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A Wave of Change: The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike

Current News - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 18:24

A Wave of Change: The 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike
Ananya Jain
Published on Jun 18, 2016
This documentary was created for the 2016 National History Day Competition and placed 1st in Washington State for the Junior Group Documentary category. The theme was Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History.

Tags: ILWU Waterfrontmaritime strikeGeneral Strikeshape up
Categories: Labor News

India: More than a million Indian workers to go on strike on Friday

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Reuters
Categories: Labor News

PSR Fleet Memo for August 27 2016

IBU - Mon, 08/29/2016 - 11:17
Categories: Unions

DC Metro worker complains of sexual harassment, allegedly told ‘maybe this isn’t the job for you’

Current News - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 22:09

DC Metro worker complains of sexual harassment, allegedly told ‘maybe this isn’t the job for you’
The L'Enfant Plaza Metro station is seen in this file photo. (Pete Marovich/EPA)
By Martine Powers August 27 at 5:25 PM
Arlancia Williams says it started with the hugs.

In a lawsuit filed this month, the 15-year Metro employee says she had been promoted to a new position in December 2013, when her new boss started demanding hugs and making disparaging comments about her husband, who also is a Metro employee.

Williams alleges she told her boss she was uncomfortable, but over the course of seven months, she says, his behavior escalated to include harassing phone calls, and when she complained to Metro, she was reassigned to the least-desirable shift.

She alleges that when she took her concerns to a high-level Metro manager, the supervisor told her: “Since you can’t work under the stress from being harassed, maybe this isn’t the job for you.”

Williams filed a lawsuit against Metro in U.S. District Court on Aug. 11, alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation.

“It’s definitely a culture at [the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority],” Williams said in an interview, recalling incidents with male co-workers who would occasionally make inappropriate comments. “But I’d never experienced it like this.”

Metro declined to comment on the case, citing the pending litigation, though spokesman Richard L. Jordan added that Metro “has a clear policy against sexual harassment.”

“We investigate complaints that arise and take appropriate disciplinary action as appropriate,” Jordan said.

The lawsuit is one of several incidents that prompted a memo sent to employees last week from Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld reminding staff of the agency’s “zero tolerance for discrimination, sexual harassment and nepotism” and “prohibition against retaliation in any form.”

[Read Wiedefeld’s letter to Metro employees]

“We must renew our commitment to hold ourselves and each other to the highest possible professional standards,” Wiedefeld wrote, “never retaliating against employees who are doing their jobs and expressing a good faith concern.”

The memo serves as a reminder of just how wide-ranging Metro’s problems are — and that concerns about safety culture, inspection protocol and red-signals overruns are also paired with less visible, but some say equally important, internal problems among staff.

Williams’ lawyer, Donna W. Rucker, said she has at least one other female client who is considering suing the agency for failing to prevent harassment by the same supervisor.

“Ms. Williams’ case demonstrates a lack of enforcement,” Rucker said. “Employees have come to not rely on the policy having any effect . . . because they don’t believe that it will be enforced.”

Williams is seeking $200,000 in damages from Metro. She also wants Metro officials to establish a plan or procedures on how to better comply with anti-discrimination policies and require that managers undergo further training on Equal Employment Opportunity regulations.

Reached by phone, a person who identified himself as Williams’s supervisor and an employee of Metro, declined to comment.

[Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld continues management shake-up with new general counsel]

Williams started at Metro in 2001, working her way through different departments and jobs — from being a bus operator and an employee in the credit union, to a station manager, a train operator, and a communications specialist in Metro’s Rail Operations Control Center.

In early December 2013, she switched to a position as a bus service operations manager — a role that would give her more autonomy and a better schedule, supervising bus drivers, responding to accidents or incidents, and ensuring on-time departures and arrivals during morning and afternoon rush hours.

According to the narrative laid out in the lawsuit, when Williams started her new job, she was immediately uncomfortable around her new supervisor because he frequently requested hugs and expressed anger when she mentioned her husband, who also works for Metro.

In one instance, at a gathering for a co-worker, she put her sweater on the chair next to her to save a seat for her husband. Her supervisor allegedly moved the sweater, sat in the seat, and said “I’m getting tired of this husband and wife bulls---,” according to the lawsuit.

“I felt disrespected ... I just felt weird and sick,” Williams later recalled, sitting in the office of her lawyer. She tried to find ways to avoid him. She asked herself whether she was being clear that she didn’t want the attention. “Like, am I being firm? I’m telling him no.”

Female co-workers were sympathetic, she said, and told her that they, too, had experienced similar actions and comments.

“They said that when I started, it gave them a little bit of relief,” she said. “It was like — hey, he likes you now.”

Williams said she met with Dana Baker, a managing director at Metro, to air her concerns. At first, Baker offered sympathy: She said Williams could report to an alternate supervisor, and assured Williams that she would face no retribution for reporting her concerns.

Soon after, Williams says, her supervisor called her, irate.

“No! You ain’t talking to nobody, woman!” the lawsuit says the supervisor told her over the phone. “You don’t talk to nobody else but me!

There were other similar phone calls, Williams said. She “began to feel distressed about returning to work” due to his “unwanted advances and derogatory tone when speaking with her,” the lawsuit says.

Baker did not respond to requests for comment.

After she filed a complaint with a Metro superintendent, she was quickly assigned to a late shift that had no opportunities for overtime. According to the lawsuit, Williams heard from another manager that her supervisor had said “she would never see her husband again.”

Williams took her complaints to Baker, but the lawsuit asserts that those concerns were ultimately dismissed.

“Since you can’t work under the stress from being harassed, maybe this isn’t the job for you,” the lawsuit alleges Baker saying. “Maybe I need to find someone to take your place.”

Williams said she was hurt by the comment, believing that she’d put too much trust in Metro — and she was also angry.

“I can work under pressure — that’s the whole Metro, you’re constantly working under pressure,” Williams said in an interview. But sexual harassment, she said, is different. “But I didn’t think it would come from a teammate or a supervisor — not this kind of pressure.”

