Labor News

Thailand: Workers' rights campaigner Andy Hall found guilty in a shock ruling by Bangkok court

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Finnwatch
Categories: Labor News

Saudi Arabia: Strike at privately-run hospital after salary delays

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Times-Union
Categories: Labor News

Global: Labour Leaders: We Must Protect Refugees’ Rights

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TIME
Categories: Labor News

Australian port sold for $7.3 billion to consortium; China fund among backers

Current News - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 16:44

Australian port sold for $7.3 billion to consortium; China fund among backers
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-privatisation-ports-idUSKCN1...
Mon Sep 19, 2016 | 12:52pm EDT
Australian port sold for $7.3 billion to consortium; China fund among backers
leftright

Shipping containers and cranes are seen at a port holding yard in Melbourne in this June 2, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/Files

By Cecile Lefort and Byron Kaye | SYDNEY
A consortium of global and domestic funds, backed by investors including China Investment Corp, agreed to buy Australia's busiest port for a higher-than-expected A$9.7 billion ($7.3 billion), a sign that tough equity markets are helping fuel appetite for infrastructure.

Australian leaders will also hope the deal shows they still welcome Chinese investment in infrastructure. The federal government last month blocked the sale of the country's biggest power network, Ausgrid, to state-owned State Grid Corp of China and Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings on security concerns.

The price tag for Port of Melbourne fell short of the country's largest privatization deal on record, the A$10.8 billion sale of electricity grid company Transgrid to a global consortium in November 2015, but still ranks among its biggest.

It also smashes the target set by the government of Victoria state which previously said it hoped for A$5.8 billion for the container and multi-cargo port. In 2013, the two ports of larger city Sydney fetched A$5 billion.

Sovereign wealth funds and other asset managers are seeking long-term investment opportunities amid weaker returns from some equity markets and lower bond yields.

"Equity markets are starting to realise that they're going to live in an environment where returns are going to be lower for longer, and they're looking for secure investments," Victoria Treasurer Tim Pallas said in a telephone interview.

FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Australia began a free trade agreement with China in December but has been trying to ease diplomatic strains since the Ausgrid rejection. China's commerce ministry warned at the time that the move "seriously impacts the willingness of Chinese companies to invest in Australia".

On Monday, Pallas said Australia's sovereign wealth fund, The Future Fund, and Canada's Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System will each get a fifth of Port of Melbourne following the sale, which is packaged as a 50-year lease.

The government investment vehicle of Queensland state (QIC) and New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners are the other consortium partners.

China Investment Corp [CIC.UL] is a major investor in Global Infrastructure Partners. South Korean pension fund NPS is also an investor. QIC's investors include California Public Employees' Retirement System (CALPERS).

All foreign buyers have regulatory clearance, Pallas added. The deal is expected to close on Oct. 31, a statement from the consortium said. Gresham Partners and Credit Suisse acted as financial adviser to the consortium.

The sell-off is part of Australia's more than A$100 billion privatization program, where state and federal governments are trying to cut debt and bankroll capital works by selling "mature" infrastructure assets.

New South Wales state, which arranged the troubled Ausgrid sale, is again trying to offload that asset, and plans to dispose of another grid afterwards. Western Australia state meanwhile wants to sell ports, while the Federal government is selling the Australian Security and Investments Commission's registry arm.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Cecile Lefort; Additional reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Stephen Coates and Edwina Gibbs)

Tags: privatizationChineseport privatization
Categories: Labor News

Bangladesh: Out of the ashes of Rana Plaza

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: NI
Categories: Labor News

Middle East: UNRWA workers on strike in four countries over low wages

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: al Bawaba
Categories: Labor News

IBT Pres Hoffa Faces Racketeering Probe As Teamster Election Approaches

Current News - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 11:46

IBT Pres Hoffa Faces Racketeering Probe As Teamster Election Approaches
http://www.tdu.org/hoffa_faces_racketeering_probe_as_teamster_election_a...

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2016
(Media Advisory) Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), has submitted a letter to the staff of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, calling on the Department of Justice to expedite its widening investigation of racketeering and corruption in the Hoffa administration.

As 1.3 million Teamsters prepare to elect their International Union officers, court-approved anti-corruption officers are conductig a major corruption investigation into the administration of incumbent president James P. Hoffa.

Anti-corruption officers are in federal court seeking subpoenas as part of a widening probe into racketeering, including employer gifts and payoffs to top Teamster officials who rigged the bidding process for business with Teamster benefit funds.

