Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.31.13

Northern Tier shuts crude distillation unit -union Reuters ...Chris Riley, the business agent for Teamsters Local 120, which represents workers at the 89,500-barrel-per-day (bpd) plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, said a maintenance problem prompted the shutdown of the larger of two crude units for six to seven days. The unit shutdown at Northern Tier's only refinery came as a Dec. 31 contract expiration loomed. The union was considering a strike...
Train Derailment Causes Fiery Destruction In Casselton, ND Associated Press ...Authorities urged residents to evacuate a small North Dakota town Monday night after a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of town, shaking residents with a series of explosions that sent flames and black smoke skyward...
Fired Walmart Warehouse Workers Win $50,000 in Back Pay In These Times ... Last Monday, just days after a Walmart contractor agreed to pay out $4.7 million for alleged wage theft to more than 500 warehouse workers in southern California, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) secured a settlement over illegal retaliation against employees at the retail giant's distribution center in Elwood, Ill...
Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame for Safety Lapses New York Times ... four brands agreed last week to help finance a landmark $40 million compensation fund for the victims. But many other brands, including Mango, have so far refused to contribute to the fund…
Out of jobs, out of benefits, out of luck (Opinion. Note the author.) CNN ...People who can't work still must eat. Americans in distress have a claim on the rest of the nation. Extend unemployment insurance. Sustain food stamps. While we're looking for a new deal, at least quit deluding ourselves that the old deal is still operable. It's not...
I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on (opinion) The Guardian ... "How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?"...
Younger military veterans are angered by budget cuts to their pension benefits Washington Post ...The plan to trim pension increases for working-age military retirees such as Preston is by far the most controversial provision in a bipartisan budget deal approved by Congress and signed last week by President Obama...
Nafta at 20 (.pdf) Public Citizen ...One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Mass Displacement and Instability in Mexico, Record Income Inequality, Scores of Corporate Attacks on Environmental and Health Laws...
Moguls Rent South Dakota Addresses to Shelter Wealth Forever Bloomberg ...South Dakota’s sudden popularity illustrates how, at a time of rising U.S. economic inequality, the wealthiest Americans are embracing ever more creative ways to reduce taxes legally...
Ikea Isn't Only Furnishing Your Bedroom, It's Watching You There truthout ...Ikea has been able to access personal records including bank account information, driving records, vehicle registrations and property records. It has used these in vetting job applicants and in building cases against employees accused of wrongdoing...
South Korea's railway workers end three-week strike Straits Times ...Thousands of South Korean railway workers agreed on Monday to end a three-week partial strike after lawmakers promised to reflect their opinions in the government's controversial plan to reorganise railway services...
Greek prison system collapsing, labeled 'inhuman' Associated Press ...The crisis is playing out as Greece goes through a dramatic economic meltdown. As a result, prison populations are surging even as funds for guards and facilities are shrinking, a toxic mix that police and justice officials warn could explode in violence at any time...


Monday, December 30, 2013

Today's Teamsters News 12.30.13

Refinery news: Minnesota Northern Tier workers may strike Dec. 31 on wages, safety issues: Teamsters  Platts   ...Minnesota's Northern Tier refinery is facing a potential strike that could shut its refinery in Saint Paul Park, Minnesota, as soon as December 31, according to Teamsters Local 120, which represents about 200 workers at the plant...
Service Corporation International : Teamsters Local 727 Updates on Service Corp. International Refuses Interest Arbitration  Teamsters Local 727   ...Teamsters Local 727 announced Service Corp. International refused an interest arbitration offer made by the Teamsters to end a five- month lockout of Chicago funeral directors and drivers...
Antiques to replace NYC horse carriages  CNN   ...If activists have their way, horse-drawn carriages in New York City may soon be replaced by antique electric cars...
Charts: The Worst Long-Term Unemployment Crisis Since the Depression  Mother Jones   ...the economic downturn remains in full effect for millions of Americans, particularly the nearly 40 percent of the unemployed who have been looking for work for six months or more...
Where the 1.3 million people losing unemployment aid this week live  Washington Post   ...every state but one — North Dakota — has added more people than jobs since the recession began...
Elizabeth Warren: It's the Right of Every American to Retire with Dignity -- Why We Must Expand Social Security  Alternet   ...If we do nothing, Social Security will be safe for the next 20 years and even after that will continue to pay most benefits through the end of the century. With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and could even increase benefits...
Wis. teachers refuses award from Paul Ryan during MLK ceremony: 'Lackey for the 1%'  The Blaze   ... A Wisconsin teacher refused to accept an award from Rep. Paul Ryan during a ceremony last week, saying he couldn’t do so “in good conscience” because of the Republican congressman’s politics...
As critics gain, ALEC gives ground  Politico   ...The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group of state lawmakers and corporations that, among other things, drafts model legislation, saw an exodus of members and a sharp decline in fundraising after it was tied to controversial “stand your ground laws” like the one made infamous following the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin...
“Honey, I Shrunk Killed the Middle Class”  naked capitalism   ... even as the stock market roars ahead, more investors are coming to recognize the shoddy foundations of this so-called recovery and perhaps more important, that the legitimacy of the ruling classes erodes quickly when ordinary citizens recognize how badly the deck is stacked against them...
'Military-Style' Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.  Foreign Policy   ...Around 1:00 AM on April 16, at least one individual (possibly two) entered two different manholes at the PG&E Metcalf power substation, southeast of San Jose, and cut fiber cables in the area around the substation. That knocked out some local 911 services, landline service to the substation, and cell phone service in the area, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Foreign Policy. The intruder(s) then fired more than 100 rounds from what two officials described as a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks -- or groups of transformers -- were hit in another...
Home Prices Back at Peaks in Some Areas  Wall Street Journal   ...Home prices have zipped back into record territory in a handful of American cities, a milestone that comes seven years after the housing bust ravaged the market and the broader economy. Values are up more than 13% from their 2007 high in Oklahoma City and by more than 6% in the Denver metro area. Prices are back to all-time highs in 10 of the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas...
This Trade Fight Is Against ‘Global Apartheid’ (opinion)  Campaign for America's Future   ...organizations ... (should) step up against is what she calls “this global apartheid phenomenon” in which “international elites, some of whom don’t have a allegiance to any country,” are creating conditions that are worsening economic inequality and racial inequities around the world, including the United States...
Why China is stepping up its presence in Detroit auto industry  TradeReform   ...Encouraged by the low price of real estate and the high level of advanced engineering talent, dozens of Chinese auto companies and suppliers are opening plants and offices in and around the Motor City, where they hope to one day sell cars to US buyers...
‘Safe Harbor’ in Bankruptcy Is Upended in Detroit Case  New York Times   ...“When you’re in a municipal bankruptcy, where the debtor is a municipality, there are very strong public-interest considerations that ought to be balanced,” Mr. Schwarcz said. He and other specialists said there had not been any such discussion in Detroit’s case...
France’s Hollande Gets Court Approval for 75% Millionaire Tax  Bloomberg   ...French President Francois Hollande received approval from the country’s constitutional court to proceed with his plan to tax salaries above 1 million euros at 75 percent for this year and next....
Setback for Scalia in Attempt to Curtail Labor Rights  truthout   ...the Supreme Court decided against ruling on a legal decision from a lower court which, if broadly applied, could have undermined some of the few remaining effective union organizing techniques: neutrality and card check agreements...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.24.13

Just a reminder we will resume posting Teamster News on Monday, Dec. 30.

