Labor News

Kazakhstan: Union Leaders Jailed, ITUC Takes Case to ILO

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Teacher Union Leader Esmail Abdi on Hunger Strike

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

UK: Cinema workers are leading the campaign for a living wage

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: al Jazeera
Categories: Labor News

SF Port seeks new bidder to save Pier 70 shipyard as layoffs mount

Current News - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 08:02

SF Port seeks new bidder to save Pier 70 shipyard as layoffs mount

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sf-port-seeks-new-bidder-save-pier-70-shipyard...

Hundreds of dock workers’ jobs are at stake as the shipyard at San Francisco’s Pier 70 is in jeopardy of closing due to a dispute between the former and current operators. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on May 18, 2017 1:00 am
A tussle between two shipyard operators may sink San Francisco’s last ship repair facility.

In a bid to save the West Coast’s largest shipyard from closing, the Port of San Francisco is scrambling to seek new operators, a move that could restore the jobs of some 230 laid-off workers, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The shipyard, located at Pier 70, is perhaps one of the last vestiges of San Francisco’s long-fading maritime economy.

“The Port is exploring all options for this yard,” Elaine Forbes, executive director of the Port, said in an interview with the Examiner at the recent groundbreaking of the Downtown Ferry Terminal expansion.

She added, “That includes potentially bringing to the [Port] Commission a request to do a [request for proposal] for a new operator.”

As the Examiner previously reported, the former and current operators of the shipyard — multinational defense contractor BAE Systems and Washington-based Puglia Engineering Inc. — in February each filed suit against the other in separate courts over an alleged $9 million in repairs to the shipyard.

Puglia completed its purchase of the San Francisco shipyard repair business from BAE Systems on Jan. 2, on two docks at Pier 70 owned by the Port of San Francisco.

BAE Systems sold the docks for $1.

In exchange, Puglia agreed to assume $38 million in pension liability from BAE, according to court documents, as well as the cost of shipyard repair — the extent of which Puglia alleges BAE Systems did not fully disclose. BAE denies those claims.

“We are disappointed that Puglia is attempting to walk away from its obligations, ultimately letting down the dedicated employees at the shipyard,” a spokesperson for BAE Systems wrote a statement to the Examiner.

Puglia did not respond to calls for comment.

An interim operating agreement between Puglia and the Port of San Francisco aimed to keep the shipyard operational until May 28, a measure meant to give all parties time to negotiate that was led by Mayor Ed Lee.

“The mayor is determined to have a fully operational shipyard in San Francisco that will ensure good paying union jobs for The City’s residents,” the Mayor’s Office wrote in a statement, adding, “He has advised the Port to keep the shipyard operational to protect shipyard jobs and ship repair in San Francisco.”

None of the involved parties would comment on the tenor of the negotiations.

The Port said it is conducting a “thorough review” of shipyard operations and the capital condition of the facility.

In a statement, Port officials noted they are focusing “efforts toward” obtaining Port Commission authorization to seek a new operator.

“The Port anticipates that several operators will be interested in pursuing the right to long-term operations at the Shipyard,” the Port wrote in the statement.

Most of the shipyard’s workers have been laid off since the dispute began.

About 184 shipyard workers were warned of layoffs by Puglia, according to WARN Act filings, which require the documentation of mass layoffs in California. Workers speaking on condition of anonymity told the Examiner the numbers exceeded that, and only 12 or 14 workers remain employed with the shipyard to date.

Some of the workers were told by Puglia that these layoffs were “temporary,” according to emails obtained by the Examiner.

However, Puglia “collected their keys and took their cellphones,” said one worker, who declined to be named for fear of retaliation. That’s not standard practice, the worker said.

Traditionally, the shipyard lays off about 140 or so workers between ship repair jobs, the Port confirmed, but more than 220 workers have been laid off since the dispute began between Puglia and BAE Systems.

“It’s a much more serious reduction in the workforce. Much more serious,” Forbes said. She added, “That yard and the employees are our first priority. The Port is doing everything it can.”

