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100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening

Current News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 19:49

100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening
http://labornetjp.blogspot.com/2016/08/100-best-labor-films-tell-basics-...
Thursday, August 25, 2016
100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening

As one of the selected labor films, “Be More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-year Struggle” (Kokuro means National Railway Workers’ Union) and “A Normal Life, Please” were screened at Café Lavanderia in Tokyo on Aug. 7. The small but cozy café, a temporary theater for screening, became a spectacular place with its adequate sound system. Some 15 people viewed the films. It was a good opportunity for me to watch closely my own production after a long interval. “Be More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-year Struggle” (2001) is a documentary describing privatization and segmentation of the Japan National Railways as well as the dismissal of 1,047 workers by JR from 1986 to 2001. After the film screenings, a mini talk by the producers (SASAKI Yumi and MATSUBARA Akira) was held, which was followed by a discussion. One young participant seemed shocked to see the film for the first time, and said “I was not born at the time. I was lucky to have had a chance to see this film.” The following comments were given also by senior participants: “I knew nothing. It was quite impressive”, “I wonder how you could make such a film at that time”.
(By MATSUBARA Akira)

『人らしく生きよう-国労冬物語』が伝える運動の原点~「百選」
記念上映会

「日本の労働映画百選」に選ばれた『人らしく生きよう-国労冬物
語』と『フツーの仕事がしたい』の選出記念上映会が、8月7日、東
京・新宿のカフェ・ラバンデリアで行われた。こじんまりしたカ
フェが即席の上映会場になっていたが、音響設備がしっかりしてい
て見応えのある映画スペースになった。参加者は15人ほど。私も自
作を久しぶりにじっくり鑑賞する機会になった。『人らしく生きよ
う-国労冬物語』(2001年)は1986年から2001年までの「国鉄分割
民営化、1047名のJR不採用解雇事件」を描いたドキュメンタリーで
ある。上映後、制作者(佐々木有美・松原明)のミニトークに続い
てディスカッションがあった。初めて見た若い人はショックだった
ようで「その時はまだ生まれていなかった。見られてよかった」
と。中年の方からも「まったく知らなかった。面白かった」「よく
撮れましたね」などの感想が寄せられた。(松原明) 続き・「労
働映画百選」サイト *写真=上映後トークする佐々木有美さん

Tags: Japan Kokuro Railway Workers FilmLaborNet
Categories: Labor News

Another SF Muni TWU 250 A operator assaulted, this time with a skateboard

Current News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 18:28

Another SF Muni TWU 250 A operator assaulted, this time with a skateboard
http://www.sfexaminer.com/another-muni-operator-assaulted-time-skateboard/
A man walks past a 47 Van Ness bus on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (Ryan McNulty/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on August 24, 2016 5:25 pm

A Muni operator was hospitalized after being struck in the head by a man with a skateboard late Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

That operator suffered a laceration of the forehead while driving an inbound 47-Van Ness line at Van Ness Avenue and Bush Street at about 4 p.m., SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said. The incident was reported to the San Francisco Police Department, and video footage was provided for the investigation.

Tuesday’s incident follows a rash of assaults on Muni operators, including that of operator Carla Romero, who was allegedly thrown to the ground and beaten by a man before she fought him off earlier this month.

The SFMTA and the Transport Workers Union Local-250 A are planning a public advertising campaign against Muni operator assaults. But Eric Williams, president of the union, said that may not be enough.

The SFMTA spent upwards of $7 million on SFPD services for traffic control and security between 2015 and 2016, according to budget documents.

“Clearly that’s not enough,” Williams said.

SFPD spokesperson Grace Gatpandan said officers ride buses and trains routinely, especially along hotspots identified by high numbers of incidents, like on Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue, she said.

Muni crime is a “major concern,” she said.

As for increasing Muni patrols, Gatpandan said, “If SFMTA expresses that, we’ll always do our best to facilitate that.”

The problem isn’t unique to San Francisco. On June 13, the Federal Transit Administration launched a six-week public input campaign on transit operator assaults, seeking best practices and standards nationwide.

FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers wrote in a blog post that some agencies have installed barriers aboard buses to protect drivers and required de-escalation training.

The community forum Reddit’s San Francisco page featured a post from someone who claims to have witnessed the incident.

“I’m a bit shaken,” the post reads.

The poster wrote the skater who allegedly struck the Muni operator was wearing a green shirt with “420” on the back, is white with short brown hair and appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s.

The poster wrote people gathered around, and someone took video and sent it to police. “We all exit [sic] the bus and the driver is sitting up front, gushing blood and in shock, trying to reach someone over the radio.”

The San Francisco Examiner contacted the Reddit poster, who did not want their name published.

Last Friday, the United Public Workers for Action rallied at SFMTA headquarters at South Van Ness Avenue and Market Street to demand the agency release video of assault incidents. Traditionally, the SFMTA does not release video of incidents under investigation by SFPD.

Release The Video-Hands Off SF MTA TWU 250A Drivers In San Francisco
https://youtu.be/kuAmw6FNGnQ
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
For more media:
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
The rally was sponsored by United Public Workers For Action
www.upwa.info
For more media:
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-operator-says-beaten-fended-off-attacker/
http://www.sfgate.com/news/bayarea/article/Advocacy-Group-Alleges-Muni-F...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zquP57iENNE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuW8sm383QM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLc5D-tgm5o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc0xTnBeCkA
http://www.sfexaminer.com/new-ad-campaign-promote-safety-muni-operators/
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: twu 250 ahealth and safetytransit workersUPWA
Categories: Labor News

China: Walmart workers take the boss to court

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson's attack over 'ram-packed' Virgin train " our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Current News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 19:41

Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson's attack over 'ram-packed' Virgin train " our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Virgin releases CCTV footage they say disputes Labour leader’s claim that no seats were available, but Corbyn camp says he could not sit next to his wife

Jeremy Corbyn takes a seat on ‘ram-packed’ Virgin train
Peter WalkerPolitical correspondent
@peterwalker99
Tuesday 23 August 2016 21.01 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 24 August 2016 00.20 BST

Jeremy Corbyn was drawn into an extraordinary row with Virgin Trains after the rail operator disputed the Labour leader’s filmed account of having to sit on the floor of a “ram-packed” train, releasing CCTV images of him walking past free seats beforehand and sitting down shortly after the film was shot.

Backed up by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, the train operator said it had to “take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case” on a crowded train that the Labour leader had taken from London to Newcastle on 11 August.

But the Labour leader stood by his description of the train journey, saying while there had been some available seats he had not been able to sit with his wife, Laura Alvarez, and that he was only able to sit later because train staff had upgraded another family to first class to create space.

Virgin Trains took the unusual step just more than a week after Corbyn was filmed sitting on the train floor after he could not find a seat on the morning train. In the video he laments the lack of available seats, saying: “This is a problem that many passengers face every day; commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed.”

One of the images released by Virgin Trains, which shows a time code of 11.10am – 10 minutes after the service had departed from London – showed Corbyn walking past seemingly unoccupied seats which did not have slips attached to them indicating they were reserved. Virgin Trains also released another CCTV still, from 11.43am, about 15 minutes after the video was shot. This showed Corbyn and his travelling companions returning to the same carriage to sit down.

A Corbyn source said a handful of seats had been available, but not two together, and the Labour leader wanted to sit with his wife. As a result he, his wife and team were among a series of other passengers forced to sit or stand in the corridor.

The source added that when Virgin staff spotted Corbyn sitting in a vestibule they offered him a complimentary upgrade to first class, which he refused.

He added: “Seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.”

Corbyn’s spokesman sought to tie the row to the Labour leader’s wider transport policies. “Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains,” he said.

“That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Branson also tweeted to his 8.2 million followers a third image of Corbyn walking through a crowded carriage, timed at 11.11am, where the seats were clearly marked with reservation tickets. The Virgin entrepreneur wrote: “Mr Corbyn & team walked past empty-unreserved seats then filmed claim train was ‘ram-packed’”.

Yannis Mendez, who filmed the original video – he has been following Corbyn and volunteers for his leadership campaign against Owen Smith – added that some of the seemingly empty seats shown in the first Virgin Trains image had bags and coats on them, so were not free.

The Corbyn team’s account was supported by a woman who said she sat on the floor next to the Labour leader, having sent a social media photo of herself and her daughter with him.

