PSLabor News

PSLabor News

The conflict between Mayor Libby Schaaf’s administration and city workers is intensifying after Oakland officials declared an impasse in negotiations with two major employee unions just before their labor contracts expire on June 30, the same day as the deadline for submitting the new city budget. The city proclaimed the impasse on June 11 with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, which represents about 2,000 city employees; and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21, representing about 1,000 workers.  Both unions have been meeting with the city’s representatives for months,  Local 1021 in about 20 negotiating sessions since the end of March and Local 21 in about 15 sessions since February. Until the declaration of impasse, negotiations were continuing and had not stalled, according to the unions. Undiscussed issues were still on the table. The city is engaging in “bad faith bargaining,” said union leaders,  who are filing a complaint against the city with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). The city has proposed mediation, an action that the unions view as an attempt to put pressure on them. Though they argue that city’s declaration is premature, the unions say they are willing to participate in mediation. In recent years, the city’s negotiating team consisted of City of Oakland staff. This year, the administration relied on an outside consultant, Sloan Sakai,  which has a reputation among union members as a hostile or “union busting” law firm. The city is offering a 2 percent raise per year, 4 percent for the next two years, as well as a number of takeaways, according to city workers, who say they need to keep up with the rate of inflation. The cost of living in the Bay Area increased almosst 4 percent in the past year, say the unions. Workers’ wages fell far behind between 2008 and 2014, and many say they cannot afford to  continue to live in Oakland, and some are straining to pay for long commutes from where they were forced to move. Another major issue facing the city are large numbers of unfilled employee positions, which undermines the ability of workers to adequately perform their jobs and overwhelms them with excessive workloads, often having to scramble to do the duties of two, three or four employees, according to workers.  There are currently over 600 vacant positions in the city, including public works, housing and transportation jobs. During the City Council’s budget deliberations, the dispute between the unions and the administration has taken center stage. City workers filled Council Chambers both at last week’s and Tuesday evening’s council meetings. Speaking at the meeting, Local 1021 member Jeff Robbins, talked about the shortages of employees in the department where he works as a licensed heavy equipment mechanic. He said the department is short four mechanics and cannot hire anyone because “other municipalities pay $10 more per hour with less requirements.” “All city heavy equipment passes through us, including fire equipment,” he said. “We never want a shortage of equipment when fires need to be put out (or) trees need to be trimmed.” “We’re the hub of the wheel – don’t let the wheel fall off.” Local 1021 bargaining team co-chair and Chapter President Felipe Cuevas, also a heavy equipment mechanic, talked about the many unfilled vacancies exist in many city departments. “Local 1021 has more than 300 vacancies, an over 17 percent vacancy rate,” he said . “I’ve seen vehicles sometimes wait for months to be repaired. These vehicles are not available to provide services to the public: fire trucks are not on the road,  potholes are not getting fixed, sewers are not being inspected and maintained.” “In the past we had to close fire houses because the equipment hasn’t been available,” he said. “No one has heard about that.” Cuevas said the behavior of the city’s negotiators, Sloan Sakai, has been “so disrespectful.” “They’ve basically said we’re not even going to discuss some of (our) proposals. They’re simply union busters.” Also criticizing the city’s negotiating consultants, Local 1021 chief steward Dwight McElroy said, “I’ve been bargaining in this city for 25 years, and I’ve never seen such disrespect as we have seen at this table.” Look at Sloan Sakai’s website, he said. “It is braggadocious about union busting (and) braggadocious about” taking away local cities’ retiree benefits. McElroy told the council, “We know you’ve been stonewalled. We know you haven’t been given documents that you requested, to make educated decisions.” Nina Hernandez, a part-time library worker, said, “We went out (in the last strike) because 2 percent was never going to cut it for this staff. And it is never going to cut it, ever, because  2 percent makes us poorer at the end of the contract than we were at the beginning of the contract.” Anthony Reese, chapter vice president of Local 21, said the city’s contract proposal contributes to gentrification by failing to keep up with the increased cost of living. “It’s clear that the mayor does not want us to live and work here,” he said. Cheryl Dunaway, a 22-year city employee and a Local 21 member, said she became homeless and had to leave the city. “I work in Oakland, but I can’t afford to live in Oakland,” she said. “I used to, but now I can’t. I commute around four hours a day.” “Some of our employees are homeless but are too ashamed to admit it,” Dunaway continued. “I was one of them.  I was blessed that I have family that loves me, that took me in. But a lot of us don’t have that. They’re sleeping in cars, bunking with family members, they are sleeping on garage floors.” She said employees will not accept a 2 percent increase and takeaways. “If you are not willing to work with us, all of us are going to walk out the door. And you’ll be left with yourselves,” she said. Read Story
