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What a disappointment that Congress left town without doing much about the joblessness that hangs over our country like a toxic cloud.

However, there is plenty the administration can still do about rewarding companies that create good American jobs – and punishing those that don’t.

The answer lies in one unglamorous word: procurement.

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And delivery trucks don’t need flight attendants to issue safety instructions. Here’s the latest Teamsters video making that obvious point.

video

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The Teamsters unmask FedEx’s union-busting CEO in a video that shows the foolishness of his claim that drivers are pilots.

Fred Smith, who was on John McCain's short list to be vice president, has been telling Congress that his FedEx Express employees should be classified as airline workers under U.S. labor law. That’s because he desperately wants to hang on to a special favor he received 14 years ago – legal obstacles for his employees to join a local union.

In 1996, Smith lobbied for – and got – an exemption from the labor law that governs every other package delivery company in the United States.

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Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 12:33 PM PST

Give NAFTA the SHAFTA

by TeamsterPower

Wall Street and big businesses got NAFTA and U.S. workers got the SHAFTA. For more than a decade, millions of U.S. jobs have been sent abroad because of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Finally, 16 years after NAFTA went into effect, a bill was introduced today in Congress that would give NAFTA the SHAFTA. The measure, introduced by Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, calls on the United States to withdraw from NAFTA. The Teamsters fully support this measure.

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Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska continues to betray America’s working families at a fast pace this year. Nelson was the only Democrat to vote against cloture for the jobs bill. Thankfully, enough votes were cast to end debate on the bill. Staying true to form, Nelson was the ONLY Democrat, and one of only 28 Senators, to vote against the jobs bill.

Nelson’s ‘nay’ votes show that he’s not willing to stand up and fight for good jobs for the hardworking men and women in his state or his country.

This is the second time in less than a month that Nelson has slammed the door on working families. He became the first Democrat to announce he would not vote for Craig Becker to serve on the National Labor Relations Board despite Becker’s stellar qualifications as a seasoned labor lawyer.

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To the tune of "YMCA," dozens of Teamsters who deliver new cars for a living and consumer activists went to the Washington, D.C. Auto Show to give attendees a
song and dance routine they soon won’t forget about why Fiat/Chrysler is a bailout bandit.

The song starts out like this:

"Chrysler, you take all of our cash, I said, Chrysler, you dump jobs like they’re trash. I said, Chrysler, the buyers worry their cars will be damaged when delivered."

The Teamster tune’s message was to tell attendees how Fiat/Chrysler, which received $14 billion in the taxpayer-funded auto bailout, is now moving work away from the professional carhaul companies that have delivered their vehicles to dealerships for many years. By using cut-rate carriers, Chrysler risks new cars being damaged when delivered.

The loss of this work could put these carriers out of business, leaving up to 5,000 people without jobs and health care.

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When workers stick together, they are able to make sure they are treated fairly by their employers. In some cases, they form unions so they can collectively bargain for better treatment. This is their right, under the National Labor Relations Act.

This is why President Obama's nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board is so important. The NLRB’s mission is to uphold the laws governing relations between unions and private sector employers. Becker is a good choice for the position. He knows the NLRA inside and out because of his background as a labor lawyer.

Becker had to make a rare appearance for an NLRB nominee yesterday before a Senate panel. Becker said if he is confirmed he has a duty "to implement the intent of Congress as expressed in the law."

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Patricia Smith cracked down on companies that stole workers’ wages as
commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor. Her reward for protecting workers from predatory employers? Extremist anti-worker senators held up her nomination as solicitor for the U.S. Labor Department for months, just to appease their big corporate backers.

But last night, the Senate voted to send Smith’s nomination to the floor for a full vote. She’s likely to be confirmed this week. If that happens, Smith would be the third-ranking official in the Labor Department, where she would be responsible for overseeing nearly 200 federal labor laws.

The Teamsters are confident that Smith will ensure that the nation’s labor laws are fairly applied. Smith has shown she has workers’ interests at heart already, as New York State’s Labor Department commissioner.

Smith has done an outstanding job in New York State. She has the backing of every single member of the New York State congressional delegation – Democrat and Republican alike. She is known there for bringing business leaders, labor leaders and workers together. In other words, she’s extraordinarily qualified to be Labor Solicitor.

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Another 470,000 people filed for unemployment insurance for the first time today. People are justifiably angry at Congress for failing to do much about our dismal jobs situation.

It’s not that lawmakers lack ideas or opportunities to reduce unemployment. For example, there’s a bill that has been languishing in the U.S. Senate for three years. It would authorize new funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If enacted, the bill would create a lot of jobs for Americans.

My boss, Jim Hoffa, believes the Senate must stop sitting on the
FAA Reauthorization bill and pass it NOW.

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Today in America a handful of investors can kill tens of thousands of jobs overnight.

Earlier this year, they almost killed 30,000 good Teamster jobs at YRC Worldwide (YRCW) the country’s largest trucking company. My boss, Jim Hoffa, managed to shame them into backing down.

The investors had a weapon of mass job destruction called the credit default swap. The credit default swap is essentially a bet that a company won’t be able to repay its debts. It allows investors to make more money if a company goes under than they would if it survives.

Think about it. We have a financial system that gets special treatment from the government and the taxpayers because it’s supposed to create jobs. But the system is actually allowed to sell financial products that destroy jobs.  

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Teamsters are known for their ‘can do’ attitude in the face of any crisis. And just recently, Teamster flight attendants were more than willing to help bring 53 Haitian orphans from the earthquake-ravaged island to Pittsburgh for medical help. One of the flight attendants was Jeff Abney, who works for Shuttle America and is a member of Teamsters Local 135 in Columbus, Ohio.

When Republic Airways, which owns and operates Shuttle America, was looking for employees to help in this relief effort, Abney immediately said he wanted to help out.

The main goal of the operation was to safely transport Haitian children, whose orphanage was destroyed in the earthquake, to Pittsburgh. Once in Pittsburgh, the orphans would receive medical treatment and eventually be placed with families who had elected to adopt them.

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My boss Jim Hoffa doesn’t think truck drivers should be allowed to drive 18-wheelers on the highway when they’re exhausted. And he’s right.

But the trucking industry disagrees. The industry, represented by the American Trucking Associations, seems to care more about making money than protecting the health and safety of truckers – and everyone else who drives on our roads. They’re fighting to preserve a Bush-era rule that allows drivers to work dangerously longer hours.

Back in 2003, the trucking industry persuaded the Bush administration to expand truck drivers’ allowable work days and work weeks. Ironically, they did so because Congress ordered them to come up with safer hours-of-service regulations.

Led by Hoffa, the Teamsters have been fighting that regulation ever since. The Teamsters and their allies twice convinced the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that the regulation was unsafe, unsound and contrary to law.

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