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Global: Global solidarity for port strikes in Italy

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF
Categories: Labor News

USA: Bernie Sanders campaign rallies support at McDonald's strikes across US

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Guardian
Categories: Labor News

USA: American Call Center Workers Rally for Their Filipino Counterparts

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Am Prospect
Categories: Labor News

Global: Beyond meat? What's inside - and behind - the lab-grown protein rush

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

UK: Bring British Steel into public ownership to avoid an industrial catastrophe, demands Unite

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Unite the union
Categories: Labor News

Iran: IFJ urges release of two journalists arrested around Labour Day

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

Global: Unions are flying the flag for equality, diversity and dignity at work

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Bangladesh: Accord achievements secured

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/19/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IndustriALL
Categories: Labor News

Turkey: Report details permanent violations of media freedom

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IFJ
Categories: Labor News

USA: Machinists union calls for US government to investigate Delta Air Lines

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITF
Categories: Labor News

Alaska ferry workers continue fight for Marine Highway System

ILWU - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:09

Organizing in Alaskan waters: Crewmembers on the ferry Columbia, one of 9 vessels operated by the Alaska Marine Highway System, “buttoned-up” on April 5th with the message “Fair Contract Now,” as their ferry traveled from Ketchikan to Bellingham, WA. A few days later on April 8th, members attended an action back in Ketchikan where Alaska’s governor and Chamber of Commerce executives were pushing plans to destroy the public ferry system and replace it with a private one. IBU Alaska Patrolman Krissel Calibo reached out to members on the Columbia in Ketchikan, while Puget Sound IBU members Anthony Distefano and Rolland Lee met the crew upon arrival in Bellingham, the Marine Highway’s southernmost terminal.

The campaign to save good jobs and quality service provided by Alaska ferry workers continued in March and through April. Trouble started when the governor proposed slashing the state’s Marine Highway System budget by 75% – along with other vital services. Members of the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU) have been mobilizing with community supporters to save the system beginning several months ago, and they haven’t stopped since.

Talking with legislators

A team of 10 IBU members went to Capitol Hill in Juneau on March 28th where they met with 17 different legislators. The union members stuck together when they visited a legislator’s office, and made a point of sharing personal stories that conveyed how much customers depend on the ferry system to keep connected. The group made plans in advance about which legislators they would visit, and whether lawmakers were leaning “for” or “against” saving the ferry system. A typical 15-minute meeting ended with union members posing a question: “Can we get your support for full-service funding?”

After pushing for a clear commitment, the group would leave behind a pamphlet at each office – prepared with help from IBU member Anthony Distefano – listing ways that the ferry system could be run more efficiently and generate more revenue.

One particularly important meeting was secured with State Senator Bert Stedman, Chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. Union members used their opportunity to explain how vital the Marine Highway System is to keeping coastal communities connected – while providing an essential service that benefits all state residents. It was a long but interesting day at the capitol, but most everyone remained involved and the effort had a positive impact on legislators.

Contract effort continues

Besides fighting to protect the public ferry system, members have also been trying to renew their contract. Efforts to reach an agreement with state officials during the past three years have not been successful, so the old contract remains in effect while talks continue. To make more progress possible, efforts have been made to involve and educate more workers about the need to show unity and action. That’s what happened on April 5th when a statewide “button-up” was organized to encourage everyone to wear a “Fair Contracts Now” button. Support extended beyond Alaska into the Puget Sound Region, where IBU members there paid a solidarity visit to the Alaska ferry vessel “Columbia,” when it arrived at the system’s southern terminal in Bellingham. The show of solidarity was well-received and encouraged crewmembers to see the benefits of working together on a common goal.

Meeting with a DOT official

An unexpected benefit of the March 28th Lobby day was a meeting with State House member Andi Story, who represents the Mendenhall Valley of Juneau. She helped secure a meeting with Mary Siroky, Deputy Commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Transportation. Officials said in advance that they were open to hearing concerns, so IBU members came prepared with a binder containing over 50 grievances that have been active during the past year against ferry management at the central office in Ketchikan. Members made a strong case for how the union could help manage the dispatch system in ways that would save time, money and eliminate most of the grievances. Ms. Sirkoy was respectful and responsive to the suggestions that were offered.

Hiring an expert to help

IBU’s Alaska Region recently decided to hire an experienced advisor and former State official who knows his way around the halls and offices of the State Capital in Juneau, and also has many helpful contacts in rural areas. The new advisor will help the union during the limited time remaining in this year’s legislative session.