Housekeepers, nannies, and caretakers would get paid time off and sexual harassment protections under the Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Read Story
Business Insider obtained a copy of the complaint, in which the United Steelworkers Union says Tesla broke labor laws with firing and surveillance. Read Story
There is no timetable to end a strike by EVA Airways flight attendants, who are prepared to stick with it for the long haul, Taoyuan Flight Attendants’ Union secretary-general Cheng Ya-ling (鄭雅菱) said yesterday. Read Story
Maybe American kids will only have to live through one Christmas without Toys “R” Us. Read Story
Google workers, labor advocates, and local community members rallied outside parent company Alphabet Inc.'s annual meeting of company shareholders here on Wednesday, calling on the technology company to change its labor practices. Read Story
The Trump megadonor owners of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas want Congress to make a fix to the mistake-riddled Republican tax law, even as the Palms illegally refuses to bargain with workers who overwhelmingly voted to unionize last year.... Read Story
The United Auto Workers is spending Thursday telling Congress that the union opposes the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels through 2026... sort of. Read Story
BRITISH Airways passengers face ruined summer holiday plans after pilots' union Balpa issued the airline with a formal notice of a strike ballot…... Read Story
A coalition of community groups and unions is seeking to negotiate a legally-binding agreement with Ascension Wisconsin to hedge against any potential cuts to services at Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – St. Read Story
Employees cite anger over low pay rise offer and say Corbyn’s chief of staff wields too much power... Read Story
Demands for a $15 federal minimum wage and the right to organize are now popular among the party's White House hopefuls... Read Story
Copyright 2019 NPR.To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: President Trump is pushing Democrats in Congress to back a new trade... Read Story
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to demonstrate a united front Thursday in the uphill effort to get a replacement for…... Read Story
The Fair Work Ombudsman on Friday said it had discontinued its legal action against the food delivery company which exited Australia in August last year. Read Story
Rail workers were said to be "solidly supporting" the fourth day of strikes in a bitter dispute over guards on trains, with the threat of…... Read Story
A fight over pay for part-time workers and drivers working on their day off has sparked the public transport worker union's plans to bring the city's trains to a halt. Read Story
An alarming number of employees say they don't feel appreciated at work and they're just going through the motions. Leadership expert and former Yum! Brands Chairman David Novak has some advice for how to keep America's workforce happy – and more productive. Read Story
A German union plans a cabin crew walkout in July at Lufthansa’s budget Eurowings unit over a pay dispute, it said on Thursday, adding pressure on the airline while it struggles with rising fuel costs and low revenues... Read Story
More than fifty contract workers at Denver International Airport went on strike June 18, citing a range of health and safety issues including a lack of proper training, understaffing and other unsafe practices that put passengers at risk. Read Story
Over at Law and Political Economy, Veena Dubal writes an important piece that raises concerns about Uber and Lyft’s suggestion that drivers in California form a…... Read Story
You surely have heard sayings like: “You need quiet time for a creative mind.” This simple advice, is easier said than done. In today’s modern world everyone seems to be moving fast. We occupy and pre-occupy ourselves with work. Read Story
General Motors Co. wants to hire more temporary workers at U.S. plants and trim its health care costs, said people familiar with the automaker’s thinking. Read Story
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is facing its first-ever bus driver strike if a union vote Wednesday over VTA's salary and pension offers does not end favorably. Read Story
Fiat Chrysler negotiates with feds to resolve corruption probe The Detroit News Published 6:00 AM EDT Jun 19, 2019 The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles world headquarters in Auburn Hills. Paul Sancya, AP Detroit — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is negotiating a settlement that would resolve a federal criminal investigation into whether executives conspired to pay bribes and break labor laws during a years-long conspiracy with the United Auto Workers, according to a federal regulatory filing. The negotiations are focused on Fiat Chrysler submitting to government oversight for up to five years, paying less than $50 million in penalties and agreeing to make broad institutional changes to emerge from a bribery scandal that has led to eight convictions, including former FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli, two sources familiar with negotiations said. Negotiations continue, and one sticking point is whether Fiat Chrysler agrees to admit guilt, one source said. Fiat Chrysler revealed the settlement negotiations in a May 3 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a disclosure to shareholders of information that could affect financial performance and share prices. They are customarily required for publicly traded companies. "We continue to cooperate with this investigation and are in discussions with the DOJ about a potential resolution of its investigation," Fiat Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer wrote in the filing. "The outcome of those discussions is uncertain; however, any resolution may involve the payment of penalties and other sanctions." FCA declined to comment. A penalty of $50 million or less to settle FCA's role in the federal criminal investigation — even if the agreement includes government oversight — would be dramatically less than the $900 million rival General Motors Co. paid to settle claims for faulty ignition switches implicated in 400 deaths. It also would be a fraction of the $800 million FCA paid early this year to settle diesel claims, or the billions Volkswagen AG paid to atone for its global diesel scandal.  "At this time, we cannot predict whether or when any settlements may be reached or, if no settlement is reached, the ultimate outcome of any litigation," Palmer added. "As such, we are unable to reliably evaluate the likelihood that a loss will be incurred or estimate a range of possible loss." The ongoing corruption scandal entangling union training centers funded by all three Detroit automakers also has demonstrated that FCA executives wooed union leaders with cash, gifts and other benefits. It also embroiled the late CEO Sergio Marchionne and led to a shakeup of the top ranks of the Detroit-based auto industry. Negotiations have been underway since at least December. Prosecutors previously have labeled Fiat Chrysler and the UAW co-conspirators in a still-widening corruption conspiracy, an allegation at odds with claims the Auburn Hills automaker and labor union were victimized by rogue employees. The status of any federal negotiations with the UAW is unclear. Several union officials — including Vice President Norwood Jewell, head of the union's FCA department — have been convicted on charges of violating federal labor laws and receiving illegal payments, gifts and benefits from FCA executives. "Fiat Chrysler doesn’t have room to maneuver here,” said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor, pointing to the convictions of several company officials. “They’re stuck and have to negotiate as best as they can and take their medicine.” (CAPTION): (L-R): Sergio Marchionne, left, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson, Richard Palmer, Chief Financial Officer of Chrysler, Representative John Dingell and Senator Debbie Stabenow talk near the Dodge Dart. XXXXPoliticians tour the NAIAS, Tuesday morning, January 10, 2012. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)2012. Todd McInturf , Todd McInturf / The Detroit News The timing of the recent SEC filing is significant, Henning said, adding: “If they are disclosing this, they’re getting close to a deal. What this does is help condition the market so that investors are not taken by surprise.” It is unclear what triggered settlement talks. But in similar cases the local U.S. attorney makes a prosecution recommendation to Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C. Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, declined comment Tuesday about whether he had made such a recommendation. Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, talks about the consequences for any students that make a terrorist threat, Tuesday in Detroit. Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News “I can’t see (DOJ) contradicting a local U.S. attorney,” Henning said, because such a recommendation carries significant influence. “They are unlikely to torpedo it. They likely will sign off and help negotiate a resolution with Fiat Chrysler that can be announced in the next month to six weeks.” Potential settlement discussions with federal authorities come as national contract talks between the UAW and Detroit’s three automakers are poised to start next month. They are expected to be the most contentious since FCA's precursor, Chrysler Group LLC, and GM emerged from federally induced bankruptcy a decade ago. The federal prosecution of auto industry figures is two years old and has revealed a pattern of Fiat Chrysler officials funneling cash, $1,100 pairs of designer Christian Louboutin shoes and luxury vacations to UAW leaders to wring concessions favoring the automaker. Marchionne, for example, gave an expensive Italian watch to UAW Vice President General Holiefield, now deceased, and failed to disclose the gift while being questioned by federal investigators, The Detroit News previously reported. Sergio Marchionne Getty Images The reporting described a dramatic "gotcha" moment during a secretive July 2016 meeting between federal investigators and Marchionne, until last summer the legendary CEO of FCA. It ended with the auto executive exposed to the possibility of federal charges. The auto executive's gift of a watch to a ranking union leader could bolster any criminal case against FCA, legal experts said. Flanked by his white-collar criminal defense lawyer, William Jeffress, at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, Marchionne was asked by investigators whether he had given UAW leaders valuable items. More: FCA chief failed to disclose gift to UAW, sources say Marchionne said no. Investigators then confronted Marchionne with evidence he had given Holiefield a custom-made Terra Cielo Mare watch in February 2010. The Italian watchmaker has produced custom-made, limited-edition timepieces with the Fiat logo emblazoned on the dial since at least 2006 — and in 2014, a model featuring the Fiat logo and a mustard-yellow dial retailed for $2,245. This Terra Cielo Mare watch given to former UAW official General Holiefield was worth several thousand dollars and included the Fiat logo. eBay Marchionne died July 25 in a Zurich hospital. His successor as CEO, Michael Manley, has focused in part on "tying up loose ends," as one source familiar with the situation said, and resolving disputes with the federal government