Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 07.22.15

Teamsters
Port Truck Drivers At Pac 9 Begin Strike  Teamster.org  ...Port truck drivers at Pac 9 in Los Angeles/Long Beach began a strike today to protest against their continued misclassification as independent contractors. While on strike they will continue their legal fight to recoup stolen wages and many will support their families by working at one of four Teamster companies - Eco Flow Transportation, Shippers Transport Express, Toll Group or Horizon Lines...
Local 727 Protects Wages, Working Conditions for Arlington OTB Members  Local 272  ...Teamsters Local 727-represented Arlington Racecourse OTB workers ratified a new one-year agreement that protects their wages, benefits and working conditions. The agreement also includes an economic re-opener in the event that gaming legislation is passed. “The state’s horseracing industry is facing obstacles, but we were able to preserve our members’ jobs and secure fair wages and working conditions,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727...
Employee Misclassification Hearings Begin in Georgia  Teamster.org  ...Today in Savannah, Georgia, the site of one of the nation's largest ports, a public hearing will be conducted to hear cases of employee misclassification - 2,000 of which have been brought by port truck drivers misclassified as independent contractors. “We’re the lowest paid in the industry. Everybody else got a future in it but the driver. It’s time for a change and that’s why we’re raising our voices tomorrow.”  John Jackson, Savannah, port driver...
Contract Truck Drivers Strike Indefinitely Against Pacific 9 Transportation In LA  CBS  ...Port truck drivers went on strike Tuesday to improve conditions for themselves, their families and all drivers. Workers declared their intent to not return to Pac 9 until they are properly classified as employees and provided safe trucks to drive, officials said. In fact, several workers have already joined a new Teamster company. “Pac 9 drivers have courageously withstood retaliation and mistreatment by their employer for over two years,” said Fred Potter, Teamsters Port Division Director...
Port truck drivers plan sixth strike against company  LA Times  ...Drivers at a trucking company serving the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports plan to walk away from their jobs Tuesday in an ongoing struggle to be deemed employees, a union representative said. The picket lines, scheduled to go up around the company’s truck yard and port terminals at 6 a.m. Tuesday, will mark the sixth strike against the company in nearly two years, Teamsters Union spokeswoman Barbara Maynard said...

Global Labor & Trade
Thousands of Garment Factory Workers Across Cambodia Are Fainting on the Job  In These Times  ...At the end of June, nearly 350 workers fainted in garment factories across Cambodia, with more than 100 collapsing on one day alone. These developments are part of a much wider pattern in the country: In 2011, there were 2,071 incidents of workers fainting, in 2012 there were 2,100. Last spring, nearly 120 workers fainted at two textile factories that make products for Puma and Adidas. From July of last year on, there were 733 fainting incidents across 14 different factories...
Work moves ahead on TPP trade pact, but nations still divided over deal  Pew Research Center  ...Trade ministers from the U.S. and 11 other nations from both sides of the Pacific will meet in Hawaii next Tuesday to attempt to finalize what would be the world’s largest regional trade and investment agreement: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But while the pact has general public support in most of the countries involved, there are also deep partisan divisions in some of them over the issue. This partisanship suggests that TPP, one of President Barack Obama’s principal foreign economic policy legacies, is not yet a done deal...
US, Malaysia show least support for Trans-Pacific partnership - poll  Turkish Weekly  ...Americans and Malaysians show least support for the US-promoted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal among all participants, with 38 percent of citizens backing the potential agreement, Pew Research Center poll, issued on Tuesday, found. “The weakest support is in the US and in Malaysia (38%),” the poll read. The TPP is set to become the largest free trade deal, involving 12 countries from the Asia-Pacific region...
Ottawa says it won’t be 'bullied' by U.S. over TPP dairy negotiations  Globe & Mail  ...The Canadian government says it will not be bullied as the United States ratchets up pressure on Canada’s heavily protected dairy sector ahead of what could be the final round of talks for a Pacific Rim trade deal spanning 12 countries. More than 20 members of U.S. Congress have written a letter to the Canadian government accusing it of being “unwilling to seriously engage in market access discussions regarding dairy”...
Company v Country: Investigating the booming and lucrative business of multinational companies suing governments (radio) BBC  ...The strangely-named investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) system is built into thousands of treaties between countries around the world. It is a key part of negotiations for a new trade and investment treaty between the US and the EU. Yet on both sides of the Atlantic, resistance is mounting. Michael Robinson digs into the ISDS mechanism to find out if the fears are justified. Are these little-known lawsuits threatening the democratic process?...
Trade debate masks America’s competitive disadvantage  (opinion) PBS  ...The Trans-Pacific Partnership may be out of the headlines momentarily, but it continues to be as contentious as ever. the debate fails to include the real issue: the ability of the United States as a country to compete in the world economy. A winning strategy for the U.S. today requires much more than cooperation between government and business. We need a highly skilled work force, which in turn means a world-class education system and access for all. We need to repair and improve our infrastructure...
Austerity-hit Ireland debates how to spend extra €1.5bn  Financial Times  ...For two days last week, politicians, civil society activists and business leaders gathered at Dublin Castle to discuss something rare in austerity-ravaged Ireland — how to spend an extra €1.5bn. The sum represents the “fiscal space” the government says it has to cut taxes and increase spending in the 2016 budget...
Greece's debt crisis explained, in mythological terms  LA Times  ...Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras successfully persuaded his fellow Greeks to reject austerity measures in a recent referendum, but it was a "Pyrrhic victory" since he now faces an even more devastated economy and deeper austerity cuts. Against his own party's ideals, Tsipras has now committed himself to more "draconian" budget cuts, with Greece forced to carry out the "Sisyphean task" of ever-increasing austerity...

