Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 07.16.15

Teamsters
Hoffa: Congress Must Step Up to Protect Pensions  Teamster.org   ..."America’s retirement system has been undermined by Wall Street’s collapse seven years ago and poor government policy decisions in recent years. Rather than come up with creative plans to save the hard earned benefits of America's retirees, Congress instead passed a law last year that allows their pension benefits to be cut by as much as 30 percent. This would be devastating for those least able to take such a hit to their living standards. But there is a solution that doesn’t require retiree benefit cuts"...
Hoffa: The Time Has Passed for Short-Term Solutions for Highway Funding  Teamster.org   ...Today, the House voted to extend federal highway funding for another five months as the July 31 expiration of the current funding quickly approaches. This marks the fourth time this year that the House has voted to extend highway funding for the short-term rather than buckling down and finding a long-term solution. “The longer our representatives on Capitol Hill are unable to agree on long-term highway funding, the further and further our infrastructure falls into disrepair,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa...
Teamsters Applaud Department of Labor Interpretation on Misclassified Workers  Teamster.org   ...The Teamsters Union applauds the findings in the U.S. Department of Labor Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1, which recognizes the need to eliminate employee misclassification, citing the practice’s serious threat to workers’ rights. The Teamsters Union has been leading the fight against misclassification on both the state and federal levels for more than a decade,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa...
Obama appoints emergency board in NJ Transit labor dispute  NJ.com   ...President Obama on Wednesday named an emergency board to try to resolve the labor dispute between NJ Transit and its engineers. The action came after the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen unanimously voted July 8 to go out on strike unless the president formed the board, which has 30 days to recommend ways to resolve the impasse...

Global Labor & Trade
Greece approves contentious austerity measures, smoothing way for bailout  Washington Post  ...Hours after police and demonstrators clashed in central Athens, Greek lawmakers on Thursday approved austerity measures that were overwhelmingly rejected by their citizens just days ago. The vote represented a stark turnabout for the government, and it was the price Greece’s lenders demanded for saving the country from a whirlwind of economic turmoil. It was a stunning defeat for populist forces that have pushed for a break from years of grinding cuts...
Yeutter sees 'slim' prospects for TPP agreement at Hawaii session  AgriPulse  ...Former U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter said he thinks chances are “slim” that the U.S. and 11other nations trying to forge the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will reach agreement during the upcoming negotiations in Hawaii in late July. Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said negotiators had made “considerable progress” in closing gaps on remaining issues...
U.S. senators concerned over Malaysia human-trafficking rating  Reuters  ...Nineteen U.S. senators, including Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday expressing "grave concern" that Malaysia may be upgraded in this year's U.S. list of human trafficking offenders. Reuters reported last week that the U.S. State Department plans to reverse last year’s downgrade of Malaysia in its annual TIP report, which could smooth the way for a major U.S.-led free-trade deal with the Southeast Asian nation and 11 other countries...
Report Exposes 'Revolving Door' Within Corporate-Dominated TTIP Talks  Common Dreams  ...As European delegates met with stakeholders in Brussels Wednesday to discuss the details of a massive, pending trade deal between the U.S. and Europe, a new report highlights the revolving door that exists between negotiators of the deal and the industries expected to profit from it. Watchdog groups have long warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will benefit multinational corporations at the expensive of public and environmental health, labor rights, and state sovereignty...
Senators Press Kerry On Slavery About-Face  Huffington Post  ...A group of 19 senators led by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, urging him not to remove Malaysia from the U.S. government's formal list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders. Doing so would allow the Obama administration to evade trade restrictions with Malaysia, after Congress passed legislation blocking trade perks for Tier 3 nations. Malaysia is a key nation involved in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations...
Greek MPs pass austerity bill as Athens police clash with protesters  The Guardian  ...Five years into the worst crisis to hit their country in decades, Greek MPs voted by a large majority in the early hours of Thursday morning to accept draconian austerity as the price of further bailout funds but at great personal cost to prime minister Alexis Tsipras. In a vote that saw tensions soar in and outside parliament, the embattled leader’s radical leftist Syriza party suffered huge losses as 40 MPs revolted against the measures...
A Nation Torn: Greece Grapples With 'Humiliating' Austerity Deal   Common Dreams   ..."The scene in Athens is explosive," King's College London professor and Syriza central committee member Stathis Kouvelakis wrote for Jacobin Wednesday afternoon. Both in and outside of Greek Parliament, tensions are running high. A largely peaceful anti-austerity rally was disrupted at one point by an hour-long clash between anti-austerity protesters and police, leading to about 50 arrests...
UK unemployment rises for first time in two years  BBC   ...The UK unemployment total has risen for the first time in two years, according to the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said 1.85 million people were unemployed in the March-to-May period, an increase of 15,000 from the previous quarter, with the jobless rate at 5.6%. The ONS also showed that the pace of pay rises continued to pick up...
Swazi Human Rights Leaders Released from Prison  Solidarity Center  ...Imprisoned Swazi human rights leader Mario Masuku and student activist Maxwell Dlamini were granted bail today by the Supreme Court of Swaziland, according to the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). The two were charged with terrorism and jailed in May 2014 for slogans they allegedly shouted at a May Day rally. In May, an international delegation of union leaders traveled to Swaziland, calling on the government to guarantee the rights of workers to freely form unions and exercise freedom of speech and assembly...

