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Kyrgyzstan: First meeting of textile workers union

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Just Style
Categories: Labor News

Egypt: French Trade Union Demands Release of Alexandria Shipyard Workers

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Aswat Masriya
Categories: Labor News

United Airlines manager caught lying to OSHA in asbestos case at Chicago United's former world headquarters WHQ "A&E Services hired Mexican day labor on an ongoing basis to illegally remove and dump the asbestos."

Current News - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:46

United Airlines manager caught lying to OSHA in asbestos case at Chicago United's former world headquarters WHQ "A&E Services hired Mexican day labor on an ongoing basis to illegally remove and dump the asbestos."

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

Sylvia Empen
Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials Sukhvir Kaur and Angeline Loftus recently confirmed that United Airlines facilities maintenance manager Sylvia Empen lied to OSHA officials, and that by doing so Empen broke the law and could face criminal charges.

And as with many federal cases, it could be the cover-up that ultimately lands people in jail.

And for her part in the illegal removal and dumping of asbestos from buildings at United's former World Headquarters (WHQ), jail might be just where Empen is headed.

DOJ Stresses Individual Accountability in New “Yates Memo”

Enhanced Criminal Prosecutions of Worker Safety Violations – Employers Beware

Here are the facts:

Empen contracted A&E Services Inc. to remove asbestos from United's former WHQ.

A&E Services hired Mexican day labor on an ongoing basis to illegally remove and dump the asbestos.

In doing so A&E exposed United employees and the public to vast amounts of airborne asbestos fibers.

United employees then filed an official complaint with OSHA.

Ms. Empen told OSHA officials who were investigating that complaint for the record that A&E Services was removing fiberglass insulation and not asbestos.

Now thanks to whistleblowers at United, OSHA officials have learned that A&E Services was in fact removing large amounts of asbestos - not fiberglass insulation - from United's former WHQ, and that Empen lied to them during the investigation.

Thanks to Empen's lies, OSHA prematurely closed its investigation. As a result, United employees and members of the public are still being exposed to airborne asbestos fibers throughout the entire campus of United's former WHQ.

It has also been established in recent meetings with OSHA officials that during their interviews with United employees, OSHA investigators did not inform the employees of their whistleblower protection rights.

That will be very important moving forward due to the fact that United employees have since endured physical threats and retaliations at work for telling OSHA investigators and United management what they knew about the illegal asbestos removal.

Steps are now being taken to ensure that United employees begin receiving the workplace protections that they are due under the federal whistleblower protection laws.

Furthermore, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon has been informed of this situation and has even received a referral from the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate these developments due to concerns that United has violated the Non-Prosecution Agreement it entered into in a public corruption case with that office.

The question now is: How high up the United Airlines management chain does this cover-up go?

Oscar Munoz, does the buck stop with you?

Tags: UALAsbestoscover-uposha
Categories: Labor News

Air France workers on trial for tearing off bosses’ shirts

Current News - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:27

Air France workers on trial for tearing off bosses’ shirts

Oct. 5, 2015: Air France director of Human Resources Xavier Broseta, right, and Air France assistant director of long-haul flights Pierre Plissonnier, center, are protected by a police officer as they flee Air France headquarters at Roissy Airport, north of Paris. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)
PUBLISHED: September 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm | UPDATED: September 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm

BOBIGNY, France (AP) — Fifteen current and former Air France workers went on trial Tuesday for alleged violence during a union protest last year at the airline’s headquarters that saw two company executives flee over a fence with their shirts ripped off.

The incident, caught on camera, was an extreme example of the often strained relations between French workers and their employers. The violence and this week’s trial come in the context of contested government efforts to reform national labor rules.

Dozens of Air France activists rallied in support of the defendants outside the courthouse in Bobigny, north of Paris, as the trial began.

Five Air France union members, who have since been fired, are charged with aggravated assault, and face up to three years in prison and a 45,000-euro ($51,000) fine if convicted. Ten Air France workers, who retained their jobs, face charges of property damage.

The violent protest took place last October during a crucial union-management meeting at the airline’s headquarters next to Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, where executives announced nearly 3,000 job cuts after years of belt-tightening at the airline.

