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Today's Teamster News 04.21.15

Teamsters
Longtime Union Activist Rodney Smith Helps Organize Facebook Shuttle Drivers  Contra Costa Times   ...As a union organizer for Teamsters Local 853 based in San Leandro, Smith played a key role in winning the drivers their first union contract. In the process, the father of two helped pull off a precedent-setting vote that targets the growing income gap in Silicon Valley...
Pilots Fault Allegiant on Safety as Talks Stall  New York Times   ...But Allegiant’s scrappy success is now being questioned by its pilots, who say they are worried about repeated mechanical problems with the airline’s fleet of older planes, poor maintenance operations and a culture where profits come before safety. All the claims were reported by the pilots and compiled by the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition on behalf of the pilots’ union, the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224...
PCC unions question change on carpenters, Teamsters   Philly.com  ...Marino wrote a letter saying he would dismiss complaints - primarily on technical grounds - by the Metropolitan Council of Regional Carpenters and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which said they had been improperly shut out of work last May at the Convention Center. On Thursday, Marino reversed course, saying he would hear arguments in the case...

Global Labor & Trade
‘Fast Track’ Trade Bill Taps Tension In Ohio  Wall Street Journal   ...Rep. Tim Ryan doesn’t need to travel far from home to see the damage he ascribes to bad trade deals. “You can see how it’s hollowed out,” said the Democratic lawmaker, pointing to empty or underutilized steel plants on a recent tour of his district in northeast Ohio. “Global trade regimes aren’t fairly written if this is the end result.”...
Japan says trade talks with US are close to deal   The Hill   ...Abe said he and Obama must play a leadership role to wrap a deal and “ultimately, what needs to happen is for both countries to make a political decision” to tackle difficult remaining issues. A U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement is a major step toward completing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)...
Progressive Coalition Tells Lawmakers: 'Don't Trade Away Our Future' with Fast Track  Common Dreams   ...With members of Congress set to debate Fast Track authority this week, hundreds of environmentalists, consumer advocates, nurses, labor leaders, and elected officials stood shoulder-to-shoulder at a Washington, D.C. rally on Monday, pleading with lawmakers: 'Don't Trade Away Our Future!'
AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka explains why labor unions hate Obama’s trade deal  Vox  ...The TPP has created some strange bedfellows: the Obama administration has found itself with many GOP allies in promoting the trade deal, while unions and liberals like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders staunchly oppose it. Vox spoke with Trumka recently about why he opposes the pact...
Don't Let TPP Gut State Laws  (opinion) Politico   ...State laws and regulators are increasingly important as gridlock in Washington makes broad federal action on important issues an increasingly rare event. From environmental protection to civil rights to the minimum wage, the action is at the state level. Ironically, one thing that may get done soon in Washington is a trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has the potential to undermine a wide range of state and local laws...
Fast Tracking Democracy To Hell  (opinion) Huffington Post   ...The Congressional free traders want to Fast Track authorization of the TPP. Fast Track enables Congress to abdicate its constitutionally mandated duty to regulate international trade. Instead of scrutinizing, amending and improving proposed trade deals, lawmakers use Fast Track to gloss over the specifics and simply vote yea or nay on the entire package as presented...

