Saturday, December 31, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.31.11

Verizon Drops Plan for New $2 Fee  Wall Street Journal   ...The reversal, just a day after the new $2 charge became public, followed a barrage of customer complaints and the scrutiny of federal regulators...
Occupy Beijing?  The Diplomat   ...Rapid economic growth hasn’t been able to stem the rising tide of discontent in China. Even as the economy has soared, the number of protests has jumped. So what’s really wrong?...
2011, the year of the recall  Los Angeles Times   ...the most obvious sign of political activism has been the unprecedented use of recall elections ... In 2011, at least 150 elected officials in 17 states faced recall votes...
Occupy's Rose Parade float: 70-foot octopus of corporate greed  Los Angeles Times   ...Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags. The octopus ... represents Wall Street's stranglehold on political, cultural and social life, with tentacles "that reach into your pocket to get your money and a tentacle to get your house."...
Dems balk at new Statehouse visit rules  WISH-TV   ...New rules limiting the number of people who can gather inside the Indiana Statehouse will go into effect next week, and that has Democratic officials crying foul...
Has America’s Stolen Election Process Finally Hit Prime Time?  Fraudbuster Bob   ...The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that the 25 laws passed in these 14 states could prevent as many as 5 million voters from voting, a number easily exceeding the margin of victory in numerous presidential elections...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Resolutions, 1942

"Wake up and fight" is our favorite of the 33 resolutions Guthrie wrote when he was 32 years old.

If you can't read them, you can see a clearer version here. They include take bath, shine shoes, read lots good books, shave, write a song a day, make up your mind, save dough, dream good  ... and help win war -- beat fascism.

And while we're at it, here's a photo gallery of Guthrie roaming the streets of New York City. 

Today's Teamster News 12.30.11

Darker Nights as Some Cities Turn Off the Lights  New York Times   ...Cities around the nation, grappling with what is expected to be a fifth consecutive year of declining revenues and having exhausted the predictable budget trims, are increasingly considering something that would once have been untouchable: the lights...
Egypt Raids Offices of Nonprofits, 3 Backed by U.S.  New York Times   ...The raids are the latest and most forceful effort yet by the country’s ruling generals to crack down on perceived sources of criticism amid rising calls from Egyptian politicians and protesters and some Western leaders for the military to hand over power to a civilian government...
An Uproar on the Web Over $2 Fee by Verizon  New York Times   ...The $2 monthly fee, which takes effect Jan. 15, will apply to people who make one-time credit or debit card payments on the phone or online...
Tournament of Roses to Occupiers: You Can't March in Our Parade  CNS News   ...Although the group is not part of the parade, its Web site OccupytheRoseParade.org says, “Float #44/#99 will be our float with visual displays including a 250 foot ‘We the People’ U.S. Constitution, a 50 foot ‘We The Corporations’ version, a giant ‘Goldie Sachs’ Wheel of Fortune exhibit, a Wall Street ‘Occupy The Octopus’ (Occupy The Vampire Squid) representing Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citibank...
Indiana State Sen. Jim Tomes (R) Comes Out Against Mitch Daniels' Right-to-Work Agenda  Crooks and Liars   ...an Indiana Republican is challenging the governor's anti-union agenda. State Sen. Jim Tomes broke ranks with his party and penned a letter to the Evansville Courier & Press telling the truth about the law and the Republican agenda...
Violence at Merced County Jail prompts call for action  KFSN   ...Merced County (Teamsters) correctional officers say understaffing at the Merced County jail is putting officers and the public's safety at risk. Now they're asking for a special hearing on the issue...
Teamsters mechanics at United Airlines OK contract, pave way for deal with Continental workers  Associated Press   ...The union said the deal with United includes wage increases, continued health care benefits and improved job-security protection. Workers also got an $11,500 signing bonus and regained items that were lost when United went through a bankruptcy reorganization in the last decade...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in GA

Please give a warm welcome to our 38 new Teamster brothers and sisters at Republic Waste in McDonough, Ga. They voted 24-14 to join Local 728 in Atlanta after a hard-fought campaign.

Renard Henley, a driver for the automatic silos, said there's a lot of frustration among the bargaining unit. Their pay was $175 a week before the company merged. Said Henley,
They came back and cut it and said $160 is better than what we were getting. They piled more work on us, If you didn’t have 358 stops, they took the helper off ...You got a lot of people after three years their body has broken down.
 Henley is hoping the Teamsters will bring him peace of mind.
We deal with a lot of intimidation on thejob. If you complain about anything, the first they tell you is there’s the door if you don’t like it. We didn’t need to hear that. We’ve got a family just like they do. They made sure that we were afraid of them. 
Local 728 won seven -- count 'em, seven -- National Labor Relations Board elections this year, including two at Republic. Said Local 728 President Randy Brown,
This is a great victory for our union. It adds another unit to an existing group of Republic workers in the Atlanta area. It goes to show, yet again, that we can organize waste workers in the South.
Props to Local 728, and welcome to our new brothers and sisters.

99% Choir forecloses on Bank of America (video)



Guess we weren't feeling very inspired on Wednesday, because we forgot to post a music video. We'll try to make up for it today with a hilarious video of the 99% Choir, made up of the Seattle Labor Chorus, the Backbone Campaign and the Washington Community Action Network. The choir sang carols in the Seattle Bank of America lobby, then staged a mock foreclosure of the bank.

For those who ask "What are they trying to accomplish?" we will argue that actions like these keep the community's focus where it belongs -- on the unprosecuted criminality of banks. Not on government workers, not on unions, not on poor people, not on Occupy Wall Street campers, not on any of the usual phony culprits that Fox News likes to blame for the middle class's struggles.

Here's a quick primer on some of the fraud -- criminal fraud -- banks have engaged in to foreclose on peoples' homes.

