Thursday, July 2, 2015

Today's Teamsters News 07.02.15

Teamsters
Hoffa: A Blueprint for Getting America Back on Track  Huffington Post  ...The American economy is not working. As the Teamsters have stated repeatedly, there needs to be a commitment to boost and expand America's middle class. The Roosevelt Institute, of which I am a board member, recently released a detailed blueprint called "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy" authored by its renowned chief economist Joseph Stiglitz in an effort to tame income inequality...
Teamsters Joined By Community, Labor Allies to Denounce EVSC Union Busting  Teamster.org  ...Teamsters, community leaders and labor allies are joining together to denounce union-busting efforts by the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC). Just under 700 workers represented by Teamsters Local 215 are seeking a fair contract from EVSC, while the EVSC Board is threatening to withdraw union recognition if the union does not comply with its overreaching demands...
Teamsters, state reach agreement  News Tribune  ..."After several productive rounds of good faith negotiations, the Illinois Governor’s Office and Teamsters Local 700 have agreed to terms on a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement expired June 30, 2015," the office of Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Wednesday. The new contract covers nearly 350 workers at IDOT, CMS, IDES, and DHS in Cook County. The employees work as highway maintainers, heavy equipment operators, and building service and maintenance workers...

Global Labor & Trade
Trade chief: Congress could get Pacific deal by year's end  The Hill  ...U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Wednesday he is confident Congress will approve a massive trans-Pacific trade agreement, possibly by year’s end.  Froman said the “likelihood is very high that Congress will pass” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), because it will be a strong agreement reflecting the “enormous input by Congress”...
U.S. Trade Representative Sees Pacific Trade Pact Before Congress by Year -End  New York Times  ...U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said he hopes to wrap up a trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations soon and send it to the U.S. Congress for approval before the end of the year. Lawmakers last week granted the White House authority to close the Trans­Pacific Partnership and other trade deals and speed them through Congress, opening the door to a phase of intense negotiations to finalize the pact...
Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal  Politico  ...A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law. Politico has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam...
Parliament to vote on TTIP next week  Politico  ...After months of internal strife, the European Parliament is set to vote next week on a disputed trade court that has emerged as the most delicate part of the EU-U.S. free trade agreement. MEPs will debate proposed changes to the Investor State Dispute Settlement provision at the plenary session on Tuesday, and will vote on Wednesday...
TISA Exposed: 'Holy Grail' of Leaks Reveals Detailed Plot for Corporate Takeover  Common Dreams  ...WikiLeaks on Wednesday released what it described as "a modern journalistic holy grail: the secret Core Text for the largest 'trade deal' in history." That deal is the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA, currently being negotiated by 52 nations that together account for two-thirds of global GDP. TISA "is the largest component of the United States' strategic neoliberal 'trade' treaty triumvirate," which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP)...
The Undercurrent: Forget the TPP, does a secret global court spell the end of democracy?  The Guardian  ...With a series of murky international trade agreements like the TPP being negotiated, will a secret court give corporations the power to erode the rights of nation states? The TPP includes an Investor State Dispute Settlement clause that allows a secret court with global reach to arbitrate disputes between multinationals and the countries they operate in...
TPP Could Actually Make Working Conditions Worse in Vietnam  The Nation  ...The mega trade pact is alleged to help equalize these trading “partners,” supposedly bringing Vietnamese labor protections in line with international standards. But actually, the reason businesses tend to relish free-trade agreements, and unions loathe them, is precisely that trade liberalization allows multinational brands to exploit the absence of those labor protections in poorer countries...
Trade unions hijacked Greece's Finance Ministry with a huge anti-austerity banner  Business Insider  ...Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is calling for the nation to vote "No" in Sunday's bailout referendum and there's a huge banner on a key public building saying the same thing. Unions may have been spurred to hang the banner following the release of Tsipras' latest letter to Greece's creditors, dated June 30, which leaked earlier today. The letter show Tsipras caving in to most of the Eurogroup's demands...
Chomsky: Greece Faces "Savage Response" For Taking on Austerity "Class War"  Democracy Now  ...As Greece defaults and faces a referendum this Sunday on a new bailout package, Noam Chomsky explains Europe’s "savage response" to the pushback against austerity demands: "What’s going on with the austerity is really class war. As an economic program, austerity, under recession, makes no sense. It just makes the situation worse. So the Greek debt, relative to GDP, has actually gone up during the period"...
Unions may take MTN strike abroad  BDLIve  ...Strike action at the country’s second-biggest mobile operator, MTN, continues, with some Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) affiliates on Wednesday threatening to escalate the industrial action into an international boycott. The boycott hinges on whether MTN accedes to the demands made by the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Strike Hits 9 Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstores In Ontario  Huffington Post  ...A strike is under way at nine stores in southwestern Ontario owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. Workers walked out at midnight at three Zehrs Great Foods outlets in Windsor and another in nearby Kingsville, and at two Real Canadian Superstore outlets in Windsor and at stores in Chatham, Leamingston and Sarnia. The United Food and Commercial Workers union says 1,600 workers represented by Locals 175 and 633 are involved in the legal strike...

