Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News 12.22.15

OUR LAST NEWS ROUND-UP OF THE YEAR

TEAMSTERS
How did two leaders with Teamsters union shape St. Louis with the ‘total persons’ movement?  St. Louis Public Radio  ...In the 1950s and ‘60s, two labor leaders were influential in St. Louis through their involvement with a new kind of ideology: the “total persons” movement. Both were involved with Teamsters Local 688, forming a political alliance that would shape public services, civil rights and economic justice in the region. Their names were Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway...
Right-to-Work in West Virginia Could be Political War of Words  WOWK  ...In three weeks, the state legislature will begin considering a bill that could affect thousands of workers in the Mountain State. Senator Cole (R-WV) says his goal is, "Making West Virginia a place where businesses want to locate." Ken Hall of the Teamsters said, "It's all about driving the wages down. I guess they could create a lot of jobs, if they get the wage rates down to a dollar an hour"...
Is D.C.’s Taxicab Complaints System Improving?  City Paper  ...Royale Simms, the local management chief of the Teamsters-affiliated D.C. Taxi Operators Association, says the real problem that the commission needs to address is a lack of front-end training for taxi drivers. One area to start with is the test for obtaining a taxi license: Simms says potential drivers have three chances to take the test, and the questions are repeated in the same order each time. “So you can learn A, B, C, and pass”...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Strikes at Amazon German warehouses up to Christmas  Reuters  ...Workers at German warehouses of U.S. online retailer Amazon.com Inc were called out on a new strike by labor union Verdi on Monday as part of a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. Verdi said in a statement that workers at six of the nine Amazon warehouses were joining the strike, which will run until Dec. 24 at four of the centers and for shorter periods at the others...
New Zealand logistics workers strike to disrupt Nike supply chain  Scoop  ...Approximately 20 workers from Toll Logistics’ Nike distribution centre in Auckland are commencing strike action today. The workers are striking over poor pay and to protest the company’s excessive use of labour hire employees. The company uses approximately 70 labour hire employees who receive minimum wages and no secure hours, said FIRST Union organiser Jared Abbott...
Mexican Border Workers Make A Push To Unionize  NPR  ...Delgado is among some 70 former workers who've set up a protest camp outside Lemark, located just 10 miles south of the Texas border. They claim they were fired soon after demanding higher pay. They say they're tired of struggling to provide for their families on a salary that, according to government figures, puts them below the poverty line...
‘When We Made Mistakes in Our Sewing, They Slapped Us’  The Nation  ... Over two years after one of the worst industrial accidents in recent memory, Bangladesh’s garment workers are “safer” now—or so they’ve been told. So why do they still go to work afraid?  Two years after labor and industry groups brokered a hard-won pact to improve factory safety, the Bangladesh Accord, most of the industry appears to be failing basic safety benchmarks....
Japan more than quadruples TPP economic boost estimate: Nikkei  Reuters  ...Japan's government has estimated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will boost the economy by 14 trillion yen ($115.5 billion) or about 3 percentage points, over four times more than its initial calculation, the Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday. In March 2013, the Cabinet Office said joining the TPP would boost gross domestic product by 3.2 trillion yen or 0.66 percentage point based on the assumption that all tariffs would be scrapped immediately after enactment...
Spanish Election Marks Another Rejection of Austerity  New York Times  ...European leaders and economists are still locked in a heated debate about whether austerity policies have done more to help or hurt people in the region, particularly in Europe’s heavily indebted south. But as the election Sunday in Spain showed, voters seem to have made up their minds...
Hedge Funds vs. Greece: Lobbyists Want "Cheap Ticket" to Speculation  Truthout  ....This summer, Greece's financial authorities fined 20 hedge funds for speculating against the Greek economy. Now, the main global lobby group for hedge funds is trying to tweak the EU's rules so they can have a free play in the future. Global hedge funds attacked Greek banks in the early part of 2015. These were the months when the Greek economy was particularly fragile...
County commissioners oppose TPP agreement  Hibbing Daily Tribune  ...St. Louis County commissioners on Tuesday solidified their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. Commissioner Tom Rukavina of Pike Township brought the resolution forward after State Rep. Jason Metsa addressed the board earlier in the year on the TPP’s affect on local business and industry, which was unanimously approved...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
Prevailing wage repeal may take longer to affect NWI   NWITimes  ...The 80-year-old system, which the Indiana General Assembly repealed this year, had been in place to ensure construction wages were in line with the local market, said Dewey Pearman, executive director of Construction Advancement Foundation. It also kept governments from having the power to inflate or depress the wages, he said. Common or prevailing construction wages went away July 1, and it's expected to have a big impact on Northwest Indiana...
Senate Leader: Mo. Right-to-Work Needs More Support in House  Ozarks First  ...Right-to-work is going to need more backing in the state House for it to receive time in the state Senate in 2016, according to the latter chamber’s leader. After leading an effort to bring that issue to a vote last session, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin) says it isn’t likely to have the support it needs in the House for the Senate to consider it...
Scott Walker Corruption Case Threatens to Implicate Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices  Mother Jones  ... For three years, prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to investigate what they believed was illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative outside groups. The investigation has become a political flash point in the state: Walker and conservatives claim it is a witch hunt led by liberal prosecutors, while liberals believe it is about the power of dark money in Wisconsin politics...
Democrats' effort to change N.J. redistricting pushes on despite Republican outcry  NJ.com  ...Democratic state lawmakers on Monday continued to move forward with a proposal aiming to overhaul the way New Jersey redraws its legislative districts despite an ongoing outcry from Republicans. The state redraws the districts every decade and won't do so again until 2021. But this resolution would put a question on next November's ballot asking voters whether to amend the New Jersey constitution to approve a number of changes to the process...
Business leaders propose alternatives to Long Beach’s minimum wage push  Press Telegram  ...The question of whether Long Beach employers will be required to pay a higher minimum wage is on pace to be answered in early 2016, and policymakers have competing studies offering labor’s and business group’s perspectives on the issue. Pro-labor and pro-business groups have released their own reports intended to bolster their sides’ arguments in favor of a $15 minimum or a compromise position backed by local business that would raise the minimum wage to $12.50...
Health service professionals seek minimum wage increase  WPTZ  ...Lori Lobdell has been working at the Advocacy and Resource Center for over 20 years and describes the work they do as amazing. She feels they should get more money. That's why she supporting a bill in the state Senate asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise the starting salary of human services workers to $15 an hour...

