Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 04.20.15

Teamsters
First Transit Workers At Auburn University Choose Teamsters Local 612  Teamster.org   ...Drivers and mechanics with First Transit in Auburn, Ala., have voted by an overwhelming 3-1 margin in favor of Teamsters representation. The 116 workers, who provide transportation services for students at Auburn University, chose to join Teamsters Local 612 in Birmingham, Ala., seeking respect, fair pay and improved working conditions...
New Contract For MBS International Airport Unionized Workers OK’d  Midland Daily News   ...The MBS Airport Commission recently approved a collective bargaining agreement that covers 20 unionized employees. Ratified by Teamsters Local 214, the two-year contract calls for a 1 percent pay increase for each year and a $600 lump sum payment.
Teamsters: Railroad Unions Advancing Two-Person Crew Legislation To Protect Safety  Teamster.org   ...Continuing a cooperative effort to promote safety in the railroad industry, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers International Association (SMART) have jointly announced that legislation requiring at least two crew members on all freight trains in the U.S. has been introduced in the 114th Congress...
1,800 CN Locomotive Engineers Represented By Teamsters Ratify 3-Year Contract  Montreal Gazette   ...Canadian National Railway says the 1,800 locomotive engineers represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference have ratified a new collective agreement with the company. The railway says the three-year agreement, retroactive to Jan. 1, provides both wage increases and benefit improvements...

Global Labor & Trade
Key Democrat says he’ll try to kill Obama-backed trade bill   Market Watch   ...A key House Democrat said Friday he’ll try to kill a bill that would give President Barack Obama “fast track” trade treaty authority, a measure strongly supported by the White House. “I’m out to defeat the Hatch-Wyden bill,” Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters...
Stopping Short of Rejection, Clinton Sets Conditions for a Trade Deal  New York Times  ...“Hillary Clinton believes that any new trade measure has to pass two tests,” her spokesman, Nick Merrill, said in a statement. “First, it should put us in a position to protect American workers, raise wages and create more good jobs at home. Second, it must also strengthen our national security. We should be willing to walk away from any outcome that falls short of these tests...
'Stop TTIP': Global Day of Action Draws Tens of Thousands   Common Dreams  ...Demonstrators marched around the globe Saturday to protest the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a 'free trade' agreement currently being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the United States. Opponents fear that TTIP will erode food, labor and environmental standards particularly with regard to the EU's strict regulations on food additives, genetically modified crops and the use of pesticides...
The Trans Pacific Partnership won’t fix our China problem  (opinion) The Hill   ...The TPP will not effectively deal with the core reason China enjoyed a $342.6 billion goods trade surplus with the U.S. last year, or an accumulated goods trade surplus with our country of $3.1 trillion since it joined the WTO: China operates based on a state-capitalist, mercantilist model, under which international trade law doesn’t mean much...
Trade Talks in Tokyo Get Push From 'Fast-Track' Deal in US  New York Times   ...Top Japan and U.S. trade officials plan to meet this weekend, seeking to close gaps over autos and farm trade before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Washington later this month. The U.S. and Japan must agree on market-opening measures before the 12 countries involved can reach a long-delayed final accord on the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim trade pact...
Bernie Sanders urges Hillary to fight trade deal  The Hill   ...Sanders said Clinton and every other 2016 presidential candidate should oppose the 12-nation Asia-Pacific pact that the Obama administration is negotiating. "My strong hope is that Secretary Clinton and all candidates — Republicans and Democrats — will make it clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be rejected and that we must develop trade policies that benefit working families, not just Wall Street and multi-national corporations," Sanders said in a statement...
Durham teachers' strike seen as start of wave of labour unrest  Toronto Star   ...Durham public high school teachers hit the picket lines on Monday in a protest widely seen as the start of a wave of teacher unrest across the province, with six more boards targeted in the coming weeks and other unions growing increasingly frustrated at the bargaining table...

