Labor News

Electronic log rule is a year away

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 07:01
Eric MillerTransport TopicsNovember 19, 2014View the original piece

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not expect to publish its final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices for carriers until Sept. 30, 2015, the agency said in its November significant rulemakings report.

The rule would not be effective until two years after it is finalized.

Other regulatory projections affecting truckers:

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will send its heavy-duty truck speed-limiters proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget next month, and publish the rule March 16, 2015. 

• FMCSA plans to send its carrier safety fitness determination rule to OMB in late December and publish its proposed rule April 2, 2015. The rule would replace the current SafeStat system using Compliance, Safety, Accountability data to rate carriers as satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory.

• FMCSA left unchanged its plan to publish an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking this month that will explore whether to raise the current $750,000 insurance minimum for carriers. The ANPRM will seek comments from carriers to assist the agency in deciding whether to move forward with a proposed rule.

• FMCSA expects to issue its final drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule Oct. 30, 2015, and a final rule prohibiting the coercion of drivers by carriers and brokers on Sept. 10, 2015.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Most Big LTLs make Big Profits

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 06:59
SCDigest Editorial StaffSupply Chain DigestNovember 19, 2014View the original piece

We're finishing up this week SCDigest's regularly quarterly review of the results and comments from leading transportation carriers by mode, this week for the less-than-truckload carriers, as the last of them finished up their Q3 2014 earnings reports in the last few weeks.

Last week, we covered the US rail carriers (see Rail Carriers Enjoy Mostly Blow Out Q3 on Strong Volume Growth) and the week before the truckload sector (see Q3 2014 Truckload Carrier Review and Comment).

Click here to read more.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Uber outrage spurs local fear of retaliation

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:54

Uber outrage spurs local fear of retaliation

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez @FitztheReporter

An Oakland journalist says she is fearful Uber — which she uses — could mine data from its app to figure out sources she talked to for a story about CEO Travis Kalanick. - COURTESY UBER.COM
An Oakland journalist says she is fearful Uber — which she uses — could mine data from its app to figure out sources she talked to for a story about CEO Travis Kalanick.
A local journalist fears she may face personal retaliation from app-based transit company Uber, according to her sources at the tech transit company.

The local controversy arises in the shadow of a viral national story, as Buzzfeed reported Tuesday that an Uber executive said he wished to retaliate against journalists writing perceived hostile news coverage.

Now a local reporter says she is worried for her sources, and also for herself.

Ellen Cushing recently wrote a profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for San Francisco Magazine titled "The Smartest Bro in the Room." On Tuesday, she said that her sources for the story, whom she kept anonymous, told her they feared Uber would use GPS travel data from Cushing's use of the app, and use that data to discern their identities.

In her story, Cushing wrote of Uber, "As a matter of course, it routinely and aggressively sidesteps the law and regulation; violates industry norms; ignores ethical boundaries; and tramples on competitive relationships. In this and many other ways, San Francisco's most controversial startup has become a symbol of the place that birthed it, a small city that is rapidly--and at times clumsily--growing into a world power."

Her sources said they feared they would be fired, or targeted with punitive action.

Uber did not respond to calls to comment for this article.

Cushing, 23, is legally blind and cannot drive. Living in Oakland, she said Uber is her only reliable mode of travel. This makes her particularly vulnerable to Uber should it mine data to blackmail her.

"I use it all the time," she said, "it's a great product."

But the data could reveal GPS location of her home or any source she comes into contact with, she said.

Buzzfeed reported that Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael said at a dinner that he planned to hire top opposition researchers to "fight back" against journalists whom he found hostile to the transit company.

He'd look into "your personal lives, your families," Michael reportedly said, and "give the media a taste of its own medicine."

Cushing's sources said peering into personal data of Uber users is easy.

Michael focused criticism on journalist Sarah Lacy of Silicon Valley site Pandodaily, who recently wrote an article that featured remarks by Michael that many readers found sexist. In protest, users across the country began deleting Uber from their phones.

"I'm uninstalling Uber. Each of you should do so too," tweeted local columnist Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass-Stuart. "You wanna bully women reporters? We'll bully you with our wallets."

Kalanick apologized via Twitter, writing "[Michael's] remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals."

