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Today's Teamster News 05.14.15

Teamsters
BLET/Teamsters statement on fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia  BLET.org   ...As federal investigators in Philadelphia begin to piece together what happened leading up to the horrific Amtrak derailment that occurred on May 12, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) extends our most heartfelt sympathy to the grieving families who lost a loved one in the accident, and also to the many victims who suffered serious injuries...
Teamsters, allies voice outrage at attempts to gut truck safety laws  Teamster Nation   ...Teamsters joined forces today with safety advocates, crash victims, and law enforcement allies for a press event on Capitol Hill to speak out against proposed rollbacks of major truck safety regulations. The event was held as the Appropriations Committee considers the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill for 2016, which includes "riders" that will force truck drivers to work longer hours and drive larger, heavier trucks...
Teamsters trying to organize at north Strip hotel  CBS Las Vegas  ...The union representing Las Vegas valet workers are protesting what they say is unfair treatment at the SLS Las Vegas hotel and casino on the Strip. Teamsters Local 986 said the group and supporters protested outside SLS Monday. The union wants to organize the casino-hotel’s 50 valet employees...

Global Labor & Trade
Senate compromise revives fast-track bill, but an uphill slog looms in House  Washington Post  ...One day after Democrats defied their own president with a filibuster that temporarily blocked a key trade measure, Senate leaders said they had reached an agreement to move forward with a series of votes that would break the impasse...
Obama vs. Warren: Trade spat turns personal  Reuters  ...President Barack Obama's swing at liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren has stirred a controversy that may complicate the chances of a pan-Pacific trade pact and could make it harder for the White House to get its way in future legislative battles. Facing stiff opposition to the trade deal from sections of his own Democratic Party, Obama launched a personalized criticism of Warren's efforts to lead the fight against giving the administration "fast-track" negotiating authority...
White House changes tone on trade  The Hill  ...Knowing it has to win over more Democrats, the White House shifted its tone on the Massachusetts senator. Earnest sought to downplay the scope of the Obama-Warren rift, emphasizing they agree on a wide array of issues from Wall Street reform to raising the minimum wage, even though they disagree on trade...
Barack Obama's Battle With Senate Democrats Is Over. For Now.  National Journal   ...Of the Senate's 46 Democrats, exactly one voted Tuesday to support a bill that Obama calls vital to the economy. But then, after a day of lousy news coverage and hand-wringing about a president who couldn't even get the support of his own party, it all blew over, and things were pretty much where Obama and his aides predicted they would be heading into Monday...
Democrats yield in Senate trade deal  Politico   ...After Democrats engineered a stunning defeat of President Barack Obama’s push for new trade deals on Tuesday, negotiators hashed out a compromise that offered both parties a way to save face without scuttling the administration’s trade agenda. At the least, the agreement means the Senate is likely to pass new powers for the president to fast-track trade pacts through Congress...
Fast Track will empower GOP president, McConnell says  Washington Post   ...In an interview with John Harwood, McConnell said that Republicans should support Fast Track authority, explicitly because — and here’s the rub — it will empower the next GOP president to negotiate trade deals more easily, despite Democratic opposition to them in Congress...
The secret corporate takeover of trade agreements  (opinion) The Guardian   ...Rules and regulations determine the kind of economy and society in which people live. They affect relative bargaining power, with important implications for inequality, a growing problem around the world. The question is whether we should allow rich corporations to use provisions hidden in so-called trade agreements to dictate how we will live in the 21st century...
Egypt outlaws workers’ right to strike  Al-Monitor  ...The ruling issued April 28 by the Supreme Administrative Court headed by Judge Labib Halim to criminalize strikes and penalize striking public workers by forcing them into retirement caused an uproar in legal circles and provoked the anger of those interested in labor and human rights...
Mexican Auto Workers Fired After Protesting Sexual Harassment  In These Times  ...In March, workers on a subassembly line organized a work-to-rule slowdown. That grabbed management’s attention. A meeting was held. Management and the union agreed to handle the problem with the supervisor. “We were informed that we weren’t going to be punished for the demonstration,” said Edgar Capetillo. They were fired without explanation. All 20 of the workers were male...
Dozens Feared Dead After Fire Consumes Factory In Philippines  Common Dreams  ...At least 65 people have been reported missing or dead after a fire consumed a rubber slipper factory in a suburb of the Philippine capital of Manila on Wednesday. Rex Gatchalian, mayor of the suburb of Valenzuela where the disaster took place, reportedly said that it took fire fighters four hours to quell the blaze and bodies were found inside the building...

