Local #174 Teamster News Archives
July 2012

Teamsters at Davis Wire Say Thank You
Davis Strikers say Thank You for the support!Posted: July 31, 2012
Source: Teamsters 117
Teamsters on strike at Davis Wire are truly grateful to dozens of individuals and organizations that have made contributions to the ONE MORE DAY fund.

These contributions have made a tremendous difference in the lives of the families of the 83 men who have been impacted by the 10-week old strike.

Every worker has a story to tell about how the fund has helped keep him on his feet.  In one case, it helped a family that was recently evicted get back into a home.  It has prevented electricity from being shut off for at least twelve families, and it has helped many more buy groceries and put food on the table.

Last week, Local 117 distributed a lump sum from the fund to all members who have been out on the picket line.  In Shop Steward Robert Bruner's words, "You could see the tension on their faces turn to relief; it put hope back in their lives."

"It's good to know that people genuinely care and are willing to give their time and money to help us in our time of need," he said. 

Donate to the Davis Wire FundThe fight for Teamsters at Davis Wire is far from over.  These workers continue to face tremendous financial hardship.  Many are still at risk of losing the roof over their heads because the company's billionaire owners, Michael and Emily Heisley, are concerned only about their own profits. 

The struggle continues, but today these workers thank you and all of their community supporters for your unwavering generosity, solidarity, and support. 


Teamsters say no new offer was made to Waste Management
Posted: July 31, 2012
Video LinkSource: NWCN.com
A Teamsters spokesperson on Monday disputed a statement from Waste Management that the union had made a proposal through a federal mediator to end the 6-day-old strike by drivers of the company's garbage and recycling trucks.  

Brenda Wiest with Teamsters Local 117 said the union is in frequent contact with the mediator on how to approach the situation, but a formal proposal was never made. 

Waste Management spokesperson Robin Freedman said late Monday that the company's replacement drivers should hit twice as many locations on Tuesday as they did Monday. But the company won't say how many replacement drivers are on the job.

Freedman said  the company will focus on commercial accounts again Tuesday and residential customers in Renton, which is unique:  Renton only gets garbage pickup every other week.

No talks face-to-face talks to end the strike have been scheduled.

The strike began with a walkout by about 150 recycling and yard waste truck drivers represented by Local 117. Garbage truck drivers represented by Teamsters 174 won't cross the picket lines.

The replacement drivers are focusing on commercial customers such as restaurants. Garbage is piling up for most residential customers who typically leave recycling, yard waste and garbage bins by the side of the road for weekly pickups.

They have been told to wait for the next collection day and trucks will pick up a double load. Renton residents also are a priority because they're on an every-other-week schedule.

Picketing at six Waste Management lots, transfer stations and even trucks in neighborhoods will continue until the company agrees to meaningful negotiations, Wiest said.
Read complete source story here.


Registering Members To Vote
Posted: July 31, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Coast-to-coast efforts are under way at locals and Joint Councils to register voters and increase participation in this year’s election. It’s especially important for Teamsters to be voters this fall. Opponents of labor are still mounting an all-out war on workers. The high-profile attacks in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin were just the beginning.

California Teamsters from Local 856 in San Bruno were out recently registering many of their union brothers and sisters. They set up tents and tables in the parking lot outside Delta Dental, where Local 856 members work. Elsewhere in California, locals 986, 439, 630, 63, 396 and 853 have been charging ahead with voter registration by having their business agents sign up members at their worksites at a nearly nonstop pace.

“Our state has a lot on the line and our members know that,” said Randy Cammack, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 63.

“By going facility to facility, our business agents have registered hundreds of new voters,” said Randy Korgan, Trustee of Local 630.

Washington state Teamsters are reaching out in new ways to members. Joint Council 28 in Seattle is working with an immigrant rights group to test messages and outreach to their members who haven’t registered to vote or have changed their addresses.

“We are also trying out a phone app provided by the Washington Secretary of State called ‘WA Votes’ to help members register to vote online and update their mailing addresses,” said John Williams, President of Joint Council 28. “Business Agent Abe Taylor of Local 174 walked around warehouses and driver bays with his phone app and resolved hundreds of voter registration issues in just a few days.”

Boots on the Ground
Greg Floyd, President of Local 237 in New York City, is planning a September voter registration drive. With more than 14,000 registered voters, Local 237 takes voting very seriously. “Our local has traditionally had an aggressive voter registration program,” Floyd said. “Our members understand how important it is to vote since many of their department’s budgets are controlled by elected officials.”

In New Jersey, Local 469 is planning for a voter registration drive to coincide with a shop steward meeting. “In addition to making sure our members are registered to vote, we will also have another drive at a local shopping mall,” said Fredrick Potter, International Vice President and President of Local 469.

Voters in Michigan are planning to make a change in their state constitution that supports collective bargaining.

“Last year, Michigan working families lost a great deal when the right to collectively bargain was taken away,” said David Robinson, President of Joint Council 43 in Detroit. “Now we are working with all the trade unions in the state to reverse that decision with a constitutional amendment. Re-establishing collective bargaining rights is one of the most important fights we’ve ever had.”

If you would like to volunteer to help with a voter registration drive in your area, please contact your local union.

Voter Registration Deadlines
Election Day 2012 is on Tuesday, November 6. With all the coverage of the election, it’s unlikely that you’ll forget when that important day is. What you might not know is that, in states across the country, new laws have gone into effect that could potentially prevent you from voting. The conservative crusade for voter identification laws is little more than a way to disenfranchise poor people and minorities. It’s important to know the laws in your state.

Below is a list of registration deadlines for each state, plus the website where you can go for more information.


Registration Deadline: October 29
For more information:


Teamsters File Suit Against ABX Air
Posted: July 31, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Today, the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 announced they have filed a lawsuit against ABX Air over a captain’s termination for exercising his FAA-mandated authority to ensure safe flight operations and his refusal to operate the aircraft in a manner that was prohibited by FAA-approved aircraft procedures.

The lawsuit stems from an incident in June, in which an ABX Air captain operating in Japan requested changes to a flight plan after identifying safety concerns.  The captain was terminated last week following his refusal to sign a coerced statement that would have required him to acknowledge that his reasons for questioning the flight’s safety were invalid and that he had unreasonably used his captain’s authority. 

The pilot, who has more than 25 years of experience as a captain, would have completed his 28th year with ABX Air in November. He has no previous history of discipline at ABX Air.

“The union stands by the captain and his flight crew involved in this incident,” said Captain Daniel Wells, president of APA Teamsters Local 1224.  “Under FAA regulations the captain of an aircraft has the final authority as to the safe operation of a flight. There is good reason and wisdom for this mandate. When operating a highly-complex, multi-million dollar machine in the dynamic real-world environment, a captain is required to make rapid decisions based on the regulations, his experience, procedures, and the immediate situation at hand to complete a flight safely. The safety of the aviation system is a testament to the ability and professionalism of the many airmen who operate our nation’s aircraft and make these decisions every time they fly, many times against a management who would otherwise put economics before safety. To impede a captain’s authority to evaluate or even question the safety of a flight undermines the safety protocols upon which the aviation system is built."

The complaint filed last week argues that discharging a captain for reasonably exercising his authority has a “chilling effect” on a pilot’s ability to make decisions concerning the safe operation of his aircraft.  It is clear this is what ABX intended.  To make sure this effect was felt by all its captains, ABX took the extraordinary step of publicly announcing this captain’s firing, and why, to every flight crew member it employs, even before the pilot himself was officially notified.  To a larger extent, that effect ripples throughout the industry impacting aviation safety at a national level.  The Teamsters are seeking the reinstatement of the captain’s employment, as well as future protections for similarly situated flight crews who are authorized to make judgment calls pertaining to a flight’s safety, or lack thereof. 

“The Teamsters will use all of our resources to defend and preserve a captain’s authority,” Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne commented.  “Within the aviation industry, the captain’s authority is the keystone of safe and secure flight operations.”

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Western Division by the Dayton, Ohio law firm Doll, Jansen, Ford & Rakay.  As noted in the filing, the law governing air commerce assigns the highest priority to safety, and entrusts the pilot in command with the final authority and responsibility for ensuring safe operations. A combination of several variables in the operating environment led to safety concerns cited by the flight crew, including the assignment of an alternate airport not listed in the aircraft’s onboard computer database requiring the flight crew to manually calculate an approach, a lack of preparation time, marginal weather, and an inoperable fuel quantity indicator.

The union maintains that the captain acted responsibly with the information he had at hand.

ABX Air’s Flight Operations Manual, as approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), provides that in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and company regulations, a captain is responsible for and is the final authority for the aircraft’s operation.  

The Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division.  Local 1224 is the certified bargaining unit that represents all flight crew members employed by ABX Air.  The local also represents the flight crew members of Atlas Air, Cape Air, Horizon Airways, Kalitta Air, Miami Air, Omni Air International, Silver Airways, Southern Air and USA 3000.


WARNING! Dangerous strikebreakers may be on the road in your neighborhood
Posted: July 30, 2012
Source: Teamsters 117
On Friday, recycle drivers reached out to Waste Management and made a good-faith offer to take down picket lines and give the bargaining process a chance for success.

Waste Management refused that offer.

Instead, Waste Management is moving forward with a plan to put hundreds of out-of-town strikebreakers on the roads in your neighborhood. 

Strikebreakers may be inexperienced; they will be navigating dangerous trucks on hilly, narrow streets where you and your family live.  Accidents may occur, pickups will be missed, and garbage will continue to pile up.


  1. Report all Accidents: Call the police and your local politicians to report accidents caused by strikebreakers in your neighborhood. Send us a photo of the accident and we will post it at www.seattletrashwatch.org
  2. Report Missed Pickups:  If you live in a Waste Management service area, and your garbage, yard waste or recycle isn't picked up, call 1-800-230-7418.  Send us a photo of garbage piling up, and we will post it on the Trash Watch website. 
  3. Strike Line Support: Recycle drivers need your support on the strike line!  Visit them in Seattle (8111 1st Ave. S.), Woodinville (6211 234th St. SE), Marysville (13019 41st Ave. NE), or Auburn (702 2nd St. NW).  Critical times are between 5am - 8am and 3pm - 6pm.

Thank you for your support!


Garbage strike enters day 4
Posted: July 30, 2012
KIRO video linkSource: KIRO TV
The garbage strike is now in its fourth day and there is no sign of a deal.

Strikers are refusing to put down their signs until Waste Management resumes negotiations, but the company said it won’t happen until the picket lines come down.

