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Cambodia: Education International calls for the immediate release of arrested trade union leader

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/06/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

STATEMENT OF ILWU INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT WILLIE ADAMS ON THE EXPLOSION AT PORT OF BEIRUT

ILWU - Wed, 08/05/2020 - 15:46

August 5, 2020 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 5, 2020) – International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers on the West Coast of the United States and Canada grieve the tremendous losses that Beirut is suffering following an explosion of stored material at a port warehouse. While the chaos of the explosion has yet to reveal the full scope of human loss, we are heartbroken to learn that longshore workers lost their lives when their worksite became ground zero for the catastrophic explosion. The city of Beirut and thousands of families will never be the same.

Reports that the Lebanese government has put port authorities under house arrest while investigating the dubious storage these explosive materials on the docks since 2014, and the likelihood that these deaths were preventable, are deeply disturbing but not surprising developments to those of us who work on the waterfront. Employers, port authorities and government agencies should always hold safety paramount on the waterfront – but, left unchecked, complacency and profit motive too often put workers’ lives at risk. The shocking images we are seeing in the news illustrate why dockworker unions fight for safety on the docks and the safe movement of cargo: to protect our lives and communities.

The ILWU is closely monitoring the developments at the Port of Beirut, and we will determine the best way to assist when the facts become clearer.

On behalf of my fellow Titled Officers, the Coast Committeemen and the rank and file membership, I extend our profound condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the dockworkers and the people of Beirut.

PDF of the statement available here.

Categories: Unions

Global: ILO Child Labour Convention achieves universal ratification

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 08/04/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ILO
Categories: Labor News

Lebanon: Unions express solidarity after deadly blast rocks Beirut

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 08/04/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

Iran: Huge strike wave hits Iranian energy sector

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 08/04/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Bolivia: Indefinite Strike Begins in Bolivia Against Postponement of General Elections

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 08/04/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Newsclick
Categories: Labor News

Cambodia: Free Prominent Trade Union Leader - Drop Fabricated Charges Against Rong Chhun

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/03/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Human Rights Watch
Categories: Labor News

USA: The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Intensified Systemic Economic Racism Against Black Americans

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 08/01/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: New Yorker
Categories: Labor News

Veterinary workers strike SF’s largest animal hospital to protest illegal actions by their employer, VCA-Mars

ILWU - Fri, 07/31/2020 - 14:51

SAN FRANCISCO – Workers at the City’s largest veterinary hospital, San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS), walked-off the job yesterday afternoon to protest federal labor law violations by their employer, VCA-Mars. Thursday’s “Unfair Labor Practices” strike was triggered by a new charge that was filed against the company by the ILWU and by a new complaint issued by the Federal Government, alleging the hospital committed a host of federal labor law violations.

During the strike, workers, community members, and clients rallied in support of Katy Bradley, an outspoken union supporter, bargaining committee member, and advocate for better patient care who was fired by VCA-Mars hours after the employer was notified that charges were being filed against them for violating federal law. Bradley has been an exemplary employee at SFVS for nearly eight years where she worked as a lead veterinary technician.

Workers held a small rally outside of the hospital at 600 Alabama Street in San Francisco’s Mission District following proper COVID safety protocols, while community supporters and clients participated in a car caravan that circled the hospital and listened to the rally over Zoom.

“VCA-Mars can lock me out but they can’t keep me from bargaining for a fair contract,” Bradley said during an emotional speech. “We’ve been trying to reach an agreement for 27 months to improve this hospital as well as the pet-care industry. We want a fair contract that mutually benefits the hospital and the employees that work here. We want to improve the staffing ratios so that we can continue to provide the best patient care possible. Despite how reasonable our asks are, VCA-Mars continues to stall bargaining and deny that they can hear our calls.”

The action drew statements of support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and San Francisco Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Dean Preston.

“Recent developments represent a troubling deterioration of labor negotiations. This week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered VCA-SFVS to respond to charges of retaliation and termination based on employees’ protected union activity and refusal to bargain in good faith. And last week, ILWU filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint and 10-J Injunction for the termination of Katy Bradley, a union supporter who rose through the ranks at VCA-SFVS to her role as lead veterinary technician,” Speaker Pelosi wrote in a letter to the employer.

Supervisor Ronen stated in her letter to the company: “When a company knowingly attacks workers or undermines worker support, that company attacks our community. As the community–elected representative of the city’s 9th District I request that you reinstate Katy Bradley, cease all anti-union activity and you return to good faith bargaining. A quick resolution that is mutually beneficial to all parties is what our community grows and thrives on.”

The strike, which lasted less than an hour, is known as an “unfair labor practice” strike, because it responds directly to illegal conduct by the employer, rather than concerns about high-turnover, short-staffing and patient care, problems that have also plagued SFVS.

Photos of the event and a recording of the Zoom rally are available for reporters.

In 2018, employees voted by a 3-to-1 margin to form a union and affiliate with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Since that time, workers have been trying to negotiating their first contract. The company has hired anti-union consultants and lawyers to avoid reaching an agreement.

SFVS is part of a chain of veterinary hospitals operated by VCA, acquired in 2017 for $9.1 billion by the Mars Corporation which now owns 2,000 such facilities.