Hoffa and other top officials were taken on at least two European golf vacations by an investment fund owner, Charles Bertucio, who was hired by UnitedHealthcare to land accounts with Teamster benefit funds.1

Hoffa administration officials subsequently rigged the bidding process at a national health benefit fund so Bertucio and UnitedHealthcare were awarded the business even when they submitted the most expensive bid.

The reform movement, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), has submitted a letter to the staff of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, calling on the Department of Justice to expedite its investigation as the Teamster election approaches. 3

The Teamsters is the largest union in North America whose top leaders are democratically elected by the members. The incumbent, James P. Hoffa, is the son of James R. Hoffa, who was convicted and imprisoned for using the Central States Pension Fund for personal gain.

Hoffa is challenged in the race by Fred Zuckerman, the leader of Louisville Local 89 and an outspoken critic of corruption, contract givebacks and benefit cuts. Ballots will be mailed to the union’s 1.3 million members on October 6.

A 122-page report of charges by corruption officers and related depositions, exhibits and court filings document an elaborate pay-for-play scheme that rewarded top Hoffa administration officials for funneling Teamster benefit fund business to Bertucio and protecting his interests in the Teamsters. The documented findings include:

• Optum, an affiliate of UnitedHealthcare, paid Charles Bertucio to secure accounts with Teamster benefit funds.

• Bertucio took General President Hoffa, his top advisor, his chief of staff, two running mates, Teamster benefit fund officials, and consultants on golf vacations to Europe.

• When Bertucio submitted a substandard bid to the VEBA Trust, a fund covering over 20,000 Teamsters, International Union Vice President Rome Aloise and Hoffa’s Chief of Staff Willie Smith shared inside information with Bertucio so he could restructure his bid, charge as much as possible and still land the business.

• Hoffa’s long-time advisor Richard Leebove monitored VEBA deliberations even though he is exclusively a political and campaign operative and has no role in Teamster benefit funds.

• Bertucio landed the account and three months later, he took Hoffa, his chief of staff, two running mates, Leebove, and other Teamster benefit fund officials and consultants on a golf trip to Scotland to the historic St Andrews golf course.
After anti-corruption officers deposed Bertucio, Hoffa’s Chief of Staff Willie Smith falsified records and back-dated checks to try to cover up the free golf trips. The Independent Investigations Officer has now filed subpoenas in federal court for Smith’s phone and bank records. 4

Bertucio is a long-time associate of a top Hoffa running mate, International Union Vice President Rome Aloise, who faces corruption charges and a criminal investigation.

Aloise illegally made Bertucio a Teamster member under what corruption officers call a “sham contract” to give Bertucio a competitive advantage over rivals seeking business with Teamster benefit funds.

Bertucio also hired Hoffa’s son, Geoffrey Hoffa, to buy access to Teamster benefit fund officials. Under oath, Bertucio admitted to investigators that he did not know what Geoffrey Hoffa did for a living, but that he hired him to “help with introductions” to Teamster benefit fund officials.5

The corruption investigation is being led by Joseph diGenova, the former Special Counsel on a U.S. House of Representatives probe into the Teamsters. diGenova is now the Independent Investigations Officer in charge of leading corruption investigations in the Teamsters.

###

Source Documents:

1 Independent Review Board (IRB) Charges against Rome Aloise, February 10, 2016. (See pgs. 4-5).

2 Declaration in Support of the Independent Investigations Officer’s Application for the Issuance of Subpoenas, United States of America v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 (LAP); Pages 100-129 of Sworn Testimony of Rome Aloise, Wednesday, November 4, 2015, New York, NY

3 Letter from Teamsters for a Democratic Union counsel Barbara Harvey to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. September 12, 2016

4 Independent Investigations Officer’s Application for the Issuance of Subpoenas, United States of America v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 (LAP); Declaration in Support of the Independent Investigations Officer’s Application for the Issuance of Subpoenas, United States of America v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 (LAP);

Tags: IBT HoffacorruptionTDU
Categories: Labor News

Shipyard workers on trial in Egypt appeal for solidarity

Current News - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 18:08

Shipyard workers on trial in Egypt appeal for solidarity
https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/43386/Shipyard+workers+on+trial+in+Egy...
by Charlie Kimber

Workers taking part in the sit-in (Pic: revsoc.me)

This weekend 26 workers from Egypt’s Alexandria Shipyard are expected to find out the verdict in their military trial.

It is a significant moment for the whole of the country’s labour movement. The limited rights that people have in civilians courts don't apply in military ones.