[Metro has come a long way regarding sexual harassment in its system]

Williams’s lawyer asserts that Metro officials were aware of the supervisor's behavior toward female staff, and “failed to implement prompt, appropriate or corrective action.”

The lawsuit states that, “in addition to being humiliated, embarrassed and made to endure a great amount of pain and suffering,” Williams experienced physical side effects resulting from the stress and anxiety of her experiences, and also “incurred lost wages, loss of reputation and loss of career opportunity, now and into the future.”

Williams eventually returned to her previous job in Metro’s Rail Operations Control Center.

“I worked hard to maintain a good reputation and always relied on my work ethic for promotions,” Williams said. “And now it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. Coming to work, showing up, doing your job — it’s just not good enough.”

Martine Powers writes about the Metro transit system and the wonky world of transportation. Follow @martinepowers

Tags: DC Metrosexismsex discrimination
Categories: Labor News

London bus strike rattles bullying boss

Current News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 20:40

London bus strike rattles bullying boss
by Raymie Kiernan

“I have no respect for you. I have contempt for you” - Tower Transit boss Neil Smith (right) harangues strikers at Westbourne Park (Pic: Socialist Worker)

One of London’s top transport tycoons broke down in fury today, Friday, as over 1,000 of his workers walked out on strike.

Tower Transit is one of the bus firms contracted by Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Transport for London (TfL). Boss Neil Smith laid down the gauntlet to strikers with an appearance—and a tirade of abuse—at the picket line at Westbourne Park bus garage.

He called drivers “bastards” and a Unite union rep “full of shit”.

The 24 hour strike hits Atlas Road depot and Westbourne Park garage in north west London and the Lea interchange depot in east London.

It involves over 1,000 drivers, engineers and controllers in Unite, and affects 28 bus routes. Another walkout on bank holiday Monday, affecting Notting Hill Carnival.

Unite said the dispute is over the imposition of roster changes “and a failure by an increasingly hard line management to commit to constructive industrial relations”.

That’s putting it mildly.

Smith was clearly trying to intimidate workers. He told the pickets, “Go on strike for a month and I will make no concessions.

"Do you know where I make my money? In Singapore, in Australia. I support employees who are loyal to me.”

He then claimed workers were only interested in “hurting the company”.

“You are hurting us every day,” one driver shouted back. “You sack the drivers, you cut our pay, you cut our schedules. You take money from every single driver and put it in your pocket.”

It’s true. This is how bus firms in London increase their profits. TfL pays them a set income and takes the revenue. So to turn a profit, companies must reduce costs.

Last year Tower Transit’s turnover was over £100 million, up 40 percent on the previous year.

Pickets at Lea interchange depot (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Yet Smith had the cheek to call a union rep a “thief”. He went on, “I have no respect for you. I have contempt for you.”


Smith has plenty of contempt to go around, as an interview on Channel News Asia revealed last year.

“The problem” he apparently faced in London was “a very large immigrant workforce that you have to train”. That’s as opposed to the “highly educated workforce of people with high aspirations” in Singapore.

One driver told Socialist Worker, “You see what we’re up against. We’ve all got bills to pay, we’ve all got families but we’ve got to stand up to this.

“Many of us here have seen three takeovers but this is the worst it’s ever been. They don’t give a shit about us and don’t respect us in any way.”

The real reason Smith was at the picket line was, as one driver put it, “He’s feeling the pinch.” The strike is strong and picket lines were big.

“What he forgets is he actually works for TfL,” the driver said. “They will care about the service during the strike.”

He’s right. But it raises questions why the public transport body is handing cash to bullying managers.

“Sadiq Khan said he would support the bus drivers if we voted for him but we are still waiting. Why are we still working with different conditions and different pay?” asked one driver.

The workers at Tower Transit deserve the support of every trade unionist in London for their strike on Monday. Get down to your nearest picket line and show the bully boss they are not alone.

Send messages of support to hanafi.unite@gmail.com

Tags: London rail workersstrike
Categories: Labor News

Russia: Working conditions: FIFA and trade unions sign cooperation agreement for Russia 2018

Labourstart.org News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Fifa.com
Categories: Labor News

UK General Secretary of TSSA - It’s Not About The Seat, It Really Is All “About The Economy, Stupid!”

Current News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 11:25

UK General Secretary of TSSA - It’s Not About The Seat, It Really Is All “About The Economy, Stupid!”
It’s Not About The Seat, It Really Is All “About The Economy, Stupid!”
24/08/2016 16:07
Manuel Cortes
General Secretary of TSSA, the union for people working in all sections of the transport industry

So now Richard Branson has joined in the efforts to vilify Jeremy Corbyn. What is is that the Tories, the Murdoch press, the panicked wing of the Labour Party and now Branson, a man whose personal wealth rose by £86 million last year to a staggering £3.6 billion, really don’t like about Jeremy Corbyn? I’ll tell you: it’s his winning streak.

Let’s face it, Jeremy is a political sensation. Far from being an election loser, he’s already pulled off two astonishing election victories: the first being elected onto the ballot to be in the Labour leadership contest of last summer and the second getting elected - with that overwhelming mandate - as Leader of the Labour Party.

Don’t for a minute think the establishment don’t get that. Don’t for a minute think that those with vested interests in our corporations, cartels and corridors of power believe Jeremy can’t win a general election, form a Labour government and become our next Prime Minister. It’s why they spend so much time trying to destroy him. And the Virgin Seatgate saga is the evidence that Jeremy and his popular policy ideas are really getting to the boss class and that they take him very seriously indeed.

Richard Branson didn’t launch his twitter attack on Jeremy because he had another idle moment on his Necker Island or because he could need the publicity. He did it because his £5.5 billion Virgin Group, the whole privatised corporate world he represents, is under huge threat from the set of public-centred ideas that Jeremy Corbyn stands for. Branson sees what all the big capitalistas see:the end of their huge, fat-cat, neo-liberal, profit days could be nigh.

