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In the Port, the Port of Oakland, the Zim Ship Sits Still Loaded and Unloved.

Current News - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 09:00

In the Port, the Port of Oakland, the Zim Ship Sits Still Loaded and Unloved.
TUE AUG 19, 2014 AT 07:24 AM PDT
In the Port, the Port of Oakland, the Zim Ship Sits Still Loaded and Unloved.

The Zim cargo ship sat unloaded all day Monday at the Port of Oakland as Longshoremen refused to cross community picket lines. For a report on Sunday's blockade see here, and for the mass protest on Saturday, here. Here's a synopsis of Monday's action at the Port of Oakland from a local source.

For the third consecutive day, an Israeli ship, the Zim Pireaus, has been blockaded by Bay Area protesters in solidarity with Gaza. Never in Oakland’s history has a ship been blockaded for three days in a row, said one organizer.
In the wee hours of Monday morning, with very little mobilization, a dozen or so people held a picket. With the support of longshore workers, the ship - which had already been delayed for two days at the Port of Oakland - sat unloaded.

In the evening, enough people came through to create pickets. Though police officers pushed a pathway through protesters, longshore workers again refused to cross the pickets. It is yet to be determined how much the blockade has cost Israel.

The Longshoremen issued a statement yesterday about Sunday's goings on. The reference to the 2005 protests at the Port and the injuring of longshoremen nine years ago is perfect, for no one can argue that the Oakland Police are capable of unpredictable and deadly actions in light of that incident and more recent history.
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were unable to report to work Sunday night at SSA Marine's terminal in Oakland, Calif., due to volatility associated with a large demonstration and significant police presence at the gates of the facility. In 2005, Oakland police fired rubber bullets in similar circumstances, wounding several longshoremen who were trying to report to work.

The ILWU has taken no position on the issue associated with the demonstration, but in cases when unsafe circumstances arise at the point of entry, the union must protect the safety of its members in the workplace. When it was ascertained that last night's demonstration and associated police presence created an unsafe environment, dispatched ILWU-represented Longshoremen and Clerks that arrived at the SSA gate to work stood by instead at a safe location away from the demonstration point.

A Video from Monday Night.

The blockade continues this morning. When I began putting this together it was too early to tell whether it would be successful again, but it looks like the ILWU has been told to stay home for at least another shift (see the last tweets at the bottom of the diary.)

Tweets from yesterday evening:

The Wait. With Cops For Company. From 5:30 PM Until After Dark.

No Unloading Tonight. Victory!

What About Tomorrow?

It's On! From This Morning.

An Early Morning Success!

8:18 AM PT:

Tags: ilwuZim LIne
Categories: Labor News

Oakland: Protesters block Israeli ship from unloading again for third day in a row

Current News - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 08:42

Oakland: Protesters block Israeli ship from unloading again for third day in a row
By Harry Harris and Kathleen Kirkwood, Oakland Tribune
POSTED: 08/18/2014 02:59:22 PM PDT3 COMMENTS| UPDATED: 88 MIN. AGO

OAKLAND -- For the third day in a row, protesters have apparently prevented a cargo ship operated by an Israeli company from unloading at the Port of Oakland, officials said.

A small group of about 15 people who came out Monday morning were not part of the official Block the Boat protest but were an autonomous rally supported by the movement. Two protesters were cited and released at the scene by Oakland police for blocking the roadway, Officer Johnna Watson said.
The group dispersed by 9 a.m. and officers were to remain on the scene to monitor events.
The Zim Integrated Shipping Lines vessel Piraeus had docked Saturday at the port's Oakland International Container Terminal, which encompasses berths 55 to 59, but dockworkers would not cross protesters' picket lines to offload its cargo.

File: Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and signs as they march to berth 57 at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Port spokesman Robert Bernardo said that as of midafternoon on Monday, the ship still had not been unloaded due to an "unavailability of labor." It was not known if work would resume later in the day.
He said no other port operations were affected.
Representatives for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said Monday that the union had not taken an official stand on the issue, but that individual dockworkers had decided not to cross the pickets for safety reasons.
Past protests at the port had been unsafe when police confronted protesters, in one instance firing rubber bullets that hit some longshoremen reporting to work, according to a press release from the union.
The protest is "nothing short of political terrorism," and has little effect on Israel because the ship rarely goes to Israel, said Andy David, consulate general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest region.

"The people of Oakland and of California, these are the people who will suffer with these actions," David said.

The ZIM Piraeus transports goods between Asia and the U.S., according to consulate spokesman David Goodstone. Zim Integrated Shipping Ltd. is 32 percent-owned by Israeli shareholders, he said.

The Pireaus was prevented from unloading both Saturday and Sunday by larger groups of Block the Boat protesters in response to Israel's attacks on Gaza and its ongoing occupation of Palestine.