Today's Teamster News 12.29.11

Lure of Chinese Tuition Squeezes Out Asian-American Students  Bloomberg   ...The University of California system, rocked by budget cuts, is enrolling record numbers of out-of-state and international students, who pay almost twice that of in-state residents... JPMorgan’s Swaps Occupying Cassino Prove Curse Like World War II
Bloomberg    ...Soaring costs forced Cassino, 80 miles southeast of Rome, to settle an interest-rate swap with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2009, leaving the town unable to pay for daycare for 60 infants and services for the poor...
Next up for sale in Florida: the naming rights to public school cafeterias?  Tampa Bay Times   ...Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, the same lawmaker who proposed naming rights for state trails and advertising on the sides of school buses, has another money-making idea up his sleeve.  Naming rights for public school cafeterias...
Corporate interests fuel group’s desire to shape Va. legislation, critics say  Washington Post   ...“The American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive organization funded by big corporations, has been writing bills that Virginia legislators are passing off as their own work on everything from education to health care to voting rights,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA...
Morton Marcus: Slow and slower income growth for Hoosiers  Howey Politics Indiana   ...What Indiana needs is not just jobs. If we are to see our general welfare improve, we require higher paying jobs to generate more income...
Merced County Jail violence prompts call for action  Merced County Sun-Star   ...After a violent outbreak Monday at the Merced County Jail left one inmate with several stab wounds, the Teamsters Law Enforcement League called on the Board of Supervisors to hold a hearing on jail staffing...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.28.11

Homeowner wins $21MILLION payout from mortgage firm in dispute over credit rating  Daily Mail   ...U.S. Army sergeant David Brash has won more than $21million in damages from PHH Mortgage after it falsely claimed he defaulted on his loan...
House prices fell to new post-bubble lows in October  Calculated Risk   ...these indexes will hit new lows in the next few months since prices are falling again...
Jed S. Rakoff: Federal District Judge Of New York's Southern District (The Inspirationals)  Huffington Post   ...it is a measure of how timid our politics have become that this federal judge is widely viewed as the only man in government with the cojones to take on the banking corporations that nearly destroyed the American economy in 2008 and that seem, for the most part, unrepentant...
LETTER: Poverty rises in right-to-work states  The Republic   ...seven of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rate are right-to-work states...
Four inmates escape cell, stab man, officials say  Merced Sun-Star   ...Several Norteño gang members broke free of their cell and attacked an inmate worker Monday night at the Merced County Jail, officials said, an ordeal that some think is a result of lowered staffing at the jail...
Oscar Makers in Chicago Ratify New Contract  Local 743   ...Fifty Teamsters with R.S. Owens & Company in Chicago voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first new contract in four years. The three-year agreement includes the workers' first new wage increases since 2006...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.27.11

Program to Give Access to NAFTA Trucks Violates the Law  Eyes on Trade   ...Public Citizen, the Teamsters, and the Sierra Club filed an opening brief earlier this week on our lawsuit to stop the Obama administration's illegal program to allow unsafe Mexico-domiciled trucks to travel throughout the United States...
The Big Lie (opinion)  The Daily Beast   ...the convulsion to come won’t really be about Wall Street’s derivatives malefactions, or its subprime fun and games, or rogue trading, or the folly of banks. It will be about this society’s final opportunity to rip away the paralyzing shackles of corruption or else dwell forever in a neofeudal social order...
Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents  Washington Post   ...Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled ... from $280,000 to $725,000...Over the same period, the wealth of an American family has declined slightly...
Falling home values mean budget crunches for cities  Washington Post   ...Because of the time it often takes for property assessments to reflect falling home values, the bust that began in 2007 has just begun to ravage tax revenues in communities from coast to coast. The problem is unlikely to subside soon....
93-Year-Old Tennessee Woman Who Cleaned State Capitol For 30 Years Denied Voter ID  Think Progress   ...A 93-year-old Tennessee woman ... says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that her old state ID failed to meet new voter ID regulations...
Pimps for Private Prisons and Profit  Blogfor Arizona   ...the long-awaited cost-benefit analysis that the Department of Corrections is required to do by law, but has never done until now, has been released. According to the DOC, private prisons are comparable in cost and quality to state run prisons...The DOC has decided to cancel bids to build 5,000 private prison beds in Arizona...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.26.11

IMF's Lagarde warns global economy threatened  Reuters   ...Emerging countries, which had been growth engines for the world economy before the crisis, have also been affected, said Lagarde, citing China, Brazil and Russia...
1% Super Rich Form a Non-Profit To Advocate For Themselves  Economic Populist   ...they have formed an organization, the Job Creators Alliance, to run public relations against us imbeciles who point out they are greedy bastards and to shape the national agenda...
Banks still waiting on most Dodd-Frank rules  Washington Post   ...A year and a half has gone by since the Dodd-Frank financial reform act was signed into law, but barely a quarter of the rules in the legislation have been finalized, though federal regulators are rolling out key components of the bill...
Mentally ill flood ER as states cut services  Reuters   ...Across the country, doctors like Sullivan are facing a spike in psychiatric emergencies - attempted suicide, severe depression, psychosis - as states slash mental health services and the country's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression takes its toll...
'Right to Work Is a Cancerous Ideology'  LA Progressive   ...right to work laws are designed to weaken large unions, destroy small unions, and keep unorganized workers from unionizing...
Walker's travel called into question  Wisconsin State Journal   ...almost half of the $5.1 million he raised since July came from beyond the state's borders...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.25.11

A tale of two systems  Remapping Debate   ...In 2010, over 5.5 million cars were produced in Germany, twice the 2.7 million built in the United States. Average compensation (a figure including wages and employer-paid benefits) for autoworkers in Germany was 48.97 Euros per hour ($67.14 US), while compensation for auto work in the United States averaged $33.77 per hour, or about half as much as in Germany... Archbishop of York attacks bankers' 'massive bonuses'  The Telegraph   ...The Archbishop of York has criticised the growing divide between high and low earners and asked whether it is right that bankers "who helped cause the economic crisis" should "rake in massive bonuses"...
What Does it Take to Shut Down an Unsafe Trucking Company?  Digital Journal   ...the traveling public may be wondering how a person convicted of felony crimes involving operation of an unsafe trucking company can be licensed to start up another trucking business. And why it took two years worth of safety violations before the business was ordered to shut down...
Fair Trade Proving Anything But in $6B Market  Bloomberg   ...The push to increase sales of goods deemed to be free of child labor and other practices has divided the movement, raised questions of whether going mainstream will undermine the cooperative farmers it was created to help and, most of all, strained the integrity of the certification systems that vouch for the fair-trade stamps that allow companies to charge consumers more...
Vast Rally in Moscow Is a Challenge to Putin’s Power  New York Times   ... people poured all afternoon into a canyon created by vast government buildings, and the police put the crowd at 30,000, more than they reported on Dec. 10...
Indiana’s Republican Chief Election Officer Charged With Voter Fraud  PoliticsUSA   ...in the flagship state for Republican Voter ID laws, Indiana’s Republican Sec. of State and chief election officer Charlie White was ordered to be removed from office after an Indiana judge ruled that he was ineligible for the office. White is also being charged in a separate matter with seven criminal felony charges, including three counts of “voter fraud” and charges of theft and perjury...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.24.11