A disgruntled crowd of union activists and other employees broke through an access gate to reach Air France headquarters. During a scuffle outside the building, two managers and several security guards were manhandled.

Under catcalls and boos, with protesters chanting “naked, naked,” and “resignation,” the airline’s human resources director Xavier Broseta was seen bare-chested, with a tie still around his neck but just a piece of sleeve around his wrist.

Meanwhile, the head of long-haul operations, Pierre Plissonnier, ended up with his shirt and suit jacket shredded. The two managers, under protection of security guards, managed to escape by climbing a fence.

The company filed a complaint for aggravated assault. Management and unions alike insist that the violence emanated from a small minority of workers.

At Tuesday’s trial, defendants said they forced the access gate open “for security reasons” because the crowd was converging on the Air France site, and accesses were either closed or too small to let everybody in. The defendants also said police were posted just next to the gate and didn’t stop them.

Air France lawyers argued the site initially approved for the union rally was outside the site, not within the airline courtyard — much less inside the headquarters.

Although the scuffle was unusually violent, relations between management and staff in France are often testy, with union activists sometimes destroying company property or briefly holding managers hostage — “bossnapping” it is often called — to make a point.

The shirt-ripping incident shocked many even in protest-prone France and worried the government, a big Air France shareholder, that it might damage the country’s reputation. Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “these acts are the work of thugs.”

In response, some unions and leftist politicians have denounced an increasing drive to criminalize trade union action, arguing that physical violence is a desperate response to extreme pressure from management on workers’ rights and jobs.

Air France has shrunk its workforce and cut costs over years of restructuring amid competition from low-cost and Mideast airlines. Its unions have gone on strike repeatedly, disrupting air traffic throughout Europe, and the pilots attend demonstrations in uniform. The Air France-KLM Group reported net annual profit in 2015 for the first time in several years.

Tags: Air FranceShirt off boss
Categories: Labor News

Politics Get Personal In Alaska!

IBU - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 15:20
Lindbeck Campaign's First Ad Outlines Case Against Don Young

Egypt: Stop the trial of naval shipyard workers!

Labourstart.org News - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: CTUWS
Categories: Labor News

NYC MTA TWU 100 bus drivers have called in nearly 1,000 threats this year amid ongoing verbal abuse from passengers

Current News - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 07:06

NYC MTA TWU 100 bus drivers have called in nearly 1,000 threats this year amid ongoing verbal abuse from passengers

“Being called a b---h has become like second nature now,” says Marcia Phinn, 51, a bus driver who works out of the Jackie Gleason Bus Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Sunday, September 25, 2016, 4:00 AM
Kelvin Burton, a bus driver for more than two decades, had a rough start to 2015 thanks to a brazen farebeater.

On New Year’s Day around 9 a.m. that year in Flatbush, the rider on the B8 bus got irked that Burton confronted him over the stiffed fare and began to rant about having a gun.

Burton, 46, of Harlem, who has a burly build, took it as blustery tough talk. But he still called police and reported the incident to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Phinn once had to kick everyone off her bus after a woman threatened her life.(TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“It was a threat, to be honest with you, so I had to call the police, of course,” said Burton, who said the man hopped off after cops were called.

“It was a big scene on the bus, from just asking him for his fare, which I thought was crazy, ludicrous,” Burton said.

Burton’s complaint was one of the 1,466 reports of threats and harassment in 2015.

So far this year, there have been 932 threat and harassment complaints — in addition to 34 reported assaults.

Drivers and union officials said an untold number of incidents never get reported. And it has become such a concern that bus operators are told to let farebeaters board to avoid confrontations that can turn violent.

At the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one of the biggest depots in the MTA, bus drivers said it’s routine to hear a few four-letter words from passengers during their shifts.

“I get cursed out at least once a day,” said Marcia Phinn, 52, of Staten Island, a 28-year MTA veteran.

“Even being called a b---h has become like second nature now.”

She recalled an especially disturbing incident in December 2008 when she reprimanded some teenagers who pushed their way onto her B35 bus. A woman told her to leave the kids alone, then brought up the recent death of Brooklyn bus driver Edwin Thomas, who was stabbed by a farebeater.