Mohammed Shehk, a spokesman for Block of the Boat, said even though Monday's protest was not called by their group, they still supported the action.

Shehk said their movement hopes to gain momentum and make the company realize they are not welcome at the Port of Oakland or other West Coast ports. Protesters are planning to meet Zim ships scheduled to dock later this week in Tacoma and Seattle and awareness campaigns are planned for Vancouver and Long Beach.

Tags: ilwuZim Ship
Categories: Labor News

Here's The Real Reason Why The Trucking Industry Is Running Out Of Drivers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:59
Mamta Badkar and Rob WileBusiness InsiderAugust 19, 2014View the original piece

Higher driving costs and falling pay have created a truck-driver shortage that's likely to worsen in the coming years.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the U.S. is short 30,000 truck drivers — a number expected to surge to 239,000 by 2022.

In July 2013, new federal hours-of-service rules went into effect. 

The key provision was a limit to the use of a 34-hour "restart." Drivers have a 70-hour-a-week cap on how much time they can be on the road. Previously, they'd been able to artificially reset that cap to zero if they took 34 consecutive hours off. Now, many are unable to do so.

As a result, according to a survey from the American Transportation Research Institute, more than 80% of motor carriers have experienced a productivity loss, with nearly half saying they require more drivers to haul the same amount of freight.

"Smaller 'owner/operator' firms are increasingly dropping by the wayside as the cost of operations and maintenance are simply becoming too expensive to stay in business," Paul Pittman, a planner at a North Carolina-based logisitcs company, told Business Insider by email. 

So drivers are suddenly faced with the choice of leaving the profession entirely or moving to a larger company where wages are likely to be lower. 

"As controls continue to tighten, many of the existing drivers currently employed are turning to other areas of employment simply to get off the road and escape some of the regulations implemented to govern their operations," Pittman said.

To hang on, small operators are forced to cut corners. For Jeff, a driver who asked to be identified by only his first name, the pay isn't the biggest issue — it's the compromises some firms are making on driver compliance.

"With how my lifestyle is [the pay is] pretty decent. I don’t go out and blow money on speed boats, or the best electronics, or hookers and blow," Jeff said. "I’m married and I have four children. We prioritize our finances. Two years ago we finally bought an HDTV. My main issue is the safety aspect."

Violating Rules

His primary issue with trucking companies is the pressure they put on drivers to violate federal rules. Jeff worked for a small outfit in the Midwest. The owner of that company, he says, wanted him to take a dry van load from Hubbard, Ohio, to Syracuse, New York, which is about 327 miles.

Jeff explained that this trip takes longer for trucks than it does for cars, because trucks carry heavier loads, and it takes longer for them to speed up and slow down. It would take a truck about five hours and 15 minutes from Hubbard to Syracuse. 

The owner, whom Jeff didn't want named, asked him to drive back to Hubbard empty, do a drop-and-hook (drop one trailer, hook another) and take another trailer up to Binghamton, New York, the same day. And the trip from Hubbard to Binghamton is about five and a half hours, meaning a round trip would only leave him about 30 minutes of driving for the day and legally Jeff couldn't.

"When you're non-compliant as a driver you run the risk of fatigue and the risk of hurting other people," he said. "And as a driver it's my license on the line." Jeff said he was asked by multiple trucking companies to falsify his logs, but he refused to.

"I consider myself a safety-oriented driver, and I have found that is a bad thing," Jeff said. "Because since I got my CDL [commercial driver's license] in 2008, I have worked for about 10 different trucking companies. That doesn't look good because it looks like it is job hopping ... I'm sticking to my guns."

Time Away From Home

Another problem is lack of time spent at home. Todd Feucht of Wisconsin says drivers can expect to spend as little as 52 days at home a year. Feucht, who hauls oversize loads, averages about three to five weeks. Last year he was home 54 days, including his vacation days. "Back in the day you were treated like a knight, but now you're treated like a peon," Feucht says.

All of this helps explain why the turnover rate at large truckload carriers was 92% annualized in Q1, according to the ATA. Turnover refers to the rate at which drivers leave the industry and are replaced.

"One-hundred percent turnover doesn’t mean that every driver left," ATA chief economist Bob Costello says. "If you keep a driver for 90 days, the rate generally drops in half. However, there are a group of drivers that churn, and they generally stay at a carrier for a short length of time (just weeks or a couple of months). Many drivers stay with a carrier for years."

Getting Squeezed

Meanwhile, drivers with less experience or bargaining power get squeezed. Feucht has been driving trucks for 20 years and thinks trucking companies need to be more honest when recruiting.

The new drivers are "greener than grass," he said. Those who attempt to lease trucks quickly discover the significant cost of maintenance and overhead. Young drivers who go this route end up having very little to show for it. 

