Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 01.04.16

TEAMSTERS
Strike Ends as Chicago Teamsters Reach Tentative Agreement with Coca-Cola  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters Local 727 ended its unfair labor practice strike against Coca-Cola Refreshments late on Tuesday, Dec. 29, after reaching tentative agreement on a fair three-year contract for 319 production and warehouse workers. Upon ratification, the tentative agreement will transfer Local 727 members into a new health and welfare plan previously available to Coca-Cola management...
Teamsters reach tentative pact with Coca-Cola, end strike  Chicago Tribune  ...Coca-Cola workers who have been on strike for nearly a month are heading back to work after their union reached a tentative three-year contract with the company. Teamsters Local 727, which says it represents 319 production workers at Coca-Cola plants in Niles and Alsip, announced late Tuesday that the bargaining committee recommended ratification of what it called a "fair" contract offer by Coke...
Teamsters: Port Drivers Win Nearly $7 Million in Wages, End Misclassification  Teamster.org  ...On Dec. 14, the California Labor Commissioner determined that 38 drivers at leading port trucking company Pacific 9 Transportation, which hauls containers from the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for some of America’s premiere brands – including Costco, Goodyear Tires, Ugg Boots, and Microsoft – are in fact employees, not independent contractors, and ordered Pac 9 to pay them nearly $6.9 million in stolen wages...
Port drivers win millions in back pay from trucking firm  LA Times  ...A port trucking firm in Carson has been ordered to turn over nearly $7 million in back pay to 38 drivers, the latest in a series of recent wins for port drivers and the Teamsters union that has been trying to organize them. The state Labor Commissioner's Office ruled this month that the drivers at Pacific 9 Transportation were improperly treated as independent contractors rather than as employees...
NYC horse carriage industry thanks supporters for help  Daily News  ...Horse carriages — which for the past two years have operated under a cloud of uncertainty — are starting 2016 on a positive note. The industry, which Mayor de Blasio threatened to ban on his first day in office, bought a full page ad in Friday’s Daily News thanking its supporters for helping them stay around for the past two years...
American Red Cross Workers Vote To Join Teamsters In Maine  PR Newswire  ...Workers at the American Red Cross' Portland donation center have voted to join Teamsters Local 340. The blood donation center's 57 employees will now form a bargaining unit that includes collections technicians, collections specialists and mobile unit assistants of various classifications. These employees are responsible for setting up and administering blood drives across the southern half of the state...
Beer hauler moves to bust Teamsters union  NW Labor Press  ...Teamsters Local 162 is facing what more and more looks like a union-busting effort by General Distributors Inc. When truck drivers, warehouse workers, and sales employees learned that the profitable company would seek $1.5 million a year in concessions from them in their next union contract, they voted 59 to 5 to strike, and about 80 members of Teamsters Local 162 walked off the job Nov. 17. In response, the company threatened to permanently replace them...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Zimbabwe: Public workers threaten strike over delayed pay  Africa Report  ...The year is opening on a tense note for the Zimbabwean government, as tens of thousands of public workers have threatened to go on strike over delayed salaries. Civil servants in the southern African nation are yet to be paid their December salaries, with the government promising to pay them by Tuesday, but this has not been enough to calm the restive workers...
Jerusalem sanitation workers strike after 170 fired  Times of Israel  ...Jerusalem sanitation workers went on strike Thursday, after the city sent termination letters to 170 employees in the department. The municipality also warned that the move was the first of many necessary cutbacks to come — with up to 2,000 more firings — if the Finance Ministry does not transfer to the city the funds needed to keep a balanced budget in 2016...
U.S. Election Debate Complicates Passage of Pacific Trade Pact  Wall Street Journal  ...An international trade agreement embraced by President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress is drawing fire from many presidential candidates, illustrating the populist shift of both parties in the age of Donald Trump. Contenders ranging from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have spoken out against the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership...
