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New Leadership Has Not Changed Uber Its modus operandi is to subsidize fares and flood streets with its cars to achieve a transportation monopoly. In city after city, this has led to huge increases in traffic congestion, increased carbon emissions and the

Current News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 22:13

New Leadership Has Not Changed Uber
Its modus operandi is to subsidize fares and flood streets with its cars to achieve a transportation monopoly. In city after city, this has led to huge increases in traffic congestion, increased carbon emissions and the undermining of public transportation.


By Steven Hill
March 26, 2018
The recent killing of a pedestrian by a self-driving Uber vehicle is the source of the latest negative headlines about this company. But there’s a much deeper problem. While the leadership has changed — Dara Khosrowshahi replaced Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive last August after a series of scandals — the company itself has not evolved.

The problem with Uber was never that the chief executive had created a thuggish “Game of Thrones”-type culture, as Susan Fowler, an engineer, described it in a blog post. The problem was, and still is, Uber’s business model: Its modus operandi is to subsidize fares and flood streets with its cars to achieve a transportation monopoly. In city after city, this has led to huge increases in traffic congestion, increased carbon emissions and the undermining of public transportation.

Most customers who love Uber don’t realize that the company subsidizes the cost of many rides. This is likely a major factor in Uber’s annual losses surging from 2.8 billion in 2016 to $4.5 billion in 2017. This seemingly nonsensical approach is actually Uber’s effort to use its deep pockets to mount a predatory price war and shut out the competition. That competition is not only taxis and other ride-sharing companies, but public transportation.

Studies have found that half to 61 percent of Uber passengers in the United States say that they would have used public transportation, ridden a bicycle or walked, or not have made the trip at all, if Uber had not been available.

Thanks in part to Uber, people are turning away from forms of transportation that are better for the environment.

Recently I asked a colleague why he used Uber. He said that the bus would cost $2.25, and Uber would cost about $5. So I asked him, “What if the price for Uber was $10?” He said he would take the bus. So because he was only paying half the cost of the ride, he used Uber.

He’s not alone. Ridership on public transportation is down in nearly every major American city, including New York City (which recorded its first ridership dip since 2009). This is hurting the revenue that public transportation needs to sustain itself. Uber passengers and public transportation users alike now find themselves stuck in heavy traffic for far longer because of what’s been called “Uber congestion.” In Manhattan, there are five times as many ridesharing vehicles as yellow taxis, which has caused average speeds to decline by 15 percent compared with 2010, before Uber.

The company’s new leadership continues to deny that it is contributing to these ill effects. Mr. Khosrowshahi even insists that Uber can help solve congestion by adding a small number of electric cars, and that it could start using flying taxis in five to 10 years (which is preposterous — Uber doesn’t even have a prototype).

But a study of the effects of ride-sharing by researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, found that ridesharing has resulted in a significant rise in the number of trips made and miles driven in an auto. The study also found that the vast majority of ride-sharing users (75 percent) still owned a car, and the small number who have eliminated their own vehicle (9 percent) have merely swapped it for someone else’s car — their ride-sharing driver’s. From an environmental standpoint, Uber is taking us backward.

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Ride-sharing services could potentially add something positive to our transportation options, but only if they are regulated properly.

First, regulators should limit the number of ride-sharing cars. Traditional taxis already have a sensible limit to minimize congestion. A balance must be found between having enough taxi-type vehicles but not so many that the streets are choked with traffic. Fix NYC, a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, has called for all Ubers, Lyfts and taxis to be outfitted with GPS technology to track congestion and to charge a fee on for-hire vehicles that could help reduce traffic and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for public transportation.

Second, Uber should be prohibited from subsidizing its fares. It should be required to charge at least the true cost of each ride. If Uber refuses, a “fairness fee” should be added to each fare.

Third, ride-sharing companies and their vehicles should be required to follow the same laws as traditional taxis, especially in terms of background checks for drivers and insurance requirements.

Fourth, Uber should be required to share its data with regulators, including information about its drivers and their contact information, so that members of this “distributed work force” can more easily contact one another and organize collectively if they choose.

Finally, regulations should ensure that Uber treats its drivers fairly. Mr. Khosrowshahi asserts that drivers’ wages are adequate, but according to one study, more than half of Uber drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state, and some even lose money once the costs of driving are taken into account. That helps explain why, according to Uber’s own internal study, half of its drivers leave after a year.

