Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 07.28.15

Teamsters
Hoffa Statement on New State Department Report That Upgrades Malaysia on Trafficking List  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to a new State Department document that improves the Malaysian government’s standing in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report: "The welfare of workers is at risk, and we must continue to push Malaysia to improve its anti-trafficking efforts rather than paving the way for it to participate in TPP"...
Google Express Workers File for Representation by Teamsters Union  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters Local Union 853 announced today that workers at Palo Alto-based Google Express Services filed for a representation election. The more than 140 warehouse and shipping workers sought out the Teamsters for help with improving working conditions, treatment on the job and compensation...
Workers at Google Express Bay Area Warehouse Take Step to Unionize  Wall Street Journal   ...A group of 140 warehouse workers at a Google Express facility in the San Francisco Bay-area have taken the first step toward unionizing. In a statement Monday, Local 853 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said workers who fill and ship orders at the Palo Alto, Calif., warehouse—all of whom were brought on by staffing agency Adecco—had filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board...
Google's Low-Wage Contract Workers Are Poised to Unionize  Mother Jones  ...Labor organizers with the Teamsters union announced Monday that they're holding an election to unionize workers for Google Express, the shopping service that delivers everything from toothpaste to televisions purchased by online consumers. The union is seeking to represent about 140 Google Express warehouse workers employed by Adecco, a temp agency that provides much of the delivery service's Bay Area staff...
Teamsters picket on behalf of Gold Cross employees  Good 4 Utah  ...Gold Cross employees joined together Monday to picket at the Gold Cross corporate office in Salt Lake City. Gold Cross paramedics say they've been negotiating with the company for 10 months, but the company has refused to budge. The paramedics say they won't strike because that could hurt the citizens. The Teamsters Union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board...
EVSC Board, Teamsters plan to resume collective bargaining  Courier & Press  ...Evansville Vanderburgh School Board President Mike Duckworth said the seven-member board is ready to resume collective bargaining negotiations with Teamsters Local 215. After an executive session “training” on Saturday, where all board members were present, Duckworth said the members discussed many issues that are currently on the table with Local 215...

Global Labor & Trade
US human trafficking report under fire as Cuba and Malaysia are upgraded  The Guardian  ...The United States is facing criticism after it removed Cuba and Malaysia from the US State Department’s list of the countries categorically failing to respond to widespread human trafficking. Malaysia was also given an upgrade to the tier 2 watch list after a year on tier 3. It comes as President Obama works to smooth the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a huge US-led free trade deal with Malaysia and 11 other countries across south-east Asia...
Key Shift on Malaysia Before Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal  New York Times  ...With the Obama administration pushing to conclude a vast Asian trade pact, the State Department on Monday upgraded its assessment of Malaysia’s efforts to combat human trafficking, a move that could ease the country’s inclusion in the trade deal. Though the human trafficking report from the State Department is released annually, this year it carries added weight because of the administration’s desire to make final the Trans-Pacific Partnership...
Feds face blowback over Malaysia human trafficking upgrade  The Hill  ...The State Department’s upgrade of Malaysia’s human trafficking status is setting up another clash between Congress and the White House on global trade. The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released Monday gave Malaysia a boost to the Tier 2 Watch List from Tier 3, the lowest level, a move that could further complicate congressional approval of a massive Trans-Pacific trade pact...
Issues Mount as Negotiators Gather to Wrap Up Trans-Pacific Trade Pact  New York Times  ...The top trade negotiators of the United States and 11 other Pacific nations are gathering this week at a luxury resort in Maui for one last push to complete the largest regional trade accord in history, roping together 40 percent of the world’s economic output. But even though it is billed as the “final round” of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, trade representatives from the United States, Japan and Pacific nations from Canada and Chile to Australia and Vietnam have high hurdles to clear...
Canadian dairy farmers head to Maui in last ditch effort against TPP  Global and Mail  ...Led by the United States, a group of 12 countries including Japan, Canada, Chile and Malaysia are trying to create a Pacific Rim trading bloc with North American-calibre commercial rules – a counterweight to Chinese influence in the region. The price of entry for Canada to a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is expected to include opening up this country’s heavily sheltered dairy and poultry sectors to further foreign competition...
US Decision on People Trafficking in Malaysia “Manipulated”  ITUC-CSI.org  ...The unwarranted upgrade is presumed to be result of political interference by the administration to ensure that Malaysia remains eligible to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which has been under negotiation since 2008. The recently adopted Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) provides that Tier 3 countries cannot be parties to trade agreements with the United States. The status upgrade comes just two months after the discovery in Malaysia of mass graves containing 139 bodies of migrant workers...
Up to 6,000 Zimbabwe Workers Fired After Court Ruling  Solidarity Center  ...Up to 6,000 workers have been terminated over the past week in Zimbabwe, following a Supreme Court decision stating that companies can now unilaterally end workers’ contracts at any time, without offering them layoff benefits, by giving them three months’ notice. The mass job cuts “are part of a scramble by companies to fire workers without benefits as they capitalize on last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling,” according to one news source...
Greece Moves Forward In Bailout Talks As Government Comes Under Fire  Huffington Post  ...Greece pushed ahead with talks on a new rescue loan Tuesday, but its government came under increasing pressure over claims it had a top-secret plan to prepare for a euro exit that involved accessing citizens' personal tax data. Emissaries from Greece's international creditors held a second day of preparatory talks with Greek officials, ahead of higher-level negotiations later this week on the country's new multi-billion euro lifeline...

