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India: Unions up in arms against ‘anti-worker’ measures

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Hindu
Categories: Labor News

A Strategy for Pensions at Risk of Extinction

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 07:00
Floyd NorrisThe New York TimesDecember 5, 2014View the original piece

When people are old, should governments guarantee they have incomes?

In the 19th century — 125 years ago — Germany became the first country to answer yes to that question, adopting an old-age pension system at the behest of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

Click here to read more The New York TImes.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

USA: Fast food workers strike gains steam

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: MSNBC
Categories: Labor News

Indonesia: 38 dead in 2 years: Rio Tinto dodges responsibility with one paragraph unsigned statement

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: http://business-humanrights.org
Categories: Labor News

2015 WSF Deck & Terminal Dept Hiring

IBU - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 15:59
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Categories: Unions

November 26 2014 Fleet Memo

IBU - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 15:57
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Categories: Unions

Will Hoffa Act NOW to Protect Teamster Pensions?

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 12:00

December 4, 2014: It is urgent that Teamster President Hoffa make a strong statement to all Senators and Congresspersons to defend Teamster pensions under attack.  

This letter from the IAM President must not stand alone. We need the political weight of the IBT at this time.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Labor’s Only Voice The Wall Street Journal?

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 09:52

December 4, 2014: With the retirement of the dean of labor reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal is now the only newspaper with a full-time labor reporter.

As of today, the number of reporters assigned to primarily cover labor and workers' issues in the US has fallen by half: from two to one!

Steven Greenhouse, labor reporter for The New York Times, took a buy-out this week and retired. He will not be replaced. 

That leaves just one paper with a labor reporter: The Wall Street JournalThe WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and its editorial posture is anti-labor and pro- right to work (for less).

Twenty years ago, there were dozens of reporters covering unions and workers’ issues.  The two Detroit papers had two labor reporters each, for example.

Ken Crowe, who wrote the definitive book Collision on the rise of Ron Carey, covered labor full-time for Long Island Newsday.

Almost every major newspaper, from Washington to Pittsburgh to St Louis to Seattle and Los Angeles had a full-time labor reporter.

These reporters developed contacts in the labor movement and understood workers’ issues. Now they are gone from the scene, and as result, workers’ issues are often invisible.

Our union and working class issues are covered by business reporters. These reporters usually have contact with Wall Street, CEOs, and investment experts. When they cover unions – or issues of pensions, health care, free trade, workplace safety, or minimum wage – it is too often from the perspective of their corporate contacts.

All the more important for the labor movement and our community allies to work together to get our stories – the stories of the majority of Americans – out to the public and keep workers’ issues on our nation’s political agenda.   

Issues: Labor Movement
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Lame Duck Congress May Rush Pension Bill

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:53

December 4, 2014: Congress is nearing a vote on arguably the biggest change to private pension law in decades.

The proposed reforms would grant sweeping new authority to the trustees of some “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to slash benefits promised to current retirees—something that’s illegal under existing law.

See what you can do to help head off this sneak attack.

Click here to read more at In These Times.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Teamster accuses local of rigging election

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:47
Michael GartlandNew York PostDecember 4, 2014View the original piece

The nation’s biggest Teamsters local rigged its October election for president, a challenger in the race for the top spot charges.

Jakwan Rivers — who lost by about 1,100 votes to incumbent Gregory Floyd — said Local 237 made sure more than 5,000 ballots were ignored by deliberately not paying the bill for its post-office box.

Click here to read more at the New York Post.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Kicked to the Curb for Pregnancy, a UPSer Fights Back

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 07:28

December 4, 2014: Thanks to a UPS driver, the Supreme Court and Congress are taking up pregnancy discrimination by employers. Thank Peggy Young for standing up to UPS.

Women should not have to worry about losing their income just because they become pregnant. But that’s the reality for Teamsters and other women workers.

Peggy Young, a UPS driver, was denied temporary light duty and forced to take unpaid leave when her doctor put her on a temporary twenty-pound lifting restriction until after she gave birth.

Peggy knew this was wrong and she fought back. Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young to thank her for standing up to UPS.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Peggy Young v. UPS yesterday.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has been introduced in Congress, a bill that will protect the right of pregnant workers to keep their jobs and support their families.

And UPS has changed its policy and will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other restrictions because of pregnancy.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union took up this issue when UPS began discriminating against pregnant employees and the Hoffa administration did nothing. 

Peggy Young took this fight to the highest court in the land.

Sign the Thank You Card to Peggy Young for standing up to UPS and standing up for all workers.  

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Congress could soon allow pension plans to cut benefits for current retirees

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 06:59
Michael A. FletcherThe Washington PostDecember 4, 2014View the original piece

Congress could soon allow the benefits of current retirees to be cut as part of an agreement to address the fiscal distress confronting some of the nation’s 1,400 multi-employer pension plans.

Several unions and pension advocates opposing the move, which would be unprecedented, say that permitting financially strapped plans to cut retiree benefits would violate the central promise of traditional pensions: that they would provide a defined benefit for life.

Click here to read more at The Washington Post.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Lame-Duck Congress Nears Last-Minute Vote On Sweeping Pension Reform

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 06:56
Cole StanglerIn These TimesDecember 4, 2014View the original piece

Congress is nearing a vote on arguably the biggest change to private pension law in decades.

The proposed reforms would grant sweeping new authority to the trustees of some “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to slash benefits promised to current retirees—something that’s illegal under existing law. A cornerstone of some collective bargaining agreements, multi-employer plans cover more than 10 million workersmostly in construction but also in the transportation, manufacturing, retail and service sectors.  

Click here to read more at In These Times.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Zionist Organization of America head calls for arrest of Block the Boat protesters in Port Of Oakland

Current News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 18:49

Zionist Organization of America head calls for arrest of Block the Boat protesters in Port Of Oakland
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/zionist-organizatio...
Submitted by Charlotte Silver on Wed, 10/08/2014 - 22:36
141008-block-boat.jpg

Activists have repeatedly prevented Israeli shipping vessels from unloading their cargo in US ports since August. (Daniel Arauz/Flickr)
Activists preventing the unloading of Israeli cargo ships at the Oakland Port in protest of violations of Palestinian rights have drawn the ire of Israel advocacy groups.

Last week, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, wrote a letter to the chief of the Oakland Police Department, Sean Whent, chastizing his department for failing to “intervene and ensure that the Zim ship could unload its cargo.”

“Anti-Semitic protesters have been blocking vessels owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Ltd., an Israel-based shipping company, from docking at the Port of Oakland, and preventing dockworkers from unloading the cargo,” Klein complains in his letter. “This problem occurred for several days in August and it occurred again last week.”

Klein’s letter, excerpts of which were printed in The Jerusalem Post, seizes on a dockworkers union’s characterization of the protesters as “threatening,” and questions why the police did not do more to squelch the demonstration.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union stated after the last protest on 27 September that “Longshoremen and Clerks trying to report to work were threatened physically at some points of ingress and their personal vehicles were physically blocked.”

The Zionist Organization of America’s Klein writes:

“Why didn’t the police intervene and ensure that international commerce could proceed unimpeded? Why didn’t the police arrest the protesters, who may well have violated the law by physically threatening dockworkers, physically blocking personal vehicles, and preventing the ship from docking and unloading as authorized?”

Klein’s public relations manager declined to give The Electronic Intifada the full letter because he did not want his client to be “conveyed in any negative context.”

JCRC intervention

In August, another Israel advocacy group, the Jewish Community Relations Council(JCRC), issued a press statement condemning the port protests as an “overt expression of extremism” that “unjustly singles out” Israel.

A public records request to the City of Oakland reveals that the port managers met with leaders of the JCRC on 31 July in preparation for the protests scheduled for August.

Emails between Myrna David, JCRC East Bay Regional Director, and city councilmember Dan Kalb indicate the latter was invited but declined to attend the meeting.

Following the meeting, David wrote to Kalb, “We got the impression OPD [Oakland Police Department] is expected on the scene and should be well prepared.”

Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the JCRC, was included on the email thread. Kahn is a leading anti-Palestinian voice in the Bay Area and vocal opponent of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The JCRC and Kahn have a long history of organizing against and stifling Palestine support work in the Bay Area, as has been documented previously by The Electronic Intifada.

In 2006, the JCRC characterized a proposed mural at San Francisco State University, designed to honor the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said, as “threatening” to Jewish students on campus. The group helped pressure the university administration to censor the imagery in the mural.

Using a similar charge, in 2007, the JCRC worked with the Anti-Defamation League to pressure the San Francisco Arts Commission to compel artists working on a local mural to eliminate Palestinian symbols from it.

And in 2011, the JCRC played a central role in pressuring the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) in Oakland to cancel an exhibition of drawings done by Palestinian children from Gaza which Kahn said could “potentially create an unsafe atmosphere for Jewish children.”

The JCRC did not respond to The Electronic Intifada’s request for comment.

Port shutdowns

Seeking the intervention of the police and local government leaders, port representatives have expressed concern that the site has become a regular target for political protests since the Occupy movement emerged in late 2011.

On 8 August, the president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association wrote to a handful of state leaders, including Governor Jerry Brown and the Oakland mayor, that:

“The Port has become a focal point for demonstrators as an outgrowth of two prior shutdowns of the Port due to the Occupy Movement. The Port of Oakland was the only port in the United States in which operations were halted due to the Occupy demonstrations. Given that well publicized success, the Port of Oakland is now a constant target of those who want to amplify their voice regarding their opinions of any number of issues.”

Robert Bernardo, spokesperson for the Port of Oakland, told The Electronic Intifada that he was not aware of any ongoing conversations with community groups such as the JCRC, but emphasized that the port is “working closely with law enforcement and our business partners to ensure flow of commerce continues even in the case of a peaceful protest.”

“We at the Port of Oakland support free speech, but our main priority is to keep goods flowing,” Bernardo said.

When asked to describe how they would “ensure” that, Bernardo conceded that it was not possible to predict or go into the details.

Undeterred protests

Activists in California prevented two vessels belonging to Israel’s largest shipping company from unloading any of its cargo at the Oakland port for two weekends in the last two months, and the Block the Boat Coalition is planning another protest for 25 October.

The coalition which planned August’s protest that brought out thousands of demonstrators to the port and prevented the ship’s unloading for four consecutive days say they hope to build a broad base of support for the actions by strengthening ties between the workers and Palestine solidarity groups.

“The Zim Line reflects the huge flow of capital from Israel into the Bay Area and it is an opportunity for building a relationship between workers and Palestine solidarity activists,” Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, said in August.

And despite the language used by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in their 27 September statement, Block the Boat organizers have stressed their outreach to dock workers and organized labor for the protest later this month.

Contrary to some media reports as well as a statement issued by the ILWU, the repeat of the picket line last month was not organized by the same Block the Boat coalition which plannd the August action. A new group calling itself the “Stop Zim Action Committee” called for the picket line, and successfully convinced workers to abstain from working the Zim Line on the morning of 27 September.

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 eleven consecutive days.

Tags: Stop Zim Action CommitteeZim Shanghai
Categories: Labor News

Peru: Government of Peru tries to silence union leader

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: PSI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Global: Amazon’s Turkers Kick Off the First Crowdsourced Labor Guild

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Daily Beast
Categories: Labor News

Global: Holcim-Lafarge: No merger without workers’ rights!

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Qatar: On Global Day to Abolish Slavery, Protesters Target Qatar, FIFA

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 16:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Labor News

Canadian National Railway Derailments in Manitoba and Ontario

Railroaded's Blog - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 15:24

Twelve Canadian National Railway cars derailed December 2, 2014 near Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park about 115km east of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Global News). It took CN about 16 hours to clean up the derailment and restore service.

A CN tanker car loaded with highly corrosive sulphuric acid flipped off the tracks November 28, 2014 on Vale Canada Ltd. property in Sudbury, Ontario (Sudbury Star).

For many more examples of CN derailments, spills, fires and explosions, see CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents.


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

Act Now to Stop Sneak Attack to Cut Pensions

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 11:45

December 3, 2014: Behind closed doors, a handful of Congressional representatives are planning to pass a major change to federal pension law, by making a last-minute amendment to the omnibus budget bill which Congress must pass by December 11 to avoid a shutdown. You need to take action now to stop this sneak attack.

Does that seem like the right way to consider the future of pensions for hundreds of thousands of Teamsters and millions of Americans?

We say No.  

And we are not alone. The AARP, the Pension Rights Center and some unions such as the International Association of Machinists are working hard to head-off this deal, so that hearings will be held on a proposed bill to consider amendments, improvements, and alternatives to it.

We need Teamster president James Hoffa to use the political weight of the Teamsters Union to help stop this sneak attack. You can email your request that Hoffa to call upon all congressional reps and senators to say No to junking the anti-cutback rule of ERISA by a sneaky deal. Put the millions of Teamster dollars given to politicians to good use, right now.

One year ago, Hoffa sent a letter to Congress on this issue. But a year-old letter is not what’s needed. Now is the time to press the case, with all the clout the Teamsters Union can muster. Call on Hoffa to take action.

This proposal has nothing to do with the federal budget. It has everything to do with the future of workers’ hard-earned pensions. 

Alex Adams, a retired Teamster out of Cleveland Local 407 speaks for thousands of other Teamsters facing these cuts:

“I’ve been retired for ten years after working for over 36 years moving freight across the country. In 1980, due to government deregulation, many companies went out of business in the freight industry. I worked for ten companies at one time (on call) to make sure I stayed active to receive contributions into the pension.  I earned my pension the hard way as I have a clear memory of giving up many possible wage increases so that money could go towards benefits.”

Because the deal is being done secretly, we don’t have all the terms of the proposed pension change. But it will allow “deeply troubled” pension plans—including the Central States Pension Fund—to slash existing pensions and those already vested. Central States officials have said the cuts will be about 30%.

We recognize that Central States and some other funds are in trouble, but Teamsters and retirees deserve an open discussion of the terms of the law, and possible protective amendments to it, before Congress rushes it through.

Contact your Congressperson and Senators. Tell them making a sneaky deal is no way to respect their constituents. Retirees and hard working Teamsters deserve better.

For more information:

Why the AARP opposes this bill

Why TDU opposes this bill

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

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