Friday, June 06, 2008

Hoffa Urges Swift Passage of Unemployment Insurance Extension

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa on Friday called on the Bush administration to stop fighting Congress on extending unemployment insurance benefits. His comments followed the Labor Department's announcement that the nation's unemployment rate soared to 5.5 percent in May, the biggest jump in 22 years. Americans lost 49,000 jobs last month.

"It's high time George Bush and his allies recognize the government has a responsibility to help out Americans in hard economic times," Hoffa said. "Today he said the solution to our economic problems is making tax cuts for rich people permanent. Is it too much to ask that he offer assistance to people who are really struggling?"

The Teamsters support the proposal contained in the supplemental appropriations bill under review in the House and Senate. It would provide up to 13 more weeks of unemployment benefits in every state. People in states with high unemployment would receive another 13 weeks of benefits.

"If the government can spend billions to bail out Bear Stearns, it can give a little extra help to ordinary Americans in a crisis," Hoffa said.

"Congress should send to the White House a bill that includes an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, and President Bush should sign it," Hoffa said.

"This week we found out we're losing 14,000 airline jobs, and I'm sure we'll be hearing about more. GM is closing plants. We can't afford to fill up our gas tanks. We're losing our homes. This is the regrettable result of Bush's economic policies that leave every man for himself -- unless you are wealthy," Hoffa said.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hoffa Named Superdelegate, Pledges Vote to Obama

International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today pledged his vote as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention to Barack Obama.

"I am pleased to announce that I will be casting my superdelegate vote for Barack Obama," said President Hoffa. "Barack Obama has caught the imagination of the American people. He has restored hope to the American spirit. He is a true leader who will bring real change to Washington."

On June 2nd, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer informed President Hoffa that Brewer would nominate him as one of Michigan's two elected superdelegates at an MDP meeting scheduled for June 14, 2008. The nominees of the MDP Chair have historically been elected unanimously and without opposition.

The Teamsters Union endorsed Obama on February 20, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hoffa Supports New Rules for Global Trade

Teamsters Leader Joins Lawmakers in TRADE Act Announcement

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa threw his support behind a trade bill announced Wednesday that would rewrite the rules of global trade.

The Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act is sponsored by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Reps. Michael Michaud of Maine and Linda Sanchez of California.

"At long last, we can see an end to 14 years of disastrous trade deals," Hoffa said. "The TRADE Act would make sure that the benefits of trade go to workers, not just Wall Street.

"It sets new rules for global trade that create good jobs and improve working conditions everywhere. The TRADE Act lays out the foundation of how a trade agreement should be negotiated, and what it can and cannot include.

"Finally, we can have fair trade that workers everywhere deserve."

Hoffa was one of the earliest and strongest critics of NAFTA-style trade agreements that cost Americans millions of jobs.

The TRADE Act would set a new course for a better trade policy. It would:

-- Prevent another country from forcing unsafe practices or products on American citizens;

-- Make sure international labor standards are enforced;

-- Take away incentives for corporation to leave the U.S.;

-- Prevent foreign corporations from challenging our laws in secret international tribunals;

-- Make sure our government can promote good jobs and economic opportunity.

"The Teamsters have said all along that we're not fighting trade," Hoffa said. "We're fighting trade that destroys jobs and lowers safety standards.

"We are FOR trade that creates jobs and improves working conditions. And we are FOR this bill that would rewrite the rules for global trade at this critical time in our history."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Teamsters Laud Beshear Order Returning KY Department of Labor to Cabinet Status

Decision Recognizes Importance of Workers

International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today lauded Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's executive order restoring the state Department of Labor to cabinet status and re-establishing the Governor's Employee Advisory Council. The Department of Labor was reduced to department status and the advisory council was abolished under former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

"The workers of Kentucky deserve to have their voices heard by the leadership of their state," Hoffa said. "Governor Beshear is listening to Kentucky workers. He has taken two very important steps in ensuring that workers are front and center in his administration."

"Governor Beshear is setting a tone that will dictate the future of our great state," said Fred Zuckerman, President of Teamsters Local 89 in Louisville. "The Teamsters Union looks forward to working with him as we address the issues that are most important to workers in our state."

State reviewing antitrust implications of DHL-UPS deal

Gov. Ted Strickland said he is asking his top legal advisers to investigate whether DHL's proposal to hire the rival United Parcel Service to fly DHL's U.S. cargo would violate U.S. antitrust laws by reducing competition in the express package delivery market.

Strickland said on Monday, June 2, that he has asked his chief legal counsel, Kent Markus , to examine any possible antitrust issues and will soon be making a similar request of his newly appointed state attorney general, Nancy Rogers.

The state has been accommodating to DHL with support for the expansion of its North American air freight hub at Wilmington in recent years, Strickland said. Ohio wants to take all possible actions to avert the possible loss of 6,000 jobs at Wilmington that has been forecast if the DHL work there is shifted to UPS' sorting and delivery facilities elsewhere, the governor said. ABX Air Inc. and ASTAR Air Cargo currently both fly DHL cargo from Wilmington and employ a combined 1,150 pilots, plus thousands of other workers there.

