Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 08.07.15

Teamsters
Houston Waste Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify First Contract  Teamster.org  ...Workers at WCA Waste Corporation of America in Houston, who voted to join the Teamsters in November, have ratified a first contract that improves wages and health care, among other gains. The workers are the only private waste company employees in Texas who have a union contract. “The organizing win, and now this first contract, represent huge victories for these employees,” said Robert Mele, President of Teamsters Local 988 in Houston....
Teamsters and UNITE HERE Announce Initiative to Organize UFC Fighters  PR Newswire  ...Today, two of the largest unions in the "fight capital" of the world launched an initiative to organize MMA fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), the largest promoter of professional MMA events. "We have been surprised to learn how poorly these professional fighters are treated in the UFC. We want to help them to improve conditions for themselves and raise standards for the sport," said Chris Griswold, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 986...
Teamsters 272 Speaks Out After Garage Attendant Member is Mistreated by Customer  Labor Press  ...Maximo is a Midtown parking attendant, and member of Teamsters Local 272, who received some unexpected attention after a video featuring him went viral recently. A customer, unhappy with the amount she owed for parking, berated Maximo with an anti-immigrant tirade. She called him “garbage” and an “idiot,” repeatedly telling him “learn how to speak English.” Local 272 Secretary-Treasurer and Business Manager Matthew Bruccoleri has a message for customers who vent their frustrations at ordinary workers...
Unionized Tucson bus workers strike after rejecting contract  AZ Central  ...Unionized drivers and mechanics at Tucson’s bus system went on strike early Thursday after rejecting a labor contract, a company official said. The strike against Sun Tran began at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, a spokeswoman said. The strike came after a contract extension expired at midnight. That extension had been agreed to after Teamsters Local 104’s members last week rejected an offer...
Unions gunning for MMA fighters  Review Journal  ...Ultimate Fighting Championship star Ronda Rousey as a Teamster? UFC's Las Vegas nemesis, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, is joining Teamsters Local 986 of South El Monte, Calif. for an "initiative" Thursday to organize UFC's 574 MMA fighters. It's the latest jab at UFC by the culinary union, which wants to bring workers at Las Vegas-based Station Casinos into Local 226. Teamsters Local 986 and Culinary Local 226 have several joint organizing projects in Las Vegas, including the Station Casinos organizing campaign...

Global Labor & Trade
Negotiators hope to wrap up Trans-Pacific Partnership talks this month  LA Times  ...After a disappointing round of talks ended last week in Hawaii without resolution, negotiators of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership are hoping to meet later this month to try again to wrap up one of the world's biggest free-trade agreements. Between now and then, negotiators have their work cut out for them: They need to iron out tough issues on the length of drug patents, so-called rules of origin for autos and, perhaps most intractable of all, market access for dairy goods — something particularly important for California, America's biggest dairy-producing state...
Kerry confident of concluding TPP trade pact this year  Reuters  ...U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence on Friday that an ambitious Pacific trade pact could be completed this year and said a recent nuclear deal with Iran proved hurdles in international agreements could be overcome. Kerry said many challenges remained in thrashing out a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), particularly on issues of autos and dairy, but the United States would do everything in its power to make it happen...
Trans-Pacific Partnership: Are Free Trade Agreements Like TPP Really A Tool For Fixing Labor Rights Abuses?  International Business Times  ...As President Barack Obama pushes to make the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact a capstone of his global trade legacy, he is promoting the deal at home as a way to counter China's commercial influence in the Asia-Pacific region while also holding trade partners to tighter human rights agreements than Chinese dealmakers would. But experts say the president is exaggerating the extent to which trade pacts can force countries to address labor issues and human rights concerns...
New TPP Leaks Reveal US 'Pandering to Big Drug Companies,' Threatening Innovators  Common Dream  ...New leaks of the negotiating text of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement reveal that the Obama administration is pushing forth radical proposals that critics say will threaten to harm consumers and innovators while rewarding big drug companies and "extremist copyright" policies. Negotiators for the 12-nation trade pact failed last week to reach a final agreement at their meeting in Maui
Trade deficit widens 7% in June as imports jump  USA Today  ...The U.S. trade deficit increased in June as solid consumer spending pulled in more imports, while the strong dollar restrained exports. The Commerce Department said Wednesday the trade gap jumped 7% to $43.8 billion in June, up from $40.9 billion in May. Imports increased 1.2% to $232.4 billion, while exports edged lower to $188.6 billion from $188.7 billion...
Greece's tax revenues collapse as debt crisis continues  The Guardian  ...Fresh evidence of the dramatic impact of the Greek debt crisis on the health of the country’s finances has emerged, with official figures showing tax revenues collapsing. As talks continued over a proposed €86bn third bailout of the stricken state, the Greek treasury said tax revenues were 8.5% lower in the first six months of 2015 than the same period a year earlier. The bank shutdown that brought much economic activity to a halt began on 28 June...
How smuggled workers power 'Made in China'  Reuters  ...The smuggling of illegal workers from Vietnam across the 1,400-km (840-mile) border into China is growing. Labor brokers estimate that tens of thousands work at factories in the Pearl River Delta, which abuts Hong Kong. Workers from other Southeast Asian nations are joining them. Visits by Reuters to a half-dozen factory towns in southern China revealed the employment of illegal workers from Vietnam is widespread, and authorities often turn a blind eye to their presence...
Congressional cracks appear in Brazil austerity plan  FT  ...Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff faced a fresh setback to her efforts to restore the country’s sinking public finances on Thursday after a rebellious congress voted for wage rises for key civil servants. The move, which sent the real to a fresh 12-year low and local bond yields to a record high, came as Ms Rousseff’s approval ratings fell to their lowest level and two small parties defected from her ruling coalition, further threatening her hold over congress...
London Underground services resume after 24-hour Tube strike  BBC News  ...London Underground services have resumed after a 24-hour strike shut down the entire network. The industrial action by four unions began on Wednesday evening as part of a dispute over the Night Tube, which is due to start next month. The unions are unhappy at conditions offered to drivers who will be working on the new service...

