ILWU ratifies five-year agreement, stabilizing US West Coast ports
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | May 22, 2015 4:59PM EDT
The membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract that should ensure labor peace at West Coast ports for at least the next four years.
The five-year contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2014, will expire on July 1, 2019. The ILWU headquarters in San Francisco said 82 percent of the rank-and-file votes were cast in favor of the contract. That compares with a 75 percent vote in favor of the previous contract that was signed in 2008.
The contract ratification closes a year of tumultuous relations between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, which saw West Coast ports overwhelmed by congestion because of dockworker slowdowns and a response by employers that included cutbacks on costly night and weekend work.
“The negotiations for this contract were some of the longest and most difficult in our recent history,” ILWU International President Robert McEllrath said. “Membership unity and hard work by the negotiating committee made this fair outcome possible,” he said.
Although the contract includes increases in pay, improved employer-funded medical benefits and a generous retirement package with a pension of $88,800 for workers with 37 years of service, the monetary issues did not cause significant problems during the negotiations.
Talks bogged down because of jurisdiction over maintenance and repair of chassis, the choice of local arbitrators to handle day-to-day disputes at marine terminals, and demands for extra manning and guaranteed extra hours for certain positions.
The negotiations began on May 12, 2014. The ILWU refused to extend the previous contract, which expired on July 1, opening the door for work slowdowns. The ILWU on Oct. 31 began an orchestrated program of work slowdowns and shorting employers key skilled workers. This led to employer retaliation that included elimination of night and weekend work.
The PMA in late 2014 requested federal mediation, and the ILWU followed in early January by agreeing to mediation. President Obama sent Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to San Francisco to attempt to foster a resolution. When the negotiations dragged on into mid-February, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzger joined in briefly. Finally, President Obama warned both sides that if a settlement was not reached by Feb. 20, they would be asked to move the negotiations to Washington. The tentative agreement was announced that night.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.Tags: ILWU Contract
ILWU-PMA contract no gamechanger for West Coast productivity according to JOC
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | May 23, 2015 10:42AM EDT
The West Coast contract agreement that was ratified Friday by the membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, while applauded by cargo interests, carriers, ports and truckers, and rightfully so, will have a limited impact on West Coast port productivity and labor relations.
However, if the tortuous events of the past year result in a change in how future negotiations between the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association are conducted, this could be a milestone in the history of labor relations on the West Coast.
On the other hand, if one or both entrenched cultures refuse to change, a repeat of the ILWU work slowdowns and retaliation by employers is likely when a new contract is negotiated in the summer of 2019. The PMA and ILWU have indicated that change is possible, even necessary, but they said the same things following the equally disastrous 2002 negotiations and nothing changed then.
What is so disconcerting about the 2014-15 negotiations, compared to those of 2002 and 2008, is that those contracts brought significant change to West Coast ports. The 2002 contract opened the door for unlimited use of computerization and information technology at marine terminals. ILWU marine clerks fought those changes because they knew that loss of jobs would result. Employers were equally adamant that productivity could not advance without the use of computers and a free flow of information.
The 2008 contract was potentially the most revolutionary of the last three contracts. It gave individual terminals the unrestricted right to introduce automation —computer-controlled ship-to-shore cranes, unmanned horizontal ground transportation and automated stacking cranes in the yard — that could eliminate 40 to 50 percent of the ILWU general longshore jobs. The 2008 contract negotiations were relatively peaceful.
The contract that was ratified Friday is unremarkable in most every aspect. Going into the negotiations, the main point of controversy was supposed to revolve around who would pick up the tab for the estimated $150 million a year in additional medical costs associated with the so-called Cadillac tax in the Affordable Health-Care Act. In retrospect, the PMA had always paid 100 percent of the dockworkers’ healthcare costs, so why should the ObamaCare provision be any different? The PMA agreed to pay it.