Even those who have kept their jobs are struggling, as Puglia missed paying its workers at least once since the dispute began, according to correspondence from Puglia to workers that was obtained by the Examiner.

Where shipping and dockyard work once dominated The City’s seafront, now the piers play host to tourist attractions like Pier 39 and the Exploratorium museum.

However, until last year, the shipyard at Pier 70 was the largest active shipyard on the West Coast, and among the last survivors of a vibrant Port economy that played host to union leader Harry Bridge’s famous 1934 shipping strike that crippled San Francisco and won rights for workers.

Those who count themselves among the waterfront’s last union workers are far more imperiled.

Even in the last few years, Pier 70’s historic docks — Eureka and Dry Dock No. 2 — were capable of tall feats, like repairing titanic ships up to 54,000 tons.

Despite the decades-long decay of San Francisco’s maritime industry, business professionals believe there’s a chance it could be vibrant again.

Adam Beck, executive vice president of ship repair at Vigor — a self-described “ship repair powerhouse” with more than 2,500 employees throughout Alaska, Oregon and Washington — described the industry positively.

“I’d say, on the West Coast, the market is stable and very healthy,” Beck said.

Vigor’s clients range from naval and U.S. Coast Guard ships to Pacific Coast trading vessels.

He added that Vigor itself may be interested in the shipyard, should Puglia and the Port part ways. For now, Beck said Vigor is “trying to keep things at arm’s length” in case Puglia continues with the Port.

Perhaps San Francisco’s seemingly vanishing dock workers may see some hope after all.

Tags: SF shipyardlayoffs
Categories: Labor News

Global: Global Unions Call for G20 Commitment to Fair Globalisation

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Athens protest turns violent as general strike brings Greece to a halt

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: DW
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Workers walk off job as general strike hits

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CTV
Categories: Labor News

Colombia: ‘Half a million’ in Colombia on strike, from the jungle to the capital

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reports
Categories: Labor News

‘Hidden in plain sight’ in Oakland Harbor Tours Highlight Port

Current News - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:02

‘Hidden in plain sight’ in Oakland Harbor Tours Highlight Port

http://newshandle.com/hidden-in-plain-sight-port-of-oakland-offers-free-...
Free adventure aboard ferry provides participants with a rare and up-close view of the East Bay’s industrial workhorse
By Erin Baldassari
5-16-2017
ebaldassari@bayareanewsgroup.com
OAKLAND — For the third year running, the Port of Oakland on Friday launched the first of a dozen free harbor tours, giving visitors rare, upclose views of one of the East Bay’s most iconic fixtures.
More than 200 people boarded a Blue & Gold Fleet ferry boat at Jack London Square as the sun began its golden-hued decline behind the hills of Marin. Berkeley resident Jason Strauss had seen an advertisement for the tour on a billboard, he said, and jumped at the chance to see the port up close.
“The port is hidden in plain sight,” he explained. “It’s difficult to travel anywhere in the East Bay without seeing it. But it’s also difficult to see it up close.”
He continued: “And, it’s a chance to see how the port works.”
As the boat headed down the Oakland Estuary from Jack London Square, the port’s Robert Bernardo rattled off some statistics: 36 cranes line the port’s docks. Eighteen of those are “deep water berths,” which can be accessed by large cargo

Mark Matyjas, of San Francisco, and his daughter, Isabelle, enjoy the ride.