State & Living Wage Battles
WorkForce Still Working to Recalculate Prevailing Wage  WV Public  ...he prevailing wage in West Virginia expired on July 1 of this year after a political battle between lawmakers and the executive branch, but WorkForce West Virginia says they’re still working to recalculate the wage. The prevailing wage is the hourly rate workers are paid on construction projects that are paid for with state dollars...
Report Finds Confusion Over Voter ID Law Kept People From The Polls, Too   Houston Press  ...The Texas Voter law, requiring voters to have a photo ID, may have kept some people from the polls in November 2014's general election—but mere confusion about the law may have kept away voters, too. According to a new report released by public policy researchers at Rice University's Baker Institute and the University of Houston's Hobby Center, 13 percent of a sample of 400 nonvoters in U.S. Congressional District 23 said in a survey that they did not vote in part because they did not possess the proper photo ID...
Could Scott Walker's Legal Victory Expand PAC Superpowers?  Truthout  ...A Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on Gov. Scott Walker's campaign practices clears the way for state candidates to work more closely with legally independent political groups and their enormous war chests. The big unanswered question is how ripples from the case might spread beyond the state's borders. The ruling could spark attempts to overturn laws in other states that restrict such coordination...
Unintended Consequence of Wal-Mart’s Raise: Unhappy Workers  Bloomberg  ...When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. chief Doug McMillon announced plans to boost store workers’ minimum wage earlier this year, he said the move was intended to improve morale and retain employees. Yet for some of the hundreds of thousands of workers getting no raise, the policy is having the opposite effect. If Wal-Mart and other retailers don’t also adjust pay for veteran hourly workers, they could face rising dissent, said David Cooper, an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute...
Dunkin Donut CEO Who Makes $4,887 an Hour Outraged at $15 Minimum Wage  In These Times  ...This week, the New York Wage Board recommended that the state's fast food workers should make $15 per hour, which has been the rallying cry for the labor movement across the country. The New York move was seen as a victory for workers in this industry, who are among the lowest-paid in the country. Within a day, corporate America was on the attack, to stop the spread of this burgeoning national movement...
Health care workers plead with Hillary Clinton for higher minimum wage  CNN  ...Hillary Clinton visited a technical college in Los Angeles on Thursday to hear the emotional stories, and needs, of home health-care workers represented by the Service Employees International Union. What she heard: Raise our wages. Throughout Clinton's appearance at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, home health-care workers from across the country told Clinton what a pay bump would mean...
This bank just hiked its minimum wage to $15  CNN  ...Amalgamated Bank announced Thursday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. The change will affect all employees, take effect immediately, and be retroactive to July 1. Amalgamated encouraged other financial institutions to "join the 'Fight for 15.'" "We're fortunate enough to be part of the wealthiest industry in America, so I'd hope others in the financial industry will follow," Amalgamated Bank CEO Keith Mestrich told CNNMoney...