“You gonna get the same thing if you keep arguing with these kids,” Phinn recalled the woman telling her.

“It just rocked me and the only thing that I could do was to take it personal, which means that I had to discharge my whole bus because I needed to get out of that situation,” Phinn said.

The number of complaints from the roughly 11,000 bus drivers in the city have risen each year since 2012, when there were 1,083 reports.

The rise in complaints is because more cases of verbal abuse are being reported — even as spitting incidents and assaults went down by a third between 2011 and 2015.

By the end of this year, the city’s entire fleet of buses will have plastic partitions, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

“Regardless of how they're categorized, these repugnant actions such as assaulting, shoving or spitting on bus operators will not be tolerated,” Ortiz said in a statement.

Tags: TWU 100verbal abusehealth and safety
Categories: Labor News

Self-driving trucks threaten one of America’s top blue-collar jobs

Current News - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 06:55

Self-driving trucks threaten one of America’s top blue-collar jobs

SEPT. 25, 2016

Trucking paid for Scott Spindola to take a road trip down the coast of Spain, climb halfway up Machu Picchu, and sample a Costa Rican beach for two weeks. The 44-year-old from Covina now makes up to $70,000 per year, with overtime, hauling goods from the port of Long Beach. He has full medical coverage and plans to drive until he retires.

But in a decade, his big rig may not have any need for him.

Carmaking giants and ride-sharing upstarts racing to put autonomous vehicles on the road are dead set on replacing drivers, and that includes truckers. Trucks without human hands at the wheel could be on American roads within a decade, say analysts and industry executives.

At risk is one of the most common jobs in many states, and one of the last remaining careers that offer middle-class pay to those without a college degree. There are 1.7 million truckers in America, and another 1.7 million drivers of taxis, buses and delivery vehicles. That compares with 4.1 million construction workers.

While factory jobs have gushed out of the country over the last decade, trucking has grown and pay has risen. Truckers make $42,500 per year on average, putting them firmly in the middle class.

At risk is one of the most common jobs in many states, and one of the last remaining careers that offer middle-class pay to those without a college degree.

On Sept. 20, the Obama administration put its weight behind automated driving, for the first time releasing federal guidelines for the systems. About a dozen states already created laws that allow for the testing of self-driving vehicles. But the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will ultimately have to set rules to safely accommodate 80,000-pound autonomous trucks on U.S. highways.

In doing so, the feds have placed a bet that driverless cars and trucks will save lives. But autonomous big rigs, taxis and Ubers also promise to lower the cost of travel and transporting goods.

It would also be the first time that machines take direct aim at an entire class of blue-collar work in America. Other workers who do things you may think cannot be done by robots — like gardeners, home builders and trash collectors — may be next.

“We are going to see a wave and an acceleration in automation, and it will affect job markets,” said Jerry Kaplan, a Stanford lecturer and the author of “Humans Need Not Apply” and “Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know,” two books that chronicle the effect of robotics on labor.

Watch: "This is one of the last good jobs in L.A. county"

“Long-haul truck driving is a great example, where there isn’t much judgment involved and it’s a fairly controlled environment,” Kaplan said.

Robots’ march into vehicles, factories, stores, and offices could also profoundly deepen inequality. Research has shown that artificial intelligence helps erase jobs that require basic skills and creates more roles for highly educated people.

“Automation tends to replace low-wage jobs with high-wage jobs,” said James Bessen, a lecturer at the Boston University School of Law who researches the effect of innovation on labor.

“The people whose skills become obsolete are low-wage workers, and to the extent that it’s difficult for them to acquire new skills, it affects inequality.”

Trucking will likely be the first type of driving to be fully automated – meaning there’s no one at the wheel. One reason is that long-haul big rigs spend most of their time on highways, which are the easiest roads to navigate without human intervention.

But there’s also a sweeter financial incentive for automating trucks. Trucking is a $700-billion industry, in which a third of costs go to compensating drivers.

“If you can get rid of the drivers, those people are out of jobs, but the cost of moving all those goods goes down significantly,” Kaplan said.

