Author Archives: Joe Doc

Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers

BY Kali Robinson

– Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should have workers worried.

“Mike Pence has waged repeated attacks on working Hoosiers as governor and will without a doubt continue the attacks alongside his anti-worker running mate Donald Trump who is ‘100 percent right to work,’” said Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, shortly after news of the announcement broke Friday.

Indiana became a right-to-work state under Pence’s predecessor, but Pence has worked to make sure it stays that way.

Under the law, unions cannot collect fees from non-members who take advantage of unions’ grievance or bargaining services, and are essentially providing these services without compensation.

Two local judges ruled that the law violated the state’s Constitution, causing the Indiana Department of Labor to stop enforcing the law briefly. Pence defended its legality. And in 2014, Indiana’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s right-to-work law.

Pence has also taken a stand against raising the minimum wage to livable levels, opposing a bill that would have raised Indiana’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25. Instead, Pence signed into law a bill prohibiting local governments from forcing businesses to raise minimum wages unless mandated by the state or federal government.

Pence also signed a law repealing Indiana’s common construction wage, leaving wages on publicly-funded construction projects at the mercy of free-market pay scales rather than in the hands of local boards composed of taxpayers or contractors.

In a further blow to workers’ rights, Pence lent his support to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying that the deal would allow Indiana to “enjoy increased market access and fairly compete on the world stage.”

Most labor unions opposed TPP, arguing that it would allow for currency manipulation that increases America’s trade deficit and hurts manufacturing jobs.

Following news of Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Voorhies wrote that while he was relieved Pence would be out of Indiana’s governor’s race, the Republican Party could not be allowed to win the presidency in November.

“Mike Pence is running away from the people of Indiana and into the arms of Donald Trump, and the pair could not be more perfect for each other,” he said. “Trump and Pence are both driven by a divisive political agenda that focuses more on ideologies than actual practical solutions to the issues plaguing working people.”

Source – http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/19297/mike_pence_may_be_a_friend_to_trump_but_hes_no_friend_to_workers

Philadelphia, largest city union agree on four-year contract

By Newsworks Staff

– Philadelphia and the city’s largest union, representing more than 7,000 members, signed a four-year labor contract Friday.

AFSCME DC 33, representing streets, sanitation and other municipal workers, will be the first major city union to enter into a progressive tiered pension contribution structure for current members and a stacked hybrid plan for new members, according to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office.

“I want to thank District Council 33 President Pete Matthews and his entire team for their commitment, hard work and dedication to reaching an agreement that is fair to employees but also fair to the taxpayers of this great city,” said Kenney. “Making the pension fund sustainable has been a key goal of my administration from the beginning. Today’s agreement marks a key step in that process.

“Under this agreement, employees who earn more will pay more for their pensions. We believe that this approach will provide needed assistance to our pension fund and also be fair to city employees at every level.”

Additionally, DC 33 employees will receive a stepped wage increase of 3 percent in July of this year, 2017 and 2019 as well as a 2.5 percent increase in July 2018.

The average salary of DC 33 employees is approximately $38,000. The four-year pact also provides additional funds for the DC 33 health fund to continue to provide quality health benefits to city employees.

Source – http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/95471-philadelphia-largest-city-union-agree-on-four-year-contract

7/13 – Major Announcement – Today In PhillyLabor Radio Moves To 2p-4p Drive Time Slot On WWDB 860AM

By Today In PhillyLabor Radio

– In order to cater to our Philadelphia area union workforce, many who have been unable to listen live to our weekly broadcast while working, the on air voice of the Philadelphia area labor movement, Today In PhillyLabor Radio, is excited to announce that beginning today, Wednesday 7/13 and continuing every Wednesday, we are moving our live broadcast to the 2p-4p drive time slot on WWDB 860AM. We look forward to welcoming all of our union workers tuning in on your way home from work to enjoy Philly’s voice of labor!

This Week’s Featured Guests Are UNITE HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt, Nick Dejesse, OSHA, Sam Pond, Pond Lehocky

Topics – DNC Preview, Taj Mahal Workers Strike Update, OSHA Launches Grass Roots Injury, Illness Prevention Project (GRIIPP), Update on HB 1800

Tune In to WWDB 860AM (or online at: http://wwdbam.com/listen-live/) on Wednesday, 7/13 From 2pm to 4pm and Listen To What All The Talk Is About!

Taxi union: ‘This is the nail in the coffin’ after Uber, PPA reach deal

By Jason Laughlin

– The frosty relationship between Uber and the Philadelphia Parking Authority seemed to have thawed Thursday, when the two parties explained the terms of their temporary agreement on the ride-sharing app’s legality in Philadelphia County, valid through Sept. 30.

That 12-weeks reprieve should give some relief to commuters struggling with SEPTA’s severe service disruption, caused by the sidelining this week of 120 railcars for repairs to serious structural flaws. One taxicab drivers’ representative said the agreement has “devastated” the local industry.