during the past year. In January, FCA agreed to pay roughly $800 million to settle lawsuits accusing the Italian-American automaker of equipping some of its diesel-powered pickups and Jeep SUVs with software designed to elude emissions tests. The agreement with the Justice Department, federal regulators, the state of California and affected diesel owners follows the landmark “Dieselgate” scandal that cost Volkswagen AG billions and produced criminal indictments of managers and executives. Negotiations stemming from the labor conspiracy are focused on the duration of government oversight, financial penalties and the whether Fiat Chrysler executives will admit guilt, according to sources familiar with negotiations. A settlement also could spare Fiat Chrysler and executives from facing criminal prosecution so long as they abide by terms of the deal. Under its so-called “deferred prosecution agreement” with federal prosecutors, GM agreed to federal oversight for three years starting in 2015 following a scandal involving faulty ignition switches that have been linked to almost 400 deaths and injuries. The automaker agreed to pay a $900 million fine in addition to federal oversight. The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Erik Schelzig, AP In 2017, Volkswagen AG  pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, one year after the German automaker reached a $14.7 billion civil agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. It also agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement with its American dealers. VW also pleaded guilty in March 2017 to three criminal charges related to its decade-long conspiracy to evade U.S. emission standards. The company was fined a record-setting $2.8 billion and faced three years of probation. A deferred prosecution agreement with Fiat Chrysler could involve a statement of facts outlining criminal violations committed by the company and its executives, Henning said. A deal also could entail government oversight lasting as long as five years. “Fiat Chrysler would probably have to file a report with a judge as to what measures have been taken, what training employees have undertaken,” Henning said, adding that it's unlikely the Justice Department would ask a judge to appoint a federal monitor to oversee changes at Fiat Chrysler. “It’s really all about raising the ethics level inside the company.” A potential settlement also could strengthen Fiat Chrysler's compliance with federal laws, Henning said: "This is something Fiat Chrysler can point to and say, 'we're going to be a stronger company and be more ethical.' That’s what everybody says." rsnell@detroitnews.com (313) 222-2486 Twitter: @robertsnellnews Published 6:00 AM EDT Jun 19, 2019 Read Story
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265 will vote Wednesday on whether to accept the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's best and last final offer. Read Story
BRITISH GAS has confirmed plans to cut around 700 management and back office jobs by the end of this year.The firm’s parent company Centrica has blamed the losses on an energy price cap and …... Read Story
Unions at Chile's Codelco on Wednesday evening will discuss an improved con... Read Story
Pilots for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced Wednesday that they will be seeking reimbursement from Boeing for costs incurred by pilots due... Read Story
ALBANY – An agreement in the works among state lawmakers to expand the state’s prevailing wage requirement to private development projects receiving public supp…... Read Story
Nurses at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, have rejected a tentative agreement between the hospital and the union representing them, according to The Blade. Read Story
House lawmakers today passed a bill to increase funding for labor agencies, rejecting cuts proposed by the White House. Read Story
Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America, and Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers International Union, today called for a new standard to protect miners from... Read Story
Allina Health nurses have reached tentative contracts with hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Read Story
Employers may be surprised to learn that the Republican-controlled National Labor Relations Board just issued a unanimous decision invalidating an employer's mandatory arbitration agreement. Read Story
Thousands of families could face summer holiday travel chaos after BA pilots announced plans to vote on strike action. BA pilots are paid an average basic salary of more than £150,000 a year. Read Story
Workers joined community activists in demanding change from Google on how it handles sexual harassment in the workplace and its plans to build a censored search engine for China. Read Story
German cabin crew union threatens strike in July over pay on WTOP | BERLIN (AP) — A union representing German cabin crew is threatening to stage a strike at the height of the summer travel season amid negotiations with airlines over pay. Read Story
Staff at Buchanan High have fears about chemical contamination of land the school is built on. Read Story
GLOBAL workers participating in the ongoing 108th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) on the platform of the International....... Read Story
By Anthony Harrup and William Mauldin MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's Senate overwhelmingly voted for a broad rewrite of trade rules between the United States, Canada and Mexico -- making the nation... Read Story
David Van Deusen/Green Mountain Anarchist Collective Montpelier Workers Seek Citywide Labor Union!2003... Read Story
A local labor union of a banana-export plantation run by Sumifru Philippines Corp.in Compostela Valley sought the support of…... Read Story