Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 08.04.15

Teamsters
Hoffa Statement on Failure of Trade Authorities to Reach an Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to trade officials failing to finalize the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during negotiations in Maui that ended late Friday. "Despite years of discussions about the TPP, there continues to be many fatal flaws that are rightfully giving many nations pause on whether to sign off on this faulty trade deal"...
Teamsters take on Silicon Valley  CNBC  ...In Silicon Valley, residents are used to seeing big buses rolling through the city transporting workers for tech companies. Now, those drivers want more money. On Saturday, bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo and eBay, among others, voted to ask for a new wage and benefits package. The 160 drivers are employed by a company called Compass Transportation. Back in February, the drivers voted for representation by Teamsters Local 853...
Bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo demand $27.50 an hour  CNN  ...Five months after unionizing, 75 bus drivers voted Saturday for a proposal that would increase their wages to $27.50 and provide them with new benefits. According to Rome Aloise, international vice president at Teamsters, the pay increase is significant bump from the $17 to $21 an hour they're currently making. "We agreed to be flexible on their client needs but inflexible on changing anything that was economic," said Aloise. "I think the negotiations went great ... It seems to be a very affordable contract [for] some of the richest companies in the world"...
Local 727 Members Helped Create ‘Wild Encounters’  Local 727  ...Teamsters Local 727 members played an important role in preparing for the July 1 grand opening of the new Hamill Family Wild Encounters exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. The $11 million, 2.3-acre exhibit, which occupies the space of the former Children’s Zoo, is aimed at fostering learning through up-close and hands-on interactions with animals. "Our members really do some incredible work," said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727...

Global Labor & Trade
Election Cycles Cloud Future of Trade Talks  Wall Street Journal  ...The U.S. and 11 other Pacific nations trying to hammer out a sweeping trade agreement notched progress in high-level talks in Hawaii but now face a renewed mix of thorny issues complicated by election seasons in the U.S. and Canada. A snowballing dairy fight threatened to derail the deal last week as top ministers also grappled with an economically larger issue on how automobiles can be produced and traded...
Trans-Pacific Partnership Session Ends With Heels Dug In  New York Times  ...Tokyo was ready to extend major concessions on American truck tariffs but was blocked by Mexico, which wanted less competition for its own trucks in the United States market. Canada held firm on protecting its politically sensitive dairy market ahead of elections in October, but for New Zealand, a tiny country with huge dairy exports, that was unacceptable...
Pro-trade lawmakers push for continued effort after setback in talks  The Hill  ...Pro-trade lawmakers and the business community are urging the Obama administration to keep pushing, after negotiators failed to finalize a massive 12-nation trade pact Friday. A group meeting for negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) came to a standstill Friday, as the partner nations were unable to finalize the terms of the deal. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said “significant progress” had been made, but all parties left the Hawaii meeting empty-handed...

State Department watered down human trafficking report  Reuters  ...Human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse. The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed. A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats...
Corporate Tribunals Pose Biggest Hurdle to Europe's Vote on Transatlantic Trade Pact  Truthout  ...July marked the second anniversary of negotiations between the US and European Union over the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but for the millions of European citizens opposed to the trade deal it was not a month to celebrate. One of the main points of contention remains the debate about whether to include investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) in the trade pact...
Did Obama’s Trade Agenda Just Quietly Run Out of Time?  Foreign Policy  ...It was just weeks ago that the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) passed after a perilous journey through the U.S. Congress. The episode prompted numerous reminders of just what was at stake: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S. standing in the Asia-Pacific. When TPA passed, that agenda remained alive. But did it escape the jaws of Congress only to quietly miss its window?...
UK asks austerity-weary workers to suggest new budget cuts  CNN  ...Imagine your pay has been frozen for years and thousands of colleagues have been let go. Then your boss asks you for ideas on how to save even more money. That's exactly what the British government is doing to millions of workers in healthcare, education and administration. Finance minister George Osborne tweeted that he has emailed every public sector employee to "ask for their views on how we can continue to do more with less"...
First Great Western rail workers to strike over August bank holiday weekend  The Guardian  ...Rail workers with First Great Western have announced they are to stage a series of strikes – including over the August bank holiday weekend – as a long-running row rumbles on over the introduction of new trains. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, including drivers and guards, will walk out for 24 hours on 23 August and for 72 hours from 29 August, with other members who work on maintenance striking on 29 and 31 August...
Japan's "Sacred" Rice Farmers Brace for Pacific Trade Deal's Death Sentence  Truthout  ...In small wet rice fields, or suiden, across Japan, farmers don rubber boots to slosh through the fields and check their plantings. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in tropical Hawaii, negotiators are in the final stages of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that farmers fear will disrupt the rhythm of their even-metered life. Rice is one of the five sacred areas of Japanese agriculture...
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit  Counterpunch  ...It is now clear that the European authorities do not intend to let the Greek economy recover any time in the foreseeable future. The primary surpluses that the government has been forced to agree to—2, 3, and 3.5 percent of GDP for the three years of the deal, 2016 through 2018—will not allow Greece to escape its depression, which is now in its sixth year.  Even if they miss these targets, which is likely, just trying to do what they have committed to will keep the economy from recovering...