The Big Lie Grows (explainer)  informingthe99percent   ...Fannie and Freddie got into the game at some point -- but it was a game that had been invented by Wall Street years earlier...
Chart of the Day: International Manufacturing Compensation Costs Compared  Credit Writedowns   ...Great data from the BLS comparing hourly compensation for manufacturing...
Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves  USA Today   ...Registered Democrats still dominate the political playing field with more than 42 million voters, compared to 30 million Republicans and 24 million independents. But Democrats have lost the most — 1.7 million, or 3.9%, from 2008...
Justice Department blocks South Carolina's voter identification law  The Hill   ...Eight states have passed similar laws in recent months: Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Tennessee...
'Right to work' will hurt every Hoosier in the workplace (opinion)  South Bend Tribune   ...there is nothing simple or innocent about a proposal with a documented history of cutting pay for workers, reducing the benefits they earn to support their families and reducing safety in the places where they work...
Teamsters’ 3-year pact has 3% hikes  Buffalo News   ...Elma town employees who belong to the Teamsters will get a 3 percent salary increase in each of the next three years and an increased clothing allowance, under a contract ratified this week by the Town Board... 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.23.11

Boehner Signs On to U.S. Payroll Tax Deal  Bloomberg   ...The deal also averts an end to emergency unemployment benefits set to expire on Dec. 31 and assures doctors their Medicare reimbursement rates won’t be reduced starting in January...
Retailers Are Slashing Prices Ahead of Holiday  New York Times   ...While scattered markdowns are standard every year, discounts across entire stores — which analysts say are more widespread than last year — suggest merchants are stuck with too much merchandise...
Occupy Fort Lauderdales Saves Bein-Aime Family From Eviction  Huffington Post   ...The Bien-Aime family of seven have been fighting with Wells Fargo bank, who they say are refusing to accept payments. Occupy Fort Lauderdale protestors set up a protest outside family's Coconut Creek home on Monday and received confirmation later that day that the eviction had been postponed...
Cities that broke up Occupy camps now face lawsuits over free speech, use of force  Associated Press   ...Most major Occupy encampments have been dispersed, but they live on in a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities’ mass arrests and use of force to break up tent cities...
Gov. Walker dominates the air waves early in push to burnish his image  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...At the outset of Wisconsin’s historic recall fight, GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his allies are outspending the other side on television by a margin of roughly 4-to-1, an advantage he’s expected to maintain in the weeks ahead...
Greensburg holds taxes steady, OKs union pacts  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review   ...The Teamsters' contract calls for annual average raises of 3 percent for the first, fourth and fifth years of the agreement, and 2.5 percent for the second and third years... 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New HOS rule keeps 11-hour limit

This just in: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the long-awaited final rule on hours of service for commercial drivers. Here's the Journal of Commerce on the rule:
Federal safety regulators issued tougher new hours of service regulations for truck drivers on Thursday, maintaining the 11-hour daily limit that shippers and carriers says is central to U.S. domestic supply chains but also creating tighter requirements for rest periods and total weekly time on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not reduce the daily limit to 10 hours or less as logistics industry executives had feared, but the rule requires a 30-minute rest after eight consecutive hours of driving and it cuts the weekly total hours from the current 82 hours to 70.
The changes, the first in the core regulation covering truck driver fatigue since 2003, are the less dramatic than the original regulation the FMCSA had outlined in a preliminary notice. But it also redraws the so-called “34-hour restart” provision that resets driver work clocks to require rest periods at specific times and to reduce the overall work week.
Here's the Teamsters' official response from General President Jim Hoffa:
We said all along that an hours of service rule has to protect highway safety and our truck drivers’ health. We are reviewing the new rule, and in the coming weeks we will meet and discuss it with our allies and, if necessary, determine our next course of action.

How Sotheby's Stole Christmas (video)



Sign the petition here.

Sotheby's Teamsters to lose health insurance in 9 days

Dave Martinez. The patch says "Occupy Wall Street United We Stand"

Our 42 brothers at Sotheby's lose their health care on Jan. 1 because of those charming people who make hundreds of millions of dollars selling things to the 1 percent.

The New York Observer reports "Sotheby's Is Killing Christmas."
Sotheby’s has yet to let its locked-out workers back in after more than four months off the job due to disagreements over their union contract. So now the workers of the Local 814, the Teamsters union that includes art handlers at Sotheby’s high-end auctionhouse, have launched an email campaign comparing Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht to Scrooge and claiming the Teamsters have no money to care for their Tiny Tims. The catalyst? The locked-out workers are on the verge of losing their health insurance.
Publicity like this pressures Sotheby's to do the right thing. So does an online petition, if it generates thousands of signatures. Add yours to the petition here.

Diana Taylor adds insult to injury by serving on the board of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Taylor is a Sotheby's director and girlfriend of Mayor "I have the seventh biggest army in the world" Bloomberg.

Dave Martinez, Sotheby's shop steward, explained why that is such an insult at a gathering of Occupy Wall Street during the Netroots New York confab last weekend.
The Mailman School is committed to principles of social justice and the promotion of health as a fundamental right of all human beings.
Could Diana Taylor be any more clueless? Could Sotheby's be any more heartless?

Patriotic millionaires made this video



Watch.

Today's Teamster News 12.22.11

“We Own Wall Street”  Slate   ...How small shareholders, pension funds, and mutual funds can stop corporate America’s worst behavior and ignite a political movement...
The eurozone crisis is not about market discipline  al-Jazeera   ...The crisis should be recognised for what it really is: a class war waged on workers in Europe...
At Wal-Mart a Microcosm of U.S. Inequalities: Jeffrey Goldberg  Bloomberg   ...I’ve never heard even the faintest suggestion that she has taken an interest in the lives of the people who work at her father’s stores...
Union: Show proof of missed jobs  NWI Times   ...The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 is calling for Indiana Republican leaders who support right-to-work to show and prove claims that the state is missing job opportunities as a result of not having the law...
‘Recall The KochSucker Now’ – Walker, A Motel And Free Speech  Addicting Info   ...“There have been some vocal critics (of the sign), but also, there has been overwhelming support,” said Marcie Dachik, co-owner of the Four Winds Motel...
Teamster's pension fund sues HRH Construction, others  The Real Deal New York  ...The trustees of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 282 pension fund filed a complaint Dec. 10 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in White Plains claiming HRH used shell corporations to avoid making payments they say are required through industry-wide collective bargaining agreements...
Hostess filing in mix?  Ch. 11 filing seen?  New York Post   ...The tipping point: Hostess maintains it cannot afford to stay current on its $700 million in outstanding loans and keep contributing to the unions’ pension plans, sources said...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sign here to help Sotheby's Teamsters

Our brothers at Sotheby's will be out of work for five months by the end of December. On Jan. 1, they'll lose their health care benefits.

