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Review Board Charges Pat Flynn with Embezzlement

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:38

July 3, 2014: Chicago Local 710 secretary treasurer Pat Flynn has been charged by the Independent Review Board (IRB) with embezzling $58,000 in visa gift cards, violating his fiduciary duty, and exposing the local to legal liability in a cover-up.

Flynn was paid $482,543 by Local 710 members’ dues in 2013, plus an additional $44,900 in deferred income, making him the highest paid of all Teamster’ fat cats.

The 105-page investigative report and recommended charges indicates that the IRB has thoroughly investigated what happened with the gift cards during the years 2009-2012. 

Each year Local 710 staff would provide a number of stewards with $150 gift cards.  Flynn, the local secretary treasurer, would then direct the staff to purchase excess cards that were kept by him personally in his office, separate from other union property and money. The same thing happened with $25 gift cards purchased as prizes for union meeting attendance. The excess cards were not accounted for and were not shown as assets on the LM-2 or the monthly trustees’ reports, although the visa cards were as good as cash.

The report notes that Flynn’s various explanations for the scheme are not credible. “Flynn essentially claimed that since local funds had been converted into gift cards solely under his control, at that point magically he did not have to account for their use.”  (pp 79-80)

The IRB points out that Flynn served as the local secretary treasurer since 2004, was an employee of the local for 33 years, had served on Hoffa’s General Executive Board, and studied accounting in college, so his claimed ignorance does not stand.

IRB procedures call for Hoffa to bring charges against Flynn, hold a hearing, and report the results to the IRB within 90 days, or decline to act. At that point the IRB will take over and make the final determination on the adequacy of actions taken.

The IRB exists to investigate and root out corruption in the Teamsters Union. Of the three members on the board one is chosen by Hoffa and the General Executive Board, one by the US Attorney, and one selected jointly by both. 

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Brazilian Sao Paulo Transit Workers Buck Union Officials to Strike

Current News - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:37

Brazilian Sao Paulo Transit Workers Buck Union Officials to Strike
http://labornotes.org/2014/06/brazilian-workers-buck-union-officials-str...

June 23, 2014 / Claudia Costaenlarge or shrink textlogin or register to comment
76 61

Demonstrators welcomed the World Cup to Brazil June 12. Many recent strikes have been called by the rank and file. Photo: Samia Gabriela Teixeira.

The World Cup is in full swing, and official propaganda from President Dilma Roussef’s administration portrays Brazil as a wonderland. But Brazilians have been exposing the truth in a full year of demonstrations, protests, and strikes.

The massive public spending on the World Cup has thrown into contrast the poor pay, high fares, and starved public services Brazilians endure. And the construction has driven up housing costs and displaced poor workers.

Protests began last summer when two million people, mainly youth, filled the streets of several cities. The demonstrations kicked off protesting transit fare hikes and spread to include causes such as an end to official corruption.

Worker mobilizations took the national stage in 2014.

In January, a 10-day bus drivers strike brought the city of Porto Alegre to a halt. The strike wasn’t led by union officials—the union is conservative—but by the opposition union caucus backed by Bloco de Lutas (Fighting Bloc).

This first bus strike triggered others in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, and Sao Paulo, plunging traffic into chaos in these major cities.

Janitors who clean the streets in Rio de Janeiro also struck during Carnival, leaving the city a mess. In spite of that, most people supported the janitors against the mayor, who was refusing to increase their wages.

“The mayor says that our movement is a riot, but a riot is an uprising of prisoners,” one of their leaders declared to the mainstream newspaper O Globo. “Here is an action of workers, unless the mayor believes that janitors are thugs.”

The janitors’ rebellion started because the mayor and union officials had agreed on what workers thought was a too-small wage increase: 10 percent (Brazil faces 6.37 percent inflation this year). Like the bus strike, this was led by an opposition caucus. It ended with janitors winning a 37 percent increase.

Solidarity Requested for Fired Metro Workers

The São Paulo metro workers union is calling for international support as it campaigs for the rehire of all 42 workers fired after the June 5-9 strike.