State & Living Wage Battles
Minnesota's minimum wage rises to $9 per hour Saturday  Star Tribune  ...Minnesota will vault past Illinois, Michigan and South Dakota this week to gain the highest minimum wage in the Midwestern region at $9 an hour, which also will rank among the most-generous state wage floors in the country. The $1-per-hour bump takes effect Saturday for some 288,000 of Minnesota’s lowest-paid workers...
Repealing prevailing wage law would create work force shortage, says Saginaw's Herb Spence  MLive  ...At least one Saginaw business owner is not happy about the prospect that Michigan's prevailing wage law could be repealed. Those pushing for a repeal of the law, which mandates union-scale wages on state-funded construction projects, argue eliminating the prevailing wage would provide significant savings. Herb Spence III, the owner of Spence Brothers, said he thinks removing the law would hurt Michigan's construction industry and the state's economy in general...
Florida bill would more than double minimum wage to $15  Bay News 9  ...Florida Democrats have filed legislation to more than double the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, an eye-popping figure they hope will spark an outpouring of activism aimed at pressuring the Republican-controlled Legislature to act. The legislation, SB 6, is sponsored by Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), who for years has tried unsuccessfully to raise Florida's minimum wage of $8.05...
Legal maneuvers continue in redistricting cases  News 4 Jax  ...As a Leon County judge finalized the dates for a hearing on a third draft of Florida's congressional districts, a key lawmaker Monday refused to rule out the possibility of continuing the legal fight over the map, this time in federal court. Meanwhile, attorneys for the Legislature and critics of the 2012 redistricting process declined to discuss whether settlement talks were underway in a separate case dealing with a state Senate map that opponents also say was tainted by political considerations...
Hedge funds tell Puerto Rico: lay off teachers and close schools to pay us back  The Guardian  ...Billionaire hedge fund managers have called on Puerto Rico to lay off teachers and close schools so that the island can pay them back the billions it owes. The hedge funds called for Puerto Rico to avoid financial default – and repay its debts – by collecting more taxes, selling $4bn worth of public buildings and drastically cutting public spending, particularly on education. The group of 34 hedge funds hired former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economists to come up with a solution to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis...

