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Italy: Hundreds of thousands march in Rome against government plans to make firing easier

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Canadian Labour Reporter
Categories: Labor News

Recyclers Battle Waste Management…and the Teamsters Union

ILWU - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:46
by DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM

It’s 4 AM. The air is cold and damp on 98th Avenue in deep East Oakland, down along the San Francisco Bay’s industrial waterfront. This is a hard geography of concrete and dust and pot-hole riddled roads latticed by train tracks. Much of the earth is landfill, crowded for miles with scrap metal yards, bakeries, machine shops, and warehouses. Behind a chain link fence are about one hundred empty garbage trucks parked in long rows waiting for the next shift of drivers who will fill them with tons of refuse. By 5 AM the trucks are idling, and lining up to roll out. But since last Friday about 130 workers at the Waste Management garbage facility here have been on strike.

Dozens of strikers are picketing the gates where the trucks must exit. Some workers have been there since 3 AM. They come in shifts to pace the sidewalk, men and women, young and old, here to fight. A majority of these workers are immigrants. These are the recyclers, the workers who receive the garbage from the trucks, who pick through it and sort materials inside cavernous warehouses filled with rubbish-dust. It’s messy, dangerous, and hard work.

The strikers at the picket line today say they’re fighting to up their pay from around $12.80 an hour to $15 next year with the ultimate goal of $20 an hour by 2019. And they want safer workplaces. Waste Management, the giant of the global trash industry, agreed to improve the workers’ pay during recent franchise contract talks with the city of Oakland. The workers now fear the company is backpedaling.

But it’s hard to tell who the recyclers are actually fighting. Their picket is being driven through by other workers, Teamsters who drive the hulking green garbage trucks. The trucks queue up to exit the 98th Avenue yard in long lines. The recyclers block each truck for 30 seconds or a minute, but there are too few of them to sustain an unbreakable picket line.

Most of the drivers smile and nod to their fellow workers on the sidewalk. Some honk their horns and reach out of their windows to shake hands with the strikers. They don’t want to be put in the position of breaking through another union’s picket. They’re sympathetic. They want to help their fellow workers win.

But there’s the Teamster leadership standing by. The vice president of the Teamster’s chapter for the recycling facility stands just steps away from the picket, but inside Waste Management’s gates. An annoyed look wrinkles across his face. He directs his union’s members to break the picket line, waving them through. He asks them why they’re waiting if they linger before the line of strikers too long. The drivers creep through the chain of bodies carefully in their giant trucks and roar off into the dark pre-dawn hours. So much for solidarity?

 

Read the rest of the article at COUNTERPUNCH

Categories: Unions

With Supreme Court case pending, UPS reverses policy on pregnant workers

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:54
Brigid SchulteThe Washington PostOctober 29, 2014View the original piece

This week United Parcel Service sent a memo to employees announcing a change in policy for pregnant workers: starting January 1, the company will offer temporary light duty positions not just to workers injured on the job, which is current policy, but to pregnant workers who need it as well.

“UPS takes pride in attaining and maintaining best practices in the area of equal opportunity and employment, and has elected to change our approach to pregnancy accommodations,” a memo sent to workers reads.

Click here to read more.

 

Issues: TDU UPS Freight Network
Categories: Labor News, Unions

UPS Changes Pregnancy Policy, Will Try to Offer Lighter-Duty Jobs

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 09:46
Michele FuetschTransport TopicsOctober 29, 2014View the original piece

UPS is changing its policy with respect to pregnant employees and will try to accommodate them with light-duty work.

The accommodations will be effective Jan. 1, and the policy “will serve to strengthen UPS’s commitments to treating all workers fairly and supporting women in the workplace,” UPS said.

The announcement was made to employees and appended to a brief that UPS filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 24.

“Light-duty work will be provided as an accommodation to pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions to the same extent as such work is available as an accommodation to employees with similar restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries,” the policy statement said.

The carrier is being sued by Peggy Young, who became pregnant in 2006 while she was a driver for UPS in Maryland and asked for light duty, which she said her doctors advised.

At the time, UPS supervisors said they had no policy under which they could accommodate her request because, as in keeping with federal civil rights law, light duty was open only to those who had suffered an injury.

Young sued, saying she had been discriminated against under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Two lower federal courts have upheld UPS’ position. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in December.

Spokeswoman Kara Ross said that in changing its policy, UPS is responding to guidelines issued in July by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and by several states that require lighter duties to be made available to pregnant employees where possible.

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Rail Engineer's Sleepiness Caused Derailment

Current News - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 08:37

Rail Engineer's Sleepiness Caused Derailment
http://www.wnyc.org/story/engineers-sleepiness-caused-derailment/?utm_so...
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
By The Associated Press / Kate Hinds

A Metro-North train following its derailment in the Bronx (Christopher Gregory/Getty)
A sleep-deprived engineer nodded off at the controls of a commuter train just before taking a 30 mph curve at 82 mph, causing a derailment that killed four people and injured more than 70, federal regulators said Tuesday.

