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Today's Teamster News 04.29.15

Teamsters
Hoffa Statement on Repealing Health Benefits Tax   Teamster.org  ...“Rep. Courtney’s bill stands up for working Americans. The health care excise tax set to take effect in 2018 is an onerous charge that will hit many middle-class families hard in the pocketbook, all because their health insurance is considered too good. It is unconscionable that some hardworking Americans will have to pay a 40 percent penalty on benefits they’ve fought hard to receive"...
Atlanta Sysco Workers Reinstated, Receive Full Back Pay  Teamster.org  ...Fourteen union activists terminated by Sysco during a Teamster organizing campaign in Atlanta, Ga. will be returned to their jobs with full back pay after the company issued unconditional offers to return to work on Monday, April 27. Additionally, two workers unfairly disciplined will also have their records cleared...
Teamsters at Coca-Cola Ratify Contracts Covering 1,400 Workers  Teamster.org  ...Coca-Cola workers in Southern California have ratified two contracts covering about 1,400 Teamsters that increase wages and pension benefits. One contract covers bottling and warehouse workers represented by Local 896 in Los Angeles, and the second contract covers warehouse and truck drivers represented by Local 848 in Glendora, Local 952 in Orange and Local 986 in South El Monte...
Alleging Millions in Wage Theft, West Coast Port Truckers Strike  In These Times  ...The union states that independent contractor misclassification makes truckers ineligible for unionization and victims of wage theft, stemming from lack unemployment benefits, employer-provided health-care and hourly or overtime pay. Despite working under much of the same rules and conditions as full-time employees, port truckers operating as independent contractors have truck leasing fees and expenses related to gas and maintenance deducted from their paychecks...
Railroad unions urge tougher rules on tracks  Philly.com  ..."The key to reducing track-caused derailments is maintaining the tracks to a higher safety standard," said Freddie N. Simpson, president of the Maintenance of Way Brotherhood, the union that represents about 35,000 workers who inspect and maintain railroads. Unfortunately, the railroads' own statistics speak for themselves, and track-caused derailments - including those involving highly volatile crude oil - continue to be a threat to the nation"...

Global Labor & Trade
Which Countries Get the Best Deals Out Of the Trans-Pacific Partnership?  National Journal   ...The chart below breaks down just how the proposed partnership would impact the countries involved, based on estimates from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Vietnam is in the best position of the 12 nations, poised to see a $46 billion bump in GDP by 2025, an additional 13.6 percent of the baseline GDP projected for that year without the TPP...
Business group launches six-figure ad blitz for Obama's trade agenda  The Hill  ...The Trade Benefits America Coalition — which is backed by the Business Roundtable — will begin airing the ads on national cable networks and in targeted media markets across the country this week. The ad — dubbed "One Thing" — urges lawmakers to pass trade promotion authority (TPA)...
Labor Makes Trade a Line in the Sand for 2016. But What If Hillary Clinton Crosses It?  National Journal  ...One of America's most influential labor organizations is trying to ensure that the political candidates it would support will oppose free-trade deals. But if Hillary Clinton comes out in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, labor doesn't have many other options...
New York City Joins Growing Numbers of Cities Opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership  CWA-Union  ...On the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio criticizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a “raw deal” and "huge mistake,” the New York City Council voted to pass a resolution declaring the city a “TPP-free zone” and urging Congress to reject “Fast Track” legislation for the trade deal...
Obama to meet New Democrat Coalition  Politico   ...President Barack Obama will meet with moderate Democrats to discuss his economic agenda, a meeting that will likely include discussion of a contentious trade bill Congress is set to consider. The four dozen members of the New Democrat Coalition were invited to a Thursday afternoon meeting at the White House...
New Front Opens in ‘Fast-Track’ Trade Fight  Roll Call   ...Sen. Rob Portman intends to bring an amendment to the floor as part of the “fast-track” debate that would make it a “principal negotiating objective” under TPA to create enforceable rules to combat unfair currency practices. It was voted down at the committee level, 11-15...
A progressive’s lament about the Trans-Pacific Partnership  (opinion) Washington Post   ...It has come to this. To sell his trade treaty — specifically the fast-track trade authority that would grease the skids for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), President Obama is mobilizing a coalition anchored by corporate lobbies, the Chamber of Commerce and Republican congressional leadership. He is opposed by the majority of Democratic legislators, the labor movement and a broad array of mainstream environmental, consumer and citizen organizations...