Virgin Rail has made huge profits - another £53.7m last year alone for it’s tax exile owner - whilst earning itself an unbroken record at the top of the league tables as the rail operator with the highest rates of complaints from dissatisfied customers. Lack of available seats, regular overcrowding, confusing ticket tariffs, a reservation system not fit for purpose, regular overcrowding on all it’s routes -especially on the first off-peak trains out of Kings Cross and Euston and, that’s before we even get to the delays, staff shortages and risks with passenger-safety.

Both Virgin’s West Coast and East Coast franchises will be returned to public control under a Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour government. Far from being a vote loser, Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to nationalise our railways system and invest in a railway fit for the 21st century is supported by around 70pc of the public and even some Tory MPs.

Today Jeremy has announced under his Labour Government, private marketeers will be driven out of the Health Service. Again a widely popular and winning policy with the public. And guess who will be one of the first people he has to chase out? I’ll tell you: Richard Branson.

Not content with the vast pots of gold he’s made from the deregulation of the travel and telecom industries, Branson has been quietly taking over whole chunks of our National Health Service. Since the Tories gave him the green light in 2012, Branson’s Virgin Care has amassed nearly 350 contracts, runs over 350 GP surgeries and plans to expand its reach further into the healthcare market which industry analysts Laing Buisson say will be worth up to £20 billion by 2020.

No wonder he’s trying to spin so negatively against Jeremy. But it’s a battle Branson too will lose. For all the shit that is thrown at Jeremy, it falls and drops as manure to nurture a grassroots movement that grows bigger daily in support of the policies he represents. As even the Times columnist Matthew Parris has noted, Jeremy has shifted the whole of the British political terrain to the left.

Jeremy pulled off two stunning electoral victories last summer. The PLP may have forced him into a new and unnecessary leadership battle this summer but he’s seized the opportunity to get out and about Britain and put flesh on the bones of the prosperity policies that will rebuild and rebalance Britain. We now have concrete proposals for a National Investment Bank that will invest £500 million in environment-friendly infrastructure programmes to rebuild and rebalance our economy; a mass council house building programme that means everyone should have a place they can call their own; market-free National Education and National Health Services free at the point of use and a publicly-owned rail service with a strategy to grow it in accordance with passengers needs rather than the profits of the likes of Branson.

Branson didn’t have a go at Jeremy because of a seat. It’s not why Murdoch et al have a go either. They don’t care about personality and neither should we: this really is all “about the economy, stupid!”

Jeremy represent the public’s patriotic interest in running the economy of our country in all our people’s interests. Branson and his ilk represent keeping us on their basement floor. And we the people have had enough and are backing Jeremy. We’ve made the Labour Party grow, we’ll make Jeremy win this year’s leadership election again and we the people are building the movement that will put Jeremy Corbyn’s People’s Labour Party back in Downing Street. We’ve found our winning streak.

Tags: TSSAprivaitzationRichard Bransonrailroad nationalizationJeremy Corbyn
Categories: Labor News

IAM Tops Putting the Con in the Gig Economy -UBER's DC Company Run By IAM Bureaucracy “What we didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, they were engaging with Uber to sell everyone out,” Desai said."

Current News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 09:57

IAM Tops Putting the Con in the Gig Economy -UBER's DC Company Run By IAM Bureaucracy “What we didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, they were engaging with Uber to sell everyone out,” Desai said."
IAM Tops Putting the Con in the Gig Economy

August 22, 2016 /
Chris Brooksen

It looks like Uber is taking the Machinists union for a ride. Cartoon: Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons
It’s called the Independent Drivers Guild—but the new organization for New York City’s estimated 35,000 Uber drivers is “independent” in name only.

Co-founded by Uber and the Machinists union, it's not a union, it has no collective bargaining rights, and it receives financial support from Uber.

Just how much support, we don’t know, since Uber and the Machinists won’t release their agreement—not even to drivers.

If the shroud of secrecy isn’t enough to raise your eyebrows, consider who’s heaping praise on this cozy new partnership. The Mackinac Center—a Koch-backed anti-union mouthpiece that pushed for “right to work” in Michigan—calls it a “model that could bring unionization into the 21st century.”

What will it do? The Guild gives drivers a process to appeal their terminations (which Uber calls “deactivations”). Ten union-selected drivers will attend monthly meetings of a “works council.”

“It’s an opportunity for drivers to sit across the table from Uber management and discuss issues related to pay, dispatch procedures, and paid time off,” said Jim Conigliaro, general counsel and business rep for Machinists District 15. “There are no obligations on either side to come to an agreement. It’s just a discussion.”

Bhairavi Desai has a more critical view. She heads the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a worker center that represents 19,000 drivers in the city, including several thousand who drive for Uber.

The Guild is an “immoral, illegal, unconscionable company union,” Desai said.


Up until the 1980s, yellow taxis in New York City were dispatched via car radios. Drivers were considered employees, and many unionized.

Then two things happened. First, the radios came out; taxis switched to relying exclusively on street hails. And second, garages moved from a system of commissions—where cab companies took a cut of fares—to leases, where drivers paid to use the cabs and taxi licenses. Cabbies became independent contractors, and their unions were broken.

Without the right to unionize, the Taxi Workers have focused on local regulations, such as pushing to raise fares so drivers can earn a livable wage. They’ve also fought to reduce lease costs.

Now along comes Uber, with all the hallmarks of the employee system—it sets fares, controls dispatches, and takes a commission—yet it claims its drivers are independent contractors.

For the company, “it’s the best of both worlds,” Desai said.

This dodge allows Uber to weasel out of Social Security and Medicare taxes and to cheat drivers of legal guarantees to minimum wage, overtime protections, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and the right to organize and bargain collectively.

The truth is, Uber’s astronomical valuation of $68 billion shouldn’t be chalked up to its innovative app so much as to its success at skirting regulations and employment laws. If its drivers were reclassified as employees, Fortuneestimated, the combined costs to Uber would top $4 billion a year.

An army of lobbyists and lawyers makes it all possible. Uber employs one-third more of these influence-peddlers than even Walmart does.

As part of the agreement, the Machinists dropped the issue of driver misclassification.

"We don’t comment on whether or not they are properly classified as independent contractors or employees," said Ryan Price, director of the Guild.