It's hard to fathom the callousness of a company that spends $2.4 million on union-busters so it can keep 42 hardworking art handlers out on the street. Even harder to understand how the shareholders would approve a $3 million raise for CEO Bill Ruprecht.

The photo above shows our brother Luis Baucage and his 5-month-old son. We don't think that little guy did anything to deserve the lump of coal he's getting Jan. 1 from Sotheby's. His dad and the 41 other art handlers from Local 814 are simmply standing together against a vindictive company that's trying to cut their pay and benefits while slowly dissolving the union. Just because Bill Ruprecht thinks he can get away with it.

A torrent of signatures telling Sotheby's to end the lockout will pressure them to do the right thing. Sign the petition here to help Teamster art handlers get their jobs back at good wages and benefits.

MA Teamsters strike against CertainTeed

He's in Norwood, Mass., today
Whoa. It's a tough time to go on strike, but at least 90 of our Teamster brothers from Local 25 are out for the third day. The company, CertainTeed Saint-Gobain in Norwood, Mass.

The company said it made a fair offer (don't they always). Local 25 President Sean O'Brien said it was like getting coal in your stocking.

The Boston Globe reports,
“No one wants to strike in this economy - especially during the holiday season – but CertainTeed gave us no choice,” (O'Brien) said in a statement.
Members have continued to form a picket line since late Monday afternoon and plan to continue through December and into January unless CertainTeed agrees to negotiations.
"We’ll strike through the holidays and into the new year if that is what it takes to get CertainTeed to return to the negotiating table," O'Brien said.
CertainTeed, a roofing materials and shingles manufacturer headquartered in Valley Forge, Penn. has more than 7,000 employees nationwide. Teamsters Local 25 represents 11,000 members residing throughout Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Solidarity, brothers.

Inspiration Wednesday: 'Go, Tell It On The Mountain'



Thanks to our Teamster brother @JimNichols for bringing this and other terrific songs about the struggle for justice to our attention. If you have any you'd like to share on Twitter, use the #SongsISangAtWorkToday. This one comes from Ray Beckerman's youtube playlist, well worth checking out.

"Go, Tell It On the Mountain" started out as an African-American spiritual, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., in 1865. Peter, Paul and Mary adapted it in the '60s as a civil rights song. In its original version it's considered a Christmas carol.

(UPDATE: Oops! Wrong title in the headline.)

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in IL

A warm welcome to our 136 new brothers and sisters who drive for Megabus in Chicago.  Technically, it wasn't an organizing victory because they joined Teamsters Local 777 through card check, with 85 percent signing cards.

Megabus is a low-cost express bus service between major cities in the U.S. and Canada. It's owned by U.K.-based Stagecoach Group.

The drivers narrowly lost a vote to join the Teamsters last year in an election. According to Local 777,
The drivers had to wait a year before they could organize again and they were determined to gain Teamster representation.
The Megabus drivers got the campaign going again and the company saw that everyone wanted a union, so they said, ‘Let’s do card check,’” said Jim Glimco, President of Teamsters Local 777 in Lyons. “These workers do a great job and we’re happy to represent them.”
(Btw, California Teamsters at Alta Dena Dairy just signed their first contract after organizing in September through card check. The company had been non-union for 60 years.)
Megabus driver Henry Harris said he's happy they can now have a voice and representation with the company. His colleague Isaac Jones said they need better wages and benefits:
I was a union member before at another job, and I’m happy to be a union member again.
Teamsters Joint Council 25 President John T. Coli congratulated the hardworking Megabus drivers. Now, he said, they'll be able to improve their working conditions by negotiating a strong Teamster contract.

Today's Teamster News 12.21.11

3 Million Could Lose Jobless Pay in Impasse  New York Times   ...Jobless benefits have been overshadowed by debate on a payroll tax cut, but have become a huge sticking point in negotiations on a bill that deals with both issues...
BofA Shares Fall Below $5 for First Time Since March 2009  Bloomberg   ...Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the second- biggest U.S. lender, fell below $5 in New York trading for the first time since March 2009 amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will be a drag on the world’s financial system...
Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Abuse by Soldiers  New York Times   ...Several thousand women demanding the end of military rule marched through downtown Cairo on Tuesday evening in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking female demonstrators in Tahrir Square...
People’s Convention of Florida drafts proposals for 2012 session  The Florida Independent   ...Occupy Wall Street-inspired groups from around the state have begun to draft proposals to be handed to House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, on the first day of the Florida legislative session, Jan. 10... 
Frustration over recall Walker signatures causing problems  WTMJ   ...With less than 30 days to go before the deadline to collect recall signatures one thing both sides can agree on is that it's getting down right nasty and dangerous out on the streets... 
Alta Dena Dairy Workers Ratify Strong First Contract  Locals 630 and 166   ...Drivers, production workers and equipment and maintenance mechanics at Alta Dena Dairy in City of Industry, Calif. ratified their first contract since joining Teamsters Locals 630 & 166 in Southern California in September 2011 through card recognition...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Whoa! WI judge who ruled on key union case had conflict


This is what a sleazy judge looks like.
Remember what we were saying about judicial independence compromised in Wisconsin (and Hungary)?

Well, this bombshell, which makes the same point, just burst. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman should have recused himself from the case in which Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's "budget repair" bill was upheld by a 4-3 vote:
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in two cases cast the deciding vote in favor of parties represented by a law firm that gave him tens of thousands of dollars of free legal services, a review of state records shows.
One of those was a high-stakes case this June that allowed Gov. Scott Walker to implement a law that all but eliminates collective bargaining for most public workers. Gableman was in the 4-3 majority that allowed Walker to prevail. Michael Best & Friedrich - the firm that defended Gableman for free in an ethics case - worked for the state and Walker's administration in the collective bargaining case.
Why are we not surprised that Gableman needed legal help in an ethics case? He was accused of lying in a campaign ad. We're shocked, shocked to learn that a Wisconsin politician would lie in a campaign ad (not really).

There may just be another recall campaign in Wisconsin.