Wage increases in the new contract will total $6.50 an hour by the fifth year of the contract, bringing the base wage up to $42.18. That’s generous by blue-collar standards, but not exorbitant. Furthermore, veteran longshoremen make most of their money through overtime and skill differential pay that can elevate the approximately $80,000 annual base salary well into six figures. According to the PMA, the average annual wage of full-time longshoremen who work 2,000 hours a year is $147,000. Wages were not a sticking point in these negotiations.
Jurisdiction was a major issue, and is likely to be so for years to come as terminals modernize and automate their facilities, and as the evolution of the maritime industry affects asset ownership. Therefore, in the 2014-15 negotiations, jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair was front and center.
Carriers in the U.S. had, since the beginning of containerization more than 50 years ago, owned the chassis that were provided to cargo interests and truckers with the delivery of the containers. The ILWU (and the International Longshoremen’s Association on the East Coast) maintained jurisdiction over M&R work, which was perfectly legal, because their employers owned the assets.
After incurring literally tens of millions of dollars in annual costs, per carrier, to purchase, maintain, repair and reposition chassis for more than 50 years, carriers sold their assets to chassis-leasing companies and are for all intents and purposes out of the chassis business. Employers look at this as a wise business decision. The ILWU is convinced carriers wanted to cut them out of M&R work. The ILWU pressed for, and was granted, continued jurisdiction over chassis inspections, maintenance and repair.
Truckers and cargo interests say that since PMA members no longer own the assets, it is illegal for the employers to grant jurisdiction to the ILWU that is not theirs to give. The PMA and ILWU know they are treading on dangerous ground here because the contract specifically excludes trucker-owned chassis from ILWU inspection and M&R.
However, the contract is silent on trucker-leased chassis. Trucking companies in recent months have acquired a number of chassis to supplement those that are provided under the “pool of pools” that was established in Southern California on March 1. Many of the chassis were acquired under lease, and it appears that the ILWU will attempt to maintain its jurisdiction over leased chassis. Truckers have indicated that the roadworthiness of the chassis they are leasing has been certified by the intermodal equipment provider. Truckers have indicated lawsuits could result if the ILWU seeks to exert jurisdiction over their equipment .
The PMA and ILWU, in a letter of understanding in the contract, stated the Federal Maritime Commission will be asked to offer its views on the legality of the chassis inspection and M&R provisions, and if the FMC indicates a portion of it is illegal, the PMA and ILWU will work to correct the illegality.
One of the surprising developments in the negotiations was the adamant position the ILWU took on the local arbitrators in Oakland and Southern California who rule on day-to-day disputes on the waterfront. According to the PMA, the ILWU wanted those arbitrators removed because their rulings at times went against the union.
The way this dispute was resolved could have a lasting effect on how local arbitrations are handled on the docks. The area arbitrators in Southern California and Seattle-Tacoma are nominated by the ILWU and approved by the PMA. The local arbitrators in Oakland and Portland are nominated by the PMA and approved by the ILWU. It is assumed that the arbitrators nominated by the ILWU will rule mostly in favor of the union and the arbitrators nominated by the PMA will favor employers. However, that was not always the case as David Miller, the ILWU-nominated arbitrator in Southern California, at times ruled against the union, and the ILWU wanted him fired.
In a way, the ILWU got its way because under the new contract the arbitrators in Oakland and Southern California must vacate their positions within 14 days of the ratification of the agreement. The Northern California arbitrator has already resigned.
But in an important development, the new contract established a new area arbitration panel with one member nominated by the ILWU, one by the PMA and a third person, who is to be a professional arbitrator, with no previous ties to the industry. This is expected to provide balance to the arbitration process.
Since there is nothing in the new contract that threatens the earnings, benefits or job security of West Coast longshoremen, and no provision that is anywhere nearly as explosive as unfettered introduction of computerization and automation, it is disconcerting that the negotiation process dragged on for so long, and that the work slowdowns and employer retaliation efforts resulted in virtual gridlock at the ports for four months beginning in early November.
Measuring cargo diversion is an imprecise endeavor. Industry analysts speculate that 10 percent of the cargo diversion from the West Coast that took place after the 2002 contract negotiations never came back. Current speculation is that the reputation of the ports was damaged so severely, and that completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in April 2016 will make all-water services to the East Coast more competitive, so that 20 percent of the cargo diversions that have taken place the past year could be permanently lost.