Tags: Uberretaliation
Categories: Labor News

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:46

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

IMG_0767By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

Doug Porter ably reported the details last week, but what was most important about that moment was not so much the particulars of the policy but the nature of the movement that led to their triumph. As Richard Barrera, Secretary-Treasurer of the Labor Council, put it in his message to labor folks:

The victory by UTWSD comes five years after drivers, improperly classified as independent contractors and without NLRB recognition, came together and organized a strike to protest their wages, benefits and working conditions. Despite constant harassment, retaliation and intimidation by permit holders and dispatch companies over the last five years, and despite obstruction by public agencies, these workers stuck together, fought back against injustice, and prevailed. It reminds and teaches all of us that a union is not formed by formal government recognition, it is formed by workers standing together to fight for justice and a brighter future for their families.

And UTWSD clarifies for all of us a path to victory for workers even in the age of Harris v. Quinn, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and the anti-worker elements of San Diego (see the Regional Chamber of Commerce, which spoke out against the taxi workers last night). Victory comes from organizers listening to workers, developing leaders, planning a path to win and sticking to the plan no matter how hard it gets. The UTWSD path, although creative and relevant to modern times, is the path that built not only the labor movement, but every movement in the history of our country that has pushed us closer to our American ideals.

And there wasn’t a single person in Golden Hall among the hundreds who showed up to support the taxi workers, whether they were from labor or an allied community group, that did not stop, smile, and think: “this is what it’s all about.”

IMG_0771But if we dig a little deeper into the history of American labor, there is not just inspiration but a lesson as to what kind of unionism and working class politics gets the goods—social justice unionism.

In the early days of the American labor movement in the latter part of the 19th century there were two emerging forms of unionism: bread and butter and social justice as practiced by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Knights of Labor respectively.

The AFL was primarily a bread and butter union that focused more narrowly on things like wages and benefits, a philosophy they called “pure and simple unionism.” They recruited predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant male skilled workers and initially had no great involvement in politics beyond the work place. They also believed in “volunteerism” or a strict reliance on the union and its members rather than a broader social focus.

Hence the AFL was an exclusive organization. Early AFL unionism was largely conservative and defensive, and its narrow, exclusive focus set the pattern for many unions for the next century and beyond. Simply put, the AFL was not about social, economic, and political transformation but about getting a bigger piece of the pie for their members.

The Knights of Labor was a broader based social justice union whose philosophy is best summed up by their motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” Thus Knights of Labor unionism was more inclusive as it sought to organize workers across barriers, and they included skilled and unskilled workers as well as more women and people of color (although they too were problematic at times with regard to race).

The Knights were also interested in challenging monopoly capitalism, a system they saw as a threat to democracy and proposed the idea of a “cooperative commonwealth” in opposition to the growing plutocracy of the era of the Robber Barons. In a nutshell, the Knights of Labor sought not just to get a bigger piece of the pie for their members but to change the way the pie was made and distributed.

As labor evolved over the next century, while no successful labor organization or workers movement ever gave up on “bread and butter,” it was the broader based, more inclusive and visionary “social justice unionism” of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the thirties and forties that eventually led to the great upsurge of the American labor movement, the gains of the New Deal, and the growth of the middle class and some political power for working people.

In the 1960s it was that impulse that led Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis to support striking public sector sanitation workers in a struggle that united labor and civil rights. That same “social justice unionism” spirit also guided Cesar Chavez and the United Farm workers in their fight for economic and social justice.

Over the last several decades of labor’s decline, in addition to external factors like the rise of neoliberalism, globalization, and the subsequent abandonment of any inclination of capital to treat labor as a partner, the loss of that “social justice unionism” spirit is a key reason why unions have faltered.

In his new book The Death and Life of American Labor, Stanley Aronowitz argues that a new workers movement “must be broader and more inclusive than unions . . . When unions form coalitions with community groups to fight for better educations, housing, and public transportation, or against the super-exploitation of the working poor, that shows a broader, grander conception of labor activism and suggests a basis for a new movement.” Along those lines he argues that unions “new and old” should “demand and provoke organization of the vast and growing population of precarious workers whether such unions are recognized by employers or not.” Such work, according to Aronowitz, should include “building alliances” with Workers Centers and organizations, such as the Taxi Workers Alliances.”

