Thursday, November 27, 2014

Today's Teamster News 11.27.14

Teamsters
Ho-Ho-Kus resident in third decade driving Thanksgiving parade floats  NorthJersey.com   ...While millions watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of their couch or in the crowds along Manhattan streets, Eddie Devereaux has had a unique perspective for the past 22 years. The Ho-Ho-Kus resident drives a float each year. He got the gig as a member of Teamsters Theatrical Union Local 817, which provides all of the drivers for the annual event...
Trade
NAFTA doesn’t benefit working people (LTE)  The Windsor Star   ...If NAFTA and all the other free-trade deals since have been so good for us, why is it that current unemployment is so stubbornly high, that child poverty is higher than ever in Canada and that food bank use is at an all-time high?...
State Battles
The Koch Brothers' Next Frontier  National Journal   ...Over the past two years, at least 40 bills aimed at weakening or repealing clean-energy mandates have been introduced in legislatures across the country, according to Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy. But not a single state has done away with its renewable-energy standard. Ohio came the closest...
Downgraded: The Macro Outlook in Wisconsin  Econbrowser   ...The Department of Revenue’s Wisconsin Economic Outlook, released last week, details a noticeable deterioration in forecasted economic performance, in just the past eight months...
War on Workers
The Absurdity of How Walmart Treats Employees, in One Viral Thanksgiving Photo  News.Mic   ...An Oklahoma City Walmart is allegedly asking employees to donate food to help their coworkers make ends meet during the holiday season. A sign on the collection bin reads, "Let's succeed by donating to associates in need!!!"...
A Landmark Retail Workers 'Bill of Rights' Passes Unanimously In San Francisco  Huffington Post   ...the law, which passed the 11-member, all-Democratic board unanimously, requires the city's large chain retailers to post workers' schedules at least two weeks ahead of time. Workers will be owed supplemental pay if unexpected changes are made to their schedules, or if they're required to be "on call" and their shifts are suddenly canceled. The law, championed by Supervisor David Chiu, also requires that the employers offer any extra hours they have to their current workforces, rather than bringing on more part-time or temporary workers...
Hundreds of University of California students walk out over proposed tuition hike  Reuters   ...Hundreds of University of California students walked out of classes on Monday to protest a planned 25 percent tuition increase they say will make the cost of education across the 10-campus system too expensive...
Wall Street is taking over America's pension plans  The Intercept   ...Wall Street spent upwards of $300M to influence the election results. And a key part of its agenda has been a plan to move more and more of the $3 trillion dollars in unguarded government pension funds into privately managed, high-fee investments — a shift that may well constitute the biggest financial story of our generation that you’ve never heard of...
Senate Report: Scale of Wall Street Holdings Are “Unprecedented in U.S. History”  Wall Street on Parade   ...Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin, released an alarming 396-page report that details how Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks have quietly, and often stealthily through shell companies, gained ownership of a stunning amount of the nation’s critical industrial commodities like oil, aluminum, copper, natural gas, and even uranium. The report said the scale of these bank holdings “appears to be unprecedented in U.S. history...”
The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats (opinion)  Politico   ...The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution...
Troubling Questions on Role of Military in Ayotzinapa Case as National Crisis Builds; Political Class and Governing Institutions Discredited on a Scale Not Seen for Generations  Popular Resistance   ...When Iguala, Guerrero municipal police and masked men in unmarked black uniforms opened fire on unarmed students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college last September, killing six people and kidnapping 43 students, they lit the fuse of a national crisis...
Unions Are Among the Very Few Interest Groups that Represent the Middle Class  Center for American Progress Action Fund  ...the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Automobile Workers, and the National Education Association, or NEA—and a few other groups, such as AARP, the National Governors Association, or NGA, and the collective advocacy efforts of universities, are among the only groups that more often than not lobby for policies the middle class supports...
W-S Sanitation Worker Hit By Car Dies  WFMY News   ...A Winston-Salem sanitation worker that was hit by a car while on the job died early Tuesday morning...


