Labor News

Cambodia: Workers’ rights, NGOs increasingly under fire News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News

Now Clinton Joins Sanders to block flights between Cork and the United States "US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both Ame

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 13:58

Now Clinton Joins Sanders to block flights between Cork and the United States "US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both America and Europe."
John Mulligan Twitter

24/05/2016 | 02:30

Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign trail. Insets (clockwise from left): Times Square in New York City and Boston Harbour, two of the destinations targeted by Norwegian Air International; Bernie Sanders
Hillary Clinton has urged US President Barack Obama not to grant Norwegian Air International a permit that would enable the Ireland-based carrier to launch flights between Cork and the United States.

Ms Clinton - who has raised money in Ireland for her presidential campaign - is the latest political heavy-hitter to wade into the debate, with rival democratic runner Bernie Sanders having already said the permit should not be granted. He claimed it would set a "dangerous precedent".

A spokeswoman for Ms Clinton claimed that "too many questions have been raised about Norwegian Air International's practices and plans".
Norwegian Air International (NAI) is based in Dublin but is a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle. NAI wants to use Ireland as its base in order to avail of EU open skies rights that will give it unfettered access to the US market.

But US aviation unions have been vehemently opposed to NAI's plans, claiming the airline will use cheap crew and undermine labour standards, resulting in jobs losses in both America and Europe.
Bernie Sanders. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

Opponents insist that NAI is using Ireland to circumvent stringent employment laws in Norway. But NAI has dismissed such arguments, while the US department of transportation has already signalled that it intends to grant the permit.
Answers to objections had to be submitted by yesterday and the final permit decision must now clear a review by executive presidential agencies.

"Workers in the US airline industry deserve rules of the road that support a strong workforce with high labour standards - not attempts by airlines to flout labour standards and outsource good-paying jobs," claimed Ms Clinton's spokeswoman on labour, Nikki Budzinski.
"Hillary Clinton urges the Obama administration against moving forward with final approval of Norwegian Air International's application."

Ms Clinton, a former US secretary of state, is the frontrunner in the contest with Mr Sanders to secure the Democratic nomination for the White House. But a new poll also shows Ms Clinton is now almost in a dead heat with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump among voters.
The Clintons have leveraged their connections with Ireland to garner financial support for her current, and previous, presidential bid.

NAI's battle to secure a permit to fly to the United States has been backed by the Government and a number of state agencies such as Fáilte Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, the DAA and Shannon Airport.
The Irish Airline Pilots' Association is among a number of groups in Europe and the US that have opposed NAI's plans.

The airline hopes to fly between Cork and Boston this summer, but that timetable is now likely to be pushed back. NAI intends to launch a service between Cork and New York next year.
A spokesman for NAI said yesterday that the airline remained confident that the US department of transportation would approve its permit. The agency has already pointed out that it can see no reason why NAI's application should be impeded.

"Approval of NAI will result in more US aviation sector jobs, enable Norwegian to expand its already large pool of American crew, and deliver much needed competition and affordable fares to consumers on both sides of the Atlantic," said the spokesman.
Irish Independent

Tags: NAIunon bustingNorwegian Air International
Categories: Labor News

IAM Business Unionists In NYC Cut Deal With Anti-labor Uber In Gig Economy " “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:56

IAM Business Unionists In NYC Cut Deal With Anti-labor Uber In Gig Economy " “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.
Uber Deal Shows Divide in Labor's Drive for Role in 'Gig Economy'"
MAY 23, 2016, 10:35 AM EDT

But not everyone in the U.S. labor movement is cheering.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trumpeted an agreement reached earlier this month to represent New York Uber drivers, saying it “gives organized labor an opportunity to shape the new economy in a way that supports and values workers and their families.”

But not everyone in the U.S. labor movement is cheering.

The deal falls short of actual union representation, and it has revealed sharp divisions among labor advocates about how to address a central reality of the so-called gig economy: The classification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Under the terms of its agreement with Uber Technologies Inc, the Machinists will form an “Independent Drivers Guild” that will be able to intervene with the company on behalf of wrongly terminated drivers and negotiate for benefits, such as disability insurance and roadside assistance.

