Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News For March 15, 2016

TEAMSTERS

Teamsters Demand NetJets Cease Targeting Dispatchers  Teamster.org  ...The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 demanded today that NetJets, a Columbus, Ohio-based luxury air carrier owned by Berkshire Hathaway halt a campaign of unwarranted retaliation against their flight dispatchers for choosing union representation...

Google Silicon Valley Drivers Join Teamsters  Labor Press  ...Drivers for WeDriveU, a transportation company that shuttles employees for Facebook, Google and other tech companies, have joined Teamsters Local 853. We DriveU recognized Local 853 as the drivers’ union after an independent third-party arbitrator verified the union’s majority standing. The company also recognized Teamsters Local 117 in Seattle as the representative for Facebook and Google drivers at the same time...

Teamsters protest pension cuts at Rep. Renee Ellmers' Dunn office  Fay Observer  ...The protest was one of several across the country by retired Teamster drivers, mechanics and dependents, many of whom face drastic cuts to their pensions as the result of congressional action to balance the federal budget in 2014. They are seeking a repeal of the Multi-employer Pension Reform Act. "This was buried deep in the 2014 budget act," Burke said. "Most of Congress didn't even know it was in there. They were busy trying to balance the budget"...

Will Congress stick up for Teamsters, past and present?  The Hill  ...While today’s generation of Teamsters locked horns with Airgas over alleged abuses, retired Teamsters faced an uphill battle of their own before the Senate Finance Committee on March 1. In a hearing on pensions that repeatedly referred back to the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, committee chair Orrin Hatch and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden shared conflicting views of the MPRA’s impact and justifications... 

Is St. Patrick’s Day beer supply imperiled by contract talks?  Seattle Times  ...Less than a week before one of America’s top beer-consuming holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, drivers and warehouse workers for one of the state’s main beer distributors are threatening to go on strike. Contract negotiations between Columbia Distributing, which distributes beer and wine throughout Washington, Oregon and California, and Teamsters Local 174, which represents about 360 workers at the company’s facility in Kent, are at a standstill...

Hard-Won Benefits for Coca-Cola Refreshments Members Rolling Out Soon  Local 727  ...The new three-year contract — which warehouse and production workers in Niles and Alsip overwhelmingly ratified Jan. 10 following a 27-day unfair labor practice strike — transfers Local 727 members into a new health and welfare plan previously available to Coca-Cola management. The health care improvements translate to significant out-of-pocket cost savings for workers...

 

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE

Labor Protests Multiply in China as Economy Slows, Worrying Leaders  New York Times  ...As China’s economy slows after more than two decades of breakneck growth, strikes and labor protests have erupted across the country. Factories, mines and other businesses are withholding wages and benefits, laying off staff or shutting down altogether. Worried about their prospects in a gloomy job market, workers are fighting back with unusual ferocity...

US in trade visit to TPP members Chile and Peru  Global Meat News  ...Business leaders from 34 agri-food companies, including US Meat Export Federation and Tomex Foods, have joined Tom Vilsack on a week-long trade mission to Latin America on 14-18 March. Chile and Peru, long with the US and nine other countries, are part of an ambitious and historic free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The official wording of the bill has been finalised and the 12 nations involved are in the process of ratifying the law...

TTIP absent from US presidential debates  New Europe  ...With some US congressional leaders saying that the TPP deal is unlikely to get a vote before the November presidential election, TTIP is certain to be left to President Barack Obama’s successor. On a visit to Washington last week, European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said major negotiating rounds for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership were scheduled for April and July, with more informal meetings in March, June and May... 

Candidates weaponize free-trade issue  Politico  ...The rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign has effectively weaponized free trade, turning it into a proxy for corporate greed, in Sanders’ critique, or for government incompetence and politicians who put the interests of corporate contributors over those of everyday Americans, in Trump’s. And those attacks have galvanized anxious working- and middle-class voters...

The Era of Free Trade Might Be Over. That’s a Good Thing.  (opinion) New York Times  ...the economic populism of the presidential campaign has forced the recognition that expanded trade is a double-edged sword. The defense of globalization rests on viewing Americans primarily as consumers, not workers, based on the assumption that we care more about low prices than about low wages...

Argentina Protests Macri as He Threatens More Austerity Schemes  TeleSUR  ...The Argentine president was met with widespread protests during his visit to the city of Rosario as he pushes for a deal with U.S. vulture funds. Argentine President Mauricio Macri suggested that without a deal with U.S. hedge funds, commonly referred to as vulture funds, the country is in store for further austerity or hyperinflation...

 

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES

New Jersey lawmakers delay bill requiring paid sick leave  Philly.com  ...New Jersey lawmakers delayed considering legislation requiring employers to offer paid sick time. The Democrat-led state Senate delayed a vote Monday on the bill that requires employers to offer workers one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Lawmakers say the legislation will help low-earning workers who can't take a sick day without losing pay...

