Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 07.23.15

Teamsters
Hoffa: Senate Transportation Bill is Positive Step, But Safety Issues Remain  Teamster.org  ...Today, the Senate voted to take up a six-year surface transportation reauthorization that will include three years of funding for highway, rail and transit programs. The House has passed a five-month extension funding programs until the end of the year. “While some lawmakers seem content to ignore our broad transportation infrastructure needs, it is clear many U.S. roads and bridges don’t have the luxury of time to be fixed,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa...
Hoffa: Workers in D.C. and Around the Country Deserve '$15 and a Union'  Teamster.org  ...The Teamsters stand with thousands of workers who rallied on Capitol Hill today and millions of hardworking Americans around the country who deserve the dignity and respect that earning $15 an hour would bring. These same workers should also have the ability to unionize so they can advocate for themselves going forward...
Teamsters: Toyota is a Danger to American Families  Teamster.org  ...Today, the Teamsters Union posted the first of several roadside billboards about the Toyota Corporation in order to educate the American public about the economic and safety dangers posed by the company. "Toyota is bidding out much of its automobile transport work to small, unproven operators who undercut the health care protections and retirement security of their drivers,” said Kevin Moore, Teamsters International Trustee and Director of the Teamsters Carhaul Division...
Teamsters Call On UPS To Leave ALEC At Massive Protest In San Diego Teamster.org ...Hundreds of Teamsters from across California traveled to San Diego today to participate in a massive protest outside a national meeting for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Teamsters had one clear message they wanted to send – it was time for UPS to end its affiliation with ALEC. The Teamsters Union represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight...
Port truck drivers to get hearings on wage theft claims as they strike against employer, Pacific Transportation 9  OC Register  ..."Pac 9’s desperate tactic to stop the drivers from getting their day in court has failed. History will show that the drivers’ sacrifices on the picket line, coupled with the facts presented in court, will lead to permanent change in the port trucking industry,” Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Local Teamsters 848, which is representing the drivers, said in a statement...
Leslie Marshall Show On Executive Compensation at McKesson  (radio) Teamster.org   ...Louis Malizia, with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Capital Strategies Department, spoke with the Leslie Marshall Show about the disparity between high-level managers and frontline workers at McKesson. McKesson is the world’s largest wholesale pharmaceutical distributor, yet many of its employees cannot afford health care. The Teamsters recently sponsored a shareholder proposal to curb unearned executive pay...

Global Labor & Trade
Zimbabwe Supreme Court Guts Worker Job Security  Solidarity Center  ...The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe upheld a decision late last week stating that companies can now terminate workers’ contracts at any time, without offering them layoff benefits, by giving them three months’ notice. The unanimous decision “has grave consequences for anyone under formal employment,” according to one news source and comes “at time when business is crying for flexible labor laws in order to improve industrial competitiveness”...
State poised to issue report crucial to trade deal  The Hill  ...The State Department will release a human trafficking report Monday that many lawmakers fear could raise Malaysia’s status — allowing them to remain in a sweeping international trade pact. Congressional lawmakers and human rights groups are rankled over speculation that the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report will upgrade the Asian nation — one of 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — from tier 3 to a higher status that would help them remain part of the talks...
Abuse and Exploitation of Migrants Ignored in Exchange for TPPA  APR Network  ...The recent Reuters report on United States President Barack Obama’s move to upgrade the human rights status of Malaysia to allow the continuation of the negotiations of the TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) gives a taste of what is to come, especially for migrants’ rights, if the trade deal will be signed. Citing congressional sources, Reuters reports that President Obama is going to move Malaysia’s status from Tier 3 in its annual trafficking in persons report, to Tier 2...
Why everyone hates Obama's signature trade deal  CNN  ...After years of painful, drawn-out meetings, negotiators are preparing for what could be the final round of talks over the biggest free trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Even as the deal nears completion, plenty of groups are trying to scuttle the agreement...
Bar unhappy over Malaysia’s upgrade on U.S. watch list on trafficking  Therakyat Post  ...The Bar Council expressed its unhappiness that Malaysia may be upgraded from Tier 3 to Tier 2 Watch List status in the rankings in the imminent 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report prepared by the United States Department of State. Its president, Steven Thiru, said any upgrade of Malaysia in the 2015 TIP report would appear to be primarily motivated by a desire to allow Malaysia to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)...
TPP will prevent ban on foreign ownership  TVNZ  ...Labour says it will not support a trade partnership with the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific nations if new conditions are not met because it worries that it could see New Zealand give up too much power. ONE News can reveal that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade deal will stop the right to restrict sales of homes and farm land to non-resident foreigners in fellow TPP countries...
US Trade Deficit Expansion Weighs on GDP  The Desert Sun  ...The U.S. trade deficit, which had shrunk significantly in the post "great financial recession" aftermath, reversed sharply in the first quarter 2015. Already beset by a drop in business and industry stock building early in the year, together with export restricting West Coast port strikes, and inclement weather in the East and Midwest, plus a strong export-reducing dollar, the first quarter trade deficit posted the greatest downward widening since the pre-recession (2008-10) years...
Anti-Austerity Protesters Massed Outside Greek Parliament Before Vote  Huffington Post  ...As Greek lawmakers gathered Wednesday to vote on a bill that would institute more economic reforms demanded by the nation's creditors, crowds amassed outside the Hellenic Parliament to decry the latest austerity measures. The vote, expected in the early hours of Thursday, has spurred anger among Greeks who called for an end to austerity when they elected the ruling Syriza party, only to have the government ultimately accept additional harsh economic policies in order to secure bailout funds...
Varoufakis: Troika Forced Syriza Into Choice Between 'Suicide or Execution'  Common Dreams ...In his first international television interview since stepping down from his post as Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday that European lenders had forced his government to make a choice between "suicide or execution." After five months of rigorous negotiations, the outspoken Varoufakis stepped down from his post the night of the Greek referendum. And despite voting against the latest austerity package, Varoufakis said he understood why Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided to accept...