With last week’s victory for the taxi workers here in San Diego, we just provided a good example of precisely how this new kind of workers movement can succeed. After their victory at City Hall, their ongoing efforts to form a taxi drivers collective, build power, and give a voice to their community will keep the United Taxi Drivers of San Diego moving into the future.

As their Program Director Sarah Saez puts it, “It’s about reaching out with the intention of listening and learning from workers and our community and giving them the support they need to inspire and lead movements. We have to continue to support natural leaders like our President Mikaiil Hussein, organizer Abebe Antallo and all our drivers and community members who are powerful beyond words. Trusting their vision, creating genuine partnerships with the community and nontraditional workers and fighting for issues that are going to fundamentally change people’s lives is how we build power, deepen solidarity, and win.”

Tags: taxi workersunionizationderegulation
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Local 10 Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Over Violation Of Work Rules By SSA

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 04:06

ILWU Local 10 Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Over Violation Of Work Rules By SSA union/dockworkers-shut-down-ssa-terminal-oakland_20141112.html

JOC › Port News › Longshoreman Labor › International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Nov 12, 2014 4:48PM EST
The tinderbox that is West Coast ports caught fire again today when members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down the SSA Marine terminal at the Port of Oakland.
The incident occurred at 10 a.m. local time when the terminal sent one ILWU work gang home because there were not enough longshoremen to fill that gang. Longshoremen in the other gangs then walked off, according to employers. The ILWU responded by saying SSA did not follow the 11/13/2014
Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Page 2 of 3
proper rules for ordering workers, and SSA fired all of the longshoremen when questions were raised about the employer’s procedures.
Tensions between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association have been so high the past two weeks that incidents such as that that occurred today in Oakland have been flaring up in Seattle- Tacoma and Los Angeles-Long Beach as well. Labor disruptions are fueling the fire of port congestion that has existed up and down the coast in recent weeks. Those conditions have caused political, port and shipper groups to insist that both parties reach a contract before there is a meltdown at West Coast ports.
U.S. senators from the western states sent a letter to the presidents of the PMA and ILWU today, and port directors from Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Oakland wrote to the PMA and ILWU this week saying the inability of both sides to reach a contract is causing economic hardship to retailers and to port-dependent workers at transportation companies across the country.
ILWU-PMA contract negotiations began in May. The ILWU has been working without a contract since July 1. With no contract in place, the grievance procedure is suspended. If there were a contract in place, both the ILWU and the employer could have prevented the incident in Oakland from taking place by immediately seeking intervention by a local arbitrator.
Even without a contract in place, such incidents could be avoided if the ILWU would agree to extend the previous contract while negotiations continue, but the union has refused to do so.
The incident in Oakland began when the terminal operator could not fill one of several gangs dispatched to work a vessel. In such cases, the employer has one hour to decide whether to work with an incomplete gang or to dismiss those workers for the shift. If the workers remain on the terminal for more than one hour, they must be paid for the entire shift. When SSA sent the incomplete gang home, all of the other longshoremen reportedly walked off their jobs.
ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees gave the union’s explanation of what happened. “SSA didn’t follow the proper rules for ordering workers this morning, and when workers questioned the company’s decision not to follow the usual procedures, SSA summarily fired those workers. When the remaining workers raised questions, they were immediately fired along with the others.”
Charges and counter-charges between labor and management have become common now since the PMA last week issued a statement accusing the ILWU of engaging in work slowdowns in Seattle-Tacoma. PMA issued a second release the next day saying the ILWU in Los Angeles- Long Beach was refusing to dispatch sufficient skilled equipment operators for cargo-handling machines in the yard.
Oakland had been calm, by comparison, until this past weekend when the ILWU said it discovered a safety defect on a cargo-handling machine, and when it called for safety inspections of other equipment, the workers were fired for the day. The PMA has been saying for two weeks now that a surge in safety claims and walkouts is common when the ILWU is working without a contract, and this calls into question the validity of such claims.
A coalition of about 100 groups representing cargo interests, intermediaries and other organizations that do business at West Coast ports has been pleading with the PMA and ILWU since spring to reach a speedy conclusion to the contract negotiations. Those shipper organizations continue to issue statements directed at the PMA and ILWU, and of late they have been requesting federal mediation. 11/13/2014
Dockworkers shut down SSA terminal in Oakland Page 3 of 3
Gene Seroka, executive director at the Port of Los Angeles, told freight forwarders and customs brokers meeting in San Diego in October the ongoing efforts to reduce congestion at the ports would be compromised unless the PMA and ILWU reached a contract.
Jon Slangerup, chief executive of the Port of Long Beach, said today that a contract resolution is crucial, but the port is nevertheless doing everything possible with its supply chain partners to address all of the factors contributing to port congestion.
The letter by the executive directors of the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Oakland said those ports have also been working closely with their supply chain partners, “but uncertainty and delay on the docks sends the wrong signal to the global marketplace at a time when shippers have many more options for moving their goods to market.”
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at and follow him on Twitter: @billmongelluzzo.

