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News :: Labor
Labor Union Rally - Support the School Bus Drivers - 30 June 6pm Dorchester
27 Jun 2014
After a year of the anti-union Violia Corporations anti-worker management of the Boston Public School bus system workers are organizing to fight the bosses cut backs.
Click on image for a larger version

Veolia - Hands Off School Bus Drivers!

On Monday, June 30, at 6pm, there will be a labor union rally in Dorchester at the Freeport Street bus yards. The organizers are asking people to gather at the corner of Dorchester Ave. and Hoyt St - directly outside a Veolia Corporation managed facility.

Some of the demands and signs are:

Don't Kick Middle Schoolers Off the Bus!

Say 'No' to BPS Cuts! Defend Public Education!

Contract Justice Now!

Veolia: Unfair Labor Practice!

We want safety for Children! Keep the Union Drivers!

United Steelworkers International leaders who have been fired by Veolia - Steve Gillis, Andre Francois, Steven Kirschbaum, and Garry Murchison are backed by many in the Boston labor movement.

The rally has been endorsed by:

Steve Tollman - President Mass. AFL-CIO

Rich Rodgers - Exec. Sec. Treasurer, Greater Boston Labor Council

Myles Calvey - Business Mngr. IBEW Local 2222

John Shinn - Director District 4, USW

Charles Clemons, founder of "Touch Radio 106.1"

Coalition for Equal Quality Education

Minister Don Muhammad - Nation of Islam Mosque 11

Chuck Turner - former Boston City Councilor

Mel King - activist former mayoral candidate

International Action Center

Women's Fightback Network

Stonewall Warriors

Every person who shows up helps. Make an effort to stand on the streets of Boston for labor union rights, and to defend public education. Organized workers have the power to turn this society around, and upside down. Show up and scare the bosses!

See: Dailymotion video of the rally in Feb 2014 in Dorchester -

Still photo slide show - Boston Bus Drivers Rally Photos - 1 Feb 2014
See also:

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Labor Union Rally - Support the School Bus Drivers - 30 June 6pm Dorchester
27 Jun 2014
Modified: 09:40:57 AM

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In the U.S. »
Labor appeal for Boston school bus drivers’ union

Labor appeal for Boston school bus drivers’ union

By Workers World staff on June 23, 2014

The following June 11 letter was sent out to the labor movement and signed by Myles Calvey, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222; Rich Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer, Greater Boston Labor Council; Dumond Lewis, president, United Steelworkers Local 8751; Steven A. Tolman, president, Massachusetts State AFL-CIO; Andrew Slip, staff rep., District 4 USW; and John E. Shinn, director, District 4 USW.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We are writing to ask for your support and solidarity in a most critical battle against the Veolia Corporation’s union-busting war on Unied Steelworkers Local 8751. It is a vital fight to protect union rights and defend the fired leaders of Boston School Bus Union, USW 8751 — Vice President and Pension Administrator Steven Gillis; Recording Secretary and Charlestown Chief Steward Andre Francois; Steward and former three-term President Garry Murchison; and Grievance Chair and founding member Stevan Kirschbaum. We are organizing for a Day of Solidarity on Monday, June 30, at 6 p.m. at Veolia’s corporate offices, 35 Freeport Way, Dorchester, Mass. Labor and community must stand together as one to serve notice to Veolia that we will not allow union busting in Boston!

How you can help:

1. Please join us in our campaign to drive union busting out of Boston. Endorse and organize your members for “Solidarity Day,” June 30, 2014. Please spread the word widely.

2. Invite the four to your membership meeting to expose the facts of Veolia’s anti-unionism.

3. Write or call Veolia Transportation’s General Manager Alex Roman III demanding that he reinstate the fired leaders and honor the union contract: alexander.roman (at); 617-780-4840.

Veolia, a French-based global conglomerate, has a trail of union busting and corporate ruthlessness around the world. Veolia businesses include transportation, energy, environmental, water and more. In transportation alone, Veolia has waged anti-union campaigns against bus drivers from San Francisco (SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555) to Phoenix (ATU 1433); from Pensacola (ATU 1395) to Las Vegas (ATU 1637); and from Baltimore (UFCW 1994) to Denver (CWA 7777). Veolia’s standard tactics are to low-bid city management contracts, then force concessions and cutbacks in clear violation of the existing union contracts. When the workers and their unions resist, the bosses threaten, harass, discipline and fire the union leaders and activists.