The Machinists also agreed to refrain for five years from organizing strikes or unionizing drivers and said they would not push regulators to change the status of drivers from contractors to employees.

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, decried the deal as a “historic betrayal” of drivers because it gives up their most important tools to achieve economic power.

She said her organization had been in talks with the Machinists about collaborating on a driver unionization campaign before the agreement with Uber. The Machinists had successfully organized car service drivers in the past, and Desai said her group believed a similar path would work with Uber drivers.

Jim Conigliaro Jr, general counsel for Machinists Union District 15, said the agreement can help Uber drivers earn more money and work under better conditions in the short term. Longer term, if the National Labor Relations Board were to rule that drivers should be classified as employees, then a unionization drive would be possible.

“To us this deal is the best of both worlds,” Conigliaro said.

Rideshare companies say contracting, rather than employing, workers keeps costs down and provides the flexibility drivers say they want.

But contract workers are not entitled to the same legal protections employees enjoy, including minimum wage guarantees and overtime pay.

Organized labor has struggled with how to react with the new realities of the rapidly growing part of the economy dominated by gig, or temporary and contract, workers. Some union officials have argued it’s crucial to engage in new ways with the changing nature of labor, while others have doubled down on traditional organizing.

“We desperately need risk-taking innovation in search of the next model,” said Service Employees International Union (SEIU) vice president David Rolf.

Traditional collective bargaining does not work with on-demand tech companies, but new models, such as the Uber deal, can introduce worker organizing, he said.

Last month, the SEIU drew flack from another union, Unite Here, for negotiating with internet-based home rental company Airbnb Inc to encourage its hosts to hire union-approved house cleaners who would make at least $15 an hour.

The deal was abandoned after Unite Here, which represents hotel workers, attacked the arrangement as “cheap cover” for Airbnb.

“We are appalled by reports that SEIU is partnering with Airbnb,” Unite Here spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel said at the time. She accused the rental service of “driving up housing costs and killing good hotel jobs in urban markets across North America.”

Seth Harris, a Washington D.C. lawyer who was deputy U.S. labor secretary from 2009 to 2013, said both unions and companies like Uber are formulating strategies for the new labor market in the face of outmoded labor and antitrust laws that restrict their options.

“Both sides are hemmed in, so they have found a way to navigate the narrow path those laws have carved for them,” Harris said.

The Machinists are not the only union to engage with Uber drivers. Earlier this year, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers launched a campaign to represent 600 of the company’s drivers at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. The union, which like the Machinists is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, backed off after the Machinists launched their drive.

Last month, Uber agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by California and Massachusetts drivers for up to $100 million. Drivers would remain independent contractors under the deal, but Uber said it would help establish an association for them to communicate with the company.

The next day the Teamsters, in conjunction with worker rights group Silicon Valley Rising, announced it would launch a driver association in California. Kara Deniz, a spokeswoman for the International Teamsters, said it is difficult to predict what kind of organization will ultimately be formed.

“As a union whatever we do will be based on discussions with the drivers and their wishes,” Deniz said.

The Machinists’ deal could make it difficult for other labor groups to take a harder line with Uber, unless drivers are united and clear in their demands, said Catherine Fisk, a labor law professor at the University of California Irvine.

“In the end what any worker organization can get is a function of the solidarity of the workers,” she said.

In Seattle, Uber and Lyft drivers worked with the Teamsters to lobby officials for an ordinance allowing them to bargain collectively. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit to block it, which is pending.

Fasil Teka, an Uber driver who helped found the App Based Driver Association in Seattle, said collective bargaining – and the ability to strike – was his main reason for organizing.

Otherwise, he said, “there would be no point in having a union.”

The one thing all sides agree on is that the struggle over how to organize labor in the new economy is just beginning, and for some observers, that’s not a terrible thing.

“Unions are in a state of crisis and are desperately trying to figure out a model to stay relevant,” said Phil Wilson, president of the Labor Relations Institute Inc, which casts itself as “the preeminent firm in countering union organizing campaigns.”

