Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 05.21.15

Teamsters
First Transit Drivers at Disney Choose Teamsters Union  Teamster.org  ...First Transit drivers who transport tourists and employees to and from Disneyland amusement parks in Anaheim, Calif., have voted to join Teamsters Local 952 in Orange, Calif., seeking respect, fair wages and better working conditions at the company. There are 127 workers in the bargaining unit...
Teamsters Local 986 Launches Strike at SLS Hotel and Casino  Teamster.org   ...Today, Teamsters Local 986 launched an unfair labor practice strike against the SLS Hotel and Casino for multiple violations aimed at preventing its valet parking attendants from exercising their federally protected right to form a union. Management has committed several unfair labor practices, including interrogation of workers who support the union, threatening to outsource their jobs, threatening to reduce their pay and benefits and other violations...
LA County Board of Supervisors Approves Motion Offering Assistance to Port Truck Drivers Filing Claims for Wage Theft  Long Beach Post  ...The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Tuesday to create a plan to implement five areas of action from the County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs Department (DCBA) that help employees, including Long Beach port truck drivers, filing claims for wage theft...

Global Labor & Trade
Human Trafficking Still Plagues Obama's Trade Ambitions  Huff Post  ...Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Tuesday threatened to do "everything possible to have a floor fight" if President Barack Obama undercuts pending trade legislation to combat human trafficking. "Human trafficking -- modern-day slavery -- is one of the great moral challenges of our time," Menendez said during a conference call with reporters...
John Kerry visits Boeing, defends controversial trade deal  Seattle Times  ...With Boeing’s 737 plant in Renton as a backdrop, Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday defended a Pacific Rim trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration against criticism from unions and prominent congressional Democrats. Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, said Kerry and other TPP backers are misleading the public when they suggest the choice is between a secretly negotiated trade pact and no trade at all...
McConnell blames Dems for bottleneck on trade  The Hill  ...Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday placed the blame squarely on Democrats for the stalemate over amendments to a key trade bill. The Kentucky Republican said while he is continuing to try to allow for additional amendments to the fast-track legislation, Democrats are standing in the way...
Hundreds of Tech Companies to Congress: TPP and Fast Track Harms Digital Innovation and Users’ Rights  EFF.org   ...In a joint letter to Congress released today, more than 250 technology companies and user rights organizations say that the extreme level of secrecy surrounding trade negotiations have led to provisions in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten digital innovation, free speech, and access to knowledge online, and the letter calls on Congress to come out against the Fast Track...
The Trans Pacific Partnership is bad for seniors  (opinion) AZ Central  ...Pending House legislation would take $700 million from Medicare to pay for trade adjustment assistance, so it is not hard to connect the dots: Medicare would be cut in order to pay for the adverse conditions that workers face as a result of trade promotion authority. Medicare should not be used as a piggy bank every time the government needs funding for other purposes...
A trade deal at what cost?  (opinion) Washington Post  ...Perhaps those who’ve experienced such free-trade consequences as factory closings and lower-paying jobs are thinking about two entirely different sides — capital and labor. Trade promoters cite David Ricardo’s 200-year-old assessments of trade’s benefits to nations, but skeptics can mine a rich vein of mainstream economics that demonstrates how trade deals can, and frequently do, benefit major investors at workers’ expense...
Desperately seeking a new model for trade  (opinion) Aljazeera America  ...Will our trade policy help us fulfill our collective obligation to our kids? Will they have clean air to breathe and water to drink? Will they have access to quality education and health care? Will we keep our promise to them that if they work hard and play by the rules, they can build decent lives for themselves? The Hatch-Wyden-Ryan bill would set us on the wrong path on all those fronts and must be opposed. We need a new model for trade that doesn’t prioritize corporate profits over the health of our communities, the economic security of everyday Americans and the future of our kids...
After Striking and Occupying Their Factory, Chinese Bike Light Workers Face Firings and Arrests  In These Times  ...Workers who make bike lights at a factory in Shenzhen, China, have been on strike since April 30, demanding that the company pay up what it legally owes them. The strikers stayed overnight in the factory, stopping production and delivery for two weeks, until police came to evict them and arrest worker leaders on May 13...