North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Could Block 218,000 Registered Voters From the Polls  The Nation  ...North Carolina’s new voter ID law goes into effect for the first time during the March 15 primary, and 218,000 registered voters do not have an acceptable form of government-issued ID now required to vote.  Voter ID was just one of the sweeping voting restrictions adopted by the North Carolina legislature a month after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act...

Public workers' fight for pension adjustments hits N.J. Supreme Court  NJ.com  ...Government workers' fight for cost-of-living adjustments to their retirement benefits hits the state Supreme Court on Monday in a case that could pile billions of dollars onto New Jersey's steep pension debt. Berg v. Christie, or the COLA case as it's known, again pits public workers against the administration, though this time for allegedly violating their contractual right to cost-of-living increases...

Paid family leave included in NY Senate Republican budget proposal  Business Review  ...Minimum wage is out and paid family leave is in for the Senate Republicans' budget plan. The conference, which late last week had yet to publicly take a position on the two issues, did not include Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the majority's budget proposal released over the weekend...

Sanders Unveils New Puerto Rico Plan, Says No to Austerity  TeleSUR  ...In light of Puerto Rico's unsustainable debt, Sanders identifies and seeks to challenge increasing austerity measures as a key issue for the future prosperity of the island. “A group of hedge fund billionaires are demanding austerity. They are demanding the firing of teachers, the closing of schools, so that they can reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the children and the people of Puerto Rico. That is unacceptable,” says Sanders...

While Congress Stalls, The Country Has Now Passed 30 Paid Sick Leave Laws  Think Progress  ...On Monday evening, Plainfield, New Jersey became the 30th place in the country to ensure that all workers can take a paid day off if they or their family members get sick. The paid sick leave law will mean the estimated 10,000 workers in the city who previously had no access to leave will be covered... 

 

U.S. LABOR

A 'banner year' for union organizing  Politico  ...Union density in the U.S. stayed flat at 11.1 percent in 2015, but the year was still a good one for organizing, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg BNA. Union elections hit a five-year high at 1,628, with unions winning 1,128, the most in 10 years. The union win-rate, 69.3 percent was down slightly, but it was the second highest win-rate since BNA started keeping score 20 years ago...

Former KapStone workers fired after strike await judge's decision  TDN.com  ...Six months after mill workers walked out, a federal judge is considering whether KapStone acted legally when it fired four striking union pickets. A hearing into the cases ended last Tuesday in Portland, but an administrative law judge isn’t expected to rule for another two months. KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. says it fired the workers for “egregious misconduct” during the walkout...

Tax status of union opponent attacked  Statesman Journal  ...A complaint filed with the Oregon Department of Justice is attempting to challenge the tax-exempt status of the Freedom Foundation, a Washington-state-based nonprofit. The complaint — filed by a union-backed group — alleges the Freedom Foundation, which is anti-union, is engaging in improper political activities. The complaint was filed by Northwest Accountability Project, and says the Freedom Foundation has become "increasingly politically partisan"...

$15 and a Union for Students? Yes  The Nation  ... In a world of tuition and debt, the vast majority of students are also workers. This includes upwards of a million students working on campus, on par with Walmart’s domestic workforce.  On February 26, 300 students at the University of Pittsburgh marched calling for $15 an hour for student workers... 

How Democrats abandoned the working class and spurred rise of Donald Trump  (opinion) NY Post  ...The elite professional class became the very heart of the Democrats by the 1990s. The party of labor morphed into the party of lawyers. In his new book “Listen, Liberal, Or Whatever Happened to the Party of the People,” progressive commentator Thomas Frank says Democrats need to take a good long look in the mirror if they want answers to why blue-collar workers are feeling abandoned and even infuriated by what used to be their party...

Transit Workers Union Endorses Bernie Sanders for President  In These Times  ...The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) announced its endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign on Monday, after its executive board voted to endorse the Democratic Party candidate from Vermont. Larry Hanley, international union president, told In These Times that although membership is divided on a candidate, he also believes “there’s been an increasing shift [among members] towards Bernie"...

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS

Crowd protests anti-immigration rules  Press Gazette  ...Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit focusing on Latino immigration issues, staged rallies around the state Monday, including events Green Bay, Appleton, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine, to protest two bills under consideration at the state level. One bill, AB 450, would prohibit "sanctuary cities," and encourage police to investigate the immigration status of people who are arrested...

Trump Supporter Attacks Muslim And Hispanic Students  Think Progress  ...Asked about whether or not he thought it was a hate crime, Usama responded: “When you just start a conversation with someone calling out ‘brown trash,’ there is no other motivation I see other than a hate crime.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a press conference with Usama on Monday to call for a hate crime probe of the attack. CAIR blamed Republican Presidential frontrunner Trump last month for a nation-wide rise in Islamophobia...

Rising Seas on Path to Devastate Coastal US Cities Home to 13 Million  Common Dreams  ...U.S. coastal communities, home to more than 13 million people, are at risk of being completely flooded by rising sea levels within the century under a worst-case climate change scenario, new research published Monday reveals. In a scenario involving a 6ft rise by 2100, a total of 13.1 million people—more than 6 million of whom would be living in Florida—would be at risk of catastroph