Today's Teamster News 12.20.11

AT&T Is Paying the Biggest Breakup Fee Ever  Wall Street Journal   ...AT&T will be paying ex-merger partner T-Mobile USA $4 billion in cash and assets for walking away from their proposed $39 billion marriage...
Spain grits teeth yet again as austerity deepens  The Telegraph   ...The conservative leader pledged to fight Spain's unemployment curse by shaking up the labour markets. The jobless rate has hit 22.8pc with 5.4m people out of work. The tally is certain to rise further as the economy falls back into recession...
Homeless kids in U.S. number 1.6 million: study  Agence France-Presse   ...Of the children affected, 42 percent were under the age of six, and a third of them were living with single mothers with chronic illnesses, the study found...
Occupy Atlanta Helps Save Iraq War Veteran's Home From Foreclosure  Huffington Post   ...Activists began occupying Brigitte Walker's home on Dec. 6. By the end of that first week, JPMorgan Chase, which owns her mortgage, began discussing with the activists and Walker the possibility of a loan modification. Chase's modification offer became official Monday morning...
Right to Work Reality Check: Debunking Jim Buck  Indiana State AFL-CIO   ...Buck claimed that there were a number of companies that refused to locate to Indiana because of a lack of such a law. However, when pressed for examples, he could not name a single company and offered to provide "a list" later...
In Madison, 1,000 Singers Defy Walker’s Edict  The Progressive   ...Despite Gov. Scott Walker’s edict that no more than three people can gather inside the capitol for a demonstration without a permit, about 1,000 people joined the Solidarity Sing-along at noon on Monday...
Utica school district, Teamsters reach agreement  Observer-Dispatch   ...The Utica City School District and the union that represents the janitors, cleaners and maintenance workers have agreed on a new contract...that trades a 2 percent raise...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Koch-funded, union-busting group pushing RTW in IN

Pants on fire.
Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long claims his push for right-to-work for less isn't about union busting. He's lying.

Look who's behind the bill: the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. The Koch brothers fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (along with other anti-union groups). Reports State Impact, a joint project with NPR,
ALEC is working closely with Indiana legislators interested in drafting and backing controversial right-to-work bills.
The story, "Meet the Influencers," explains how ALEC is behind much of the Republicans' radical agenda in Indiana:
The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is not a lobbying firm, but it has quite a bit of influence at the capitol. It’s an organization that brings together right-leaning businesses and legislators from statehouses all over the country. They meet at a series of annual conferences to, among other things, hammer out model bills to be introduced into state legislatures...
Many ALEC members are lawmakers. Indiana House Education Committee Chair Robert Behning’s resumé boasts of having held leadership positions within the group. And several organizations reported on Indiana State Superintendent Tony Bennett’s keynote address at a ALEC convention in Phoenix, AZ earlier this year. At the same conference, Indiana State Representative Dave Frizzell was appointed national chairman of the organization. The Evansville Courier Journal has a specific list of other Indiana legislators either working on or leading ALEC task forces.
State Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, meanwhile, chairs ALEC’s tax and fiscal policy committee. State Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, chairs its energy, environment and agriculture committee.
In all, nine of the 150 members of the Indiana General Assembly attended the summit. About 20 more Indiana Republican legislators are members of ALEC but did not attend.
Read the whole thing here.

The "summit" was held at a luxurious resort, and we'd be quite interested to know how many Hoosier lawmakers paid the full boat for the trip out of their own pockets.

The Koch brothers have been trying to dismantle unions for years. To suggest that right-to-work for less is about anything else is flat-out wrong.

'I'm Dreaming of a New (WI) Governor'



Fascism is returning to Hungary, wrote Paul Krugman recently. He could have been describing Wisconsin:
A proposed election law creates gerrymandered districts designed to make it almost impossible for other parties to form a government; judicial independence has been compromised, and the courts packed with party loyalists; state-run media have been converted into party organs, and there’s a crackdown on independent media ... Taken together, all this amounts to the re-establishment of authoritarian rule, under a paper-thin veneer of democracy...
Wisconsinites are especially incensed by Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker's crackdown on freedom of speech within the Statehouse. New rules were recently passed requiring advance permits for any assembly of four or more inside and 100 or more outside. Security fees were assessed for cleanup.

Even before that, signs and cameras were banned inside what is supposed to be the people's house. People were actually arrested for silently holding signs and American flags in the Assembly Gallery. 

The rules are aimed at suppressing protests such as the daily Solidarity Sing-Along, which has been going on every weekday at noon in the Statehouse since March.

Only the Solidarity Singers defied the rules. The new rules about permits and fees were supposed to take effect Friday. As the Daily Isthmus reports,
Solidarity Sing-Along participants announced that they would test these regulations and assemble as usual without a permit at the Capitol. Gathering outside over the lunch hour on Friday, the sing-along attracted three times as many participants as usual. There was no direct enforcement by the DOA or Capitol Police, and the musical demonstration proceeded without incident.
As blue cheddar noted, it wouldn't look good for Walker to arrest carolers.

Today the Solidarity Singers will be back; there might be a showdown. We'll let you know what happens.

Today's Teamster News 12.19.11

Growth of large private water companies brings higher water rates, little recourse for consumers  Austin American-Statesman   ...a growing number of suburban Texans are getting their water from large, private corporations owned by investors seeking to profit off the sale of an essential resource. State figures show private companies are seeking more price increases every year, and many are substantial...
This slump won’t end until 2031 (opinion)  MarketWatch   ...the Long Depression of 1873 to 1896 ...  a far more instructive episode than the Great Depression of the 1930s...
Will China Break? (opinion)  New York Times   ...China ... is emerging as another danger spot in a world economy that really, really doesn’t need this right now...
Study: Nearly 1 in 3 will be arrested by age 23  USA Today   ...The high rate of arrest among youth is troubling because the records will follow them as adults and make it harder for them to get student loans, jobs and housing...
Keelan: The anti-ethanol uprising (opinion)  VTDigger.org   ...why do we use ethanol in the first place? According to some experts its use and production are costly and detrimental to the environment. And wouldn’t you know, the federal government provides farmers with billions of dollars in subsides to grow the corn...
Work in Progress  The Journal-Gazette   ...Republican lawmakers have made no secret of their intention to make Indiana the 23rd right-to-work state. And on the other side, labor representatives have made it clear they will fight to prevent it...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.18.11

