineers and conductors are represented by separate unions. The conductors, members of SMART, are the ones voting on this contract.

“This vote will affect far more people than just the ones that vote on it,” said James Wallace, a BNSF conductor in Lincoln, Nebraska, and RWU co-chair, “because it is going to set a precedent for all freight railroads in the U.S., and potentially endanger the job of every conductor in this country.”

DOWN TO TWO

At its 20th-century peak, railroad employment totaled 2 million. Today it’s 10 percent of that.

That’s not because the country is shipping less freight. On the contrary, says Ron Kaminkow, RWU’s general secretary and a working engineer in Nevada, “We’re moving more tonnage than ever before.”

But as feuding unions allowed new technologies to replace workers, rail freight crews dwindled from five to two. These days a train carries an engineer, who drives the train, and a conductor, who does everything else.

Here’s an incomplete list of those activities: hopping off to throw the switch that moves the train to another track; adding and removing cars; updating the list of which cars have hazardous materials in them (crucial for first responders in case of a wreck); problem-solving if a busted air hose or some other mechanical problem stops the train; and conferring with the engineer about hazards, approaching speed restrictions, and pedestrian or road crossings coming up.

Crucially, the conductor also helps make sure the engineer is still awake and alert. If that sounds like it shouldn’t be necessary, consider how freight railroaders are generally scheduled: on 12-hour shifts and on-call 24/7, with no predictable schedule.

“Sometimes you’re up 48 hours at a time, with maybe five hours of sleep,” says Wallis. “There have been times we’re both hallucinating at 3 o’clock in the morning, trying to keep each other awake.”

The conductor may also be teaching the engineer details of the complex job. “It takes about two years to really learn what you’re doing,” Wallis said. “It’s this classroom in the cab. It’s scary, you could have two people in the cab with six months’ experience between them. But at least there’s two of them.”

And the conductor is on hand in case the engineer has, say, a heart attack while at the helm of a 15,000-ton train. As SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich pointed out in a memo opposing the BNSF deal, “No one would permit an airliner to fly with just one pilot, even though they can fly themselves.”

A SAFETY DISASTER

The proposed pact would pull conductors off the trains, replacing several with a single “master conductor” who’d drive around in a van, on-call for radio dispatch to any train that might need assistance.

How many trains would one conductor cover? Four, eight? There’s no limit—like much else in the deal, it’s left to the carrier’s discretion.

It’s not hard to spot the risks in this plan. Freight tracks cross remote territory. The train might get stopped where there’s no road for miles and miles. It could take the conductor a long time to arrive. And the engineer loses a second pair of eyes to help prevent accidents.

Part of the excuse for single-person crews is the coming of yet another new technology, positive train control, which Congress is mandating the rail carriers all adopt by 2015. This automated system will track trains’ speed and position, and apply the brakes in certain situations.

Railroaders call this tech advance a good thing—but as an additional boost to safety, not something you’d want to rely on to replace a human. “The railroad unions have been asking for PTC to be implemented as a safety overlay, not in place of a crew member,” Wright says.

Even as companies have been lobbying to delay PTC because of its cost, they’ve also been eyeing it as an opportunity to cut labor costs.

They will save billions of dollars if they can implement one-person crews, says Kaminkow. “So for the occasional pedestrian who gets run over or car that gets hit, the railroad is willing to roll the dice.”

WORKING ALONE

“I haven’t come across a single engineer who is for this at all,” says Wallace. “They would rather have someone there to keep them alert, to job-brief as situations change—and somebody just to keep them company.

“We will often spend 12 or more hours on a train every day. At times when we’re busy, we spend up to 70 hours a week on the train.

“It’s going to be a large portion of engineers’ lives they’re going to be spending alone.” (For more on how working alone hurts solidarity, see this article).

However, engineers aren’t voting on this deal. Conductors are, and the deal has sweeteners in it for them—a signing bonus, higher pay for the lucky few who become “master conductors,” and the promise of buyouts or layoffs with full pay.

