Teamsters Local 633 Endorse Diane Sheehan For Executive Council

Teamsters LogoToday Executive Council candidate Diane Sheehan was endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters local 633.  After receiving the endorsement Diane Sheehan released the following statment:

“I am proud, honored and truly appreciative to receive the endorsement of the Teamsters Local 633 for Executive Council, District 5.

As a current Alderman At-Large in Nashua, I am well aware of the importance of having a solid, professional workforce. Investing in good employees is good for the long term health of our community, our economy, and our quality of life.  My track record of commitment to our labor forces is something I am proud of, and glad that is it noted by the Teamsters We see the importance and value of treating employees with respect, and compensation when we watch what just happened with Market Basket. People matter.  I pledge to bring to the Council their cares and concerns and to work as hard in representing them, and all the people of District 5, as they come to work committed each day.

I humbly thank them for the confidence they have placed in me.”

Shaheen Campaign Joins NH Labor Leaders Calling On Scott Brown To Resign From Outsourcing Company

Scott Brown Collected More Than A Quarter Of A Million Dollars Advising Company Outsourcing American Jobs

Manchester — Today, the Shaheen campaign joined labor leaders representing tens of thousands of New Hampshire workers and their families in calling on Scott Brown to resign from the Board of Directors of a company that outsourced U.S. Jobs.  The former Massachusetts Senator collected more than a quarter of a million dollars to advise the company, even endorsing their outsourcing practice of relying on low-cost manufacturing bases in China and Mexico.  Brown has refused to answer questions about his role with the company since it was revealed by the Nashua Telegraph.

Officers of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, New Hampshire Teamsters, and New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984, wrote Brown: “In New Hampshire, we value companies looking to create good jobs at good wages here, not those looking to increase their profits by killing American jobs and shifting production to low wages countries like Mexico or China. That is why we are asking you to step down from your position on the Board of Directors of Kadant, Inc.”

Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich said, “Cashing in on the board of company that brags about its outsourcing of American jobs to China and Mexico is another example of why Scott Brown is wrong for New Hampshire. Scott Brown has to answer to the people of New Hampshire who deserve to know why he was collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a company that shipped American jobs overseas and that relies on low-cost manufacturing bases in China and Mexico. New Hampshire can’t afford a U.S. Senator like Scott Brown who cares more about lining his own pockets — even if it means taking jobs from U.S. workers. Scott Brown should resign from this company immediately.”

Brown even signed legal documents dated just two days before he entered New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate race in which the company touted “using low cost manufacturing bases, such as China and Mexico” as a business strategy.  When he was a Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

“In tough times New Hampshire workers need a Senator who will advocate for them; someone they can trust.  We can’t trust someone who doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and lines his own pockets with more than a quarter of a million dollars from a company that sent American jobs overseas,” continues the letter.

See the letter New Hampshire labor leaders wrote to Brown below in its entirety:

To Mr. Scott Brown:

Our organizations represent thousands of New Hampshire workers and their families.  We were deeply troubled to read about your lucrative position with a company that outsourced jobs to China and Mexico. In New Hampshire, we value companies looking to create good jobs at good wages here, not those looking to increase their profits by killing American jobs and shifting production to low wages countries like Mexico or China. That is why we are asking you to step down from your position on the Board of Directors of Kadant, Inc.

As the Nashua Telegraph reported in the Sunday paper, you received over a quarter million dollars as a Director for Kadant, Inc.. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you signed your name to, the company proudly touts “using low cost manufacturing bases, such as China and Mexico,” instead of creating American jobs.

In tough times New Hampshire workers need a Senator who will advocate for them; someone they can trust.  We can’t trust someone who doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and lines his own pockets with more than a quarter of a million dollars from a company that sent American jobs overseas.

From 2002 to 2012, New Hampshire lost a higher percentage of jobs to China than any other state in the country, according to the Economic Policy Institute.  Families here can’t afford a Senator who is personally profiting from corporate practices that hurt our economy.  Again and again, Mr. Brown, it seems that you are looking out for your self-interests ahead of the people of New Hampshire.

We believe you owe New Hampshire an explanation about your decision to profit from a company whose practices hurt American workers, and further that you should resign from the board of this company.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

SEA-NH/New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 President Diana Lacey
New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Mark S. MacKenzie
New Hampshire Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer David W. Laughton

Think US Manufacturing Is In Trouble Now? Wait Till WALMART Jumps In

photo of 2007 Northcross Mall Wal-Mart protest by Kristin Hillery, via flikr

Photo by Kristin Hillery, via flikr

Hey, Richard Trumka! You didn’t need to be so darn diplomatic yesterday. My take: Wal-Mart getting into in US manufacturing is pretty much the LAST thing America’s economy needs right now.

