Monday, January 26, 2015

Hundreds of protesters in NYC tell TPP negotiators to 'Go home!'

Happening now in Times Square

Hundreds of citizens braved an epic blizzard in New York City today to protest the TPP. They rallied outside of the Times Square hotel where negotiators are holding secret talks and demanded 'No Fast Track.' 

The cold, wet crowd grew so large that New York City police officers moved it across the street as they chanted, whistled, beat drums and waved signs. KrisfromflGeez tweeted, "it's freezing there, brave soldiers."

Toward the end of the spirited rally, demonstrators called U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to tell him to stop fast track. Schumer sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which will hold a hearing on the TPP tomorrow. Then they marched through the snow to Schumer's district office. 

The protest was livestreamed by StopMotionSolo as the mainstream media will probably ignore it. 

Speakers recited the arguments against TPP: It will empower large corporations, undermine food safety, make medicine more expensive and destroy the environment, cost good U.S. jobs and lower wages.

The Raging Grannies led the crowd in song, adapting the lyrics of 'We Shall Not Be Moved.' @PopResistance tweeted: 
"We're fighting for worker justice, we shall not be moved!" #TPP protest to #StopFastTrack in NY. 
Here's the photo: 
"We shall not be moved"
The demonstrators recited the Pledge of Allegiance to underscore another criticism of the TPP: It undermines U.S. sovereignty. Like other so-called 'trade' deals, the TPP gives multinational corporations the right to sue governments if regulations interfere with their profit. 

A Mexican woman who fought against NAFTA 25 years ago reminded the crowd that promises made about such deals don't materialize -- for workers. Before 1994, when NAFTA took effect, Mexico produced and exported corn. Now the Mexican people depend on foreign corn. Family farmers have left the land because it's too expensive to compete against multinational agribusinesses. 

"We fought for five years and we lost," she said. "We were right."  

One speaker, wearing a hardhat and using vivid language, questioned why the TPP is being negotiated in secret. "If the %#$@ TPP is so great, let me see the #$*&^ text," he shouted through a bullhorn. "Let me see the text," chanted the crowd. 

Another chant was aimed right at the negotiators staying in the Sheraton New York Times Square: 
Go home!
Marching to Sen. Schumer's office.


Today's Teamster News 01.26.15

Trade
Why Business And Government Are Quiet About TPP  Dissident Voice   ...Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, who served in the Reagan and Clinton administrations, says that TPP won’t deliver jobs or curb China’s power, the former a fallacy...
Clyde Prestowitz on the Destructive Effects of TPP on American Workers  naked capitalism   …it is clear now, after a long and deep recession, that the economy is not always at full employment and that even if workers find new jobs, the pay is often lower than at their old jobs. Indeed, most of the jobs created in the last year have been in low-wage industries such as retailing and food service...
Currency Fight Hinders Talks on U.S.-Pacific Trade Deal  Wall Street Journal   …Concern that some trade partners are manipulating their currencies to gain an export edge has emerged as a major hurdle to the Obama administration’s efforts to move a Pacific trade agreement through Congress...
War on Workers
Greece Chooses Anti-Austerity Party in Major Shift  New York Times   … Greece rejected the harsh economics of austerity on Sunday and sent a warning to the rest of Europe as the left-wing Syriza party won a decisive victory in national elections...
Davos 2015: overriding pessimism over growing inequality  Guardian   …World leaders have not done enough to ensure economic growth has reduced inequality, Davos hears as fears turn to the impact of geopolitical tensions…
How Companies Like Walmart Are Fighting to Keep Workplace Injuries Secret  Mother Jones   …A new regulation that OSHA is scheduled to finalize this year would change that. OSHA wants to create a public database of workplace injury and illness data from all industries, not just manufacturing. This would help workers, the government, researchers, and journalists identify companies with safety problems. But the trade groups that represent some of America's biggest chains—including Walmart, Target, and McDonald's—are fighting back hard…
Robert Reich on Redefining Full-Time Work, Obamacare, and Employer Benefits  Harvard Business Review   ...we see from the 1970s onward a movement toward where we are right now, and that is more workers who are without benefits coming from their employment contract, whose wages are less a function of collective bargaining than they are a function of the workers’ own individual bargaining leverage, which is extremely small if the worker has no particular educational advantage over any other worker...
Miscellaneous
New York Braces for Blizzard Amid Warnings of Closings and Hazards  New York Times   …Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the storm approaching on Monday was likely to be one of the biggest to ever strike New York City, and he urged people to stay indoors to avoid powerful winds, low visibility and “treacherous” road conditions…