William Rockefeller's sleepiness was due to a combination of an undiagnosed disorder - sleep apnea - and a drastic shift in his work schedule, the National Transportation Board said. It said the railroad lacked a policy to screen engineers for sleep disorders, which also contributed to the Dec. 1 crash. It also said a system that would have automatically applied the brakes would have prevented the crash.

The board also issued rulings on four other Metro-North accidents that occurred in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014, repeatedly finding fault with the railroad.

"This would be almost a comedy of errors if it weren't so tragic," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday. "It's clear these mistakes were avoidable."

The NTSB had reported Rockefeller's sleep apnea in April, saying tests revealed it interrupted his sleep dozens of times each night. Investigators said Rockefeller told them he had felt strangely "dazed" right before the crash. But until Tuesday it had refrained from declaring his sleepiness the cause of the crash.

It said that less than two weeks before the crash, Rockefeller had switched from a work day that began in late afternoon to one that began early in the morning. The board said that probably compounded his sleep problem.

It also noted that the technology known as positive train control was not in use at the time of the crash. Positive train control can automatically bring a train to a stop if it's exceeding a speed limit. Metro-North has said it is working to install the technology.

On the other accidents, the NTSB found:

-A May 17, 2013, derailment and collision in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was caused by broken joint bars, which are used to join rails of different sizes. At least 65 people were injured. The board said Metro-North had deferred scheduled track maintenance and lacked "a comprehensive track maintenance program."

-A track foreman who was fatally struck by a train in West Haven, Connecticut, on May 28, 2013, was probably due to a mistake by a student rail traffic controller. The controller misunderstood some instructions and canceled the signals protecting the section of track the man was on, the NTSB said.

-In a similar accident in Manhattan on March 10, 2014, a worker was killed by a train while trying to re-energize tracks that had been out of service for maintenance. The NTSB blamed the accident of briefings that poorly communicated which part of the track would be safe.

-The derailment of a freight train on Metro-North tracks in the Bronx on July 18, 2013, which caused no injuries, was caused by deteriorated concrete ties and other problems compounded by deferred maintenance, the NTSB said.

In March, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a stinging report on Metro-North, saying the railroad let safety concerns slip while pushing to keep trains on time. Railroad executives pledged to make safety their top priority.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Monday that the new NTSB report documents "the cascading catastrophes over a single year illustrating the urgent need for dramatic upgrades and improvements in safety and reliability."

Metro-North is the second-largest commuter rail line in the country. It carried more than 83.4 million riders between New York City and its suburbs last year.

Tags: Rail safetyNTSBdeferred maintenance
Categories: Labor News

From Kings of the Road to Serfs of the Company

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:25
Dan La BotzDollars and SenseOctober 29, 2014

The truck driver was once the king of the road, riding high from the 1950s through the 1970s. Sitting up in the tractor, pulling an eighteen-wheler, looking out over America's city streets and country roads and highways, he--back then, the driver was almost always a he--earned a good money, often had health benefits, and may well have had a pension plan.

Click here to read more.

Issues: Freight
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Metro-North and Railroad Regulators Are Criticized on Safety- a “horror house of negligence, resulting in injury, mayhem and even death.”

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:27

Metro-North and Railroad Regulators Are Criticized on Safety- a “horror house of negligence, resulting in injury, mayhem and even death.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/nyregion/metro-north-and-railroad-regu...
By PATRICK McGEEHANOCT. 28, 2014
Photo

A group led by Christopher A. Hart, far left, delivered a blistering critique of Metro-North Railroad and railroad regulators on Tuesday. Other members of the group were Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, at the lectern; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut; and Sen. Chris Murphy, also a Connecticut Democrat.CreditOzier Muhammad/The New York Times

Three senators and a top federal safety official delivered a blistering critique on Tuesday of theMetro-North Railroad and regulators in Washington for lapses in maintenance and oversight that led to five accidents that killed six people in less than a year.

Led by Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, the group discussed findings on the probable causes of the accidents, including a derailment that left four commuters dead in the Bronx in December. In that crash, an engineer had dozed off, causing his train to career into a sharp curve at over 80 miles per hour, the safety board said.

Mr. Hart said the engineer, William Rockefeller, had subsequently received a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can cause fatigue and drowsiness. The safety board had been calling for 12 years for the screening of train operators for sleep disorders, Mr. Hart said, but had been ignored by Metro-North’s primary regulator, the Federal Railroad Administration.

That was far from the harshest criticism aimed at the railroad administration at a news conference held inside Grand Central Terminal, in Manhattan.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, called the administration “essentially a lawless agency, a rogue agency” that was “too captive” to the industry and “much too deferential” to the owners of railroads. Senator Chris Murphy, another Connecticut Democrat, said the railroad administration seemed “more interested in facilitating the cutting of corners” than assuring the safety of rail passengers and workers.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said the safety board’s reports on the five episodes revealed a “horror house of negligence, resulting in injury, mayhem and even death.”

One report covered the death of a Metro-North electrician who was struck by a train on March 10 while trying to restore power to tracks in Manhattan. A track foreman for the railroad was killed in May 2013 when he was struck by a train traveling 70 m.p.h. while he was working on tracks in West Haven, Conn. The other accidents were derailments that resulted in dozens of injuries, but no deaths.

