Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News For February 14, 2017

TEAMSTERS

Rally Held for Striking Teamsters at Railway Industrial Services  Local 710  ...Rank-and-file Teamsters and supporters in and around Chicago gathered en masse yesterday at a rally to support Teamsters Local 710 members on strike against Railway Industrial Services (RIS) in Crest Hill, Ill. The rally was held in solidarity with 74 railway maintenance workers who overwhelmingly voted to begin an unfair labor practices strike on Tuesday, January 17. The labor action has been ongoing 24/7 since. Today marks 25 days that members have walked the strike line...

Sean O’Brien Appointed To Lead Teamsters Package Division  Teamster.org  ...International Vice President Sean O’Brien has been named Director of the Teamsters Package Division. The division represents more than 250,000 members at UPS and UPS Freight. “I am pleased to appoint Sean O’Brien to lead our Package Division team as we head into the all important 2018 contract negotiations with UPS,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa...

Teamster UPS Aircraft Mechanics To Customers: Don’t Let UPS Ruin Your Valentine’s Day  Teamster.org  ...As millions of couples wait for their flowers to arrive via UPS this Valentine’s Day, airline maintenance technicians and related classifications protested at a UPS store in downtown Miami on February 13 to tell customers they should be concerned about the company that is delivering their flowers. The 1,200 workers who keep the massive UPS operation running do physically challenging and often dangerous work around jet engine aircraft and equipment... 

Peninsula Humane Society Teamsters reject management contract that would silence future whistleblowers  Teamsters 856  ...Shortly after whistleblowers at the Peninsula Humane Society went public with concerns about animal welfare, PHS management proposed a new contract that would let management deny a cost-of-living increase to any individual without appeal, in the guise of what they claim is “merit-based pay.” “Our members have the responsibility to speak up for animals in their care and we will use all the resources of our Local Union to protect them from retaliation,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters 856 Principal Officer...

Mexican trucking past US border in crosshairs  JOC  ...A controversial NAFTA plank allowing Mexican truckers to haul goods deep into the United States is again in the crosshairs as the Trump administration prepares to redo the trade agreement and a court challenge proceeds next month. Killing the provision, the goal of owner-operators and the Teamsters union, would have little economic impact, as only a handful of Mexican companies have obtained US operating authority beyond the border commercial zone...

Port Truckers File Wage Theft Claims Against California Cartage, Five Subsidiaries   Trucks.com  ...The Teamsters filed a complaint with the Department of Defense on behalf of the drivers, alleging the company’s violation of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, or SCA. In a Dec. 5 letter to the federal government, the Teamsters claimed the port companies are failing to pay the drivers an hourly rate and benefit package of $21.78 and $4.27, respectively, as determined by the SCA...

VAFB worker strike over  KEYT  ...About a dozen launch safety workers at Vandenberg Air Force Base on strike since last week will go back to work Tuesday morning. A Teamsters Union representative says the MISOPS workers voted Monday night to accept the second offer from their employer, base contractor RGNext. The union rep says the new deal includes wage, benefit and language improvements...

 

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE 

Ireland: strike action under way at eight Tesco stores  RTE  ...Staff at eight Tesco stores mounted pickets from 7am as members of the Mandate trade union commenced an indefinite strike in a dispute over contracts. Tesco wants to move 250 staff recruited before 1996 onto less favourable contracts but Mandate insists the change would hit workers in terms of both pay and conditions. Tesco says all its stores will remain open. Last year, Tesco wanted around 1,000 staff recruited before 1996 to transfer to a less favourable contract which has applied to all staff hired since then...

Chile, Indonesia, Peru: disruptions at copper mines and labour negotiations  Daily Mail  ...Copper prices have surged to 21-month highs above $6,200 a tonne for a gain of more than 40 percent since January 2015 due to worries about supplies after disruptions in top producer Chile, Indonesia and Peru. BHP Billiton's Escondida in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, will not be able to meet its contractual obligations on metals shipments after a two-day workers' strike brought output to a standstill...

U.S., Japan to start special trade dialogue  Politico  ...President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have pledged to pursue free and fair trade in the Asia-Pacific, including the start of a special dialogue to examine trade issues between the two countries. The United States and Japan will seek a trading relationship that is “free, fair and reciprocal, benefiting both of our countries,” Trump said in a joint press conference Friday...

