Monday, December 14, 2015

Today's Teamster News 12.14.15

TEAMSTERS
Teamsters Testify About Republic Services' Radioactive Landfill  Teamster.org  ...On Tuesday, Teamsters testified at the St. Louis Tribunal that is investigating human rights violations against communities surrounding Republic Services’ West Lake Superfund landfill site in Bridgeton, Mo. The tribunal will report to the United Nations Human Rights and Environment Program.
An underground fire has been raging for five years at the West Lake complex...
Uber: On the Road to Nowhere  American Prospect  ...Working with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, hundreds of app-based drivers have helped persuade the Seattle City Council to vote initial approval—7 to 0—of a bill that would allow them to unionize. It would be the nation’s first law allowing app-based “independent contractor” drivers to unionize. A final vote is tentatively scheduled for December 14...
Chicago-Area Coca-Cola Refreshments Workers to Unite at Rally  Local 727  ...Hundreds of Coca-Cola Refreshments workers will rally in solidarity and in continued support of their unfair labor practice strike on Monday, Dec. 14. More than 300 Teamsters Local 727-represented Coca-Cola Refreshments workers initiated an unfair labor practice strike Dec. 3 after the beverage industry behemoth continually violated federal labor laws by intimidating workers, circumventing the union and engaging in overall bad faith bargaining during negotiations for a new contract...
SEIU, Teamsters Mourn San Bernardino Dead  Labor Press  ....Most of the 15 people killed in the mass murder at a holiday party for county workers here Dec. 2 were union members. Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents San Bernardino County environmental health specialists, has identified 10 of the dead and 10 of the 21 people wounded as members, and the Teamsters said three of the dead and two of the wounded were members of Local 1932...

GLOBAL LABOR & TRADE
Workers Strike At Mexican Border Factory  Fronteras  ...At least 100 workers at a Mexican border factory in Ciudad Ju├írez are on strike protesting low wages and a hostile workplace. The factory packages printer ink for the American company Lexmark. The highest paid workers claim they earn 77 cents an hour. Several dozen workers who said they were fired this week after demanding a pay raise have set up a protest camp outside the factory...
Workers at Irish Life to hold one day strike  Irish Times  ...Workers at insurance giant Irish Life have voted to hold a one-day strike this Thursday. A dispute has been ongoing since the beginning of November, when four two-hour stoppages were held. The dispute centres on the company’s unilateral imposition of a new pay model...
Thousands of Morocco Public Employees Wage Strike  Solidarity Center  ...Thousands of public-sector employees rallied and marched as part of a national strike yesterday in which workers in local agencies and up to 80 percent in government ministries walked off the job. Workers seek to draw attention to the unwillingness of the government to negotiate with them on such issues as wages and retirement. The strike, held on International Human Rights Day, aimed to “defend the gains of retirement for workers, trade union freedoms, rights and dignity”...
House Passes Trade Component, but Trans-Pacific Partnership Still in Doubt  Wall Street Journal  ...The House passed a key component of President Barack Obama’s trade policy Friday, but tepid support among Republicans and business groups for his big Pacific trade agreement could keep that deal from coming to a vote until the final weeks of his presidency, if then. A customs bill that cleared the House on Friday gives American steel companies greater ability to challenge subsidized and dumped steel from China and other countries...
TPP faces US roadblock  Financial Review  ...The Trans-Pacific Partnership suffered a serious setback to being implemented by the pact's lead economy, after the powerful United States Senate leader stunned trade watchers by declaring Congress should not vote on the accord until after next November's presidential election. The blunt message from influential Republican Mitch McConnell means the TPP is likely to face at least 12 months in limbo...
House votes to boost enforcement of trade deals, block climate change provisions  US News & World Report  ...As negotiators in Paris worked to finalize a global agreement on climate change, the Republican-controlled House approved a bill Friday that would block trade deals from being used to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters said the wide-ranging bill would beef up enforcement of U.S. trade agreements and help prevent counterfeit goods from entering the country...
The Empire Strikes Back: the Return of the WTO  Counterpunch  ...In the last two years, we have witnessed the rise of mega regional trade deals. TTIP is one such example of a potential trade deal between the US and the EU. These deals have many similarities. They are designed to open up new markets for global corporations and create the conditions for them to be as lucrative as possible...