Ellen – who asked to not be named in full– told the Guardian that Corbyn had seemingly gone through the entire standard-class section of the train but had not been able to find a seat. The 26-year-old, who was with her one-year-old daughter and son, aged six, said she had similarly been unable to find seats.

“He’s not lying,” she said. “When I saw him he was in coach A, right at the front. He hadn’t managed to find a seat in the whole of the train. I was sat on the floor, there was no space for me to get a seat. There were people in every space between every carriage. It was totally overcrowded. They were full of bags and full of people.”

Another woman, Keren Harrison, tweeted a photo of herself with Corbyn on the train, saying there was only a seat for him about 45 minutes into the three-hour trip “when staff started shuffling people around”. This process appeared to involve Virgin staff directing other passengers sitting in corridors to reserved seats which had not been occupied.

A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “We know that some of our services on our east and west coast franchises are extremely popular, and it can be hard to find a seat.” It usually happened in particular circumstances, the operator added, for example when there’s a big sporting event, or on the first off-peak train out of London.

“Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about cup finals or fares regulation, which could spread demand much more effectively if it was less of a blunt instrument,” the spokesperson said, arguing they would be “delighted to work with ministers if they were interested in reviewing the fares structure for long distance services, with the aim of reducing the overcrowding that can occur”.

At a rally in east London on Tuesday night night, Sam Tarry, the Labour leader’s campaign director, told the crowds that Branson had released the letter because he was upset about Corbyn’s plans to renationalise the railways. “Some of you might have seen on social media today there’s been a little bit of a spat,” he said. “Richard Branson has decided he’s very upset about our not particularly radical plans to renationalise our railways, so he’s having a little pop at us.

“I’d just say that’s very, very indicative – the establishment is absolutely petrified about what this campaign is about, what this movement is about.”

Smith, who is challenging Corbyn for the Labour leadership, was quick to poke fun at the situation, tweeting: “My campaign remains on track. Proud to be genuinely standing up for ordinary people.”

Smith will try to regain the initiative in the leadership contest today with a pledge to block Brexit in parliament.

The Pontypridd MP will say a Labour party led by him would vote against the triggering of article 50 – the formal process for Brexit – until the Conservatives agreed to put the final negotiated departure to the people, either through a referendum or at a general election.

11.10am Jeremy Corbyn and his wife, Laura Alvarez, board the train. Virgin Trains CCTV shows seemingly unoccupied seats without reservation slips. A source close to the Labour leader said there were not enough free seats for Corbyn to sit with his wife.

11.11am A second CCTV image, with a time stamp of 11.11am, tweeted by Virgin’s owner, Richard Branson, shows Corbyn clearly walking past empty seats. However, these all seem to have slips indicating that they are reserved.

11.30am A few minutes later, Yannis Mendez, a freelance filmmaker accompanying Corbyn, films him sitting on the floor. He says the ‘ram-packed’ train’s lack of seats ­emphasises the need for the railways to be returned to public ownership.

11.43am Corbyn takes a seat in coach H after staff directed passengers to use booked seats that had not been taken. A Corbyn source said the leader’s seats were provided after Virgin staff upgraded a family to first class to make space for him and Alvarez.

Tags: Jeremy Corbynrail re-nationalization
Categories: Labor News

Sunshine Ordinance, Now 17 Years Old, Still Has Baby Teeth "Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Mu

Current News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 08:37

Sunshine Ordinance, Now 17 Years Old, Still Has Baby Teeth "Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency finally produced documents whose existence it had previously denied."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/us/18bcjames.html?_r=0
In the spectator gallery, Mr. Maxwell’s eyes welled as he flipped through the pages, upset by what he called false information in his file.

By SCOTT JAMES
MARCH 17, 2011

Scott James is a columnist for The Bay Citizen.

For some, these are dark days for San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance.

The measure, which was meant to foster transparency in city government, has instead devolved into the Rodney Dangerfield of rule books — it don’t get no respect. Despite violations, no city employee has been disciplined for failing to abide by the ordinance, which requires that city dealings be open to public review — including many documents, officials’ schedules and meetings.

The ordinance took effect in 1994. It is a way to hold city officials accountable, and an alternative to costly civil lawsuits to obtain public records. An 11-member volunteer citizen panel, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, enforces the ordinance. Since it took effect, 27 instances of serious violations requiring disciplinary action have been cited, according to the citizen panel, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

But those cases have been dismissed or moved into bureaucratic oblivion by the Ethics Commission, which is responsible for punishing sunshine violators.

“The Ethics Commission doesn’t do anything,” said Allyson Washburn, a member of the task force. “They don’t enforce our orders of determination.”

Without consequences for violations, Ms. Washburn said, the ordinance lacks teeth.

Richard Knee, chairman of the task force, said the Ethics Commission was adversarial.

As a result, the task force is trying to change the ordinance to limit the commission’s role and impose fines of up to $5,000 against city workers for violations, money that would be paid out of their own pockets. The change would require voter approval.

Some city leaders, however, feel under attack.

Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said in an e-mail, “The task force has degenerated into a rogue, lawless jury that beats up on city departments and tries to get conscientious public employees fired.”

Mr. Dorsey and other city public information managers said they spent an extraordinary amount of time and resources complying with the ordinance. They described task force hearings as a tedious kangaroo court.

John St. Croix, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said that the work of the task force often lacked due process and that his department had “an obligation to review the cases.”

Asked about the 27 cases that have gone nowhere, Mr. St. Croix said 14 were dismissed based on advice from the city attorney’s office that other laws took precedence over the ordinance, 12 others remained under review and one was referred elsewhere and apparently ended without action.

Interviews with about a dozen key figures — including city leaders and sunshine advocates — revealed a long list of reasons for current aggravations: legal loopholes, personality conflicts, city efforts to prevent embarrassing revelations and a misunderstanding of the ordinance’s scope.

Nevertheless, the ordinance can be effective.

Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency finally produced documents whose existence it had previously denied.

In the spectator gallery, Mr. Maxwell’s eyes welled as he flipped through the pages, upset by what he called false information in his file.

Hope Johnson, a task force member, strongly criticized the transit agency for what she called “egregious” behavior in Mr. Maxwell’s case.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the agency, said, “We absolutely care about the Sunshine Ordinance and respond on a daily basis.”

But not always in a timely manner. Two recent Sunshine Ordinance requests made to the agency by The Bay Citizen were not fulfilled in accordance with the ordinance’s 15-day deadline. One request, filed Jan. 21, for records regarding dangerous cycling lanes, was complied with last week — after the agency was informed that a failure to disclose would be reported in this column.

Mr. Rose said the agency tracked its success rate for complying with the ordinance, but he did not respond to a request to make that information public.

If all of this sounds like an ordeal, well, that might just be the point.

Bruce B. Brugmann, editor and publisher of the firebrand San Francisco Bay Guardian weekly newspaper, helped create the ordinance. Mr. Brugmann said that the ordinance and task force hearings put public officials in an uncomfortable spotlight, and that was often enough to produce results.

“It’s an evolving document,” Mr. Brugmann said, noting that the ordinance had already been strengthened once, 1999. He welcomed the new efforts to make punishments for violations more likely.

“It’s a way for citizens to get some relief,” he said, “and some accountability at City Hall.”

Scott James is an Emmy-winning television journalist and novelist who lives in San Francisco.
sjames@baycitizen.org

Tags: transit workersunshine lawcover-upretaliation
Categories: Labor News

DC Metro fights Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 union lawsuit to reinstate L’Enfant Plaza tunnel inspector

Current News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 19:31

DC Metro fights Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 union lawsuit to reinstate L’Enfant Plaza tunnel inspector
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2016/08/22/metro-figh...
By Martine Powers August 22 at 10:34 AM

Commuters on a crowded escalator at Metro’s L’Enfant Plaza station. (Marlon Correa/The Washington Post)
Metro is fighting its largest union, which has sued to reinstate a tunnel fan inspector who was fired after last year’s L’Enfant Plaza smoke disaster for allegedly falsifying an inspection report and later lying about his actions.

In documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Metro’s attorneys argued that the agency was well within its rights to terminate the mechanic and to reject the decision of an arbitration board, which had declared that the 13-year veteran of Metro should instead be suspended without pay for 180 days.

Metro wants the court to nullify the arbitration board’s decision.

“If the arbitration decision is not vacated, [the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s] transit patrons, employees, and the general public will be subjected to serious risk of physical harm and injury by the return of an employee to work on critical safety equipment despite repeated prior incidents of false statements,” Metro argued in the complaint.

Metro’s filed the counterclaim in response to a lawsuit filed last month by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. The union argued that the agency had wrongfully terminated the mechanic, Seyoum Haile, and was using him as a scapegoat instead of placing responsibility on supervisors who were charged with verifying inspection reports.

[Union sues to reinstate Metro mechanic fired after L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident]

Haile’s actions came to light in the aftermath of the January 2015 L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident, which resulted in the death of one rider and injured dozens more. During the ensuing investigation, officials checked inspection logs and realized that the November 2014 inspection had not been properly conducted, even though Haile submitted an inspection report saying that it had. Later, Metro says, Haile lied during his interview with investigators.

“The fan shaft is a critical fire/life-safety system,” Metro wrote in its response. “During WMATA’s investigation, WMATA gave Mr. Haile several opportunities to provide accurate and forthright information and he repeatedly failed to do so.”

Metro and the union agree that Haile was not responsible for the death and injuries that occurred during that incident; the tunnel fan he was tasked with inspecting had operated properly during the smoke incident and only burned out once all the passengers were evacuated from the tunnel. Also, other mechanics had been responsible for conducting the inspection scheduled for December 2014.

[NTSB: Metro has had a ‘severe learning disability’ when it comes to improving safety]

In an interview with investigators after the L’Enfant Plaza incident, Haile indicated that he had not been able to properly conduct the November 2014 inspection because staff in Metro’s rail operations command center failed to identify the correct fan and turn it on remotely. He moved on to inspect the next fan, and did not return later.

Haile later told officials that he had left a blank spot on his inspection report, indicating that the particular fan in question had not been properly scrutinized. He testified that in the hours after the L’Enfant Plaza incident — before it became apparent what had gone wrong — his supervisors had pressured him to fill in the blank spot. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees completely fill out their inspection reports.

“They trick us. . . . They call us to fill out this paper to cover themselves,” Haile testified to the arbitrators, recalling his dialogue with the supervisor. “When we came from the field . . . [I said,] I can’t remember all this. . . . We don’t know this, I just guessing. But we knew right away after we left there was an accident. The lead man and the supervisor, to cover themselves, they forced us to put it.”

Haile was fired in February 2015; in April, an arbitration board disagreed with that decision, arguing that a lighter punishment would be adequate.

“The grievant’s misconduct was serious,” wrote arbitrator Ezio E. Borchini in that decision. “However, in light of all of the evidence, it was not so serious as to be disruptive of the employment relationship. The penalty must be rehabilitative, rather than punitive.”

Last month, when the union filed its lawsuit, Metro officials vowed to put up a fight. In this new filing, the agency asserts that it would be putting passengers at risk if it allowed Haile to resume working at Metro.

“Requiring WMATA to reinstate this employee, who has on repeated occasions falsely documented and stated that he completed assigned work on critical safety equipment when in fact he had not, would compromise WMATA’s ability to comply with these applicable safety laws and otherwise protect the safety of its transit riders, employees, and the general public,” Metro wrote.

[Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld continues management shake-up with new general counsel]

ATU Local 689 spokesman David Stephen declined to comment on Metro’s counterclaim, other than to affirm that the union continues to believe that arbitrators’ ruling was justified.

“We are confident the courts will uphold the legally binding arbitration decision,” Stephen said.

Martine Powers writes about the Metro transit system and the wonky world of transportation. Follow @martinepowers

Tags: ATU 689health and safetyfiring
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Unpaid Wages: Workers, Labour Unions Turn Out For National Protest

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Channels
Categories: Labor News

UK Jeremy Corbyn sits on floor of overcrowded train and calls for public ownership

Current News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 08:11

UK Jeremy Corbyn sits on floor of overcrowded train and calls for public ownership
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R13E1HSBGJI
Published on Aug 16, 2016
Jeremy Corbyn makes the case for nationalisation of the railways while sitting on the floor of an overcrowded train. ‘The reality is there are not enough trains – we need more of them, they’re also very expensive.’ He then asks: ‘Isn’t that a good case for public ownership?’

Tags: public ownershipUK railsJeremy Corbyn
Categories: Labor News

Greek Privatization Sell off Of Country Including Ports and Railroads

Current News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 06:19

Greek Privatization Sell off Of Country Including Ports and Railroads
El Pireo, el puerto deseado
La privatización del principal nudo de transportes de Grecia revela la dimensión estratégica del país
http://economia.elpais.com/economia/2016/08/19/actualidad/1471607874_360...
Otros3GuardarEnviar por correoImprimir
Terminal de contenedores gestionada por Cosco en El Pireo.
Terminal de contenedores gestionada por Cosco en El Pireo. SIMON DAWSON GETTY
MARÍA ANTONIA SÁNCHEZ-VALLEJO

Container terminal managed by Cosco in Piraeus. SIMON DAWSON GETTY
MARIA ANTONIA SANCHEZ-VALLEJO

Twitter
20 AGO 2016 - 00:00 CET
The recent privatization of the state railway company of Greece, TRAINOSE (in its Greek acronym), sold for 45 million euros to the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato, has caused a political storm in the Hellenic country for the paltry amount that has been the transaction closed. Greek deficit and hobbled trains, which have survived thanks to the injection of public funds, were assessed in 2013 by the previous Greek government (conservative) in 300 million. So the opposition has taken over the executive Alexis Tsipras, who, with regard to privatization, has had to backtrack on nearly all his campaign promises and choose to cash, even at prices seemingly balance.
After the sale of Trainose two factors that partly explain why the cuts are. First, the urgent need for Athens to privatize goods and services for the sake of the third rescue (85.000 million, to three years) , which requires liquidate 50,000 billion in assets in 30 years. Secondly, but more strategic depth, also for the immediate survival of Greece, and for the transformation of its economic and ruined model is redesigning the map of road infrastructure. The goal is to turn the country into a major logistics center entry and distribution in Europe of Chinese goods and, by extension, Japanese and other Asians old tigers. Something that the new owner of the Greek railways can contribute much.
In this context the star protagonist is the giant Cosco (China Ocean Shipping Company), based in Hong Kong and owner a few months of the majority (67%) of shares in the Athens port of Piraeus ago, the largest European door of his great strategic initiative "a belt, a route", ie, the reissue of the legendary Silk Road ( "Maritime Silk Road of the century", according to Beijing denomination). This ambition to redesign and control much of the world trade map shows that the movements of Cosco, publicly owned, are not only business, but political.
71,000 GOODS TO PRIVATIZE
The background of Greek privatizations (TAIPED, its acronym in Greek) are seen and want them to place any of the thousands of goods, from beaches to islands through Olympic venues, historic buildings and golf courses, which must sell imposition of creditors; more than 71,000 publicly owned assets expect a good bidder, although judging by the star privatizations, achieve a pitch will work almost impossible. Since the signing of third save, one year imposed by this wild settlement ago, there have been only three major operations: the Trainose (45 million), which had not happened to Italian hands would have had to repay 750 million aid -a reason 50 million per year, considered illegal by the European Commission Competition; the Piraeus (368.5) and the most advantageous so far: the lease for 40 years the German company Fraport of 14 regional airports (including the popular tourist destinations) for 1,234 million euros. A fourth privatization, the old Athens airport Elliniko temporary -albergue for thousands of refugees, is closed, although an opinion of the Ministry of Culture on the alleged archaeological interest in the area can freeze the process.
The great strategic operation of China in the West does not stop in the vast grounds of Piraeus, a succession of kilometers of cranes, containers and silos rusty cargo that reach Perama, once thriving shipyard and now devastated by years of crisis. Although he did not have official confirmation, Cosco expects to have Ferrovie dello Stato to condition as a logistics center, 59 hectares of public land in Thriasio, west of Athens. With direct access to Piraeus and the Greek motorways, an investment of 250 million in the local it is expected to create a hybrid of large logistics hub and commercial center, in the style of Dragon Mart Dubai. From Thriasio, once upgraded rail links, goods arrivals to Greece through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal will be catapulted by rail to Central and Eastern Europe through the Balkans.However, the deadline for applications for the development of Thriasio closed on August 1 without challengers.
Present in Piraeus since 2008, Cosco only managed until this year , two cargo terminals. The results have been excellent : the trading volume of the same went from 166,000 TEUs (equivalent to a 20 - foot container unit, the standard measure in the maritime) transport in 2009 to three million in 2014; since 2010 it has quadrupled turnover. But the absolute majority in the shareholding of the port authority also allows you now have full control over the passenger terminal, which annually mobilizes millions of tourists and locals between the mainland and the islands, as well as a growing number of cruise ships. The Greek Parliament approved in July sale to the Chinese of Piraeus by 368,500,000 from among bitter protests, especially union, against low wages and poor working conditions in the docks. The compulsory composition of the new leadership also hurts the national pride of the 11 members, seven must be compulsorily Chinese people, including the president and CEO.
The recent visits of Chinese President Xi Jinping, several countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe underline the strategic importance Beijing attaches to this part of the world, as the Greek-Balkan route saves time and money when flood the Old Continent their products. Although Cosco also has minority stakes (up to 35%) in the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Marseille, control of Piraeus allow Asian companies to introduce their products in Europe with savings of between four and ten days compared to other ports Westerners.
Japan will also benefit from the privatization of Piraeus, as evidenced by the fact that every week moving three to four trains, each with 38 wagons, from Piraeus to Nitra (Slovakia), where Sony has a television factory that It provides Europe. Sony sources have stressed that thanks to the Chinese control the distribution of Piraeus is more fluid.
The logistics sector in Greece is one of the few business niches in the post-crisis landscape, according to research by McKinsey 2012. This lifesaver, even mortgaged to foreign interests, explains the good relations that Greece and China have developed in the last couple of years, judging by the frequency of visits by senior Greek Tsipras charges to Beijing, with the head and conversely, the official visit of Prime Minister Li Keqiang in 2014. "the Greek and Chinese economies complement each other well. Greece is accelerating privatizations and infrastructure construction, and China will push its creditworthy companies to develop a very active part in this process, "Li said then. As Yanis Dragasakis, economic Superminister of Tsipras, a part of the Greek recovery will come through increased investment in infrastructure he says. Against the traditional short-termism of the Greek economic plans, the ancient Chinese and ambiciosísima planning can be of great help.