State & Living Wage Battles
Alabama Auto Parts Plant Slapped With Federal Restraining Order  NBC News   ...A federal judge in Alabama issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against auto parts manufacturer Lear Corp. after the Labor Department accused the company of illegally harassing its workers and obstructing a federal safety investigation...
Walker's Dark Money Allies Orchestrate Coup of the Courts  PR Watch   ...Two court cases next week--one being heard in open court, another being considered in silence behind closed doors--will decide the future of Wisconsin campaign finance law, the independence of the Wisconsin judiciary and will impact the future of presidential candidate Scott Walker...
The 'Inexcusable' Assault On Workers In Wisconsin (opinion)  Huffington Post   ...The right-to-work scam is not what we should aspire to in Wisconsin, or anywhere else. The labor movement has played a key role in helping working families enter the middle class and stay in the middle class. That's why the President encouraged Walker to offer workers "the tools they need to get ahead" rather than strip them of their hard-won rights...
Colorado Minimum-Wage Bill Dies Amid Protests Across Denver, Nation  Denver Business Journal   ...Minimum wage got a maximum amount of attention Wednesday in Denver, both inside and outside the Capitol. As protesters gathered on the Auraria Campus calling for a national hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a state Senate committee killed a bill that would have allowed cities and counties to raise the floor wage level within their boundaries above the state’s minimum of $8.23 per hour...
L.A. restaurants push for tips to count toward minimum wage  LA Times   ...Labor activists warn that counting tips toward the citywide minimum wage would violate California law and leave those waiting tables, scrubbing cars or turning down hotel beds more vulnerable to being illegally underpaid. Most tipped workers have low incomes, they say, both inside and outside the restaurant world...
Getting Better Organized: San Francisco's Fight for $15 and a Union   Truthout.org   ...The demand for $15 an hour minimum wage is a good example of this progress. It is simple, clear, specific, easily understood and, very important, achievable. Though quite bold and in stark contrast to the cowardly timid proposals coming out of Washington politicians from both major parties, the slogan is still quite reasonable...

U.S. Labor
Alleging Labor Abuses, U.S. and Mexican Workers Call for Boycott of Driscoll’s Berries  In These Times   ...Driscoll’s may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons. To keep its berries stocked far and wide, the company uses a vast supplier network stretching from Canada to Argentina. But some of those suppliers are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One of Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified...
AFSCME union president urges members to stay strong  The Day   ...The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments soon in Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, "a case that will determine, essentially, whether we continue to exist," Saunders said. The suit, brought on behalf of a group of 10 California teachers, claims a law that requires public employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment violates their employee rights. Should the teachers win, the country's public sector could become a "right to work" sector, undermining the power of the labor unions...
Two Years After West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion, Are Workers Any Safer? New Report Says No  In These Times   ...In a report released this week, the Center for Effective Government, a non-partisan government watchdog, examined emergency response planning and reporting on chemicals required of plants like West Fertilizer under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA)—enacted in response to the 1984 release of deadly methylisocyanate gas from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India that killed thousands and injured many more—and the Clean Air Act...

Miscellaneous
California drought spurs protest over 'unconscionable' bottled water business  The Guardian   ...Californians facing the prospect of endless drought, mandated cuts in water use and the browning of their summer lawns are mounting a revolt against the bottled water industry, following revelations that Nestlé and other big companies are taking advantage of poor government oversight to deplete mountain streams and watersheds at vast profit...
Fed Shies Away From June Rate Hike  Wall Street Journal   ...A patch of soft economic data has created uncertainty inside the Federal Reserve about when to start raising short-term interest rates, dimming the chances of a move as early as June...
Meaningful Financial Reform (opinion)  Washington Post   ...The objective can’t be questioned. The need for institutional reform is evident. Let’s break the pattern of resisting the need for administrative reform, consider the risks of repeating avoidable crises and demonstrate that this great democracy still has the capacity to act in the common interest...
Millions Spent Lobbying By Private Prison Corporations To Keep A Quota Of Arrested Immigrants, Report Says  Think Progress   ...Private prison corporations spent $11 million over six years to lobby Congress to keep immigrants in detention centers, a new report released Wednesday found. The Grassroots Leadership report, Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, found that lobbying efforts of the two largest private prison corporations have made them the main beneficiaries of aggressive immigration detention policies...