PROTEST: Teamsters to protest DOT's Illegal Mexican Truck Project

Cross-posted from DailyKos

I just got word that Teamsters in Laredo, Texas, and San Diego, California, are going to protest the DOT's illegal pilot project to allow Mexican trucks beyond the current 25-mile border safety zone tomorow.

I will update with times and places as the details become available.

We welcome all bloggers, vloggers, photographers, and supporters. Help us send a message to the Bush administration that we have a Congress for a reason.

March with us!

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DOL Sec. Elaine Chao's Lies in the WSJ About EFCA

Cross posted on Daily Kos

An Open Letter to DOL Sec. Elaine Chao:

Dear Secretary Chao,

I find it highly disturbing that a Cabinet secretary of the United States, let alone the leader of the Department of Labor, which is tasked with protecting worker rights and wellbeing would lie so blatantly and carelessly when it comes to the Employee Free Choice Act.

And what is truly infuriating is that the labor movement helped create the very department you have bastardized into a tool for the very corporations it was created to guard against. Today it is clear just how far you are willing to go to protect corporations from workers - instead of the other way around.

I wouldn't be surprised if the anti-union talking points you regurgitated in the Wall Street Journal today were crafted by professional fear mongerer Rick Berman and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I am surprised that a Cabinet secretary would publicly display her ignorance of our labor laws - both as they are on the books now, and the proposed changes in EFCA.

Your ignorance is either laughable or malicious. In either case, your words and actions call into question your fitness to lead the Department of Labor.

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DOT Cooking its Stats to Make Mexican Trucks Look Safer

Cross posted from DailyKos

Despite a massive public outcry, and against the bipartisan will of Congress, the Bush administration will likely sneak the first Mexican trucks across the border in a week or two. Laws be damned, security be damned, public safety be damned.

Don't expect brass bands and flag waving. From the very beginning, the DOT has tried to run this sham "pilot project" under the radar. The first trucks over the border will likely be well inside the U.S. before their certification is even announced. The reason is simple: Allowing Mexican trucks onto U.S. highways violates a 2002 law that, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, "prohibited DOT, and more specifically FMCSA, from using funds to review or process applications of Mexican motor carriers seeking long-haul operating authority until 22 preconditions and specific safety requirements were met."

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An Open Letter to The New (low) Standard

This is an open letter to Michelle Chen and the Editorial Staff of The New Standard:

Dear Michelle and Staff,

I have to say that I like what you stand for. I too have often written about the profit-blinders worn by corporate media and longed for a worker-centered voice.

Your masthead states:


TNS strives for accountability and fairness, and to uphold rigorous rules for sourcing, transparency and ethics. With an organizational structure based on equity, solidarity, diversity and self-management, The NewStandard serves grassroots social change with uncompromised journalism and the application of democratic principles at all levels of its operation.

Fine words.

It's unfortunate that you do not live up to them.

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DOT's Experiment Puts Us All at Risk

Cross posted from DailyKos

On Friday Transportation Secretary Mary Peters unveiled a dangerous experiment. The DOT wants to give 100 Mexican trucking firms full access to U.S. highways.

On the surface you can see why the Teamsters would be against this. It's one more step in the Bush agenda to export good paying American jobs to a foreign country where corporations can fatten their bottom lines by exploiting cheap labor, lax environmental standards and nonexistent regulations.

Some may call us xenophobic or racist. But it's not about race or bigotry. It's about safety. It's about being able to drive down the road with your family and not have to worry about whether the driver in that 18-wheeler in the next lane has slept in the past 20 hours. It's about whether that truck is safe to operate at 65 or 70 miles an hour. It's about whether you can trust anything the Bush administration and Mexican government says.

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Bloggers and Labor: We Need Each Other

Cross posted from DailyKos

In labor's heyday -- the 1940s and 1950s -- as post-war Americans built the middle class, there were thousands of reporters who covered labor full-time. Today, there are only two full-time labor reporters at metropolitan newspapers in the United States -- Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times and Stephen Franklin of the Chicago Tribune.

This is why labor needs bloggers. This is why the Teamsters are on YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Kos and MyDD. Because while the MSM prattles on about Britney's shaved head, and Anna Nicole's body, hundreds of cases of unfair labor practices and other incidents of worker injustice would otherwise go unreported.

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School Bus Safety Shouldn't Go to the Lowest Bidder

Cross-posted from DailyKos

It was announced today that UK transportation giant FirstGroup PLC will be purchasing Laidlaw International - the owner of Greyhound - for nearly £2 billion. For most, this may sound like another stale business story. But FirstGroup and Laidlaw are also two of the largest private sector school bus operators in the U.S.

Roughly half of the nation's school districts outsource the responsibility of driving your children to and from school. The Teamsters are not against outsourcing services to achieve savings through economies of scale. We represent both public and private sector drivers. What we object to are companies that cut corners, fail to pay descent wages and put children at risk.

First Student, the U.S. subsidiary of FirstGroup, is just such a company. And that is what should concern every parent who sends a child off to school on First Student bus.

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School Bus Safety Shouldn’t Go to the Lowest Bidder

Cross-posted from DailyKos

It was announced today that UK transportation giant FirstGroup PLC will be purchasing Laidlaw International - the owner of Greyhound - for nearly £2 billion. For most, this may sound like another stale business story. But FirstGroup and Laidlaw are also two of the largest private sector school bus operators in the U.S.

Roughly half of the nation's school districts outsource the responsibility of driving your children to and from school. The Teamsters are not against outsourcing services to achieve savings through economies of scale. We represent both public and private sector drivers. What we object to are companies that cut corners, fail to pay descent wages and put children at risk.

First Student, the U.S. subsidiary of FirstGroup, is just such a company. And that is what should concern every parent who sends their child off to school on First Student bus.

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Iowa Unions Need Your Help

Unless you live in Iowa, there's little chance that you've heard about a fight being waged in the newly Democratic state house. The anti-union Right is painting the measure as a job-killing attack on the state's economy, elderly and virtues. It will not only send employers fleeing for the borders, but also cause a mass exodus of skilled and highly educated workers, steal critical tax money from social programs and force workers to * gasp * join unions. It's Armageddon, the plague, Big Brother and the Sopranos all wrapped up in one.

The proposal introduced in the Iowa Legislature is called "Fair Share," and that's all it asks. That all workers who receive union-negotiated benefits contribute to the cost of providing those benefits.

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Why America Needs Employee Free Choice Act

Almost one-in-five union organizers or activists can expect to be fired as a result of their activities in a union election campaign. This revelation came last week in a report (pdf) by The Center for Economic Policy and Research.

"Aggressive actions by employers -- often including illegal firings -- have significantly undermined the ability of U.S. workers to unionize their workplaces," said John Schmitt, CEPR senior economist and lead author of the paper. "With the legal penalties for such actions being so slight, employers can break the law to head-off organizing efforts and face almost no real repercussions."

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