U.S. Labor
Down to the wire: Verizon strike looms Aug. 1  CBS  ...With a contract deadline of midnight August 1, Verizon (VZ) and representatives of its 39,000-member union work force have four business days to reach a deal and avert a strike, which would hit consumers from Massachusetts to Virginia. The bargaining units involved serve the telecom provider's legacy landline and FiOS Internet and cable operations. Back in 2011, the same bargaining units went on a strike that lasted for two weeks...
Steelworkers, Asarco file NLRB charges  Arizona Daily Star  ...Unions representing workers at Tucson-based copper producer Asarco LLC have filed charges of unfair labor practices against the company with the National Labor Relations Board, as they continue working without a contract. The company in turn has filed NLRB charges against the unions, according to a member update posted on the website of the United Steelworkers, the lead union in the negotiations...
500 Lehigh Valley Verizon workers ready to strike  Morning Call   ... At least 500 Verizon union workers in the Lehigh Valley and Berks County could strike this weekend if a new labor deal is not reached. Ed Mooney, international vice president for Communications Workers of America District 2-13 in Philadelphia, said Monday the affected workers are technicians and customer-support employees in Verizon's wireline unit, which provides traditional phone services to homes and businesses, as well as high-speed FiOS Internet and television...
Zero Waste Remains a Dirty Business  The Nation  ...In an age of global warming, two global capitals, Los Angeles and New York, are going “zero waste.” Following a nationwide trend, the cities have launched new plans to aggressively reform their waste-management and recycling systems to nearly eliminate dumping in landfills. A policy analysis by the advocacy group LAANE and its associated national coalition Partnership for Working Families, lays out a “blueprint” for zero waste in cities. But according to LAANE, many municipal governments are modernizing their waste systems using regressive labor standards...
USW: Concessions at heart of U.S. Steel contract offer  Chicago Tribune  ...The United Steelworkers union said the concessions U.S. Steel has asked for would erode decades of contractual improvements and benefits. United Steelworkers said it has received an outline of an initial new contract proposal from U.S. Steel that includes dozens of demands for concessions. The union said the concessions would erode decades of contractual improvements and benefits won for members and their families...
AFSCME raises concerns about National Guard use  Herald & Review  ...A former top commander of the Illinois National Guard voiced concern Monday about a possible plan to use soldiers to help operate state government if there is a labor strike. State Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican who served as adjutant general from 1999 to 2003, said he would advise Gov. Bruce Rauner against such a move...
Defending Backpage, Sex Workers Say Removing Online Ads Does Them More Harm  Truthout  ...Sex workers across the country have rallied in defense of the website, taking to social media and launching petitions to demand that Healey stop her "attack" on the website, and that Visa and MasterCard reinstate their credit services. Advocates argue that cutting web services like Backpage will not stop trafficking. In fact, it has the opposite effect of driving sex workers who can't afford more expensive web services out into the streets and sometimes, into the hands of traffickers...
Univ. of California Academic Workers’ Union Calls on AFL-CIO To Terminate Police Union’s Membership  In These Times  ...United Auto Workers Local 2865, the union representing 13,000 teaching assistants and other student workers throughout the University of California, called on the AFL-CIO to end its affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA). The resolution came in the wake of a letter written by the UAW’s Black Interests Coordinating Committee (BICC). The group formed in December 2014 in response to the acquittals of police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner...

Social Justice & Other News
Immigrants' attorneys say they were 'locked out' of detention centers after raising concerns  LA Times  ...Pro bono attorneys working at the country’s two largest immigrant family detention centers in Texas said Monday that they have been "locked out" after they raised concerns last week that officials were forcing the immigrant mothers they represent to sign legal papers without consulting them. The complaint comes as the Congressional Progressive Caucus and members of the House Judiciary Committee are preparing to hold a forum on family detention...
The Majority Of GOP Voters Want Mass Deportation, But It’ll Cost Them  Think Progress  ...Sixty-three percent of Republican voters would support deporting the population of 11 million undocumented immigrants, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The center-right organization American Action Forum (AAF) found that it would cost between $400 billion and $600 billion to apprehend, detain, legally process, and transport every undocumented immigrant back to their countries of origin. A a Center of American Progress report found that it would cost an average of about $10,070 to deport each individual...
Between the World and Me: Black American Motherhood  (opinion) The Atlantic  ...There was a time when some of us believed our daughters were safe. “At least you have girls,” a white colleague said to me after Trayvon Martin was murdered. Her flippant comment ignited a rage mingled with guilt and shame I felt at having soothed myself with the same thought. This was before Renisha McBride, Sandra Bland, before all of the videos, before the writers, witnesses, and recorders in this Age of Ferguson, as I like to call it, left us no place to hide...
Sandra Bland Laid to Rest; First Black Judge in Waller County Demands Sheriff Resign over Her Death  Democracy Now  ...Hundreds gathered Saturday to remember Sandra Bland at the suburban Chicago church she attended for decades before moving to Waller County, Texas, where she was set to begin a new job but was then discovered dead in her jail cell after a traffic stop escalated into an arrest. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Bill Foster have sent letters to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a federal investigation into Bland’s death...
For-Profit Prison Accused of Subjecting Juveniles to 'Disgraceful' Conditions  Common Dreams  ...A for-profit British private security firm whose human rights abuses have been documented around the world, from Israel to South Africa to the United Kingdom, stands accused by a grand jury of operating a horrific juvenile detention center in Florida where conditions are so poor, and hygiene so bad, that the prison "should cease to exist." The firm G4S operates the Highlands Youth Academy in Avon Park, Florida, where young men and boys from 16 to 19 years old are incarcerated. A riot at the prison two years ago prompted the investigation...