U.S. Flouts Its Own Advice in Procuring Overseas Clothing  New York Times   ...One of the world’s biggest clothing buyers, the United States government spends more than $1.5 billion a year at factories overseas, acquiring everything from the royal blue shirts worn by airport security workers to the olive button-downs required for forest rangers and the camouflage pants sold to troops on military bases...
PBS Drops a Bombshell on the Federal Reserve’s 100th Birthday Party  Wall Street on Parade   ...two famous stock market historians made the same stunning announcement – that the Fed has decided its job is to push up the stock market...
Holiday sales down for third week  Associated Press   ...After a strong start to the holiday shopping season, sales at stores have fallen for the third consecutive week as Americans continue to hold back on spending during what is traditionally the busiest buying period of the year...
Retail Traffic Plunges By "Staggering" 21% In Week Before Christmas  zero hedge   ...the "eroding middle class can no longer drive activity as it has in the past"...
Charts: The Worst Long-Term Unemployment Crisis Since the Depression  Mother Jones   ...The economic downturn remains in full effect for millions of Americans, particularly the nearly 40 percent of the unemployed who have been looking for work for six months or more. In less than a week, emergency federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million of these jobless Americans are set to run out...
Phoenix Becomes First City To End Chronic Homelessness Among Veterans  ThinkProgress   ...Three years ago, city officials identified 222 homeless veterans living in Phoenix. Using both state and federal funds, the city had successfully housed the last veterans who were living without homes. ..
FALSE: Gov. Scott Walker says protesters surrounded his car, blocked his exit and rocked the vehicle after a 2011 appearance in La Crosse  Politifact   ...Based on the available information, we think the book’s depiction of what happened -- an organized effort to prevent Walker from leaving that placed him in direct danger -- is False...
De Blasio Hires Goldman Sachs Exec To Make City More Affordable  gothamist   ...For all his campaign bluster against the two cities New York has become, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio isn't exactly shying away from some of the people who helped make it that way...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.23.13

UPDATE: Adding S. Korea rail strike item.
Military pension cuts now unsure; changes likely  Washington Post   ...The Pentagon’s top civilian says it’s time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he’s facing a test of wills with the nation’s powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits...
Diplomat's housekeeper kept 'like a slave'  New York Post   ...In India, Devyani Khobragade advocated for women’s rights. But in New York, she was a slave driver, says the family of Khobragade’s housekeeper...
50 educators sign letter to Catholic University protesting Koch Foundation’s $1 million gift  Washington Post   ...Fifty prominent Catholic educators have signed a letter protesting Catholic University of America’s recent acceptance of a $1 million grant from a foundation affiliated with the billionaire libertarian Koch brothers … It says the Koch brothers’ activism against unions and climate-change science, among other things, is in “stark contrast” to the church’s “traditional social justice teachings.”…
U.S. agriculture considering opposition to TPP trade deal  The Grand Island Independent   ...A coalition of agricultural organizations is likely to oppose a final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if Japan is included...
South Korean union vows all-out strike in sympathy with rail workers  Reuters   ...South Korea's militant labor federation announced a general strike from Saturday in sympathy with rail workers, after police hauled away scores of strikers in a two-week dispute that has hit President Park Geun-hye's popularity ratings...
Corporate Tribunals: A U.S. / EU Holiday Gift to Foreign Firms?  Public Citizen   ...A moratorium on fracking. A strong anti-smoking cigarette label. A requirement to clean up industrial pollution. A medicine patent policy that could tamp down health costs. A decision to phase out nuclear energy. Each of these has been attacked by a foreign corporation using "trade" and investment treaties that allow firms to circumvent domestic legal systems and directly challenge domestic public interest policies before private international tribunals...
This Chart Blows Up the Myth of the Welfare Queen  The Atlantic   ...On average, they spend $30,582 in a year, compared to $66,525 for families not on public assistance. Meanwhile, they spend a third less on food, half as much on housing, and 60 percent less on entertainment...
US Treasury signs anti-tax evasion pacts with six jurisdictions  Reuters   ...The agreements were completed this past week with Bermuda, Malta, the Netherlands and three UK Crown Dependencies: Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man...
The death of the American Dream in a single image  Hullabaloo   ... It is harder for the poor to get into the middle class, and for the middle class to become wealthy, in America than in almost any other industrialized country. Our income distribution is the most unequal of any industrialized country, and at the highest level since 1928...


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.22.13

(Note: TeamsterNation will be publishing on a limited schedule for the next week. Today's Teamster News will appear in abbreviated form through Dec. 24 and cease publication through Dec. 30. Our full publishing schedule will resume on Jan. 2. Have a great holiday!)

Economists: Income gap holding back economy  Associated Press   ...The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn't bad just for individuals. It's hurting the U.S. economy...
Pension cut angers vets  Dayton Daily News   ...Military coalition groups have cried foul over a 1 percent reduction in military pensions that will hit working age retirees in 2015 under a two-year congressional budget deal...
WikiLeaks reveals why Asia should skip Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact (opinion)  Bloomberg   ...The draft of the intellectual-property rights chapter by Julian Assange’s outfit validated the worst fears — that TPP is a corporatist power grab. Rather than heed the outcry, the U.S. doubled down on secrecy, refusing to disclose more details...
All-Cash Home Sales Hit Record 42% of Sales  Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis   ...All-cash purchases accounted for 42% of all sales of residential property in November 2013, up from 39% during the previous month...
Exclusive: Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer  Reuters   ...As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned...
Jobs Growth Sluggish In Wisconsin Compared To Neighbors, Nation  Wisconsin Public Radio   ...the idea was that policy changes that Governor Walker proposed would change that trend,” says Johnston. “And from what I can see it hasn't had any effect at all. Wisconsin continues to lag the nation in terms of both job growth and income growth...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.21.13