State & Living Wage Battles
New York Plans $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers  New York Times  ...The labor protest movement that fast-food workers in New York City began nearly three years ago has led to higher wages for workers all across the country. On Wednesday, it paid off for the people who started it. A panel appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended on Wednesday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants throughout the state to $15 an hour over the next few years...
New York Fast Food Workers On Passage Of The $15 Wage: ‘It’s A Dream Come True’  Think Progress  ...On Wednesday, the wage board New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) convened unanimously passed a proposal for a $15 an hour minimum wage for the state’s fast food industry. The labor commissioner is expected to approve the recommendation and issue a wage order raising these workers’ pay to at least that amount. The minimum wage for fast food workers will reach $15 an hour in New York City by 2018 and in the rest of the state by 2021...
Aiming to Lift 'Starvation Wage,' Progressive Lawmakers Push for $15 Nationwide  Common Dreams  ..."We are here today to send a very loud and a very clear message to the United States Congress, the President of the United States, and corporate America," Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders bellowed before a crowd of striking low-wage workers in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. "In the richest country on the face of the earth, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty"...
ALEC Admits School Vouchers Are for Kids in Suburbia  PR Watch  ...School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is meeting in San Diego today, has decided to drop the pretense that vouchers have anything to do with social and racial equity...
How Walker Turned 'Job Creation' Into a Goodie Bag for Campaign Donors  TPM  ...When Scott Walker was elected Wisconsin governor in 2010, he came into office with a playbook he’d followed as the Milwaukee County executive: he declared an emergency. Taxes: too high. Public benefits: too generous. Businesses: too burdened. Unions: too coddled. One of his first acts in January 2011 was to call an emergency session of the state legislature. One of the first pieces of legislation he signed as governor, Act 7, privatized the state’s department of commerce by turning it into a public-private hybrid called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation...
The Governor Who Forgot How to Veto a Bill  The Atlantic  ...LePage may have learned the art of politics in the four-and-a-half years since Maine voters first elected him to the governorship, but it seems he hasn’t yet mastered state law. In a turn of events as incomprehensible as it sounds, the combative conservative apparently muffed the vetoes of 65 bills at the end of the annual legislative session. He is now asking the state’s highest court to rule on whether he successfully rejected the measures, or whether they have in fact become law...
Changes to Pittsburgh workers paid-sick leave legislation introduced  Post Gazette  ...City Councilman Corey O’Connor introduced a series of amendments Wednesday to legislation requiring Pittsburgh employers to offer paid sick leave, softening some of the rough edges to make the proposed law easier to swallow for businesses. Now, the law will not apply to seasonal workers, the amount of paid leave required is reduced and employees must work more hours to accrue it, among other changes...

Uber Strikes Deal With New York City to Avoid Cap on Ride-Hailing Vehicles in City  Slate  ...Uber and New York City struck a conciliatory tone, agreeing to a deal that would avoid the city capping the number of Uber drivers on city streets. The agreement softens a New York City Council bill that aimed at curtailing the ride-hailing service’s growth over concerns about increasing congestion on city streets caused by ride-hailing services...

