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Philippines: iPhone 6 supplier NXP ramps up intimidation and delaying tactics

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Bloody Thursday 1934: The strike that shook San Francisco and rocked the Pacific Coast

ILWU - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 14:35
by CAL WINSLOW on July 3, 2014

July 5, 2014 marks the 80th anniversary of “Bloody Thursday”, July 5, 1934, a day that shook San Francisco. The events that day inflamed the working people of San Francisco and the Bay Area. They made the great General Strike of 1934 inevitable and they set in motion a movement that would transform the western waterfronts.

On May 9, 1934 West Coast longshoremen struck, shutting down docks along 2000 miles of coastline, including all its major ports: Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, San Francisco, San Pedro, San Diego. The issues included wages and hours: the longshoremen wanted $1 an hour, the six hour day and the thirty hour week. They wanted union representation. But above all they demanded the abolition of the hated shape-up and its replacement with a union hiring hall. The strike would last 83 days.

The San Francisco longshoremen called the Embarcadero “the slave market” – there, each morning at 8 am, workers would gather, as often as not desperate for any opportunity to work. Many more would gather than were needed, some would be skilled, “regular men”, others transients, then all grades in between. The hiring boss, the petty dictator on the dock, would stand before them; he could take any man he wanted, reject anyone he pleased. This was an ancient system. Henry Mayhew, the well-known Victorian investigator, wrote this of hiring at the gates to the London docks in1861: it was “a sight to sadden the most callous, to see thousands of men struggling for only a day’s hire; the scuffle being made the fiercer by the knowledge that hundreds out of the number there assembled left to idle the day in want.” The shape-up was abolished in London in 1891, in the aftermath of the great 1889 dockers’ strike there, but was still in place in 1934 in New York, also San Francisco, where the shippers insisted conditions demanded it. Profits depended, they explained, on the fast turn-around, but the sea, the tides, and traffic limited planning. Still, “the ship must sail on time”; they clung tenaciously to the system, casual labor and the shape-up. The leaders of the dockers’ union, the racket-ridden International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), in 1934 very much in the doldrums, agreed. Joe Ryan, ILA “President for Life” supported it, even after World War II. The men despised it, a precarious, cruel system that placed them at the bottom of the hierarchy of industrial work.

Read full article at BeyondChron

Categories: Unions

PBGC Chief to Re-join Private Sector

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:17
Elizabeth PfeutiAsset InternationalJuly 15, 2014View the original piece

The director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is to leave his post in August after four years in the role.

In a letter to colleagues on Friday, Josh Gotbaum said, as he had three children in college, he had promised his wife he would return to the private sector, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Click here to read more at Asset International.

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Amazon Seeks FAA Permission to Test Delivery Drones Outdoors

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 07:13
Bloomberg NewsJuly 15, 2014View the original piece

Amazon.com Inc., which wants to deliver packages by drone, asked aviation regulators for permission to expand testing outside its research laboratory.

“We are rapidly experimenting and iterating on Prime Air inside our next generation research and development lab in Seattle,” the company said in a letter posted on a government website yesterday. Amazon is based in that city.

Click here to read more at Transport Topics.

Categories: Labor News, Unions

SF TWU 250A Muni operators ratify contract

Current News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 20:39

SF TWU 250A Muni operators ratify contract
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Muni-operators-ratify-contrac...
By Michael Cabanatuan

July 14, 2014

(07-14) 19:50 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Muni operators on Monday ratified a new contract that guarantees three years of raises totaling 14.25 percent and requires payments into their pension plans. The deal, brokered by former Mayor Willie Brown, calms fears of another spontaneous protest like the three-day sickout that stalled the transit system in June.

Vote totals weren't immediately available. Voting took place at the bus and rail facilities where the transit system's bus, light-rail, streetcar and cable car operators report to work.

The tentative agreement put before operators included 14.25 percent in raises over three years, enough to cover increased pension costs to the workers while also offering a pay boost. It differed from the initial agreement in that it extends the contract for a third year, including an additional 3 percent raise, and phases in the 7.5 percent that workers will pay into their own pensions.

Under the agreement, operators will receive a 9.5 percent salary increase, intended to offset the pension contribution, plus an additional 4.75 percent in raises. The raises and pension contributions would be spread across the three years of the contract with the first pay increase - 1.75 percent - coming in October but the first of three 2.5 percent pension contributions not coming due until October 2015, at which time operators would receive another 4.68 percent raise.

In announcing the deal two weeks ago, Municipal Transportation Agency officials credited Brown, saying his involvement as a mediator was key. The former mayor, who writes a Sunday column for The Chronicle, wrote that he became involved at the request of Mayor Ed Lee, who wanted to avert another sickout, and at the insistence of the union.

Brown said he refused to bargain with the large committees surrounding the bargaining table.

"I took one look and said, 'Now I don't want to insult any of you, but I don't negotiate by committee. I'm going to step out for five minutes, and when I come back, I only want to see three over here and three over there. Then we'll talk.'

"It took five days, but we got a deal."

The earlier contract offer, which members rejected by a vote of 1,198-47, offered 11.25 percent in raises over two years and also required a 7.5 percent pension contribution. Union members argued that the pension payments would have eroded their raises but MTA officials contended the offer was a fair deal.

Chronicle staff writer Kale Williams contributed to this report.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan

Tags: TWU 250AWillie BrownConcession Bargaining
Categories: Labor News

Rail Worker Rights Leaving 19th Century Behind

Current News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 20:12

Rail Worker Rights Leaving 19th Century Behind
http://www.ibew.org/articles/14daily/1407/140709_rail.htm

July 9, 2014

The CSX Selkirk Repair Yard where J.J. Giuliano was local chairman of Albany, N.Y., Local 770. Giuliano has filed a retaliation complaint against CSX.
Photo by Flickr user BrianBenson used under a Creative Commons license.
CSX Transportation’s Selkirk repair shop is a massive, loud throwback to America’s industrial past. Diesel locomotives, some weighing 180 tons, driven by 6,000-horsepower 20-cylinder engines, are torn apart and rebuilt beneath its soaring pigeon-filled rafters. A dozen, sometimes twice that number, are swarmed by teams of electricians, welders, carmen, machinists and sheet metal workers.

J.J. Giuliano has been local chairman of the Selkirk unit of Albany, N.Y., Local 770 since 2003. Keeping his members safe is Giuliano’s top priority, and along with the leaders of the other trades at Selkirk, he sat on the shop’s safety committee.

“For 10 years we made recommendations to management and for 10 years not one of them was funded by the company,” Giuliano said. “I stayed on because I wanted to look out for my guys. But at a certain point we were letting the company get away with avoiding solving safety problems.”

In September 2013, Giuliano was done with the charade. He sent a letter to the plant superintendent telling him that he was quitting the committee. He listed 21 safety violations that threatened the health of IBEW members, public safety or both that had repeatedly been brought to the company’s attention and never fixed. They included everything from managers green-lighting locomotives for use without testing safety equipment to requiring workers to repair trains covered in pigeon feces but refusing to provide, or even allow the use of, protective clothing.

“When local management decides to act as though safety is a priority, this organization will re-evaluate its position in this matter,” he wrote. “Until that time, should it ever come, our concerns will be brought elsewhere.”

Giuliano handed over the letter Friday and posted a copy of it to the local’s glass-enclosed bulletin board. Two and half hours into his next workday, Giuliano was cited for violating safety rules and was later suspended for five days.

“It’s typical. Instead of fixing a problem, they attack the person who points it out,” Giuliano said.

Up until 2008 that would have been the end of the story. As a 2007 congressional hearing found, punishing workers instead of fixing safety hazards has been standard in the rail industry since the days of the robber barons more than a century ago. It was nearly that long ago that President Theodore Roosevelt signed many of the laws still regulating the rail industry.

As Social Security, workers’ compensation insurance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversight and whistleblower protections were made standard for most working people, rail workers were left outside looking in.

The first safety protections for rail workers weren’t even enacted until the Federal Rail Safety Act of 1970, said Larry Mann, an attorney and noted rail safety expert. But Mann says the scope of the law was extremely limited and enforcement by the Federal Rail Administration, which has historically been run and staffed by former rail company managers, was lax at best.

Giuliano says he was suspended for calling attention to multiple safety violations at the Selkirk Repair Yard.
Photo by Flickr user BrianBenson used under a Creative Commons license.
But in 2007, the late congressman from Minnesota, James L. Oberstar, inserted a few paragraphs into the massive bill implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. Section 100 of 106, in part written by Mann, dramatically expanded the rights and protections of rail workers. Oberstar later said that the goal of the law was a complete overhaul of a safety culture” preoccupied with blame, with fault and with individuals.”

The law protected rail workers from retaliation for reporting safety hazards and injuries (see sidebar for full list of protections and prohibited retaliations) that echo whistleblower protections for aviation, nuclear, pipeline and financial industry workers.

The penalties for doing so were purposefully harsh. Workers were to “be made whole” meaning if they lost their job, had their credit rating ruined and lost their house, the company would have to reinstate the worker, pay to fix their credit rating and recover the house or pay for its loss if it was found guilty. All that in addition to back wages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.

“We snuck it in,” Larry Mann. “The companies didn’t see it coming, thank God.”

It wasn’t just the companies who were surprised. Charles Goetsch, one of 14 attorneys designated by the IBEW to represent injured railworkers. (Find the full list here). He found out about it only after it passed.

“I thought ‘I’ve been waiting for this law for 30 years,’” Goetsch said. “It was huge transfer of power to the workers and they didn’t have to negotiate away a thing to get it.”

Killing the Messenger

Giuliano wasn’t surprised about the retaliation by CSX. He’s seen it all before.

“We would tell management about an oil leak and the most they would do is put up an orange cone. Three weeks later, they’d come clean it up.” he said. “But if a guy slipped and fell in the interim they’d suspend him because he should have been looking out for it.”

CSX, like nearly all passenger and freight rail companies, have long lists of forbidden actions. Industry spokesmen have defended the rules on the grounds that most injuries are caused by worker error, so they are trying to correct worker behavior. But the rules are often vague, for example requiring workers to “maintain situational awareness” or to “work carefully.” In 2012 memo, OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax wrote that such rules are “pretexts for discrimination against an injured employee… putting the employer’s entire workforce at risk.”

Giuliano said he saw workers severely injured who did not get emergency help or report it to the company because they were afraid of being punished.

“I saw someone shocked so badly we checked if his heart stopped,” Giuliano said. “Another time a guy was holding the tubing for an acetylene torch when they exploded. He seriously burnt his hands. I know neither one went to the doctor because they were afraid of what the company might do.”

The problem, says Goetsch, is that the only time the safety rules were enforced was after an injury.

“The goal wasn’t to improve safety, it was to keep injured workers from reporting their injuries,” Goetsch said. “The purpose was to create the illusion of safety.”

“Discipline trumped safety every time,” Goetsch said.

Putting the Public at Risk

Goetsch said retaliation also put the public at risk: workers unfit to work were ordered to ignore doctor’s orders and return; workers fired for objecting when managers knowingly cleared locomotives for duty when federally required safety equipment was not repaired or tested.

Although reports about rail safety show a general improvement, leaving aside the reliability of those statistics, derailments in recent years have nevertheless killed and injured dozens of passengers and employees.

And when freight trains carrying volatile chemicals are involved the results can be even more disastrous.

Last year just across the Maine border in Lac Megantic, Québec, the brakes failed on an unattended freight train hauling 72 oil tank cars. It picked up speed as it rolled uncontrollably into the center of town. When it derailed the cars were ripped apart and the ensuing explosion destroyed nearly a third of the buildings in town. Burning oil poured into the sewers spreading the fire throughout the town. At least 47 people died.

Each year, more than 400,000 carloads of crude oil move by train, a number that is growing fast as shale oil production far exceeds pipeline capacity. Trains transport chemicals like chlorine gas that can be far more dangerous than even crude oil.

“I have absolutely seen management tell us to send out locomotives with the kinds of problem that could have caused Lac Megantic.” Giuliano said. “Absolutely I’ve seen it and more than once.”

A Classic Case of Retaliation

The day Giuliano returned to work after posting the letter he noticed that three managers who rarely make it down to the shop floor were standing nearby watching him, and only him, work.

One of them soon came over and told Giuliano that he had violated the safety rule requiring workers to access locomotives using a rectangular fiberglass bridge get across the two-foot gap between the locomotive’s running board and shop’s raised concrete floor.

“It was baloney. First, it wasn’t possible to use a crossover board there, and second, two other guys got on the locomotive the same way I did and no one said a word to them,” Giuliano said.

Despite assurances from managers that the violation was minor, three weeks later, Giuliano received notice of a disciplinary hearing for multiple violations of safety rules.

“In my 12 years as chairman of the local I have never seen someone disciplined for that violation,” Giuliano said.

The hearing held in late November, was presided over by a company manager who had earlier broken into the glass-covered IBEW bulletin board to rip down a copy of the letter. The manager served both as the prosecutor, introducing the evidence of Giuliano’s supposed infractions, as well as the judge, refusing to allow Giuliano to introduce evidence that he had not violated safety rules or question the two other members who weren’t punished.

“It was a sham,” he said. “I told them they were in violation of the FRSA. They didn’t care.”

An Uzi to a Knife Fight

Although the whistleblower protections were made law in 2007, Giuliano says he didn’t really know about them until recently and doesn’t know anyone else who has ever filed a complaint.

“Maybe I heard something before then, but I thought it didn’t have anything to do with me,” he said.

Then he heard Goetsch speak at the IBEW Railroad Department’s annual conference in 2012. There he heard about the whistleblower protections and another law –the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act-- which further expanded rail workers’ rights by prohibiting retaliation against workers who requested medical treatment or following doctor’s orders.

Goetsch also talked about a series of federal court rulings making it clear that judges and juries were broadly interpreting the law, routinely issuing large punitive damages awards and punishing companies that punished workers instead of protecting the public.

Giuliano said he remembers Goetsch saying having a law is useless until workers stand up.

“If you don’t know your rights or are scared to use them, you have no rights. Their strategy is to keep workers ignorant and scared,” Goetsch said. “This law lets us bring an Uzi to a knife fight, but for it to accomplish its purpose, it is up to us to use it.”

Giuliano joined the thousands of rail workers filing complaints with OSHA for unlawful retaliation. Since the first complaint was filed in 2007, more whistleblower complaints have been filed with OSHA from rail workers than any other industry.

‘They Couldn’t Believe a Company Would Have the Gall’

In the beginning, Goetsch said, OSHA administrators levied only modest fines against the companies.

“I don’t think they [OSHA] believed what we were telling them. They just couldn’t imagine it was true,” he said. “But now they understand, and the courts understand as well, and the penalties are growing.”

In recent years, punitive damages awards from first OSHA and now federal courts have risen from less than a $100,000 to more than 1million.

“These companies make billions of dollars each year and the fines they used were just a minor cost, no big deal,” Goetsch said. “These multimillion dollar awards are different. They have the companies’ attention and the attention of their shareholders as well.”

For Mann, the fines handed out have been a rewarding sign that a 100-year culture of retaliation is finally on the way out.

“There’s still a long way to go, but I think in five, maybe 10 years we will see that these laws will have transformed the industry,” Mann said.

OSHA inspectors are now reviewing Giuliano’s complaint. If they haven’t issued a final ruling by late this year, Giuliano will be able to bring suit against CSX in federal court. Appeals are possible, for OSHA or judicial decisions, and the companies have shown that they try to outlast and outspend workers by appealing and delaying every case as long as they can.

But Giuliano says he will not give up on this case. Since his suspension, many fewer members come to talk to him about problems or concerns they have, something that used to happen regularly.

“That dropped off after I was suspended. It shut people up. Maybe they figured I wouldn’t want to stick my neck out again or they thought I had bigger things to worry about,” he said. “That means this wasn’t just an attack on me, it was an attack on every union and union member here. There’s no way I give up on that.”

Workers CANNOT be retaliated against by employers for doing any of the following in good faith:

• Reporting a hazardous safety condition to the company or state, federal or juridical authorities
• Refusing to participate in the violation of safety rules or regulations
• Refusing to authorize the use of equipment, track or structures because of safety or security concerns
• Requesting medical treatment
• Reporting any injury or illness, whether sustained on or off the job
• Reporting security violations to the company or state, federal or judicial authorities
• Reporting fraud or waste of public money designated for safety or security
• Following a doctor’s treatment plan
• Using sick leave
Retaliation is ANY punishment targeting workers for taking a protection action, even if they have another reason. That includes:

• Notification of a disciplinary hearing
• Holding a disciplinary hearing
• Termination
• Suspension, demotion or reassignment
• Blacklisting or failure to rehire
• Denying overtime or benefits
• Threats, intimidation or reprimands
• Withholding bonuses or promotions
• ANY discrimination against an employee due in whole or in part to good faith protected actions
What to Do if You Think You Have Been Retaliated Against

• File a complaint with OSHA within 180 of days of FINDING OUT you have been retaliated against

-- DO NOT WAIT FOR THE RESULTS OF DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS --

A disciplinary hearing is retaliation. Waiting for a decision about the punishment might delay your complaint until after the 180 day deadline

• The OSHA complaint form is at http://www.whistleblowers.gov/whistleblower_complaint.pdf

• It is best to talk with your chairman and one of the recommended legal counsel listed on the IBEW Rail Department’s website (http://www.ibew.org/IBEW/departments/RailRoad/FELA_LegalCounsel0710.htm) before filing a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.

• If the deadline is approaching, DO NOT DELAY: use OSHA’s online reporting site (https://www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html) Complaints can be can be amended later with the assistance of legal counsel and IBEW assistance, but only if it is filed on time.

Home page photo by Flickr user JohnHGray used under a Creative Commons license.

Tags: IBEWrailroad safetyosha
Categories: Labor News

Israel: UN Ceasefire Call Must Be Respected

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

LA Mayor Garcetti Helps Broker Trucker Picketing Cooling Period-ILWU Tops Extended Contract To Limit Solidarity

Current News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:05

LA Mayor Garcetti Helps Broker Trucker Picketing Cooling Period-ILWU Tops Extended Contract To Limit Solidarity
http://www.gazettes.com/news/update-garcetti-helps-broker-trucker-picket...
By Jonathan Van Dyke
Staff Writer | Posted 4 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti brokered a pause on Saturday regarding truck driver labor unrest at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles. Some truckers had been picketing three companies at the Port of Long Beach for the entire week.

“Following the city’s meetings with both sides, the Teamsters have agreed to pull down their pickets and enter a cooling off period to allow the Harbor Commission time to investigate the serious allegations regarding worker safety, poor working conditions and unfair labor practices,” Garcetti said in a statement. “Business at the port is back to normal and the city will facilitate a dialog among the parties in the weeks ahead.”

On Monday, July 7, truckers, with the guidance of Teamsters-led Justice for Port Drivers, began to picket at three Port of Long Beach container terminals: ITS on Pier G, Long Beach Container Terminal on Pier F and Total Terminal International on Pier T. Many other labor groups and passionate community members joined them.

“Teamsters are providing support, but it’s all (coming from) the truck drivers,” said Barb Maynard, spokesperson for Justice for Port Drivers.

The picketing continued through Friday, before Garcetti stepped in. The truckers are specifically aligned against trucking companies Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services and Pacific Nine Transportation.

On Thursday, July 10, many other drivers met at The Grand Long Beach to voice their displeasure with the Teamsters and the picketers. Harbor Trucking Association members were at the meeting, but said it was taking place at the behest of the truckers.

“The majority of Green Fleet employees do not want the union,” said Blanca Machado, driver for Green Fleet.

“If we don’t want the union, then we don’t have to have the union,” added Amado Zamora, also a Green Fleet driver. “Our company gives us what a union is supposedly going to offer us.”

According to the Green Fleet truckers there, about two-thirds of employee-drivers do not want to unionize. Several drivers for Pacific Nine Transportation, which contracts only with owner/operators, also were present, and echoed the anti-union sentiments.

Still many continued to picket through Friday, with representative claiming bad practices were occurring against the truckers.

“These strikes are about retaliation and labor practices,” Maynard said, noting picketers believed that all three companies were violating federal labor laws.

For a moment on Tuesday, July 8, it looked as though the picketers might be joined by the largest labor union at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles, the ILWU, which has about 10,000 employees at the two ports.

That morning, just before 10 a.m., some longshore workers left their posts at one terminal to honor the picket lines, but by 11 a.m. a labor arbitrator ordered the workers back, Port of Long Beach Spokesman Lee Peterson said. Negotiations between the ILWU and Pacific Merchants Association remain ongoing, as that union’s six-year contract was up at the beginning of July.

Overall, the ILWU is negotiating for 20,000 longshore workers up and down the West Coast at 29 ports. Should, at some point, the negotiations get contentious and break off, a walk off would be crippling to the ports, officials say.

“Without the longshore workers, the terminals can’t operate,” Peterson said. “All facets of cargo movement and container movement are done by ILWU workers.”

On Thursday, trucking company officials said there was minimal disruption from the picketers.

“We’re obviously concerned about any disruption in service at the ports,” Harbor Trucking Association Executive Director Alex Cherin said. “Our organization supports both independent contractor and employee models. It’s frustrating for the drivers on a day-to-day basis getting in and out of the port, but overall it has had pretty minimal impact.”

Jonathan Van Dyke can be reached at jvandyke@gazettes.com.

Tags: Justice for Port Drivers
Categories: Labor News

IBT Picks Roadway labor relations man for YRC Board

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 13:39
Austin AlonzoKansas City Business JournalJuly 14, 2014View the original piece

Late Friday, the Overland Park-based less-than-truckload carrier (Nasdaq: YRCW) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced that the union-nominated and the company-approvedDavidson will join YRC's nine-member board.

Davidson will fill the seat Harry Wilsonvacated in March. Wilson, the chairman and CEO of New York-based MAEVA Group LLC, resigned from the board after seeing the company through a financial restructuring in early 2014. Between February 2013 and March 2014, YRC paid MAEVA $12.5 million for its services.

Click here to read more at The Kansas City Business Journal.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

LIRR unions: Future workers' fate hinges on contract

Current News - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 13:09

LIRR unions: Future workers' fate hinges on contract
http://www.newsday.com/long-island/lirr-unions-future-workers-fate-hinge...
Originally published: July 13, 2014 6:37 PM
Updated: July 13, 2014 10:55 PM
By ALFONSO A. CASTILLO alfonso.castillo@newsday.com

An LIRR conductor checks on a commuter at Jamaica station July 8, 2014. (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

For the LIRR unions, it is about the future.
With both the MTA and the unions agreeing to raises totaling 17 percent and first-time employee health care contributions, the key point of contention in the impasse involves the fate of the so-called "unborn" -- LIRR workers hired after a new contract is ratified.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants new workers to contribute to their health care costs at twice the rate of current workers, pay 4 percent of pension costs permanently instead of just for their first 10 years as most current employees do, and take twice as long to achieve top pay -- up to 12 years in some cases.
RESOURCES: 10 ways to prep | 6 key answers | MTA's advice
LIVE: Latest LIRR alerts and commuting conditions
TELL US: Would a strike impact you? | Will there be a strike?
But Arthur Maratea, national vice president of the Transportation Communications Union, said he's received more than 200 emails from members urging their leadership, "Do not give up the new hires."
"It's going to split the workforce," said Maratea, who recalled joining the LIRR in 1988 -- just after the agency had shut down a pension system for workers hired before then. The MTA reinstated the pension about 10 years ago.
"Our members have told us, and that's who pays our salaries and that's who we represent . . . they're not going to give up the new guys," he said.
More than just creating rifts among colleagues, union officials said compromising the wages and benefits of future job holders would, in turn, compromise the quality of candidates applying for those jobs.
"Do you want to have somebody throw a switch and have . . . a head-on collision because you decided you were going to lower the qualifications?" said Anthony Simon, general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union. "You don't want to start reaching for the bottom for a job this dangerous."
Accepting concessions for future workers, MTA officials have said, is a common bargaining practice and would help the agency afford the deal over the long run. MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast last week disputed the unions' contention that the agency is "creating two classes of employees."
"At the end of the day, they will have the same pension benefits . . . They will have the same health care benefits . . . But we're asking [new] employees to pay more," Prendergast said. "I pay more than my parents did for health care."
Simon signaled that the union was willing to bend a little when it came to future workers, without sacrificing the quality of LIRR jobs or the workers who fill them. "You can maintain the future of new employees if you go by what we know can be done," he said.
Because, by the MTA's admission, both sides' proposals would cost the agency about $40 million annually in the first few years of the contract, Simon said the MTA should accept the unions' demands and "live to fight another day." Any agreement would be retroactive to 2010, when workers' last contract lapsed, so the unions and the MTA could be back at the table in just 18 months. Complicating talks, union leaders say, is how the MTA has treated the federally mandated contract resolution process. The agency has rejected the recommendations of two Presidential Emergency Boards.
The MTA has said the two rulings were no more than nonbinding recommendations, but Maratea pointed out that even when the MTA lost a binding arbitration ruling against subway workers in 2009, it refused to pay and took the union to court, where it lost again.
"This is our industry. Those are the rules. The MTA just does not want to play by the rules," Maratea said. "The process must be preserved."
MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg called the union's sentiments "the height of hypocrisy" and noted that when a Presidential Emergency Board in 1994 ruled in management's favor, the unions "told the president to stay out of it."

Tags: LIRR UnionsMATConcession Bargaining
Categories: Labor News

2nd Baldwin community meeting on transit a success!

Pittsburghers for Public Transit - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 12:59

50 Baldwin residents came to the community meeting on Wed July 9th to participate in the campaign to restore transit service in the neighborhood. Residents discussed 2 possible routes, and they developed plans for next steps. 
One committee is developing a petition campaign. Another is planning to staff a table at Baldwin Community Day on Aug 2nd to get more residents involved in the campaign. A third committee is planning a "walk for transit." Each committee is meeting within the next two weeks.
If you would like to get involved, please contact: info@pittsburghforpublictransit.org or call 412-216-9659.
The next large community meeting is Tues, Aug 5th at 7 pm, at the Baldwin Borough Building auditorium, 3344 Churchview Ave.
Categories: Labor News

ITF helps people of Gaza

ITF - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 08:25
With the death toll rising daily in Gaza the ITF today called for an immediate ceasefire and launched an urgent humanitarian appeal for those affected.
Categories: Union Federations

Another Canadian National Railway Derailment in Alberta

Railroaded's Blog - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 07:10

The fifth reported Canadian National Railway derailment in 6 weeks in Alberta occurred July 12 north of Three Hills, about 60 kilometres northeast of Calgary (CBC News). 15 cars derailed, causing disruptions to transportation services in the area. Most of the cars carried general consumer merchandise, while 2 carried chemicals for household and industrial use. Alberta Emergency Alert indicated a local road was closed for an undisclosed length of time.

