Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 10.13.15

TEAMSTERS
Hoffa, Union Leaders Call on Central States to Recall Pension Cut Proposal, Improve Transparency for Retirees  Teamster.org  ...In a letter sent today, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa called on the trustees of the Central States Pension Fund to recall the proposal made to the Department of Treasury that calls for deep cuts for thousands of participants. “You are aware that our union opposed the MPRA legislation that led to the formulation of the plan you have put forward,” Hoffa wrote to the trustees...
Teamsters Applaud Expansion of Prevailing Wage in California  Teamster.org   ...Drivers delivering ready-mix concrete to projects funded by state or local public funds will be covered under prevailing wage laws under Assembly Bill (AB) 219 introduced by Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and signed by Governor Jerry Brown. “We are pleased that the governor chose to recognize the important role that these drivers play in the execution of publicly funded projects in California"...
Hundreds to be affected by closure of PG County distribution centers  Baltimore Sun  ...The firm operating two Safeway distribution centers in Prince George's County said Wednesday it will move operations to Pennsylvania and Cecil County, leading to cuts at the plant that could affect about 700 full- and part-time employees. Ritchie Brooks, president of Teamsters Local 730, which represents about 400 workers at the plant, said the union learned of the layoffs in a meeting yesterday, when C&S said it was moving operations to Pennsylvania...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Pharma's next steps on TPP  Politico  ...The drug industry is in a standoff with the White House for now, sticking to its demand for 12 years of market protections for biologics in a deal that only delivered a baseline of five. In a meeting with pharma executives on Thursday, President Barack Obama highlighted that the agreement would deliver an international standard for the drugs where there is none now...
Hundreds of thousands protest in Berlin against EU-U.S. trade deal  Reuters  ...At least 150,000 people marched in Berlin on Saturday in protest against a planned free trade deal between Europe and the United States that they say is anti-democratic and will lower food safety, labor and environmental standards. Opposition to the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has risen over the past year in Germany, with critics fearing the pact will hand too much power to big multinationals at the expense of consumers and workers...
TPP Is "Worst Trade Agreement" for Medicine Access, Says Doctors Without Borders  Truthout  ..."The TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] will…go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries," said Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a statement following the signing of the TPP trade deal. The controversial agreement is the largest trade deal in a generation, bringing together 12 countries around the world...
Hillary Clinton's U-turn on TPP deal has team working overtime ahead of debate  The Guardian  ...As the ever-ready Hillary Clinton polishes her rhetoric ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate, managing her changing positions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will have her team working overtime. TPP, a wonky trade deal negotiated in secret by the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations, is proving an unusually sexy subject for the media and for Clinton foes...
The representative behind the largest international trade deal in U.S. history  Washington Post  ...Twenty five years ago, Michael Froman helped a young student editor named Barack Obama publish the Harvard Law Review, bonding over politics during late-night snack breaks. This month, Froman was pulling all-nighters again for his former classmate, this time putting the finishing touches on the largest international trade deal in U.S. history...
How the White House is selling the TPP  Beta.IOL  ...American-as-apple-pie images from a report released on Wednesday are ones the White House wants to spring to mind when Americans think about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sprawling 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal that President Barack Obama has to sell to the US Congress. But even as Obama's top trade advisers extolled the 18 000 TPP “tax cuts” on a conference call with reporters, they were quickly overshadowed by the political headwinds that will buffet its passage...
Greeks brace for fresh austerity measures  Vatican Radio  ...Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has renewed his pledge to pull the bailout reliant country out of financial crisis by 2019 ahead of the implementation of new austerity measures, which are being mitigated with support for the poor. The Greeks this week are bracing for an attack of fresh austerity measures – 48 of them, to be exact – that have to be rushed through the Parliament...
UK Privatization Puts Final Nail in Royal Mail's Coffin  Common Dreams  ...Workers are decrying the demise of "one of the great inventions of our social history," after the British government announced on Monday that it was completing the privatization of the UK's state-run mail service by selling off its final 14 percent stake. On Monday, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) issued a statement saying the privatization underscores the Tory party's commitment to austerity "ideology" over the interests of the British people...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
Rallies Begin as Legislators Discuss $15 Minimum Wage  Patch  ...Hundreds of low-wage workers and supporters plan to march and testify at the State House on Tuesday, as the Massachusetts Legislature begins hearing a series of bills that looks to raise the minimum wage to $15 for fast-food, retail store employees and home care. It would also codify fair scheduling practices and up the pay for tipped workers...
