Teamsters

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Teamsters Weekly Update, Week Ending July 19, 2019

Hoffa: Teamsters Laud House for Passing Repeal of Excise Tax on Health Plans: Bipartisan Bill Sponsored by Reps. Courtney, Kelly Would End ‘Cadillac Tax: The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about the passage of legislation offered by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) that would repeal the 40 percent excise tax on comprehensive health insurance plans included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as the “Cadillac Tax”

Hoffa: House Approval of Minimum Wage Hike is Long Overdue for Workers: Raise the Wage Act Would Incrementally Raise Salary Floor Over Six Years: The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about the House’s passage today of H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

Teamsters Reach Agreement in Principle With Air Canada: New Agreement Will Go to Membership for Ratification Vote: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has reached an agreement in principle with Air Canada, the largest passenger carrier in Canada. The agreement covers over 700 customer service representatives, reservation assistants, air cargo workers and other employees at the company’s U.S. base of operations.

Teamsters, NFI Workers Call on NJEDA to Rescind NFI's $80 Million Tax Break: Teamsters, NFI Workers, Community Allies Speak Out at NJEDA Board Meeting; Deliver Petition Calling for Freeze of NFI’s Tax Giveaways: Today, Teamsters and NFI workers called on the NJEDA Board at its monthly meeting to rescind tax breaks to NFI, a lawbreaking company that stands to benefit from nearly $80 million in tax breaks at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers through the Grow NJ Program which is under intense scrutiny.

Teamsters Score Critical Legal Victory as First Step in Reversing Rising Tide of Deadly Opioid Crisis: U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster issues Order that Aligns Opioid Prescriptions with CDC Guideline in Effort to “Save Lives”: A U.S. District Court order takes strong first steps to address the opioid crisis, setting common sense lower limits for opioid prescriptions offered by the nation’s three largest pharmacy benefit plan managers: Optum, CVS Caremark and Express Scripts. Together the three pharmacy benefit plan managers (PBMs) combined control over 90% of the U.S. opioid market. The reforms are aimed at dramatically reducing the number of those at risk of addiction and offering help for those already in addiction’s throes.

Teamsters Local 118 and Wegmans Food Markets Reach Tentative Agreement ; New Five Year Deal Covers Nearly 1,000 Warehousing and Distribution Workers: After months of negotiations, Teamsters Local 118 is pleased to announce a new five-year tentative agreement with Wegmans Food Markets.

Teamsters Stand in Solidarity with Striking Amazon Workers: Prime Day Action by Minnesota Workers Highlights Abuses, Working Conditions: Teamsters across North America stand in solidarity with the Amazon fulfillment workers striking in Minnesota. Similar to workers moving Amazon goods, many of our 1.4 million members pick and stow product in warehouses, drive trucks, and deliver packages and have fought for decades to win better working conditions, respect, and a voice on the job. This fight is ongoing. Amazon workers in Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, France and the United Kingdom have also engaged in numerous protests, strikes, or other activities to demand their rights and as Teamsters we support this growing worker-led movement.

BMWED Members Ratify Paducah And Louisville Railway Agreement: Five-Year Contract Includes Wage Increases, Health Insurance Stability: Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Rail Conference recently ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Paducah & Louisville Railway.

Teamsters Local 320 Builds Public Sector Power with Back-to-Back Organizing Victories: Teamsters Local 320 successfully organized two new bargaining units: Zumbrota Public Works and Tri-County Probation. The Zumbrota workers provide wastewater treatment and a number of other vital services to the City of Zumbrota, Minn. The Tri-County Probation Officers provide supervision and rehabilitation for criminal defendants for Norman, Polk, and Red Lake counties in Northwestern Minnesota.
 

 

 

NEWS ARTICLES

Hoffa: Teamsters Laud House for Passing Repeal of Excise Tax on Health Plans: Bipartisan Bill Sponsored by Reps. Courtney, Kelly Would End ‘Cadillac Tax’: (WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about the passage of legislation offered by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) that would repeal the 40 percent excise tax on comprehensive health insurance plans included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as the “Cadillac Tax”
“The Teamsters are pleased that Democrats and Republicans came together last night to back legislation that would eliminate this harmful tax on quality health care plans. This surcharge would only hurt working men and women who would see their premiums rise if nothing is done.
“Congress should be fighting for ways to improve the livelihoods of working Americans and opposing policies that will ultimately take money from their hard-earned paychecks and reduce, and make more costly, the health care benefits they receive. This legislation would ensure that these workers’ wallets are protected.
“Hardworking Americans should not have this draconian penalty hanging over them while many employers scale back their health care offerings and raise the cost to their workers without consequence. Where is the fairness in such a policy?
“The Teamsters now urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead to protect the benefits of many of their middle-class constituents.”