"I meet these guys at truck-stops and they can barely afford to eat ramen during the week," Feucht told Business Insider. "They're dropping $850 on a truck a week."

Truck drivers typically get paid hourly or by the mile. Some get a percentage of the load. If you're getting less than 33 cents a mile "you're getting ripped off," Jeff, a 36-year old truck driver from Ohio, told Business Insider.

The truck drivers suggest if these companies want to see this turnover decrease they need to focus on improving pay, improving training for new entrants, and they need to not push them to violate federal regulations.

There may finally be some movement on this front. Last month, Swift, one of the largest haulers in the U.S., announced it would refocus expenditures on better labor conditions for employees, including higher wages.

"After assessing the current and expected environment, we believe the best investment we can make at this time, for all of our stakeholders, is in our drivers," the firm said in its earnings release. "Our goal is to clear the path for our drivers by helping them overcome challenges, eliminate wait times and take home more money."


Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamster Rail Workers Revolt vs Driving Solo

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 07:41

August 19, 2014: There’s a rank and file rebellion brewing among rail workers, and Teamster engineers are in the thick of it. They are fighting back against a deal made secretly by the conductors union with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway.

Most rail engineers belong to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) which is a part of the Teamsters Union. The organization leading the charge against the deal to allow one-person crews is Rail Workers United (RWU), a solidarity network of rail workers in various unions.

Read the story here:  http://labornotes.org/2014/08/rail-workers-revolt-against-driving-solo

Categories: Labor News, Unions

Mass March & Picket At Oakland Port To Stop Israel's Zim Line Ship Piraeus To Protest Crimes In Gaza

Current News - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 23:26

Video/Audio Of Action Against Zim Line At Port Of Oakland On August 16, 2014
Mass March & Picket At Oakland Port To Stop Israel's Zim Line Ship Piraeus To Protest Crimes In Gaza
Nearly 3,000 people marched on the Port of Oakland on
August 16 to picket the Zim Line ship Piraeus. The Zim ship Piraes would not come into the birth until Sunday August 17, 2014 and then was picketed again. ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 refused to cross
the picket lines and the ship was not worked. Participants in the
protest talk about why they are supporting the blockade of the Zim ship.
For ,more video:
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

Tags: ilwuZim picketport of Oakland
Categories: Labor News

Bid to block Israeli ship continues in Oakland

Current News - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 22:26

Bid to block Israeli ship continues in Oakland
Kurtis Alexander

August 18, 2014

(08-18) 17:00 PDT OAKLAND -- An Israeli cargo ship at the Port of Oakland sat another day without getting unloaded after activists protesting Israel's military actions in Gaza continued a waterfront picket Monday morning.

The protesters, organizing under the motto "Block the Boat," converged at the International Container Terminal on Sunday to try to prevent the Piraeus from discharging goods. A handful of demonstrators returned Monday.

Though the protesters were gone by 11 a.m., port officials said the longshoremen responsible for unloading the vessel did not come in Monday. Their union representative said they wanted to stay clear of the political fray and had concerns about their safety after several were injured in a 2003 port demonstration.

The boat is managed by Israel's largest shipping firm, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and has become the target of local activists seeking a boycott of Israeli goods.

Port officials said they were unclear when operations would resume.

The Israel consulate in San Francisco said the vessel was only 32 percent owned by Israeli shareholders, and that the action "will only hurt innocent American workers and the city of Oakland."

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

Tags: ilwuZim Ship
Categories: Labor News

China: Could Stronger Unions Make China More Democratic?

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Nation
Categories: Labor News

ILWU recyclers win big raises in Oakland’s new waste franchise deal

ILWU - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:41

An 18-month campaign by Bay Area recycling workers to improve pay and benefits hit a new milestone on July 30 when the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to raise recycler wages in the city’s new 10-year residential waste and recycling service franchise agreements.

“This victory means that ILWU recycling workers have successfully implemented their higher wage and benefit standards at two of the largest city franchises in Alameda County,” said ILWU Vice President Ray Familathe. “This is an impressive demonstration of the recyclers’ persistence and courage.”

Recyclers organize

Recyclers launched their campaign on February 2, 2013, when hundreds gathered for a historic “Convention of Recycling Workers,” at the Local 6 union hall in Oakland.

Workers employed by four different recycling firms in Alameda County attended the event. They were joined by religious, labor, immigrant rights, environmental and political allies who all pledged to support the effort for better wages and improved safety through the “Campaign for Sustainable Recycling.” At the Convention, workers voted to adopt a new wage standard that would raise hourly pay to $20 – almost double what many recycling workers were being paid – and include affordable family health benefits.

Action at Waste Management

Recycling workers employed by Waste Management in Oakland and San Leandro led the way early in the campaign by demanding raises, even before last February’s Convention of Recycling Workers. Rank-and-file union leaders met on weekends in the Local 6 union hall to make plans for involving co-workers in the campaign to win a raise. They circulated petitions and held meetings with management.