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today's Teamster News 11.26.14

Teamster News
Roma Food Drivers In California Vote Overwhelmingly To Join Teamsters  teamster.org   ... Food distribution drivers at Roma of Southern California, a Performance Food company, have voted overwhelmingly, 68-15, in favor of joining Teamsters Local 630 in Los Angeles. Of the 84 drivers in the bargaining unit, 83 participated in the Nov. 20 election...
Teamsters Lead Buffalo Snow Storm Relief Efforts  teamster.org   ...“Our members went above and beyond. They worked around the clock plowing roads; selecting and delivering bread, milk and other essential food products to local stores and supermarkets; delivering gas and diesel to service stations; and staffing the correctional facilities,” said Brian Dickman, President of Teamsters Local 264 in Cheektowaga, N.Y...
Walmart Needs To Show More Thanks For Its Workers  Huffington Post   ...Thanksgiving Day is a holiday where family and friends gather together and express gratitude for everything in their lives. But those who work at Walmart have little to be thankful for, at least when it comes to their employment...
Commissioners approve memorandum of understanding with union  Presque Isle Advance   ...The Onaway City Commission approved a memorandum of understanding with the Teamsters union Nov. 17 that will keep the current Department of Public Works (DPW) foreman Clayton Dunn at his current level of pay...
Trade
What ‘Free Trade’ Has Done to Central America  The Nation   ... the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement, or DR-CAFTA ... the pact has had a devastating effect on poverty, dislocation and environmental contamination in the region. And perhaps even worse, it’s diminished the ability of Central American countries to protect their citizens from corporate abuse......
U.S.-NAFTA Freight Jumps 8.2% From Year Earlier  Truckinginfo   ...The amount freight moved between the U.S. and its neighbors of Canada and Mexico totaled $102.2 billion in September, an 8.2% gain from a year ago, as all five major transportation carried more cargo, according to new U.S. Transportation Department figures...
War on Workers
$1 Billion: That’s How Much Walmart Avoids Paying in Taxes Each Year Through Loopholes  The Nation   ...Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) found that the company “avoids $1 billion a year in taxes” through federal loopholes, and various political shenanigans drive this always-low tax rate: the big-box giant is absorbing government subsidies both directly and indirectly, through its retail operations as well as its ingenious accounting methods...
Walmart Still Avoiding Paying $7000 Fine For Worker Killed By Black Friday Shoppers In 2008  Consumerist   ...In 2008, a Walmart employee was killed when a mob of deal-desperate Black Friday shoppers tore the store’s doors from their hinges and stormed inside, trampling him to death. The chain was eventually fined $7000 for their role in the employee’s death — but six years and $2 million later, the world’s largest retailer has yet to pay up...
One Worker Killed, Another Injured When Jamaica Plain Porch Collapses  boston.com   ...One worker was killed and another critically injured when the decking they were installing on a third-story porch at 89 Forest Hills Street in Jamaica Plain suddenly gave way just before 11 a.m. Tuesday...
The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist  Bloomberg   ...The real issue, say Salzman and others, is the industry’s desire for lower-wage,more-exploitable guest workers, not a lack of available American staff. “It seems pretty clear that the industry just wants lower-cost labor,” Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote...
Doggy Day Care Chain Makes Pet Sitters Sign Noncompetes To Protect 'Trade Secrets'  Huffington Post   ...According to a Camp Bow Wow “employee confidentiality and non-compete agreement” obtained by HuffPost, by signing the contract employees agree not to work for a competing business within 25 miles of their Camp Bow Wow location's "franchise territory" for a period of two years following the contract's termination...
Private Prisons Seek Broader Markets  The Austin Chronicle   ...A new report finds that prison corporations, stymied by prison reform, are seeking new markets for human product lines – if you can't jail ’em, find another way to make ’em pay...
Oil Trains Use 105-Year-Old Tunnel Below Seattle  KOMO   ...A train carrying up to three million gallons of highly flammable Bakken crude oil runs right under downtown Seattle through a century-old tunnel that does not meet modern safety standards, according to BNSF Railway and Seattle fire officials...
US Electricity Generated By Coal Would Likely Drop To 22% In 2020  Platts   ...The percent of US electricity generated by coal in 2020 would likely drop to 22%, with a decline in coal prices to follow as a result, according to a study of the cumulative impact of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and its other environmental programs...
Atlantic City's Taj Mahal Offers To Restore Workers' Health Care  NorthJersey.com   ...Trump Entertainment Resorts said Saturday it has offered to restore health insurance to its 3,000 workers for at least two years if the union will drop its appeal of a court order that canceled the health insurance and pension plan for casino workers. It made the offer in a letter to Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union...
Miscellaneous
Railroads Sound Alarm Ahead of Chicago Gridlock Redux: Freight  Bloomberg   ...With last week’s 7 feet of snow in upstate New York heralding an early winter, railroads crisscrossing Chicago are rushing to open 24-hour command centers, install heaters to keep switches from freezing, and plotting ways to reroute traffic...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's beginning to look like Walmart Black Friday protests will be the biggest ever