State & Living Wage Battles
Ahead of Big Budget, “Right-to-Work” Votes, IL Gov Rauner Is Literally Paying Politicians Off  We Party Patriots  ...Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is once again making waves before making a difference, doling out $400,000 from his campaign fund to the state’s Republican lawmakers in advance of several key votes. Major budget and “turnaround agenda” decision are looming for the legislature. The unorthodox move shows that the multi-millionaire’s promise to “shake up Springfield” more closely resembles an attempt to shake down Illinois...
Arizona Will Boot Thousands From Welfare To Address $1 Billion Budget Hole  Think Progress  ...Arizona’s legislature has decided to try to plug a $1 billion budget deficit in part by kicking people off of welfare after just 12 months, the strictest time limit in the country. The change will mean that at least 1,600 families, including more than 2,700 children, will lose the benefit on July 1, 2016 and save the state at least $4 million...
Fitzgerald says prevailing wage repeal is unlikely but reform could come in budget  Star Tribune  ...Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday that he doesn't have the votes to repeal the state's prevailing wage law, but he hopes to reform the statutes through the state budget. The Juneau Republican told WTMJ-Radio that his caucus is "fractured" on the issue, with some saying a full repeal would disrupt the construction industry...
Nevada Republicans Say They Want More Latinos Voting. They’re Also Pushing Restrictive Voter ID.  Think Progress   ...Nevada will play a crucial role in the presidential primary next year, as the fourth state to nominate a candidate and the first heavily Latino state to vote. In an effort to win support of the growing minority, Republican lawmakers in the state are trying something new — expanding voting rights for minorities instead of restricting them. At the same time that they’re looking at making the election more inclusive, the GOP-controlled legislature is also trying to require voters to show identification at the polls...
Walmart’s Absurd Anti-Union Training Video Just Got Leaked  In These Times  ...On April 13, Walmart suddenly shut down five stores—two in Texas, one in California, one in Florida and one in Oklahoma—leaving 2,200 workers shocked and unemployed. According to Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hiltzik, employees were told that the stores have “ongoing plumbing issues that require extensive repairs.” A recently leaked Walmart training video lends credence to the suspicion that plumbing was not the real issue...
McDonald's can't ignore worker protests before shareholder meeting  Daily Kos  ...McDonald's workers are once again rallying ahead of the company's shareholder meeting, boosting their call for $15 an hour pay and the right to join a union. There was no ignoring the protest Wednesday:
"McDonald's shut down a restaurant near its headquarters Wednesday after the area was swamped by hundreds of protesters"...
McDonald's workers descend on headquarters to protest 'poverty wages'  The Guardian  ...Thousands of McDonald’s employees and union activists descended on the company’s headquarters near Chicago on Thursday to hold the biggest ever protest against “poverty wages” paid to most of its 400,000 employees, as the company’s board gathered for its annual shareholder meeting. About 5,000 McDonald’s employees from across the US chanted: “We work, we sweat, put $15 in our cheque” as they marched towards the burger giant’s headquarters...

U.S. Labor
UAW is best route to works council, union leader says  Nooga.com  ...The United Auto Workers released documents they say shows consensus among Volkswagen leaders that the best route to establishing a works council in Chattanooga is through their union. "It's well-established by Volkswagen's leadership at the Chattanooga plant and in Germany that a works council can only be realized in partnership with a union"...
Members of GTFF, UA, SEIU and SLAP hold unity rally outside Johnson Hall  Daily Emerald  ...Around 59 students, classified staff and faculty gathered in front of Johnson Hall from the Service Employees International Union, Graduate Teaching Fellowship Federation, United Academics and Student Action Labor Project participated in a rally to celebrate a year’s work of labor between the groups, and to look forward to the bargaining process to continue over the summer concerning raising the contracts of the SEIU and the UA...
Century Aluminum hiring temporary replacement workers for smelter: USW  Platts.com   ...Century Aluminum has bused in dozens of temporary replacement workers to its 244,000 mt/year Hawesville smelter in western Kentucky as a week-old lockout continued Wednesday with no end in sight, a spokesman for Local 9423 of the United Steelworkers union said...

Miscellaneous
World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again)  Democracy Now  ...Five of the world’s top banks will pay over $5 billion in fines after pleading guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the $5 trillion FX spot market. UBS pleaded guilty for its role in manipulating the Libor benchmark interest rate. No individual bank employees were hit with criminal charges as part of the settlements...
How Defunding Derails Our Infrastructure  The Nation  ...It’s not just safety that’s being underfunded, and not just on rail lines. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of D+ in 2013 and outlined the need for massive investment to bring things up to speed. Congress must recognize what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, a Republican, recently noted: While US spending on infrastructure has collapsed to 1.7 percent of GDP, “the rest of the world races ahead"...
Robert Reich: It’s time to bust up the big banks  Salon   ..Antitrust law should be used the way it was against the big oil trusts and the telephone monopoly. The idea was to prevent too much economic and political power from concentrating in too few hands. And that’s precisely the problem with Wall Street. The only sure way to stop excessive risk-taking on Wall Street so you don’t risk losing your job or your savings or your home, is to put an end to the excessive economic and political power of Wall Street.