Asked to respond, a spokesman for the administration in Washington issued a statement that said, in part, “The Federal Railroad Administration is committed to being as transparent as possible about its responses to the N.T.S.B. recommendations.” It said that the process it used to respond to mandates from Congress was “how we have driven continuous safety improvement that has reduced accidents by nearly 50 percent over the past decade.”

Mr. Hart and the senators did not spare Metro-North or the agency that runs it, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, from blame, though the senators applauded the authority for hiring a safety board official, David Mayer, this week to be its chief safety officer.

The group said the railroad’s managers had deferred scheduled maintenance and sacrificed safety while placing inordinate emphasis on keeping the trains running on time.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“Two accidents on one railroad in a short period of time may be a coincidence,” Mr. Hart said. But he added that five accidents on one railroad in less than a year raised the question: “How important was safety at Metro-North?”

He said the safety board would hold a public meeting on Nov. 19 to discuss the five accidents and the elements they had in common.

Metro-North runs from Grand Central into New York City’s northern suburbs and Connecticut. The railroad’s new president, Joseph Giulietti, said it had already started to put in place more than 85 percent of the safety recommendations it had received since the deadly Dec. 1 crash near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx.

Mr. Giulietti said Metro-North was a “good” railroad that was on its way to being “great” again. He declined to discuss what had gone wrong at Metro-North, which just a few years ago was considered one of the safest, best-managed railroads in the world. He said that safety was now the top priority at the railroad and that its entire staff was learning from past errors.

“A mistake is a tragedy when you don’t learn from it,” Mr. Giulietti said.

He also declined to say how much the safety enhancements had cost the transportation authority so far, but he said its board had approved every request for spending to make the railroad safer.

Mr. Schumer said the accidents had caused $28 million in damages, along with the loss of lives and more than 125 injuries. That amount does not include the liability the authority faces in lawsuits, including those filed by families of the four passengers killed in the Dec. 1 crash.

Jeffrey P. Chartier, a lawyer for Mr. Rockefeller, said the safety board’s findings buttressed his position that his client was not responsible for the crash, even though the train he operated was traveling at 82 m.p.h. into a curve with a speed limit of 30.

“The N.T.S.B. findings support the fact that Billy was not negligent or criminally responsible for this tragedy,” Mr. Chartier said. “It was an unanticipated and unavoidable tragedy, which he had no control over.”

Mr. Chartier said Mr. Rockefeller’s sleep apnea had not been diagnosed until after the crash. He said his client remained suspended from his job.

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administration adopted a policy, since deferred, that would have required obese pilots to be tested for sleep apnea, because obese people are prone to the condition. That policy has stirred controversy among pilots’ unions.

Even after Mr. Rockefeller fell asleep at the switch, the crash could have been prevented if Metro-North had used a technology it recommended, known as positive train control, that would have automatically kept the train’s speed within preset limits, Mr. Hart said.

NEXT IN N.Y. / REGION

Tags: rail health and safetyFAANTSB
Categories: Labor News

USA: #ChangeZara - sign our petition for Zara workers in USA!

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: UNI Global Union
Categories: Labor News

Australia: Crippling Unions: Abbott’s anti-worker agenda

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Chifley Research Centre
Categories: Labor News

Thailand: Thai court dismisses defamation case against UK activist Andy Hall

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: BBC
Categories: Labor News

Iraq: Union reports ISIS Executes Municipal Workers in Tikrit

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Solidarity Center
Categories: Labor News

UPS Hits the Brakes on Pregnancy Discrimination

Teamsters for a Democratic Union - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 13:08

October 28, 2014: In a victory for women Teamsters, UPS has announced it will offer light duty to employees who have lifting or other work restrictions because of pregnancy.

For years, UPS allowed pregnant women with health restrictions to work light duty. But ten years ago, management reversed course company-wide and began denying alternate work to pregnant Teamsters.

Teamster women who were unable to keep working during their pregnancy had to burn their FMLA leave or lost their FMLA benefits altogether because they came up short of the hours they needed to qualify. 

Some pregnant Teamsters even lost their medical benefits before childbirth. (Under the contract, health coverage runs out after six months on disability leave.)

Teamsters for a Democratic Union supported mad moms who protested against UPS. But the Hoffa administration refused to take on the issue and UPS management got away with pregnancy discrimination. 

Until now, that is.

Former Teamster Peggy Young sued UPS for pregnancy discrimination and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. 

Finally, UPS management caved. In a brief to the Supreme Court, UPS has announced that “On a going-forward basis, UPS has voluntarily decided to provide additional accommodations for pregnancy-related physical limitations.”

UPS’s new policy provides: ‘Light duty work will be provided as an accommodation to pregnant employees with lifting or other physical restrictions to the same extent as such work is available as an accommodation to employees with similar restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries.’”

Issues: UPS
Categories: Labor News, Unions

Recycling workers continue strike at Waste Management Bay Area sites "Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership."