Senate Republicans will hold hearings on $15 minimum wage before Legislature returns  Business Review  ...Scrutiny of the governor's proposal for a $15 minimum wage will begin even before the Legislature returns in January. Hearings on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to raise the minimum wage for all workers in the state will begin before the session, said Sen. Jack Martins, a Nassau County Republican and chair of the Labor Committee...
Labor coalition calls for minimum wage higher than $15 per hour  Al Jazeera  ...As the nationwide campaign for a $15 hourly minimum wage gains traction, some labor groups have set their sights on an even higher number: $16.87 — a demand that could help push the $15 figure closer to the mainstream of American politics. A new report, published Tuesday, from the Alliance for a Just Society, a coalition of labor organizations, argues that $15 an hour is less than a living wage in most states...
Maryland paid sick-leave bill to return in 2016  Capital Gazette  ...Supporters of mandatory paid sick days are already preparing for January when Maryland lawmakers will reintroduce the bill in the General Assembly. The Working Matters Coalition, which is heading the campaign for paid sick days in the state, held a teleconference Monday night, involving worker advocacy groups, local elected officials and Jordan Brooks, assistant director of the White House's Council on Women and Girls, to discuss strategies...
What Alabama Can Learn From California on Voting Rights  The Nation  ...In recent weeks Alabama has been in the news for passing a strict voter-ID law and then closing 31 DMV locations, particularly in majority-black counties where civil rights activists like Jimmie Lee Jackson and Jonathan Daniels died fighting for voting rights. This from the state that was the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act and currently ranks last in the nation in voter access. Over the weekend California moved in a dramatically different direction...
Contractors split over prevailing wage repeal  MiBiz  ...Stakeholders in Michigan’s construction industry remain starkly divided in the debate over repealing the state’s prevailing wage law. Many executives in the skilled trades sector are concerned about having access to a trained workforce at a time of high demand for new construction. Industry insiders who oppose the current repeal effort believe that the law, which mandates union-level wages on all state-funded construction projects, allows the most skilled workers to receive the highest possible wage...
The Tenuous Fate of Pennsylvania’s Public Schools  The Atlantic  ...Pennsylvania public schools are now at Defcon 1—borrowing millions of dollars to keep the lights on, starting to ask teachers to work without pay, and even voting to shut the schoolhouse doors and send the kids home—all because an unprecedented state budget crisis has left them within weeks of insolvency...

U.S. LABOR
Service-union workers to vote on strike authorization  Philly.com   ...With the expiration of their contract looming, thousands of janitors will gather in Center City today to take a strike-authorization vote, union officials said last night. The 32BJ Service Employees International Union has been in negotiations with Building Owners Labor Relations Inc. - which represents Center City building owners - since Sept. 3, a protracted debate over pensions and health-care payments...
Dealmakers Drop a Plan to Divert Millions from the Health Insurance of Retired Coal Miners  ProPublica  ...The parties involved in the bankruptcy of a coal company have stepped away from a deal that would have diverted $18 million intended for the health insurance of retired Indiana miners to pay attorneys and other bankruptcy costs. The turnabout came after ProPublica reported last week that the deal worked out by the lawyers and financiers involved in the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal Corp. would leave only $3 million to cover the guaranteed health-care benefits of 208 retired miners...
WeWork, SEIU Reach Deal Over Office Cleaners  Wall Street Journal  ...Office-space startup WeWork Companies Inc. reached an agreement with Service Employees International Union over the employment of the startup’s office cleaners, the company said Tuesday. Under the agreement, the startup will use cleaners who are employed by union contracting firms that have agreements with Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ...