Tags: IAMbusiness unionismUber
Categories: Labor News

Argentine Transportation Workers Call for General Strike Against Macri

Current News - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 11:17

Argentine Transportation Workers Call for General Strike Against Macri

Argentine workers during April's general strike | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2016

Transportation unions have also joined and supported the call for a general strike due to the large amount of layoffs in the country.
Workers unions have called for a general strike to protest that Argentine President Mauricio Macri vetoed a law that would have forbidden layoffs.

"The veto is legal, but not legitimate, the workers want and need this law to guarantee their sources of employment, so the response must be immediate," said Pablo Micheli, one of the leaders organizing the strike, which includes more than 20 unions in the country.

In the first five months of Macri's administration, over a 150,000 people have lost their jobs.

This is the first time that the new president used his veto capacity to overturn a law, as the bill had been previously approved by the Senate. The bill declared a labor emergency and forbid layoffs for 180 days.

Macri blames former President Cristina Fernández of supporting this law, which he says discourages investment.

Workers unions had organized a strike against Macri in April, as more than 150,000 people have lost their jobs since the conservative government took power.

Tags: transportation workerssolidarityGeneral Strike
Categories: Labor News

Belgium: Unions call mass protest over work hours News - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Expatica
Categories: Labor News

Mexico: Extortion, threats, kidnapping: Workers the hidden casualty of Mexico’s violence News - Sun, 05/22/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News

"Blame the railroad industry and lobbyists, not the Amtrak engineer"

Current News - Sun, 05/22/2016 - 11:18

"Blame the railroad industry and lobbyists, not the Amtrak engineer"
I heard the headline from CBS News on my car radio:

“NTSB to cite operator error in deadly Amtrak derailment.”

The news story came on the eve of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) public hearing regarding the May 2015 disaster outside of Philadelphia. The derailment killed eight passengers and injured 200 others. The subsequent news stories repeated “operator error.” The phrase makes it sound like the engineer hit the wrong switch or pushed the wrong button. I wondered whether “operator error” in the headlines was a repulsive example of click baiting.

It wasn’t.

The NTSB’s statements and testimony about the Amtrak 188 disaster are filled with declarations that blame the train engineer for the disaster. “He,” “his,” and “the engineer” weave through the NTSB’s declarations. The agency’s conclusion on the incident’s probable cause was the engineer’s “loss of situational awareness.” Board member Robert Sumwalt said:

“This is really not a complex error. It’s a very basic error.”

NTSB investigator Steve Jenner said:

“This is a standard human error.”

No wonder “operator error” punctuates the news stories’ headlines and lead sentences. NTSB member Sumwalt said this about the train engineer:

“He went, in a matter of seconds, from distraction to disaster.”

Distraction? A nearby commuter train had been struck by rocks. The Amtrak 188 engineer was listening to dispatchers who were discussing the emergency situation. What the NTSB calls “distracted” I call “paying attention.” (And why is there no co-engineer on the train, like a co-pilot on a plane?)

Blaming the operator for being “distracted” overshadows the real story: The railroad industry’s and regulator’s failure to equip trains with positive train control (PTC). This braking-system technology is a safety back-up for the engineer’s operation of the train. It is designed to prevent incidents such as over-speed derailments and train-to-train collisions. The chairman of the NTSB, Christopher Hart, calls PTC a “technological safety net.” It was not in place on the train involved in the Amtrak 188 disaster.

NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH questioned her colleagues’ focus on “operator error.” Dinh-Zarr is a public health scientist who specializes in injury prevention and transportation safety. (She’s also an active member of the American Public Health Association.) The Associated Pressreports that Dr. Dinh-Zarr urged her NTSB colleagues

“…to put more blame on the lack of positive train control… ‘Eight people have died, dozens more have been injured — life-changing injuries — because the government and industry have not acted for decades on a well-known safety hazard.”

She added:

“I ask, why does our probable cause focus on a human’s mistake and what he may have been distracted by?'”

The Atlantic’s David A. Graham elaborates on Dr. Dinh-Zarr’s remarks at the public hearing:

“As the board voted on conclusions…[she cited] the importance of PTC [and] proposed relegating engineer error from the probable cause of the accident to contributing cause, while naming the lack of PTC as the probable cause.