But most, especially newer conductors, won’t see those perks. Instead, they’re likely slated to become engineers, whether that’s their plan or not.

Though the unions are separate, most engineers are drawn from conductors’ ranks. You can volunteer to go to engineer school, but you can also be forced into it, from the bottom of the seniority list, if more engineers are needed.

“Probably a lot of these conductors won’t ever work under this contract,” Wallace said. “They’ll end up as engineers, working alone in a cab by themselves.”

‘THE CRAFT WAR’

The secret pact is controversial even among leaders of SMART. But division leaders responsible for the contract are pushing it hard.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a Teamsters division, represents most engineers. Both SMART and the BLET formally oppose one-person crews, though they haven’t exactly presented a strong united front.

The rivalry between the unions—and a fatalistic sense that the change is inevitable—have fueled a series of backstabbing deals. As crews dwindled, the rail unions mainly battled over who would represent the remaining workers.

“While the unions had been on and off paying lip service to the idea of a two-person crew and intolerance for single-person crews, they’ve also been hedging their bets, saying ‘Meanwhile we’re going to cut whatever deal we need to make sure if there’s going to be a last man standing, by God, it’s going to be us,’” sighs Kaminkow.

“We call it the craft war. I’d much rather fight the class war.”

RAUCOUS MEETINGS

SMART leaders immediately launched a PR tour, taking a PowerPoint presentation on the road to promote the deal.

“A lot of the presentation and the campaign to get this is focused on fear,” Wallace said. “There’s a lot of fear that if we don’t accept this contract it’ll just be a lot worse down the road, that we won’t have any bargaining power to negotiate anything better.”

Among their first stops was Seattle, where they met with raucous opposition. “Once I found out about it I immediately created a Facebook event for the meeting, and invited everyone I know,” Wallis said.

That meant not just railroaders but also teachers, Teamsters, guitar players, environmentalists. After all, “one-person crews are not just dangerous for workers, but for the environment and the communities we live in,” she said.

Other railroaders, too, see the writing on the wall for them if this deal goes through. “I had four Union Pacific guys show up at my picket line,” Wallis said. And since that night, “We’re getting emails every day from all over the country saying ‘We saw what you did. How do we do that?’”

The next night’s meeting in Spokane brought out 60 angry railroaders and their families. “A lot of people were in disbelief,” reports Hill. The touring officers started the PowerPoint, but “the president of Local 426 told them to shut it off, we weren’t interested in looking at their propaganda. We wanted to start asking questions.”

When the officers’ answers to their questions about contract specifics were “a lot of could or should or possibly,” Hill said, “it turned a little hostile… Everybody started getting pretty fired up.

“A lot of [members] were accusing [the officers] of taking buyouts, payouts. A lot of our leaders are close to retirement.”

A second Spokane meeting, planned for the next morning, was canceled.

And in Creston, Iowa, opponents of the deal aren’t waiting till the August 25 meeting—they’re holding rallies twice a day, all month.

 

Categories: Labor News, Unions

OSHA Awards Damages and Reinstatement for Truck Driver

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:52
Truckers Justice CenterTruckers Justice CenterAugust 13, 2014

In a decision issued August 11, 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has found that truck owner Terry Unrein fired truck driver Rebecca Barnhard for refusing to drive a truck with a defective steer tire and for complaining that a headlight on the truck operated only intermittently. Unrein owned and operated five trucks, and transported goods under contract with Gulick Trucking.

OSHA ordered Unrein to reinstate Ms. Barnhard to her former position as a truck driver, to pay her back pay, and to pay her attorney fees. OSHA also ordered Unrein to post a copy of a notice at its work place indicating that Ms. Barnard had won her case, and that the Surface Transportation Assistance Act protects drivers from retaliation for making complaints about violations of commercial vehicle safety regulations, and for refusing to drive in violation of a commercial vehicle safety regulation.