Teamsters Local Union No. 117 offered to take down picket lines throughout the region at 9 a.m. Saturday but Waste Management rejected the union’s latest bid.

"We made a reasonable offer to stop picketing when the parties meet, to give the bargaining process a chance for success," said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson. "Given Waste Management's track record of not playing by the rules, it is not surprising that the company rejected that offer and continues to hold our communities hostage."

A letter from the city of Seattle said Waste Management could face fees of more than a million dollars a day if pickups do not resume by Wednesday.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News spoke with Adam Young of the Teamsters Local 117 about the strike and how it affects him.
Read the complete source story here.


Viva Los Teamsters! Dolores Huerta Closes Out Teamsters Hispanic Convention, Officers Reelected
Posted: July 30, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
On Saturday, Teamsters Hispanic Caucus members were honored to hear from the legendary Dolores Huerta on the final day of this year’s Convention in Los Angeles, Calif. View more photos here.

Huerta, who cofounded the United Farm Workers union along with labor icon Cesar Chavez, drew from decades of wisdom as a community activist and union organizer as she talked about today’s attacks on workers and how to fight back.

“The most important thing for us to do is to educate our communities because a lot of people don’t understand what unions do,” she said.

“Without unions, we wouldn’t have Social Security or disability insurance or workers’ comp. Many people don’t know this and they won’t hear it from anyone but us.” 

Huerta told Hispanic Teamsters that labor needs to join together with women and LGBT groups and it needs to fight racism, which the 1 percent uses to divide working people. She also said Teamsters and Latinos need to get out the vote.

“Every worker needs to be an organizer. As workers and Latinos, we are in a war to defend our rights, and the only ammunition we have is our vote. Labor built the middle class and without the middle class you do not have a democracy.”

An 82-year-old veteran of labor and civil rights struggles, Huerta brought the crowd to its feet as she led the chant, “Si se puede!” (Yes we can!)

Getting out the vote among Hispanic Teamsters and all Latino workers is the main priority of the Caucus this year. International Vice President Steve Vairma told Teamsters in the audience that the time is now to mobilize for the upcoming election and labor battles ahead.

“We can’t afford to lose this vote,” he said. “Mitt Romney is the 1 percent. He is the token candidate of the Koch brothers and we have too much to lose in this election.”

The Caucus voted on and passed several resolutions pledging its commitment to be at the forefront of struggles for immigration reform, improving participation among Hispanic Teamsters in the Caucus, and staying active in the fight against the war on workers. The body also voted to work with the International on voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts in support of President Barack Obama’s run for a second term.   

“Politics is extremely important and every politician is coming after us this year for our vote. Let’s make them earn it,” said Ron Herrera, who is the Executive Director of the Hispanic Caucus as well as an International Trustee and President of Local 396.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis sent a video message to Hispanic Teamsters and promised to continue to speak out against those who want to move the country backward. She also thanked the Teamsters for supporting her after the recent passing of her father who was a Teamster shop steward.

“The president and I know that having a strong America and a strong middle class depends on a strong and growing labor movement. And we know it’s also critical to the well-being of Latino families,” Solis said.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) also sent his greetings to the Caucus and highlighted the importance of fighting for reforms like the DREAM Act so that Latino working families can send their kids to college without fear of deportation.

The plight of immigrant workers was a topic discussed often at the Convention on Saturday.

Dr. Jose Zapata Calderon, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies, explained how the broken immigration system hurts all workers in America as employers exploit the undocumented, driving down everyone’s wages.

“Studies show that legalization would actually raise wages and working conditions for all workers – black, brown and white,” he said. Laws against undocumented workers like the error-prone E-Verify program could mean the loss of 168,000 Teamster jobs if it becomes mandatory, added Maria Elena Hincapie, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. 

Earlier workshops at the Convention hit on similar themes, sharing strategies for organizing immigrant workers like car wash employees in Los Angeles. Teamsters also learned about how to build coalitions with other groups and heard from organizers with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and Don’t Waste LA, two coalitions formed in part by the Teamsters.

These alliances have been critical to the drive to organize port truck drivers like those at Toll Group whose recent victory in joining the Teamsters is a landmark win for workers in the industry. Toll drivers Eduardo Urrea, Orlando Ayala and Jose Ortega spoke at the Convention, as did Karla Campos, a sanitation worker and leader in the fight to organize at American Reclamation.

“Coming to a convention like this gives me strength,” Campos said. “It’s inspiring to know that when I go back to work, we have so much support from the Teamsters.”

Others who addressed the Caucus included labor supporter and Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greul, along with Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor. Durazo talked about the battle to defeat Proposition 32 in California, a law that would restrict unions from using dues money for political advocacy on behalf of workers while corporations continue to spend freely to buy off politicians.

“I keep hearing talk about leveling the playing field,” said Al Mixon, Chairman of the Teamsters National Black Caucus and International Vice President. “But we keep losing ground because corporate America keeps moving the goalposts.”

Delegates from Caucus chapters in New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and other cities voted unanimously to reelect the current team of officers and trustees of the Hispanic Caucus. They noted that the strong leadership of Hispanic Caucus President George Miranda and his team is needed to mobilize Latinos and beat back the war on workers.

“We still face a lot of discrimination as workers,” Herrera said. “The right wing is going to keep coming at us, but we’re Teamsters and we know how to fight. We’re members of the greatest union in the world.”


Teamsters fight billionaires' bill of rights in California
Posted: July 30, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Our western brothers and sisters are battling the latest outrage from the 1% with spirit, commitment and solidarity. On Saturday, more than 800 Teamsters from Arizona, Nevada and California rallied against an attack on our wages, our benefits and working conditions. It's called Proposition 32.

In November, Californians will vote on Prop 32, which claims to take money out of politics. What it really does is take organized labor out of politics. California's billionaires and their manservants were the ones who put it on the ballot.

The Guardian calls California's Prop 32 "a bill of rights for billionaires":

This is not genuine campaign finance reform ... California voters have twice before rejected rightwing initiatives to destroy labour's political voice, in 1998 and 2005. Unable to win by honest means, conservative groups decided to come up with something more deceptive this time round.
Rome Aloise Rome Aloise led the Joint Council 7 rally on Saturday. "Defeating Prop 32 is about protecting our ability to defend our wages, benefits and working conditions today and in the future," said Aloise, president of Joint Council 7.
It is this kind of mobilization that will defeat corporate America’s latest attempt to silence the voices of working people and, in the end, crush unions all together. Prop 32, unlike past attempts to restrict union power in California, masks itself as a reform measure impacting corporations and unions equally. However, if passed, the proposition will virtually eliminate the right of workers to have a voice in politics while, at the same time, creating special exemptions for corporate CEO’s, special interest and Super PAC’s. 
I also want to thank California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski for sharing their knowledge, experience and solidarity. 

This is the important part: Every Teamster needs to register to vote and then go out and get others to register. Said Brother Aloise, "If every Teamster gets just 20 others to register, we can defeat this attempt to destroy our union."

Keep fighting, brothers and sisters!


Judge Slaps American Reclamation With Injunction, Orders Workers Reinstated
Posted: July 30, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a Los Angeles-based recycling company must reinstate three fired workers who supported an organizing campaign and must stop threatening, intimidating and coercing all the employees, a huge victory for the 60 workers who are seeking Teamster representation.

“This is a tremendous victory for the 60 sorters, drivers, helpers and mechanics at American Reclamation who are seeking better lives for themselves and their families,” said Ron Herrera, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 396 in Covina, California. “The District Judge agreed with the National Labor Relations Board that these workers have faced tremendous abuse by the employer and that this abuse must stop immediately.”

The NLRB sent its complaint to the District Court seeking an injunction under section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act to get the company to stop abusing its workers.

In late May, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) cited American Reclamation, Inc. for 36 safety violations that put the workers at risk while on the job. Cal/OSHA’s citations came closely on the heels of a complaint filed by the NLRB that charged American Reclamation with 13 unfair labor practices (ULPs) in connection with the workers’ campaign to join Local 396. The NLRB complaint, filed on April 30, included three ULPs for wrongful termination of workers by the company.

“The fact that the NLRB, a state agency and the District Court all found overwhelming examples of major problems highlight how egregious this company’s violations have been,” Herrera said.

The problems at American Reclamation are indicative of a larger problem workers at non-union facilities face in the Los Angeles area—worker-intimidation and sweat-shop working conditions. The Teamsters are part of “Don’t Waste LA,” a coalition of community, environmental, faith and labor groups working for clean air, green jobs and recycling for all Los Angeles residents through region-wide standards in the commercial and multi-family waste and recycling system.

“The court ruling underscores how crucial it is that workers have a voice in performing these incredibly difficult and dangerous jobs,” said Greg Good, Director of the Don’t Waste LA campaign for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).
“American Reclamation, like so many waste and recycling companies in the region, has for too long worked to oppress the workers’ voices and by extension has been limiting the protections for workers, communities and the environment.”

In this week’s order, signed July 24, Judge Dean D. Pergerson ordered that the company reinstate the fired workers. The judge also ordered that the company rescind and remove all references to the discharges in the workers’ personnel files. The workers are Santos Orellana Gonzalez, Magdaleno Sanchez and Karla Campos.

The judge ordered that the company post copies of the order in conspicuous places at the facility and to convene workers within 14 days during working time to read the order with an NLRB agent and Local 396 representative present.

The judge also ordered the company to cease and desist from “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees” in their rights to form a union. He also ordered the company to stop “making it appear that [the company] is watching employees’ union activities.”

The judge also ordered the company to cease and desist “threatening employees with sale or closure of the facility, discharge, layoff…” and to stop “threatening employees with discharge or layoff if they engage in activity with other employees regarding wages, hours, or working conditions.”

“This ruling should send a message to all waste and recycling companies that this contemptible, vicious anti-worker behavior must not be allowed,” said Bob Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “The Teamsters will continue to work with the NLRB and other agencies to make sure companies are held accountable for this abhorrent behavior.”

The American Reclamation workers have received tremendous support from Joint Council 42 and its President, Randy Cammack, and support from other community and political allies. The Teamsters have coordinated three rallies with the company’s workers with great turnouts, including one at the Good Jobs/Green Jobs Conference with General President Jim Hoffa.


Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in MA!
Posted: July 30, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Please give a warm welcome to our 34 new brothers and sisters who work as front-load drivers, residential drivers, mechanics and container repair workers at Republic Services/Allied Waste on Cape Cod. They voted 22-8 to join Local 59 in New Bedford because they want respect, better benefits and a pension.