International solidarity is very important, and can make a difference. Activists are appealing for people everywhere to join a day of action this Friday, 16 September.

The workers were arrested after staging a sit-in at the yard in May to call for payment of bonuses, permanent contracts for 36 temporary workers, and to allow workers to receive promised promotions.

Military police surrounded the workers and arrested 13 of them, together with a clerical worker.

Mohamed Awad, a lawyer from the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights who is representing the workers, says the shipyard was originally established as a state-owned facility in the 1970s, but the Ministry of Defence took over the factory in 2007.

This the supposed justification for civilian workers facing trial in a military court.

Overturn

Egyptian socialist activist Hisham Fouad writes, "As military courts do not allow appeals, the only way to overturn the sentences would be seek a presidential pardon. The judges could sentence the defendants to up to three years in prison.

"Under pressure from the local and international solidarity campaign the shipyard allowed 600 workers to return to work in August. Immediately a fatal incident in one of the workshops showed how management’s neglect of health and safety procedures is putting workers’ lives at risk when 27-year old Mohammed Gad was killed by electrocution.

Portsmouth RMT in solidarity with Alexandria Shipyard workers

"He and his colleagues had spent long years demanding safety boots and occupational health and safety, but their complaints were ignored, and now his two young daughters are without a father.

"The case against the 26 workers has to be understood in the context of a widespread attack on workers by the military regime as it pursues a plan of counter-revolution aimed at reversing the gains of the 2011 Revolution through attacks on opposition political groups, students and youth movements. Terrorising workers also serves the goal of imposing austerity policies."

Leading trade unionists from the port cities of Portsmouth in Britain and Piraeus in Greece are backing the solidarity campaign.

Military police invaded the shipyard (Pic: revsoc.me)

Jon Woods, secretary of Portsmouth trades council said, “We have written a letter of protest to Egyptian President Sisi condemning the regime’s attacks on workers’ rights and calling for the release of the Alexandria Shipyard workers.

“We are encouraging our member unions to take part in the international solidarity action for the workers on 16 September.

"It is an outrage that our fellow workers in Alexandria have been put on trial for demanding their rights, and even worse, that this is taking place in a military court.”

Since the military took power in 2013 Egyptian workers’ rights have been severely attacked. But strikes and protests do still happen.

Please help spread the word and take action:

• Sign up for Egypt Solidarity Initiative’s Thunderclap here:https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/46556-free-the-alex-shipyard-workers
• Send a message to President Sisi of Egypt calling on him to free the shipyard workers and end military trials for civilians. Write to: Office of the President Al Ittihadia Palace, Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, Fax: +202 2 391 1441, Email:p.spokesman@op.gov.eg Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial
• For further resources go to egyptsolidarityinitiative.org

Tags: Egyptian Shipyard workers trial
Categories: Labor News

Hoffa Calls on N.D. Governor to Help Pipeline Workers

Current News - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 21:19

Hoffa Calls on N.D. Governor to Help Pipeline Workers
https://teamster.org/blog/2016/08/hoffa-calls-nd-governor-help-pipeline-...
AUGUST 31, 2016

<8.31.16pipelinephoto.jpg>
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa has signed onto a letter with three other union leaders asking North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple to protect Dakota Access Pipeline workers from protestors who have attempted to shut down the project.
Hoffa was joined by the heads of LiUNA, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union on the Aug. 22 letter, which notes demonstrators have created an atmosphere that is unsafe not only for those working on the pipeline, but for law enforcement and the protestors themselves.
“The men and women who are constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline through North Dakota deserve the opportunity to work in an environment that is not illegally occupied by protestors or anyone who threatens the safety of our union brothers and sisters,” Hoffa and the other union presidents wrote.
“We ask you to please utilize the authority of your office to protect American workers and our ability to work in a safe environment and stand up to the demonstrators who are committing dangerous actions in protest of the project,” they added.
Four states, including North Dakota, previously approved the pipeline. Although the public was given multiple chances to comment on its construction over a two-year period leading up to the project’s approval, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe – which is leading the demonstrations – chose not to participate.
Demonstrators are currently illegally occupying private land and public roadways where union members are trying to do their jobs. As a result, workers have been asked to leave the job site while local law enforcement authorities attempt to contain the situation.
While opponents have questioned the project’s safety, the Teamsters and other union laborers have the knowledge and experience to building this pipeline with minimal impact to the community, ecosystem and surrounding areas.
These workers are skilled and pride themselves on doing the job right. They work to ensure a safe workplace and have protocols in place that ensure it is done in a way that protects both the environment and landowners.
The U.S. needs better infrastructure built by union workers that will make this nation more energy independent. The Dakota Access Pipeline will help make America stronger.