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.25.15

Teamsters
Teamsters approve new commercials contract  Los Angeles Times   …Members of Teamsters Local 399 have approved a new contract, avoiding a strike that would have shut down commercial production in Los Angeles...
Ernie Banks, the Eternally Hopeful Mr. Cub, Dies at 83  New York Times   …Ernie Banks, the greatest power-hitting shortstop of the 20th century and an unconquerable optimist whose sunny disposition never dimmed in 19 seasons with the perennially stumbling Chicago Cubs, died Friday in Chicago. [He was also a Teamster.]...
Trade
The President Vs. TPP: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back  daily kos   …It's pretty simple: you can't advance a progressive agenda, or even one you call "liberal", that claims to want to combat inequality AND go all out to ram through the Trans Pacific Partnership using the odious "Fast track" authority. Here are the contradictions...
STOP TPP, EMERGENCY RALLY: Confront the Negotiators New York City, MONDAY!!!  daily kos   …On Monday, the TPP negotiators are gathering in New York City. A coalition of activists is working to pull off a huge rally, in a short amount of time. MONDAY, NOON, Sheraton Times Square at 7th Ave and 53rd St…
Opinion: TTIP: a taxpayer funded safety net for the super-rich  Liberal Democrat Voice   …Few things are more complicated and opaque than the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade deal being hammered out between the EU and the USA...
TTIP – more “foreign” judges criticising “our” laws?  UK Human Rights Blob   …one part of the concern is that it will confer on investors (think multi-nationals) the right to sue governments for regulatory regimes causing loss of profits to those investors...
State Battles
Wisconsin set to finish fiscal year in $283M hole  Channel 3000   …New nonpartisan projections show Wisconsin is on track to finish the current fiscal year with a larger shortfall than Gov. Scott Walker's administration anticipated...
To Make Up For His Massive Tax Cuts, Kansas Governor Proposes Cutting Schools  ThinkProgress   …Rather than retreat from the massive tax cuts that are crippling his state’s finances, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) wants to cut classroom funding for Kansas schools by $127 million and push pension fund payments off into the future...
War on Workers
The Manufacturing Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs  Alliance for American Manufacturing   …The United States lost 5.7 manufacturing jobs between March 1998 and December 2013...
Serious Ethical Questions Arising From Journalist’s Participation In Koch Event  ThinkProgress   …ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl will moderate a forum featuring three prominent GOP Senators on Sunday at an event hosted by a conservative political organization that has been called “the Koch Brothers’ secret bank.” While the event will be closed to media and the public — though streamed online — ThinkProgress has learned that ABC News will be paying for Karl’s travel and lodging for the Palm Springs, CA event...
Billions in Lost 401(k) Savings, Abusive Brokers Under White House Scrutiny  Blomberg   …One of President Barack Obama’s top economic advisers said abusive trading practices are costing workers billions of dollars in retirement savings each year and called for stricter rules on Wall Street brokers...
What You Can Learn from Oakland's Raw ALPR Data  Electronic Frontier Foundation   …Police cars mounted with automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) wind their way through the streets of Oakland like a “Snake” game on an old cell phone. Instead of eating up pixels of food, these cameras gobble down thousands of license plates each day. And instead of growing a longer tail, ALPRs feed into a giant database of locational data as they conduct surveillance on every driver within the city limits, and sometimes beyond...
The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made (opinion) …The big exception to the tide of inequality in recent years has been Latin America. Progressive governments across the region turned their back on a disastrous economic model, took back resources from corporate control and slashed inequality. The numbers living on less than $2 a day have fallen from 108 million to 53 million in little over a decade...
International Paper worker killed  Press Republican   …A worker at International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill who suffered severe burns Friday morning has died...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.24.15