TPP nations arranging to sign free-trade deal in early February  Japan Times  ...Japan, the United States and 10 other nations that reached a broad agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact in October are arranging to sign the deal in early February, an official from one of the nations has said. Following the broad agreement after more than five years of negotiations, the 12 nations released the text of the landmark trade deal in November...
TPP trade deal pits Pittsburgh against Philadelphia  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  ...Pittsburgh manufactures the products. Philadelphia ships them around the world. One city stands to gain from expanding trade into the Pacific Rim while the other has much to lose, their mayors say. That’s why Philadelphia’s outgoing mayor, Michael Nutter, has been helping the White House stump for the Trans-Pacific Partnership while Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto stands opposed...
The Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals Threatening Ordinary People in 2016  Common Dreams  ...Corporate media failed to cover the dangers of business-friendly trade deals in 2015, despite growing grassroots opposition to such pacts—and increasing public awareness about their contents. Will 2016 be the year looming toxic trade policies catapult into the mainstream? Sierra Club trade representative Ilana Solomon hopes so...
Greece Not to Agree to Creditors Unreasonable Austerity Demands - Tsipras  Sputnik News  ...Athens will follow the memorandum signed with its international creditors, but will not agree to unreasonable austerity demands, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, as quoted by the local media on Sunday. According to Tsipras, 2016 will be a pivotal year, after several years of crisis for the country. The Greek economy has been severely strained because of the country’s multibillion debt accumulated after the 2008 world economic crisis...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
Minimum wage rises in 14 states and several cities  Al Jazeera  ...As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases, with most having taken effect Jan. 1. California and Massachusetts are highest among the states, both increasing from $9 to $10 an hour, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures...
American workers see progress on paid sick leave, no thanks to Congress  Daily Kos  ...Paid sick days have gained a lot of ground in the last few years, and continued to do so in 2015. Oregon became the fourth state to require paid sick leave for most workers, following Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts. The cities of Tacoma, Washington, and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also passed paid sick leave laws...
Missouri speaker sounds doubtful over 'right to work'  STL Today  ...When it comes to a GOP-led charge to make Missouri a “right to work” state, a top Republican is throwing cold water on one of the hot-button issues of the last legislative session. In an interview with the Post-Dispatch, House Speaker Todd Richardson sounded doubtful that right to work would be a top goal for Republicans when the House and Senate return Wednesday...
Wages in NH expected to increase in 2016  Union Leader  ...Wal-Mart, the state's largest retail employer, plans to raise wages for its 7,785 New Hampshire employees in 2016, in one of several signs that the year ahead could finally see meaningful improvement in earnings for hourly workers after years of wage stagnation...
Chris Christie Refuses To Help Unemployed New Jersey Residents Hold Onto Food Stamps  Think Progress  ...About 11,000 New Jersey residents are set to lose their food stamps after Gov. Chris Christie (R)’s administration said it won’t seek any waivers from the program’s work requirements. Since 2009, state governors have been encouraged to get waivers from the federal government for the requirement that able-bodied, childless adults work at least 20 hours a week to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)...
Judge's ruling a mixed bag for those challenging voter ID law  Journal Sentinel  ...A federal judge has thrown out portions of a challenge to Wisconsin's voting laws but is allowing a key part of the lawsuit to proceed that could allow more types of identification to be used under the voter ID law. In his ruling last month, U.S. District Judge James Peterson in Madison also found the liberal One Wisconsin Institute could pursue its argument that recent restrictions on early voting violate the U.S. Constitution...

U.S. LABOR
Tentative agreement prevents custodial workers strike  Bristol Press  ...Just one day before a strike could have begun, a bargaining committee representing more than 2,100 janitors in Hartford, New Haven and other Connecticut cities and towns reached a tentative agreement with the Hartford County Cleaning Contractors Association. The four-year contract agreed to Wednesday — subject to ratification — includes incremental wage increases...
