British Airways Unite cabin crew to stage six-day walkout in pay dispute Nearly 3,000 members of Unite’s mixed fleet branch will strike for three days from 5 February and again from 9 February
British Airways cabin crew to stage six-day walkout in pay dispute
Nearly 3,000 members of Unite’s mixed fleet branch will strike for three days from 5 February and again from 9 February
British Airways cabin crew strike over pay outside Glasgow airport. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Gwyn TophamTransport correspondent
Friday 27 January 2017 17.03 GMTLast modified on Friday 27 January 2017 22.00 GMT
British Airways cabin crew are to step up strike action by holding a six-day walkout in early February, in an escalating dispute about pay.
Approximately 2,900 members of Unite in the mixed fleet division, a branch of predominantly younger and lower-paid BA recruits, will strike for three days from Sunday 5 February, and again from Thursday 9 February.
The action follows two strikes totalling five days in January, which forced BA to cancel scores of flights. The airline said disruption to passengers was minimal, with all flying to their destinations on alternative or merged departures. BA also leased planes and crew from Titan Airways to operate dozens more flights on its behalf.
Union reps from the mixed fleet urged the airline to engage in further talks to avert more action. In a letter, they wrote: “Your reluctance to offer a reasonable pay deal to our members, yet spend what we believe is now reaching millions of pounds in trying to quash strike action, suggests money is available and this is a question of ideology.
“We urge you to recognise that there is a chance here for British Airways to take a different route.”
The mixed fleet was set up by BA during the bitter industrial dispute between cabin crew and the airline in 2010, and all new recruits now join the branch, which operates both short-haul and long-haul flights from Heathrow.
Basic pay starts at £12,192, although BA says all earn at least £21,000 a year once hourly flying pay and bonuses are added. Unite claims the average pay is £16,000, including allowances.
Unite’s national officer, Oliver Richardson, said: “Rather than addressing poverty pay, British Airways is spending money hand over fist on chartering in aircraft to cover striking cabin crew.
“If it can afford to waste money in such a manner then British Airways can clearly afford to address pay levels which are among the lowest in the industry.”
A BA spokeswoman said: “We have flown all customers to their destinations during the previous strikes by mixed fleet Unite and we will ensure this happens again.
“Our pay offer for Mixed Fleet crew is consistent with deals agreed with Unite for other British Airways colleagues. It also reflects pay awards given by other companies in the UK and will ensure that rewards for mixed fleet remain in line with those for cabin crew at our airline competitors.”
The airline said it would publish more details next week of its contingency plans for passengers who have booked to travel during the strike.
Virgin Atlantic cabin crew were this month given a pay rise worth about 10% over two years after negotiations between Unite and the airline.Tags: BA StrikeCabin Crews Strikeliving wage
Chicago ATU 241/308 Transit Workers Contract Rally MLK Day 2017
View at: https://youtu.be/BU6oenzMa98
Both Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) unions — ATU 241 and ATU 308 — are preparing to “take this to the wall” to get a proper contract, after about a year of working without one. This contract rally on Jan. 16, 2017, taking place on Chicago’s south side at the historic Mt Pisgah church, further revved up the energy and militancy that was shown last Dec. 21 at protests at the CTA HQ and 95th Street transit hub. Speaking and interviewed in video are: Carlos J. Acevedo (Financial Rec. Sec.-Treas., ATU 241); Kenneth Franklin (Pres./Bus. Agent, ATU 308); Leonard Morris (Ret. former Pres. of ATU 241); Elwood Flowers Sr (Ret. former Pres. ATU 241); Jonathan Jackson (Prof., College of Business, Chicago State University); Tommy Sams (Pres./Bus. Agent, ATU 241). Length - 14:01
ATU contract rally took place at Mt Pisgah church, where Dr. King spoke in 1967. Photo: Labor Beat
Cathay Pacific’s US-based workers vote to unionise, after anger at threat to retirement benefits
Vote comes only shortly after airline’s announcements of falling revenues and job losses to come
PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 1:31pm
Cathay Pacific to reassign jobs, review business
15 Jan 2017
Cathay Pacific Airways’ US-based cabin crew will unionise after almost all of them voted to do so, rejecting the Hong Kong airline’s attitude towards workers’ pay and conditions.
The vote – during which 97 per cent of voters backed the motion – creates a potentially more adversarial dynamic to employee relations, by making industrial action easier to launch. It follows uproar when bosses told hundreds of flight attendants they faced losing welfare benefits and social security protections.
All of Cathay Pacific’s 411 US flight attendants’ pay and contract negotiations will now be handled by that country’s Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), a labour union.
Hundreds of US-based cabin crew face loss of welfare benefits as Cathay Pacific halts payments
It all began when the company discovered it had for several years been contributing to a US government-run benefits scheme, despite an obscure rule exempting non-American employers with staff working on non-American-registered aircraft paying in.
Upon that discovery, bosses told workers that both parties – the airline and the staff – must both have contributed to the schemes, and since it could not make such payments under the law, such contributions, past and future, were void.
Workers faced the loss of government retirement payouts and post-retirement health insurance protection.
The AFA welcomed its new Cathay Pacific members, claiming that the airline’s unionised staff in Britain and Canada have higher pay with better benefits and job security.
“It’s past time for these hard-working US-based flight attendants to have a contract that lifts up good American jobs,” Sara Nelson, the union’s international president, said.
An AFA spokeswoman said it was “extremely disappointed” with the airline’s response to members’ retirement and disability benefits being voided.
She added: “Today’s 97 per cent vote in favour of joining AFA sends a strong message to Cathay that management needs to work with us to restore the benefits cabin crew have earned.”
Cathay Pacific announces 2 per cent pay rise for non-managerial staff
But Cathay Pacific said it was “committed to resolving this issue and providing clarity to our cabin crew employees in the US in a situation that is complex. While these efforts are ongoing, we appreciate our cabin crew’s patience and understanding as we work to rectify this situation.”
The airline said it looked forward to a “harmonious and productive relationship” with the union.
Cathay Pacific employs more than 10,000 cabin crew workers. The US is the largest base for its flight attendants outside Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific reassures staff over revamp of workforce
That its workers in the US could more easily seek higher salaries and benefits might add one more headache for the airline, already facing financial trouble.
Cathay Pacific recently announced an unspecified number job losses to come after falling revenue and profits, blamed on increased competition and costly fuel bills. In the carrier’s 2016 half-yearly results, profits slid 82 per cent year on year to HK$353 million.
Egypt: The dark times of the egyptian trade unionism. Talks Kamal Abbas, CTUWS (ENG Version podcast)
Lawmaker attacks UTA spending on ‘union-busting’ consultants-Utah Bill would ban hiring such consultants after transit agency spent $74K to help defeat unionization.
Lawmaker attacks UTA spending on ‘union-busting’ consultants-Utah Bill would ban hiring such consultants after transit agency spent $74K to help defeat unionization.
Lawmaker attacks UTA spending on ‘union-busting’ consultants
By LEE DAVIDSON | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Jan 25 2017 03:03PM • Last Updated Jan 25 2017 10:39 pm
Sen. Karen Mayne ï D-West Valley City
Bill would ban hiring such consultants after transit agency spent $74K to help defeat unionization.
After the Utah Transit Authority spent $74,000 to hire "union-busting" consultants to convince just 44 supervisors not to unionize, one Utah lawmaker is pushing a bill to ban any such spending in the future.
State Rep. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said she introduced SB103 because such expenditures of public money by UTA show "a culture of arrogance."
A former UTA board member, Mayne said she has long pushed for improved bus service on Salt Lake County's west side. "What irks me is if I want a new bus route in Kearns, they say they have no money. But they have money for [hiring of consultants]."
Mayne, whose late husband, Ed Mayne, was president of the Utah AFL-CIO labor union, is upset that UTA spent so much to hire the Labor Relations Institute (LRI) to help defeat efforts this year by the Teamsters Union to represent 44 TRAX supervisors. The teamsters called LRI "union-busting" consultants.
The TRAX managers voted 25-19 to reject unionization in September.
Documents obtained through open-record requests by The Salt Lake Tribune showed that UTA contracted to pay $3,000 a day for LRI consultants' work while they were in Utah, plus travel expenses — which included alcohol charges.
Also, UTA agreed to pay consultants at a rate of $375 an hour if they phoned the consultants with questions.
The company also provided videos, handouts, and posters for use in lobbying employees, and software to track efforts. LRI's website describes some videos, including one from a former labor organizer who "warns the average employee is very unlikely to learn the truth about unions until it is too late."
Mayne's bill, SB103, bans transit districts from "spending public funds or contracting with a third party to restrict employee rights."
Utah is a "right-to-work state," which allows any employee to choose to skip joining a union, so UTA's efforts to block unionization are "not their duty," Mayne said. "Their duty is to provide good transportation."
The bill also seeks to make changes to Utah's open-records laws, aiming to make it easier and quicker to appeal denials from UTA for public records. That comes after the UTA initially denied The Tribune's open-records requests for details of the LRI contracts and how much was spent.
After a two-month tussle — and just before the State Records Committee was scheduled to hear the Tribune's appeal — UTA decided to release documents listing $46,700 in expenses.
A month later, it said it had missed some receipts, and the total grew to $74,000, or about $3,000 for every vote that sided with the agency.
Mayne's bill shortens possible appeals of denials by allowing people to skip a now-required appeal to UTA's president to appeal directly to the State Records Committee. It requires that committee to give priority to consideration of denials from transit agencies, and allows it to order payment of attorney fees for successful appellants.Transit Organizingunion busting
SF TWU 250A Muni Driver Says Operators Are Entitled To Pay Raise To Offset High Insurance Costs
Want to Stop Trump? Take a Page From These ILWU 10 Dockworkers, and Stop Work
MONDAY, JAN 23, 2017, 5:38 PM
Want to Stop Trump? Take a Page From These Dockworkers, and Stop Work
BY PETER COLE
To resist Trump’s agenda, Oakland longshore workers shut down their workplace and reminded us of the potential of organized labor. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, many Americans wrung their hands. Some took to social media to express their discontent while others protested. But, perhaps, the most dramatic and important action was taken by dockworkers in Oakland, California: They stopped working. Their strike demonstrated the potential power ordinary people have on the job, when organized.
Longshore workers, who load and unload cargo ships, chose not to report to their hiring hall. As a result, “Oakland International Container Terminal, the largest container facility at the Northern California port, was shut down Friday,” according to the Journal of Commerce. It also reported that all other Oakland container terminals were essentially shut down, too.
Crucially, these workers did not first come together to protest Trump. They belong to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), one of the strongest and most militant unions left in the United States.
The ILWU, founded in the 1930s, represents logistics workers up and down the West Coast of the United States, in Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia and Panama. For some 80 years, the union has fought for equal rights, democracy, economic equality and a vast array of other social justice causes. ILWU Local 10, which represents workers in the San Francisco Bay Area, often has been at the forefront of those fights.
ILWU members refused to load scrap metal intended for Japan because it had invaded China in the 1930s. The ILWU condemned the racist, apartheid regime in South Africa and Local 10 members periodically refused to unload South African cargo, including in the face of federal injunctions and employer pressure. They also refused, in 1978, to load U.S. military aid for Augusto Pinochet, a Chilean military general who led a coup against a democratically-elected, socialist president, Salvador Allende. On May Day 2008, the ILWU shut down Pacific Coast ports to protest the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Activists take the lead
One key element of ILWU power is its job dispatch system. In the aftermath of its legendary Big Strike of 1934, which briefly became the San Francisco general strike, the union basically won control over job dispatch. Quickly, workers implemented a “low man out” system, which enshrined the idea that the person with the fewest number of hours worked be the first one dispatched. Such socialism in action should not be surprising from a union whose founding members included socialists, communists and Wobblies, the name for members of perhaps America’s most radical union, the Industrial Workers of the World. The ILWU also inherited the Wobbly motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
Today, though some workers are assigned to specific companies on a long-term basis, many still are dispatched via hiring halls. This system gives workers incredible power because they decide when to report for work, creating the possibility for workers to coordinate not showing up. The result, as seen on Friday, was to shut down the port of Oakland.
Obviously, many workers, nationwide, do not operate under a dispatch system. But they can still organize something similar without technically calling a strike.
At the end of 2014, New York City police officers coordinated a “virtual work stoppage,” nicknamed the “Blue Flu.” And last year, Detroit public school teachers, enraged by the awful conditions students and teachers suffer from because of a lack of state funding, organized an effective “sickout.” In other words, workers need not officially “strike,” or even belong to a labor union, to engineer a shutdown.
Importantly, Friday’s action was not organized or endorsed by the ILWU leadership. Since its inception, the ILWU has stood on the left tip of the U.S. labor movement, but even this union has become more conservative during the past few decades. Nowadays, rank-and-file activists in Local 10 often take the lead.
“There is power”
Like most unions and working people, the ILWU opposes much of Trump’s anti-labor agenda, which promotes “right-to-work” (more accurately right-to-work-for-less) legislation, condemns public sector unions, seeks to privatize public schools and reverse the Obama administration’s actions on paying more workers overtime, reducing wage theft and ensuring worker safety. Trump’s proposed labor secretary, for one, has made his anti-worker positions clear. (That said, Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is welcome.)
Nor have Bay Area longshore workers forgotten Trump’s insult of Oakland. The president once said, “There are places in America that are among the most dangerous in the world. You go to places like Oakland. Or Ferguson. The crime numbers are worse. Seriously.”
To resist Trump’s agenda, Oakland longshore workers shut down their workplace and reminded us of the potential of organized labor. As the old song, written by Joe Hill and sung by Utah Phillips, declares, “There is power, there is power in a band of working folks, when we stand hand-in-hand. That’s a power, that’s a power that must rule in every land.”Tags: ILWU Local 10Stop WorkPolitical Strikes