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FedEx ‘deeply saddened’ by ‘tragic accident’ at Lubbock airport facility

Current News - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 18:57

FedEx ‘deeply saddened’ by ‘tragic accident’ at Lubbock airport facility

http://lubbockonline.com/news/2017-10-17/fedex-deeply-saddened-tragic-ac...
Posted October 17, 2017 06:40 pm - Updated October 17, 2017 07:08 pm
By Adam D. YoungA-J Media Local News Editor
FedEx ‘deeply saddened’ by ‘tragic accident’ at Lubbock airport facility

Federal officials are looking into a death after what FedEx officials are calling an accident late Tuesday morning at the FedEx facility at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport.

Lubbock police spokeswoman Tiffany Pelt confirmed officers responded to a report of a death just before noon at the FedEx facility, but that the death is not being investigated as a homicide.

“There was nothing suspicious that warranted a homicide callout,” she said.

A spokesman for FedEx released a brief statement to the A-J Monday.“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues affected by the loss of our team member. We are cooperating fully with investigating authorities.”

Asked for additional details about the death, FedEx did not release additional details by late Tuesday, including information about the employee, what happened or potential impacts to the facility’s operations.

A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration late Tuesday indicated the accident came during maintenance on equipment.

“We will investigate the accident to determine whether the maintenance was being performed in accordance with approved safety procedures and if the mechanic had received adequate training,” according to the statement from FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

Lunsford referred the A-J to company or local authorities for specific details.

Juan Rodriguez, a spokesman with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, released a statement to the A-J Tuesday confirming “OSHA has an open and ongoing investigation into this incident.”

“No other information is available until the case is closed,” the statement reads.

Tags: FedExhealth and safetyosha
Categories: Labor News

Pakistan: Railway union leader imprisoned for terrorism after organizing rally

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: LabourWatch
Categories: Labor News

Labor, Mumia, The Trial And The Fight For Freedom With Mumia's Lawyer Rachel Wolkenstein

Current News - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 22:00

Labor, Mumia, The Trial And The Fight For Freedom With Mumia's Lawyer Rachel Wolkenstein
https://youtu.be/vTzNrB-zlyk
Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of the most important political prisoners in the United States. Rachel H. Wolkenstein who has been a lawyer for Mumia from the start of his legal fight for freedom spoke in San Francisco on October 27, 2017. She was introduced by ILWU Local 10 retired longshoreman Jack Heyman, Mumia is also an honorary member of CWA NABET and was a reporter in Philadelphia from many years before he was charged with murder. The meeting was sponsored by the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia.
Additional media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8i7pCEMScw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfwDWlLZE5s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25AsBn8WYU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABosvjawnj4
For more information:
www.laboractionmumia.org
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: MumiaILWU Local 10NABETframe-up
Categories: Labor News

DC Transit Union ATU Local 689 Threatens Safety Stand-Down, Could Delay Service

Current News - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:06

DC Transit Union ATU Local 689 Threatens Safety Stand-Down, Could Delay Service
https://wamu.org/story/17/10/27/transit-union-threatens-safety-stand-pot...
October 27, 2107
Martin Di Caro

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 brought their safety concerns to the WMATA board on Thursday.

Martin Di Caro / WAMU

Metro’s largest labor union issued a warning on Thursday to the transit authority’s leadership that employees will stop working if they encounter what the union believes to be unsafe working conditions, potentially delaying rail or bus service or halting maintenance activities. It was not immediately clear how many employees would participate, or when.

Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents 9,200 front line workers, were careful to avoid describing the threat of a “safety stand-down” as a planned job action, because transit strikes are illegal under the terms of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with WMATA.

After a string of attacks on bus drivers and other safety disputes with management, the union contends Metro is not listening to its concerns or acting quickly enough to rectify them. Metro denies the charges, saying it meets with union leaders regularly and has taken action to protect bus drivers on the most dangerous routes.

“We are finished talking. We are finished asking you to listen to us,” said ATU Local 689 president Jackie Jeter in remarks before the Metro board and general manager Paul Wiedefeld during a public meeting at WMATA headquarters.

“We have talked about safety. We have talked about what needs to be done. We have talked about the changes that need to take place,” Jeter said. “Talking about them has not saved our workers.”

Jeter addressed the board moments after another union leader attempted to read a list of names of transit workers who have died on the job, but who exceeded the two-minute time limit for public speakers at WMATA board meetings. Board chairman Jack Evans tried in vain to gavel the meeting back to order, provoking angry shouts from both union members and disability rights advocates who were in attendance to protest cuts to a popular taxicab program run by the District.

The threatened “safety stand-down” recalled an incident on the morning of Sept. 1, when drivers on Metro’s X2 bus line refused to drive unless each was given a transit police officer to ride along with them. ATU Local 689 denied that the drivers refused to do their jobs, but Metro forcefully denounced their behavior as “an unauthorized and potentially unlawful labor action” that severely delayed service.

The Sept. 1 incident happened days after passenger Opal Brown threw urine on an X2 driver as she got off the bus. She dumped the liquid over a protective plastic shield installed around the driver’s seat. The union says the shields are ineffective.

Asked if Metrorail and bus riders should expect unannounced service delays, Jeter said nothing was planned. She also sought to refute the notion that the union was organizing strikes.

“Metro uses any excuse they can to take you away from the narrative that we are working in unsafe conditions,” Jeter said.

“Whatever you want to call it, call it. We are not going to work in unsafe conditions. If I am a worker and I encounter an unsafe situation, I should have the right to take myself out of that situation until safety is procured. That is the difference between a strike and a stand-down,” Jeter added.

Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld said he wasn’t sure what union leaders meant when they addressed him during the board meeting.

“Obviously we are very serious about any safety concerns. We deal with them when people bring them to us, and that is what we’ll do,” Wiedefeld said, before referencing the collective bargaining agreement’s prohibition against job actions that affect passenger service.

“We also have a contract that has certain requirements in it that they need to meet,” he said. “We are working hard on the bus assault issue. We are working with the union.”

Jeter cancelled a meeting scheduled with management on Thursday to discuss bus driver safety concerns, according to a Metro spokesman.

ATU Local 689 and Metro management have been engaged in a contentious contract negotiation that reached an impasse this summer – more than a year after the previous, four-year labor deal expired. It will be up to an arbitrator to settle the ongoing dispute over wages and benefits, including management’s proposal to shift new employees from defined pensions to a 401(k) retirement plan.

Tags: ATU 689health and safetylabor rights
Categories: Labor News

DC Transit Union ATU Local 689 Threatens Safety Stand-Down, Could Delay Service

Current News - Sat, 10/28/2017 - 11:06

DC Transit Union ATU Local 689 Threatens Safety Stand-Down, Could Delay Service
https://wamu.org/story/17/10/27/transit-union-threatens-safety-stand-pot...
October 27, 2107
Martin Di Caro

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 brought their safety concerns to the WMATA board on Thursday.

Martin Di Caro / WAMU

Metro’s largest labor union issued a warning on Thursday to the transit authority’s leadership that employees will stop working if they encounter what the union believes to be unsafe working conditions, potentially delaying rail or bus service or halting maintenance activities. It was not immediately clear how many employees would participate, or when.

Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which represents 9,200 front line workers, were careful to avoid describing the threat of a “safety stand-down” as a planned job action, because transit strikes are illegal under the terms of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with WMATA.

After a string of attacks on bus drivers and other safety disputes with management, the union contends Metro is not listening to its concerns or acting quickly enough to rectify them. Metro denies the charges, saying it meets with union leaders regularly and has taken action to protect bus drivers on the most dangerous routes.

“We are finished talking. We are finished asking you to listen to us,” said ATU Local 689 president Jackie Jeter in remarks before the Metro board and general manager Paul Wiedefeld during a public meeting at WMATA headquarters.

“We have talked about safety. We have talked about what needs to be done. We have talked about the changes that need to take place,” Jeter said. “Talking about them has not saved our workers.”

Jeter addressed the board moments after another union leader attempted to read a list of names of transit workers who have died on the job, but who exceeded the two-minute time limit for public speakers at WMATA board meetings. Board chairman Jack Evans tried in vain to gavel the meeting back to order, provoking angry shouts from both union members and disability rights advocates who were in attendance to protest cuts to a popular taxicab program run by the District.

The threatened “safety stand-down” recalled an incident on the morning of Sept. 1, when drivers on Metro’s X2 bus line refused to drive unless each was given a transit police officer to ride along with them. ATU Local 689 denied that the drivers refused to do their jobs, but Metro forcefully denounced their behavior as “an unauthorized and potentially unlawful labor action” that severely delayed service.

The Sept. 1 incident happened days after passenger Opal Brown threw urine on an X2 driver as she got off the bus. She dumped the liquid over a protective plastic shield installed around the driver’s seat. The union says the shields are ineffective.

Asked if Metrorail and bus riders should expect unannounced service delays, Jeter said nothing was planned. She also sought to refute the notion that the union was organizing strikes.

“Metro uses any excuse they can to take you away from the narrative that we are working in unsafe conditions,” Jeter said.

