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Wall Street elites have gamed the system so that they can get their trades processed before regular people can, limiting profits for those trying to stay on top of their retirement investments. Meanwhile, they are laughing all the way to the bank, a new book by author Michael Lewis asserts.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today announced the appointment of Tom O’Donnell, President of Teamsters Local 817 in Lake Success, New York, as Director of the Teamsters Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division.
Public employees in Philadelphia may not be getting enough respect from Mayor Michael Nutter, but they continue to do their jobs with dedication and commitment to the communities they serve. In fact, sometimes they go beyond the call of duty.
Crossing guard Mary Mulligan, a member of AFSCME Local 1956, District Council 33, has been protecting children and helping them cross busy intersections for 26 years. But this week she had an opportunity to do more than that and rose to the occasion.
Mulligan was on the job when she heard a loud bang like a large firecracker and saw a school van that appeared to be in trouble. The back tire of the van had caught fire.
As reported by this local news station, Mulligan “led the rescue effort by neighbors” who managed to remove all eight children, including an infant, from the burning van until everyone was safe. No injuries were reported.
“Everybody was safe, that’s what’s most important,” Mulligan said. “It was very scary, my heart’s still pounding. Very scary.”
Watch the video below.
Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for March 31, 2014.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2014/03/teamster-news-today_31.html
DETROIT – UAW membership continues to grow, according to the union’s Labor Organization Annual Report, Form LM-2, filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The LM-2 contains the union’s membership numbers for the prior year. The UAW’s 2013 LM-2 report shows UAW membership at 391,415, up nearly 9,000 members from numbers reported last year.Media Location: Above the Body Content Left Content:
Teamsters Local 700 member Luis Arroyo Jr. will soon transition from a motor truck driver for the City of Chicago to a democratic nominee for the Cook County Board of Commissioners.http://teamsterslocal700.org/news/2014/032814_Arroyo%20Election.html
Newport, R.I. – The Newport City Council recently joined AFSCME Local 911 in celebrating its 50th anniversary, passing a resolution to honor the workers and the union.
“It is refreshing to see elected representatives recognize the importance of a city’s public employees and their union to the operation of the city,” said J. Michael Downey, president of AFSCME Council 94. “All too often, we see workers being pushed down and disrespected by elected officials. It is nice to see a local honored in such a way.”
Council members not only allowed Local 911 to display a commemorative plaque at the entrance of City Hall, they went one step further and passed a resolution celebrating its 50th anniversary. The plaque was a gift from AFSCME International Pres. Lee Saunders and Sec.-Treas. Laura Reyes.
Local 911, Newport City Employees Union, was founded April 12, 1963. Our sisters and brothers in Newport provide vital wall-to-wall service to city residents, from public works to City Hall.
For Ben Westphal, caring for those who served this country and helping those who make up the middle class are what motivates him every day.
That’s why the Iowa Veterans Home public employee and AFSCME Iowa Council 61 member decided to serve by challenging the Republican incumbent for the Statehouse seat in Iowa District 72.
Westphal said he is focused on improving education.
“We can’t afford to leave any child behind, and that’s why I’ll work tirelessly for strong public schools and guaranteeing that kids who come from troubled homes can get the support they need to succeed,” said Westphal, who is running for public office for the first time. “I will also work to make sure that rural Iowa gets our share of state resources for local schools and job creation initiatives.”
Westphal also supports a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and the reopening of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo that Governor Branstad arbitrarily closed. A case is pending in court against the closure.
The closure was “a big impact on the community,” said Westphal, who doesn’t believe his opponent did enough to fight for the home. In addition to removing a needed treatment option for Iowa’s most vulnerable youth, the closure shutters a facility that has an estimated $7.4-million economic impact on the community and its surrounding area. It was the area’s fourth-largest employer.
Westphal plans to fight hard to win the Statehouse race to help regular Iowans.
"We're going to put the feet to the streets and do phone banks," he said. "I'd like to see people have a fair shot and stand up for the people.”
Pop quiz: Who is U.S. Sen. Harry Reid talking about in this quote from back in January? “Because of a United States Supreme Court decision called Citizens United, there’s been some really untoward stuff going on in the political world,” he said. “We have two brothers who are actually trying to buy the country.”