Meeting with Lt. Governor

As The Dispatcher was going to press, IBU members had secured a meeting with Lt. Governor Kevin Myers – the result of new political connections being made by the union and efforts by Regional Director Trina Arnold. Anything significant that results from this meeting will be reported in a future issue of The Dispatcher.

Members & community involved

IBU leaders in Alaska say they’re pleased with progress being made now, especially in terms of greater membership involvement and participation. With the Ferry System battle raging and a greater outreach and education effort underway, more members are attending events and volunteering. The IBU is coordinating efforts with the AFL-CIO and other unions, and the IBU’s clever “Save our System” (SOS) campaign fits nicely with one led by Alaska’s AFL-CIO, dubbed “Save Our State.” Another positive development is their newly-acquired and valuable legislative experience. Results seem to include a more responsive legislature.

Previous months saw unprecedented public budget testimony that lasted several days – setting a new record when over 600 people came forward to testify – many of them speaking in favor of the ferry system. The union also had their first experience organizing a “roadshow” that helped reach beyond the Capital to contact legislators in their home districts – and organize residents there to participate and speak out. The governor was put on the defensive and forced to start his own version of a “roadshow.” But unlike the effort organized by union volunteers, his was funded by private corporate interests, including the anti-union Koch Brothers, and any questions from citizens were carefully screened and controlled.

The result of the IBU effort is more people – both inside and outside the union – who are asking questions and expecting more from their representatives. Alaska’s House of Representatives recently voted to reject budget recommendations from the governor, adopting their own budget instead that spared the Ferry System from drastic cut.

Next battle in the State Senate

Now the fight moves to the State Senate, which will be harder because corporate and political interests hold more sway there. IBU Alaska has been doing everything possible to be positioned for a

Organizing in Alaskan waters: Crewmembers on the ferry Columbia, one of 9 vessels operated by the Alaska Marine Highway System, “buttoned-up” on April 5th with the message “Fair Contract Now,” as their ferry travelled from Ketchikan to Bellingham, WA. A few days later on April 8th, members attended an action back in Ketchikan where Alaska’s governor and Chamber of Commerce executives were pushing plans to destroy the public ferry system and replace it with a private one. IBU Alaska Patrolman Krissel Calibo reached out to members on the Columbia in Ketchikan, while Puget Sound IBU members Anthony Distefano and Rolland Lee met the crew upon arrival in Bellingham, the Marine Highway’s southernmost terminal.

‘seat at the table’ when key decisions are made about the future of the public ferry system – made possible by encouraging members to take a more active role and realize their untapped power by working together.

Robb Arnold, Vice chair

IBU Alaska Region Executive Board

Categories: Unions

President’s message

ILWU - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 10:42

Sisters and Brothers of the ILWU, I would like to begin by thanking all of the officers and staff who are working so tirelessly to help the members of our union face some of the most challenging times in our history. We’re facing headwinds instead of tailwinds; dealing with employers who are challenging things as simple as paying health benefits – and serious as outsourcing work and destroying jobs.

In early April, I attended several meetings where we had to raise difficult, sometimes painful issues, including what work could look like in the future. Some of these difficult discussions took place at the International Executive Board meeting, followed by the Longshore Caucus on April 16. Some of the same issues came into sharp focus during a rally in Southern California, where community and union members are rightly concerned about plans to automate Terminal 400 at the Port of Los Angeles – a move that could destroy hundreds of good jobs. Each of these meetings raised different problems, but the take-away was the same: we’re facing challenging times that require honest, sometimes painful discussions. I realize that our union has been through difficult times before, and that we’ll survive these challenges, but the International Officers and I want to be open with you about what we’re up against – and how we’re responding.

Global grain giants

In the Pacific Northwest, global grain companies are demanding concessions and refusing to sign fair contracts. These international grain merchants are making healthy profits – but want workers to have less so they can take more. One exception is TEMCO, a grain terminal operator who negotiated a fair contract with us in just a few meetings for their terminals in Tacoma, Kalama and Portland.

Compare that to Galivan, Inc., owner of the Kalama Export Terminal, which is still refusing to pay the same health and pension benefits to Local 21 members that all other ILWU in-house elevator employees enjoy. We’ll keep negotiating with Kalama Export and the other grain companies, despite their demands to squeeze workers and family farmers. This challenge is forming stronger bonds between family farmers and ILWU members, because we’re both facing pressure from the same big grain companies. We’ve had promising talks with leaders from the National Farmers Union, and I hope we can work together in the times ahead.