When the company refused to support a request for real raises, workers protested in front of the company’s headquarters in Oakland. Then the company retaliated against immigrant workers, so an “unfair labor practices” strike was organized on March 15. The protest shut down the company’s East Bay operation beginning at 2am. Teamster and Machinist Union officials agreed to support the strike for several hours. Within months, the company agreed to settle separate ILWU contracts covering ILWU workers at the landfill and clerical/customer service units – but not recyclers.

Victory in Fremont

The first success in adopting the new wage standard was achieved last December by 65 recycling workers employed by the BLT recycling company in Fremont. Like the Waste Management workers, recyclers in Fremont also organized actions on the job to demand raises. They circulated petitions and presented them to management as a group to demonstrate unity.

When the company agreed to work together with the union, they jointly approached Fremont City Council members about passing a modest residential rate increase of just one penny per day from each ratepayer so recyclers could earn a living wage of $20.94 by 2019. The Council adopted the small rate increase and the company agreed to begin paying the scheduled pay raises.

Management sparks big strike

Unlike the experience with BLT in Fremont, officials at Waste Management and California Waste Solutions continued opposing real raises for recycling workers during 2013. Both companies offered recyclers only meager raises and refused to cooperate with workers by approaching the City Council about including the new wage standard in the city’s pending franchise agreement. Frustrations reached a boiling point on July 30 when workers from both companies united in a joint strike action. Two hundred recycling workers converged on the Oakland City Hall where their noisy picket lines and rally received major media attention – and plenty of notice from elected officials.

Groups of workers met during the day with City Council members and state legislators. They gathered in the late afternoon for a rally on the City Hall steps, then went inside to speak at the City Council meeting. Dozens of workers spoke at the rally and meeting, explaining why their families needed the raises to survive, and urged the Council to include a recycling wage standard in the new franchise agreement.

Community support

The efforts by workers in Fremont and Oakland were supported by allies in the Campaign for Sustainable Recycling (CSR) who attended Council meetings, sent letters of support, and joined workers to meet with individual Council members. Organizations participating in the CSR include the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Worksafe, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project, Center for Environmental Health, Northern California Recycling Association, California Immigrants Policy Center, Mujeres Unidas & Activas, Clean Energy Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, and SEIU 1021.

Disappointment with WM

After 18 months of worker and community action, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously on July 30, 2014 to include the new recycler wage standard in their franchise agreement. This marked an important victory – but it also disappointed 130 recycling workers employed by Waste Management (WM) because that firm’s bid to continue providing those services for another 10 years was unanimously rejected by the City Council.

Waste Management has been collecting all of Oakland’s residential waste and processing half the City’s recycling for decades, but that work will now end on July 1, 2015 when California Waste Solutions assumes all those responsibilities.

Without the new Oakland franchise agreement and revenue stream it provides for worker wage increases, Waste Management is less likely to provide recyclers the same pay raises that are now part of Oakland’s new franchise agreement with California Waste Solutions (CWS).

Surprising shake-up

The City Council’s vote surprised observers who thought Waste Management was likely to continue sharing the franchise agreement with CWS, a much smaller, locally-owned competitor who employs unionized mechanics and drivers.

Labor relations factor

But the bid submitted by Waste Management was more expensive for ratepayers than the one submitted by CWS. And CWS included some extra services in their bid which appealed to Council members. Officials at both Waste Management and California Waste Solutions initially resisted supporting the pay raises sought by recycling workers that became part of the new franchise agreement. A few days before the final City Council hearing on July 30, California Waste Solutions signed a new contract with Local 6 members that guaranteed a schedule of pay raises and family health benefits with no monthly premium cost share.

On the day of the City Council decision, Waste Management officials met with the Local 6 Negotiating Committee and made significant movement, but failed to reach agreement. As The Dispatcher was going to press, a follow-up meeting had been scheduled for August 12.

ILWU leaders and staff refused to take sides or play favorites with either company during the franchise selection process, because ILWU members were employed by both firms.

Rubbed the wrong way

At the City Council meeting on July 30, it was clear that Waste Management had rubbed City Council members the wrong way. During the meeting, one Council member recalled how the company had angered many by locking-out Teamster and Machinist union members during a month-long contract dispute in 2007 that brought the city’s garbage collection to a halt and triggered a public health crisis.

During that dispute, ILWU recycling workers courageously honored the Teamster and Machinist union picket lines, despite threats and retaliation from Waste Management. The company’s decision to outsource dozens of Oakland-based customer service jobs done by ILWU members after the lockout was cited as a sore point by several City Council members. City Council members also complained that top Waste Management officials showed a lack of “flexibility” and were “unwilling to compromise.” When the meeting was over and the vote was taken, not a single member of the City Council supported Waste Management.

