Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Today's Teamster News For March 10, 2017

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Beginning next week the Teamsters News blog will transition to a weekly format. We will no longer be posting a daily news roundup. Instead, we will publish a roundup of news stories every Friday covering the news each week. Today's news blog will be the last post until Friday, March 17 - our first weekly Teamster News blog installment.

 

TEAMSTERS

Teamsters: Defeat of Amendments to Repeal Excise Tax an Attack on Middle Class  Teamster.org  ...The Teamsters Union denounced the defeat of two amendments offered in committee to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would have permanently repealed the “Cadillac Tax” which imposes a 40 percent tax on high quality health care plans starting in 2025. This excise tax would unfairly target middle class working families and ultimately increase the cost of their health care plans as insurers pass along the cost to the participants... 

Bus Drivers at Antelope Valley Transit Authority Vote to Authorize Strike  Local 848  ...Approximately 105 drivers from AVTA, represented by Teamsters Local 848, have been working without a contract since December 31, 2016. Contract negotiations concluded in late in February, when AVTA’s contractor, Transdev. reached an impasse on issues regarding the Los Angeles County Minimum Wage Ordinance and  the drivers’ right to due process when it comes to discipline imposed by the company’s client AVTA...

Teamsters Target Drug Wholesaler on Opioid Sales  Labor Press  ...About 40 Teamsters Union members protested outside the Amerisource Bergen Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting here Mar. 2, demanding that the drug wholesaler police itself to prevent the diversion of opioid pills. The company, based in the suburb of Chesterbrook, is the nation’s second-largest pharmaceutical wholesaler, and distributed more than 475 million prescription opioid pills in Pennsylvania in 2015, according to a December report by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration... 

Uber Rallies Drivers Against Teamster Unionization Efforts With Podcasts And Pizza Parties  BuzzFeed  ...While the Teamsters worked to win the city approvals necessary to represent drivers, Uber ramped up a sprawling phalanx of anti-union efforts, including everything from in-app notifications and text messages to in-person seminars, collective bargaining pizza parties, and Teamster-critical podcasts...

NLRB Orders Sysco to Bargain With Michigan Teamsters  Labor Press  ...Upholding 79 unfair-labor-practice charges filed by Teamsters Local 406, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge on March 2 ordered the Sysco food-supply company to begin negotiating a contract with the union. Local 406 had lost a May 2015 election at Sysco’s facilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by 11 votes, but the judge ruled that the company’s intimidation practices “were sufficiently severe so as to erode the majority support that the union had acquired”... 

 

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE 

Peru mine workers launch wage strike  Daily Times  ...Workers at a US-owned copper mine in Peru launched a wage strike on Friday, heightening pressure on the market for the key commodity already hit by a similar stoppage in Chile. Some 1,200 workers downed tools at the southern Cerro Verde mine. The miners are demanding special benefit payments to protect their incomes against a downturn in copper prices, and better working conditions...  

Workers at France's EDF to strike again starting Mar 13 evening  Platts  ...Workers at France's EDF will strike for 24 hours starting Monday at 9 pm local time (2000 GMT), the company said in a note posted on the website of French grid operator RTE on Thursday. The last strike began Sunday evening and ended Wednesday night, affecting supply mostly on Tuesday and leading to a combined capacity cut of 2.03 GW at four nuclear reactors... 

China’s Trademarks for Trump Create Conflict, Democrats Say  Bloomberg  ...China granted at least two dozen trademarks, and the Associated Press reported that the number was as high as 38. Trump’s lawyers in China applied for the trademarks in April 2016, AP said, while he was campaigning for president and accusing China of stealing U.S. jobs and currency manipulation...

Chile Trade Head: Paths Open to New Pacific Trade Pact, Post-TPP  VOA  ...Countries that signed up for the failed trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will meet in Chile next week, seeking a way forward on a possible future regional deal, Chile's head of international trade told Reuters. Representatives from the 12 countries that formed the TPP, plus China and South Korea, will meet for the first time since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out the TPP...

