Saturday, January 31, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.31.15

Teamsters
Teamsters Urge Tech Giants To Support Workers, Hold Contractor Accountable  teamster.org   ...In a letter to the CEOs of six East Bay-area companies, Rome Aloise, International Vice President and President of Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif., urged the executives to call on their transportation contractor, Compass Transportation, to cease its anti-worker, anti-union tactics and proceed with a representation election...
Unions urge president not to veto Keystone  Washington Examiner   ...Galen Munroe, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said the union was still backing the project though it hasn't issued a statement on the Senate vote...
Strike possible at Dutchess LOOP  MidHudson News   …The [Teamsters] union representing Dutchess County LOOP bus drivers, mechanics, office employees and bus washers said they could be walking the picket line within the next few days...
Rhode Island Hospital Workers Demonstrate Amid Negotiations On New Contract  Providence Journal   ...Workers seeking a new contract demonstrated outside Rhode Island Hospital on Thursday afternoon to demand job protection and improved pay and benefits. The union leading the demonstration — the Teamsters, Local 251 — represents about 2,300 employees at the hospital, which is part of the Lifespan health system. They include certified nursing assistants, maintenance staff and clerical help...
Trade
Trans-Pacific Partnership: Fast Track To Job Losses (opinion)  Huffington Post   ...Much like NAFTA, the TPP has more to do with big-business protectionism than with genuine free trade. Of TPP's 29 sections, only five relate to traditional trade issues like lowering tariffs. The rest of the chapters seek to limit the powers of governments to protect the safety of food, medicines, and the environment, as well as to forestall governments from implementing financial regulations of the sort that are needed to safeguard taxpayer money from bank bailouts. Most damaging of all, the TPP would create new incentives for corporations to ship jobs overseas and would forbid governments from using strategies like "Buy American" provisions that keep jobs in our country...
Big Business “Regulators” And The Transatlantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP): Opening The Floodgates To Corporate Plunder  Center for Research on Globalization   ...there would be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade. This would be ideal for big business lobbies: creating a firm brake on any new progressive regulation in the very first stage of decision-making...
The Obama Administration’s Illusionary Job Gains From The Trans-Pacific Partnership  Washington Post   ...imports would increase by virtually the same amount as exports, meaning the net number of new jobs is zero....
State Battles
Meet the next Scott Walker: Illinois’ new GOP governor declares war on labor  Salon   …Meet the next Scott Walker: Illinois’ new GOP governor declares war on labor...
Rauner Presents "Right-to-Work" Zone Preferences and Hopes for Improvement in Illinois' Business Competition  Reboot Illinois   ...In a speech in Champaign Jan. 29, Gov. Bruce Rauner talked business and state competition. He reiterated his position on unions–he’s not against them, but wants to encourage parts of Illinois to become “right-to-work zones.”
Rauner Wants Gov't Unions Banned From Political Campaign Contributions  WNIJ   ...Gov. Bruce Rauner lit a fire under labor unions this week when he suggested local governments should be able to implement their own right-to-work laws. Yesterday, Rauner went one step further, saying government unions should be banned from contributing to political campaigns...
Logan may soon join others in state to step up for ‘Right-to-Work’  newsdemocratleader.com   ...The Logan County fiscal court unanimously voted on a first reading of an ordinance that will declare Logan a “Right-to-Work” county. Logan will become one of the handfull of counties in the state to historically set out into uncharted territory to send a loud and clear message to the legislators in Frankfort...
$12 Minimum-Wage Bill Advances After Fiery Debate  Seattle Times   ...A bill to boost the state minimum wage to $12-an-hour over four years passed out of a House committee Thursday, but not before an opposed GOP lawmaker ripped minimum-wage activists as entitled in a “kids-these-days” diatribe...
Right-to-work advocate visits Ruidoso  Ruidoso News   ...Paul Gessing, president of the [Koch-funded] Rio Grande Foundation, was in Ruidoso Monday raising awareness and support for passage of right-to-work legislation in New Mexico...
GOP in full sail at the Capitol  West Virginia Metro News   ... there are hints of possible storm clouds ahead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) is adamant about pushing legislation making West Virginia a right-to-work state. Carmichael has long lobbied for limiting the power of unions in the workplace and he wants to take advantage of the new majority to see it through this year. Labor leaders will fight right-to-work to the last man...
Senate leader says he will have votes to pass right to work  The Chippewa Herald   ...Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Friday there will be enough votes to pass a right-to-work bill in Wisconsin this session after the GOP majority grows to 19 following the April election to fill a vacant seat...
War on Workers
McConnell, Alexander Introduce Bill To Reform National Labor Relations Board  The Chattanoogan   ...Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate labor committee, on Wednesday introduced the NLRB Reform Act to turn the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from an advocate to an umpire and keep the general counsel from operating as an activist for one side or the other...
Construction worker killed in Gold Coast crane accident  WLS   …the 45-year-old man was 60 feet up when part of the crane's equipment came crashing down on his chest around 3 p.m. Friday near State and Elm. He was pinned by part of the crane until workers were able free him...
Miscellaneous
U.S. Economy Slows To 2.6 Percent Growth In Fourth Quarter  Politico   ...The U.S. economy slowed in the final three months of 2014 as a big burst in consumer spending was offset by weakness in other areas. The Commerce Department said Thursday the overall economy grew at a 2.6 percent rate in the October-December period, down from sizzling gains of 4.6 percent in the second quarter and 5 percent in the third quarter...
Senate Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, Testing Obama  New York Times   ...The Senate voted 62 to 36 in favor of building the pipeline. Nine Democrats joined 53 Republicans in passing the bill. The passage sends the measure back to the House, which passed a largely similar bill this month. House leaders are deciding whether to pass the Senate bill as is or to hold a conference merging the House and Senate versions into a new bill to be voted on by each chamber...
Drones Spotted, But Not Halted, Raise Concerns  New York Times   ...While drones have not been used in a terrorist attack on American soil, thwarting them is increasingly becoming a challenge for law enforcement and security officials who are charged with protecting large-scale events like the Super Bowl and high-profile public buildings like the White House. The officials have warned that the low-flying devices could be modified to carry explosives, chemicals, biological agents, guns or cameras...