Tags: HoffaIBTteamstersNative AmericansNorth Dakota
Categories: Labor News

5/16/15 Oregon State State Association of Letter Carrier NAlC Backed BLM And Action By ILA 1422 And ILWU Local 10

Current News - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 13:14

5/16/15 Oregon State State Association of Letter Carrier NALC Backed BLM And Action By ILA 1422 And ILWU Local 10

Resolution, from the Oregon State Assn of Letter Carriers, was adopted by the Nat'l Assn of Letter Carriers national convention in Los Angeles, Aug 15, 2016

Resolution: Black Lives Matter

Whereas: Over the past year, Black communities and their allies across the country have been in almost continuous rebellion against police brutality, focusing their protest on the police killings of unarmed Black men, and

Whereas: From their response to the Ferguson, Missouri, death of Mike Brown, to that of Eric Garner in New York City, to that of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been challenging systematic racial profiling, harassment, mass incarceration, and brutality against working class Black communities by city police departments, and

Whereas: Analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union shows that police are killing an average of three people a day and that a Black man is 21 times more likely to be killed by police than a white man; and

Whereas: The labor union movement has mobilized solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, most recently in a May 1st strike by the International Longshoreman’s Association local 1422 and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union local 10 against racist police brutality, in solidarity with the Baltimore uprising, under the slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all,” and

Whereas: The American Postal Workers Union issued a statement during the Ferguson rebellion which stated, in part -- “Unions stand for good living-wage jobs for all workers, respect for and equality of all people, and justice in the workplace and in the neighborhoods in which we live. As postal workers, we live and work in every community across the nation, including Ferguson. At a time when we are reaching out to the people throughout the nation to defend the public Postal Service and good union jobs, we must also stand with our communities. Martin Luther King put it so well when he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and

Whereas: The labor movement is also often harassed and victimized by police, especially on picket lines and during strikes and protests, and

Whereas: The joining of the labor movement with the Black Lives Matter movement to resist police brutality can only strengthen each, therefore be it

Resolved: That the Oregon State Association of Letter Carriers declare its solidarity with the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice and police accountability and seek to educate its members about our common struggle, and be it finally

Resolved: That this resolution be forwarded to the Oregon AFL-CIO and the national NALC Executive Council for concurrence.

Adopted at the Oregon State Association of Letter Carriers state convention, May 16, 2015

Tags: regon State State Association of Letter Carrier NALC Backed BLM And Action By ILA 1422 And ILWU Local 10
Categories: Labor News

Swaziland: Police Fire Rubber Bullets On Strikers

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: allAfrica
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: CUT union refuses to recognise current government

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: IHS
Categories: Labor News

France: Unions stage final street march against French labour law reform

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Star
Categories: Labor News

Container shipper's collapse leaves dozens of vessels stranded, with an estimated 2,500 sailors and $14bn of goods."

Current News - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 19:35

Waterworld: container shipper's collapse leaves absurdist British artist all at sea "Hanjin Shipping Co has dozens of vessels stranded, with an estimated 2,500 sailors and $14bn of goods."
Rebecca Moss, 25, embarked on a floating comedic art project but she is now stranded on a 65,000-tonne ship off coast of Japan ‘bobbing away aimlessly’
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/14/artist-stranded-con...

Rebecca Moss aboard the Hanjin Geneva: ‘It has forcefully underscored the contradictions I always perceived about this endless stream of stuff constantly flowing across the Pacific.’ Photograph: Courtesy of Rebecca Moss
Ashifa Kassam in Toronto
@ashifa_k
Wednesday 14 September 2016 21.42 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 14 September 2016 23.35 BST

Whether she’s rolling down a hill littered with mousetraps or attempting to make her way out of a muddy puddle on a pogo stick, much of Rebecca Moss’s art stems from putting herself in slapstick or surreal scenarios.

But the 25-year-old British absurdist artist now finds herself in a bizarre situation she had little hand in creating: she’s one of 25 people stranded amid thousands of shipping containers on a 65,000-tonne ship currently sitting off the coast of Japan with no destination.

The ship is one of dozens of vessels idling in international waters after Hanjin Shipping Co, the world’s seventh-largest container shipper, filed for bankruptcy late last month.

“We have no idea when we will get into a port,” Moss told the Guardian in an email from aboard the Hanjin Geneva.

