Teamsters for a Democratic Union
American Airlines passenger service agents have voted to be represented by a coalition of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
AA’s agents, who staff the gates and counters at airports and handle reservations, had voted down the CWA in 2013, prior to the Dec. 9 merger of US Airways and American.
Click here to read more at The Dallas Morning News.Issues: Airlines
Voting ends today for American Airlines passenger service agents deciding whether to unionize, with results tomorrow. The vote is a result of the merger between American and US Airways, which created the largest airline in the world—and the largest union representation election in the U.S. this year.
The agents handle reservations, check in passengers and baggage, and staff airline gates. A third of them—the 5,500 US Airways agents—are already members of the Communications Workers (CWA). The 9,000 American agents have tried several times to unionize, losing their 2013 election by a heartbreaking 150 votes.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Airlines
September 13, 2014: Yesterday the Laredo Texas Con-way terminal workers voted to join Teamsters Local 657, in a first-ever organizing win at the giant LTL carrier. Los Angeles Joint Council 42 just filed with the NLRB for organizing votes at three Con-way terminals in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs and San Fernando.
Is this the start of movement to organize in freight and trucking? We hope so! It’s certainly a good first step, and should spread.
Other locals are organizing at Con-way, and also among FedEx Freight workers. A conference call of locals was held two weeks ago and other one is coming up soon, to compare notes on freight organizing.
The Laredo vote among 113 drivers and dock workers at the busy terminal on the international border was 55-49 for Local 657. Los Angeles Local 63 and other locals in the initial stages of freight organizing have also taken local initiative.
The International union organizing department has so far not been involved. Freight and trucking have not been priority areas for the Hoffa administration. In fact, the Hoffa administration poured cold water on a drive at Con-way in Ohio, begun by local unions over a year ago.
Locals are taking initiative. The International union has the big resources to help coordinate this movement and drive it to victory.Issues: Freight
September 12, 2014: The labor movement is joining up with the biggest mobilization against climate change in history.
World leaders will converge on New York City later this month for a United Nations climate summit.
Unions are converging on New York City too. The Teamsters are joining forces with unions, environmental groups, students, and over 100 social and economic justice organizations for the biggest climate change march in history on Sunday, Sept. 21.
The purpose of the march is to demand that countries at the UN summit take action to reduce global warming pollution and create good union jobs as part of a more sustainable economy.
TDU members are mobilizing Teamsters to join the march too. Hear from them on why their marching:
“Come join us on Sunday, September 21! I’ll be there with Local 805 members. The same corporations destroying our jobs and unions are destroying our communities and our planet with air pollution, poisons in our water, greenhouse gases and much more. They are doing anything they want to make a profit and it’s going to take all of us to stop it! We must demand that our elected officials get their collective heads out of the sand and take some serious actions to stop this destruction.”
Sandy Pope, Local 805 President, New York City
“Climate change is real—it’s happening and it’s going to affect all of us, including workers and the union movement. As labor, we’ve got to make our voices heard on this and other social issues. We’re all in this together.”
Thanddnes Palmer, UPS, Local 804, New York City
“Hurricane Sandy showed what can happen if we don't do something about climate change. Local 814 members got involved in the relief effort. Now it's time for union members to take a stand against climate change and for labor to make sure that green jobs are decent-paying and safe.”
Walter Taylor, Local 814, New York CityIssues: Labor Movement
America's largest parcel delivery company United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) earns the lion's share of its total revenue from domestic operations. Now, the company's keen on widening its international reach, particularly in the emerging markets. With rising per capita income leading to higher discretionary spending among the middle-class population, emerging economies are offering huge growth potential to courier companies. Over the last decade, UPS has tried to make its presence felt in China, Poland, and Turkey.
UPS has been in China for more than two decades, gradually expanding its operations, but in 2009, after China put restrictions on foreign courier companies asking for license renewals, expansion came to a standstill. Good news is that the nation has issued licenses allowing foreign courier companies to expand operations regionally. As prospects in the Mainland are encouraging, can the Atlanta-based giant capitalize on the same, and contest home-grown companies that have become stronger during this period?