STATE & LIVING WAGE BATTLES
U.S. states pass laws backing Uber's view of drivers as contractors  Reuters  ...State legislators in Ohio and Florida are moving ahead with regulations governing Uber and other ride services that would designate all drivers as independent contractors, bolstering a critical but much-disputed aspect of Uber's business model. The states would join North Carolina, Arkansas, and Indiana in requiring the contractor designation as part of new laws governing so-called transportation network companies...
Federal judges to weigh in on redistricting 13 News Now  ...Heading to court today: a potential change in Congressional district boundaries that would re-assign more than one million voters. Federal judges will weigh in on whether to proceed with redrawing Virginia's congressional districts, or wait for the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal. This comes after the court ruled the current boundaries pack too many African-American voters into the Commonwealth's 3rd District...
Speaker Unsure if House Will Vote on Right-to-Work in 2016  Ozarks First  ...The state House’s Republicans have met to discuss priorities for the coming session, but their leader won’t predict an answer for one key question - whether right-to-work will come to a vote in his chamber. Many speculate that if backers in the state House can’t find more support for right-to-work than it had this year, when they failed to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) veto, it won’t be brought up for a vote...
The fight over right-to-work  DPost.com  ...The battle lines have formed for the Legislature’s 2016 debate on a right-to-work bill. The West Virginia Business and Industry Council (BIC) has made it its top priority and legislative leaders have it near the top of their to-do lists. Union opponents packed the House of Delegates’ largest meeting room during a November WVU presentation on the topic. Proponents say it will boost jobs and wages and lure new business to the state. Opponents say it will kill jobs, lower wages and do nothing to help business...

U.S. LABOR
Kohler Company forced back to bargaining table  FightBack News  ...As of last week, Kohler Company and United Auto Workers Local 833 went back to the bargaining table for negotiations amidst a strike now entering its fourth week. The negotiations come as company production at its facilities remain largely closed, with the overwhelming majority of members continuing the stand on their picket lines...
Construction workers rally in Manhattan for safer worksites  AM New York  ...Thousands of construction workers rallied outside of City Hall on Thursday, displaying a row of eight black coffins and demanding the city enforce stricter safety measures at construction sites. Many marchers claimed non-union workers posed greater risks at construction sites because they do not go through the same stringent safety requirements as their union counterparts...
WMUR booted from next Democratic debate  Politico  ...New Hampshire’s most influential television station is being pushed out of next week’s Democratic debate. The reason? A labor dispute between a handful of employees at the station, WMUR, and its owner, the Hearst Corporation. At issue is an accusation by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1228 that WMUR is trying to strip pensions from about a dozen of its employees because they decided to join the union...
USW reviewing new U.S. Steel proposal  NWI.com  ...U.S. Steel has proposed a new contract to the United Steelworkers union, and local union presidents are headed to Pittsburgh to discuss it. Negotiations have been ongoing for six months. U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, which have declined to comment on specifics during the contract talks, have both asked for concessions they say are necessary...
King Soopers and City Market Ratify Agreements with UFCW Local 7  PR Newswire  ...The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced that associates working at King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado have ratified new labor agreements with UFCW Local 7. The contracts cover more than 10,000 associates working in 103 stores, 36 fuel centers and pharmacy technicians in 78 pharmacies in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Longmont, Parker and Pueblo...
Seattle Considers Measure to Let Uber and Lyft Drivers Unionize  New York Times  ...The proposed law is the latest labor issue to bedevil Uber, which lets people hail rides through a smartphone app and takes a roughly 20 to 30 percent cut of each fare. Uber has faced questions about whether its workers should be classified as full-time employees instead of freelancers, and the company, based in San Francisco, is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit on the issue...
The Coming Chicago Teachers Union Strike Could Be a Watershed Moment for a City in Crisis  In These Times  ... The contract the union negotiated during that strike has expired, and CTU members began voting Wednesday on whether to authorize another walkout. Given the strong internal push to vote “yes” and assuming the union meets the legally required yes vote threshold of 75% of its members, we will likely see another Chicago teachers strike sometime next year. Yet a victory this time around will require more than proving that a strike can be a galvanizing tool for workers in the 21st century...
What Economic Recovery? A Good Job is Still Hard to Find  Alternet   ...Encouraging though it may be, the latest nationwide strong jobs report doesn’t change the big picture: the economic recovery, officially underway since June 2009, is still leaving millions of working Americans behind. Earlier this week, a new report from the Alliance for a Just Society highlights the failure of our economic policies to produce the full-time living wage jobs working people need to sustain their families...

SOCIAL JUSTICE & OTHER NEWS
New York City to Aid Immigrants Amid Stalled National Reforms  New York Times  ...Immigration reform may be in political and legal limbo nationally, but New York City is moving ahead on a plan of its own. The city will spend $7.9 million next year to boost its immigration services throughout the five boroughs, deploying community organizations to help residents seek free legal services to apply for protection from deportation or even for citizenship...
Video Shows LA Police Fatally Shoot Suspect in the Back as He Is Crawling Away  Slate  ...A shocking video has emerged that shows two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies shoot and kill an armed suspect in Lynwood on Saturday as he is walking away. Perhaps most shocking of all is how the two police officers keep firing their guns even as the suspect was knocked to the ground and appears to be crawling away. The man, who died at the scene, was identified as 28-year-old Nicholas Robertson, a father of three...
Historic Climate Deal Reached, But Campaigners say the Work is Just Beginning  Common Dreams  ...The global talks known as COP21 ended Saturday with nearly 200 countries agreeing to a carbon emissions-slashing deal.  But climate campaigners are saying that the agreement doesn't go far enough, and that the real work is just beginning. While Reuters described the deal's adoption as "setting the course for a 'historic' transformation of the world's fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to arrest global warming"...