The sun sets behind the Bay Bridge as a Blue & Gold Fleet ferryboat takes more than 200 people on a tour of the Port of Oakland. To learn more about the tours, visit the port website at www. portofoakland.com.
JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/STAFF PHOTOS

vessels. Some 6,000 truck operators visit the port’s largest terminal, Oakland International Container Terminal, each day, unloading cargo from the approximately 30 ships that come to call each week, he said. Of all of the cargo containers unloaded in the Port of Oakland, 80 percent leave on truck chassis, with trains carrying the remaining 20 percent.
It’s no coincidence that Oakland’s port is focused on container traffic, Bernardo said. That’s a product of one of the port’s early leaders, Ben Nutter, who, in the late 1960s, pioneered containerized cargo, making Oakland the first major port on the West Coast to build terminals for containers, he said. Today, the Port of Oakland is the fifth busiest container port in the country, handling 99 percent of all containerized goods in Northern California.
“Basically, Ben Nutter convinced six Japanese steamship companies to base their operations in Oakland, thus beginning the golden age of container shipping,” Bernardo said, adding that the port at that time also opened offices throughout Asia, Europe and major port cities in the U.S. “He did this through persistent negotiation, careful planning and a good understanding of the political and financial dynamics.”
The port’s story begins much earlier, in 1893, when the city of Oakland wrested ownership of the bayside land from Southern Pacific, a railroad operator. Over time, the port’s authority has grown to include the Oakland International Airport, real estate in Jack London Square, and the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, the latter of which once served as a naval supply depot and now offers stunning views of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge. To learn more about the Port of Oakland, or to sign up for a free tour, visit: www. portofoakland. com. Online registration for the free tours begin on the first Monday of each month. Contact Erin Baldassari at 510-208-6428.

A cargo ship travels in the Oakland inner harbor as Blue & Gold Fleet ferry passengers snap pictures during one of the free harbor tours of the Port of Oakland on Friday.
JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/STAFF

Tags: Oakland Harborport of Oaklandferry boat
Categories: Labor News

Spain Approves New Port Reform Plan "Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers"

Current News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 21:28

Spain Approves New Port Reform Plan "Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers"

http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/220022/spain-approves-new-port-ref...

The Spanish Council of Ministers approved on May 12 a new royal decree in another attempt to reform the port system in the country.

The decree will now require a majority approval in the Spanish Parliament, which is expected to be discussed on May 18.

Although the details of this decree have not been unveiled, the government has allegedly failed to include the participation of employers and workers in the drafting of the proposal, according to the International Dockworkers Council (IDC).

For this reason, Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers. As a consequence, the union has published a three-week strike advisory during the odd hours on May 24, 26, 29, 31 and June 2, 5, 7, 9.

“As in the case of the previous royal decree, IDC will continue to watch over new developments closely, and remains ready to escalate a collective response as needed,” IDC said.

In March, the Spanish Congress rejected the royal decree plan presented by the country’s Minister of Public Works.

The proposed measure, which is in line with the requirements of the European Union, was supposed to enable ports to hire non-unionized dockworkers instead of the unionized ones. This was expected to result in massive layoffs in the future.

The country’s unions postponed strikes several times, hoping that the government would engage in tripartite negotiations to solve the conflict.

Tags: Spanish union Coordinadoraderegulationunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Spain Approves New Port Reform Plan "Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers"

Current News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 21:28

Spain Approves New Port Reform Plan "Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers"

http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/220022/spain-approves-new-port-ref...

The Spanish Council of Ministers approved on May 12 a new royal decree in another attempt to reform the port system in the country.

The decree will now require a majority approval in the Spanish Parliament, which is expected to be discussed on May 18.

Although the details of this decree have not been unveiled, the government has allegedly failed to include the participation of employers and workers in the drafting of the proposal, according to the International Dockworkers Council (IDC).

For this reason, Spanish union Coordinadora believes the decree poses a threat to Spanish dockworkers. As a consequence, the union has published a three-week strike advisory during the odd hours on May 24, 26, 29, 31 and June 2, 5, 7, 9.

“As in the case of the previous royal decree, IDC will continue to watch over new developments closely, and remains ready to escalate a collective response as needed,” IDC said.

In March, the Spanish Congress rejected the royal decree plan presented by the country’s Minister of Public Works.

The proposed measure, which is in line with the requirements of the European Union, was supposed to enable ports to hire non-unionized dockworkers instead of the unionized ones. This was expected to result in massive layoffs in the future.

The country’s unions postponed strikes several times, hoping that the government would engage in tripartite negotiations to solve the conflict.