Ed Swale is a driver who joined the company last year after returning from serving in Iraq. He contacted the Teamsters after he found out 113 workers at Republic joined Local 251 in East Providence, R.I., in May. He said the workers want respect.
The workplace had really spiraled out of control. We had a new district manager who treated us poorly and nine workers left. As Teamsters, we will have the respect we deserve.
Dave Laughton, secretary-treasurer of Joint Council 10 in New England, said the workers need to be treated with dignity because they put their bodies in harm's way to protect every resident in every community on Cape Cod.
The workers stood up to the second largest waste and recycling company in the United States because they are tired of not being treated fairly.


Primary Election Info Who's on YOUR side? Teamster Endorsed Candidates Find our your voting info


Solidarity on Day 2 of Seattle Teamsters strike
Posted: July 27, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Solidarity on day 2Be strong, brothers!
And props to Teamsters Local 174 Waste Management drivers who are honoring the picket lines set up by Local 117 Waste Management workers.  The Associated Press reports,

Teamsters Local 117 recycling and yard waste workers are picketing and Local 174 garbage truck drivers are honoring the picket lines. 

About 150 recycling and yard waste drivers walked out Wednesday demanding their pay equal the higher pay of garbage truck drivers.
Local 117 says,
Our region prides itself as one of the leaders in recycling in the country, yet Waste Management continues to devalue the work of recycle and yard waste drivers who help protect our environment and keep our cities clean. 
Sanitation work ranks as the 5th most dangerous job in the country. Drivers deal with rats, maggots, used syringes, chemicals, and rotting meat on a routine basis. Since 2005, four Puget Sound recycle workers have been killed on the job. 
Teamsters Local 117 calls on Waste Management to prevent a public health crisis and return to the bargaining table immediately and bargain a fair contract in good faith that recognizes the health and safety hazards its drivers face on the job.
The striking drivers will hold a news conference at 5 pm EDT in the Tukwila union hall.

Here's how you can help:
Visit www.SeattleTrashWatch.org and sign up.
Text TRASH to 206-535-1859 for updates and information.
Call 1-800-230-7418 to report trash, yard waste, or recycle service disruptions.
Email Theo Galoozis, Waste Management's VP of Labor Relations, and tell him to bargain in good faith.

And don't cross those picket lines (we know you wouldn't dream of it)!


Spirit of Unity at Teamster Hispanic Convention
Posted: July 27, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
More than 200 Teamster delegates assembled this morning in downtown Los Angeles to convene the opening plenary session of the Teamsters National Hispanic Caucus.

Gathered for the Caucus’s 2012 Convention, Hispanic Caucus Executive Director, International Trustee and Local 396 President Ron Herrera called the convention to order and VFW Honor Guard Post 2967 members in uniform opened the program with a presentation of colors.

“We must reverse the trend of attacks on workers over the last few years,” said George Miranda, Hispanic Caucus President, International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 210. “We need to focus on winning strong contracts and organizing workers, and we need to focus on Hispanic workers, too.”

He added that the job of Teamsters everywhere is to show corporate America that despite their efforts to defeat workers, Teamsters will not be divided because they are organized and strong.

Miranda also talked about the high stakes for workers in this election year.

“It’s our job to register Latinos to get out and vote because if Mitt Romney becomes president, tight-to-work for less will be the law of the land,” Miranda said.

Other speakers at the convention on Friday included Rome Aloise, International Vice President At-Large and Joint Council 7 President, in addition to Joint Council 42 President Randy Cammack who implored everyone to get out the vote. Cammack highlighted the battles in California against Proposition 32 and other anti-union measures being pushed by anti-worker politicians.  

The keynote speaker of the day was Jose Hernandez, a former astronaut who is currently running for Congress in California’s 10th District. Hernandez spoke about his upbringing as a child in Southern California picking cucumbers. He became a member of Local 601 when he began working at a cannery in Stockton, Calif. while he went to college.

“It was the best paying job I ever had and it helped me pay for college,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez’s unlikely journey from migrant farmer to astronaut to politician amazed Teamsters in the audience, but he said it will take struggle to make the American dream as accessible to others as it was for him.

“We need to fight in Congress to protect collective bargaining and create jobs so we can say to our kids that the sky’s not the limit, space is.” Hernandez is already being outspent by his Republic opponent and said it will take a grassroots campaign to win.

Antonio Christian, Executive Director of the Teamsters National Black Caucus, underscored the theme of the convention.

“The union brings us all together—brown, black and white. We are one family,” he said.

This spirit of unity was echoed by the pro-Teamster president of the Los Angeles City Council, Herb Wesson, and Local 601 leader Maria Ashley Alvarez, the first female Hispanic Secretary-Treasurer in the union.

Delegates were also addressed via video by General President Jim Hoffa and Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall who celebrated the diversity of the Teamsters and the union’s leadership in fighting back against the war on workers.

“As you know, there is a war being waged on workers and Teamsters are leading the charge to fight back for workers everywhere,” Hoffa said.

“Latino members have helped make this union a leader in fighting for immigration and trade policies that benefit workers here in the U.S. and in Latin America,” Hall said.

This afternoon a series of educational workshops will be held for delegates to discuss coalition-building and developing alliances among immigrant and environmental advocates.

As the convention progresses, Teamster delegates are excited about the information and ideas they can bring back to their locals.

“The war on workers is real and a convention like this is about teaching our members to fight back for our families,” said Hector Ramirez, a shop steward at Waste Management for Local 396.

“We need to stand together, organize and fight,” said Freddy Aguilar of Local 886 in Oklahoma City. “It’s important to bring this message back to the rank and file in our locals.”

Tomorrow, delegates will hear from speakers including Al Mixon, President of the TNBC, along with United Farm Workers co-founder and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta.


Teamsters union collects 34,500 pounds of food for Needy County families 
Posted: July 27, 2012
Source: The Bangor Daily News
It was another banner year for members of the South Portland-based Teamsters Local 340, as they once again brought in a staggering amount of goods during a statewide food drive to benefit Aroostook County families.

Traci Place, a business agent for the union, said earlier this week that Teamsters Local 340 Women’s Committee brought in 34,500 pounds of food during its fourth annual drive at the Maine Potato Blossom Festival parade on Saturday, July 21. The food, along with $3,000, has been delivered to Catholic Charities of Maine Home Supplies and Food Bank in Caribou.

Place said she was thrilled when volunteers finished tabulating what was collected for CCM during the two-day statewide food drive.

“We collected 4,500 pounds more food and $1,400 more than in 2011,” Place explained. “We received generous donations from our membership statewide, including Garelick Farms, B&M Beans, Country Farms Market, & Kellogg’s Snacks. Our tractor trailer was full and we could not have been more pleased.”

On July 20, the Teamsters Joint Council 10 tractor-trailer truck traveled from Kittery to Presque Isle, stopping along the way so members of Teamsters Local 340 could fill it with nonperishable food donations.

On July 21, the tractor-trailer participated in the parade. Teamsters members and representatives from Catholic Charities of Maine collected canned goods and donations along the parade route.

Teamsters Local 340 has nearly 4,000 members statewide.


Two more Companies dump ALEC
Source: Teamster Nation
Posted: July 27, 2012
This just in: Walgreens and General Motors became the latest companies to drop the corporate front group known as ALEC.

The announcement was made in Salt Lake City, where ALEC is holding its annual bribefest meeting with junketing politicians state lawmakers this week.

Walgreens and GM are the 29th and 30th corporation to drop out of ALEC. Walgreens issued a statement:
Walgreens will not be renewing its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) where we have participated on ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. Walgreens will continue to be an active presence on critical health care and pharmacy issues facing the country and looks forward to continuing to work across the political spectrum in the public policy arena.
And this from GM:
GM has communicated to ALEC that we will no longer fund nor participate going forward.
ALEC writes corporate-friendly laws, including those allowing prison privatization, charter schools, voter suppression and union busting.

Chalk up two more for the good guys.


Red Cross Workers in North Carolina Ratify First Contract
Posted: July 26, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
American Red Cross workers in Charlotte, North Carolina have ratified their first Teamster contract, becoming the first Red Cross group in the Carolinas to vote for union representation.

“I want to thank Teamsters International Union Vice President Al Mixon for his help,” said Ted Russell, Local 71 President. “This by far was one of the toughest contracts I have negotiated. I had a great workers negotiating committee that helped in many ways.”

The retirement was ratified earlier this month. Workers on the committee were Toni Johnson, Mike Current, and Amy Gann. The contract included wage increases, on-call pay, meet-at-site compensation, a retirement plan, and a uniform trade-in allowance.

“We’re glad that Teamsters Local 71 stood by us and never gave up,” said Johnson, who served on the negotiating committee.

“We have been waiting on this day and it has finally come,” said Gann, another committee member.


Garbage pickups halted as Waste Management drivers go on strike
Posted: July 26, 2012
Source: q13fox.com
Q13Fox vdeo link
Drivers for Waste Management Co. went on strike Wednesday, halting pickups of all business and residential garbage, recycling and and yard waste in Seattle and several suburbs. The company warned of possible continuing disruptions on Thursday.

The strike could affect about 60 percent of the city of Seattle. Collections by CleanScapes, which covers about 40 percent of Seattle, are not affected by the strike.

About 150 recycling and yard-waste drivers at Waste Management that serve much of King and Snohomish counties have been working without a contract since May 31. Those drivers went on strike Wednesday, and their picket lines were being honored by the company's garbage truck drivers.

“It just really became enough is enough,” said Teamsters Local 117 President Tracey Thompson, who represents the striking drivers. “We have done everything we can think of to encourage this employer to act lawfully, to come to the bargaining table, to engage in meaningful bargaining, to stop retaliating and intimidating their workers and they’re just refusing to do that.”
Read the complete Q13 source story here.
Read and Watch KING 5 News coverage here.


Shareholders Support the Teamsters' Call for Independent Board Leadership at McKesson
Posted: July 26, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Today, a majority of the shares cast at the McKesson Corporation [NYSE: MCK] Annual Meeting of Shareholders supported the International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Fund’s shareholder proposal calling for an independent chairman of the board. McKesson officials at the annual meeting would not provide a preliminary vote tally but told shareholders that the proposal had passed.