U.S. Labor
Verizon Gets Upper Hand With Labor Unions in Wireless Shift  Bloomberg  ...Verizon Communications Inc., deadlocked in labor talks over pension benefits and health care that caused a strike in 2011, has gained bargaining power this time around after shedding operations that employ older unionized workers. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing about 39,000 Verizon employees, are in the weakest position they’ve ever been. That’s because the phone giant has refocused on wireless, where it sees more growth and employees are nonunionized...
UAW leader says union will 'negotiate smart' with Ford  Detroit Free Press  ...The UAW knows Ford is earning record profits in North America, but does not plan to use that as an opportunity to extract unreasonable raises in contract discussions this year. UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said Thursday the union needs to remember that the companies that employ union members must be able to remain healthy for years to come...
Labor Dept. to unveil worker protection rule  The Hill  ...The Obama administration will unveil a long awaited proposal Thursday to lower workplace exposure to beryllium, a widely used metal that’s known to cause a deadly lung disease. The proposed rule would lower the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) current eight-hour permissible exposure limit for beryllium from 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter...
Amnesty International’s Long-Due Support for Sex Workers Rights  The Nation  ...Amnesty International, after two years of consultation with members and human rights advocates around the world, is meeting with the international board over the next few days in Dublin to “adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers.” The foundation of this proposal—that countries “review and repeal laws that make those who sell sex vulnerable to human rights violations”—has been mischaracterized as legalizing prostitution...
Unemployment Rate Steady As Economy Adds 215,000 Jobs  NPR  ...The U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs last month, just shy of the number forecast by economists. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3 percent. Wages were up slightly and the number of long-term unemployed remained the same as June. The consensus forecast had been for 220,000 new jobs. The gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities...
The Racial Gaps in America's Recovery  The Atlantic  ...According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s latest report, the unemployment rate in July was 5.3 percent, which is encouragingly low compared to the height of the recession, when it reached 10 percent. It’s also tantalizingly close to the 5.0 to 5.2 percent range that Federal Reserve policymakers say will signal the country’s return to full employment. What’s lost in that marquee number, though, is that this progress has been incredibly uneven, and minorities continue to struggle disproportionately...

Social Justice & Other News
First Republican Debate of 2016 Presidential Race Kicks Off on Fox News with Roger Ailes Favorites  Democracy Now  ...Ten leading Republican presidential candidates faced off in the first debate of the 2016 presidential election Thursday night. Fox News invited 10 candidates to take part: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker. Some analysts described the debate as the Roger Ailes primary since the head of Fox News had so much say into who participated in the prime-time event...
Immigration issues dominate opening GOP presidential debate  MSNBC  ...Immigration issues dominated the first Republican presidential debate of the season, pitting GOP candidates against one another in addressing the millions of undocumented immigrants with firm roots in the United States. Looming over the debate was real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump, who basked in his center podium placement on the debate stage, defying odds by leading national polls. Trump claimed credit for making immigration a major campaign issue...
"Oppressed People Are Everywhere": A Year After Ferguson, a Conversation With One of the Protests' Organizers  Mother Jones  ...In the year since the Ferguson protests, police treatment of African Americans has come under intense scrutiny. Numerous police killings of unarmed black men in New York, Baltimore, North Charleston, and elsewhere have drawn national attention. And across the country, activists and community leaders have demanded accountability from officers and reforms from lawmakers. These efforts already have had some results. Still, police are on track to kill more people this year than last year...
Jon Stewart’s Humble, Remarkable Farewell  The Atlantic  ...After nearly 17 years as the star, Jon Stewart tried his best to make his final night at The Daily Show about anyone but himself—and he almost succeeded. On Thursday, Stewart wheeled out a parade of current and former correspondents, aired taped goodbyes from longtime rivals, and paid tribute to the show’s behind-the-scenes crew with a lengthy, faux-single-shot segment...
Trump's Narcissism Obscures His Outrage  The Atlantic  ...Saying that Donald Trump performed poorly in last night’s debate is stating the obvious. By any sane standard he’s been performing poorly since he entered the race. Yet he’s leading in the polls. Still, last night Trump didn’t even do obnoxious well. The reason, I suspect, is that to debate effectively, even if you’re a goon, you must talk about something other than yourself...
Paul Krugman: Donald Trump’s “know-nothingism” makes one pine for a “return to normal GOP hypocrisy”  Salon  ...The New York Times’ Paul Krugman used his Friday column to analyze the appeal of the candidates who participated in last night’s GOP debate — in particular, he analyzed the way in which Donald Trump’s obvious absurdity calls attention to the fundamental unseriousness of the candidates with whom he shared the stage. The conventions of political reporting and commentary, Krugman argued, prevents people from saying “the obvious — namely, that one of our two major political parties has gone off the deep end”...
Rick Santorum Vows To Cut Back Every Anti-Poverty Program To End The Culture Of Handouts  Think Progress  ...At the early Republican debate on Thursday evening among the candidates who didn’t get a slot in primetime, the hosts and candidates took time to talk about their concern that the country has a culture of dependency thanks to anti-poverty programs. Santorum responded by describing his plan to engineer a manufacturing rebound and thus create more jobs through a flat tax. But then he brought up his plans for anti-poverty programs...