“All solidarity will be warmly welcomed,” writes President Altino de Melo Prazeres, including supportive resolutions, photos of supporters holding a poster, delegations to Brazilian diplomatic representatives, and donations of funds to help the 42 fired workers make ends meet.

Contributions may be sent to the union’s bank account: Banco do Brasil, Agência: 6.821-7, Conta corrente: 373-5.

Messages of support should go to the union at sindicato@metroviarios-sp.org.br and the CSP-Conlutas federation at secretaria@cspconlutas.org.br.

Visit the union’s web site to learn more.

Wildcats, Everywhere

Another wildcat strike, by the 22,000 workers at the Petrochemical Complex (Comperj) in Rio de Janeiro, lasted 40 days. They got a 9 percent increase plus some other benefits.

In the end, a fired member of the safety commission said, “Even dismissed with no rights, I feel proud to have carried out this struggle, as today I feel myself [to be] a real human being.”

Construction workers too carried out many strikes in 2013 and 2014, though these also were not supported by their unions. Eleven workers have lost their lives building or renovating football stadiums.

It’s notable that many strikes are being organized from below, without the approval of union leaders. Activists are seeking alternatives to pro-government unions and federations.

CSP-Conlutas, a militant federation formed by unions and activists who broke away from Brazil’s largest labor federation, the CUT, is becoming a pole of attraction for this new generation of labor activists.

“Without support from their unions, they look to us or any of the unions affiliated to CSP-Conlutas to provide infrastructure for their struggles,” says Atnágoras Lopes, a construction worker who is one of the federation’s leaders.

Labor sociologist Ruy Braga, at the University of Sao Paulo, links this new labor movement to the increase in casual and outsourced workers, underpaid and working in degraded conditions. They’re the ones who are “rising against union officials and their compromising spirit,” he explained to alternative newspaper Correio da Cidadania. Casual and outsourced workers in Brazil may have unions, but often don’t share the same union or the same contract as regular workers.

‘Who Is the Man who Threatens the World Cup?’

Union officials have led some strikes, including those of public university employees, and workers in the Ministry of Culture and in the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

The most important was the Sao Paulo metro workers strike June 5, the anniversary of the 2013 demonstrations about fare increases, and shortly before the start of the World Cup. The union was defending the right of public transit and demanding a 12.2 percent pay increase.

Nearly all workers crossed their arms for five days, and rallied with community members raising banners reading “Transport is not a commodity.” The union offered to suspend the strike if the metro were made free.

A court ordered them back to work, but they refused. Only supervisors kept working and managed to open some metro stations. Despite the disruption to the transportation system, 77 percent of the population supported the strike, according to a survey carried out by a mainstream TV channel.

The governor of Sao Paulo sent the riot police into metro stations to beat and arrest striking workers. Courts sided with the governor and declared the strike “abusive.” Then 42 workers were fired. The union is campaigning to reinstate them, and the strike is suspended as of this writing. (See box.)

The Sao Paolo metro strike got international attention and support. The mainstream newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo published a profile of Altino Prazeres, the union president, with the headline, “Who is the man who threatens the World Cup?”

More Popular Protests

On top of labor struggles, there are community and student mobilizations to protest exorbitant World Cup expenditures. They’re motivated by dissatisfaction with corporate privileges and low-quality public services. Dilma Roussef’s administration is their main target.

Interestingly, these mobilizations have no presence from traditional organizations like the CUT, the landless movement, or the national students’ association. Even the homeless movement, which had been occupying an area next to a $400 million stadium in Sao Paulo, compromised with Roussef’s administration in exchange for the building of 2,000 housing units.

Instead, the protests are led by new formations, such as Na Copa vai ter luta (There will be struggles during the world cup), Não vai ter Copa (There will be no World Cup) and ¿Copa para quem? (Who is the World Cup for?).

There’s no sign this struggling mood will stop after the World Cup. On the contrary, there are many opportunities for contract campaigns in traditional sectors—metal, oil, and bank workers—to link up with popular, youth, and non-union labor struggles.

Claudia Costa is a journalist at CSP-Conlutas and teaches postgraduate courses in Social Communication at Metropolitan College United (FMU) in Sao Paulo. She also worked as an intern at Labor Notes.

