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  1. #1
    Taking A Stand!!!

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    ABF
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    Albuquerque, NM
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    Default Port Drivers Step up Pressure in Seattle

    Some operations at the Port of Seattle are feeling the impact of a push by harbor truck drivers for changes in their pay and positions.

    Both developments have created spot shortages of drivers in the harbor. The Teamsters union supports the drivers in both instances, seeing the developments as furthering the unionís attempt to organize harbor truck drivers in Puget Sound.
    Port Drivers Step up Pressure in Seattle | Journal of Commerce

  2. #2
    Taking A Stand!!!

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Local Union
    492
    Employer
    ABF
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    38,940
    Rep Power
    872

    Default Re: Port Drivers Step up Pressure in Seattle

    Would like to share an email from a group I belong to regarding this topic.

    Change to Win Strategic Organizing Center


    Our friends at CleanAndSafePorts.org are receiving unusually high traffic this week on their Facebook page and blog due to a stunning safety work stoppage that Seattle truck drivers staged to put an end to the death traps and dirty tricks in the port industry. News agencies appear reluctant thus far to report on the growing protest -- port officials are denying it – so we’re bringing you the blog that has several supporters buzzing about online.

    We hope it inspires you to take a simple, from-the-heart action today as well. Will you send an instant message of solidarity to one of the hundreds of frontline workers who courageously walked off the job to protest the dangerous, deplorable and diesel-soaked working conditions? We will make sure this united group of men and women see your individual name and collective outpouring of support. It will help keep their spirits high as they stand for safety and fairness on the job.

    Send your instant solidarity message now and let these workers know you have their backs!


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Reposted from Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports

    BREAKING: America’s Truck Drivers Shut Down Port of Seattle to Expose Dangers on the Job

    Monday mornings are the busiest at any port, but this past one in Seattle the trucks were parked. Drivers spanning the major companies that do the most business in the Puget Sound simply turned off the engines, got out of their cabs, and stopped hauling.

    Steely determination led roughly 150 port drivers to sacrifice income and risk retaliation to make the hour-and-a-half trek to swarm the State Capitol in Olympia.

    Commerce at the Port of Seattle slowed to a trickle, and hasn’t picked up since.

    This week the truck drivers – who toil under the guise of false self-employment – are making it their job to sound the alarm on occupational hazards, overweight containers, shoddy equipment, risks to motorists, and the culprits responsible for these rampant safety violations: their employers and their giant retail shipper clients like Wal-Mart, Sears, and Target.

    The trucking bosses at Pacer, Seattle Freight, Western Ports and others were stunned, but the state troopers weren’t. Washington’s top cops testified before lawmakers right alongside the workers, detailing a dizzying array of dangers associated with the drayage industry: Chronic safety violations so serious that an investigative journalist discovered late last year that officers pulled 32% of rigs they inspected outside the terminals off the road -- double the rate for trucks throughout the state. When specially trained troopers conducted more thorough inspections in 2011, King 5 TV reported, 58% of Port of Seattle cargo vehicles were yanked.

    If the drivers’ collective action sent shockwaves throughout the shipping and trucking industry, then their demonstration equally uprooted a commonly held societal belief. During the Occupy Wall Street port shutdowns, activists and well-intentioned sympathizers debated whether the blockades would siphon wages from port workers – arguably one of the greatest symbols of the 99% -- or if it would suck profits from the 1%, such as the Seattle-based global terminal operator, Goldman Sachs’ SSA Marine, and its trucking outfit, Shipper’s Transport Express.

    What their protest proves is that port drivers, as inside agitators, are very much willing to lose pay as a means to powerfully reveal the crushing economic forces that literally put their lives and livelihoods at risk. Even, and especially amidst a severe economic downturn. Their historical ability to self organize, unite, and seize opportunities to improve their working conditions is unfolding before our eyes. Hundreds more drivers have since joined the safety work stoppage, and some companies remain shut with too few workers to move the cargo.

    As their trucks remain parked, they’ve asked allies and supporters to help amplify their voices by reposting this and spreading the word about why they flooded the legislative hearing room to standing room-only capacity. One by one, they ferociously spoke in favor of HB 2527, a bill to shift responsibility for fixing the hazards, paying fines, and correcting safety violations off their sweat-ridden backs, and onto the broad shoulders of the mega-rich corporate owners of the tools of the trade like chassis.

    Semere Woldu, who has been hauling cargo at the Port of Seattle for 8 years, told the panel:

    “Our work is extremely dangerous. So the safety laws are very important. Unfortunately though, we drivers are forced to pay for violations that we are not responsible for. We often get tickets or are cited for faulty equipment that we don’t own. One time, my boss knew I had a heavy load. He told me to go by the scale early in the morning when it was closed to avoid having the load weighed.”

    Others shared their fears for their personal safety and the lives of motorists. “Every day, I haul two or three loads that are overweight, possibly putting myself and others at risk,” said Aynalem Moba, a 14-year port veteran. “The truck could tip over. I’m afraid I might kill myself or someone else. Sometimes we’re carrying hazardous materials, and we don’t know it.”

    Some explained the retaliation they face for blowing the whistle. They get banned from the terminals or are denied work by their dispatchers.

    Some of the protestors have already been suspended for speaking out. That only sparked their co-workers to walk off the job in solidarity – and disgust. By Wednesday, these non-unionized men and women who are desperately seeking the protections that collective bargaining rights would provide were leafleting the terminals and the docks, positively engaging the dockworkers brothers and sisters at the longshoremen’s union, vowing to stay united, keep fighting for their rights, and all of our safety.

    Check back for updates; in the meantime, will you stand with them and help spread the word?

    Send your instant solidarity message now and let these workers know you have their backs!

 

 

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