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 09:21

Recycling workers continue strike at Waste Management Bay Area sites "Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership."
"The slogan and campaign that has been developed is based on a promise that cannot be met and is designed to create false hope for the workers,"
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26814114/recycling-workers-contin...
Bay City News Service

POSTED: 10/28/2014 08:28:12 AM PDT0 COMMENTS
OAKLAND - Workers in Waste Management's recycling division are continuing a strike that began Friday, union representatives said.
"Escucha, escucha, estamos en la lucha," or "Listen, listen, we are in the fight," was the chant outside of the company's recycling facility at 2615 Davis Street in San Leandro today.
Recycling workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6 are also picketing outside the Houston-based company's Alameda County headquarters at 172 98th Ave. in Oakland.
Recycling pickup is continuing, but workers are refusing to sort it, leaving the rubbish to pile up onsite, Waste Management of Alameda County spokesman Joe Camero said.
"We are managing that pile there," Camero said, adding the recycling is being shipped to California Waste Solutions and Waste Management's Lodi facility for processing.
Workers are asking management to treat the union, which represents roughly 130 recycling sorters, the same way it treats other unions employed by the company that have already signed labor agreements.
The recycling workers are predominantly Spanish-speaking immigrants, said ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees, and feel the company doles out different treatment to different workers.
"These people just want to be treated with respect," Merrilees said. "They've felt that way for a long time ... They keep asking why the company seems to be picking on them."

According to Camero, both the Machinists Local 1546 and the Local 6 Clerical unions ratified contracts earlier this year, but the ILWU Local 6 hasn't ratified a contract since 2006. The contract expired in February 2011.

Merrilees said the two sides disagree about how much the company should cover health insurance rate increases. Waste Management is asking employees to chip in $35 each month, up from $25 in their old contract, and will cover rate increases up to 6 percent.

Merrilees said that's too much risk for employees to take on.

"Workers take all the risk and go gambling for what health care will cost in the future," Merrilees said. "Other employees don't have that."

The employees are also calling for a contract guaranteeing wage increases approved by the Oakland City Council last month, Merrilees said. Waste Management won a lucrative extension to their contract with the city, allowing the firm to continue operating in Oakland for another 20 years.

Many of the recycling division employees are sorters who currently receive about $12 per hour, Merrilees said. Under the rate structure proposed by Waste Management, starting salaries would rise to $13.99 per hour and increase to $20.94 an hour by July 1, 2019.

Camero said there was no disagreement about the wage structure and called the strike "unsanctioned" because it was not approved by the Teamsters Joint Council No. 7, a broad coalition of local unions established to support labor movements among its members.

Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership.

"The slogan and campaign that has been developed is based on a promise that cannot be met and is designed to create false hope for the workers," Aloise said in a letter to the Alameda Central Labor Council dated Aug. 22. "Unfortunately, this is a particularly vulnerable group of workers who are caught in the middle of a situation fostered up on them by the leadership of Local 6."

Workers voted down a proposed contract on July 26, Camero said.

In a memo dated April 4, 2013, leadership in the Machinists Local 1546 and the Teamsters Local 70, two other unions employed by Waste Management, described Local 6's demands as "crazy."

"While the company's offer is not perfect, we don't think the differences warrant a strike and we hope the Local 6 membership think carefully before rejecting the offer," Don Crosatto of the Machinists Local 1546 and Felix Martinez of the Teamsters Local 70 said in a joint statement.

"Even in the heyday of the labor movement, no one got a 65 percent raise in three years. It's crazy to ask you to jeopardize your job for these kinds of proposals and we're not going to do it," the pair said.

As of Monday, Merrilees said they were getting support from other employees at Waste Management, including drivers who called in sick so they would not have to cross the picket line.

The picket will continue "as long as necessary," Merrilees said.

"Folks are very spirited. They have a lot of energy," he said. "The company has to be aware they're on the losing side of the battle to deny these low-wage workers the same benefits."

Merrilees said they met last week with Waste Management but they do not have another meeting scheduled.

Tags: IBT Local 70Waste Management
Categories: Labor News

IBT Officials At San Leandro Waste Management Herding IBT 70 Workers Through ILWU Local 6 Picket Lines

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 09:18

IBT Officials At San Leandro Waste Management Herding IBT 70 Workers Through ILWU Local 6 Picket Lines
http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2014/10/ilwu-waste-management-strike-t...
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
ILWU Waste Management strike. Teamster drivers still crossing lines.

These documents are being handed out to Teamster Drivers by ILWU members
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I only have a minute or two so this will be fairly short (for me). I just returned from the ILWU picket line at the Waste Management recycle center in San Leandro.

The same situation exists in that drivers, members of the Teamsters Local 70, are still crossing the local 6 picket lines. A Teamster official was on the sidelines to make sure the drivers didn't act on their conscience and support their workmates. There are also members of another ILWU local crossing the lines.

Security are there to assist the scabs crossing, so we have a situation where union officials and company thugs are waving scabs across picket lines. And we are told time and time against that it is the rank and file that need educating, the rank and file fail to understand what solidarity is all about.

The truck drivers don't like crossing it is easy to see that in their faces. They honk their horns in support but, as I wrote before, that doesn't pay the rent. Workers cannot stay out on strike forever.

