Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Obama vetoes Republican bid to block union election rules

By Daniel Wiessner 2 hours 5 minutes ago
By Daniel Wiessner
(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday vetoed a measure by Republicans in Congress that would have blocked a government labor agency's rules designed to speed up the time it takes to unionize workers.
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The rules would shorten the period between a union filing a petition to represent workers and an election, from the current median of 38 days to as little as 14 days. Employers would be required to share workers' names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses with unions.
The National Labor Relations Board adopted the rules last year and they are set to take effect April 14.
The Senate and House of Representatives, voting along party lines, approved a resolution this month that would have stopped enactment of the rules.
On Tuesday Obama, following through on a threat to reject the resolution, said the rules represented modest changes that would make it easier for workers to unionize.
"Unions historically have been at the forefront of establishing things like the 40-hour work week, the weekend, child labor laws, fair benefits and decent wages," Obama said at a press conference.
The labor board still faces court challenges in Washington, D.C. and Texas over the new process from business groups who say it violates the National Labor Relations Act by not giving employers enough time to prepare for elections.
Rep. John Kline, a Minnesota Republican and chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said in a statement that the new process would only help unions.
"With his veto, the president has endorsed an ambush election rule that will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of working families," Kline said.
The NLRB and Democrats who support the rules say they were designed to rein in misconduct by a minority of employers who draw out the union election process in order to threaten and intimidate workers.
An NLRB spokeswoman declined to comment on Obama's rejection of the resolution.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, N.Y. and Julia Edwards in Washington; Editing by Grant McCool)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Obama Promises Rare Veto As House Votes to Slow Down Union Elections, Curb NLRB

The House vote to slow down the union election process was largely symbolic, but one expert emphasizes that how "easily see how this could be signed into law overnight" under a Republican president. (Wikimedia Commons)  
In a show of electoral strength by anti-union Republicans in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives easily passed legislation Thursday to curb an effort by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to ease procedures for union organizing. Passed by the Senate earlier this month, the measure now heads to the White House, where President Barack Obama has promised a veto.
The NLRB measure passed on a vote of 232-186, with all but three Republicans voting in favor, and all House Democrats voting against. The vote mirrored the partisan divide on labor issues in the Senate, where 53 Republicans voted in favor, with 44 Democrats and just one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voting against the bill.
Republicans pushed the vote forward as an expression of disapproval of steps by the NLRB to ease worker election procedures in union organizing campaigns at private-sector workplaces. The NLRB had announced last year that it will change its procedures to allow many union elections to take place more quickly, leading opponents to dub the change the “ambush rule,” meaning that labor unions would ambush anti-union employers with quick elections. With the promised veto from Obama, the NLRB rule is currently scheduled to go into effect next month.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement in response to the vote:
Today’s vote by House Republicans against the NLRB’s common-sense modernization of its election rules is a direct attack on workers and their right to be heard in the workplace.
Working men and women want an agenda from their Congressional leaders that raises wages and grows our middle class. Instead, they have gotten Republican policies that roll back progress and silence workers while protecting their biggest donors.
President Obama is right in his commitment to vetoing this harmful legislation, and Congressional Republicans should focus their efforts on lifting workers up instead of shutting them out.
The Congressional vote was “mostly symbolic,” says Ross Eisenbrey, a labor expert at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think thank, because Republicans were aware that Obama intends to  veto the bill and anti-labor legislators lack the necessary votes to override the veto.
“It’s a phony issue, really. Obama will veto it, so it won’t have any real effect,” Eisenbrey tells In These Times.
Nevertheless, the vote does signal problems for the future, he says. “Two years from now, if we have a Scott Walker as president, you can easily see how this could be signed into law overnight. In fact, I think any one of the current Republican candidates for president would be likely to sign something like this, or something even worse,” Eisenbrey comments.
Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs at AFL-CIO, says pro-labor groups would have needed about 30 Republican votes in the House to defeat the bill. “That’s a tall order in this Congress,” he says.
Instead of 30 Republican votes, just three Republican House members voted on the side of labor unions. They were Rep. Peter King (New York), Chris Smith (New Jersey) and Frank LoBiondo (New Jersey).
 According to a report in The Hill, strong support for the ant-union legislation came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation and the National Federation of Independent Business.
“These are the usual suspects,” Eisenbrey says. “They are happy with a system that allows employers to do whatever they want. They hate to give it up.” 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What is collective bargaining?