State & Living Wage Battles
California minimum wage initiative cleared for signatures  KPCC  ...A union-backed proposal to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour was cleared Monday to begin collecting signatures for a ballot initiative next year as local efforts continue nationwide to boost the minimum wage to better reflect the cost of living. The proposal by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West would increase California's minimum wage by $1 an hour annually until it reaches $15...
NC House proposes spending $4.1B to improve infrastructure  WRAL  ...House leaders have raised the ante on both their Senate counterparts and Gov. Pat McCrory, proposing a $4.155 billion program aimed at rebuilding roads and rehabbing and expanding aging infrastructure. "We believe this proposal puts forward a great plan that both the Senate and the governor can pivot to and come together around," said Dean Arp, R-Union, who was put forward by House Republicans as lead author of the plan...
A Rare Red-State Accord for More Voter Access  The Atlantic  ...Last week, the coalition and Oklahoma’s election board announced an agreement in which the state committed to asking any person who interacts with welfare agencies whether they want to register to vote and then to helping them through the process. That includes assistance with helping them vote online. The state also agreed to establish a new website with information about the National Voter Registration Act...
Unions, policy analysts decry prevailing wage repeal  Pekin Daily Times  ...Now more than one month past the July 1 deadline for a comprehensive state budget, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said he’d be willing to compromise on, among other things, prevailing wage laws to deliver a long-awaited agreement. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune last week, Cullerton listed prevailing wage laws, which require that construction workers on state-funded construction projects be paid a wage comparable to a set county average, as one of the first budget items he’d concede to Gov. Bruce Rauner...
Labor Organizes Against Right-To-Work In Governor’s Race  WKU  ...Supporters of right-to-work laws have had a hard time passing legislation in Kentucky through the Democrat-controlled House and governor’s office. But if Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin is elected, the House’s slim eight-person majority would be the only thing standing in the way of the legislation, which would forbid unions from demanding dues from its members as a condition of employment...
Puerto Rico triggers historic default as austerity spiral deepens  Telegraph   ...Puerto Rico has triggered the biggest municipal default in US history, risking years of bitter legal warfare with creditors and an austerity "death spiral" with echoes of Greece. The island Commonwealth finally ran out of money on Monday after a desperate effort to stay afloat, and missed a final deadline for a $58m payment - handing over just $628,000...
Long Beach Council to consider minimum wage study  Press-Telegram  ...It looks like Long Beach will be the next city to consider a proposal to raise the minimum wage. Long Beach Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal’s office released a statement Monday in which she and three other City Council members call for a study to examine the possible effects of a city law mandating wage increases. Lowenthal and other council members supporting the idea also want to look at how fee reductions or business incentives could be matched to a wage increase...
New Affordable Housing Rule Would Make Developers In New York Give Back To Communities They Build In  Think Progress  ...Real estate developers won’t be able to continue ignoring the needs of New York City’s working class tenants for much longer, if a new proposal unveiled Friday by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is approved. The policy goes further than other affordable housing rules in the city, setting requirements developers must follow rather than creating options they can choose to pursue. “This affordable housing will be mandatory and it will be permanent,” de Blasio told ThinkProgress in a statement...
Washington has failed to enforce labor rights. Can cities step in?  (opinion) Aljazeera   ...In the past year Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle have all scheduled minimum wage increases. At least 18 cities and four states now have passed paid sick leave laws. San Francisco also passed the Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights, which will guarantee employees fair notice of their schedules for shifts. All these measures create important improvements for working families. But how can these newly won rights be protected? The federal government is unlikely to help...

