For the week of March 19-23

March 19, 2018:

Workers at Air Express International Vote to Approve New Teamsters Contract
Workers at Air Express International (AEI), an international air freight business, have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new national contract covering about 800 workers across the United States. AEI is part of the DHL Global Forwarding network, a subsidiary of DP-DHL based out of Bonn, Germany.

DHL Steps Back Into U.S. Package Delivery in Challenge to UPS, FedEx
Wall Street Journal
Deutsche Post AG’s DPSGY 0.62% DHL business is tiptoeing back into the domestic parcel delivery in the U.S., drawn in by the strong growth in e-commerce to bring new competition to a market that’s been dominated by United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. FDX 1.87% for a decade.

Pension Committee Must Deliver on Retirement Promise
The Hill
Years of hard work by Teamsters, retirees and other unions to reform the faltering multiemployer pension system finally are paying off. Late last month, congressional leaders announced the members of a bipartisan congressional pension committee, tasked with finding a solution to the nation’s looming pension crisis by this November, and the panel met for the first time on Wednesday.

Job Openings Surge to a Record 6.3 million, Labor Department Says
Job openings in the U.S. surged to a record 6.3 million, according to the most recent count from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of new positions surged by 645,000 as of the end of January, a new high for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Boston Breaks for Amazon Jobs
Boston Herald
Amazon could soon be able to cash in on $5 million in tax breaks over 15 years in exchange for the tech giant bringing 2,000 new jobs to the Seaport, a deal unanimously approved by the city’s development agency last night states.

FedEx Follows Amazon into the Robotic Future
New York Times
As soon as the first robot arrived at a FedEx shipping hub in the heart of North Carolina tobacco country early last year, talk of pink slips was in the air.

There is a Massive Frito-Lay shortage in NYC Bodegas
New York Post
Scores of Big Apple convenience stores have run out of Doritos, Cheetos and other Frito-Lay products — and snack fans can blame PepsiCo Chief Executive Indra Nooyi for their less crunchy lunches.

California Lawmakers Propose Reducing Cannabis Taxes to Compete With Black Market
Merry Jane
Proponents of cannabis legalization often argue that legal retail marijuana sales will put an end to black market weed dealers, but some canna-legal states are finding that shutting down illicit sales is easier said than done. In Oregon, local law enforcement have been struggling to control cannabis overproduction and black market sales ever since cannabis was legalized in 2016. Some of this excess product ends up getting smuggled out of state, leaving officials concerned that federal law enforcement anxious to continue the War on Drugs will interfere with state-legal cannabis industries.

Labor Groups Launch Effort on Grad Student Unions
Inside Highered
The American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, United Autoworkers and Unite Here announced a joint initiative this week to get private institutions to bargain collectively with graduate student workers on their campuses. The National Labor Relations Board decided in 2016 that graduate student teaching and research assistants at private institutions are employees entitled to collective bargaining rights. But a number of private campus administrations have since refused to bargain with graduate students who have held successful union elections. In recent weeks, a group of those unions have withdrawn their petitions pending review by the NLRB, to avoid an unfavorable decision by the Trump-era board.

Pension Committee Holds First Meeting
Lima Ohio
The Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension, co-chaired by Sen. Sherrod Brown, held its first of five meetings this past Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Sen. Rob Portman is also a member of the bi-partisan committee.

Jersey City’s 4,000-Member Teachers Union Strikes for First Time Since 1998
New Jersey True
Jersey City’s public-school teachers walked off the job for the first time in 20 years today, leading to confusion and some chaos across the 29,000-student district as teachers led boisterous protests outside city schools.

March 20, 2018:

Teamsters Statement on Fatal Uber ‘Driverless’ Vehicle Collision
The Teamsters Union continues to stress its concerns with the testing and implementation of self-driving technology after a ‘driverless’ Uber in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, overnight.

Pension Grievance Nets $120,000 From UPS For Two Local 162 Members
Teamsters Local 162 members George Meadows and Ken Lopez both honorably served lengthy tours of duty in the Army including service in Iraq while employed at UPS. They returned from active duty in 2009 and both received promotions to full-time package driving jobs and are now full-time feeder drivers at the UPS facility in Portland, Oregon.