Teamsters Seek Court Order to Restore Status Quo at Allegiant Air  teamster.org   ...Today the Teamsters filed a motion in federal court seeking an order enjoining Allegiant Air from violating the status quo provisions as embodied in the 2010 Pilot Work Rules Agreement and in binding past practices that were in effect at the time Allegiant Air and the Teamsters began negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement...
Supervisor Interrogates, Denies the Right of a Witness and Suspends Employee  teamster.org   ...A five-year employee at the McKesson (NYSE: MCK) distribution center in Duluth, Ga., was interrogated by a supervisor for more than an hour without a witness and suspended, after he dressed up as McKesson CEO John Hammergren at a company costume party. A recording of the interrogation can be found here (http://bit.ly/1kpFhQi)....
Man dresses up as boss for Halloween — and suffers the consequences  Salon   ...A man who dressed up as his boss at a company Halloween party tells Salon the stunt got him interrogated and suspended for four days – and he has a tape recording to back him up...
Retaliation Against Korean Railway Strikers Intensifies  teamster.org   ...Arrests of union leaders have begun and police have raided the Korean Railway Workers’ Union headquarters, seizing computer files and other equipment. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) reports that the military is mobilizing as strikebreakers...
Banks Mess With Own Workers  teamster.org   ...almost a third of the country’s bank tellers are receiving some form of public assistance...
Portugal scrambles to find new pension cuts  Associated Press   ...Portugal's prime minister says his government is looking for new savings to meet its budget targets next year after a court disallowed planned cuts in state pensions...
How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract  Reuters   ...The decision was one of the biggest and most expensive consequences yet of the NSA revelations, which have strained Washington's relations with countries around the world...
Meet Nicholas Moore, America's Highest Paid Road Worker.  Alternet   ...The managing director and CEO of Macquarie made $8.8 million in fiscal year 2013...
Congress cuts Food Stamps, maintains Estate Tax Loophole worth $100 bn to the Rich  informed comment   ...A 1990 law passed by Congress seeking to close a loophole in the Estate Tax ended up having an even bigger loophole that has cost the government $100 bn in taxes...
Want to Eat at Restaurants That Treat Their Workers Well? There's an App for That  AFL-CIO Now   ...To support employers in the restaurant industry that do treat their workers well, check out the ROC Diners Guide so we can vote with our dollars on the kinds of establishments we want to see more of...
Minnesota’s chemical problem  MPR News   ...Temporary workers in Minnesota are much more likely to get injured on the job when compared to temporary workers in other states according to reporting by ProPublica...
North Carolina’s Failed Experiment in Cutting Unemployment Benefits  Economic Policy Institute   ...tens of thousands of North Carolinians stopped looking for jobs that weren’t there once they were cut off from weekly benefits (which are only paid to people who are actively seeking paid employment). The labor force participation rate fell nearly a full percentage point, as 42,656 workers gave up looking and dropped out of the labor force...
Ohio Newspapers Fail The ALEC Disclosure Test  Media Matters   ...Of the 44 articles to cite the Buckeye Institute between June 13 and December 12, not a single paper mentioned Buckeye's ties to the conservative legislation manufacturer ALEC, the organizations funded by billionaire conservative Koch brothers, or big tobacco...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Federal contractors pay low wages, break labor and employment laws

Funny, we were just pointing out that McKesson, which has a $32 billion Veterans Administration contract despite ripping off Medicaid, also broke labor law when it suspended a worker for four days without pay for mimicking the CEO. John Hammergren is the McKesson CEO with the $159 million pension. He doesn't seem overly concerned that his workers don't earn enough to pay for health insurance.

And now look what crossed our radar screen: Good Jobs Nation points to a new report that shows in addition to paying miserly wages, federal contractors are also among the worst violators of labor and employment laws.

That’s what a new U.S. Senate report concluded. According to Steve Greenhouse at the New York Times, 49 federal contractors were cited 1,776 times for significant legal violations and paid $196 million in penalties from 2007 to 2012. Federal contractors often punish the whistleblowers who report illegal activity (in addition to workers who mimic overpaid CEOs).

The New York Times said the President should take executive action to prevent labor law violations and to boost pay for federal contract workers:
An executive order “requiring contracting officials to consider the quality of jobs that a prospective contractor will offer … would challenge the damaging notion that the best contractor is the one with the lowest labor costs.”
The Washington Post noted the White House was close to a Congressional deal to reduce the pay reimbursements of top contracting executives from nearly $1 million to $500,000 – but also urged the President to help contract workers at the bottom of the pay scale:
If the White House really wanted to make a statement about the value of work, it could do so much more substantively by boosting the floor of what it requires contractors to pay their burgeoning workforce.

Jon Stewart targets IKEA for spying on employees



IKEA's 7-month lockout of our Teamster brothers and sisters in Richmond, Canada, is drawing international attention -- as are allegations that IKEA spied on employees in Europe.

Now Jon Stewart is mocking the IKEA on The Daily Show.

Let's hope IKEA decides to clean up its act soon!

McKesson worker dresses up as CEO with $159M pension, suspended without pay

McKesson Halloween. Whitener is back row, left. 
A McKesson worker who dressed up as the company's CEO got suspended for four days without pay. The CEO gets a pension worth $159 million, even after the company was fined close to $1 billion to settle charges it ripped off its customers while he was in charge.

We ask you: Is that fair?

Josh Eidelson at Salon wrote the story that appeared today about Bo Whitener, who works in a McKesson warehouse in Georgia. Whitener, like many of his co-workers, wants to be a Teamster. Eidelson wrote that Whitener:
...showed up to a McKesson Halloween party dressed up as company CEO John Hammergren. Whitener told Salon he gave out chocolate coins and told co-workers, “You’re not going to get any money here until you get a union...”  
Whitener said fellow employees “were thrilled with it.” But ... management ejected him from the party with a threat to call the police, and then interrogated and suspended him once he returned to work — only bringing him back after the union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board
McKesson's shareholders weren't too thrilled with Hammergren's $159 million pension at the latest shareholders meeting. Especially after the company paid close to $1 billion in fines to settle charges of Medicaid fraud and price-fixing while Hammergren was CEO.

Whitener was told he was 'disrespectful.' Well, we think it's disrespectful to taxpayers to rip off Medicaid.