Automation that’s killing good jobs

Many U.S. workers – not just dockworkers – are being hurt by automation that threatens to permanently eliminate good jobs. In Southern California, many community members around the Port of LA are fighting back against a proposed project that would replace hundreds of workers with automated equipment at Terminal 400. I’ve spent several days marching, rallying and talking with hundreds of these community leaders, business owners and port workers who are asking good questions, like: “What will happen to families, future generations and local businesses if automation destroys our good jobs at the port?” These questions and concerns must be fully considered by all stakeholders if West Coast port communities are going to be prosperous in the future for the many, not just a few.

Privatizing to destroy public service

In Alaska, ferry workers on the state-owned Marine Highway System belong to our Marine Division, the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU). They’re also fighting to save good jobs and dependable service that allows residents and business owners to survive in dozens of isolated communities. Alaska’s governor started this crisis by trying to slash funding for the ferries and other vital service by 75%. At the same time, private investors are maneuvering to swoop-in and privatize the public system. If this happens, there will be higher fares and service cuts for residents and small business owners, along with fewer jobs and a less certain future for ferry workers. IBU members have formed a coalition with community leaders, other unions and help from our International Organizing Department to fight back.

Union-busting continues

Workers from many industries continue asking us to help them organize and join the ILWU, including workers at America’s largest pet hospital chains. One of those chains is VCA, which operates more than 800 pet hospitals and was sold in 2017 for over $9 billion to Mars, the giant corporation that’s famous for M&M’s candy. Mars says it respects workers’ rights but allows VCA to hire union-busting consultants and attorneys to harass pet-care workers. On April 11th, I joined nearly one hundred ILWU Longshore Caucus delegates and supporters who rallied with workers at the Mars/VCA SFVS pet hospital in San Francisco. Workers there won a union election last year, and are now trying to negotiate for better patient care and working conditions – despite stalling tactics and resistance from VCA and Mars.

Courts & federal agencies

In the courts, we’re facing several challenges from employers and federal agencies. Philippine-based terminal operator ICTSI has us in a trial for damages in October of this year, and the Japanese company, Columbia Grain has also filed a frivolous lawsuit that deserves to be thrown out of court but will require litigation.

The Department of Labor also wants us to re-run the ILWU International election. We think they’ve got it wrong and will present facts and evidence to the court that prove the union acted in accordance with our Constitution and federal election law. The officers are committed to protecting the integrity and democracy of the ILWU’s election process.

Different problems, same solution

You may have different problems at your job, or maybe some of the same that I’ve mentioned here, but whatever the problem, all solutions have to begin with us coming together and talking honestly about what steps we can take collectively as a group. Here are some of the things that your International Officers are doing to make those next steps successful:

We’re talking to other unions, including ones that we’ve disagreed with in the past. Regardless of what’s happened before, we can’t close the door on helping each other in the future. Having more friends and allies in the labor movement is more important than ever, and is not something that we can take for granted.

We’re talking to other organizations and community groups who support unions and working families. This includes family farm organizations who are also struggling against big grain companies. We’re working with environmental groups who support our fight to keep stadiums and condos out of industrial areas and want to see more all-electric vehicles driven by longshore workers on the docks. We recognize and value the support of our local communities, and know that we can’t win these fights in isolation. We best protect our interests with the full support of our local communities.

We’re providing more training and resources to help rank-and-file members obtain the tools necessary for protecting our jurisdiction and our future. We are also developing ILWU leadership programs and cooperating with allied groups to further the development of our future ILWU leaders.

Looking forward means engaging in the 2020 Presidential election – in a way that’s good for the union, our families and the working class. If you have ideas and suggestions, we want to hear from you.

Open door for your ideas

The ILWU isn’t a big union, but we’ve always punched above our weight and earned respect from many of our peers. Tackling these problems that I’ve mentioned will require some difficult conversations, but I’m confident that we can succeed by sticking together, standing by our principles, reaching out to new allies and embracing new ideas. My door is always open to your ideas and any suggestions you may have to help us stay unified as we face the challenges ahead. Our thanks to each of you who are concerned and contributing so that our union can move forward and help more working families.

Categories: Unions

Iran: Labour Activists Detained Since May Day

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Human Rights Watch
Categories: Labor News

Global: Uber IPO is a bad bet

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: ITUC
Categories: Labor News

Global: Global agreement on sustainable employment in Unilever manufacturing

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IUF
Categories: Labor News

USA: IAM Campaigns Strike a Nerve with Delta Bosses

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IAM
Categories: Labor News

Oakland needs port jobs, funding for schools and housing, not a new ballpark

Current News - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 13:32

Oakland needs port jobs, funding for schools and housing, not a new ballpark
By Jack Heyman April 29, 2019 Updated: April 29, 2019 5:33 p.m.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Open-Forum-Oakland...
Comments

Shipping containers line the the Charles P. Howard Terminal, a possible location for a new Oakland Athletics baseball stadium, on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in Oakland, Calif.
Photo: Noah Berger / Special to The Chronicle 2018

Perhaps the hottest clash in the Bay Area baseball world since the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s was interrupted by an earthquake is peaking now — the $600 million-and-counting, privately financed proposal by Oakland A’s owner John Fisher to build a stadium at Howard Terminal in Jack London Square.