The Great Worker Shortage Lie is Alive and Well  The Economic Populist   ...Corporations are demanding more immigration and foreign guest worker Visas to displace Americans, repress wages, technology transfer and offshore outsource further...
Veterans seek jobs  KLFY   ...One battle facing war veterans, young and old alike, after they return home is unemployment...
Plan B – How to loot nations and their banks legally  (opinion) Golem XIV   ...Does anyone think that if our governments fail to keep to their austerity targets and fail to keep bailing out the banking sector, that the banks will just shrug and say, “Well, thanks for trying” and accept their fate?...
The Anxious Generation  National Journal   ...Stressed-out Americans over 50 wonder if they’re ever going to be able to retire. They worry that the Great Recession will have a lasting impact on their security...
Indiana government can't document claimed right-to-work losses  News-Sentinel   ...The top state economic-development agency can't provide documentation or statistics to back up Gov. Mitch Daniels' assertion that a fourth to half of companies don't give Indiana a shot at new business because it lacks a right-to-work law. Instead, this figure comes from impressions conveyed by site-selection consultants...
WI man charged with multiple felonies for defacing "Recall Walker" petitions  the BRAD BLOG   ...as we'd previously covered the stated intentions of Rightwingers to sabotage the 'Recall Walker' effort in Wisconsin by shredding and burning petitions and the death threats reportedly received by supporters of the effort to remove Wisconsin's anti-union Republican governor Scott Walker, I wanted to get this on record here...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today's Teamster News 12.17.11

US charges ex-Fannie, Freddie CEOs with fraud  Associated Press   ...Two former CEOs at mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Friday became the highest-profile individuals to be charged in connection with the 2008 financial crisis...
Occupy Wall Street is many things, but one thing it's not is partisan  McClatchy   ...The Occupy Wall Street protest may be a movement, a momentary phenomenon or something in between, but one thing its most fervent activists insist that it's not is a team of shock troops for any partisan political campaign...
In strongest warning yet, IMF raises risk of another Great Depression  Today Online   ...The world risks sliding into a 1930s-style slump unless countries settle their differences and work together to tackle Europe's deepening debt crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned...
Senate Leaders Agree on 2-Month Extension of Payroll Tax Cut  New York Times   ...The agreement would also speed the decision process for the construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast, a provision necessary to win over Republicans who opposed the tax break...
Chinese Police With Shotguns Man Checkpoints Near Scene of Land Protests  Bloomberg   ...Conflicts over land transfers in China are the leading cause of unrest, according to an official study published in June. The number of protests, riots and strikes doubled in five years to almost 500 a day last year...
Jeb Bush, K12 Inc. the Digital Learning Council and Florida Virtual School Scathing Purple Musings   ...Bush urged Scott to end one of the state’s pension plans, sell the Florida Virtual School and take his first trade mission to Brazil and Colombia...

Friday, December 16, 2011

FedEx Occupies Congress


You know how poor widdle Fwed Smith likes to complain about all that nasty wegulation pweventing FedEx from creating jobs?

Smith is one of dozens of multimillionaire CEOs so busy dodging taxes and blowing the corporate treasury on lobbying Congress that they somehow don't get around to hiring workers. In America, that is.  

The peerless David Cay Johnston writes that 30 of the biggest U.S. companies could have hired thousands of workers if they hadn't spent a half billion dollars lobbying Congress over the past three years. In fact, they could have hired 3,100 people for $50,000 a year in wages and benefits to actually do something productive.

Johnston points out that FedEx spent $25 million lobbying to protect a rule that treats its express delivery drivers as pilots, making it impossible for them to join a union. Writes Johnston, that's 67 percent of what FedEx paid in taxes. And FedEx's tax bill is less than 1 percent of its profit.
FedEx says it was "educating lawmakers" about a proposal "that would cripple competition in the express delivery industry and hinder our nation's future economic success."
The Teamsters, who represent drivers at United Parcel Service, say FedEx was protecting a special interest rule that shorts workers. UPS pays its unionized drivers 53 percent to 104 percent more per hour than FedEx does.
Johnston drew his conclusions from two recent studies. One, "Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-201," by Citizens for Tax Justice, reported that the 280 most profitable U.S. companies shelter half their profit from taxes.

The second, "For Hire: Lobbyists or the 99%?" by Public Campaign, shows how corporations spend more for lobbyists than they do in taxes.

It's enough to make the 99% want to Occupy Congress.

Oh wait, isn't that the way democracy is supposed to work?

Today's Teamster News 12.16.11

Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income  USA Today   ...The latest census data depict a middle class that is shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families...
The scandal of the Alabama poor cut off from water  BBC   A father of four....says he finds it cheaper to buy drums of water from a petrol station and pay a sanitation company about $14 a month to remove waste from his "porta-potty" than pay the combined sewer and water rate bill, which some months can reach $300....Investment bank JP Morgan Securities and two of its former directors have been fined for offering bribes to Jefferson County workers and politicians to win business financing the sewer upgrade...
How To Indefinitely Detain Jamie Dimon  emptywheel   ...making that case with Jamie Dimon is very easy to do, because his company, JP Morgan Chase, has materially helped Iran...
Report: States Spend Billions on Economic Development Subsidies that Don’t Require Job Creation or Decent Wages  Good Jobs First   ...“If subsidies do not result in real public benefits, they are no better than corporate giveaways,” said Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, principal author of the report. “States should be using these programs to reduce unemployment and raise living standards, not simply to increase corporate profits...”
Ball State poll: Half of Hoosiers undecided on right-to-work  IBJ   ...“The availability of cheap labor overseas limits the effectiveness of [right-to-work] policies to attract companies looking for lower labor costs,” wrote four legislators...
Chinese Spring coming up?  The Trader   ...With protests getting louder by the day, we might just get the Chinese Spring coming up soon...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

IN gov flip-flops on right-to-work for less

We don't like him.
Mitch Daniels said today he's changed his mind about right-to-work for less. He used to think it was unfair to working men and women. Now he doesn't think it's unfair. Daniels didn't explain why.

Let us remind you he was once George W. Bush's budget director (can you say "deficit") who as governor somehow misplaced $300 million.

Brian Buhl, Teamsters international vice president, remembers how Daniels told Teamsters shop stewards he was against right-to-work for less. Buhl wrote an open letter, printed in the Evansville Journal & Courier, which said,
You stated that you were not in favor of right-to-work legislation. You stated you did not want to tip the balance of power between labor and business. You were comfortable with the labor laws currently on the books and that tipping the balance would be unfair to the hardworking men and women of the labor movement.
You had spent considerable time traveling the state and you wanted to bring fairness and common-sense leadership to the citizens of this great state.
Your remarks were well received by my membership, and they took you for your word.
We can only conclude that Daniels is thinking about his economic future, as he's term limited out of office next year. Those Benedict Arnold Koch brothers sure do love anti-worker laws.

Rays of hope from behind the cheese curtain

Wisconsin voters will almost certainly get a chance to vote to recall Gov. Koch whore Scott Walker. Today We Are Wisconsin announced they collected 507,533 signatures to put the recall on the ballot. They're very close to the 540,208 needed by Jan 17.