Some layoffs possible When Waste Management’s franchise agreement with Oakland expires next July, there will be some layoffs at Waste Management, but it is not clear how many. The city’s new franchise agreement includes a provision – supported by the union – allowing workers to transfer from Waste Management to new positions at California Waste Solutions. There may be waiting lists for some jobs.
Another route to raises

Fortunately, Waste Management has franchise agreements with other cities besides Oakland that provide the company with a steady revenue stream and secure employment for recycling workers, even after the July 2015 franchise agreement expires with Oakland. The other franchise agreements are with the cities of Emeryville, Albany, and Hayward plus the Castro Valley and Ora Loma Sanitation Districts.

Elected officials in those cities can authorize tiny rate increases that will provide enough revenue for Waste Management to pay better wages and good benefits for recycling workers.

“We’ve learned from the Oakland experience and can apply those lessons as we approach other cities for their support to help us – and it will only cost those residents a few pennies a month to provide us with living wages and decent benefits,” said Waste Management recycling worker Xiomara Martinez.

Extending a hand

Local 6 will continue extending a hand to Waste Management officials in an effort to achieve the same labor management cooperation that helped recycling workers in Fremont.

“We’re hoping that officials from the company and other unions will work with us this time, because all of us should be working together to solve this problem,” said recycling worker Mirella Jauregui.

Categories: Unions

Union affiliation could help SF taxi industry – but possibly only in Sacramento

Current News - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:33

Union affiliation could help SF taxi industry – but possibly only in Sacramento
August 18, 2014News » Transportation
Union affiliation could help SF taxi industry – but possibly only in Sacramento
By Chris Roberts
In labor-friendly San Francisco, taking an Uber ride home is now an anti-worker affront.
The City’s taxi industry still faces an uphill climb against mobile app-hailed ride services like Uber and Lyft, which are taking business and drivers away from the traditional taxi industry.

But by taking the first steps to affiliate themselves with organized labor, San Francisco taxi drivers should be able to enjoy increased political clout in City Hall and in Sacramento, where taxi-friendly legislation could emerge next year, according to labor analysts.

And if it ever came down to standing arm-in-arm at the picket line, taxi drivers should be able to count on a few thousand friends from other labor organizations, union officials told The San Francisco Examiner on Friday.

Traditional labor unions are groups of employees who band together in order to bargain collectively for a better contract or improved working conditions.

That will not work with cabdrivers – for one, they’re not employees but rather independent contractors who affiliate themselves with a particular cab company. What this means is that state and federal labor laws over sick days and work hours will not apply, said John Logan, a professor of labor relations at San Francisco State University. And the traditional woes of a cabdriver – long hours, no health benefits or sick days, and no pension – may not be alleviated anytime soon.

But rather than immediately improved working conditions, cabdrivers are banding together for working conditions period.

And unionized cabdrivers will not quite take action the same way that BART workers did last year, when they went on strike twice before coming to terms with the agency on a new contract.

The City is unlikely to see an all-out taxi strike, Logan said, which would possibly have the deleterious effect of giving ride services like Uber an even bigger share of the market.

The best way cabdrivers can hope for survival now that they are in the fold of organized labor is by leaning on labor-friendly politicians, who could introduced legislation to level the playing field between cabs and ride services, such as the push from Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord, to tighten insurance regulations for ride services.

“Unions have that kind of influence that drivers would not have by themselves,” Logan said. “There’s good reason to think they’ll benefit from that in Sacramento and in [San Francisco] City Hall.”

Taxi companies are regulated locally, yet their existential threat is from ride services that are regulated by a state agency, the California Public Utilities Commission. That means help for taxis is most likely to come from the state Legislature in Sacramento.

But even there, taxi drivers will encounter familiar opposition: Uber, Lyft, and their army of well-paid lobbyists, who mounted a furious campaign against Bonilla’s proposal this week.

Of late, labor has been more welcoming to “non-traditional” employees like domestic care workers and day laborers.

Cabdrivers have also been welcomed into the union fold in New York City; Portland, Ore.; and Orange County, said Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council.

It’s not certain what benefits taxi drivers could hope for in the short term. The next legislative session in Sacramento begins in January.

Meanwhile, for anyone identifying with the plight of the worker, there’s only one way to get home that’s not Muni or BART.

“I take taxis only,” Paulson said.