Regardless of the number, both the PMA and the ILWU have at least acknowledged the fact that the negotiation process must change. PMA President Jim McKenna told JOC.com at an event in New York last week the current process of negotiating contracts “is not sustainable.”
In an address to a Toy Industry Association meeting in Long Beach on Thursday, Bobby Olvera, president of ILWU Local 13 in Southern California, said he is a firm believer in action. When disputes arise on the waterfront, both parties should address them immediately rather than letting them fester until the next round of negotiations five years later.
Chad Lindsay, PMA’s vice president of labor relations in Southern California, took heart from the announcement earlier this year by the International Longshoremen’s Association and USMX, which represents East Coast employers, that they intend to begin contract discussions this year even though their contract does not expire until 2018.
“This contract is mature. It has been around for 85 years,” Lindsay said in reference to the ILWU contract that dates back to the legendary ILWU founder Harry Bridges. There is no reason why issues that pop up from time to time can’t be addressed immediately, he said. “Absolutely, we should address issues as they arise,” Lindsay said.
If the PMA and ILWU are serious about restoring confidence in West Coast ports, they may have no choice but to follow the lead of the ILA and USMX on the East Coast and open up early negotiations. Furthermore, maverick work slowdowns and stoppages by individual locals up and down the coast must cease or at least diminish significantly.
Cynics say this will never happen. They point to the Port of Portland, where hard-timing by the ILWU local against terminal operator ICTSI since June 2012 resulted in Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd discontinuing their services last month. The departure of those carriers wiped out 99 percent of Portland’s container business, and has many industry experts saying the ILWU will never change its militant culture.
Two possible solutions to the West Coast labor issues could occur. Congress is considering the possibility of placing the ILWU and ILA under the Railway Labor Act, which could prevent the ILWU from using work slowdowns as leverage during contract negotiations. Some West Coast employers say that scenario is politically explosive and would be difficult to pull off in Washington under any circumstances. Others say the unions could always find a way around legal prohibitions.
Another possibility is that the pain of the past year was so severe, and costly, that terminal operators that are on the fence about automation may now decide to move forward with the costly introduction of automated machines that require little if any human intervention. The TraPac terminal in Los Angeles has completed the first phase of its automation project and the Middle Harbor Terminal in Long Beach is scheduled to open the first phase of its automated terminal next spring.
A report last year by the Port of Los Angeles stated that a fully-automated TraPac terminal will eliminate 40 to 50 percent of the ILWU jobs, while creating new jobs that require highly-trained individuals to program, maintain and repair the sophisticated automated cargo-handling equipment. One residual of automation is that it eliminates some of the jobs that give the ILWU so much leverage over employers, such as the yard cranes that deliver containers to truckers. That function is handled by automated stacking cranes that can operate 24 hours a day.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzoTags: ILWU Coast ContractPMA
ILWU Longshore Membership Vote To Approve Contract by 82%
West Coast Longshore workers overwhelmingly vote to approve new 5-year contract, 82% in favor
ILWU-logoSAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 22, 2015) – West Coast Longshore workers have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a tentative contract agreement reached in February with employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted 82% in favor of approving the new 5-year agreement that will expire on July 1, 2019. The previous contract was ratified in 2008 with a vote of 75% in favor.
Voting results were certified today by the ILWU’s Coast Balloting Committee, which was chosen by Coast Longshore Caucus delegates elected from each of the 29 West Coast ports.
“The negotiations for this contract were some of the longest and most difficult in our recent history,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath. “Membership unity and hard work by the Negotiating Committee made this fair outcome possible.”
The new agreement provides approximately 20,000 good-paying jobs in 29 West Coast port communities. The contract will maintain excellent health benefits, improve wages, pensions and job safety protections; limit outsourcing of jobs and provide an improved system for resolving job disputes.