State & Living Wage Battles
National push for $15 minimum wage hits home for U.S. Senate workers  Washington Post  ...Baker is among a group of federal contract workers who are joining with union-backed advocates to call on lawmakers to do more to protect an increasingly privatized federal workforce, where low wages and minimal benefits often clash with the rhetoric espoused by elected leaders. “We work for them every day,” Baker said. “They have a clean environment; they’ve got good food to eat. They say, ‘Thank you very much’ and ‘Good work.’ But that’s not enough. I need more so I can pay my bills -- $15 and a union”...
North Carolina Just Relaxed Its Voter ID Law, But Will Voters Get The Memo?  Huffington Post  ...Voting rights advocates were at least somewhat pleased when the North Carolina General Assembly unexpectedly voted in June to modify the state's strict requirement that voters present government-issued photo ID at the polls. But now, they're concerned that the state won't adequately educate people about the softened ID law before it goes into effect next year...
L.A. County supervisors agree to boost minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020  LA Times  ...Organized labor won an important victory Tuesday when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the minimum wage to $15, but it now faces a more daunting political challenge: convincing other local governments to join the movement. The widely anticipated move by the nation’s largest local government applies to unincorporated areas and hundreds of thousands of employees, mirroring a similar action by the city of Los Angeles...
New York fast food workers’ $15 wage vote on Wednesday  KFOR  ...New York’s fast food workers could soon get paid a lot more. On Wednesday, the wage board is set to vote on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour. The meeting will be held in New York City at 2.30 pm. New York’s minimum wage for all workers has risen from $7.25 to $8.75 an hour in the last two years. By the end of this year, it will be $9...
If you want a living wage, be prepared to go on strike for it  (opinion) The Guardian  ...Is the best way to achieve higher wages really legislation? Many think so. Across the country, working people are eagerly waiting to feel the effects of new laws that raise the minimum wage. Seattle will see an increase to $15 by 2021, and Los Angeles will see the same increase by 2020. But this strategy detracts from the only power dynamic that can actually overturn economic inequality: class struggle...
How the American South Drives the Low-Wage Economy  American Prospect  ...Today, as the auto and aerospace manufacturers of Europe and East Asia open low-wage assembly plants in Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi, the South has assumed a comparable role once more. Indeed, the South today shares more features with its antebellum ancestor than it has in a very long time. White Southern elites and their powerful allies among non-Southern business interests seek to expand to the rest of the nation the South’s subjugation of workers and its suppression of the voting rights of those who might oppose their policies...