State & Living Wage Battles
Scott Walker Tries To Change Welfare Rules So He Can Drug Test People Who Need Food Stamps  Think Progress   ...Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) sued the federal government Tuesday in an effort to protect a new program to drug test food stamp recipients. Walker signed his state’s budget into law Sunday, which included a provision to start drug testing people who apply for food stamps. But given that states have little leeway in making changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, better known as food stamps), Federal officials were expected to block the program...
GOP Is Standing Firm On Wages  The Intelligencer   ...West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole said GOP leaders likely will introduce a repeal of the state's prevailing wage on the first day of the 2016 legislative session if they remain unsatisfied with a state agency's efforts to recalculate the wage. There's been a battle brewing since June between Republican lawmakers and WorkForce West Virginia...
Kansas’s Teacher Exodus  The Atlantic  ...Frustrated and stymied by massive budget cuts that have trimmed salaries and classroom funding, Kansas teachers are “fleeing across the border” to neighboring states that offer better benefits and a friendlier climate for public education, NPR’s Sam Zeff reported. To be sure, this is a tough time for the Sunflower State, where funding shortfalls forced a half-dozen districts to shorten their academic calendars, and teacher jobs are being advertised on billboards...
After a May uptick, Michigan unemployment holds steady in June  MLive  ...The state's unemployment rate held at a steady 5.5 percent throughout May and June, according to numbers from the Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget. That's slightly higher than the national average of 5.3 percent...
Uber Fined, Faces Possible Suspension in California for Not Reporting Accessibility Data  Slate  ...Uber’s dust up with regulators continued on Wednesday when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hit the ride-hailing company with a $7.3 million fine for skirting state laws designed to ensure passengers are treated fairly. A CPUC judge said Uber had not provided sufficient data to determine if the company was meeting these requirements, a violation of the 2013 law that allowed Uber to operate in the state...
“We Need to Stop Being Nice”: IL Labor, Community Activists Push Progressive Budget Crisis Solutions  In These Times  ...In the shadow of a potential state government shutdown, 125 leaders and policy wonks from 63 non-profit, community organizing and labor organizations came together on June 29 to deliberate over a series of proposals for revenue solutions to Illinois’s budget shortfall. Their goal: to push past the austerity narrative that has long constricted progressive policymaking at all levels of government in the state...
LA’s Garcetti says $15 minimum wage will lift 600,000 out of poverty  Market Watch  ...Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that his city’s recent decision to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years will lift 600,000 L.A.-area wage earners out of poverty. “In my city, where one out of four people live in poverty, we have a shot at putting that money back on Main Street,” Garcetti said at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C...