Unless, of course, somebody’s had an attack of conscience and they’ve completely changed their business model.

Really quick, let’s look at Walmart’s business model:

The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year.

Yep, it’s that old ratcheting-down thing. Works the same way as chained-CPI for Social Security benefits. Or, what’s been happening to the middle-class for the last 40 years. Death by a thousand cuts (also known as “creeping normality”). They take a little bit this year, and a little bit more next year, and a little bit more the year after that.  Wal-Mart’s business model:

Wal-Mart also clearly does not hesitate to use its power, magnifying the Darwinian forces already at work in modern global capitalism. …The Wal-Mart squeeze means vendors have to be as relentless and as microscopic as Wal-Mart is at managing their own costs. …Wal-Mart has also lulled shoppers into ignoring the difference between the price of something and the cost. Its unending focus on price underscores something that Americans are only starting to realize: Ever-cheaper prices have consequences.

Why would anybody in their right mind want to apply this business model to US manufacturing? (Other than, of course, the Walton family. But maybe having a bigger fortune than the bottom 42% of Americans, combined, isn’t enough for some people…?)

Isn’t it time to start ratcheting things UP again?

Mr. Trumka, please… save the diplomacy for elsewhere. We gotta stop this Race to the Bottom.

—–

made in prison labelAnd, oh yeah… something else about “Made in the USA.”

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve got a lot of prisons here in the US. And inmates work for really cheap wages.

That USA-grown organic produce sold at Walmart? Yep.

Stuff that gets returned to Walmart? Yep.

And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to ALEC pushing “prison industries enhancement” laws for the past 20 years, there’s now lots and lots of stuff “Made in the USA” behind prison bars. And no way to tell how much of it ends up for sale on retail store shelves. Apparently, in some states, it’s legal to sell prison-made stuff in local stores… as long as it’s not transported across state lines.

Myself, I’m thinking it’s about time for another nationwide product-labeling campaign. So consumers will know exactly where in the USA these products are made.

H/T to the Teamsters for the really great graphic above… and to Dennis Trainor, Jr. and Acronym TV for the video below.

Lights, Camera, New Hampshire: How Movies Can Move The Economy

Image from Amy Clarke Films

Image from Amy Clarke Films

Do you like movies? I love movies.  I stood in line for hours just to get into a midnight showing of Star Wars (yes, I am a nerd).  I am the reason they make four-disc versions of the Lord of the Rings.  I love to see how movies are made.   Movie making is fun, interesting, and a huge economic boost to local communities.

The average cost just to make a movie is around $35 million.  That is small change compared to the $100 million for major studio motion pictures.  That does not even include the $40-$50 million you need to distribute and promote each movie.

Can you imagine what that money would for to the New Hampshire economy?

That is why people in New Hampshire are working to draw movie-makers to New Hampshire.   Rep Jeffery Goley has submitted HB 540 as a way to create jobs and boost our economy.

HB 540:  This bill establishes a credit against business profits taxes for motion picture production expenditures made in New Hampshire.

In simple terms this means that the state will offer a tax break to motion picture companies who come and film movies here.  Normally I am against most of these types of tax breaks, because they usually only benefits the corporations.  This one is very different.

This is exactly what is happening in New Orleans.

Louisiana’s growing industry has contributed to the continued success of new film production in the United States by leveraging assets that are economically and culturally advantageous to the industry, specifically during times of economic uncertainty. In addition to the generous tax credit, Louisiana has been able to attract and retain consistent film production into the state with the growth of skilled workforce, new infrastructure, and versatility and diversity of locations.

The film production tax credit program was designed to cultivate and sustain a thriving film production industry in Louisiana – and it’s been very successful,” said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. “Louisiana is now No. 3 in the country in film production activity, and the industry supports thousands of jobs in Louisiana that previously did not exist. In fact, third-party economists have estimated the economic impact of film tax credits in Louisiana to be nearly six times the fiscal cost of the tax credits”  (From Forbes)

Lowering the tax for film production has already boosted the local economy in New Orleans. Is there a possibility reducing the tax rate for film producers would result in a loss for New Hampshire? Of course there is; however, there is a significant difference between the film industry and other industries.  The film industry spends millions making a movie and the majority of that money goes to workers. The production company only makes a profit after the film is released.

That brings me back to the $35 million average for film production.

Where does that $35 million go?  How would that $35 million be spent here in NH? The short answer is: people and places.  The production company needs to hire workers to do the filming, and rent places to shoot the scenes.