Before all this, the Taxi Workers and the Machinists were planning a joint campaign to organize Uber drivers in New York. “What we didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, they were engaging with Uber to sell everyone out,” Desai said.

Undeterred, the Taxi Workers are challenging Uber in multiple venues, pressing courts and regulators to rule the drivers employees. That would likely make the Guild illegal, as a “company-dominated labor organization.”

The Machinists call their deal with Uber “groundbreaking” and are trying to spread the model to Philadelphia. But it looks like Uber is taking the union for a ride—basking in positive press while maneuvering workers into meetings where they have no leverage or possibility of building power.

The Guild will never transform Uber’s business model. At best, such secret agreements and partnerships with management are doomed strategies.

At worst, a defanged union becomes a partner in exploitation.

This article has been updated to add the quote from Price and to make clear that the union has dropped the misclassification issue.

Tags: IAM
Categories: Labor News

Canada: Being a Mexican migrant worker and female, a recipe for double discrimination

Labourstart.org News - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Equal Times
Categories: Labor News

Pension Cuts Hit UPS Teamsters Southwest

Current News - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 14:09

Pension Cuts Hit UPS Teamsters Southwest
UPS Teamsters in the Southwest thought they saved their health benefits by voting no. But they got stuck with an inferior health plan—and pension cuts too.

When Hoffa-Hall and UPS cut a deal to move members into Teamcare, members from Southern California to Arizona voted no to protect their health benefits.

To save face and push the contract through, Hoffa-Hall and Western Region UPS Director Andy Marshall created a new Western Region & Local 177 Health Plan to replace Teamcare in the Southwest and Northern New Jersey.

Now thousands of UPS Teamsters find themselves stuck in an inferior health plan—and UPSers in the Southwest are stuck with lower pensions, too.

“Being moved into the new health plan will cost me $125,000 in reduced pension when I retire,” said Hugo Leal, a package car driver in Los Angeles Local 396. “That’s not what I had in mind when I voted no.”

For the first three years of the contract, UPS is putting $1.25 less per hour toward members’ pension in the Southwest and Local 177 than what was originally negotiated.

That money, which was supposed to go to fund members’ pensions, was diverted to the new substandard health plan instead.

The result in the West is lower pensions when members retire.

Teamsters in SoCal and the Southwest are the only UPSers in the West taking this pension hit. Everyone else in the West got higher pension contributions without any cuts to their healthcare.

How Healthcare Cuts Led to Lower Pensions

The Western Region & Local 177 health plan costs more than the original Teamcare benefits that members rejected in the first vote.

But Hoffa and Hall didn’t negotiate one new dime from UPS in the second contract offer to pay for the more expensive plan. The money had to come from somewhere and it’s coming from members’ pension contributions.

Under the contract, UPS has to pay $1 per hour more each year into our benefits. This money was supposed to be split 50-50 between healthcare and pension.

But in the first three years of the contract, $2.75 went to pay for the inferior new health plan and just 25 cents went to fund members’ pensions.

Even that didn’t protect members from reductions in their healthcare.

“We went from a 90/10 plan to an 80/20 plan with worse prescription benefits. Some members have gotten caught with no health coverage at all under the one-punch rule—and now we have pension cuts on top of that,” said Edgar Esquivel, a part-timer in Orange County Local 952.

“Hoffa-Hall sold us out so we’re organizing to vote them out,” Esquivel said.

Calculating your pension cut

To calculate how much your pension will be cut, multiply the number of years you have until you retire times $312. Then multiply that number times the number of years you will be retired.

For example, if you have 14 years to go before retirement and plan to collect a pension for 25 years, multiply 10 x $312 x 25. This equals $109,200.

That’s the steep price members are paying for the new health plan.

Tags: IBT PensionsCutbackshealthcare
Categories: Labor News

Union Buster Sen. Steve Glazer to vote ‘no’ on BART measure until attacks on BART workers are part of property tax deal

Current News - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 13:02

Union Buster Sen. Steve Glazer to vote ‘no’ on BART measure until attacks on BART workers are part of property tax deal
By Michael Cabanatuan
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, who has relentlessly railed against BART, its labor contracts and financial mismanagement, told The Chronicle Wednesday that he will vote against Measure RR, the $3.5 billion property tax proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot to upgrade the regional rail transit system.
“Despite my strong support for the BART system, I am going to vote no on the bond,” he said. “I don’t think we should reward bad behavior and expect anything to change.”
Glazer’s opposition is bad news for the Yes on RR campaign, since the senator’s district covers most of central and eastern Contra Costa County and the Tri-Valley in Alameda County — areas where support for the bond measure is not considered particularly strong.
Nick Josefowitz, a BART director from San Francisco, speaking for the pro-bond campaign, declined to discuss the significance of Glazer’s opposition other than to say the campaign’s efforts were focused on voters rather than politicians.
“We have a really big district at BART, something like 1.8 million voters, and we need to get more votes to win than our U.S. senators need to win their elections. It’s understandable in a district that big that some people will be excited about what we’re doing and some won’t.”
For the measure to pass, BART needs to win support from a two-thirds supermajority of voters in Contra Costa, Alameda and San Francisco counties combined. The three counties make up the BART district. In 1962, voters in those counties were responsible for passage of the bond measure to build the system.
Glazer’s opposition comes as somewhat of a surprise to bond backers who thought they had persuaded him not to publicly oppose Measure RR.
Glazer has made clear his dissatisfaction with BART management, especially over what he sees as lavish labor contracts.
In February, as BART directors contemplated a bond measure, he organized a group of elected local and state officials who threatened to oppose any proposal asking voters for funds unless BART negotiated a “financially responsible contract” with its labor unions before going to the ballot.
BART officials quietly bargained a four-year contract extension with its unions, announced in April, that ensured no labor strike would take place in 2017 when negotiations for new deals were scheduled. The extension included 10.8 percent in raises through 2021.
Glazer initially described the deal as “a good first step” but said it needed improvement. He said Wednesday that the contract extension succeeded in staving off a possible strike for five years but was too costly and failed to address critical issues, including training replacement workers and assuring any bond money can’t be spent on labor.
Recent stories of excessive overtime, on-train security cameras that don’t work, salary bonuses for workers and big raises for BART managers, he said, persuaded him to oppose Measure RR.
“We all recognize how important BART is to the whole region,” he said, “but at some point there needs to be a level of accountability for how they’ve conducted themselves.”
Josefowitz said BART directors and other bond supporters have been getting a supportive response from people around the district as they spread the message of BART’s need to upgrade the 44-year-old system troubled by aging infrastructure and overwhelmed by record ridership.
“Everyone in elected office is asked to take positions all the time,” he said. “What we’re really interested in is voters taking positions — and we’re hearing a lot of support.”
Glazer said that while he will vote against BART’s bond measure, he has not yet decided whether he will campaign for its defeat.
“At some point, with all this irresponsible behavior, you have to say no,” he said. “That’s how I feel about this election.”
Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan

Tags: Steve Glazerunion bustingBARTBondsATU 1555seiu 1021
Categories: Labor News

NTSB: El Faro Master Gave Order to Abandon Ship, VDR Data Reveals

Current News - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 12:11

NTSB: El Faro Master Gave Order to Abandon Ship, VDR Data Reveals
August 24, 2016 by gCaptain

The stern of the El Faro is shown on the ocean floor taken from an underwater video camera on November 1, 2015. Image courtesy NTSB via Reuters
Twenty-six hours of data and audio pulled from the El Faro’s voyage data recorder is providing investigators with important clues about the ship’s sinking during Hurricane Joaquin last October, including that the Master gave the order to abandon ship about 10 minutes before the data cuts off.

The new details were released Wednesday by the National Transportation Board after it revealed that it successfully recovered about 26 hours worth of information from the VDR, which was recovered earlier this month off the coast of the Bahamas.

Information recovered includes bridge audio, weather data and navigational data. The NTSB said that it will be convening a voyage data recorder group to help develop a detailed transcript of the sounds and discernible words captured on the El Faro’s bridge audio.

The voyage data recorder from El Faro, the American cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015 with loss of all 33 on board, was successfully recovered from the ocean floor Aug. 8, 2016, and transported to the NTSB’s laboratory in Washington, D.C. for review. Information from the El Faro’s VDR was successfully recovered Aug. 15.

The NTSB said Wednesday that numerous events leading up to the loss of the El Faro are heard on the VDR’s audio, recorded from microphones on the ship’s bridge. The quality of the recording is degraded because of high levels of background noise, and there are other when the content of crew discussion is difficult to determine, the NTSB said. At other times the content me be able to be determined using audio filtering.

A few key points outlined today by the NTSB:

• The recording began about 5:37 a.m., Sept. 30, 2015 – about 8 hours after the El Farodeparted Jacksonville, Florida, with the ship about 150 nautical miles southeast of the city.
• The bridge audio from the morning of Oct. 1, captured the master and crew discussing their actions regarding flooding and the vessel’s list.
• The vessel’s loss of propulsion was mentioned on the bridge audio about 6:13 a.m. Also captured was the master speaking on the telephone, notifying shoreside personnel of the vessel’s critical situation, and preparing to abandon ship if necessary.
• The master ordered abandon ship and sounded the alarm about 7:30 a.m., Oct. 1, 2015. The recording ended about 10 minutes later when the El Faro was about 39 nautical miles northeast of Crooked Island, Bahamas.
The times are preliminary and subject to change and final validation by the voyage data recorder group, the NTSB noted.

The VDR group’s technical experts will continue reviewing the entire recording, including crew discussions regarding the weather situation and the operation and condition of the ship.

Families of the El Faro’s crew were briefed about the results of the audition Wednesday prior to the NTSB’s release to the public.

The NTSB said it remains unknown how long it will take to develop the final transcript of the El Faro’s VDR. The length of the recording and high levels of background noise will make transcript development a time consuming process, the NTSB said.

Tags: El Faro sinkinghealth and safetyoshaNTSB
Categories: Labor News

100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening

Current News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 19:49

100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening
Thursday, August 25, 2016
100 best labor films tell the basics of the movement〜“Live More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-Year Struggle” screening

As one of the selected labor films, “Be More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-year Struggle” (Kokuro means National Railway Workers’ Union) and “A Normal Life, Please” were screened at Café Lavanderia in Tokyo on Aug. 7. The small but cozy café, a temporary theater for screening, became a spectacular place with its adequate sound system. Some 15 people viewed the films. It was a good opportunity for me to watch closely my own production after a long interval. “Be More Like a Human – Kokuro’s 15-year Struggle” (2001) is a documentary describing privatization and segmentation of the Japan National Railways as well as the dismissal of 1,047 workers by JR from 1986 to 2001. After the film screenings, a mini talk by the producers (SASAKI Yumi and MATSUBARA Akira) was held, which was followed by a discussion. One young participant seemed shocked to see the film for the first time, and said “I was not born at the time. I was lucky to have had a chance to see this film.” The following comments were given also by senior participants: “I knew nothing. It was quite impressive”, “I wonder how you could make such a film at that time”.


撮れましたね」などの感想が寄せられた。(松原明) 続き・「労
働映画百選」サイト *写真=上映後トークする佐々木有美さん

Tags: Japan Kokuro Railway Workers FilmLaborNet
Categories: Labor News

Another SF Muni TWU 250 A operator assaulted, this time with a skateboard

Current News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 18:28

Another SF Muni TWU 250 A operator assaulted, this time with a skateboard
A man walks past a 47 Van Ness bus on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (Ryan McNulty/Special to S.F. Examiner)
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez on August 24, 2016 5:25 pm

A Muni operator was hospitalized after being struck in the head by a man with a skateboard late Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

That operator suffered a laceration of the forehead while driving an inbound 47-Van Ness line at Van Ness Avenue and Bush Street at about 4 p.m., SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said. The incident was reported to the San Francisco Police Department, and video footage was provided for the investigation.