Trade
The Trans-Pacific Partnership won't deliver jobs or curb China's power (opinion)  Los Angeles Times   ...U.S. leaders promised [previous free-trade] deals would create high-paying jobs, reduce the trade deficit, increase GDP and raise living standards. But none of this came true...
Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal Isn't Secret, Says US Official, But Access To Text Is Highly Restricted  International Business Times   ...[U.S. Trade Representative] Michael From an and Roberto Carvalho de Azev√™do, the director-general of the World Trade Organization, were asked at the World Economic Forum why the TPP is being kept secret by the U.S. at the same time the European Union has just published the full text of a separate proposed trade agreement with the United State….
Bipartisan push to stop currency cheats could derail TPP  Washington Post   …The latest news is that lawmakers will ask for any agreement to include a provision to stop foreign countries from manipulating their currencies at the expense of U.S. manufacturers...
America's Losing the Currency War (opinion)  Bloomberg  … Now the ball is in Japan's court again, and the U.S. is "just sitting here watching, being the one country whose currency is rallying because everyone else is trying to devalue."...
State Battles
Workers fight anti-worker local right-to-work laws in Kentucky  TeamsterNation   ...You can bet it isn't Kentucky workers who are passing right-to-work laws in six counties so far this year. The workers are fighting them...
Republicans vote to end Pay Equity Commission  Fox31 Denver   … Senate Republicans again reminded their Democratic colleagues what it’s like being in the minority as they voted Wednesday afternoon to do away with the Pay Equity Commission, arguing that it’s a feckless body that hasn’t accomplished much. Democrats …are already returning to their oft-used narrative that the GOP is hostile to women by scrapping a body charged with rooting out gender discrimination in the workplace...
AN ACT CONCERNING LARGE RETAIL STORES AND EMPLOYMENT OF WORKERS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON.  Connecticut General Assembly   ...To require retail stores of five thousand square feet or more to close on certain holidays unless employees are given the option not to work holidays without penalty...
Rauner pulls plug on Quinn's last-minute moves  Chicago Tribune   ...Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has pulled the plug on Democratic predecessor Pat Quinn’s attempt to raise the minimum wage for state contractors, require the governor to release more details about his tax returns and stop Illinois State Police from detaining people based on their immigration status...
Prevailing wage emerges as unions' next big battle  CNHI   …The labor movement may be facing another high-stakes fight as sentiment grows to roll back the prevailing wage for workers on public projects. [in Indiana]...
“Right to Work” Is the Wrong Answer for Wisconsin’s Economy  Economic Policy Institute   ...What RTW laws do is to make it illegal for a group of unionized workers to negotiate a contract that requires each employee who enjoys the benefit of the contract to pay his or her share of the costs of negotiating and policing it...
War on Workers
Labor at a Crossroads: In Defense of Members-Only Unionism (opinion)  American Prospect   ...Allowing members-only unions would protect the rights of those who wish to bargain collectively even if they fail to surmount all the legal hurdles necessary to establish the union as the representative of all employees in the workplace. The decision of the United Auto Workers union to engage in members-only bargaining at the VW plant in Chattanooga is a potentially revolutionary experiment with a new approach to union representation...
Why the Energy Selloff Is So Dangerous to the U.S. Economy  Wall Street on Parade   ... Oil-related companies in the U.S. now account for between 35 to 40 percent of all capital spending. Announcements of sharp cutbacks in capital spending and job reductions by these companies create big ripples, forcing related companies to trim their own budgets, revenue assumptions, and payrolls accordingly...
Buying a Nominee  National Journal   ...The coming presidential contest is ushering in an epochal shift: the arrival of candidate-specific nonprofits, personalized vehicles for a politician's supporters to raise and spend unlimited cash—completely clandestinely. It is poised to yield a campaign season more dominated by secret money than any election since Watergate...
Bob Dylan wants billionaire ‘job creators’ to start actually creating some jobs  Raw Story   … “People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it. We don’t see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding with people who have nothing to do, turning to drink and drugs. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure that would create lot of happiness.”...
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan loan officers took cash kickbacks  CNN Money   ...Regulators said more than 100 loan officers at Wells Fargo (WFC) locations in Maryland and Virginia steered thousands of loans to Genuine Title, which went out of business last year, in exchange for cash...
Number of NC workers killed on the job nearly doubled last year  Charlotte News & Observer   ...Forty-four people died in work-related accidents last year, up from 23 in 2013. It was the highest number of worker deaths since 2011, when 53 died, according to the Labor Department...
Worker killed in steel factory accident  Boston Globe   …the worker was struck by a piece of steel as it was swinging on a crane inside the warehouse...
Miscellaneous
Senate Sets Final Vote For Keystone XL After Long, Tense Night Of Amendment Voting  ThinkProgress   ...The Senate was in session until midnight Thursday night, debating and voting on fifteen amendments to a bill that would approve the construction of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. At the end of it all, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed for cloture, a procedural move that effectively sets up a final vote on Keystone for next week...
Federal Court Order: Explosive DOT-111 "Bomb Train" Oil Tank Cars Can Continue to Roll  DeSmogBlog   …A U.S. federal court has ordered a halt in proceedings until May in a case centering around oil-by-rail tankers pitting the Sierra Club and ForestEthics against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As a result, potentially explosive DOT-111 oil tank cars, dubbed “bomb trains” by activists, can continue to roll through towns and cities across the U.S. indefinitely...