U.S. Labor
1,000 NYC airport workers set to strike starting Wednesday  Associated Press  ...More than 1,000 subcontracted airport security officers, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants at the city's two major airports plan to strike starting Wednesday night, according to a union that seeks to represent them. Officials with Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union said picketing would begin at Kennedy Airport at 10 p.m. Wednesday and at LaGuardia at 6 a.m. Thursday...
UAW Donates $50,000 in Memory of the Charleston 9   AFL-CIO  ...Members of the UAW on Thursday announced a $50,000 donation to the Rev. Clementa Pinckney fund in honor of the Charleston 9 who were tragically murdered on June 17. “UAW members often speak of bridging the gap to lift up our communities. Through our long history of civil rights advocacy, economic justice advocacy and economic fairness advocacy, the very ideals that we have come to learn were so near and dear to those who lost their lives June 17 at the Emanuel AME Church,” said UAW President Dennis Williams...
Legislators told trucking companies deliberately misclassify workers  Savannah Now  ...Two independent truckers choked up separately as they testified before a legislative committee Tuesday about the toll they say comes from companies misclassifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees. The emotional moments came in the middle and end of a daylong hearing by a subcommittee of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee assigned to study worker classification...
Unemployment Rates a Mixed Bag  Associated Press  ...Unemployment rates fell last month in 21 U.S. states and were unchanged in 17, as widespread job growth and a shrinking workforce reduce the ranks of those out of work. The Labor Department said Tuesday that unemployment rates rose in 12 states. Employers added jobs in 31 states and cut them in 17, with little change in the remaining two states. The figures reflect steady hiring nationwide. Employers added 223,000 jobs in June, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent...
Time Is Political  Jacobin  ...A recent survey of New York City retail workers found that only 17 percent of workers had a regular work schedule. Retail workers reported that in order to get more hours or more desirable shifts they sometimes had to compete with coworkers to sell a certain amount, or sign up the most people for store credit cards. In this way, they were battling with each other just for the ability to work and earn more...

Miscellaneous
Obama Administration Announces New Rules Protecting Military Families From Predatory Lenders  Think Progress   ...America’s armed forces personnel will no longer be exposed to exploitative payday loans after the Department of Defense (DOD) put new, long-delayed rules into place on Tuesday. The news marks a victory for an idea that had seemed at risk of being killed just months ago by lawmakers friendly to the lending industry...
Five Years Later, the Unfulfilled Promise of Dodd-Frank  Common Dreams  ...With several key promises of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act still unfulfilled, "Americans cannot be comforted that Wall Street will not wreak havoc again," according to a new report from the watchdog group Public Citizen. "Five years after President Barack Obama signed this legislation, Dodd-Frank remains largely incomplete," said Bartlett Naylor, Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate and author of the report...
6 insidious ways the one percent is ripping you off  Salon  ...In the wake of the financial crisis, there was a momentof hope that predatory businesses would no longer be able to pick at our bones like vultures. Instead, we’ve seen Dodd-Frank weakened and stalled, and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stymied at every turn. In the latest round, Republicans are thwarting the confirmation of Richard Cordray to lead the Bureau. Meanwhile, we continue to get fleeced...
“I Will Light You Up!” Disturbing Dashcam Footage Shows the Traffic Stop That Led to Sandra Bland’s Arrest.  Slate  ...Tuesday afternoon saw the release of extraordinary dashcam footage of the traffic stop that led to Bland’s arrest. In the video, you can see Bland’s car making a lane change right before the officer who was driving behind her, who has been identified as Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia, pulls her over. “You seem very irritated,” he says to her, while standing next to the driver’s side window...
Why the Black Lives Matter Protest at Netroots Nation Was Long Overdue   (opinion) The Nation  ...The action kicked off a necessary conversation about the Democratic candidates’ reluctance to address racism directly, the problem with saying “all lives matter,” and why economic populism devoid of a race and gender analysis will neither satisfy nor mobilize a sizeable chunk of progressive voters. These activists have changed the tone for the 2016 election season, putting Democrats on notice that they cannot expect the support of black voters—particularly young black voters—without speaking directly and meaningfully to issues of race and state power currently gripping the country...