Donald Trump's Republicans want a trade deal with the UK, and they want one quickly  City AM  ...The Trump administration may still be settling in, but behind the scenes, his supporters and key figures see a deal with the UK as not just economically important but something they simply want. There is still huge enthusiasm for working with the UK in America. And it's not just officials or trade negotiators who want this deal but influential Republican supporters too...

Iceland becomes first country to make equal pay mandatory  Salon  ...Iceland announced Wednesday that it will now require companies — both public and private — to pay all employees equally “regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality.” The new law, announced on International Women’s Day, makes Iceland the first country in the world to require equal pay for all. This is particularly significant for private companies, whose wages are difficult to mandate...

Riots in Athens as farmers protest against austerity cuts  Aljazeera  ...Greek farmers fought with riot police in the capital on Wednesday. They were protesting against the government's austerity policies, as Greece tries to meet budget targets set by its international creditors. Police fired tear gas to prevent dozens of protesters from forcing their way into the ministry building, and running clashes ensued... 

 

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES

W.Va. AG asks Supreme Court to lift right-to-work block  Gazette-Mail  ...State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a petition Wednesday with the state Supreme Court, asking the court to overturn a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the state’s right-to-work law. Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey issued the injunction last August as part of an ongoing challenge of the new law by the West Virginia AFL-CIO and numerous other unions...

Missouri House working to nullify minimum wage hike  KPLR  ...The Missouri State Supreme Court allowed St. Louis City's minimum wage hike to go into effect, but state lawmakers are saying not so fast. The Missouri House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation to nullify any current or future local minimum wage increase above the state minimum...

NY is most unionized state, by far  Democrat & Chronicle  ...New York's union ranks dropped by nearly 5 percent between 2015 and 2016, but the state remained the nation's leader in unionized workers. The drop of about 96,000 union workers in New York erased an increase of 58,000 in union employees made between 2014 and 2015, according to records released last week by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics...

Why new minimum wage hikes are under threat  CNN  ...In Maine, Arizona and Washington state our democracy is under assault. And this time, Russia isn't to blame. Last November, voters in those states resoundingly approved ballot initiatives to raise minimum wages. Arizona and Washington also approved an expansion of paid sick leave. But opponents of these ballot measures have continued to reject progress... 

Opioid distributors sued by West Virginia counties hit by drug crisis  Washington Post  ...Attorneys in West Virginia, which has the highest opioid overdose rate in the nation, filed lawsuits in federal court Thursday on behalf of two counties and targeting some of the nation’s largest drug distribution companies. A dozen attorneys general in hard-hit states are considering similar suits against many of the same companies...

Kanawha County sues drug firms over ‘endless supply’ of painkillers  Gazette-Mail  ...The Kanawha County Commission filed a lawsuit against 16 prescription drug distributors Thursday, alleging the firms shipped an “endless supply” of pain pills to the county while making billions of dollars. The companies — which include retail chains Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, CVS, Kroger and Walgreens, along with drug giants McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — distributed 66 million prescription opioids to Kanawha County between 2007 and 2012, according to the lawsuit...

 

U.S. LABOR 

Chicago Teachers Union threatens 1-day walkout in May  Chicago Tribune  ...The Chicago Teachers Union on Wednesday opened the door to a one-day walkout on May Day to bring attention to the "acute crisis" facing city schools, one that Chicago Public Schools officials warn could put an early end to the school year. "If the board goes ahead with the threat of canceling three weeks of school, we would view their action as a massive violation of our contract," CTU President Karen Lewis told reporters...

Telemundo actors vote overwhelmingly to join SAG-AFTRA  LA Times  ...Actors at the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo have overwhelmingly voted to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, bringing to a close a protracted dispute between Hollywood’s largest union and NBCUniversal, which owns the network. SAG-AFTRA said Wednesday that 81% of eligible voters chose to unionize in a balloting process that began Feb. 7 and lasted four weeks...