Click here to read more at Seeking Alpha.Issues: UPS
Teamsters union organizing efforts are advancing at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, the two largest nonunion less-than-truckload carriers, according to National Labor Relations Board records.
At Con-Way, Local 657 led the effort for a representation election supervised by the National Labor Relartions Board that has been set for Sept. 12 in Laredo, Texas, according to NLRB officials.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor MovementFreight
September 11, 2014: Rail workers have shouted a loud “No” to single-person train crews. The contract rejection was delivered by conductors who work for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), who are members of SMART (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union).
“Rail workers told the BNSF railway, their union leaders and fellow rail workers that they will not support single-person crews,” said Ron Kaminkow, an engineer for Amtrak and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) affiliated with the Teamsters.
Kaminkow is an activist in Railroad Workers United (RWU), a network of rail workers in various unions, including the Teamsters. RWU seeks to build solidarity and break down petty rivalries fostered by certain union officials.
RWU noted that the SMART top officials negotiated the deal in secret, then tried to sell it with smoke and mirrors and a “signing bonus.”
“The surprise attack, coming from the union, on the 2 person train crew, lit a fire under the rank and file like I have never seen in my 13 years of railroading” said JP Wright of BLET IBT 740 and Co-Chair of RWU.
RWU’s press release notes that the contract rejection is “a decisive victory, not just for the trainmen and engineers on the BNSF, but for every railroad worker in North America.”
It is especially important for the 33,000 rail engineers of the BLET-IBT. These Teamsters would be under the gun to accept single-person operating crews, if the second-largest rail line in North America had won that concession.
RWU was instrumental in coordinating the opposition to the contract among trainmen and engineers, with conference calls on strategy, leaflets, stickers, rallies and media coverage.
Kaminkow said the priority now is to build on the solidarity that powered this win. The RWU statement calls this “the opening shot in a protracted war” to preserve union jobs and public safety on North America’s rail lines.
Click here to read the Railroad Workers United press statement for more information.Issues: Rail
September 11, 2014: It’s time to make a worker’s right to speak out for unions, without employer retaliation, a civil right. Two members of Congress have introduced the Employee Empowerment Act, to give the right to organize protections found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
You can learn more and sign a petition of support.
The bill has little chance of passing at present, but is an important part of building a movement to defend workers’ rights and revitalize the labor movement.
Now is the time. Recently we have seen workers at Walmart and other anti-union giants start to stand up, but face firing with little protection. Present NLRB protections are slow and inadequate, so many employers routinely violate them.
Corporate spokespersons claim that unions are in decline because workers don’t need them anymore. But in other countries, such as Canada or Germany, the picture is very different, because workers have more legal protections.
The labor and civil rights movements have always had a lot in common. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it should be remembered, was gunned down in Memphis in 1968, where he was supporting striking black sanitation workers who marched carrying posters with the message “I Am a Man.”
As Dr. King stated to the 1961 AFL-CIO convention referring to the labor and civil rights movements, “Together, we can be the architects of democracy.” Workers deserve legal protections to allow that to happen.Issues: Labor Movement
For years, the American labor movement has been on the defensive as it has become harder and harder for workers to join or maintain a union. But some House Democrats are planning a dramatic counter-offensive: a bill that would make union organizing a civil right.
Representatives Keith Ellison and John Lewis plan to introduce a bill Wednesday that would make labor organizing a basic freedom no different than freedom from racial discrimination. That sounds like a nice talking point—but this isn’t just another messaging bill.
Click here to read more at The Nation.Issues: Labor Movement
Forty years ago this week, bell-bottom jeans were still in style, the Vietnam War was coming to a close, and Watergate was still riveting the nation.
Against this backdrop of social unrest, there was also a focus on broken pension promises. Back then, tens of thousands of people were losing their pensions because few laws existed to regulate pension plans. A worker could lose his pension after working at the same company for 25 years because he left the company before turning 65. Employers could fritter away pension money on bad investments or bogus transactions often without facing any consequences. Bankrupt plans could leave workers and retirees with only a fraction of the benefits they earned and no recourse against their employer. In response, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, to put an end to such abusive practices.