As a truck slowed the strikers were handing them the leaflet I have included here. I approached one driver who had his window open and asked him how he felt about crossing the lines. He replied that "I don't like it but our leadership says we have to." He drove through and I turned and asked the striker for a copy of the leaflet. The Teamster official then came scurrying over and told me to"Stop harassing my drivers, if you want to harass anyone harass me."

I answered him as I answer the bosses when they falsely accuse workers of this, that I wasn't harassing the driver. But it's interesting how protective the labor hierarchy can be of their members when there is a danger they might not follow their lead.

The official had explained to me earlier why they had to cross the line, I wrote about this yesterday, and I explained that because there was some sort of written organizational obstacle preventing solidarity and united action between workers against the boss, doesn't mean we don't do it. No matter which section of the trade union leadership is to blame for this disastrous situation, the main point is the picket line should be honored. Beyond that, a powerful united strike could not only make huge gains for all workers at this corporation and beyond, it should also raise the issue of taking such an important social service out of the hands of speculators, investors and other wasters. As I pointed out yesterday:

“U.S. taxpayer dollars contribute to making Steiner ‘America's Highest Paid Sanitation Worker.’ According to PR Watch, “Steiner made an eye-popping $45,581,052 in compensation from 2006 to 2012. Waste Management's top executives combined made $119,201,381 from 2006 to 2012.

The union leadership hiding behind the bureaucratic red tape that restrains militant and united action from the rank and file, forces workers to scab on each other and causes untold hardship for workers, in this case, low paid and mostly immigrant workers. I can only imagine the animosity and division that will be in the air when everyone is back at work.

It is equally frustrating to see two company security waving in scabs with no attempt at all by the striking union to stop them. It is the most frustrating thing to walk picket lines like this that are really just 24 hour protests. Frustration at some point will turn to demoralization, anger and a disgust at the Union movement. The bosses, as they usually due will terrorize the workers by sending out notices that their health benefits will be eliminated in time, for us in our strike it was one month.

The Teamster rank and file must organize and push their officials to get out from behind bureaucratic organizational barriers and help their brothers and sisters on the lines. The rank and file is not bound by some holy edict to honor a leadership whose policies are detrimental to rank and file workers and the working class as a whole and should self organize to do what is right if their leaders refuse to do so.

Class conscious members of the communities of Oakland, San Leandro and the surrounding area should join these lines, these are some of the lowest paid and most exploited among us. and and all workers should take some time to swell the ranks. If you have a truck, put some waste in it, drive down there, honor the line and slowly turn round. At very least it will improve morale but in the last analysis if we want to win we must shut down production and we must raise our expectations, we must demand what we need now what is acceptable to labor officials, and their friends in the Democratic Party. I have written this fairy quickly so I apologize if it not the most detailed report.

Tags: IBT 70Scab Herdingunion bustingJoint Council 7
Categories: Labor News

IBT Officials At San Leandro Waste Management Herding IBT 70 Workers Through ILWU Local 6 Picket Lines

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 09:18

IBT Officials At San Leandro Waste Management Herding IBT 70 Workers Through ILWU Local 6 Picket Lines
http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2014/10/ilwu-waste-management-strike-t...
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
ILWU Waste Management strike. Teamster drivers still crossing lines.

These documents are being handed out to Teamster Drivers by ILWU members
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I only have a minute or two so this will be fairly short (for me). I just returned from the ILWU picket line at the Waste Management recycle center in San Leandro.

The same situation exists in that drivers, members of the Teamsters Local 70, are still crossing the local 6 picket lines. A Teamster official was on the sidelines to make sure the drivers didn't act on their conscience and support their workmates. There are also members of another ILWU local crossing the lines.

Security are there to assist the scabs crossing, so we have a situation where union officials and company thugs are waving scabs across picket lines. And we are told time and time against that it is the rank and file that need educating, the rank and file fail to understand what solidarity is all about.

The truck drivers don't like crossing it is easy to see that in their faces. They honk their horns in support but, as I wrote before, that doesn't pay the rent. Workers cannot stay out on strike forever.

As a truck slowed the strikers were handing them the leaflet I have included here. I approached one driver who had his window open and asked him how he felt about crossing the lines. He replied that "I don't like it but our leadership says we have to." He drove through and I turned and asked the striker for a copy of the leaflet. The Teamster official then came scurrying over and told me to"Stop harassing my drivers, if you want to harass anyone harass me."

I answered him as I answer the bosses when they falsely accuse workers of this, that I wasn't harassing the driver. But it's interesting how protective the labor hierarchy can be of their members when there is a danger they might not follow their lead.

The official had explained to me earlier why they had to cross the line, I wrote about this yesterday, and I explained that because there was some sort of written organizational obstacle preventing solidarity and united action between workers against the boss, doesn't mean we don't do it. No matter which section of the trade union leadership is to blame for this disastrous situation, the main point is the picket line should be honored. Beyond that, a powerful united strike could not only make huge gains for all workers at this corporation and beyond, it should also raise the issue of taking such an important social service out of the hands of speculators, investors and other wasters. As I pointed out yesterday:

“U.S. taxpayer dollars contribute to making Steiner ‘America's Highest Paid Sanitation Worker.’ According to PR Watch, “Steiner made an eye-popping $45,581,052 in compensation from 2006 to 2012. Waste Management's top executives combined made $119,201,381 from 2006 to 2012.