Taxi companies accuse Uber of taking their business. Not only is Uber often cheaper than taxis, but the service is not subject to the numerous regulations that taxi companies are. Because of that, taxi drivers say there is less motivation for people to drive taxis rather than Uber vehicles.

The agreement includes a stipulation that Uber and the PPA will resolve all current legal disputes regarding UberX, Uber’s regular service, and UberPool, its car-pool operations, in Philadelphia from Oct. 24, 2014, to July 7, 2016, through a settlement of $350,000 to be paid by Uber for operating without regulation. Vince Fenerty, the PPA’s executive director, said the money would be held in a trust account set up by both parties’ attorneys, and would be turned over to the PPA only when state legislation is passed that would regulate ride-sharing services such as Uber.

The Pennsylvania legislature failed last week before recessing for the summer to pass legislation on a measure that would have regulated the ride-share industry, in which riders hail drivers using apps on their cellphones.

Fenerty said the PPA had hoped lawmakers would have voted on such legislation by now, but had to take matters into its own hands instead.

“Unfortunately, there’s this thing called the budget, and that has to be worked through before the legislature can do any work on this,” he said.

Uber and PPA representatives were surprisingly convivial at a news conference on the agreement Thursday, a sharp departure from the two parties’ dispute-riddled past. Fenerty offered Jon Feldman, Uber’s general manager for Pennsylvania, a PPA baseball cap, and Feldman jokingly offered Fenerty an Uber ride.

In January, the Daily News reported that PPA had conspired with taxi companies to ensure that ride-sharing services such as Uber remained unregulated, operating illegally, in Philadelphia. In response, Uber called the PPA untrustworthy and urged the passage of legislation that would regulate Uber and similar services in Philadelphia.

Fenerty acknowledged that taxi companies would not be pleased with the announcement, but he chalked it up to the consequences of a free market. Ronald Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, said the announcement “devastated” the taxi industry.

“This is the nail in the coffin, because they’re allowing them to operate with no regulations,” Blount said.

He said Uber’s presence outside Philadelphia makes sense, because less public transportation is available. But he said Uber had “oversaturated the industry” in the city.

Despite the rough history between Uber and the PPA, Fenerty emphasized the two have been working harmoniously for months.

“Sometimes there is a need for people to come together and make an exception,” Fenerty said. “I trust people from my gut, and I trust that [Feldman] is an honorable man.”

Alex Friedman said he was not so sure. Friedman, a taxi medallion owner and president of the Pennsylvania Taxi Association, said it was a “huge puzzle” why the PPA would suddenly work with Uber.

“I don’t know if it was because of Uber pressure, or because SEPTA has broken trains, but all of a sudden we become a scapegoat,” he said.

Besides the settlement, Fenerty said that the agreement would provide a “stand-down” period for enforcement action against Uber drivers and that the two would not pursue further legal action against each other over driver operations in Philadelphia.

Dennis Weldon, PPA’s general counsel, said that although Lyft, an Uber competitor, was not involved in the agreement, it was in talks with the PPA.

Meanwhile, Uber announced Thursday a plan to expand UberPool’s reach in Philadelphia and pledged to use at least $2.5 million through Labor Day to subsidize UberPool rides. Uber spokesman Matt Wing said UberPool was not currently self-sustaining in Philadelphia.

“The only way to make it profitable is when there’s enough user demand,” Wing said. “We’re nowhere near that level yet.”

Source – http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160708_Former_foes_Uber__PPA_in_temporary___350K_ride-share_agreement.html

Stop Staples Rally – Sunday, July 17th, 2016 – We Need Your Help and Participation. Join The Fight!

By The American Postal Workers Union

– THE HANDWRITING IS ON THE WALL!

The Postal Service plan to switch jobs to the private sector is underway and has been revealed in documents forced in to the record during the NLRB case.

We believe that these good Post Office jobs are worth fighting for!

– WE NEED YOUR HELP AND PARTICIPATION. JOIN THE FIGHT!

– STOP STAPLES RALLY – SUNDAY, JULY 17th, 2016

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Philadelphia Stop Staples Committee will be holding a rally to protest outsourcing and privatization of U.S. Postal Service Jobs and Services.

WHO: Postal Workers and Retirees, along with other labor and community supporters , family and friends

WHAT: Protest at Staples Store in downtown Philadelphia against outsourcing and privatization of the U.S. Postal Service

WHEN: Sunday, July 17, 2016, 1pm to 3pm

WHERE: Staples 1500 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19102 (Near City Hall)

– Shirts, Signs, Fliers, and cold bottled water will be provided. ALL WE NEED IS YOU!

If You Plan on Joining Us, Please Contact: June Cohen at: 215-859-2504 // ellajune7@aol.com

Visit our Facebook Pg. at: https://www.facebook.com/stopstaplesphilly