– ILWU Coast Longshore Division news releaseTags: ilwuContract
5/29 SF Rally For Release Of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lópaz Rivera-Freedom Backed By AFL-CIO
5/29 SF Rally For Release Of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lópaz Rivera-Freedom Backed By AFL-CIO
Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lópaz Rivera
The San Francisco Support Committee
for the unconditional release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lópaz Rivera, calls all political, civic, religious, labor unions and the community in general to join us to demand his freedom.
Oscar López Rivera has spent thirty four years of his life imprisoned due to his unbending commitment for the independence and self determination of our Puerto Rican nation.
Petitions from all over the globe supporting his unconditional release have been sent to the President of the United States from Nobel Prize Laureates such as Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa, and Carlos Esquivel from Argentina; to name a few.
The actual Governor of Puerto Rico, among countless Puerto Rican artists and celebrities, besides U.S. Congress representatives, such as Luis Gutiérrez, José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez, have also made their voices heard in support for his inmediate and unconditional release.
We also call for your support for continuing our struggle for the self determination and independence of the Puerto Rican people from the straglehold of U.S. colonialism, military occupation, economic slavery and environmental degradation.
This demonstration is slated to be held on this coming Friday, May 29 2015 on Powell and Market Streets in the city of San Francisco
from 5:00 P.M. untill 7:00 P.M.
For more info, please contact : (510) 290 – 2312, or (510) 823 – 8262
Partial list of endorsers:
Jack Heyman, Chairman Transport Workers Solidarity Committee*
Steve Zeltzer, United Public Workers for Action*
Howard Keylor, ILWU *
Freedom Socialist Party
* For identification purposes only
AFL-CIO 2013 Convention Resolution In Support Of The Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera
Resolution 51: Resolution in Support of the Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera
Submitted by the Puerto Rico Federation of Labor and OPEIU
WHEREAS, Oscar López Rivera, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, returned to the Puerto Rican community of Chicago to become a successful community organizer and help improve conditions in education, housing, and employment;
WHEREAS, in May 1981, he was arrested, along with 14 other men and women, and was convicted of seditious conspiracy and related offenses, yet he nor any of his co-defendants was convicted of harming or killing anyone;
WHEREAS, in 1999, as a result of an international campaign for their release, President Clinton commuted the sentences of most of these men and women. The President offered to commute Oscar’s sentence after he served another 10 years in prison. In solidarity with those not included in the commutation, Oscar declined;
WHEREAS, all those released are living productive, law- abiding lives. Oscar is the only one of his co-defendants still behind bars;
WHEREAS, at 70 years old, he is the longest-held political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico. He has served more time than the South African leader Nelson Mandela;
WHEREAS, there have been many personalities and international organizations which have applied for his release over the past 32 years. That support includes several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, civic and religious leaders throughout the U.S.; elected officials from New York, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois; international figures from Haiti, Mexico and Australia among others; as well as many Puerto Rican and Latino communities throughout the United States;
WHEREAS, in Puerto Rico, several former governors, to include Rafael Hernández Colón, Sila María Calderón, Anibal Acevedo Vilá, and the current governor Alejandro García Padilla, have all requested in writing the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera. Both the current Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner to the U.S. Congress, Pedro Pierluissi, and the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, have taken similar positions; and the Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives have also weighed in on the issue by passing resolutions in their respective bodies in favor of Oscar López Rivera’s release;
WHEREAS, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization has adopted resolutions annually, as recently as 2011, calling on the President of the United States to release Oscar López Rivera;
WHEREAS, AFSCME, LCLAA, and the Puerto Rico AFL-CIO have all passed similar resolutions in their respective conventions;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention calls on the President of the United States to exercise his Constitutional power of pardon, and to grant the immediate and unconditional release of Oscar López Rivera.Tags: Oscar Lópaz RiveraAFL-CIO
Committee plans memorial for 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes
By Mike Wilkinson, Workday Minnesota
May 21, 2015
Throughout most of the summer of 1934, the Market District (now known as the Warehouse District) in downtown Minneapolis was full of sensory stimulation: the sound of clubs smashing into heads and bodies along with screams of protest; the sight of blood running in the streets; and the smell of gunpowder.
