Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News 01.13.16

TEAMSTERS
Ken Hall: Know the truth about right-to-work  Gazette Mail  ...Today at the State Capitol in Charleston I will join scores of Teamsters, union members and everyday West Virginians to let lawmakers know that approving so-called right-to-work is no way to improve the state’s economic woes. Make no mistake, West Virginia’s economy is extremely fragile and struggling. Our state is heavily dependent on coal production and with demand and pricings falling — things outside our control — we are in for a continued rough ride...
Rally Slated For Wednesday Against Right To Work At WV Capitol  WCHTV  ...Labor union members plan to rally against right-to-work legislation at the State Capitol on Wednesday. The Teamsters Local Union 175 announced members from across the state plan to visit the state Capitol, according to a news release. Members said they will voice their opposition to the passage of right-to-work law...
Railway-Crew Transport Drivers in Texas Join Teamsters Local 745  Teamster.org  ...On Thursday, January 7 drivers at Renzenberger, Inc., who transport crew members employed by Union Pacific Railroad, voted to join Teamsters Local 745 in Dallas. The road drivers, yard drivers, radius drivers, yard managers and yard coordinators at the company’s El Paso facility voted 27 to 1 to join Local 745. There are 54 workers in the bargaining unit...
Teamsters look to fight pension cuts  Green Bay Press Gazette  ...Local Teamsters affected by Central States’ application to cut pension payouts have written letters, lobbied federal legislators and launched a local committee to coordinate efforts to oppose the cuts. Many are concerned that the cuts are not evenly distributed among retirees. “We’ve sent letters. We’ve met on this, but what do we do now?” retired Teamster Larry Holterman asked...
Hampden County sheriff candidate Nick Cocchi wins unanimous endorsement of Teamsters union  Mass Live  ...Nick Cocchi's latest round of support in his bid to become Hampden County sheriff comes from the Teamsters union, which resoundingly endorsed the Ludlow Democrat for the countywide job. "It is with great pleasure to inform you that the entire executive board of Teamsters Local 404 welcomes the opportunity to unanimously endorse your candidacy for sheriff of Hampden County"...
SMART TD, BLET petition FRA for speed signs  UTU.org  ...SMART TD and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET) have submitted a petition to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for rulemaking that mandates uniform warning speed signs in advance of a permanent speed restriction. Recently, some railroads have begun removal of these safety indicators, which creates a hazard for operating crews and the public...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Workers strike at BHP Billiton's Chile-based Cerro Colorado mine  Mining Weekly  ...Unionised workers at global miner BHP Billiton's Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile went on strike on Monday after contract negotiations failed, revealed a union official and the company. Workers "abandoned the mine, and the strike became effective as of eight in the morning", said union director Gustavo Tapia...
UK junior doctors' strike live: Latest updates as NHS workers walk out  Mirror  ...The Junior Doctors' Strike has been running since 8am, and medics are continuing to picket outside hospitals. Sandwell Hospital, West Midlands, prompted fury and claims of "tactics" from doctors today by declaring a 'major incident' and telling its junior doctors to leave the picket lines within minutes of the strike starting...
Workers strike, block Apple subcontractor factory in Indonesia  Jakarta Post  ...Some 2,000 workers from PT Amtek Engineering in Batam, Riau Islands province, went on strike as planned on Monday, blocking the main and only entrance to the company’s factory. Gathering at the Cammo industrial area from as early as 6:30 a.m., local time, workers only cleared the entrance gate after 10 military personnel used force to make them move away from the gate...
Obama makes TPP push in SOTU  Politico  ...President Barack Obama during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night made his expected appeal to Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguing it would open overseas markets to more U.S. goods and help the United States compete against China in the global economy. The remarks were met with scattered applause...
Obama expected to push Congress to pass TPP  The Hill ...Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is sounding a cautious tone about the Asia-Pacific trade deal's chances in Congress. The House Ways and Means Committee chairman said that passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the United States and 11 other nations “is difficult but doable” during a Politico Morning Money event Monday evening...
Seniors Protest Trans-Pacific Partnership  OPB  ...Seniors from Portland and about 20 other cities across the nation, are protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Tuesday. They chose Tuesday because President Obama is expected to push for the trade deal’s passage during his State of the Union address. Scott Blau with the Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans, says the TPP is bad for consumers, especially those who rely on prescription drugs...
