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Today's Teamster News 10.07.15

TEAMSTERS
Teamsters At Sysco Back in Negotiations Today After Unanimous Strike Vote   Local 117  ...Teamster warehouse workers and drivers who are employed at the major food service conglomerate Sysco have voted unanimously to authorize a strike. Union members voted 150-0 in favor of authorizing a strike after the Company allegedly committed a series of Unfair Labor Practices. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating Sysco for charges of bad-faith bargaining, unilateral changes in working conditions, and worker intimidation...
LA-based port truck driver to join President Obama at White House Summit on Worker Voice  AJOT  ...On Wed., October 7, a port truck driver who was misclassified for years as an “independent contractor” but fought for – and won – the right to be classified as an employee and is now a member of Teamsters Local 848, will be a panelist at the first ever “White House Summit on Worker Voice.” The professional driver, a husband and father to two young children, who was fired for filing a claim for Wage Theft with the California Labor Commissioner, now works for Eco Flow Transportation...
County to consider contract that includes raise for jail staff  Merced Sun Star  ...A group of Merced County jail and detention center employees would see their first pay raise in six years under an agreement to be considered Tuesday by the Merced County Board of Supervisors. The county has been in negotiations since May with Unit 12 of Teamsters Local Union 856, which represents more than a dozen unarmed and nonsworn employees of jails and juvenile detention centers...
A Strike May Park San Francisco's Tech Buses  Gizmodo  ...San Francisco’s tech workers may be looking for a new ride to work if their shuttle bus drivers go on strike over contract negotiations. At a meeting yesterday in San Leandro, leaders of the Teamsters Local 853 advised members to be prepared for a strike if there’s no progress on the contract proposal that the union approved and sent to Compass Transportation back in August. The proposal would increase pay and improve benefits for drivers...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Obama’s trade deal faces stiff headwinds  The Hill  ...The White House’s announcement Monday of an international trade deal covering 40 percent of the world’s economy sets the stage for a bruising, months-long congressional battle that is already spilling into the 2016 presidential race. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement between the U.S. and 11 other nations from Asia to Latin America, faces stiff headwinds in both parties...
Vilsack: TPP text available in next 30 days  Capital Press  ...U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be made available in the next 30 days. Farmers and members of Congress will be able to read the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the next 30 days, the head of the USDA says. Lawyers are “scrubbing the text” of the trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries, making sure it is accurate...
China Responds Cautiously To TPP Deal, Which Analysts Say Will Bring Pressure For Faster Reforms  IBTimes  ...China has reacted cautiously to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP), which U.S. President Barack Obama said explicitly was designed to prevent “countries like China” from writing "the rules of the global economy." China’s Ministry of Commerce said it took an “open-minded attitude” to the deal, though Chinese analysts said it would increase pressure on Beijing to introduce further economic reforms...
The Meat Industry Is Licking Its Chops Over Obama's Massive Trade Deal  Mother Jones  ...The US meat industry scored a big victory this week when world leaders hammered out an agreement that would reduce trade barriers across the Pacific: from the United Sates, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chile on this side to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Singapore on the other. So how would the TPP affect Big Meat in the United States? The industry is currently facing stagnant domestic demand for its product as Americans eat less meat. The TPP would open markets...
Breast Cancer Patient Arrested for Protesting TPP: "This is Price Gouging at the Cost of Lives"  Democracy Now  ...The United States and drug companies had pressed for longer monopolies on new biotech drugs, while multiple countries opposed the push, saying it could deny life-saving medicines to patients who cannot afford high prices. The compromise reportedly includes monopolies of between five and eight years. Last week in Atlanta, Zahara Heckscher, a cancer patient, disrupted TPP negotiations and was arrested...
The Trans-Pacific Pact Would Kill Jobs and Consumer Protection  (opinion) New York Times  ...The TPP includes investor protections also found in NAFTA that incentivize American job offshoring by eliminating risks otherwise associated with producing in low-wage countries. It would drive down our wages by putting Americans in competition with Vietnamese workers who make less than 65 cents per hour...
Three million #noTTIP signatures delivered to EU Commission in London  The Economic Voice  ...Over three million signatures from across Europe calling for TTIP to be scrapped were submitted to representatives of the European Commission in London at 11.30 am this morning, in the shadow of a 6 metre high inflatable TTIP Trojan Horse. The Trojan Horse symbolised that while TTIP is presented as a 'trade deal,' critics argue that it actually constitutes an unprecedented corporate power grab...
IMF warns of stagnation threat to G7 economies  The Guardian  ...The International Monetary Fund is warning that the weak recovery in the west risks turning into near stagnation after cutting its global economic growth forecast for the fourth successive year. In its half-yearly update on the health of the world economy, the Washington-based fund predicted expansion of 3.1% in 2015, 0.2 points lower than it was expecting three months ago...
Tens of thousands protest government free-market measures for biggest demo in a year  US News & World Report  ...Tens of thousands of workers are demonstrating through Brussels to protest the free-market regulations and austerity measures that the center-right government has been pushing through during its first year in office. Belgium's three main unions joined hands Wednesday behind a common platform arguing that the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel is promoting big companies at the expense of the workforce...
IndustriALL Union files ILO complaint against Thailand  Reuters  ...IndustriALL, a global labor union with 50 million members, has filed a complaint against Thailand at the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the union said on Wednesday. The complaint, sent to the ILO's committee on freedom of association, details 18 cases of worker and labor abuses, IndustriALL said in a statement...
Cambodian Garment Workers Rally for Minimum Wage Raise  Solidarity Center  ...Some 21,000 garment workers from six unions at more than 60 factories across Cambodia dedicated their 30-minute lunch breaks to rallies calling for a higher minimum wage. The monthly minimum wage for garment and footwear workers is $128. Last year, Cambodia’s garment exports totaled $5.7 billion...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
W.Va. Gov. Tomblin Announces $100 Million Statewide Budget Cut  WSAZ  ...West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Monday announced a plan to save the state nearly $100 million. Tomblin said it is needed to curb the loss from declining coal and natural gas revenue. The governor said most state agency spending will be cut by 4 percent. Tomblin said the fiscal year deficit currently exceeds more than $250 million...
Gov. Brown signs bill aimed at eliminating gender wage gap  LA Times  ...California took a major step Tuesday toward closing the lingering wage gap between men and women, as Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the toughest pay equity laws in the nation. Women in California who work full time are paid substantially less — a median 84 cents for every dollar — than men, according to a U.S Census Bureau report this year...
California minimum wage measure seeks to tap into income inequality worries  SacBee  ...Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to raise California’s minimum wage signaled Tuesday that their effort will seize on unrest over income distribution and frame the wage debate as one of fairness. In the first major event in support of the proposed initiative, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said they would lead the union-funded endeavor to hike the state’s base wage to $11...
Little Rock Workers Convene City's First Wage Board  NPR  ...As part of a national movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, some Little Rock workers plan to convene the city’s first wage board Tuesday. Little Rock’s four-member board is made up of Democratic State Representatives Charles Blake and Vivian Flowers, the chair of Arkansas Community Organizations Donna Massey, and Revered Stephen Copley, who led the recent voter-approved effort to gradually raise the minimum wage in Arkansas to $8.50 by 2017...