The 1934 Minneapolis truckers strikes are one of the great watershed moments in the history of the American labor movement. Now a group of labor activists, historians and sympathizers is planning to erect a permanent marker to commemorate the events of that year and to honor those who fell in the struggle for collective bargaining and the right to organize.
“There are virtually no memorials in the Twin Cities related to historical moments in the local labor movement,” said Dave Riehle, who chairs the Remember 1934 Committee. “The ’34 Teamsters strikes were a critical moment in the American labor movement and we believe the time is long overdue for a memorial.”
The Remember 1934 Committee hopes to install the memorial this summer and is soliciting support for the effort.
The 1934 strikes stemmed from the winter of 1933-34 when socialist militants such as the Dunne brothers (Ray, Miles and Grant) and Carl Skoglund effectively shut down delivery of coal during the coldest part of the year. This victory lifted their status as organizers among the area’s truck drivers. By the spring of 1934, anger among the drivers over wages and working conditions had reached such a level that a powerful strike was possible.
The strike began on May 16. It was successful in that it stopped most commercial transportation in the city. Certain farmers were allowed to bring their produce into town, but delivery was directly to grocers rather than to the food wholesale outlets in the market area which the union had shut down.
The union (Local 574; today Teamsters Local 120) was up against the Citizens Alliance, a group of powerful and influential business leaders in Minneapolis vehemently opposed to unions. The Alliance hired goons to augment the police. These people were deputized, provided with clubs made by a local woodworking shop and during the summer physically clashed numerous times with strikers and pickets in the streets of the Market District.
In the latter part of May, a truce was reached and a tentative agreement signed. But by mid-July, the Citizens Alliance and the owners reneged on the agreement and the strike resumed. On what has become known as “Bloody Friday,” unarmed strikers were confronted by police who opened fire with both handguns and shots guns.
When the confrontation ended, 67 strikers were shot and two, Henry Ness and John Belor, died of their wounds. Dr. Hermann McCrimmon, who treated Ness, reported he was shot by a .38 caliber pistol. The bullet entered his lower back and traveled upward, stopping just before exiting his upper chest. That trajectory was possible only if he had been lying face down on the pavement when he was shot, consistent with having crawled under a vehicle for shelter.
By this point, support for the Teamsters had grown, not only among other trade unions but among the public as well. The strikers held strong and remained unified. Victory finally came on Aug. 21.
On that date, federal mediators were notified by the Citizens Alliance of their acceptance of a settlement proposal agreeing to the union’s major demands.
Riehle, a retired locomotive engineer and local labor historian, said the idea for a memorial has been discussed for a couple of decades. Finally, after the observation last year of the 80th anniversary of the strike, a committee was formed with the sole purpose of raising funds, commissioning an artist and making sure the memorial would become reality.
“The plan is to have the memorial completed and erected on or about July 20,” Riehle added.
Keith Christensen, an art professor at St. Cloud State University, is designing a memorial plaque. It will be erected at street level on the building at 701 N. Third St. in Minneapolis. It was in front of this building on Bloody Friday where striker Ness was shot and killed by Minneapolis police.
The plaque will be 30” x 22,” comprised of porcelain enamel in a steel frame and will have text and visuals about the strike and its historical importance.
“Anything which memorializes our fallen brothers and sisters in the struggle for union representation and collective bargaining is a good thing and this memorial is a good thing,” said Paul Slattery, organizer and political director for Teamsters Local 120.
Further information on the project is available by visiting www.gamechange.ampstudio.org.(link is external)
Persons or groups wishing to make a contribution to the project can send their donation to: Remember 1934, P.O. Box 8115, Lake Street Station, Minneapolis, Minn. 55408.Tags: Minneapolis Teamster General Strike
May 21, 2015Contact: Molly NicholsPittsburghers for Public Transitmolly@pittsburghforpublictransit.org(412) 216-9659
Community voices heard as Port Authority proposes extending routes to transit deserts
Port Authority presented their preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 7/2015-7/2016 to the Board’s Planning and Stakeholder Relations Committee this morning. It includes 3.7 million dollars for adding service, which is approximately a 2% increase in service overall. This includes extending service on 4 routes. The routes include the 44 Knoxville to Baldwin, the 20 Kennedy to Groveton, the 56 Lincoln Place to Penn State McKeesport, and the 91 Butler to RIDC park.