Friday, January 30, 2015

New BMW facility opens with 70 saved Teamster jobs

Bob Lennox, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 495,
with BMW officials. 
BMW opened a brand-new distribution facility near the old one where Teamsters Local 495 fought to save 70 members’ jobs a couple of years ago -- and won.

For a while it looked as if BMW was going to fire its loyal and hardworking workers from its Ontario, Calif., warehouse, then reopen a new facility with a cheaper less-experienced work force. The Teamsters helped the company realize what a bad idea that was.  

Teamsters pointed out that BMW, a German company, had accepted a low-interest loan of $3.6 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. 

Bob Lennox, secretary-treasurer of the local, said,
They think they can take an American taxpayer bailout and then treat their American workers in a way they would never treat their German employees.
Teamsters also took to the streets. Hundreds of Teamsters members and their families distributed leaflets protesting the layoffs in 11 states. California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York and Virginia.

BMW saw the error of its ways. Last week, Brother Lennox joined BMW officials in a friendly ribbon-cutting at the new facility in Redlands, Calif.


Now Teamsters are hard at work in their new surroundings. And that's a Teamster banner hanging inside the new facility .

The Press-Enterprise reported on the ribbon cutting:
Top officials with BMW of North America were on hand Friday for the opening of a new regional parts distribution center north of I-10. 
The ceremony capped a two-year project of moving BMW’s warehouse operation east from Ontario. 
The move was short but the new location, combined with its modern design and equipment, will help speed up service to dealerships, the company said. 
“We really went from overnight delivery to same-day, and in some cases twice a day. It’s geographically a very good location,” said Craig Westbrook, vice president of aftersales, in an interview after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.




