Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Teamsters Decry Supreme Court Ruling Rolling Back Public Sector Union Rights

‘Janus’ Decision Is a Setback for Working People and Their Families
(WASHINGTON) – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with anti-union advocates attempting to undercut the rights of millions of public employees to negotiate with their employers for a fair return on the value of their work.
By backing the plaintiffs in “Janus v. AFSCME,” the high court’s decision is an attempt to limit the collective voices of not only government workers, but those in the private sector as well. 
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is at a time when so many Americans are struggling just to make ends meet,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “The Teamsters and our allies in the labor movement will redouble our efforts to ensure that working men and women have a voice on the job through strong unions.”
The median salary for working people represented by labor unions is $11,000 a year more than non-union people who have no right to negotiate.
“By overturning 40 years of judicial precedent, conservative judges endorsed an agenda supported by corporations and the wealthiest in our society to take away the right of public employees to negotiate over wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Michael Filler, Director of the Teamsters’ Public Services Division.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including over 200,000 public employees. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at
Are you a Public Services Teamster Local? If you have any questions on how the Janus decision affects you and your members, call the Teamsters Public Services Division at (202) 624-8149

Burney Simpson | Staff Reporter June 27, 2018 1:00 PM, EDT Volvo, FedEx Team on Live Platooning in North Carolina

June 27, 2018 1:00 PM, EDT
Volvo, FedEx Team on Live Platooning in North Carolina
Volvo platooning demonstration in North CarolinaVolvo, in collaboration with FedEx Corp. and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, demonstrates on-highway truck platooning on N.C. Route 540. (Volvo Trucks North America)
Volvo Trucks North America and FedEx Corp. demonstrated on June 27 a platooning system with three twin trucks on a stretch of Route 540 in North Carolina, one of 10 official test sites for driverless cars designated in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The three trucks traveled for 18 miles in the demonstration, moving in and out of traffic as vehicles cut between the platoon and using ramps to enter and exit the highway.
Professional truck drivers in Volvo VNL tractors were used in the demonstration, each pulling double 28-foot trailers. The tractors communicated using what Volvo calls Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology.
The two collaborators have been testing the platooning system that uses Volvo technology with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority since April. This marks the first public on-highway showcase of platooning technology between a major truck manufacturer and a transportation company in the United States, according to Volvo.
The project in North Carolina used Volvo engines and transmissions along with Bendix brakes.
In the demonstration, the driver in the lead vehicle controlled the brakes of the two following trucks. The drivers in the following trucks must keep their hands on the wheel and ensure their vehicle stays in its lane.
FedEx Freight's John Smith
Incoming CEO John Smith said FedEx Freight participated in the test because platooning can reduce fuel use, improve the driver experience and make truck driving more efficient. (Burney Simpson/Transport Topics)
The tractors and trailers traveled at speeds of up to 62 mph while keeping a time gap of 1.5 seconds, a closer gap than is typical for Class 8 trucks on highway.
While the close distance may be considered risky, Volvo contends that the technology is safer than typical highway driving. The V2V system allows for the lead truck to hit its brakes and simultaneously transmit a command to the following trucks to brake. Their braking response is nearly instantaneous and much faster than the typical human driver reaction time to a sudden braking event, according to Volvo.
Platooning also has proved to reduce fuel use because it reduces drag between the trucks.
At a 40- to 50-foot following distance, the system can reduce fuel use by 4% for the lead truck and 10% for the following truck, for a combined 7% reduction, according to the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found that a two-truck platoon can realize team fuel reduction of 6.4%.
Volvo declined to share fuel savings seen during its test in North Carolina.
N.C. Highway 540 is part of the beltway around Raleigh and is overseen by the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Volvo North America’s headquarters is in Greensboro, N.C., about an hour from the test site.
The Volvo test is using dedicated short-range communication that allows for the V2V communications. A portion of the public bandwidth of radio waves has been reserved for DSRC use to promote highway safety.
“Dedicated bandwidth within the 5.9 GHz spectrum is critical for the successful deployment of V2V application, like truck platooning,” said Keith Brandis, VTNA vice president for product planning.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Peloton Technology may be the best-known platooning proponent. In December, it completed successful tests of its two-truck platooning system in Florida and Michigan, and an executive told Transport Topics that it expects its technology to be operating commercially by the end of this year.
Volvo is a Peloton shareholder but it is looking at multiple solutions for platooning technology, Brandis said.
Daimler Trucks this month opened an automated truck research and development center at its North American headquarters in Portland, Ore., and demonstrated its prototype two-truck platooning system with automated steering capabilities at the Portland International Raceway.
Like Volvo, the Daimler system uses V2V communications to coordinate braking activity between the trucks, enabling the second truck to travel at a closer-than-usual distance that reduces aerodynamic drag and boosts fuel economy. The following distance was 15 meters in a demonstration at the raceway.
Daimler said that V2V allows the trailing truck to automatically brake in less than three-tenths of a second.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Five Lessons from the History of Public Sector Unions