Source URL: union/dockworkers-shut-down-ssa-terminal-oakland_20141112.html

Tags: ILWU Local 10SSAWork Rules
Categories: Labor News

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn

Current News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 03:57

Uber, a Start-Up Going So Fast It Could Miss a Turn
NOV. 18, 2014

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, apologized on Twitter about Emil Michael’s comments. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo

In just four years of operation, Uber has ignited a new global ride-sharing industry with the promise of transforming urban transportation and helping many people get by without owning cars.

But these days, the hot start-up is facing its toughest challenge yet — curbing its ugliest, most aggressive impulses before its win-at-all-cost culture begins to turn off investors, potential employees and the ride-hailing public at large.

The revelation, reported on Monday by BuzzFeed, that an executive publicly floated the idea of investigating the private lives of journalists who criticize Uber was only the latest in a parade of unflattering news about Uber’s tactics as it navigates the next phase of its growth.

Uber has grown into one of the most valuable start-ups in Silicon Valley, with outposts around the world. It has raised about $1.5 billion and is valued at more than $17 billion, with the inevitable talk of a public offering.

Emil Michael, Uber’s senior vice president for business, was said to lay out a plan to hire a team to investigate journalists and defend the company from perceived negative coverage.Uber Executive’s Comments Leave Company ScramblingNOV. 18, 2014
Uber’s hard-charging culture is in many ways characteristic of start-ups in general. But fostering such a culture can become a losing proposition faster than you might imagine.

“The dangerous thing in tech is a narrative,” said Jan Dawson, an independent industry analyst. “The more stories that come out about Uber behaving badly — whether it’s about the way it competes with rivals or the fact that an executive discussed looking into journalists — the risk is that it starts to become the main story about the company, rather than the great service it provides or its low prices.”

On Tuesday afternoon, after the journalist-spying story had captivated much of Silicon Valley’s clubby tech press, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, made an apologetic series of posts on Twitter regarding the executive, Emil Michael.

“Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company,” Mr. Kalanick wrote in the first of 14 posts, none of which mentioned Mr. Michael’s future with the company.

Technology companies live and die by culture; “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is among the most cherished sayings in Silicon Valley. What that means is that a company’s ultimate success or failure is determined less by anodyne technological prowess than by the values and behavior of people who work there.

This may be particularly true for Uber, which is in many ways an incorporeal company. It owns no cars, its drivers are at-will contractors who can easily switch to rival services, and its customers are just one tap away from some other service. What’s more, though it is growing quickly, it is still young, and many people haven’t ever used one of its cars.

If Uber’s brand becomes associated with bad behavior, what’s to stop people from choosing its rival Lyft — or from just hailing a taxi?

Uber has recently been dogged by accusations of various sorts. Last New Year’s Eve, a driver hit an immigrant family in San Francisco, killing a 6-year-old and leading to a wrongful-death lawsuit against the company. There have also been several accusations of Uber drivers sexually assaulting passengers.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Meanwhile, some drivers have protested over their wages and working conditions. And this summer, The Verge reported that Uber was waging a sophisticated campaign to recruit drivers from its archrival Lyft, a plan that “resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides.”

Mr. Kalanick later told Vanity Fair that he also tried to crimp Lyft’s recent round of fund-raising by calling venture capitalists and issuing a not-so-veiled threat that anyone who invested in Lyft could be blackballed from investing in Uber.

Some passengers have also worried whether the company plays fast and loose with riders’ privacy — whether an Uber employee will one day be able to track where you went, and with whom. Uber says it has a strict policy that forbids employees and drivers to check into riders’ travel habits.

