(WASHINGTON) – The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the Senate’s approval of a fast track bill today that will make it easier for bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to move through Congress.
Activist trainings were held in San Diego, California, Washington state and New York City in recent weeks, taking the AFSCME Strong campaign to the next level.
AFSCME Strong is about engaging members of our union one conversation at a time. Coaches’ trainings occurred already throughout the country. During the next year, we will train 5 percent of our union’s members to become activists. They, in turn, will have one-on-one conversations with their coworkers about the importance of standing up for our jobs, our families and our futures. In this way, we will connect with a majority of our union’s members to fight attacks against our wages, benefits and pensions.
Coaches train activists. Activists reach out to their coworkers, engaging 80 percent of members across the nation and making our union stronger. That’s how it works.
Arabela Corros is a registered nurse in Riverside, California. She is a member of the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC)/AFSCME Local 1199 and an active steward in her union. In early May, she became one of 164 activists trained during the Nurses Congress held in San Diego. Participants were from UNAC, Ohio Council 8, and the Hawaii Government Employees Association/AFSCME Local 152, among others.
“I feel inspired and empowered with the knowledge and training I obtained during the seminar,” Corros said. “I have always been an advocate for fairness and equal rights. Having a good knowledge of individual rights and responsibilities will make me a better person and an effective activist and leader. I want to help our union grow for the future of our kids.”New York City
More than 130 activists from District Council 37 were trained on May 2nd. With a contract fight at The City University of New York, ongoing campaigns to protect public services, and a fight for pay equity on the line, the AFSCME Strong training could not come at a better time.
As part of the training, the New York activists went to more than 30 worksites to hear firsthand from AFSCME members in 10 different locals on the issues important to them and their families. They held conversations with more than 140 workers on these sites and signed up 100 new PEOPLE members, with 70 percent at the MVP level.Council 28
Washington Council 28 held a training on April 11 during which 100 AFSCME members were trained as activists. Held in SeaTac, Washington, the new activists came from nearly all Council 28 locals, representing groups of workers from throughout the state.
One of the training participants, Tracy Stanley, president of AFSCME Local 1400, said her motivation for being active in her union was “knowing what is at stake and knowing there is a real possibility that we could lose many of the rights that took immense struggle to obtain.”
“There is so much to be thankful for to those before us,” she added. “Many paid the high price of activism with their freedom; some paid with their lives. I believe I owe it to the next generation to hold on to those rights and continue the fight for further economic, social, and political justice for all American workers.”
The AFSCME Strong training was an inspiring experience to her that is already helping her achieve her goals, she said.
“Practicing speaking, and more importantly, listening techniques in a safe environment with other members has given me the confidence to speak in a number of environments where I have been able to share the vision of our union and how unions as a whole benefit not just workers that are union members, but all workers,” Stanley said.
Also, thousands of state employees walked out of more than 80 worksites on May 20 to urge the state legislature to honor negotiated pay raises. Council 28 organized the “unity breaks,” which occurred during lunch breaks at noon.
Nearly 1,000 New Jersey residents, including more than 100 members of AFSCME Councils 1, 52, 71 and 73, had a pointed message for Gov. Chris Christie after he called on public employees to send him a thank you note for paying into the state pension system.
With the governor and his team of lawyers pursuing legal action to break his own law guaranteeing that public employees receive an annual payment into the pension system, the workers showed up in Trenton to demand that Christie honor the law. The message was underscored in the days that followed, with the American Federation of Teachers and New Jersey Education Association running a radio ads; and the Communications Workers crafting a true “thank you” from all residents of New Jersey.
“Dear Gov. Christie, Thank you for breaking the law and skipping pension payments, for destroying services and risking our retirement security to coddle millionaires and corporations with tax breaks and subsidies, for forcing workers to pay more while handing Wall Street outrageous fees for managing the pensions."
The state Supreme Court is slated to rule by the end of June on whether the Christie administration broke the law by failing to make the scheduled pension payments, as defined by the law his administration created.
The Teamsters Union and FirstGroup reached a tentative contract agreement. The specifics of the contract will be presented to members once local union representatives meet on June 30 to decide whether to endorse the tentative agreement. Once endorsed, the union will notify members and local meetings will be held to answer any questions before ballots are sent to members’ homes.
(LAS VEGAS) – Today, valet parking attendants at SLS Hotel and Casino, along with Teamsters Local 986, are temporarily ending the unfair labor practice strike launched Wednesday at SLS Hotel and Casino. The strike could resume at any moment should SLS management continue to disregard the National Labor Relations Act and refuse to allow its 50 valet parking attendants to exercise their federally protected rights.
Thank you to all the soldiers who have given their lives to keep our nation free.