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Ronald Reagan's firing of 11,000 striking air traffic controllers put an end to the public sector strike wave. But not even Reagan challenged public workers' right to collective bargaining. Credit: Jim West,
As public sector unions contemplate losing key rights under the law, it’s worth remembering that for much of their history, such unions organized with no rights at all.
It wasn’t till 1958 that New York became the first city to authorize collective bargaining for city employees. Wisconsin did the same for state employees in 1959, and federal workers got bargaining rights in 1962.
Yet as early as 1940, a book titled One Thousand Strikes of Government Employees described strikes dating back to the 1830s, when workers at U.S. Navy shipyards stopped work multiple times to press demands for better wages and conditions.
The book, written by David Ziskind, a lawyer at the Department of Labor, actually identified 1,116 strikes, involving firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, hospital workers, railroad workers, postal employees, printers, park laborers, bathhouse attendants, caddies at public golf courses, gravediggers, construction workers… the list goes on and on.
In short, collective action was a tradition for more than a century before the law began to catch up.
Public workers formed unions without waiting for legal recognition. For instance, letter carriers established the first postal union in 1889. The American Federation of Teachers formed in 1918, the same year that several independent unions of firefighters merged to form a national union. AFSCME was born in Wisconsin in 1932, the same year as the American Federation of Government Employees, a union of federal workers.
So take heart—history shows that workers can mobilize and organize even without cover of law. Public workers have done it time and again. Of course labor law matters, but it’s not the only thing that matters.


A related lesson is that even workers who are supposedly unorganizable can in fact organize.
Never was this more evident than among the unemployed workers who found jobs in public works during the Great Depression. Of the 1,116 strikes in Ziskind’s book, nearly 700 involved people working in New Deal programs.
These programs employed jobless people at subsistence pay. They provided only temporary employment; law dictated that these workers would be dismissed as soon as jobs became available in the private sector. And as public employees, the workers had no legal rights to collective bargaining.
Yet they did organize. On top of mobilizing hundreds of strikes, they built organizations. And they won concessions; construction workers, for instance, won shorter workweeks with no loss of pay.
Mostly these workers organized not through recognized unions but through local Unemployed Councils, Unemployed Leagues, and groups called Workers Alliances. In 1935-1936 these local groups merged to form the Workers Alliance of America, whose first convention brought together 791 delegates representing at least 200,000 workers.
Besides workplace fights, chapters of the Workers Alliance agitated for better relief provisions for jobless people and demanded that unemployed workers be recognized and respected as workers.
Along the way, the Workers Alliance also broke new ground in organizing united action by Black and white workers in the Deep South, where simply holding a racially integrated meeting was against the law.
In other words, this was what we would now call social justice unionism—worker organizing that combines militancy on the job with a fight for justice in the wider society. It went deeper than a reciprocal exchange of support between unions and community groups. The Workers Alliance recognized that causes beyond the workplace were crucial to its own members.
It’s no coincidence that this social-justice approach proved especially effective at organizing “unorganizable” workers. People presumed to be unorganizable have almost always been those without political clout—for instance, migrant workers, recent immigrants, African Americans in the Jim Crow South, and others ignored by lawmakers. For workers on the political margins, building power on the job was—and still is—inextricably knit up with struggles to assert their rights in society at large.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

UPS and Teamsters might have a strike looming Nicholas Shields Jun. 8, 2018, 10:57 AM

UPS and Teamsters might have a strike looming

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More than 90% of Teamsters workers employed by UPS voted earlier this week to go on strike if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached before the current one expires on August 1, according to CNN Money. The Teamsters is one of the largest unions in the US, representing 1.3 million mostly manual laborers, including a majority of UPS' employees. The two parties, which have been in negotiations since late January, haven't made any significant progress over the last few weeks, making a strike increasingly likely.
The disagreement is primarily over the shipping giant's desire for employees to work every day of the week. UPS started regularly delivering parcels on Saturdays about a year ago, but hasn't started making Sunday deliveries, largely because of the costly overtime wages it's required to pay drivers.
UPS is seeking to change this in negotiations, proposing a two-tiered wage structure that would make part-time employees full-time workers at their current wage of $15 an hour, and cap their hours so they only work either Sunday to Thursday or Tuesday to Saturday. The Teamsters' members are currently divided on the proposal. UPS Teamsters United, a subset of the union, is arguing that UPS should pay any new full-time workers the same as it pays its existing workers, $36 an hour, on average, with the opportunity for overtime.
A strike would be a huge blow to the shipping giant at a time when it faces new competitive pressure from DHL and the looming threat of Amazon. DHLrevealed earlier this year that it planned to re-enter the US business-to-consumer (B2C) last-mile delivery market nearly a decade after its initial exit.
It may take the Germany-based company years to stand on the same competitive footing as UPS and FedEx, which combined operate more than 1,000 planes, 200,000 vehicles, and 4,000 warehousing and sorting facilities; however, it still poses a large threat to UPS since it can leverage its business-to-business (B2B) parcel delivery operations in the US.
Meanwhile, Amazon has startedpiloting a new service in Los Angeles that delivers packages for third-party retailers, showing it has ambitions to take on established US logistics providers. A massive strike like this — the Teamsters represent a whopping 260,000 UPS employees, roughly 60% of the company's total workforce — would, at least temporarily, be yet another major hurdle for the company.
Disputes like this one will grow more frequent and serious, as logistics providers increasingly tap into digital technologies to automate routine, low-skill jobs.As part of its initial proposal to UPS, the Teamstersdemanded that the shipping giant not use self-driving cars or drones for last-mile parcel deliveries. While that proposal was quickly shot down, it provides an early glimpse at the resistance logistics companies will face as they look to develop automated delivery capabilities.