The companies pioneering these new technologies have tried to sell cost savings as something that will be good for trucking employers and workers.

Otto, a self-driving truck company started by former Google engineers and executives, pitches its system as a source of new income for drivers who will be able to spend more time in vehicles that can drive solo as they rest.

Uber bought the San Francisco-based company in August.

Trucks equiped with an Otto kit have been test driving with autonomous technology up and down Interstate 280 and the 101 Freeway. (Tony Avelar / Associated Press)
The start-up retrofits trucks with kits allowing them to navigate freeways without a driver actually holding the wheel. For the last several months, at least one Volvo truck equipped with the software has been test driving, with a person at the wheel, on Interstate 280 or on the 101 Freeway in California.

The system works by installing a set of motion sensors; cameras; lidar, which uses laser light; and computer software to make driving decisions.

Lior Ron, the company’s co-founder, says that as the system gathers data on tens of thousands of miles of U.S. highways, having the driver asleep in the back could become a possibility within the next few years. That would instantly double the amount of time a truck spends on the road per day, allowing freight companies to charge more for shorter delivery times, Ron said. “The truck can now move 24/7.”
Ron says that the question of whether to pay drivers for hours spent sleeping in a truck while it drives for them has “been an ongoing debate in the trucking industry.”

Otto says its system may eventually allow some big rigs to traverse highways without a driver at all. In that scenario, a truck driver would drive the big rigs to and from “pick up and drop off locations,” playing a role “similar to a tug boat,” but trucks could drive without any human present during the longest stretches of the journey, says Ron, the co-founder.

A view inside the cab of a big rig using Otto's self-driving system. (Tony Avelar / Associated Press)
Several states are already laying the groundwork for a future with fewer truckers. In September, the Michigan state Senate approved a law allowing trucks to drive autonomously in “platoons,” where two or more big rigs drive together and synchronize their movements. That bill follows laws passed in California, Florida and Utah that set regulations for testing truck platoons.

Wirelessly connected trucks made their European debut in April, when trucks from six major carmakers successfully drove in platoons through Sweden, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Josh Switkes, 36, says those convoys will be on American roads within a year. Switkes is the chief executive of Peloton, a Mountain View-based company whose software links two semi-trailer trucks. Peloton’s investors include UPS and Volvo Group. The company has begun taking reservations for its system from freight fleets, and it plans to start delivering them “in volume” within a year.

The system works by transmitting very specific data from the first truck to the second truck so they operate in tandem, almost as if they were a train on the open road. When the lead truck brakes, the following vehicle receives a signal telling it how much to apply its brake.

That close communication can make it safe for the trucks to drive as close as 30 feet from one another, the company says. If a car cuts in between the two, the rear truck can automatically slow down, assume a safe following distance, and then return to its previous arrangement with the leader after the car changes lanes, Switkes said.

An engineer at Otto engages the automated truck. (Tony Avelar / Associated Press)
Reduced drag on the first and second vehicles can produce massive fuel savings. For the time being, drivers are installed in both trucks, with their feet off the brakes and accelerators, and their hands on the wheel.

Peloton says its technology reduces fuel expenses by 7% and could save companies even more on salaries.

“As we move to higher levels of automation, we can save them massive amounts in labor [costs],” said Switkes. He said that Peloton could make the rear truck in the convoy fully machine-driven, without any humans present, within a decade.

Even before that happens, though, platooning could segregate drivers into different pay classes depending on whether they’re driving the first or second rig.

“Maybe you pay the front driver more because they have a more important job,” said Switkes. Eventually, as the system makes trucks more efficient, “you may be paying fewer drivers overall,” he added.

Like most companies trying to turn trucks into robots, Peloton sees itself being useful mainly on highways, which are more predictable and less people-filled than city streets. Still, the company announced in July that it will develop and help deploy technology to power a fleet of heavy-duty trucks to serve the San Diego port.

Truck driver Spindola, perched atop a creaky seat as his big rig sat inside the Long Beach port waiting to be OKd for a departure to a nearby storage yard, said he isn’t convinced that a machine could ever do his job.

