Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 07.30.15

Teamsters
Teamsters Remember James R. Hoffa on 40th Anniversary of Disappearance  Teamster.org  ...July 30, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of one of the greatest labor leaders in American history – James R. Hoffa. As Teamsters General President, Hoffa honed his well-earned reputation as a tough and effective bargainer and gained the respect of labor and business leaders alike across the country. He worked hard to expand the number of working men and women who were protected by union contracts...
Hoffa: Senate Transportation Bill is Positive Step, but Safety Issues Remain  Teamster.org  ...Since 2008, Congress has transferred more than $62 billion from the general fund to keep the Highway Trust Fund afloat, and it has been more than a decade since Congress has passed a highway bill more than two years in duration. Meanwhile, infrastructure continues to crumble and the safety of those who work and travel along the vast network of U.S. roads and rails is being jeopardized. Despite a serious effort by the Senate to pass a long-term bill in advance of the July 31 funding deadline, here we are once again – recess and a three-month, short-term fix...
Plumbers and Pipefitters avert strike, Teamsters end strike  Belleville News-Democrat  ...Workers from two metro-east-area unions have reached tentative agreements with their respective bargaining units after one had been on strike and the other had threatened a work stoppage. About 80 members of the Teamsters Union Local 50 in Swansea are back to work after walking the picket line for just more than a week. The union confirmed a tentative agreement was reached July 24 after the union had gone on strike July 16. The union’s brief strike halted the delivery of ready-mix concrete throughout the metro-east for seven working days...
New bill would stand up for workers against misclassification  Teamster Nation  ...For years, the Teamsters have stood with port truck drivers in Southern California, Georgia and elsewhere who have been repeatedly shortchanged on wages, fair labor standards, health and safety protections and unemployment and workers' compensation benefits. This afternoon, several members of Congress rolled out legislation that would prohibit the practice as a way for companies to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The measure, "The Payroll Fraud Prevention Act," requires all workers to be accurately classified as employees or non-employees...
Truck Drivers In Georgia Are Fight Back Against Wage Theft And Misclassification  NH Labor News  ...Throughout the country hard working men and women are being screwed out their hard earned money by companies who are “mis-classifying” their employees. These workers are getting shafted by these unscrupulous employers who are stealing from their own employers to line their pockets.  This is wrong and it has to stop! The good news is that in Georgia, workers are coming together to fight back. Watch this great video from the Port Drivers Union...

Global Labor & Trade
Environmentalists, union members protest Pacific trade pact being negotiated at Maui resort  Associated Press  ...About 400 protesters blew conch shells on a Hawaii beach on Wednesday to demonstrate against a trade agreement being negotiated by ministers from 12 Pacific Rim nations. The demonstrators blew into their shells in unison on the sand in front of the Westin Maui resort on Kaanapali Beach, where ministers were meeting this week to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Protest organizers say the trade agreement would benefit a few major corporations while sacrificing protections for public health, the environment, local jobs and indigenous rights...
Harper Says Canada ‘Cannot Be Left Out’ of Pacific Trade Deal  Bloomberg  ...Canada is determined to reach a final deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, though the government will safeguard the country’s highly restricted dairy and poultry markets “as best we can,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. While Canada has defended its protectionist system of quotas and tariffs, known as supply management, in previous trade talks, it’s become a sticking point in TPP negotiations...
Eyeing the 2016 election calendar, trade ministers meet in Hawaii  Washington Post  ...Trade ministers from a dozen nations have gathered at a beachside hotel in Maui on Tuesday for talks aimed at knocking down tariff barriers, clearing political hurdles and sealing a new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that would bind countries on both sides of the vast ocean. For the U.S. delegation, these late-stage negotiations may be the last chance to close the deal before it gets swamped by 2016 election politics...
Pro-trade Dems want green goals in TPP  The Hill  ...A group of pro-trade House Democrats penned letter on Wednesday, calling on the Obama administration to lock in strong environmental provisions as part of a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Suzan DelBene (Wash.), Scott Peters (Calif.) and 16 other Democrats who supported President Obama’s trade agenda argue that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) presents a unique chance to raise global environmental standards...
EU steps up PR campaign to overcome U.S. trade deal hostility  Reuters  ...Using some of the tools employed by anti-trade campaigners, the European Commission, which is negotiating with the United States for a deal which may still be a year off, has taken the unusual step of launching video clips on YouTube. It has also published leaflets, fact sheets and "myth-busting" brochures to counter what it says are misconceptions about TTIP...
Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Treaty: State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Issues for Ministerial Guidance  Wikileaks  ...Today, 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks releases a secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP or TPPA) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013, along with a comprehensive expert analysis of the document. The letter indicates a wide-ranging privatisation and globalisation strategy within the Agreement which aims to severely restrict "state-owned enterprises" (SOEs). SOEs continue to fulfil vital public functions in even the most privatised countries, such as Canada and Australia...
Pacific partners may discuss currency rules along with trade deal  Reuters  ...Pacific Rim trading partners might convene a top-level forum to discuss how to stop countries manipulating currencies for competitive advantage, Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Tuesday. Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Hawaii where ministers are negotiating a 12-nation trade deal, Robb said member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) were considering a U.S. proposal for a separate forum...
Trans-Pacific Partnership: 'Magnificent' progress sets up tough ministerial talks  CBC  ...International Trade Minister Ed Fast meets his U.S. trade counterpart Michael Froman today in Maui, with key political decisions ahead on this second day of talks towards a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal for 12 Pacific Rim countries. Ministerial talks began Tuesday afternoon in Hawaii, following a weekend of very long days for each country's negotiators in an attempt to clear the deck of minor or technical issues...
Osun NLC Suspends Strike Again, Recalls Workers  Channels Television  ...The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Osun State has again suspended its ongoing eight weeks industrial action, with a call on workers to resume work immediately. The workers union ended the strike after it singed another Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with the State government at the Governors Office in Abere, Osun State..

State & Living Wage Battles
Supreme Court upholds right-to-work for state workers  Detroit Free Press  ...The Michigan Supreme Court, in an opinion that has the effect of making state employees subject to Michigan’s 2012 right-to-work law, ruled Wednesday that Michigan's Civil Service Commission never had the authority to impose union fees on state workers, even before the controversial law was passed. The 4-3 ruling is a blow to the United Auto Workers and other unions representing about 36,000 state employees...
Jeb Bush's and Bill Clinton's Boasts of Economic Growth Based on Market Bubbles That Burst  Alternet  ...Paul Krugman rightly mocks Jeb Bush for taking credit for the strong growth in Florida during his tenure as governor. As Krugman points out, the reason for the strong growth was that Florida had one of the worst housing bubbles in the country. Its collapse gave Florida one of the worst downturns in the country...
Deadbeat corporations: How schools suffer when big companies don’t pay their fair share of state taxes  Salon  ...Corporations have reaped trillion-dollar benefits from 60 years of public education in the U.S., but they’re skipping out on the taxes meant to sustain the educational system. Children suffer from repeated school cutbacks. And parents subsidize the deadbeat corporations through increases in property taxes and sales taxes...
With new bump, Minnesota ushers in region's top minimum wage  Post Bulletin  ...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 dollar-per-hour bump taking effect Saturday for about 288,000 of Minnesota's lowest-paid workers is the second of a three-stage increase adopted in 2014, when the state had one of the lowest minimum wages in the region...
University of California raises minimum wage to $15  USA Today  ...While fast food workers successfully organized and pushed legislation calling for action on a $15 minimum wage in New York on July 22, 2015, the University of California has become the first public school in the nation to commit to a wage increase. On July 22, the 238,000-student university system joined pioneering municipalities mandating that the wages of all employees of the university’s 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national labs — both direct and service contract employees — be raised to $15 per hour over the next three years...
Voter ID Laws Focus of Kansas Civil Rights Committee  CBS  ...The Kansas division of a federal civil rights commission will investigate whether voter identification laws have affected turnout around the state. The Kansas Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission voted Tuesday to hold hearings to determine if turnout in some communities has been suppressed...
Hedge Funds Want Puerto Rico To Fire Teachers To Pay Them Back  Huffington Post  ...As Puerto Rico teeters on the edge of default, a new report commissioned by a group of hedge funds insists the U.S. territory can avoid bankruptcy if it lays off teachers, sells off many of its public assets and collects more taxes. If the government tries to restructure or avoid paying its debts, it will be sued and the crisis in confidence that follows will make things much worse for the island, an author of the report argues...

Another Fight for Fair Pay in New York  (opinion) New York Times  ...Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently earned well-deserved praise for his efforts to secure a $15-an-hour minimum wage for fast-food workers in New York. Now another fight for fairness in pay is brewing in New York that also needs his support. The issue is payroll cards — prepaid debit cards issued to employees and refilled each payday with the employees’ wages in lieu of paper checks or direct deposits into a worker’s bank account...