U.S. Labor 
NLRB Judge: Boeing Wrong For Withholding Job Relocation Information  KPLU   ...Boeing violated labor law by not giving information to its engineers’ union regarding plans for moving jobs out of the Puget Sound region, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has ruled. Since 2013, the aerospace company has been moving work out of the region that had previously been done by members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)...
Jeb Bush Wants More Americans To Work Long Hours But Doesn’t Want To Pay Them Overtime  Think Progress   ...Speaking at an event in Iowa on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush voiced his opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to expand overtime protection to an extra five million workers. Calling it “the wrong approach,” he argued that the plan will result in lower wages, less overtime available, fewer people working, and will also ban business owners from giving managers bonuses...
Jeep Wrangler decision could come down to UAW talks  Detroit News  ...Jeep Wrangler production is anticipated to be a part of the 2015 contract negotiations between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the United Auto Workers. After nine months of speculation about when a decision could come and Toledo officials orchestrating an aggressive land and incentive package to keep production in that city, the decision could arise as part of the collective bargaining agreements between the automaker and union...
USW focuses on Goodyear's plans for investment in U.S. plants  Rubber & Plastics News   ...While Goodyear's decision to locate a $550 million tire plant in Mexico might be considered a blow to the United Steelworkers, the labor union that represents about 9,000 Goodyear workers in the U.S. is claiming a partial victory. The USW said it negotiated a commitment from Goodyear to invest a like amount in its unionized U.S. plants for “high-value-added” tire production above and beyond the $700 million the tire maker already had budgeted for 2015...
Three-year IBEW contract up for Council approval  KRBD  ...Ratification of a new three-year contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is in front of the Ketchikan City Council Thursday night. The current contract expired on Dec. 31. If approved, the new contract will be retroactive to the start of this calendar year...
CCAC Adjunct Faculty Joins American Federation Of Teachers  WESA  ...Adjunct faculty at the Community College of Allegheny County voted to join their full-time colleagues as members of the American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday. “Being able to negotiate a living wage for ourselves was obviously the number one issue,” said adjunct art professor Gene Marsh, “and some other issues relating to benefits or access to full-time positions as they open up”...
Americans are taking less vacation time than ever — and it's hurting their relationships  Today  ...A survey of 1,200 adults by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans are taking fewer vacation days than they did 15 years ago (16 days per year) with many people not taking all the vacation days they earn. And eschewing vacation time for more work can be damaging for relationships. "A lot more Americans now are working harder than ever," Dr. Sue Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told Today...
Calm Down: SCOTUS’s ‘Friedrichs’ Case Won’t Mean the End of the American Labor Movement  In These Times  ...here are good reasons to be concerned. A ruling in favor of Friedrichs would legally and morally permit some workers to be “free riders”—individuals who take advantage of what the union by law must provide them without paying for it. Perhaps more important, it would disregard the fundamental reasoning behind the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)-protected “union security clauses.” But there are many other reasons to think that, win or lose on this case, the labor movement may not be as seriously damaged as many now fear...

Miscellaneous
Why Are the Koch Brothers and Van Jones Teaming Up to End Mass Incarceration?  Democracy Now  ...This week President Obama has launched a major push to reform the country's criminal justice system. On Monday, he granted clemency to 46 men and women facing extreme sentences - in some cases life in prison - for nonviolent drug offenses. Tomorrow he is set to become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. Obama praised the "unlikely bedfellows" campaigning together for criminal justice reform from the left and right, including the Koch Brothers and Van Jones...
Detroit Is Ground Zero in the New Fight for Water Rights  The Nation   ...The rise of Detroit’s water movement comes none too soon. One year after the wave of disconnections began, the threat of mass shutoffs has spread to Baltimore, while the climate-related drought in California has forced the government to institute water-use restrictions. From coast to coast, the United States is careening into an age of widespread water instability. And once again, as so many times before, the Motor City is on the front lines of the resistance...

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