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Today's Teamster News 12.11.14

Teamster News
Call Congress NOW!   teamster.org   ...The legislation would: Threaten the retirement security of thousands of retirees; Increase the number of hours that truck drivers can spend on the road every week...
That awful congressional plan to allow pension cuts heads for enactment (opinion)  Los Angeles Times   ...The congressional proposal to deal with a supposed crisis in worker pensions by allowing trustees to slash the benefits of already retired workers to shreds is heading toward enactment...
Lame-Duck Congress Nears Last-Minute Vote On Sweeping Pension Reform  In These Times   ...Congress is nearing a vote on arguably the biggest change to private pension law in decades. The proposed reforms would grant sweeping new authority to the trustees of some “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to slash benefits promised to current retirees—something that’s illegal under existing law...
Keystone Pipeline Would Boost Middle Class (opinion)  Detroit News   ...Jobs might not be in such short supply like they once were in Michigan and elsewhere. But good-paying jobs still are. That’s why the Teamsters support the Keystone XL pipeline project that would allow North America to produce more of the world’s oil supply. And that’s why Michigan’s elected officials should too...
Horse-carriage ban prompts Queens Dem backlash  Capital New York   ...DenDekker wrote, “How progressive is it to VOTE union workers out of a job ? Maybe WE should VOTE them out of a job in the next election ! UNION workers UNITE and take a stand.
Clallam Reaches Agreement On Labor Contract With Largest Union  Peninsula Daily News   ...Clallam County and its largest union have apparently reached an agreement on a new labor contract after more than 20 months of good-faith bargaining. Commissioners Jim McEntire and Mike Doherty voted Tuesday to approve a four-year contract with Teamsters Local 589...
Canfield Township, Teamsters agree to deal  Youngstown Vindicator   ...Greg Shadle, vice president of Teamsters 377, said the three-year contract is effective May 1, 2013, and runs to April 30, 2016. “There were no real big changes,” Shadle said. “We’re happy to get it over with.”
Trade
TPP Negotiators Hit With Protests That Media Don't Cover  Huffington Post   ...The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations resumed this week, this time in D.C. TPP is a massive agreement that sets up new rules for over 40 percent of the global economy. It will have profound effects on our jobs, our standard of living now and in the future and our ability to make a living as a country. Oddly, though, as of Monday morning you have to read about it in Japan Times because few-to-no US media outlets are covering it...
USTR Protests Demand: Stop The Secrecy, Release The Texts  CounterCurrents   ...On Monday morning members of Popular Resistance held a ‘Sit-in to End the Secrecy’ on the front steps of the USTR office . As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators and USTR staff arrived for their first day of meetings this week, demonstrators demanded that they stop hiding the text of the trade agreement and instead make it available to the public telling them “secret negotiations are anti-democratic...
“No TTIP” Christmas card submitted by singing Santas on behalf of one million  World Development Movement   ...As the Santa Clauses sang Christmas carols re-written with lyrics referring to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the giant Christmas card depicting Santa carrying a sack with the #noTTIP hashtag, was presented to the BIS offices...
State Battles
Gov. Rick Scott names new chief to run Florida’s troubled prison system  Miami Herald   ...Gov. Rick Scott announced the appointment of Julie Jones to run the prison system, the nation’s third largest, effective Jan. 5...
Michigan bill would prevent local governments from negotiating wages, community benefits with developers  MLive   ...A bill that would prevent local units of government from executing community benefits agreements with developers seeking incentives narrowly made it out of the House Competitiveness Committee on Tuesday with strong opposition from some Detroiters...
Michigan: Detroit Manager Ends Work  New York Times   ...Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday agreed to end Detroit’s status as a city in financial emergency and to send home the emergency manager he appointed in March 2013 to oversee the city through its crisis...
Bill Would Raise SC’s Minimum Wage To $1 Over Federal  WSPA   ...A bill pre-filed in the South Carolina Senate would raise the minimum wage in the state to $1 an hour higher than the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. Sen. John Scott, D-Columbia, is the sponsor of the bill...
Uber’s System For Screening Drivers Draws Scrutiny  New York Times   ...Uber has fought against legislation requiring background checks as strong as those demanded of traditional taxis. Other ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Sidecar, Uber’s chief rivals, have also pushed against the laws, but supporters of stronger background checks say Uber has been by far the most aggressive...
War on Workers
Why is Jimmy John's making low-wage workers sign non-compete agreements?  AlJazeera America   ...For two years, it forbids former employees from working for “any business which delivers more than 10 percent of its revenue” from sandwiches if that business is “within three miles” of a Jimmy John’s store...
Justice Clarence Thomas Suggests Amazon Warehouse Workers Should Unionize  Huffington Post   ...Addressing the workers' arguments, the court's opinion, delivered by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, included this curious line: "These arguments are properly presented to the employer at the bargaining table … not to a court in an FLSA claim." It's not clear whether the irony was intended. Amazon's U.S. warehouses, of course, are entirely non-union...
You're Likely to Be a Lot Poorer Than You Were a Few Years Ago—And It's All By Design  Alternet   ...The typical American is even poorer than his or her equivalent in Greece. The median Australian is four times wealthier. The Canadians are twice as wealthy. The U.S. continues to lead the world in billionaires (571 in 2014, with China a distant second at 190). But after decades of financial deregulation and attacks on employee rights, Americans rank 26th in median wealth...
When Charter Schools Are Nonprofit in Name Only  Pro Publica   ... charter schools sometimes cede control of public dollars to private companies that have no legal obligation to act in the best interests of the schools or taxpayers. When the agreement is with a for-profit firm like National Heritage Academies, it's also a chance for such firms to turn taxpayer money into tidy profits...
Desperate Workers On A Mexican Mega-Farm: 'They Treated Us Like Slaves'  Los Angeles Times   ...At the labor camp for Bioparques de Occidente, they and other farmworkers slept sprawled head to toe on concrete floors. Their rooms crawled with scorpions and bedbugs. Meals were skimpy, hunger a constant. Camp bosses kept people in line with threats and, when that failed, with their fists...
Latino Worker Dies Following Exposure to Nitrogen in Tanker Truck  Occupational Health and Safety   ... The 23-year-old worker was found unresponsive in a tanker truck at Michael Foods Inc.'s Big Red Farms facility in Wakefield, Neb. He was conducting sampling of the tank, which contained egg products and nitrogen. OSHA has cited the company for five serious safety violations, including exposing employees to nitrogen hazards...
Miscellaneous
Report: Significant technical trials remain before drones can safely access national airspace  Network World   ...the GAO said the main issues continue to include the ability for drones to avoid other aircraft in the sky; what backup network is available and how should the system behave if it loses its communications link...
70 Percent Of Global Mobile Networks Monitored By NSA  Daily Sabah   ...The National Security Agency (NSA) has monitored about 70 percent of global mobile phone networks and 75 percent of the mobile phone networks in Turkey under the scope of an operation named AURORAGOLD according to recent reports obtained from documents supplied by whistle blower Edward Snowden...

Retiree Health Insurance

This program consists of several different benefits for Teamster retirees. These Teamster benefits can help you and your family cut the rising cost of health care.