European Trade Unions Call on Logistics Giant XPO to Reinstate US Colleagues Fired for Union Activity
European Transport Workers’ Federation
Global logistics giant XPO is under global pressure for what appears to be illegal union-busting activity in the USA. Jose Ramirez and Ryan Janota, both drivers for XPO in Illinois, were recently fired for exercising their federally-protected right to organize. Now unionists from 8 European countries have signed a declaration calling for XPO to reinstate their colleagues in the USA.

Women’s History Month: Rep. Louise Slaughter
The Washington Post
Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, the oldest sitting member of Congress, passed away March 16. Slaughter was a champion of women’s rights and American manufacturing, the first and only woman to lead the powerful Rules Committee, and much more. Her extraordinary background and tenure are profiled in this article in the

Independent News Network Newsletter, 3.20.2018
Independent News Network
In today’s edition: Trump Cabinet Living High on the Hog… Teachers Starting to Take Actions Around the Country… DeVos Takes Aim at Her Own Employees… Mind Your Health This Spring!

FAA Projects Fourfold Increase in Commercial Drones by 2022
The Wall Street Journal
U.S. regulators expect the number of commercial drones and people flying them to quadruple over the next five years, the latest positive indicator for the industry.

Push to Settle McDonald’s Case, a Threat to Franchise Model
New York Times
The Trump appointee charged with enforcing federal labor rights is moving to head off a court ruling in a case against McDonald’s that could redefine the accountability of companies for their franchisees’ employment practices.

APL, AB InBev, Accenture, Kuehne + Nagel Successfully test Blockchain for shipments
Seatrade Maritime News
The consortium tested a solution where documents are no longer exchanged physically or digitally but instead, the relevant data is shared and distributed using blockchain technology under single ownership principles determined by the type of information.

Trump Administration Escalates Attack on Federal Unions with One-Sided ‘Agreement’ at Education
The Washington Post
The Education Department is attempting to enforce a “collective bargaining agreement” on a union that does not agree.

Knight-Swift Buys Trucker Abilene Motor Express
The Wall Street Journal
The biggest truckload carrier in the U.S. appears to be back in the market for acquisitions.

Uber Death Elicits Warning from Union Wary of Robo-Truckers
Bloomberg Politics
The largest union for U.S. truck drivers, which has taken a cautious view of autonomous vehicles, called for stronger safeguards after a self-driving SUV operated by Uber Technologies Inc. killed a pedestrian in Phoenix on Sunday.

March 22, 2018:

BLET Sues To Halt BNSF Railway Abrogation of Contracts
Three Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) General Committees of Adjustment (GCAs) on Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway filed suit yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado to stop BNSF’s unilateral consolidation of road freight service between Denver and Cheyenne, La Junta, Pueblo, Sterling, and Trinidad; and between Trinidad and Denver/Texline.

Teamster Shuttle Drivers for High-Tech Companies to Negotiate Master Contract
Negotiations for a contract covering Teamster drivers in Silicon Valley will get under way this week. The drivers operate shuttle buses transporting employees for Apple, Facebook and Twitter, among other high-tech companies.

Trump’s Steel, Aluminum Tariffs will Protect American Jobs, Security: Teamsters’ Hoffa
Fox Business
President Trump’s controversial imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which critics warn could trigger an international trade war, has found a new vocal supporter: labor union leader James Hoffa.

Pension Crisis Could Start a Revolution, Teamsters’ Hoffa Warns
Fox Business
International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa said the government has no right to take away pensions from hardworking Americans.

Teamsters Highlight Safety Problems with Autonomous Testing
The Detroit Bureau
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters re-iterated its concerns with the ongoing testing and implementation of self-driving technology after an Uber test vehicle in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

Independent News Network Newsletter, 3.22.2018
Independent News Network
In today’s edition: Trump Targets Healthcare Services… Senators Aim to Slow Outsourcing of Call Centers… CEOs Must Now Disclose Their

Proposed State Initiative Aims to Ban Soda Taxes
US News & World Report
A group backed by the soda industry is seeking to bar cities and counties in Washington state from imposing their own taxes on sodas or other sweetened beverages.