State & Living Wage Battles
Wisconsin rep. introduces bill for $15 minimum wage  Wisconsin Gazette  ...Wisconsin state Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, on April 28 introduced a measure to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Sargent’s bill comes less than two weeks after workers around on the country protested in solidarity for a minimum wage increase to $15...
Aldermen voice opposition to right-to-work zones  Chicago Tribune   ...Union officials lodged their opposition Tuesday to Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed right-to-work zones as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's effort to send a message to state lawmakers that City Hall opposes the idea...
Judge sides with Red Robin servers in minimum wage lawsuit  Morning Call   ...In a first-of-its-kind decision on Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act, the judge ruled the degree to which a restaurant worker interacts directly with customers is key to determining whether he or she is eligible to share tips. The decision scuttles Red Robin franchise owner Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group's preliminary bid to dismiss the case...
Court raises tough questions on Texas voter ID law  Dallas News  ...The U.S. Justice Department and others oppose the law as an unconstitutional burden on minority voters. The state of Texas says the law was aimed at preventing fraud. The state is appealing a federal district judge’s ruling in October that struck down the law...
Legal fight continues over Wisconsin's voter ID law  Wisconsin Gazette  ...With two special elections looming next month and one to fill a vacancy in the state Senate coming later this year, opponents of Wisconsin's new voter identification law want a federal court to expand the number of IDs that voters can show at the polls...

U.S. Labor
SEIU caregivers implore supervisors for 'livable wage'  The Californian   ...County-employed caregivers provide in-home services to about 5,000 elderly and disabled patients. The service maintains the clients' dignity, rather than forcing them to live in a health-care facility, said David Werlin, the northern California director for United Long Term Care Workers. ULTCW is under the Service Employees International Union...
Richard Trumka, A.F.L.-C.I.O. Chief, Warns Candidates on Inequality  New York Times  ...Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., vowed Tuesday that organized labor would no longer accept “cautious half-measures” from presidential candidates about how to address economic fairness, an implicit but unmistakable attempt to nudge Hillary Rodham Clinton toward embracing a liberal agenda during her presidential run...
UAW reports 55 percent membership at VW plant in Tennessee   U-T San Diego   ...The filing comes as the UAW works toward gaining collective bargaining rights at its first foreign-owned plant in the South. And the union's case for recognition could be bolstered by leadership shakeup at the German automaker that has left a former union chief, Berthold Huber, as the interim chairman of the world's No. 2 automaker...
Profits Are Up, But Wages Are Stagnant. This Senator Has A Plan.  Think Progress   ...Last week, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) sent a letter to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the growing trend of companies giving money to investors through stock buybacks, rather than investing in workers or equipment. Workers’ wages are currently growing at the slowest pace since the 1960s, despite healthy corporate profits and increasing productivity...

Miscellaneous
The Economic Devastation Fueling The Anger In Baltimore  Think Progress  ...The protesters’ anger was fueled, at least in large part, by the Baltimore police department’s long history of ugly violence against the city’s residents and a pattern of officers facing few, if any, repercussions. But the protests also take place in the context of a city that has been ravaged economically, most recently by the foreclosure crisis and predatory lending...
Service Sector Surges, Manufacturers Learn to Do More With Less  US News & World Report  ...The report shows service sector employment reached a peak last month at 121.6 million workers, nearly 10 times the amount of people employed in manufacturing jobs. Service employment includes a relatively broad swath of the domestic workforce that includes most retail, information technology and health care industries, among others...
Apartheid Games: Baltimore, Urban America, and Camden Yards  The Nation  ...All of these cities were at one time synonymous with industry and multiracial labor power. Now they have boarded up factories—or factories that have been transformed into postmodern coffee shops or bars—and baseball stadiums. A publicly funded stadium is not the root cause of what plagues our cities, but it’s a flashing, blaring sign of a set of economic priorities that like sports has created a country that defines people as winners or losers...

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