Ms. Barnhard states, “I am delighted with OSHA’s decision and feel that my decision to refuse to drive an unsafe truck has been vindicated. My employer wanted me to take shortcuts to sidestep DOT regulations and I am happy that the law protected me when I refused to take shortcuts with safety.” 

Mr. Barnhard was represented by Paul O. Taylor, an attorney with Truckers Justice Center in Burnsville, MN. www.truckersjusticecenter.com

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Longshore Caucus reconvenes to consider contract negotiations

ILWU - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:15

ILWU Longshore Caucus delegates reconvened in San Francisco on July 21 and 22 to review the status of ongoing Longshore contract negotiations.

Caucus Chair Joe Cortez quickly brought the session to order, then turned over the podium to International President Bob McEllrath who asked delegates to dedicate their meeting in memory of former Local 13 member and Caucus delegate Alberto Bonilla, who died unexpectedly on May 17 at the age of 43. His son, Albert Bonilla, Jr., attended the Caucus and was recognized by delegates with a warm and sustained standing ovation.

Other dedications for fallen members included Armando Castro and Dwayne Washington from Local 10 in the Bay Area; former Local 12 President Wally Robbins of Coos Bay, Oregon; Night Business Agent and Executive Committee member John “Johnny Canuck” Collins from Local 502 of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; Gerald Pirtilla of Local 52 in Seattle and Jeffrey Jewell of Local 24 in Aberdeen.

The 88 Caucus delegates were joined by dozens of fraternal representatives from Hawaii, Alaska and Canada who came to express their solidarity, along with many Pensioners who attended from the Bay Area and beyond.

McEllrath recognized International Vice President-Hawaii, Wesley Furtado who attended with Hawaii Longshore Division Negotiating Chairman Elgin Calles, Co-Chairman Dustin Dawson, Spokesman William Haole and Business Agent Dennis Morton. Chairman Elgin Calles provided a brief overview of the Hawaii Longshore Division’s contract negotiation effort, noting that they have been in talks with their employers for about two months.

Also recognized was ILWU Canada President Mark Gordienko who attended the Caucus with Business Agent Reno Voci. “I’ve made it clear to our employers that we won’t be touching any U.S.-bound cargo if there’s trouble,” said Gordienko. He also described how ILWU Canada members have been conducting outreach efforts to educate crewmembers on grain ships involved in the lockout by Mitsui-United and Columbia-Marubeni Grain companies. “When those ships come north, we’re talking with crewmembers and educating them about the ILWU struggle.”

Delegates thanked outgoing Puget Sound and Washington Area Benefits Director Nick Buckles, who is retiring at the end of July. His replacement, Andrea Stevenson, was recently appointed by the Plan Trustees. The former Local 52 President and 3rd generation longshore worker from Seattle thanked Nick Buckles, saying she had “big shoes to fill.”

McEllrath outlined the status of the negotiations, emphasizing the Committee’s efforts to maintain good health and pension benefits. He said the ILWU has consistently worked to see that the health plans operate properly, and has long urged employers to come forward with any evidence of waste or abuse so it can be addressed without harming beneficiaries. McEllrath noted a July 16 announcement by federal prosecutors that three individuals associated with a private surgical center in Southern California have been charged with defrauding several insurance plans, including the ILWU/ PMA Coastwise Indemnity Plan.

McEllrath minced no words, saying: “I’m glad to see that the government’s doing their job. Crooks who break the law and take advantage of our health care plans belong in jail.”

Local 13 President Bobby Olvera, Jr. was equally passionate about protecting the health plan from fraud. “I was born into this plan and our families depend on it. Anyone who defrauds us is harming our families – and all the members who came before us who sacrificed so we can enjoy these benefits today. The people who perpetrate fraud against our plan deserve no mercy as far as I’m concerned.”