Tags: TaxiUberunionization
Categories: Labor News

Mass March & Picket At Oakland Port To Stop Israel's Zim Line Ship Piraeus To Protest Crimes In Gaza

Current News - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 10:23

Mass March & Picket At Oakland Port To Stop Israel's Zim Line Ship Piraeus To Protest Crimes In Gaza
Nearly 3,000 people marched on the Port of Oakland on
August 16 to picket the Zim Line ship Piraeus. The Zim ship Piraes would not come into the birth until Sunday August 17, 2014 and then was picketed again. ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 refused to cross
the picket lines and the ship was not worked. Participants in the
protest talk about why they are supporting the blockade of the Zim ship.
Video/Audio Of Action Against Zim Line At Port Of Oakland On August 16, 2014
Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

Tags: Zim LinesPicket of Zim PiraeusZionismLabor Action
Categories: Labor News

Protesters meet Israeli-owned commercial ship at Port of Oakland

Current News - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 21:12

Protesters meet Israeli-owned commercial ship at Port of Oakland
Posted: 6:19 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
Protesters meet Israeli-owned commercial ship at Port of Oakland

KTVU.com and Wires
OAKLAND, Calif. — For the second time this weekend, Bay Area protesters are gathering at the Port of Oakland to try to stop an Israeli-owned commercial ship from docking and unloading in an act of protest against recent Israeli military action in Gaza.
The ship, Piraeus, identified as a Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel by the online ship tracking service Marine Traffic, was moored at the Port of Oakland area as of 5:30 p.m. this evening, according to the website.
The 964-foot ship reportedly rerouted Saturday afternoon as a large crowd of protesters marched to the Port of Oakland to block its arrival.
At Saturday afternoon's protest, demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as "Gaza will be free," "Boycott. Divest, Sanction. End Israeli Apartheid," and "Resist Zionism and Imperialism."
Zim is the largest Israeli cargo shipping company and according to Zim's website, the company was established in 1945 and is one of the largest carriers in the global container shipping industry.
Protesters are singling out Zim ships because 32 percent of the company is owned by Israel Corporation, which was founded in 1968 by the Israeli government and is Israel's largest holding company.
Zim's remaining shares are owned by financial institutions and ship-owners, according to the company's website.
In 2010, a similar protest against a Zim ship docking at the Port of Oakland was held by hundreds of demonstrators condemning Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Tags: ilwublockadeZim
Categories: Labor News

Palestine: ITF to send Mission to Gaza, West Bank and Israel

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Asia: Across Asia's borders, labour activists team up to press wage claims

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

Activists declare first victory as Israeli ship delays docking at Oakland

Current News - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 10:00

Activists declare first victory as Israeli ship delays docking at Oakland

Electronic Intifada 08/16/2014

Activists declare first victory as Israeli ship delays docking at Oakland

by Charlotte Silver

(Nidal El-Khairy)
San Francisco Bay Area Palestine activists have declared their first victory in attempting to prevent the offloading of an Israeli cargo vessel at the Oakland Port. Originally planning to show up at 5:00 am Saturday morning to block the ship, activists sent word out late last night that the meeting time had been moved up to 3:00pm, as the ship had delayed its arrival at Oakland in an apparent attempt to avoid the protest.

Activist Mohamed Shehk told The Electronic Intifada that the organizers have been tracking the vessel Zim Piraeus, and realized last night that it had stopped before reaching its Oakland destination, spending the night at sea.

“This delay is seen as a victory for us. It shows how much Zim is trying to avoid our protest, and it shows how effective we can be when we can organize these types of actions,” Shehk said.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services is the Israeli international maritime shipping line.

A Zim Lines ship docks every Friday night around 9:00 pm at the Oakland port for an early morning offload. Activists have been working with members of the local chapter of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU), and hope that port workers will agree not to offload the Israeli cargo.

on Twitter

Of significance, the ILWU Local 10 is currently negotiating a new contract, the previous one having expired 1 July 2014. This means that ILWU Local 10 could potentially engage in a strike without breaking the rules of a contract.

In 2010, when activists successfully prevented the offloading of a Zim Lines ship in an historic first, Local 10 relied on the port’s arbitrator to declare the working conditions unsafe. According to longtime rank and file union member Clarence Thomas, there is currently no contractual language which would allow for an arbitrator to be called in: “I expect the rank and file to respect the picket line, as we have done of picket lines since the 1930s.”

ILWU has a long history of refusing to load ships from countries engaging in gross violations of human rights. In the 1930s, West Coast dockworkers refused to load and offload ships belonging to Italy after they invaded Ethiopia, and Japan after it invaded Manchuria.

In 1978 and 1980, ILWU refused to load military cargo headed for Chile and El Salvador respectively. And in 1984, the union refused to unload a South African ship for 11 straight days.

The terminal at which Zim Lines docks is owned by Stevedoring Services of America — which has been in protracted negotiations with ILWU Local 10 since last May.

Speaking as a rank and file member of the ILWU Local 10, Thomas emphasized that organizing at the ports in solidarity with Palestinians is essential given that Israel has foreclosed on any opportunity for Palestinians to engage in international trade through its ports.

“As a longshoreman, I know how critical international trade is to the economy. I think it is an appropriate action against those who have prevented the self-determination of the Palestinian people and to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.”