U.S. Labor
Verizon Workers Prepare for a Strike Over Job and Benefit Cuts  In These Times  ...Verizon wants to drive down costs, shrink its union workforce even further, and get out of the landline business. But in negotiations this summer it’s coming head-to-head with its unions, who want to protect gains won through decades of struggle. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) began bargaining a new contract in June for 38,000 telecom workers in the Northeast from Maine to Virginia...
Iron workers strike for higher wages, health benefits  The Tennessean  ...A group of iron workers has left work sites of the Westin Hotel and other construction projects to protest for higher wages, health benefits and better work conditions. The eight Manchester, Tenn.-based rodbusters began the strike almost six weeks ago, asking for wages to be increased to the national average...
No decision yet but UAW not ruling out new election to organize Chattanooga VW plant employees  Times Free Press  ...The United Auto Workers local in Chattanooga isn't ruling out another election to organize Volkswagen plant employees, but it hasn't decided on a new vote as a Facebook post claims. "There are multiple paths toward collective bargaining," said Mike Cantrell, president of Local 42, in a statement on Monday. "All options have been and remain on the table"...
U.S. wage and benefit growth at slowest pace in 33 years  MLive  ...Wages and benefits for American workers grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years, stark evidence that stronger hiring is not lifting paychecks much for most Americans. The slowdown also likely reflects a sharp drop-off in bonus and incentive pay for some workers. The employment cost index rose just 0.2 percent in the April-June quarter after a 0.7 increase in the first quarter, the Labor Department said Friday...
After Years Of Cuts, Cities And States Are Hiring Again  Huffington Post  ...Public employment, long seen as a secure job with good benefits, took a series of hits during the recession, with state and local governments implementing hiring freezes and layoffs. But job-seekers can take solace: Many states and localities are now hiring, buoyed by an improving economy and better-than-expected revenue...
Duquesne’s NLRB Filing Reads as a Brazen Threat To Adjunct Union Organizers  In These Times  ...In Pittsburgh, in a case that some have suspected is destined for the Supreme Court, Duquesne University has pushed the boundaries of employer intimidation. On April 29, adjunct professors Clint Benjamin and Adam Davis testified under oath at a hearing at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The topic was Duquesne University’s unwillingness to recognize the union that their colleagues overwhelmingly voted for three years ago. After the hearing, the regional director of the NLRB held that Duquesne had to negotiate with the union...
Verizon wants to bust the union  (opinion) Socialist Worker  ...Despite $18 billion in profits over the last 18 months, despite the top five Verizon executives pulling in a combined total of $44.4 million last year, with CEO Lowell McAdam alone making $18.3 million, and despite Verizon being the 15th largest corporation in America in 2014, management still wants major concessions. CWA's website details Verizon's most retrogressive, egregious and insulting demands: "deep cuts to pension benefits, skyrocketing increases in medical costs and the complete elimination of job security"...

Social Justice & Other News 
Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence  The Guardian  ...A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned. Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident...
Finally, One Banker Gets Sizable Jail Term. But Will Others Follow?  Common Dreams  ..."A message needs to be sent to the world of banking," said UK Judge Jeremy Cooke on Monday as he handed down a 14-year sentence to former Citibank and UBS trader Tom Hayes, convicted in a London court on eight counts of conspiring to manipulate a global benchmark interest rate known as LIBOR. While many of the world's leading banks have paid heavy financial penalties for tampering with the key benchmark, 35-year-old Hayes is the first individual to face a jury trial...
GOP debate preview targets immigration  Aljazeera  ...There was no Donald Trump but his top issue, illegal immigration, was a dominant theme for 14 Republican presidential candidates who faced off in New Hampshire on Monday night during a crowded and pointed preview of the 2016 primary season's first full-fledged debate. All but three of the 17 major Republican candidates for president participated in the Voters First Forum in what was essentially a rehearsal debate...
Global Glaciers Melting up to Three Times Rate of 20th Century  Common Dreams  ...The 21st century has already seen a record-smashing decline in the world's glaciers, which are melting at up to three times the rate of the 20th century and will continue to disappear even without further climate change, an alarming new study concludes. Entitled Historically Unprecedented Global Glacier Decline in the Early 21st Century, the research was published Monday in the Journal of Glaciology...
Robert Reich: America is revolting against its ruling class  Salon  ...“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified. Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades...

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