What is collective bargaining?
Collective bargaining (also called contract negotiations) is the heart and soul of the labor movement. It is when workers band together to negotiate workplace matters with their employer. The end result is a collective bargaining agreement orcontract that spells out in black and white all of the terms both parties agree to, from pay rates and benefits, to a grievance procedure, time off and more. The employees, or bargaining unit, generally nominate a few of their coworkers to represent them, along with expert negotiators from the union. Once the negotiating team reaches a tentative agreement with management, the bargaining unit meets to vote the contract terms up or down. This is called the ratification process. The contract only goes into effect if a majority of the employees approve the tentative agreement.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Unionbusting Firm Likens Organizers to Terrorists

LRI's tactical continuum, modeled after the U.S. military's approach to defeating insurgents in Iraq. The "boom" is a union organizing drive.   (Image courtesy Labor Relations Institute, Inc., 2010)
The Labor Relations Institute helps keep workplaces 'left of boom"
Unionbusting is a multimillion dollar industry that has grown significantly since the 1970s. At least two-thirds of employers hire anti-union consultants to counter organizing drives.
According to economist John Logan, the unionbusting industry has evolved over the past few decades to focus on preventing organizing before it starts. Unionbusting is as old as unions. However, according to Logan, a new generation of consultants are "actively and aggressively creating that demand by encouraging management to fear the allegedly catastrophic consequences of unionization."
The Oklahoma-based Labor Relations Institute has taken fear-based marketing to new heights. LRI was reportedly hired todefeat an Industrial Workers of the World organizing drive at ten Jimmy John's sandwich shops in Minneapolis. One LRI white paper entitled "Left of Boom" likens union organizers to IED-planting Iraqi insurgents
The 2010 paper, available for free on LRI's website, argues that preventing unionization is a lot like defeating an insurgency. The report drives the point home with a photo of a military vehicle engulfed in flames. In Iraq, so-called "Left of Boom" (LOB) tactics are aimed at preventing insurgents from setting IEDs by identifying and disrupting the networks of influence that link bomb-makers to bomb setters.
"The military monitors, arrests, interrogates, and then turns over any members of the network to the Iraqi or Afghani governments for criminal prosecution," the paper explains. So-called Right of Boom" (ROB) tactics are steps taken to respond to an IED attack after it occurs.
The high-pressure marketing message is that your company should hire LRI today to stamp out the slightest murmur of labor unrest. If you wait for the "boom"—the union organizing drive—it may already be too late, according to the paper. LRI claims that the very survival of your company may hinge upon keeping the union out. The paper asserts that organizing campaigns are often harmful to the physical and emotional health of workers and may even spark violence.
So, what's a terrified boss to do? Luckily, LRI is here to help. The first step is systematic surveillance and data gathering. The Institute's LOB tactics include surveys and structured interviews to identify dissatisfied employees and map out networks of influence within the workplace. ROB tactics include various "pushback" strategies to counter an organizing campaign in progress. 
According to yet another white paper, employees can be scientifically "segmented" into one of five "buckets," which correspond to one of five smily faces, depending on how positively they feel about the company. LRI claims that segmenting the workforce is a key step in preventing labor unrest.
As part of its suite of LOB services, LRI offers two kinds of unionbusting training for managers and supervisors: active interval training, and trip wire training.
"The active interval training is designed to teach supervisors how not to be a jerk," according to the paper. It's a self-paced online course.
Trip Wire training purportedly teaches supervisors to recognize "the often subtle behavioral signs of union organizing" so that they can trigger a "silent alarm button," according to another white paper on the LRI website entitled "Is There a Target on My Back?":
Here’s an example. Suppose a union meeting occurs one night, run according to typical organizer playbook. They are asked to do various things by the organizer – they are often told to keep things quiet and are encouraged to assume the worst about their management team. The employees who attended will behave differently the next day. If supervisors are properly trained to pay attention when “something doesn’t feel right” about how employees are behaving, we have created the tripwire.
The white paper doesn't specify what those subtle signs are. It's probably very expensive to find out.
If you want to get really far out on the left edge of the spectrum, you can hire a "fake union organizer" aka "Mystery Shopper" from LRI to attempt to infiltrate your company and identify vulnerabilities. The fake union organizer will contact your employees by phone and in the workplace and report back to you.
"The Shopper may also talk to people in the community – at bars or stores near the facility – to see what people say about the company, just like a union organizer would (the consultant is careful never to ask an employee what they think about unions)," according to the white paper. The faux organizer will gauge how easy it is for an outsider to infiltrate the employee parking lot and the break room. The fake union organizer will even "determine how easy it is to get into the dumpsters, and what they might find in the trash that they could use in an organizing campaign."