“The Teamsters take heart in the fact that shareholders are increasingly viewing independent board leadership as a necessary best corporate governance practice,” said Ken Hall, General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a long-term McKesson shareholder. “I call on McKesson’s board of directors to act on this vote, serve the best interests of shareholders, adopt the proposal as policy and promote higher standards of board oversight of management. The McKesson board has heeded the will of shareholders on other Teamster proposals on executive compensation in the past decade and we expect them to do the right thing once again.”   

McKesson investors have been deeply concerned with board oversight since 1999, when the company was the center of an accounting fraud scandal that resulted in a single day loss of $9 billion of shareholder value and paid out nearly $1 billion in shareholder lawsuit settlements. Extraordinarily high executive compensation is another chief concern for company shareholders. 

Chairman and CEO John Hammergren’s total summary compensation is nearly $40 million, more than four times the median total compensation for the other named executive officers at McKesson. This compensation includes more than $6 million in time-vesting stock options that entail no performance criteria as well as perquisites such as home and personal security, financial counseling services and personal use of company-provided aircraft. And if he lost his position due to a change of control his potential compensation is estimated at $307 million—182 times his current salary.


2012 Convention of Teamsters Hispanic Caucus Kicks Off Today
Posted: July 26, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Teamster delegates from around the country are gathering today in Los Angeles, Calif. for the 2012 Convention of the Teamsters National Hispanic Caucus. This year’s Convention features three days of plenaries, workshops and speakers like Teamster astronaut Jose Hernandez. 

Registration begins this morning and will be followed by a welcome reception at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday will be packed with workshops, receptions and Caucus elections.

“In this election year, the many issues that matter to Hispanic and Latino members of our great union are at the center of national, state and local politics,” said TNHC President George Miranda.

“That’s why it’s important for us as Teamsters to come together this year to discuss these issues. Hispanic members are a valued part of the Teamster family and the unity of our Caucus is critical to preparing for the elections and the year ahead,” said Miranda, who is also an International Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 210 in New York.

Notable speakers at the Convention include labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta who will speak on Saturday. Friday’s keynote speaker, Jose Hernandez, a former cannery worker and member of Local 601, is also an astronaut and is currently running for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 10th District.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall will address the delegates by video along with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).     

“This biannual gathering of Hispanic Teamsters from around the country demonstrates just the kind of diverse union we are,” Hoffa said this morning ahead of the Convention.

“Hispanic workers are a growing part of our union and their active involvement has helped put the Teamsters at the forefront of issues like immigration and fair trade.”

Miranda added that much of the membership growth of the Teamsters over the past several years has come from Hispanic workers.

Click here for the Convention agenda.

For more information, contact Art Cantu at 858-292-7344.

Click here for more information on the Teamsters National Hispanic Caucus.


Teamsters mobilizing for August 10-11 Philly rally
Posted: July 25, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Local 107 Teamster Truck Pennsylvania Teamsters will join thousands of workers and labor advocates as they converge on Philadelphia next month for the “Workers Stand for America” mobilization. And at least two tractor-trailers from Locals 107 and 776 will be on hand to demonstrate Teamster power at the demonstrations.

The rallies, which we blogged about yesterday, will bring tens of thousands of workers from around the country together to demand a Second Bill of Rights for workers in America. Included among these rights are the right to full employment, a living wage and a voice at work.

There will be two protests as part of the Workers Stand for America action. A rally on Friday August 10 will feature speakers from the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and Building Trades and John Dougherty from IBEW 89. A reception will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel later in the evening. The main rally kicks off at 11 am on Saturday August 11 and will take place at Eakins Oval by the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Teamster locals in Pennsylvania, along with Joint Council 53 and the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, are encouraging members to participate in this historic mobilization to push back against corporate greed and win economic justice for workers.

As the war on workers continues to undermine the livelihoods of middle class families around the country, a demonstration like this couldn’t be more urgent.

We've got to stand and fight. Otherwise, corporate America and their politician servants will not end the war on workers.

Click here to sign the Second Bill of Rights. And for more information on the Workers Stand for America action, contact Teamsters Joint Council 53 at teamstersc53@yahoo.com or the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters at pateamsters@verizon.net


Military Leader Champions Teamsters' Veterans Training
Posted: July 24, 2012
Source: Chicago Teamsters
Harrison, Yauger, HendersonThe Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff became the latest advocate of Teamsters Joint Council 25’s diverse veterans work programs during a visit to the union’s training facilities on July 18.

Lt. Col. Anthony M. Henderson, the Warrior and Family Support Assistant to Gen. Martin Dempsey, made a public commitment to encourage more veterans to seek out union training following a tour of the Illinois Teamsters’ Employers Apprenticeship & Training Fund facilities in Joliet. Joint Council 25 Trustee and Teamsters Local 786 President Michael L. Yauger invited Henderson to Chicago to get an intimate look at the Helmets to Hardhats and numerous certification programs available to veterans at no charge.

“The more attention we can bring to the support available to returning servicemen and women, the better off our communities will be as a whole,” said Yauger, who serves as the Teamsters’ National Helmets to Hardhats Coordinator. “In the last seven years, the Teamsters have taken a proactive and progressive approach to training veterans in various job classifications and ensuring their transition to civilian life is as smooth as possible.”

During 2011 alone, the Illinois Teamsters trained nearly 1,000 union members and veterans in a variety of special skills at its Joliet campus. Supported by Joint Council 25 and Teamsters Joint Council 65 in Springfield, the training fund has worked since 2005 to help nearly 5,000 workers obtain commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and state certification in construction safety, Hazmat operations and heavy machinery, including loaders, cranes and forklifts.

Together with the nationwide Helmets to Hardhats program, the Teamsters actively work to create job placement opportunities in the construction trades for returning soldiers. The program also assists veterans who have obtained advanced training during service abroad to enter the job market without having to undergo additional or unnecessary certification.
Read the complete source story here.


Hoffa on The Ed Show
Hoffa talks about outsourcing on The Ed Show

Posted: July 22, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa talked with Ed Schultz earlier this week about the presidential campaign. He said Mitt Romney doesn't see anything wrong with closing down a plant and moving it to Mexico. "That's wrong in America and we've got to do something about it," he said. (Click image at right to watch.)


Oregon Dairy Workers Join Teamsters
Posted: July 22, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Dairy workers with YoCream International Inc., a division of global French food group Danone SA, have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 305 in Portland, Ore., seeking better conditions and a voice at work.

“We’re very satisfied that we are getting representation from the Teamsters because the Teamsters represent almost all of the dairies in our area,” said Christopher Greenlee, a lead pasteurizer and one of the 45 new Teamster members at YoCream. “We organized to improve our pay, have better communication with the company and have a say in our work rules.”

YoCream, a family-owned frozen yogurt company founded in 1977, was purchased by Danone for $103 million in 2010. The Danone brand is marketed in the United States as Dannon.

In May, 37 dairy workers with Stonyfield Farm, also a division of Danone in Northern California, voted to join San Leandro-based Teamsters Local 853.

“These two significant victories, coming only about a month apart, are the first organizing wins to be coordinated by the Teamsters Dairy Conference in years, and mark a big step forward in our renewed efforts to build power for workers in this industry,” said Rome Aloise, International Vice President and the newly appointed director of the Teamsters Dairy Conference.

“We are very pleased with this significant vote for union representation. Credit goes to organizer Mark MacPherson, who met with the workers and was instrumental in aiding in this victory for them,” said Tony Andrews, President of Teamsters Joint Council 37 and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 305. “We are certainly going to work to bring these workers the full level of Teamster benefits.”

Through its global presence, the Teamsters Union has maintained a positive record of relations with Danone. The Teamsters Union is affiliated with the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), a Geneva-based global federation of trade unions. As part of the IUF’s international framework agreement with Danone, company leaders meet annually with one union representative from each Danone facility worldwide.


Public Issues And The Ballot Box
Posted: July 20, 2012
Source: Teamster.org

Over the past, year, we have witnessed an ever increasing number of public employees issues being debated within the United States.  The topics have included a broad range of employment-related matters, such as: how much should “civil servants” be paid; whether the private sector can better perform the work of governmental entities and at less cost; the extent to which public sector workers should have a say on working conditions through collective bargaining; and, the “richness” of public retirement plans.

Landmark pension reforms approved by voters in San Diego and San Jose have been cited as one way to bring a city’s finances back into balance.  Other municipalities have declared bankruptcy in the hope of protecting limited financial resources while avoiding legal obligations to public employees.

The dream of a guaranteed future income under a defined benefit plan is disappearing as more governments seek to substantially modify pension formulas, or replace them with either a defined contribution plan or something called a “cash balance” pension plan. 

Although a cash balance plan portrays benefits to employees in the form of an individual account, it does not depend on the performance of its assets.  Contributions and investment earnings are not actually allocated to individuals account; they are made to a common trust fund for all participants.

Such a hybrid arrangement should be viewed critically as there is a negative effect on older employees due to wear-away (i.e., during the conversation process from a traditional defined benefit plan to a cash balance option, the accrued benefit is converted into an opening account balance, which may be less than the current value of the benefit).  Because of this, an employee may have to work additional years to accrue adequate pension wealth under the new plan.  While the Pension Protection Act of 2006 may eliminate the problem for certain conversions occurring after June 29, 2005, changes that took place prior to that date may have to be litigated.

Television, radio, newspaper and the internet provide ways to communicate and educate voters about the real story, but public employees can be an effective weapon in the war on civil service workers.  It’s time to get the right message about pay, benefits and bargaining to: our neighbors; family members; colleagues at work and professional acquaintances; businesses where you shop and obtain services; religious, community and social groups; and, other key opinion shapers where you live and work.

An important element in the discussion over retirement wealth will be to address misstatements advanced by anti-worker and anti-union groups.  The Five Myths About Public Employee Pensions, written by Firefighters President Harold Shaitburger, is a good beginning to the type of local dialogue that must be conveyed by public employees across the country.  Don’t wait for a ballot measure or concession bargaining over your next contract to start the discussion.  Now is the time!


Maine Teamsters food-driveThis is what we union thugs do for the hungry
Posted: July 20, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
We drive our truck through the entire state of Maine to collect food for them.

The fourth annual food drive organized by Teamsters Local 340 Women’s Committee in Maine is well underway – and the response has been incredible.

This morning the Joint Council 10 tractor-trailer rolled out of Kittery for its two-day trek across the state, stopping along the way to pick up nonperishable food donations from Teamsters.

Business agent Traci Place said this morning that the truck was already three quarters full and was not even halfway through its route.