IATSE 481 Jobs

IATSE 481 Jobs

This is another reason I support this bill.  The jobs we are talking about are not minimum wage Walmart jobs, these are good union wage jobs. The majority of these jobs would go to IATSE members.   IATSE represents over 113,000 stage hands nationwide, who do almost everything except act in the movie.  They represent everyone from the microphone operators to the cinematographers.  They are also the people who build the amazing sets.

Other unions are involved in making a movie:

  • The Screen Actors Guild  (SAG_AFSTRA) represents most of the actors, stunt people, and dancers on the big and small screen.
  • The Screen Writers Guild – that one is a given. (To be eligible for an Academy Award, the writer has to be a member of SWG)
  • The Teamsters are usually tasked with all transportation of people and equipment.
  • The IBEW ensures that all wiring is done correctly and meets safety regulations. They also work with the IATSE crew to provide lighting on and off the set.

There are tons of other union jobs that are used in a movie production.  Movie companies reach out to local unions for police, fire, and EMT details.  There are also unions who represent hair, makeup, and visual effects artists.

Another area that can only be handled by local small businesses: the food!  Every production has food catered for the actors and the crew.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be pushed right into local restaurants to deliver food for hundreds of people.  This is something only the local community can provide.

The more movies are filmed in New Hampshire, the more jobs we would create and the more we would boost our local economy.  This bill is an absolute win-win for New Hampshire. I encourage you to contact the NH House Ways and Means Committee and tell them to pass this bill today!

After Months Of Delay, The State Employees Association and The State Reach A Tentative Agreement

Following an explanation of the Hassan administration’s proposal for a new employment contract with over 7800 employees, the State Employees’ Association’s (SEA) Collective Bargaining Senate voted to accept this proposal as a tentative agreement (TA). They will now send this TA to the full membership for a vote with a recommendation to approve.

The state and employee contract bargaining teams began meeting in January 2013. On June 20, the SEA Bargaining Team presented an initial proposal to the SEA Bargaining Senate that produced a number of questions and concerns. Due to the complexities and uncertainties of proposed provisions, the Bargaining Senate asked the team to return to the bargaining table.

The main sticking points, a new health care plan design and dramatic changes to sick leave provisions, have been addressed and an amicable compromise has been met.  The State withdrew its proposed changes to sick leave accruals and SEA members will receive a 6% wage increase in three increments between now and 2015. The most significant change came from the members’ commitment to be “all in to win.”

“Throughout the recession, New Hampshire’s dedicated and hard-working state employees pitched in by giving up pay raises, paying more for their health care and doing more with less as the state workforce dropped by 1100 positions,” said Governor Hassan. “This is a fair agreement for both employees and taxpayers that will provide the first cost-of-living raises for employees in five years and provide important healthcare savings to the state.”

The employees’ health benefits will now include first ever deductibles for individual and family plans and a new site of service provision that is designed to further curtail medical costs.  The agreement includes a new health promotions program designed to encourage employees to adopt healthier behaviors. The settlement also includes a stand-alone dental benefit for which employees will pay monthly premiums. “We have long recognized the need to take a more active role in managing our own health and the associated costs,” said Linda Huard, a member of the SEA’s bargaining team. “The steps we have already taken over the last few years have netted more than $60 million in savings for the state.” Both the state and the SEA representatives agree that the institution of new contractual incentives for preventive care in the contract will result in better health outcomes.

“Encouraging preventive care, through basic measures like flu shots and physicals, and improving the coordination of health care will strengthen the well-being of state employees and help generate significant savings for the state,” said Governor Hassan.  “By coming together and working constructively, we have successfully achieved our shared goals of providing additional support to our state employees while strengthening the state’s long-term financial outlook through an innovative approach to reducing healthcare costs.“

“I (Governor Hassan) thank the SEA leadership team and state negotiators for their good-faith efforts to find common ground and reach a deal, within the constraints of the state budget, that is fair to all parties.”

“This has been a long process – longer than what either side would have wanted,” said Diana Lacey, president of the SEA. “The state experienced significant challenges with new software and staff shortages. It delayed their ability to produce the data we needed to analyze in order to reach this compromise. In the end, after five years without a raise, I think we have arrived at a proposal that is fair and will allow the state employees to continue to provide critical services for NH residents, while supporting their own families, too.”

“We know it took us longer to get here than the rest of the unions, but in our “all in” spirit, we have struck a deal that will better benefit the people of NH, and the rest of the employees covered by our health plan,” said Jim Nall, chair of the Executive Branch Master Bargaining Team. “The settlement gives both the employees and employer a solid stake at further lowering health costs and frees up money for wages that employees desperately need.”