Categories: Unions

Jordan: Teachers’ Syndicate Closed; Leaders Arrested

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 07/29/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Human Rights Watch
Categories: Labor News

Workers, community and clients to rally in support of outspoken union supporter fired by Bay Area’s largest animal hospital

ILWU - Wed, 07/29/2020 - 12:03

 SAN FRANCISCO – Concerned pet owners, community groups and employees will rally in support of Katy Bradley, an outspoken union supporter and advocate for better patient care who was recently fired by SFVS-VCA, the region’s largest specialty animal hospital. Bradly was terminated hours after the company was notified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that a number of complaints were going to be filed against them for violating federal labor law. She has worked for SFVS-VCA for nearly eight years.

The rally will take place on Thursday, July 30th at 3:45 pm in front of San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS), 600 Alabama Street at the corner of 18th Street, in San Francisco’s Mission District. The rally will be preceded by a car caravan that will start at the Safeway Parking Lot on 16th & Bryant at 3:15 pm and depart for SFVS-VCA at 3:30 pm.

Proper COVID safety measures including wearing masks and social distancing will be practiced by all workers and attendees.

Reporters who attend the event will have an opportunity to interview Bradley.

SFVS is a private, for-profit facility owned by VCA and the Mars Corporation. The facility offers specialty care at a premium price for seriously sick pets. Bills for the specialty services can reach $10,000, $20,000 or more. The San Francisco hospital is part of America’s lucrative and fast-growing animal care business that generated an estimated $86 billion last year.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission District, has raised concerns about the firing of the outspoken union leader at SFVS-VCA. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, Katy and other front-line pet care workers have been putting their own health at risk to come into work every day to provide essential healthcare for our pets. We are saying to SFVS-VCA: Obey federal labor law, respect the rights of workers to collectively bargain, and reach a fair contract with these workers,” Ronen recently said.

SFVS was quietly purchased in 2017 along with hundreds of other animal hospitals and clinics for $9.1 billion by the Mars Corporation, the privately-held company that’s famous for their M&M candies. Mars now controls a large share of America’s animal care industry, along with ownership of IAM’s and Pedigree brand pet foods, and other animal-linked assets. Mars has come under fire in recent months by civil rights activists for the packaging of their Uncle Ben’s brand rice products and by human rights activists using slave labor in the production of their cocoa products.

In 2018, employees voted by a 3-to-1 margin to form a union and affiliate with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Since that time, workers have been trying to negotiating their first contract. The company has hired anti-union consultants and lawyers to avoid reaching an agreement. The company also refused to meet more than one day per month until the company finally agreed to meet twice per month to settle a complaint in the fall of 2019 with the NLRB for bargaining in bad faith in violation of federal law.

Download a PDF of the release here. 

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Categories: Unions

Philippines: State’s terror campaign against teachers must stop

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/27/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Education International
Categories: Labor News

Jordan: Govt arrests leaders of teachers' union in opposition crackdown

Labourstart.org News - Sat, 07/25/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: al Jazeera
Categories: Labor News

China: 180+ Orgs Demand Apparel Brands End Complicity in Uyghur Forced Labour

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 07/23/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Europe: EU Recovery Plan good news for 60 million at risk of unemployment

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 07/21/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ETUC
Categories: Labor News

USA: FL's largest teachers union sues state over reopening schools

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 07/20/2020 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NBC
Categories: Labor News

ILWU Mourns the Passing of Civil Rights Icon and Congressman John Lewis

ILWU - Mon, 07/20/2020 - 15:56

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union joins millions of people across the country in mourning the death of Civil Rights icon and United States Congressman John Lewis. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all of those whose lives were touched by Congressman Lewis’ life and work.

John Lewis was an unfailing supporter of the rights and dignity of working-class Americans and a fearless champion for liberty and civil rights throughout his entire life. He was one of the original Freedom Riders in the summer of 1960. As a young leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis helped to organize and also spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the “I Have A Dream” speech.

Lewis courageously put his body on the line in pursuit of racial justice and equality. He and Reverend Hosea Williams from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led a nonviolent march in 1965 across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, headed toward Montgomery. The pair led over 500 peaceful marchers into a line of violent racist police who attacked the group with clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas while Lewis urged everyone to kneel and pray. Lewis was so severely beaten in the “Bloody Sunday” incident that he had to be hospitalized with skull fractures.

John Lewis had longstanding connections with the ILWU that were forged over many decades because of a shared dedication to racial and economic justice, lifelong support for unions and workers, and the fact that his youngest sister, Rosa Tyner, was a member of ILWU Locals 10 and 91 for 23 years.

As a member of Congress, Representative Lewis was a champion of working people and a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights. He advocated for a living wage, calling for raising the minimum wage and supporting the Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage laws. He called for and strengthened workplace safety standards. Rep. Lewis was in all ways a true friend to longshore, maritime, and warehouse workers.

In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. During the ceremony, Obama said: “There’s a quote inscribed over a doorway in Nashville, where students first refused to leave lunch counters 51 years ago this February. And the quote said, ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’ It’s a question John Lewis has been asking his entire life. It’s why, time and again, he faced down death so that all of us could share equally in the joys of life.”

“John Lewis was a true hero and warrior for the working class,” said ILWU International President Willie Adams. “He was fearless, committed, and unwavering in his dedication to racial and economic justice. In the streets of Selma and in the halls of Congress, John Lewis fought for us all. The torch has truly been passed to a new generation of activists who today are continuing the fight for civil rights. May the memory of his life-long dedication and commitment to social justice and the struggle for freedom be a light that guides us through these challenging times.”

 

Download a PDF of the ILWU statement on the passing of John Lewis

Categories: Unions

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