Friday, January 23, 2015

Workers fight anti-worker local right-to-work laws in Kentucky


You can bet it isn't Kentucky workers who are passing right-to-work laws in six counties so far this year. The workers are fighting them.

It's an out-of-state lawyer named Brent Yessen who is fronting for billionaires and CEOs who want to ship more jobs out of the country to cut workers' wages. The corporate dating service for state lawmakers known as ALEC is also pushing the local right-to-work laws.

Their strategy is to bypass the Legislature, which is unlikely to pass a statewide right-to-work law. Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, explains:
“This past election cycle, working Kentuckians rejected corporations’ bad faith attempt to take over the state legislature and poison their policies. Now these same out-of-state corporate interests want to take over our county governments by pushing a radical outside agenda. These illegal ordinances will affect all workers, union and non-union. They will decrease wages, lower median household income, increase poverty, and undermine workplace safety.”
In the fall of 2014, Republican candidates for the state House of Representatives promised to pass a right-to-work law if they gained control of the Legislature. The Democrats held their 54-46 edge in the House.

And so Yessen's out-of-state group, called 'Protect My Paycheck,' are claiming a home-rule ordinance allows the counties to pass right-to-work laws.

Right to work has nothing to do with protecting workers' paychecks. They are an attack on unions and workers' right to collectively bargain. They are devious, controversial and confusing. The name 'right to work' was chosen to make such laws seem like something other than what they really are.

Right-to-work laws actually allow government interference with businesses' right to bargain collectively with its workers. They force unions to represent workers who don't pay fees to support the contract they benefit from.

That's the point of right-to-work laws: To drain union resources and allow outside groups like the Koch brothers (or 'Protect My Paycheck') to meddle in union workplaces.

Unfortunately for the anti-worker 'Protect My Paycheck' group, Kentucky's attorney general says the county right-to-work laws are illegal. Earlier this month, nine unions filed suit against the law in one county. According to Reuters,
Nine labor unions filed suit in a Kentucky federal court late on Wednesday to stop a county from enacting right-to-work legislation they say violates the National Labor Relations Act... 
The lawsuit only covers Hardin County, but plaintiffs' attorney Irwin Cutler said the suit could expand to cover challenges to laws passed in Warren, Simpson, Fulton and Todd counties.
And according to the Kentucky State AFL-CIO,
The plaintiffs in the suit are United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local 3047, Elizabethtown; UAW, Detroit; International Chemical Workers Union Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Akron, Ohio; UFCW Local 970C, Cecelia; UFCW Local 227, Louisville; General Drivers, Warehousemen and Helpers (Teamsters) Local 89, Louisville; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 369, Louisville; International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers-Communications Workers of America, The Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, Dayton, Ohio; IUE-CWA, Industrial Division, CWA Local 83766, Elizabethtown. 