19 AGO 2016 - 18:00 EDT
La reciente privatización de la compañía estatal de ferrocarriles de Grecia, TrainOSE (en sus siglas griegas), vendida por 45 millones de euros a la italiana Ferrovie dello Stato, ha provocado una tormenta política en el país heleno por la cuantía irrisoria con que se ha cerrado la transacción. Los deficitarios y renqueantes trenes griegos, que han sobrevivido gracias a la inyección de fondos públicos, fueron tasados en 2013 por el anterior Gobierno griego (conservador) en 300 millones. Por eso la oposición se ha echado encima del Ejecutivo de Alexis Tsipras, que, en lo tocante a las privatizaciones, ha debido desdecirse de casi todas sus promesas de campaña y optar por hacer caja, aun a precios aparentemente de saldo.

Tras la venta de Trainose se hallan dos factores que explican en parte el porqué de la rebaja. En primer lugar, la imperiosa necesidad de Atenas de privatizar bienes y servicios por mor del tercer rescate (85.000 millones, a tres años), que obliga a liquidar 50.000 millones en activos en 30 años. En segundo lugar, pero con mayor calado estratégico —también para la supervivencia inmediata de Grecia, y para la transformación de su arruinado modelo económico—, está el rediseño del mapa de infraestructuras viarias. El objetivo es convertir el país en un gran centro logístico de entrada y distribución en Europa de mercancías chinas —y, por extensión, japonesas y de otros antiguos tigres asiáticos—. Algo en lo que el nuevo dueño de los ferrocarriles griegos puede aportar mucho.

En este contexto el protagonista estelar es el gigante Cosco (China Ocean Shipping Company), con base en Hong Kong y dueño desde hace unos meses de la mayoría (67%) de acciones del puerto ateniense del Pireo, la puerta grande europea de su gran iniciativa estratégica "Un cinturón, una ruta", es decir, la reedición de la mítica Ruta de la Seda ("Ruta de la Seda Marítima del siglo XXI", según la denominación de Pekín). Esa ambición de rediseñar y controlar buena parte del mapa del comercio mundial demuestra que los movimientos de Cosco, de titularidad pública, no son solo empresariales, sino políticos.

71.000 BIENES PARA PRIVATIZAR
El fondo de privatizaciones heleno (TAIPED, en sus siglas en griego) se las ve y se las desea para colocar alguno de los miles de bienes, de playas a islas pasando por instalaciones olímpicas, edificios históricos o campos de golf, que debe vender por imposición de los acreedores; más de 71.000 activos de propiedad pública que esperan un buen postor, aunque, a juzgar por las privatizaciones estrella, lograr un pelotazo será labor casi imposible. Desde la firma del tercer rescate, hace un año, que impuso esta liquidación salvaje, sólo ha habido tres grandes operaciones: la de Trainose (45 millones), que de no haber pasado a manos italianas habría debido devolver 750 millones de ayudas –a razón de 50 millones al año-, consideradas irregulares por la comisión europea de Competencia; la del Pireo (368,5) y la más ventajosa hasta el momento: la cesión durante 40 años a la empresa alemana Fraport de 14 aeropuertos regionales (entre ellos, los de populares destinos turísticos) por 1.234 millones de euros. Una cuarta privatización, la del antiguo aeropuerto ateniense de Ellinikó —albergue temporal para miles de refugiados—, está cerrada, aunque un dictamen del Ministerio de Cultura sobre el presunto interés arqueológico de la zona puede congelar el proceso.

La gran operación estratégica de China en Occidente no se detiene en el vasto recinto del Pireo, una sucesión de kilómetros de grúas, herrumbrosos contenedores y silos de carga que llegan hasta Pérama, antaño pujante astillero y hoy devastado por años de crisis. Aunque no llegó a haber confirmación oficial, Cosco espera contar con Ferrovie dello Stato para acondicionar como centro logístico, 59 hectáreas de suelo público en Thriasio, al oeste de Atenas. Con acceso directo al Pireo y a las autovías griegas, se espera una inversión de 250 millones en el local para crear un híbrido de gran nudo logístico y centro comercial, al estilo del Dragon Mart de Dubái. Desde Thriasio, una vez modernizadas las conexiones ferroviarias, las mercancías llegadas a Grecia a través del Índico y el canal de Suez serán catapultadas por vía férrea a Centroeuropa y Europa oriental por los Balcanes. Sin embargo, el plazo de candidaturas para el desarrollo de Thriasio se cerró el 1 de agosto sin aspirantes.

Presente en el Pireo desde 2008, Cosco solo gestionaba hasta este año dos terminales de carga. Los resultados han sido excelentes: el volumen de operaciones de las mismas pasó de 166.000 TEUs (unidad equivalente a un contenedor de 20 pies, la medida estándar en el transporte marítimo) en 2009 a tres millones en 2014; desde 2010 se ha multiplicado por cuatro el volumen de negocio. Pero la mayoría absoluta en el accionariado de la autoridad portuaria también le permite ahora tener pleno control sobre la terminal de pasajeros, que cada año moviliza millones de turistas y locales entre el continente y las islas, así como un número creciente de cruceros. El Parlamento griego aprobó en julio la venta a los chinos del Pireo por 368,5 millones de en medio de agrias protestas, sobre todo sindicales, contra los bajos salarios y las malas condiciones de trabajo en los muelles. La composición, obligatoria, de la nueva dirección también hiere el orgullo nacional: de los 11 miembros, siete deben ser obligatoriamente chinos, incluidos el presidente y el director general.

Las recientes visitas del presidente chino, Xi Jinping, a varios países de los Balcanes y el este de Europa subrayan la importancia estratégica que Pekín otorga a esta parte del mundo, ya que la ruta greco-balcánica permite ganar tiempo y dinero a la hora de inundar el Viejo Continente de sus productos. Aunque Cosco tiene también participaciones minoritarias (hasta el 35%) en los puertos de Róterdam, Amberes o Marsella, el control del Pireo permitirá a las empresas asiáticas introducir sus productos en Europa con un ahorro de entre cuatro y diez días en comparación con otros puertos occidentales.

Japón también sacará provecho de la privatización del Pireo, como demuestra el hecho de que cada semana circulen de tres a cuatro trenes, cada uno de ellos con 38 vagones, desde el Pireo a Nitra (Eslovaquia), donde Sony posee una fábrica de televisores que provee a toda Europa. Fuentes de Sony han subrayado que gracias al control chino del Pireo la distribución es más fluida.

El sector de la logística en Grecia es uno de los pocos nichos de negocio en el paisaje poscrisis, según una investigación de 2012 de McKinsey. Esta tabla de salvación, aun hipotecada a intereses foráneos, explica las fluidas relaciones que Grecia y China han desarrollado en el último par de años, a juzgar por la frecuencia de las visitas de altos cargos griegos a Pekín —con Tsipras a la cabeza— y, a la inversa, el viaje oficial del primer ministro Li Keqiang en 2014. "Las economías griega y china se complementan bien. Grecia está acelerando las privatizaciones y la construcción de infraestructuras, y China empujará a sus solventes empresas a desarrollar una parte muy activa en este proceso", dijo Li entonces. Como dice Yanis Dragasakis, superministro económico de Tsipras, una parte de la recuperación griega vendrá por las crecientes inversiones en infraestructuras. Frente al cortoplacismo tradicional de los planes económicos griegos, la milenaria y ambiciosísima planificación china puede servir de gran ayuda.

Tags: privatizationportsrailroads
Categories: Labor News

Release The Video-Hands Off SF MTA TWU 250A Member Ramero and SF Muni Drivers In San Francisco

Current News - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 19:00

Release The Video-Hands Off SF MTA TWU 250A Member Ramero and SF Muni Drivers In San Francisco
https://youtu.be/kuAmw6FNGnQ
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
For more media:
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
The rally was sponsored by United Public Workers For Action
www.upwa.info
For more media:
http://www.sfexaminer.com/muni-operator-says-beaten-fended-off-attacker/
http://www.sfgate.com/news/bayarea/article/Advocacy-Group-Alleges-Muni-F...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zquP57iENNE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuW8sm383QM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLc5D-tgm5o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc0xTnBeCkA
http://www.sfexaminer.com/new-ad-campaign-promote-safety-muni-operators/
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org

Tags: TWU 250Aoshahealth and safetysolidaritySF MTA
Categories: Labor News

Chile: Over 500,000 Protest Pinochet's Private Pension System

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Media workers protest conditions at king’s newspaper

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 08/21/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NI
Categories: Labor News

No to Hillary OR Trump, says Painters Local 10-Portland Painters & Drywall Finishers Say: Break with the Democrats, For a Workers Party

Current News - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 23:06

No to Hillary OR Trump, says Painters Local 10-Portland Painters & Drywall Finishers Say: Break with the Democrats, For a Workers Party
https://nwlaborpress.org/2016/08/no-to-hillary-or-trump-says-painters-lo...
Aug 19, 2016 Politics
At the Aug. 17 general membership meeting of Portland-headquartered Painters Local 10, members passed a resolution saying the local does not support Democrats or Republicans, which “are and have always been strike-breaking, war-making parties of the bosses.” The resolution was introduced by Wyatt McMinn, vice president and chair of the union’s Volunteer Activist Committee. It passed unanimously.

Specifically, the resolution calls on the Painters international union to repudiate its earlier endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president, and it calls on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party and build a “class- struggle workers party.” See the full resolution here.

Most unions on the national level have endorsed Clinton by now, including IUPAT, Local 10’s parent organization, and the national AFL-CIO has made defeating Donald Trump a priority.

Some national unions — like American Federation of Teachers and Service Employees International Union — were early and enthusiastic supporters of the Clinton campaign. Others — and the national AFL-CIO — waited until after the primary season had played out and Clinton had outpolled Bernie Sanders to clinch the nomination. International Association of Fire Fighters decided not to endorse either Clinton or Trump, after polling showed members were very sharply divided. And only one union has endorsed Trump. National Border Patrol Council, which represents 18,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. That union is a division of American Federation of Government Employees, which itself endorsed Clinton December 10.

Painters & Drywall Finishers Say: Break with the Democrats, For a Workers Party
https://csw-pdx.org/2016/08/19/painters-drywall-finishers-say-break-with...

August 19, 2016
The following resolution was introduced by CSWP supporters and adopted unanimously by IUPAT Local 10 members at their meeting on 17 August 2016. CSWP fights to unchain the power of the working class by breaking our unions away from the parties of capital. Join us!

No Support to the Democrats, Republicans,
or Any Party of the Bosses

Whereas the bosses have two parties to represent their class while the millions of working people have none, and

Whereas the Democratic president Barack Obama sent the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce scabbing against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union during the 2013-14 lock-out of northwest dock workers, and

Whereas the Democratic governor Kate Brown opposed and undercut the movement for a $15 minimum wage across Oregon, and

Whereas in 2014 Democrats in Congress joined with Republicans to pass a disastrous pension “reform,” allowing the bosses to escape their obligations and cheat our retirees, and

Whereas the two presidencies of the Democrat Barack Obama have been eight years of unending war in the Middle East,North Africa and Asia, causing untold human suffering, millions of refugees, and attacks on our democratic rights at home, and

Whereas the Democratic Party in power has deported some 5 million immigrants, a record, and

Whereas across the country, from Oakland to Baltimore, police under Democratic mayors regularly murder black men and women with impunity, and

Whereas the 2016 presidential election offers us the “choice” between a raving, bigoted clown and a career representative of Wall Street, and

Whereas the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Virginia governor Tim Kaine, supports union- busting “right to work” laws, and

Whereas Democrats and Republicans are and have always been strike-breaking, war-making parties of the bosses, and

Whereas so long as the labor movement supports one or another party of the bosses, we will be playing a losing game, therefore be it

Resolved that IUPAT Local 10 does not support the Democrats, Republicans, or any bosses’ parties or politicians, and

Resolved that we call on the International Union to repudiate its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president, and

Resolved that we call on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class- struggle workers party.

News of this resolution was also published by the Northwest Labor Press.

Tags: labor partyilwuworkers partyDemocrats
Categories: Labor News

Uber and Lyft want to replace public buses

Current News - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 23:04

Uber and Lyft want to replace public buses
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-uber-lyft-public-transit-20160...

Pinellas Park, Fla., isn't the kind of place you'd expect to gain insight about the future of mass transit. The suburb of Tampa is as car-crazy as your average stretch of Floridian sprawl — the local landmarks include the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum and a drag racing strip — and anyone who can avoid the bus does. But recently the agency responsible for the area's public transportation began a novel experiment: It stopped running two bus lines and started paying for a portion of Uber rides instead.

In Uber's early days, it said it wanted to be "everyone's private driver." Now the company and its main U.S. competitor, Lyft, are playing around with the idea of becoming the bus driver, too. Uber has partnered with a handful of local public transportation agencies to strike deals like the one in Pinellas Park, which it expanded earlier this month. Later this month Lyft plans to launch a partnership with Centennial, Col., its first deal where a local government will subsidize its rides. The company also said it has helped a dozen transit agencies apply for federal grants that would pay for a portion of Lyft fares in situations where its drivers would effectively become part of the public transportation system.

Anthony Ponce quits NBC news to drive for Lyft, produce podcast
Each of the current projects is tiny, but they could eventually be combined into something big, said Emily Castor, director of transportation policy at Lyft. "This is an area that has the potential to be a very significant part of Lyft's work in the future," she said. "How quickly will it progress from small pilots to being institutionalized in transit agencies? I think that's harder to predict."

Over the past several years, ride-hailing companies and local government officials have often had an uneasy, sometimes outright hostile relationship over regulation. The public transportation deals have been an oasis of rapprochement between them. In part, the ride-hailing deals are too small to seem threatening, according to Kyle Shelton, a program manager at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. "It may affect some routes; it may affect service overall; but it's not going to replace the main lines that carry thousands of riders per day," he said.

Governments already pay for taxis in some situations, but the deals with Uber and Lyft could usher in more fundamental change, and with it, tensions. What happens to people without smartphones? How do Uber and Lyft serve disabled riders? What happens if the cities come to rely on the apps, only to have the private companies decide the partnerships are no longer a sensible business venture for them? And do public governments want to encourage the replacement of public sector jobs with the contract work that defines the sharing economy?