Click here to read more at the Pension Rights Center.Issues: Labor Movement
September 4, 2014: Fast Food workers are walking off the job in 150 cities today to win a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to be union members. TDU stands with them!
The walkouts are the latest in a series of coordinated strikes that began in November 2012. Today marks the first time that the actions include nonviolent civil disobedience.
Police arrested at least 19 people outside of a McDonald’s in New York City.
In Detroit, demonstrators blocked traffic at another McDonalds.
The average pay for a food prep and service worker is $8.74 an hour, or about $18,000 a year. That's roughly $5,000 lower than the Census Bureau's poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.
Today’s protests come more than a month after the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer that exerts substantial power over working conditions at its franchisees.
The ruling, if upheld, means McDonald's could be held liable for labor violations at its more than 12,000 franchisee-owned restaurants.
Click here for more information.Issues: Labor Movement
When you work overtime, you're supposed to get paid for it. And more employees are saying they aren't and they're suing.
A group of warehouse workers are set to get more than $20,000 in back pay each as part of a recent $21 million legal settlement with national trucking company Schneider.
Click here to read more at Madame Noire.Issues: Labor Movement
In my many years covering trucking, I’ve been surprised by the industry’s steadfastly antagonistic approach to government attempts to impose new regulations and requirements to improve safety. By and large, fleets seem to look upon safety regulations as a burden to be resisted when possible and to be grudgingly endured only when active political resistance fails.
While I accept that most fleets strive to reduce accidents and injuries—which executives understand will keep damage claims and customer complaints down -- carrier officials seem to lead with their chins. In fact, short-term savings gained by delaying safety improvements are quite costly to the industry in terms of the public’s perception of trucking and are often harmful to the financial performance of fleets.
Click here to read more at Fleet Owner.Issues: Freight
Comments on the proposed electronic logging device mandate cover the full spectrum of reactions, from outrage and disdain at Big Brother government to applause for a sensible and long-overdue safety rule.
Most of the 2,213 comments are from individuals who do not like what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning to do. Many include substantive suggestions for how to improve what the agency is proposing.
Click here to read more at Truckinginfo.comIssues: Freight
August 29, 2014: Happy Labor Day Weekend, from your brothers and sisters in Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
On Labor Day, we celebrate the union movement—the folks that brought you the weekend, the 8-hour day, retirement with dignity and the middle class.
Employers and corporate politicians want to roll these gains back. To defend them, we’ve got to put more movement back in the labor movement. That’s what TDU is all about.
Enjoy the long weekend with family and friends. Wear your Teamster colors proudly at the Labor Day Parade. Then let’s hit the ground running this fall working to rebuild union power.
TDU members are gearing up for our 2014 Convention in Cleveland from November 7-9.
Now’s the time to book your travel and make plans to attend 3-days of the best educational workshops for Teamsters around and join the growing movement to Take Back Our Union.
Click here to register for the 2014 TDU Convention today. Or give us a call at 313-842-2600.
August 29, 2014: Teamsters at the Twin River Casino took a gamble that solidarity could beat corporate greed at Twin River Casino. Now they’ve beaten the house.
The money never stops flowing at Twin River Casino, the largest gambling and entertainment venue in Rhode Island.
But the winnings always stopped when it came to Local 251 members who work as parking valets at the Casino. Until now.
With their old local union leadership cozy with management, the odds were stacked against them. Teamster parking valets took concessionary contracts that created three tiers of employees.
The lowest tier of workers made just $2.89 an hour (plus tips). If they wanted family healthcare they had to pay for the coverage themselves.
This summer, Local 251 members at the Casino bet that solidarity could pay off—and they won a new contract with higher wages, work rule improvements and affordable healthcare for members and their families.
How They Did it
Local 251 members elected new union leadership this year and embraced a new approach to contract negotiations. For the first time, rank-and-file members sat on the negotiating committee.