Today's Teamster News 12.20.13

Teamsters And Fired Taylor Farms Workers Mount Unfair Labor Practice Strike, Demand Respect For Immigrant Workers  teamster.org   ...Today, Teamster members and fired Taylor Farms workers launched a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike in protest against gross workers’ rights violations being committed by Taylor Farms at its facilities in Tracy, Calif...
D.C. Taxi Drivers Achieve Major Victory: Passenger-Console Deadline Extended  teamster.org   ...Due to the strength and unity of the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, affiliated with Teamsters Local 922, the Washington, D.C. government has extended the passenger-console deadline from Dec. 1, 2013 to Jan. 15, 2014...
Get Ready for the 2014 Trade Tsunami  Public Citizen   ...In the first months of 2014, Congress will decide whether it will maintain its constitutional authority over trade or succumb to White House and corporate demands to give away its power to save us from more damaging “trade” deals...
Report Suggests NSA Engaged In Financial Manipulation, Changing Money In Bank Accounts  techdirt   ...Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system...
The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship With Big Tobacco  truthout   ......The State Policy Network (SPN), a web of right-wing "think tanks" in every state across the country, has close ties with the tobacco industry…SPN, its member affiliates, and SPN-related entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute,  continued to receive funding from the tobacco industry that has continued through at least 2012, according to Altria/Phillip Morris documents…
New Commodity Trading Rules Good for Big Oil  oil price   ...The move by banking and securities regulators to ban proprietary trading at financial institutions could put an end to Wall Street’s dominance in the commodity hedging game, giving greater advantage to oil majors, but make it difficult for smaller oil and gas producers to lock in future prices to mitigate risk, industry experts say...
Ted Mitchell, Education Dept. Nominee, Has Strong Ties to Pearson, Privatization Movement  The Nation   ...As the administration continues to reshuffle its team, and confront new regulatory challenges, some view Mitchell’s nomination as a move towards greater privatization. In the coming months, the Department of Education will release “gainful employment” rules to rein in for-profit colleges, an experiment in proprietary education that many see as an unmitigated disaster...
Economic Opportunity Is Lowest In the Republican Bible Belt, Major Study Finds  Alternet   ...virtually all of this nation’s class-rigidity still remains in the U.S. South, even after the Civil War. New Dixie has replaced the aristocracy’s black slaves of Old Dixie, by the local (white) aristocracy’s institutionalized bigotry against poor people, now of all ethnic groups...
After Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Bleak Struggle for Survivors  New York Times   ...while the Rana Plaza disaster stirred an international outcry — and shamed many international clothing companies into pledging to help finance safety improvements in other Bangladeshi factories — the people most directly affected are still living without any guarantees of help or financial compensation...
Credit Shouldn't Be A Barrier for Job Seekers (opinion)  teamster.org   ...Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled legislation this week that would prevent employers from discriminating against potential hires who have poor credit...
Quest to restrict union fees targets 3 new states  Associated Press   ... Buoyed by recent successes in the Midwest, conservatives and business groups are targeting at least three additional states for new efforts that could weaken labor unions by ending their ability to collect mandatory bargaining fees...
Zoeller asks Supreme Court to restore right to work law  NWI Times   ...he Indiana Supreme Court has begun receiving written arguments over whether Lake Superior Judge John Sedia correctly ruled the state's 2012 right-to-work law unconstitutional...
OH judge says efficiency not good case for cameras  Associated Press   ...An Ohio judge rebuffed an argument Thursday that traffic cameras make law enforcement more efficient, stating sharply that violating motorists' rights isn't the American way...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The real war on Christmas

Brother Benjamin Carlson posted this image of the real war on Christmas on the Teamsters Facebook page. And those SNAP benefits (food stamps) cost a taxpayer making $50,000 a year just $36, according to The Progress Report.  

Corporate welfare, on the other hand, cost that taxpayer $6,000:
When it comes to funding the rest of America’s social safety net programs, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 a year pays just over six dollars a year. 
But the American taxpayer is paying a lot for the billions of dollars the U.S. government gives to corporate America each year. The average American family pays a staggering $6,000 a year in subsidies to big business. 
Where does some of that $6,000 every year actually go? For starters, $870 of it goes to direct subsidies and grants for corporations. This includes money for subsidies to Big Oil companies that are polluting our skies and fueling climate change. 
An additional $870 goes to corporate tax [loopholes that other taxpayers end up paying for] — or twice as much; Citizens for Tax Justice found that the U.S. Treasury lost $181 billion in corporate tax subsidies, which means the average American family could be out as much as $1,600 per year. 
Of that $6,000 for corporations each year, $1,231 of it goes to making up for revenue losses from corporate tax havens. This money goes to recouping losses from giant transnational corporations like Apple and GE that hide their money overseas to boost profits and avoid paying income taxes. 
Merry Christmas.


RTW on billionaires' agenda in 3 (at least) states

The Benedict Arnold  Koch brothers and their greedy billionaire friends are at it again, trying to sucker the public into thinking busting unions is somehow good for 'freedom' and 'business.'

David Lieb at the Associated Press has the story:
Buoyed by recent successes in the Midwest, conservatives and business groups are targeting at least three additional states for new efforts that could weaken labor unions by ending their ability to collect mandatory bargaining fees. 
The latest efforts are focused on Missouri, Ohio and Oregon and - in a new twist - could put the issue before voters in 2014 instead of relying on potentially reluctant governors to enact laws passed by state legislators. 
The strategy of appealing to voters could avoid a redo of the massive union-led protests that clogged some Midwestern capitols where Republicans recently enacted other anti-labor proposals...
Lieb exposes the motive behind politicians who promote right-to-work-for-less laws: Money.
"There's national money to be had, and there are large donors in the state that definitely want to move forward," said Jill Gibson Odell, a Portland, Ore., attorney who is sponsoring an initiative to restrict union fees for public employees in her state. 
(At least Odell is honest about her, um, hustle.)

We've seen over and over billionaires like the Koch brothers buying off politicians so they can lower workers' wages.

We know for a fact that Koch buddy and  Ponzi scheme Amway heir Dick DeVos promised Michigan lawmakers money if they'd vote for right-to-work-for-less. A Michigan lawmaker said so in front of an electronic recording device.

If the Koch brothers cared so much about freedom, they wouldn't have sold oil equipment to Iran.