NTSB staff, however, opposed the switch, as did Chairman Hart, noting that the engineer is still responsible for following rules and that PTC is a safety net; Dinh-Zarr’s attempt was defeated. …Dinh-Zarr pointed out [that the] NTSB has been advocating for PTC since 1970.”

Kudos to NTSB member Dinh-Zarr for challenging her colleagues’ proclivity for citing “operator error” the agency’s reports. Let’s put the responsibility where it belongs for the lives lost and harm caused: The railroad industry. Their foot-dragging, lobbying, and legal challenges against PTC makes them culpable.

Tags: Rail safetylobbyists
Categories: Labor News

Mexico: Government Fires a Staggering 3000 Striking Teachers News - Sat, 05/21/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Bangladesh: Court lays murder charges in Rana Plaza disaster News - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: HEU
Categories: Labor News

Mauritania: Government Frees Anti-Slavery Activists and Convicts Slave Owners News - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Police attack striking labour leaders in Ebonyi News - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Times
Categories: Labor News

Burma: Dozens of Myanmar workers arrested in police clampdown on labour rights march News - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Mizzima
Categories: Labor News

Paterson – first look Jim Jarmusch’s latest steers poems of place and people through Adam Driver’s city bus driver. Our editor hops on board.

Current News - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 14:43

Paterson – first look
Jim Jarmusch’s latest steers poems of place and people through Adam Driver’s city bus driver. Our editor hops on board.
Nick James
18 May 2016

USA 2016
113 mins

Director Jim Jarmusch

Paterson Adam Driver
Laura Golshifteh Farahani
Jim Jarmusch makes vibrant films
Out of quiet distinctions
A taste for perfect, ordinary things

Paterson’s a bus driver
Named, maybe
Because the actor’s Adam Driver
And the film’s set in the city of Paterson
A Jarmusch circular joke
If ever I saw one

That’s Paterson New Jersey
Rolling by the buses’ windows
A place of surviving grace, perhaps
Of small-scale normal working life
A driver eavesdropping on passenger jive
Picks up themes, vivid, direct

William Carlos Williams
New Jersey born and bred
Named a book of poems Paterson
So the poems amateur Paterson writes
Before and after he drives his bus
Are like Williams in Paterson
But leaner, closer to haiku
And like Williams, he likes to look at
The Great Passaic falls of Paterson
A place where sometimes notions strike

Paterson has an Iranian wife
(Played by Golshifteh Farahani)
A fiend for black and white fixtures and fittings
Curlicue cupcakes, a harlequin guitar
Her English bulldog Marvin growls
Every time the couple kiss
A dog for local dawgs to covet

Adam Driver reads the poems
Hitting down on the plosives
His Paterson, modest, soulful, calm
Reminds me of Matti Pellonpää
In Aki’s Shadows of Paradise
Though more handsome, for now

Tags: moviebus driver
Categories: Labor News

Captain of Doomed El Faro Thought He Could Avoid Hurricane, Investigation Board Hears

Current News - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 22:02

Captain of Doomed El Faro Thought He Could Avoid Hurricane, Investigation Board Hears
May 16, 2016 by Reuters

By Letitia Stein

TAMPA, Fla., May 16 (Reuters) – U.S. Coast Guard investigators on Monday resumed a probe of last year’s deadly sinking of the El Faro off the Bahamas, beginning two weeks of hearings to examine the cargo ship’s operations, weather forecasts and regulatory oversight.

Captain Eric Bryson, who helped launch the El Faro on its final voyage, told the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation panel that the ship’s doomed captain had said he planned to “go out and shoot under,” meaning avoid, a storm brewing in the Caribbean.

He was among some two dozen experts set to testify during a second round of hearings on the worst cargo shipping disaster involving a U.S.-flagged vessel in more than three decades.

The 790-foot (241-meter) ship sank off the Bahamas during a hurricane on Oct. 1, two days after leaving Jacksonville before the storm intensified into a hurricane.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary,” said Captain James Fudaker, a docking pilot who also worked with the ship before it departed for Puerto Rico. He testified that he was not aware of equipment deficiencies.

Testimony from a former master of the ship also offered little insight into what went wrong.

“To me, the El Faro was a Cadillac. She rode well,” Captain Eric Axelsson told the panel, adding that he did not consider the vessel vulnerable.