It quickly became apparent that in areas with few riders, paying for part of a private ride was cheaper than running a bus.

As officials grapple with those questions, it's hard to ignore the real savings for governments — and real revenue for Uber and Lyft. In 2014, Americans spent $15 billion in fares on public transportation at the 850 public transit agencies that share data with the Federal Transit Administration. The operating expenses at those agencies was $42 billion. Much of the remaining 65 percent of the cost of running the systems came from public subsidies.

Suburban areas with less density and lower ridership are particularly expensive to run, making ride hailing an attractive alternative, said Adie Tomer, a fellow at Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. "If they can provide better outcomes for your population and do it at either the same cost if not lower, that's a win-win for society," he said. "This could start spiraling very fast."

In late 2014, Pinellas County voters rejected a referendum that would have increased local taxes to fund more bus lines and a light rail system. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority would have to cut back. It drew up plans to cut off the least popular of its four-dozen bus lines.

Residents in Pinellas Park, a relatively dense working class area, and East Lake, a richer area that had a publicly run van service, complained they'd be stranded. So the transportation agency decided to share the cost of Uber rides for anyone traveling those two routes. Earlier this year it started a pilot program where people received a 50 percent discount for rides, with a maximum subsidy per ride of $3, to help riders connect to the transit system.

It quickly became apparent that in areas with few riders, paying for part of a private ride was cheaper than running a bus. The program will cost $40,000 a year, or about a quarter the cost of the two bus lines it replaced, according to the PSTA. The PSTA declined to give statistics about its ridership, other than to describe it as a success. On Aug. 1, the agency began offering subsidies for all rides in the county that end at about 20 designated transit stops. "It's not supposed to be something you'd take instead of the bus; it's supposed to be something you'd take to the bus," said Ashlie Handy, a spokeswoman for the agency. On the same day it expanded the initial program, PSTA launched a separate one to give free Uber rides to low-income residents traveling after 9 p.m., when buses don't run.

Molly Spaeth, a spokeswoman for Uber, said the company was pleased with the response to the project and would continue to look for ways to work with transit agencies.

Officials in Centennial, a suburb of Denver, will launch a similar partnership with Lyft later this month, marking the first time a government will pay for Lyft rides using public funds. Through the program, Centennial will pay for Lyft rides to and from a regional rail stop from an area that has previously only been covered by a shuttle bus. The existing service costs the city about $20 per ride, according to Cathy Noon, Centennial's mayor, far more than what it will have to pay for Lyft rides. The city projects it will handle 280 rides per day, or about six times as many rides as it currently handles through the bus service. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable group founded by Bloomberg LP founder and majority owner Michael Bloomberg, gave Centennial a grant in 2014 to work on urban innovation.

Around the same time that Pinellas County launched its pilot, nearby Altamonte Springs, Fla., a suburb of Orlando, began paying for 20 percent of any Uber ride within city limits. For rides that ended at regional rail stations, the rate was 25 percent. City officials said Uber keeps them from sharing ridership numbers but that the program has grown quickly. They're working to expand to several neighboring towns soon.

In July, Miami-Dade County, Fla., applied for a $3.5 million federal grant to improve public transportation, $575,000 of which it plans to use to subsidize Uber and Lyft rides to two train stations, hoping that doing so will increase ridership at those stations by 5 percent. "Ride-sharing companies will mature in the Miami-Dade market but are unlikely to serve low ridership and low income neighborhoods without public subsidy," the county said in its application. It is also working to incorporate ride hailing into its own mobile ticketing application.

Miami-Dade's cooperation with ride-hailing companies coincided with the end of a yearslong fight with them over whether to allow Uber and Lyft to operate. Until a few months ago, Uber and Lyft were against the law, and the city handed out violations to drivers as they picked up fares. Carlos Cruz-Casas, assistant director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works, said it was odd to plan the area's future around ride hailing while also debating whether ride hailing should be legal at all. "It was a friendly relationship," he said. "They were being fined, but at the same time, we'd say, let's work together."

Issues of control are going to test these friendships, said Shelton and Tomer. Local governments are eager for data about ridership that they can use to reconfigure services, and Uber and Lyft tend to see information about demand as trade secrets. If ride hailing does drive down car ownership, as both Uber and Lyft expect it will, that could increase demand for subsidized rides, leaving governments holding the tab for new forms of semi-public transit.

Bridj, a startup that runs private bus service in some cities, is proposing a model that would leave more control with the governments. It has no set lines and instead responds to requests made on its app.

Earlier this year, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority agreed to buy 10 vehicles from Bridj, staff them with drivers, and set and collect fares. Unlike the ride-hailing partnerships, which are largely designed to get people to another form of transit, the Bridj program aims to drop people off where they're actually trying to go. Instead of sharing in fares, Bridj takes a service fee for the use of the technology that accepts ride requests and directs the vehicles on ever-changing routes.

The Kansas City government gets to keep more control, and Matthew George, Bridj's chief executive officer, said about three dozen cities have inquired about partnerships since the Kansas City pilot started. The company plans to announce at least four partnerships before the end of the year. George thinks private, on-demand bus lines will prove to be more cost-effective than ride-hailing services that use smaller vehicles because they can move more people at once.

George also criticizes Lyft's and Uber's spotty track records of cooperation with local governments, and points out that unlike at those companies, Bridj's drivers in Kansas City are all union members hired by the transit authority. "On the one end of the spectrum you have the very traditional mode that we've done for 100 years, and on the other one, you have this Ayn Randian free market free-for-all that doesn't have basic protections in place for the people who are most vulnerable," he said. "We've shown that there's something in the middle."

Tags: Uberprivatizationbuses
Categories: Labor News

Drop the Charges against Tom Harding and Richard Labrie-Railroad Workers Harding and Labrie Defense Committee And Solidarity Campaign

Current News - Sat, 08/20/2016 - 11:26

Railroad Workers Harding and Labrie Defense Committee And Solidarity Campaign
https://actionnetwork.org/groups/harding-and-labrie-defense-committee
Tom Harding and Richard Labrie are Canadian Rail workers and members of Steelworkers Union Local 1976. They are being scapegoated for the tragic oil train wreck in Lac-Mégantic QC on July 6, 2013. Every condition for that disaster was driven by Corporate decisions. Rail Safety is not advanced by scapegoating workers who had no control over those decisions.

Our Actions

Laissez tomber les charges qui pèsent contre Tom Harding et Richard Labrie

No More Lac-Mégantics!

Drop the Charges against Tom Harding and Richard Labrie
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Solidarity Needed For Rail Safety and Against Scapegoating Rail Workers

Dear Friends:

Some of you may have already signed this petition last month. For those who did, please forward the info below to friends, family and co-workers. For those who have not, please read the info below and sign the petition to help Railroad Workers United win this fight! Thanks.

In solidarity,

Ron

Ron Kaminkow
608-358-5771

“We need to have faith in each other. We are in precisely the same position. We depend absolutely on each other. We know that without solidarity, nothing is possible, and that with solidarity, nothing is impossible.”
Eugene V. Debs, Founder of the American Railway Union

Dear friends,

So glad you joined 1,000 others and signed the petition for rail safety to drop the charges against two railway workers (Harding and Labrie) who could spend decades in jail because management cut safety corners.
September 13th is the next court date, and we need to double the number of people demanding that the charges be dropped.
Harding and Labrie are counting on our help. Please tell a friend by copying and pasting the message below into an email today.
Solidarity,
Fritz Edler
for the Harding - Labrie Defense Committee
P.S. For the new, French version, click here.

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Subject: Will you join with me on this?
I just signed this petition in the ongoing fight for rail safety...super important. Hoping you'll join me?
Please sign now at http://bit.ly/HardingDefense, before September 13th, the next court date for two railroad workers being blamed for a tragedy that was management’s fault.
Three years ago a runaway train carrying volatile Bakken oil crashed into the town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying much of the town. When the facts finally came out, the proximate cause of the runaway train was management’s refusal to allow workers to use the air brakes to secure the dangerous cargo.
But railroad workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie still face jail time. Scapegoating workers for unsafe management policies make railroads and all of us much less safe.
That’s why everybody who cares about rail safety, the environment and workers rights has to tell the authorities to Drop The Charges. We have enough time before September 13th to double the number of signers.
I really hope you’ll stand with me. Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/HardingDefense, then ask your friends to sign. Thanks.
P.S. For the new, French version, click here.

