Teamsters

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Today's Teamster News For March 17, 2016

TEAMSTERS

Columbia Distributing Strike Avoided for Now  Teamster.org  ...After conversations with several key suppliers and retailers, the Teamsters decided to postpone any strike activity that would have halted the supply of beer, wine and liquor to stores, bars and restaurants throughout the Puget Sound area. “We’ve had productive conversations with several of Columbia’s key business partners,” said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174...

Hoffa Statement on Nomination of Judge Garland to Supreme Court  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court: “The President has made a strong choice for our next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Judge Garland is a highly experienced, well-qualified nominee, and a good choice for working families"...

Teamsters Endorse Booth Goodwin for West Virginia Governor  Teamster.org  ... Teamsters Local 175 has voted to endorse Booth Goodwin for governor of West Virginia. “The Teamsters recognize that our endorsement for governor this year is critical. We are certain that Booth Goodwin is the right choice for our union and for our state,” said Ken Hall, President of Teamsters Local 175 and General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters...

Teamsters rally against proposed pension cuts  MPR News  ...About a hundred members of the Teamsters union rallied at the state Capitol Saturday to oppose proposed pension cuts. The cuts are part of a plan to rescue one of the country's major multi-employer pension plans because it's running out of money. Some Teamsters say they could lose half of their benefits under the proposed plan...

Teamsters recommends rejection of Costco contract  Reuters  ...Teamsters unions representing 16,000 workers of Costco Wholesale Corp on Tuesday recommended its members reject a contract offer from the retailer due to a long-running disagreement over its pension plan. The main sticking point is Costco's decision not to bend to a union request that 3,500 members on the East Coast on a 401(k) pension plan be allowed to join the defined benefit pension plan provided to 12,500 members in California...

Despite election losses, FedEx must negotiate with Teamsters  Business Journal  ...The Local 107 in Philadelphia and the Local 71 in Charlotte will be recognized ­— and the company must bargain with the unions at both terminals. According to industry publication Transport Topics, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that said FedEx Freight must recognize the unions...

Unions fight to reclassify Lyft drivers as employees  CNN Money  ...The Teamsters union and five Lyft drivers have objected to a proposed class-action settlement that does not force the company to reclassify drivers as employees. Drivers would split $12.25 million under a proposed settlement agreement, which also adds new benefits such as termination protection. But it would not reclassify drivers as employees...

 

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE

Union workers, Colombia's Cerrejon coal mine reach deal to avoid strike  Mining Weekly  ...Union workers at Colombia's largest coal mine Cerrejon reached a deal with the company over wages and benefits that avoided a strike, both sides said late on Tuesday. The accord between the union, known as Sintracarbon, and Cerrejon was negotiated with the mediation of the labour ministry. Unionised workers had already voted to strike...

Ghana: Petroleum workers threaten strike over wage disparity  GhanaWeb  ...The Ghana Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union is threatening a nationwide strike if government fails to sanction Multinational companies that flout the country’s labour laws. The Union is accusing the expatriates of unfair treatment...

Do Not Disturb: how London’s top hotels get away with exploiting their hotel maids  New Statesman  ...Many high-profile global hotel chains employ their London staff via agencies, which break employment law to keep their profits as high as possible. Common employment abuses reported by workers and union representatives include forcing employees to work overtime with no extra pay, being denied holiday days, refusal to pay for sick leave...

Business Lobby: Election-Season Trade Opposition Will Blow Over  Wall Street Journal  ...A couple of major presidential candidates have made rolling back free-trade agreements the centerpiece of their campaigns, drawing widespread support across the U.S. But one of the nation’s top business advocacy groups isn’t worried. The next president will support trade once elected, said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, whose members are chief executives at the country’s largest corporations...

GI (Geographical Indication) conversation taking shape in TTIP talks  Politico  ...The United States and European Union have been quietly discussing how the two sides will approach the controversial issue of geographical food names in transatlantic trade talks.U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will probably touch on the issue when they meet Friday in Brussels. EU producers want a trade deal that prevents U.S. producers from marketing and selling products under old world food names.

On Trade, Angry Voters Have a Point  (opinion) NY Times  ...Voters’ anger and frustration, driven in part by relentless globalization and technological change is already having a big impact on America’s future, shaking a once-solid consensus that freer trade is, necessarily, a good thing. What seems most striking is that the angry working class appears to have understood what the experts are only belatedly finding to be true: The benefits from trade to the American economy may not always justify its costs...

Robert Reich: Trade agreements are simply ravaging the middle class  Salon  ...The old-style trade agreements of the 1960s and 1970s increased worldwide demand for products made by American workers, and thereby helped push up American wages. The new-style agreements increase worldwide demand for products made by American corporations all over the world, enhancing corporate and financial profits but keeping American wages down...

Fresh austerity measures signaled in UK budget  The Guardian  ...George Osborne will announce fresh austerity measures on Wednesday as he delivers his eighth budget against the backdrop of a darkening economic outlook. The chancellor has signaled that he will make spending cuts of £4bn, as he battles to hit his self-imposed target of delivering a surplus on the public sector finances by the end of this parliament...

 

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES

N.Y. Workers' Compensation reforms are off the table for now  Times Union  ...A behind-the-scenes effort to make major changes to the sprawling but creaky state Workers' Compensation Board is off the table and unlikely to be part of the 2016-17 budget. Ultimately, the discussion about the complex system for workers injured on the job has many moving parts and may have been more than all the parties could handle — given other issues they are debating such as minimum wage and family leave...

Georgia May Soon Repeal Its Lifetime Food Stamps Ban For Former Drug Offenders  Think Progress  ...Georgia is poised to stop encouraging drug criminals to resort to crime to feed themselves after they are released from jail. After maintaining a lifetime food stamps ban for such ex-cons for two decades, lawmakers in Georgia are close to final passage of a bill to reverse course.

The measure would restore eligibility for food stamps to drug offenders who complete their sentences and comply with parole rules...

North Carolina Voter ID Law Takes Effect, Disproportionately Bars Blacks, Young People from Polls  Democracy Now  ...In North Carolina one of the country’s most controversial and restrictive voter identification laws took effect for the first time in Tuesday’s primary elections. The law, which was passed by the Republican-dominated North Carolina state Legislature in 2013, limits the forms of ID acceptable at polling places. As a result, about 5 percent of the state’s registered voters, primarily African-American, are excluded...

Arizona Has a Plan to Get Revenge on Its Pro-Worker Cities  Bloomberg  ...Inspired by decisions in cities like Tacoma, Wash., and Elizabeth, N.J., to require companies to offer paid sick leave, Lauren Kuby, a City Council member in Tempe, Ariz., began pushing a year ago for her city to do the same. Then Kuby and her colleagues heard that Arizona’s Republican-controlled state legislature was considering punishing cities that tried to set their own codes for worker benefits...

Puerto Rico Students Shut down University over Austerity Cuts  TeleSUR  ...Thousands of college students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) approved a three-day, full-campus shutdown Tuesday to protest recent austerity measures, which they say endanger the higher education system. The students held a general student assembly, after which they marched through the university and closed all entrances to the campus. The students also called for the resignation of top university officials...

 

U.S. LABOR

Culinary Union To Protest At Palms Hotel & Casino  CBS  ...Nevada’s largest labor group is expected to protest outside of the Palms Casino Resort in support of an effort to unionize workers. The Culinary Union representing 57,000 Las Vegas casino workers said the Friday protest will begin at 5 p.m. with a thousand workers and community supporters expected...

Trump Hotel Unlawfully "Restraining and Coercing" Las Vegas Culinary Workers  Truthout  ...The National Labor Relations Board alleged that the hotel company of Republican presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump "has been interfering with, restraining and coercing" the rights of its workers in Las Vegas. The complaint, issued last week by the NLRB, said Trump International Hotel offered sweetheart deals to employees who rejected a unionization drive...

Lawmakers Want To Crack Down On Bosses Who Steal Money From Their Workers  Think Progress  ...Employers steal far more money from their employees than robbers steal from victims. On Wednesday, lawmakers will introduce a bill aimed at tamping down on the wage theft epidemic. Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (WA) and Sherrod Brown (OH) with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) will unveil the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act...

Meet The Gig Economy Companies That See Investing In Workers As A Smart Business Strategy  IBTimes  ...Between the low pay and extensive use of independent contractors, the on-demand economy has achieved a certain notoriety for exploiting workers at the expense of consumers and Silicon Valley investors. But a growing number of companies like Managed by Q are taking a different approach, classifying their rank-and-file workers as employees and offering them higher pay and benefits...

Honeymoon over for on-demand apps, contract workers  Union-Tribune  ...The independent-contractor workforce is ballooning thanks to the rise of on-demand apps. But after a honeymoon period, lawyers and politicians are now being forced to consider the real humans behind these virtual businesses. These workers participate in what’s sometimes called the “gig economy.” They’re technically working for themselves...

US millennials feel more working class than any other generation  The Guardian  ...Millennials in the US see themselves as less middle class and more working class than any other generation since records began three decades ago. Analysing social survey data spanning 34 years reveals that only about a third of adults aged 18-35 think they are part of the US middle class. Meanwhile 56.5% of this age group describe themselves as working class...

The Supreme Court Vacancy and Labor: Merrick Garland  OnLabor  ...Judge Garland has an extensive record and while generalizations about his opinions are difficult to make, certain themes do emerge.  An analysis focusing on his opinions in cases involving the NLRB reveals one particular theme: agency deference.  This deference to the NLRB has had favorable consequences for labor and unions...

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS

Why the poor pay more for toilet paper — and just about everything else  Washington Post  ...It's expensive to be poor. Or, to state the same from another angle: Having more money gives people the luxury of paying less for things. In the case of toilet paper, or any number of other storable goods like canned tomatoes, rice or paper towels, shoppers have to pay more up front to reap savings over time. And the poor often can't afford to do that...

Public ed’s Wal-Mart-fication: These are the ruthless economics of the education reform movement  Salon  ...Walmart’s recent decision to close 269 stores was a blip on the national media radar. But what if that story isn’t just about businesses anymore? That question is becoming increasingly urgent as more and more government officials turn to publicly funded but privately run charter schools to compete with and upend local public schools—an education option that the family behind the Walmart empire has played a huge role in promoting and funding nationwide...

US Congressman Says Bankers Should Find Way to 'Neuter' Sen. Elizabeth Warren  Common Dreams  ...U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Missouri and senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, on Wednesday described Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the "Darth Vader of the financial services world" and said bankers should find a way to "neuter" her. Luetkemeyer made the remarks at a meeting of the American Bankers Association...

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