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/06/brazilian-workers-buck-union-officials-str...

Tags: Sao Paulo Transit Workers
Categories: Labor News

Brazilian Sao Paulo Transit Workers Buck Union Officials to Strike

Current News - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:37

Brazilian Sao Paulo Transit Workers Buck Union Officials to Strike
http://labornotes.org/2014/06/brazilian-workers-buck-union-officials-str...

June 23, 2014 / Claudia Costaenlarge or shrink textlogin or register to comment
76 61

Demonstrators welcomed the World Cup to Brazil June 12. Many recent strikes have been called by the rank and file. Photo: Samia Gabriela Teixeira.

The World Cup is in full swing, and official propaganda from President Dilma Roussef’s administration portrays Brazil as a wonderland. But Brazilians have been exposing the truth in a full year of demonstrations, protests, and strikes.

The massive public spending on the World Cup has thrown into contrast the poor pay, high fares, and starved public services Brazilians endure. And the construction has driven up housing costs and displaced poor workers.

Protests began last summer when two million people, mainly youth, filled the streets of several cities. The demonstrations kicked off protesting transit fare hikes and spread to include causes such as an end to official corruption.

Worker mobilizations took the national stage in 2014.

In January, a 10-day bus drivers strike brought the city of Porto Alegre to a halt. The strike wasn’t led by union officials—the union is conservative—but by the opposition union caucus backed by Bloco de Lutas (Fighting Bloc).

This first bus strike triggered others in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, and Sao Paulo, plunging traffic into chaos in these major cities.

Janitors who clean the streets in Rio de Janeiro also struck during Carnival, leaving the city a mess. In spite of that, most people supported the janitors against the mayor, who was refusing to increase their wages.

“The mayor says that our movement is a riot, but a riot is an uprising of prisoners,” one of their leaders declared to the mainstream newspaper O Globo. “Here is an action of workers, unless the mayor believes that janitors are thugs.”

The janitors’ rebellion started because the mayor and union officials had agreed on what workers thought was a too-small wage increase: 10 percent (Brazil faces 6.37 percent inflation this year). Like the bus strike, this was led by an opposition caucus. It ended with janitors winning a 37 percent increase.

Solidarity Requested for Fired Metro Workers

The São Paulo metro workers union is calling for international support as it campaigs for the rehire of all 42 workers fired after the June 5-9 strike.

“All solidarity will be warmly welcomed,” writes President Altino de Melo Prazeres, including supportive resolutions, photos of supporters holding a poster, delegations to Brazilian diplomatic representatives, and donations of funds to help the 42 fired workers make ends meet.

Contributions may be sent to the union’s bank account: Banco do Brasil, Agência: 6.821-7, Conta corrente: 373-5.

Messages of support should go to the union at sindicato@metroviarios-sp.org.br and the CSP-Conlutas federation at secretaria@cspconlutas.org.br.

Visit the union’s web site to learn more.

Wildcats, Everywhere

Another wildcat strike, by the 22,000 workers at the Petrochemical Complex (Comperj) in Rio de Janeiro, lasted 40 days. They got a 9 percent increase plus some other benefits.

In the end, a fired member of the safety commission said, “Even dismissed with no rights, I feel proud to have carried out this struggle, as today I feel myself [to be] a real human being.”

Construction workers too carried out many strikes in 2013 and 2014, though these also were not supported by their unions. Eleven workers have lost their lives building or renovating football stadiums.

It’s notable that many strikes are being organized from below, without the approval of union leaders. Activists are seeking alternatives to pro-government unions and federations.

CSP-Conlutas, a militant federation formed by unions and activists who broke away from Brazil’s largest labor federation, the CUT, is becoming a pole of attraction for this new generation of labor activists.

“Without support from their unions, they look to us or any of the unions affiliated to CSP-Conlutas to provide infrastructure for their struggles,” says Atnágoras Lopes, a construction worker who is one of the federation’s leaders.