Today's Teamster News 01.23.15

Teamsters
Teamsters' Hoffa urges Congress to back Keystone bill  Fox News   …Teamsters boss James Hoffa, in an interview with Fox News, urged Congress to pass a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline and claimed the push is "gaining momentum."...
Michigan Steelworkers Vote to Join Teamsters  teamster.org   …Workers at TCT Stainless Steel in Sterling Heights, Mich. recently voted to join Teamsters Local 283 in Wyandotte, Mich. There are 17 workers in the new bargaining unit and the vote count was 12-5 for Teamster representation…
Key West, Workers Union To Ratify Contract  Keynoter   ...The Key West City Commission will consider a new collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 769 at the commission's meeting at Old City Hall Wednesday evening. The union, which represents about 200 city employees, includes administrative assistants, bus drivers and maintenance workers...
Trade
U.S. senator says wants to introduce fast-track trade bill by end January  Reuters   ...He said the aim was to move the bill out of the committee stage by the end of February, which could suggest a vote in March...
Trans Pacific Partnership: Obama Ready To Defy Democrats To Push Secretive Trade Deal  The Guardian   ...The TPP is one of the largest international trade agreements the US will sign, yet most of it is mired in secrecy. Congress won’t have access to the TPP before it is signed, and the terms won’t be publicly disclosed – ironic since the negotiations include 600 corporate advisers, including representatives of Halliburton and Caterpillar...
Will Democrats Spoil Obama's Trade Initiatives?  The Atlantic   …"We will do what we can in the Senate to defeat this unfortunate proposal," declared Bernie Sanders, the Vermont liberal who is considering a long-shot bid for the presidency. American workers, he said, should not "have to compete against people in Vietnam who have a minimum wage of 56 cents an hour."…
State Battles
Right To Work Pro, Con Marshal Forces  Albuquerque Journal   ...Union leaders Jon Hendry of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and Carter Bundy of the AFSCME say passing right-to-work legislation would bring low-wage jobs. They say it’s a political argument and that supporters are trying to undermine the ability of unions to represent workers at all levels...
Minimum wage hike for NM now has bipartisan support  Albuquerque Business First   …Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque), who is the Majority Floor Leader of the New Mexico House of Representatives, said Republicans support raising the statewide minimum wage — just not to the same level as Democrats...
Bill Would Raise Montana's Minimum Wage To $10.10  Helena Independent Record   ...Minimum wage workers in Montana would receive about a 25 percent increase in hourly pay under legislation proposed in the Senate. Democratic Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder called Senate Bill 2 an economic development measure as he introduced it in the Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs Committee on Wednesday...
Newly-inaugurated Governor Tom Wolf pushes for increased minimum wage in PA  The Daily Pennsylvanian   …Wolf advocated for Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to increase from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour. In addition, the minimum wage would be indexed to inflation...
Roads, Pensions, Oh My: Sam Brownback’s Kansas Endures Another Day Of Woeful Budget News (opinion)  Kansas City Star   ...Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget plan is just a few days old, but Kansas legislators on Tuesday already were hearing just how bad things could get in the next few years. In other words, it was just another normal day of money woes in the financially strapped Sunflower State...
Some N.D. Dairy Farmers Want To Follow S.D.'s Lead And Allow Corporate Operators Into State  Grand Forks Herald   ...Some producers say they would like to follow South Dakota’s lead to allow corporate farming in an effort to lure more dairy operators into the state...
S.C. Gov. Haley Lambastes Unions, Organizing Efforts At Boeing In State Address  Seattle Times   ...Gov. Nikki Haley used part of her State of the State address Wednesday to promote South Carolina’s anti-union reputation and try to kill efforts to unionize Boeing’s North Charleston plant...
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder: Repealing prevailing wage could hurt skilled trades  Michigan Live   …As for Republican legislative proposals to repeal prevailing wage, Snyder said repealing prevailing wage could have an adverse impact on the skilled trades...
War on Workers
Tracking Inequality in America  Wall Street Journal   …People in every age group under 65 have a net worth that’s significantly lower now than it was in 1989…. Households led by people age 35-44 saw the biggest drop, down 54%, with rising mortgage debt largely to blame. In 1989, these families had a median mortgage of $72,000 against a median home value of $145,000. By 2013, the home value for this age group was somewhat higher at $170,000, but the size of mortgages had nearly doubled to $140,000...
Unions Warn About One Man Per Train  North Platte Bulletin   ...Thanks to the joint opposition of the United Transportation Union and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (a labor negotiating committee) has dropped its insistence on single person crews in current bargaining...
Senate Democrats Stand Up For Speedier Union Elections  Huffington Post   …Democratic support in the upper chamber could be critical in avoiding a future budget bill rider that would block the reforms, should Republicans try to go that route...
Worker killed in accident at White Meadows Farms  Niagara This Week   …Niagara Regional Police media officer Const. Rich Gadreau said the investigation revealed a 36-year-old man was fatally injured when he was struck by a moving concrete block...
Mine worker killed in Missouri accident  KTVI   …The worker was reportedly removing loose rock when some loose material fell and struck the cab of his equipment...
Power Worker Killed By Tree On GA 400  WSB   ...Authorities tell Channel 2 Action News the tree fell on a Sawnee EMC employee along Georgia 400 on the south side of the county...
Miscellaneous
Keystone XL Pipeline Files For Eminent Domain In Nebraska  KNOP   ...This action was required within two years of TransCanada receiving its January 2013 approval in Nebraska. That time period expires on January 22, 2015. An agreement without Eminent Domain can still be reached if TransCanada and land owners can negotiate voluntary easement agreements...
The Only Problem With the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made  Slate   …American Giant designs and manufactures its clothes in the United States, yet the firm has found a way to keep its quality high and its prices comparable to those of other high-end retailers...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.22.15