Democrats wage uphill battle against bill targeting federal-union representatives  Washington Post  ...After seemingly endless discussion Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was poised to advance legislation designed to undermine “official time.” It permits union representatives to engage in certain actions while on the government’s payroll. Those actions, by the way, benefit not just union members, but all agency workers, agencies generally and ultimately taxpayers...

James Sherk Tapped by Trump to be White House Labor Advisor  CMD  ...In February, Donald Trump quietly hired James Sherk from the Heritage Foundation to handle labor and employment policy. Who is Sherk? He’s a 2003 graduate of the Koch-funded Hillsdale College who has helped advance the corporate agenda of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to undermine the rights of workers...

Donald Trump’s Crackdown On Undocumented Immigrants Is Silencing Exploited Workers  Huffington Post  ...President Donald Trump claims his crackdown on undocumented workers will raise wages and improve jobs for all Americans. But there’s at least one way it’s already having the opposite effect. By ramping up deportations, the Trump administration is making immigrant workers less likely to come forward when they’ve been cheated out of wages or put in harm’s way on the job...

How to Build a 21st Century Labor Movement: Confront White Supremacy  (opinion) Medium  ...While labor unions have historically played an important role in clarifying that frustration and pointing out the true benefactors of white workers’ exploited labor, unions are about as weak if not weaker than they were during Reconstruction. And frankly, many did not take on race as aggressively in this election than they should have...

Using 'working-class voters' as shorthand for white people is insulting and rooted in racism  (opinion) Daily News  ...In an apparent attempt to not deal with the fact that it's working-class white people who are abandoning the Democratic Party, the phrase "working class" is being used in place of the race-specific description. Something ugly happens when "working class" becomes shorthand for white. It projects the very distinct impression that working people are white...

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS

Hold Drug Distributors Accountable For Opioid Crisis, Senator Says  The Fix  ...You could say the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose in the U.S. is at a boiling point. The government has dedicated millions of dollars to fixing the problem, and corrupt medical professionals have been de-licensed, and even incarcerated, for illegally profiting off the powerful pain pills...

Why Trump’s $1 trillion promise to deliver infrastructure jobs may not happen this year  Washington Post  ...Trump promised in a February speech to Congress that a $1 trillion infrastructure rebuilding plan would create “millions of new jobs,” but few of those jobs are expected to materialize this year, because no firm deadlines have been set and much of the planning could spill into 2018...

After promising to revitalize ‘inner cities,’ Trump decides to shred affordable housing  Think Progress  ...Before, during, and after his inaugural speech, President Donald Trump promised to fix “inner cities,” which he’s conflates with the supposedly crime-infested neighborhoods where African Americans and Latinos live. Under the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) latest budget proposal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  could stand to lose billions of dollars...

The U.S. is about to lose a trillion dollars in coastal property values  Think Progress  ...Both the Arctic and Antarctic keep smashing records for ice loss, providing more evidence we are headed for the worst-case scenario of sea level rise. At the same time, President Trump plans to block climate action while slashing funding for coastal adaptation and monitoring. Together, this is very bad news for U.S. coastlines, and the only question left for Americans is: When will coastal property values crash?...

Trump supporters call for ‘liberal genocide’ and deportation of Jews at Arizona Rally  Raw Story  ...Maricopa County burnished its reputation as the Trumpiest in America last weekend as hundreds of locals, including heavily armed militiamen, white nationalists and even a few elected officials, gathered to support the 45th president. The ensuing “March for Trump” was as horrifying as it sounds...

Laziness isn’t why people are poor. And iPhones aren’t why they lack health care.  Washington Post  ...In response to a question about his party’s plan to increase the cost of health insurance, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) suggested that people should “invest in their own health care” instead of “getting that new iPhone.” He doubled-down on the point in a later interview: “People need to make a conscious choice, and I believe in self-reliance.” Of course, Chaffetz is wrong. But he isn’t alone...

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