AuthorTopic: ✊ UNION!  (Read 3471 times)

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https://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/22126/uaw-gm-tentative-agreement-labor-unions-third-tier-worker-strike

Friday, Oct 18, 2019, 2:17 pm
Why I’m Voting No on UAW’s Deal With GM: A “Third-Tier” Worker Speaks
BY Mindy Isser


Raina Shoemaker, a General Motors employee and a UAW member, speaks to the press from the picket line. (Photo by Mindy Isser) 

After 33 days on strike, the leadership at the United Automobile Workers (UAW) has negotiated a tentative agreement with General Motors (GM). Nearly 49,000 UAW members—concentrated mostly in the Midwest, with a few plants scattered in the South and Northeast—will stay out until their contract is ratified. And although union leadership has encouraged the rank and file to ratify the contract, many workers are unhappy with the highlights of the proposed deal. Numerous workers at the General Motors plant in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, tell In These Times that local union leaders are travelling to Buffalo, New York today, to read the full tentative agreement. Members have until October 25 to vote the contract in or to send the bargaining committee back to the table.

There are many important issues facing UAW members and leadership during this contract fight. The leadership is under a watchful eye by both its members and the media, thanks to multiple corruption scandals. But workers themselves are concerned about a myriad of issues: health insurance, giving temporary workers a path to become permanent, closing the gaps between different tiers of workers, and keeping GM plants in the United States. This tentative agreement does not appear to solve many of these problems—and, in fact, allows the closure of three plants.

In These Times spoke with Raina Shoemaker, a GM employee and a UAW member at a facility in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

Mindy Isser: Tell me what you do, and how long you’ve been at General Motors.

Raina Shoemaker: I work in the GM Customer Care and Aftersales (CCA) facility, where we distribute parts to all of the different dealers. I’m in the Philadelphia one that’s on the East Coast. What I do is I pick parts, fill orders, and then they get shipped out. I’ve been at GM for four and a half years.

Mindy: What’s your reaction to the tentative agreement?

Raina: Well, the agreement doesn’t bring all of the temps onto immediate hiring stage: I would like to see temps become permanent with this new contract. If you’ve made your 90 days, you should be brought on permanent. That’s what we wanted with this contract. GM has increased some time off for temps, but not nearly enough, I don’t think. Because it’s such a physical job that we have, our bodies break down. So you need that time off, and we cherish that time off, because we need that time to rest our bodies. So I think it’s lousy for the temporary employees.

Mindy: What about for you? You are a tier-two worker, right? Could you explain what being a tier-two worker and what a tier-three worker means?

Raina: Under the new contract, in the manufacturing plants where they make the automobiles, they are all on the same payscale. For your first year, you’re paid $17 an hour. But four years later, you’ll be at $32.32. Everyone in the manufacturing plant gets to that maximum wage. In the GM Components Holdings plants, where they make certain parts, they are all on the same payscale, but that payscale is lower. You only max at $22.50 after eight years there, which I think is just wrong.

At the CCA, where I am, there are multiple pay scales. The top scale people, which we call tier one, they’ve been there forever. They have pensions. They max out at $31.57. With this new contract, the scale below them, which we call tier two, they max out at around the same pay. But they don’t get a pension—that’s the big difference between them now. 

You can consider me tier three, which they call “in progression.” It takes me eight years to max out, and my max rate is $25. But we are in the same building, doing the exact same work. At these other buildings, they’re all in the same building, doing the same work, with the same pay scale. But not here. There are different pay scales that go all the way down to the temps, and if you take them all, there are four tiers. We’re still not considered one whole union, like we’re not all equal.

It’s just not a good contract. You can say you want the ratification bonus, yeah, they’re giving us $11,000, they’re giving the temps $4,500, just to sign the contract. That’s a one-time deal. That’s just not good enough. I don’t even want to look at that. If you take that out of the equation, the rest of the contract is lousy.

Mindy: Do you think your coworkers feel the same?

Raina: I think a lot of them do, yes. And you know, they’re not even bringing back any of the jobs from the facilities that they’re closing. Those plants are done. So we didn’t even get job security because of that. So I hope every one of those workers from Lordstown and some of the other plants, I hope every one of them says no to this contract. Because we’re going to need numbers.

