POLITICAL NEWS local headings

by Victor D. Torres
Secretary-Treasurer

As we head into the Summer season, the temperature in Washington continues to heat up.

At the national level, Congress with anti-working family majorities in both Houses of Congress have authored the most anti-worker legislation we have seen in generations.

National Right to Work (for less) has been introduced in the House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. The bills, H.R. 785 and S. 545, would make closed shop and enforceable fair share fees a thing of the past.

If this news regarding National Right to Work (for less) is not bad enough, On May 2, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so called “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 – H.R. 1180” by a vote of 229-197. This bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 dismantling the definition of the 40-hour workweek (including the corresponding requirement to compensate the employee at time and one-half) and replacing it with a virtual open-ended work week eliminating the time and one-half pay requirement which could carry forward for several months (For your reference, the San Diego Congressional delegation voted on this bill as follows: Voting the wrong way in favor of H. R. 1180 were Representatives Darrell Issa (49th District) and Duncan Hunter (50th District), voting the right way opposed to H.R. 1180 were Representatives Juan Vargas (51st District) Scott Peters (52nd District) and Susan Davis (53rd District)).

If we take a moment and think about the “flexibility” that would give Employers to work their employees 60 hours one week, 20 hours the next week, 10 hours the following week and 70 hours the final week (and pay the employee all 160 hours at straight time), this is why those of us in organized labor consider the time frame we currently occupy as the dark ages of labor relations in the modern era. The battles that were fought and won by our ancestor’s generations ago are being staged for battle once again without any regard or respect for logic or history. Too often in today’s global corporate world, the only regard is for unlimited greed and disdain towards working families.

Of course, we have no intention to stand by and let any of this happen. Across the country, Unions are joining together to reject this power play which would put the most powerful in our society in complete control of the U.S. workforce with no limits or oversight.

In the Teamsters Union, our leadership is developing a counter punch to this unprecedented 2017 version of the continuing War on Workers. This strategy will require each of us to get involved.

The traditional letter writing, phone calls and rally’s targeting politicians are important, but are only one part of the game plan. As we have reported here over many years, to be successful when it comes to issues such as widesweeping legislation like National Right to Work (for less) or discontinuing the 40-hour workweek, we need not only the support from our own membership, but the support of the larger general workforce as well.

Many of the issues we have successfully lobbied for such as adjustments to the minimum wage and earned sick leave, did not really impact our own members because those issues were already covered in our Union contracts. The impact for these successes have permeated throughout the general workforce and have changed the lives of all working people in a positive manner.

The ongoing challenge has been one of educating and promoting our successes so that everyone knows how these changes came about. Plain and simple they came about because of the efforts of organized Labor Unions.

Our promise to all of you is that we will lead this continuing battle for worker rights in this country and we will win with your assistance and support.

In scholarship news, the Local 481 scholarship program is available. This scholarship program is open to not only the children and grandchildren of our members who are enrolled in and attending an institution of higher learning, but also eligible are the spouses and domestic partners of our members. In addition, our members themselves are eligible to participate in this program as well. The deadline to submit applications including the proper essay and all supporting documentation is September 8, 2017. Contact our office or visit our website for details or to obtain or download an application.

 

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POLITICAL NEWS

by Victor D. Torres Secretary-Treasurer As we head into the Summer season, the temperature in Washington continues to heat up. At the national level, Congress… read more

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