State & Living Wage Battles
Missouri passes right-to-work bill, but governor's veto expected  Reuters  ...Missouri Republican lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that would stop workers from being required to join a union or pay dues, but without enough votes to override an expected veto by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon. By a 92-66 vote, the Missouri House of Representatives approved the measure that would allow Missouri to join 25 other states with "right-to-work" laws...
House to vote on Right to Work: 'It's gonna fail. It's meant to fail. And it will fail.'  Chicago Sun Times  ...“Political theater” or a “serious vote” on which legislators must take a stand. Those are the contrasting views of the Illinois House vote scheduled Thursday for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s much trumpeted right-to-work proposal...
Senate panel OKs bills to repeal prevailing wage laws  Detroit News  ...The Senate leader and House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, are making the repeal legislation a major priority, although Republican Gov. Rick Snyder says he doesn’t favor it. The legislation was sent to the full Senate by its Michigan Competitiveness Committee on 4-1 votes following a hearing that lasted about one-and-a-half hours...
Facebook Just Made Sure Even Their Janitors Are Making At Least $15 An Hour  Think Progress   ...Effective May 1, the new benefits will cover contract employees who work as cooks, janitors, security guards and other support staff at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The company plans to extend the benefits to third-party vendors with more than 25 employees at its other 16 campuses in the U.S. over the next year...
Union nursing home caregivers seek 'living wage' in State House rally  Providence Journal  ...With nursing homes and hospitals facing cuts as part of Governor Raimondo's Reinventing Medicaid initiative, Ward and other union health-care workers rallied at the State House on Wednesday to call for better pay and policies that promote better care. They are seeking what they call "a living wage" of $15 an hour...
The Fight For $15 Just Won a Powerful Supporter: Governor Cuomo  The Nation   ...The 99 percent can savor a small victory, as Governor Andrew Cuomo launches a plan to raise fast food workers’ pay to up to $15 an hour in one sweeping executive action. Last week Cuomo rolled out a new Wage Board, featuring three high-profile appointees tasked with reviewing labor conditions in the industry, with a mandate to secure “honor and justice” for the state’s 200,000 fast-food workers...
L.A. City Council committee votes to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2020  LA Daily News  ...Amid a national discussion over economic inequality and following months of heated debate, Los Angeles is poised to dramatically hike the citywide minimum wage. A unanimous vote Wednesday by the seven-member Economic Development Committee laid out a series of increases over five years. Hourly pay would reach $10.50 next year, $12 by 2017, $13.25 by 2018 and $14.25 by 2019 under the plan...

U.S. Labor
Unions call attention to protracted labor negotiations with Southwest  Dallas Morning News   ...Unions representing pilots and ramp workers at Southwest Airlines sought Tuesday to call attention to their protracted labor negotiations with the Dallas-based carrier. The ramp workers, who are working under a contract that became amendable in June 2011, announced plans to picket outside Southwest’s annual meeting Wednesday in downtown Houston...
AT&T, CWA reach tentative wireline labor agreement  Fierce Telecom  ...AT&T and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have hammered out tentative agreements covering nearly 17,000 wireline employees in the Midwest. These tentative agreements cover union employees that work for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Corp...
UAW protests at Lear annual meeting  Auto News  ...The UAW protested outside Lear's annual shareholder meeting today near Detroit, calling attention to safety issues at the company's seat plants in the South. “Workers at auto parts plants nationwide are standing up and speaking out against low wages and unsafe conditions that now define far too many of America’s auto jobs," UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement today...
Strike energizes organized labor before contract talks  NWI Times  ...Now the strike is over. But contract talks are coming up later this year at Northwest Indiana's big steel mills and at Ford's factories just across the state line, and organized labor in the Calumet Region has a new energy. "The strike helped bring some solidarity to Northwest Indiana," USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap said...

Miscellaneous
Currently Available Technology May Have Prevented Fatal Amtrak Crash. But Congress Never Funded It.  Think Progress  ...Rather than provide the necessary funding to allow Amtrak to meet the rapidly approaching mandate, the GOP-controlled U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to cut about a fifth of Amtrak’s annual federal funds. Instead, a bill proposed in March by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) would extend the deadline for PTC implementation until December 2020...
Private Water Industry Says Water Bills "Have to Go Up"  Truthout  ...The topic that received the most attention was the nation's patchwork of rapidly deteriorating municipal water systems, which are estimated to need more than $1 trillion worth of upgrades. This, water executives said, not only represented a historic opportunity for their businesses, but could also be used as leverage to finally convince Americans to cough up more money for their tap water. It is the classic Shock Doctrine approach - turning a social crisis into a financial shakedown...
MOVE Bombing at 30: "Barbaric" 1985 Philadelphia Police Attack Killed 11 & Burned a Neighborhood  Democracy Now  ...Today marks the 30th anniversary of a massive police operation in Philadelphia that culminated in the helicopter bombing of the headquarters of a radical group known as MOVE. The fire from the attack incinerated six adults and five children, and destroyed 65 homes. Despite two grand jury investigations and a commission finding that top officials were grossly negligent, no one from city government was criminally charged...

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