Labor board hands Whole Foods workers a victory  CBS  ...Whole Foods Market (WFM) can no longer forbid its employees from taking photographs or recording conversations at work, according to a recent federal ruling. "Smartphone pics and videos in this day and age are particularly 'essential' to proving an employee's rights have been violated," said the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a decision issued late last week...
150 Muslims Fired For Protesting Their Workplace’s Prayer Policies  Think Progress  ...About 150 Muslim workers at a meat processing plant have been fired for refusing to show up for work during an ongoing dispute over prayer accommodations. The controversy began on December 18, when 11 Somali Muslim workers at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fort Morgan, Colorado requested to visit the building’s prayer room at the same time...
Ten of the Best Things That Happened to American Workers in 2015  Huffington Post  ...Historians may remember 2015 as the year of the minimum wage -- and for good reason. Twenty-one states and multiple cities raised the minimum wage in the past 12 months, scarcely two years after the "Fight for $15" was dismissed as a pipe dream by some observers. The past year also saw other major advances for working Americans...
The End Of Unions? Upcoming Supreme Court Case Could Overturn Power To Collect Fees  IBTimes  ...A Supreme Court case beginning Jan. 11 has union members wondering if a ruling could sound a death knell on labor organizations that have grown accustomed to heightened limitations and declining memberships in recent years. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association will determine whether mandatory union dues violate workers' freedom of speech, and experts say a ruling could dictate the future of unions' ability to collect fees...
Workers' Comp Industrial Complex: The Middlemen Silencing Injured Workers  Truthout  ...Workers' comp is supposed to be simple. If you're injured on the job, your employer pays your medical bills and part of your wages while you recover. But over the past two decades, a cottage industry of middlemen has emerged, which some have dubbed the "workers' comp industrial complex." Even private equity firms have bought in, seeing profit opportunities in employers' and insurers' quest to contain spending...
Adjuncts at Loyola University Chicago Want a Union. Will the Jesuit University Respect Their Demands?  The Nation  ...Loyola University Chicago now faces the challenge of putting its Jesuit principles into practice as frustrated professors push for a union.  The administration argues a union would interfere with the university’s “mission.” But according to Loyola’s struggling non-tenured faculty members, their poverty wages and exhausting working conditions prove that it is the administration’s corporate greed that is flouting the Jesuit tradition of social justice...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
Happy New Year. You’re Deported.  The Nation  ...This is how the Department of Homeland Security says happy holidays: The federal government will reportedly begin raids to deport families who’ve arrived in the country in the last two years, according to The Washington Post. The enforcement operation could begin in a matter of weeks, and was first reported on Christmas Eve. The raids would target hundreds of adults and children who have a standing order of deportation against them...
Hundreds Demand Prosecutor In Tamir Rice Case Resign  Think Progress  ...Protests continued on Friday following a grand jury’s recent decision not to indict the two white police officers who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice. More than 100 activists marched to the home of the prosecutor who handled Rice’s case, Timothy McGinty, on New Year’s Day and demanded his resignation. Chanting “New year, no more!”...
Media Coverage of Oregon Militia Standoff Raises Eyebrows — and Ire  Common Dreams  ...After members of a rightwing militia seized the headquarters of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Saturday afternoon, observers questioned the corporate media's treatment of the event, pointing to a double standard in coverage compared to other recent protests. Watchdog site Media Matters pointed out that while Fox's coverage of campus protests against racial discrimination was dismissive, its reporting "looked drastically different when those protesting have aligned with the network's conservative agenda"...
They’d be killed if they were black: The racial double standard at the heart of the new Bundy family standoff  Salon  ...At least 150 armed white men have seized control of a federal building outside of Burns, Oregon. The actions taken by Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, and their supporters in Oregon are the very definition of terrorism and armed insurrection. If Muslims took up arms, occupied a federal building, recorded martyrdom videos, and threatened to kill police and other authorities, they would be called “terrorists”...