U.S. LABOR
UAW Brings Charges Against Volkswagen for Refusal to Bargain  ABC  ...The United Auto Workers is bringing charges against Volkswagen for refusing to bargain with a group of skilled workers who won a union vote at the German automaker's lone U.S. plant in Tennessee earlier this month. The UAW's Local 42 says in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board that a Volkswagen representative on Monday declined to recognize or bargain with the union...
How Kohler employees' united front won new contract and 'livable wages'  The Guardian  ...Before the strike began on 15 November, Kohler, with 48 factories and 30,000 employees worldwide, threatened to move many of the production jobs from its headquarters city here, 57 miles north of Milwaukee, if it were forced to end its two-tier contract. Before walking out, the workers voted overwhelmingly – by a 94% majority – to authorize a strike...
Southwest Airlines suspends 100 ramp workers, alleges illegal sickout  Star Telegram  ...About 100 Southwest Airlines ramp workers are not feeling the love from their employer this holiday season after they were suspended without pay through January. The Transport Workers Union, which represents over 11,000 ground workers and baggage handlers, said the suspensions are in retaliation for some workers using the time off to attend a “strike preparedness” meeting held by the union...
SEIU puts $3M into ballot fight with California hospitals  Business Journal  ...Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West says it still has an agreement with the California Hospital Association to work on issues like Medi-Cal financing. “We are just preparing for all potential situations,” spokesman Sean Wherley said in an email. One of those options apparently includes moving ahead with a proposed November ballot initiative that would limit CEO pay, regulate charity care and cap hospital prices...
Why The Fed's Rate Hike Will Hit Black Workers Harder Than Whites  Huffington Post  ...The Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday is bad news for black workers. The move is expected to put downward pressure on job creation by raising borrowing costs throughout the economy. While the rate hike is a modest measure on its own, it sets the stage for a series of additional developments that stand to have a much bigger contractionary effect on the economy...
When the Workers Become the Owners: Taking the Co-op Movement to the Next Level  Truthout  ...There's a revolution taking place in the US workforce - but you may not have heard about it. Around the country, workers are starting businesses that they democratically control and that financially benefit them. These businesses, called worker cooperatives, are owned and governed by the employees. Every worker is a member of the co-op, which gives them one share and one vote in the company's operations...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
The U.S. Food System Has a Race Problem, and the Farm Bill Is the Cause — and Possible Solution  Alternet  ...The 10 largest mega-corporations generate $450 million annually in food sales. These companies’ CEOs earn, on average, 12 times what their workers make.  A new report out of the University of California, Berkeley, draws a direct line from these and other disparities to the the Farm Bill, the hulking, billion-dollar omnibus federal legislation...
‘Schlonged’: Trump’s Astonishingly Sexist Attack On Hillary  Think Progress   ...Republican frontrunner Donald Trump used a campaign stop in Michigan on Monday to make astonishingly sexist attacks against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. At one point, Trump told the Grand Rapids crowd that Clinton got “schlonged” by President Obama during their 2008 Democratic primary race. “Schlong” is a well-known reference to a man’s genitals. There are no alternative definitions for the word, according to Merriam-Webster...
Is Trump Channeling Working-Class Anger or Simple Racism?  (opinion) Slate  ...Trump is channeling class anger into prejudice, and exploiting the result. And Sanders isn’t the only person who thinks this. In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, President Obama offered similar sentiments. “[P]articularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck,” said Obama...
'Outrageous and Totalitarian': Mall of America Sues to Block Black Lives Matter Protest  Common Dreams  ...Black Lives Matter organizers say they have no plans to back down from a racial justice protest planned for Wednesday. The suit requires that organizers "immediately" post messages on social media and send out a mass text message announcing that the December 23rd event—intended to focus on the November police killing of 24-year-old Minneapolis black man Jamar Clark—is cancelled...
Baltimore Officer’s Rescheduled Freddie Gray Trial Complicates Prosecution of Other Cops  Slate  ...The judge in the first trial of a Baltimore police officer for the death of Freddie Gray ordered a new trial date Monday, after the initial trial of officer William Porter resulted in a hung jury last week. Prosecutors hopes for a sting of convictions was complicated by the jury’s inability to reach a consensus verdict on Porter, who faces charges of manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office...

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