SEA representatives will begin visiting worksites to discuss the proposed changes in more detail with rank and file members.  The union and the state hope to have a ratified contract in time for the health insurance provider’s open enrollment period, later in November.

Teamsters Local 633 Endorses Patrick Arnold for Mayor

Manchester – Teamsters Local 633 announced its endorsement of Patrick Arnold for mayor of Manchester, citing Alderman Arnold’s vision for a better Manchester.

“Our members, who represent city employees, drivers, school administrators, and other workers, voted overwhelmingly to endorse Alderman Arnold in his race for mayor because we all believe that Patrick will fight to restore, renew, and reform our great city. We know that we can do better than current leadership at City Hall. On November 5, we encourage all Manchester voters to vote for Patrick Arnold and we look forward to better jobs, stronger schools, and safer streets under his leadership,” said Teamsters Local 633 Secretary-Treasurer David Laughton.

Patrick Arnold added, “I’m proud to have the support of the working men and women from Local 633 and our grassroots campaign is stronger with the Teamsters on our side. Together we can, we must, and we will do better for Manchester’s future.”

In addition to the Teamsters Local 633, Patrick Arnold has earned the endorsement of the following organizations: New Hampshire Young Democrats, Manchester Education Association, National Education Association – New Hampshire, Manchester Professional Fire Fighters, IBEW Local 2320, IBEW Local 490, Ironworkers Local 7, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, State Employees’ Association, Steel Workers Local 8938 and hundreds of grassroots activists.

For a full list of endorsements, visit: www.arnoldformayor.com/endorsements

 

 

Tentative Agreement Reached for 6,500 Agents at US Airways

CWA-blue-line

teamster airline

Washington, D.C. — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement covering 6,500 passenger service employees at US Airways. The IBT and CWA together represent the reservations and airport agents.

The tentative agreement provides for wage increases at every step for all passenger service employees and includes a ratification bonus. It also provides critical job security protections, an important issue for workers as the US Airways- American Airlines merger goes forward.

Agents from US Airways and American Airlines have launched a joint campaign to make certain they have a strong union voice at the merged airline.

‘“Working together, passenger service employees at US Airways have built a strong, united group that will continue to make advances for all agents as the US Airways-American Airlines merger proceeds,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins.

 

A ratification vote is being scheduled.

 

Teamsters Union Ratifies State Contract

CONCORD – Teamsters Local 633, one of four unions representing state employees, has ratified the two-year contract agreement with the State of New Hampshire, which will provide the first cost-of-living pay increases in five years and help reduce the state’s projected growth in healthcare costs.

Teamsters Local 633 represents over 300 state employees in the Department of Corrections, including Corrections Officers and Corrections Corporals.

“Our people cannot truly be safe and justice cannot fully be done without a strong and effective corrections system, and our corrections officers are the backbone of that system, providing a safe, secure and humane correctional system that respects the victims of crime and helps individuals safely move back into society when they have served their sentences,” Governor Hassan said. “I thank Teamsters Local 633 for working with the state to reach this fair agreement that will create important healthcare savings for the state and provide an important boost for our corrections officers and their families.”

David Laughton, Secretary Treasurer for Teamsters Local 633 said, “We believe that this contract represents a fair compromise in rewarding these state employees for their hard work and dedication while recognizing the difficult economic times that we all face.”

In return, employees are agreeing to take a more active role in managing their health and healthcare costs. The state will switch to a site-of-service plan, where certain services employees will have the option to go to select providers or pay a deductible. In exchange for working to improve their own health through activities such as taking a health assessment test, getting a physical, getting a flu shot or having their blood pressure checked, employees earn up to $500 a year through a health reimbursement account and a wellness reimbursement program. This money can be used for healthcare expenses such as deductibles or eye glasses. Employees also agreed to contribute toward their dental plan for the first time.

The changes will help reduce the state’s future liability for the federal “Cadillac tax” on health plans, scheduled to go into effect in 2018.

Employees also agreed to changes in sick-leave policies in return for a short-term disability policy.

This S#*^ Needs To Stop Before We Completely Destroy Each Other

Secretly I have been watching the situation unfold at US Airways.  No I am not taking a trip. I have been following this because I am very dishearten to hear that the Teamsters are moving in to try to take the representation rights away from the Transportation Workers Union.

I was first alerted to this when I got a press release with this title, “Teamsters Raid on American Airlines Mechanics and Related Workers”.  If you follow this blog regularly you probably already know that I did not post this press release like I do with many others.