Reuters reports,
Organizers of a petition drive to force Wisconsin's Republican governor into a recall election next year said on Thursday that in just one month they had collected 94 percent of the signatures needed for the special election.
The group United Wisconsin, which opposes the collective bargaining changes Scott Walker pushed into law earlier this year, said it now hopes to gather more than 720,000 signatures to recall the first-term governor by the January 17 deadline -- nearly 200,000 more than needed.
The group said it had already collected 507,533 of the 540,208 signatures required and now hopes to gather 720,277 in all. That latter figure would represent 33 percent of the 2010 general election turnout, although petition gatherers only need 25 percent to force a special election.
It will be tough to get rid of him, though. Walker will collect tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash from front groups funded by Wall Street billionaires and corporate CEOs. He'll use that money to spread shameless lies about his "accomplishments."

There are some reasons for hope, though. A cloud is hanging over Walker's head as the federal investigation into his administration continues. A commercial real estate broker and Walker supporter was arrested on Tuesday for refusing to cooperate with investigators.

Another bright spot is the strong support rural voters are showing for recalling Walker. As John Nichols points out in Nation of Change,
The first counties to approach their goals for the entire recall drive have been rural ones -- all of which send at least some Republicans to the legislature.
Indeed, a number of counties that backed Walker in 2010 are leading the pack when it comes to producing recall signatures.
A third factor, albeit an unfortunate one, that will contribute to Walker's downfall is rising joblessness in Wisconsin. Employment is the most reliable predictor of an election's outcome. Wisconsin has lost jobs in the five consecutive months since Walker's "reforms" took effect.

Finally, Mahlon Mitchell, the charismatic president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (that would be a union), may just decide to take on Walker. And he could be a formidabloe opponent.

Despicable smear artist to run $10M in anti-worker ads

Corporate con artist Rick Berman says he plans to run $10 million worth of ads to try to destroy unions, the best and possibly last shot the American middle class has of saving itself.
The good news: Berman isn't very effective. According to a report for the Humane Society,
Michael Jacobson, a Berman target on food and alcohol issues in his capacity as the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (Berman refers to them as “the food police”), sees Berman as a person “of no morals,” who “has been a mild nuisance over the past decade.”...
“I don’t think Berman is very effective,” Jacobson said. “He temporarily muddies the water a little, but basically he’s just someone on the sidelines throwing raspberries.” 
Berman convinced his corporate backers to give him money to atack workers, reports David Jamieson at the Huffington Post,
A D.C.-based front group representing corporate interests will be rolling out a $10 million national advertising campaign next week to promote legislation that would likely weaken unions.
The group, the Center for Union Facts, is headed by Washington public-affairs svengali Rick Berman, best known for his advocacy for the restaurant and alcohol industries through front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom and the American Beverage Institute. Billing itself as a "union watchdog" critical of labor leaders' "abuses of power," the Center for Union Facts has run anti-union advertisements in the past.
We expect Berman will run those ads in states where corporate stooge lawmakers are trying to ram anti-worker laws through state legislatures. We'll bet cash money that the ads will run in Indiana, where the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers' front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is pushing a right-to-work for less law.

This is what Rick Berman's son says about him:
“My father is a despicable man.  My father is a sort of human molestor.  An exploiter.  A scoundrel.  A world historical motherf*cking son of a b*itch.  (sorry grandma)”

“He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.
He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.
His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.
If you have a strong stomach, check out the Berman Exposed website for more about the man known as "Dr. Evil."

Protecting the 1%: The wealth defense industry and the guard economy

Working Americans' average income doubled between 1920 and 1955, tripled between 1955 and 1970 and stayed flat since then.

That isn't what most Americans wanted. Poll after poll shows if they had a choice between (a) democracy and (b) great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, most Americans would choose (a).

Because as Judge Louis Brandeis famously said, "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

A Northwestern University professor, Jeffrey Winter, explains why so much wealth remains concentrated in the hands of the 1%. It's because of the vast white-collar army exists to defend the assets of America's oligarchs.

An economist at the Santa Fe Institute, Samuel Bowles,  further argues it's because we have a guard economy.

We think they're both right.

Let's take Winter's argument first. He asks how the tiny group that comprises America's elite -- the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers, the Walton family, Bill and Melinda Gates -- gets such disproportionate power in what is supposed to be a democracy:
America’s ultra-rich all together could barely fill a large sports stadium. They never assemble for rallies or marches, sign petitions, or mount Facebook or Twitter campaigns. So how do they so consistently get their way?
The answer: Rich people are way more motivated than poor people to hang on to what they've got. And they have the networks and connections to make politicians do what they want. As Winters writes,
Wealth is inherently empowering and motivating; poverty is neither...(and) a small number of individuals each have at their disposal the resources it would take tens of thousands of their fellow Americans acting in sustained coordination to match.
They also have the wealth defense industry, which
...is comprised of lawyers, accountants, wealth management consultants, revolving-door lobbyists, think-tank debate framers and even key segments of the insurance industry whose sole purpose is income defense for America’s oligarchs. The industry is wholly funded by oligarchs, and it would simply not exist if oligarchs did not have massive fortunes to defend...
Winters explains how the wealth defense industry structures tax shelters, complex partnerships and "tax opinion letters" to justify nonpayment of taxes.

In an interview, he said each oligarch can bring to the political table the dollar impact of 20,000 Americans.
Anybody who wants to challenge the wealthy, they've got to get rained on, and eventually snowed on, and it means they have to stop whatever they're doing. Ordinary citizens actually have to join organizations and physically be there and participate, to the exclusion of anything else they might do. And that is at tremendous burden.
And that's a big reason why the average working American hasn't gotten a raise since 1970. The oligarchs took all the money from economic growth -- by lowering their taxes.

Winters concludes,
...their common deployment of a highly networked and organized industry lends their actions an unprecedented degree of unity. Combined with weakened unions and considerably less political unity among average citizens, America’s oligarchs are arguably more powerful today than during the robber baron era at the turn of the 19th century.
Samuel Bowles has another take on inequality. He argues that it's inefficient and stifles economic growth because so many people are hired to guard the rich. According to boingboing,
He calls this "guard labor" and says that one in four Americans is employed to in the sector -- labor that could otherwise be used to increase the nation's wealth and progress.
From a profile of Bowles:
The job descriptions of guard labor range from “imposing work discipline”—think of the corporate IT spies who keep desk jockeys from slacking off online—to enforcing laws... The greater the inequalities in a society, the more guard labor it requires, Bowles finds. ...
In short, in a very unequal society, the people at the top have to spend a lot of time and energy keeping the lower classes obedient and productive.
 Yup.

