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NEW LEGISLATIVE UPDATES ON
THE UNION’S WEBSITE, AND INVITIES
ALL TEAMSTERS TO HAVE A LOOK
AND BE INFORMED
(June 22, 2009) The following is an e-mail letter sent to all Teamsters Union members by the IBT Communications Department. Please read it, and do what it suggests.
(June 15, 2009) Corporate lobbyists have a time-honored trick of slipping a few words into major legislation just before Congress adjourns. Those few words always mean special treatment for the well-connected and powerful. They almost never help working people. And by the time the public finds out, it’s too late.
Twelve years ago, a few last-minute words strengthened FedEx’s hand against unions. No other freight or package delivery company received such a boon.
FedEx had long curried favor with members of Congress by donating heavily to their political campaigns. The company flew them around the country on its fleet of corporate jets and appointed them to its board when they retired.HOW THE TRICKERY WORKED
In October 1996, senators were rushing to adjourn so they could campaign for office back home. But first they had to finish a bill that funded airports — something they all wanted to pass.
Just before the Senate recessed, FedEx lobbyists managed to add the words “express carrier” back into the bill. That meant that FedEx Express’s labor relations for all employees would be governed by the Railway Labor Act, which is meant to cover railroads and airlines. Non-airline employees working for competitors of FedEx Express were governed by the other set of rules under which workers can form unions — the National Labor Relations Act.
Under the Railway Labor Act, workers can only form national bargaining units. Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers can form bargaining units at individual company locations. It is much, much harder for workers at a company like FedEx Express to organize under the Railway Labor Act.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy recognized the injustice and took to the Senate floor. ''Federal Express is notorious for its anti-union ideology, but there is no justification for Congress becoming an accomplice in its union-busting tactic,'' he said. The bill passed anyway.
It is well past time to right that wrong. Fortunately, Congress now seems inclined to restore fairness to the freight and package delivery industry. The House last month voted overwhelmingly to apply one set of rules to all express delivery companies. The Teamsters Union urges the Senate do the same so FedEx Express will have to treat non-airline workers the same way all of its competitors do — under the National Labor Relations Act.FEDEX EXPRESS’S EXEMPTION ABSURD
FedEx Express’s exemption from the law that governs its competitors is absurd. Today, a whole slew of FedEx workers who never so much as touch an airplane are forced to organize under a law designed for airline and railroad workers.
It is also unfair. FedEx Express package car drivers, tractor trailer drivers, loaders, unloaders, sorters and truck mechanics have an uphill battle to join a union. The workers who perform the exact same tasks at FedEx’s competitors do not face the same legal obstacles.
Company spinmeisters are claiming, implausibly, that it would be a “legislative bailout” for UPS if FedEx had to abide by the same set of rules that apply to UPS.
UPS doesn’t need a bailout. Last year it earned $3 billion. During the most recent quarter, UPS outperformed FedEx in almost every possible measure — while paying good wages and retirement and health care benefits to the 250,000 Teamsters it employs.
FedEx’s chief spokesman has even threatened to “destroy” anyone who gets in the company’s way on this legislation. The company is gearing up to launch a multi-million dollar ad campaign to get its way.
(June 10, 2009) Washington, D.C. — Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa praised the House of Representatives (last week) for swiftly passing HR 2200, which would tighten transportation security.
Local 174 Invitation:
(June 3, 2009) Do you know all you should know about your Health & Welfare and Pension Benefits? If not, you should come to the next Local 174 Shop Stewards and Activists Training session on Saturday, June 27th.
The session will last from 9 a.m. until noon. It will be held in the Main Auditorium at the JC-28 Teamsters Headquarters Building in Tukwila, at 14675 Interurban Avenue South.
Though the session will be geared toward Shop Stewards and Activists, all Local 174 members are of course welcomed and encouraged to attend — along with their spouses or significant others. These SS & A Trainings are informal and low-keyed, but the information contained in them is always of vital importance to the Local’s members. The topics covered at the Trainings vary widely. This time around, the topic is as aforementioned, “Benefits.”
H & W BENEFITS
PENSION PLAN DISCUSSION
Local 174 Teamster Store:
(May 29, 2009) Teamsters traditionally like monogrammed merchandise that advertises the overall International Brotherhood of Teamsters Parent Union in general, and their Local Unions specifically. This tendency has been demonstrated quite clearly by many Local 174 members during the past two-and-one-half years under the Rick Hicks Administration — with the strong and steady response they have shown to their 174 Teamster Store.
The Local 174 Teamster Store is located in the Local 174 Main Office, which is in Suite 303 in the Joint Council 28 Teamsters Headquarters Building at 14675 Interurban Avenue South in Tukwila. Also, a Mobile Mini-Teamster Store version is set up at each Local 174 General Membership Meeting for interested members.