Labor sociologist Ruy Braga, at the University of Sao Paulo, links this new labor movement to the increase in casual and outsourced workers, underpaid and working in degraded conditions. They’re the ones who are “rising against union officials and their compromising spirit,” he explained to alternative newspaper Correio da Cidadania. Casual and outsourced workers in Brazil may have unions, but often don’t share the same union or the same contract as regular workers.

‘Who Is the Man who Threatens the World Cup?’

Union officials have led some strikes, including those of public university employees, and workers in the Ministry of Culture and in the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

The most important was the Sao Paulo metro workers strike June 5, the anniversary of the 2013 demonstrations about fare increases, and shortly before the start of the World Cup. The union was defending the right of public transit and demanding a 12.2 percent pay increase.

Nearly all workers crossed their arms for five days, and rallied with community members raising banners reading “Transport is not a commodity.” The union offered to suspend the strike if the metro were made free.

A court ordered them back to work, but they refused. Only supervisors kept working and managed to open some metro stations. Despite the disruption to the transportation system, 77 percent of the population supported the strike, according to a survey carried out by a mainstream TV channel.

The governor of Sao Paulo sent the riot police into metro stations to beat and arrest striking workers. Courts sided with the governor and declared the strike “abusive.” Then 42 workers were fired. The union is campaigning to reinstate them, and the strike is suspended as of this writing. (See box.)

The Sao Paolo metro strike got international attention and support. The mainstream newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo published a profile of Altino Prazeres, the union president, with the headline, “Who is the man who threatens the World Cup?”

More Popular Protests

On top of labor struggles, there are community and student mobilizations to protest exorbitant World Cup expenditures. They’re motivated by dissatisfaction with corporate privileges and low-quality public services. Dilma Roussef’s administration is their main target.

Interestingly, these mobilizations have no presence from traditional organizations like the CUT, the landless movement, or the national students’ association. Even the homeless movement, which had been occupying an area next to a $400 million stadium in Sao Paulo, compromised with Roussef’s administration in exchange for the building of 2,000 housing units.

Instead, the protests are led by new formations, such as Na Copa vai ter luta (There will be struggles during the world cup), Não vai ter Copa (There will be no World Cup) and ¿Copa para quem? (Who is the World Cup for?).

There’s no sign this struggling mood will stop after the World Cup. On the contrary, there are many opportunities for contract campaigns in traditional sectors—metal, oil, and bank workers—to link up with popular, youth, and non-union labor struggles.

Claudia Costa is a journalist at CSP-Conlutas and teaches postgraduate courses in Social Communication at Metropolitan College United (FMU) in Sao Paulo. She also worked as an intern at Labor Notes.

- See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/06/brazilian-workers-buck-union-officials-str...

Tags: Sao Paulo Transit Workers
Categories: Labor News

Industrial Worker - Issue #1767, July/August 2014

IWW - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:16

Headlines:

  • Work To Rule: Organizing The One Big Union At Starbucks
  • Boston Wobblies Defend Harvard Workers And Local Bus Drivers
  • Kentucky GMB Officially Chartered!

Features:

  • History Of The IWW In Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • The Disunited Food & Commercial Workers
  • France: The Long Strike At La Poste

Download a Free PDF of this issue.

read more

Categories: Unions

2nd Baldwin Community Meeting, Wed July 9th

Pittsburghers for Public Transit - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 08:22
The Baldwin campaign to restore service is really moving!


On June 27th, 4 Baldwin residents spoke at the Port Authority board meeting about the need for transit service. Additional residents were present to show their support. Board Chair Bob Hurley acknowledged that he had received many letters. See Trib article here.
A delegation of residents met with Port Authority staff on June 30th. The residents shared their concerns and asked questions about when and how service could be restored. The staff assured the delegation that they would consider their request and remain in conversation with residents, but they were unable to promise any restoration of service at this point.

Please join us for the next community meeting to get more updates on the current campaign and to discuss next steps:
Wed July 9th, 7 pmBaldwin Borough building auditorium3344 Churchview Ave
Click here for a flier and please share with your neighbors!