Administration’s TPP Honey SOTU Guest: Falsely Sweet Story Exemplifies TPP Sales Job  Eyes on Trade  ...Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Obama SOTU guest Ronna Rice and her company Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey should be congratulated on their success. Tomorrow the President will no doubt talk about how the TPP will help her sell more honey. Yet like much of the White House TPP sale job, the nice narrative is not supported by the facts...
McDonald’s Faces EU Antitrust Complaint  Wall Street Journal  ...McDonald’s Corp. could face fresh regulatory headwinds in Europe after three Italian consumer groups filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union alleging that the fast-food chain imposes illegal terms on its franchisees. The complaint, which is supported by U.S. and European trade unions, alleges that McDonald’s abuses its dominant market position and harms consumers by charging its franchisees rents that exceed market rates by up to 10 times...
Cambodia: Collision Claims More Garment Worker Lives  Solidarity Center  ...Five garment workers lost their lives yesterday and dozens more were injured when the two flat-bed trucks they were commuting to work on collided, according to Solidarity Center staff at the site of the incident. One of the trucks was carrying 50 people and the other more than 70 workers. The deaths left at least eight children without their mother. Agence France-Presse reports that 13 of the injured workers are in critical condition...
High Tech Manufacturing’s Disposable Workers  The Nation  ...The global electronics industry boasts of technical perfection and seamless production. But look closer and you can spot assembly lines tangled with rotten nerve endings and veins swollen with toxins. Workers of the high tech economy face hazards that echo the lethal smokestacks of Dickensian England. This time, however, it’s not Manchester where workers are ailing, but the semiconductor capitals of the world in East Asia...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
Faith leaders add voices to Maryland sick-leave movement  Washington Post  ...Maryland faith leaders on Monday joined the swelling ranks of sick-leave advocates backing legislation to require employers in the state to pay workers for time off when they are ill — a proposal that has languished in Congress but found limited success at the state and local levels...
Higher Louisiana minimum wage?  WWL  ...Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards wants to make it a priority to increase workers' earnings, including raising minimum wage in Louisiana. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It's been that way since 2009. Twenty-nine other states and Washington, DC have higher mandatory minimum wages, but not Louisiana...
Anchorage Democratic senator proposes $15 minimum wage  Alaska Dispatch News  ...An Anchorage Democratic senator is proposing that the state increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour. The proposal is included in legislation from Sen. Johnny Ellis. The bill also calls for an annual report on pay practices in Alaska. It was released Friday in a wave of measures filed ahead of the upcoming legislative session...
Oregon lawmakers scramble closer to deals on minimum wage, housing relief  Oregon Live  ...Lawmakers, advocates and Gov. Kate Brown are circling around compromises on two of the signature issues looming over next month's short legislative session: housing relief and whether to raise Oregon's minimum wage. Progress on both efforts, and several others, is expected to become clear during a three-day round of committee hearings set to start Wednesday morning...
Activists call for hike in Indiana's minimum wage  WTHR  ...A group of Hoosiers wants to more than double the state's minimum wage. Indiana's minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 an hour (the same as the federal rate), but a group of activists wants to raise that to $15 an hour (the same President Barack Obama lobbied for at the federal level)...
Kentucky Senate again seeks to repeal prevailing wage law for school construction projects  Herald Leader  ...Senate Republicans again are trying to exempt school and university construction from Kentucky’s prevailing wage law, which generally sets higher wage rates for public works projects. In past legislative sessions, the Democratic-led House, backed by labor unions, has thwarted Republican efforts to weaken the prevailing wage...
Counties still await right-to-work ruling  Daily News  ...Laws regarding unions and workplaces are in the news this week, but a ruling on a local right-to-work ordinance is still in the hands of a federal judge. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a highly watched case regarding mandatory union dues being paid by California teachers. In August, U.S. District Judge David Hale heard similar arguments in Louisville regarding Hardin County’s right-to-work law...
NAACP leader says NC not being clear on new voter ID law  WXII  ...The president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP says the state isn't being clear on the requirements for the new voter identification law. The Rev. William Barber told a news conference in Durham on Tuesday that the state hasn't provided voters with adequate information on their rights on election day...

U.S. LABOR
SEIU prepares for contract negotiations with SSM, calls for $15 an hour minimum wage  STL Today  ...The Service Employees International Union plans to seek a wage increase as the labor union prepares for its first contract negotiations with St. Louis University Hospital’s new owner, SSM Health. A handful of SEIU members petitioned outside St. Louis University Hospital on Tuesday afternoon calling for the minimum wage to be at least $15 per hour...
