Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 05.19.15

Teamsters
City Hall strikes contract deal with Teamsters Local 237  Capital New York  ...The de Blasio administration on Monday announced a tentative contract agreement with Teamsters Local 237, one of the only remaining municipal unions working under an expired contract. The agreement covering more than 5,500 New York City Housing Authority employees follows the pattern of wage increases every other civilian union has received during de Blasio's 17-month tenure...
BLET/SMART–TD statement on Positive Train Control, crew size following fatal Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia  BLE-T.org  ...Members of BLET’s Safety Task Force and SMART Transportation Division’s National Safety Team, in addition to representatives from the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters Rail Conference (BMWED), are working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to assist in the investigation of the catastrophic May 12 derailment of Amtrak Train 188...

Global Labor & Trade
Congress plots to pay for a trade deal by raiding Medicare  Los Angeles Times  ...The plan on Capitol Hill is to move the Trade Assistance Program expansion in tandem with fast-track approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, possibly as early as this week. Congressional Democrats demanded the expansion of the Trade Assistance Program, Congressional Republicans apparently found the money in Medicare, and the Obama White House, which should be howling in protest, has remained silent...
Warren Expands Criticism of Obama’s Trade Agenda to Labor Rights  Bloomberg   ...Senator Elizabeth Warren expanded her criticism of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, arguing on Monday that the U.S. has consistently failed to enforce rules promoting labor rights abroad. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, released a staff memo outlining “decades of failure” by U.S. administrations to ensure that American trading partners live up to promises in free-trade agreements...
McConnell: Senate to finish trade this week  The Hill  ...Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned senators on Monday that they will finish "fast track" trade legislation this week. McConnell wants to pass the "fast-track" bill, which would allow the president to get his trade deals passed through Congress by a simple majority vote, before senators leave at the end of the week for the Memorial Day recess...
GOP: Business lobby blowing it on trade  Politico  ...Top House Republicans believe the business community is blowing its chance to clinch a trade deal. Unlike unions, they say, Big Business advocates aren’t flooding Capitol phone lines. They’re not winning over skeptical Republicans. And they haven’t made much headway with business-friendly Democrats who are considering voting for the package, either...
Republicans claim enough votes to pass fast-track trade bill   Reuters  ...Top Republicans predicted on Sunday that both chambers of Congress would muster the votes to pass the "fast-track" authority sought by President Barack Obama to negotiate major trade deals, despite opposition from Obama's fellow Democrats. "Yes, we’ll pass it. We'll pass it later this week," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview with ABC...
Perils of Globalization When Factories Close and Towns Struggle  New York Times  ...The benefits are not distributed evenly. Trade increases overall prosperity by eliminating less productive jobs. In theory, the workers find new jobs. In practice, studies by Mr. Hanson and other economists show that in cities like Galesburg, global competition is increasing unemployment and reducing wages. Josh Bivens, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, estimates that increased globalization, aided by a strong dollar that led to a persistent trade deficit, reduced the annual earnings of the roughly 70 percent of American workers...
German train drivers to strike again  BBC  ...Drivers for Germany's Deutsche Bahn have declared a fresh strike, marking the ninth walkout in just 11 months. GDL union leader Claus Weselsky gave no end date for the strike, but said it would "last a little longer" than the previous five-day stoppage.
GDL wants a 5% pay rise for 20,000 drivers and a shorter working week...
Guatemalan Domestic Workers Reveal a Dirty Business  Truthout  ...186,000 domestic workers are in Guatemala and more than 50 percent have emigrated to Guatemala City from impoverished rural areas. [Some] work up to 14 hours a day and are usually paid $150 a month, half of the national minimum monthly wage, which is currently $304.68. What makes Castellanos unique is her determination to fight for better working conditions in Guatemala, where labor unionism is weak after the repression of workers' movements under the country's recent history of military dictatorships...
Bolivian army step in as bakers go on strike  BBC   ...Bolivian soldiers have begun producing tens of thousands of bread rolls because of a bakers strike. The government called in the troops when there were reports of shortages in several neighbourhoods. Bolivian bakers went on a 48-hour strike in protest against a government decision to scrap subsidies for wheat flour...