The only plants that look really good right now are the manufacturing plants, some of the facilities that build the cars. They have a pretty good deal there. But the problem with that is they’re gonna all vote yes.

But GM, their future is to not manufacture anything in this country. They’re on their way to just take everything across the borders. And the only thing that will be left for GM in the future is the parts division that I’m in. Because you need to be able to get the parts to warehouses and then distribute them. But do I see manufacturing sticking around at all? Not the way that GM is going. They just want to keep throwing things into every other country, Mexico especially. They want to pay their people $3 an hour. They don’t care. An American company should really be an American company. And when you’re putting things everywhere else but America, then I don’t look at you as an American company anymore.

Mindy: You said that your plant would be safe in the United States. Why do you care about the other workers across the country? Is it just because you think an American company should be an American company and work in the United States, or is it something bigger, like you’re concerned about the other members of your union?

Raina: I’m totally concerned about the other members of the union. They’re families. GM is playing with their lives. They’ve broken down their bodies for 30-plus years, many people, for that company. And then GM turns around and doesn’t care. GM just looks the other way. People need these jobs! This country is going in the wrong direction, it’s not even funny. And it’s not just GM, it’s other big corporations. They’re just leaving. They don’t even care. The middle class is just getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And poverty is just getting worse.

Mindy: Do you think this contract will be ratified?

Raina: I hope not. But I don’t know the numbers. Anyone in a CCA I think will vote no. Any of the manufacturing plants that are closing, I think they’re all going to vote no. I don’t know if we got the numbers. I hope we do vote no. Because this is a lousy contract.

Mindy: What were your hopes for this contract?

Raina: Considering I’m in the third tier, my hopes were to at least be brought up to the second tier. That was my hope: to bring people more equal. More as one, the whole union. And it’s just not. They did a little bit better for the temps, I’m not gonna say that they didn’t. But did I think they did enough? For everything that we’ve done, being out there for five weeks? No. They shouldn’t even have brought this to the table, to be honest with you. I think it’s an insult. I do.

Mindy: What are the next steps for the union?

Raina: Local elected leadership is going to Buffalo to hear everything, to be told why this is such a great deal. And then it’ll be brought to us, the membership, and then I guess we’re going to be told why this is such a great deal. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid, sorry. And I hope none of us drink the Kool-Aid. We need this vote to be exactly the way we need to vote, and that’s no.

Mindy: Any big takeaways from this strike?

Raina: My big takeaway is what we feel amongst each other: the unity. But we don’t feel the unity from the higher up union officials. I just feel like they’re not fighting enough. I don’t know what the other side is saying. I’m not in that room with General Motors. They’ve got multi billions of dollars, so are they willing to lose another 2 billion? Probably, because it’s like chump change to them, they can do it. They’ve got that much money. And do they care that they hurt us as we sit on that picket line? No, they really don’t.

And obviously they don’t care too much about their dealerships, because the dealers are really hurting at this point. And that’s their customer. I don’t get it.

It breaks my heart that big companies really don’t care about anything except the bottom line. They don’t care about people.

Mindy: Is this your first strike? What did you think about going out on strike for the first time? Did you have any fears about it?

Raina: I didn’t have any fears about it. I thought it was definitely about time, because I know what we endure every day in that facility. I know how bad our bodies break down. I know that we deserve to be paid for. Especially the ones that are in the tier that I’m in. I know we needed to keep our health care good. A lot of us get hurt. We’re constantly twisting, bending, turning, walking 8 to 10 miles a day on a floor that’s stronger than concrete. It really breaks your body down. I really think that this was time. Because they don’t see it.

Our supervisors in our facility, the ones that are now doing our jobs, have actually voiced to me that they want us to come back so bad. One of our supervisors said, “I hope you get everything you’re asking for.” That’s huge, for someone like that—a supervisor who supervises us every day—to say, “I hope you get everything you’re asking for.” Because they’ve endured for five weeks, a small five weeks, what we do, and have been doing, for multiple years.

Mindy: Back to the big takeaways from the strike, a lot has been written about community support. Do you think it’s helped keep morale high?