When he took on his role, Mr. Khosrowshahi said he would learn from the company’s mistakes. But it remains to be seen whether he is willing to fix Uber’s biggest misstep: a business model that harms drivers and the environment, and drains away passengers and revenue from public transportation.
Steven Hill, a journalist in residence at the Berlin Social Science Center, is the author of “Raw Deal: How the ‘Uber Economy’ and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers.”

Tags: Uberderegulationflood streets
Categories: Labor News

India: Two journalists killed in 24 hours

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

Korea (South): Gov't Employees Labor Union Recognized as Lawful Union

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: KBS
Categories: Labor News

South Africa: SA’s child labour shame

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The New Age
Categories: Labor News

USA: The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: New Yorker
Categories: Labor News

Anti-union Group Launches 'Subway Scam' Campaign in NYC Against Building Trades

Current News - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 06:18

Anti-union Group Launches 'Subway Scam' Campaign at MTA Against NYC Building Trades

A new campaign is pinning the city's mounting subway problems on construction unions.

"They are primarily focused with scoring the most expensive contracts they can for themselves," Luka Ladan, a spokesman for the Center for Union Facts, said in a phone interview. "But in the process, they're leaving subway riders behind with a dirty, delayed, and dangerous subway system."

The Center for Union Facts is a shadowy Washington-based group that has long campaigned against organized labor. This month, it began targeting the unions that staff the MTA's major capital projects, such as the construction of the Second Avenue Subway.

Their new "Subway Scam" campaign charges that "expensive work rules and cost overruns" drive up the MTA's expenses at the expense of maintenance.

"We've seen subway transit construction costs in New York run seven times higher than the global average," Ladan said.

The center won't say who is paying for the campaign, which features a website, billboards, and full-page newspaper ads. The campaign singles out Gary LaBarbera, the head of the Building and Construction Trades Council.

The council declined to comment on allegations of overstaffing and other waste, but it blasted the Center for Union Facts as "a front group for anti-union forces."

"This pseudo campaign is replete with lies, half-truths, and a repulsive anti-union, anti-worker agenda. The cowards funding this effort should stop hiding," the council said in a statement.

A recent New York Times series, as well as a study by the Regional Plan Association, highlighted the soaring construction costs associated with transit projects in the city.

"In New York, you've got 25 people on a tunnel boring machine," said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. "In Western European countries, you may have seven people on the same machine, you may have as few as five."

MTA officials said they are looking at how to save money in its construction program.

"We can't ask the public to provide more money for our transit system, even though it's desperately needed, unless we can prove that we can invest it efficiently and appropriately," MTA Board Member Scott Rechler said.

So far, the MTA has not come up with any specific proposals to rein in union costs.

Tags: NYC Building Tradesunion bustingCenter For Union Facts
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Secret Whispers - Sexual Violence in the Workplace

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: OHS Canada
Categories: Labor News

Thailand: Court orders labour rights campaigner Andy Hall to pay damages to Natural Fruit

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Finnwatch
Categories: Labor News

Fleet Memo for March 23 2018

IBU - Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:51
Categories: Unions

Australia: Parents brace for 'unprecedented' childcare strike

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 03/25/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Times
Categories: Labor News

USA: Frontier workers rally in WV as strike enters third week

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail
Categories: Labor News

Bosses disregard for safety led to Washington Amtrak Wreck

Current News - Sat, 03/24/2018 - 11:36

Bosses disregard for safety led to Washington
Amtrak derailment


Vol. 82/No. 12 March 26, 2018

Bosses disregard for safety led to Washington
Amtrak derailment

SEATTLE — Debate continues in Washington state over who is responsible for the derailment of Amtrak’s maiden voyage over new track between Tacoma and Portland, Oregon, that led to the death of three people and injured dozens Dec. 18. While Amtrak bosses insinuate that the train’s engineer was responsible, inadequate training, management’s hurry to get the service going to generate income and the bosses’ disregard for safety lay behind the disaster.
“There’s still a lot more that will come out concerning the derailment,” John Hiatt, a former Burlington Northern Santa Fe engineer and 25-year veteran railroad accident investigator for the Bremseth Law firm in Minnesota, told the Militant. Hiatt lives in Washington and has talked to Amtrak workers there about the accident. “A big concern is that the engineer had only one trip on the throttle in the southbound direction and that was at night.”

The National Transportation Safety Board released an interview with the unnamed engineer. He said he had no reservation about his readiness to make the run, that he had operated the equipment on three training runs — one southbound and two going north. He said he knew there was a sharp curve and speed reduction after milepost 18, but that he didn’t see the sign.

He said the fact that there was a conductor training on the run on the engine with him didn’t distract him. When he did see a sign posted 30 mph he jammed on the brake, but it was too late and the train derailed. He was seriously injured in the accident.

Garrick Freeman, the training conductor on the engine, filed a lawsuit against Amtrak Jan. 3. The suit said Amtrak violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which requires management to ensure a workplace free of dangerous conditions. It also said Amtrak bosses failed to adequately train its employees to operate trains safely on the new route. Freeman also was injured in the derailment and spent the month of January in a rehab facility.

Pennie Cottrell, a passenger on the train who suffered broken ribs, a fractured clavicle and internal injuries, filed a lawsuit charging Amtrak management with responsibility. They ran the train after installing Positive Train Control, which can stop trains that fail to slow down, the suit explains, but they didn’t make the system operational.

In response to the public outrage over the Amtrak derailment and deaths, the state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee held hearings on rail safety Feb. 22. A number of rail workers, members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation union, known at SMART, testified about unsafe operations BNSF managers pressed on workers.

“I have operated an unsafe train, safely over territory,” former engineer Lacy Rodriguez testified. “The reason that I and others have done things like that is because of harassment from the railroad.”

Mark McGaffey, a conductor and a safety representative for the SMART union, described a rescue of rail workers his crew had to make after BNSF sent trains out into a blizzard, stranding one crew in a tunnel for 10 hours.

State Sen. Patty Kuderer, from Bellevue, responded to the testimony, saying federal safety rules are stacked against workers, who can’t match the money and power of the railroads.

“Their health and safety were threatened, their lives were put in jeopardy for real,” she said. “That happened because of decisions made by management at BNSF, and nobody’s taking responsibility for it.”

Tags: Amtrak derailmenthealth and safetytrain wreck
Categories: Labor News

Vietnam: Thousands of Vietnamese workers take to highway to protest wage cuts

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Express
Categories: Labor News

French Civil Servants And Rail Workers Strike In Test For Macron

Current News - Fri, 03/23/2018 - 15:46

French Civil Servants And Rail Workers Strike In Test For Macron


French Civil Servants And Rail Workers Strike In Test For Macron

By Staff, France24.com
March 23, 2018

Above Photo: Reuters/ Stephanie Platiau

Some 30% of flights to and from Paris were cancelled while only 40% of high-speed TGV trains were running Thursday amid a strike action against labour reforms. Independent estimates by French media put the number of protesters in Paris at 47,800.

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in the streets of France on Thursday and strikes caused travel misery for millions in a showdown between trade unions and President Emmanuel Macron that could be decisive for his reform efforts.

Seven unions representing staff in the public sector had called for strikes and protests on Thursday, while a third of railway workers walked out to join the demonstrations against 40-year-old Macron’s bid to shake up the French state.

The strikes meant that less than half of the country’s high-speed TGV trains were running, while flights, schools, daycare centres, libraries and other public services such as garbage collection were disturbed to varying degrees.

Police fired teargas and water cannon in central Paris during sporadic clashes between security forces and groups of students which appeared to have been infiltrated by far-left anarchists.

At least one office window was smashed, police said, and a car had been set on fire.

But while commuters faced problems in some areas, particularly in the suburbs of Paris, and many parents were forced to find last-minute childcare solutions, the turnout at the protests and the severity of the strikes appeared low by historic French standards.

“The real question for today is how many people are going to join the action?” hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon told reporters in Paris as he arrived with other leftist political leaders, including the incoming head of the Socialist party Olivier Faure.

March 22 had been chosen deliberately to echo the start of student protests in 1968 that led to a crippling strike that paralysed the country and culminated in notorious street battles between police and demonstrators in May of that year.

On Thursday, protests in major cities such as Marseille and Lyon saw around 10,000 people and rail unions claimed around 25,000 took part in Paris, but the numbers were smaller than previous demonstrations against labour reforms rammed through by Macron last year.


The centrist leader was reported to have told advisors in private this week that he was feeling “serene” as Thursday approached, adding that the day of strikes was “not a cause for panic”, according to the investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.

Public opinion is largely behind his bid to remove some of the pension privileges and job guarantees for new employees hired by the railways, while his bid to shake-up the civil service and education system were announced during his election campaign last year.

A long battle?

Thursday’s strikes were the start of possibly months of protests against Macron after rail unions announced stoppages on two days out of every five between the beginning of April and June.

“For the unions, the objective today was to convey the sense that there is anger rising around the country,” Chloe Morin from the left-wing Jean-Jaures Foundation told AFP, adding that the success of their confrontation with Macron “will depend on their ability to mobilise people and get public opinion behind them.”