Still, the new revelations could increase that fear. The idea that a senior executive at the company thought it would be fine to publicly reveal a plan for spying makes you wonder if anything is considered off-limits at Uber — and that may be the sort of deep-seated worry that an apologetic series of tweets can’t do much to fix.
Uber and its investors believe that the company’s long-term mission is to reinvent transportation, to become not just a taxi service but also a replacement for private cars. That mission can be realized only if people trust the company implicitly and automatically.

Mr. Dawson noted that Uber wasn’t in any serious danger of losing it all. It will surely keep growing, at least for the foreseeable future. The trouble may come when Lyft and other rivals become a more dominant force in a larger share of Uber’s markets.

“In places like San Francisco, where you have an abundance of options for ride-sharing, this is more likely to affect people’s willingness to use Uber,” he said. “In other places right now, people may not have much of a choice.”

Uber wouldn’t be the first start-up to see its early success overshadowed by problems with its culture and image. Consider Myspace, the once fast-growing social network whose rise was marked by internal struggle, and with a failure to take its millions of mostly teenage users’ privacy very seriously.

Myspace’s problems left a wide opening for a more disciplined start-up to take over social networking — an opportunity that Facebook was happy to exploit.

During its subsequent rapid rise, Facebook, too, was often the subject of outrage by its users over the indiscriminate way it seemed to alter people’s privacy settings. But brushes with users eventually prompted a shift in tone by the company.

Today, Facebook takes pains to offer plenty of warning to people about changes to its privacy options, and when it introduces products — like a new location-sharing app — it often leads its marketing pitch with its privacy options.

“I think that there’s a lesson there for Uber,” said Mark Rogowsky, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has closely followed the battle between Lyft and Uber. “Uber today is at the stage where Facebook was several years ago — they’re growing ridiculously fast, and we’re all wondering whether this will be the moment that they see they need to make a change.”

He added, “We just don’t know yet.”


Tags: Ubertechnology
Categories: Labor News

Israel: ITUC Condemns Terrorist Attack on Synagogue, Calls for Calm News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Global: Wal-Mart workers across the globe protest against the world's richest family News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

USA: Stand with Walmart Strikers on Black Friday News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Labor News

South Africa: Is COSATU breaking up? News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Radio Labour
Categories: Labor News

SFO taxi workers protest causes gridlock, headaches "“Our income has been cut so bad,” he said, “you’ll definitely see more of this.”

Current News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 13:47

SFO taxi workers protest causes gridlock, headaches
By Kale WilliamsNovember 17, 2014 Updated: November 18, 2014 8:44am

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle
Taxi drivers clog traffic outside Terminal 1 during a protest at San Francisco International Airport on Nov. 17, 2014.
A protest by San Francisco cab drivers against ride services such as Uber and Lyft caused gridlock and a lot of headaches at San Francisco International Airport on Monday night, officials said.

The cabbies wouldn’t pick up riders and blocked lanes starting about 9 p.m., SFO duty manager John Gintry said, and travelers reported long backups coming into and going out of the airport.

Fliers, instructing drivers to circle the terminals, were distributed among many of the cabbies by the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance. Many drivers posted signs on their taxis reading, “This vehicle has full-time insurance, 'TNCs’ (transportation network companies) do not!”

The protest, which lasted until 11 p.m., is the latest episode in a dispute between city taxi drivers and ride-sharing companies.

In June, state regulators told the on-demand ride companies to stop operating at airports, which require taxi and limo drivers to have special permits. But last month, SFO reached a deal with Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, allowing the companies to pick up and drop off passengers at the airport.

Sidecar became the first on-demand ride service okayed to work at SFO. Rider JoAnna Karem prepares to take a short trip in San Francisco with Sidecar driver Eric Janson. Sidecar first ride company to win OK from SFO for airport rides
The rise of the app-dispatched ride-sharing companies in San Francisco has dealt a huge blow to the city’s taxi industry. The number of taxi rides plummeted 65 percent in just 15 months, according to a report presented to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board in September. The ride-share companies argue they are replacing an outdated industry that isn’t meeting the transportation needs of the city.

Skot Ballard, who has been driving cabs in San Francisco for six years, said his main reason for protesting was the roughly $4-per-trip airport fees that cabbies must pay but ride-service companies don’t. He also said the ride-sharing outfits weren’t safe for passengers.