The union leadership hiding behind the bureaucratic red tape that restrains militant and united action from the rank and file, forces workers to scab on each other and causes untold hardship for workers, in this case, low paid and mostly immigrant workers. I can only imagine the animosity and division that will be in the air when everyone is back at work.

It is equally frustrating to see two company security waving in scabs with no attempt at all by the striking union to stop them. It is the most frustrating thing to walk picket lines like this that are really just 24 hour protests. Frustration at some point will turn to demoralization, anger and a disgust at the Union movement. The bosses, as they usually due will terrorize the workers by sending out notices that their health benefits will be eliminated in time, for us in our strike it was one month.

The Teamster rank and file must organize and push their officials to get out from behind bureaucratic organizational barriers and help their brothers and sisters on the lines. The rank and file is not bound by some holy edict to honor a leadership whose policies are detrimental to rank and file workers and the working class as a whole and should self organize to do what is right if their leaders refuse to do so.

Class conscious members of the communities of Oakland, San Leandro and the surrounding area should join these lines, these are some of the lowest paid and most exploited among us. and and all workers should take some time to swell the ranks. If you have a truck, put some waste in it, drive down there, honor the line and slowly turn round. At very least it will improve morale but in the last analysis if we want to win we must shut down production and we must raise our expectations, we must demand what we need now what is acceptable to labor officials, and their friends in the Democratic Party. I have written this fairy quickly so I apologize if it not the most detailed report.

Tags: IBT 70Scab Herdingunion bustingJoint Council 7
Categories: Labor News

Recycling workers continue strike at Waste Management Bay Area sites "Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership."

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 08:57

Recycling workers continue strike at Waste Management Bay Area sites "Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership."
"The slogan and campaign that has been developed is based on a promise that cannot be met and is designed to create false hope for the workers,"
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26814114/recycling-workers-contin...
Bay City News Service

POSTED: 10/28/2014 08:28:12 AM PDT0 COMMENTS
OAKLAND - Workers in Waste Management's recycling division are continuing a strike that began Friday, union representatives said.
"Escucha, escucha, estamos en la lucha," or "Listen, listen, we are in the fight," was the chant outside of the company's recycling facility at 2615 Davis Street in San Leandro today.
Recycling workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6 are also picketing outside the Houston-based company's Alameda County headquarters at 172 98th Ave. in Oakland.
Recycling pickup is continuing, but workers are refusing to sort it, leaving the rubbish to pile up onsite, Waste Management of Alameda County spokesman Joe Camero said.
"We are managing that pile there," Camero said, adding the recycling is being shipped to California Waste Solutions and Waste Management's Lodi facility for processing.
Workers are asking management to treat the union, which represents roughly 130 recycling sorters, the same way it treats other unions employed by the company that have already signed labor agreements.
The recycling workers are predominantly Spanish-speaking immigrants, said ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees, and feel the company doles out different treatment to different workers.
"These people just want to be treated with respect," Merrilees said. "They've felt that way for a long time ... They keep asking why the company seems to be picking on them."

According to Camero, both the Machinists Local 1546 and the Local 6 Clerical unions ratified contracts earlier this year, but the ILWU Local 6 hasn't ratified a contract since 2006. The contract expired in February 2011.

Merrilees said the two sides disagree about how much the company should cover health insurance rate increases. Waste Management is asking employees to chip in $35 each month, up from $25 in their old contract, and will cover rate increases up to 6 percent.

Merrilees said that's too much risk for employees to take on.

"Workers take all the risk and go gambling for what health care will cost in the future," Merrilees said. "Other employees don't have that."

The employees are also calling for a contract guaranteeing wage increases approved by the Oakland City Council last month, Merrilees said. Waste Management won a lucrative extension to their contract with the city, allowing the firm to continue operating in Oakland for another 20 years.

Many of the recycling division employees are sorters who currently receive about $12 per hour, Merrilees said. Under the rate structure proposed by Waste Management, starting salaries would rise to $13.99 per hour and increase to $20.94 an hour by July 1, 2019.

Camero said there was no disagreement about the wage structure and called the strike "unsanctioned" because it was not approved by the Teamsters Joint Council No. 7, a broad coalition of local unions established to support labor movements among its members.

Teamsters Joint Council President Rome Aloise characterized the ILWU's struggle against Waste Management as unrealistic and called the workers "pawns" of the union leadership.

"The slogan and campaign that has been developed is based on a promise that cannot be met and is designed to create false hope for the workers," Aloise said in a letter to the Alameda Central Labor Council dated Aug. 22. "Unfortunately, this is a particularly vulnerable group of workers who are caught in the middle of a situation fostered up on them by the leadership of Local 6."

Workers voted down a proposed contract on July 26, Camero said.

In a memo dated April 4, 2013, leadership in the Machinists Local 1546 and the Teamsters Local 70, two other unions employed by Waste Management, described Local 6's demands as "crazy."

"While the company's offer is not perfect, we don't think the differences warrant a strike and we hope the Local 6 membership think carefully before rejecting the offer," Don Crosatto of the Machinists Local 1546 and Felix Martinez of the Teamsters Local 70 said in a joint statement.