France’s once fearsome unions have regularly forced governments into policy U-turns in the past, but Macron and his ministers have vowed not to yield and Morin said she saw little reason to believe the government would change course.

Thousands of public servants had already staged a one-day strike in October against Macron’s plans to cut 120,000 jobs over his five-year term, as well as a pay freeze and a plan for more outsourcing and voluntary buyouts that unions say will remove job security.

“The government needs to be paying much more attention to how things really are,” Force Ouvriere union chief Jean-Claude Mailly told BFM television on Thursday, citing “serious worries” among public sector workers.

Roughly a third of flights into and out of three Paris airports — Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais — were cancelled because of a strike by air traffic controllers.

The SNCF said that 35.4 percent of employees were on strike, meaning just two of every five high-speed TGV trains were running Thursday, and half of regional trains across France had been cancelled.

Four Eurostar trains between London and Paris were cancelled, as were about a quarter of the trains serving other foreign destinations.


A quarter of teachers were striking on average across France, according to the largest SNUipp-FSU union, with up to 55 percent not heading into schools in the Seine-Saint-Denis region just north of Paris.

Macron has vowed to press ahead with what he has promised will be a “transformation” of France to make it more business-friendly and less dependent on government spending and debt.

His approval rating is at 37 percent, according to a survey by the Ipsos polling group published Wednesday, with 55 percent holding a negative view of his presidency — the highest level since the start of his term last year.

A separate survey on Thursday by the Elabe group showed that 58 percent of respondents thought he was implementing his programme but 74 percent throught it was unfair.

Tags: Macronrail strikepublic workersPensions
Categories: Labor News

Haiti: Garment brands must step up to the plate

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Korea (South): UAW Takes Action to Support Incarcerated Korean Trade Unionists

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: EIN
Categories: Labor News

Europe: Workers in nine European countries ‘earned less in 2017 than 2010’

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: EuroNews
Categories: Labor News

France: Air France strike Friday as unions turn up heat on Macron

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Expatica
Categories: Labor News

Local 19 hosts discussion on the ILWU’s Civil Rights History

ILWU - Thu, 03/22/2018 - 16:58

Sharing history: ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams spoke at Local 19’s Education Committee in February.

On February 22, Local 19’s Education Committee hosted a talk on by ILWU International Secretary Treasurer Willie Adams who discussed the ILWU’s Civil Rights history. Approximately 55 people attended the talk at the Local 19 hall.

Adams highlighted the history of the ILWU’s support for Civil Rights in the US and around the world. He also discussed the commitment made to integrate the union by ILWU cofounder Harry Bridges in 1934 to illustrate the historical roots of the ILWU’s commitment to racial equality. He spoke about the ILWU’s support for the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the refusal by ILWU members to handle South African cargo. He also highlighted the important role of African-Americans within the ILWU,including Local 19’s Frank Jenkins, Local 23’s Ernie Tanner and Local 10’s Cleophas Williams. These men held leadership positions in their locals at a time when many other unions excluded Black workers from union membership. Adams also spoke about the ILWU’s relationship with honorary ILWU member, Dr. Martin Luther King. King who spoke at Local 10 just a few months prior to his assassination in 1968. After his murder, Local 10 members shut down the port to honor his life and protest his death.

Adams said he was excited to present on this topic and that organizing Black History events was one of the first union activities he became involved in when he started working on the waterfront in Tacoma.

“The ILWU continues to support important struggles for racial and\ social justice,” Adams said, noting the union’s recent support for the indigenous struggle at Standing Rock. He also recognized the leadership of emerging young workers in the ILWU. “This generation continues to be the driving force for change,” he said. Adams will be joining in the March 24th “March for Our Lives” event in Washington, DC organized by high school students in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The talk was part of Local 19’s education program. Other recent events have included a presentation by IBU Secretary Treasurer Terri Mast who spoke on the threat posed by anti-union polices, including so called Right-to-Work rules on all of organized labor and steps that could be taken to address that threat.

“These workshops are important because this gives us an opportunity to pass down our rich history and traditions, and make our union stronger by educating the membership,” said Local 19’s Education Committee Chair, Jodi Itman. She said that the events wouldn’t happen without the generous support from the Local 19 membership and the many volunteers on the Education Committee. Future workshops being planned include an introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order, Women on the Waterfront, and a discussion on the beginnings and evolution of the ILWU.

Categories: Unions


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