“They don’t know where they’re going because they don’t know the city,” Ballard said as his DeSoto cab idled in the taxi lane after the protest died down. “They’re always looking at their phones, which just isn’t safe.”

Ballard, who broke his horn by continuously blowing it during the protest, said people should expect more of this type of labor action.

“Our income has been cut so bad,” he said, “you’ll definitely see more of this.”

Kale Williams is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @sfkale

Tags: SFO taxi protestUber
Categories: Labor News

Stop Congress from Cutting Retirees' Hard Earned Pensions

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:08

November 18, 2014: Unless we act now, Congress may end up cutting a legislative deal by year’s-end to allow pension plan trustees to slash the already-earned benefits of retirees as a purported way of saving deeply-troubled multiemployer plans.

This would be a radical departure from the federal pension law and it would wipe out the anti-cutback rule which states unequivocally that once a retiree starts receiving a pension – it cannot be taken away unless a plan becomes insolvent. 

It is outrageous for Congress to contemplate allowing cuts in retirees’ benefits as a way of staving off insolvency, without exploring other options to preserve hard-earned pensions.

We all care deeply about the health of our pension plans, but we do not think that they should be allowed to balance their books on the backs of retirees who are most vulnerable.

Say no to retiree benefit cuts. Tell Congress there are other alternatives that must be explored to save multiemployer plans.

Tell Congress no backroom deals.

You can help by contacting your Senators and Congressional Representative in your state and Congressional district. You can also contact their Washington office. The Capitol Hill switchboard is (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative.

Take Action. Have you signed the Protect Our Pensions petition yet? Click here.


Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

LA Port strike spreads to rail yard

Current News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 07:11

LA Port strike spreads to rail yard
Date: Nov 18, 2014 5:30 AM
Justice for Port Truck Drivers

PRESS ADVISORY: Tuesday, November 18, 2014


(323) 351-9321;

6:30 AM PST press conference at Union Pacific Rail Yard

Truck driver strike spreads to intermodal rail yards from the docks, creating logistical nightmare before Black Friday

Commerce, CA – Early Tuesday morning, the port truck driver strike spread from the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach to intermodal rail yards that are serviced by Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport (HRT). These rail yards dispatch cargo to and from warehouses and distribution centers across America. Drivers intend to follow trucks from Pacer and HRT to customer locations, including the rail yards, and picket the trucks while they are working at those locations.

Like drivers at QTS Inc., LACA Express, and WinWin Logistics that went on strike Monday, drivers at Pacer and HRT are striking to end misclassification as “independent contractors,” a scam that has led to massive wage theft and denied drivers basic workplace protections such as safety and health regulations, disability insurance, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance

“We are sick of being trampled upon and mistreated,” said Humberto Canales, a misclassified “independent contractor” from Pacer Cartage. “We are joining the fight and coming out of the shadows to demand our rights as company employees to provide a better future for our families.”

“Now is the time to end this misclassification scheme and provide a better future for our families. These companies have gotten away with this scam for too long. It’s time to make a change,” said Alfredo Reyes of Harbor Rail Transportation.

What: Press conference with truck drivers from Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport.

Who: Striking port truck drivers from Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport.

Where: Union Pacific Railroad Truck Processing Entrance. 4341 East Washington Blvd, Commerce CA. Location is at the intersection of Indiana and Washington Blvd.

When: Tuesday, November 18, 2014; 6:30 AM PST

Tags: LA Long Beach Port Truckers Strike
Categories: Labor News

Emil Michael of Uber Proposes Digging Into Journalists’ Private Lives

Current News - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 22:09

By MIKE ISAAC NOVEMBER 18, 2014 12:22 AMNovember 18, 2014 12:22 am Comment

Uber, the immensely popular ride-hailing service, has said in the past that it has had a strained relationship with the media. It is likely not going to get better any time soon.

On Monday evening, BuzzFeed News reported that an Uber executive detailed a plan to “hire four top opposition researchers and four journalists” to act as a sort of defense against what he saw as a wave of recent antagonistic press coverage.

The comments, Buzzfeed said, came from Emil Michael, Uber’s senior vice president for business, during a private dinner in New York last week. Mr. Michael’s comments, BuzzFeed said, focused on one journalist in particular, Sarah Lacy, who runs the technology site Pando. Ms. Lacy has been an outspoken critic of Uber and of Travis Kalanick, the company’s chief executive.