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Hanjin Shipping Co has dozens of vessels stranded, with an estimated 2,500 sailors and $14bn of goods. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters/Reuters
The collapse of the Seoul-based company has left an estimated 2,500 sailors, most of them from South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia, stranded at sea alongside $14bn worth of goods. Ports, worried about the company’s inability to pay for docking or cargo handling, have turned the ships away while the company scrambles to ensure its vessels won’t be seized by creditors.

Hanjin chairman injects $36m of own assets to ease shipping crisis
Read more
The Hanjin Geneva, laden with goods that range from animal skins to frozen French fries, left Vancouver last month en route to Shanghai. Moss embarked on the ship as part of an artist residency – titled “23 Days at Sea” – organised by Vancouver’s Access Gallery. Wednesday was her 22nd day on board. An MA student at the Royal College of Art in London, her aim was to explore the comedic potential of the clash between mechanical systems and nature.

The company’s collapse came about a week after she embarked, leaving Moss and the two dozen others – including a crew from the Philippines, Germany and Poland as well as two American passengers – floating in international waters until a solution can be found. “The unknown duration is the hardest thing of all to manage,” said Moss.

Tapping into spotty Wi-Fi, she’s been able to follow the news and watch as economic forces render the captain and crew powerless to take decisions. “We are united in vulnerability against global corporations that are happy to let us sit here while they grab what they can salvage,” she said. “We have liberty and dignity taken away from us while we bob away aimlessly at sea.”

One man's trash: the filtered flotsam of artist Stuart Haygarth – in pictures
View gallery
In recent days the company has won some reprieve, in the form of court protection that allowed goods from at least four ships to be unloaded at ports in the US and a sell-off of three of its vessels.

The ship’s plight has become the focus of Moss’s residency. Footage she filmed of containers being diligently loaded on to the ship takes on a new tone with the realisation that the ship has no destination, she said, while the necessity of the goods is thrown into question as they languish onboard. “It has forcefully underscored the contradictions I always perceived about this endless stream of stuff that is constantly flowing across the Pacific,” said Moss.

The absurdity she had hoped to find when she embarked on the ship now seems to be everywhere she looks. “For those familiar with my art practice, and with my sense of humour, this situation is oddly suited to me and I am sure will inform my work for years to come.”

Tags: HanjinSailors stranded
Categories: Labor News

Curacao: General strike this Thursday

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Herald
Categories: Labor News

NYC MTA TWU 100 J train conductor hospitalized after Lower East Side assault that sent commuters into frenzy

Current News - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 11:31

NYC MTA TWU 100 J train conductor hospitalized after Lower East Side assault that sent commuters into frenzy
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/subway-conductor-assaulted...

NYC MTA TWU 100 J train conductor hospitalized after Lower East Side assault that sent commuters into frenzy

BY
DAN RIVOLI

THOMAS TRACY

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 10:38 AM
A subway conductor was hospitalized after he was assaulted on a Lower East Side J train during the height of Wednesday morning’s rush hour — an attack that sparked mass panic among the hundreds of commuters on the train.
The conductor was attacked after his J train stopped at the Essex St./Delancey St. station about 8:55 a.m.
Bedlam quickly ensued, with several passengers claiming to smell smoke, although no fire was reported.
“Someone yelled run and all hell broke loose,” said one commuter identified as Wbernard, who tweeted a short video of the mayhem.
Injured worker rescued on Second Ave. Subway project

The conductor was attacked after his J train stopped at the Essex St./Delancey St. station about 8:55 a.m. (THEODORAKIS, ANDREW/THEODORAKIS, ANDREW)
In the video, passengers are urging other fellow commuters to stay calm.
“Right now we don’t know what is going on, but no one here is hurt,” one woman could be heard over the din. “At this moment you are safe.”
Another commuter assured everyone that the police were nearby.
“The cops are down at the other train car where the problem is. Everybody stay tight,” the subway rider said. “You can get out at either end, but the cops are down at the end sorting out what the problem is.”
Person badly hurt after jumping onto Brooklyn subway tracks
The conductor was taken to Beth Israel Hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
Police arrested the attacker, according to an MTA source.
By 10:20 a.m., service on the J and M line had resumed, but with extensive delays.

Tags: TWU 100health and safetyconductor
Categories: Labor News

UK RMT Calls For General Strike – to confront Trade Union Act!