“Whatever you want to call it, call it. We are not going to work in unsafe conditions. If I am a worker and I encounter an unsafe situation, I should have the right to take myself out of that situation until safety is procured. That is the difference between a strike and a stand-down,” Jeter added.

Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld said he wasn’t sure what union leaders meant when they addressed him during the board meeting.

“Obviously we are very serious about any safety concerns. We deal with them when people bring them to us, and that is what we’ll do,” Wiedefeld said, before referencing the collective bargaining agreement’s prohibition against job actions that affect passenger service.

“We also have a contract that has certain requirements in it that they need to meet,” he said. “We are working hard on the bus assault issue. We are working with the union.”

Jeter cancelled a meeting scheduled with management on Thursday to discuss bus driver safety concerns, according to a Metro spokesman.

ATU Local 689 and Metro management have been engaged in a contentious contract negotiation that reached an impasse this summer – more than a year after the previous, four-year labor deal expired. It will be up to an arbitrator to settle the ongoing dispute over wages and benefits, including management’s proposal to shift new employees from defined pensions to a 401(k) retirement plan.

Tags: ATU 689health and safetylabor rights
Categories: Labor News

WA Port of Longview OK's new lease for Bridgeview Terminal

Current News - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 13:31

WA Port of Longview OK's new lease for Bridgeview Terminal
The commissioners gave the green light on the lease despite opposition from the local longshoremen’s union, which said it still has jurisdictional issues to work out with IRM.

“Once again we’re getting into an EGT-type situation,” said Billy Roberts, president of ILWU Local 21, referring to the union’s highly-charged battle over a lease with EGT in 2011, which lead to protests and several arrests.

http://tdn.com/news/local/port-of-longview-ok-s-new-lease-for-bridgeview...
Marissa Luck mluck@tdn.com Oct 19, 2017 1

BUY NOW
Bridgeview Terminal
Eight days after reaching a tentative deal with International Raw Materials, Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday agreed to enter a new five-year lease with the terminal operator, in what is expected to bring millions of dollars in new revenue and dozens of jobs to the port.

Commissioners Jeff Wilson and Doug Averett approved the lease as presented to the commission last week, but Commissioner Bob Bagaason abstained, citing concerns about the process being too rushed.

Bagaason said he did not like the fact that the lease, which staff has spent months negotiating, was presented to commissioners as a done deal.

“I don’t want to be seen as a rubber stamp for anything,” he said.

Wilson and Averett said the agreement will be a boon for the terminal, which has struggled to turn a profit under its former operator, Kinder Morgan.

“I think this is good for the port and good for the community,” Averett said.

The commissioners gave the green light on the lease despite opposition from the local longshoremen’s union, which said it still has jurisdictional issues to work out with IRM.

“Once again we’re getting into an EGT-type situation,” said Billy Roberts, president of ILWU Local 21, referring to the union’s highly-charged battle over a lease with EGT in 2011, which lead to protests and several arrests. “This is like packing up and moving across the country when you don’t have a house. At this time, we still have a lot of work to do … and we’re not in support of this project.”

If the two sides can’t reach a compromise by next Tuesday, when a ship is scheduled to dock at the terminal, Roberts said it’s likely the two sides will have to enter a formal arbitration process to resolve their differences. But IRM President Tip O’Neill said the company wants to avoid arbitration, noting that IRM has never reached that level of conflict with the ILWU at Port of Portland, nor at Port of Longview when it operated here in the 1980s and 1990s.

O’Neill said the company is committed to working with the ILWU to address any remaining concerns.

“I’m a bit upset when I hear reference to EGT (labor unrest) because that’s a whole different scenario,” O’Neill said.”We’ve got people that have been part of the community ... we’re not going to do that to this community. We’re going to get things sorted out.”

Wilson said the lease explicitly states that IRM will have to honor the port’s working agreement with the ILWU.

“It was a good lease … staff worked tirelessly on this,” Wilson said. “This is (economically) good news for the community.”

Under the deal, the port will make an additional $1.5 million to $2 million annually from Berths 1 and 2, now collectively called the Bridgeview Terminal. Currently, the Bridgeview Terminal isn’t breaking even.

In its first year of operations, IRM will guarantee that 250,000 metric tons of product will be shipped through the terminal. This will double in the second year, hitting 500,000 metric tons annually and possibly exceeding that minimum if IRM can attract more business. The company will handle pot ash, soda ash and other dry bulk commodities.

That level of volume will support more than 30 longshoremen jobs, although it’s possible that jobs number could be higher if the terminal is busier. According to a 2012 economic impact study of Berth 2, there are about 15 direct jobs supported for every 220,000 metric tons of cargo shipped at the dock.

The port charges wharfage fees based on the volume of cargo passing through its docks, so higher volumes will mean more revenue and more jobs.

IRM operated the terminal from 1981 to 2001, when it sold its operating rights to Kinder Morgan. But Kinder Morgan only shipped an average of 360,000 metric tons through the terminal, although it is capable of handling more than double that amount.

IRM officials say they want to make the terminal more lucrative for the port again. The Philadelphia-based company will invest at least $1.25 million into modernization and upgrades at the 20-acre terminal, which will be credited back to cover the company’s initial wharfage and lease payments.

Unlike Kinder Morgan, which only ran the vessel side of the terminal’s operations, IRM will be responsible for managing the entire terminal, including rail unloading. It will contract with Seattle-based Jones Stevedoring to manage labor.

Under the five-year agreement, IRM would pay the port a minimum of $410,000 in wharfage fees in the first year and a minimum of $820,000 thereafter. The base lease would generate $473,000 annually, and the company would pay the port’s standard dockage fees. The agreement includes two five-year options to extend.

“We’re committed to being a good neighbor, to running a safe operation and protecting the environment,” O’Neill of IRM said Wednesday.

Tags: ILWU Local 21egtunion busting
Categories: Labor News

WA Port of Longview OK's new lease for Bridgeview Terminal

Current News - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 13:31

WA Port of Longview OK's new lease for Bridgeview Terminal
The commissioners gave the green light on the lease despite opposition from the local longshoremen’s union, which said it still has jurisdictional issues to work out with IRM.

“Once again we’re getting into an EGT-type situation,” said Billy Roberts, president of ILWU Local 21, referring to the union’s highly-charged battle over a lease with EGT in 2011, which lead to protests and several arrests.

http://tdn.com/news/local/port-of-longview-ok-s-new-lease-for-bridgeview...
Marissa Luck mluck@tdn.com Oct 19, 2017 1

BUY NOW
Bridgeview Terminal
Eight days after reaching a tentative deal with International Raw Materials, Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday agreed to enter a new five-year lease with the terminal operator, in what is expected to bring millions of dollars in new revenue and dozens of jobs to the port.

Commissioners Jeff Wilson and Doug Averett approved the lease as presented to the commission last week, but Commissioner Bob Bagaason abstained, citing concerns about the process being too rushed.

Bagaason said he did not like the fact that the lease, which staff has spent months negotiating, was presented to commissioners as a done deal.

“I don’t want to be seen as a rubber stamp for anything,” he said.

Wilson and Averett said the agreement will be a boon for the terminal, which has struggled to turn a profit under its former operator, Kinder Morgan.

“I think this is good for the port and good for the community,” Averett said.

The commissioners gave the green light on the lease despite opposition from the local longshoremen’s union, which said it still has jurisdictional issues to work out with IRM.

“Once again we’re getting into an EGT-type situation,” said Billy Roberts, president of ILWU Local 21, referring to the union’s highly-charged battle over a lease with EGT in 2011, which lead to protests and several arrests. “This is like packing up and moving across the country when you don’t have a house. At this time, we still have a lot of work to do … and we’re not in support of this project.”

If the two sides can’t reach a compromise by next Tuesday, when a ship is scheduled to dock at the terminal, Roberts said it’s likely the two sides will have to enter a formal arbitration process to resolve their differences. But IRM President Tip O’Neill said the company wants to avoid arbitration, noting that IRM has never reached that level of conflict with the ILWU at Port of Portland, nor at Port of Longview when it operated here in the 1980s and 1990s.

O’Neill said the company is committed to working with the ILWU to address any remaining concerns.

“I’m a bit upset when I hear reference to EGT (labor unrest) because that’s a whole different scenario,” O’Neill said.”We’ve got people that have been part of the community ... we’re not going to do that to this community. We’re going to get things sorted out.”

Wilson said the lease explicitly states that IRM will have to honor the port’s working agreement with the ILWU.

“It was a good lease … staff worked tirelessly on this,” Wilson said. “This is (economically) good news for the community.”

Under the deal, the port will make an additional $1.5 million to $2 million annually from Berths 1 and 2, now collectively called the Bridgeview Terminal. Currently, the Bridgeview Terminal isn’t breaking even.

In its first year of operations, IRM will guarantee that 250,000 metric tons of product will be shipped through the terminal. This will double in the second year, hitting 500,000 metric tons annually and possibly exceeding that minimum if IRM can attract more business. The company will handle pot ash, soda ash and other dry bulk commodities.