As the Bangor Daily News reports,

On Saturday, the tractor-trailer will head to Fort Fairfield, where the truck will be in the [Potato Blossom Festival ] parade. Teamsters members and representatives from Catholic Charities of Maine will be collecting canned goods and donations along the parade route.

Through the “Feed the County” program, Catholic Charities maintains its own food bank and supplies goods to 25 food pantries in Aroostook County from Wytopitlock to St. Francis and Fort Fairfield to Ashland.
But Place says it looks like this year’s drive might exceed the amount donated last year. She wrote on Facebook:
If you’re on I-95 today be on the lookout for the Joint Council 10 truck. It’s making its way through Maine, collecting food to benefit Feed the County. Last year Teamsters collected 30,000 pounds of food and $16,000 in monetary donations
Tomorrow, the truck will end its route at the Potato Blossom Festival in Presque Isle where it will be part of the parade. All food and monetary donations will be delivered to Catholic Charities after the parade. Place said she is stunned by the generous response from Teamsters so far:
The response from out membership has been overwhelming. When we open those truck doors at the end of the route, it just reduces me to tears every year. This is what being a Teamster is all about.

Follow their progress here.


Hostess Hothouse
Posted: July 20, 2012
TwinkieSource: New York Post
America’s biggest bakery is keeping the heat on its workers.

Bankrupt Hostess Brands, despite agreeing with its unionized workforce to keep them in 22 multi-employer Teamsters pension plans, yesterday told its 18,500 employees once again that they could lose their jobs in the next 45 days.

While a legal formality, it is still a stark reminder that the cake and bread maker is far from financially saved.

The two sides are expected to meet in court today to show the judge they are making progress.

Time may be running out.

Irving, Texas-based Hostess has until Aug. 8 to come up with a plan or risk having creditors — or rivals — file one.

Without a plan, liquidation is likely, sources said.

The key sticking point: how much money will the company’s most senior creditors, led by Silver Point Capital, invest in Hostess post-bankruptcy.

The Teamsters believe they need to show workers that Hostess — maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Hostess cupcakes — has a real chance at survival if they are going to get members to ratify a tough new agreement that cuts benefits, sources said.

“People will be prepared to sacrifice only if they think there is a real chance at renewal,” a source said.

Previously, the Teamsters indicated it wanted Hostess to raise $125 million to $175 million in convertible preferred equity when it emerged from bankruptcy, in order to facilitate spending at least 2 percent of revenue each quarter on capital expenditures and 1 percent on advertising and marketing.
Read the complete source story here.


Davis Wire rallyWA community rallies for striking Davis Wire Teamsters
Posted: July 20, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
We're cross-posting this from Teamsters Local 117:

Striking Teamsters at Davis Wire descended on the King County Courthouse on Tuesday to file a lawsuit contending that the company created sweatshop-like conditions at its wire mill in Kent.

Local 117 members say that their employer worked them off the clock and denied them rest and meal breaks in an unsafe environment and failed to pay them statutorily-required overtime wages.

“We’re working up to twenty days in a row, 12 hour-shifts, with dangerous machinery running.  Every time you try to grab a bite to eat or take a break, they tell you to get back to your machines,” said machine operator and Local 117 Shop Steward, Robert Bruner.

On-the-job injuries at the facility are common.  Many workers on the picket line in Kent bear scars and wounds inflicted in industrial accidents at the plant.  To hear more about workers’ safety concerns, view the Missing Fingers at Davis Wire video on YouTube.

After the courthouse action, workers were joined by their families, labor leaders, elected officials, and community partners for a community rally at the facility to mark two months since the start of the strike.  An estimated 300 people turned out for the event.

“Workers at Davis Wire have taken bold, courageous steps to challenge an unjust employer.  Their fight for human dignity and respect on the job is an inspiration to working families across the country who struggle every day to make ends meet,” said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson.

Davis Wire is owned by venture-capitalist billionaire, Michael Heisley.  Despite his vast fortune and the consistent profitability of his company, Heisley and his Davis Wire management team have been unwilling to bargain fairly with his employees.

Teamsters Local 117 has filed over a dozen Unfair Labor Practices with the NLRB, accusing Davis Wire of bad faith bargaining, worker surveillance, worker intimidation, and illegal threats to shut down the facility in Kent.

The 85 workers at the Kent facility have been without a contract since December 1 of last year.

You can show your support of striking workers at Davis Wire by donating to the ONE MORE DAY fund or by visiting workers on the strike line at S. 194th St & 80th Ave. S. in Kent.
Here's the rally on KIRO and on KOMO.


Teamsters Fight Poor, Degraded Working and Living Conditions in Cook County Jail
Posted: July 19, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
During the most extreme heat wave the City of Chicago has seen in over 100 years, Officers at the Cook County Department of Corrections were doing their best to stay cool and keep the facility safe, despite no air conditioning and unsanitary conditions.

Time and time again, officers have protested the poor working and living conditions inside Cook County Jail, where temperatures can easily break 90 degrees in the summer months. This extreme heat, combined with unsanitary conditions and outbreaks of bedbugs, leaves both Officers and inmates at a serious risk for heat exhaustion and disease. The department has also been quietly cutting Officers over the past month to reduce overtime costs, exposing officers to increased dangers on the tiers and setting the stage for inmates to attack each other.

A recent report in a Chicago newspaper inaccurately reported “malfunctioning” air conditioning in the Pre-Release Center, when there are actually no air conditioners in the unit. In other units, where there is air conditioning, the units are breaking down due to the extreme heat over the past few weeks.

Extreme fatigue and dangerous conditions will result in increased duty injuries for Officers and may raise concerns for the Department of Justice monitor as it relates to inmate conditions, both of which will negatively impact the Sheriff’s and County budget if left to continue.

With the County looking to manage an already under-funded budget, how can the Sheriff’s Department and the membership be expected to work in such conditions?  It is a recipe for disaster.


Hoffa: We don't apologize for fighting for Teamster jobs
Posted: July 18, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa wasn't amused when the editors of the Portsmouth Herald portrayed Rockingham County workers (Teamsters) as "unreasonable." They had the audacity to ask for a modest raise in exchange for more than $1 million in annual healthcare savings.

Writes Hoffa in a letter to the editor published today:

The underlying message is that county employees should be grateful they still have jobs. That's as insulting to the public as it is to the workers, many of whom are corrections officers, sheriff's deputies and dispatchers. You might as well be telling families that they should be grateful that there is any room at all in the budget for public safety. 
To further your argument against public workers, you point to the recent recall elections in Wisconsin. But the only thing Wisconsin proved is that powerful corporate interests can use millions of dollars to hijack elections. Your commentary delivers the tired refrain that counterpoises jobs and wages. 
The Teamsters know resources are finite and we know some cuts are necessary. But we also know that resources are not always allocated fairly. So we fight to protect Teamster jobs and living standards. That's how we represent our membership and we make no apologies for that.Rockingham County workers have done their part to help the county save money, and they deserve respect for their dedication to serving and protecting the public.

There it is. 


Davis Wire Rally with 174 Truck
Community rallies in support of striking davis wire workers
Posted: July 18, 2012
Source: Teamsters 117
Striking Teamsters at Davis Wire descended on the King County Courthouse on Tuesday to file a lawsuit contending that the company created sweatshop-like conditions at its wire mill in Kent. 

Local 117 members say that their employer worked them off the clock and denied them rest and meal breaks in an unsafe environment and failed to pay them statutorily-required overtime wages.

Davis Wire KOMO video link“We’re working up to twenty days in a row, 12 hour-shifts, with dangerous machinery running.  Every time you try to grab a bite to eat or take a break, they tell you to get back to your machines,” said machine operator and Local 117 Shop Steward, Robert Bruner.

On-the-job injuries at the facility are common.  Many workers on the picket line in Kent bear scars and wounds inflicted in industrial accidents at the plant.  To hear more about workers’ safety concerns, view the Missing Fingers at Davis Wire video on YouTube.

After the courthouse action, workers were joined by their families, labor leaders, elected officials, and community partners for a community rally at the facility to mark two months since the start of the strike.  An estimated 300 people turned out for the event.

“Workers at Davis Wire have taken bold, courageous steps to challenge an unjust employer.  Their fight for human dignity and respect on the job is an inspiration to working families across the country who struggle every day to make ends meet,” said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson.

Davis Wire is owned by venture-capitalist billionaire, Michael Heisley.  Despite his vast fortune and the consistent profitability of his company, Heisley and his Davis Wire management team have been unwilling to bargain fairly with his employees. 

Teamsters Local 117 has filed over a dozen Unfair Labor Practices with the NLRB, accusing Davis Wire of bad faith bargaining, worker surveillance, worker intimidation, and illegal threats to shut down the facility in Kent.

The 85 workers at the Kent facility have been without a contract since December 1 of last year.

You can show your support of striking workers at Davis Wire by donating to the ONE MORE DAY fund or by visiting workers on the strike line at S. 194th St & 80th Ave. S. in Kent.


Hoffa to Appear on 'The Ed Show' July 18th
Posted: July 18, 2012
Source: IBT
General President James P. Hoffa is scheduled to appear on The Ed Show, hosted by Ed Schultz, today (July 18th) on MSNBC. Please check your local listings for time and channel.


Bring Jobs Home Act vote in Senate tomorrow
Posted: July 18, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Bring Jobs Home video link Please call your senators (just follow this link) and tell them to vote "yes" on a procedural vote to end the Republican filibuster of the Bring Jobs Home Act.

The bill would end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs. Instead, it would help pay for the cost of bringing those jobs home to the United states.

President Obama put out a statement today urging the Senate to pass the bill, which:
...serves to discourage outsourcing in all sectors of the economy, but particularly in our manufacturing sector.  Following a decade in which the United States lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs, the Nation has begun to make progress.  Over the past 28 months, the U.S. manufacturing sector has added roughly 500,000 new jobs, the fastest pace of manufacturing job growth since 1995.  Instead of rewarding firms for shifting production and jobs overseas, the tax code should strengthen the domestic manufacturing sector, support job growth and innovation, and encourage companies from all sectors of the economy to invest in the United States. 
We know we don't need to persuade you to support this bill. But we'd thought you'd like a little inspiration from the video above.