Truck driver Scott Spindola maneuvers his big rig around the Shippers Transport Express yard in Carson. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
“You need a human being to deal with some of the problems we have out on the road,” Spindola said. There are too many delicate maneuvers involved, he maintained, too many tricks and turns and unforeseen circumstances to hand the wheel over to a robot.

He had just spent about 20 minutes weaving in and out of corridors of 40-foot shipping containers at the port to attach a chassis to his rig and drive it toward a large forklift. There the lift operator slowly slotted a container onto the bay of his truck.

“This is a good job as far as pay, one of the last good jobs,” Spindola said. “Maybe I just don’t want to accept that the future is here.”

Contact Natalie Kitroeff. Follow her @NatalieKitro on Twitter

Tags: self driving cars
Categories: Labor News

Southwest AMFA Mechanics Challenge Airline Publically In Contract Dispute

Current News - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 05:28

Southwest AMFA Mechanics Challenge Airline Publically In Contract Dispute
September 23, 2016 7:43 PM By Jack Fink
Filed Under: contract, mechanics, picket, Southwest Arilines

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After working without a new contract for four years, nearly 300 Southwest Airlines mechanics say they’ve had enough.

So along with pilots, flight attendants, and other union workers who support them, they picketed at Dallas Love Field Friday.

Dale Dixon, President of AMFA Local 11 says, “We send a message to Southwest Airlines, that we’re professionals, we’ve not had a raise in four years.”

Mechanics here say money isn’t the issue. Instead, they’re concerned about their jobs in the long term.

Dixon says Southwest has offered them signing bonuses and incremental raises.

But he says they’re concerned the company is outsourcing more maintenance work for their older jets, which need more checks, while keeping in-house maintenance for newer jets, like the 737 Max, which will require less work.

Dixon says, right now, we do not have an idea of what the maintenance operation is going to look like. We don’t know what it’s going to look like for five to ten years from now.”

Southwest Airlines sent a statement saying in part, “…While we are disappointed by the lack of partnership shown by the current AMFA leaders, we remain committed to continue working with them to reach an agreement…”

Mark Drusch, a former executive with both Delta and Continental airlines, who’s now a vice-president at the consulting firm ICF, says Southwest’s managers must find the most efficient way to maintain their planes. “In order for Southwest Airlines labor to be competitive with outsourcing, it is about money. It is about the rates they’re going to pay their labor.”

To extend their message further, the mechanics union is also airing ads on local radio stations, in which they tell customers to urge Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly to reduce outsourcing.

The FAA says any maintenance work that is outsourced and performed by uncertified mechanics, must be conducted under the supervision of and signed off by a certified mechanic.

When foreign repair facilities maintain the jets owned by airlines, the FAA inspects them to make sure that happens.

One passenger we spoke with, John Bennett says, “I don’t have any concerns. I trust Southwest. They’ve been a good company.”

Mechanics like Dale Dixon, who’s been at Southwest for 21 years, agree and say they want the airline to continue to succeed.

Dixon says both sides will return to the bargaining table in early November.

Tags: AMFASWA mechanicsoutsourcing
Categories: Labor News

WA ILWU Local 19 Refused To Load Driscoll Berries On Cruise Ship To Support Sakuma Farm Workers

Current News - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 13:31

WA ILWU Local 19 Refused To Load Driscoll Berries On Cruise Ship To Support Sakuma Farm Workers
Washington berry pickers win union representation vote MT. VERNON, Wash. — “We won 192 votes for the union and the company got 52,” Ramón Torres, president of the farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la Justicia (Families United for Justice), told a gathering of 250 Sakuma Brothers Farms berry pickers, family members and supporters Sept. 12. They enjoyed a barbecue and live music while waiting at the United Steelworkers hall here to hear the results of the union representation election. Torres’ announcement in Spanish was followed by a translation into the indigenous Mixteca language, spoken by many workers who hail from southern Mexico. The victory was the product of a fight that began with a series of strikes in 2013 in the berry fields of the Skagit River Valley, 60 miles north of Seattle. Workers at Sakuma Farms struck this summer during the strawberry harvest and again during the blueberry and blackberry season. While waiting for the election results, longtime union supporter Benito Lopez told the Militant he was confident in a positive outcome. “People who weren’t with us before are supporting us now,” he said. “They feel mistreated by the company and they see the union keeping on and supporting them.” “We talked to a lot of people and explained what Familias Unidas is all about” leading up to the election, Javier Ramirez said. “This is just the first step,” union Vice President Felimon Pineda told the Militant. “We still have to win a contract. That’s what the workers are waiting for.” Rich Austin Jr., president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 in Seattle, who attended the celebration, told the Militant that longshoremen refused to load Driscoll’s brand berries from Sakuma on cruise ships. As part of the agreement leading up to the election, Familias Unidas called off a boycott of Driscoll’s and Sakuma berries. — Clay Dennison

Tags: ILWU Local 19SeattleSakuma workers
Categories: Labor News

Nearly 14,000 Uber And Lyft Drivers Sign ATU Local 1181-1061 Union Cards In New York

Current News - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 10:40

Nearly 14,000 Uber And Lyft Drivers Sign ATU Local 1181-1061 Union Cards In New York
The drivers want the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to hold a union vote.
posted on Sept. 22, 2016, at 2:49 p.m.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
Nearly 14,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in New York have signed up to join the local branch of the Amalgamated Transit Union, according to a union spokesperson. The group plans to rally at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) headquarters next week to demand a formal vote on unionizing.
The 14,000 sign-ups exceed the 30 percent threshold that federal regulators say must trigger an official vote, the union says. The cards signed by drivers indicate that they seek ATU membership and authorize the union to act as their collective bargaining agent.
In May, Uber struck a deal with the International Association of Machinists and the independent Freelancers Union to form a new Independent Drivers Guild that would represent their workers. While not an official union, the Guild is open to the 35,000 drivers Uber says it employs in New York.
As a condition of the agreement to form the Guild, the Machinists union promised not to try to formally unionize Uber drivers for five years; both the ATU and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been actively trying to unionize Uber drivers since last winter.
Uber maintains its drivers are independent contractors, not employees, and therefore do not have the right to unionize, although recent legislation in Seattle affirmed their right to do so.
The ATU’s Local 1181-1061 branch is the largest chapter of the ATU, representing more than 14,000 transit workers including drivers and mechanics throughout New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The 190,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union represents city and school bus drivers, subway and ferry operators, mechanics and maintenance workers, among others in the U.S. and Canada.
Drivers will rally at the TLC headquarters in Long Island City on Tuesday, September 27, at 11AM.
As a condition of the agreement to form the Independent Drivers Guild, the Machinists union promised not to try to formally unionize Uber drivers for five years. However, if the drivers are found to be employees at any time (including within the period of the five year agreement), the drivers can unionize with the machinists. This could happen as a result of a court, regulatory or legislative decision. The Machinists Union also has a history of successfully organizing and unionizing black car drivers in New York City in the last twenty years.
The agreement with Uber and the Freelancers Union is separate from the one they have with the Machinists, even though they were announced at the same time.Sept. 23, 2016, at 8:58 a.m.

Tags: 14000 Uber And Lyft DriversATU Local 1181-1061New York
Categories: Labor News

Egypt: The Shrinking Independence of Labour Unions

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: The Review
Categories: Labor News

Brazil: Anti-Coup Protests Erupt Again

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: TeleSUR
Categories: Labor News

Saudi Arabia: Saudi and foreign workers unite to strike over unpaid wages

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Middle East Eye
Categories: Labor News

Virgin America TWU flight attendants reject tentative contract deal as Alaska takeover looms

Current News - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 15:40

Virgin America TWU flight attendants reject tentative contract deal as Alaska takeover looms
Sep 20, 2016, 5:02pm PDT

Virgin America's inflight teammates have rejected a tentative agreement that their fledgling union reached with the airline even as it's being taken over by Alaska Air Group.

The rejection leaves flight attendants at both Burlingame, California-based Virgin America (Nasdaq: VA) and Seattle-based Alaska (NYSE: ALK) in limbo regarding their status and seniority, and frustration is brewing.

Virgin America CEO David Cush with flight attendants at Dallas Love Field.


Virgin's teammates, the equivalent of flight attendants at other airlines, voted 490 to 415 to reject the tentative agreement their union negotiators reached with the airline in August, the Transport Workers Union told members Monday.

Had it been ratified, the new contract was to take effect the day the Alaska takeover closes, which could come as early as next month.

One thing is certain: Virgin America workers won't pay union dues until they ratify a deal, under TWU rules.

TWU union officials said they will contact Virgin America management to discuss the outcome of the vote.

Virgin America spokesman Dave Arnold said the company respects the result of the vote.

"Our inflight teammates have spoken. …We are now turning our attention to our anticipated merger with Alaska Airlines, and we will be discussing next steps connected to the merger with the TWU," Arnold said.

Alaska Airlines has 3,500 unionized flight attendants. They are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, a TWU rival.

Alaska union leaders said on their website that the Virgin America union's rejection vote "raises questions about what happens next," but they did not elaborate.

"In the meantime, we stand in unity with our Virgin America sisters and brothers as they fight for improvements to their wages and working conditions," the Alaska AFA union leadership told its members.

Virgin America union leaders had urged their 1,000 members to vote for the tentative deal, arguing it was important to get an agreement in place even as federal antitrust authorities review the looming takeover.

Virgin America pay, benefits, and worker protections are well below average in the airline industry, they said.

Since there is no guarantee that the government or Virgin shareholders will approve the Alaska takeover, the union said, Virgin workers needed to take immediate action to improve their compensation.

The new contract deal would have given them an immediate 7.5 percent pay increase upon signing along with improved working conditions. Virgin America's flight attendants earn base pay of $20 an hour after six months, compared to Alaska's $24.08 an hour, according to union compensation data. The gap widens after nine years, with Alaska flight attendants earning $44.20 an hour versus $34 an hour for Virgin workers.

The Virgin America flight attendants voted to certify and join the TWU in 2014.

Alaska's union told its members earlier this month that it understood their growing frustration at the lack of detailed news or plans regarding how and when its merger with Virgin America will begin and how the companies will integrate their operations and personnel.

The AFA union will, if Alaska's takeover is approved, eventually represent Virgin's TWU employees, who will receive Alaska pay and benefits. But when that happens depends on the National Mediation Board.

The federal agency must declare that there are "sufficient common indicators" to rule that Alaska Airlines and Virgin America are essentially a single integrated airline.

The NMB makes that decision based on progress Alaska Airlines management makes in integrating the two operations, the AFA union said, noting that approval has taken several years in some airline mergers.

"Management has yet to make several key decisions regarding the merger such as brand identity and aircraft cross training,” the AFA said.

Andrew McIntosh covers aerospace and manufacturing for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Tags: Virgin America TWU flight attendantsAFA
Categories: Labor News

Norway: Oil service is on strike

Labourstart.org News - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Industri Energi
Categories: Labor News

Tokyo Female taxi company workers protest against abuse of power – “Feel encouraged”

Current News - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 09:26

Tokyo Female taxi company workers protest against abuse of power – “Feel encouraged”
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Female workers protest against abuse of power – “Feel encouraged”


Seven female office clerks who were yelled or suffered from sexually-abusive verbal harassment formed a trade union in May this year and joined the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu. They work for the “New Tokyo Branch, Greater Tokyo Privately-Owned Taxi Cooperative Society”, which handles clerical work for 440 individually-owned taxi drivers in Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Both of branch director MORI and assistant branch director MIYAGUCHI denied sexual harassment or abuse of power without showing any remorse and continued to intimidate the union members. Finally, the union decided to go on strike on September 5, when there was a “special seminar” at a local community center for all the individually-owned tax drivers in the district. The strike there was a great opportunity for making the union members’ voice heard. However, this was the first strike for all of them, and NAKAMURA Mio, the union leader, said, “I had a stomachache, was unable to sleep, and was very nervous”. All the other union members were obviously nervous and tense. (M)
video (11 minutes)

パワハラにはストライキ!~女性たち決起 「強くなれた気がする」


Tags: Tokyo Taxi workersstrikeTaxi Workers Strike
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