Tags: Zim Blockadeilwu
Categories: Labor News

Israeli ship remains at sea as thousands of protesters gather in Oakland

Current News - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 09:53

Israeli ship remains at sea as thousands of protesters gather in Oakland
Blockade delayed as word spreads that the Zim Piraeus is off the coast of California, closer to Santa Cruz, and won’t be docking that day

By Rebecca Bowe at the Port of Oakland

The Guardian (U.K.), Aug 17, 2014

Pro-Palestinian protesters at the port of Oakland attempt to prevent an Israeli ship from docking.
An Israeli ship that was scheduled to dock at the port of Oakland in California on Saturday remained at sea as between 2,000 and 3,000 pro-Palestinian activists streamed towards the port entrance, chanting and waving flags.

The protesters intended to form a picket line at Berth 57 to prevent work crews from unloading the ship.

Activists had originally planned to meet at 5am for a blockade of the Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel, the Zim Piraeus, but word that its arrival had been delayed prompted organizers to push the protest back until later in the afternoon.

The event began with a brief rally at a nearby transit station, followed by a march to the port. Sameh Ayesh, a 21-year-old Palestinian activist with the San Francisco-based Arab Youth Organization, led the crowd in a chant.

“We’re gonna block the boat,” he called into a megaphone. “Block, block the boat.”

But before the march had even reached the port entrance, an activist who identified himself as Eyad delivered word that the Zim vessel would not be docking that day. An online ship tracking service showed that the vessel was off the coast of California, closer to Santa Cruz, as the march got under way.

Activists interpreted the delay as a victory since the schedule change seemed to have been made in response to the planned pickets. “We have stopped the Zim Piraeus from docking on the west coast of the United States,” said Eyad, of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (Aroc), into a megaphone, drawing cheers from the crowd as the march came to a halt on a bridge leading towards the docks.

“Zim Lines is the largest Israeli shipping company, and it’s a huge flow of capital for the state of Israel,” said Lara Kiswani, executive director of the centre, whose organisation was one of 70 to take part in planning the blockade.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators approach the port of Oakland in an attempt to prevent an Israeli ship from docking.
Kiswani said the action was meant to generate momentum for a broader campaign calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli government as a response to violence in Gaza. “With the recent attacks on Palestine … there’s been a lot of discussion locally, particularly with Aroc, on how to escalate our tactics,” she said.

A similar blockade against a Zim vessel took place in 2010, when pro-Palestinian activists formed picket lines in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla ferrying humanitarian outreach workers to Gaza. “After the flotilla was attacked by the state of Israel, we successfully were able to block the Zim Lines ship here, with the ILWU,” Kiswani said. “So for years we were working with ILWU, with rank and file, and with the leadership, to try and raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians.” In 1984, she added, “ILWU took a position against apartheid, and the workers refused to unload that ship”.

As the march reached the port entrance, where activists had originally planned to stage a picket, they encountered a line of police officers standing in formation. Protesters erupted into chants of, “hands up, don’t shoot!” – echoing chants sounded in response to police violence directed against street protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Several others made statements linking recent acts of police brutality with the conflict in Gaza. “On Twitter, we’ve seen people in Gaza tweet to protesters in Ferguson how to cope with teargas,” said Mohamed Shehk, who helped organize the blockade with the Oakland-based nonprofit Critical Resistance. “They’re saying things like, ‘as Palestinians, we know what it’s like to be targeted and killed for being of the wrong ethnicity’.”

The Guardian is seeking comment from the port of Oakland and the Zim shipping company.

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Tags: Zim picketIsraelilwu
Categories: Labor News

Eight LIRR unions approve labor contract, union leader says

Current News - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 09:10

Eight LIRR unions approve labor contract, union leader says
Originally published: August 15, 2014 1:52 PM
Updated: August 15, 2014 10:41 PM
By WILLIAM MURPHY william.murphy@newsday.com

Members of the unions representing most Long Island Rail Road employees have overwhelmingly approved the four-year-long labor contract negotiated in July with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, a union leader said Aug. 15, 2014. (Newsday file footage)

Members of the unions representing most workers on the Long Island Rail Road have overwhelmingly approved the four-year labor contract negotiated last month, a union leader said Friday.
About 95 percent of the members of the eight unions voted in favor of the contract, according to Anthony Simon, general chairman of the United Transportation Union and the lead negotiator for the coalition of unions. He said he did not have the breakout of each union's vote or the raw vote total.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, parent agency of the railroad, said it had no further comment on the contract, which it described as "fair and reasonable" at the time it was reached.