Tags: Spanish union Coordinadoraderegulationunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Kazakhstan: Union Leader Sentenced To Two Years In Prison

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFE/RL
Categories: Labor News

Germany: Fast-food giants refuse to pay workers a living wage

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

The SF Marine Fireman’s Union Hall is being sold. Contains Important Labor Murals

Current News - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:39

The SF Marine Fireman’s Union Hall is being sold. Contains Important Labor Murals
https://dinnshenchas.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/the-marine-firemans-union-...
by Elizabeth C. Creely

The Marine Fireman’s Union building sits on the western side of Second Street, an appropriate direction given the union’s relationship with the Pacific Ocean. Second Street itself tips ever so slightly up as it intersects with Folsom. This angle is probably all that’s left of the vertiginous sand dunes clumped around the foot of Market Street in the 19th century. After the dunes were dismantled, boarding houses sprung up in their place, housing men who worked on the docks and in the ships berthed at the Embarcadero, back when it was a working waterfront.

The union, formed in 1883, is formally known as the Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association. MFOWW (pronounced em-fau) moved to their current location sixty years ago. Today, the building sits on a large lot next to LinkedIn, a hiring hall of another kind, minus the collective action for higher wages and better working conditions. The union is preparing for another move.

“We’re selling the building,” Ivy “Cajun” Callais told me. Callais, who lives in Alameda, told me that once the building was sold, the union would move operations to Seattle. “All the jobs are in the Port of Oakland now, anyway,” he said.

Asked if the building will be torn down, he nodded his head. “The air above it is worth more than the building, honey.” Callais, who still has a southern drawl—“I’ve been here since 1964 and haven’t lost it”—is happy the building isn’t under the confines of historic protection. “We have to sell it before that happens. We couldn’t afford it. All that work we’d need to do. It’d bankrupt us.” The building was described by the Chronicle in 1957 as a “shiny, new … marble-faced construction” and cost $800,000 to build. It’s anyone’s guess how much the parcel will sell for. Millions of dollars is a safe bet: the building, which sits on 21,396 square feet, was last assessed at $1,057,237. Callais was proud of the building and its construction even as he predicted its demise. “This building was built with the best materials. You see that wood?”

Interior shot of the Marine Fireman’s Union hall, 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA
The building is home to two other unions: The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians–Communications Workers of America and The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Both unions possess the same sort of mouth-busting moniker only made manageable by the phonetic pronunciation of their acronyms, NABET and IATSE (pronounced eye-at-see). The building also houses two prized works of art. A bas-relief sculpture is mounted above the entrance. Made by Olof Carl Malmquist, the noted sculptor whose work was scattered throughout the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island, the sculpture shows marine firemen inside the boiler room of a ship.

Olaf Carl Malmquist’s unnamed bas-relief sculpture above the entrance to the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall, at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA
Inside the hiring hall hangs a mural created by the famed sculptor and muralist Lucienne Bloch. It depicts shipping products and their places of origin throughout the Pacific region. The marine themed mural is charming and whimsical, complete with a mermaid and a jellyfish. Noticeably absent from it are images of men toiling over boilers in the guts of the huge ships that carried them from port to port. Bloch, who created five murals in San Francisco between the years 1956- 1963, is famous for photographing Diego Rivera’s mural “Man At The Crossroads” just moments before it was destroyed on orders given by the thin-skinned capitalist Nelson Rockefeller.

Lucienne Blochs’ mural, inside the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall, at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA.

The building has other historic features too, namely lead and asbestos, elements nobody wants to preserve. According to Callais, the building is full of both. “Look at your feet. See that tile?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s what you’re standin’ on. Asbestos. It’s up there, too,” he said, pointing skyward. These are problems the union doesn’t have the money to solve. “You see the media talkin’ about corrupt union officials, embezzlin’ and gettin’ paid too much. Well, let me tell you about this job, darlin’,” Callais explained in his languorous drawl. “If I didn’t draw social security, I couldn’t afford to work here.” He mused on the stability that union wages used to bring to San Francisco. “I could get you a job being a wiper—you know what that is? It’s simple.” He mimed wiping a surface. “I could get you a job doing that, and you’d make a better living than me.”