Categories: Labor News

Former Teamsters leader accused of embezzlement

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 06:54
Chris KenningThe Courier JournalJuly 3, 2014View the original piece

Former Louisville Teamsters leader Jerry T. Vincent Jr. was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges that he embezzled union funds, took illegal union loans and conducted false record keeping, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

According to the indictment, Vincent, president of Teamsters Local 783 from 2006 to 2011, embezzled more than $17,000 between October 2009 and August 2011.

Click here to read more at The Courier Journal.

Issues: Local Union Reform
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Kuwait: Government worker strike enters 5th week, longest industrial dispute in Kuwaiti history

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Middle East Eye
Categories: Labor News

Philippines: Global Day of Action for 24 dismissed workers of NXP Philippines

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Good Electronics
Categories: Labor News

USA: Supreme Court Sides with Radical Right in Home Care Worker Case

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFL-CIO
Categories: Labor News

Spain: Unions launch campaign against 'criminalisation' of strikes

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

South Africa: Massive NUMSA strike begins as 220,000 down tools

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Greece: Electricity workers plan anti-privatisation strikes from Wednesday

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

Europe: Crisis talks? Unions plan to take on Amazon

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: MSNBC
Categories: Labor News

PMA and ILWU Continue Talks on a New Labor Agreement as the Existing Contract Expires

ILWU - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 16:43

SAN FRANCISCO (July 1, 2014) – Negotiations for a new labor contract covering nearly 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports will continue to move forward as the existing, six-year coast-wide labor agreement expires today at 5 p.m. PST.

While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support.

The coast-wide labor contract is between employers who operate port terminals and shipping lines represented by the PMA and dockworkers represented by the ILWU. The parties have negotiated a West Coast collective bargaining agreement since the 1930s.

 Download a PDF of the joint press release here.

Categories: Unions

Insurer Warns Some Pooled Pensions Are Beyond Recovery

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 08:55
Mary Williams WalshThe New York TimesJuly 1, 2014View the original piece

More than a million people risk losing their federally insured pensions in just a few years despite recent stock market gains and a strengthening economy, a new government study said on Monday.

The people at risk have earned pensions in multiemployer plans, in which many companies band together with a union to provide benefits under collective bargaining. Such pensions were long considered exceptionally safe, but the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation reported in its study that some plans are now in their death throes and cannot recover.

Click here to read more at The New York Times.

Issues: Pension and Benefits
Categories: Labor News, Unions

SF TWU 250 A Leadership Agrees To Concession Deal Brokered By Willie Brown

Current News - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 08:03

SF TWU 250 A Leadership Agrees To Concession Deal Brokered By Willie Brown
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/City-and-Muni-operators-agree...
S.F., Muni TWU 250 A operators agree on new contract
By Jill Tucker

June 30, 2014 | Updated: June 30, 2014 10:45pm

San Francisco Muni operators would get a 14.25 percent raise over three years, enough to cover increased pension costs to the workers while also offering a pay boost, according to a tentative agreement announced Monday.

It appeared to be an agreement on wages and pension costs that both sides could live with, while extending the contract to three years rather than two as previously proposed.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was the key to the agreement between the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which had said Friday evening that there was a tentative agreement. With the contract set to expire, Brown stepped in at the request of Mayor Ed Lee and helped the two sides reach an agreement, something that months of bargaining and a three-day sickout by drivers failed to do.

That wouldn't have happened without Brown, MTA Director Ed Reiskin said.

"He's someone who understands the city, understands labor, the underlying interests," Reiskin added. "He was certainly the man here."

Lee asked Brown, who writes a Sunday column for The Chronicle, to step in a couple of weeks ago, Reiskin said.

There was reportedly no talk of compensation for Brown's mediation role.

"I feel like I owe him something," Reiskin said, smiling broadly after the MTA meeting. "We have labor peace at the moment."

Brown would not comment.

The proposed contract's 14.25 percent raise would more than cover the 7.5 percent that employees would pay into their pension. All the increased pension payments and raises would be phased in over the three years of the contract.

Under the current contract, Muni operators rank seventh-highest nationwide in pay. Their Boston counterparts rank No. 1.