U.S. Labor
Guardian US votes to unionize  Washington Post  ...The Guardian US, the stateside operation of the British newspaper, has voted to unionize under the News Media Guild, according to an announcement first reported by the Huffington Post. The vote on the matter was a unanimous 45 to 0, according to guild President Bernie Lunzer. The news marks something of a trend for unionization at American digital media properties...
Clinton-Sanders contest fosters discord within labor  Aljazeera  ...The 2016 presidential primary contest has fostered discord within some of America’s biggest labor unions, weakening frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s lock on the support of a key Democratic constituency. Although a majority of union leadership and rank-and-file members appear to still support Clinton, a growing activist bloc within the labor movement has thrown its support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders...
Hundreds Take to the Streets Over Chicago Board of Education’s Decision to Further Slash CPS Funding  In These Times  ...the crowd of about 200 people—most of them members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—had grown to over 500. Among them were teachers, parents and members of community organizations like Communities United, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC), the parent group Bad Ass Moms (BAMs) and Fight for $15, all of whom rejected the cuts and accused the Board of Ed of being "broke on purpose"...
Illinois, public labor union extend no-strike agreement  Reuters  ...The state of Illinois and its biggest labor union on Wednesday extended for two-months an agreement preventing strikes or lockouts while contract negotiations continue. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner also vetoed a bill sought by public employee labor unions that would send collective bargaining disputes to binding arbitration...
Victory for Farmworkers as Major Grocer Meets Demands for Fair Food   Common Dreams  ...The Immokalee, Florida farmworkers who have captured international attention for their decades of successful organizing against starvation wages, debt bondage, and slavery, racked up another human rights victory on Wednesday when Ahold USA agreed to become the first major grocer in the United States to join the organization's Fair Food Program...
USW workers to march on ATI headquarters  TribLive  ...Negotiators for ATI Flat-rolled Products have submitted another contract proposal to the United Steelworkers Union that shows some movement on health care issues. The USW, which represents ATI's 11 flat-rolled products plants and its 2,200 workers, said the proposal, which apparently was made last weekend, “falls far short” on the issues including health care, retirement security and scheduling...
Transit System and Amalgamated Transit Union to start negotiations Thursday  CBS  ...The Milwaukee County Transit System issued a press release today stating the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 and MCTS will go back to the bargaining table on Thursday, July 30.
It has been nearly a month since the ATU's strike. Milwaukee County Transit System claims the  ATU President James Macon is demanding $9 million more than what MCTS can afford...
After Threatening To Strike, NYC Airport Workers Win Union Agreement, Say They’ll Push for $15  In These Times  ...Twelve hundred workers at New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports may soon be negotiating a union contract after pressuring management with the threat of a strike. On July 22, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced that the workers’ employer, Aviation Safeguards, has agreed to remain neutral as they seek to join the SEIU through a “card check” recognition process...
United Farm Workers Turns Up Heat On California Growers  Growing Produce  ...his week, as high temperatures in parts of California’s Central Valley are expected to hover around 110 degrees, United Farm Workers (UFW) has been filing notices of intent to take access with the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). According to a report from Western Growers, more than 30 access filings have actually been submitted over the past month. In addition to the Central Valley, UFW organizers have visited a number of farms along the state’s southern and northern coasts...
Democrats Want To Extend Civil Rights Protections To Unpaid Interns  Huffington Post  ...Unpaid interns in most states aren't covered by the same workplace discrimination and harassment laws as employees, but some House Democrats are trying to change that. Three lawmakers introduced a trio of bills Tuesday aimed at closing loopholes that exclude unpaid interns from protection. The Civil Rights Act doesn't currently cover such workers because they aren't compensated and therefore aren't technically employees...
Applications for US unemployment benefits rose last week to still-low level of 267,000  Associated Press  ...More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, though the increase was from a very low level and the figures still point to a healthy job market. Applications for jobless aid rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile figure that is a better measure of underlying trends, dropped 3,750 to 274,750...

Social Justice & Other News
Say Her Name: Protesters in Chicago Demand Justice for Sandra Bland  Truthout  ...This week, from Dallas to San Diego to the Midwest, activists and community members around the United States are answering a national call to demand justice for Sandra Bland, a Black woman and activist who died in police custody on July 13. In Chicago, protesters lifted up Sandra Bland's name on Michigan Avenue on July 28, as hundreds of protesters lined a bridge over the Chicago River, urging those who believe Black lives matter to "say her name"...
House passes three-month highway bill  The Hill  ...The House voted Wednesday to approve an $8 billion bill that would extend federal transportation funding until the end of October, sending it to the Senate with just two days to go before the nation's road and transit spending expires. The bill passed in a 385-34 vote, with Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) voting present. Senators are expected to accept the patch to prevent an interruption in the nation's infrastructure spending...
House Republicans Invite Architect Of The Financial Crisis Over For Advice  Think Progress  ...Five years after the passage of a sweeping Wall Street reform package in the wake of the worst financial crisis in generations, lawmakers opposed to strict government policing of the financial industry are inviting two prominent deregulators back to the scene of the crime. When the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) hears from former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) and longtime conservative analyst Peter Wallison on Tuesday, the pair will have their laissez-faire perspectives on the money business elevated once again...
Wishing Happy Birthday to Medicare, Communities Demand Healthcare for All  Common Dreams  ...From Hawaii to Florida to Maine, communities in 25 cities across the United States are staging rallies, picnics, and flash mobs this week to celebrate Thursday's 50th anniversary of Medicare—and call for its expansion into a system that provides publicly-funded healthcare for all...
Cincinnati Cop Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man  Mother Jones  ...Officials in Hamilton County, Ohio, released body-camera footage on Wednesday that shows the shooting death of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man pulled over by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing on July 19 for driving without a front license plate. The video was released as Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced that Tensing would be indicted on a charge of murder...

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