State & Living Wage Battles
Voter ID Education Efforts Begin in Earnest in Wisconsin  WUWM  ...Presidential campaigns won’t be the only ones vying for voters’ attention as next year’s elections grow near. The other campaign that will gain steam is the race to prepare people for Wisconsin’s photo ID law. This past spring, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the legal challenges to the law. That’s caused groups that fought the requirement to shift gears...
U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Case to Give 'Right-to-Work' to All Public Employees  Michigan Capitol Confidential  ...On the final day of its most recent session, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will consider a labor law case that experts say could dramatically limit the power of government employee unions. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was brought on behalf of 10 California public school teachers who sued for the right to leave their union and not still pay "agency fees." If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, it could have the same effect as extending right-to-work law protections to all public employees...
Chicago implements $10 minimum wage. Other cities aim for $15 by 2020.  Christian Science Monitor  ...Minimum wage workers in Chicago will receive $10 an hour starting Wednesday, as a part of a long-term plan to increase pay to $13 an hour by 2019. At the same time, Washington, D.C. will implement a $10.50 an hour wage, making it the first of the states to pass the $10 threshold. And Chicago and Washington are not alone...
California Moves To Pay Professional Cheerleaders Minimum Wage  Think Progress  ...Thanks to what is believed to be first of its kind legislation, legal minimum wages and worker protections may be on the horizon for California’s professional cheerleaders. A bill proposed by State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez (D) in January, and approved by the Senate on Monday, requires California sports teams to adhere to state and federal minimum wage requirements and to provide overtime pay and sick leave to professional cheerleaders...
Law creates alternatives to photo ID for voting  Daily Tar Heel   ...As lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s 2013 voter-ID requirement continue, a recent North Carolina law will provide an alternative for voters without photo identification in future elections. The law, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed June 22, will allow for voters without a valid form of government photo identification to cast a provisional ballot after signing a reasonable impediment declaration as to why they do not have an acceptable photo ID...
Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect, Valley Businesses Reluctantly Comply  ABC  ...Working Californians not entitled to paid sick leave before are now eligible for it under state law. The right to accrue and take sick leave starts today, and while that's good news for working Californians, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce says local businesses are reluctantly beginning to implement it...
Prevailing Wage Expires in West Virginia  WSAZ  ...July 1 marked the end of prevailing wage in West Virginia, at least temporarily. For contractors like Jeffries, the wages his workers receive can vary -- at least for now. "At Cornerstone Interiors, we've had four people already quit," said Jeffries, "and have left to find a stable market somewhere." Those four are part of the roughly 10,000 employees the state's labor department says could be affected...