Friday, March 20, 2015

FedEx Freights Michael Ducker, is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the US Chamber of Commerce.
Is the US chamber of commerce a Union? It sure sounds like it. Their slogan is "Standing up for American Enterprise" The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry asso...
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FedEx Corporation reports net income of $580 million, up 53%, for the 3Q

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported earnings of $2.01 per diluted share for the third quarter ended February 28, compared to $1.23 per...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Results are in...33-12 WIN!!!!!
Our fellow drivers in Stockton, Ca (STK) prided themselves on running a clean campaign and not letting the seven weeks of underhanded management tactics of dividing the workforce come to fruition. They embodied core Teamster values: Unity, Respect, and Dignity.
We applaud their efforts in Bringing the Teamsters to FedEx Freight!

FedEx Freight Workers In California Vote To Join Teamsters Local 439

Drivers In Stockton Seek Job Security, Improved Health Plan, Pension

Rob Nicewonger

Phone: (209) 679-2105
(STOCKTON, Calif.) – A group of 50 drivers at FedEx Freight’s Stockton, Calif., terminal have voted to join Teamsters Local 439. The vote took place Thursday, March 12 and today, and the workers voted 33 to 12 to become Teamsters.
“The company spent huge amounts of money and time to try to get us to vote no, but we remained focused on changing how FedEx treats us so that we can have a say on the job,” said Mel Mendieta, a FedEx Freight driver.
“We know that the only way to win job security, an improved health plan and strong retirement security is to stand together as Teamsters,” said Jorge Lopez, a driver.
“I am proud of the workers here in Stockton for sticking together despite the company’s pressure,” said Ken Guertin, Local 439 Secretary-Treasurer. “We will work hard to negotiate a strong contract that gives these workers their rights and protections in writing.”
This victory follows three previous ones in 2014: On November 19, a group of 222 drivers at FedEx Freight in Charlotte, N.C., voted to join Teamsters Local 71; on Oct. 31, a group of 113 drivers at FedEx Freight in South Brunswick, N.J., joined Teamsters Local 701 in North Brunswick, N.J.; and on Oct. 14, a group of 47 drivers in Croydon, Pa., voted to join Teamsters Local 107 in Philadelphia. Other campaigns at FedEx Freight and at Con-way Freight are under way across the country.
“This latest victory in Stockton shows the growing worker resentment toward FedEx Freight for years of being treated unfairly,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “This campaign continues to gain momentum and we are excited to be working with FedEx Freight employees across the country to help them improve their lives.”
The workers’ campaigns to join the Teamsters have already paid off. At FedEx Freight, the company announced an 80-cent-per-hour raise a few days after Local 107 filed for an election, and the company got rid of its overly punitive driver scorecard, which gave drivers infraction points for errors. Also, after organizing got under way at Con-way, the company announced it would increase truck driver pay by $60 million in 2015, and other improvements.
“The companies are offering pay raises and other improvements at the same time we are organizing, but the workers know that these things can be taken away just as quickly without a legally binding contract,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “The unfulfilled promises that have been made to drivers and dockworkers over the past decade are coming back to haunt management.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
day 2 week 7

