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fleet memo for October 21 2017

IBU - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 15:40
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Categories: Unions

fleet memo for October 14 2017

IBU - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 15:40
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Categories: Unions

Chicago CTA Rail Transit Workers Signal Trouble Ahead

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:27

Chicago CTA Rail Transit Workers Signal Trouble Ahead
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARts1Zjcn-4

Published on Oct 12, 2017Chicago’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 (rail) members and officers are telling the public about their fight for a fair contract. On October 5, 2017 they leafleted and spoke with sympathetic transit riders at the big Howard Street Red Line transit hub on the north side. Working without a contract now for over a year, they may have to strike. Interviews with CTA switchmen, railmen, flagmen, trainmen.

Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. Labor Beat, 37 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60607. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat". On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat is a regular cable-tv series in Chicago, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Cambridge, MA.

Tags: Chicago CTAATU 308strikeno contract
Categories: Labor News

Chicago CTA Rail Transit Workers Signal Trouble Ahead

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 14:27

Chicago CTA Rail Transit Workers Signal Trouble Ahead
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARts1Zjcn-4

Published on Oct 12, 2017Chicago’s Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 (rail) members and officers are telling the public about their fight for a fair contract. On October 5, 2017 they leafleted and spoke with sympathetic transit riders at the big Howard Street Red Line transit hub on the north side. Working without a contract now for over a year, they may have to strike. Interviews with CTA switchmen, railmen, flagmen, trainmen.

Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info: mail@laborbeat.org, www.laborbeat.org. 312-226-3330. Labor Beat, 37 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60607. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat". On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat is a regular cable-tv series in Chicago, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Cambridge, MA.

Tags: Chicago CTAATU 308strikeno contract
Categories: Labor News

Canadian USWA Local 1014 Taxi union renews call for safety measures after 'brutal' attack on driver

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 13:47

Canadian USWA Local 1014 Taxi union renews call for safety measures after 'brutal' attack on driver

http://ht.ly/CUXB30g1ZAP

ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: October 19, 2017 | Last Updated: October 19, 2017 6:00 AM CST
The union representing Saskatoon’s taxi drivers called on city council to reopen a debate on driver safety after a “brutal” attack by a passenger left a cabbie with severe bruising to the face over the weekend.

“With three recent, serious incidents against drivers, the time to act is now,” United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1014 president Malik Draz said in a statement, referring to the beating late Friday night and two unrelated incidents in March.

“We must work together to legislate protective equipment and ensure that the violent perpetrators are held criminally accountable for these assaults.”

The latest attack happened around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 after a Comfort Cabs driver picked up a man and two women on 22nd Street and they started fighting and “becoming belligerent,” according to Saskatoon police spokeswoman Julie Clark.

The driver, whose name was not released, told the passengers to get out of the vehicle but they refused, Clark said in an email. At that point, the driver and a 20-year-old man stepped out of the vehicle and “a physical altercation” ensued, Clark wrote.

The suspect fled but was soon found, arrested and charged with assault. The remaining two passengers were arrested and subsequently released. The driver suffered “minor injuries” and was checked out by paramedics at the scene, according to Clark.

Draz’s call to re-open the debate comes months after city administrators, in response to a request from USW Local 2014, said safety shields designed to separate drivers from passengers should be optional because taxis already have sufficient safety equipment.

The union subsequently requested council’s standing committee on transportation consider the installation of flashing amber lights on taxis, which can be used to signal an emergency. The committee referred the request to administrators.

“These assaults are not isolated incidents and these three attacks are just the ones that were reported,” USW staff representative Mike Pulak said. “Many drivers face verbal and physical assaults. City hall needs to take action to improve their working conditions now.”

amacpherson@postmedia.com
twitter.com/macphersona

Tags: USWA 1014Saskatoon's tax driversracismxenophobiaimmigrant workers
Categories: Labor News

Canadian USWA Local 1014 Taxi union renews call for safety measures after 'brutal' attack on driver

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 13:47

Canadian USWA Local 1014 Taxi union renews call for safety measures after 'brutal' attack on driver

http://ht.ly/CUXB30g1ZAP

ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: October 19, 2017 | Last Updated: October 19, 2017 6:00 AM CST
The union representing Saskatoon’s taxi drivers called on city council to reopen a debate on driver safety after a “brutal” attack by a passenger left a cabbie with severe bruising to the face over the weekend.

“With three recent, serious incidents against drivers, the time to act is now,” United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1014 president Malik Draz said in a statement, referring to the beating late Friday night and two unrelated incidents in March.

“We must work together to legislate protective equipment and ensure that the violent perpetrators are held criminally accountable for these assaults.”

The latest attack happened around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 after a Comfort Cabs driver picked up a man and two women on 22nd Street and they started fighting and “becoming belligerent,” according to Saskatoon police spokeswoman Julie Clark.

The driver, whose name was not released, told the passengers to get out of the vehicle but they refused, Clark said in an email. At that point, the driver and a 20-year-old man stepped out of the vehicle and “a physical altercation” ensued, Clark wrote.

The suspect fled but was soon found, arrested and charged with assault. The remaining two passengers were arrested and subsequently released. The driver suffered “minor injuries” and was checked out by paramedics at the scene, according to Clark.

Draz’s call to re-open the debate comes months after city administrators, in response to a request from USW Local 2014, said safety shields designed to separate drivers from passengers should be optional because taxis already have sufficient safety equipment.

The union subsequently requested council’s standing committee on transportation consider the installation of flashing amber lights on taxis, which can be used to signal an emergency. The committee referred the request to administrators.

“These assaults are not isolated incidents and these three attacks are just the ones that were reported,” USW staff representative Mike Pulak said. “Many drivers face verbal and physical assaults. City hall needs to take action to improve their working conditions now.”

amacpherson@postmedia.com
twitter.com/macphersona

Tags: USWA 1014Saskatoon's tax driversracismxenophobiaimmigrant workers
Categories: Labor News

Puerto Rico and the Jones Act Conundrum

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 09:09

Puerto Rico and the Jones Act Conundrum
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/23/puerto-rico-and-the-jones-act-co...
by JACK HEYMAN

OCTOBER 23, 2017

When Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, the whole transportation and communication infrastructure went down- the power grid, bridges, roads, cell towers- devastating the entire island. Most people are still without the basic necessities of life, a month later. Emergency logistics are dysfunctional and telephone service barely exists.

FEMA’s bumbling for one month has looked like a rerun of a Keystone Cops movie. Although the marine terminals were loaded with commercial cargo since before the hurricane, there was no way for workers to reach the port facilities nor power to operate the port safely. Day after day cargo sat idle as people’s desperation for water, food and life-saving medicine mounts. The early death toll was 48, but NPR has reported an additional 49 deaths since the storm and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Reporting found 69 hospitals had morgue at “capacity” as isolated towns and villages are reached the death toll will climb.

The Jones Act Under Attack……Anew

Often when a major accident occurs the mainstream media are quick to blame workers. However, in the case of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, many liberals and leftists have joined in the union bashing charging the Jones Act, which is supported by maritime unions, with stopping vital shipments of aid. While it may be true that Jones Act cargo may cost more, it is not true that the Act (which requires that shipping between U.S. ports be in U.S.-registered vessels) is preventing necessary aid from reaching the people. However, no such protectionist U.S. laws, including the Jones Act, should be imposed on the colony of Puerto Rico, and that goes for the U.S. imperialist embargo on trade with Cuba and trade sanctions on Venezuela and Russia as well.

The fact is there are plenty of U.S. bottoms to sail to the island. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the Department of Defense (DOD) manage 300 commercial vessels. And there are 4 Jones Act shipowners, Horizon, Sea Star, Crowley and Trailer Bridge that operate 5 container vessels and 12 barges on the Puerto Rico trade.

The blame for the lack of transportion and distribution of vital goods lies squarely with the U.S. government and its colonial oppression of Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act may pass on higher prices to an impoverished colonial people and that should not be, but there is another aspect to this question. Some of the most reactionary forces of the U.S. ruling class are trying to use the Puerto Rican hurricane relief crisis to get rid of the Jones Act, not because it would aid Puerto Rico but because it provides jobs for shipbuilders and seamen in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Much left opposition to the Jones Act comes from ignorance of the law and a knee jerk reaction to appear “anti-imperialist”. What it shows is their disconnect with the working class and blindness toward the capitalists’ machinations.

Capitalists and their news media often claim that good union wages cost the public higher prices. That’s the mantra of Walmart and the non-union big box stores who extol their “virtues” of the profit system. The danger is that this cacophony, unwittingly supported by “progressives”, could lead to repeal of the entire U.S. Jones Act, a longtime campaign of the right wing, anti-union National Review, Senator John McCain and most of the Wall Street banksters.

The 1920 Merchant Marine Act or the Jones Act as it is known was promulgated to protect the American shipbuilding and seafaring industries.

The Jones Act does not include the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands nor should it include the colony of Puerto Rico. Both should be independent. However, it should remain intact for the continental U.S. Calling to free Puerto Rico from the restrictions of this U.S. cabotage law is part of the struggle for independence, but to call for abolition of the Jones Act in the U.S would mean the destruction of maritime unions and the loss of hard-won union jobs.

A Colony Faces Natural Catastrophe & Imperial Oppression

Today, the colony of Puerto Rico is in debt $70 billion dollars and is basically bankrupt. The island just sustained damage from Hurricane Maria up to $95 billion dollars, according to Moody’s Analytics. While President Trump has offered Puerto Rico a loan of $9.4 billion dollars, the state of New Jersey was granted $50 billion in emergency federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. But Puerto Rico is a colony.

U.S. army veteran Ricardo Ortiz a patient in the VA Hospital in San Juan warns “American troops, just like in Haiti a few years ago after the earthquake there, are not here in Puerto Rico to aid the people. They are an imperialist occupying force and no imperialist army can free a colonized nation. ” Blackwater, the murderous military security firm, is patrolling the streets of San Juan. Ortiz went on to say that barrios in his hometown, Caguas, are self-organizing humanitarian efforts to clean the streets, distribute and share food, drinking water and medicines. The demand should be raised for all U.S. forces, including the private security firm Blackwater, out of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is run by the Control Board set up by Obama in 2016 under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Puerto Ricans on the island didn’t vote for this Control Board just as they have no congressional representation or right to vote for president. It is a colony under naked imperialist rule. The 10 day waiver of the Jones Act has ended. It must be extended and Puerto Rico excised from it.

Yet, blaming the Jones Act is really a diversion. The real capitalist drive is for privatization. That gem is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), the largest publicly-owned utility in U.S.-controlled territory. With 90% of the electric grid down, the “green” capitalist Elon Musk offered to help rebuild the electric grid (and bulk up his profits). And Governor Rosello, the comprador bourgeois politician, suggested Musk make this his “flagship” project.

Both Democrat and Republican parties support the colonization of Puerto Rico and U.S. imperialist war policies. Their neo-liberal capitalist privatization schemes have targeted for years anything public, i.e. schools, prisons, social security. Many leftists oppose privatization of PREPA but support abolition of the Jones Act which would effectively eliminate U.S. merchant marine jobs as companies would use foreign flag registry to avoid union contracts.

Why were leftists silent 25 years ago when the Puerto Rican government-owned Navieras de Puerto Rico which owned several ships was privatized and sold to the North American capitalists, Bankers Trust? The ships were later sold to Sea Star Line, a joint venture of Saltchuck (45%), Matson (45%), and Taino (10%), the Puerto Rican “pitiyanqui” capitalists. Saltchuck moved aggressively to buy out Matson.

Higher shipping rates on the Puerto Rico run were due, not to the Jones Act per se, but to actual price-fixing. In 2008, six executives of Saltchuck’s Sea Star Line, Crowley Maritime and Horizon Lines, all involved in the Jones Act trade of Puerto Rico were sentenced to prison for conspiring to fix ocean freight rates and cargo allocations. They incurred criminal fines, legal expenses and settlements of $100 million. Now, Saltchuck’s Sea Star Lines and Crowley Maritime are each building two new Jones Act containerships for the lucrative Puerto Rico trade.

In 2015, Saltchuck’s rush for profit drove its Tote Maritime ship, El Faro, into the eye of Hurricane Joaquin en route from Jacksonville to San Juan resulting in the loss of the entire crew of 33. The U.S. Coast Guard, in the pocket of the maritime companies, blamed the hapless captain who went down with his ship and couldn’t defend himself.

The Downside of the Jones Act

The contradiction in the Jones Act is that while it provided fertile grounds for union organizing, other motivations were national security and protectionism. Two seminal acts during the anti-communist McCarthy period made that clear by introducing toxic policies, one for foreign policy the other domestic. Both opened the floodgates for union-busting runaway flag ships. The anti-Soviet Marshall Plan began the process of transferring U.S. merchant vessels to registration in other countries like Greece, part of a campaign to encircle the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc countries. U.S. financing of anti-communist parties and trade unions was well known in Europe, especially in France and Italy where the left led mass parties of the working class. It’s no wonder that charges of Russia interfering in recent American elections are met with laughter and derision in those countries.

The second dose of toxicity was the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, called the slave labor bill by unions. Aside from forcing workers on strike back to work, it banned reds from holding union office and made sympathy strikes illegal, all essential building blocks of the labor movement. On top of that the Coast Guard screened thousands of maritime workers from ships and ports, branding them communists. Many of them were black and brown, including Puerto Ricans and Jamaicans. A couple years before the crew of a merchant ship organized by the Communist-influenced National Maritime Union (NMU) sent President Truman a telegram protesting their transport of French soldiers back to Vietnam to recolonize that country. That was the first U.S. protest against the imperialist war in Vietnam.

The evisceration of the maritime unions was complete when militants of all stripes were purged by union officials-turned-finks like Joe Curran, president of the NMU. What began as a trickle of runaway flag ships with foreign registry became a flood. The Jones Act only protected coastwide trade not trade union jobs. But by then the deep sea unions were left defenseless with no militants to organize internationally.

The West Coast ILWU was the only maritime union to remain unscathed by the anti-red terror and became a haven for many who were purged from other unions. It was the only maritime union to have opposed U.S. imperialist wars from the Korean War to the Middle East. On May Day 2008, the longshore union shutdown all West Coast ports to demand an end to the imperialist wars. ILWU even called for Puerto Rican independence and opposed the U.S. using the island of Vieques as a military target practise.

Retired longshoreman Jose Ojeda Jimenez, like his father before him, worked in the port of San Juan. He identifies himself as a proud ”independentista and socialista” who opposes the Jones Act being imposed on Puerto Rico. A member of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1575 he fought within his union for years against a discriminatory practise that denied Puerto Rican locals equal benefits like the pension and Container Royalty. Those benefits are provided for all longshoremen in the Master Contract, but shamefully not for those in the colony of Puerto Rico. ILA locals, especially the predominantly African American locals in the Southeast and Gulf ports, should demand equal treatment for all longshore union members.

U.S. Stops International Humanitarian Aid to Puerto Rico

An offer of teams of doctors and medical aid from Cuba was made to Puerto Rico, but President Trump has denied the humanitarian aid and continues to ramp up the illegal blockade of Cuba. Venezuela President Maduro pledged a “special plan of support and solidarity” assumed to be donated petroleum. That too has been rejected. Why? Venezuela is the majority owner of CITGO which maintains state-of-the-art refineries in Texas. Russia’s state-owned Rosneft owns 49.9% of CITGO and U.S. sanctions against both countries are what sank that offer of aid. Likewise, the Hess Oil refinery on the U.S. territorial island of St. Croix adjacent to Puerto Rico, and half-owned by the Venezuela government was closed in 2012. At the time it was the largest petroleum refinery in the world. Its shuttering reeks of U.S. imperial designs in the Caribbean.

Hostile relations against Russia, Cuba and Venezuela didn’t start with Trump. The U.S., has attempted to militarily overthrow the government in each of those countries: Russia (U.S. Expeditionary Force 1918-1920), Cuba (Bay of Pigs 1961) and Venezuela (U.S.-backed military coup 2002). Vietnam is a big exporter of rice to Cuba. Shipping rice to Puerto Rico would not be in violation of the Jones Act, however it could jeopardize relations with the U.S. that Vietnam has been cultivating through the TransPacific Partnership (TPP).

United Socialist Islands of the Caribbean

Perhaps the arrogant imperial disdain for the plight of the working people of Puerto Rico will stir the cauldron of their desire for freedom and independence. That struggle must transcend the narrow confines of U.S. bourgeois democracy which even denies that Puerto Rico is a colony while the comprador bourgeoisie is besotted with their imperialist American partners. A revolutionary Puerto Rican socialist movement, the embers of which were seen in the celebration of the release of Puerto Rican freedom fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera after 36 years in prison, could rise up with the call for independence and reach out to the working class in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad and forge a united socialist islands of the Caribbean.

Jack Heyman (jackheyman@mac.com) is chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee www.transportworkers.org and a retired longshoreman who writes on labor politics and history.

Tags: Puerto RicoJones ActILA
Categories: Labor News

Ford Owned SF Chariot Bus Service Using Drivers Without Proper Training-IBT Supporting Privatization of Transportation in SF With Chariot To Get New Members

Current News - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 06:58

Ford Owned SF Chariot Bus Service Using Drivers Without Proper Training-IBT Supporting Privatization of Transportation in SF With Chariot To Get New Members
Chariot, an app-enabled private bus service owned by Ford Motor Company

CHP inspections revealed some Chariot drivers drove without proper licenses

http://www.sfexaminer.com/chp-inspections-revealed-chariot-drivers-drove...

Regulators ordered private bus service Chariot to cease operations in California last Wednesday. Now, records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner reveal why.

On three separate California Highway Patrol inspections, at least seven Chariot drivers were found to be driving without Class B licenses, which certify them to drive buses, according to inspection documents obtained by the Examiner in a public records request.

CHP inspectors traditionally review a sample of all vehicles, leaving open the possibility of more drivers without proper licenses. Chariot did not respond to requests for comment.

CHP spokesperson Sgt. Rob Nacke said those inspections revealed some of Chariot’s drivers were driving with Class C licenses instead of Commercial Class B licenses — a violation of California law.

“We trust you are aware of the seriousness of this situation and will take immediate action to correct the deficiencies,” CHP Capt. L. M. Bishop wrote to Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh in an Aug. 27 letter obtained by the Examiner.

The letter outlines meetings between the CHP and Chariot where they were warned non-compliance would result in the California Public Utilities Commission suspending Chariot’s authority to operate.

Though the distinction in licenses may seem minor, the Teamsters union, which recently organized Chariot’s 215 Bay Area drivers, said the expertise is important.

“We are deadly serious about those laws,” said Doug Bloch, political director with Teamsters Joint Council 7, which represents thousands of Teamsters statewide.

Chariot, a jitney service that’s accessible by smartphone app, falls under regulatory oversight by the CPUC and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The SFMTA passed new regulations for Chariot last Tuesday, which requires wheelchair accessibility and data reporting for its 14-passenger vans.

“Our board voted to establish new local requirements to ensure that current and future private transit services operate in a way that is safe,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said.

Those new regulations take effect in November.

Last Thursday, however, Chariot abruptly ceased operations, leaving its 3,000 to 4,000 customers in San Francisco stranded — all for want of licenses.

Commercial Class B licenses show training has been attained in driving vehicles more than 26,000 pounds, or a three-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds, farm labor vehicles, or — crucially in this case — buses.

A Class C license is the one most everyday commuters carry in their wallets, allowing drivers behind the wheels of sedans and similar sized vehicles.

The CHP inspections of Chariot’s vehicles on the road in Napa in October 2016, as well as inspections of Chariot’s 95 Minna St. bus yard in March and August 2017, all found violations, according to inspection records obtained by the Examiner.

CHP inspected 20 vehicles and found one violation in 2016, according to an inspection document, and gave Chariot an “unsatisfactory rating.”

In the March inspection, the CHP found two violations out of 20 inspections.

In August, however, the CHP found its most drivers without licenses to date, as five of the drivers inspected were without Class B licenses, according to inspection documents.

Chariot did not ask for reviews of the CHP inspections.

When the Teamsters organized Chariot’s drivers in May, “this is something we found out,” Bloch said, of the need for Chariot’s drivers to attain Class B licenses. The Teamsters organized a license training program in San Francisco that operates Monday through Thursdays.

“The very first order of business for the union after we organized the workers was to educate them with Class B licenses,” Bloch said. “We did that before we organized the contract.”

Chariot paid for the training courses, Bloch said.

Ford Pushing Transit Privatization In San Francisco With Chariot
“This company is another one of these companies based on ‘We’re going to break the law, and go to city government to ask for forgiveness,’” said Sue Vaughan, who sits on the SFMTA’s citizen advisory council and has been a staunch critic of private transit services.
Vaughan has catalogued Chariot vehicles double parking to let out passengers, blocking Muni buses and engaging in other “scofflaw” behavior in dozens of photographs.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/new-sf-jitney-rules-ban-chariot-competing-dire...
New SF jitney rules ban Chariot from competing directly with Muni
Chariot, an app-enabled private bus service owned by Ford Motor Company, is the only company of its kind operating in The City. (Daniel Kim/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on September 14, 2017 1:00 am
San Francisco jitney vans are set to see historically new regulations.Proposed rules to govern private transit vehicles — essentially buses run by companies — will go before the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors for a vote at their next meeting Tuesday.
The new rules, if approved, will be instated 30 days after the meeting and apply to any private transit service working explicitly within San Francisco. Only one such company exists right now — the app-enabled bus service, Chariot.
Among this new legal framework is a clause addressing a chief public concern: Private transit will be banned from replicating Muni routes.
“These regulations would require any new route does not duplicate Muni service,” said Alex Jonlin, an SFMTA transportation analyst, at a media briefing on the rules Wednesday.
Much of Chariot’s existing network replicates Muni Express and Rapid bus routes aimed at downtown workers. Those routes will be “grandfathered in,” Jonlin said.
New private transit routes that match Muni routes “75 percent” or more will not be allowed, Jonlin said, along with other requirements.
Exceptions would be made for routes that mimic Muni lines outside of its service hours, or connect to regional transit (except on Market Street), or serve substantially different stops.
The move to essentially cut off direct competition between private and public buses is one among many concerns the SFMTA will address with the new regulatory framework. Additionally, private transit companies will be required to share GPS data of its vehicles, ridership numbers, register for California Highway Patrol vehicle inspections, bolster safety training and provide equal access for people with disabilities.
The program will cost $250,000 annually to administer, according to the SFMTA, which will be recovered nearly entirely through administrative fees to Chariot. State law requires SFMTA only recoup the costs of such a program.
Chariot would not comment directly on the regulations, and said it would continue working with the SFMTA. Ford Motor Company bought Chariot, a startup, late last year. The sale price was not disclosed, but Business Insider cited sources who pinned the sale at “more than” $65 million.
Private jitney buses have operated on San Francisco streets for as long as automobiles have existed. Jitneys ferried San Franciscans to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, and many Muni lines today run on former private bus lines.
However, private jitney service declined in the 1970s. At the time, jitneys were loosely regulated through a patchwork of laws at the San Francisco Police Department and elsewhere.
“Our big concern is public safety,” Kate Toran, head of SFMTA taxi services, said of creating new rules for jitneys in San Francisco.
The rules come after neighbors have complained of Chariot vehicles double parking, stopping in Muni bus stops and blocking driveways, according to the SFMTA.
The public made 62 complaints through email or 311 about Chariot and other private transit services, which are now defunct, since September 2015, according to the SFMTA. There have been 28 complaints in 2017 alone.
“This company is another one of these companies based on ‘We’re going to break the law, and go to city government to ask for forgiveness,’” said Sue Vaughan, who sits on the SFMTA’s citizen advisory council and has been a staunch critic of private transit services.
Vaughan has catalogued Chariot vehicles double parking to let out passengers, blocking Muni buses and engaging in other “scofflaw” behavior in dozens of photographs.
San Francisco State University geography professor Jason Henderson, who focuses on urban transportation, said even if Chariot is not allowed to compete with Muni, the regulations don’t go far enough.
“The City needs to be asking a soul searching question — is private transit really the right way to do things?” he said.
Though Henderson admits some San Franciscans simply don’t want to use Muni, either because they complain it’s too dirty, too crowded, or not as comfortable as hopping on a Chariot van, he said that’s beside the point.
Henderson added that two different modes of transit, a luxury option for those who can afford it, and a public option that faces possible disinvestment, doesn’t reflect San Francisco values.
“I think the solution is for those kinds of people to get over themselves,” he said.

Tags: IBTPublic TransitChariotFord
Categories: Labor News

India: Your Wages Are In My Pants: Bengaluru Contractor Tells Women Sanitation Workers

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Huffington Post
Categories: Labor News

Guatemala: Being a Trade Unionist in Guatemala Will Get You Killed

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Upside Down World
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: Independent unions challenge the zero rights regime at Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF Global Union
Categories: Labor News

USA: In the Face of Trump Attacks, UNITE HERE unveils 40+ City Mobilization Oct 19, 2017

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNITE HERE!
Categories: Labor News

Activists in Puerto Rico Want The Jones Act Eliminated-So Why Are Unions Defending It?

Current News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:39

Activists in Puerto Rico Want The Jones Act Eliminated-So Why Are Unions Defending It?
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20615/puerto_rico_jones_act_unions...
BY KATE ARONOFFPRINT

After Hurricane Maria, many in Puerto Rico have renewed calls to eliminate the Jones Act. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, an obscure law governing maritime commerce has grabbed national headlines: The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known colloquially as the Jones Act. After facing political pressure and at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, on September 28, President Trump issued a 10-day waiver of the Act to ease shipping regulations on the island. That waiver expired last week.

Many in Puerto Rico, along with members of the Puerto Rican diaspora living on the U.S. mainland, argue that the statue is stifling aid by presenting an unnecessary barrier to the procurement of basic relief supplies. Maritime unions, meanwhile, contend that the measure is essential for protecting seafaring workers.

So what is the Jones Act? What does it do? And what other factors might be getting in the way of supplies reaching Puerto Ricans?

What the Jones Act does and doesn’t do

The Jones Act stipulates that only U.S.-flagged ships can operate between U.S. ports, so any American goods coming into Puerto Rico via U.S.-governed ports have to arrive on U.S.-flagged, U.S.-made ships. This mandate prioritizes the use of American ships and workers, and inhibits foreign shipping companies’ access to inter-U.S. shipping routes.

Passed on the heels of World War I, the measure, named for its sponsor, Rep. Wesley Jones (R-Wash.), was intended to ensure that America would thrive in maritime commerce and be full of seafaring men in case they were needed for another war.

The law includes provisions protecting seafarers’ rights, requiring ships transporting goods between U.S. ports to abide by the maritime labor laws and environmental standards outlined in the Jones Act.

Foreign-flagged vessels from foreign ports are not prevented from docking in Puerto Rico, only from shuttling goods from the mainland to the island. The law also doesn’t mandate that imported goods bound for Puerto Rico pass through a mainland port first.

The Jones Act doesn’t apply to goods shipped between the mainland and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but does apply to goods shipped between the mainland and Puerto Rico. By comparison, U.S.-made goods on the Virgin Islands are about half as expensive as they are in Puerto Rico.

The case against the act

Well before Hurricane Maria, the Jones Act was blamed for driving up the cost of living in Puerto Rico, where groceries are as much as 21 percent more expensive than on the mainland. In 2011, the U.S. Transportation Department Maritime Administration found that day-to-day operating costs were 2.6 times higher on U.S. ships compared to international vessels, and that labor costs could be as much as 5 times higher.

On the island and off, a waiver of the Jones Act has been a mainstay of demands for relief and recovery packages, both to ease the flow of goods after the storm and for long-term reconstruction.

“If Maria is enough to get us out of that, that would be amazing,” says Sofía Gallisá Muriente, an artist and organizer from Puerto Rico who was also active in Occupy Sandy before moving back home to San Juan from New York City four years ago. “That’s the best thing that could come of this storm, but I don’t know if we could pull that off. The most I think we could get would be a waiver for a year.”

Among those calling for a permanent lifting of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico is the Climate Justice Alliance, a network of climate justice groups in the United States with ties to several labor unions, but not the National Maritime Union, whose members would be most affected by a permanent lifting of the law. The network held a Day of Action on Wednesday, October 11 to call attention to their list of demands, including full debt relief and a transparent decision-making process around the distribution of aid resources, among other things.

After the Day of Action event in New York, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of Uprose, a New York City-based group and member of the Climate Justice Alliance, told In These Times, “To have the waiver because they want to make the sipping industry happy at the expense of the lives of the Puerto Rican people is an international disgrace.”

Asked about maritime unions’ concerns over lifting the Jones Act, Yeampierre, herself Puerto Rican, says, “It can’t just be about their pay and their resources right now, because climate change is coming for all of us. Justice is not one of those things you can parse. When I have a labor dispute it’s not about getting justice for my people but no one else.”

Why unions and shipping companies like it

Maritime unions have mounted their defense of the Jones Act on the basis that it protects seafaring workers and well-paid American jobs. “The Jones Act is one way to insure that vessels operating between U.S. ports respect fair labor standards and don’t exploit seafarers,” Craig Merrilees, Communications Director for the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, told In These Times.

To get around strict labor standards in the United States and elsewhere, ship owners may adopt a practice known as “re-flagging,” or registering a vessel in a country—say Liberia or Panama—with lax worker protections. Flying under so-called “Flags of Convenience” is a way for maritime operators to exploit workers on their ships, who are especially vulnerable to mistreatment due to their dependence on employers during extended trips at sea.

By preventing this evasion, Merrilees says, “the Jones Act is an important protector of decent working conditions and good-paying jobs for seafarers in the shipping industry. Crews on U.S. flagged ships rarely experience anything like the terrible abuse and exploitation often found on vessels flying a flag of convenience.”

The Jones Act has created a somewhat counterintuitive set of political alliances: Shipping companies like it for the access it gives them to U.S. ports and make hay about its importance to national security, while maritime unions want to defend the workplace protections it provides. At the same time, opponents of the Jones Act make the case that the law unfairly drives up the cost of living in Puerto Rico, which is already higher than on the mainland by virtue of the island being largely dependent on imports. Then there are the politicians such as John McCain and free market think-tanks including the Heritage Foundation, that have lobbied against the bill on anti-regulatory, anti-labor grounds.

The scale of disaster

While the politics surrounding the Jones Act remain thorny, several other factors also impede the flow of aid to Puerto Rican residents—including the Trump Administration itself.

President Trump threatened on Twitter last week to disband federal relief efforts on the island entirely. An official statement later clarified that “successful recoveries do not last forever.” Reports in the weeks since the storm have told of shipping containers stranded at ports due to downed logistics networks and government mismanagement, and even goods being confiscated at the San Juan airport after being flown in on commercial planes.

Gallisá Muriente dealt with similar issues after Hurricane Sandy, struggling to procure aid for some of the hardest-hit parts of New York City, albeit on a different scale. “That was a big lesson for me from Sandy: That there’s no such thing as a natural disaster,” she says. “It’s really the human disasters that complicate things—social conditioning, priorities, bureaucracy. And it doesn’t work to go back to normal when that normal was also problematic.”

Already, Gallisá Muriente notes, she and others have put some of the lessons learned in Occupy Sandy to work on the ground, while recognizing that there are major differences between conducting grassroots relief efforts in the Big Apple and on a small, austerity-stricken island.

“There are certain general logistical things that we’ve borrowed from that experience: creating lists of suggested donations, Amazon registries where people can buy specific things that we need,” she says. “The governor keeps saying everything is fine and is talking about all the aid coming in, but no one sees it or feels like things are getting any better.”

Heriberto Martínez-Otero, who teaches economics at a high school in San Juan and at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, told In These Times via Skype that there are still “5 or 6 municipalities that are incommunicado. Most of the municipalities with communications,” he adds, “don’t have ATMs or open banks. The schools are not open, and the hospitals are without power…except for some areas here in San Juan and some of the privileged suburbs, everything is a complete disaster.”

He also notes issues with the sparse relief efforts that are being administered, mainly by the U.S. government. “FEMA, I don’t know where they are. But the U.S. military are moving around most parts of the island with big guns,” says Martínez-Otero. “These guys think this is a war zone.”

What’s next for the island

Many Puerto Ricans—while recognizing the role the U.S. military plays in disaster relief—are weary of having troops on the ground for the long-term. Speaking to me from his classroom in San Juan, Martínez-Otero says, “On the streets here, in front of the school, this is a military state.”

“I am against the Jones Act,” Martínez-Otero continues, “but I don't know if waiving the Jones Act is the way to solve the current situation we’re in.” He also mentioned that it was hard to tell whether the 10-day waiver had improved conditions on the island, saying that a year-long waiver would likely be necessary in order to improve Puerto Rico’s distribution infrastructure.

Debates around the Jones Act aren’t likely to be resolved in the near future, and certainly not before the Senate moves to vote on the short-term, loan-based aid package for Puerto Rico that the House passed on Thursday. What does seem clear is that the overlapping crises on the island aren’t likely to end anytime soon—and U.S. policy is only helping deepen them.

KATE ARONOFF
Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times covering the politics of climate change, the White House transition and the resistance to Trump’s agenda. Follow her on Twitter @katearonoff

Tags: Puerto RicoJones Actshipping
Categories: Labor News

Activists in Puerto Rico Want The Jones Act Eliminated-So Why Are Unions Defending It?

Current News - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:39

Activists in Puerto Rico Want The Jones Act Eliminated-So Why Are Unions Defending It?
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20615/puerto_rico_jones_act_unions...
BY KATE ARONOFFPRINT

After Hurricane Maria, many in Puerto Rico have renewed calls to eliminate the Jones Act. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, an obscure law governing maritime commerce has grabbed national headlines: The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, known colloquially as the Jones Act. After facing political pressure and at the request of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, on September 28, President Trump issued a 10-day waiver of the Act to ease shipping regulations on the island. That waiver expired last week.

Many in Puerto Rico, along with members of the Puerto Rican diaspora living on the U.S. mainland, argue that the statue is stifling aid by presenting an unnecessary barrier to the procurement of basic relief supplies. Maritime unions, meanwhile, contend that the measure is essential for protecting seafaring workers.

So what is the Jones Act? What does it do? And what other factors might be getting in the way of supplies reaching Puerto Ricans?

What the Jones Act does and doesn’t do

The Jones Act stipulates that only U.S.-flagged ships can operate between U.S. ports, so any American goods coming into Puerto Rico via U.S.-governed ports have to arrive on U.S.-flagged, U.S.-made ships. This mandate prioritizes the use of American ships and workers, and inhibits foreign shipping companies’ access to inter-U.S. shipping routes.

Passed on the heels of World War I, the measure, named for its sponsor, Rep. Wesley Jones (R-Wash.), was intended to ensure that America would thrive in maritime commerce and be full of seafaring men in case they were needed for another war.

The law includes provisions protecting seafarers’ rights, requiring ships transporting goods between U.S. ports to abide by the maritime labor laws and environmental standards outlined in the Jones Act.

Foreign-flagged vessels from foreign ports are not prevented from docking in Puerto Rico, only from shuttling goods from the mainland to the island. The law also doesn’t mandate that imported goods bound for Puerto Rico pass through a mainland port first.

The Jones Act doesn’t apply to goods shipped between the mainland and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but does apply to goods shipped between the mainland and Puerto Rico. By comparison, U.S.-made goods on the Virgin Islands are about half as expensive as they are in Puerto Rico.

The case against the act

Well before Hurricane Maria, the Jones Act was blamed for driving up the cost of living in Puerto Rico, where groceries are as much as 21 percent more expensive than on the mainland. In 2011, the U.S. Transportation Department Maritime Administration found that day-to-day operating costs were 2.6 times higher on U.S. ships compared to international vessels, and that labor costs could be as much as 5 times higher.

On the island and off, a waiver of the Jones Act has been a mainstay of demands for relief and recovery packages, both to ease the flow of goods after the storm and for long-term reconstruction.

“If Maria is enough to get us out of that, that would be amazing,” says Sofía Gallisá Muriente, an artist and organizer from Puerto Rico who was also active in Occupy Sandy before moving back home to San Juan from New York City four years ago. “That’s the best thing that could come of this storm, but I don’t know if we could pull that off. The most I think we could get would be a waiver for a year.”

Among those calling for a permanent lifting of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico is the Climate Justice Alliance, a network of climate justice groups in the United States with ties to several labor unions, but not the National Maritime Union, whose members would be most affected by a permanent lifting of the law. The network held a Day of Action on Wednesday, October 11 to call attention to their list of demands, including full debt relief and a transparent decision-making process around the distribution of aid resources, among other things.

After the Day of Action event in New York, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of Uprose, a New York City-based group and member of the Climate Justice Alliance, told In These Times, “To have the waiver because they want to make the sipping industry happy at the expense of the lives of the Puerto Rican people is an international disgrace.”

Asked about maritime unions’ concerns over lifting the Jones Act, Yeampierre, herself Puerto Rican, says, “It can’t just be about their pay and their resources right now, because climate change is coming for all of us. Justice is not one of those things you can parse. When I have a labor dispute it’s not about getting justice for my people but no one else.”

Why unions and shipping companies like it

Maritime unions have mounted their defense of the Jones Act on the basis that it protects seafaring workers and well-paid American jobs. “The Jones Act is one way to insure that vessels operating between U.S. ports respect fair labor standards and don’t exploit seafarers,” Craig Merrilees, Communications Director for the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, told In These Times.

To get around strict labor standards in the United States and elsewhere, ship owners may adopt a practice known as “re-flagging,” or registering a vessel in a country—say Liberia or Panama—with lax worker protections. Flying under so-called “Flags of Convenience” is a way for maritime operators to exploit workers on their ships, who are especially vulnerable to mistreatment due to their dependence on employers during extended trips at sea.

By preventing this evasion, Merrilees says, “the Jones Act is an important protector of decent working conditions and good-paying jobs for seafarers in the shipping industry. Crews on U.S. flagged ships rarely experience anything like the terrible abuse and exploitation often found on vessels flying a flag of convenience.”

The Jones Act has created a somewhat counterintuitive set of political alliances: Shipping companies like it for the access it gives them to U.S. ports and make hay about its importance to national security, while maritime unions want to defend the workplace protections it provides. At the same time, opponents of the Jones Act make the case that the law unfairly drives up the cost of living in Puerto Rico, which is already higher than on the mainland by virtue of the island being largely dependent on imports. Then there are the politicians such as John McCain and free market think-tanks including the Heritage Foundation, that have lobbied against the bill on anti-regulatory, anti-labor grounds.

The scale of disaster

While the politics surrounding the Jones Act remain thorny, several other factors also impede the flow of aid to Puerto Rican residents—including the Trump Administration itself.

President Trump threatened on Twitter last week to disband federal relief efforts on the island entirely. An official statement later clarified that “successful recoveries do not last forever.” Reports in the weeks since the storm have told of shipping containers stranded at ports due to downed logistics networks and government mismanagement, and even goods being confiscated at the San Juan airport after being flown in on commercial planes.

Gallisá Muriente dealt with similar issues after Hurricane Sandy, struggling to procure aid for some of the hardest-hit parts of New York City, albeit on a different scale. “That was a big lesson for me from Sandy: That there’s no such thing as a natural disaster,” she says. “It’s really the human disasters that complicate things—social conditioning, priorities, bureaucracy. And it doesn’t work to go back to normal when that normal was also problematic.”

Already, Gallisá Muriente notes, she and others have put some of the lessons learned in Occupy Sandy to work on the ground, while recognizing that there are major differences between conducting grassroots relief efforts in the Big Apple and on a small, austerity-stricken island.

“There are certain general logistical things that we’ve borrowed from that experience: creating lists of suggested donations, Amazon registries where people can buy specific things that we need,” she says. “The governor keeps saying everything is fine and is talking about all the aid coming in, but no one sees it or feels like things are getting any better.”

Heriberto Martínez-Otero, who teaches economics at a high school in San Juan and at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, told In These Times via Skype that there are still “5 or 6 municipalities that are incommunicado. Most of the municipalities with communications,” he adds, “don’t have ATMs or open banks. The schools are not open, and the hospitals are without power…except for some areas here in San Juan and some of the privileged suburbs, everything is a complete disaster.”

He also notes issues with the sparse relief efforts that are being administered, mainly by the U.S. government. “FEMA, I don’t know where they are. But the U.S. military are moving around most parts of the island with big guns,” says Martínez-Otero. “These guys think this is a war zone.”

What’s next for the island

Many Puerto Ricans—while recognizing the role the U.S. military plays in disaster relief—are weary of having troops on the ground for the long-term. Speaking to me from his classroom in San Juan, Martínez-Otero says, “On the streets here, in front of the school, this is a military state.”

“I am against the Jones Act,” Martínez-Otero continues, “but I don't know if waiving the Jones Act is the way to solve the current situation we’re in.” He also mentioned that it was hard to tell whether the 10-day waiver had improved conditions on the island, saying that a year-long waiver would likely be necessary in order to improve Puerto Rico’s distribution infrastructure.

Debates around the Jones Act aren’t likely to be resolved in the near future, and certainly not before the Senate moves to vote on the short-term, loan-based aid package for Puerto Rico that the House passed on Thursday. What does seem clear is that the overlapping crises on the island aren’t likely to end anytime soon—and U.S. policy is only helping deepen them.

KATE ARONOFF
Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times covering the politics of climate change, the White House transition and the resistance to Trump’s agenda. Follow her on Twitter @katearonoff

Tags: Puerto RicoJones Actshipping
Categories: Labor News

Commonwealth Club building preserves ILWU history

ILWU - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 12:00

Honoring longshore history: Bay Area Pensioner President Lawrence Thibeaux (left) and ILWU International Secretary Treasurer Willie Adams in front of the plaque commemorating the 1934 Waterfront Strike outside of the Commonwealth Club’s new headquarters.

and turbulent origins.

1934 longshore strike headquarters

The story begins almost ten years ago when the Commonwealth Club – America’s oldest public affairs forum – began searching for a site to build their new headquarters in San Francisco. They discovered a long-abandoned property with an old collapsed office building facing the Embarcadero waterfront in front and Steuart Street in back. They soon realized this run-down property served as the office for longshore workers in Local 38-79 of the International Longshoremen’s Association between 1933-1935 when they struggled to build a union that eventually became today’s ILWU. 

Preserving worker history

“Other developers might have just demolished the old building and ignored the history, but the Commonwealth Club took it seriously and worked with us,” said ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer Willie Adams. He explained that ILWU officers were contacted early by the Commonwealth Club and were invited to help preserve the building’s unique history. The International officers assembled a committee to assist with historical documentation for the site, consisting of ILWU staffer Robin Walker, who serves as the ILWU’s Librarian, Archivist and Education Director; ILWU historian Harvey Schwartz; and Bay Area pensioner John Fisher. The effort resulted in a productive collaboration that lasted years as the project unfolded.

Hosting public forums

The cooperation yielded results beginning in 2014 when the Commonwealth Club hosted a public forum for ILWU leaders and allies to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the 1934 Maritime Strike. Local 10 President Melvin Mackay served as Program Chair and fellow Local 10 member/Coast Benefits Specialist John Castanho offered remarks, along with comments from historians Robert Cherny and Harvey Schwartz, Labor Council Director Tim Paulson and SF Chronicle reporter Carl Nolte. A recording of the sold-out event remains accessible on the Club’s website.

 Building’s exterior preserved

Another significant gesture made by the Club to honor the building’s history came when a decision was reached – at some expense – for architect Marsha Maytum to preserve and restore the building’s original crumbling exterior façade on Steuart Street.

Plaque to tell the story

In addition, the Commonwealth Club worked with the ILWU to design a plaque installed on the building’s Stueart Street entrance to honor the events in 1934 including the Waterfront Strike and San Francisco General Strike that gave rise to today’s ILWU.

Educational video inside

Inside the buildings entrance and reception area, the Club is developing an educational video that will further showcase the building’s history involving worker struggles.

ILWU in opening ceremony

And finally, on September 12, 2017, the grand opening ceremony for the Club’s new headquarters included remarks by ILWU International Secretary-Treasurer and Port Commission President Willie Adams – along with acknowledgement of the ILWU’s historic role made by Commonwealth CEO Gloria Duffy, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim. Also recognized and participating was ILWU Bay Area Pensioner President Lawrence Thibeaux. Adams and Thibeaux unveiled the newly installed plaque to more than 100 guests and reporters who attended the event.  “This building is where Harry Bridges and other leaders planned the 1934 waterfront strike that changed history in San Francisco and other west coast ports – and sent out shock waves that inspired workers around the world,” said Adams. He also noted that the restored building is just a few doors down from the corner of Steuart and Mission where two strikers – Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise – were killed by police on July 5, marking a date that became known as Bloody Thursday. Bodies of the slain martyrs were taken inside the old longshore offices where they laid in repose for several days, allowing thousands of mourners to visit and honor their sacrifice.

Lectures about ILWU & 1934

After guests passed by the newly installed plaque to enter the light-filled, energy-efficient building, they were treated to food, drink and brief lectures scheduled throughout the afternoon from local historian Rick Evans, Architect Marsha Maytum and Club CEO Gloria Duffy – all of whom acknowledged the ILWU’s role in the new headquarters building.

 A growing institution

The Commonwealth Club was founded more than a century ago and now has 20,000 members who attend hundreds of speeches and debates each year. Public radio broadcasts of keynote speakers reach an even larger mass audience.  “Everyone who visits the Club’s new headquarters will also learn something about the ILWU’s past and our work that continues to this day,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath.

Categories: Unions

IBU breaks ground on new apprenticeship training center in San Pedro

ILWU - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:41

The new training center is names after labor attorney Victor Kaplan in honor of longtime friendship and assistance to the IBU.

The Inlandboatmen’s Union, the marine division of the ILWU, held a groundbreaking ceremony for the training hall of their newly established apprenticeship program. The IBU apprenticeship is a two-year program that will provide mariners with the skills and knowledge to safely enter into a career in the marine industry. The training center will also provide classes for experienced mariners to renew their credentials in San Pedro. This will save them the added expense of having to travel to San Diego or to the Pacific Northwest. The program will consist of 3,000 hours of on the-job training and 420 hours of supplemental instruction and training.

It started on a napkin

Apprenticeship Director
Kenyata Whitworth

“It started on a paper napkin at a lunch meeting,” said IBU Southern California Regional Director John Skow. Kenyata Whitworth, who will serve as the programs first Apprenticeship Director first suggested the idea of an apprenticeship program. “At first I was hesitant because I thought apprenticeship programs were something for the Building Trades, but I eventually came around to the idea.”  Whitworth said he was inspired to start a local maritime apprenticeship program after talking with a friend who had recently joined the industry. “It’s very difficult to gain experience in the industry,” Whitworth said. “Employers are hesitant to hire people without sea time and sending people into the industry without training is not always the best thing for them.” Whitworth said his friend, who had three small children at the time, enrolled in the Tongue Point Seamanship Academy in Oregon in order to get the training and experience he needed. The Tongue Point Academy is a Job Corp program and requires that students be at the Academy for 20 months. “He had to sacrifice time away from his family to get the training he needed. I don’t want others to be forced to make that same choice.”  “This program will be great for the IBU,” said IBU Secretary-Treasurer Terri Mast. “There’s a great need because this is an industry that is growing.” Mast said that the Southern California program can serve as a model. “Once this program gets going, we can take it to other regions and hopefully more employers will see the value in supporting this type of training program.”

Important partnerships 

John Skow, SoCal Regional Director of the IBU

A key partner for the IBU in the process was the Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Skow said their assistance was instrumental. DACE helped the IBU apply for a grant from the State of California that provided the start-up funds for the program and DACE also helped to secure classroom space at Harbor Occupational Center and to develop the program’s curriculum.  Pacific Tugboat Services (PTS), an IBU signatory, has also been at crucial partner in setting up the program. Steve Frailey from PTS spoke at the ceremony. He said he was grateful to be a part of establishing the apprenticeship program, which he said would help bring qualified mariners into the industry.

Honoring Victor Kaplan

The training hall was named in honor of Victor Kaplan, a labor attorney and long-time friend of the IBU. Kaplan, who recently turned 103, is the oldest practicing member of the California State Bar. He began his law career in 1935. At one point, he even tried, unsuccessfully, to get a job with the ILWU. Kaplan said that he was inspired by the New Deal to “take up the cause of the working man.” His commitment to helping workers was solidified by his experience working on the frontlines of the Potash strikes in Trona, CA in 1941 where he provided free legal-aid for union members while also picketing in solidarity with the workers.  Throughout his eight-decade career, Kaplan has fought for agricultural workers, miners, atomic and chemical workers and the IBU. He can often still be found at the IBU hall in San Pedro on Fridays offering legal assistance.  “Victor has been coming here every Friday for the past 9 years or so, offering his knowledge without a price tag,” Skow said. “This is why we wanted to dedicate the training hall to him, because we want to take that same model and apply that here. We want to share our knowledge with our apprentices.”

Finishing touches

The program will train 50 new apprentices for the industry over two years once the program is up and running. The buildout on the Victor Kaplan training hall is underway. The facility will include Desktop Ship Simulators, computer-bases simulations to train students in marine radar. A date has not been set for the official start of classes but Skow said he is hopeful that instruction can begin by the end of the year.

 

Categories: Unions

Malta: Journalists unions condemn murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

China: Min. pay rises trumpeted prior to Party Congress; rates barely catch up with increased costs

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

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