Today's Teamster News 01.30.15

Teamsters
Allegiant Travel Reports Narrower Profits, Helped By Lower Fuel Costs  Las Vegas Review Journal   ...With the threat of a pilot strike looming on the horizon, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel, parent company of Allegiant Air, on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that were spurred by lower fuel costs that have benefited all the nation’s airlines...
Local Union Reps Say Opt-Out Rates Low In 2014  Traverse City Record Eagle   ...Bob Donick, an area business representative for Teamsters 214, said he hasn't seen the right-to-work law significantly affect the roughly 1,600 public employees he and Dave Meachum represent in northern Michigan...
Lifespan Workers To Picket Rhode Island Hospital  GoLocalProv   ...Nearly 2,500 Teamster employees are in negotiations at Rhode Island Hospital for a new contract. As part of the negotiations, Local 251 has been joined by community organizations to make proposals to protect and improve quality patient care...
Sysco’s $8.2B U.S. Foods Merger May Spoil: Source  New York Post   ...The Federal Trade Commission this week sent a subpoena to a third-party food distributor asking for more information, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said. Blackstone Group-owned Performance Food Group agreed in early December to buy assets from Sysco with roughly $5 billion in revenue, a source said, noting PFG did not get the subpoena...
Trade
Plane above N.J. skies tells Obama: Keep trade deal 'away from our medicines'  Staten Island Advance   ...Doctors Without Borders This week is sending a plane from Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough over the skies of New York and New Jersey to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and under-negotiation regulatory and investment treaty. The plane is flying a banner that reads "Doctors to Obama: Keep #TPP Away From Our Medicines."...
Don’t Repeat America’s Mistakes On Trade Partnerships (opinion)   ...The TPP would further weaken our manufacturing base and financial stability with damaging economic and national security implications. The administration is following a policy that has failed U.S. workers in the past and has not strengthened foreign policy. We must look not to promises, hopes or theories but to experience. We cannot make the same mistakes again...
India Child Labor: 200 Children Rescued In Hyderabad Raids  International Business Times   ...The children, as young as 6 years old, were from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Briar in northern India and were making bangles and leather products, according to NDTV. They were brought to Hyderabad after their captors paid their parents 20,000 rupees ($325.)...
State Battles
Right-to-work bill approved by 8-5 vote in House committee  Associated Press   ...The debate over whether to make New Mexico the nation’s 25th state with a right-to-work law got off to a rousing start today. After nearly five hours of debate, members of the House Business and Employment Committee voted 8-5 in favor of the legislation, which now advances to the House Judiciary Committee...
Leaked Emails: GOP leaders seek fake report to push right to work and ‘sugar daddy’ to fund it  Progress Now NM   ...A new review of secret campaign emails leaked from Susana Martinez’s campaign account by former staffers located emails between the Rio Grande Foundation and Republican operatives looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay for a fake report and new narrative designed to “win all close elections” against Democrats “dumb” enough to oppose it...
Republican Wisconsin Senate leader renews call for passing right-to-work bill  Minneapolis Star Tribune   ...Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued a statement Thursday saying debate of right-to-work needs to occur along with consideration of the state budget. Walker will release his budget plan on Tuesday...
Northrop Grumman Cuts Ties With ALEC  National Journal   ...Behemoth defense contractor Northrop Grumman is the latest blue-chip corporation to end its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that has endured the departure of several prominent tech companies in recent months, National Journal has learned...
Labor debate floods Clark County Fiscal Court  The Winchester Sun   ...Talk of instituting right-to-work laws in Clark County drew supporters from both sides of the debate at the fiscal court's regular meeting Wednesday...
Voter ID bills are back St. Louis American   ...“On the anniversary of the March on Selma, the fight for voter rights have been exposed and celebrated,” said state Rep. Stacey Newman (D-87). “But they’ve also taught us that this never ends.”
Ind. Gov. Mike Pence faces criticism over proposed state run news Web site  WDRB   ...Indiana Governor Mike Pence admits there's been some confusion about his planned state run news website.
He now says he will get rid of the site if it doesn't respect the role of a free and independent press...
Lobbyists See Brownback Budget Before Legislators  Kansas City Business Journal   ...Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director, Shawn Sullivan, used his personal Yahoo account to email the rough draft to Brownback's former chief of staff, David Kensinger, and his former campaign manager, Mark Dugan. Both are lobbyists...
Gov. Rick Scott Proposes Cutting 1,000 State Positions  Tallahassee Democrat   ...Gov. Rick Scott is recommending the elimination of more than 1,000 state-worker positions as part of his budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year...
War on Workers
Gas blast at children's hospital in Mexico City leaves at least 2 dead; truck driver detained  FOX News Latino   ...A gas tank truck exploded outside a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday morning, leaving much of it in ruins. At least two people were killed and 56 injured, said Claudia Dominguez, spokeswoman for Mexico City's civil defense agency. Officials earlier had said at least four and as many as seven had been killed at the explosion site at the Maternity Hospital of Cuajimalpa...
Uber’s Business Model Could Change Your Work  New York Times   ...The larger worry about on-demand jobs is not about benefits, but about a lack of agency — a future in which computers, rather than humans, determine what you do, when and for how much. The rise of Uber-like jobs is the logical culmination of an economic and tech system that holds efficiency as its paramount virtue...
Work At Bridgeton Landfill Causing Strong Odors  KSDK   ...A foul smell is wafting across parts of north St. Louis County this weekend and it's coming from the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Breaking: Leaked emails show New Mexico GOP shopping for fake right-to-work report and sugar daddy to fund it

A Progress Now NM spokesman not allowed
to testify about the emails during today's
 hearing
The vast right-wing conspiracy against workers is on the move in New Mexico, where a House committee today approved a right-to-work bill by a vote of 8-5.