Tuesday’s incident follows a rash of assaults on Muni operators, including that of operator Carla Romero, who was allegedly thrown to the ground and beaten by a man before she fought him off earlier this month.

The SFMTA and the Transport Workers Union Local-250 A are planning a public advertising campaign against Muni operator assaults. But Eric Williams, president of the union, said that may not be enough.

The SFMTA spent upwards of $7 million on SFPD services for traffic control and security between 2015 and 2016, according to budget documents.

“Clearly that’s not enough,” Williams said.

SFPD spokesperson Grace Gatpandan said officers ride buses and trains routinely, especially along hotspots identified by high numbers of incidents, like on Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue, she said.

Muni crime is a “major concern,” she said.

As for increasing Muni patrols, Gatpandan said, “If SFMTA expresses that, we’ll always do our best to facilitate that.”

The problem isn’t unique to San Francisco. On June 13, the Federal Transit Administration launched a six-week public input campaign on transit operator assaults, seeking best practices and standards nationwide.

FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers wrote in a blog post that some agencies have installed barriers aboard buses to protect drivers and required de-escalation training.

The community forum Reddit’s San Francisco page featured a post from someone who claims to have witnessed the incident.

“I’m a bit shaken,” the post reads.

The poster wrote the skater who allegedly struck the Muni operator was wearing a green shirt with “420” on the back, is white with short brown hair and appeared to be in his late teens or early 20s.

The poster wrote people gathered around, and someone took video and sent it to police. “We all exit [sic] the bus and the driver is sitting up front, gushing blood and in shock, trying to reach someone over the radio.”

The San Francisco Examiner contacted the Reddit poster, who did not want their name published.

Last Friday, the United Public Workers for Action rallied at SFMTA headquarters at South Van Ness Avenue and Market Street to demand the agency release video of assault incidents. Traditionally, the SFMTA does not release video of incidents under investigation by SFPD.

Release The Video-Hands Off SF MTA TWU 250A Drivers In San Francisco
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
For more media:
Supporters of public transit workers and public workers rallied at the San Francisco MTA on August 12, 2016 to demand that a video tape of a confrontation between MTA TWU 250A member Carla Ramero who was attacked and beaten by an irate motorist.
Speakers talked about the continual workplace bullying and terrorism against SFMuni TWU 250A members.
The MTA which has the tape turned it over the the SF Police Department which is sitting on it.
Dorian Maxwell and fired OSHA whistleblower at the SF MTA reported that he had received a CA Labor Commissioner order to go back to work but the MTA managers and Mayor Ed Lee have blocked his return to work. Other speakers discussed the racist component of this attack on the mostly Black and Latino drivers of the MTA. The union advised Ramero not to talk to the press and only called for the release of the tape after this rally was announced.
The rally was sponsored by United Public Workers For Action
For more media:
Production of Labor Video Project

Tags: twu 250 ahealth and safetytransit workersUPWA
Categories: Labor News

China: Walmart workers take the boss to court

Labourstart.org News - Wed, 08/24/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: China Labour Bulletin
Categories: Labor News

Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson's attack over 'ram-packed' Virgin train " our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Current News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 19:41

Jeremy Corbyn fends off Branson's attack over 'ram-packed' Virgin train " our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Virgin releases CCTV footage they say disputes Labour leader’s claim that no seats were available, but Corbyn camp says he could not sit next to his wife

Jeremy Corbyn takes a seat on ‘ram-packed’ Virgin train
Peter WalkerPolitical correspondent
Tuesday 23 August 2016 21.01 BSTLast modified on Wednesday 24 August 2016 00.20 BST

Jeremy Corbyn was drawn into an extraordinary row with Virgin Trains after the rail operator disputed the Labour leader’s filmed account of having to sit on the floor of a “ram-packed” train, releasing CCTV images of him walking past free seats beforehand and sitting down shortly after the film was shot.

Backed up by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, the train operator said it had to “take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case” on a crowded train that the Labour leader had taken from London to Newcastle on 11 August.

But the Labour leader stood by his description of the train journey, saying while there had been some available seats he had not been able to sit with his wife, Laura Alvarez, and that he was only able to sit later because train staff had upgraded another family to first class to create space.

Virgin Trains took the unusual step just more than a week after Corbyn was filmed sitting on the train floor after he could not find a seat on the morning train. In the video he laments the lack of available seats, saying: “This is a problem that many passengers face every day; commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed.”

One of the images released by Virgin Trains, which shows a time code of 11.10am – 10 minutes after the service had departed from London – showed Corbyn walking past seemingly unoccupied seats which did not have slips attached to them indicating they were reserved. Virgin Trains also released another CCTV still, from 11.43am, about 15 minutes after the video was shot. This showed Corbyn and his travelling companions returning to the same carriage to sit down.

A Corbyn source said a handful of seats had been available, but not two together, and the Labour leader wanted to sit with his wife. As a result he, his wife and team were among a series of other passengers forced to sit or stand in the corridor.

The source added that when Virgin staff spotted Corbyn sitting in a vestibule they offered him a complimentary upgrade to first class, which he refused.

He added: “Seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.”

Corbyn’s spokesman sought to tie the row to the Labour leader’s wider transport policies. “Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains,” he said.

“That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

Branson also tweeted to his 8.2 million followers a third image of Corbyn walking through a crowded carriage, timed at 11.11am, where the seats were clearly marked with reservation tickets. The Virgin entrepreneur wrote: “Mr Corbyn & team walked past empty-unreserved seats then filmed claim train was ‘ram-packed’”.

Yannis Mendez, who filmed the original video – he has been following Corbyn and volunteers for his leadership campaign against Owen Smith – added that some of the seemingly empty seats shown in the first Virgin Trains image had bags and coats on them, so were not free.

The Corbyn team’s account was supported by a woman who said she sat on the floor next to the Labour leader, having sent a social media photo of herself and her daughter with him.

Ellen – who asked to not be named in full– told the Guardian that Corbyn had seemingly gone through the entire standard-class section of the train but had not been able to find a seat. The 26-year-old, who was with her one-year-old daughter and son, aged six, said she had similarly been unable to find seats.