Hoffa: House Approval of Minimum Wage Hike is Long Overdue for Workers: Raise the Wage Act Would Incrementally Raise Salary Floor Over Six Years: (WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa about the House’s passage today of H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.
 “Low-wage workers in much of the country have suffered through stagnate wages for more than a decade. So the Teamsters applaud the House for taking action to help close the income inequality gap that has made it difficult for many hardworking Americans to support their families.
“This legislation will take steps to make today’s economy fairer for those who toil daily to keep it going. No one who works hard and plays by the rules should live in poverty. Much is said about valuing work and respecting working. If Congress is serious about that, then the Senate will move quickly to enact this measure as well.”

Teamsters Reach Agreement in Principle with Air Canada: New Agreement Will Go to Membership for Ratification Vote: (WASHINGTON) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has reached an agreement in principle with Air Canada, the largest passenger carrier in Canada. The agreement covers over 700 customer service representatives, reservation assistants, air cargo workers and other employees at the company’s U.S. base of operations.
“I’m extremely proud of our members at Air Canada,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “These workers were engaged and united throughout the process of collective bargaining, and their hard work paid off in a big way.”
“I’d like to thank the negotiating committee for all of their hard work at the table,” said Bob Fisher, Airline Division International Representative. “Thanks to their diligent efforts, we were able to draft a collective bargaining agreement that improves compensation and working conditions for these workers while also ensuring that the company will maintain its status as the premier passenger carrier of Canada.”
Negotiations were completed less than two weeks after the agreement became amendable, an extremely quick turnaround for a union contract in the airline industry. The union will work with the company to finalize the agreement and determine the final contract language that will go to the membership. Details on the ratification vote will be forthcoming within the next two weeks.”

Teamsters, NFI Workers Call on NJEDA to Rescind NFI's $80 Million Tax Break: Teamsters, NFI Workers, Community Allies Speak Out at NJEDA Board Meeting; Deliver Petition Calling for Freeze of NFI’s Tax Giveaways: (TRENTON, N.J.) – Today, Teamsters and NFI workers called on the NJEDA Board at its monthly meeting to rescind tax breaks to NFI, a lawbreaking company that stands to benefit from nearly $80 million in tax breaks at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers through the Grow NJ Program which is under intense scrutiny.
Teamsters International Vice President At Large and Port Division Director Fred Potter joined NFI/Cal Cartage Express port truck drivers Jesus Maldonado and Jose Garcia, and representatives from a number of worker and community advocacy organizations, in calling on the NJEDA to freeze NFI’s tax breaks.
“NFI lied in its application to get state benefits. NFI failed to disclose its prior conviction for three counts of wire fraud, and lawsuits that were pending at the time of its application alleging wage and hour violations. This is a company that violates the law and workers’ rights and has stolen workers’ wages. NFI doesn’t deserve a tax giveaway,” Potter said. “This is a company that has a criminal history and avoids paying taxes and what it owes workers. Why should this company be rewarded with millions in tax breaks off the backs of 55,000 New Jersey Teamsters and the residents of this state? Now is the time for leadership. We urge you to take this opportunity to rescind NFI’s tax windfall.”
Jesus Maldonado has worked as a port truck driver at NFI/Cal Cartage Express in California for 10 years and says he has been exploited the entire time he has worked for the company.
“We’re only asking for what’s fair. We’re asking for a living wage, to be properly classified as employees and to have dignity and respect on the job. We have a petition with over a thousand signatures supporting us in this fight. NFI/Cal Cartage Express abuses its work force, yet gets rewarded with $80 million in tax breaks. We call on the NJEDA to take action and stop rewarding lawbreakers,” Maldonado said.
“I, too, have experienced the same abuse, intimidation and misclassification at NFI/Cal Cartage Express, like my co-worker Jesus described,” Garcia said. “This company has stolen millions in wages from workers and is lining their pockets off our hard work. I’m here to speak out against this abuse and ask the NJEDA to stop rewarding this company,” Garcia said.
To view and sign on to the petition Teamsters and NFI workers delivered to the NJEDA, visit: http://ibt.io/NFIpetition.
Representatives from Working Families Alliance, Make the Road, Workers United and SEIU 32BJ also called on the NJEDA to freeze NFI’s tax breaks.
Rescinding NFI’s tax breaks would not be unprecedented. Potter noted that another corporation with a large Grow NJ reward was recently found to have serious deficiencies in its application, and the NJEDA took decisive action, suspending its tax breaks while a full investigation could be completed.
A June 17 NJEDA Task Force report validated concerns raised by the Teamsters over NFI’s tax breaks.
Those concerns were raised by the Teamsters in a letter sent to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and NJEDA Ethics Liaison Officer Frederick Cole urging them to investigate, prosecute and sanction NFI in connection with its application through the Grow NJ program. The letter was signed by Potter, who is also President of Teamsters Local 469 in Hazlet, N.J.
In the letter, the Teamsters provide evidence that demonstrates NFI, a national third-party logistics provider headquartered in New Jersey, lied in its application for taxpayer funds.
The letter states that NFI’s history of violating workers’ rights should bar it from receiving state financial assistance. The company has violated laws governing hours of labor and minimum wage standards, avoided paying legally required overtime compensation, and illegally misclassified hundreds of port workers in California by claiming they are independent contractors. By misclassifying its employees, the company avoided its responsibility to cover social security, workers’ compensation and other business expenses.
As a transportation and logistics company, NFI must comply with laws governing “occupations of regulated industries,” as referenced in the NJEDA’s regulations. In the year preceding NFI’s Grow NJ application, the company was cited for more than 100 violations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. During that year alone, NFI violated driving safety standards, state and local speed limit laws, and hours-of-service standards, which are intended to limit the operation of commercial vehicles by drivers who are sick or tired.