'Right-to-work' is a deceptive name for laws intended to weaken unions by forcing them to represent workers who don't pay dues. Progress Now New Mexico exposed the thinking behind right-to-work. The pro-worker organization leaked emails among Gov. Susana Martinez's campaign account, Republican operatives and the Rio Grande Foundation, a stink tank funded by the Koch brothers.

Here's the report:
A ProgressNow NM investigation has uncovered a Republican plan – years in the making and involving some of Gov. Martinez’s closest operatives – that involved funding a fake report to “prove” right-to-work’s effectiveness while using this issue as a political bludgeon to defeat Democrats. 
A new review of secret campaign emails leaked from Susana Martinez’s campaign account by former staffers located emails between the Rio Grande Foundation and Republican operatives looking for a “sugar daddy” to pay for a fake report and new narrative designed to “win all close elections” against Democrats “dumb” enough to oppose it.
Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, sent an email on Feb. 17, 2012 to fellow Republicans saying he wanted a 'study' to push right-to-work. The response:
"we need a sugar daddy willing to put up $S$ to push it"
Right-to-work opponents packed the hearing room in Santa Fe today.
Progress Now New Mexico characterized the strategy this way:
Pay an out-of-state academic to write a “scientific” analysis supporting their pre-determined conclusion, then find a sugar daddy donor to push that narrative through elections and use it to defeat Democrats.
There's a reason right-to-work supporters need fake studies to push their message. It's because the purpose of right-to-work is to enrich billionaires and CEOs at the expense of workers. Right to work is promoted by the same billionaires and CEOs who get tax breaks and ship jobs overseas.

It's a shame New Mexico lawmakers are wasting time on deceptive right-to-work legislation rather than creating good jobs. Even right-to-work supporters admit it lowers wages.

People make an average of $5,000 a year less in right-to-work states. Six of the top 10 states with high unemployment are right to work states.

You won't find that in the Rio Grande Foundation's phony report.