Despite signing an agreement to honor all terms and conditions of the USW 8751 contract on June 18, 2013, since Veolia took over management of Boston School Bus transportation on July 1, 2013, they blatantly and systematically violated nearly every article regarding wages, benefits and working conditions. At the same time, they repudiated the established grievance and arbitration procedures. From July to June, the union has filed hundreds of individual and class action grievances. In August, the Steelworkers filed 18 unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. On Oct. 7 the company attempted to force the drivers to fill out new hire applications. The members also knew that due to the federal government shutdown at the time, they had no redress available. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On the morning of Oct. 8 the drivers reported to work and demanded a meeting with Veolia, whose top management as well as Boston Public School officials were on site at the bus yards, concerning the company’s total failure to honor the contract. They refused for hours; then at 11 a.m., the company locked the gates and evicted the drivers under threat of arrest for trespassing. The workers’ request for a meeting is protected concerning union activity, and the company’s lockout was a violation not only of the contract but of federal law. There never was a wildcat strike. This allegation was a cruel hoax perpetrated against the union by Veolia, with the aid of former Mayor Menino, his School Department and the Boston media. When Boston City Council called a hearing to investigate the events of Oct. 8, Veolia, the Menino administration, and Boston Public School officials boycotted it. The City Council has vowed to continue the investigation. Veolia, in a clear attack on the organizational backbone of the union, singled out the four union leaders for firing. They have been out since the first week of November.

Meanwhile BPS has initiated a massive austerity cutback campaign that calls for kicking middle school students off the yellow school bus as well as reduction in union staff and services throughout the system, which will not only jeopardize equal quality education but eliminate union jobs!
Anti-Union Democrats -- Obama’s People Show Their True Colors
27 Jun 2014
Modified: 01:53:51 PM
Played for Suckers by DAVID MACARAY

For those who wondered what happened to Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former campaign advisor and mealy-mouthed White House press secretary, he has resurfaced in the private sector. He is the co-founder of Incite Agency, an upscale public relations firm. Apparently, going from an underpaid shill for the White House to an overpaid shill for Corporate America was a seamless (and guiltless) transition.

Gibbs’ public relations company’s first major assignment is going to be a real whopper. Hold on to your seat. Incite Agency is going to launch a national public relations campaign aimed at destroying America’s teachers’ unions. It’s true. Gibbs and company have announced that they will be preparing the groundwork for lawsuits across the country, challenging tenure and other teachers’ job protection.

When you consider that Obama has surrounded himself with anti-union people (Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan, Eric Holder, et al), this vile announcement should come as no surprise, not to people who’ve been paying attention. Still, the naked audacity and venality of the move caught some of us off-guard. We’re reminded of that Lily Tomlin line: “I worry that no matter how cynical I become, it’s never going to be enough.”

If people out there—say parents—were truly and sincerely opposed to school teachers receiving tenure, believing that union protection somehow contributed to “substandard education” (which every study ever conducted has refuted), one could almost forgive their ignorance. Not knowing the facts, all that these good people want is a decent education for their kids, for America’s kids, and no one should ridicule that.

But this anti-teacher campaign has nothing to do with improving education. It has as much to do with that as “designer water” has to do with improving people’s health. Some ambitious guys simply got together and figured out a way to get people to reject municipal water. By pretending that plastic water was somehow better than tap (even though municipal standards are higher), they were able to carve out a new market. Getting people to pay for something they could otherwise get free is no small feat.

These same guys (the ones who want more toll roads and want to charge fees for walking on hiking trails) now want to privatize America’s public education system. The prospect of millions of families willing to pay for something that they could otherwise get free has these covetous money-grubbers positively drooling. This would be a bonanza for the ruling class. But it’s tricky. It’s a big move. How do they pull off something like that?

Obviously, they can’t compare resumes or backgrounds or certification. Obviously, they can’t mention the fact that public school teachers are required to have not only a college degree but a teaching credential. They can’t mention it because of the embarrassing fact that private school teachers aren’t required to have either.