"Even in the heyday of the labor movement, no one got a 65 percent raise in three years. It's crazy to ask you to jeopardize your job for these kinds of proposals and we're not going to do it," the pair said.

As of Monday, Merrilees said they were getting support from other employees at Waste Management, including drivers who called in sick so they would not have to cross the picket line.

The picket will continue "as long as necessary," Merrilees said.

"Folks are very spirited. They have a lot of energy," he said. "The company has to be aware they're on the losing side of the battle to deny these low-wage workers the same benefits."

Merrilees said they met last week with Waste Management but they do not have another meeting scheduled.

Tags: ILWU Local 6Scabbing
Categories: Labor News

Never Equal Under Israeli Apartheid, Palestinians Cannot Ride Israeli Buses

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 08:20

Never Equal
Under Israeli Apartheid, Palestinians Cannot Ride Israeli Buses
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/28/under-israeli-apartheid-palestini...
OCTOBER 28, 2014
Never Equal
Under Israeli Apartheid, Palestinians Cannot Ride Israeli Buses
by BEN NORTON
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has officially banned Palestinians from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank, according to a new report by Haaretz, Israel’s most prominent newspaper.

The new apartheid law dictates that Palestinians cannot take buses that go from central Israel to the West Bank. They must go out of their way, to the Eyal Crossing, near the city Qalqilyah, “far from populated settler areas.”

It is already difficult for Palestinians to enter Israel. Palestinian workers traveling into central Israel for their jobs have to go through high-security, militarized check points. Those who are allowed to cross are not allowed to sleep in Israel. Unemployment and poverty are high in the West Bank, because of 47-year Israeli military occupation. Palestinians seek employment opportunities in Israel, often in low-paid, dangerous work such as construction. Because of the checkpoints and Israeli militarized security apparatus, it takes Palestinians a long time to travel into Israel (if they are even able to do so at all). This new decision will increase their already inordinately large commute times even more.

A security official involved told Haaretz that “no Palestinian will be prevented from reaching his destination”; this may be true, but the question is how much longer will it take that Palestinian to travel between work and home?

Haaretz notes that the decision to segregate buses did not come out of the blue; Ya’alon decided on it after facing “intense pressure from settlers.” The paper explains the Samaria Settlers’ Committee and local Jewish authorities “conducted an aggressive campaign” to ban Palestinians. It adds that “settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent the Palestinians from commuting on those buses, and have released a video calling for them to be banned.” Ya’alon “met with settler leaders” and assured them he would implement the apartheid, Jewish-only policies they desired.

It is clear that this decision is explicitly motivated out of a racism, not out of “security” concerns. Haaretz indicates that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has officially stated it “does not view the presence of Palestinians on West Bank buses as a security threat.” The paper interviewed IDF GOC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon, who insisted that West Bank Palestinian do not pose a “security threat,” as they already “must obtain pre-approval from the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police in order to receive permits. They then undergo body checks at the border crossings.”

Member of Knesset Moti Yogev, of the far-right, religious, pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi party, explained his reasoning: “Riding these buses is unreasonable. They are full of Arabs.”

This call for bus segregation is not new. AFP reports that “Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport.” In many ways, Israeli buses have been moving toward segregation for some time. In March 2013, Israel created Palestinian-only buses. Although not technically mandatory, racist Israeli settlers used the existence of these buses to pressure Palestinians into de facto segregation.

A variety of human and civil rights organizations publicly criticized thisde facto racism. Among these was Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. In the wake of this most recent decision, the Israeli government officially implementing de jure segregation, AFP interviewed B’Tselem, which insisted “It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements… and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses.”

Motivated by a Racist Society

It is most telling that this decision was pressured from below, not imposed from top-down. Racism in Israeli society is not just systemic; most Israelis themselves are obscenely racist toward indigenous Palestinians and African refugees.

In Israel, it is not uncommon for fascist mobs to roam the streets“Death to Arabs!” and “Gas the Arabs!” (as well as “Death to leftists!”and “Gas the leftists!”).

The vast majority of Israelis support their ethnocracy‘s ethnoreligious supremacist policies. 95% of Israelis supported their country’s most recent military attack on Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”—a 50-day assault that killed close to 2,200 people—including roughly 1600 civilians, 500 of whom were children—wounded over 11,000, and made over 100,000 homeless.

As I have noted in a previous article, in 2012, also in Haaretz, renowned journalist Gideon Levy published the results of a poll that found “Most Israeli Jews Would Support Apartheid Regime in Israel.” This study, “expos[ing] anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews,” was not based on an internet survey. It was conducted by Dialog and directed by professor Camil Fuchs, Haaretz’s polling expert and head of the Department of Statistics at Tel Aviv University’s School of Mathematical Science, and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund.

The study revealed the following unsavory facts about Israeli society:

– 59% want preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries.

– 49% want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones.

– 42% don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs.

– 42% don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

– c. 33% want a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset.

– 69% object to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

– 74% majority are in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians.

– 24% believe separate roads are “a good situation.”

– 50% believe separate roads are “a necessary situation.”

– 47% want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority.