Today's Teamster News 01.29.15

Teamsters
Shining the Light on Corporate Tax Breaks  teamster.org   ..."We need a more accurate accounting of tax abatements over the long term to “effectively bargain with our members’ governmental employers and to advocate for sound public policies that benefit our members working in the construction of infrastructure,” Hoffa said...
Tim Hortons can’t cut more than 20 per cent of HQ staff: Ottawa  The Star   ...Industry Canada says Burger King has agreed to keep 80 per cent of corporate jobs in takeover...“This round of layoffs should serve as a warning to Tim Hortons’ franchisees who depend on support from the company to grow their businesses, taxpayers who expect corporations to pay their fair share, and consumers who expect Tim Hortons to be a community leader in Canada,” said a group of union leaders from Unifor, Teamsters and SEIU Healthcare in a statement Wednesday...
Trade
Trans Pacific Pact is Almost Ready, Says US Trade Official Even As Protests Rock New York  International Business Times   …negotiators working on the TPP held parleys in New York City on Monday at an undisclosed location. But braving all secrecy, hundreds of protesters from drawn trade, labour, environmental, health, anti-GMO, food justice, anti-fracking, animal activists protested in the blizzard, against the trade agreement for its reported "fast tracking" by Trade Promotion Authority, according to Oped News...
Rep. Cooper must oppose Fast Track, defend TN economy (opinion)  The Tennessean   ...Rep. Cooper was one of just a handful of Democrats in the House of Representatives to not stand up against an undemocratic 1970s-era procedure known as Fast Track that has been used to railroad the most controversial and damaging of U.S. “trade” deals through Congress...
10 Tall Tales on Trade  Global Trade Watch   ...Here’s a rundown of the top 10 fibs and half-truths that Froman uttered before the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee yesterday in his sales pitch for the administration’s bid to expand the NAFTA “trade” pact model by Fast-Tracking through Congress the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)...
State Battles
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Previews 'Right-To-Work Zones' As First-Year Priority  Peoria Journal Star   ...Gov. Bruce Rauner said Tuesday he wants to prioritize creating "right-to-work zones" in economically depressed areas where local officials could decide whether union fees would be voluntary for local workers...
Logan County Gives First Nod To Right-To-Work Ordinance  Bowling Green Daily News   ...Logan County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of a right-to-work ordinance today. The ordinance passed unanimously on the first reading, Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said in a phone interview. A final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 24...
'Right To Work' Not Dead  WSAU   ...The controversial right-to-work legislation might not be on a fast track in Wisconsin, but it’s also not a dead issue. That’s according to state Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). “It’s still out there. I think it’s still something that deserves debate. The votes are probably there in the Assembly, which is odd that there’s so much focus on the Senate I guess, but that’s fine. I’m not counting noses, I’ve said all along. I’m still talking to members about how they feel about the issue.”...
New Kansas Job Figures Reveal Another Failure For Sam Brownback’s Tax Cuts (opinion)  Kansas City Star   ...The final Kansas job figures are in for 2014, and Gov. Sam Brownback’s costly income tax cut “experiment” has laid another egg. Total nonfarm employment climbed only 1,700 people in December, according to Tuesday’s release of figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, that means Kansas added a meager 12,800 jobs from December 2013 to December 2014, or barely more than 1,000 a month. That’s a puny growth rate of .9 percent, one of the lowest in the BLS data for 2014...
Senate Republicans Ready For A Fight On Right To Work Bill  Charleston Daily Mail   ...Five Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, introduced Senate Bill 337 on Tuesday. The bill, known as “Creating Workplace Freedom Act,” would make West Virginia the 25th state in the country to adopt a right to work law. The Mountain State would be the first in the nation since 2012 when Michigan and Indiana became right to work states, if the bill is enacted...
House Panel Kills Minimum Wage Proposal  WTOP   ...A Republican-led House committee has killed a proposal to raise Virginia’s minimum wage...
Washington State House Weighs Minimum Wage Hike  KING5   ...Washington state's minimum wage, already the highest statewide wage in the country, would get a boost to $12 an hour over the next four years if lawmakers pass a bill under consideration by the state House...
War on Workers
Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited to Top One Percent  New York Times   ... the economic recovery so far has only boosted the incomes of the rich, and it has yielded no improvement for the bottom 99 percent of the distribution. After adjusting for inflation, the average income for the richest 1 percent (excluding capital gains) has risen from $871,100 in 2009 to $968,000 over 2012 and 2013. By contrast, for the remaining 99 percent, average incomes fell by a few dollars from $44,000 to $43,900...
Here's How Much You Have To Earn To Be In The 1 Percent In Each State  Huffington Post   ...What does it take to make it into the 1 percent of earners? In Arkansas, you'd need to pull in $228,298 a year. In Connecticut, the threshold is $677,608...
Mexican authorities pronounce 43 missing students dead but parents reject murder theory  The Independent   ...The 43 students abducted by police in Mexico have been officially declared dead for the first time, despite the fact that remains of only one person have been identified. Parents accuse the government of trying to close an investigation that has implicated security forces, the army and a mayor in a case that shocked the world...
Oil Train Spills Hit Record Level In 2014  NBC News   ...By volume, that's dramatically less crude than trains spilled in 2013, when major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota leached a record 1.4 million gallons -- more than was lost in the prior 40 years combined. But by frequency of spills, 2014 set a new high with 141 "unintentional releases," according to data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). By comparison, between 1975 and 2012, U.S. railroads averaged just 25 spills a year...
On-Demand Workers: ‘We Are Not Robots’  Wall Street Journal   ...Current and former workers for Uber, Amazon Inc.’s Mechanical Turk and Handybook, better known as Handy, say on-demand work platforms give them little control over the terms of their labor, and complain that the contracts they’re required to accept force them to shoulder personal and financial risk without the returns or advantages they’d hoped for...
Worker dies on Taiwan film lot to be used for Scorsese movie  Associated Perss   …A worker was killed in an accident Thursday at a Taiwanese film lot during preparations for the shooting of a new Martin Scorsese movie, media reports said...
Miscellaneous
Scott Walker’s “Our American Revival” PAC Uses Foreign Stock Videos In Debut Ad  Buzzfeed   …Republican Gov. Scott Walker announced Tuesday the creation of a political action committee to help him raise money as he mulls a presidential run. The PAC, “Our American Revival,” debuted with this video…Several of the videos ... come from foreign-based photographers and appear to have been purchased through stock image sites...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The death of the middle class, by the numbers

In the first three years of recovery from the recession, average U.S. workers' wages didn't recover. They fell.

Meanwhile, the top 1 percent got a raise of 36.8 percent, according to a new report.

Falling wages for the majority of Americans is something new to generations of Americans who grew up with a sense of rising expectations. U.S. citizens are not used to living in a banana republic.

The United States was once a country with a strong middle class that consumed an increasing share of the products it manufactured. Now the U.S. is dominated by finance and services as manufacturing was sent overseas by trade deals like NAFTACAFTA and KORUS. That transformation has changed the country's demographic and income contours.