Hundreds of Sweet'N Low Workers to Lose Jobs as Plant Stops Manufacturing  DNAInfo  ...Hundreds of local workers will lose their jobs after Cumberland Packing announced it would cease manufacturing operations at its Flushing Avenue plant Friday. The company, which produces Sweet’N Low, said it will transition out of the packing and manufacturing business within the next year and outsource work to other “co-packing” facilities...
XPO Logistics Subsidiaries Sued for Misclassifying Drivers  Wall Street Journal  ...Three trucking company subsidiaries of XPO Logistics Inc. were sued in California on Monday for allegedly misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors. The lawsuit seeking class-action status, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, argues that drivers for XPO subsidiaries Pacer Cartage Inc., Harbor Rail Transport and PDS Transportation Inc. failed to pay minimum wage, provide meal breaks and rest breaks and reimburse business expenses...
The under-the-radar profit-maximizing scheduling practice that can put workers in a “downward spiral”  Washington Post  ...In the world of high-end retail, salespeople have long supplemented their modest salaries with commissions for transactions they helped close. More recently, however, employers have added a twist: The most productive workers also get the busiest shifts, both as a reward for their high performance, and to boost revenues as much as possible. But Giving the busiest hours to the most productive workers boosts sales by pitting staff against each other...
Will the U.S. Supreme Court Gut Public-Employee Unions?  The Atlantic  ...The most important fact about Monday’s oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is that this case—one of the most important of the term—will be decided on the basis of no facts at all. The petitioners in Friedrichs are asking the Court to hobble unions that represent more than 9 million public employees in 23 states and the District of Columbia. That decision will have large consequences...
Raising Retirement Age Disproportionately Hurts Poor  Bloomberg  ...The rich are increasingly outliving the poor, meaning policies aimed at delaying retirement could disproportionately hurt low socioeconomic status workers, new research shows. A disproportionately longer period of retirement means more years of collecting Social Security, Medicare and other government benefits for higher socioeconomic groups...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
White House, Hill Dems clash over immigration raids  Politico  ...Democratic furor over the Obama administration’s immigration raids erupted Tuesday when a senior White House official was summoned to the Capitol to meet with angry lawmakers and a top Senate Democrat pressed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to pause the controversial operations. The Democrats’ letter had criticized Obama for welcoming refugees from other parts of the world but treating immigrants from Central America differently...
Private Probation Companies Have Created A Two-Tiered Justice System. This Congressman Is Fighting Back.  Think Progress  ...More than 1,000 courts around the country contract with private companies, which promise cities that they will recoup revenue from those who owe fines and fees on things like traffic tickets. Many cities see them as a good bargain because the companies don’t charge anything for their services. Instead, they tack on extra fees to the probationers themselves, often people who are too poor to pay what they owe in the first place...
Why is Ramsey Orta, Man Who Filmed Police Killing of Eric Garner, the Only One Criminally Charged?  Democracy Now  ...As Sgt. Kizzy Adonis becomes the first officer to face reprimand for Eric Garner’s death, the only person present that day to be criminally charged is the young man who filmed it. Ramsey Orta, who recorded the fatal chokehold on his cellphone, has been arrested multiple times since. Orta says police have deliberately targeted him for capturing Garner’s death on video...
How Years Of Welfare Politics Is Leaving Thousands To Freeze This Winter  Think Progress  ...The increase in people going without heating assistance for the winter reflects an unnecessary strain placed on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by Congress. Because Congress never puts enough money into LIHEAP to actually deliver on the ambitions of the program, plenty of people who are eligible for the aid go without it every year. Federal funding for the program has fallen by about a third since 2010...
Obama’s hypocrisy: He said blame Wall Street, not food stamps — but he bailed out bankers and cut help for the hungry  Salon  ...“Food stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did,” Obama declared in his final State of the Union address. There is a problem with this, however: Obama cut food stamps and bailed out Wall Street, punishing none of the people he readily admits caused the crisis...
Tavis Smiley Calls Out Corporate Media for Uncritical Coverage of "Racial Arsonist" Donald Trump  Democracy Now  ...The broadcaster Tavis Smiley made headlines this week for an appearance on ABC’s "This Week" when he called out Donald Trump for being an "unrepentant, irascible, religious and racial arsonist." Trump responded by calling Smiley a "hater and racist." Smiley responds to Trump while also criticizing the corporate media for what he calls a lax response to the Republican front-runner’s views...