Walmart worker Diana Tigon goes hungry a lot.
Walmart supporters will protest retaliation against workers in every single Walmart store in Massachusetts and Washington on Black Friday. It's just one sign sign that Nov. 28, 2014, will be the day of the most intense show of support for Walmart's 1.4 million workers.

It's also a sign of the rising disgust for Walmart's owners. The Walton family owns more than 42 percent of Americans combined but can't pay their employees a living wage.

Diana Tigon, a Walmart employee in Arlington, Texas, sometimes can't afford to eat all day. Here's her story:
Diana has worked as a cashier at Walmart for more than two years. She is one of the lucky workers scheduled for a consistent 40 hours a week. She and her coworker stood up for full-time status and won it for themselves and about 15 workers in their store. 
Even with more hours than many, at just $9.40 an hour Diana often finds herself strapped for cash. And despite her 40 hours, she doesn’t have full access to benefits because she was classified as a part-time employee. 
She is very disciplined on her spending so that she doesn’t fall behind on bills. After she covers the rent for the one-bedroom apartment she shares with her niece, she has little left to cover the bills or save for the car she dreams of buying to get her to work. On rough weeks, she will go full days without eating meals. Friends in her neighborhood started to take notice and bring her food from time-to-time. 
“On by weeks, you just have to make it until payday on Wednesday,” Diana said.  
She and her coworkers try to look out for one another and buy one another food when they can. Recently, when her coworker asked her to pay for her drink, she ran her card and crossed her fingers. She only had $18 to her name the last time she checked and she was afraid to see what, if anything, was left.
Walmart workers formed the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) to raise their wages and to form a union. They need the Teamsters help on Black Friday, and Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa wants you to support them.

All they're asking is that you take 30 minutes to visit a store near you. If you do it sometime between 7 am and 10 am you will really send Walmart a strong message. To find a Black Friday action near you, go to www.BlackFridayProtests.org.

No matter how many of you there are, they’re asking you to take a picture of yourself and your group in front of the store and post it to social media, or email it to community@changewalmart.org. Make sure your sign specifies which city or town you're in and that you support #WalmartStrikers. That will show that thousands of people from across the country want Walmart to change.

OUR Walmart is also asking you to deliver your sign to the store manager. That's because every time that store manager gets a visit from a supporter, they must call Home Office in Arkansas and tell them. So it has just as much of an impact if it’s you and one other, or a dozen or 50 of you.

So just get out there, no matter how big your group! Every time a Walmart manager calls Bentonville, you are making a difference. They are hearing you tell that it’s time to end the financial crisis that the Waltons have created for American families.

This is what we union thuggs do for the holidays

Bass Tournament delegates present the check.
Teamsters Joint Council 13 in St. Louis raises the largest contribution ever received by a hospital for children's gifts.

A few weeks ago, the joint council raised more than $12,000 at their 1st. Annual Dan McKay Memorial Bass Tournament.

Joint Council 13 president Marvin Kropp presented the donation to Jill and Lauren, representatives of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Snowflake Village.
Marvin Kropp presents the check.
Every year Snowflake Village provides gifts for children in the hospital at Christmas time as well as any siblings.   The hospital representatives told the Teamsters it was the largest contribution that they had ever received, and they were overwhelmed by the generosity.

