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Today's Teamster News For December 12, 2016

TEAMSTERS

Workers at Oakland Intermodal Company Vote to Join Teamsters Local 70  Teamster.org  ...Workers at an intermodal rail transportation company in Oakland voted today to form their union as members of Teamsters Local 70 in an effort to achieve a more secure future for themselves and their families. The drivers, crane operators, groundsmen and mechanics at Pac Rail Services voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 70...

Hoffa: CR Less Than Ideal, Doesn't Address Real Pension Reform  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa on the continuing resolution (CR) funding bill cleared through Congress: "Short-term funding measures are never ideal, and that includes the bill passed by the House and Senate last week. But given that Washington finds itself on the cusp of a change in leadership, it was inevitable, yet still disappointing, that such legislation would be passed by this Congress to keep the government operating into the new year"...

Union retirees rally outside Kline's office over pension issue  Star Tribune  ...More than 100 retired union workers descended upon the Burnsville office of U.S. Rep. John Kline on Saturday to protest a pension reform bill he’s sponsoring that they fear will further slash union benefits. Kline, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee, wants multi-employer pension plans to transition from guaranteeing monthly payments to paying flexible benefits based on investment results... 

Union rallies for contract with pallet company  NWI Times  ...Workers at the new Peco Pallet Chicago Depot in Hegewisch voted to unionize earlier this year, but haven't reached a new contract with their employer. Teamsters Local 743, which represents more than 10,000 workers across metro Chicago, is bargaining on behalf of 80 workers at the depot on 2924 E. 126th St., just on the other side of Wolf Lake from Hammond...

After employees find carrier’s gates locked, Teamsters allege company reopened under new name  Overdrive  ...The Teamsters are protesting a new Minnesota carrier they allege siphoned the resources and customers of a nearby union trucking company that closed without warning. Lakeville Motor Express employees found the gates locked when they arrived for work at the 95-year-old company...

 

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE

Spain: what happens when airport cleaning staff stop picking up after us  Quartz  ...Cleaning up after other people is a thankless, invisible job, and now we know what it looks like when those cleaners get fed up: Barcelona’s El Prat Airport. Travelers arriving to Barcelona in the past few days were greeted by astounding heaps of trash at the airport, due to a five-day cleaning staff strike... 

Sri Lankan navy breaks up dock workers’ strike  Daily Times  ...Sri Lankan security forces fired warning shots Saturday to disperse striking dock workers who have prevented a Japanese vessel from leaving the port for four days, a navy spokesman said. Captain Alavi Akram said armed navy sailors used boats to reach a pier occupied by dozens of workers preventing Japan's "K" Line vessel Hyperion Highway leaving for its next destination Oman...

Greece ferry strike hits island supplies  SacBee  ...Greek ferry workers on Friday extended a nationwide strike into the weekend, hitting supplies to the country's islands and triggering violent protests on Crete. The Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation, or PNO, extended its weeklong strike until early Sunday in a protest against new tax regulations for ferry workers...

‘TTIP may come back from the dead,’ warns expert  EurActiv  ...Opposition to the EU’s transatlantic trade deals is alive and well. According to activists, TTIP is far from dead and CETA can still be stopped. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) may have looked dead and buried, but this is far from certain. This was the concern expressed by a group of NGOs at an event on livestock farming and free trade held at the French parliament on Tuesday (6 December)... 

Why did Japan’s Parliament ratify ’dead’ TPP agreement?  Bilaterals.org  ...Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself has said that the TPP would be "meaningless" without American participation. So why would Japanese legislators be anxious to support an agreement that is supposedly moribund and meaningless? Was last Friday’s vote simply a Quixotic tribute to a dying cause or - as some are asking - does Mr Abe know something that others don’t?...

Brazilians Revolt as Post-Coup Govt. Pushes 'Deliberately Retrogressive' Austerity Package  Common Dreams  ...Brazil's new neoliberal government is set to push through the most socially retrogressive austerity package in the world, a United Nations official warned on Friday, calling the proposed 20-year freeze on social spending a "radical measure, lacking in all nuance and compassion"...

 

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES

Kentucky: Low wages are Republicans’ idea of ‘economic development’  AFL-CIO  ...Gov. Matt Bevin and a majority of the Republicans in the Kentucky General Assembly have declared war on the working families of Kentucky by proposing to implement laws and repeal certain laws aimed at driving down the wages of Kentucky workers. The governor and the Republican-controlled Senate and House have  proposed to make Kentucky the next right-to-work state and to punish construction workers by repealing the present prevailing wage law...