Income inequality has now reached the levels of the Roaring '20s, which preceded the stock market crash, bank failures and the Great Depression, according to a new report by our friends at the Economic Policy Institute.

Chart courtesy Economic Policy Institute.
Here's another illustration of what happened:

Abandoned shopping mall in Toledo, Ohio
The death of America's middle class is causing the death of middle-class shopping malls. Hundreds are closing around the country. Half are predicted to close within 15 years.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the American middle class has been shrinking for 50 years. That wasn't a problem until 2000. Until then, the middle class declined because people were rising up out of it into higher income brackets. For the past 15 years, people have been falling out of the middle class into poverty.

The Times reports the composition of the middle-class is changing as well,
...with people 65 and older making up the fastest-growing segment. Meanwhile, married couples with children, who have seen their incomes grow, have diminished as a share of the middle class.
Workers fare worse in some states than others, EPI reported.

The most unequal states?  New York and Connecticut. Average income for the top one percent was more than 48 times the average income for the 99 percent. Why? Because Wall Street is in New York City.

The most equal state? Hawaii, where average income for the one percent was 14.6 times average income for the 99 percent.

There are 16 states where the only people who increased their wealth between 2009-12 were the one percent. Is your state one of them? They are:

  • California
  • Colorado 
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri 
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington
Fittingly, the one percent got all the new wealth created in the District of Columbia. 

Today's Teamster News 01.28.15

Teamsters
Robert Morales  IBT   ...We are saddened to report the death of Robert Morales, who passed away on January 26, 2015...
Credentialing Crunch  American Legion   ...Starting this winter, the Teamsters – with logistical support and backing from The American Legion – will begin offering civilian CDL training to enlisted military truck drivers. The training-to-placement program will set up shop on military bases and offer drivers the opportunity to earn their civilian CDLs before they are discharged...
Turbulance Ahead At Allegiant Air As Pilots Prepare For Strike  Global Travel Industry News   ...The International Brotherhood of Teamsters will host a call to update Allegiant Travel Company investors, industry analysts, customers and press regarding the current status of contract negotiations for Allegiant Air pilots, their recent strike authorization vote and the union's request for a proffer of arbitration from the National Mediation Board...
Teamsters Protest Labatt Beer At NHL All-Star Game  teamster.org   ...At the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game on Sunday, Teamsters who work at Heidelberg Distributing provided information to fans about anti-worker behavior by the company, which distributes Labatt Beer products in Ohio...
Leaked Memo: YRC Seeks To Outsource Unprofitable Runs  Kansas City Business Journal   ...A Dec. 18, 2014, memo obtained by the Kansas City Business Journal, details a change-of-operations request to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that would allow the company to increase its use of interline carriers — third-party transportation providers — in areas currently served by YRC Worldwide Inc. employees...
Trade
TTIP Is Sputtering, But Other 'Trade' Deals Threaten Our Sovereignty  Ecologist   ...So far the talks have achieved little in terms of reaching agreement for specific market sectors. And they are facing increasing scepticism because of TTIP's plans to deregulate goods and services like health through 'harmonisation' of EU and US standards - something that in practice usually means levelling down...
Anti-Trade Deal Protesters Hijack Senate TPP Hearing  RT   ...Protesters opposed to a major, multi-national trade deal being negotiated in secret by a dozen countries – including the United States – hijacked a US Senate hearing early Tuesday to speak out against the proposal. Capitol Police removed no fewer than three demonstrators Tuesday morning during testimony delivered before the Senate Committee on Finance by US Trade Representative Michael Froman concerning the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP...
State Battles
Ky. attorney talks right-to-work  Politico   ...The conservative push to pass right-to-work ordinances at the county level has as its ultimate aim passage of right-to-work at the state level, according to Warren County, Kentucky’s public attorney...
Union says it won’t stand by as GOP attacks collective bargaining  Las Vegas Sun   ...Republicans are attacking working families with their proposals to upend collective bargaining in Nevada, Danny Thompson, executive vice treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO, said at a press conference this morning...
War on Workers
Middle Class Shrinks Further As More Fall Out Instead Of Climbing Up  New York Times   ...In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets. But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom...
This Map Reveals Just How Unequal The So-Called Recovery Is  Huffington Post   ...In 39 U.S. states, the top 1 percent of earners gobbled up at least half of all of the income gains between 2009 and 2012. And in 17 of those states, the top earners got every bit of the income growth in those years...
Wall Street's Threat To The American Middle Class (opinion)  Huffington Post   ...Presidential aspirants in both parties are talking about saving the middle class. But the middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. The Street's excesses pose a continuing danger to average Americans. And its ongoing use of confidential corporate information is defrauding millions of middle-class investors. Yet most presidential aspirants don't want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money...
Miscellaneous
CBO: Deficit To Narrow, Then Widen In ’18  Wall Street Journal   ...Existing budget restraints and stronger economic growth will chip away at the federal deficit into 2017 before the gap begins to widen again, the Congressional Budget Office said, providing ammunition for both parties ahead of the White House’s first budget proposal to the Republican-controlled Congress...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Congress takes first steps toward Fast Track