Most Americans Produce Services, Not Stuff. Trump Ignores That in Talking About Trade.
The New York Times
You probably work in the service sector. This seems like a safe assertion, as 84 percent of private-sector jobs in the United States are in services.

Wary of China, Europe and Others Push Back on Foreign Takeovers
The New York Times
Europe is pushing for more stringent vetting of foreign investments, with an eye on Beijing. Australia has been blocking bids by Chinese buyers for strategic assets. And in Canada, a Chinese takeover of a major contractor faces a national security test.

Thousands of JetBlue Flight Attendants to Vote on Joining Transport Workers Union
NY Daily News
Nearly 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants will start voting Monday in an effort to join the Transport Workers Union.

Teamsters File Overtime Suit against Republic in Ohio
Waste Dive
Twenty-five employees represented by Teamsters Local 284 have filed a putative class and collective action suit against Republic Services for alleged overtime violations in Columbus, OH. At issue is a policy requiring employees to change in and out of their uniforms off the clock. The complaint alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Ohio Prompt Pay Act, state recordkeeping law.

March 23, 2018:

Hoffa: Strategic Tariffs on China Signal New Commitment to Protecting U.S. Interests, Jobs
The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa on today’s announcement of strategic tariffs against China.

Sta Workers Join Teamsters Local 449
School bus drivers and monitors working for Student Transportation of America (STA) have voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 449. The 59 workers transport students for the Newfane Central School District.

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Reaches Tentative Agreement with CN Rail
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and Canadian National (CN) announced today that the parties have reached a tentative agreement to renew the labour contract for approximately 1,700 CN locomotive engineers in Canada.

50 Years after Their Historic Strike, Memphis Sanitation Workers Are Still Fighting
Mother Jones
February 1, 1968, was a dreary day in Memphis, Tennessee. As a storm rolled over the city, blanketing the streets in torrents of rain, Robert Walker and Echol Cole grew desperate for shelter. On the job collecting trash, they holed up in the back of their garbage truck, the one place city rules allowed them to seek cover. Tucked away in the rig’s hydraulic compactor, the two men became trapped in a malfunctioning grinder and were crushed to death by the very machine they had turned to for shelter. Describing one of the men’s attempt to escape, an onlooker recalled, “Suddenly it looked like the big thing just swallowed him.”

Want to Empower Women of Color? Support Unions
The Root
Now, more than ever, it’s critical that women raise our voices as we prepare for one of our greatest battles for equality. We must fight back against billionaire political ideologues who want to use the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 case, being considered by the Supreme Court, to limit the power women gain as union members.

Walmart Files Patent Applications for Drone Shopping Assistants and Smart Shopping Carts
The Verge
Walmart filed a host of patents today related to how it keeps track of inventory — and the technologies could change the way its customers shop, as reported by Gizmodo.

America’s Changing Workforce: Independent and Gig Workers
Wall Street Journal
For an increasing number of Americans, a patchwork of gig work is the norm, while others have become so-called independent workers because they take second jobs through digital platforms like Uber or Etsy to make ends meet. But nearly all face the challenges of inconsistent income and access to benefits.

Union Reps Meet With Game Devs about Unionization
Rolling Stone
The people who create video games may not have a union yet, but at least one international union representative tells Glixel, following a round-table meeting on the topic at GDC on Thursday, that the industry could be heading toward change.

County Highway Workers Say Health Insurance is at the Heart of their Move
Marietta Times
In search of a better health insurance option, the employees of the county highway department are considering unionizing.

Madison County Approves Labor Agreement with Teamsters Union
The Telegraph
The Madison County Board approved a labor agreement Wednesday night with the Teamsters Local Union No. 525 giving wage increases and separating the Highway and Animal Control departments.