That level of volume will support more than 30 longshoremen jobs, although it’s possible that jobs number could be higher if the terminal is busier. According to a 2012 economic impact study of Berth 2, there are about 15 direct jobs supported for every 220,000 metric tons of cargo shipped at the dock.

The port charges wharfage fees based on the volume of cargo passing through its docks, so higher volumes will mean more revenue and more jobs.

IRM operated the terminal from 1981 to 2001, when it sold its operating rights to Kinder Morgan. But Kinder Morgan only shipped an average of 360,000 metric tons through the terminal, although it is capable of handling more than double that amount.

IRM officials say they want to make the terminal more lucrative for the port again. The Philadelphia-based company will invest at least $1.25 million into modernization and upgrades at the 20-acre terminal, which will be credited back to cover the company’s initial wharfage and lease payments.

Unlike Kinder Morgan, which only ran the vessel side of the terminal’s operations, IRM will be responsible for managing the entire terminal, including rail unloading. It will contract with Seattle-based Jones Stevedoring to manage labor.

Under the five-year agreement, IRM would pay the port a minimum of $410,000 in wharfage fees in the first year and a minimum of $820,000 thereafter. The base lease would generate $473,000 annually, and the company would pay the port’s standard dockage fees. The agreement includes two five-year options to extend.

“We’re committed to being a good neighbor, to running a safe operation and protecting the environment,” O’Neill of IRM said Wednesday.

Tags: ILWU Local 21egtunion busting
Categories: Labor News

Jones Act

IBU - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:10
OCEAN SHIPPING TO PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S.
Categories: Unions

Canadian ATU 1505 Winnipeg Transit union says assaults on drivers will spike if Winnipeg reopens Portage and Main to pedestrians

Current News - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:04

Canadian ATU 1505 Winnipeg Transit union says assaults on drivers will spike if Winnipeg reopens Portage and Main to pedestrians
Council approves a $3.5M plan to improve intersection and prepare for 2019 reopening
http://ht.ly/Yg5t30g8JY4
By Bartley Kives, CBC News Posted: Oct 25, 2017 1:49 PM CT Last Updated: Oct 25, 2017 8:26 PM CT

Winnipeg Transit service through Portage and Main would slow if the intersection is reopened to pedestrians, a traffic study has concluded. (Trevor Brine/CBC)
Winnipeg's transit union says reopening Portage and Main to pedestrians will lead to more assaults on bus drivers.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which has already expressed opposition to reopening the intersection on the grounds buses might strike pedestrians in turning lanes, now says changes to the central intersection also pose a safety risk to transit operators.

A city-commissioned traffic study concluded Winnipeg Transit travel times will increase if the intersection is amended to allow pedestrians to cross above ground.

"When service is delayed, people get upset, and when people get upset, they tend to assault the driver," said John Callahan, the ATU's international vice president and the former president of the union's Winnipeg branch.

Callahan made his comments at city hall before city council considered a plan to spend $3.5 million to make improvements to Portage and Main and plan for a reopening that could take place as soon as 2019.

CAO recommends Winnipeg spend $3.5M this year to get ball rolling on Portage and Main reopening
Winnipeg Transit to be hit hardest by reopening Portage and Main, study suggests

The plan, approved Wednesday afternoon in a 10-5 vote, calls for the city to redirect $2 million in road repair funds to the project and use $1.5 million worth of other existing budget lines to pay for a three-pronged Portage and Main plan:

Up to $1.5 million would be spent this year on architectural and engineering services, obtained through a competitive bidding process, to develop a more accurate cost estimate for reopening Portage and Main, a detailed design study, a phased construction schedule and a traffic staging plan.
Up to $500,000 would pay for new sidewalks, curbs, paving bands and trees connected to the Richardson plaza at the northeast corner of the intersection.
Up to $1.5 million would improve city property in the underground concourse, consisting of work below the 201 Portage Avenue office tower at the northwest corner of the intersection, removing the bunker at the Richardson plaza and concourse evaluations, assessments and studies.

Couns. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Shawn Dobson (St. Charles), Ross Eadie (Mynarski), Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) and Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan) voted against the funding, citing a series of concerns.

Browaty raised concerns about traffic snarls, Eadie said no one lives near Portage and Main and Lukes complained of a lack of consultation.

The sixth member of council's unofficial opposition, Transcona's Russ Wyatt, was absent from the October council meeting.

On Wednesday morning, about 20 members of the transit union and other labour unions protested the reopening outside city hall. Callahan said transit workers are frustrated by the slow progress on safety improvements, flat funding from the province for transit and the potential for transit cuts in 2018.

Inside city hall, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce chair Johanna Hurme appeared before council to support reopening the intersection. So did Rosanne Hill Blaisdell, vice-president of Harvard Developments, which owns the 201 Portage office tower at the northwest corner of Portage and Main.

Hill Blaisdell said it's important for the city to invest in Portage and Main when neighbouring property owners such as her company are investing millions in their properties.

Harvard is spending millions on its underground concourse, plans are in place for Richardson plaza improvements on the northeast corner of Portage and Main and at the southwest corner, Artis intends to build a new tower on the south pad of Winnipeg Square.

Tags: ATU 1505assaults on drivershealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Puerto Rico Labor Action By US Unionists & Jones Act

Current News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 21:48

KPFA WorkWeek Radio-Puerto Rico Labor Action By US Unionists & Jones Act
WW10-24-17 Puerto Rico Labor Action By US Unionists And Jones Act
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww10-24-17-puerto-rico-labor-actio...
WorkWeek looks at the ongoing struggle in Puerto Rico for survival. We interview NNU CNA Alta Bates nurse Gregory Callison about his solidarity action and that of the NNU-CNA to help the people of Puerto Rico. The union sent a delegation of over 50 nurses. We also interview retired ILWU Local 10 longshoreman Jack Heyman. Heyman talks about the Jones Act and why it coming under attack.
Additional media:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/23/puerto-rico-and-the-jones-act-co...
https://vimeo.com/238379586
https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/blog/people-puerto-rico-are-dying-a...
https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2017/10/11/nurses-demand-congress-...
Production of KPFA Pacifica WorkWeek Radio
workweek @kpfa.org
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio

Tags: Puerto Rico labormaritime laborJones Act
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: Breakthrough to end kafala after new commitments from Qatar on workers’ rights

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Shell games How trucking companies that cheat drivers dodge penalties

Current News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:37

Shell games How trucking companies that cheat drivers dodge penalties

https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/news/rigged-shell-games-how-...

By Brett Murphy
October 26, 2017
In 2015, a California labor court judge ordered Fargo Trucking to pay its drivers $8.7 million – as much as $370,000 each – for cheating them out of fair wages.

It was the largest judgment ever imposed in an industry notorious for exploiting its workers and running afoul of state labor laws.

But instead of writing checks to their drivers, Fargo’s owners set in motion a plan to make their company vanish. They jettisoned their retail clients and stripped the company of its assets. Then, they moved it all under new company names, safe from the judgment of the courts.

Today, they are back in business under the name Express FTC – hauling goods in the same trucks, for the same clients, out of the same office building that once belonged to Fargo.

Drivers still have not been paid.

A year-long USA TODAY Network investigation found that port trucking companies like Fargo have successfully used legal loopholes, shell companies and bankruptcy protection to dodge the punishment labor court judges have handed down.

Containers are stacked and stored after being unloaded from ships in the Port of Long Beach.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
It’s the latest revelation in an ongoing investigation into how port trucking companies that serve the nation’s top retailers take advantage of drivers, often forcing them to work around the clock while paying them pennies per hour.

The Network examined California labor commissioner and court cases filed by more than 1,100 port truck drivers and traced the outcomes for almost 60 companies found by the courts to have violated the law.

At least a dozen have so far avoided all or most of their labor judgments after shifting assets into new business names. Many delayed paying for two years or more, then filed for bankruptcy protection or pressured drivers to accept settlements that gave them a fraction of what the labor commissioner said they were owed.

The vast majority of the owners still operate today, moving goods out of California ports and on their way to major national retailers.

“The idea that companies are still around without paying the full boat is a point of outrage in and of itself,” said Jay Shin, directing attorney at the Wage Justice Center, a nonprofit that has provided legal help for drivers and contracted with the labor commissioner to collect judgments.

From 2012 to 2016, port truck drivers were awarded $37 million in back pay and penalties. It’s not clear how much has been paid out because state records don't show most private settlements or pending negotiations. But the labor commissioner has been able to track only $3 million that has gone to drivers.

Executives at eight of the 12 companies that appear to have moved assets after workers filed labor claims declined to comment for this story or did not respond to interview requests. The other four said they had done nothing wrong but did not answer questions about their business moves.

In email exchanges with USA TODAY Network, Fargo CEO Philip Ting said most of his drivers are successful, and those who aren’t have the freedom to quit and pursue other jobs. He said he has paid his drivers fairly.

“We have put operators’ children through college, bought them homes,” Ting said. “We provided them the opportunity and somehow we become the villains in all this.”

But for almost two years, while his drivers sought payment through wage complaints, Ting chronicled the good life with posts on Facebook and Instagram. Courtside selfies at Lakers and Clippers games. Rolex and Audemars Piguet watches.

As his drivers waited to be repaid, Fargo Trucking CEO Philip Ting chronicled the good life on his social media pages, bragging about Dom Perignon champagne, Rolex watches and world travels, including a post from Rio during the Summer 2016 Olympics. USA TODAY Network screenshots of Philip Ting's Facebook and Instagram posts
In early 2014, he was in the market for a private chef. On June 26, 2014, three days after the last driver sued him, Ting bought a $1.8 million East Village condo, property records show.

In spring 2015 – around the time Fargo lost its labor cases – Ting flew first class to Hawaii, then to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. That September, he traveled to Miami and New York. Then Taipei, Taiwan, and Japan in December. Last year, he posted from Paris, the Philippines, Rio, Colombia, and a mountaintop in Park City, Utah. Sometimes he traveled by private G4 jet.

“Some unwholesome lifestyle sh---,” he posted on Instagram alongside a picture of Dom Perignon champagne at an outdoor club. “Who lives like this?”

Meanwhile, drivers like Carlos Garcia are left waiting for a check that may never come.

The 56-year-old former Fargo driver has no savings. Much of his weekly income was eaten up by his truck expenses.

Fargo charged him $300 each week to lease a rig, plus hundreds in additional fees for insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking – even the company toilet paper and office supplies.

Carlos Garcia's disappearing paycheck

This is an example of a typical week's deductions, from his Fargo pay stub on Feb. 20, 2009. Garcia estimated the weekly diesel and maintenance costs, which he paid out of pocket.

Gross weekly earnings $896.80
Clean truck incentive $200
Insurance -$123
Lease -$292
Diesel -$300
Maintenance -$90
Remaining amount $291.80
SOURCE Carlos Garcia’s pay stub

Two years ago, the California labor commissioner awarded him more than $200,000 in back pay and penalties.

“I know we’re never seeing a dime of that,” said Garcia, who has gone into debt to pay his bills and now fears bankruptcy.

“Who cares if we starve, right?”

How it all began

Until Fargo Trucking was hit with the biggest labor judgment in the port trucking industry, it was an unremarkable company, a mid-sized operation in a crowded field that moves containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to nearby warehouses.

Then, in 2008, California passed a law that banned aging big rigs from serving the ports, part of an effort to cut down on deadly diesel fumes. The industry faced the prospect of buying 16,000 new trucks.

As the USA TODAY Network first reported in June, dozens of trucking companies in southern California – where almost half of America’s imports come into the country – pushed the cost onto their independent truckers by forcing them into company-sponsored lease-to-own programs for new trucks.

Drivers found themselves working as much as 20 hours a day for pay that dropped to pennies per hour after expenses. Some drivers worked a full week only to owe their boss money on payday.

The setup kicked off labor complaints against more than 140 companies, including Fargo.

Fifty Fargo drivers, many who spoke little English, testified that the company pressured them to sign truck leases to keep their jobs. Many couldn’t understand the contracts because they were not translated.

Carlos Garcia, a former driver for Fargo Trucking, was awarded $206,000 a year ago, but still has not been paid. "I know we're never seeing a dime of that", he said.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
Half of them testified that managers forced them at times to work past the federal safety limit for commercial truckers, sometimes by withholding paychecks until they got back on the road.

A dozen said the company overcharged them for truck insurance, as much as twice the going rate.

Fargo executives denied those claims at the hearings. But on July 16, 2015, more than two years after the first complaint was filed, a hearing officer for the California labor commissioner sent out a 360-page bulk ruling, ordering Fargo to pay $8.7 million.

The rulings say Fargo failed to pay overtime and improperly charged for truck expenses but do not address other allegations by the drivers.

In the months leading up to the judgment, Fargo Trucking appeared to have plenty of money, including at least 58 trucks registered in its name, according to the company’s IRS filings and port entry records. Approximate value: $7.5 million.

The company has moved containers for businesses all over the country, including UPS, the vacuum company Bissell and manufacturing giant 3M, according drivers’ manifests matched with shipping data from the trade research firm Panjiva.

In January, 2016, Fargo received a court order demanding payment on the labor commissioner judgments. Weeks passed, and then months.

No checks arrived.

Follow the trucks

When companies try to dodge civil court judgments, they do it by moving money out of the business and stashing it under new corporate names or with individuals who aren’t subject to the civil court ruling.

If lawyers can’t trace the money and show that the intent was to hide it, their clients can’t collect.

Three experts said Fargo’s moves in recent years show classic signs of owners trying to protect their assets.

The company appeared to create a tangle of entities around Fargo “so that there is nothing, no assets from which the drivers can collect,” said Erik Gordon, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

The trucks tell the story.

Using registrations, lease contracts, tax filings and millions of records of port gate move data, the USA TODAY Network found that at least 50 trucks once used by Fargo were transferred to other businesses run by people associated with the trucking company.

The transfers occurred between 2015 and 2016, the period leading up to and after drivers won their judgments from the labor commissioner.

California secretary of state records show that one of the companies, CKT Logistic, was created by 68-year-old June Ou, Fargo’s founder and Ting’s mother. CKT is the lienholder of at least one of the former Fargo trucks, according to registration documents provided by a driver.

The other company, Express FTC, was incorporated by Gershom Shing, Fargo’s former accountant. He registered the company on July 13, 2015, three days before the labor court judgments against Fargo were sent out in the mail.

More than 50 Fargo trucks now regularly appear as Express FTC in records that track the drivers and companies entering the gates at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In various public documents, Express FTC lists several different addresses, including Shing’s home and an office space that traces back to port trucking consultant Kurt Oliver, Fargo’s former risk manager who spoke on behalf of the company in labor commissioner hearings.

But the real office, where Express FTC drivers pick up their checks and park their trucks, is at 2727 East Del Almo St. in Rancho Dominguez – the same building previously used by Fargo.

In August, drivers’ lawyers sued the company alleging conspiracy to commit fraud for hiding up to 90 trucks in CKT.

Shing is “a false president,” said Garcia, the former Fargo driver, echoing a sentiment from three current employees who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. “He’s just an accountant. They're hiding the business by doing that.”

Shing and Ting declined to answer questions about Express FTC or CKT Logistic. Oliver said he had never heard of either company.

Ou said in a brief phone interview she doesn’t know anything about the unpaid judgments to drivers. “I’m retired,” she said before hanging up.

Jan. 2013
Fargo Trucking drivers begin filing labor complaints against their employer to the California labor commissioner.

March 20, 2014
Fargo owner June Ou incorporates CKT Logistic.

July 13, 2015
Former Fargo accountant Gershom Shing incorporates Express FTC

July 16, 2015
California labor commission mails out a 360-page ruling, ordering Fargo to pay employees $8.7 million in backpay and penalties, as much as $370,000 each.

Jan. 2016
Fargo owners receive civil court order to pay the labor commissioner judgment. They had not appealed the ruling.

March 2016
One-time Fargo trucks start showing up at California ports as trucks hauling goods for Express FTC

August 2016
On IRS tax documents, Express FTC reports having 58 trucks once owned by Fargo

August 2017
Former Fargo drivers sue their old employer, alleging the company was moving assets to avoid paying their court judgment

Sept. 2017
Fargo CEO Philip Ting calls former Fargo truckers to a meeting and offered them $7,000 each to settle the case. Drivers, most owed more than $100,000, declined.

SOURCE USA TODAY NETWORK

Brett Murphy and Frank Pompa, USA TODAY NETWORK

Widespread practice

The USA TODAY Network found that one in five port trucking companies ordered to repay drivers moved assets or tried stalling enforcement in ways similar to Fargo.

In at least six of those cases, attorneys for the drivers have accused the companies of fraud in court documents and introduced evidence that owners transferred customers, trucks or cash to new businesses with ties to the original owner.

Facing $9.4 million in labor claims and lawsuits, QTS Inc. and its sister companies moved at least $600,000 -- mostly in the form of rent payments -- into the owners’ family trust, according to bank statements and emails that lawyers subpoenaed to detail the transactions.

Then QTS gave away its biggest client to a new company created by one of its employees, according to executives’ depositions and California secretary of state records. In a brief interview, former QTS executive Ki Yoon denied hiding assets and said the company had few left to move after paying its legal bills.

In 2015, a bankruptcy judge found that Seacon Logix “stripped away” almost all of its business, going from $12.8 million in annual income one year to $227,000 the next. The executives or their business associates owned a network of trucking operations that began delivering containers for Seacon’s former customers out of the same address.

When asked about the company’s operations, a former Seacon president, Jason Goh said, “I’d rather not talk about it. The company’s not even open anymore.”

The companies in each of those cases and many others filed for bankruptcy after everything was gone, arguing they no longer had enough assets to pay back drivers and stay in business.

“It seems the end goal,” said Briana Rivera, “is to circumvent payment altogether.” Rivera is a lawyer at Rivera & Shackelford, a San Diego firm representing some Fargo drivers in a separate civil suit.

Most companies, including QTS and Seacon, wind up settling with drivers for some amount, usually less than the labor judgment. But at least six companies have paid nothing to some drivers who won labor cases, the USA TODAY Network found.