Need another hint? Here is Reid referring to the same men in February: “It’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers, who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”
The answer, of course, is the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, who are literally and figuratively destroying the American way of life. Owners of Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in the U.S., they are number 14 on the list of the most toxic American air polluters and their lobbying efforts in Washington focus on preventing passage of environmental legislation to curb the cancer-causing chemicals their Koch Industries emit.
They are also the money behind ALEC, an extremist group that pushes right-to-work (for-less) bills and other anti-worker legislation in states all over the country. ALEC seeks to silence workers in every locality so corporations can more easily exploit them. Its mission is to weaken the American middle class by rigging the economic system for the benefit of the wealthy.
In Wisconsin, for example, where AFSCME members lost their collective bargaining rights in 2011, nearly half of state legislators voted with the ALEC agenda 100 percent of the time in 2011-2012. Another astounding fact? On the 2012 elections the Koch brothers spent $413 million, more than 2.5 times the combined spending of the top 10 labor unions.
AFSCME has been a major voice in calling out against the abuse and injustice funded by ALEC. We are glad that Senator Reid, as majority leader of the Senate, is doing the same publicly, leading a campaign to tell the naked truth about how right-wing politicians have become “addicted to Koch.”
Visit this “Koch addiction” website to support efforts against the Koch brothers and learn more about how these oligarchs threaten our American democracy.
The text below is from an email sent by In The Public Interest, a comprehensive resource center on privatization and responsible contracting.
When state and local governments outsource public services to for-profit corporations, the justification is almost always about saving money. But according to a new study, too often outsourcing ends up hurting the community as a whole.
“The Decision to Contract Out: Understanding the Full Economic and Social Impacts,” a new report by Professor Daphne Greenwood at the University of Colorado, shows that outsourcing reduces worker wages and benefits, which leads to an array of negative effects for the entire community. Fewer nights out at local restaurants or sporting events means fewer dollars invested in the local economy.
And the study shows the effects of reckless outsourcing go beyond economics. Outsourcing puts public health and safety at risk, widens the wage gap between women and men as well as whites and people of color, and forces more workers and retirees onto public assistance.
The study even includes a guide for calculating the social and economic consequences to help leaders fully assess the impacts of outsourcing before it's too late.
“This valuable report offers further evidence of the negative impact outsourcing – without rigorous oversight – can have on communities,” said Donald Cohen, executive director of In The Public Interest. “The evidence for public control just keeps on piling up. What we need now at every level of government are policies that reflect what the evidence makes clear and that help us prevent economic and social harm to our communities.”
If a right-wing group has its way, voters in Phoenix, Ariz., will be asked this fall whether city employees should receive secure retirement benefits in exchange for their years of public service.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Citizens for Pension Reform Committee targets public service workers, but their latest attack comes while city employees are still reeling from a separate overhaul last year that slashed employer contributions to the pension system. This time, the right-wing group pushes for a ballot measure aimed at converting the city’s pension plan into a shakier 401(k) scheme.
Despite its name, the organization that drives this attack on retirement is not a grassroots effort but the side project of Scot Mussi, the executive director of a big-business political spending group called the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. The group states on its website that one of its top policy goals is to “reduce the influence of public sector unions in the political process.” And while they campaign to make the voices of public employees smaller, in 2011 they took a case to the Supreme Court arguing in favor of unlimited private campaign contributions.
The average public employee pension in Phoenix is worth a modest $23,000 per year. If the city is looking for ways to save taxpayer money, this isn’t it. A study the city conducted during the last round of pension cuts found that moving to a 401(k) system would actually cost the city more than $400 million. With the city facing a budget shortfall, the plan is as bad for the public as it is for the retirees whose savings are at stake.
The Pension Reform Committee has less than a month to collect 25,000 signatures if it wants the measure to appear on the ballot, and they may not make it—just last fall their plans to do the same in Tucson were foiled when a judge found that their petition was filled with thousands of fraudulent signatures. But this is another reminder that big-money interests have retirees’ savings squarely in the crosshairs.