Shortly after the article appeared, Mr. Michael backed away from the comments.

“The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner – borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for – do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company’s views or approach,” Mr. Michael said in a statement. “They were wrong no matter the circumstance and I regret them.” Uber has said that the private dinner was supposed to be considered an off-the-record affair.

Nairi Hourdajian, an Uber spokeswoman, said: “We have not, do not and will not investigate journalists. Those remarks have no basis in the reality of our approach.”

The article from BuzzFeed, written by Ben Smith, the site’s editor in chief, said the plan Mr. Michael outlined could, in Mr. Michael’s words, “help Uber fight back against the press.” The researchers, he said, would look into “your personal lives, your families” — referring to journalists — and give the media a taste of its own medicine.

Ms. Lacy responded on Monday with an article on her site.

“Companies shouldn’t be allowed to go to illegal lengths to defame and silence reporters,” she said. “Professional women in this industry actually deserve respect.”

The statements comes at a particularly difficult time for Uber, which has faced criticism for its cutthroat tactics with competitors like Lyft, another ride-hailing company. Uber’s founder, Mr. Kalanick, has also had his character questioned in recent press reports.

Still, Uber has grown at a breakneck pace over the last five years; it has raised more than $1.5 billion in venture capital, and it is looking to raise at least another billion dollars from private investors in the future, according to people close to the company.

Tags: UberJournalists
Categories: Labor News

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Racist Apartheid Israel Moves To Bar Palestinians From Buses And Sets Up Segregated Buses

Current News - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 17:39

Racist Apartheid Israel Moves To Bar Palestinians From Buses And Sets Up Segregated Buses
October 28, 2014, 6:15pm
Separate Buses? That's How Occupation Rolls.
By Mira Sucharov

As of next month, Israel will operate separate buses for Palestinian residents of the West Bank returning from jobs as day laborers in Israel, thanks to political pressure from West Bank settlers who donʼt want to ride on the same buses as “Arabs.” The question is: Should we care?
Settler leaders claim that the move was due to aggressive and uncouth behavior by Palestinian passengers, coupled with an overall concern for Jewish passengersʼ security. According to a report in Haaretz, one settler told a meeting of a Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, convened by MK Motti Yogev of the Jewish Home party, about having been sexually assaulted by a Palestinian rider. Another complained that his pregnant wife was not given a seat by Arab passengers. Others were worried that Palestinians on buses could lead to hijackings, or worse. But IDF officials insisted they did not see the Palestinian presence on board these buses as a security threat.
In a democracy, of course, an official report of sexual assault should result in an investigation and possibly individual charges being laid. An informal report — as this one was — might lead a municipality to intensify its safety and surveillance measures. But to collectively deny an entire ethnic group the right to travel on some buses would be collective punishment, rightly considered prejudicial.
Israelʼs rule in the West Bank, however, is far from democratic. Palestinian residents of the West Bank arenʼt Israeli citizens, which means that the normal democratic channels arenʼt open to them from the get-go.
Israel Attorney General Calls for Explanation on Palestinian Bus Ban
Israel Bars Palestinians From Riding 'Jewish' Buses in West Bank
Under the terms of the Oslo agreement, it is true that the Palestinian Authority rules over part of the West Bank (Area A). The rest is controlled either jointly (Area B) or fully (Area C) by Israel. And while most Palestinians reside in Areas A and B, Area C comprises over 60% of the West Bankʼs territory, and includes nearly 300,000 Palestinian residents.
Within the areas controlled by Israel, there is a system of roads dotted with checkpoints. Most roads are accessible to both Israeli citizens (including settlers) and Palestinian residents. But 65 kilometers of West Bank roads are accessible only to Israelis. (Whether this means “Jewish-only” roads is a matter of debate. Technically, Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal access. But in practice, given that some roads are intended for settler access, and settlers are Jews, some roads are de facto Jewish-only.)
As for the checkpoints — 99 fixed checkpoints as of February, plus hundreds of “flying checkpoints” — they control who gets to cross over the Green Line into Israel proper, thus helping keep Israelis secure. But, along with physical obstructions put in place by the military administration, they also restrict travel within the West Bank by subjecting Palestinians to humiliating searches and long lines. Add to this the so-called separation barrier snaking around the settlements, and Palestinian freedom of movement — even within the West Bank — is curtailed by a foreign power.
So about those separate buses: Should we care?
For my part, as someone who is concerned with human rights for both Palestinians and Israelis, I would say this: not really. The buses are simply a function of the overall system of occupation that inherently denies the Palestinians the basic human right of being ruled by the entity that represents them.
Recall that a Palestinian caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli military court. An Israeli caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli civil court. Add to this that neither court — military or civil — contains officials representing the regime that Palestinians have elected, and we have an overall situation that is fundamentally unacceptable from a moral, political and ethical standpoint. (Itʼs worth noting that the Palestinian Authority is also to blame for not having held elections since 2006, partly owing to the Fatah-Hamas split.)
Itʼs no wonder that BʼTselem, the Israeli human rights watchdog organization, issued a 2014 report called “47 Years of Temporary Occupation.” Accordingly, the current head of the organization, Hagai El-Ad, told me in an interview last month that he is seeking to challenge the view of the occupation, in the minds of Israelis, as constituting nothing more than “business as usual.”
The usual business of occupation is indeed unequal separation. Itʼs separation between the citizens of the occupying country and the residents of the territory being occupied. Separate buses might be the bitter icing on an even more bitter cake. But thereʼs little new here. The business of occupation rolls along, as usual.