What can members purchase at the Main Teamster Store, or at the Mobile Mini-Teamster Store at the GMM’s? They can buy monogrammed coats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, buttons, stickers to put on their car windows, scale model trucks, and many more items.
Local 174 Business Agent Dave Jacobsen is the Teamster Store organizer, facilitator and proprietor. He is often assisted in the logistical aspects of running the Store by fellow 174 Business Agent Bill Byington, and occasionally by others. You can call Dave at the 174 Office at 206-441-6060 if you have any questions about purchasing things from the Store, or just to get a rundown of the various items available.
Or, you can read about the Local 174 Teamster Store on this Website and you can contact Dave by accessing either the link on the left side of the Home Page under the Truck Logo, or the Check It Out link at the top right of the Home Page.
HOUSE ACTION PRAISED
TEAMSTERS PRAISE HOUSE PASSAGE OF FAA REAUTHORIZATION BILL WITH KEY LABOR PROVISION; EXPRESS CARRIER MEASURE CLOSES LOOPHOLE UNFAIR TO FEDEX WORKERS
(May 28, 2009) The Teamsters Union praised the U.S. House of Representatives for its recent passing of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, by a vote of 277-136. The bill includes a key provision closing a loophole allowing FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) to misclassify thousands of workers.
The measure, called the Express Carrier Employee Protection Act, would remove FedEx from its status as the only company of its kind allowed to classify its package delivery workers under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Package delivery workers in other companies are classified under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This loophole has allowed FedEx to have an unfair competitive advantage and deprived its workers of the right to secure union representation.
“The House of Representatives has done the right thing in closing this unfair loophole that benefits only FedEx,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Because of this unfair advantage, FedEx Express workers have been deprived their right to form unions like workers at other package delivery companies.”
The express carrier measure stipulates that employees of an express carrier are covered by the RLA only if their work relates directly to aircraft operations (such as aircraft mechanics). Employees who have nothing to do with aircraft operations (sorters, drivers, truck mechanics and package delivery drivers) will be covered under the NLRA.
Under the NLRA, workers form their unions locally. Workers who remain under the RLA will form their unions nationally. The express carrier legislation is fair and reasonable because it puts the workers under the proper labor laws.
“Employees at FedEx Express who perform precisely the same work requiring the same skill sets are treated dramatically different under our labor laws and are subject to the Railway Labor Act even though they never touch an airplane,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters International Vice President and Package Division Director. “Employees performing the same work, employed by companies that provide the same services, should have the same rights to organize a union.”
The Teamsters also praised the House for including provisions in the bill that close safety loopholes when it comes to aircraft maintenance outsourcing. Currently, the FAA certifies foreign aircraft repair stations without holding these facilities and their workers to the same standards as domestic repair stations. The Teamsters lobbied hard to keep this language in the bill.
Specifically, the bill mandates that foreign stations be inspected at least twice a year by FAA inspectors and that workers at these facilities be held to the same drug and alcohol testing rules as workers at U.S. stations. The bill also aims to put an end to non-certified stations, both in the U.S. and abroad, from performing major and significant overhaul work.
May 25 Holiday:
However, everyone should remember the serious reason behind Memorial Day. It commemorates U.S. men and women who died — and also those who “only” got wounded — while fighting in near and faraway wars for our Country in the Military Service.
Have fun on Memorial Day — but please take a moment to remember that right now, Americans are fighting in some capacity in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And on top of that, there are many others not in the Middle East Theater who are guarding U.S. interests just as steadfastly in many other places all over the globe, not all of them friendly places.
While we honor the Americans in the Military Service who have died in actions against terrorists in the Middle East, we should also remember the living Service men and women, too, and also their families and friends. Without their current combined sacrifices — along with the past sacrifices of millions of other Americans who have served earlier in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves, and their families and friends — our citizens wouldn’t be able to fearlessly enjoy our societal and personal freedoms.MORE INFORMATION
Following are a couple of very informative Website addresses which you can access to read about the origins of the Memorial Day Holiday, as well as facts about America's wars.
Local 174 Invitation:
(May 18, 2009) Local 174 members and their families are invited to our upcoming big Truck Roadeo Picnic on Saturday, June 13, 2009. It’s the second year in a row that the Local will have a Booth with a big Tent, and a Picnic, at this venerable event. Again, it will be held at the Boeing 1401 Building parking lot located at 8701 East Marginal Way South, Seattle.
Bring the kids if you have kids, or bring friends, and “pig out” on hamburgers, hotdogs, soft drinks and sundries that will be provided free of charge by Local 174. Rain or shine, there is guaranteed to be camaraderie and fun for all. Plus, there will be other activities for the kids, if they get tired of eating, drinking, and watching truck drivers competing.
What time to show up? Somewhere between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. would be best, though the driving competition is also fun to watch and it will be going on from about 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m.
Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said, “In 2009 I am proud to say that Local 174 again has a big contingent of drivers entered in the State Championships. Many Teamster shops will be represented. I hope many of our members and their families and friends will show up on June 13 to join us in cheering for 174’s competitors, and in chowing down.”
Hicks added, “Our Local 174 Chef Dave O’Hara from YRC will be on hand again, barbecuing burgers and dogs for our group. Please come join us.”SOME FACTS
The actual name of the event is the Washington State Truck Driving
Championships, though it is also known affectionately by many as the “Annual Truck Roadeo.” It features the very best truck drivers from companies all over our State. In recent years about 150-175 total drivers have competed, and many of them have been Teamsters from Local 174.
Our Local’s drivers have tremendous skills, and they are able to show them off clearly at the Championships each year. Every year Local 174 drivers bring home many trophies from the State contests, and some of them then go on to the National Truck Driving Championships, which are always held just a few weeks after the State Championships. Several are former national champions.LOCAL 174’S ROADEO DEN MOTHER
Local 174 Senior Business Agent Erv Lemon has been deeply involved in the organizational stages of the Roadeo competition for the past 19 years. He refers to himself as the event’s Den Mother — but in truth, what he does is in many ways make sure the competition is fair, and that none of the drivers see the course they’ll be negotiating in their trucks before their allotted time to compete arrives.
Erv also makes sure the drivers are not competing in their own companies’ trucks, which is one of the rules stipulated. Erv has been an assistant at the Nationals in different parts of the country for many years, too.
It gets complicated, and Erv gives the yearly event organization and order. Competition categories he deals with as Den Mother include: Twins Trailers, Tank Truck, Straight Truck, Sleeper Truck, Flatbed, Five Axle Van, Four Axle Van, and Three Axle Van.DIRECTIONS TO THE ROADEO
So, you want to come to watch the Championships and/or to feast at the Picnic, but you aren’t sure how to get to the Boeing practice field? Here are the directions:
DON’T BANK ON PANAMA TRADE PACT FOR JOB GAINS
COMMENTS APPEARED FIRST IN THE DETROIT NEWS ON MAY 13 AND THEREAFTER ON THE IBT WEBSITE
In light of those painful lessons, it's hard to understand why the U.S. trade representative would push a trade deal with Panama. The deal would not only encourage U.S. companies to move jobs to Panama and elsewhere, but it would encourage banks to set up subsidiaries there to avoid regulation.
In the State Department's own words, "Panama is an offshore financial center that includes offshore banks and various forms of shell companies that have been used by a wide range of criminal groups globally for money laundering."
The proposed trade deal would do nothing to change Panama's status as a haven for money launderers and tax cheats.
But the banks and the multinationals are used to getting what they want — despite the failure of trade deals modeled after the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite the public's rejection of them, even despite President Barack Obama's pledge to crack down on tax havens.
What the banks and multinationals ultimately want is a global marketplace with rules to protect economic elites, but not the public interest. Ever since NAFTA, they've succeeded.
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin put his finger on the reason why when he said the other day, "The banks — hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."
So the banks now have the gall to lobby for a trade deal with Panama. It is especially outrageous that many recipients of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds with Panamanian subsidiaries — AIG and Citigroup, for example — are lobbying hard for it. The deal would allow them to avoid paying taxes.
The deal also would give Panama-based subsidiaries of U.S. banks greater rights within the United States than the Constitution provides U.S. citizens. It would give Panama-based investors the same rights that NAFTA gives foreign investors — the rights to challenge state and federal laws. Companies like AIG want this trade deal so they can get the right to directly sue the U.S. government in foreign tribunals.
AIG already is suing the U.S. government for $306 million. It wants to recover taxes that it tried to shelter in a Panama-based affiliate.
Deregulating financial services was a colossal mistake. It directly led to the housing bubble and an overleveraged financial system that created the financial crisis.
Approving NAFTA and the other deals modeled on it was another colossal mistake. Trade deals ever since NAFTA have caused millions of jobs to leave the country. They've depressed wages, shuttered factories, led to the loss of 300,000 family farms and brought about the trade imbalances that also contributed to the economic crisis.
So if you're wondering why we'd want to repeat two colossal mistakes in one trade deal, you might want to ask AIG for the answer.
Teamsters News Link:
UNIONS CALL OUT ‘STAR POWER’
In the new online video released today called "Artists4WorkersChoice, the entertainers — many boasting Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards and nominations — say they're union members who work every day for a living.
"People associate actors with fame and glory. The truth is for a long time my union contract was the reason I could support my family. That's why I support the Employee Free Choice Act," says television star Amy Brenneman. "Because each worker, regardless of their field, deserves the freedom to bargain for a contract, for a better life."