State & Living Wage Battles
Kansas’ Governor Destroyed The State Budget With Massive Tax Cuts And Now Kansans Are Paying The Price  Think Progress  ...On one side, die-hard conservatives in the legislature are resisting efforts to unwind a key piece of Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) signature tax cuts. On the other, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are saying it’s time to admit the governor’s approach is unworkable. While they quarrel, Kansas faces a two-year deficit projected to be well over a billion dollars – a piddling amount in Congress, but equal to nearly 17 percent of the state’s $6 billion annual spending...
Speaker: Missouri 'Right To Work' Veto Override Uncertain  Ozarks First  ...Governor Jay Nixon (D) says he will veto that bill, but House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) says it's too early to be thinking about whether supporters in the legislature can muster the votes to overturn him. "We'll talk with our members and see if there's a will to override and obviously see if there is not a will to override," said Richardson...
Amid Protest Plans, McDonald's to Ban Media from Shareholder Meeting  Common Dreams  ...With thousands of workers planning to descend on McDonald's annual shareholder meeting on May 21 to demand higher wages and fairer treatment, the fast food giant has announced it will ban all media from the corporate event—a move that union leaders called "extremely shocking and troubling"...
Bosses Are Turning Poverty-Wage Workers Into ‘Managers’—and Barring Them From Overtime in the Process  The Nation  ...Welcome to the promotion from hell: Federal law says time-and-a-half is for ordinary laborers, and management is exempt from overtime provisions. So congratulations, as a shop “manager,” you no longer qualify for overtime—but still end up doing basically the same work for less. In the precarious low-wage economy, advocates say employers are hyper-exploiting the system to skirt fair labor laws...
SEIU seeks federal investigation of franchise industry  Chicago Tribune  ...The Service Employees International Union on Monday said it has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the franchise industry, seeking information on how some of the world's biggest franchise operators, including McDonald's, set the terms of their business models. The union, which has been pushing to boost the pay of low-wage fast-food workers, said the current structure gives too much power to franchisers...
Prevailing wage, local hiring mandates sidelined at Milwaukee County for more discussion  Milwaukee Business Journal   ...A proposal to enact local hiring and wage requirements on projects that receive Milwaukee County subsidies was sidelined Monday to create more time for discussion and potential revisions. The proposal builds off earlier “community benefits” laws, including one affecting Milwaukee County’s land in the Park East corridor...
City Council To Consider $15 Minimum Wage Increase Proposal  CBS Los Angeles  ...The City Council will consider a proposal Tuesday to increase Los Angeles’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years. The council, which will meet at 10 a.m., was expected to discuss the proposal that was unanimously approved on May 13 by its Economic Development Committee...

U.S. Labor
Contract ending for NC postal workers  The Charlotte Post  ...North Carolina postal workers have more on their minds this morning than the heavy load of Monday mail. The American Postal Workers Union contract is set to expire on Wednesday. Postal worker Deborah Smith says it's a tough time for postal employees...
GOP lawmaker proposes defunding NLRB  The Hill ...Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) has introduced legislation to do away with funding for the National Labor Relations Board. Salmon claimed the NLRB, which was created in 1935 to conduct labor elections and manage labor policy, is biased toward labor unions. The Arizona Republican argued that the Justice Department could instead be solely tasked with enforcing labor laws...
UAW seeks to grow skilled trades apprentice programs  Detroit News  ...Ford, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles run jointly administered apprentice programs with the UAW. The union hopes to expand the programs, which were dormant for several years leading up to and immediately following the economic downturn. Securing and growing the programs, as well as skilled trades positions that have shrunk following the recession, will be part of upcoming contract negotiations...
UFW set to protest at Mesa Verde Immigration Detention Center  ABC Bakersfield  ...Members of the local United Farm Workers will be protesting at the new Mesa Verde Immigration Detention Center in Bakersfield as part of a national push calling for immigration reform. The detention center houses close to 200 foreign nationals who are either waiting for deportation or are appealing the process...

Miscellaneous
Ignoring Businesses, Baltimore Shuts Off Water to 1,600 Homes  Common Dreams  ...However, community advocates say that in a city with skyrocketing unemployment and poverty, the rising cost of water and sewage is unaffordable to a large sector of the population. Further, in Detroit, where the local government has cut off water to over 17,000 residential households, the policy has been widely criticized by the United Nations as well as other watchdog groups as a violation of the human right to water...