He remembered a time, after the Vietnam war, when members of the union and “casuals” or non-members, would line up outside the door. “There were jobs in those days,” he said “Some of the casuals, they’d go to Shelley’s bar up there at the corner, and wait. And if at the end of the day, there were still jobs to be filled, jobs the members didn’t want, the dispatcher’d go to bar, walk up to a guy and ask him if he wanted the job. And if that man hesitated, why the dispatcher’d walk to another man and ask him. If you wanted a job, you had to say so. Couldn’t hesitate. There was always a man wanting to work.”

These days, the big hall is often empty, although it is still open. “People still get jobs here,” he said. According to the union’s secretary treasurer, the union’s combined assets totaled $2.6 million. MFFOW had 430 active members and dispatched a total of 1,909 jobs in 2016. He thanked me for stopping in—“take all the pictures you want!”—and handed me some newsletters to read. The April 13 issue of “The Marine Fireman” touted the “hundreds” of new jobs coming to the Port of Oakland and announced the newest advance in the shipping trade: automation. The headline read “Danish researchers excited about prospect of unmanned ships.” Before leaving, I’d asked Callais what he thought of the economy. He paused. “The minute the US loses its shipping trade, well,” he said, “that’s the day the US is finished.”

The view from the dispatcher’s desk inside the Marine Fireman’s Union hiring hall at 240 Second Street, San Francisco, CA
“Immigrants and native-born workers wash against each other all the time in the California economy, like the tides moving in and out of the bay beneath the Golden Gate, coming together, only to be pushed apart by powerful forces.
The difference between metaphor and reality is that water and tides are not sentient. Workers are conscious and capable of changing direction together if the current in which they find themselves is not to their benefit or liking.”
From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement
Fred B. Glass, University of California Press

Tags: Marine Fireman's UnionUnion Hall
Categories: Labor News

Wall Street wrong on raises, American flight attendants’ union says

Current News - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 18:07

Wall Street wrong on raises, American flight attendants’ union says
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/aviation/sky-talk-blog/articl...

BY ANDREA AHLES
aahles@star-telegram.com

The flight attendants’ union at American Airlines is blasting Wall Street analysts for criticizing pay raises announced by the carrier last month.

In an online campaign, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said it is frustrated that Wall Street analysts opposed the raises given to American’s flight attendants and pilots and feels investors are being short-sighted. The ads are running in Texas newspapers, including the Star-Telegram, and in aviation journals.

“It seems Wall Street is putting pressure on the airline industry to squeeze out more revenue, but they could care less about passengers or front-line workers,” APFA President Bob Ross said. “Analysts are claiming that a long overdue adjustment in our pay scale will reward workers ahead of shareholders. We’re going to set the record straight.”

The union said shareholders have received $9 billion in stock buyouts and $600 million in stock dividends over the past three years, which is close to 10 times what pilots and flight attendants will receive in compensation during the next three years.

Pilots received an average pay raise of 8 percent while flight attendants received an average raise of 5 percent, effective this month.

During its quarterly earnings call, Wall Street analysts repeatedly questioned American CEO Doug Parker on his rationale for giving raises to workers outside of contract negotiations.

Citigroup analyst Kevin Crissey said it was frustrating. “Labor is being paid first again. Shareholders get leftovers,” he was quoted as saying.

Shares of American [ticker: AAL] initially fell 9 percent when the pay raises were first announced. The shares have since recovered, closing at $45.83 on Friday.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Tags: AA Flight Attendantswagesraises
Categories: Labor News

Ukraine: Mass strikes and occupations by miners

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Ukraine Solidarity Campaign
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Hunger-Striking Imprisoned Prominent Union Rights Activist in Poor Health

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ICHRI
Categories: Labor News

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