Michigan: Detroit NAACP rejects strict state voter ID law  The Detroit News  ...The Detroit Branch NAACP is blasting a strict voter identification proposal Michigan lawmakers approved this week. Current state law allows registered voters to cast a ballot without photo identification if they sign an affidavit affirming their identity under threat of perjury... 

Washington State Dairy Workers Challenge Their Exemption From Overtime Pay  NPR  ...The suit claims that the lack of overtime pay violates state wage law, which requires overtime pay for more than 40 hours worked per seven-day week, and also violates the state constitution's protections against discrimination and favoritism, explains Lori Isley, an attorney with Columbia Legal Services...

Right-to-work legislation changes considered for NH  Union Leader  ...Gov.-elect Chris Sununu said he's "fairly" confident the Legislature will pass a right-to-work bill in 2017 that he will sign, but it's too early to say whether it will include unions representing public - as well as private-sector - union members. "It can come in a variety of different forms"... 

Judge rules nine Oregon counties can opt out of state's paid sick leave mandate  Oregon Live  ...The nine Oregon counties that want to opt out of the state's new paid sick leave law won a major victory on Thursday, when a circuit court judge in Linn County ruled the law is an unfunded mandate. Under a 1996 amendment to the Oregon Constitution, the state cannot force local governments to adopt new programs unless it provides funding...

 

U.S. LABOR

Contract workers at National, Dulles airports vote to strike  Washington Post  ...Contract workers at Dulles International and Reagan National airports will walk off their jobs sometime this month, joining a growing number of workers across the country staging strikes as part of a national push for better working conditions and a $15-an-hour “living wage.” Workers voted Thursday to authorize the walkout... 

Violent Crime Is a Daily Occurrence At Walmart and Now Its Workers Want Better Security  Fortune  ...Workers rights group Making Change at Walmart, which is supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, has launched a television campaign to pressure Walmart  WMT 1.17%  into improving security across its stores. An investigation by Bloomberg determined that on average one of the country’s Walmart store is hit with at least one violent crime per day... 

What Happens to a Town When Amazon Moves In?  The Nation   ...  few years ago, the greatest menace to the mom-and-pop shop was the Big Box store—“Walmartization”—cannibalizing Main Street’s small businesses and pauperizing workers. But the Big Box has lately started to crumple under a blast of digital trade winds, and the Amazon Empire could prove far more disruptive to labor and communities...

Gender Pay Gap Is Shrinking Slightly  Bloomberg  ...The gender pay gap narrowed slightly in 2016, but much work remains to be done for pay equity, consultants say. Women now make 76 cents for every dollar earned by men, up from 74 cents last year, Seattle-based compensation data and software provider PayScale said in a study released Dec. 6. This figure is the “uncontrolled” pay gap, without adjustments for the different jobs women and men do...

State and Local Workers’ Pensions Eat Into Their Paychecks  Wall Street Journal  ...For public-sector employees with defined-benefit retirement plans, the future is devouring the present. The share of compensation costs paid by state and local governments for defined-benefit plans reached 10%, its highest on record, in September 2016, according a report this week from the Labor Department...

Obama authorizes larger raise for federal employees  Washington Post  ...President Obama has authorized a larger-than-expected pay increase for federal employees, just in time for the Christmas bills. In letters to the House and Senate, Obama authorized an average pay raise for 2017 of 2.1 percent, instead of the 1.6 percent he submitted in August...

Columbia Graduate Students Vote Overwhelmingly to Unionize  New York Times  ...Graduate students at Columbia University voted to unionize this week, the group announced on Friday. The union will be the first to represent graduate students since the National Labor Relations Board ruled in August that students who work as teaching and research assistants have a federal right to unionize...

RAs push to be first union at private university  GW Hatchet  ...Resident advisers at GW are petitioning to become the first unionized student group at a private university. A local labor group filed a petition to unionize on behalf of the student workers with the National Labor Relations Board last Monday after two years of planning, claiming that because the students are referred to as “employees” in their contracts that they have the right to form a union...

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS

Government shutdown averted as Democrats cave  Politico  ...Though they took a hard line against a GOP proposal to fund the government through April — because it extended retired miners’ health insurance for only four months — Democrats acknowledged as the midnight shutdown deadline drew near that they would not force a brief funding lapse over the matter...

Black Life and Death in the Age of Obama  The Nation  ...  Just as thousands of people were pouring into the streets in outrage at our national complacency with black death, millions of black people were going to the doctor for the first time in years. Obama’s presidency has been defined simultaneously by both crushingly hard times and remarkable opportunity for black Americans...

Senators unveil bipartisan bill to protect Dreamers  Politico  ...A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation Friday that would extend key legal protections and work permits to a select group of young undocumented immigrants brought here as children — a status that’s threatened by Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s executive actions to enact those benefits...

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