Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 0615.15

Teamsters
Hoffa Statement on Fast Track Trade Package Vote  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the House’s rejection of a Senate-approved fast track trade package that would have made it easier for bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to move through Congress: “For more than two decades, the Teamsters and our fair trade allies have stood up for workers and all Americans by fighting to stop fast track"...
West Coast Truckers Poised to Strike, Say They’re Owed Nearly $1 Billion in Stolen Wages  In These Times  ...IBT, which moves merchandise for Sony, Toyota, General Electric, Target and JC Penney, among others, is a subsidiary of the Chinese Government-owned COSCO Logistics Americas network and employes 88 drivers, according to the union supporting driver efforts, Teamsters Local 848. The drivers contest that their status as independent contractors is wrong and creates wage theft that amounts to almost $1 billion yearly in California alone, according to estimates by local allies...
Teamster support split between Van Hollen, Edwards in Md. Senate race  Washington Post  ...U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced Friday that he has won the endorsement of the Washington-area Joint Council of Teamsters — not to be confused with Teamsters Local 639, which endorsed his rival, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), on Wednesday. Van Hollen and Edwards are competing for the Democratic nomination to fill the seat of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)...

Global Labor & Trade
House Democrats rebuff Obama on trade, delivering major defeat  Washington Post  ...House Democrats dealt President Obama a humiliating defeat on his free-trade initiative Friday, derailing a key priority for the president and rebuffing his rare, personal pleas for their support. The defeat at the hands of his own party placed Obama’s trade agenda in limbo and exposed deep party divisions on economic policy, leaving the pro-trade Democrats marginalized by the anti-corporate wing of the party...
House Fast-Track Rejection a Blow to Global Trade Negotiations  Bloomberg  ...President Barack Obama’s efforts to strike a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations stumbled Friday when his fellow Democrats blocked legislation giving him enhanced negotiating authority that he and analysts said is crucial to concluding the talks. Trade promotion authority, or fast-track, is important because leaders in other countries won’t risk political capital selling trade deals to their constituents knowing Washington could then amend the pact...
How labor beat Obama on trade — for now  Washington Post  ...A massive trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim countries was supposed to be the one thing President Obama could get through Congress in the second half of his last term in office. It was also one of the biggest fights organized labor has picked after years and years of declining influence and legislative defeat. And while the war isn't over, the fact that the House failed today to pass “fast track” authority is a significant triumph for the unions that had staked much of their political capital on its defeat...
Labor’s Might Seen in Failure of Trade Deal as Unions Allied to Thwart It  New York Times  ...Depleted by decades of diminishing reach and struggling to respond to recent anti-union laws, the labor movement has nonetheless found a way to assert itself politically by wreaking havoc on President Obama’s trade agenda, a top priority of his final years in office...
Hillary Clinton calls on Obama to negotiate a better trade deal  Washington Post  ...Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton broke weeks of silence on the trade debate that has deeply divided her party, telling a crowd here Sunday that she sides with House Democrats who led a rebellion against President Obama's trade agenda...
Fast Track Down  Huffington Post ...The Fast Track trade authority package was rejected Friday because two years of effort by a vast corporate coalition, the White House and GOP leaders -- and weeks of deals swapped for yes votes -- could not assuage a majority in the House of Representatives facing constituents' concerns that more of the same trade policy would kill more jobs, push down wages and open a Pandora's box of other damaging consequences...
Liberals Deal Obama a Stunning Blow on Trade—but One More Showdown Awaits  The Nation  ...The House of Representatives threw President Obama’s trade agenda off the rails Friday, dealing Obama arguably his biggest defeat as president—and one that was fueled by sustained opposition from the party’s left flank. There’s one more vote coming Tuesday before we can officially say fast-track authority is indefinitely dead...
Brazil teacher strike in Sao Paulo state ends  BBC News  ...After almost three months of strikes, public school teachers in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo have voted to return to work. Thousands of protesters from one of the largest teachers' unions in the Americas met in the centre of Sao Paulo to cast their vote. It began after the state government failed to offer a salary increase. A union leader said the strike had lost force when strike payments had had to be reduced...

