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Today's Teamster News 05.18.14

Trade
TPP ministers to seek progress in Singapore but deal unlikely  global post   ...Hopes have grown that talks for an ambitious Pacific trade deal will advance when ministers from 12 countries gather in Singapore on Monday and Tuesday after Japan and the United States moved closer on thorny issues, but observers say reaching a broad deal at the upcoming meeting is unlikely...
Brussels authorities help silence opposition to the ‘Great Transatlantic Market’ (TTIP)  The Economic Voice   ...over a thousand people were in the streets of Brussels, attempting to peacefully protest against austerity and the proposed great transatlantic market (TTIP) which were being discussed in the absence of citizens at the European Business Summit. In an unprovoked move 281 people were violently arrested said the Corporate Europe Observatory, including Belgian and European parliamentarians and candidates, senior trade union officials, farmers and many elderly citizens...
State Battles
In Georgia, Lawmakers Taking Pride in Policies That Hurt the Poor  Next New Deal   ...lawmakers in Georgia have been systematically dismantling the state’s social safety net. Of the 300,000 Georgian families living below the poverty line, only 19,000 receive TANF and more than three quarters of those cases involve children only. That means that fewer than seven percent of low-income Georgians are able to get the welfare assistance they badly need...
‘Right-to-work’ is actually just a right to freeload  The Athens News   ...But why should they bother with the transparent ruse of right-to-work laws when they can just offer legislation to ban unions? That's what they really want...
Come to North Dakota for the paycheck, lose your life  Los Angeles Times   ...The state had the highest rate of worker fatalities in the nation--17.7 per 100,000 workers, or more than five times the national average. The union calculated the toll as "one of the highest state job fatality rates ever reported for any state," and observed that it had more than doubled from the rate in 2007...
ALEC fires back, but proves its 'pro-business' state index is bogus  Los Angeles Times   ...Plainly stung by the chorus of ridicule that has greeted their latest attempt to paint anti-union policies and tax cuts for the rich as pathways to economic nirvana, the folks at the American Legislative Exchange Council have struck back with a "response to the critics..."
War on Workers
A guide to the VA health care controversy  Washington Post   ...Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki faced tough questions from a Senate panel Thursday about the state of his department after allegations that some VA health clinics have cooked their books to cover up treatment delays...
The Deep Roots of Skilled Labor Shortages: Anti-Union, Anti-Worker Corporations  Economic Policy Institute   ...Oil giants like Chevron can afford to have their construction contractors pay well for skilled work, but they resist. Organizations they fund, such as the Business Roundtable, have led a decades-long campaign to weaken or destroy the building trades unions that actually train the greatest number of skilled tradesmen. Chevron, Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and many other energy industry corporations fund the American Legislative Exchange Council and its legislative efforts to kill unions and eliminate labor standards...
G.M. Is Fined Over Safety and Called a Lawbreaker  New York Times   ...Saying that safety practices at General Motors were “broken,” federal regulators on Friday imposed the biggest punishment they could on the automaker and condemned it over its failure to promptly report a defect that G.M. has linked to 13 deaths...
GM suggested engineers avoid ‘judgment words’ like ‘death trap,’ ‘grenade-like’  Politico Pro   ...GM told engineers to avoid using dozens of words when communicating about vehicle problems that could potentially lead to recalls, including everything from “safety” to “Kevorkianesque...”
Shocker: Cable TV prices went up four times the rate of inflation  ars technica   ...US homes on average receive 189.1 cable TV channels and only watch 17.5 of them...
Wal-Mart Says It Won't Oppose Increase in Minimum Wage  Wall Street Journal   ...Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it wouldn't oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage, its most explicit comment yet on the controversial debate to move past the $7.25-an-hour minimum...
Miscellaneous
Over 3000 Chinese Evacuated (By Boat & Plane) As Vietnam's Anti-China Riots Escalate; Taiwan Also On "High Alert"  zero hedge   ...China began evacuating hundreds of its nationals from Vietnam (via at least 2 planes and 5 ships) as the anti-China protests have become increasingly deadly following Beijing's attempt to deploy an oil drill in Vietnamese dispuited waters...

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