From 2013 to 2014, 23 drivers filed labor complaints against Superior Dispatch, a small port trucking company based in Lynwood, California.

At the time, the company had at least 30 trucks moving goods for retailers, California port records show.

But as the drivers waited for their cases to be heard, Superior’s trucks and customers began to disappear. By the time drivers were awarded $2.4 million in back pay in Spring 2015, the company was well on its way to shutting down.

According to a lawsuit filed by the drivers, the company assets didn’t go far. Superior Dispatch owner Melinda Melgar gave them to her son, who operates his own hauling operation, Roadking Trucking, the suit alleged. Last year, at least seven former Superior Dispatch trucks appeared at the harbor hauling loads for Roadking at least once, port records show.

Superior Dispatch drivers still have not been paid.

“It’s classic fraudulent transfer if you transfer things to your relatives and you’re not given valuable consideration,” said attorney Stephen Glick, who represents the drivers.

Melgar did not respond to interview requests. Melgar’s son, Michael Noles, who still operates Roadking Trucking, did not respond to phone messages or letters seeking comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Double Standard

Trucking companies can easily hide assets and avoid paying judgments, in part, because of how long it takes officials to process cases and a patchwork of enforcement strategies that often leaves drivers to fend for themselves.

The average time between complaint and judgment is almost 21 months, according to the USA TODAY Network’s analysis of California labor commissioner records. Some cases took more than three years.

Anthony Mischel, a retired hearing officer at the California labor commissioner’s office, said an overworked staff and poor enforcement “gives people a long time to go out of business or disappear.”

“They’ve never had adequate staffing for all their functions,” he said. “The longer it takes, the harder it is to collect.”

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su.

California Labor Commission
California Labor Commissioner Julie Su said her office has been scrambling to keep up since an influx of port trucking cases started in 2011. Almost 900 port trucking cases fell on a single office, staffed by 43 people, in Long Beach, where lease-to-own programs took hold in port trucking nearly a decade ago.

Neither Su nor the California legislature added or shifted significant staff to the Long Beach office to handle the demand.

Three new attorney positions were added to process wage cases in general. But Su said that hasn’t been enough.

“We are playing whack-a-mole,” Su said. As her agency has handed down more judgments, port trucking companies have evolved, using “elaborate schemes to cheat drivers.”

As a result, she estimated, a third of the companies simply ignore the judgments they receive, while many of the rest wage long legal battles to fight them.

Another problem: After a company is ordered to repay its workers, labor commissioner attorneys rarely get involved in enforcing the judgments. In fact, they are prevented from doing so if the workers have hired their own private attorney or if drivers don’t formally request help from the state.

“I’m not gonna paint a rosy picture,” Su said. “I’m not going to sit and say we have done all that we need to do. We have more to do.”

A USA TODAY investigation finds America's retail giants have spent a decade ignoring signs of labor abuse in their supply chains, sometimes fighting government efforts to crack down, even as thousands of truckers were driven into debt and poverty.

Scott Hall, USA TODAY NETWORK
In early September – more than two years after drivers won their cases against Fargo – CEO Philip Ting and his accountant Gershom Shing called about 20 of them to a meeting in a warehouse.

Ting gave the drivers a choice: accept $7,000 now or he would file for bankruptcy, an action that could erase any hope they had of collecting. Most of them are owed more than $100,000.

“He said, ‘We don’t have that money,’” recalled someone at the meeting, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because he fears retaliation. Two other employees independently described a nearly identical scene.

So far, drivers have not accepted Ting’s offer, or subsequent ones for more money.

“They go after at us at our weakest point,” one worker said, worried about losing his job, his truck and any possibility of getting paid back if the company goes under.

“Where does that leave us? No loads. No work for us.”

Every day, thousands of trucks enter the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, where nearly half of all imports come into the country on their way to retailers nationwide.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
Brett Murphy began reporting this story while in the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT BY: Angelo Cocci, Mitchell Thorson, Shawn Sullivan, Chad Palmer, Frank Pompa, Ramon Padilla and Jim Sergent, USA TODAY.

Tags: Truckerswage theftslave laborunionization
Categories: Labor News

Shell games How trucking companies that cheat drivers dodge penalties

Current News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:37

Shell games How trucking companies that cheat drivers dodge penalties

https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/news/rigged-shell-games-how-...

By Brett Murphy
October 26, 2017
In 2015, a California labor court judge ordered Fargo Trucking to pay its drivers $8.7 million – as much as $370,000 each – for cheating them out of fair wages.

It was the largest judgment ever imposed in an industry notorious for exploiting its workers and running afoul of state labor laws.

But instead of writing checks to their drivers, Fargo’s owners set in motion a plan to make their company vanish. They jettisoned their retail clients and stripped the company of its assets. Then, they moved it all under new company names, safe from the judgment of the courts.

Today, they are back in business under the name Express FTC – hauling goods in the same trucks, for the same clients, out of the same office building that once belonged to Fargo.

Drivers still have not been paid.

A year-long USA TODAY Network investigation found that port trucking companies like Fargo have successfully used legal loopholes, shell companies and bankruptcy protection to dodge the punishment labor court judges have handed down.

Containers are stacked and stored after being unloaded from ships in the Port of Long Beach.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
It’s the latest revelation in an ongoing investigation into how port trucking companies that serve the nation’s top retailers take advantage of drivers, often forcing them to work around the clock while paying them pennies per hour.

The Network examined California labor commissioner and court cases filed by more than 1,100 port truck drivers and traced the outcomes for almost 60 companies found by the courts to have violated the law.

At least a dozen have so far avoided all or most of their labor judgments after shifting assets into new business names. Many delayed paying for two years or more, then filed for bankruptcy protection or pressured drivers to accept settlements that gave them a fraction of what the labor commissioner said they were owed.

The vast majority of the owners still operate today, moving goods out of California ports and on their way to major national retailers.

“The idea that companies are still around without paying the full boat is a point of outrage in and of itself,” said Jay Shin, directing attorney at the Wage Justice Center, a nonprofit that has provided legal help for drivers and contracted with the labor commissioner to collect judgments.

From 2012 to 2016, port truck drivers were awarded $37 million in back pay and penalties. It’s not clear how much has been paid out because state records don't show most private settlements or pending negotiations. But the labor commissioner has been able to track only $3 million that has gone to drivers.

Executives at eight of the 12 companies that appear to have moved assets after workers filed labor claims declined to comment for this story or did not respond to interview requests. The other four said they had done nothing wrong but did not answer questions about their business moves.

In email exchanges with USA TODAY Network, Fargo CEO Philip Ting said most of his drivers are successful, and those who aren’t have the freedom to quit and pursue other jobs. He said he has paid his drivers fairly.

“We have put operators’ children through college, bought them homes,” Ting said. “We provided them the opportunity and somehow we become the villains in all this.”

But for almost two years, while his drivers sought payment through wage complaints, Ting chronicled the good life with posts on Facebook and Instagram. Courtside selfies at Lakers and Clippers games. Rolex and Audemars Piguet watches.

As his drivers waited to be repaid, Fargo Trucking CEO Philip Ting chronicled the good life on his social media pages, bragging about Dom Perignon champagne, Rolex watches and world travels, including a post from Rio during the Summer 2016 Olympics. USA TODAY Network screenshots of Philip Ting's Facebook and Instagram posts
In early 2014, he was in the market for a private chef. On June 26, 2014, three days after the last driver sued him, Ting bought a $1.8 million East Village condo, property records show.

In spring 2015 – around the time Fargo lost its labor cases – Ting flew first class to Hawaii, then to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. That September, he traveled to Miami and New York. Then Taipei, Taiwan, and Japan in December. Last year, he posted from Paris, the Philippines, Rio, Colombia, and a mountaintop in Park City, Utah. Sometimes he traveled by private G4 jet.

“Some unwholesome lifestyle sh---,” he posted on Instagram alongside a picture of Dom Perignon champagne at an outdoor club. “Who lives like this?”

Meanwhile, drivers like Carlos Garcia are left waiting for a check that may never come.

The 56-year-old former Fargo driver has no savings. Much of his weekly income was eaten up by his truck expenses.

Fargo charged him $300 each week to lease a rig, plus hundreds in additional fees for insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking – even the company toilet paper and office supplies.

Carlos Garcia's disappearing paycheck

This is an example of a typical week's deductions, from his Fargo pay stub on Feb. 20, 2009. Garcia estimated the weekly diesel and maintenance costs, which he paid out of pocket.

Gross weekly earnings $896.80
Clean truck incentive $200
Insurance -$123
Lease -$292
Diesel -$300
Maintenance -$90
Remaining amount $291.80
SOURCE Carlos Garcia’s pay stub

Two years ago, the California labor commissioner awarded him more than $200,000 in back pay and penalties.

“I know we’re never seeing a dime of that,” said Garcia, who has gone into debt to pay his bills and now fears bankruptcy.

“Who cares if we starve, right?”

How it all began

Until Fargo Trucking was hit with the biggest labor judgment in the port trucking industry, it was an unremarkable company, a mid-sized operation in a crowded field that moves containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to nearby warehouses.

Then, in 2008, California passed a law that banned aging big rigs from serving the ports, part of an effort to cut down on deadly diesel fumes. The industry faced the prospect of buying 16,000 new trucks.

As the USA TODAY Network first reported in June, dozens of trucking companies in southern California – where almost half of America’s imports come into the country – pushed the cost onto their independent truckers by forcing them into company-sponsored lease-to-own programs for new trucks.

Drivers found themselves working as much as 20 hours a day for pay that dropped to pennies per hour after expenses. Some drivers worked a full week only to owe their boss money on payday.

The setup kicked off labor complaints against more than 140 companies, including Fargo.

Fifty Fargo drivers, many who spoke little English, testified that the company pressured them to sign truck leases to keep their jobs. Many couldn’t understand the contracts because they were not translated.

Carlos Garcia, a former driver for Fargo Trucking, was awarded $206,000 a year ago, but still has not been paid. "I know we're never seeing a dime of that", he said.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
Half of them testified that managers forced them at times to work past the federal safety limit for commercial truckers, sometimes by withholding paychecks until they got back on the road.

A dozen said the company overcharged them for truck insurance, as much as twice the going rate.

Fargo executives denied those claims at the hearings. But on July 16, 2015, more than two years after the first complaint was filed, a hearing officer for the California labor commissioner sent out a 360-page bulk ruling, ordering Fargo to pay $8.7 million.

The rulings say Fargo failed to pay overtime and improperly charged for truck expenses but do not address other allegations by the drivers.

In the months leading up to the judgment, Fargo Trucking appeared to have plenty of money, including at least 58 trucks registered in its name, according to the company’s IRS filings and port entry records. Approximate value: $7.5 million.

The company has moved containers for businesses all over the country, including UPS, the vacuum company Bissell and manufacturing giant 3M, according drivers’ manifests matched with shipping data from the trade research firm Panjiva.

In January, 2016, Fargo received a court order demanding payment on the labor commissioner judgments. Weeks passed, and then months.

No checks arrived.

Follow the trucks

When companies try to dodge civil court judgments, they do it by moving money out of the business and stashing it under new corporate names or with individuals who aren’t subject to the civil court ruling.

If lawyers can’t trace the money and show that the intent was to hide it, their clients can’t collect.

Three experts said Fargo’s moves in recent years show classic signs of owners trying to protect their assets.

The company appeared to create a tangle of entities around Fargo “so that there is nothing, no assets from which the drivers can collect,” said Erik Gordon, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

The trucks tell the story.

Using registrations, lease contracts, tax filings and millions of records of port gate move data, the USA TODAY Network found that at least 50 trucks once used by Fargo were transferred to other businesses run by people associated with the trucking company.

The transfers occurred between 2015 and 2016, the period leading up to and after drivers won their judgments from the labor commissioner.

California secretary of state records show that one of the companies, CKT Logistic, was created by 68-year-old June Ou, Fargo’s founder and Ting’s mother. CKT is the lienholder of at least one of the former Fargo trucks, according to registration documents provided by a driver.

The other company, Express FTC, was incorporated by Gershom Shing, Fargo’s former accountant. He registered the company on July 13, 2015, three days before the labor court judgments against Fargo were sent out in the mail.

More than 50 Fargo trucks now regularly appear as Express FTC in records that track the drivers and companies entering the gates at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

In various public documents, Express FTC lists several different addresses, including Shing’s home and an office space that traces back to port trucking consultant Kurt Oliver, Fargo’s former risk manager who spoke on behalf of the company in labor commissioner hearings.

But the real office, where Express FTC drivers pick up their checks and park their trucks, is at 2727 East Del Almo St. in Rancho Dominguez – the same building previously used by Fargo.

In August, drivers’ lawyers sued the company alleging conspiracy to commit fraud for hiding up to 90 trucks in CKT.

Shing is “a false president,” said Garcia, the former Fargo driver, echoing a sentiment from three current employees who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. “He’s just an accountant. They're hiding the business by doing that.”

Shing and Ting declined to answer questions about Express FTC or CKT Logistic. Oliver said he had never heard of either company.

Ou said in a brief phone interview she doesn’t know anything about the unpaid judgments to drivers. “I’m retired,” she said before hanging up.

Jan. 2013
Fargo Trucking drivers begin filing labor complaints against their employer to the California labor commissioner.

March 20, 2014
Fargo owner June Ou incorporates CKT Logistic.

July 13, 2015
Former Fargo accountant Gershom Shing incorporates Express FTC

July 16, 2015
California labor commission mails out a 360-page ruling, ordering Fargo to pay employees $8.7 million in backpay and penalties, as much as $370,000 each.

Jan. 2016
Fargo owners receive civil court order to pay the labor commissioner judgment. They had not appealed the ruling.

March 2016
One-time Fargo trucks start showing up at California ports as trucks hauling goods for Express FTC

August 2016
On IRS tax documents, Express FTC reports having 58 trucks once owned by Fargo

August 2017
Former Fargo drivers sue their old employer, alleging the company was moving assets to avoid paying their court judgment

Sept. 2017
Fargo CEO Philip Ting calls former Fargo truckers to a meeting and offered them $7,000 each to settle the case. Drivers, most owed more than $100,000, declined.

SOURCE USA TODAY NETWORK

Brett Murphy and Frank Pompa, USA TODAY NETWORK

Widespread practice

The USA TODAY Network found that one in five port trucking companies ordered to repay drivers moved assets or tried stalling enforcement in ways similar to Fargo.

In at least six of those cases, attorneys for the drivers have accused the companies of fraud in court documents and introduced evidence that owners transferred customers, trucks or cash to new businesses with ties to the original owner.

Facing $9.4 million in labor claims and lawsuits, QTS Inc. and its sister companies moved at least $600,000 -- mostly in the form of rent payments -- into the owners’ family trust, according to bank statements and emails that lawyers subpoenaed to detail the transactions.

Then QTS gave away its biggest client to a new company created by one of its employees, according to executives’ depositions and California secretary of state records. In a brief interview, former QTS executive Ki Yoon denied hiding assets and said the company had few left to move after paying its legal bills.

In 2015, a bankruptcy judge found that Seacon Logix “stripped away” almost all of its business, going from $12.8 million in annual income one year to $227,000 the next. The executives or their business associates owned a network of trucking operations that began delivering containers for Seacon’s former customers out of the same address.

When asked about the company’s operations, a former Seacon president, Jason Goh said, “I’d rather not talk about it. The company’s not even open anymore.”

The companies in each of those cases and many others filed for bankruptcy after everything was gone, arguing they no longer had enough assets to pay back drivers and stay in business.

“It seems the end goal,” said Briana Rivera, “is to circumvent payment altogether.” Rivera is a lawyer at Rivera & Shackelford, a San Diego firm representing some Fargo drivers in a separate civil suit.

Most companies, including QTS and Seacon, wind up settling with drivers for some amount, usually less than the labor judgment. But at least six companies have paid nothing to some drivers who won labor cases, the USA TODAY Network found.

From 2013 to 2014, 23 drivers filed labor complaints against Superior Dispatch, a small port trucking company based in Lynwood, California.

At the time, the company had at least 30 trucks moving goods for retailers, California port records show.

But as the drivers waited for their cases to be heard, Superior’s trucks and customers began to disappear. By the time drivers were awarded $2.4 million in back pay in Spring 2015, the company was well on its way to shutting down.

According to a lawsuit filed by the drivers, the company assets didn’t go far. Superior Dispatch owner Melinda Melgar gave them to her son, who operates his own hauling operation, Roadking Trucking, the suit alleged. Last year, at least seven former Superior Dispatch trucks appeared at the harbor hauling loads for Roadking at least once, port records show.

Superior Dispatch drivers still have not been paid.

“It’s classic fraudulent transfer if you transfer things to your relatives and you’re not given valuable consideration,” said attorney Stephen Glick, who represents the drivers.

Melgar did not respond to interview requests. Melgar’s son, Michael Noles, who still operates Roadking Trucking, did not respond to phone messages or letters seeking comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Double Standard

Trucking companies can easily hide assets and avoid paying judgments, in part, because of how long it takes officials to process cases and a patchwork of enforcement strategies that often leaves drivers to fend for themselves.

The average time between complaint and judgment is almost 21 months, according to the USA TODAY Network’s analysis of California labor commissioner records. Some cases took more than three years.

Anthony Mischel, a retired hearing officer at the California labor commissioner’s office, said an overworked staff and poor enforcement “gives people a long time to go out of business or disappear.”

“They’ve never had adequate staffing for all their functions,” he said. “The longer it takes, the harder it is to collect.”

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su.

California Labor Commission
California Labor Commissioner Julie Su said her office has been scrambling to keep up since an influx of port trucking cases started in 2011. Almost 900 port trucking cases fell on a single office, staffed by 43 people, in Long Beach, where lease-to-own programs took hold in port trucking nearly a decade ago.

Neither Su nor the California legislature added or shifted significant staff to the Long Beach office to handle the demand.

Three new attorney positions were added to process wage cases in general. But Su said that hasn’t been enough.

“We are playing whack-a-mole,” Su said. As her agency has handed down more judgments, port trucking companies have evolved, using “elaborate schemes to cheat drivers.”

As a result, she estimated, a third of the companies simply ignore the judgments they receive, while many of the rest wage long legal battles to fight them.

Another problem: After a company is ordered to repay its workers, labor commissioner attorneys rarely get involved in enforcing the judgments. In fact, they are prevented from doing so if the workers have hired their own private attorney or if drivers don’t formally request help from the state.

“I’m not gonna paint a rosy picture,” Su said. “I’m not going to sit and say we have done all that we need to do. We have more to do.”

A USA TODAY investigation finds America's retail giants have spent a decade ignoring signs of labor abuse in their supply chains, sometimes fighting government efforts to crack down, even as thousands of truckers were driven into debt and poverty.

Scott Hall, USA TODAY NETWORK
In early September – more than two years after drivers won their cases against Fargo – CEO Philip Ting and his accountant Gershom Shing called about 20 of them to a meeting in a warehouse.

Ting gave the drivers a choice: accept $7,000 now or he would file for bankruptcy, an action that could erase any hope they had of collecting. Most of them are owed more than $100,000.

“He said, ‘We don’t have that money,’” recalled someone at the meeting, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because he fears retaliation. Two other employees independently described a nearly identical scene.

So far, drivers have not accepted Ting’s offer, or subsequent ones for more money.

“They go after at us at our weakest point,” one worker said, worried about losing his job, his truck and any possibility of getting paid back if the company goes under.

“Where does that leave us? No loads. No work for us.”

Every day, thousands of trucks enter the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, where nearly half of all imports come into the country on their way to retailers nationwide.

Omar Ornelas, USA TODAY Network
Brett Murphy began reporting this story while in the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT BY: Angelo Cocci, Mitchell Thorson, Shawn Sullivan, Chad Palmer, Frank Pompa, Ramon Padilla and Jim Sergent, USA TODAY.

Tags: Truckerswage theftslave laborunionization
Categories: Labor News

The Critical Role of Internationalism In Workers Struggles With Bob Carnegi MUA Queensland & IDC

Current News - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 12:18

The Critical Role of Internationalism In Workers Struggles With Bob Carnegi MUA Queensland & IDC
https://youtu.be/vgtZqnpMxI0
Bob Carnegi who is Secretary of the Maritime Union Of Australia MUA Queensland Branch and a representative of the International Dockworkers Council IDC spoke at the founding conference of the Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN. It was held on October 7, 2017 at UAW Local 551 in Chicago.
For more media:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNbvWfS1HYs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmTbfEhDWPQ
For more information:
https://www.facebook.com/events/371406356586798/
Production of
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Categories: Labor News

Canada: Unifor revokes award to Aung San Suu Kyi

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Unifor
Categories: Labor News

What Taxi and Uber Drivers Really Think About the Ride-Sharing Boom

Current News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:33

What Taxi and Uber Drivers Really Think About the Ride-Sharing Boom
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20624/Traxi-Uber-Lyft-ride-share-a...

FRIDAY, OCT 20, 2017, 4:25 PM

BY TEKE WIGGIN

Yellow Cab driver Asterfo Payano stands in front of his car. (Teke Wiggin)

Tony Cobain, a recent college graduate in Washington, D.C., drives part-time for Lyft and Uber, so he can support himself while he pursues a career in entertainment. Along the way, he’s built his network and even snagged the occasional date.

Ride-hailing apps have been less kind to New York City yellow cab driver Asterfo Payano: He says he works harder and still earns much less than he did five years ago.

And Raul Rivera, a full-time New York Lyft and Uber driver, calls his job a “modern form of slavery.”

Ride-hailing apps have brought a new level of convenience to many consumers and provided new work opportunities. But these benefits have often come at the expense of full-time drivers’ wages and job stability. Both traditional taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers are feeling increasingly squeezed.

Whether there’s room for improvement in this tradeoff depends on whom you ask. Many workers are pushing for a fairer deal, but some consumers and drivers, particularly part-timers, are leery of stricter regulation or driver unionization. Aggressive campaigning by ride-hailing companies has helped fuel opposition to such measures.

“The problem is that we haven’t figured out how to appropriately regulate ridesharing yet, so that we can capture the benefits without enabling all these harms,” Brishen Rogers, a labor law professor at Temple University, told In These Times.

“[Ride-hailing apps] are able to ensure that customers never have a very long wait or a very high cost for a ride,” Rogers said. However, he added, “the convenience is coming at the cost of a decent standard of living for drivers.”

“I just do this to get Twitter followers”

Cobain typically works for Uber and Lyft from 3:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. four days a week, earning around $28 an hour after the cost of gas, he says.

The 23-year-old said he doesn’t have to worry about paying for maintenance and car insurance, because he uses his parents’ car. And he’s also covered by their health insurance plan.

The part-time work has allowed Cobain to build a music video company and a non-profit that makes films for people who suffer from debilitating mental illnesses.

“I don’t want to keep asking parents for money and stuff,” he said. “I kind of use both of these platforms to fund my business ventures, and whatever is left over is gas and Whole Foods money.”

Plus, he says he has turned many of his passengers into fans.

“This is how you get girls,” one female passenger teased him after she proposed drinks. “I was like, ‘no, no. I just do this to get Twitter followers.’”

There’s no doubt that ride-hailing apps have made it easier and cheaper to hire a driver.

But like many “sharing-economy” companies, ride-hailing services “are really providing services to Yuppies,” Rogers argues.

Hard times for drivers

Meanwhile, full-time drivers like Payano, a 70-year-old yellow cab driver with 12 years of experience, are paying a price.

He shuttles passengers around Manhattan from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. six days a week, earning $14 an hour on a good day, after expenses. That’s down from roughly $20 an hour five years ago, before Uber caught on, according to Payano

“I have to work a lot harder,” he said. “I can’t afford to take three breaks in the day. I take one.”

But even though times are tough, Payano and some of his peers say it still beats working for Lyft or Uber.

“I can see my income is going low, low, less, less,” said MD Asadullah, another New York City yellow cab driver. “If I go Uber, it will be way less.”

Indeed, long gone are the days when Uber and Lyft drivers could often make a killing, many drivers and analysts say (although Cobain might beg to differ).

Flooding the market with drivers while continually hacking away at fees hasn’t only squeezed taxis: Uber and Lyft drivers must compete more for passengers while earning less from each ride, said Rogers, the Temple University professor.

Ride-hailing drivers today earn roughly half the hourly wage that they did five years ago, reckons Harry Campbell, an industry expert who publishes the blog The Rideshare Guy.

On average, Uber drivers bring in $15.68 per hour and Lyft drivers $17.50 per hour before expenses, according to a survey of more than 1,000 drivers that Campbell conducted with help from researchers at Stanford University. After expenses, those figures likely fall by $4 or $5, according to Campbell.

“They [ride-hailing companies] aren’t saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to make as much as a McDonald’s cashier,’ but that’s turning out to be the situation for many drivers and maybe even a majority of drivers,” he said.

Asked about allegedly worsening conditions for full-time drivers, Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell said that the company has extended economic opportunities that didn’t previously exist to hundreds of thousands of people.

Lyft is “constantly working to help drivers succeed,” he added, pointing to the company’s introduction of tipping, same-day payments and “low-cost [car] rentals.”

Uber declined to comment for this article.

"I don’t like regulations, but sometimes they’re necessary"

Ride-hailing companies may profess a commitment to their drivers. But it doesn’t feel that way to Raul Rivera, a full-time Uber and Lyft driver who says he has been treated like a serf.

About a year ago, he signed a lease-to-own contract for an expensive SUV so he could provide higher-paying luxury rides.

Soon after, Uber instituted a new policy that required drivers to have a customer satisfaction rating of at least 4.8 to give luxury rides, he said. The driver’s rating fell short, so his investment has backfired.

He must work 70 hours a week to eke out $700 in profit (which works out to $10 an hour), and he said he is shackled by his lease.

The government should increase minimum fares and restrict the number of drivers, he said: “I don’t like regulations, but sometimes they’re necessary.”

Collective bargaining on the horizon?

Encouraging collective bargaining would be another way to protect drivers, although the fact that they tend to be classified as contractors makes formally unionizing “incredibly difficult,” Rogers said.

The App-Based Drivers Association, a Teamsters-affiliated group for Seattle ride-hailing drivers, and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) are among organizations that have successfully pushed for better working conditions for drivers.

But the drivers they represent don’t have traditional collective bargaining rights. That could change in Seattle if a law that was passed in 2015 to allow taxi and ride-hailing drivers to formally unionize can survive legal challenges.

In addition to legal barriers, resistance from part-time drivers, who might see unions as a threat to the work flexibility afforded by ride-hailing apps, could prove an obstacle to collective bargaining, according to Campbell. Some Seattle drivers have spoken out against unionization, and a handful have sued the city to try to prevent it.

“They’re not as invested,” Campbell said. “For them to join a union is a much bigger ask.”

Representing the majority of ride-hailing drivers, part-time drivers benefit most from the ability to set their own hours, and they are less sensitive to price cuts and policy changes, according to Campbell, the publisher of the Ride Share Guy blog.

“The messaging that comes out from the app-based companies is more one of fear, telling them that somehow by collective bargaining… they’re going to lose flexibility, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Leonard Smith, director of organizing and strategy at Teamsters Local 117, which hopes to negotiate contracts for Seattle taxi and ride-hailing drivers.

"The drivers are going to win eventually"

Cobain, who began driving for Uber and Lyft less than six months ago, says he’s heard Lyft and Uber don’t pay as well as they used to, and some drivers ask him how he can make the numbers work.

He says he drives early in the morning to cash in on “surge pricing,” when Uber and Lyft boost fares amid high demand and low driver supply.

For now, the work is a leg for him to stand on while he pursues his passions.

“I would oppose a union,” he said. “I actually prefer it the way it is. More flexibility.”

Labor activist Jonathan Rosenblum thinks such an attitude can change, having watched different groups of drivers find common cause in Seattle.

“I’m confident that the drivers are going to win eventually, and then Uber and the other companies are going to have their day of reckoning of having to sit down with the drivers and negotiate the terms of their work,” he told In These Times. “And that is a good thing.”

TEKE WIGGIN
Teke Wiggin covers labor, economic inequality and housing. Follow him at @tkwiggin.

Tags: UberregulationTaxi
Categories: Labor News

What Taxi and Uber Drivers Really Think About the Ride-Sharing Boom

Current News - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 10:33

What Taxi and Uber Drivers Really Think About the Ride-Sharing Boom
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20624/Traxi-Uber-Lyft-ride-share-a...

FRIDAY, OCT 20, 2017, 4:25 PM

BY TEKE WIGGIN

Yellow Cab driver Asterfo Payano stands in front of his car. (Teke Wiggin)

Tony Cobain, a recent college graduate in Washington, D.C., drives part-time for Lyft and Uber, so he can support himself while he pursues a career in entertainment. Along the way, he’s built his network and even snagged the occasional date.

Ride-hailing apps have been less kind to New York City yellow cab driver Asterfo Payano: He says he works harder and still earns much less than he did five years ago.

And Raul Rivera, a full-time New York Lyft and Uber driver, calls his job a “modern form of slavery.”

Ride-hailing apps have brought a new level of convenience to many consumers and provided new work opportunities. But these benefits have often come at the expense of full-time drivers’ wages and job stability. Both traditional taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers are feeling increasingly squeezed.

Whether there’s room for improvement in this tradeoff depends on whom you ask. Many workers are pushing for a fairer deal, but some consumers and drivers, particularly part-timers, are leery of stricter regulation or driver unionization. Aggressive campaigning by ride-hailing companies has helped fuel opposition to such measures.

“The problem is that we haven’t figured out how to appropriately regulate ridesharing yet, so that we can capture the benefits without enabling all these harms,” Brishen Rogers, a labor law professor at Temple University, told In These Times.

“[Ride-hailing apps] are able to ensure that customers never have a very long wait or a very high cost for a ride,” Rogers said. However, he added, “the convenience is coming at the cost of a decent standard of living for drivers.”

“I just do this to get Twitter followers”

Cobain typically works for Uber and Lyft from 3:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. four days a week, earning around $28 an hour after the cost of gas, he says.

The 23-year-old said he doesn’t have to worry about paying for maintenance and car insurance, because he uses his parents’ car. And he’s also covered by their health insurance plan.

The part-time work has allowed Cobain to build a music video company and a non-profit that makes films for people who suffer from debilitating mental illnesses.

“I don’t want to keep asking parents for money and stuff,” he said. “I kind of use both of these platforms to fund my business ventures, and whatever is left over is gas and Whole Foods money.”

Plus, he says he has turned many of his passengers into fans.

“This is how you get girls,” one female passenger teased him after she proposed drinks. “I was like, ‘no, no. I just do this to get Twitter followers.’”

There’s no doubt that ride-hailing apps have made it easier and cheaper to hire a driver.

But like many “sharing-economy” companies, ride-hailing services “are really providing services to Yuppies,” Rogers argues.

Hard times for drivers

Meanwhile, full-time drivers like Payano, a 70-year-old yellow cab driver with 12 years of experience, are paying a price.

He shuttles passengers around Manhattan from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. six days a week, earning $14 an hour on a good day, after expenses. That’s down from roughly $20 an hour five years ago, before Uber caught on, according to Payano

“I have to work a lot harder,” he said. “I can’t afford to take three breaks in the day. I take one.”

But even though times are tough, Payano and some of his peers say it still beats working for Lyft or Uber.

“I can see my income is going low, low, less, less,” said MD Asadullah, another New York City yellow cab driver. “If I go Uber, it will be way less.”

Indeed, long gone are the days when Uber and Lyft drivers could often make a killing, many drivers and analysts say (although Cobain might beg to differ).

Flooding the market with drivers while continually hacking away at fees hasn’t only squeezed taxis: Uber and Lyft drivers must compete more for passengers while earning less from each ride, said Rogers, the Temple University professor.

Ride-hailing drivers today earn roughly half the hourly wage that they did five years ago, reckons Harry Campbell, an industry expert who publishes the blog The Rideshare Guy.

On average, Uber drivers bring in $15.68 per hour and Lyft drivers $17.50 per hour before expenses, according to a survey of more than 1,000 drivers that Campbell conducted with help from researchers at Stanford University. After expenses, those figures likely fall by $4 or $5, according to Campbell.

“They [ride-hailing companies] aren’t saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to make as much as a McDonald’s cashier,’ but that’s turning out to be the situation for many drivers and maybe even a majority of drivers,” he said.

Asked about allegedly worsening conditions for full-time drivers, Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell said that the company has extended economic opportunities that didn’t previously exist to hundreds of thousands of people.

Lyft is “constantly working to help drivers succeed,” he added, pointing to the company’s introduction of tipping, same-day payments and “low-cost [car] rentals.”

Uber declined to comment for this article.

"I don’t like regulations, but sometimes they’re necessary"

Ride-hailing companies may profess a commitment to their drivers. But it doesn’t feel that way to Raul Rivera, a full-time Uber and Lyft driver who says he has been treated like a serf.

About a year ago, he signed a lease-to-own contract for an expensive SUV so he could provide higher-paying luxury rides.

Soon after, Uber instituted a new policy that required drivers to have a customer satisfaction rating of at least 4.8 to give luxury rides, he said. The driver’s rating fell short, so his investment has backfired.

He must work 70 hours a week to eke out $700 in profit (which works out to $10 an hour), and he said he is shackled by his lease.

The government should increase minimum fares and restrict the number of drivers, he said: “I don’t like regulations, but sometimes they’re necessary.”

Collective bargaining on the horizon?

Encouraging collective bargaining would be another way to protect drivers, although the fact that they tend to be classified as contractors makes formally unionizing “incredibly difficult,” Rogers said.

The App-Based Drivers Association, a Teamsters-affiliated group for Seattle ride-hailing drivers, and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) are among organizations that have successfully pushed for better working conditions for drivers.

But the drivers they represent don’t have traditional collective bargaining rights. That could change in Seattle if a law that was passed in 2015 to allow taxi and ride-hailing drivers to formally unionize can survive legal challenges.

In addition to legal barriers, resistance from part-time drivers, who might see unions as a threat to the work flexibility afforded by ride-hailing apps, could prove an obstacle to collective bargaining, according to Campbell. Some Seattle drivers have spoken out against unionization, and a handful have sued the city to try to prevent it.

“They’re not as invested,” Campbell said. “For them to join a union is a much bigger ask.”

Representing the majority of ride-hailing drivers, part-time drivers benefit most from the ability to set their own hours, and they are less sensitive to price cuts and policy changes, according to Campbell, the publisher of the Ride Share Guy blog.

“The messaging that comes out from the app-based companies is more one of fear, telling them that somehow by collective bargaining… they’re going to lose flexibility, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Leonard Smith, director of organizing and strategy at Teamsters Local 117, which hopes to negotiate contracts for Seattle taxi and ride-hailing drivers.

"The drivers are going to win eventually"

Cobain, who began driving for Uber and Lyft less than six months ago, says he’s heard Lyft and Uber don’t pay as well as they used to, and some drivers ask him how he can make the numbers work.

He says he drives early in the morning to cash in on “surge pricing,” when Uber and Lyft boost fares amid high demand and low driver supply.

For now, the work is a leg for him to stand on while he pursues his passions.

“I would oppose a union,” he said. “I actually prefer it the way it is. More flexibility.”

Labor activist Jonathan Rosenblum thinks such an attitude can change, having watched different groups of drivers find common cause in Seattle.

“I’m confident that the drivers are going to win eventually, and then Uber and the other companies are going to have their day of reckoning of having to sit down with the drivers and negotiate the terms of their work,” he told In These Times. “And that is a good thing.”

TEKE WIGGIN
Teke Wiggin covers labor, economic inequality and housing. Follow him at @tkwiggin.

Tags: UberregulationTaxi
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Police Raid on Union Offices a Media Stunt

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Australia: AFP raids Australian Workers Union headquarters in Sydney and Melbourne

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

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