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Today's Teamster News 12.17.15

TEAMSTERS
NC Legislators, Community Turn Up Heat on Miller/Coors  Teamster.org  ...Hundreds of community members joined Teamsters and state legislators at a rally yesterday to protest Miller/Coors plan to close their Eden, NC, facility. "Our rally yesterday brought state legislators and community members together with our members and retirees to show support for the workers here at the Miller/Coors facility," said Vernon Gammon, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 391...
Seattle Teamsters local to organize Uber, Lyft drivers after city council vote  People's World  ... Teamsters Local 117 in Seattle will step up its efforts to unionize Uber and Lyft drivers - who are already working with it on an organizing campaign - after the city council's unanimous vote to give those drivers workers' rights. The ordinance, passed 8-0 on Dec. 14, says the drivers, whom the ride-sharing services call "independent contractors" are, in Seattle, have the right to organize...
Lockport Town Board ratifies agreements with Teamsters, CSEA  Buffalo News  ...The Town Board on Wednesday ratified a seven-year contract with the Teamsters union, as well as a health insurance agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association. The deal with the 18 Teamsters members is retroactive to the start of 2014 and offers annual raises of 2 to 2.5 percent, depending on a worker’s job title and position on the pay scale...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Spain's rail workers to stage 23-hour strike on Friday  The Local  ...People making their way home for Christmas on Friday could be facing serious delays as workers stage an all-day strike to protest privitization plans. The strike, called by the CGT union, will take place from midnight to 11pm on Friday, December 18th, assuring a day of travel chaos for people heading home for Christmas...
Bangladesh tea workers strike against land acquisition  USA News  ...For the fourth consecutive day, about 15,000 Bangladeshi tea workers have continued an indefinite strike against a government plan to acquire hundreds of hectares of land that would adversely affect their lives and livelihood. Workers and family members from four tea estates in Habiganj district of northeastern Sylhet division are demanding the government scrap plans for a special 207-hectare economic zone...
Canada taking its time to ratify TPP deal  Globe and Mail  ...Canada is set to hold back on ratifying a key Asia-Pacific trade treaty, a move that would assuage critics but might hamper Washington’s bid to build domestic support for the deal, according to sources close to the talks. Canada is one of 12 countries that initialled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in early October, agreeing in principle to create a trade zone covering 40 per cent of the world’s economy...
The GOP’s Growing Rift on Trade  National Journal  ...The Republican Party has split anew on one of its core tenets—free trade—and the question is how long the war will last. While the GOP has largely supported free trade for over three decades, its top-tier presidential candidates are split on the recently-struck Pacific trade accord, the most significant in a generation. And Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, has been labeled by The Wall Street Journal as potentially the most protectionist nominee since Herbert Hoover...
And Just Like That, "Free Trade" Pact Trounces US Law  Common Dreams   ...Claims that trade pacts like the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will not trump public health and environmental policies were revealed to be fiction on Tuesday after Congress, bending to the will of the World Trade Organization, killed the popular country-of-origin label (COOL) law...
Trade deal will lock in high drug prices, hurt seniors  (opinion) The Hill  ... If implemented, TPP will maintain high drug prices for America’s seniors and undermine the sustainability of public health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The TPP would enact unprecedented protections for Big Pharma. It would lock in patent exclusivity for biologics - specialty drugs used to treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis...
Saginaw County Board calls on Congress to oppose Trans-Pacific Partnership  MLive  ...Saginaw County's elected officials are asking members of the U.S. Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement involving 12 Pacific Rim countries including the United States. The county's Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 15, approved a resolution in opposition of the deal "and any similar trade deals if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed policies of the past"...
Does Lexmark Strike Signal New Labor Rights Movement in Mexico?  Common Dreams  ...Support is growing for over a hundred workers who were fired en masse after asking for pay raises and organizing rights at a Juarez plant operated by U.S.-based Fortune 500 company Lexmark International. Some 700 workers launched a strike last week at their Juarez plant calling for the company to increase pay for long-term employees from 114 to 120 pesos a day—a raise of roughly 35 cents—while others attempted to unionize...
Greece approves new austerity bill changing loan rules  Yahoo  ...Greek lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation granting the right to sell bad business loans from local banks to overseas funds as part of a new austerity bill demanded by bailout lenders from the rest of the eurozone. Labor unions, which oppose the reforms, staged two separate, peaceful protest marches in central Athens late Tuesday...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
Owner of Arciuolo’s Shoe Store in Milford touts benefits of offering employees paid sick leave  NH Register  ...Connecticut became one of the first states to pass a Family and Medical Leave Bill, ensuring workers can’t be fired for taking leave, but she said it fails to cover many workers and because it doesn’t require them to be paid, many can’t afford the leave. The new bill establishes a paid family and medical leave compensation program administered by the state’s Labor Department...
New media campaign against House Republicans who opposed "right to work"  STLToday  ...A new ad campaign was unleashed this week targeting 20 Missouri House Republicans who helped defeat a "right-to-work" measure barring companies from requiring union membership or dues. The Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri, funded by more than $1 million in donations from the Joplin-based Humphreys family, announced a series of radio, television, digital and billboard ads...
Business group files suit challenging minimum wage initiative  Review-Journal  ...A coalition of business groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging an initiative that seeks to gradually raise Nevada's minimum wage. The suit filed by the Committee to Preserve Nevada Jobs, a coalition of three chambers of commerce, argues the proposed constitutional amendment goes beyond changing the minimum wage and will impose new regulations and penalties harmful to employers...
Hedge Funds Deepen Puerto Rico's Debt, Ravaging Island and Impoverishing People  Alternet  ...“This is a distress call from a ship of 3.5 million American citizens that have been lost at sea,” Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla said on December 1, begging the Senate Judiciary Committee to help protect his homeland from an unspooling disaster. After issuing bonds for over a decade on everything not nailed down, Puerto Rico now carries $73 billion in debt...
Florida gave about $70 million to charter schools that later closed; state recouped little  Miami Herald  ...Charter schools, which are public schools run by private groups, have received more than $760 million from state taxpayers since 2000 according to an Associated Press analysis of state Department of Education records. Schools can use the money for construction costs, rent payments, buses and even property insurance. Yet charter schools in 30 districts have wound up closing after receiving as much as $70 million...