Raina: We’ve gotten huge community support that we are so thankful for, especially from Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which you know a lot about. Unbelievable. Our hearts are so warmed from the community and all the other unions and DSA. We can’t say enough: thank you. I wish we could do other than just say thank you. It’s just overwhelming. And everybody feels the same way, we all talk about it. That’s one of our main things: We can’t believe the support we’ve gotten. Everyone is supporting us except GM.

Minday: Why do you think everyone is supporting you so much?

Raina: Because I think we have so many middle class, hard-working people that feel like they’re being treated unfairly in their own jobs, whether it’s union workers or non-union workers. They just feel that it’s getting so hard out there, and the owners of these companies, and the greed—it’s just so big in today’s time. They don’t care. People just don’t care. All they care about is money.

Mindy: Any final thoughts to share?

Raina: I’m going to give final thoughts to anyone who feels like they’re being treated unfairly at work. They need to fight for themselves. Whatever it takes.
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https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-truck-driver-truckers-strike-reasons-2019-10

There's a stark reason why America's 1.8 million long-haul truck drivers can't strike
Rachel Premack
13 hours ago


American laborers are striking in droves. Why aren't truckers joining in? AP Photo/John Froschauer

    Trucking is powered by 1.8 million long-haul truck drivers, who move around 71% of America's freight.
    Many of them were unionized as recently as the 1970s, but a deregulation bill passed in 1980 revamped the industry. Labor experts argue that change was not for the better.
    As a result, truck drivers aren't easily able to strike. Many have tried, but the movements haven't gained traction.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tens of thousands of truck drivers were scheming earlier this year to strike. Such a work stoppage could have tremendous implications — some 71% of freight is moved by long-haul trucks, including groceries, manufactured goods, and even money.

"We're not all fat slobs, and we don't all do the stereotypical trucker things," Will Kling, a truck driver based in Reno, Nevada, told Business Insider last year. "Trucking has been forgotten."

"When you go to that store and you pick up that bottle of wine or that ketchup, you don't think about the process it took to get it where it is," Kling said.

But, instead of teaching America at large to respect the 1.8 million big rig drivers, the much-hyped protest was a dud. Ultimately, just a few dozen people participated in the April "Black Smoke Matters" strike.

Read more: Thousands of truck drivers are organizing a strike in a Facebook group called 'Black Smoke Matters' — here's the origin of the provocative name

Blue-collar workers in general have struggled in recent decades as pay and job security tumbles. But, following the largest strike since 1970, General Motors employees represented by the United Automobile Workers secured this week an $11,000 bonus, a pledge to retain 9,000 jobs, and other wins, according to the Detroit Free Press.

And that strike held serious economic implications for America's largest automaker. Bank of America estimated that the walkout cost GM a whopping $2 billion.

It's not just auto workers who are demanding pay and benefit boosts, either. In 2018, a record number of American workers went on strike; the most since 1986, Vox reported. That's 485,000 employees ranging from public school teachers to Marriott hotel workers.
The reason truck drivers can't achieve the same wins dates back to the Carter era

This drive for collective action raises the question of why one of the largest labor forces of blue-collar workers can't seem to strike, too.

The reason goes all the way back to the late 1970s, when even liberal lawmakers were jumping on the bandwagon of deregulation. Trucking was seen as a key area in which deregulation could benefit consumers.

Read more: Truck driver salaries have fallen by as much as 50% since the 1970s — and experts say a little-known law explains why

In the mid-20th century, truck drivers had to buy specific routes to move a certain type of product from one location to the other. But goods exempt from regulation moved at rates 20% to 40% below similar products that were regulated, according to Thomas Gale Moore, then a senior fellow at Stanford University's conservative public policy think tank Hoover Institution. Moore noted that rates for "cooked poultry" were 50% higher than rates for "fresh dressed poultry."

Ultimately, that meant consumers were paying more because trucking was an industry with little competition and high barriers to entry. But it also meant truck drivers were better paid.
trucker protest 1973
1973: Truck drivers gather ahead of a fuel price protest in Worcester, Massachussetts. Spencer Grant/Getty Images

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 removed many of the cumbersome regulations that the previous law, passed in 1935, had put in place. Most notably, it allowed new trucking companies to open with relative ease and removed many of the route regulations. Companies also had more control over changing their rates.