Shipyard worker whose job was shipped overseas
protests the TPP in Congress.
The man who is secretly negotiating the job-killing trade deal known as the TPP came to Congress today asking for fast-track authority.

It's our job to make sure he doesn't get it. If we kill fast track, we kill the TPP.

Fast track is a cheap political trick that lets Congress approve trade deals the public doesn't want.

Mark Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, testified in Congress even as negotiators in New York City were secretly wrapping up the 12-nation deal.

Leaks of the text indicate the TPP is very much like NAFTA and CAFTA and all the other treaties that are destroying good U.S. jobs. TPP will lower wages, ship jobs overseas, undermine food safety, raise the cost of medicines, despoil the environment and empower multinational corporations to overturn government regulations that affect their profit.

IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION UP 'TIL NOW, IT'S TIME!!!

It's going to be a tough fight to defeat fast track, but there's hope. This morning, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said to Froman, "If trade agreements can't show they're going to help the middle class...I've got some real problems with them." (Perhaps the protesters who marched to his office yesterday had an impact.)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, criticized the TPP talks because members of Congress are severely constrained from reviewing the text. He also grilled Froman on the failure of the S. Korea trade deal to create the jobs promised.

And there were protests.

According to the Daily Dot,
It began during a speech from U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the U.S.’s highest official charged with negotiating the deal. Margaret Flowers, a member of Physicians for a National Healthcare plan and a longstanding TPP critic, burst in carrying a sign reading “Trading away our future,” and shouting “we know the Trans-Pacific Partnership is negotiated in secret!” 
As she was being escorted away by security, a pair of male protesters entered from another door. 
“You’re going to super-size NAFTA!” one yelled, as the other simply repeated “No TPP!” The two unfurled a banner behind Froman, who stared straight ahead with an annoyed look on his face. 
Then a third wave hit: Three protestors sitting behind Froman held up other signs, like one reading “Fast track constitutional train wreck.” 
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, called for order. “Comments from the audience are inappropriate, are out of order,” he said, perhaps ironically given protester’s qualm that lobbyists, instead of citizens of the countries involved, are given access to TPP negotiations.  
Hatch invited Froman to continue. But he was interrupted by a fourth protest, an older man in a suit who yelled, “It’s a fraud! Big business corporate secret deals!” (See gifs of the protests here.)