"I am not willing to simply acquiesce to what DHL is suggesting here without making sure that any antitrust issues are resolved to our satisfaction, and that any possible future use of the facility which would keep it a viable, job-producing facility must be explored," Strickland said in a telephone interview with the Dayton Daily News. "I think DHL has an obligation to the community and to the state, because we have tried to work in such a way as to be good partners."

Strickland said that two top DHL officials, John Mullen, the company's global chief executive officer, and Wolfgang Pordzik, its head of government relations in the United States, are to meet with him Wednesday morning in Columbus. They are to spend Tuesday meeting in Washington with members of Congress including Ohio Sens. George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, the governor said.

"When I meet with the CEO, I will hope to explore all matters with him, including any possibility of having a change in DHL's decision," Strickland said. "My preferred outcome, obviously, would be for the jobs to remain as they are."

DHL does not believe that any regulatory approval is needed for the proposed deal with UPS because it would simply be a relationship between vendors, but the company will respond to any questions from regulators, DHL spokesman Jonathan Baker said Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have jurisdiction in antitrust matters.

The DHL meetings with Congress and Strickland are "courtesy visits" as part of the company's ongoing dialogue with government officials, Baker said.

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority in March 2007 sold $270 million in bonds to support DHL's expansion and upgrading of the Wilmington hub in recent years. That requires DHL to repay the bonds over 40 years, which would put pressure on the company to find a new use for the one-million-square-foot Wilmington sorting facility and airport if jobs are lost there and it generates less revenue, said Ron Parker, the port authority's executive director.

"They're the ones that are on the hook for the bonds and the debt," Parker said. "You can bet that they're going to want to solve that problem."

Any future use for the Wilmington hub would be subject to discussions with the ABX Air and ASTAR airlines and local authorities, Baker said.

"There's nothing concrete, as of yet," Baker said.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The State Of The Unions In Arkansas

Union membership has taken a hit over the past decade. Its role has changed since its inception more than 140 years ago. And so have its challenges.

Since 2000, membership rates in Fort Smith and Van Buren declined 17 percent. Some in the organization attribute the decline to layoffs, outsourced jobs and difficulty spurring interest for new unions.

During the labor movement of the early 20th century, unions took part in bolstering public awareness about reforms needed in the workplace. Today, the organizations continue to play a role for workers facing a different set of challenges than their predecessors.

Membership Rates

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 5,661 members of 17 different unions in Fort Smith and Van Buren last year. Those numbers are down from the 6,661 reported in 2006 and down from 7,398 in 2002. Full Story Here.......

UPS Freight extends reliability guarantee to Canada

On-Time Performance at No Additional Cost

UPS Freight, which introduced its on-time performance guarantee in the United States in January, has expanded the guarantee to shipments moving in both directions across the Canada-U.S. border.

"The reliability guarantee is a direct result of UPS's experience with freight, brokerage and customs clearance, as well as our in-bond freight expertise," said Rick Smith, UPS Freight's Director for Canada. "It's also a clear sign to our customers of the confidence we have in the changes made to our service guarantee. We are achieving new levels of performance, transitioning into a value-added premium carrier."

The new reliability guarantee, offered at no additional cost, applies to direct shipments between points served by UPS Freight service centers in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor and Winnipeg and points in the United States (48 contiguous states). The guarantee is being offered at a time of continued strong trade growth between the two countries; the U.S. Transportation Department says surface transportation trade totaled US$45 billion in February, up 18% over the prior year.

The on-time service guarantee is available effective June 30 for less-than-truckload (LTL) customers on both sides of the border who ship using the current UPS Freight UPGF525 tariff. The new guarantee promises that customers can request a waiver of their freight charges if their shipment fails to arrive as scheduled.

UPS Freight's Canadian services include: a pre-arrival system that speeds clearance at border crossings, minimizing delays; electronic transmission of customs documentation; complete online tracking from origin to destination with instant access to all customs documents; and customs delay alerts and 24-hour access to all shipping information.

Since acquiring the former Overnite Transportation Co. in April 2005, UPS has enhanced UPS Freight's service portfolio and reliability, optimized its delivery network and invested significantly in new technology. As a result, the LTL and truckload carrier is aligned with the global operations and performance standards of UPS's small package and supply chain services.

To improve the experience for customers, UPS Freight has equipped drivers with hand-held computers to track shipments from origin to destination, implemented a Dispatch Reservation System and purchased new rolling stock equipped with extensive decking systems and load bars to minimize the risk of damage. UPS Freight also has applied its Web-based tracking and proactive notification systems - Quantum View(R) and UPS WorldShip(R) - to allow freight customers to integrate their databases and shipping systems and more accurately plan for inbound and outbound shipments.