Teamster Leader: 'We are in the fight of our lives'
Posted: July 17, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Brian Aldes, secretary-treasurer of  Teamsters Local 320 in Minneapolis, hits the nail on the head with his latest blog about the war on workers. We'll cross post it here in its entiretY:

We know that the Freedom of Employment Scam (Right-to-Work) was narrowly defeated last session, but only after intense lobbying at the Capitol and through direct lobbying by members who made phone calls and emailed their legislators. We know that the Public Employee At-Will Bill (HF 1974) passed both chambers of the legislature; luckily Gov. Dayton vetoed the bad bill!

For those reasons alone we must be active in the upcoming elections, but if you have been following recent developments nationally involving cops, firefighters, and other public employees you can begin to see a countrywide trend develop that is very frightening. 

In Scranton Pennsylvania the mayor unilaterally paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to all municipal workers – firemen, police, public works, etc. A judge had previously ordered that the mayor could not violate municipal union contracts, including unilaterally changing the pay structure, but the ruling was ignored by the mayor. According to NPR, Roger Leonard, a Scranton employee and heavy equipment operator, gets a $900 check for two weeks of work. Last Friday, it was only $340! The various Unions involved are taking the mayor back to court to get an injunction and restitution from the City, but it could take weeks to get a final resolution. 

In Detroit, the City approved a plan to cut $100 million from its budget through concessions from police and firefighters. The concessions include a 10% pay cut and changes in work rules, such as limiting the benefits of seniority and drastically increasing employee healthcare contributions. Again, this has been done unilaterally in violation of union contracts; however; because of recent changes in the public employee laws governing workers in the state of Michigan the City is no longer obligated to bargain with its unions. This is a direct result of Michigan’s Tea Party governor and legislature.

In the neighboring state of Iowa Tea Party Governor Terry Branstad has asked all state workers to voluntarily give up part of their pay to cover healthcare premiums.  For a newly hired State of Iowa worker with an average $24,169.60 starting salary, the plan would result in a pay cut ranging from 5% to 18%. For a newly hired State of Iowa correctional officer, Branstad's plan would cut their pay from 3% to 12%. I sincerely doubt Iowa state workers are lining up for a pay cut, but it just goes to show that the Tea Party will attempt anything to cut average workers’ wages. 

These three reasons are why we must fight together as a Union. If you don’t think it can happen here because Minnesota is a Union State please take another look!  Pennsylvania has had labor unions long before Minnesota became a state. Michigan is home to the United Auto Workers Union as well as the home of legendary Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. And Iowa is just next door. I cannot stress enough that we are in the fight of our lives this coming political season. We cannot drop the ball! That is why I promise to do everything in our power to preserve the gains our Union has accrued for members over the years. Rest assured, we will be prepared this Fall!


IN guv candidate hearts Teamsters
Posted: July 17, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Rarely is there a choice between candidates as easy as the ones faced by Indiana Teamsters.

The Republican candidate, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, makes union-buster Gov. Mitch Daniels look like Mother Jones. (Well, maybe that's a teensy exaggeration...)

The Democratic candidate, John Gregg, comes from a family that owned and operated a small business that employed nothing but Teamsters. "They appreciated their hard work," says Aleksandar Markovski, a member of Local 142 in Gary. Gregg stopped by Local 142 on Wednesday to visit with Teamsters.
You won't find Pence in a union hall. He voted for every job-killing trade deal that crossed his path, but against helping workers who lose their jobs because of those deals. He voted for letting employers interfere with workers' right to organize, but against raising the minimum wage. His voting record is considered anti-worker by the AFL-CIO and anti-senior by the Alliance for Retired Americans.

Last week, Pence voted against the Bring Jobs Home Act, which would close loopholes that give corporations a tax break for moving jobs overseas.
Read the complete source story here.


Striking WA Teamsters to sue Davis Wire, hold rally
Posted: July 16, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation

Davis - Missing Fingers video link

Teamsters Local 117 in Seattle announces striking workers at Davis Wire will sue the company tomorrow for stealing their wages and allowing such dangerous conditions that workers lose fingers.
On Tuesday, July 17 at 11 A.M. striking workers at Davis Wire will converge on the King County Courthouse in Seattle, where they will officially join a lawsuit alleging that the company created sweatshop-like conditions by working employees off the clock and denying employees rest and meal breaks in an unsafe environment and failing to pay them statutorily-required overtime wages. 
After the courthouse action, workers will hold a 3 P.M. rally at Davis Wire in Kent (19411 80th Ave S) to mark nearly 2 months since the start of the strike. Workers will be joined by family members, religious leaders, labor leaders, elected officials, and community members. 
Larry Dunson, a 28-year production worker who lost his fingertip in an industrial accident at the facility, will be available to speak to the media at the courthouse and at the rally. Larry represents many of his co-workers who have been maimed on the job.

Stay strong, brothers and sisters!


Background on Davis Wire Strike
Posted: July 16
Source: The Stand
The 85 workers at Davis Wire’s Kent facility have been without a contract since Dec. 1, 2011. On May 15, the company laid off 27 employees in Kent — nearly a third of its unionized workforce — just three days after workers voted to authorize a strike. Their union, Teamsters Local 117, contends that the layoffs were retaliatory in nature.

On May 21, the workers went on strike to protest what Local 117 says was a series of unlawful actions by the company. The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB accusing the company of a dozen violations of federal labor law, including bad faith bargaining, worker surveillance, worker intimidation, and illegal threats to shut down the facility.

In addition to the Unfair Labor Practice charges, workers have joined a class-action lawsuit accusing their employer of denying them the right to take rest and meal breaks and working employees without paying them over a three year period. The complaint, which was filed in King County Superior Court on April 30, describes sweatshop-like conditions, in which employees were pressured to work 12-hour shifts without a break and eat lunch at their work stations while operating dangerous machinery.

Davis Wire is one of four manufacturers in the Heico Wire Group. Over the last few years, four workers have been killed in industrial accidents at Heico facilities across the country. At the Kent facility, workers have suffered serious injuries, including wire punctures, broken bones, and mangled fingers. Last week a machine operator was injured and hospitalized after his hand got caught between two spinning rollers of a fabric machine.

Davis Wire also operates plants in Irwindale, CA and Pueblo, CO. Some of the company’s major customers include Home Depot, Lowe’s, and several major construction companies.

Both the lawsuit and the Unfair Labor Practice charges can be viewed at www.teamsters117.org.
Read the complete source story here.


Department of Transportation Grant Used to Train Teamsters in Hazmat Handling  
Posted: July 16, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Three years ago, Jody Johnson, a YRC Freight clerk and member of Sacramento’s Local 150, participated in a program on how to train others in hazardous material instruction. Before that, her co-workers were continually asking her questions about compliance, loading, handling and general safety.

“I think about the things I did both at work and in daily life before the training, and I realize that I was constantly putting myself in danger,” Johnson said.

Thanks to the hazmat training, she is now able to provide her co-workers with the correct answer and thus advance safety in her workplace. “I have been able to go back to my job and help on a daily basis,” Johnson said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has recently awarded the Teamsters Safety and Health Department a $1-million grant to continue the DOT Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) program.

“The DOT-HMIT program is an excellent program that provides our members with knowledge and skills to effectively provide training to their co-workers. We strongly encourage members of safety and health committees, stewards and rank-and-file members who have an interest in safety and health to consider participating in our training program,” said LaMont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department.

This will be the fourth year that the grant will allow the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to provide members throughout the country with advanced hazmat safety training. The training, designed as a “train the trainer” program, aims to train those who will provide hazmat safety training to their co-workers.

Johnson said that she now thinks twice before approaching any hazardous situation. “This invaluable training reminded me of the benefits of being well-informed,” Johnson said. “Thanks to this grant, many more Teamsters will have the opportunity to stay as safe as possible.”
Read the complete source story here.


Airline Division Director Congratulates Allegiant Pilots on Decision to Seek Union
Posted: July 16, 2012
Source: Teamster Airline Division News
Teamsters Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne congratulated the pilots of Allegiant Air for their decision to seek union representation. In a letter this week to the pilots, Bourne said:

“You have an important task at hand, making a determination on the course of your future. Your decision will determine whether or not you have a career with Allegiant where you enjoy the benefits of defined career expectations and work rules, or merely a job where expectations and rules are an ever changing target that you have no control over.”
Commenting further in the letter in response to a statement from management about the election process, Bourne went on to say:
 “I am pleased to see that he shares our commitment to facts and joins us in our proposition that you are entitled to honest and factual information upon which you will make the decision to cast your vote. It is my belief that armed with facts and not mistruths or “propaganda” from outside groups, that you will cast your vote in favor of membership in the Airline Division of the Teamsters.”
While a response from the NMB with information on voting dates has not yet been received, the Division anticipates they will hear from the Board as soon as they have had the opportunity to review the request that was filed.
Read the complete source story here.


Hoffa to Senate: Bring jobs home now
Posted: July 15, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa wants Congress to stop outsourcing and bring American jobs back to America.

Hoffa wrote a letter to the Senate in support of the Bring Jobs Home Act (S. 3364), which will be introduced on the Senate floor this month.

Hoffa wrote:

S. 3364 would reward companies with a tax credit for up to 20% of the expenses they incur for eliminating a business located outside the United States and relocating it within the U.S. – and bring jobs back to America.
This is a common-sense bill that would get rid of the perverse tax incentives to move American jobs overseas.

Last week we told you about the Bring Jobs Home Act and the joint effort by labor and community groups to tell Congress to pass the bill. A vote on S. 3364 is expected to happen next week.

For American workers who are still suffering from high unemployment and an economy that can't create enough new jobs, the Bring Jobs Home Act is a no-brainer.

And that’s exactly what Hoffa told the Senate:
Over the last decade, the U.S. has lost more manufacturing jobs than during the Great Depression. That’s 50,000 facilities and nearly six million manufacturing jobs gone. With unemployment rates still unacceptably high, working families continue to struggle. We have to end this exodus of good jobs and cannot permit our manufacturing base to continue to erode.

Teamsters have been active in the campaign to support the Bring Jobs Home Act. On Wednesday, Georgia Teamsters linked up with religious leaders and elected officials for a press event on the bill.

The Teamsters continue to urge everyone to tell their senators to support this legislation. It’s time to make the Bring Jobs Home Act the law and put the flow of outsourcing in reverse.


War on workers comes to CA in sheep's clothing
Posted: July 15, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
California's 'Stop Special Interest Money' Prop 32 would crush unions, but you wouldn't know that by the way it's presented.

It's disguised as "paycheck protection," which would stop unions from automatically deducting money from members' paychecks for political activity. They tried it in 1998 and in 2005 in California, and failed both times.