Trump: Canada not as big of a trade problem as Mexico  Politico  ...President Donald Trump praised Canada on Monday as one of the United States’ strongest allies and said only minor changes are needed in NAFTA to improve trade relations — unlike the situation with Mexico. During last year’s campaign, Trump repeatedly branded NAFTA as one of the worst trade deals in history and has threatened to withdraw from the 23-year-old pact unless Canada and Mexico agree to new terms... 

Mexico trade war puts 1 in 33 California jobs at risk  OC Register  ...It’s far more than just the supply of avocados that’s at risk in any U.S.-Mexico trade war, with these international deals linked to 3.25 percent of California employment, according to one study. The international political banter overshadows big business that goes both ways over the border. For example, WalletHub estimated that roughly 1 in 33 California jobs (or approximately 550,000 positions) are tied to trade with Mexico...

Mexican farmer's daughter: NAFTA destroyed us  CNN  ...If you ask President Donald Trump, Mexico won the lottery almost 25 years ago when it signed NAFTA, the free trade deal with the United States and Canada. But if you ask Griselda Mendoza, the deal nearly destroyed her family and her community of corn farmers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca...

Growth gives Greece fresh ammunition against austerity  Yahoo  ...The Greek government on Tuesday welcomed the debt-laden country's return to annual growth in 2016, using it for a fresh assault on austerity measures sought by its creditors. Around 2,000 farmers descended on Athens on Tuesday to protest against new tax hikes and pension reforms that are part of Greece's austerity programme...

 

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES 

Iowa lawmakers get earful from foes of collective bargaining changes  Quad-City Times  ...Iowa lawmakers heard from several speakers Monday who urged them to approve sweeping changes to Iowa’s collective bargaining law to give local elected officials the ability to create what one called a “culture of excellence and innovation.” However, the great majority of speakers were against the changes that likely will be debated in both the Iowa House and Senate this week and told lawmakers to stop “swift boating the public” by suggesting the legislation is either reform or innovation...

Branstad recommends minimum wage increase; Legislature remains skeptical  Des Moines Register  ...Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he recommends "a modest increase" in the statewide minimum wage as Republicans in the Legislature seek to block cities and counties from setting their own wage standards. House Republicans have advanced a bill that would pre-empt cities and counties from setting minimum wages that exceed the state's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It would roll back wage increases approved in four Iowa counties...

'Right-to-work' bill introduced in Ohio House  Cleveland.com  ...Legislation that would make Ohio a "right-to-work" state is back, but it's unclear how far the controversial measure will go after voters rejected a prior effort to scale back public union bargaining rights. Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, introduced the latest iteration on Monday with the support of 12 House Republicans...

Referral referendum would take RTW to Missouri voters  Labor Tribune  ...As Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was signing Senate Bill 19 into law on Feb. 6, making Missouri the 28th “right-to-work” state, a petition seeking the referral of the legislation to Missouri voters was filed the very same day with the Missouri Secretary of State. The petition was filed by Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis and Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel...

Illegal immigrants would do overtime in Va. jails under bill to boost deportations  Washington Post  ...Virginia’s jails and prisons would hold inmates up to two days beyond their sentences to give federal immigration officials time to pick them up, under a bill that narrowly passed the state Senate on Monday. The measure is part of a flurry of GOP-backed legislation making its way through Virginia’s General Assembly this year that is meant to crack down on illegal immigration... 

 

U.S. LABOR 

Boeing workers, Machinists rally ahead of unionization vote  ABC  ...Two days before South Carolina Boeing employees vote on whether to join a union, workers gathered Monday to hear from union leaders why they should vote to organize in a state where union membership is the lowest in the country. Workers and members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for an hour rallied at a hotel just a mile from Boeing's North Charleston operation...

CWA mobilizes for contract fight at AT&T  People's World  ...Saturday marked a day of action for Communications Workers of America (CWA) in support of a fair contract with telecommunications giant AT&T. Hundreds of AT&T workers, their union brothers and sisters at CWA, and supporters from their communities carried out informational pickets in front of AT&T stores in 35 cities across the nation. In Chicago, the picket took place in the heart of downtown, just a few blocks from the famous Chicago Theatre...