Labor unions have serious problems in the eyes of the public. Many see us as outdated, worthless organizations that only promote laziness.  Those of us who work inside labor movement know this is the farthest thing from the truth.  Yet actions like this from the Teamster are dangerous to our movement.  I want to make it very, very clear. I have great respect for all of the Teamsters I know.  They are very hard-working men and women.  The IBT has had it fair share of ups and downs over the years but anyone who stands up for workers is a winner in my book.

However I disagree greatly with this move by the IBT to go after jobs that are currently represented by the TWU.  This make no sense whatsoever.  We need to expand our ranks, not cannibalize them.  This is also a very bad time to try to take these members away.  US Airways and American Airlines are in the middle of a merger.  When companies merge, there are usually job losses.  Change unions during this delicate negotiation process could result in even more job losses.

The TWU Air Transport Director Garry Drummond had this to say about the upcoming elections:

“Many mechanics signed cards calling for an election between unions because they believe in democracy, ironically a vote for the Teamsters means that democracy would be suspended. If the Teamsters were to become the bargaining agent, under federal labor law, elections for new local leaders wouldn’t happen for as long as three years. Meanwhile critical negotiations with the ‘new’ American Airlines will take place before the end of the year. Workers at the new American would be voiceless during these crucial contract talks.”

I am reminded of the problems that the IBT has been having with Republic Airlines. They have gone for years now working without a contract. They even threatened to strike.  Now is not the time to switch from one representative to another.

Workers deserve a voice in the workplace and these workers have already chosen who will represent them. Now the IBT is using the same tactics of the vulture capitalist that unions protect workers from.  This corporate raiding is wrong and needs to stop.  Let me reiterate, I have nothing against the IBT overall, I disagree with this raid on the US Airways workers.  I hope for the sake of all the workers involved that the TWU retains their representation rights and this matter is ended.

We need to be working together, not fighting each other.  We are all in this fight together.  We all want what is best for the workers.  This S@#$ has to stop.

MAINE: Join Us For Personal Members Accounts Of What Happened To Take Down Twinkies

Hostess Strike BCTGM

Everyone is invited to a very special event in Portland Maine.

Event: Bakers and Bankers-Who Really Keeps the Dough?

Date: Wednesday, April 3rd. 7pm.

Location: University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine. Wishcamper Center room #133

The workers of the Hostess plant in Biddeford, Maine will put their side of the story front and center this coming Wednesday.  Mike Hummell (a 14 year Hostess BCTGM worker from Lexena, KS) has graciously agreed to join the panel by the Southern Maine Labor Council to discuss the pension theft and how the company portrayed the issue in the media versus reality.

“I also hope to encourage people to be more active in confronting dishonest media reports. I will of course remind everyone of the role of Ayn Rand cultist Judge Drain while I’m at it.” Mike Hummell

Joining Hummell on the panel will be John Jordan, Business Manager for Bakers Union #334 along with Joe Piccone, Business Agent for Teamsters Local #340, the union representing the delivery drivers at Hostess. Having the Local representatives from both the Bakers and the Teamsters should give a good look at the events on the ground as they unfolded.

Rounding out the panel will be Biddeford City Councilor Richard Rhames, addressing both the impact the closing is having on Biddeford and the various tax breaks provided by the city to Hostess. How much did the people of Biddeford do for Hostess over the years? What exactly did they get to show for it when it was all said and done? Has the city been left hanging on any promises? Hopefully the City Councilor Rhames will be able to answer some of these questions.  Again, if you have questions, please put them in the comments on the Facebook event page.

This will be a discussion of the direct effects on the city of Biddeford. The other speakers will tell the story from their unique local perspectives.
(RSVP To the event via FACBOOK)

You can read about the Biddeford, Mike and the plant in this article. http://www.pressherald.com/…It gives a grim view of the prospects for former employees.

The bakery union representing former Hostess workers has objected to the planned sale of the bread brands to Flowers, saying the bid offers no assurances that former labor contracts would be honored.The Industry International Pension Fund also is objecting to the sale.

In a court filing on Feb. 25, the bakery union and pension fund said, “Flowers has not committed to preserve a single job, and in fact has affirmatively disclaimed any obligation even to ‘consider’ employing a single worker.

“Thus, while debtors’ secured lenders may view Flowers’ bids as the ‘best’ for getting themselves paid, Flowers’ bids provide zero assurances that the rights of the debtors’ workers will be protected,” the filing said.

If you are a Portland, Maine, please join us for a discussion of the real life effects of our hedge fund economy. Or as Fox News would say- “Union thugs gang up and steal Twinkies from babies!”

Catch up with the pension theft here. http://www.dailykos.com/…

You can also see what really happened to Hostess in the video, from Mike Hummell.  It is very different than what the mainstream media may have told.