Teamsters Score Critical Legal Victory as First Step in Reversing Rising Tide of Deadly Opioid Crisis: U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster issues Order that Aligns Opioid Prescriptions with CDC Guideline in Effort to “Save Lives”: (CLEVELAND) - A U.S. District Court order takes strong first steps to address the opioid crisis, setting common sense lower limits for opioid prescriptions offered by the nation’s three largest pharmacy benefit plan managers: Optum, CVS Caremark and Express Scripts. Together the three pharmacy benefit plan managers (PBMs) combined control over 90% of the U.S. opioid market. The reforms are aimed at dramatically reducing the number of those at risk of addiction and offering help for those already in addiction’s throes.
U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster issued the order in response to a September 2018 motion filed in the national opioid litigation by Webb County, Texas and West Virginia-based Teamsters Locals 175 & 505 Health & Welfare Fund.  The motion sought leave of Court to file a motion for preliminary injunction directing the PBMs to take immediate steps to align their standard national formularies to the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline to dramatically reduce the escalating distribution and abuse of prescription opioids. Judge Polster denied the motion without prejudice when the parties reached agreement regarding what immediate steps would be required.
“Judge Polster is showing that he means business when it comes to containing the opioid crisis and saving lives. His response is the catalyst for change that is needed to help save lives and we’re proud of our legal team for taking on this fight,” said Teamsters International General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall.
Judge Polster’s order focused on the PBMs as the last link in the chain in the opioid crisis. The order aligns the PBMs’ standard national offerings for first-time opioid prescriptions with the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain by memorializing:
Without prior doctor authorization, opioid doses shall be limited to 90 milligrams per day instead of 200 milligrams a day common in the marketplace;
Without prior doctor authorization, prescriptions shall be limited to 7 days instead of extended use that often leads to addiction;
With respect to minors (19 and under), the PBMs either include in their standard national formularies or recommend plans that limit prescriptions to no more than 3 days without doctors’ prior authorization to reduce addiction risk in this vulnerable age group.
Judge Polster’s order also seeks to ease the transition away from addictive opioids by requiring that the PBMs, as part of their standard national offerings, provide for Medication Assisted Treatment (“MAT”) of Opioid Use Disorder and alternatives to opioid products.  The order does not interfere with medical decision-making.
Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet PLLC, lead counsel for the Teamsters Local Nos. 175 & 505 Health and Welfare Fund, explained, “Judge Polster stated at the first hearing in January 2018 that the parties needed to focus less on litigation and more on solutions to address this national crisis. Our clients, led by Teamsters International General  Secretary Treasurer Ken Hall, took Judge Polster’s call to action to heart by welcoming the opportunity to join this innovative solution that will save lives.  We will hold the PBMs accountable to the letter and spirit of Judge Polster’s order.”
The Teamsters’ focus on stemming the rising tide of the Opioid crisis began at the Teamsters’ 29th International Convention in 2016, where a Teamster official from Ohio shared the tragic story of losing his son — a talented high school athlete — to a heroin overdose after he became addicted to the painkillers he was prescribed following a routine surgery.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, and 134 Americans are dying on a daily basis because of the opioid epidemic. The number of Americans who died of drug overdose in 2017 was roughly equal to the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. According to the CDC, the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement due to opioid misuse alone is $78.5 billion a year.
Teamsters Local Nos. 175 & 505 Health & Welfare Fund and Employer Teamsters Local Nos. 175 & 505 Retiree Health & Welfare Fund are represented Mehri & Skalet, based in Washington DC., Henrichsen Siegel, with offices in Washington DC and Jacksonville, Florida, Ciccarello, Del Guidice & LaFon, in Charleston, West Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida-based Terrell Hogan.  Webb County is represented by the Cicala Law Firm LLC, based in Dripping Springs, Texas and Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP, with offices in Washington DC, Nashville, and New York.