Rutgers, unions spar over unpaid wages for 5,000 employees  NJ.com  ...During the first week of October last year, thousands of Rutgers University employees, ranging from doctors to housekeepers, reported to their jobs as they always do. The employees, absorbed by Rutgers as part of its 2013 merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, worked their regular hours and submitted their time cards, according to the unions who represent them... 

Unions owe debt to black women  USA Today  ...In the depths of the Great Depression, thousands of minority women across the country joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Among the most active — and today largely forgotten — members were the women of Local 22 in New York City. Black women such as Eldica Riley, Lillian Gaskin and Maida Springer-Kemp were on the front lines in the fight against management abuses in garment shops and racial discrimination within the union...

Battle over Trump nominees shifts to new target  The Hill  ...The fight over President Trump's Cabinet is moving from Betsy DeVos to Andrew Puzder. Democrats think Puzder, Trump's nominee to lead the Labor Department, represents their best chance to block a Cabinet pick after DeVos, the Education secretary, squeaked through the Senate on a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence...

Secretary of Labor Violations? Opposition Grows to the Nomination of Fast-Food CEO Andy Puzder  Democracy Now  ...Hundreds of fast-food workers plan to converge on the corporate offices of labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder and demand the fast-food mogul withdraw his nomination. Puzder is head of the company that franchises the fast-food outlets Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. He is a longtime Republican donor who has been a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage, the Fight for 15 movement, expansion of overtime pay, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act...

Warren takes aim at Labor nominee Andrew Puzder  Boston Globe  ...The week after her high-profile showdown over President Trump’s pick for attorney general, Elizabeth Warren is gearing up for another round — this time with her sights trained on fast food chief executive Andrew Puzder, the president’s nominee to head the Department of Labor. Warren this morning fired off a 28-page letter with 83 questions for Puzder...

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS

Flynn's resignation doesn't end controversy surrounding White House  CNN  ...Michael Flynn's resignation as national security adviser removes an immediate political headache for the White House but will do little to dispel suspicions about his ties with Russia that now threaten to envelop President Donald Trump's nascent administration. Flynn quit late Monday as controversy raged over revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence...

Senate confirms Mnuchin as Treasury secretary  The Hill  ...The Senate cleared Steve Mnuchin to be President Trump’s Treasury secretary Monday evening, with one Democrat joining Republicans in approving the nomination.The longtime Goldman’s executive was confirmed 53-47 and is expected to be sworn in later Monday night. Democrats don’t have the manpower to block Trump’s nominees on their own, but they signaled early on that Mnuchin would be a top target of opposition...

Trump’s Watered-Down Ethics Rules Let a Lobbyist Help Run an Agency He Lobbied  ProPublica  ...Geoff Burr spent much of the last decade as the chief lobbyist for a powerful construction industry trade group. Burr sought to influence a host of regulations of the Department of Labor, opposing wage standards for federal construction contracts and working against an effort to limit workers’ exposure to dangerous silica dust. In the Obama administration, someone like Burr would have been barred by ethics rules. In the Trump administration, Burr now has a top job at the Labor Department...

Trump just getting started with immigration raids  Politico  ...The arrests of hundreds of immigrants last week marked the first large-scale raid under the Trump administration — and the crackdown was, by all indications, just the start of much more to come. The expansive executive order signed last month by President Donald Trump allows a significantly broader population of immigrants to be picked up for deportation...

Oroville Dam: Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago  Mercury News  ...More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe...

Trump Drops Defense of Obama Guidelines on Transgender Students  New York Times  ...A nationwide injunction that has kept transgender students from using school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity will remain in place after the Trump administration decided not to challenge it in court. The move, announced Friday, ended an effort mounted by the Obama administration after the order was announced last year...

Trump undertakes most ambitious regulatory rollback since Reagan  Washington Post  ...President Trump has embarked on the most aggressive campaign against government regulation in a generation, joining with Republican lawmakers to roll back rules already on the books and limit the ability of federal regulators to impose new ones. After just a few weeks in office, the new administration is targeting dozens of Obama-era policies, using both legislative and executive tactics...