UK RMT Transport union reiterates "Vote Leave" message on eve of EU referendum.
22 June 2016
RMT Press Office:
Transport union reiterates "Vote Leave" message on eve of EU referendum.
One of Britain's most powerful unions today urged its members and trade unionists to vote for "hope not fear" in the EU referendum and support a leave vote.
In an email to union members, RMT leader Mick Cash voted urged union members and their families to :
"….ignore the scare mongering of recent weeks and vote for hope over fear."
In the letter RMT General Secretary Mick Cash says:
" Millions of trade unionists and working people will be voting leave because they want the hope of a better future at work and at home."
"Hope that we can be free to develop our industries and public services free, from EU driven privatisation and deregulation.
"Hope that we can be free to pursue policies that promote jobs and prosperity, free from EU driven austerity.
"Hope for fair employment where all workers get the proper rate for the job, free from undercutting and a EU race to the bottom.
"Hope that we can take back democracy so we can make laws that benefit our communities not corporations - and be free from laws and corporate carve ups that we have never voted for such as TTIP."
"Hope for a better world and true international solidarity beyond fortress Europe."Tags: RMTEUprivatization
Greek dockers fight privatisation and sale of ports to Chinese capitalists COSCO
Greek dockers fight privatisation
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Greek dockers fight privatisation
Greek dockworkers marching against privatisation and drastic changes in labour conditions
DOCKWORKERS of the two main Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki have completed one month of strike action against privatisation and consequent dramatic change in labour conditions.
Next week the SYRIZA-ANEL Greek coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to verify in the Vouli (Greek parliament) the selling off of the Piraeus port, the biggest in the eastern Mediterranean, to the Chinese state company COSCO which already owns two docks in the commercial port.
Last Thursday, hundreds of dockworkers marched under a scorching sun through the Piraeus port to the Ministry for Naval Affairs.
They shouted slogans against Tsipras and the Naval Affairs Minister Thodoris Dritsas. Both fly off to China next week. Yiorghos Yeorgakopoulos, the President of the OMYLE federation of dockers and port workers, said that the government work hand-in-hand with COSCO and big business to sell off everything. He insisted on building up the union to prepare for the great battles ahead.
Last Monday, the Piraeus Port Workers trade union leaders broke ranks and became strike-breakers as they accepted government assurances over labour conditions. In the port of Piraeus, there are still over 1,000 refugees who live in appalling conditions in tents with nowhere to go.
In the refugee camps on the Greek island of Khios and Lesbos there is a continuous tension and fights as refugees demand their freedom. A 32-year-old Egyptian refugee was stabbed to death on Thursday morning inside the Souda refugee camp on Khios. Authorities said that he was killed in a fight.Tags: Greek Dockworkers Strikeprivatizationunion busting
NJ Transit, unions preparing for strike
JUNE 24, 2016, 6:33 PM LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016, 9:45 AM
NJ Transit, unions preparing for strike
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Commuters board a Hoboken-bound NJ Transit train in Rutherford on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
BY CHRISTOPHER MAAG
STAFF WRITER | THE RECORD
Leaders of NJ Transit’s two largest rail unions did not respond to an offer to continue contract negotiations before a Friday afternoon deadline, moving the two sides closer to a strike or lockout next week that could disrupt commutes for tens of thousands of New Jersey residents.
As a result, NJ Transit will announce its plans for a possible strike on Monday, said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the agency.
“Although the unions and NJ Transit have been in contact many times over the last few days, their bargaining remains unresolved,” Snyder said. “NJ Transit is committed to ensuring that customers suffer the least inconvenience possible as a result of these unions’ inflexibility.”
Related: NJ Transit gives rail unions deadline to agree to new negotiations
Steve Burkert, general chairman of United Transportation Union Local 60, and David Decker, general chairman NJ Transit Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment. But in a statement posted on the union’s website on Wednesday, Burkert appeared inclined to reject any offer of extended talks. Instead, Burkert indicated a desire to either agree to a new contract by June 30, or strike.
“Members, we DO NOT have a Temporary Agreement as of today,” Burkert said. “I, HAVE NOT AGREED, at this point to extending the cooling off period as has been mentioned in the news media. I am ready to sit and negotiate a new temporary agreement whenever the Carrier is ready to talk. The cooling off period ends on June 30th, 2016, next Thursday.”
Two weeks ago the National Mediation Board asked NJ Transit and its two largest unions of rail employees to meet for more contract talks, which already have lasted more than five years. NJ Transit accepted the offer, but only if the unions also accepted before 5 p.m. Friday, according to a letter from Gary Dellaverson, NJ Transit’s special labor counsel, which was obtained by The Record.
The unions never responded, Snyder said. The two sides are currently in a “cooling off” period, as defined by the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, which means the unions may not strike and NJ Transit, the carrier, may not bar workers from its properties. The period ends June 30, at which point either side is free to escalate the dispute with a work stoppage
With no answer in hand, NJ Transit “must begin executing its plans for operations in the event of a strike,” according to Dellaverson’s letter.
Together the two unions represent about 1,600 conductors and engineers, nearly 40 percent of the agency’s train workforce. The other nine unions have ratified a new contract, which was announced by Governor Christie in March. The holdouts are pushing to keep their existing health insurance plan, obtain five years’ worth of back pay in one lump sum instead of two, and to win a larger salary increase on par with a contract won in 2014 by similar workers on the Long Island Railroad.
Email: email@example.comTags: NJ Transitrail strike
United clinches long-sought deal with flight attendants union
Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:33am EDTRelated: U.S., AEROSPACE & DEFENSE
United clinches long-sought deal with flight attendants union
BY JEFFREY DASTIN
Customers of United wait in line to check in at Newark International airport in New Jersey, November 15, 2012.
United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) has reached a deal for the first labor contract in its history that covers all flight attendants at the company, their union and the airline said on Friday, a breakthrough after workers' protests and years of talks.
The deal with union negotiators requires the approval of leaders of United's unit of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA before it formally becomes a "tentative agreement." They are scheduled to meet next week.
The contract, whose terms were not disclosed, will then go to about 25,000 in-flight crew members for a final vote.
Ratification would mark a victory for new Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz, who has sought new contracts and harmony with workers for the No. 3 U.S. airline by passenger traffic.
A contract also would be an important step toward integrating United and Continental and reducing flight cancellations.
Since the airlines merged in 2010, their crews have continued to staff separate flights. That means when a flight is at risk of being canceled because it is short-staffed, United cannot bring in reserve employees from pre-merger Continental if it is on a pre-merger United aircraft.
A ratified contract would remove "artificial barriers holding back United" from functioning well during incidents like winter storms that ground planes, said Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel consultancy Atmosphere Research Group.
United's previous management struggled to propose terms that the two flight attendant groups, which have different work rules and cultures, found palatable.
Furloughs by the airline after the merger drew workers' ire. That began to end in 2014, when United offered voluntary buyouts that more than 2,500 employees accepted.
The union entered U.S. federal mediation with United in November. It has regularly staged protests at company meetings, underscoring the strained relations the airline has with a group that represents its face to fliers.
Munoz's appointment in September created an opening, however. In his early weeks on the job, he met with workers and said people were his priority. That changed tone has won over many at the company, to the point where Munoz has described a "new spirit" at United.
"It's been a long journey," Munoz said in a news release. "Today's agreement honors the invaluable role that our flight attendants contribute to United's success."
The company recently secured deals for pilots, gate agents and baggage handlers. Mechanics still lack a single contract for the combined airline.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Lisa Von Ahn)Tags: UALCWA AFA
When Uber drivers are hurt at work, who pays?
By Carolyn Said
June 23, 2016 Updated: June 23, 2016 5:00pm
Photo: Liz Hafalia, The ChronicleKip Baldwin considers the $21,000 settlement from Uber's insurance company “ridiculously low” but feels that his back is against a wal.
Kip Baldwin was driving four Uber passengers near downtown San Francisco when his car was broadsided by another Uber driver who ran a stop sign. Three months later, lingering pain from neck injuries and a concussion leave him unable to work. Uber’s insurance company has offered him $21,000 for medical expenses, lost wages and “inconvenience.”
He considers that amount “ridiculously low” but feels that he may have to accept it because he needs the money.
“This was my main source of income,” said Baldwin, 51, a San Rafael resident whose receipts show he averaged about $800 a week (before expenses) working for rival ride service Lyft. He had switched to Uber shortly before the mid-March accident after renting a car through an Uber program. “I’m being forced into a position of settling for almost nothing because I don’t have the deep pockets to fight them and go to court.”
His situation highlights the precarious status of gig workers who lack workers’ compensation coverage, insurance that’s designed to help people who are injured on the job — but is generally only offered to employees. Uber and Lyft base their business models on independent contractors, and both have battled lawsuits seeking to reclassify drivers as employees.
Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle“I’m being forced into a position of settling for almost nothing because I don’t have the deep pockets to fight them and go to court, which would take a year or more,” said Kip Baldwin.
“Uber drivers deserve to be covered by the same labor protections for safety and workers’ compensation as are taxi drivers and others,” said Deborah Berkowitz, senior fellow at the National Employment Law Project, who just published a policy brief arguing that point.
Driving passengers for hire ranks as one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs, Berkowitz said, with both workplace violence and auto accidents contributing to a high fatality rate. Uber and Lyft have both said that their drivers are less likely to be robbed by passengers because they don’t carry cash and because passengers’ identities are known, but incidents of passengers attacking drivers can still occur.
Workers’ compensation policies cover some 129 million U.S. workers. People injured at work get money for medical bills and weekly stipends for lost wages, though usually less than their full salaries. Policies also offer compensation for permanent disabilities. For employers, the policies help avoid lawsuits over work accidents. Employers either purchase private insurance or participate in state funds; large companies may self-insure. While many taxi drivers are considered independent contractors, taxi companies generally pay for coverage.
Brian Hilliard, Baldwin’s attorney, said the $21,000 settlement from Uber’s insurer, James River, comprises $2,400 for lost wages (eight weeks at $300/week); $6,000 for his medical expenses (Baldwin’s own medical insurance covered much of this) and $12,600 for “inconvenience.” (There was no amount for the totaled car, because it was a leased vehicle that he returned.) He and Baldwin said that $350,000 would be a more reasonable amount considering lost wages for an indeterminate time, psychological trauma and continuing costs of medical treatments, counseling and physical therapy.
James River declined to comment. Uber pointed to a blog post by CEO Travis Kalanick about drivers’ autonomy. Most drivers “want to be their own boss” and value their independence and flexibility, the post said.
Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated PressFILE - In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber picked up a hefty fare Wednesday, July 15, 2015, when a judge fined the taxi-alternative company $7.3 million for refusing to give California regulators information about its business practices, including accident details and how accessible vehicles are to disabled riders. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Hilliard said that James River plays hardball, including a requirement that all medical treatment be concluded before it will even discuss a settlement amount. Other insurers allow for payments while an accident victim is still recovering, he said. While insurer delays and lowball offers are not unusual, he said James River’s approach is particularly frustrating.
Harry Campbell, who writes the Rideshare Guy blog, said he’s accustomed to driver complaints about James River, which is the insurer for both Uber and Lyft. “A lot of drivers get into accidents and don’t realize that they aren’t covered for things like lost wages,” he said. In fact, Baldwin is unusual in being offered any lost-wage compensation, he said. Many Uber and Lyft drivers find that they get more money from insurers covering the other car in an accident. That’s not an option for Baldwin, since the other car was also an Uber vehicle.
Baldwin’s situation is complicated by the fact that he had been driving for Lyft, although his injuries occurred while working through Uber. That’s another area in which workers’ comp offers superior coverage. In most states, people with multiple employers who are injured on one job “can receive compensation that takes into consideration the wages they have lost in other jobs,” Berkowitz wrote in her brief.
Even if Uber drivers stay independent contractors, there’s precedent for getting them coverage. In New York state dispatchers of for-hire vehicles — black cars, Uber and Lyft — contribute a 2.44 percent surcharge on fares to a state-run fund.
“This has been eye-opening,” Baldwin said. “What are Uber and Lyft drivers supposed to do if they get injured while driving? My life has been turned upside down.”
Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @csaidTags: Uberinjured workersworkers comp
Pope to Join Zuckerman in Uniting Teamsters Dissidents in Race Against Hoffa
EXCLUSIVE: Pope to Join Zuckerman in Uniting Teamsters Dissidents in Race Against Hoffa
Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman (Al Bradbury)
POSTED BY: MIKE ELK JUNE 23, 2016
Payday Report has learned that New York City based Teamsters Local 805 leader Sandy Pope has agreed to join the slate of Louisville based Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman. The move is the latest indication that the 75 year old incumbent Teamsters Union President James P. Hoffa is in for the toughest re-election campaign of his career.
In 2011, Pope had previously lead the Teamsters for a Democratic Union slate securing 17% of the vote. However, she was unable to secure a deal with popular Teamsters leader and former Hoffa Ally Fred Gegare to run as slate. The two candidates winded up splitting the vote and Hoffa was able to easily beat them by securing 60% of the vote.
Now, Pope has agreed to run as a Vice Presidential candidate with former Hoffa ally Fred Zuckerman on the Teamsters United ticket. Zuckerman, based out of Louisville, has a base of support in the South and more mainstream Teamsters activists, who have grown disillusioned with the Hoffa Administration. While Pope’s support mainly lies in the Northeast and the West Coast among the traditional enemies of the Hoffa Administration in the militant Teamsters for a Democratic Union caucus.
The Hoffa Administration has grown extremely unpopular for pushing a 2014 pension reform billthat could result in major pension cuts for over 270,000 Teamsters. Zuckerman has already obtained the signatures of over 125,000 Teamsters members in order to be on the ballot. Many Teamsters observers in both camps are predicting that this election could be the tightest Teamsters election in a generation.
“We’ve built a broad coalition and a great team to bring new leadership and a new direction to our union,” says Zuckerman . “Hoffa is out of touch with the membership and in bed with the companies. We will rebuild union power and put an end to the corruption-concessions pipeline.”
Zuckerman and Pope are expected to be nominated next week at the Teamsters Convention in Las Vegas.Tags: HoffaIBTTDU