Other reported CN derailments in Alberta during the past 6 weeks include:

1. July 4: 6 cars carrying crude oil, methanol, lumber and gravel derailed and flipped over near Whitecourt.

2. June 27: 11 grain cars derailed near Chisholm.

3. June 11: 20 cars carrying dangerous goods residue, grain and lumber derailed near Faust.

4. May 30: About 50,000 litres of molten sulphur spilled from 3 of 7 derailed cars north of Lac La Biche.

See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional CN derailments in North America.

The number of main-track and non-main-track derailments in Canada has recently been reported to be increasing significantly since the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster that killed 47 people last July.


Filed under: Canadian National Railway, Derailment
Categories: Labor News

Israel: L’appel au cessez-le-feu de l’ONU doit être respecté

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CSI
Categories: Labor News

Dangerous Goods Rail Accidents Rising Following Lac-Megantic Oil Train Disaster

Railroaded's Blog - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:58

There were more railway accidents in Canada involving dangerous goods in 2014 than during the same time period last year; in fact, dangerous goods accidents increased by over 21%.

CTV News recently reported, “According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, there were 74 instances of railway accidents involving dangerous goods from January to May 2014, compared to 61 from January to May 2013. During those same time periods, non-main-track derailments (involving dangerous goods) increased from 38 to 49″, a 29% increase.

The number of main-track derailments from January to May involving dangerous goods increased by 20% from 2013 to 2014. The number of non-main-track collisions involving dangerous goods during the same time period increased by over 15% from 2013 to 2014.

The total number of non-main-track derailments from January to May involving 1 or 2 cars increased from 177 in 2013 to 224 in 2014, a 27% increase. The number of non-main-track derailments involving 3+ cars increased by over 14% from 2013 to 2014.

The total number of main-track derailments from January to May involving 1 or 2 cars increased by over 9% from 2013 to 2014, and the number of main-track derailments involving 3+ cars increased by over 15% from 2013 to 2014.

The number of rail accidents that involved fires/explosions from January to May increased by a whopping 86% from 2013 to 2014.

The number of train incidents from January to May increased by 7% from 2013 to 2014, and the number of dangerous goods leaker incidents increased by over 19% from 2013 to 2014.

It is important to note that the above statistics represent only those data reported to the TSB by Canadian railways. There has been a history of under-reporting in this regard.

Although Transport Canada has made, or will be making, some changes to regulations in an attempt to improve rail safety, municipalities and rail safety experts are calling for more meaningful changes to address the ever-increasing transport of dangerous goods, including crude oil, by rail. Transport Action Canada President Harry Gow recently said the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster was a wake-up call for the federal government (CTV News). The Transportation Safety Board had been recommending for decades that Transport Canada tighten up its rail safety rules, appoint more inspectors and generally do more work to improve safety. Unfortunately, during the past few decades, Transport Canada had all but relinquished its rail safety oversight responsibilities to the rail industry, permitting industry to monitor itself and to provide incomplete reporting to government.

Gow said some of the changes that would improve rail safety are not possible; for example, installing bypasses away from populated areas would be too expensive of an undertaking, and as Roger Annis recently wrote in Truthout, “It would cost vast sums to upgrade tracks and wagons, route trains around the largest or most vulnerable population centres, lower train speeds, and so on. The railways and oil shippers are having none of it.” Annis considers oil train safety an oxymoron, and suggests transporting crude oil by rail cannot be made safe. If this indeed is the case, and in light of the Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster a year ago, our federal and provincial governments will eventually be forced to make a decision about what is more important…continuation of the out-of-control pace of oil extraction and transport by rail…or people’s lives.


Filed under: Derailment, shipping oil by rail, Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Categories: Labor News

Truckers at 2 Calif. ports OK cooling off period

Current News - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 22:18

Truckers at 2 Calif. ports OK cooling off period
http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Truckers-at-2-Calif-ports-OK-cooli...
Updated 2:59 pm, Saturday, July 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed Saturday to a cooling-off period following five days of striking that briefly shut the massive ports.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he requested the cooling-off period, and the truckers agreed Saturday to pull down pickets while the city's harbor commission investigates their allegations of poor working conditions and unfair labor practices.

"The city will facilitate a dialogue among the parties in the weeks ahead," he said in a statement.

The drivers agreed to resume work Monday after three trucking companies agreed to accept all drivers back to work without retaliation and without being forced to sign away all future rights in new truck leases, said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for a campaign to organize truckers.