Current News - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 11:30

UK RMT Calls For General Strike – to confront Trade Union Act!
http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/12465
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
RMT CALL FOR GENERAL STRIKE – to confront Trade Union Act!
THERE was an RMT call for a general strike to confront the Trade Union Act and all anti-union laws at at the TUC Congress in Brighton yesterday.

An impassioned debate on ‘Composite Motion 16 2016 Trade Union Act’ was opened by mover Sean Hoyle RMT warning: ‘The Trade Union Act or rather the anti-union act, seeks to turn back the clock a hundred years.

‘When a worker can’t withdraw their labour, they are nothing more than modern day slaves. Under this Act if we have a workplace of 100 and 49 vote, with every single one voting for strike action, they can’t – just one more vote for a 50% threshold.
‘We shouldn’t have to find a way round legislation.

‘Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to repeal anti-union laws. We need a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government. But we can’t wait. The POA motion to “consider the practicalities of a general strike” was passed four years ago – but there’s been no action.

‘There was no invite to junior doctors to address us. If we’d voted for a Day of Action to defend the NHS, that would have been something that got huge public support. The motion calls for a conference to coordinate our legal and industrial response to the Act.

‘For me that’s a general strike. We need that conference. We need to tell the bosses they can shove their crumbs, we’re coming for the cake.’

Seconding the motion, Tony Burke, Unite, said: ‘With new leadership in the Labour Party we have the opportunity to begin a fight against all anti-union laws. We need the right to organise a union presence in the workplace and a right to collective bargaining.
‘We’ve got to have the right to strike.’

Jerry Glazier, NUT, said in support: ‘The Trade Union Act is the most draconian legislation in anti-union laws. The Act clearly contravenes ILO clause 37 and freedom of association. Lifting the ban on agency workers to break strikes will worsen industrial relations. We have to oppose all anti-union legislation and embolden the General Council to lead a powerful campaign for its repeal.’

FBU delegate Ian Murray said: ‘The Trade Union Act is the most serious attack on workers’ rights for a generation. Statutory restrictions on ballots and thresholds and restrictions on picketing. General Council must convene a special meeting for an emergency plan of action to oppose these legal measures.

‘For the past two years we’ve been talking the talk, we need to walk the walk. We shouldn’t be discussing how we get round this legislation, we should be discussing how we are going to defy it.’

POA general secretary Steve Gillan said: ‘There have been some concessions but as the RMT said this is like crumbs off the table. We don’t want the trade union movement to be in our position having to think outside the box because we don’t have the right to strike.

‘We need to rise up as one trade union movement and get rid of all anti-union legislation not just the Trade Union Act. The trade union movement has not supported us. We’ve had to rise up in our union to defend our members. We need to take the decision so if they attack one union, they attack us all and we have to respect that.’ The motion was overwhelmingly passed.

Corbyn's union backers plan first general strike for 90 years and urge support for law breakers
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3232768/Corbyn-s-union-backers-p...
By MATT CHORLEY, POLITICAL EDITOR FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 08:37 EST, 13 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:05 EST, 13 September 2015

Union barons are preparing to bring the country to a standstill with the first general strike for almost 90 years.
Hardline bosses of unions who backed Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader want to stage a 'militant' campaign against a government crackdown on strikes, including backing for workers who break the law.
Mr Corbyn is expected to lead opposition to the plans which would make it harder for key public services to be disrupted by walkouts.
Scroll down for video

Unite, led by 'Red Len' McCluskey (left) and one of Jeremy Corbyn's biggest supporters, is calling for 'a broad, militant and imaginative campaign' against the Trade Union Reform Bill.
The Tories want to make public sector strikes illegal unless at least 40 per cent of eligible staff vote for it and turnout in the ballot is at least 50 per cent.
It will also curb picketing, allow firms to employ agency staff to cover for strikers, and change union funding of Labour.
The legislation will be discussed in the House of Commons tomorrow, in a first big test for Mr Corbyn spoke out against it in his acceptance speech yesterday.

Leaders meeting at the Trade Union Congress in Brighton this week have tabled a series of motions calling for organised action in protest at the plans.
The militant RMT union – criticised for staging a series of walkouts on the London Underground – is calling for the TUC to consider 'assisting in organising generalised strike action should legal action be taken against any affiliate in connection with these new laws'.