The Evidence is in: The Train Crew did not Cause the Lac-Mégantic Tragedy
http://hardingdefense.org/sign-the-petition/?source=email2
DROP THE CHARGES against Tom Harding and Richard Labrie
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Drop the Charges against Tom Harding and Richard Labrie
Target: The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Honourable Stéphanie Vallée, Minister of Justice, QC
Tell the Canadian Government Scapegoating Railroad Workers Is the Wrong Way to Get Safe Trains

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) as well as investigative reporters have documented the factors that led to the wreck. The results show that management policy decisions were the direct causes of the disaster.

It is now plain that the actions of Tom Harding and Richard Labrie did not cause the tragedy; unsafe management policies and inadequate braking rules did. Transport Canada was not paying enough attention in 2013. Add your name to call on the Justice Ministry to pay attention now and drop the charges.

Sponsored by

Harding and Labrie Defense Committee
To: The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Honourable Stéphanie Vallée, Minister of Justice, QC
From: [Your Name]

It’s Time To Drop the Charges Against the Railroad Workers

It is almost three years since the tragic train wreck in Lac-Mégantic QC. Now is the time for your office to take action to stop a continuing injustice, the prosecution of railroad workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie under the Canadian Railway Safety Act and other laws.

The record has established that the actions of Tom Harding and Richard Labrie did not cause this tragedy. Continuing to prosecute the railworkers in this case does not lead to rail safety. We, the undersigned, call on those charged with administering justice to do their part now and drop the charges.

1,432 Signatures Collected
Only 168 more until our goal of 1,600
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Tags: Harding and Labrie Defense CommitteeRail safetyhealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Advocacy group alleges Muni fails to protect workers in light of driver's assault

Current News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 22:55

Advocacy group alleges Muni fails to protect workers in light of driver's assault
http://www.ktvu.com/news/194084520-story

POSTED:AUG 19 2016 06:56PM PDT
UPDATED:AUG 19 2016 06:57PM PDT
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Members of an advocacy group for public workers today demanded that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency release surveillance video to the public which allegedly shows a female bus driver being assaulted by a man last week in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood.

During a news conference outside Muni's office at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, members of United Public Workers for Action alleged that the driver is not being supported by her employer, Muni, and is instead being punished for speaking out about the incident.

"Why is the SFMTA not releasing the video for the public?" UPWA member Steve Zeltzer said. "We think there is a record of harassment, of bullying of San Francisco Muni transit workers in San Francisco. Many have been harassed and bullied for making health and safety complaints."

The incident reportedly happened the morning of Aug. 13, near the corner of Third and Mission streets. Driver Carla Romero had exited her bus to correct an issue with the bus's overhead poles, when a driver stopped his car and confronted her, resulting in a physical altercation, according to Zeltzer.

Both the driver and the man filed complaints against each other, and both were cited with battery.

The UPWA believes the releasing of the video is important, as it shows Romero was defending herself during the incident.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said surveillance video from the bus Romero was operating has been handed over to police.

Additionally, Rose said that while Muni is working with the police department on investigating the incident, Muni fully supports Romero, who is still employed with the transit agency.

"We know that our operators have very difficult and demanding jobs and that the vast majority of them do an extremely great job," Rose said.

"However, physical violence should never be an option for people who have issues with the system."

In response to the incident, Muni has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Transport Union Workers Local 250-A aimed at the public to educate them about the dangers drivers often face.

"We're doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our operators through the systems, including working with the operators union on a campaign that will help personalize our operators, to get the message their out that they have families and are people too."

The ads, which will be displayed across buses and trains next month, include pictures of Muni operators and quotes from them, as well as apparent friends and family members, urging people to avoid targeting bus drivers. The ads also employ the hashtag #Keepthemsafe.

The UPWA agrees that bus drivers are often the targets of drivers and others who are frustrated with the city's increasingly congested traffic conditions.

"Unfortunately a lot of that stress and anger is being taken out on public workers. It's being taken out on the drivers and that's unacceptable for us. We have to end the harassment and the bullying. We have to have healthy and safe places for our Muni drivers," Zeltzer said.

Zeltzer, however, maintained that Muni has not done enough to protect operators and discourages employees from making complaints.

"What happens in many of these incidents is that the driver gets fired. They blame the driver and they retaliate against the driver. The driver gets the brunt of this."

The San Francisco Police Department was not immediately available for comment on the incident.

Tags: TWU 250Atransit workershealth and safetybeatingosha
Categories: Labor News

San Francisco advocacy group UPWA alleges Muni fails to protect workers in light of driver’s assault

Current News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 18:51

San Francisco advocacy group alleges Muni fails to protect workers in light of driver’s assault
http://kron4.com/2016/08/19/video-san-francisco-advocacy-group-alleges-m...
By Bay City News
Published: August 19, 2016, 5:45 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Members of an advocacy group for public workers Friday demanded that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency release surveillance video to the public which allegedly shows a female bus driver being assaulted by a man last week in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

During a news conference outside Muni’s office at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, members of United Public Workers for Action alleged that the driver is not being supported by her employer, Muni, and is instead being punished for speaking out about the incident.

“Why is the SFMTA not releasing the video for the public?” UPWA member Steve Zeltzer said. “We think there is a record of harassment, of bullying of San Francisco Muni transit workers in San Francisco. Many have been harassed and bullied for making health and safety complaints.”

The incident reportedly happened the morning of Aug. 13, near the corner of Third and Mission streets. Driver Carla Romero had exited her bus to correct an issue with the bus’s overhead poles, when a driver stopped his car and confronted her, resulting in a physical altercation, according to Zeltzer.

Both the driver and the man filed complaints against each other, and both were cited with battery.

The UPWA believes the releasing of the video is important, as it shows Romero was defending herself during the incident.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said surveillance video from the bus Romero was operating has been handed over to police.

Additionally, Rose said that while Muni is working with the police department on investigating the incident, Muni fully supports Romero, who is still employed with the transit agency.

“We know that our operators have very difficult and demanding jobs and that the vast majority of them do an extremely great job,” Rose said.

“However, physical violence should never be an option for people who have issues with the system.”

In response to the incident, Muni has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Transport Union Workers Local 250-A aimed at the public to educate them about the dangers drivers often face.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our operators through the systems, including working with the operators union on a campaign that will help personalize our operators, to get the message their out that they have families and are people too.”

The ads, which will be displayed across buses and trains next month, include pictures of Muni operators and quotes from them, as well as apparent friends and family members, urging people to avoid targeting bus
drivers. The ads also employ the hashtag #Keepthemsafe.

The UPWA agrees that bus drivers are often the targets of drivers and others who are frustrated with the city’s increasingly congested traffic conditions.

“Unfortunately a lot of that stress and anger is being taken out on public workers. It’s being taken out on the drivers and that’s unacceptable for us. We have to end the harassment and the bullying. We have to have healthy and safe places for our Muni drivers,” Zeltzer said.

Zeltzer, however, maintained that Muni has not done enough to protect operators and discourages employees from making complaints.

“What happens in many of these incidents is that the driver gets fired. They blame the driver and they retaliate against the driver. The driver gets the brunt of this.”

The San Francisco Police Department was not immediately available for comment on the incident.

Tags: MTAhealth and safetyTWU 250A Drivers
Categories: Labor News

UK: Collective action via social media brings hope to gig economy workers

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Guardian
Categories: Labor News

Two men sue, allege sexual harassment at FedEx Watsonville “All Mexicans are criminals,” and told Gonzales, who is from Jalisco, Mexico, “you know what they say about people from Jalisco ... they are jotos.” The word “joto” is a derogatory word in Spanish

Current News - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 22:53

Two men sue, allege sexual harassment at FedEx Watsonville “All Mexicans are criminals,” and told Gonzales, who is from Jalisco, Mexico, “you know what they say about people from Jalisco ... they are jotos.” The word “joto” is a derogatory word in Spanish for homosexuals.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/20160817/two-men-sue-allege-se...
By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel
POSTED: 08/17/16, 5:13 PM PDT | UPDATED: 9 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS
Department of Fair EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING

What: This state agency receives, investigates and prosecutes complaints of alleged violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act, Disabled Persons Act and Ralph Civil Rights Act 1. Last year, 51 complaints relating to employment and 16 relating to housing were filed by Santa Cruz County residents.