Over the past year, Pittsburghers for Public Transit has supported community campaigns for service to the transit deserts in Baldwin and Groveton, and these proposed changes are a result of transit riders, workers, and residents coming together to advocate for the transit service they need and deserve. We are thrilled to see this impact, and we will continue to work to get adequate service to all communities.
Karen Smith, senior Baldwin resident, said “The Buses for Baldwin steering committee is proud of all the residents who gave their time and energy to help the Port Authority understand the importance of public transit in our community."
The families in Groveton appreciate that Port Authority has listened to the word of the people,” said Darnell Jones, resident of Groveton. “If the proposed extension of the 20 is approved, people will be able to find jobs and get to the supermarket, other stores, and doctor’s appointments.”
The proposed changes will be voted on by the Port Authority Board in June, and if approved, would take effect in September of 2015.
West Coast PMA ratify new five-year contract
By Web Staff
Published: May 20, 2015, 4:59 pm Updated: May 20, 2015, 5:00 pm
After months of dispute, West Coast dock workers have reached an agreement with their employers.
Members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new five-year contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The contract, if ratified by the ILWU, is retroactive to July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2019.
The contract includes wage and pension increases, health care changes and an enhanced arbitration system designed to support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity.
“The West Coast ports are an economic engine for the United States, supporting millions of workers and trillions in economic impact,” said PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna. “The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable. We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”
The dock dispute caused shipment disruptions and delays, including here in Hawaii, and cost businesses billions of dollars.
The outcome of the ILWU ratification vote is expected by Friday, May 22.Tags: ilwuPMAContract
NYC Taxi and Black Car Drivers Speak Out on Video of Detective Berating Fellow Driver and Call for Policing Reforms
NYC Taxi and Black Car Drivers Speak Out on Video of Detective Berating Fellow Driver and Call for Policing Reforms
For Immediate Release: April 3, 2015
For more information, please contact: Bhairavi Desai: 718-706-9892 or email@example.com
Taxi and Black Car Drivers Speak Out on Video of Detective Berating Fellow Driver and Call for Policing Reforms
Friday, April 3, 2015 at 11:00am
Corner of 31st Street and 7th Avenue, Penn Station
Taxi and Black Car Drivers and community allies rally for systemic changes to NYPD policing of drivers, most recently brought to light in a video where Detective Patrick Cherry was caught berating a black car driver, threatened arrest and summonsed Mr. Humayun for three moving violations. Detective Cherry was stripped of his badge and gun after the video made by the passengers went viral on social media. New York Taxi Workers Alliance and United We Stand say they are gathering to tell the story of what happens when there is no video to capture their plight.
“In the face of Mr. Humayun, we see the faces of over 100,000 licensed taxi, black, green and livery cab drivers. The day to day story for drivers is the economic impact that follows racist, humiliating incidents like this. The driver would go to court over unjustly issued moving violations and be vulnerable to over $1,000 in fines and points on the license. With just six points, the TLC license is suspended up to 30 days and with 10 or more, the license is revoked and drivers are banned from re-entry for three years. Hundreds of drivers lose their livelihood every single year because of unfair ticketing for non-safety violations,” said New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.
"As drivers we are working long hours for minimal pay to help our families and serve this city. Unjustified summonses and tickets are constantly being imposed on us. This has to stop,” demanded Syed Armughan, of United We Stand, a black car drivers’ organization.
Organizers said they selected Penn Station for their action as it’s especially fraught with unfair ticketing. “I know drivers who got tickets every time they were here to drop off a fare and some were even revoked because of those tickets. When the police pull us over all the time, it puts in the public’s mind that drivers are dangerous. But we are the safest drivers on the street and we are hard-working people. We look to the police for protection, no one should have to work in fear from them,” said Asim Akhtar who has been driving a taxi for 10 years.