During its first meeting in February, the Coast Guard panel heard the final phone call of the ship’s captain, Michael Davidson, a veteran mariner from Maine, who warned that the “clock was ticking” as his vessel took on water.

Executives with ship operator Tote Services have said the captain was responsible for decisions leading to the disaster.

The Coast Guard panel is looking for evidence of negligence or misconduct and the cause of the sinking. Convened only for the most serious disasters, the panel plans a third set of hearings at a yet unscheduled date.

By then, it hopes to have evidence from the ship’s voyage data recorder, which may contain detailed information from the vessel’s final hours. The recorder has been located in 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) of water off the Bahamas, but authorities have not been able to retrieve it.

Ultimately, the Coast Guard panel expects to issue a report and could make recommendations aimed at preventing another disaster. (Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Paul Simao and Cynthia Osterman)

Tags: El Faro Ship Sinking
Categories: Labor News

France: Truckers block roads in test week of protest News - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

Russia: Gruesome footage: Construction worker sews mouth shut, protesting unpaid wages News - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Daily Mirror
Categories: Labor News

Europe: The Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) – the Time is Now News - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ETUC
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Teetering on the brink of counter-revolution News - Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Stronger Unions
Categories: Labor News

Kenya: 200 Nurses in Nandi sacked for striking News - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Zipo
Categories: Labor News

IBT District Council 7 Dumps Republican Supporting Trump

Current News - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 13:33

IBT District Council 7 Dumps Republican Supporting Trump
MAY 14, 2016 4:42 PM
Trump support leads Teamsters to withdraw Scott Jones endorsement

Joint Council 7 backed Jones in March

Cited his stance against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Now says his support for the likely GOP presidential nominee is a deal-breaker

Rep. Ami Bera denounces Donald Trump 00:51

Rep. Ami Bera reacts to the Teamsters' decision to revoke its endorsement of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a candidate for the seat in Congress currently held by Bera, over Jones' support of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Dan Morain The Sacramento Bee
Republican congressional candidate Scott Jones’ pledge to support his party’s likely presidential nominee Donald Trump has cost him the endorsement of a key labor ally.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Teamsters Joint Council 7 confirmed the group has withdrawn its endorsement of Jones, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in suburban Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District.

Rome Aloise, president of Teamsters Joint Council 7, last week sent a letter to Jones stating his group was “extremely disappointed” with Jones’ decision to vote for Trump, whom Aloise said has taken “diametrically” opposite positions to Jones on collective bargaining issues and the need for comprehensive immigration overhaul. Trump continues to divide Republicans on the fall ballot as well as many party elders.

“Understandably, many members of the Republican Party do not like the prospects of either of the Democrat candidates in the race becoming president,” wrote Aloise, himself a registered Democrat. “Yet many Republicans are withholding their support for Trump because of his divisiveness and his scapegoating of immigrants, women, and workers. We cannot stand with anybody who condones such behavior.”

It’s unclear what kind of money and manpower would have resulted from the endorsement, Jones’ second from among organized labor. Bera, who has drawn criticism from unions for voting to give President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority, has not taken a position on the trade deal. Last week, Bera’s re-election effort suffered another potential blow when his 83-year-old father pleaded guilty to two felony counts of election fraud related to his son’s campaign committee.

Dave Gilliard, Jones’ campaign strategist, said in an email Saturday that the Jones campaign had yet to hear from Joint Council 7, which represents 100,000 workers in dairies, trucking and food processing across Northern California, the Central Valley and Northern Nevada.

“If they did, or do, withdraw formally, this is all about desperation on the part of Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., over the dire condition Congressman Bera’s re-election campaign is in, more than anything else,” Gilliard said. “The Jones campaign is confident that the vast majority of local teamsters will support the sheriff because they know he is a straight-shooter who will look out for American jobs.”

When Aloise announced the endorsement in March, he cited Jones’ opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, adding that 10,000 good-paying union jobs in California’s dairy industry are at stake.

“We are confident that Scott Jones is the right person for the job,” Aloise said at the time.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

Tags: IBT District Council7Rome AloiseRepublicansTrump
Categories: Labor News


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