2015 complaints: 23,770.

Employment: 20,505.

Most frequent issue: Retaliation.

Housing: 1,365.

Right to sue requests: 11,768.

Investigated: 6,147.

Settled: 1,011.

Settlement recovery: $12 million.

Source: California Department of Fair Housing and Employment.

WATSONVILLE >> Two men who worked their way up to manager jobs at FedEx Ground’s Watsonville terminal have filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging they endured months of harassment on the basis of sex, race and national origin by two senior managers who created a hostile work environment.

Rodolfo Gonzales, who started as a baggage handler in 1999, advanced to inbound manager III, and Eric Rico, a service manager who started as a package handler in 2005, allege James Faris, senior manager at the Watsonville terminal, and James Taylor, sort manager, harassed them, according to the lawsuit filed by Winer McKenna & Burritt of Oakland.

Gonzales was fired a year ago, which he considers retaliation for his complaints.

In court filings, attorneys for Faris, Taylor and FedEx, deny every allegation.

Perry Colosimo, FedEx managing director for communications, said via email, “FedEx has responded to this complaint and has no further details to offer at this time.”

The case was transferred from Alameda Superior Court to Santa Cruz Superior Court in July 2015.

“We attempted a mediation a few weeks ago and that did not result in a settlement, so discovery will continue,” said Alexis McKenna of Winer McKenna & Burritt. “We have a case management conference with the judge (Wednesday).”

The lawsuit seeks damages but does not specify an amount.

“Mr. Gonzales’ wage loss is ongoing, and Mr. Rico continues to suffer retaliation at FedEx Ground, and so they both also continue to suffer ongoing emotional distress,” McKenna said. “It will be up to a jury to decide what that amount is worth, considering the indignities they have suffered. Mr. Gonzales has been looking for work but unable to find any.”

The two men, described in the lawsuit as “Mexican American,” filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Dec. 1, 2014, alleging harassment, discrimination and retaliation by FedEx, and received a “right to sue” letter from the agency.

The lawsuit alleges Faris repeatedly called Rico and Gonzales offensive homophobic names such as “fag,” “homo” and queer.”

The lawsuit alleges Faris made offensive comments about Rico’s national origin, saying, “All Mexicans are criminals,” and told Gonzales, who is from Jalisco, Mexico, “you know what they say about people from Jalisco ... they are jotos.” The word “joto” is a derogatory word in Spanish for homosexuals.

The lawsuit alleges that Faris pinched and grabbed Gonzales’ cheek, waist and nipples.

Advertisement
Gonzales reported Faris to his managers including Taylor and Edward Castro, which led to Taylor “in February or March 2014” telling Gonzales, “Why don’t you quit like a man,” according to the lawsuit.

Gonzales called the FedEx alert line, and met with Shari Ekonian, a field human resources advisor.

Rico spoke with Ektonian and afterward, got false write-ups from Taylor and a smaller raise, according to the complaint.

In July 2014, Gonzales learned Faris threatened to kill Rico, Gonzales and their families if he were terminated due to their complaints, according to the lawsuit.

Faris was fired the day after Gonzales called the alert line but Taylor’s retaliation did not end, according to the lawsuit.

After FedEx got notice from the state of the harassment complaints, FedEx told Gonzales to complete additional training after his return from a medical leave, according to the lawsuit. He refused to sign an acknowledgement of the complaints, saying the HR rep told him he didn’t have to.

Gonzales was suspended in April 2015 for poor performance, and fired on July 27, 2015, which he considers retaliation. According to the lawsuit, Taylor emailed employees saying the termination was due to excessive absences.

STATE DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT & HOUSING

What: This state agency receives, investigates and prosecutes complaints of alleged violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act, Disabled Persons Act and Ralph Civil Rights Act 1. Last year, 51 complaints relating to employment and 16 relating to housing were filed by Santa Cruz County residents.

2015 complaints: 23,770.

Employment: 20,505.

Most frequent issue: Retaliation.

Housing: 1,365.

Right to sue requests: 11,768.

Investigated: 6,147.

Settled: 1,011.

Settlement recovery: $12 million.

Tags: FedExdiscriminationracism
Categories: Labor News

Railroads show little progress on key safety technology as Congress lets rail bosses and billionaires off the hook

Current News - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 18:49

Railroads show little progress on key safety technology as Congress lets rail bosses and billionaires off the hook
Railroads show little progress on key safety technology
http://phys.org/news/2016-08-railroads-key-safety-technology.html
August 17, 2016 by Joan Lowy

In this Wednesday, May 13, 2015 file photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a derailment in Philadelphia of an Amtrak train headed to New York. Many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, according to a government report released Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The technology, called positive train control or PTC, uses digital radio communications, GPS and signals alongside tracks to monitor train positions. It can automatically stop or slow trains to prevent them from disobeying signals, derailing due to excessive speed, colliding with another train or entering track that is off-limits.
The Federal Railroad Administration report shows that while some railroads have made substantial progress, others have yet to equip a single locomotive or track segment with the technology, or install a single radio tower.
Congress passed a law in 2008 giving railroads seven years to put the technology in place, and last year extended that deadline for three more years after railroads said they were unable to meet the first deadline. The law extending the deadline to Dec. 31, 2018, also allows the railroad administration to grant additional extensions for two more years to railroads that have installed PTC but are still testing the systems.
Railroads shouldn't wait for the deadline to complete their work on PTC, said Sarah Feinberg, head of the railroad administration.
"Every day that passes without PTC, we risk adding another preventable accident to a list that is already too long," she said in a statement.
So far, PTC is in operation on nine percent of freight route miles and 22 percent of passenger train miles, the report said.
Freight railroads have equipped 34 percent of their locomotives, installed 73 percent of their radio towers and completed 11 percent of their track segments. Passenger railroads have equipped 29 percent of their locomotives, installed 46 percent of their radio towers, and completed 12 percent of their track segments.
But progress varies considerably by railroad. For example, BNSF has equipped 4,309 of its 5,000 locomotives, but Union Pacific has equipped only 13 of its 5,656 locomotives.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which operates commuter trains in the Philadelphia region, has equipped all its locomotives, installed all its radio towers and completed all its track segments. But nearby New Jersey Transit Rail, which carries an average of 308,000 passengers on weekdays, hasn't equipped any locomotives, installed any radio towers or completed any track segments.

The report also gave zeros in each of those categories to New York's largest commuter railroads, the Metro-North and the Long Island railroads. In 2013, a speeding Metro-North train derailed while going around a curve in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 injured. The National Transportation Safety Board said the accident could have been prevented if PTC had been in operation.
The report is based on information supplied by the railroads.
The report "is an overall summary that does not convey the progress we have achieved," said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for New Jersey Transit. She noted that the railroad has acquired spectrum rights, equipped four "prototype vehicles" for testing and installed five antennas in a demonstration area, among other actions.
Beth DeFalco, a spokeswoman for Metro North and the Long Island railroads, said the railroads have done extensive work on PTC and hope to see benefits from the technology as soon as next year.
The NTSB has urged railroads to install positive train control or earlier train control technologies for more than four decades. The board says that over that time it has investigated at least 145 PTC-preventable accidents in which about 300 people were killed and 6,700 injured.
More recently, the board has said PTC could have prevented the head-on collision of two BNSF trains in June near Panhandle, Texas. Three railroad employees were killed in the crash. The technology also could have prevented the derailment of a speeding Amtrak train in Philadelphia last year. Eight people were killed and over 200 injured in the crash.
Commuter railroads have spent $950 million on PTC so far, but the total cost is estimated to be at least $3.48 billion, said Richard A. White, acting president of the American Public Transportation Association. The White House requested Congress provide $1.25 billion in the coming 2017 federal budget year to help commuter railroads with PTC; House and Senate spending bills allocate only $199 million.
"Despite this funding dilemma, the industry is moving forward with this top safety priority," White said in a statement.

Tags: Rail safetyrailroad ownerssafety techregulation
Categories: Labor News

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