The drivers were joined in support by community allies who said the anti-immigrant tirade resonated all too well with the larger South Asian community. “We want the NYPD to know that the community stands with the workers in this industry and echoes their demand for an end to the harassment and all-too-common demonizing of taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers,” said Ali Najmi, Political Director of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL).racismTaxi drivers
May 20, 2015: Tens of thousands of workers and supporters in 120 cities rallied, protested, and went on strike on April 15, including Wal-Mart employees, fast-food workers, homecare workers, and others.
Teamster members are joining the growing movement to raise the minimum wage and win union rights for all workers.
Kansas City“In recent years, we’ve organized a coalition of unions, Jobs With Justice, community and faith groups, that’s fighting for economic justice and taking on corporate tax-cheaters,” said Michael Savwoir, a retired member of Local 41 and TDU Co-Chair. “This coalition helped us bring out more than 1,000 on the April 15 day of action and we’re getting city officials on board to win $15 an hour.”
New York CityIn New York City, members of Local 804 joined the Fight for $15 with rallies at UPS buildings throughout the city. Political leaders joined UPS Teamsters, part-time and fulltime, to say it's time to “Raise the Wage.” “I joined the fight so the future of our children is a thriving and secure one,” said Kioma Forero, a Local 804 steward and TDU International Steering Committee member, who helped organized the rallies at UPS.
Providence“Working at Rhode Island Hospital, I know what it’s like to work for a multi-billion dollar company that pays some of its workers poverty wages,” says Brooke Reeves, a member of Local 251 and the TDU International Steering Committee. “The April 15 march was a lot bigger than I expected, and very inspirational. We marched throughout the city and rallied in front of restaurants that are stealing wages and paying workers less than the minimum wage.”Issues: Labor MovementTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 293 Summer 2015
May 20, 2015: Hoffa’s newest International Trustee hires a boss to help run the Teamsters’ biggest local.
Local 237 represents over 10,000 Teamsters at the New York City Housing Authority. So why would the local hire a NYCHA boss to a union post?Local 237 President Greg Floyd hired Kevin Norman, as the Special Assistant to the President, a top leadership position in the largest local in the Teamsters. Norman was previously in upper management at the New York City Housing Authority where he terminated Local 237 members. Now he’s advising Floyd on providing union representation? Norman used his NYCHA post to act as Floyd’s enforcer. During last year’s Local 237 election, he issued an email directive to NYCHA management personnel instructing them to throw rank-and-file candidates who were running against Floyd off of the grounds, in violation of New York labor law. “If any such individual refuses to leave the property, the supervisors should request assistance from the NYPD in having them removed,” Norman ordered. With the ballots counted, Floyd hired Norman as his top assistant. The move is part of a larger Local 237 shakeup. Floyd fired several Union Representatives who came out of the ranks and replaced them with non-Teamsters. Floyd has a good trick to make sure those fired union reps don’t campaign against him: he paid them a healthy severance check, but on the condition that they sign a “gag order.” The members’ own dues money goes to prevent members from hearing what the former reps may have to say. Norman isn’t the only one with a new Teamster post. Hoffa appointed Greg Floyd in April to be an International Union Trustee. That means another $75,000 salary and an additional lucrative pension. Local 237 members who want their local to be run by union members, not NYCHA bosses, continue to organize for change.Issues: Pension and BenefitsNY-NJ TDUTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 293 Summer 2015
- Sign the Petition to demand an independent audit of the Central States Fund. Teamsters deserve an independent audit and review of alternative plans before the Central States cuts are imposed.
- Support upcoming Congressional legislation that offers alternatives for strengthening pension funds that go beyond slashing the pensions we earned.
- Build the Movement to Vote No & Reject the Pension Cuts. Help mobilize Teamsters and retirees to Vote No to reject the cuts in the Central States balloting this fall.
- Make your voice heard. Contact TDU to find out how you can help get information to retirees and working Teamsters in your area.
Issues: Pension and BenefitsTeamster Voice: Teamster Voice 293 Summer 2015