The Caucus did not set a time to reconvene, but President McEllrath said delegates should be ready to meet quickly at a future date that will be dictated by the progress – or lack of progress – at negotiations.

“We’ve got a plan to get things done that meets the goals adopted by the Caucus, but I can’t tell you how soon we will finish. Just keep pumpin’ and don’t listen to any rumors,” he said.

Categories: Unions

IWW Starbucks Workers Union Releases Critical Report on Starbucks

IWW - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 15:55

By the IWW Starbucks Workers Union

Company Enriches Shareholders While Maintaining Inadequate Working Conditions

NEW YORK, NY - The Industrial Workers of the World, Starbucks Workers Union released a report today, “Low Wages and Grande Profits at Starbucks” with an analysis of company performance over the last decade. The report describes how Starbucks has dramatically improved profitability at the company since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and that the company has enriched shareholders at the expense of its nearly 200,000 workers.

read more

Categories: Unions

Tentative Agreement for Northwest Grain

ILWU - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 13:59

A tentative agreement for a new contract covering grain terminals in the Pacific Northwest was reached on August 11, by a negotiating committee representing five ILWU local unions: Local 4 in Vancouver, Local 8 in Portland, Local 19 in Seattle, and Local 21 in Longview and Local 92 in Portland. The membership of each local will review the tentative agreement and vote according to their internal rules, with results to be announced August 25. Terms of the agreement will not be made public until members have a chance to review and vote on the tentative agreement which covers Mitsui-United Grain (UGC) in Vancouver, Marubeni-Columbia Grain in Portland, and Louis Dreyfus in Portland and Seattle.  Reduced picket lines will remain at Mitsui-UGC and at Marubeni-Columbia Grain while members vote on the agreement.

 

Categories: Unions

FMCS Statement on Tentative Agreement Between the ILWU and Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers

ILWU - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 10:59

From the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Scot L. Beckenbaugh, Acting Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), issued the following statement today on a tentative agreement reached just prior to midnight (PST) last evening between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Northwest Grain Companies.

“After engaging in difficult and contentious bargaining for over two years, including multiple marathon mediation sessions held under the auspices of the FMCS, the announcement of the tentative agreement, subject to the ratification of ILWU membership, represents an amazing achievement of a potentially positive outcome in a labor dispute that has gained national attention.

“The ILWU, with its recommendation, will submit the tentative agreement to its members for ratification.

“The FMCS commends both labor and management representatives for their successful negotiation and for their commitment and dedication to the process of collective bargaining. Clearly the parties maintained strongly held competing views on the many issues that divided them during this process. In the end they found a way, in the time-honored tradition of the collective bargaining process, to reach mutually agreeable solutions that will allow the employees and the employers to move forward in their relationship. Equally important to our nation, is the knowledge that this tentative agreement, subject to the approval of affected ILWU membership, represents the opportunity to ensure that grain exports important to the U.S. economy and the world will proceed without disruption for years to come.

“These were difficult and contentious negotiations to be certain. I am grateful for the professionalism and cooperation the parties exhibited in mediation process during which they were able to reach what they believe will be acceptable and mutually beneficial solutions to the issues which have separated them for so long. I especially commend the leadership demonstrated by the representatives of ILWU and the representatives of the Grain Handlers. Though fierce in their representation of their respective positions, they never lost sight of their responsibility to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

“On a personal note, I want to commend the extraordinary efforts of FMCS Director of Mediation Services, Beth Schindler and FMCS Commissioner Gary Hattal who provided mediation assistance to the parties during some of the most difficult times in the negotiations process.”

Out of respect for the ratification process and consistent with the Agency’s longstanding policy on confidentiality, FMCS will neither comment on nor disclose the terms of the agreement.

# # #

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Contact: John Arnold, Director, Office of Public Affairs
Web site: www.fmcs.gov
Phone: (202) 606-8100

Categories: Unions

Louisville Take Back Our Union Meeting Slideshow

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 14:20
 (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Paul Trujillo.
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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