When Twin River Casino management refused to budge, members Voted No to reject the Casino’s concessionary contract offer.
Then workers took their case to the public. They leafleted the Casino and talked to customers. They launched a social media campaign under the theme “Poverty Wages are a losing bet” that targeted fans of the Casino’s own Facebook page.
Local 251 joined forces with the Working Families Party to launch an online petition telling “Twin River Casino should pay its parking valets a fair wage and provide affordable healthcare coverage for their families."
The Working Families Party (WFP) is a grassroots political party of unions and community groups, including some Teamster locals. They teamed up with Teamsters Local 804 in another winning campaign to save the jobs of 250 Teamsters fired by UPS in New York City.
More than 5,000 public supporters signed the Twin River Casino petition in less than 24 hours. The day after the petition was launched, management sat down with the Local 251 bargaining committee and the Casino folded.
The new contract raises wages and delivers affordable family healthcare coverage to workers and their families.
In addition the new contract improves members’ rights and protections on the job, including stronger job security, the right to honor primary picket lines, a better grievance procedure, fairer disciplinary policies, and improvements in union access, job bidding, seniority, and more.
When Twin River management walked into the first bargaining meeting they said, “We like things the way they are.” Members called their bluff. The Casino had nothing. Thanks to rank-and-file unity and organized public support, members had a full house!Issues: Local Union Reform
August 29, 2014: Hoffa administration lawyers are filing a motion before Federal Judge Loretta Preska in a bid to curtail fair, independently supervised elections in the Teamsters.
Judge Preska can’t just hear from Hoffa. She needs to hear from us.
More than 10,000 Teamsters have signed an Open Letter to Judge Preska—including over 3,700 online signatures.
Help defend our right to vote:
Sign the petition online and make your voice heard.
Email a link to the petition to your friends and asking them to and sharing it on your Facebook wall?Issues: Hoffa Watch
August 29, 2014: More than 10,000 Teamsters have signed the petition to save the Right to Vote for International Union officers. There's still time to make our voices heard.
Hoffa administration lawyers are filing a motion before Federal Judge Loretta Preska in a bid to curtail fair, independently supervised elections in the Teamsters.
We launched a petition drive to the judge and set a goal of 10,000 signatures by Labor Day—and we have topped that goal!
More than 10,600 Teamsters have signed petitions to save the Right to Vote for International Union officers. This includes more than 3,600 Teamsters who have signed our online petition as well as 7,000+ petition signatures that have been collected by TDU members.
More signatures are coming in every day and there's still time to make our voices heard.
What Happens Next
The Hoffa administration is filing papers with Judge Preska. Some time in September, Judge Preska is expected to meet with attorneys for the Hoffa administration and the U.S. Attorney.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) will present our position to the court—and we will deliver petition signatures from over 10,000 members. A decision from the Judge could come in early Fall.
There’s still time for Teamsters to make their voices heard.
Members have until September 10 to sign the online petition or mail in their petition signatures.
Help defend the Right to Vote.
Sign the petition online and make your voice heard.
Copy and Email this link to your friends sharing it on your Facebook wall.
Mail your completed petitions to:
PO Box 10128
Detroit, MI 48210
If you’d like to help with this petition effort, contact TDU at 313-842-2600 or info [at] tdu [dot] org. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and mail you a packet of materials immediately.Issues: TDUHoffa Watch
In the latest decision on worker status, a federal appeals court in California ruled that 2,300 workers at FedEx Corp.’s Ground unit were employees and not contractors to the package delivery company.
The 35-page decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the Ground workers were misclassified as independent contractors, in violation of California law.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.Issues: Grocery
CEO pay has skyrocketed over the last few decades, and corporate leaders are usually tight-lipped on the subject.
But we were offered a rare moment of candor last month from David Dillon, chairman and former CEO of the grocery chain Kroger, who called his own eight-figure paycheck "ludicrous" during an Aspen Ideas Festival panel.
Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.Issues: Grocery