Teamsters
Hunts Point Teamsters Vote To Ratify Contract, Call For City Investment  teamster.org   … Workers at Hunts Point Market voted to approve a new, three-year contract today, with 97 percent of workers voting "yes." The 1,300 workers, members of Teamsters Local 202, will receive significant wage increases in each year of the contract...
Teamsters' Partnership Trains Veterans For CDLs  teamster.org   …The Teamsters, the U.S. Army and ABF Freight formally entered into a partnership today which provides for commercial driver's license training for military personnel that are transitioning to civilian life...
Effingham County Quickly Reaches Contract With Union  Effingham Daily News   ...After the Effingham County Board approved a new contract with the Teamsters Union on Tuesday, board Chairman Jim Niemann announced that negotiations with both the Teamsters, which represents Highway Department employees, and the Laborers, who represent county employees in a variety of departments, lasted less than an hour each...
NRMCA Names New Jersey Man 2015 Driver Of The Year  NRMCA   ...[Edward] Rieper, whose home plant is located in Bogota, N.J., was honored for his career achievements, outstanding safety record, professionalism, driving competency and customer service skills. He has worked for Eastern Concrete Materials for more than 29 years, and is a proud member of Teamsters Local 560. “I am very proud of Eddie’s accomplishments,” says Teamsters Local 560 President, Tony Valdner. “It is a testament to the professionalism at Eastern Concrete and their drivers as a whole.”...
Trade
Democrats to fight Obama on secret trade deal authorization  RT   …Congress knows little about the specifics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP) trade deal between 12 Asia-Pacific countries, but President Obama used his State of the Union speech to push Congress to support a fast-track vote on the deal...
Troubled TTIP Isn't The Only 'Trade' Takeover Busting Our Sovereignty (opinion)  Common Dreams   ...Even as controversial 'trade' deal, TTIP, sputters, other deals to give corporations as much power as countries are being negotiated even more secretively....
Report Says TTIP Would Undermine Toxic Pesticide Regulations  Manufacturing.net   ...Many Europeans have voiced  concerns that the new agreement will lower the EU’s standards for environmental and food safety, and a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) takes aim at just that — saying that proposals for TTIP could translate into more pesticides making their way into EU food markets...
State Battles
DAVID ROSMAN: Right to work is not right for Missouri (opinion)  Missourian   …As of Jan. 18, more than a half-dozen proposed laws and two state House joint resolutions have been filed concerning the limitations of organizing labor unions. There will be more shortly. All are wrong for the conduct of business in Missouri...
Missouri businesses seek to curb cities’ powers on minimum wage, discrimination  The Kansas City Star   …The chamber is focused on a three-pronged agenda. It wants to ban local governments from implementing discrimination laws that are stricter than the state’s. It wants to prohibit cities from boosting their minimum wage. And it wants to ban cities from mandating benefits such as vacation or sick leave...
Opposition to ‘Right to Work’ measure grows, debate not likely before April elections  Wisconsin Gazette   …A group of business leaders opposed to making Wisconsin a so-called right-to-work state announced 50 new members this week...
Should West Virginia Repeal the Prevailing Wage?  West Virginia Public Broadcasting   …President of the West Virginia AFL-CIO Kenny Perdue disagreed with Cole's position, saying a repeal of the wage could bring in out-of-state contractors and developers with their own workforce at lower wages forcing West Virginians out of their jobs...
[Gov. Susana] Martinez supports right-to-work legislation  Associated Press   …opponents say such measures are an attack on unions and won’t create jobs or save the state any money...
