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USA: Protesters stage sit-in outside Wal Mart heiress’ Park Avenue condo

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Fusion
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Trade unions banned in Swaziland

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

UK: Time to end Britain’s pay lock-out, says TUC

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.

Current News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 16:41

If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.
http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17269/uber_driver_fired_tweet
FRIDAY, OCT 17, 2014, 1:35 PM
If You’re An Uber Driver, Don’t Tweet This Article. You Might Be Fired.
BY MARINA FANG

Uber appears to be monitoring drivers' social media presences. (Adam Fagen / Flickr)

An Uber driver was briefly fired by the company on Thursday for tweeting a semi-critical comment about the company before a social media firestorm that may have helped convince the company to bring him back.

As reported by Gawker, Christopher Ortiz received an email from a company operations manager informing him that his account was “permanently deactivated due to hateful statements regarding Uber through Social Media.”

But the tweet in question does not seem to be anything “hateful.” Ortiz merely tweeted out a link to an article that raised concerns about the ride-sharing service’s safety and added: “Driving for Uber, not much safer than driving a taxi.”

Ortiz's story went viral, causing major backlash on social media. In response, Uber reversed course on Friday morning, telling the Guardian, "This was an error by the local team and the driver’s account should have never been deactivated. We reactivated the account upon discovering the mistake and we apologize to this highly rated driver partner for the inconvenience."

Heralded as an innovative service, Uber follows a philosophy of flexibility, since almost anyone can participate and drivers operate independently. But Uber’s business model is facing growing criticism. The drivers are technically not employees—they’re considered “independent contractors.” Therefore, they are not entitled to rights as workers and do not reap much of the company’s $18 billion in profits.

When the company first began, drivers could make about $15-20 per hour. Today, most barely make minimum wage because the company keeps dropping fares to keep up with competitors.

Drivers also do not receive any financial support from Uber—for example, to pay for car insurance or if their car is broken, thus preventing them from doing their job. Ortiz had to convince Uber to compensate him for damages he incurred when a drunk passenger broke his rearview mirrors. “They made ‘an exception’ for me,” he told Gawker.

Ortiz’s firing also shows that despite Uber’s flexibility, drivers are completely at the behest of the company. Even seemingly innocuous tweets can cost them their jobs, raising the question of what counts as free speech on social media. As Ortiz tweeted later on Thursday: “If you want to be an Uber driver, don’t say mean things about them on Twitter.”

MARINA FANG
Marina Fang is a Fall 2014 editorial intern at In These Times. She is a senior at the University of Chicago. She has also written for The Huffington Post and ThinkProgress. Follow her on Twitter: @thefanger.

Tags: Ubertechnologytweets
Categories: Labor News

Poll: 80% Don’t Want Truckers’ Restricted Driving Hours Relaxed

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:47
Michele FuetschTransport TopicsOctober 17, 2014View the original piece

A new poll commissioned by a coalition of highway safety groups found that 80% of Americans believe Congress should not raise the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to 82 hours from 70.

American Trucking Associations called the results “misleading,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called them a “game changer” that shows the public understands “too many hours on the road” leads to crashes.

Click here to read more at Transport Topics.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Supreme Court to Take Up UPS Pregnancy Discrimination

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:26

October 17, 2014: UPS Teamsters across the country have their eyes on a crucial case that the Supreme Court will take up this December on pregnancy discrimination at UPS. 

The case could impact thousands of women who load trucks or deliver packages at UPS, and millions more working women in the U.S.

The case involves Peggy Young, a pregnant UPS Teamster who requested an alternative work assignment so she would not have to burn her vacation and FMLA leave before the birth of her child.

UPS management refused, saying that Young did not qualify for light duty because she had not suffered an on-the-job injury.

Angry Teamster women have fought UPS’s unfair pregnancy policy for years. The Hoffa administration has refused to take up the issue.

Now the Supreme Court is taking up Young’s case, which will swing on the court’s interpretation of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which bars companies from discriminating against pregnant women.

UPS argues that forcing pregnant women to work at their regular positions is not discrimination because UPS also denies alternate work to male employees (who can’t get pregnant).

Peggy Young, thousands of UPS women Teamsters and women’s rights activists say the PDA says the same benefits (“light duty” or alternative work) should be made available to all employees according to their ability or inability to work.

Pregnant women should not be held to a different standard than other employees who are offered light duty because of an injury.

Click here and here to read more on this important case.

Issues: UPSWomen Teamsters
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Policy Change Punishes Pregnant Women

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:18

Teamster Local 554 member Sarah Miles, the daughter of another Nebraska UPS Teamster Jeff Benson, found out what UPS management thinks of its pregnant workers. Put on a weight restriction by her doctor, Sarah was told by UPS that no light-duty work was available, and that she did not qualify for Family Medical Leave. 