Today's Teamster News 12.19.13

Teamsters: Protesters Slam UNFI & Whole Foods For Destroying Environment At Taxpayers' & Workers' Expense  teamster.org   ... Dozens of educators, consumers, and labor and environmental activists gathered today to protest the unsustainable practices of organic food distributor United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) and retail partner Whole Foods Market (WFM) at UNFI’s annual shareholder meeting...
Teamsters Donating Toys to Hershey Ronald McDonald House  teamster.org   ...Teamsters Local Union 776 in Harrisburg, Pa. will be donating more than $7,500 in toys to the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey...
Union to represent low-wage food workers at two Smithsonian museums  Washington Post   ...After a series of one-day strikes, marches and demonstrations, about 220 food-service workers at two Smithsonian Institution museums will be represented by a union in contract negotiations for the first time, organizers said Monday...
Amazon May Get Its First Labor Union in the U.S.  Bloomberg   ...For the first time, employees in a U.S. Amazon facility have successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to hold union elections...
Temporary Work, Lasting Harm  ProPublica   ...in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job than permanent employees...
Jamie Dimon’s perp walk: Why it could be this year’s Christmas miracle  Salon   ...JPMorgan's CEO just violated a federal statute carrying a prison sentence. But will the punishment fit the crime?...
How America Created a Low-Wage Work Swamp  Salon   ...The U.S. now has the highest proportion of low-wage workers in the developed world...
W.H. to nominate Sen. Max Baucus as next ambassador to China  Politico ...Sen. Max Baucus, the veteran Montana Democrat who has served in the Senate since 1978, is expected to be nominated by the White House to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to China...
Rep. Jack Kingston Proposes That Poor Students Sweep Floors In Exchange For Lunch  Huffington Post   ...Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) wants kids to learn early in life that there's no such thing as a free lunch. To make sure they absorb that lesson, he's proposing that low-income children do some manual labor in exchange for their subsidized meals...
The Government Is Quietly Giving Way More Housing Aid To Rich People Than Poor People  Business Insider   ...In 2012, the federal government gave out $240 billion in housing aid. Income data is not available for all of it, but of what is available, more than half went to those with incomes greater than $100,000 ($81.6 billion). Only $40 billion went to those with incomes less than $50,000...
Delta Air Lines will not allow cellphone calls on flights  The Guardian   ...Right now, federal rules prohibit voice calls on planes. But the government is indicating that it might loosen those rules. If that happens, it could be up to airlines to set their own policies...
Koch brothers' foundation backed rosy May report on Wisconsin economy  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   ..."Despite the effort to distance itself, it is quite clear that Koch-controlled funds help directly underwrite ALEC's 'Rich States, Poor States' report with its discredited rankings of state economic policies..."
Walker hopes John Doe investigation will conclude soon  Channel 3000   ...Gov. Scott Walker says he hopes an ongoing secret investigation that reportedly is looking into activities by his campaign and conservative groups ends soon...
Wisconsin National Guard unveils new unmanned aircraft facility  Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs   ...Leaders from the Wisconsin Army National Guard and Wisconsin Air National Guard, along with political representatives and community leaders, were on hand Dec. 6 for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for a tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) facility...
OUTRAGEOUS: Texas Police Can Now Obtain Search Warrants Based On ‘Prediction Of A Future Crime’  Alternet   ...Last week, an appeals court in Texas ruled that police may obtain a search warrant based on the prediction of a future crime, heightening public fears that we may be heading toward a ‘predictive policing’ era in which we see police powers rapidly growing at the cost of our constitutional rights...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.18.13

Teamsters Stand in Solidarity with Korean Railway Workers on Strike  teamster.org   ...The Teamsters and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the Teamsters are standing in solidarity with striking Korean railway workers...
Port Workers In IKEA Supply Chain Hold Solidarity Actions Over Lockout  teamster.org   ...hundreds of dock workers at 10 ports around the globe held rallies to show their support for the 350 Teamsters who have been locked out from their jobs without pay for seven months at IKEA’s store in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada...
Teamsters Donating Toys to Hershey Ronald McDonald House  teamster.org   ...Teamsters Local Union 776 in Harrisburg will be donating more than $7,500 in toys to the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey...
SCI Deceives Grieving Family For $15,000 Funeral, Relatives Outraged  teamster.org   ...“We had no clue there was a change of ownership,” Johnson said. “We went there on the memory of a good family business only to find out it is owned by this huge conglomerate that is mistreating workers and basically spitting on the memory of my mom...”
Northern Tier Refinery Workers Vote To Strike  teamster.org   ...workers from the Northern Tier refinery in St. Paul Park, Minn. voted overwhelmingly to strike if necessary, rejecting cuts proposed by management that could dramatically undermine the safety of operations. The refinery workers are represented by Teamsters Local 120...
GES Exposition Services Threatens Chicago's Convention Business  teamster.org   ...The company is demanding a laundry list of concessions from the Teamsters, including more work-rule restrictions, further crew-size reductions and changes in seniority...
It’s Time to Halt Middle-Class Housing Crisis  teamster.org   ...10 million homeowners still owe more than their homes are worth...
Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion  Bloomberg   ...By shuffling his company stock in and out of more than 30 trusts, he’s given at least $7.9 billion to his heirs while legally avoiding about $2.8 billion in U.S. gift taxes since 2010, according to calculations based on data in Adelson’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings...
U.S. preparing civil charges against Citigroup, Merrill Lynch: sources  Reuters   ...Civil investigators have compiled evidence that allegedly shows that investors lost tens of billions of dollars after purchasing securities Citigroup had marketed as safe even though the bank had reason to believe otherwise...
Elizabeth Warren’s New Bill Aims to Stop Employers Discriminating Against the Poor  truthdig   ...Employers often use credit scores to weed out poorer applicants despite the fact that studies show these numbers have nothing to do with productivity or dedication, but the Equal Employment for All Act introduced Tuesday would prohibit this form of discrimination from taking place...
Why are we letting China buy American companies?  New York Post   ...The Smithfield buyout is a great loss because the company has become a huge exporter, to Japan and elsewhere, and has developed, with taxpayer assistance, systems and technologies that are best in class. Of course, that was why it became a target and why China Inc. overpaid to get it. But the only American beneficiaries will be a handful of investors. The rest of Smithfield’s stakeholders, and the American economy, will be bruised...
Another Apple Supplier in China Admits Gross Violations of Worker Rights  Economic Policy Institute   ...In a swift reaction to ugly publicity about suicides, injuries, and mistreatment of workers, Biel Crystal, one of Apple’s most important suppliers of touchscreen cover glass for its iPhones, reached an agreement with the Chinese labor rights group, SACOM, to take three steps toward better conditions by January 2014...
Mexico's rights body warns of growth of vigilantes  Associated Press   ...Raul Plascencia, president of the National Human Rights Commission, said the growth of these groups are already undermining the rule of law but could also lead to more violence. He blamed the emergence of such groups on an official failure to provide security...
Merkel compared NSA to Stasi in heated encounter with Obama  The Guardian   ...German chancellor furious after revelations US intelligence agency listened in on her personal mobile phone...
Court: Occupy Columbia can sue Haley over arrests  Associated Press   ...Gov. Nikki Haley isn't immune from being sued by Occupy Columbia protesters who were kicked off the Statehouse grounds in 2011, a federal appeals court ruled Monday...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dockworkers in 10 countries rally for locked-out IKEA Teamsters

Dockworkers in Norway support locked-out IKEA Teamsters
Dockworkers at 10 ports around the world are rallying today to support IKEA Teamsters who've been locked out of their jobs for seven months by IKEA in Richmond, Canada.

According to the Teamsters press statement,
The dock workers, members of 11 unions that belong to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), carried banners that read “Dockers Solidarity with IKEA Workers/ITF.” 
Dock workers held rallies at ports in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Canada. To view photos from the rallies, visit www.IKEAHurtsFamilies.com. 
Dockworkers in Belgium support locked-out
IKEA Teamsters
“IKEA’s actions are inexcusable,” said ITF representative Peter Lahay. “IKEA has put its workers on the street for seven months purely for retaliation. These workers exercised their legal right to vote down IKEA’s demands for a discriminatory wage system and cuts to family health care benefits. Now, IKEA is holding the workers hostage while they stand outside in the winter, at Christmas time.”
IKEA's abuse of its Teamster workers and their families is receiving global press attention. An international delegation traveled to Richmond to assess the situation and has reported its findings in Sweden. The company, which purports to be family friendly, cannot be happy with the attention.