Today's Teamster News 01.27.15

Teamsters
Hoffa: No Time To Waste In Letting Public, Lawmakers Know About Fast Track  Huffington Post   ...congressional leaders want to move on fast track, and soon. That means those standing up for the interests of hardworking Americans must step up their efforts. After all, not everyone is aware of the consequences that a quick up-or-down vote on the 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal will bring. It will devastate not only wage earners, but their families as well...
Teamsters Score Second Drayage Victory  Journal of Commerce   ...The Teamsters are gaining more traction in their attempt to unionize Southern California drayage truckers after drivers at an SSA Marine subsidiary chose a union local as their exclusive bargaining representative...
Open For Business  Journal of Commerce   ...The U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to finally open the border to Mexican trucking companies — a stipulation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement stymied by opponents for two decades — resolves none of the political controversy over allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. highways and still faces severe political backlash from critics, including the Teamsters union...
Trade
Protests As Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Resume In New York Today  Crooks & Liars   ...Negotiators working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) convened today in New York City. Even the location was kept secret until the last possible minute, but hundreds of trade, labor, environmental, health, communities of color, anti-GMO and food justice, anti-fracking, animal and other activists still showed up in the big blizzard to protest the secret trade agreement and "fast track" trade promotion authority (TPA)...
U.S. says final contours of Pacific trade pact coming into focus  Reuters   …The final form of an ambitious Pacific trade pact is coming into focus, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Tuesday as he urged Congress get behind the U.S. trade agenda...
The TPP Will Sink the Middle Class  Thom Hartmann   …we now know that the TPP would give big pharmaceutical companies virtual monopoly patent power, let corporations sue countries in international courts over regulations that those corporations don’t like, and gut environmental and financial rules.
The One Power Democrats Don’t Want Obama To Have  The Hill   ...Democrats and some Republicans are adamant that trade promotion authority (TPA) would give Obama’s trade team too much control over negotiations, and are making their opposition known in a barrage of press conferences on Capitol Hill...
State Battles
Gov. Mike Pence's state-run news outlet will compete with media  Indianapolis Star   …Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star...
Right To Work Support In Legislature Backing Down  Badger Herald   ...Right-to-work legislation, which looks to limit unions’ governing power, is losing pull as a priority issue in Wisconsin’s Legislature this session. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement this month he no longer expects right-to-work legislation to be brought up any time soon, a dramatic shift from his earlier statements that he intended to make the movement a priority this session...
Dropkick Murphys ‘literally hate' Scott Walker for using their song at Iowa convention  New York Daily News   ...The Dropkick Murphys have no problem dropping the hate word when it comes to politicians using their music at events especially when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entered the Iowa Freedom Summit to the song ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston.’...
Kentucky: A New Frontier for Right-to-Work Laws?  The National Law Review   ... this appears to be the first time efforts by smaller units of “state government” (i.e., counties) have been undertaken on this front. While the NLRA allows “states” to pass and implement right-to-work laws, it is not clear if smaller units of local government can pass these laws or not...
Michigan Union Membership Dropped Significantly In 2014, First Full Year Under Right-To-Work Law  MLive   ...Overall, 14.5 percent of wage and salary workers in Michigan were members of a union in 2014, down from 16.3 percent in 2013, according to federal statistics released Friday...
Wage theft rampant in Colorado  The Durango Herald   ...From telemarketers to tortilla manufacturers, workers in myriad industries have suffered from employers failing to pay them wages they are owed, a Rocky Mountain PBS I-News investigation has found...
Oregon Strippers Prepare to Fight For Workplace Protection Laws  Willamette Week   ...Nude dancers who want more rights and better workplace protections are pushing forward with bills to create new rules for Oregon strip clubs.  A coalition of dancers, social workers and other advocates have drafted two bills they hope will get a hearing in Salem when lawmakers reconvene in February...
Will Sandoval Use The Bill To Achieve Collective Bargaining Reform?  Las Vegas Review Journal   ...Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, is requesting the most comprehensive measure ...It would clarify the rules that exclude supervisors from collective bargaining, prohibit using government funds to pay employees engaged in union activities, require employees to seek union deductions before they would be collected by a government entity and make agreements retroactive to the date of the expiration of the previous contract. It also would require a final contract offer to be made public...
Possible Ballot Measure Could Be Bargaining Chip In Minimum-Wage Debate  Seattle Times   ...Democrats in Olympia are making one thing clear about a new proposal to raise the minimum wage: If it doesn’t pass this year, be ready for a ballot initiative...
War on Workers
Koch Brothers’ Budget of $889 Million for 2016 Is on Par With Both Parties’ Spending  New York Times   …The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history...
The State Of The Unions: Membership Is Up, But Density Still Drops  Washington Post   ...What's interesting about this is that union membership actually went up last year, with 41,000 new union members in the private sector and 8,000 in public. But the number of people working increased much more than that. The long-term trend has been that union membership in the public sector -- meaning government employees -- has grown, while private sector membership has dropped...
As inequality soars, the nervous super rich are already planning their escapes  Guardian   ...“I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said...
Woman, age 30, killed during robbery at Sunhouse store Sunday night  myhorrynews.com   ...On Sunday night at around 10 p.m., a female clerk was shot and killed at the Sunhouse on Cultra Road between Highway 701 and Highway 501 in Conway, Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick has confirmed...
State Patrol: Army veteran, ER worker killed when a driver ran a stop sign  BringMeTheNews   …A 47-year-old emergency room manager and Gulf War veteran was killed after police say he was broadsided by a car that ran through a stop sign...
Miscellaneous
Regulators Advance Plans For Truck Driver Training  Journal of Commerce   ...The amount of time future truck drivers must spend in training and how rigorous a program they must complete will be determined not by federal fiat but through negotiations. Federal regulators are proceeding with a negotiated rule-making on minimum national truck driver training standards, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in December...
FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers  ACLU   …The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act...

Monday, January 26, 2015

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

Happening now in Times Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Today's Teamster News 01.26.15

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.25.15

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Today's Teamster News 01.24.15

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


Friday, January 23, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Today's Teamster News 01.23.15

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