January 11, 2013
Volume 1., Issue 260
LA Port Truck Drivers Secure First Union Contract
After years of working in third-world conditions for poverty wages, the truck drivers at the Port of LA who move goods for some of the biggest retailers in the world finally secured their first union contract with Teamsters local 858. The drivers who are employed by the logistics company Toll Group are now guaranteed fair wages, affordable health care, job security and retirement benefits.
“When we started organizing ourselves, we weren’t asking for anything out of this world. Dignity. A fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work. Decent, sanitary facilities to make a pit stop, rest, eat…you know, to perform our jobs safely,” said Jose Ortega Jr., a Toll Group driver who served on his co-workers’ bargaining committee. “But we knew winning respect would take a fight at every turn. So if we were afraid to lose our jobs, we asked our allies for help. When it was time to take action, we prayed for courage to speak out. And we always stuck together, and never gave up.”
TSOs Defeat Effort to Privatize Security at Sacramento Airport
Last year, the Sacramento Board of Supervisors authorized the Sacramento airport to apply for a controversial program that would allow the airport to replace its skilled and trained Transportation Security Officers with workers from a private, for-profit company. The privatization plan has the potential to open up air travelers to serious security risks, and would lead to job losses and de-professionalization of airport screening.
The TSOs and their union, AFGE, united with the community to oppose the privatization plan, and this week, the Sacramento Supervisors reversed their position and voted to stop the airport from proceeding with privatizing airport security. “The dedicated federal screening workforce that works for TSA is a crucial part of defending our nation from a repeat of the horror of 9/11,” AFGE TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas. “Proponents of a private screening workforce are misinformed about costs and labor issues and should instead be working to empower federal screeners to do their jobs.”
Take Action to Stop Filibuster Abuse in the U.S. Senate
For too long in the U.S. Senate, tactics like the filibuster have been misused and abused, resulting in Congressional gridlock that has prevented countless vital bills from becoming law. But on the first day of the new legislative session, the Senate will have the chance to restore the filibuster to its original purpose and to streamline its procedures.
You can take action to fix the Senate today by urging your Senators to support Senate Resolution 4, which would make meaningful Senate rules changes, including requiring senators to speak on the floor if they wish to filibuster.
Send a message to the Senate today.
Saturday: Signature Gathering to Stop the Fresno Trash Scam
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen has been seeking to discreetly privatize residential waste collection in the city, which would result in a hidden tax increase on Fresno residents and mass layoffs of the city’s current waste collectors. The community is responding with a petition to require a public vote by Fresno residents on the trash privatization scheme.
Take action to fight the Fresno trash scam by collecting petition signatures on Saturday beginning at 9am at the Labor Council office (3485 W. Shaw Avenue #101 in Fresno). Lunch will be provided.
2013 Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival to Commemorate Jon Fromer
Legendary musician and union activist Jon Fromer passed away on January 2nd at his Mill Valley home after a long battle with cancer. Jon's inspiring music and larger-than-life personality left a lasting impact on so many, and his legacy will continue to live on through his songs, many of which have become anthems of the Labor Movement.
Jon was one of the founders of the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival, and this year’s event is being dedicated to his memory. The annual celebration of the artistic and spiritual culture of labor and working men and women will take place January 18th -20th at Machinists local 1781 Hall, 1511 Rollins Rd in Burlingame.
This Week on “Labor’s Edge”
- “New Immigration Rules Aim to Keep Families Together” by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO
- “Cleaning Up: The Power of Community-Labor Partnerships” by Dennis Loney, AFL-CIO
- “Rhee’s Education Report Card Focuses on Everything But Results” by Matthew McDermott, Unionosity.com
- “’Gonna Take Us All – Remembering Jon Fromer” by Rebecca Band, California Labor Federation
- “Toll Group Truck Drivers Clinch New Power with First Union Contract at L.A. Ports” by Victor Cuevas, Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports
- “TSOs Defeat Effort to Privatize Security at Sacramento Airport” by Emily Ryan, American Federation of Government Employees