U.S. Labor
Grocery Chain’s Financial Meltdown Could Leave Thousands of Union Workers Jobless  In These Times  ...Plans to dismember the A&P supermarket chain were revealed in a federal bankruptcy court in New York this week, with dire results predicted for more than 15,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. The historic grocery retailer—the original Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. was formed back in 1859—intends to sell or close all of its 300 stores spread across six Mid-Atlantic states, according to documents filed Monday in the U.S...
NYC Airport Strike Averted at JFK, LaGuardia on Labor Truce  Bloomberg  ...More than 1,200 workers at New York’s Kennedy and LaGuardia airports will stay on the job after scrapping a strike hours before it was supposed to begin. An airline contractor, Command Security Corp.’s Aviation Safeguards unit, agreed to stay neutral in an organizing effort among its workers, the Service Employees International Union’s Local 32BJ said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. Security officers, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants had planned to walk off the job starting later in the day...
Future of Focus plant looms over start of Ford-UAW talks  Detroit Free Press  ...Top UAW officials and some of Ford's highest ranking executives will meet today to formally mark the start of contract talks exactly two weeks after the Dearborn automaker said it would move production of the Focus compact car to Mexico. Typically, the ceremonial event to kick-start contract negotiations is a warm and fuzzy event designed to underscore the close working relationship between the union and the automaker...
USW critical of ArcelorMittal contract proposal  Chicago Tribune  ...The United Steelworkers union said it has received an initial three-year contract proposal from ArcelorMittal management that includes no wage increases, reduced incentive payments and increased costs for health care for active and retired workers. The current USW contract with both ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel expires on Sept. 1...
DOL Decision Could Mean the End of Wage Theft Through “Independent Contractor” Misclassification  In These Times  ...Last week, the administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, David Weil, released a “letter of guidance” that clarifies who is an employee and who is an “independent contractor”—that is, essentially an individual running his or her own business. He argues that the most definitive statement from Congress comes from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which says that “to employ” means “to suffer or permit to work.” And, he concludes, “under the Act, most workers are employees”...
A Quiet Triumph for Gay Workers  The Atlantic   ...Gay Americans can now get married in the morning and then, in the afternoon, just for being gay, their employers can fire them. Is doing so legal? Up until last week, the answer was yes for Americans living in the 28 states without explicit bans on workplace sexual-orientation discrimination. But an important ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) means that courts in those states are now more likely to say that such discrimination is illegal...
UC willl raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, heightening focus on efforts to boost the rate statewide  LA Times  ... The campaign to significantly increase the minimum wage shifted from local government to the state Wednesday, with UC President Janet Napolitano announcing that several thousand workers would have their salaries increased to $15 an hour by 2017. UC's action is expected to heighten debate in the state Legislature about a proposal to boost the statewide minimum wage and has also prompted calls for the California State University system to follow suit...
Social Security Has Enough Money To Expand Benefits Now, Trustee's Report Shows  Alternet  ...The Social Security Board of Trustees has just released its annual report to Congress. The most important takeaways are that Social Security has a large and growing surplus, and its future cost is fully affordable. It is sometimes reported that Social Security's current costs exceed its revenue, but if that happened, we wouldn't need a report to tell us. The whole country would know, because 59 million beneficiaries would not get their earned benefits as they now do every month...
Applications for US Unemployment Aid Plummet to 42-Year Low  Associated Press  ...The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid plunged last week to the lowest level in nearly 42 years, evidence that employers are holding onto their staffs and likely hiring at a steady pace. Yet the drop also reflects seasonal volatility in the data. The unemployment rate fell in June mostly because many of the unemployed stopped looking for work, rather than found jobs. The proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to a 38-year low...

Miscellaneous
Most Undocumented Immigrants Will Stay Under Obama’s New Policies, Report Says  New York Times  ...Under new immigration enforcement programs the Obama administration is putting in place across the country, the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants — up to 87 percent — would not be the focus of deportation operations and would have “a degree of protection” to remain in the United States, according to a report published Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington...
Elizabeth Warren humiliates executive invited by Senate Republicans to defend opposition to financial regulations  Salon  ...On Tuesday, Senate Republicans invited Primerica President Peter Schneider to testify against proposed regulations that would protect retirement savings from sketchy financial schemes — and it didn’t take long before he wished they hadn’t. The Huffington Post’s Zach Carter reports that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in embarrassing Scheider, whose outfit is precisely the sort of sketchy financial scheme that the legislation is designed to protect the elderly against...
#SayHerName: Protests Demand Justice for Sandra Bland & Black Teen Found Dead in Jail 1 Day Later  Democracy Now  ...In Texas, new information has emerged about the arrest of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old African-American woman found dead in a jail cell in what authorities claim was a suicide by hanging. Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change. Dash cam video shows Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia forced her from her car, threatening to "light [her] up," after she failed to put out her cigarette. Hundreds gathered in New York to honor Sandra Bland and highlight the case of Kindra Chapman, an 18-year-old African-American woman found dead in an Alabama jail cell one day after Sandra Bland was found dead...
Sandra Bland Committed "Contempt of Cop," But That's Not Against the Law  Slate  ...In 2010, Christy Lopez, the Department of Justice official who led the federal investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri police department after Michael Brown's death, wrote a paper on the subject of "contempt of cop" arrests. (Lopez's Ferguson investigation found that officers in Ferguson had a habit of making unjustified and abusive arrests.) Lopez opens her report by noting that disagreeing with, criticizing, or otherwise being verbally difficult with a police officer is behavior protected by the First Amendement...

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