The law was passed by President Jimmy Carter, who declared that the MCA would save consumers as much as $8 billion ($25 billion in 2018 dollars) each year.
That deregulatory act also clamped down on unions

Following the passing of the MCA, truck drivers' salaries tumbled. From 1977 to 1987, mean truck driver earnings declined 24%, according to research by Wayne State University economics professor Michael Belzer. And from 1980 to the present day, a Business Insider analysis found that median trucking wages have sunk as much as 35.8% in some metropolitan areas.

"To be able to be a truck driver used to be quite a good blue-collar, middle-class job, but over the past 40 years, it has kind of dwindled away," Gordon Klemp, principal of the National Transportation Institute, previously told Business Insider.
trucker wages 1980 vs 2017
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

Unions also lost much of their power. Membership in Teamsters, which was once one of the most powerful unions around, has declined dramatically. In 1974, Belzer wrote that there were 2,019,300 truckers in Teamsters. Now, there are 75,000.

When truck drivers were largely in Teamsters, work stoppages were common — and sometimes quite dramatic. In 1970, a nationwide trucker strike went on for more than a month, dealing a serious economic blow in cities like Chicago and St. Louis.

In Cleveland, Ohio, the impacts even became one of domestic security as rock-throwing protesters drew 3,000 National Guardsmen to the city. "Helmeted troops, armed with M‐1 rifles, were stationed in pairs on some overpasses, while other guardsmen rumbled along on patrol in quarter‐ton trucks," reported The New York Times on May 1, 1970.

The strike led to a pay increase of nearly 30% for all Teamsters truckers. The average nationwide hourly pay of $4 got a $1.10/hour bump, the Times reported.
Without a union, a nationwide strike to force wage and benefits bumps is nearly impossible

Bob Stanton, a longtime truck driver who didn't support the Black Smoke Matters strikes, said it's too challenging to wrangle all of America's truck drivers to strike together. "You can't get enough of trucking to participate," he told Business Insider.

Truck driver Lee Epling noted that truck drivers don't have enough time or money to strike. "In order for a movement like (Black Smoke Matters) to actually happen, you need the two things independent owner operators like myself do not have," Epling told Business Insider. "That's the luxury of time, and a whole lot of money."

But unionization would ease the barriers to striking. Most strikes are called by labor unions as a last resort while bargaining for a new contract. Even those who might not necessarily agree with the strike are prevented from working, because strikes are called after enough union members vote to stop working.
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https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/21/us/chicago-teachers-strike-monday/index.html

Chicago's teacher strike heads into another week, with no end in sight. Here's what's at stake
CNN Digital Expansion Shoot, Holly Yan

By Holly Yan, CNN

Updated 12:11 AM ET, Tue October 22, 2019
Chicago teachers strike for better conditions

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/R8a8iv6dqT4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/R8a8iv6dqT4</a>

(CNN)Chicago public schools students will miss classes for a fourth day on Tuesday as a teachers' strike drags on.
The Chicago Teachers Union and city officials negotiated through the weekend but couldn't reach a deal. On Monday, about 10 different proposals on various issues went back and forth, a senior city official told CNN. The Chicago Teachers Union enlisted the help of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who attended a bargaining session, to mediate.
A Democratic presidential candidate will add her voice in support of the teachers. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to join Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, and educators on the picket lines on Tuesday, the union said. Bargaining resumes Tuesday, the Chicago Teachers Union said.
Chicago Teachers Union members gave Mayor Lori Lightfoot a grade of 'F' for the latest round of negotiations, union president Jesse Sharkey told reporters Monday night.

"The mayor has dashed our hopes for a quick settlement," Sharkey, said citing a letter Lightfoot sent to the union urging them to end the strike as negotiations continue.
"We are not going back to work without a legally binding agreement," Sharkey said.
Lightfoot's letter, which was shared on the union's Twitter account, said in part: "The students and families of Chicago cannot afford to be out of school for any longer, which is why we are asking you to end the strike and encourage your members to return to work while bargaining continues."
"Our team has been turning around thoughtful counteroffers at a rapid pace. We are hopeful that CTU will meet that pace ... so we can bring this process to a fair and responsible end."
The union's demands echo what teachers across the country are fighting for: smaller class sizes, more support staff, higher raises and more school funding.
But the mayor and Chicago Public Schools say it's just not realistic to fund everything the union wants.
"CPS is not flush with cash," the mayor said. "The fact is there is no more money. Period."
'Tragedies waiting to happen'
Chicago teachers say they're fighting for students who often face dire challenges.
About 75% of their students qualify for free or reduced lunch. In some neighborhoods, gangs and violence permeate the streets, forcing children to grapple with grief at a very young age.
Nine of 10 majority-black schools have no librarians, and there aren't enough bilingual teachers in a district that's "nearly half Latinx," the union said.
And many schools don't have a full-time nurse.
"There (are) just tragedies waiting to happen because we don't have enough staff in our schools," nurse Dennis Kosuth told CNN affiliate WLS.
Last year, Kosuth had to split his time among six schools.
"It was impossible for me to give the kind of care that I wanted to give to my students," he said.
Where Chicago students can go during the strike
Where Chicago students can go during the strike
This year, he's working at three different schools. "But I'm still just as busy."
Hiring more social workers, counselors, nurses, bilingual teachers and librarians is just part of of the union's demands.
Teachers also want smaller class sizes, higher pay for all school employees and more teacher prep time during the school day.
More than 41,000 Chicago elementary school students are trying to learn in classes with 30 students or more, the union said. Of those, 5,290 are in classes with at least 35 students.
And from the elementary to high school levels, CTU said, some classes have more than 40 students.
A bit of progress
Chicago Public Schools has offered to steadily raise teachers' salaries to an average of $97,757 by fiscal year 2024.
&#39;I&#39;m angry. I&#39;m not going to sit down,&#39; one Chicago teacher says

'I'm angry. I'm not going to sit down,' one Chicago teacher says 02:14
"We will also ensure every school has a full-time nurse by 2024," CPS said.
It said it would also commit another 200 social workers and special education case managers for the highest-need schools over the next three years.
A veteran teacher's aide makes less than $30,000 a year and must work other jobs
CPS' latest offer would also raise the salaries of teachers' assistants, nurses and clerks every year for the next five years.
But the challenge isn't just funding those new positions -- it's finding enough quality applicants.
"Social workers, nurses, counselors, and other similar positions are hard to hire," the school district said. "The candidate pool is limited, and hiring is competitive."
Desperate to fill teacher shortages, some US schools have started hiring from overseas
Desperate to fill teacher shortages, some US schools have started hiring from overseas
Last month, the union asked for "CPS to hire more than 1,000 new employees by October 1, 2019, across several hard-to-find specialties," the school district said.
"The (union's) proposal also calls for hiring approximately 3,000 more employees over the next two years at a cost of more than $800 million. Even if CPS could realistically afford such a commitment, it would be nearly impossible to meet those hiring goals."
After lengthy negotiations Saturday, the teachers' union said both sides are getting closer to an agreement -- but sticking points remain.
"We have tentative agreements on eight different items -- two in particular, I think, are huge," CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said.
"One goes with the pipeline for teachers of color," which could help reverse "the precipitous decline of black teachers," she said.
"The other one that's huge is that over the life of the contract, we effectively have a charter (school) moratorium."
Why many teachers are angry about charter schools

Why many teachers are angry about charter schools 10:55
While many parents have joined teachers on the picket lines, some oppose the strike.
"To me, it's a whole distraction and interruption to the school year," said Liam Boyd, the father of a fourth grader at Blaine Elementary School.
"I don't support the union. I think the school district and the city has been more fair this time and (are) trying to be more fair."

The union's president, Jesse Sharkey, said he has two children in the school district.
"We understand that a strike is a disruption to the parents of the city," Sharkey said. "It's worth a short-term disruption if that puts in place over the long-term the conditions that make education better in this city."
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✊ France hit by nationwide strike as workers protest over pension reforms
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2019, 08:21:23 AM »
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/05/france-strike-public-workers-protest-against-macron-pension-reform.html

France hit by nationwide strike as workers protest over pension reforms
Published Thu, Dec 5 20195:11 AM ESTUpdated an hour ago
Silvia Amaro   @Silvia_Amaro
   
   
Key Points

    President Macron is pushing for a single, points-based system.
    At the moment, there are 42 different pension plans that vary according to profession and region, meaning some workers are entitled to a full pension before the general minimum retirement age of 62.
    The new system would mean that pensioners that contributed the same amount would have equal rights.

GS - French strike
People take part in a demonstration to protest against the pension overhauls, in Montpellier, southern France, on December 5, 2019, as part of a national general strike.
SYLVAIN THOMAS | AFP | Getty Images

France is experiencing one of its biggest strikes in decades as public sector workers protest against changes to the pension system.

The main impact of the strike is being felt on the transport networks and schools. The French national rail company, SNCF, canceled 90% of its trains on Thursday; the Parisian metro closed 11 out of its 16 lines; and the Eurostar is operating with a reduced timetable. France’s education ministry expects 55% of its teaching staff to go on strike nationwide.

There are also about 250 official demonstrations scheduled across the country. According to the French newspaper, Le Monde, more than 180 000 people are taking to the streets in 30 different parts of France.

Many of the main train stations, which usually see big crowds early morning, were empty. Workers either decided to stay at home or use alternative ways of transport. The Eiffel Tower and the Orsay Museum — two of the biggest Parisian landmarks — were shut because of staff shortages, according to the French agency AFP.
A picture taken on December 5, 2019 shows a view of the Gare du Nord in Paris during a strike of Paris public transports operator RATP employees over French government’s plan to overhaul the country’s retirement system, in Paris, as part of a national general strike.
JOEL SAGET | AFP | Getty Images
Why are they striking?

Prior to his election in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reform France’s pension system. He believes the current arrangement is unfair, complex and costly. According to OECD data, France’s retirement system is one of the most expensive in the world, costing the government 14% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).

Macron is now pushing for a single, points-based system. At the moment, there are 42 different pension plans that vary according to profession and region, meaning some workers are entitled to a full pension before the general minimum retirement age of 62. The new system would mean that pensioners that contributed the same amount would have equal rights.

Tomasz Michalski, professor of economics at HEC Paris business school, told CNBC Thursday that for every 10 euros that a worker earns in income, that person will get one point under the new system. “But how will these points be translated into benefits?,” Michalski wondered.

The full details of Macron’s reforms have not yet been officially put to Parliament. Thursday’s strike is pre-emptive action and does not have an end date, meaning it could last for some time. Philippe Martinez, leader of French trade union the CGT, told reporters that the strike will not end this evening.
VIDEO04:05
French commuters brace for widespread delays amid strike action

Previous attempts to change the pension system have also been met with strong opposition from public sector workers. In 1995, President Jacques Chirac ended up caving into union demands after his pension reform plans faced weeks of demonstrations.
Who are the winners and losers?

However, not every worker is unhappy about the expected pension reform.

Michalski, who’s based in Paris, said that Macron’s base, those with high-paying jobs, and also people that enter and leave the workforce often will be the “winners” of a point-based system.

However, transport workers argue that the new system would mean they would have to work longer into old age or see their pension reduced.

It is yet unclear how Macron might react to the strike action. Public support seems to be behind the strikers rather than the government — one opinion poll predicted 69% of the public supported the demonstrations, according to the BBC.
A demonstrator holds a sign reading “I want my retirement before arthritis” during a demonstration to protest against the pension overhauls, in Paris, on December 5, 2019, as part of a national general strike.
ALAIN JOCARD | AFP | Getty Images

However, Michalski from HEC business school said: “If you are working from home with your kids (because transport is limited and schools are closed), you will be angry.”

In a research note, Antonio Barroso, deputy director of the research firm Teneo, said: “Given Macron’s track-record, his strategy in the coming weeks is likely to be a combination of attrition with certain flexibility concerning the proposed policy changes.

“The government will most likely also continue to portray the demonstrations as an attempt by vested interests to preserve the inequalities created by the current pension system,” Barroso added.

About a year ago, France was embroiled in protests. The so-called “Yellow Vests” movement took to the streets to protest against planned diesel taxes — their demonstrations lasted for several months.
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Re: ✊ UNION!
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2019, 01:12:16 PM »
It is huge.  The whole country is shut down I think.  Hard to know.  News of France does not make it to America well.
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Re: ✊ UNION!
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2019, 01:32:43 PM »
It is huge.  The whole country is shut down I think.  Hard to know.  News of France does not make it to America well.

Here's more...

RE

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/785018695/national-strike-in-france-shuts-down-cities-over-macrons-pension-reform-plans

France hit by nationwide strike as workers protest over pension reforms
Published Thu, Dec 5 20195:11 AM ESTUpdated an hour ago
Silvia Amaro
@Silvia_Amaro
   
   
   
Key Points

    President Macron is pushing for a single, points-based system.
    At the moment, there are 42 different pension plans that vary according to profession and region, meaning some workers are entitled to a full pension before the general minimum retirement age of 62.
    The new system would mean that pensioners that contributed the same amount would have equal rights.

GS - French strike
People take part in a demonstration to protest against the pension overhauls, in Montpellier, southern France, on December 5, 2019, as part of a national general strike.
SYLVAIN THOMAS | AFP | Getty Images

France is experiencing one of its biggest strikes in decades as public sector workers protest against changes to the pension system.

The main impact of the strike is being felt on the transport networks and schools. The French national rail company, SNCF, canceled 90% of its trains on Thursday; the Parisian metro closed 11 out of its 16 lines; and the Eurostar is operating with a reduced timetable. France’s education ministry expects 55% of its teaching staff to go on strike nationwide.

There are also about 250 official demonstrations scheduled across the country. According to the French newspaper, Le Monde, more than 180 000 people are taking to the streets in 30 different parts of France.

Many of the main train stations, which usually see big crowds early morning, were empty. Workers either decided to stay at home or use alternative ways of transport. The Eiffel Tower and the Orsay Museum — two of the biggest Parisian landmarks — were shut because of staff shortages, according to the French agency AFP.
GS - FRANCE strike Dec 5, 2019
A picture taken on December 5, 2019 shows a view of the Gare du Nord in Paris during a strike of Paris public transports operator RATP employees over French government’s plan to overhaul the country’s retirement system, in Paris, as part of a national general strike.
JOEL SAGET | AFP | Getty Images
Why are they striking?

Prior to his election in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reform France’s pension system. He believes the current arrangement is unfair, complex and costly. According to OECD data, France’s retirement system is one of the most expensive in the world, costing the government 14% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).

Macron is now pushing for a single, points-based system. At the moment, there are 42 different pension plans that vary according to profession and region, meaning some workers are entitled to a full pension before the general minimum retirement age of 62. The new system would mean that pensioners that contributed the same amount would have equal rights.

Tomasz Michalski, professor of economics at HEC Paris business school, told CNBC Thursday that for every 10 euros that a worker earns in income, that person will get one point under the new system. “But how will these points be translated into benefits?,” Michalski wondered.

The full details of Macron’s reforms have not yet been officially put to Parliament. Thursday’s strike is pre-emptive action and does not have an end date, meaning it could last for some time. Philippe Martinez, leader of French trade union the CGT, told reporters that the strike will not end this evening.
VIDEO04:05
French commuters brace for widespread delays amid strike action

Previous attempts to change the pension system have also been met with strong opposition from public sector workers. In 1995, President Jacques Chirac ended up caving into union demands after his pension reform plans faced weeks of demonstrations.
Who are the winners and losers?

However, not every worker is unhappy about the expected pension reform.

Michalski, who’s based in Paris, said that Macron’s base, those with high-paying jobs, and also people that enter and leave the workforce often will be the “winners” of a point-based system.

However, transport workers argue that the new system would mean they would have to work longer into old age or see their pension reduced.

It is yet unclear how Macron might react to the strike action. Public support seems to be behind the strikers rather than the government — one opinion poll predicted 69% of the public supported the demonstrations, according to the BBC.
A demonstrator holds a sign reading “I want my retirement before arthritis” during a demonstration to protest against the pension overhauls, in Paris, on December 5, 2019, as part of a national general strike.
ALAIN JOCARD | AFP | Getty Images

However, Michalski from HEC business school said: “If you are working from home with your kids (because transport is limited and schools are closed), you will be angry.”

In a research note, Antonio Barroso, deputy director of the research firm Teneo, said: “Given Macron’s track-record, his strategy in the coming weeks is likely to be a combination of attrition with certain flexibility concerning the proposed policy changes.

“The government will most likely also continue to portray the demonstrations as an attempt by vested interests to preserve the inequalities created by the current pension system,” Barroso added.

About a year ago, France was embroiled in protests. The so-called “Yellow Vests” movement took to the streets to protest against planned diesel taxes — their demonstrations lasted for several months.
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✊ Democratic candidates threaten to skip debate amid labor fight
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2019, 02:42:03 AM »
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/13/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-threaten-skip-debate-labor-fight-084530

Democratic candidates threaten to skip debate amid labor fight

All seven candidates who have qualified for next week's debate say they will not cross the picket line.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren


Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By QUINT FORGEY

12/13/2019 01:47 PM EST

Updated: 12/13/2019 05:17 PM EST


All seven Democratic candidates who have qualified for the PBS NewsHour/POLITICO Debate at Loyola Marymount University next week threatened on Friday to skip the event, asserting they would not cross the picket line of campus workers locked in a labor dispute.

UNITE HERE Local 11, a union representing 150 cashiers, cooks, dishwashers and servers at the university, said in a statement that it had not yet reached a resolution in negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement with Sodexo — a global services company that employs the workers and is subcontracted by the university to handle food service operations.

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Local 11 began talks with Sodexo in March, but said the company last week canceled scheduled contract negotiations after workers and students began picketing on campus in November.

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"We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week," Susan Minato, co-President of Local 11, said in the statement. "Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus."

The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that it was working with all parties involved to find "an acceptable resolution" that will allow the debate to go forward.

"The DNC and LMU learned of this issue earlier today, and it is our understanding this matter arose within the last day," Xochitl Hinojosa, the DNC communications director, said in the statement. "While LMU is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11, Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either."

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Local 11 "is fighting for better wages and benefits—and I stand with them. The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate."

Half an hour later, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted: "I stand with the workers of @UNITEHERE11 on campus at Loyola Marymount University fighting Sodexo for a better contract. I will not be crossing their picket line."

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang also tweeted that he would not cross the Local 11 workers' picket line to attend the debate. "We must live our values and there is nothing more core to the Democratic Party than the fight for working people. I support @UNITEHERE11 in their fight for the compensation and benefits they deserve," he wrote.

"I won't be crossing a picket line," former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted. "We’ve got to stand together with @UNITEHERE11 for affordable health care and fair wages. A job is about more than just a paycheck. It's about dignity."

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Billionaire envrionmental activist Tom Steyer tweeted that if the dispute between Local 11 and Sodexo "is not resolved before the debate, I will not cross the picket line. I trust the DNC will find a solution ahead of the debate, and I stand with @LoyolaMarymount workers in their fight for fair wages and benefits."

"I take the debate stage to stand up for workers’ rights, not to undermine them," tweeted South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. "I stand in solidarity with the workers of @UNITEHERE11 at Loyola Marymount University and I will not cross their picket line."

Speaking at a roundtable of labor leaders in Miami, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said: "I don't believe we should cross a picket line. So I would encourage the DNC to try to work this out to find a new location, or they're going to have to figure out how to resolve this."

The California Labor Federation, which is made up of 1,200 affiliated unions, had urged the White House contenders to not participate in the debate amid the protests, tweeting: "Every democratic candidate has vowed to fight for working people. It's time to put those words into action."

The planned demonstrations and candidates' ultimatums mark the second time a campus labor fight has upended plans for the December debate, slated to be the final party-sanctioned televised forum of the year.

After announcing the University of California, Los Angeles, as the debate's initial venue in late October, the DNC backtracked two weeks later, deciding the university would not host the event.

AFSCME Local 3299, the University of California's largest employee union, had demanded a boycott of speaking engagements at the university after being locked in a dispute with the the 10-campus system for nearly three years.

"In response to concerns raised by the local organized labor community in Los Angeles, we have asked our media partners to seek an alternative site for the December debate," DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill said in an emailed statement in November.

UCLA said in a statement it had "agreed to step aside as the site of the debate rather than become a potential distraction during this vitally important time in our country’s history."

Seven candidates have met the qualifying thresholds necessary to take part in the PBS NewsHour/POLITICO Debate — the smallest assembly of competitors set to appear on one debate stage thus far in the primary cycle.

Alex Thompson contributed to this report.
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