– 36% support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements.

– 38% want Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them.

– 31% don’t admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs.

– 58% do admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs.

In August 2014, Haaretz released a report titled “Israeli teenagers: Racist and proud of it,” revealing that “Ethnic hatred has become a basic element in the everyday life of Israeli youth.” The piece opens with a quote from a 10th-grade Israeli girl from a high school in the central part of the country.

For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand. I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.

The article is a review of upcoming book from which this interview is excerpted. Scenes from School Life is based on three years of field work by Israeli sociologist Idan Yaron at a six-year, secular Israeli high school. The school was “the most average school we could find,” says professor of education Yoram Harpaz, who wrote the book with Yaron. The quote above was taken from a student at this “most average school.” Yaron’s book is filled with myriad instances of Israelis calling for the murder, and even genocidal extermination, of Palestinians.

Yet Israeli racism is not just directed at indigenous Palestinians. Journalists Max Blumenthal and David Sheen released a brief documentary titled “Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land,” detailing the horrific extent to which anti-black racism pervades Israeli civil and political society. In it, they show video footage:

– of prominent politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari, among others, calling African refugees “infiltrators” and/or “cancer,” and even openly using the n-word;

– of Israeli citizens harassing fellow Israelis for engaging in interracial relationships; and

– of some politicians even going so far as to propose the creation of concentration camps in which to hold African refugees.

De jure bus segregation such as this reminds us that Israel is simply an apartheid state; there is no candy-coating this fact. In 2007, David A. Kirshbaum, of the Israel Law Resource Center, published a piece titled “Israeli Apartheid — A Basic Legal Perspective,” meticulously detailing the many ways in which Israel is an apartheid state, under its very own laws.

Once again, Israel’s most-read newspaper has published pieces confirming this fact, admitting that “Israeli Arabs have never been equal before the law.”

Ben Norton is an artist and activist. His website can be found at http://bennorton.com/.

Tags: apartheidbusessegregation
Categories: Labor News

Unions around the globe will stand with Costa Rica’s dockworkers, says ITF

Current News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 08:14

Unions around the globe will stand with Costa Rica’s dockworkers, says ITF
http://insidecostarica.com/2014/10/28/unions-around-globe-will-stand-cos...

October 28th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), an international federation of some 700 unions representing more than 4.5 million transport workers from 150 countries, said it and its member unions will fight for the rights of Limon’s striking dockworkers in a communiqué sent to Inside Costa Ricaon Tuesday.

ITF said it strongly condemns “the actions of the Costa Rican government after hundreds of police officers stormed Puerto Limon’s Moin and Limon terminals last Thursday, October 23rd, violently attacking workers and arresting 68 men and women who were peacefully striking.”

“The workers were detained, then the port re-opened Friday with strikebreakers, some of them from nearby countries, replacing the union members,” the statement continues.

ITF described what it called “aggressive police beatings” as a “shocking development in a country well known for its peacefulness and democracy.”

“This is another example of profit coming first, with governments putting effort – and violent effort – into attacking the public sector,” said ITF’s president and chair of its Dockers’ Section, Paddy Crumlin. “Dockers’ unions worldwide will fight this.”

Sintrajap, the union that represents the workers of the state-owned port operator, Japdeva, declared the strike after negotiations to alter the concession granted to Dutch firm, APM Terminals to build and operate the new Moin Container Terminal, broke down.

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court dismissed an appeal this month in which the union had claimed that a particular clause in the concession would create an “illegal monopoly” giving APM Terminals the exclusive right to load and unload containers arriving in Limon. The appeal was the last legal alternative available to Sintrajap in its attempts to stop the project.

ITF, supporting Sintrajap’s view, says that the concession creates a “huge competitive advantage” for APM, which “casts a shadow over the future of the state-owned port company Japdeva in the Moin and Limon terminals.”

In the communiqué, ITF said that Japdeva has an “explicit role” as a “regional economic development engine, helping to fund education and health services,” adding that both unions and the local population are extremely concerned about the potential loss of Japdeva’s “much-needed public sector income” and what they describe as potential environmental impacts of the new terminal.

“The new facility could compromise the nesting grounds of leatherback turtles and endanger manatees, dolphins, and coral reefs,” ITF said.

ITF said it is stepping up its pressure, writing to port unions globally asking them for their support.

“All the union members want is proper observance of the law, security for existing jobs, and protection of their community. Instead, the government authorized disproportionate force and hired strikebreakers. Of course the international union community is shocked,” said ITF Regional Secretary Antonio Rodriguez Fritz. “We will fight this and we will win.”

APM Terminals obtained the concession to build and operate the port in 2011 and was due to begin construction last year, but the project has faced several legal challenges.

The initial concession is for 33 years, with an initial investment of at least $1 billion and the creation of some 400 jobs.

The new facilities would be able to accommodate modern “Panamax” class container vessels of up to 13,500 containers, some five times larger than those that can be serviced in the country presently.

If you appreciate this report, please consider supporting ICR.

Tags: ITFCosta Rica dockworkers
Categories: Labor News

USA: TIME magazine must apologize to teachers - sign here

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: AFT
Categories: Labor News

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