The Tyee in Canada recently reported, for example,
"IKEA management at their store in Richmond has adopted a radical anti-worker
agenda that opposes unionization campaigns and encourages union decertification." 
Solidarity from dockworkers in Japan 
That's how a union-sponsored, European-based fact-finding commission describes the lengthy, ongoing dispute between IKEA management and unionized workers at the iconic Swedish furniture retailer's Richmond, B.C. location. 
The commission, which held B.C. hearings on the dispute in early November, issued its scathing final report this week, titled "How IKEA Is Hurting Families."
Let's hope our brothers and sisters can go back to work soon. Solidarity!


NAFTA turns 20 after killing 682,900 jobs

The TPP would be worse than NAFTA. Really.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of NAFTA, the first bilateral corporate power grab disguised as a trade deal.

NAFTA, which was supposed to create 200,000 jobs in two years, actually killed 682,900 U.S. jobs in 20 years, according to our friend Rob Scott at the Economic Policy Institute.

NAFTA paved the way for CAFTA, the WTO, PNTR and KORUS FTA, none of which have done what their supporters promised they would do: Create good American jobs. Instead, these treaties have destroyed American manufacturing, widened the U.S. trade deficit, damaged the middle class, eliminated jobs, empowered corporations and weakened the power of the people.

Writes Scott:
...things didn’t work out as Clinton promised. NAFTA led to a flood of outsourcing and foreign direct investment in Mexico. U.S. imports from Mexico grew much more rapidly than exports, leading to growing trade deficits, as shown in the Figure. Jobs making cars, electronics, and apparel and other goods moved to Mexico, and job losses piled up in the United States, especially in the Midwest where those products used to be made. By 2010, trade deficits with Mexico had eliminated 682,900 good U.S. jobs, most (60.8 percent) in manufacturing. 
Claims by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that NAFTA “trade” has created millions of jobs are based on disingenuous accounting, which counts only jobs gained by exports but ignores jobs lost due to growing imports. The U.S. economy has grown in the past 20 years despite NAFTA, not because of it. Worse yet, production workers’ wages have suffered in the United States. Likewise, workers in Mexico have not seen wage growth. Job losses and wage stagnation are NAFTA’s real legacy. 
Few disagree that NAFTA and subsequent corporate-empowerment deals destroyed millions of good U.S. jobs and lowered our standard of living. It is incredible that two more such deals -- TPP and TAFTA -- are even being considered. But those proposals are a feature, not a bug, of the tremendous power that multinational corporations amassed as a result of NAFTA.

Today's Teamster News 12.17.13

Teamsters Urge Dialogue, Caution Around Sysco/US Foods Deal  teamster.org   ...Sysco’s acquisition of US Foods announced last week raises serious concerns for workers, stakeholders and customers as the combined company becomes the country’s largest institutional/restaurant food service provider...
Locked Out Teamsters Buy 'Christmas Carol' Tickets for Corporate Funeral Scrooge SCI  teamster.org   ...After 170 days of being humbugged by Service Corporation International [NYSE: SCI], locked out Teamster funeral directors and drivers hope to bring some Christmas cheer to SCI CEO Thomas L. Ryan with two tickets to the Goodman Theatre’s production of  “A Christmas Carol...
Teamsters deliver Christmas  West Virginia Metro News   ...The staff at the Children’s Home Society in Charleston got an early Christmas gift Monday. The Teamsters Local 175 delivered a tractor trailer filled with toys and non-perishable food to the Davis Child Center...
Revelations That Ikea Spied on Its Employees Stir Outrage in France  New York Times   ...A regional court in Versailles, near Paris, is now examining whether Ikea executives in France broke the law by ordering personal investigations — not only of Ms. Paulin but of hundreds of other people over the course of a decade...
Finally paying for Wal-Mart’s sins: Wage theft settlement yields millions  Salon   ...Workers at a California Wal-Mart warehouse are owed $4.7 million for alleged theft of their wages, under a proposed settlement approved this week by a federal judge. The 568 workers were employed by the Wal-Mart contractor Schneider...
White House: Trans Pacific Partnership ‘remains a top priority’ for Obama  Agence France-Presse   ...The White House sent a strong signal Monday of its desire to create a huge Pacific free trade area, despite the slippage of its year-end deadline for the 12-nation project...
The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?  New York Review of Books   ...In striking contrast with these past prosecutions, not a single high-level executive has been successfully prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis, and given the fact that most of the relevant criminal provisions are governed by a five-year statute of limitations, it appears likely that none will be...
Amazon workers in Germany launch strike over wages  Al-Jazeera America   ...Hundreds of workers at Amazon.com in Germany have walked off the job in an effort, times to coincide with the busy pre-Christmas period, to pressure the American online retailer to settle a months-long dispute over pay...
Independent Labor Candidates Win Two Dozen City Council Seats in Ohio  The Real News   ...Two dozen city candidates on an independent labor ticket were recently elected as city counselors of Lorain County, Ohio. Most of the candidates were union members of the AFL-CIO who chose to run after they felt that the traditional Democratic leadership failed...
Victims of Misclassification (opinion)  New York Times   ...In 2000, a United States Department of Labor study estimated that up to 30 percent of employers misclassify workers. This year, the Treasury Department’s inspector general concluded that the problem had worsened...
NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules  The Guardian   ...A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first surveillance disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden...
Center For American Progress Discloses Corporate Donors After Investigations  firedoglake   ...A review of CAP’s research track record shows that the group’s work is dictated by two simple mainsprings: its obvious and overwhelming fealty to the Democratic Party, and the pursuit of corporate cash…
Unemployment Benefits End Right After Christmas. Here’s What Happens Next.  National Journal   ...On Jan. 6, Majority Leader Harry Reid will reconvene the Senate and attempt to pass a retroactive extension of the benefits as emergency spending. That means the bill won't have an offset and would raise the deficit—sheer blasphemy to most Republicans. It's not clear that it will pass...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Workers robbed by payroll fraud

Payroll fraud is an epidemic costing workers and governments billions of dollars, according to a New York Times op-ed published yesterday.

'Payroll fraud' is another term for 'misclassification,' about which the Teamsters have a lot of painful experience. The op-ed, though, has a great example: Tom Anderson, a Michigan construction worker, was an employee for six years until his employer suddenly told him he was an independent contractor.

Nothing changed, except he lost workers’ compensation, overtime pay, his employers' Social Security contribution and unemployment insurance. He might have even earned less than minimum wage.

Read the whole thing here.