(WASHINGTON) – Today, D.C. taxi drivers and their Washington, D.C. Metro Area Taxi Operators Association filed a class action lawsuit against the District of Columbia over an unfair, two-tiered system that gives a competitive advantage to ride services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar over taxi operators.
Thousands of state employees walked out of more than 80 worksites this week to urge the state legislature to end the stalemate and implement negotiated pay raises for state workers.
Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and Governor Jay Inslee last September reached a tentative agreement to fund contracts that included a total pay increase of 4.8 percent (3 percent on July 1, 2015, and 1.8 percent on July 1, 2016). The state House, controlled by Democrats, supports the governor’s budget proposal to fund the state employee contracts, but the state Senate, controlled by Republicans, continues to reject the agreements.
The statewide walkout occurred during lunch breaks at noon on Wednesday, May 20. Called “Unity Breaks” by WFSE members, the walkout was the largest coordinated job action since WFSE’s successful strike in 2001.
The coordinated effort comes a week after a salary-setting board approved 11 percent raises for legislators. “Senators who are getting an 11 percent pay raise shouldn’t be playing games with a 4.8 percent raise for a custodial worker, or food service worker, or a caregiver for the mentally disabled,” said Tim Welch, WFSE public affairs director.
Thornton Alberg, a Licenses & Inspections employee and WFSE vice president, added, “We took pay cuts, we took furloughs. It’s been hard ... we’re just falling further and further behind.” These would be the first pay raises for state employees in seven years. For two of those years, state workers took 3 percent pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs.
The demonstration included rallies inside the Department of Labor office and Department of Social and Health Services building, where more than 500 combined employees waved signs that read, “Fund public services & public employee contracts,” and “I have a family.”
Those who have enjoyed reading Dana Milbank’s often scathing and generally humorous column in The Washington Post, where he has skewered pretentious politicians and clueless opinion leaders over the years, were treated this week to his own personal tale of redemption.
After years in the wilderness, Milbank has come home to his union, Local 32035 of the Communications Workers of America, The News Guild.
He left the union a few years ago because he disagreed with a specific policy, he said, but he returned because he believes that our nation needs unions now more than ever, and he cited numerous statistics showing how labor’s decline has led to a crisis in income inequality. Now he is seeing signs of labor’s recovery, and he is jumping on board.
“Straws in the wind suggest a building backlash,” Milbank writes. “On Tuesday, Los Angeles approved a $15 minimum wage, joining more than 17 states and several municipalities that have raised their minimum wages since 2013. Fast food and retail employers, under pressure, have announced increases in low wages covering some 2 million workers.”
He also cited the primary win of union-backed Jim Kenney for Philadelphia mayor this week and labor’s rambunctious opposition to President Obama’s fast-tracked trade deal as evidence that unions are making a comeback.
“We can all see and feel the consequences of labor’s demise. For me and, I hope, for others, it’s time for a homecoming.” You can read his full column here.
Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for May 22, 2015.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2015/05/todays-teamster-news-052215.html
In October, Tobin married Irene Halloran. Prior to 1922, Tobin lived in a $2.50 a day room at the Indianapolis Grand Hotel. For many years, the room served as his home away from home when he worked at the Teamster headquarters. Marrying Irene would allow Tobin the chance to put down some roots after more than a decade occupying his small room at the Indianapolis Grand Hotel. Life in Indianapolis no longer seemed a waiting game for his return home to Boston. Irene looked after son Joseph and daughter Katharine, the two youngest of the Tobin children, and joined the General President at union functions and political dinners with good friends John Gillespie and his new wife, Anne _ Gillespie, a founding member of the stenographers.
”Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made,” American poet John Godfrey Saxe once said. Now there is video proof of just how ugly that process can be — especially if the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is involved.
Investigative reporter Brendan Keefe of Atlanta 11Alive TV News followed the story as far as he could at a resort hotel where ALEC lobbyists and Georgia state legislators worked on “model legislation.” Barred from the backrooms, he dug up the story through other means, including working the bar where a corporate lobbyist and Ohio state legislator supplied inside information.
ALEC officials tried to intimidate Keefe by bringing in Georgia state troopers, but the reporter stood his ground and got the story about how Georgia legislators and corporate lobbyists were literally voting on what laws to support. The result is powerful footage of sausage-making at work.
The report comes amid new revelations in an IRS Whistleblower Complaint that ALEC is engaged in tax fraud – essentially a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity. The organization has lost more than 100 corporate sponsors over the past year.
Washington, D.C. taxi drivers who are members of the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association are invited to two important meetings, on May 26 and on June 6.
Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for May 21, 2015.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2015/05/todays-teamster-news-052115.html
(WASHINGTON) – The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the Senate’s decision to invoke cloture and cut off debate on the fast track trade bill currently being considered by the chamber.