David Dayen at firedoglake explains how they've further dressed it up this time around: supporters claim it affects corporations and unions equally:
Nothing could be further from the truth, says the opposition to Prop 32. 
“The people who drafted this are the same people who twice before tried this and failed,” says Brian Brokaw, the communications director for No on 32. “They claim that it’s even-handed, in that it bans both unions and corporations from collecting political funds via payroll deductions. But corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political funds, they just use their own treasuries.”
Nice, hunh? But Dayen explains how it's even more insidious.
First, it bans direct political donations to state candidates from both corporations and unions. Neither side does a whole lot of that, as independent expenditures are more common in support of or opposition to individual candidates. But the definition of a “corporation” is made so narrow in the initiative language, granting a number of special exemptions to entities such as LLCs, limited partnerships, insurance companies, hedge funds, developers, Wall Street investment firms and more. “They carefully drafted this to exempt themselves,” Brokaw says. Any corporation could set up a shell company and continue the practice of direct political contributions.
Who's behind this nasty initiative? Billionaires who want to rig the system. Thomas Siebel, a huge Sarah Palin fan, is the biggest backer; insurance company executives and Wall Street investment managers are also contributing heavily.

If they succeed in California, they'll be coming to your state soon. Be very, very afraid.


Teamsters Ratify Contract At Sorrento
Posted: July 13, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Teamsters from Local 264 in Buffalo, N.Y., have ratified a three-year contract with Sorrento Lactalis, Inc. after walking off the production line Monday.

Teamsters Local 264 and Sorrento reached an agreement that provides for wage increases, maintenance of comprehensive health care coverage and a host of positive non-economic provisions for the 257 maintenance and production workers.

The workers were forced to vote in favor of striking after the company imposed the terms of its final contract offer from July 1, which would have increased health care premiums by 167 percent through 2014. This was the first work stoppage at the plant since the workers joined the Teamsters in 1995. The strike lasted only three days before a favorable contract was ratified overwhelmingly by the Teamster membership.

“We feel stronger now than ever. Everybody is very happy to go back to work and we’re proud to be Teamsters because we had support and backing from our union all the way,” said Tony Brancato, a 17-year warehouse worker and shop steward.

“These workers exemplified what the word ‘union’ means. They stood together and never wavered,” said Mary Holl, President of Local 264 in Cheektowaga, N.Y. “Business Agent Joe Nowak worked tirelessly with the members, and the support of the locals and International was overwhelming. It shows just what can be achieved when we work together and stand strong.”

“The quick and decisive action by the Local 264 leadership to shut this company down and the strong support of the membership made the significant difference in changing the company’s attitude and pushed them to get serious about a reasonable and equitable settlement,” said Rome Aloise, Director of the Teamsters Dairy Conference and International Vice President. “The local leadership and the members are a great example of what can be accomplished when everyone works together from the local to the International.”

Sorrento is a leading brand of Italian cheeses, with nearly $300 million in annual sales.


West Virginia Pepsi Employees Join Teamsters Local 175
Posted: July 12, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
A majority of warehouse, delivery, mechanics and customer representatives working at the Pepsi Beverage company in Huntington, WV, voted to join Teamsters Local 175 yesterday.

“These workers voted for the Teamsters because wanted better working conditions, a voice on the job and protections for the benefits they already have,” said Ralph Winter, Local 175 Secretary-Treasurer.

These new members join the nearly 4,000 other members of the Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference who also work at Pepsi across the U.S.


Sorrento strike ends
Posted: July 12, 2012
Source: Buffalo News

Sorrento Strikers

Workers at Sorrento Lactalis’ South Buffalo plant on Wednesday ratified a three-year labor contract, ending a strike that began Monday.

The deal covers 257 members of Teamsters Local 264, representing about half of the company’s local workforce of 520.

The Teamsters in a statement said the new contract includes “wage increases, maintenance of comprehensive health care coverage and a host of positive non-economic provisions.”

“The 257 union members stood tall, stood together and stood proud. We salute them,” the Teamsters said.

It was the first strike at the Sorrento Lactalis plant since the Teamsters began representing production and maintenance workers in the spring of 1995.
Read the source story here.


Teamsters fight to bring jobs home, end war on workers
Posted: July 12, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Georgia Teamsters, elected officials and a religious leader held a press conference last week to bring attention to the Bring Jobs Home Act. The event was held in front of a closed plant where jobs were shipped overseas. Speakers urged rebuilding of our economy ending the offshoring of jobs offshore.

The AFL-CIO Blog tells us:

In Savannah, Ga., last week, union and community activists used the site of a closed Air Liquide plan—the firm shuttered then shipped the jobs to Mexico—to highlight the urgent need to pass the Bring Jobs Home Act. 

Savannah City Alderman Carolyn Bell said: 

We have the talent and the skilled work force to compete with anyone, anywhere in the world, as long as we have a level playing field.
Pittsburgh union activists held a rally today to support the bill. Reports Essential Public Radio:
Toting signs reading “Bring Jobs Home,” several dozen labor activists crowded the lawn of the United Steelworkers building on Monday to demand passage for U.S. Senate Bill 2884...

The bill would end tax incentives for companies that move their workforces overseas. Under the legislation, tax credits would be given to companies who move jobs back to the United States.

At the end of the rally, the activists walked from the USW building to Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s office, to demand that he support the so-called Bring Jobs Home Act.


Teamsters, IATSE up reality efforts
Posted: July 12, 2012
Source: Variety
The two below-the-line unions repping most film and TV industry crews -- the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees -- are ramping up their joint organizing efforts in the reality TV arena.

"We are putting a lot of effort into reality because there's so much non-union work being done," said Mike Miller, IATSE's motion picture chief. "It really runs the gamut from shows that let us in the front door to shows that we have to push on."

IATSE reached a three-year deal last summer covering crews for TV shows produced by FremantleMedia North America, including "American Idol,'' "America's Got Talent'' and "The X Factor.'' The two unions reached a deal last month with TNT reality series "The Great Escape."

"The unions are doing an organizing drive to get all the reality shows covered," Teamsters attorney Joseph Kaplon said.

The effort comes two years after the unions entered into a formal "mutual assistance" agreement to work together toward common goals in an announcement by IATSE president Matthew Loeb and Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa. That came shortly after Teamsters Local 399, which covers about 3,200 drivers in 13 Western states, and IATSE negotiated master contract agreements that synched up their expiration dates -- leading to joint negotiations during March and April centering on pension and health issues in the new contracts.

"The leaders of both unions feel very strongly that we need to cooperate," Kaplon said.

Miller told Variety that the two unions have already worked together on half a dozen reality shows and noted that crews have been highly supportive of the efforts.
Read the complete source story here.


Teamsters on strike at Davis Wire taking a stand for basic human dignity and respect
Updated: July 11, 2012
Rally flyer linkSource: Teamsters117.org
Please join us on Tuesday, July 17th, at 3:00 p.m. at Davis Wire – S. 194th & 80th Ave. S. in Kent, to show our support for the workers fighting for dignity and respect.

Teamsters Local 117 and its members thank everyone for all the support for Davis Wire workers.  They have had some success from many union partners raising funds for these members. The goal is to help their members stay on the line “One More Day” until an agreement is reached.  There will be a press conference on Tuesday announcing to the public the “One More Day” fund and with any luck be able to raise close to $50,000. Attached is a flyer for a rally and bbq. These men continue to show incredible solidarity and commitment to achieving a fair contract - we would appreciate if you, your officers, staff, co-workers and any other union members could come out to the rally next Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the media cares a lot more about garbage collection (or garbage strikes!) than the truly powerful stories these workers could tell about their experiences at a Davis Wire.  We hope to bring the media to this event to cover this story. Part of that is to have our community there telling them why they should care about workers. So feel free to send this far and wide!

Again thanks to you for all of your support and we hope to see you on the 17th.

For more information about this event, contact Brenda Wiest at 206-441-4860 ext 1256. 


Question for Romney: American bridges or Swiss banks?
Posted: July 10, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
This weekend Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called out Mitt Romney for his un-American offshore bank accounts.

“President Obama isn't running against the Almighty, he's running against the alternative. The alternative in this case is Mitt Romney, who had the 47th worst job creation rate as governor, and also has a penchant - a talent - for offshoring American jobs, sending them overseas and also maintaining offshore bank accounts in Bermuda, Swiss bank accounts,” [O’Malley] said on ABC’s “This Week.” 
“I’ve never known of a Swiss bank account to build an American bridge, a Swiss bank account to create American jobs, or Swiss bank accounts to rebuild the levies to protect the people of New Orleans. That's not an economic strategy for moving our country forward.”

A recent Vanity Fair article details Romney’s many offshore accounts, including some $30 million of Bain Capital cash stashed away in the Cayman Islands.

So the question for Romney is this: American or Swiss? We’re not asking what he wants on his deli sandwich. We’re asking who he is loyal to: American voters or the super-rich who move their money to avoid paying taxes.

As O’Malley explained,

“Mitt Romney bets against America,” O’Malley said. “He bet against America when he put his money in Swiss bank accounts and tax havens and shelters and also set up a secret company, the shell company in Bermuda, which, by the way, in order to avoid disclosure, he put in his wife's name right before he became governor of Massachusetts.”

Investing in infrastructure and jobs should be the nation’s top economic priority. But Romney’s foreign accounts reveal his expertise in depriving America of the funds needed to rebuild our roads and bridges.


Teamsters Call for Independent Board Leadership at Republic Airways
Posted: July 9, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is calling on Republic Airways [Nasdaq:  RJET] shareholders to vote for the union’s proposal to appoint an independent chairman of the board. The proposal—No. 4 on the company’s proxy—will be voted on by shareholders before polls close at the company’s Aug. 1 shareholder meeting. 

The Teamsters are urging investors to support this corporate governance reform as a better structure for shareholder representation at the struggling company. The current structure, with its close-knit board and conflicted lead director, makes investors vulnerable to the whims of a domineering chairman/CEO with no clear vision for the airline.

“Republic’s chairman and CEO, Bryan Bedford, has created a costly identity crisis for the once-successful airline,” said Ken Hall, General Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a long-term shareholder that represents nearly half of all Republic employees, or about 4,500. “We need to take Republic’s board off autopilot so that we can stop squandering cash, antagonizing customers, and destroying employee morale.”