Wisconsin Teamster contract creates jobs

Teamsters Local 200 members prepare to vote on the Roundy's contract.
Here's some good news from our Teamster brothers and sisters in Milwaukee, Wisc.:
Teamsters General Local Union No. 200 held a contract ratification vote for the drivers, warehouse and plant maintenance at the Oconomowoc Distribution Center for Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc. this past Sunday, Dec. 15. Members overwhelmingly accepted the tentative agreement by a 4-to-1 margin. 
"The membership was engaged in the process well before the 60 day re-opener was mailed to the employer," said Tom Bennett, Local 200 president and agent. "The work of the bargaining committee was focused and stayed the course for the membership in protecting health and welfare benefits for the regular full-time brothers and sisters, maintaining zero cost sharing." 
This three-year agreement will see additional work brought into the warehouse with both the warehouse and driver units seeing growth. Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc., operates several different banner stores within the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.  
Great work, brothers and sisters!
 

This is what we union THUGGS do at Scott Air Force Base

Teamsters unloading toys at Scott Air Force Base.
...We deliver three truckloads full of toys for military families just before Christmas.

Our brothers and sisters at Teamsters Joint Council 13 in St. Louis made the H.E.R.O.E.S. Care toy drive a big success last week. They worked with Holland Freight and Dollar General to bring thousands of toys to military families at Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Ill.

H.E.R.O.E.S. Care brings together national organizations to support military families.  It stands for 'Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowerment through Support.'

Teamster volunteers loaded and drove trucks filled with Disney videos, books, dolls, games, puzzles and sports equipment to the base. There, the toys were sorted by age so they could be distributed to airmen's children.

Judging by the response on H.E.R.O.E.S. Care's Facebook page, the toys were much appreciated:
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the donors and to H.E.R.O.E.S Care ! The kiddos in our squadron are very excited for our Children's Holiday Party. With all of the toys, books, and DVDs that were so generously donated each of of the little ones will be able to get a present from Santa!
Thanks to our Teamster brother Roy Gillespie for bringing this wonderful effort to our attention. And remember ... THUGGS stands for 'Those Helpful Union Guys and Gals.'


Today's Teamster News 12.16.13

Pope Francis In Peace Message Attacks Mega-Salaries With 'Crumbs' For Poor  Huffington Post   ...Pope Francis said in the first peace message of his pontificate that huge salaries and bonuses are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality and called again for nations to narrow the wealth gap...
Rich People’s Idea of Charity: Giving to Elite Schools and Operas  Alternet   ...a large portion of the charitable deductions now claimed by America’s wealthy are for donations to culture palaces – operas, art museums, symphonies, and theaters – where they spend their leisure time hobnobbing with other wealthy benefactors...
Is this the end of in-flight phone calls?  Salon   ...There’s a government showdown in the making, and it’s all about cellphones: specifically, if passengers on US flights should be allowed to make phone calls or not...
The 1% is Hogging so much of our Income that it’s Holding the Economy Back  Informed Comment   ...“If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25 percent more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year...
Poverty nation: How America created a low-wage work swamp  Salon   ... a quarter of people who have jobs today make so little money that they also receive some form of public assistance, or welfare – a proportion that’s much higher in some of the fastest growing sectors of the workforce. Or that 60 percent of able-bodied adult food-stamp recipients are employed...
IBM faces shareholder lawsuit over cooperation with NSA  CNet   ...IBM's cooperation with a National Security Agency surveillance program caused sales in China to "abruptly halt" and the company's stock price to decline, a shareholder lawsuit claims...
US Government Pays Contractors Twice as Much as Civil Servants for the Same Work  Bill Moyers   ...the budget deal just worked out between the White House and Capitol Hill will prevent a government shutdown and all of its attendant global financial inconveniences. But it does nothing to curtail wasteful spending on companies that are among the nation’s richest and most powerful – from Booz Allen Hamilton, the $6 billion-a-year management-consulting firm, to Boeing, the defense contractor boasting $82 billion in worldwide sales...
Pushing for Justice at Walmart  The Daily Beast   ...Dominic Ware was a charismatic leader in the nationwide Our Walmart campaign, fighting for better working conditions—until he got fired after speaking out for himself and his coworkers...
Amid Healing Labor Market, Long-Term Unemployment Still Dire  US News   ...As Washington fights about jobless benefits, the long-term jobless make up a remarkably high share of the unemployed...


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.15.13

Are Young Workers the Future of Labor?  In These Times   ...nearly two-thirds of 18–29-year olds have a favorable impression of unions, more than any other age bracket. The time is ripe for labor leaders to bring the next generation into the fold...
FAMILY Act: 'Good for Everyone'  AFL-CIO Now   ...The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, introduced today by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), will "grant families access to the paid leave they so desperately need" and "improve job security for all families who have to choose between caring for a family member and a paycheck at times of greatest stress..."
Lurid Subprime Scams Unveiled in Long-Running Fraud Trial  Rolling Stone   ...the subprime bubble exploded because financial companies and banks were in a mad rush to get as many iffy borrowers into loans as quickly as possible – and not because they were forced to...
Wikileaks TPP Revelations Prove US in "Left Field" With Trade Deal  The Real News   ...The revelations demonstrate deep disagreement between the United States and negotiating parties on the issues of intellectual property, agricultural subsidies, and financial services...
Don’t Get Too Excited About the Volcker Rule  The Nation   ...The real solution will not come until another Congress or a new president find the courage to break them up, cut them down to size and restore the old Glass-Steagall division of commercial banking from investment banking...
Nike and Levi’s Working to Kill U.S. Jobs and Industry  Trade Reform   ...They have a few white collar and design jobs in the U.S., but make their money by moving production from the U.S. to elsewhere… taking entire industries and communities in the process...
The War Over Austerity Is Over. Republicans Won.  Mother Jones   ... In their first budget after re-taking the majority—the FY 2012 Ryan budget, passed in 2011—the House Republicans wanted discretionary spending to be $1.039 trillion in 2014 and $1.047 trillion in 2015…. this proposed deal with the Democrats would put discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion in 2014 and $1.014 trillion in 2015...
Telling Fast Food Workers To 'Get A Better Job' Is Nonsense, In 1 Chart  Huffington Post   ...For every job that pays a median wage of at least $15 an hour there are 7 job seekers...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Today's Teamster News 12.14.13