State & Living Wage Battles
Workers Allege Walmart Closes Stores To Retaliate Against Strikes  Think Progress  ...Over the weekend, the AFL-CIO and United Food & Commercial Workers International Union filed an injunction on their behalf with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Walmart. “The Board should seek injunctive relief compelling Walmart to rehire every one of the 2200 Associates who have been terminated in all 5 stores,” it says...
David Koch on 2016 GOP Nominee: ‘It Should be Scott Walker.’ But...   The Nation   ...According to several reports from a New York State Republican Party fund-raising event on Monday, David Koch told the big donors: “We will support whoever the candidate is. But it should be Scott Walker.” That sounded like an endorsement. So did what Koch said outside the Manhattan event, at which Walker also spoke. Koch hailed the governor of Wisconsin “a tremendous candidate.”...
TWMP talks Right-to-Work, the budget, and 2016   The Missouri Times   ...Senate Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joined This Week In Missouri Politics to discuss the coming budget fight and his decision to put Right-to-Work legislation on the Senate calendar for debate...
Little Momentum for National Right-to-Work, Despite Support by White House Contestants  Bloomberg News   ...Despite the backing of at least two of the three current Republican presidential candidates and similar laws in place in half the states, right-to-work legislation remains highly unlikely to move at the federal level any time soon, lawmakers and other observers told Bloomberg BNA...
Not just fast food: Full-service restaurant chains pay poverty wages, too  Daily Kos   ...Fast food isn't the only part of the restaurant industry where workers are seriously underpaid. A recent report from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United shows that many workers in full-service restaurants are also paid so little that they need and get nearly $9.5 billion in public assistance each year...
How a $15 Minimum Wage Helps All Workers   Counterpunch   ...Regardless of their reasoning, the anti-$15 workers are arguing against their own best interest, since a $15 minimum wage would benefit the overwhelming majority of people who make over $15 an hour. This is because a $15 minimum wage would transform the labor market in favor of all working people. Economists have even given a term for this phenomenon, called “compression,” which describes the effects of how rising lower wages puts pressure on employers to raise wages for higher paid workers...
New York City Just Outlawed Running Credit Checks on Job Applicants   The Nation   ...The legislation, which passed last Thursday following an extensive grassroots campaign by local and national labor and community groups, restricts a boss, prospective employer or agency from “us[ing] an individual’s consumer credit history in making employment decisions.”...

U.S. Labor
Safety Regulations Issued For Trains Carrying Oil  New York Times   ...Responding to public pressure to act more quickly after a series of fiery train derailments involving oil shipments, the Transportation Department on Friday issued a series of emergency orders, including a 40-mile-an-hour speed limit for hazardous materials moving through urban areas. The emergency rules also require railroads to provide detailed information about a shipment within 90 minutes of any derailment...
Why Can't America Have Great Trains?  National Journal   ...Along with PBS and the United States Postal Service, Amtrak is perpetual fodder for libertarian think-tankers and Republican office-seekers on the prowl for government profligacy. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush repeatedly tried to eliminate its subsidy, while Mitt Romney promised to do the same. Democrats, for their part, aren't interested in slaying Amtrak, but mostly you get the sense they just feel bad for it...
One-day teacher strikes planned this week  King5.com  ...Teachers in eight school districts, from Arlington to Blaine, announced one-day strikes this week to protest the lack of funding for public schools. They look at their act of civil disobedience as an opportunity to demand that lawmakers to fully fund public schools as mandated by a state supreme court decision, and reduce class size according to the voter approved Initiative 1351...
NLRB Upholds Howard University Docs' Union Vote  Union City   ...Resident physicians at Howard University Hospital and community leaders are calling on hospital officials to come to the table to negotiate a first contract with the residents’ union in the wake of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling upholding the union election held earlier this year, in which a majority of the 263 Howard resident physicians voted in favor of representation...

Miscellaneous
Corporate Giants Often Get Huge Tax Breaks, While Poor, Undocumented Immigrants Have Paid Billions In State Taxes  New York Daily News   ...The truth is that for corporate giants like General Electric, Verizon, Citigroup, FedEx and others, the only certainty in terms of taxes is that they contribute as little to the country’s coffers as possible. Ironically, while many of these corporate behemoths pay zero taxes, the eternally vilified undocumented immigrants in New York paid $1.1 billion in state taxes in 2012...
Senate Races In 2016 Look Poised To Set Spending Records  Washington Post   ...Yes, the 2016 presidential race will be the most expensive in history. But the battle for control of the U.S. Senate in November 2016 also looks likely to smash spending records...
How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy  The Atlantic   ...Today, the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public-interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business...

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