Unite, led by Len McCluskey (above), one of Mr Corbyn's biggest supporters, has called for a 'militant and imaginative campaign'
It would be the first time that there had been a General Strike since 1926, when work was halted for nine days.
Unite, led by 'Red Len' McCluskey and one of Mr Corbyn's biggest supporters, is calling for 'a broad, militant and imaginative campaign' against the Trade Union Reform Bill.
It even proposes breaking the law, saying the TUC should be open 'to giving maximum possible political, financial and industrial support to those unions that find themselves outside the law'.
General secretary Frances O'Grady said unions will 'chuck the kitchen sink' at a campaign to oppose the Bill.
'People know that the right to strike is an important democratic right. Every fair-minded MP should vote against this.'

It would be the first time that there had been a General Strike since 1926, when work was halted for nine days

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, pictured leaving his house today, is piecing together his new shadow cabinet after an exodus of big names from the frontbench in protest at his extraordinary victory
Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock told the Sun on Sunday: 'Strikes can grind Britain to a halt and disrupt life for hardworking families.
'We're changing the law so a bunch of left-wing activists can't hold Britain to ransom.
'A strike can only go ahead if at least half the union takes part in the vote.
'It's disappointing to see union leaders respond with blackmail and threats. It's just another sign that Labour is being dragged back to the 1970s.'
Leaders of the biggest unions, including Unite and Unison, backed Mr Corbyn for leader, but the total number of trade unionists who voted was well down on the last vote in 2010.
There were just over 71,500 trade union votes, compared with almost a quarter of a million last time, and fewer than the registered supporters (105,000) and party members (245,000).
Mr Corbyn thanked unions for their support, and singled out the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and Fire Brigades Union, which are both not affiliated to Labour.
He said the Bill was designed to 'shackle' unions and undermine the 'important role' of unions in the workplace.
Leaders of the two unions welcomed Mr Corbyn's election.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, said: 'Jeremy Corbyn has been a long standing friend and ally of firefighters and we were proud to support his campaign from the start and without hesitation.

Guest speaker: Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (right) today offered to help new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn draw up his economic blueprint
'The election of Jeremy Corbyn is a welcome and remarkable turnaround in British politics. It has been based on a groundswell of opposition to ever growing inequality, to the destruction of our public services and to the austerity policies which serve the interests of the rich and big business at the expense of the majority.'
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: 'The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is hugely significant for RMT members and the wider trade union movement and means that the issues that are impacting on workplaces and communities the length and breadth of the country will now be pushed right to the top of the political agenda.'
Leaders of other unions were ecstatic at the election, saying 'things could only get better', a former Tony Blair catchphrase.
Unison leader Dave Prentis said: 'Jeremy has ignited a spark of hope, a spark that had been dampened for decades. This is a chance to claim back the heart and the soul of the party and make it our Labour Party once more.'
Appearing as a guest speaker at TUC's Brighton event, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis today offered to help new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn draw up his economic blueprint.
Mr Varoufakis was a controversial figure in the Syriza government before his resignation in July, describing Greece's creditors as terrorists.
However, Mr Corbyn has hailed the rise of the hardleft across Europe as proof the same could happen in the UK.
'I'm here to learn from your experiences in the context of the sea change we have seen,' Mr Varoufakis said in remarks reported by the Telegraph.
'Britain, even though it disdains this particular dimension of its nature, is an essential part of Europe and Europe is in trouble. It has been in trouble for a while.'
He added: '[We] share many views regarding the calamity that befell working Britons as power shifted from manufacturing to finance.

Appearing at the TUC event in Brighton, Mr Varoufakis said he was here to 'learn from your experiences in the context of the sea change we have seen'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3232768/Corbyn-s-union-backers-p...
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Tags: RMTGeneral StrikeJeremy Corbyn
Categories: Labor News

Pittsburgh ATU 85 Transit Workers Vote Down Contract

Current News - Tue, 09/13/2016 - 10:39

Pittsburgh ATU 85 Transit Workers Vote Down Contract
http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2016/09/12/Transit-workers-vote...
Transit workers vote down proposed contract
September 12, 2016 11:30 PM

Dominique Hildebrand/Post-Gazett
Transit employees have rejected a proposed contract recently brokered by union negotiators and the Port Authority of Allegheny County.
By Andrew Goldstein / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Transit employees have rejected a proposed contract recently brokered by union negotiators and the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Members of Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents more than 2,200 Port Authority bus and light-rail operators, maintenance and service personnel, administrative employees and supervisors, voted against the agreement Monday afternoon, according to the union and the authority.

The Port Authority announced Wednesday that it had come to an agreement with the union on a four-year contract, but officials declined to discuss details of the deal until the authority board and union members voted on it.

The authority and the union remained mum on the subject Monday shortly after the agreement was rejected.

