Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 07.15.15

Teamsters
Teamsters Urge Airgas Investors to Vote Against Directors  Teamster.org  ...In a letter to Airgas stockholders, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall is urging shareholders to withhold support for all three independent directors standing for re-election at the company’s Annual Meeting on August 4, 2015, in Philadelphia. "These long-tenured directors, who each joined the board in 1999, and serve together on the board’s Governance and Compensation Committee, have failed to implement a proposal to declassify the board of directors"...
California bill would protect carriers from misclassification claims — if they settle with drivers  CCJ   ...California lawmakers are considering a misclassification amnesty program for drayage companies that would relieve port drayage companies from liability for penalties associated with misclassification of drivers as independent contractors if the company enters into a settlement agreement with the state before 2017. The Teamsters-backed bill stipulates the agreement would also require the motor carrier to convert independent contractor truckers to employee drivers...
Growing Labor Movement Shakes Up Silicon Valley  KQED  ...Silicon Valley companies are reluctant to discuss the issue of wages and their relationships with their service workers. And they refuse to discuss the recent labor agitation and organizing. But they have to be aware of the increased activism. In February, for example, shuttle bus drivers for Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay and Zynga voted to joined the Teamsters union...
Senator Feinstein: Safety first, not bigger trucks  (opinion) The Hill  ...the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved an amendment to allow even longer trailer trucks on our highways. This provision stands in stark contrast to highway safety, putting the profits of trucking companies ahead of personal safety. The Teamsters Union opposed this amendment too, arguing that our highways are not designed for the larger configurations...

Global Labor & Trade
Japan minister says TPP deal without some nations possible  The Mainichi  ...Japan's minister in charge of a 12-country Pacific Rim free trade initiative said Tuesday one possible option is to reach a broad agreement without some members that are unwilling to end negotiations at the next ministerial meeting later this month in Hawaii. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari did not name the countries he thinks could be excluded from a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, but Canada and New Zealand are said to be lagging behind...
Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in sight, says Andrew Robb  The Australian  ...Trade Minister Andrew Robb is “confident’’ a deal on the 12-­nation Trans-Pacific Partnership will be signed within weeks after a ministerial meeting to clinch the agreement late this month. Mr Robb also said he was confident that China, which is not party to the TPP negotiations, could eventually be able to join, as a precursor to creating an Asia-Pacific free-trade zone...
Canada and Ukraine announce 'milestone' free trade agreement  The Guardian  ...Canada formally announced a “milestone” free trade agreement with Ukraine after the two countries’ prime ministers met in Ottawa on Tuesday. The agreement, which has to be ratified by both nations’ parliaments, will be implemented as soon as possible, Stephen Harper said after meeting Arseniy Yatsenyuk. With more than a million people claiming roots in Ukraine, Canada has supported Kiev many times since the 2014 revolution...
The TPP's Bad Medicine  Foreign Affairs  ...U.S.-drafted TPP terms include patent linkage, which can allow spurious patent filings to delay generic market entry. Further, a proposed investor-state dispute settlement system would allow pharmaceutical corporations to force a government into arbitration over decisions that would reduce the price of medicines. A similar process has served as the platform for corporate challenges to the Canadian government’s invalidation of drug patents, antismoking regulations in Australia and Uruguay, and an environmental court ruling in Ecuador...
Undermining the State Department's trafficking report  (opinion) The Hill  ...Recent press reports suggest that the State Department will recommend that Secretary John Kerry take a shameless and unprincipled stand in this year's Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) by concluding that the government of Malaysia is making significant efforts to combat human trafficking. The State Department is trying to ensure that, come what may, Malaysia can stay part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)...
TTIP will force all Europeans to take Greece's medicine  (opinion) Politics UK  ...If the Greek crisis has shown how the institutions of the EU will stop at nothing to force through their own brand of capitalist discipline, TTIP is confirmation that we will all soon be tasting the same medicine. This week sees the 10th round of negotiations towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial EU-US trade deal that threatens our jobs, our public services and our democracy itself...
Greek parliament to vote on austerity bill amid growing dissent in governing party  US News & World Report   ...Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced a rising wave of hostility from members of his own party Wednesday ahead of a parliament vote on an austerity bill that condemns the country to years of spending cuts but is required to get a new bailout package. The raft of consumer tax increases and pension reforms has led to growing anger among Greece's governing left-wing Syriza party, while the country's civil servants' union voiced its objections with a 24-hour public sector strike...
Key Driver Of International Austerity Push Now Says Europe Must Forgive Greek Debt  Think Progress  ...A day after agreeing to discuss a new Greek bailout, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned European Union leaders that their expectations for Greece’s financial future are unsupported by the facts. A realistic accounting of things requires Europe to agree to forgive Greece’s debts or else leave them uncollected for a generation, a leaked report from the group says...
UK unemployment in surprise rise  Yahoo News  ...Britain's unemployment rate climbed to 5.6 percent in the quarter ending in May, with the number of jobless up for the first time in over two years, data showed Wednesday. Unemployment edged up from 5.5 percent in the quarter ending in February, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement...
Ecuador National Strike: Labor, Social Groups To Protest As Pressure On Correa Grows  International Business Times  ...Labor unions and social groups in Ecuador are planning a one-day national strike to launch another blow against President Rafael Correa, who is still grappling with mass outrage over a slate of tax proposals. Correa has accused opposition factions of fomenting a “soft coup” against his government. Unions and social and indigenous groups said this week that a “people’s national strike” would take place next month...
Farm Workers’ Global Struggle for Rights on the Job   Solidarity Center  ...Agriculture employs nearly half of the world’s workforce. Low-paying and seasonal, it also is one of the three most hazardous sectors for workers (along with construction and mining), according to the International Labor Organization. Despite the hardships, agricultural workers—cacao harvesters in the Dominican Republic, vegetable farmers in South Africa and Moroccan vineyard and olive grove laborers in Meknes—are joining with unions and worker associations to improve their workplaces and win rights on the job...
After Greece’s defeat, we need a new European movement against austerity  (opinion) The Guardian  ...Ater five months of negotiations, Sunday evening brought a moment of painful realisation: democracy has left the EU building. The proposals put forward by the German government and its allies were preposterous – a clear message that any government opposing neoliberalism and austerity should be brought to its knees at all costs...