Teamsters Local 118 and Wegmans Food Markets Reach Tentative Agreement: New Five Year Deal Covers Nearly 1,000 Warehousing and Distribution Workers: ocal 118 Rochester, NY) – After months of negotiations, Teamsters Local 118 is pleased to announce a new five-year tentative agreement with Wegmans Food Markets.
Subject to ratification by the membership, this agreement provides for the largest wage package of any agreement previously reached with the company. In addition, the Union was able to successfully address significant issues impacting seniority rights, vacations, the use of part-time workers and other areas.
“Lead negotiator Chris Toole and the entire Union Committee of Stewards did an outstanding job of standing united and firm on their proposals. The historic progress made under this agreement is a testament to the success Wegmans enjoys due to the hard work of our members” stated Local 118 President Paul Markwitz.
Members will receive copies of the tentative agreement and the Local will conduct contract review meeting with a ratification vote expected to take place the week of July 29th.
Local 118 represents approximately 4300 Members throughout the greater Rochester area. Follow us on Facebook at Friends of Teamsters Local 118, on Twitter @Teamsters118 or visit www.teamsterslocal118.org.

Teamsters Stand in Solidarity with Striking Amazon Workers: Prime Day Action by Minnesota Workers Highlights Abuses, Working Conditions: WASHINGTON -- Teamsters across North America stand in solidarity with the Amazon fulfillment workers striking in Minnesota. Similar to workers moving Amazon goods, many of our 1.4 million members pick and stow product in warehouses, drive trucks, and deliver packages and have fought for decades to win better working conditions, respect, and a voice on the job. This fight is ongoing. Amazon workers in Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, France and the United Kingdom have also engaged in numerous protests, strikes, or other activities to demand their rights and as Teamsters we support this growing worker-led movement.
Every worker deserves safe reliable jobs, a voice in their workplace, and an environment free from retaliation when they speak out. We commend you for taking this brave step. Rich corporations like Amazon may have billions of dollars but as workers, our greatest power is solidarity. Any workers, whether union or non-union, who decide to engage in collective action to better their working conditions and their lives, have a friend in and the support of the Teamsters.

BMWED Members Ratify Paducah nd Louisville Railway Agreement: Five-Year Contract Includes Wage Increases, Health Insurance Stability: Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Rail Conference recently ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Paducah & Louisville Railway.
With more than 84 percent of the ballots returned, the agreement was ratified with 60 percent of the ballots voting in favor of the new agreement.
The agreement will become effective retroactively January 1, 2019 (with back pay) and extends through December 31, 2023. The ratified contract settles wage and work rule matters, including a freeze on health and welfare contributions, prescription co-pays and deductibles.
To read the entire article on the BMWED website, click here.

Teamsters Local 320 Builds Public Sector Power with Back-to-Back Organizing Victories: Teamsters Local 320 successfully organized two new bargaining units: Zumbrota Public Works and Tri-County Probation. The Zumbrota workers provide wastewater treatment and a number of other vital services to the City of Zumbrota, Minn. The Tri-County Probation Officers provide supervision and rehabilitation for criminal defendants for Norman, Polk, and Red Lake counties in Northwestern Minnesota.
“Congratulations to our newest members, who demonstrated an extraordinary level determination, solidarity and courage during this organizing campaign,” said Brian Aldes, Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer. “We look forward to negotiating contracts for these public servants that reflect the vital role that they play in their communities.”
The public works and wastewater workers for the City of Zumbrota are currently in the process of negotiating their first labor contract, and decided to join the Teamsters to preserve their working conditions.
“I knew I couldn’t protect my co-workers on my own,” said one of the Zumbrota workers. “I knew we needed a union to guarantee we had our rights!”
Zumbrota Public Works voted unanimously to join Local 320. All but one of the Tri-County Probation Officers who participated in the election voted in favor of Teamster representation, in spite of the fact that the employer was able to add more workers to the group in an attempt to dilute the vote.
“With the support of the Teamsters, we’re showing that we’re a united front, and that we’ll continue to support each other even if higher ups feel we’re replaceable,” said one probation officer. “With the union, we’re finally on equal ground and our voices will no longer go unheard.”
Neither of these bargaining units experienced the benefit of union membership prior to organizing with the Teamsters.
“Almost a year after the Janus decision, workers understand there is power in a union,” said Local 320 Organizer Claire Thiele. “Workers also know their ability to improve their retirement is better with a union than without.”
 

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