The other participants are: F. Murray Abraham, Polly Adams, David Alan Basche, P.J. Benjamin, Kate Burton, Gabrielle Carteris, James Cromwell, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, John Cunningham, Emilio Delgado, Andre De Shields, Kevin Dobson, Mike Farrell, Sam Freed, Ed Fry, Jason George, Nancy Giles, Elliott Gould, Holter Graham, Valerie Harper, Don Hastings, Gregory Jbara, Anne-Marie Johnson, S. Marc Jordan, Kevin Kilner, Michele Lee, Kate Linder, James Lurie, Richard Masur, Anne Meara, Esai Morales, Robert Newman, Kathleen Noone, Nancy Opel, Robert Pine, Roberta Reardon, Sam Robards, Alan Rosenberg, Ned Schmidtke, Charles Shaughnessy, Chris Shiflett, Kate Shindle, Connie Stevens, Jerry Stiller, Paul F. Tompkins and Mark Zimmerman.
The video was developed by Actors' Equity Association; the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Writers Guild of America, among others.
"Union contracts give workers the freedom to bargain with their employers for better wages and benefits, regardless of their profession," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement. "Today's performers are standing with construction workers and teachers and nurses to call for the Employee Free Choice Act and declare that all workers deserve the freedom to form a union and bargain for a better life."Links to Access the Video
As the performers say, this is not a red state issue. This is not a blue state issue. It's a workers' issue. It's time for Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It's time the economy worked for everyone.
Said longtime comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, "I've belonged to three unions in my life, and every one gave me the freedom to bargain with my co-workers for decent hours, benefits and safe conditions. If all workers don't have the freedom to form unions, I don't see how we can fix our economy."
Click on the following link to watch the video: http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/K71v1z71yqC9/
Click here for a full list of the performers involved in this effort and their bios: http://www.unionvoice.org/ct/K11v1z71yqCi/
(May 11, 2009) Members of Local 174 — please join your fellow Brothers and Sisters in the Local, and your Executive Board and Office Staff, at the next 174 General Membership Meeting. It will be on Thursday, May 14th, at 7 p.m. in the Main Meeting Hall at Joint Council 28 Headquarters in Tukwila. JC-28 Headquarters is the Teamster Building at 14675 Interurban Ave. South.
This is the last GMM Local 174 will be having until Sunday, September 13th at 10 a.m. That’s because every year, traditionally, Local 174 does not have GMM’s during the Summer Recess interval of June, July and August.WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND
Why should you attend the General Membership Meeting on May 14th? Because this has been an exceptionally busy year, and many things have been going on, especially in the bargaining and organizing areas. Also, 2009 is Local 174’s Centennial Year, and special 100th Birthday celebratory events have been and continue to be discussed on the agenda at the GMM’s.
The General Membership Meetings give all Local 174 members the chance to take an active part in the managing of the Local’s policies and programs. At the GMM’s the Local’s elected officers and staff members report face-to-face to the members on the daily “business” of running 174. Local 174 is like the Teamsters Union itself, a “participatory democracy” organization. The only catch is, to experience the full effect of everything, you have to actually participate in the democracy — and attending the GMM’s is the best way to do that.
The agenda at each GMM is very predictable, but what is talked about at them varies dramatically as the issues and political battles of the Local Union, Joint Council 28 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters change as time marches on.HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GMM’S
Always the GMM’s begin with official signing-in at the door — new members are sworn-in by the 174 President — minutes of the past month’s GMM and Executive Board Meeting are read aloud for all at the Meeting to hear — and then reports follow from the 174 Secretary-Treasurer, other elected officers, and Office Staff members.
Highlights of the Staff reports include reviews by the Local’s Organizers of recently completed, ongoing, or planned future organizing campaigns. Business Agents report on progress and plans in their jurisdictions, centering on completed, ongoing, and upcoming negotiations.
There is always a Political Action report discussing current political situations affecting Local 174.
Also at the GMM’s, individual members are singled out for praise on their accomplishments or efforts made on behalf of the Local and the Teamsters in general in humanitarian, pollitical, or other areas.SPEAKING UP
All members with messages to impart to the Local’s leadership or to their fellow members in 174 get the chance to speak out if they want to speak out. Daily operations in the 174 Office are talked about. Major and minor 174 financial developments are reviewed and discussed in depth.
If you have attended Local 174 GMM’s before, you know all the above information directly. If you haven’t attended a GMM, please start attending them — starting with the May 14 GMM. Be a part of the running of your Local. You won’t regret doing so.
Another Political Development:
FROM THE VETERAN PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR’S
(May 4, 2009) Like everyone else in the Labor Movement, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is waiting to see what will come out of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter’s recent switch of his affiliation from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. The IBT was not surprised by Specter’s move, however. Read the following two reports supplied to Teamster e-Readers last week via the IBT’s News Links program.