Saturday, February 25, 2006

Teamsters protest port deal for Dubai company

James Wright got the call from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Thursday night. The posters came Friday morning.
Wright, president of Teamsters Local 822, had less than 24 hours to organize a Teamsters-sponsored rally in Norfolk protesting the planned takeover of operations at six U.S. port terminals by a company from the United Arab Emirates. The local represents about 2,300 workers at UPS, Smithfield Foods and other local companies.
“It didn’t give us much time,” Wright said Friday afternoon outside the gate to Norfolk International Terminals. “I made a few phone calls.”
The Norfolk rally, with a half-dozen Teamsters braving chilly winds and holding signs reading “Goodbye Dubai – Secure America’s Ports,” was part of a nationwide blitz by the Teamsters to join the battle against the $6.8 billion purchase by Dubai Ports World. Thousands of Teamsters rallied at 19 U.S. ports on Friday, according to estimates from the international union. Full story here........

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Senate Committee Denies Anti-Worker Bill, Calls for Extensive Amendments

Decision Allows Workers to Continue to Live Free in New Hampshire
In a surprising move yesterday, the anti-worker lobby in New Hampshire was dealt a significant blow in the state legislature when the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee agreed to radically amend SB 247, the proposed "Right to Work" bill. Rather than helping people to get a job, as the name suggests, this legislation is intended to strip New Hampshire workers of their rights and their benefits.
While the original legislation was nothing more than an attack on workers, the amended version of SB 247 now proposes that the state of New Hampshire take a hard look at the rising cost of health care. In order to continue to push this legislation, big business interests will have to accept exposing their own complicity in the massive shift of health care costs from the employer to employee.
"The members of this key committee sent a clear message yesterday," said Dave Laughton, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 633 in Manchester. "With these amendments, the New Hampshire Senate is signaling that it is not interested in passing legislation that weakens the voice of our workers."
"From New Hampshire to New Mexico, the Teamsters will continue to fight any bill that weakens the rights of workers or makes it easier for unscrupulous businesses to take away their benefits," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "Anti-worker groups think they can implement their national plan one state at a time, but the Teamsters will be there every time to oppose them."
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States and Canada.

YRC Worldwide gets lots of respect

Overland Park-based trucker YRC Worldwide Inc. earned a No. 1 ranking in its industry for the fourth consecutive year in Fortune magazine’s annual list of America’s Most Admired Companies.
YRC Worldwide, formerly known as Yellow Roadway Corp., was ranked first in all eight categories measured by Fortune. The categories were innovation, employee talent, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment and quality of products or services.
General Electric was No. 1 on the overall list for the sixth time in the last decade and for the first time since 2002. Berkshire Hathaway, the investment vehicle for Omaha’s Warren Buffett, was No. 7 overall.
Bill Zollars,YRC Worldwide chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted to receive this prestigious recognition for the fourth year in a row. The dedication of our employees drives our success. All our brands are focused on helping our customers find solutions to transportation and logistics challenges in today’s global marketplace.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hoffa Calls on Congress to Block Bush-Supported Dubai Takeover of U.S. Ports

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters calls on members of Congress in both parties to ignore President Bush's empty veto threats and press ahead with plans to block a state-owned Arab company from taking over operations of six major seaports in the United States that remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Bipartisan support is growing to stop the dangerous Bush-Cheney giveaway to Middle Eastern oil barons. The $6.8 billion deal would foolishly turn over control of our nation's gateways to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- the same nation that served as an operational and financial base for some of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers.
This is yet another example of President Bush's corporate agenda gone wild. Just one month ago, the president nominated an executive at Dubai Ports World to run the Transportation Department's Maritime Administration. Now, not only would the UAE have unfettered access to America's ports, it would control the controller. Further, the sale was developed in complete secrecy and failed to incorporate experts in the field -- including the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
I urge Congress to act quickly to prevent the illogical, Bush-supported sale of the current ports manager, London-based P&O, to Dubai Ports World. There are three major, reputable U.S.-owned terminal operating companies that could bid on P&O's U.S. based assets if given the chance. They should be given that chance.
The Teamsters Union is perplexed by the Bush administration's willingness to ignore the obvious increased security threats of opening our nation's ports to the UAE while invoking dubious concerns about supposed terrorist risks in depriving U.S. citizens employed by the Homeland Security Department of their right to form and join unions. Union members were both victims and heroes during the 9-11 tragedy. Treating union members as a security risk while, at the same time, turning over vital operations of the nation's ports to companies based in countries known to harbor terrorists raises serious questions about the administration's true agenda.
The Teamsters Union has been calling for several years for better security at our nation's ports while fighting to secure safe working conditions for port drivers.

ABF Signed a limited primary sponsorship with Braun Racing

ABF Freight System, Inc.®, has signed a limited primary sponsorship with Braun Racing for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series. The Nicorette 300 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 18th will mark the inaugural appearance of the #32 ABF U-Pack Moving® Chevrolet driven by Jason Leffler. In addition, ABF® will be an associate sponsor for the remaining 2006 season.
“NASCAR sponsorship is a way to show pride in the ABF brand, increase brand awareness for our U-Pack service, and strengthen relationships with the many loyal race fans among our customers and employees,” said ABF President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Davidson. “Braun Racing shares the ABF commitment to excellence through teamwork and quality performance. We’re all looking forward to solid performances from the #32 ABF U-Pack Moving Chevrolet on race day.” Leffler is a veteran NASCAR driver who is coming off a top 6 finish at Daytona last week. Mooresville, N.C.-based Braun Racing is led by owner Todd Braun. Todd Lohse is the crew chief. Full story here.........