Teamsters look to organize local law enforcement and correctional officers  philly.com   ...The International Brotherhood of Teamsters hopes to consolidate resources and expand its base in Pennsylvania by forming a statewide association of law enforcement and correctional officers, union leaders announced Thursday...
Teamsters: SCI Admits to Labor Law Violations in Lockout of Funeral Workers  teamster.org   ...Funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) has acknowledged its violation of several federal labor laws in its treatment of 59 locked out Chicago-area funeral employees...
Budget Deal Misses Big on Unemployment  teamster.org   ...A proposed congressional budget compromise approved by the House late Thursday, while generally a good first step for America, whiffed when it came to the long-term unemployed in this country...
Cameras Are Not the Answer   Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen   ...Cameras are essentially an accident investigation tool; they are not an accident prevention tool...
Corporate Extortion: States Are Giving Billions to Corporations That Don’t Create Jobs  Alternet   ...a dozen blue and red state governors are in a bidding war recklessly offering to spend billions for tax breaks and other public-paid subsidies to lure the corporate giant Boeing to build its next-generation aircraft factory...
US judge approves $5.7bn Visa and Mastercard settlement  BBC News   ...The two firms were accused of fixing the credit card fees charged to merchants each time a credit or debit card was used...
What Dodd-Frank Didn’t Fix: The Most Dangerous Aspects of Wall Street  Wall Street on Parade   ...Nothing has stopped the high frequency traders from fleecing the little guy who is trying to sell his 100 shares at a fair price. Nothing has stopped Wall Street from fleecing as much as two-thirds of your 401(k) over your working career through hidden fees and commissions...
$2.75 an Hour?! The Shocking Secret of Goodwill  Alternet   ...Goodwill CEOs make over $400,000 a year. But some of its disabled employees are paid less than $3 an hour...
This Deal Could Make You Sick: A Backdoor for Food Contamination  Public Citizen   ...U.S. and EU TAFTA negotiators, advised by the world’s largest agribusinesses, have used coded language in pushing for TAFTA rules that could roll back food safety standards...
Peripheral Europe's New Normal: 50 Applicants For One Minimum Wage Job  zero hedge   ...what is emerging as Europe's magic number, namely, 1 in 50, or what an unemployed person's chances are of getting a minimum wage job...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Teamsters take IKEA fight to Sweden

Teamster Keith Austin in Sweden.
Teamsters and members of four other international labor unions are getting plenty of media attention in Sweden as they expose IKEA's abuse of its workers in Canada.

They came armed with a report that describes how far IKEA departed from its original Swedish values. The company locked out more than 300 workers at its Richmond store without pay for more than six months. Now IKEA is trying to smear them because they exercised their legal right to vote down IKEA’s demand they accept a discriminatory two-tiered wage system and cut-off of health care benefits.

The report calls on IKEA to end its lockout and end its use of anti-union lawyers at the bargaining table.
The media coverage is all in Swedish, naturally, but we have a translation of one item from TT News, which reports:

Employees at an Ikea store in Vancouver has been without a job and salary for seven months.
The delegation to Sweden included: 

  • Keith Austin, a locked-out IKEA Richmond store worker;
  • Grant Coleman, Teamsters Canada;
  • Peter L√∂vkvist, Nordic Transport Federation;
  • Erin van der Maas, International Transport Workers’ Federation;
  • Tim Beaty, International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and
  • Mathias Bolton, UNI Global Union

  • Follow their struggle at the ikeahurtsfamilies.org website.

    3 questions about Detroit's bankruptcy

    Three good questions about Detroit's bankruptcy in Salon:
    1. Why are Detroit officials simultaneously moving to cut municipal workers’ pensions while spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new professional hockey stadium? 
    2. Why are municipal employees being blamed for Detroit’s woes when data prove they had little to do with the city’s fiscal problems? (Because Detroit’s bankruptcy was caused by a severe decline in revenue and made worse by complicated Wall Street deal.) 
    3. If Michigan is so strapped for cash, why is Gov. Snyder almost doubling the salaries of his top officials?

    Today's Teamster News 12.13.13

    Funeral Giant SCI Refuses Interest Arbitration  teamster.org   ...SCI, which operates under the Dignity Memorial brand name, rejected the arbitration deal after turning down an unconditional offer to return to work made by Teamsters Local 727 in September. The lockout affects 59 funeral directors and livery drivers at 16 Dignity Memorial funeral homes...
    Teamsters Announce Formation Of Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Association  Teamsters Pennsylvania Conference   ...The association will represent the more than 2,000 law enforcement officers working in over 100 Pennsylvania borough and county departments who already belong to the Teamsters Union...
    Teamsters Rally for Justice, Fair Election at Ohio Bottle Manufacturer  teamster.org   ...Teamsters Local 377 Secretary-Treasurer Sam Cook talks about the fight for a fair and free election for workers who manufacture aluminum bottles at EXAL Corp. in Youngstown, Ohio--a fight that the Teamsters recently took all the way to Canada...
    Canadian IKEA Employees in Sweden to Appeal to Kamprad  Sveriges Television   ...300 workers at an IKEA store in Canada have been without a job for seven months during a protracted conflict between the union and the employer. The company has lost its Swedish values, they say, and now they visit Sweden to meet IKEA's founder Ingvar Kamprad...
    House Passes Budget Bill to Increase Spending, Reverse Some Automatic Cuts  Time   ...Although Democrats are upset that unemployment benefits will not be extended in the deal, the agreement drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) drew  bipartisan support in a fiercely divided Congress...
    The Top 10 Threats of the Trans-Atlantic “Trade” Deal To U.S. Consumers  Public Citizen   ...A “trade” deal only in name, TAFTA, which corporate proponents have tried to rebrand as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), would require the United States and EU to conform domestic food and product safety standards, financial regulations, climate policies, data privacy protections and other non-trade policies to TAFTA rules – rules being negotiated in secret...
    Iceland Sends Four Bank Bosses to the Slammer  truthdig   ...The onetime CEO of Iceland’s Kaupthing bank, one Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, is going to jail for five and a half years for his part in his firm’s downfall—which also helped his country’s economy bottom out in 2008. He’ll be in good company. Three other former high-level Kaupthing execs, including ousted board Chairman Sigurdur Einarsson, will join Sigurdsson for shorter stints in prison for aiding in the cover-up of a sham deal with a Qatari financier that sank the firm late that year...
    Ford to hire 11,000 workers in US and Asia in 2014  BBC News   ...About 5,000 workers will be hired in the US and 6,000 in Asia, where Ford is opening two plants in China next year...
    Feds To Examine NY commuter rail line for 2 months  Associated Press   ...Federal experts will spend the next two months examining safety compliance and safety culture at a commuter railroad that operated a train that derailed and killed four people this month...
    Grass-roots economic protests spread across Italy  Associated Press   ...Students are marching through cities and towns, small business owners are blocking highway entrances and demonstrators have even tried to close the border with France. Their singular aim: To send all the politicians home in hopes of ending the country's malaise...
    Orr: Detroit pensions still at risk in bankruptcy  Associated Press   ...Orr, appointed by the governor last spring to run Detroit, said he "absolutely" supports a campaign to tap foundations and wealthy people to prevent the possible sale of city-owned art and preserve pensions. But he warned that the "expectations of the retiree community should be sober..."
    Group’s conservative funding questioned  Nashua Telegraph   ...A left-leaning interest group charged that the Concord-based, Josiah Bartlett Center was secretly bankrolled by national conservatives and promoting a national corporate agenda...