The previous contract offer, rejected by the drivers, would have boosted pay by 11.25 percent over two years and would have made Muni drivers the second-highest paid transit workers in the country at around $32 an hour, according to the MTA. It was not clear Monday where they would rank under the proposed contract.

Union officials presented the contract terms to workers Monday night, with a vote scheduled for July 7. If approved, the MTA would vote on the contract July 15.

Drivers leaving the Monday meeting had mixed reactions to the terms. Some were angry, cursing as they walked out of the building. Others said they would vote for the contract.

"This is the best we're going to get," driver Blanca Contreras said. "I don't think the city is going to offer anything better.

Eric Williams, president of TWU Local 250-A, said he was confident the contract would be approved. "Our members will have an opportunity to voice their opinion with their vote," he said.

The operators overwhelmingly rejected an earlier contract agreement May 30, and then hundreds of drivers called in sick. Like all San Francisco city employees, Muni operators are prohibited from striking.

During the three-day sickout, which the union said it did not organize or sanction, the transit agency had to cancel about two-thirds of its bus, streetcar and Metro runs and all cable car service on the first day. While more drivers reported to work the next two days, the transit system was still hobbled by what was reportedly a grassroots protest by operators.

Negotiations remained tense before Brown's involvement, and union officials refused to enter an arbitration process adopted by voters in 2010. MTA officials threatened to withhold raises, stop collecting union dues and eliminate grievances if an agreement was not reached by Monday.

The previous contract offer, rejected by operators, would have required them to contribute 7.5 percent to their pension plans while offering a 5.05 percent pay increase. It also offered a 3.25 percent raise on July 1 and a raise of between 2.25 percent and 3.25 percent in 2015. Union representatives said the offer amounted to a pay cut.

City officials said they believed the "creative agreement" would be approved by both the operators and the MTA board.

Chronicle staff writers Michael Cabanatuan and Kale Williams contributed to this report.

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jtucker@sfchronicle.com Twitter:@jilltucker

Tags: TWU 250AWillie BrownConcession Bargaining
Categories: Labor News

US axes Swazi trade deal over rights abuses

ITF - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 03:22
Swaziland’s continuing workers’ rights abuses saw the country stripped of a special trade agreement with the USA last week.
Categories: Union Federations

Swazi union saves jobs

ITF - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 02:02
The ITF-affiliated Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (STAWU) has saved over half the jobs at risk of redundancy at Swaziland Airlink.
Categories: Union Federations

S.F., Muni TWU 250 A operators agree on new contract

Current News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 16:08

S.F., Muni TWU 250 A operators agree on new contract
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/City-and-Muni-operators-agree-on-n...
Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
Updated 3:28 pm, Monday, June 30, 2014

(06-30) 15:26 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and its operators union have reached an agreement on a new contract, MTA Director Ed Reiskin confirmed at the agency's meeting Monday.

Details were not immediately available, but the two sides found common ground on wages, pension and the length of the contract, which will now be three years rather than two as proposed earlier.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was the key to the agreement between theMTA and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which had said Friday evening that there was a tentative agreement. With the contract set to expire, Brown stepped in at the request of Mayor Ed Lee and helped the two sides reach an agreement, something that months of bargaining and a three-day sickout by drivers failed to do.

That wouldn't would have happened without Brown, Reiskin said.

"He's someone who understands the city, understands labor, the underlying interests," the MTA director added. "He was certainly the man here."

Lee asked Brown, who writes a Sunday column for The Chronicle, to step in a couple of weeks ago, Reiskin said.

There was reportedly no talk of compensation for Brown's mediation role.

"I feel like I owe him something," Reiskin said, smiling broadly after the MTA meeting. "We have labor peace at the moment."

Brown himself would not comment.

Details of the agreement were expected to be released by the MTA later Monday.

Union officials were expected to present the terms of the contract to workers Monday night, with a vote scheduled for July 7. If approved, the MTA would vote on the contract July 15.

"Our members are committed to providing quality transit in San Francisco," said Eric Williams, president of TWU Local 250-A. "And we continue to believe the best way to resolve labor-management concerns is through fair and balanced collective bargaining."