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Penn and USF Reddaway Partner to Provide Transcontinental Service

NewPenn Motor Express and USF Reddaway has announced the introduction of a new transcontinental service. The westbound service will make it easier for customers to gain coast-to-coast coverage with one call to their regional provider: it links New Penn operations in the Northeast with USF Reddawayoperations in the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. New Penn and USF Reddaway are subsidiaries of YRC Regional Transportation, a unit of YRC Worldwide Inc. "Our Northeast customers need fast service to the West," said Steve Gast, President of New Penn. "With this service, we can provide three-day delivery to the Rocky Mountain States, and four-day delivery to most points beyond." Complete story here.......

New probe sought in slaying of Teamster

The Teamsters Union called for a new investigation Monday into the 2004 murder of a Cliffside Park labor leader in El Salvador after a jury there acquitted two of three people charged in his death.
The verdict, reached Saturday, bolsters claims that Teamster Gilberto Soto was killed not in a domestic dispute but for trying to organize port drivers, union officials said.
"We feared all along that [the trial] was part of a coverup," said Ron Carver, Soto's friend and supervisor at the Teamsters' Port Division. "We never claimed to know who it was. What we did know was the government was rushing to judgment. We think this [the verdict] shows that."
Soto was shot dead Nov. 5, 2004, in front of his mother's house in Usulutan seven days after he arrived in El Salvador to investigate the working conditions for truck drivers. He was 49. Complete story here.........

Robert Holmes, former Teamsters official, dies at 94

Robert Holmes, who helped a teenage James Hoffa launch his career as a labor organizer and then served for decades as a Teamsters Union official, has died. He was 94.
Holmes died of heart failure at Harper Hospital in Detroit, family members said Sunday.
"He was very, very influential," James P. Hoffa, Hoffa's son and the general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, told the Detroit Free Press.

"He was a great leader who helped found the modern Teamsters as we know it," Hoffa told The Detroit News. "Both he and my dad were young men fighting for justice on the job."
The elder Hoffa, Holmes and a co-worker were credited with planting the seed for the Teamsters when they organized a 1931 strike at a Detroit grocery warehouse where they worked.
Until 1989, Holmes served as the Teamsters' international vice president, director of the 13-state Central Conference and president of Local 337 in Detroit.
At the height of Hoffa's power as Teamsters chief, the union's rank and file in Detroit "just thought he was God," Holmes said in 1985.
Hoffa disappeared in 1975 and is presumed dead. Investigators believe mob figures had Hoffa killed to prevent him from regaining the union presidency after he served time in federal prison for jury tampering.
Federal authorities waged a long legal battle to force the Teamsters union to reform and curb alleged mob influence. In 1989, Holmes, along with two other international vice presidents, resigned from the union executive board and agreed to endorse election reforms and other steps sought by the government.
At a memorial service in 1995 marking 20 years since Hoffa's disappearance, Holmes lamented the loss of his 43-year colleague and close friend.
"In life, I enjoyed every minute of my time with him," he said. "I knew a different Jimmy Hoffa than what was portrayed."
Holmes is survived by his wife and son.
"He worked his way up to becoming one of the most powerful labor leaders and left the legacy of one of the true labor leaders in Detroit," said Richard Leebove, a spokesman for the Michigan Teamsters.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Roadway employees bid for jobs

For truck driver Tommy Reel, a job transfer from Hagerstown to Carlisle, Pa., will mean more time on the road between home and work
With 30 years' seniority as a Roadway Express worker, he was not sweating it Sunday.
"I'll make good money, and I'll still have a job," the Sharpsburg resident said.
Reel was among dozens of people at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center to bid on jobs being added to Roadway Express facilities around the country. The company's Hagerstown terminal will lose 196 jobs when a corporate realignment approved earlier this month goes into effect March 12. Full story here......

Sunday, February 19, 2006

State must make health care weasels pay

I t's no secret that America's health care system is broken, and any national solution to this nationwide problem is hopelessly caught in the great legislative traffic jam we call Washington, D.C. But Michigan residents don't have to wait around for help from the White House to win basic health care rights. We have a chance to move forward and demand that major corporations doing business in our state pay their fair share of health care costs. Full story here.....

Use of contractors tramples workers' rights

In the film version of John Steinbeck's classic novel "The Grapes of Wrath," there is a memorable scene in which tenant farmers are told that they are about to be evicted from the land that their family has worked for generations.
The tenants, overcome with bewilderment and anger, ask: "Whose fault is it?" The official who has given them the news first names a land and cattle company, but then notes that the company is controlled by a bank, which in turn takes its orders from an unnamed entity "back East."
Finally, reflecting the enormity of the problem faced by ordinary people during the Depression and the increasing complexity of corporate ownership and business organization, the official wearily shrugs and concludes: "I just don't know who is to blame."
The experience of workers in Eugene who deliver packages for DHL, the largest courier company in the world, reminded me of this poignant scene and of the struggle to determine employer responsibility. A German-based firm, DHL has been rapidly expanding in the United States over the last decade.
Attempting to seize market share from UPS and FedEx, DHL is the official delivery provider for the 2006 U.S. Winter Olympic and Paralympic teams and has spent massively on advertising in an aggressive attempt to gain public recognition. Full story here.......