Private school teachers require less certification and are paid less. Yet these entrepreneurs want people to believe private schools somehow attract the best teachers. That argument wouldn’t work for doctors. You couldn’t convince people that the best physicians were the ones with the least education and lowest salaries. So how do they convince them that privatization is a smart move? They do it by demonizing the labor unions that represent the teachers.

Given that there is a massive public relations smear-job loose upon the land, it is incumbent upon the AFL-CIO to respond in kind. The House of Labor has money to spend. They need to spend it wisely. Instead of blowing it on futile organizing drives (e.g., Wal-Mart), they should focus their energy on speaking frankly with the American public. Convince them that they’re being played for suckers. There is still time.

David Macaray is a labor columnist and author (“It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor, 2nd Edition)
Re: Labor Union Rally - Wage Theft
01 Jul 2014
Click on image for a larger version

The Victimization of Workers - Wage Theft by DAVID MACARAY

Just when we thought things couldn’t get much worse—with corporations boldly resorting to economic blackmail, jobs being sent to low-wage countries, labor unions being marginalized and demonized, and school teachers being treated as America’s new “enemy”—we learn that business owners are victimizing workers at the low end of the wage curve, precisely the people who can least afford to be cheated.

Also, it’s happening right in my own backyard. According to Tia Koonse of the UCLA Labor Center, “Los Angeles is really the wage theft capital of the country.” Of course, this isn’t because LA is “evil,” or is populated by an inordinate number of greedy bastards or outright thieves (unless you include Hollywood), but rather because it’s home to the greatest concentration of Latino workers, both legal and undocumented.

Southern California restaurants and carwashes are where you will find the most cases of wage theft. Knowing that the majority of their workers either won’t or can’t report the violations to state authorities, the owners of these businesses behave as if they’ve been given a license to steal.

And it’s not as if there aren’t statutes on the books covering this stuff, because there are. Every one of these violations is prohibited by law. Moreover, it’s not a matter of these businesses poring over the existing laws, looking for exemptions—the way Wall Street bankers pore over SEC regulations, looking for (and always finding) loopholes. These businesses don’t bother with any of that legalistic finesse. This is outright theft.

One hears it said that because the owners of these carwashes are Mexicans—as are the employees (“carwasheros”)—it’s none of our (Anglo) business. If these rats are going to victimize “their own kind,” there’s not much we can do about it. That argument is not only dumb, it’s dangerous. Take the early Mafia in the U.S. These were Sicilians who terrorized decent Sicilian and Italian immigrants. What does common nationality have to do with the violation of well-intentioned laws?

Wage theft comes in several forms—everything from your basic refusal to pay minimum wage, to not paying for every hour worked, to using the old tried-and-true method of forcing employees to pay for equipment or training. One trick is to charge exorbitant fees for uniforms. That couldn’t happen in a union shop. If uniforms are mandatory, the union makes sure the company provides them. (Oh, wait….I forgot. Unions are now characterized as “unnecessary.”)

In truth, even though wage theft in the U.S. mainly affects Latino immigrants, it’s got little to do with national origins. As any freelance writer will tell you, this is purely an economic phenomenon….one of those ineluctable “supply and demand” arrangements.

Roughly a decade ago I sold a couple of op-ed pieces to the LA Times. We agreed on a price for each ($300), they sent me a contract, I signed it, they published the articles. The entire experience was quite pleasant. The articles (700 words) were no-sweat to write, and the editor with whom I dealt was the model of professionalism. We spoke on the phone, she asked me a question about the statistics I cited, and that was it.

A year later, I submitted an op-ed to another newspaper. I won’t name the paper, but it has one of the largest circulations in the country. Because the subject matter was timely, they wanted to run it within the next day or two. The editor asked how much the LA Times had paid me for my earlier op-eds. I told him it was $300. He said that was fine, that they would also pay $300.

I received a check for $150. That bothered me. But with so many writers out there looking to be published, and so few outlets available, I had the distressing feeling that this was one of those “take it or leave it” deals, not unlike the unhappy dilemma facing LA’s carwasheros. What are those poor guys expected to do? Not work?