U.S. Labor
U.S. Economy Adds 223,000 Jobs; Unemployment at 5.3%  New York Times  ...The American economy entered the summer powered by a decent head of steam, as employers added 223,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent. After bottoming out in March as the overall economy stalled, hiring has rebounded in recent months along with other indicators like home sales and consumer spending...
Wages Are Stagnant Even As The Unemployment Rate Keeps Falling  Think Progress  ...While analysts had expected strong wage growth, there was no change over the month before and wages have grown just 2 percent year over year. June job growth was led by professional and business services (64,000), health care (40,000), retail (33,000), food and drinking places (30,000) and financial activities (20,000). Food and drinking places in particular have added 355,000 jobs over the last year, while retail has added 300,000...
Construction stops at about 30 sites as union concrete workers strike  Crains New York   ...Construction partially ground to a halt at an estimated 30 major sites across the city Wednesday morning after a group of concrete workers went on strike. Among the stalled sites are the Related Companies' massive Hudson Yards project and Time Equities' 50 West St. condo tower. The workers belong to a union umbrella group called the New York City District Council of Carpenters...
USW employees at ATI still working under contract extension  Observer-Reporter   ...Unionized members at Allegheny Technologies Inc. plants in Pennsylvania – including its Allegheny Ludlum plant in Canton Township – and in three other states, went to work Wednesday under a contract extension as negotiations on a new agreement continued. Late Tuesday, the United Steelworkers offered to continue working following the expiration of the previous labor agreement...
Teachers Say 17 Firings at Urban Prep Charter Schools Were Retaliation for Unionization  In These Times  ...On June 19, during their biannual semester-end interviews, 17 teachers were informed by school staff that they would not be returning to Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy come fall. The terminations came just weeks after 61 percent of Urban Prep’s teachers voted to form a union; activists say the firings were a blatant act of anti-union retaliation...
Denouncing 'Corporate Democrats,' Labor Leader Joins Sanders Campaign  Common Dreams  ...Larry Cohen, the labor leader and outgoing president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), is officially backing Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign—at least in part thanks to Hillary Clinton. Cohen told the Huffington Post on Wednesday that he made his choice after Clinton, who is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, continued to evade questions from the media and consumer watchdogs over her stance on Trade Promotion Authority...

Miscellaneous
Donald Trump's comments on immigration complicate GOP's 'Latino problem'  LA Times  ...When Donald Trump disparaged Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and drug-runners during his presidential announcement, the slurs were initially dismissed as just another outrageous pronouncement from the blustery billionaire. But as Latinos reel in anger and celebrities and corporate sponsors drop their associations with Trump, the Republican Party's other presidential hopefuls face an increasingly uncomfortable choice...
Why We Still Need Affirmative Action Policies In College Admissions  Think Progress  ...In the past few years, there has been more criticism of affirmative action policies in admissions programs. The idea is that colleges should only consider class because income inequality is becoming worse. But sociologists point out that there are plenty of reasons why affirmative action policies should continue and not be focused only on class differences. There are also many misconceptions about how affirmative action policies work...
"A New Chapter": After Half a Century, U.S. and Cuba Unveil Reopening of Embassies & Restored Ties  Democracy Now  ...The United States and Cuba have announced they will reopen embassies in each other’s capitals and formally re-establish diplomatic relations. Secretary of State John Kerry said he will travel to Havana to open the U.S. Embassy there. In a statement, the Cuban government said relations with the United States cannot be considered normalized until trade sanctions are lifted, the naval base at Guant├ínamo Bay is returned, and U.S.-backed programs aimed at "subversion and internal destabilization" are halted...
Black Churches Are Burning Again in America  The Atlantic  ...These fires join the murder of nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as major acts of violence perpetrated against predominantly black churches in the last fortnight. Churches are burning again in the United States, and the symbolism of that is powerful. Even though many instances of arson have happened at white churches, the crime is often association with racial violence...