State & Living Wage Battles
Oregon Becomes Fourth State To Pass Law Guaranteeing Paid Sick Days  Think Progress  ...On Friday, Oregon’s state House passed a bill that would require most employers to offer five days of paid sick leave to their employees. If the governor signs it into law as advocates believe she will, it will be the fourth state in the country with such a requirement. Oregon’s bill applies to businesses with 10 or more employees and allows workers to accrue an hour of sick time for every 30 they work...
Maine House rejects ‘right-to-work’ bills  Portland Press Herald  ...The Democrat-controlled Maine House rejected several “right-to-work” bills Friday that are backed by the LePage administration but opposed by the state’s labor unions. The votes followed more than an hour of debate on an issue that has cropped up repeatedly in the Legislature in recent years...
Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union  NYTimes Magazine  ...Walker credits Act 10 in part for the decline in Wisconsin’s unemployment rate since he took office in 2011 and has said he considers right-to-work “one more arrow in that quiver” for the creation of jobs. But since 2011, the state has fallen to 40th out of the 50 states in job growth and 42nd in wage growth. Wisconsin legislators are now considering repealing the state’s prevailing-wage law. Like right-to-work, the prevailing-­wage bill is being promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council in states across the country...
The GOP plan to beat Snyder, labor on prevailing wage  Detroit Free Press ...It's the Republican legislative majority's No. 1 priority: Repeal a 50-year-old Michigan law that requires contractors to pay union-scale wages to workers on taxpayer-funded construction projects. But the obstacles are formidable: Gov. Rick Snyder supports the existing law. So do organized labor and (if you believe a recent union-commissioned poll) most Michigan voters...
Andrew Cuomo Goes Full Scott Walker  The Albany Project  ...Democratic state Senator Mike Gianaris raised a few eyebrows last month when he directly compared Andrew Cuomo to a fellow Koch-funded governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Gianaris was referring at the time to Cuomo’s increasingly bitter war on public school teachers. But yesterday, Andrew Cuomo went even further, attacking those who oppose his giveaway to a handful of hedge fund billionaires on constitutional grounds...
Los Angeles mayor enacts $15-an-hour minimum wage  USA Today  ...In becoming the largest city in the country to mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Los Angeles could put the pressure on other cities in what is sure to become a potent issue in next year's presidential election. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the measure into law Saturday. It will require employers to gradually raise minimum wages until they reach $15 an hour...

U.S. Labor
These Carwashers Were Being Paid as Little as $125 a Week  The Nation  ...The New York City Council just pushed through landmark legislation to revamp labor protections in one of the city’s least-regulated industries and pave the way for unionization.The new licensing rules aim to prevent the wage theft that drives one of the classic little luxuries of urban life. Carwashes are known as a “runaway” industry running on the exploitation of immigrant workers...
The SEIU's efforts to mobilize at McDonald's  Daily Herald  ...Despite so much movement on the wage front, however, for the other part of the workers' demand -- the full slogan is "$15 and a union" -- the path appears much less clear. As far as the campaign is aware, fast food workers haven't actually tried for union elections at any of their employers. For them, a "union" means something different from the strict work rules and grievance processes common to organized labor...
FairPoint workers win Maine unemployment benefits for time on strike  Portland Press Herald  ...The Maine Bureau of Unemployment Compensation has determined that FairPoint Communications workers involved in the four-month strike that ended in February are entitled to receive unemployment benefits for the time they were off the job, a decision that is expected to be appealed by the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company...

Miscellaneous
Dark Money Under Fire as Election 2016 Heats Up  Common Dreams  ...While Democratic candidates are lining up to denounce the huge influence that dark money is having on politics in the U.S., a new report says that 2016 presidential candidates are relying on such secret contributions "like never before." In a speech before thousands, likely watched by millions more, Hillary Clinton formally launched her presidential bid on Saturday. During the address given on New York's Roosevelt Island, the Democratic frontrunner railed against the "endless flow of secret, endless money" in politics...
Elizabeth Warren dresses down Jamie Dimon: Senator fires back at JPMorgan’s mansplainer-in-chief  Salon  ...Elizabeth Warren ascended to political stardom with a no-holds-barred willingness to rake Wall Street executives over the coals — and the Massachusetts senator displayed that trademark grit late this week, in the wake of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s suggestion this week that the former Harvard Law professor doesn’t quite understand how global banking works...
CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation  The Guardian  ...CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists. But the revelation of the guidelines has prompted critics of CIA torture to question how the agency could have ever implemented what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” – despite apparently having rules against “research on human subjects” without their informed consent...