“He’s not lying,” she said. “When I saw him he was in coach A, right at the front. He hadn’t managed to find a seat in the whole of the train. I was sat on the floor, there was no space for me to get a seat. There were people in every space between every carriage. It was totally overcrowded. They were full of bags and full of people.”

Another woman, Keren Harrison, tweeted a photo of herself with Corbyn on the train, saying there was only a seat for him about 45 minutes into the three-hour trip “when staff started shuffling people around”. This process appeared to involve Virgin staff directing other passengers sitting in corridors to reserved seats which had not been occupied.

A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said: “We know that some of our services on our east and west coast franchises are extremely popular, and it can be hard to find a seat.” It usually happened in particular circumstances, the operator added, for example when there’s a big sporting event, or on the first off-peak train out of London.

“Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about cup finals or fares regulation, which could spread demand much more effectively if it was less of a blunt instrument,” the spokesperson said, arguing they would be “delighted to work with ministers if they were interested in reviewing the fares structure for long distance services, with the aim of reducing the overcrowding that can occur”.

At a rally in east London on Tuesday night night, Sam Tarry, the Labour leader’s campaign director, told the crowds that Branson had released the letter because he was upset about Corbyn’s plans to renationalise the railways. “Some of you might have seen on social media today there’s been a little bit of a spat,” he said. “Richard Branson has decided he’s very upset about our not particularly radical plans to renationalise our railways, so he’s having a little pop at us.

“I’d just say that’s very, very indicative – the establishment is absolutely petrified about what this campaign is about, what this movement is about.”

Smith, who is challenging Corbyn for the Labour leadership, was quick to poke fun at the situation, tweeting: “My campaign remains on track. Proud to be genuinely standing up for ordinary people.”

Smith will try to regain the initiative in the leadership contest today with a pledge to block Brexit in parliament.

The Pontypridd MP will say a Labour party led by him would vote against the triggering of article 50 – the formal process for Brexit – until the Conservatives agreed to put the final negotiated departure to the people, either through a referendum or at a general election.

11.10am Jeremy Corbyn and his wife, Laura Alvarez, board the train. Virgin Trains CCTV shows seemingly unoccupied seats without reservation slips. A source close to the Labour leader said there were not enough free seats for Corbyn to sit with his wife.

11.11am A second CCTV image, with a time stamp of 11.11am, tweeted by Virgin’s owner, Richard Branson, shows Corbyn clearly walking past empty seats. However, these all seem to have slips indicating that they are reserved.

11.30am A few minutes later, Yannis Mendez, a freelance filmmaker accompanying Corbyn, films him sitting on the floor. He says the ‘ram-packed’ train’s lack of seats ­emphasises the need for the railways to be returned to public ownership.

11.43am Corbyn takes a seat in coach H after staff directed passengers to use booked seats that had not been taken. A Corbyn source said the leader’s seats were provided after Virgin staff upgraded a family to first class to make space for him and Alvarez.

Tags: Jeremy Corbynrail re-nationalization
Categories: Labor News

Sunshine Ordinance, Now 17 Years Old, Still Has Baby Teeth "Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Mu

Current News - Tue, 08/23/2016 - 08:37

Sunshine Ordinance, Now 17 Years Old, Still Has Baby Teeth "Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency finally produced documents whose existence it had previously denied."
In the spectator gallery, Mr. Maxwell’s eyes welled as he flipped through the pages, upset by what he called false information in his file.

MARCH 17, 2011

Scott James is a columnist for The Bay Citizen.

For some, these are dark days for San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance.

The measure, which was meant to foster transparency in city government, has instead devolved into the Rodney Dangerfield of rule books — it don’t get no respect. Despite violations, no city employee has been disciplined for failing to abide by the ordinance, which requires that city dealings be open to public review — including many documents, officials’ schedules and meetings.

The ordinance took effect in 1994. It is a way to hold city officials accountable, and an alternative to costly civil lawsuits to obtain public records. An 11-member volunteer citizen panel, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, enforces the ordinance. Since it took effect, 27 instances of serious violations requiring disciplinary action have been cited, according to the citizen panel, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

But those cases have been dismissed or moved into bureaucratic oblivion by the Ethics Commission, which is responsible for punishing sunshine violators.

“The Ethics Commission doesn’t do anything,” said Allyson Washburn, a member of the task force. “They don’t enforce our orders of determination.”

Without consequences for violations, Ms. Washburn said, the ordinance lacks teeth.

Richard Knee, chairman of the task force, said the Ethics Commission was adversarial.

As a result, the task force is trying to change the ordinance to limit the commission’s role and impose fines of up to $5,000 against city workers for violations, money that would be paid out of their own pockets. The change would require voter approval.

Some city leaders, however, feel under attack.

Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said in an e-mail, “The task force has degenerated into a rogue, lawless jury that beats up on city departments and tries to get conscientious public employees fired.”

Mr. Dorsey and other city public information managers said they spent an extraordinary amount of time and resources complying with the ordinance. They described task force hearings as a tedious kangaroo court.

John St. Croix, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said that the work of the task force often lacked due process and that his department had “an obligation to review the cases.”

Asked about the 27 cases that have gone nowhere, Mr. St. Croix said 14 were dismissed based on advice from the city attorney’s office that other laws took precedence over the ordinance, 12 others remained under review and one was referred elsewhere and apparently ended without action.

Interviews with about a dozen key figures — including city leaders and sunshine advocates — revealed a long list of reasons for current aggravations: legal loopholes, personality conflicts, city efforts to prevent embarrassing revelations and a misunderstanding of the ordinance’s scope.

Nevertheless, the ordinance can be effective.

Dorian Maxwell, a city transit worker, was denied access to his complete personnel file until the task force intervened. It took the case in October, and at a March 8 hearing the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency finally produced documents whose existence it had previously denied.

In the spectator gallery, Mr. Maxwell’s eyes welled as he flipped through the pages, upset by what he called false information in his file.

Hope Johnson, a task force member, strongly criticized the transit agency for what she called “egregious” behavior in Mr. Maxwell’s case.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the agency, said, “We absolutely care about the Sunshine Ordinance and respond on a daily basis.”