UAW to vote on contract next week  Toledo Blade  ...The United Auto Workers said Monday that it will squeeze voting on a tentative contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles into two days next week. The 40,000 UAW members who work at Fiat Chrysler, including 6,500 in the Toledo region, will vote either Oct. 20 or 21, officials said. The two-day voting period is likely in part an attempt by UAW leadership to better control the message and avoid miscommunication. Voting on a previous deal that was ultimately rejected was spread out over nearly two weeks...
Negotiations sour between Verizon, IBEW union  RIFuture.org  ...Verizon worker negotiations with the company have come to a major impasse and a strike now seems imminent, says a source close to the situation who asked not to be identified. In an email to members, the IBEW said: “The Business Managers informed us that the company has started the process toward a unilateral imposition of their contract terms”...
Whole Foods Co-opts Revolutionary Rhetoric But Mistreats Its Employees  Alternet  ...Arguably, the pro-worker story that Whole Foods tells about itself, its values and its products is one of the core selling points that convinces consumers to pay a higher price for their groceries at a time when Walmart remains the single largest employer in the United States. So what happens when "conscious capitalism" turns out to be nothing more than a well-executed marketing strategy grafted onto business as usual?...
There is power in a union: Here’s how we beat inequality & rebalance our economy  Salon  ...Since fast-food workers first went on strike three years ago, workers have been sounding the call for higher pay and a seat at the table – and their voices just got a lot louder. A poll released last week by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows an overwhelming 72 percent of workers paid less than $15 an hour support unions...
Jeb Bush Would Allow Corporations To Deny New Mothers Paid Leave  Think Progress   ...At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush stood opposed to ensuring that American workers are offered paid family leave. After being asked by an activist with the pro-family leave group Make It Work about his stance on mandating paid maternity leave, he first replied, “That’s a state decision.” When pressed, he added, “I don’t think we need more federal rules”...
Railroad Work Is Getting More and More Dangerous. These Workers Want To Change That.  In These Times  ...Chicagoans have become increasingly worried about oil trains carrying the highly explosive Bakken crude through the city, a major transport hub on the way to East Coast refineries. A conference hosted by the progressive labor group Railroad Workers United in Chicago Sept. 19 brought together railroad workers and local residents and train buffs to discuss how railroad workers’ safety and labor rights issues dovetail with safety and environmental concerns for the larger public...
President Obama Uses Bully Pulpit To Push Economy That Works For Workers  Think Progress   ...Barack Obama wants the home stretch of his presidency to be defined by a push to change the balance of economic power in America before runaway corporate influence destroys the country. But he’s not plotting any grand legislative push, and he’s running low on ways to exercise executive power to act without Congress...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
3 Facts About the Supposed Cost of Undocumented Immigration  The Nation  ...Trump repeatedly harped on a mysterious $200 billion the U.S. is supposedly spending annually to “maintain what we have” when it comes to undocumented immigrants. It’s still unclear what Trump was even referring to with the figure. (The cost of deporting every single undocumented immigrant from the country, as Trump would also like, has been estimated at $140 billion.). So here are three simple facts to ground further debate...
No, the Kochs' Political Spending Is Not "Reported"  Truthout  ...In addition to the hundreds of millions flowing into politics by way of the Kochs' network of foundations and funding vehicles like Freedom Partners, funds from the corporate treasury of Koch Industries--the second-largest privately held company in the world--flow into politics, and Charles' brother David is known to have written millions of dollars in personal checks to political groups each year. None of this spending is publicly disclosed...
As Cities Give Columbus the Boot, Indigenous Peoples Day Spreads Across US  Common Dreams  ...While the annual celebration of Christopher Columbus has fueled years of outrage, satire, and resistance, this year an alternative holiday recognizing the original inhabitants of the United States appears to have reached the mainstream. In the past two months alone, eight major municipalities have opted to pay homage to the history and culture of the country's true native people by celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October...
An Undemocratic Party? Ahead of First Debate, Criticism Grows over DNC’s Move to Control Process  Democracy Now  ...Five Democratic presidential candidates will square off tonight in Las Vegas for the first of six debates in the 2016 campaign. The participants are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee. Hawaii Congressmember and Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard will not be attending the debate, and says she was disinvited after publicly calling for more than six debates...

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