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Tags: apartheid busesRacist Israelsegregation
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Israeli Racist Aparthied Regime Moves To Bar Palestinians From Buses And Establish Segregated Buses

Current News - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 17:34

Israeli Racist Aparthied Regime Moves To Bar Palestinians From Buses And Establish Segregated Buses

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | return to: WebExclusive

Controversy follows Israel bus segregation plan for Palestinians
by Abra Cohen, J. staff
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Palestinians living in the West Bank who commute to work in Israel would be barred from riding buses with Jewish passengers, according to new guidelines proposed by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Instead, Palestinian commuters would ride in separate, segregated buses, and would have more limited options for returning conveniently to the West Bank.

The guidelines are being framed as a security measure that will prevent terrorism, but they may not be enforceable under Israeli law, and have been condemned as racist by a diverse array of critics.

According to wire reports, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has asked Ya’alon for “clarifications and explanations” regarding the guidelines by November 9.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Weinstein is concerned that the Defense Ministry lacks the authority to unilaterally make such a decision.

Jewish West Bank settlers have long complained about women being sexually harassed by Palestinians on buses, but Ya’alon denied charges in the newspaper Ha’aretz that settler pressure forced his hand.

The newspaper also reports that Israeli military officials say that Palestinian bus passengers are not a security threat, thanks to existing screenings by the Shin Bet security service and Israeli police.

However, Ya’alon draws a direct line between Palestinian ridership and terrorism.

"You don't have to be a security official to understand that when there are 20 Arabs on a bus with a Jewish driver and two or three passengers and an armed soldier, that's a guarantee of a terror attack," Ya’alon was quoted in Ha’aretz.

Ya’alon’s proposal, which comes on the heels of last summer’s Gaza War, has been condemned by Israeli human rights groups, including B’Tselem, which called it “a discriminatory measure against the Palestinians,” according to an Associated Press report, and an Israeli NGO leader, who called the guidelines “an ugly logic of ethnic division.”

A Jewish Daily Forward headline referred to the ban as a possible form of “apartheid.”

Roundup sources:

“Israel Attorney General Probes Palestinian Bus Ban”
Associated Press, October 28, 2014

“Attorney-General to Ya'alon: Who Says You Can Order Separate Buses?”
Jerusalem Post, October 27, 2014

“Israeli Official Questions Palestinian Bus Ban”
JTA, AP, October 30, 2014

“Israel Bars Palestinians from Riding ‘Jewish’ Buses in the West Bank”
JTA, The Jewish Daily Forward, October 26, 2014

“Ya'alon: Putting Palestinians, Jews on Same Bus in West Bank Guarantees Terror Attack”
Ha’aretz, October 29, 2014

“In Israel, Palestinian Bus Ban Slammed as Racist”

Tags: apartheidbusesIsrael
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Global: Will the ILO take a stand against gender-based violence at work? News - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 16:00
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