On Monday, 120 drivers began striking against Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. They said the companies have prevented them from unionizing and improperly classified them as contractors — rather than full-time employees — to minimize wages and benefits. They say that their paychecks often register below minimum wage once the cost of renting and maintaining a truck is factored in, and they have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

The companies counter that pay is good and those picketing do not represent the majority of drivers.

Cargo moved normally, but on Tuesday nearly 1,000 dockworkers at four of the ports' 14 terminals left their posts in solidarity with the truckers. The walkout briefly disrupted the movement of international cargo before an arbitrator ruled the job action was not permissible and ordered dockworkers to resume loading and unloading ships.

The action came as the union representing dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports negotiate a new contract.

The ports are the primary West Coast gateway for hundreds of billions of dollars of annual trade with Asia.

The three trucking companies have about 400 trucks registered at the Port of Los Angeles — about 10 percent of those that operate on a regular day, port spokesmanPhillip Sanfield said.

Tags: port truckers
Categories: Labor News

Truckers at 2 Calif. ports OK cooling off period

Current News - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 22:18

Truckers at 2 Calif. ports OK cooling off period
http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Truckers-at-2-Calif-ports-OK-cooli...
Updated 2:59 pm, Saturday, July 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed Saturday to a cooling-off period following five days of striking that briefly shut the massive ports.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he requested the cooling-off period, and the truckers agreed Saturday to pull down pickets while the city's harbor commission investigates their allegations of poor working conditions and unfair labor practices.

"The city will facilitate a dialogue among the parties in the weeks ahead," he said in a statement.

The drivers agreed to resume work Monday after three trucking companies agreed to accept all drivers back to work without retaliation and without being forced to sign away all future rights in new truck leases, said Barb Maynard, a spokeswoman for a campaign to organize truckers.

On Monday, 120 drivers began striking against Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. They said the companies have prevented them from unionizing and improperly classified them as contractors — rather than full-time employees — to minimize wages and benefits. They say that their paychecks often register below minimum wage once the cost of renting and maintaining a truck is factored in, and they have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

The companies counter that pay is good and those picketing do not represent the majority of drivers.

Cargo moved normally, but on Tuesday nearly 1,000 dockworkers at four of the ports' 14 terminals left their posts in solidarity with the truckers. The walkout briefly disrupted the movement of international cargo before an arbitrator ruled the job action was not permissible and ordered dockworkers to resume loading and unloading ships.

The action came as the union representing dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports negotiate a new contract.

The ports are the primary West Coast gateway for hundreds of billions of dollars of annual trade with Asia.

The three trucking companies have about 400 trucks registered at the Port of Los Angeles — about 10 percent of those that operate on a regular day, port spokesmanPhillip Sanfield said.

Tags: port truckers
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Unions, Government and Employers Strike Deal Over HIV and AIDS

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CLC
Categories: Labor News

Cambodia: Will Adidas garment workers share in its World Cup profit?

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

City will lock out Canadian Guelph Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 transit workers, suspend services

Current News - Sat, 07/12/2014 - 08:22

City will lock out Canadian Guelph Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 transit workers, suspend services
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/city-will-lock-out-guel...
CBC News Posted: Jul 11, 2014 9:36 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 12, 2014 12:17 AM ET

The City of Guelph and Guelph Transit have decided to lock out their employees and suspend services after transit workers voted 186 to 12 against the city's final offer on Friday night.

At 12:01 on Monday morning, buses will stop running and workers will be locked out until the labour dispute between the city and members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 is resolved.

In an update, the city says it "believes it has exhausted all traditional negotiation options" and that "this is the only course of action that can lead to a fair contract that balances competitive compensation for employees, fair rates for transit customers and long-term affordability for Guelph taxpayers."

Guelph transit workers have been without a collective agreement for over a year and, although bargaining with the city began in October 2013, negotiations came to a standstill after 22 sessions.

After bringing in a provincially appointed conciliator, the city requested a no board report, which put it in a legal lock-out position and the union in a legal strike position.

On June 26, the city presented its transit workers with a final offer, which included wage increases and no change to employee health and medical benefits. As of July 1, 2013, employees would receive a wage increase of 1.7 per cent; in 2014, an increase of 1.6 per cent; in 2015, 1.6 per cent; and in 2016, 1.5 per cent.

Although the city called its offer "fair and equitable," 94 per cent of the votes cast between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday were opposed to it.

"This round of bargaining was not about the wage increase. It's about our working conditions. It's about being treated with respect," said ATU Local 1189 president Andrew Cleary, although he wouldn't elaborate on why the city's deal was not enough for the union.

Cleary wants to return to the bargaining table, but there are no scheduled negotiation dates at the present time.

Tags: ATU 1180City of Guelph and Guelph Transitbus drivers
Categories: Labor News

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