U.S. LABOR
Kohler employees OK new contract, end 32-day strike  Journal Sentinel  ...Kohler Co. workers overwhelmingly approved a new labor contract Wednesday evening, ending a 32-day strike and returning to their jobs with what they and their leaders said is a significantly better deal. With 91% of the vote, members of United Auto Workers Local 833 ratified a four-year pact that boosts wages, minimizes rising health care costs and improves pension benefits...
SEIU 32BJ Raucous Rally Packs Essex Gym as Union Leader Brown Heads to Negotiations  PolitickerNJ  ...Janitor members of SEIU 32BJ – 7,000 strong, who clean office buildings in more than 500 office buildings around New1216151659a Jersey – tonight voted to strike if they can’t reach an agreement before Dec. 31st. As he heads back into negotiations tomorrow with the New Jersey Contractors Association, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director Kevin Brown wants everyone at $15 an hour...
UAW contract vote at Nexteer latest chapter in company's century-old story  MLive  ...As United Auto Workers Local 699 members begin voting on a new labor contract with Nexteer Automotive, it marks the latest chapter for a Saginaw County company that dates back more than a century. UAW members began casting ballots Thursday, Dec. 17, and voting continues through 10 p.m. Friday. They are voting on a new labor contract stretching to 2020...
Sanders wins Communications Workers of America endorsement  CNN  ...The Communications Workers of America will endorse Bernie Sanders in Washington on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the endorsement. Despite a long record of supporting unions and marching on picket lines, Sanders has struggled to lock down national union endorsements. With 700,000 members, the Communications Workers of America is the largest union to endorse the Vermont senator...
What It’s Like To Fight For A Union When Your Boss Is Donald Trump  Think Progress  ...When the management at the Trump hotel caught wind of the union drive last year, they hired the “union avoidance” consulting firm Lupe Cruz and Associates. That company, which has busted union campaigns at American Apparel, the trucking company Conway, and some Hilton hotels, boasts on its website that it can help clients in “preserving a union free work place”...
U.S. To Increase Worker Protection From Deadly Silica Dust for First Time in More Than 40 Years  In These Times  ...For the first time in 45 years, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is poised to increase safety standards for worker exposure to the silica dust that can cause deadly and incurable lung disease. A rule that would cut in half the amount of silica dust to which most workers could be exposed—and limit levels further for construction and maritime workers—is expected to be finalized in February...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
The Fed Raises Interest Rates  The Atlantic  ...On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The committee’s two-day meeting concluded with Fed officials voting unanimously in favor of the raise; the target range for the federal funds rate will move from between 0 percent and 0.25 percent to between 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent. Although this is “lift-off” from near-zero rates, these interest rates are still low by historical standards...
Villainous Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Has Been Arrested for Securities Fraud  Slate  ...Martin Shkreli, the widely loathed young pharma executive known for drastically hiking the price of a life-saving medication used by AIDS and cancer patients earlier this year, was arrested by federal authorities on charges of securities fraud Thursday morning, according to Bloomberg. Shkreli is currently the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which this Summer purchased the rights to Daraprim...
Hung Jury Results in Declaration of Mistrial in Freddie Gray Case  Common Dreams  ...A judge in Baltimore on Wednesday declared a mistrial after jurors said they could not agree on the guilt or innocence of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter, charged on four separate counts related to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. The jury deliberated the case for three days before coming to the conclusion they were hopelessly deadlocked and would not be able to reach an unanimous verdict...
How Flint, Michigan, Saved Money and Poisoned Its Children: City Declares Water Emergency  Democracy Now  ...The mayor of Flint, Michigan, has declared a state of emergency to address lead poisoning in the city’s water supply. Last year, the city’s unelected emergency manager switched the city’s water source from the Detroit system to the long-polluted Flint River in an attempt to save money...
The Market Has Spoken: Funders Flee "Free-Market" Climate Denial Group  Truthout  ...Funding for climate change denial is drying up. The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a US climate change denial group that espouses the "free-market," has lost more than two thirds of its funding in the past two years, according to tax filings reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD)...
Observers Slam CNN for Aiding and Abetting Hate Speech in GOP Debate  Common Dreams  ...From calls to ban non-American Muslims to pledges to carpet bomb densely-populated cities, the rise of hateful rhetoric among 2016 presidential candidates—and the real, violent consequences for those communities targeted—has raised widespread concern. But also on display during the fifth GOP debate on "national security" was the role of corporate media outlets such as CNN in stoking racist and dangerous rhetoric...

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