This proposal is backed by politicians and real estate developers. It is opposed by environmental groups and many trade unions led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers and boatmen. Ostensibly, maritime and railroad companies also oppose building an A’s stadium in the port.

The ILWU plans to shut down the port in protest with a rally and march in the port on May Day, the traditional celebration of labor that is promoted by the international labor movement.

Fisher’s proposal promises affordable housing and jobs. His opponents view those promises as a ploy. A recent event in West Oakland billed as a “community meeting” turned out to be a PowerPoint presentation by professionals pushing the stadium. Promoting project benefits to the predominantly African American audience, one presenter explained that the stadium would provide part-time jobs, such as peanut sellers and parking lot attendants. Affordable housing was also gratuitously promised.

Sports arenas are being built all over the country, often amid controversy. Hardly ever are these grandiose promises of jobs and housing kept.

For instance, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., home of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders (and formerly known as the Atlantic Yards), the community is still waiting for the “affordable housing units.” After 16 years of planning, more than half are not built. Now the owners are asking for a 10-year extension because they didn’t meet their obligation within the agreed upon time frame. And the jobs ...“fugetaboutit!”

On April 22, representatives of the Oakland A’s went to Sacramento to try to enlist the support of politicians. Already some Democratic state lawmakers are working behind closed doors to pass fast-track legislation to permit the stadium. That’s right from the Democratic Party’s 1993 fast-track playbook to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement: Tell workers you’re a “friend of labor” to get their vote and oppose NAFTA, then, when you’re elected, put the legislation on the fast track claiming it’ll bring more jobs. Clearly, workers need their own party to fight for jobs.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says she’s “encouraged” by the Howard Terminal proposal. Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval said, “We’re building a new neighborhood in this part of the city.”

In other words: Promoting gentrification, which will displace West Oakland residents.

Fisher, the billionaire owner of the A’s who also owns the Gap clothing retailer, uses his wealth to privatize public education with the KIPP and Rocketship charter school chains, which he controls. Oakland teachers, who went on strike this spring to win wage and working condition improvements, questioned why the port, which boasted a record-breaking year in 2018 of 2.5 million containers and collected millions of dollars in tariffs, didn’t pay a penny to fund Oakland public education. The Port of Long Beach helps fund city social services and schools. Why not the Port of Oakland? Mayor Schaaf was formerly director of public affairs for the Port of Oakland — she should know.

Hundreds of activists march from the Port of Oakland as part of May Day protests in Oakland, California on May 1, 2015. In 2015, protests focused on stopping tech worker buses and widening inequality in the Bay Area. This year, the May Day protest focuses on stopping a proposed new baseball stadium at Howard Terminal.
Photo: Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images 2015
The longshore union has a proud history of making the Bay Area a progressive place to live and work:

• Leading the Bay Area labor movement in the 1934 San Francisco General Strike;

• Initiating a racial integration campaign of union ranks 30 years before the Civil Rights Act;

• Striking against a ship from South Africa to help topple the apartheid regime;

• Financing affordable housing in San Francisco in St. Francis Square;

• Shutting down Bay Area ports to protest racist police violence.

Now the ILWU, the longshore union, is calling on the Bay Area’s working people to continue the struggle to keep and expand good-paying union jobs with benefits, to build real affordable housing, to fund public education and defend immigrant rights. And to reject a new ballpark at Howard Terminal.

Jack Heyman, a retired ILWU member, worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as a longshoreman and boatman for over 30 years.

ILWU May Day rally to protest A’s stadium at the port

Where: Intersection of Market and Embarcadero West, Oakland (Howard Terminal)

When: 11 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 1, march to Port of Oakland headquarters, 530 Water St.

2 p.m., march to Oscar Grant Plaza (in front of Oakland City Hall).

4 p.m., march with Sin Fronteras to Lake Merritt.

What: Protest demands are:

Stop the proposed Oakland A’s stadium in the port.

Support good-paying union jobs.

Build affordable housing.

Fund public education — oppose Oakland school closings and charter schools.

Defend immigrant rights, support sanctuary for all, support “No Ban, No Wall” campaign (No federal ban on immigration from seven Muslim nations, no U.S.-Mexico border wall).

Tags: port of OaklandHoward Terminal
Categories: Labor News

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