Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for October 22, 2014.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2014/10/teamster-news-today_22.html
CHICAGO — Funeral industry giant Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) has accepted Teamsters Local 727’s offer to enter federal mediation as the union attempts to reach an agreement on a new contract for Chicago-area funeral workers.
Teamster President says Nov. 4 election is an opportunity for workers' voices to be heard by lawmakers.
Accepting the Campaign for America’s Future’s Progressive Champion Award, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders promised that our union will “fight like hell every single day” for working families, and to get out the vote on Nov. 4 to prevent a “nightmare” if anti-worker candidates prevail at the polls.
It’s up to unions and progressive organizations like the Campaign for America’s Future to “knock on those doors, make those phone calls, convince folks that it’s important to have their voices heard on Nov. 4,” Saunders said. “Governors across the country are trying to steal our voices, take collective bargaining away from public sector workers. Our members are energized and they’re fighting back.”
President Saunders accepted the award on behalf of AFSCME’s 1.6 million members, “because they’re the everyday heroes who really work behind the scenes to keep public services running.”
Lily Eskelsen García, the newly elected president of the National Education Association (NEA), presented the award to President Saunders, noting that both the NEA and AFSCME represent millions of hard-working Americans who contribute to the national economy.
“We stand between a profiteer and his profits,” she said. “It’s a dangerous place to stand. I have seen Lee stand there with courage and conviction.”
Also honored with Progressive Champion Awards were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio andSaru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
In his acceptance remarks, Mayor de Blasio said that he and other progressive leaders like President Saunders and Jayaraman “put forward a vision of what progressive change looked like” that is now spreading nationwide. “I’ve seen mayors, in particular, all of this country moving on paid sick leave, moving on higher wages and benefits, moving on early childhood education” because “we have to respond to people suffering.”
Watch President Saunders deliver his acceptance speech here.
“How ya’ll doing?” AFSCME President Lee Saunders asked as he walked into the Bridgeport, Conn., water treatment plant garage where workers were coming in on a shift change.
Saunders was there to talk to members about “the most important election in your lifetime.” Earlier, at the other end of the city, he met with four groups of lunching state social service case workers and clericals from Council 4 bargaining units totaling more than 1,100 members, discussing the danger to their jobs and bargaining rights if they allowed a rich extremist to deliver on his promise to bring a “Wisconsin moment” to Connecticut.
“You know what a ‘Wisconsin Moment’ means?” he asked a group of West Haven, Conn., municipal and board of education workers later that day. “It means we are stripped of our voice and our rights. That’s what [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Tom Foley wants to deliver here in Connecticut.” Foley is running against incumbent Dan Malloy. Nodding in agreement was West Haven Mayor Ed O’Brien, the son of a former West Haven police officer and member of AFSCME Council 15, who was on hand to thank the municipal employees and their union for working with him to reach a fair collective bargaining agreement.
It was the public safety officers of AFSCME Council 15 and their affiliate, AFSCME Local 724, who sponsored the raucous rally in New London the day before. Surrounded by labor leaders, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio of New London declared that his city was a “union town,” a fact on display all along a downtown intersection – signs from AFSCME, the UAW, Fire Fighters, Iron Workers, Carpenters, SEIU, the Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers and the Amalgamated Transit Union, among others.
Saunders looked out upon the horde of labor supporters and declared, “The rights we have didn’t fall from the sky. We got them because we fought for them! And we have to fight to keep them.”
At every stop, Saunders reminded workers that they have the power. This election is in our hands. If we turn out the vote of people who share our values, who want to preserve the middle class, who care about quality public services, then we will win. “Bad things happen when good people stay away from the polls,” he said.
At the water treatment plant in Bridgeport, where the workers had struggled for several years to finally win a good contract with an English company trying to maximize its profit at the city’s water waste treatment facility, Saunders was blunt.
“Whether we keep our rights and our jobs comes down to whether we have political leaders who care about us and our jobs,” he said. “We know that with Tom Foley, we may be cut out entirely – just like we were in Wisconsin. We can’t afford to allow that to happen in Connecticut. We have to talk to our friends, our families, people we know care about working families. Those one-on-one conversations will make the difference.”
The next day, Saunders helped kick off a “Labor Walk” at the Teachers’ union hall in Meriden, Conn. , sponsored by the AFL-CIO. Then, after the whirlwind tour to rally the troops in Connecticut, Saunders was off to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and other states where labor may tip the balance. Three weeks to go, so much work to do. As he told Council 4 members at every stop, “We’ve got to be prepared to work this election as if the future truly depends on it. Because, sisters and brothers, it does.”
With $473 billion in worldwide sales just last year, you would think that Wal-Mart could pony up a living wage to its employees. But its 1.3 million employees in the United States are scraping by on poverty wages with no benefits and irregular hours, even as the six members of the Walton family are worth $145 billion from Wal-Mart profits.
That’s why Wal-Mart workers and their allies, including AFSCME, marched to the offices of the Walton Family Foundation in New York City and Washington, D.C., Oct. 16. They had a simple request for the Walton family: $15 an hour and full-time hours.
“We must send the message that we refuse to live in a low-wage part-time economy driven by the Waltons’ profits,” D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton told the crowd.
Marchers shut down traffic in front of the offices, but the foundation refused to meet and hear their demands. The Walton Family Foundation is an organization established to create the appearance that the Wal-Mart founders are charitable with their wealth. But Forbes magazine describes the charity as a form of tax dodge. It spends most of its money on education “reform” designed to replace our schools and teachers with corporate charters.
Wal-Mart’s wealthy bosses could do a whole lot more if they chose to share the company’s profits with the people who work to make it happen. Those workers desperately need a living wage and stable schedules that allow them to spend time with their families.
Unfortunately, Wal-Mart’s inhumane employment practices set the pattern for other employers. That’s why unions are working to change Wal-Mart, to help working families.
The IBT Training and Development Department will hold a TLA on arbitration for local union officers and business agents at IBT Headquarters in Washington, DC. Instructors will provide the basics of handling a case including preparation for arbitration, evidence and witnesses. Although focus is on the arbitration process, principles can be applied to panel and committee hearings. Click here for more information.
Cold storage warehouse workers at Americold in Darien, Wisc., have voted by nearly a 2-1 margin to join Teamsters Local 695 in Madison, Wisc. There are 133 workers in the bargaining unit.
The enactment of NAFTA and other bad trade agreements have led to more than a million lost U.S. jobs. Voters need to let lawmakers know we don't need any more anti-worker deals.
Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for October 21, 2014.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2014/10/teamster-news-today_21.html
Teamsters kick off GOTV efforts in Badger State by urging membership to back pro-worker candidates.
(WASHINGTON) – The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is honoring school bus workers—including the more than 75,000 Teamster school bus workers—for their dedication to safety and service during National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 20-24.