The Teamsters, in its investor critique, “Independent Board Leadership at Republic Airways – The Final Frontier,” detail the urgency for independent board oversight and the inadequacy of Republic’s current board structure. Richard Schifter, a managing partner of the private equity firm TPG and Republic’s newest lead director, is no substitute for an independent chairman because of his own conflicts of interest and compromised independence from management.

The report highlights many of management’s costly mistakes and contradicting business strategies that have weakened the company’s core, regional feeder business and hurt the company’s chances for success in the branded carrier business that it entered after acquiring Frontier and Midwest Airlines in 2009.  

“Investors need to know there is rigorous oversight of management at this critical time in Republic’s history.” Hall said. “With Barclays Capital, the bank Bedford tapped to help monetize Frontier Airlines, at the center of an international banking scandal and a pilot dispute that management has let fester for five years with no plan to resolve it now escalating, independent board leadership is needed now more than ever.”


Hostess Member Update
Posted: July 9, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
There has been little to report since our last formal update of June 1, as there has not been any significant breakthrough in our discussions. However, we continue to work to get to an agreement with the Company and its senior lenders – hedge funds Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital – and potential new investors.

A key difference in our proposals deals with the structure of the pension benefit going forward. Our proposal gives all the Teamsters pension plans to which Hostess contributed the right to accept Hostess as a contributing employer if the funds meet certain conditions. The Company wants to put every Hostess Teamster in one of two small plans. We also have much stronger shared sacrifice language, governance controls, debt forgiveness, and upside in the form of equity in the new company than what the company proposed.

While there are indications the company and the lenders may be willing to move off their position on the pensions and allow our members to continue in funds other than the two small funds, it would come at a very high cost in terms of additional concessions and it is our belief based on feedback from Teamster Hostess members that we have already gone as far as we can go, particularly in the absence of an overall restructuring where everyone makes an appropriate contribution.

We’ve continued, in a variety of settings, to try and bridge the gap with the Company and the senior lenders to convince them that the Company needs to focus more on improving its operations in areas such as inventory control, and trade spend, rather than rely solely on cuts on the backs of the workers. Additional talks are scheduled for the week of July 9th.


Teamsters Rail Conference Applauds California Vote for High Speed Rail
Posted: July 8, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
The Teamsters Rail Conference applauds today’s vote by the California State Senate to pass legislation that will enable high speed rail construction. The new rail system would be the largest public works project in the state and could potentially employ hundreds of unionized maintenance of way workers and locomotive engineers and trainmen who are members of the Teamsters Rail Conference.

“It’s a terrific day for the residents of California and the rail union members who will put their skills to use in building and operating trains on this high speed rail line,” said John Murphy, Director of the Teamsters Rail Conference. “The legislators in Sacramento got it right when they voted to fund this project since it will help hundreds of people find good union jobs and the high speed rail line will provide a viable alternative to car and plane travel in the state.”

Gov. Jerry Brown and his administration have been urging the passage of this high speed rail project ever since he took office in January, 2011. Nationally, President Obama’s administration was an early advocate for national high speed rail projects. Vice President Biden, in particular, is a supporter of Amtrak since he used to commute on the rail system from his home in Delaware to the U.S. Senate in Washington.

“With the passage of this legislation, we have an opportunity to show Californians the skills and hard work our members bring to the rail profession,” said Freddie N. Simpson, President of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and Teamsters Vice President.

Dennis Pierce, Rail Conference President, and National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), commented that the direction that California is going will serve as a model for other states and cities to make similar decisions. “The California high speed rail line will be a beacon of performance on the West Coast and our members look forward to operating the equipment on this state-of-the-art rail line.”

The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 rail workers employed as locomotive engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way workers across the United States as members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division.


Teamster leader, congressman call for 'Bring Jobs Home Act' passage
Posted: July 5, 2012
Bring Jobs Home activistsSource: Teamster Nation
Teamsters Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise and U.S. Rep. Pete Stark are speaking out in support of the "Bring Jobs Home Act," which would end tax cuts for corporations that move jobs overseas.

Aloise joined Stark in a news conference Tuesday at Tri-Ced Community Recycling in Union City, Calif., to urge Congress to pass the bill.

The California Labor Fed's Labor's Edge blog reported the event was held at Tri-Ced because the company's CEO, Richard Valle, keeps jobs here in the U.S. and makes sure they're strong, union jobs.

Aloise said,

Bring Jobes HomeWithout a strong middle class this country is never going to come back to the greatness we all remember from years ago... We are hoping Congress and the Senate get through the bipartisanship and push this bill through.
And in Stark's words,
Stop giving companies a tax break when they leave, and start giving them an incentive to bring jobs home and create jobs here. That’s what we have to do.

The Senate is expected to vote on the "Bring Jobs Home Act" during the week of July 16. You can do your part by telling your senators to vote "yes."  Click here to send an email.


Ohio Teamsters fight for voter-controlled redistricting
Posted: July 5, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Ohio Teamsters have been working hard with other union members and community activists to put voters in charge of legislative redistricting. They've been gathering petition signatures for an amendment to put it on the ballot.

This week, Voters First, the coalition behind the amendment, announced they collected enough signatures to put the Voters First amendment before Ohioans in November.

Fred Crow, a trustee at Local 507 who collected signatures, explained the importance of the amendment this way:

The bottom line is if we don’t fix this, we could have Senate Bill 5 every day. Right now the Republicans control everything, so they are the ones drawing up the districts behind closed doors. There’s a lot of gerrymandering that’s going to hurt workers until voters are put in control of redistricting, not politicians.
Every 10 years legislative and congressional districts are redrawn based on new census information and shifting demographics. In Ohio, the current system gives politicians a free hand to draw the lines of their own districts. That means anti-worker politicians – the same ones who pushed for union-busting Senate Bill 5 – can abuse their power and hold on to office so they can continue their war on working families.

Teamsters throughout the state have been active in the Voter First campaign, running drive-through signature collections and a blood bank organized by Local 507. Brother Matt Ford at 507 and Steve Meade at Local 436 have been heavily involved.
Read the complete source story here.


Teamsters Request End to Mediation for Republic Pilot Negotiations
Posted: July 3, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Today, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters delivered a letter to the National Mediation Board requesting to be released from mediation in its contract negotiations on behalf of pilots employed by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings.

“This will set the stage for the management group at Republic Airlines to either negotiate in good faith or face self-help by the Republic pilots with the full backing of my office and all 1.4 million Teamsters,” Teamsters Airline Division Director Capt. David Bourne wrote in a separate letter to pilots.

Citing an impasse in mediation efforts to reach a settlement with the company, the Teamsters have requested that the NMB end the mediation process and extend arbitration to the parties.

The Teamsters have dutifully committed to mediation with Republic Airways while the company has made no meaningful attempt at negotiating, instead engaging in a pattern of unilateral management efforts that undercut the mediation process, according to Bourne.

The company attempted to discipline one of the pilots for performing work on behalf of the union, the Teamsters said. Additionally, Republic Airways has tried to impose a new pay rate and instituted a signing bonus to lure new pilots to the company rather than negotiating these items under the auspices of the NMB.

The request to end mediation for the pilots and resume arbitration is meant to move the dispute to the next stage of the dispute-settlement procedure in accordance with the Railway Labor Act.


Young Teamsters trained to deal with bully bosses
Posted: July 3, 2012
Source: Teamster Nation
Young TeamstersCan you deal with a bully boss? These young Teamsters sure can! In a June 25th training session with attorney Jason Rabinowitz, a group of young Teamsters from Local 856 learned how to deal with bad bosses.

Doris Garcia, an accounts payable clerk at Carcione’s Fresh Produce, has always had good bosses. However, as a 27-year-old Teamster, she wanted to know more about workers rights. She realizes she may have a bad boss some day, and she wants to help co-workers with grievances they may have with their bosses.

Rabinowitz, who is also an instructor at UC-Davis, taught her how to defend herself and her co-workers against bully bosses. He discussed what qualifies as workplace harassment and explained what falls under legal guidelines and what does not. He described both the legal route and the non-legal route for taking action against a bully boss.

“Knowing alternatives to legal action, knowing that you can come together to create change by signing petitions or organizing a walk-out, that was the most beneficial part of the training,” said Garcia.

Cristina Garcia, a 24-year old Teamster employed at the Fairmont San Francisco Hotel, echoes her Teamster sister. “The training explained that by all uniting together, backing each other up and standing up to managers as a unit creates one of the best opportunities for positive change,” said Garcia. Rabinowitz also taught young Teamsters how to sign petitions and obtain restraining orders in cases of harassment and violence.

Although Cristina Garcia has never had a bully boss, she has seen her co-workers in uncomfortable situations with their bosses. She was excited to see the Teamsters offering a training on this often overlooked topic.

Doris Garcia explained, “It is a relief to know that I can come to my local with a grievance and know that people are backing me and will help me to improve my situation.”

The training was held at the Handlery Hotel in San Francisco.


Teamsters File For Representation Elections At Allegiant Air
Posted: July 3, 2012
Source: Teamster.org
Today, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced it has made an application to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for a representation election to be held for the pilots of Allegiant Air.

Allegiant Air, subsidiary of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company, employs 363 pilots flying McDonnell Douglas MD80’s and Boeing 757’s.

“We are honored to have been asked by the pilots of Allegiant Air to meet with them and explain the benefits of representation by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Airline Division,” said Captain David Bourne, Director of the Airline Division.

“The overwhelmingly positive response we received in meetings and the outstanding response to the card drive is a testament to the dedication of the Allegiant Air pilots,” Bourne said. “We look forward to a favorable ruling on our application by the NMB and a vote being scheduled as soon as possible.”


LA Teamsters march against Wal-Mart
Posted: July 1, 2012
Teamster with signSource: Teamster Nation
Hundreds of Teamsters joined thousands of marchers on Saturday to protest Wal-Mart's planned expansion in Los Angeles. Led by a giant banner that read "Wal-Mart = Poverty," they snaked through Chinatown denouncing the retailer's low wages. Teamsters signs read "Wal-Mart: How the 1% hurts the 99%."

Brother Victor Mineros from Local 396 was in the thick of things and sent us some awesome photos. 

The Teamsters good friend Tom Morello led the marchers in "This Land Is Your Land." In an interview, Morello said,

"This historic neighborhood will be utterly gutted if Wal-Mart comes here," Morello told The Associated Press about the prospects of the retail giant driving smaller stores in Chinatown out of business. 
"It's Wal-Mart's global policy of sweatshop labor and poverty level wages that we don't need in LA," he said.
Read the complete source story here.