U.S. LABOR
Al Jazeera America becomes the latest new media organization to unionize  The Guardian  ...Al Jazeera America’s digital newsroom became the latest new media organization to unionize on Tuesday. Staff voted in favour 32 to 5, the National Labor Relations Board declared after counting the ballots cast by eligible employees. Al Jazeera America is the latest of a number of newsrooms to unionize this year...
Pot growers at Maryland company get union representation  Business Journal  ...Bethesda Biomedical Inc., awaiting state approval for a license to grow marijuana and operate a medical marijuana dispensary, has reached an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 to represent its employees. The agreement covers wages, health care, a retirement pension and other benefits for Bethesda Biomedical’s future employees...
UAW threatens strike at Fiat Chrysler U.S. operations  Reuters  ...United Auto Workers members are planning to strike at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV U.S. plants as soon as Wednesday evening, the first work stoppage since 2007, threatening to bring manufacturing to a halt. A strike at its U.S. operations could cost the automaker $40 million a week in operating profit, said Sean McAlinden, chief economist with the Center for Automotive Research...
With Sanders at the Helm, Lawmakers Lobby for Labor  Common Dreams  ...With organized labor increasingly under attack in the U.S., a handful of lawmakers is pushing to make it easier for workers to join unions, allowing them to pool their collective power to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) on Tuesday unveiled new legislation, dubbed the Workplace Democracy Act, which would expedite the process for forming labor unions and penalize companies that delay negotiations...
Neoliberalism is crushing your mailman: The myth of the postal service’s financial ruin  Salon  ...The truth is that almost all of the postal service’s losses can be traced back to a single change in the law made by the Republican Congress in 2006. That year, the Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under the terms of PAEA, the USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years...
This Is What The World's Largest Companies Are Making Off Their Employees  Huffington Post  ...You’re going to want a raise after reading this. Marketing firm MVF Global has calculated the “true value” of employees around the world, and maybe not surprisingly there is a pretty large gap between what workers at the world’s largest companies are paid and what they're actually worth to the company...
The US Tells Other Countries to Respect Unions—Shouldn’t the US Do the Same?  The Nation  ... While the just-announced Trans-Pacific Partnership deal is flawed on many levels, it includes language that requires countries such as Vietnam to recognize and respect the right to form independent trade unions.  Yet, while the US government tells other countries to respect the right to organize unions and collectively bargain, those rights have been under assault here...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
Immigrant Rights Groups Will Start Protesting Obama Again  Huffington Post  ...Several immigrant rights groups announced Tuesday that they will spend a week protesting the deportation and detention policies of President Barack Obama, timed to mark the one-year anniversary of his announcement of executive actions to expand deportation relief. Obama, who has presided over more deportations than any other president, has long faced protests from immigrant rights activists...
Freedom for 6,000 Federal Prisoners  The Atlantic  ...About 6,000 federal inmates whose long sentences were reduced last year will be released at the end of October, marking the start of the most substantial effort yet to reduce America’s gargantuan prison population. The U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent judicial agency that oversees federal sentencing guidelines, first voted in April 2014 to reduce federal drug guideline sentences in an effort to curb prison overcrowding and excessive punishments...

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