“We are aware of the vote and plan to meet with the union to discuss in more detail,” Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said in an email. “We won't comment beyond that at this time.”

Local 85 president Steve Palonis declined comment, saying that because the vote was taken late Monday afternoon and the results had just been released, he wanted to speak with union members before talking to the media.

In a news release, Local 85 said it would invite the Port Authority to resume negotiations and ask the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to appoint an neutral fact-finder.

Port Authority bus drivers and other union employees have been working under a contract extension since June 30, when their last four-year contract expired. Earlier this summer the authority and the union both appeared optimistic that a deal would be reached without serious issues.

It was a contrast to four years ago, when Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and former Gov. Tom Corbett helped to broker a deal. That contract had a two-year wage freeze and required more guaranteed funding from the county and state to go to the financially strapped Port Authority to avoid a 35 percent transit service cut and 560-employee layoffs.

Andrew Goldstein: agoldstein@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1352.

Tags: Pittsburgh ATU 85transit workersContract
Categories: Labor News

UK RMT union faces £1 million bill for fighting Southern Rail firm

Current News - Mon, 09/12/2016 - 21:18

UK RMT union faces £1 million bill for fighting Southern Rail firm
https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/43356/Exclusive%3A+union+faces+£1+million+bill+for+fighting+Southern+Rail+firm
by Raymie Kiernan

Southern Rail strikers are battling for safety and workers' rights (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Aslef train drivers’ union is facing a bill for almost £1 million for daring to fight the firm behind the Southern rail fiasco.

Not content with trying to get rid of train guards, slashing jobs on stations and undermining safety the Tories’ favourite rail firm has outrageously launched a process that will take the money from Aslef.

It is a sign of how the legal system works against workers and their unions. It is another reason to fight for the repeal of the anti-union laws.

One Southern train driver told Socialist Worker that Govia Thameslink Railway “was demanding £973,000”. A source close to the top of the union confirmed the amount “was close to seven figures”.

None of the bill is a fine. It's all legal costs.

This is the result of a High Court ruling in June. Govia used the anti-union laws to prevent drivers from striking over the extension of driver only operated (DOO) trains.

Aslef members on Southern and Gatwick Express, subsidiaries of Govia, voted 96 percent to strike on an 84 percent turnout. But Govia bosses ran to the judges to derail action and got an injunction slapped on Aslef.

This followed an April court ruling in favour of Govia to stop a ballot of drivers over the introduction of longer 12-car DOO trains.

Govia’s lawyers, Eversheds, successfully argued that a text message from the union to its members informing them that 12-car trains had not been negotiated was an inducement to industrial action.

Democratic

In June the court overturned the democratic ballot of more than four fifths of members after agreeing that the union could not ballot over an issue it had previously induced unlawful industrial action over.

And just at the end of August the union suspended another ballot over a “breakdown in industrial relations” after yet another legal threat.

In a sinister turn, at one point the courts even ordered that the mobile devices of Aslef shop stewards, organisers, senior national officials and executive members be handed over to lawyers.

These were searched for keywords in what the source described as “a fishing expedition” to find any evidence that could back the bosses’ case to have industrial action declared illegal.

The Department of Transport (DfT) is also doing its bit to help Govia achieve its contractual obligation to “modernise working practices” with special favours and now a £20 million bailout.

The DfT’s Tory masters want DOO extended across the network—both to boost profits for rail operators by slashing jobs and conditions but as part of an overall strategy to weaken the unions.

Govia is being used as a hired gun to help achieve that goal on Britain’s largest rail franchise and it has a multi-pronged strategy to battle on several fronts.

In a sinister turn, at one point the courts even ordered seizure of union activists' mobile phones.
It is desperate to isolate the Southern train guards who have struck several times this year against DOO. A coordinated strike of guards, drivers and station staff this month has, for now, been averted through a combination of legal manoeuvres and compromise.

The £1 million extracted from Aslef should lead to more determined resistance. It must not be used in the trade union movement as an excuse for retreat.

The courts are no friend to workers and anti-union laws are designed to make union officials fear the financial penalties of falling foul of them and to stick to “legal” action.

But on numerous occasions workers have defied the anti-union laws and not been fined because the bosses were too scared of continuing strikes.

Trade union leaders at the TUC next week should declare their solidarity with Aslef. If unions fought together Aslef would not have to pay the bill.

Rank and file union members need to push their union leaders to fight and to develop organisation between them that is capable of defying the bosses’ legal threats and court injunctions.

Tags: UKRMTTUC
Categories: Labor News

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