Today's Teamster News 12.15.11

Enough Signatures Gathered, Walker To Be Recalled!  New Dog Democrat   ... The word has spread that over 550,000  signatures have been gathered to recall Scott Walker! This means the movement is passing its first milestone. Now they must gather more signatures to pad its victory in case some are thrown out by the Secretary of State...
Obama, Dems drop millionaire surtax to pay for payroll tax cut  CNN   ...In what would be a major concession, President Obama and Senate Democrats will drop their insistence that a surtax on millionaires pay for extending the payroll tax cut...
Sotheby's Handles Lockout, Costs Rise $2.4 Million, Ruprecht Given Bonus  Bloomberg   ...The temps and enhanced security since the lockout began helped account for a $2.4 million jump in “other compensation” expenses in the first nine months of the year...
The ALEC-Koch pipeline to Wisconsin Legislators and the Mining Bill  Badger Democracy   ...The Mining Bill released by Assembly Republicans late last week is clearly a case of Legislative patronage to a corporate sponsor – in this case, Gogebic Taconite Mining, LLC. Not surprising, but more disturbing, are the covert links to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Koch Industries, and closer to home, Hamilton Consulting in Madison...
Oklahoma to bring back state prison labor program; communities get help with maintenance work  Associated Press   ...the program will involve about 40 inmates who would be paid about $2 a day to do landscaping and cleanup tasks, the Tulsa World ...  reported...
Inmates provide cost saving labor  Rome News-Tribune   ...66 work inside the prison, and another 28 have other prison details. That’s the majority, but the rest work in areas throughout the county, including public works, animal control and the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority...
Marriage Rate In America Drops Drastically  Huffington Post   ...it's important, at least for men, to be financially able to provide for a family before they get married. It may [also] be that some couples feel they don't have the financial wherewithal to have a wedding yet...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shop union-made for the holidays

Print by Marcos LaFarga
Our friends at American Rights at Work and the NFL Players Association just put out a terrific gift guide for the holidays. It suggests union-made products and services you might not ordinarily associate with holiday giving.

Tickets to sporting events, for example. Not only are the players union members, but union members work at and deliver products to arenas, stadiums and ball parks.

A gift certificate on Amtrak, which supports our brothers and sisters in the Teamsters Rail Conference, is another suggestion. Or a membership to Costco, where many Teamsters work.

The guide also suggests gifts you can wrap, like Louisville Slugger bats, Snap-On tools and books from Powell's on-line store.

Check it out here. And remember to buy union!

Inspiration Wednesday: 'Hallelujah Corporations'



This video was created in Tamworth, N.H., a small town near Mt. Chocorua. The singers belong to Occupy the Mt. Washington Valley.

Today's Teamster News 12.14.11

Sending a message at the ports  The Indypendent   ...Unions at the ports, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Teamsters, did not sanction the call for a shutdown, and some labor officials were critical of the Occupy movement's initiative...
First arrest made in John Doe investigation  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ...Another major shoe has dropped in the John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's current and former aides...
NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving  CNN   ...Tuesday's recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road. It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices, but devices installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed...
Construction workers fight for unpaid wages as bill to block anti-wage theft ordinances moves on  Florida Independent   ...the measure preempts all local laws, ordinances or rules that address wage theft, the practice of stiffing workers out of money they are owed...
Occupy the tax code (opinion) ...Chalk one up for Occupy Wall Street. Last Thursday, the New York State legislature voted to raise taxes on high-earners after Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed his longstanding opposition to such a move...
'Conflicted robosigner' equals no foreclosure: NY state judge  ThomsonReuters   ...On Monday, a Brooklyn judge dismissed a mortgage-foreclosure case over a major New York firm's failure to vouch for the veracity of its court filings amid questions over whether it used a "conflicted robosigner" to support its case...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Even Lego rolls with the Teamsters

Check out Local 129's sign behind the "I am too big to fail" sign.

The photo is part of a slide show assembled by The Guardian. It consists of flickr photos of the year's news stories -- as told in Legos. The above photo, of course, is "Occupy Wall Street."

Woo-hoo! 1st Teamster contract ratified for 13K UC workers

Big news about a big Teamster victory: University of California employees ratified a first contract that will give all 13,000 of them raises for the next five years!

The UC employees voted to become members of Teamsters Local 2010 in Berkeley last year after working without a contract since 2008.

The employees include administrative assistants, clerks, library assistants, cashiers, public safety dispatchers and child care teachers. They work at all 10 campuses and one laboratory of California's university system.

Their wage increases will equal between 20 percent and 28 percent of their annual earnings. Given California’s budget crisis and America's weak economy, a contract with guaranteed wage increases is a very big deal. Said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa,
Our representatives worked tirelessly to win the wage increases, which are guaranteed in the agreement. These hardworking clerical employees deserve no less. 
 It's great news.

U.S. Senator: Keep creating those jobs in Asia

'Gotta keep creating jobs in China!'
This silly op-ed written by a member of Wyoming Sen. John Barasso's staff just jumped out at us. It's the old "regulation hurts job creation" nonsense. Predatory CEOs are pushing it because they want to keep on plundering American workers.

What we loved about the piece was "Barasso" citing Steve Jobs and Jamie Dimon as "job creators:"
From our newest entrepreneurs to titans of industry like Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and Steve Jobs, America’s job creators have made it clear that the president’s policies are making it harder and more expensive to hire workers. (Just wondering: Does Barrasso or his staffer know that Steve Jobs, um, died?) 
Here's where Apple creates jobs: Asia. Hundreds of thousands of workers -- including child laborers -- make iPods, iPads and iPhones in FoxConn's silicon sweatshops. In China. There are fewer American workers making computers today than there were when the first personal computer was put together in 1975.

JP Morgan, like most big banks, isn't doing such a great job of creating jobs for Americans either. It's sitting on its assets. When it does create jobs, it looks to India. As ABC News reported in 2009,
Michele Brown ... lives in hard-hit Florida, spent 20 years in the real estate business and recently had her days as a nanny cut back after her boss had his own hours reduced. 
But nothing prepared her for what happened one day when she called a toll-free line to inquire about her food stamps. 
"The woman who answered the phone -- it's not like she wasn't nice or anything -- but it was kind of evident that she wasn't in the States," Brown said. 
It turns out the woman was at a JP Morgan Chase call center in India.
This is what creates jobs, according to Nick Hanauer, founder of aQuantive:
...a healthy economic ecosystem surrounding the company, which starts with the company's customers. 
The company's customers buy the company's products, which, in turn, creates the need for the employees to produce, sell, and service those products. If those customers go broke, the demand for the company's products will collapse. And the jobs will disappear, regardless of what the entrepreneur does.