But not always in a timely manner. Two recent Sunshine Ordinance requests made to the agency by The Bay Citizen were not fulfilled in accordance with the ordinance’s 15-day deadline. One request, filed Jan. 21, for records regarding dangerous cycling lanes, was complied with last week — after the agency was informed that a failure to disclose would be reported in this column.

Mr. Rose said the agency tracked its success rate for complying with the ordinance, but he did not respond to a request to make that information public.

If all of this sounds like an ordeal, well, that might just be the point.

Bruce B. Brugmann, editor and publisher of the firebrand San Francisco Bay Guardian weekly newspaper, helped create the ordinance. Mr. Brugmann said that the ordinance and task force hearings put public officials in an uncomfortable spotlight, and that was often enough to produce results.

“It’s an evolving document,” Mr. Brugmann said, noting that the ordinance had already been strengthened once, 1999. He welcomed the new efforts to make punishments for violations more likely.

“It’s a way for citizens to get some relief,” he said, “and some accountability at City Hall.”

Scott James is an Emmy-winning television journalist and novelist who lives in San Francisco.

Tags: transit workersunshine lawcover-upretaliation
Categories: Labor News

DC Metro fights Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 union lawsuit to reinstate L’Enfant Plaza tunnel inspector

Current News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 19:31

DC Metro fights Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 union lawsuit to reinstate L’Enfant Plaza tunnel inspector
By Martine Powers August 22 at 10:34 AM

Commuters on a crowded escalator at Metro’s L’Enfant Plaza station. (Marlon Correa/The Washington Post)
Metro is fighting its largest union, which has sued to reinstate a tunnel fan inspector who was fired after last year’s L’Enfant Plaza smoke disaster for allegedly falsifying an inspection report and later lying about his actions.

In documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Metro’s attorneys argued that the agency was well within its rights to terminate the mechanic and to reject the decision of an arbitration board, which had declared that the 13-year veteran of Metro should instead be suspended without pay for 180 days.

Metro wants the court to nullify the arbitration board’s decision.

“If the arbitration decision is not vacated, [the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s] transit patrons, employees, and the general public will be subjected to serious risk of physical harm and injury by the return of an employee to work on critical safety equipment despite repeated prior incidents of false statements,” Metro argued in the complaint.

Metro’s filed the counterclaim in response to a lawsuit filed last month by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. The union argued that the agency had wrongfully terminated the mechanic, Seyoum Haile, and was using him as a scapegoat instead of placing responsibility on supervisors who were charged with verifying inspection reports.

[Union sues to reinstate Metro mechanic fired after L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident]

Haile’s actions came to light in the aftermath of the January 2015 L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident, which resulted in the death of one rider and injured dozens more. During the ensuing investigation, officials checked inspection logs and realized that the November 2014 inspection had not been properly conducted, even though Haile submitted an inspection report saying that it had. Later, Metro says, Haile lied during his interview with investigators.

“The fan shaft is a critical fire/life-safety system,” Metro wrote in its response. “During WMATA’s investigation, WMATA gave Mr. Haile several opportunities to provide accurate and forthright information and he repeatedly failed to do so.”

Metro and the union agree that Haile was not responsible for the death and injuries that occurred during that incident; the tunnel fan he was tasked with inspecting had operated properly during the smoke incident and only burned out once all the passengers were evacuated from the tunnel. Also, other mechanics had been responsible for conducting the inspection scheduled for December 2014.

[NTSB: Metro has had a ‘severe learning disability’ when it comes to improving safety]

In an interview with investigators after the L’Enfant Plaza incident, Haile indicated that he had not been able to properly conduct the November 2014 inspection because staff in Metro’s rail operations command center failed to identify the correct fan and turn it on remotely. He moved on to inspect the next fan, and did not return later.

Haile later told officials that he had left a blank spot on his inspection report, indicating that the particular fan in question had not been properly scrutinized. He testified that in the hours after the L’Enfant Plaza incident — before it became apparent what had gone wrong — his supervisors had pressured him to fill in the blank spot. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees completely fill out their inspection reports.

“They trick us. . . . They call us to fill out this paper to cover themselves,” Haile testified to the arbitrators, recalling his dialogue with the supervisor. “When we came from the field . . . [I said,] I can’t remember all this. . . . We don’t know this, I just guessing. But we knew right away after we left there was an accident. The lead man and the supervisor, to cover themselves, they forced us to put it.”

Haile was fired in February 2015; in April, an arbitration board disagreed with that decision, arguing that a lighter punishment would be adequate.

“The grievant’s misconduct was serious,” wrote arbitrator Ezio E. Borchini in that decision. “However, in light of all of the evidence, it was not so serious as to be disruptive of the employment relationship. The penalty must be rehabilitative, rather than punitive.”

Last month, when the union filed its lawsuit, Metro officials vowed to put up a fight. In this new filing, the agency asserts that it would be putting passengers at risk if it allowed Haile to resume working at Metro.

“Requiring WMATA to reinstate this employee, who has on repeated occasions falsely documented and stated that he completed assigned work on critical safety equipment when in fact he had not, would compromise WMATA’s ability to comply with these applicable safety laws and otherwise protect the safety of its transit riders, employees, and the general public,” Metro wrote.

[Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld continues management shake-up with new general counsel]

ATU Local 689 spokesman David Stephen declined to comment on Metro’s counterclaim, other than to affirm that the union continues to believe that arbitrators’ ruling was justified.

“We are confident the courts will uphold the legally binding arbitration decision,” Stephen said.

Martine Powers writes about the Metro transit system and the wonky world of transportation. Follow @martinepowers

Tags: ATU 689health and safetyfiring
Categories: Labor News

Nigeria: Unpaid Wages: Workers, Labour Unions Turn Out For National Protest

Labourstart.org News - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 17:00
LabourStart headline - Source: Channels
Categories: Labor News

PSR Fleet Memo for August 20 2016

IBU - Mon, 08/22/2016 - 11:01
Categories: Unions


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