The operators overwhelmingly rejected an earlier contract agreement May 30, and then hundreds of drivers called in sick. Like all San Francisco city employees, Muni operators are prohibited from striking.

During the three-day sickout, which the union said it did not organize or sanction, the transit agency had to cancel about two-thirds of its bus, streetcar and Metro runs and all cable car service on the first day. While more drivers reported to work the next two days, the transit system was still hobbled by what was reportedly a grassroots protest by operators.

Negotiations remained tense before Brown's involvement and union officials refused to enter an arbitration process adopted by voters in 2010. MTA officials threatened to withhold raises, stop collecting union dues and eliminate grievances if an agreement was not reached by Monday, June 30.

The previous contract offer rejected by operators would have required them to contribute 7.5 percent to their pension plans while offering a 5.05 percent pay increase. It also offered a 3.25 percent raise on July 1 and a raise of between 2.25 percent and 3.25 percent in 2015. Union representatives said the offer amounted to a pay cut.

City officials said they believed the "creative agreement" would be approved by both the operators and the MTA board.

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jtucker@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @jilltucker

Tags: TWU 250A
Categories: Labor News

Spy vs. Sp…Trucker? Teamsters Allege Green Fleet Planted Anti-Union Workers Who Made Death Threats

Current News - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 13:16

Spy vs. Sp…Trucker? Teamsters Allege Green Fleet Planted Anti-Union Workers Who Made Death Threats
http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2014/06/30/spy-vs-sp-trucker-teamsters-all...

A case to be heard by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on August 25th revolves around California trucking company Green Fleet Systems who the Teamsters union claims has used threats, coercion, and the termination of two employees to squash unionization efforts among misclassified independent contractors. Green Fleet Systems is also accused of illegal surveillance of its workers, including using anti-union agents.

According to Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848:

“Green Fleet Systems has done everything they can to stop their drivers from having a voice on the job, but the drivers stayed strong knowing the law was on their side. This is a big moment for Green Fleet drivers who are a leading example across the country that when drivers stick together, they can defend their rights and win justice at the workplace.”

An investigation by the NLRB’s Region 21 investigationfound more than 50 violations, including:

• TERMINATING union activist employees MATEO MARES and AMILCAR CARDONA in retaliation for their union and other protected concerted activities, including filing wage claims at the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement;

• Discriminating against employees MATEO MARES and AMILCAR CARDONA by denying work and creating more onerous working conditions in retaliation for engaging in union and/or protected concerted activities and in order to discourage union and protected concerted activities, union membership, and/or support for the union;

• Threatening to terminate employees in retaliation for their union and other protected concerted activities;

• Threatening to cease operations (plant closure) in retaliation for employees’ union and other protected concerted activities

• Threatening to sue employees in retaliation for their union and other protected concerted activities

• Conditioning employees’ ability to continue to work for the Employer on withdrawal of their wage and hour claims filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE);

• Encouraging and/or permitting non-union supporter employees to harass, provoke, and/or assault union supporter employees;

• Interrogating employees about their union and other protected concerted activities;

• Threatening job applicants and other employees that the Employer would only hire and employ drivers who did not support the Union;

• Coercing employees to sign anti-union petitions;

• Threatening that union supporters deserve to die;

• Threatening employees that it is impermissible to sign anything with the Union or to have any contact with the Union;

• Engaging in unlawful surveillance of employees’ union activity; and

• Making statements to employees that would give the employees the impression that their union and/or protected concerted activities are under surveillance.

But the planting of “anti-union drivers” by the company — who allegedly made death threats and taught other workers how to harass pro-union drivers — may be the most disturbing of the potential violations. Julie Gutman Dickinson, an attorney working on the case, has been unequiovocal in her commitment to bringing the company to justice:

“Green Fleet is a recidivist employer that has been undaunted in its efforts to circumvent the National Labor Relations Act, including flagrantly violating a prior NLRB settlement agreement and callously waging a campaign of hallmark unfair labor practices designed to nip in the bud and destroy the Union’s organizing drive. We will take every step necessary to achieve justice for the drivers of Green Fleet,”

Tags: IBT
Categories: Labor News

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