Michigan Supreme Court Hears Challenge to States Right to Work Law  The National Law Review   …in UAW v. Green, Case No. 147700 ... the United Autoworkers (UAW) filed to challenge the application of Michigan’s Right to Work law to 35,000 State employees. The UAW has been arguing that Michigan’s Right to Work law does not apply to state employees who are under the jurisdiction of and whose wages are set by the Michigan Civil Service Commission...
State Ed Department: Brownback’s Budget Cuts $127.4 Million From Schools  Wichita Eagle   ...Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget represents about a $127.4 million cut in schools’ regular K-12 operating funds from this fiscal year to next year, according to a report released Tuesday by the state Department of Education...
Rick Scott's FDLE Scandal Blows Open, Demands Probe (opinion)   ...For those who missed it, the former head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — 35-year-veteran Gerald Bailey — has started spilling the beans. Bailey portrays Scott and his staff as a group of unethical, hard-core politicos who would go to great lengths — willing even to fabricate a criminal investigation — to get themselves out of a jam...
War on Workers
DeFazio Pledges To Push Back Against Mexico Truck Program  The Trucker   ...The ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has made it known he is not comfortable with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s decision to open the United States border to Mexican-domiciled trucking companies...
How The Trucking Industry Could Be Vastly More Efficient  Citylab   ...Meet Transfix, a start-up that fashions itself "Uber for trucks."...
Wireless device in two million cars wide open to hacking  ars technica   …An electronic dongle used to connect to the onboard diagnostic systems of more than two million cars and trucks contains few defenses against hacking, an omission that makes them vulnerable to wireless attacks that take control of a vehicle, according to published reports. US-based Progressive Insurance said it has used the SnapShot device in more than two million vehicles since 2008. The dongle tracks users' driving to help determine if they qualify for lower rates…
Five Years On, Citizens United Is Worse Than Anyone Imagined (opinion)  St. Louis Post-Dispatch   ...A hundred years from now, after it’s been reversed, Citizens United will be regarded, with Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson, as one of the most anti-democratic decisions the court ever made...
Help wanted: Fast food cashier, $15 an hour  ScienceDaily   …Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) have released a working paper verifying the ability of American fast food restaurants to more than double the minimum wage of their lowest paid workers to $15 an hour over a four-year period without causing the widespread employment losses and decline in profits often cited by critics of such increases...
Construction worker killed while directing traffic on Cahaba River Road  Alabama's 13   …[Chance Richard] Rollan was directing traffic in the back of the construction site on Cahaba River Road when he was struck from behind by a vehicle.  According to Lt. Edwards the vehicle was driven by a 23-year-old female. She told investigators at the scene that she was leaning over to pick up her coffee when she veered off the road and struck Rollan...
Construction worker dies after fall down Manhattan elevator shaft  New York Daily News   …Frank Dragotta, 61 of Morganville, N.J., fell one story from the second floor inside the W. 70th St. building near Columbus Ave. at about 8:45 a.m...
Miscellaneous
4 GOP Hopefuls Expected To Attend Koch Event  Politico   ...Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin received coveted invitations to speak to the vaunted network assembled by the billionaire industrialist megadonors Charles and David Koch, the sources said...