And Sarah isn’t the only one. When North Carolina UPS driver Nichele Fulmore was told by her doctor that she could not lift more than 20 pounds during her pregnancy, she assumed that UPS would make accommodations so that she could continue working, as they had done for others in the past at her center. 

But UPS said they would not provide light duty work. So Nichele found herself out of work, and after 26 weeks on disability, out of health benefits, with three months to go until her due date. 

These are not isolated incidents. UPS is imposing a company-wide policy change that denies pregnant woman with health restrictions the right to perform alternate duties. In the process, UPS management is denying women access to medical benefits (which run out after six months on disability leave) and, frequently, the right to use their Family Medical Leave (FMLA) benefits. 

FMLA lets employers deny benefits to workers if they have fewer than 1,250 hours worked in the previous year. The majority of UPS’s workforce is part-time. That means that many women who are planning to use their FMLA benefits after the birth of their child may come up short on hours if they are refused the right to keep working during their pregnancy. 

In the past, UPS generally provided light-duty work to pregnant employees with work restrictions. This practice was written into the union contract in 1997. But now UPS claims that they only have to honor the contract in states that have their own laws regarding pregnancy and light-duty work. It’s a good deal for them: the only state known to have such a law is California. 

The IBT has refused to fight over the issue, claiming that a bad arbitration decision makes it a done deal. 

But members and families see it differently, and aren’t ready to give up. Last month, Sarah Miles’ mother Susan Benson conducted a one-person picket in front of UPS in Omaha, Nebraska, and got noticed by UPS management in the process. She went back the next week, this time after notifying the media. Management really started paying attention. 

“They just ticked me off,” Benson said. “You don’t take a young woman who’s worked hard for you for three years, and kick her into the street with no pay and no insurance because she’s pregnant. My husband works for UPS, and we’ve had to deal with them for 24 years on insurance issues. Now they’re hurting my daughter.” 

Getting management’s attention is one thing, getting this issue resolved is another. Pressure needs to be brought to bear on management, through the union and the public. UPS’s actions need to be brought out in the open. 

To make that happen, we need to gather information. If you have been affected by UPS’s policy or know of other pregnant UPS Teamsters who have been, please contact TDU
 

Issues: UPSWomen Teamsters
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Concession Bargaining Gets "tentative labor agreement" At Golden Gate Bridge "This was not just a one-sided concession. Both sides made concessions in order to come to terms and not impact our customers."

Current News - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 10:02

Concession Bargaining Gets "tentative labor agreement" At Golden Gate Bridge "This was not just a one-sided concession. Both sides made concessions in order to come to terms and not impact our customers."
Golden Gate Bridge workers unions, district reach tentative contract agreement
By Jessica Kwong @JessicaGKwong

• JESSICA KWONG/THE S.F. EXAMINER
• Golden Gate Bridge workers unions and the bridge district have reached a tentative labor agreement after bus workers announced last week that they intended to strike Friday.
Two Golden Gate Bridge workers strikes, including one that paralyzed ferry service, failed to move labor negotiations, but the threat of a third strike that would have halted bridge bus service today may have turned the tide, as a tentative agreement was reached Thursday.

The tentative agreement - for which details remain confidential pending votes from all 13 bridge worker unions and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District - came after both sides met for the first time since Teamsters Locals 856 and 665 announced Oct. 9 a planned bus strike. District spokesman Priya Clemens did reveal that "healthcare is an area where a compromise was reached."

"It was a long day. Nobody took any breaks. Everybody worked very hard to make this compromise happen," she said Thursday. "This was not just a one-sided concession. Both sides made concessions in order to come to terms and not impact our customers."

Clemens also credited Gov. Jerry Brown's office for offering counsel and advice.

The district had offered a contract with three-percent wage increases each year for the next three years, but union members claimed that health insurance premium increases would cost two percent in wages. The Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition, which represents the 13 unions, has been at the bargaining table since April and without a contract since July 1.

"This is the first district proposal that we have actually taken to the members for a vote," said coalition co-chair Alex Tonisson.

As to whether the planned bus strike was the tipping point for concessions, Tonisson said: "I think that the Teamsters going on strike and shutting down bus service is a clear escalation and impacts even more customers; that's just kind of a fact and we'll see what the end result is."

On a typical weekday, about 22,000 people use the Golden Gate Transit bus service and about 9,000 people use the ferry service, according to the district.

Tags: Golden Gate Bridge WorkersConcession Bargaining
Categories: Labor News

Historic Wins at FedEx Freight and Con-way

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 09:30

October 17, 2014: FedEx Freight workers in Philadelphia voted for this first time to join the Teamsters. Con-way workers in Laredo did the same. How can we build on this momentum?

For the first time in years, there’s excitement in the air about Teamster organizing in the trucking industry. Can we turn that into some real Teamster power?

Local 657 organized the Laredo Con-way terminal. Local 107 lost a vote at FedEx Freight in New Jersey, but then won the NLRB vote at the Philadelphia terminal. These were the first-ever organizing wins at FedEx or Con-way terminals. 

The companies are starting to respond, with both threats and pay hikes.

Other locals are taking action. There are organizing votes scheduled at several FedEx Freight and Con-way terminals in the next few weeks, from Los Angeles to Harrisburg Pa. Leaders of several locals report that FedEx Freight and Con-way workers in their areas are ready to organize.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) supports this organizing in a core Teamster industry and urges locals and members to get involved and turn this into a movement.

So far, the International union has not put major resources in the campaign: no financial backing to locals, no boots on the ground. 

The IBT Organizing Department has held biweekly conference calls for locals to exchange information, and designed leaflets and signs. That’s a start. But no local union’s resources can be a match for the anti-union campaigns of these corporate giants.

Local unions and freight workers are stepping up to take action. The IBT needs to get behind this movement and help drive it to victory.

The Hoffa administration has to put some power behind our freight Teamsters. The best field organizers are freight Teamsters who are proud of our union. 

Troy Justis, an ABF driver in Columbus Local 413 summed it up: “It’s great that we’re finally making some gains in organizing FedEx Freight and Con-way. But if we’re going to win on a wide scale, we need to shore up Teamster pride in freight. That starts with much better contract enforcement.”

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Got Unfair Labor Practices? Put 'em to use

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 09:14
Robert M. SchwartzLabor NotesOctober 17, 2014Employer unfair labor practices (ULPs) are violations of worker and union rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and similar public sector collective bargaining laws. For many unions, they are a familiar experience. Some, however, have discovered that a ULP can be a gift in disguise, providing a defense against the most dangerous employer weapons. A union that plays its cards right can use ULPs to help win contract campaigns, strikes, and other confrontations. Click here to read more.   Rights & Resources: Steward's Toolbox
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Italy: Camusso warns of 'season of mobilization'

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Gazzetta del Sud
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Police Ban March to Protest Ban on Unions

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: allAfrica
Categories: Labor News

Europe: Across Europe protestors say No to Trade Deals that Threaten Democracy

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

UK: Why we are marching on October 18

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TUC
Categories: Labor News

Israel Corp. to spin off stake in Zim container line

Current News - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 15:45

Israel Corp. to spin off stake in Zim container line
http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.620647
Corianne Egan, Associate Editor Journal of Commerce | Oct 14, 2014 12:42PM EDT

Israel Corp. will shift its stake in Zim Integrated Shipping Services, along with several other companies, to a holdings company that will be listed on stock exchanges in New York and Tel Aviv, the company announced.

The company said it will move its stakes in four companies, including container carrier Zim, to Kenon Holdings, which incorporated in Singapore. Kenon, which will be valued at $1.5 billion, will also receive an influx of nearly $100 million and a $200 million line of credit from Israel Corp., according to Middle Eastern news outlet Haaretz.

Israel Corp. announced it will split into two parts, a restructuring expected to be completed by the end of 2014. Led by new CEO and former CFO Avisar Paz, the restructuring requires Israel Corp. to transfer its stakes in Zim, along with stakes in Chinese automaker Qoros, computer chip manufacturer TowerJazz and electric power company IC Power, to Kenon.

Israel Corp. will continue to manage its stake in Israel Chemicals, Oil Refineries, and IC Green.

Zim entered the final stages of debt restructuring after reaching an agreement with the Israeli government in late July. As part of that deal, Israel Corp. agreed to a nearly $3.4 billion deal, which included $200 million in new equity, along with forgiving nearly $225 million in loans.

JOC.com has reported that Zim, the only major carrier not aligned with a major east-west alliance, would likely seek to join forces with other carriers after the restructuring was completed.

The carrier has been in the news of late because of pro-Palestine group protests in a few U.S. ports, which have prevented ships from unloading in Port of Oakland and caused delays in docking at the Port of Tampa Bay.

According to Alphaliner, Zim ranks 19th on the Top 100 list of carriers, deploying a fleet totaling 336,861 TEUs, 1.8 percent of the global fleet.

Contact Corianne Egan at cegan@joc.com and follow her on Twitter: @CEgan_JOC.

Tags: Zimboycott
Categories: Labor News

India: Question mark over raise in wages of tea garden workers

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Hindu
Categories: Labor News

Hong Kong: Social Workers Union members march on Police HQ

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Union Book
Categories: Labor News

Syria: UN warning of Kobani massacre must be heeded

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Fed Ex, Con-way battling inroads by Teamsters union

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:52
John D. SchulzLogistics ManagementOctober 15, 2014View the original piece

FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, two of the largest non-union LTL carriers in the nation, are battling organizing efforts by the Teamsters union in a closely watched unionization effort.
  
Workers at FedEx Freight’s Philadelphia facility recently voted 28-16 in favor of representation by the Teamsters union. That follows a rejection of union organization weeks earlier by FedEx Freight workers in Cinnaminson, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia.

Click here to read more at Logistics Managment.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

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