ride alongs continue

Well Pat Reed did his speech and we all sat down and tried to stay awake. He asked if there was any questions and again we all stood in solidarity and said nothing.

The general mood from management was that it was over... The big shots stood around on the phones, looking down and kicking around rocks. The smell of defeat was burning their nose hairs.

The tri-tip was again cooked to perfection and we feasted and enjoyed our last supper together with our co-workers. We all realize it will take another earth shaking event before we enjoyed another BBQ like the ones we have had over the last 7 weeks.

Day 3 week 7

For the 1st day in weeks we noticed the managers are not lining the front door to greet us... hmmm

right away we get the sense managers are up to something. 

Through out the day co-workers where getting calls from drivers in surrounding centers about things that they where seeing and hearing and it was clear that FedEx had one last trick up their sleeve.

The campaign distractions machine revved up one last time and FedEx has found a way to circumvent the "cooling off period" by useing the rumor mill to spread FEAR. 

Reports came in late afternoon that regional managers and pat reed were visiting the 2 closest centers to us to planning in case STK voted in the union. The neighboring Managers had also started giving hints to its drivers that if STK votes in the union they plan to be VERY busy.

Drivers also reported that rental equipment was being staged at neighboring center around 

It is clear that they where going to use the same tactic that worked in getting Louisville, KY and West Virgina to vote no.

They were going to use the rumor mill to trying and convey the message back to STK that it was going to be shut down if the union was voted in.

Luckily we had planned for this and we are all baulking at their silly attempt to instill fear.

Legally, logistically, and pure logic is all you need to see its just another attempt to bully us. 

Once again we are shown who the real thugs amongst us really are.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stockton voting YES will not hurt your management. Voting YES is not a vote against your in house team. They will still be employed just like the management teams in our 3 winning centers. All managers still there. No one has been let go. Voting YES gives you a say in your benefits, retirement and conditions. Have a say. Vote YES!!
Coming April 15th we will no longer have to suffer with months of Union busting here at FedEx. Veto on the way. http://thehill.com/…/234462-white-house-threatens-veto-of-r…

An update on Charlotte North Carolina:

An update on Charlotte North Carolina:
Hello guys,
Let me preface this by saying my name is Donovan Bell, City P&D Charlotte. I just wanted to give you an update on the daily goings on of our Center.
Life couldn't be better for a FedEx driver in Charlotte at this time. For starters, we now enjoy a level of respect unseen before. We enjoy an adult to adult relationship so to speak. I liken it to being a child moved from the child's table in the kitchen, to the adults table in the dining room during holiday meals.
That said, we are also enjoying an influx of business, requiring us to put on six more full time City drivers. This leads me to my next point: There has been no attempt made to run freight around our center! As I sit here on my lunch break reflecting, I am reminded of some of the fears of the no voters, and how they now see those fears have not come to fruition.
I have had several no voters tell me they now see the benefits of forming a Union, and how they now enjoy coming to work more than ever. They see that nothing for us has changed for the worse, and for example we still have our vacations, 401k, holiday pay, and you still come to work and do your job, and fulfill your bid as always. They are very pleased with the new attitudes of management and the level of respect they now enjoy. After seeing the benefits already, no one in Charlotte wants to go back to the way it was. They are excited for the present changes, and even more excited about having a say in their future. We are enjoying stronger support today, than on the day of our vote November 19th 2014.
In conclusion, I just want to encourage my friends in Stockton, Chicago, and any centers in the future to vote yes and enjoy these benefits for yourself and your families.