"This was an absolutely unprecedented margin of approval," Simon said. "I'm very pleased that we could deliver this contract for our members and for the riders. With the governor's steadfast push to get this done, we did it."
Dean Devita, an official of the union representing about 90 stationary engineers at the railroad, said, "It's been four long years since our workers had a raise. Long Island is the most expensive place in the country to live, and it's been hardship for them."
The MTA and the unions, with prodding from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, reached the deal July 17, averting a strike set for three days later by some 5,400 workers.
The contract provides a 17 percent raise over 61/2 years to the workers, who average $87,000 a year. It also requires workers to begin paying for health care at a rate of about 2 percent of their weekly wages. New employees would pay into their pensions for 15 years instead of 10.
Negotiations are continuing between the MTA and three smaller unions.

Tags: UTULIRRRailroad workers
Categories: Labor News

Activists plan port shutdowns to block Israeli ship in US and Canada

Current News - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 06:37

Activists plan port shutdowns to block Israeli ship in US and Canada
In solidarity with Palestinians, activists in Oakland, Seattle and Vancouver aim to prevent vessel from docking
August 15, 2014 4:13PM ET
by Renee Lewis
U.S. and Canadian activists are planning a series of actions beginning on Saturday to shut down West Coast ports to prevent a commercial Israeli cargo vessel from docking and unloading goods. The actions come in response to a call from Palestinian and South African unions to hold Israel accountable for what they allege are violations of Palestinians’ human rights — particularly during Israel’s latest offensive in the Gaza Strip, an operation that has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians.

“Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods,” said a leaflet calling for the actions, collectively called “Block the Boat.”

Saturday’s protest was set to take place in Oakland, California, with subsequent ones scheduled in the coming weeks for Seattle and Vancouver.

The action is part of a campaign launched by members of Palestinian civil society in 2005 for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian lands and to adhere to international law in its treatment of the Palestinian people. It is modeled after similar tactics that international activists used in the 1980s to pressure South Africa's former apartheid regime to accept majority rule.

Block the Boat will target Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. If successful, it would effectively lock out Israeli commercial shipping from the West Coasts of both the United States and Canada, activists said.

Block the Boat organizers alleged that Zim has a history of supporting Israel’s occupation and subjugation of Palestinians.

“From its founding in 1945 by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Histradut, Zim has served Israeli settler-colonialism, bringing settlers to Palestine and serving as Israel’s only maritime connection during the 1948 war, supplying ‘food, freight, and military equipment’ used of course to carry out the Nakba. The worldwide commerce conducted by Zim today funds the occupation of Palestine with revenue generated on every continent,” a statement issued by the activist group read.

The Nakba, or catastrophe, is how Palestinians refer to the events that led to the founding of Israel, when attacks by armed groups led to the expulsion and fleeing of more than 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children.

“We will be answering this call by organizing community pickets at the Port of Oakland, asking the longshoremen to honor this request and to stand with the people of Palestine as they have done in the past,” the group’s statement read.

Organizers said they hoped to have union workers' support for the action, and cited a history of solidarity by The International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Unions (ILWU), who cooperated with a similar action in 2010 by refusing to unload a Zim cargo ship.

That action was in response to Israel’s deadly 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-led humanitarian flotilla that attempted to bring aid to Gaza, which has struggled with an Israeli-imposed economic blockade. Israeli Naval commandos killed 10 people on the ship, sparking international outrage.

The ILWU also has a long history of supporting human rights causes. In 1984, workers refused to unload cargo from an apartheid-era South African vessel.

However, an ILWU spokeswoman told Al Jazeera that they have no plans to participate in Saturday’s action in Oakland, or subsequent ones in Seattle and Vancouver.

“The ILWU is not involved with any actions regarding incoming Zim ships,” ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said.

Though ILWU is not endorsing or participating in the upcoming actions, Block the Boat organizers are hopeful that union members will honor their efforts.

"We trust that in line with their long legacy of political protests that they will honor our picket and not work the Israeli Zim ship,” said Mohamed Shehk, media and communications officer for Critical Resistance, one of the grassroots organizations planning the actions under the umbrella of Block the Boat.

The ILWU is currently in contract negotiations, according to industry sources, and union members have been without legal contracts since July 1 — which could make participation in such action complicated for members.

Shehk said that activists could still stop the unloading of the ship by gathering enough protesters to create a “health and safety risk” that would prevent union workers from crossing the picket line and doing their jobs.

“It’s on us to ensure that the action is successful enough that they don’t have to make a choice,” Shehk said. The group is expecting several hundred protesters to join Saturday's action.

Shehk said this is what happened in 2010 when activists succeeded in preventing the Zim ship from unloading. Solidarity action with Palestine is now even more important, he said, because of escalating Israeli aggression against Palestinians.

“This latest attack on Gaza by Israeli forces has been one of the deadliest attacks that we’ve seen in recent years, and this action is just one in the larger boycott, divest, and sanction movement against the Israeli occupation,” Shehk said.

Tags: PalestinePort picketingZionismilwu
Categories: Labor News


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