State & Living Wage Battles
The Past Goes On Trial in North Carolina  The Atlantic  ...A group of plaintiffs—including the Justice Department, NAACP, and League of Women Voters—are suing the state over new voting laws implemented in 2013, saying that they represent an attempt to suppress the minority vote. The new laws were passed shortly after the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act that required some jurisdictions to seek approval from the federal government before altering voting laws...
Scott Walker Strips Wisconsin Workers Of 'Living Wage' In New State Budget  Huffington Post  ...Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the new state budget into law on Sunday with a last-minute change that strips the words "living wage" from state laws and replaces it with "minimum wage." The change means minimum-wage Wisconsin workers will earn nearly $6,000 per year less than what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates is a living wage in the state...
Bangor considers raising minimum wage  WCSH  ...Bangor City Council has introduced an ordinance that would increase the city's minimum wage. The proposal comes a week after Portland's City Council voted to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. If the Bangor ordinance passes, the minimum wage would increase 75 cents every year for three years...
State unemployment rate climbs to 5.5 percent  Statesman Journal  ...Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in June, a slight increase from May’s rate of 5.3 percent. The increase was not a surprise because one characteristic of Oregon’s labor market following the Great Recession has been small increases in the unemployment rate during the summer months...
Oregon governor signs paid sick leave, retirement legislation  Yahoo News  ...Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation on Monday mandating paid sick leave for nearly all workers and establishing a first-of-its kind state-run retirement program for private sector employees. Brown said the four bills, dubbed the "Fair Shot" agenda, will help working, low-income families...
Scott Walker makes Mitt Romney look like FDR: The Kohl’s shopper is even more callous toward the poor  Salon  ...Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thinks his humble background gives him working class appeal. But we know the man who shops at Kohl’s is wholly owned by the Kochs. But if he wasn’t born a plutocrat, he’s a zealous convert to the cause. His first shot out of the gate Monday night, after his relatively successful campaign launch, was to attack the minimum wage on his friend Sean Hannity’s show...
Four Ways ALEC Tried to Ruin Your State This Year  Alternet  ...In a year with unprecedented rightwing dominance in state legislative chambers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has continued to wreak havoc in states across the country--despite an ongoing exodus of high-profile corporate members, including BP, Google, and several high-tech firms...
WV Legislature staff finds prevailing wage documents missing from first submission  State Journal  ...A law passed during the 2015 regular legislative session called for the state’s prevailing wage rate to be recalculated, with the new method in place July 1, 2015. There currently is no prevailing wage rate in place because the wage expired and a new method has not yet been set and a proposal to allow an extension to Sept. 30 in which to set a rate was voted down...