Here's how the Teamsters got involved:
Last Christmas, retired Teamster and Missouri State Rep. Bob Burns reached out to Marvin Kropp about Teamster’s support for Snowflake Village.  Brother Burns told them about the wonderful work Snowflake Village does for families of sick children spending Christmas in the hospital. Brother Kropp and Mike Goebel, vice-president of Joint Council 13, decided to help.   
On Christmas Eve, they brought a donation to Children’s Hospital and helped wrap gifts for the children.   
“It was a very moving experience to see the joy of the children when they received their gifts.  So when picking a charity for the bass tournament, Snowflake Village was our first choice,” said Brother Kropp.
Joint Council 13 President Marvin Kropp, Local 600 Secretary-Treasurer Scott Gilchris, Local 600 member Dan McKay and Local 600 President Larry Tinker. 
Teamsters Joint Council 13 committed to partnering with Snowflake Village in future charity bass tournaments and looks forward to it.

Teamsters Joint Council 13 would like to thank everyone who made a contribution to this great cause and to all the hard work that everyone put into this event to make it such a huge success!

And remember, THUGGs stands for 'Those Helpful Union Guys and Gals'!



Today's Teamster News 11.25.14

Teamster News
Roger Newell Remembered On WPFW Today  AFL-CIO   ...Gloria Minott will host a special hour-long show on longtime labor and community activist Roger Newell today starting at 11a on WPFW 89.3 FM, featuring remembrances by Roger’s friends and colleagues...
Engineer And Conductor Contract Talks Stall Between CP, Teamsters  Progressive Railroading   ...Negotiations have stalled between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and Canadian Pacific concerning a new agreement covering 3,800 locomotive engineers and conductors, TCRC officials announced late last week. The existing contract expires Dec. 31...
Mothers Outraged At EPA’s Response On West Lake Landfill  St. Louis American   ...EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks stated that either temporary or permanent relocation are “inconsistent with agency authority,” in a Nov. 14 letter to Lois Gibbs, who leads the Center for Health, Environment and Justice – a Washington-based environmental group...
JCPS, Teamsters rep address Valley 'bus fight' video  WHAS-11   ...Jackey says that these incidents are not common but John Stovall the President of Teamsters (Local 783), the bus driver's union disagrees. He says that they have picked up over the past two years. According to Stovall, incidents of violence on buses got so bad at the end of last school year that off duty police officers were having to ride along.
Trade
Teamsters support new Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation  TeamsterNation   ...The Teamsters are supporting a bill to expand the safety net for workers who lose their jobs to foreign trade...
State Battles
More Corporations Distance Themselves from ALEC  Common Cause   ...Over the last few months major companies including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, International Paper, Occidental Petroleum, News Corp, Overstock.com, SAP America, and AOL have all announced they have left or were leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group that brings state politicians and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors to rewrite our laws. Common Cause is now able to confirm four other companies that have cut ties with ALEC...
Inslee Says State Will Act On Oil Trains  The Olympian   ...The number of oil trains running across Washington is unacceptable, and the Legislature will consider bills in the upcoming session that mandate advance notification of oil shipments by rail as well as more funding for railroad crossings and emergency response training, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday...
ND Lawmakers Propose Changes In Voter ID Law  Inforum   ...The proposed legislation comes after reports of people being turned away from the polls on Election Day due to identification problems. This year marked the first major election since North Dakota passed a law in 2013 that removed the option to sign an affidavit, allowing voters who didn’t have proper ID to swear under penalty of law that they are eligible to vote...
War on Workers
Food Donation Bin Chained To Walmart Billionaire's Park Avenue Condo  Gothamist   ...Walmart employs 1.4 million Americans, and pays roughly 800,000 of them less than $25,000/year... To call attention to this cruel reality, a labor group chained a giant food bin to the awning of Alice Walton's $25 million Park Avenue condo...
Wage Theft Too Often Going Unpunished (opinion)  New York Daily News   ...“(Wage theft) has become a crime wave here in New York State,” said Joann Lum, executive director of the National Mobilization Against SweatShops....
Low Wages Keep Restaurant Workers In Cycle Of Poverty  Asheville Citizen-Times   ...nearly 17 percent of the country’s 10 million restaurant workers live below the poverty line, with 40 percent living below twice the poverty line...
Farmworkers Call On Wendy's To Pay More For Tomatoes And Boost Their Wages  Huffington Post   ...about 200 people marched in front of two Wendy's restaurants in Manhattan this past Saturday, demanding the company pay 1 cent more per pound of tomatoes in order to boost farmworkers’ wages...
Coal-Waste Power Plants Could Close If New EPA Rules Adopted  Allentown Morning Call   ...Oelbracht and 35 workers at the plant are threatened by extreme carbon-emission regulations proposed by EPA. The new regulations could force the closure of Westwood and 13 other plants like it in Pennsylvania, as well as five more in other states...
Miscellaneous
Budweiser Gives Clydesdales the Heave-Ho for the Holidays  NBC News   ...Budweiser is putting its Clydesdales out to pasture for the holidays. The country's No. 3 beer brand said the horses will not play a role in its traditional advertising for the season, although the company added later Monday that they will be featured in spots promoting responsible drinking...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Teamsters support new Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation

The Teamsters are supporting a bill to expand the safety net for workers who lose their jobs to foreign trade.

Today U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio introduced a bill to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program so it will help all workers who lose jobs to trade with a foreign country. Some workers haven't gotten the assistance because they lost their job to a country with which the United States does not have a trade deal. Some haven't gotten help because they're service, rather than manufacturing workers.

Brown's bill would change all that. It would include service workers and workers who lose jobs to countries we don't have a trade agreement with.

The Teamsters represent about 230,000 workers in commercial services industries.

Since 1975, about 2 million workers have relied on TAA to make ends meet after they lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They've also gotten the training they need to find a new job.

Brown released the map below, which shows Ohio companies affected by foreign trade whose workers were certified for TAA benefits to help train for new jobs. In the past five years, more than 22,400 Ohio workers got help from TAA.

It would be nice if U.S. workers didn't need TAA. But if Congress decides to pass the latest giant job-killers -- TPP, TISA and TTIP -- they will.

Here are some of benefits of TAA in Sen. Brown's bill:

  • Workers receive continued unemployment benefits while they are in training. 
  • In some states, workers may apply for job search and relocation allowances. 
  • Workers who are at least 50 can get supplemental wages of up to $12,000 if their new job pays less than their old job. 
  • Provides a health care tax credit for workers who lose their health care when they lose their jobs.

'My name is Jim Hoffa and I support Walmart workers'

Jim Hoffa supports Walmart workers. Do you?
Today Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa stood in the Teamsters lobby inWashington, D.C., and held up a sign saying he supports Walmart workers.

That's exactly what Walmart workers want you to do this Black Friday. They'd like you go to a Walmart, stand in front of it and hold up a sign saying you support them. They expect protests at 1,600 stores around the country to protest Walmart's retaliation when they speak out. It's a scary thing to do, and seeing pictures of their supporters will give them courage.

Walmart workers make so little money many of them can't feed their families, according to a report released last week. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the report's author, Michele Simon, said,
...49 million people suffer from hunger in this country, not because of unemployment, but because of low-wage work. She said as the nation's largest employer, Walmart bears much of the blame for putting business practices into place that have ultimately led to fewer working Americans being able to feed their families.
Walmart's owners, the Walton heirs, have more wealth than 42 percent of the United States.Just recently in Oklahoma, a Walmart store actually put out a food bin to collect canned goods for its hungry employees. An Ohio Walmart did the same thing last year.

Today, Walmart strikers placed a giant food bin to Alice Walton's $25 million condo. They said they want a raise, not charity.
No thank you, Alice.
Here's where the Waltons' spend their money: buying political influence.  Demos reported the Walton heirs spent $7.3 million in campaign contributions between 2000 and 2014, "adding their vast wealth to the political resources of Walmart’s campaign and lobbying efforts." (You'd think they'd feel a little guilty and give that money to charity...)

It's simple to join the Black Friday Protests. Just go to BlackFridayProtests.org to find an action near you. Bring a sign and a cellphone, and take a selfie. Post it to your Facebook page or send it to the Facebook page of the Walmart workers organization, Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart).