Monday, December 12, 2011

West Coast Unions avoid Federal fines by not officially planning port shut down with Occupy

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union didn't endorse the Occupy shutdown of the port on November 2nd, and it didn't endorse the shutdown on Monday, December 12th. Why?  Basically because if they did endorse the action, it would be like a strike and they wouldn't get paid. That action would open up the Union to the possibility of fines, a Federal judge fined the Union $315,000 for disruptions earlier this year.

What happens is an arbitrator is called to the scene, if the arbitrator declares the terminal unsafe for the Longshoreman to work, they go home for the day, with pay. My stepfather worked as a longshoreman for over 30 years and operated under similar rules.

If a federal judge determines that occupiers are acting on the union’s behalf, President Scott Mason of Local 23 in Tacoma, Washington, said:

“we can be charged $5,000 for every incident.”
From Port and Technology:
“To be clear, the ILWU, the Coast Longshore Division and Local 21 are not coordinating independently or in conjunction with any self-proclaimed organization or group to shut down any port or terminal, particularly as it related to our dispute with EGT in Longview (Wash),” read a statement by the ILWU Coast Committee in November. 

Kari Koch of Occupy Portland said that the Local could be held legally liable if they coordinated the protest with the Union.

We would not be doing this action if we didn’t have any support from the rank and file.

The Portland Occupier put it like this:
While the mainstream media tried to pin Occupy protesters against the Unions, all along, protesters knew that rank-and-file unions members stood in solidarity. Anyone with a basic understanding of how Unions currently operate knows that to maintain their contracts, statements like these are issued in order to avoid conflict. Years of US policies crafted behind doors by ALEC and others have drained much vitality from Unions across the country.
Jared Lorio and organizer from Portland adds the punctuation:

The lack of support from the ILWU] sheds light on the fact that our unions have been hamstrung and made ineffective by laws designed to curtail workers organising for their rights to better pay and conditions in this country.

And that brings us full circle back to the ILWU fight with Grain Terminal Operator EGT in Longview, Washington. EGT has refused to hire Union Labor for its terminal operations and is in a long term fight with the Longshoreman's Union over hiring for all of the grain elevators in the Pacific Northwest.

The 2 Portland terminals on North Marine Ave were shutdown.


Occupy LA.


Protestors with Longshore Union signs.


14th St Oakland. ILWU signs.


Entrance to Seattle terminal blockaded.


Terminal 18 in Seattle.


Trucker blasting air horn in support near berth 55 @ OccupyOakland.


Scott Olsen, center, Marching in Oakland.





Trucks outside Oakland terminal.
Code Pink, Code Pink from @laststarwriter

From twitter, @laststarwriter, who took this picture and told me Code Pink was collecting money for non Union truck drivers in Oakland who would loose a days pay.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

So you want fair taxes for the 1% ?

The US economic system used to be stable, banks didn't fail and jobs were created for those wishing to work.

A system that destroys 20 million jobs for over 3 years is broken. 
A system that cant keep its banks afloat is broken. 
A political system on auction to the highest bidder is broken. 
A system that steals our future is broken. 
A system that destroys families is broken. 
A system that increases income and wealth disparity is broken. 
A system that economically oppresses people is broken.

Whats fair is an economic system thats stable. 
Whats fair is to take the big money out of politics. 
Whats fair is tax policy that creates a stable economy. 
Whats fair is regulations like Glass Steagal that creates a stable banking community.
Whats fair is not stealing our future.


Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Declaration of War on the Big Banks.

Declaring that a state of war exists between the Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and other similar institutions (hereby known as "The Banksters"), and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.
Whereas the Banksters have committed unprovoked acts of economic terror against the Government and the people of the United States of America:
Therefore be it Resolved by the people of the United States of America in General Assembly gathered,
  That the state of war between the people of the United States and the Banksters which has thus been thrust upon us by their total disregard for the welfare of their country is hereby formally declared;
  That the people will hereby employ their economic, political and social resources, along with their constitutional rights, to carry on a struggle against the Banksters; utilizing boycotts, occupations, foreclosure and eviction prevention actions, civil disobedience and all other consitutional means to bring the fight to their doorsteps; and,
  To bring the conflict to a successful termination, all the resources of the people are hereby pledged; we will not be satisfied until the trillions upon trillions of dollars taken, and the untold human suffering caused, because of the actions of these Banksters, is recompensed, redressed and justice has been served.
The Ninety-Nine Percent

This was originally a part of an article written by jpmassar and published at Daily Kos.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Real wage growth starts with widespread jobs creation.

In a tight labor market employers have to compete to fill job vacancies, thats when wage growth happens. When workers can fairly vote to unionize a workplace, then more workers can bargain for better wages. When Union wages grow, non union wages grow.

movements in aggregate wages are driven primarily by changes in the earnings distributions of job-stayers and job-changers, rather than those of individuals who move in and out of part-time employment, unemployment, or the labor force. In fact, half of the variance of real median weekly earnings growth over our sample can be traced back to job-switchers. While individuals moving into full-time jobs from part-time employment, unemployment, or from out of the labor force pay a wage penalty, they are too small a share of the overall work force and the fluctuations in this penalty are not big enough to have a major impact on aggregate real wage growth volatility. aggregate real wage growth fluctuations is mostly due to periods of tight labor markets, like the second half the 1990’s in Figure 1, in which many persons change jobs in pursuit of higher pay.

From 1994 thru 2002 unemployment was below 6%, from 1996 to 2001 unemployment was below 5.4% and as low as 4% in 2000. As the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank says, this is a "tight labor market", and the US saw wage growth of as much as 5%. From 1995 to 2000 US median household income grew from $46,408 to $53,164 according to the 2010 Census report. The bad news is that adjusted for inflation median household income in 1973 was $46,109 and in 2010 $49,445. And that increase was accomplished because of the wage growth seen thru women, today women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, and back the day- 66 cents.

A male working full time year round, had a median income of 47k in 2010, adjusted for inflation, 49k in 1973.

So in a nutshell widespread job creation will lead to real wage growth, passing the Employee Free Choice Act will lead to real wage growth thru greater worker participation in collective bargaining. Widespread job creation and wage growth mean more FICA, and are 2 of 3 reasons Social Security doesn't go broke according to the Social Security Trustees report low cost scenario.

So all we need to do is create 25 million jobs. Which really should not be that hard.