U.S. Labor
USW Local 444 rejects three-year contract proposal  Daily Gate City  ...The Membership of United Steel Workers Local 444 has voted to reject a three year contract proposal from Henniges Automotive in Keokuk, according to a union news release. The ratification meeting took place Friday at the Grand Theatre in Keokuk after the proposal was reviewed before the membership. The union and the employer have agreed to continue work under the terms of the 2012-2015 bargaining agreement with an extension agreement signed July 10...
Alabama Company Admits Locking Katrina Workers in Squalid Camps, Settles for $20 Million  Slate  ...An Alabama company has agreed to a $20 million settlement and admitted that workers it brought from India to rebuild oil rigs after Hurricane Katrina were deceptively recruited and then forcibly corralled in squalid, overcrowded camps, the Los Angeles Times reports. The settlement covers several lawsuits brought against marine services company Signal International by 200 guest workers...
Fiat Chrysler, UAW agree on ending two-tier wages  CBS  ...Fiat Chrysler (FCUA) CEO Sergio Marchionne and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams agree on at least one thing: getting rid of the two-tier wages for hourly workers in the company's U.S. plants. Marchionne and Williams formally opened bargaining a new four-year contract for Fiat Chrysler's 35,700 workers Tuesday. The current contract expires in September...
Teachers Say No Freaking Way to AFT Endorsement of Hillary Clinton  Common Dreams  ...On Saturday, July 11th - the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President, Randi Weingarten came under fire after her executive council voted overwhelmingly to endorse Hillary Clinton for the democratic primary for President of the United States. AFT is the parent organization of Washington Teachers' Union, Local 6 and has 1.5 million members...
Union to challenge new prison food contract  Detroit Free Press  ...A union representing state employees is challenging the State of Michigan's decision to take the prison food contract away from one private company and give the contract to a second company without first calling for bids. Michigan AFSCME Council 25 said today it will challenge as unlawful the $158-million three-year deal with Trinity...
UFW launches a sponsored AdelanTech Leadership Program  The Californian  ...A dozen Salinas-area residents have been selected for the first AdelanTECH Leadership Program that will empower emerging rural leaders into so-called “STEM” industries. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. In an effort to give opportunities to dedicated but underserved students, the UFW in association with AT&T, CORO and Udacity will launch for the first time their AdelanTECH Leadership Program...
Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Work Force Anxieties  New York Times  ...When the California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruled last month that an Uber driver was an employee deserving of a variety of workplace protections — and was not, as the company maintained, an independent contractor — it highlighted the divided feelings many Americans have about what is increasingly being called the “gig economy”...
11 jobs where a hard day’s work only results in poverty  Salon  ...Why should people in the richest country on Earth toil long hours for wages that would make Charles Dickens recoil in horror? A lot of Americans have been wondering the same thing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2012, 1.57 million Americans earned the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Millions more were just above that figure, and plenty actually ended up below it...

Miscellaneous
Martin O’Malley lays out broad immigration plan  MSNBC  ...Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley outlined an extensive immigration plan on Tuesday, vowing that if elected, he would make comprehensive reform a priority on his first day in office. The former Maryland governor said he would expand President Obama’s embattled executive actions on immigration and ultimately press Congress to resurrect a bipartisan deal on comprehensive reform to extend a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States...
Black Children Almost 4 Times More Likely to Grow Up Poor Than Whites  Common Dreams  ...For the first time since the U.S. Census began, the number of black children living in poverty has surpassed the number of poor white children, despite the significant difference in population size, a new Pew Research study published Tuesday has found. According to the Pew analysis of recent Census data, in 2013, 14.7 million children in the U.S. (roughly 20 percent) lived in a household with an annual income below $23,624 for a family of four. This marks a decline of two percent since 2010...
Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common  The Atlantic  ...there are those who are doing just great—owning a house, buying a car, and consistently putting money away for retirement. These, however, are not your run-of-the-mill Millennials. Nope. These Millennials have something very special: rich parents. These Millennials have help paying their tuition, meaning they graduate in much better financial shape than their peers...
ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge  The Guardian  ...ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3m to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial, the Guardian has learned. Climate denial – from Republicans in Congress and lobby groups operating at the state level – is seen as a major obstacle to US and global efforts to fight climate change...
'Money Isn't Justice': Eric Garner Family Calls for Real Accountability  Common Dreams  ...The family of Eric Garner held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the $5.9 million settlement it reached with New York City days before the one-year anniversary of his death—and to renew calls to criminally charge the police officer who put Garner in a fatal chokehold last July. Garner, an unarmed 43-year-old black man, died on July 17, 2014 after white New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold to subdue him...

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