Teamsters Prez Threatens Copyright Infringement Suit Against Dissident Website – 500,00 Argentine Healthcare Workers Strike – 20,000 Cal State Undergrad Workers Unionize

Teamsters President Sean O'Brien (left) is threatening to sue a Teamsters dissident union website for copyright infringement (Teamsters)


Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where I’m strangely coming down with a cold despite it being above 90 degrees every day. 

Teamsters Union Threatens Copyright Infringement to Shut Down Website 

Earlier today, the Teamsters announced they would donate $45,000 to the RNC Convention fund. The news that the Teamsters were considering giving money to the RNC was first broken by a rank-and-file forum called Teamsterslink. 

Now, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien has threatened copyright infringement litigation against Teamsters Link for using the word “Teamsters” in their website name. Longtime Teamsters union democracy activists Tom Leedham, Tim Sylvester, and Bill Zimmerman took to Counterpunch to explain what is going on: 

This free speech has not gone unnoticed by the phony reformers that occupy the IBT Building in Washington DC. The O’Brien IBT realized this was not just rank and file teamsters’ members but also teamster officers who were contributing to the forum, officers capable of forming an opposition slate. O’Brien has apparently considered this a significant challenge to his PR operation particularly since the three operators of the forum site are Teamster retirees, former officers and long term, nationally recognized activists. When unleashing an army of trolls just increased the discussion as word of the forum spread, the IBT shifted their response to a legal strategy.

Nixon Peabody is a law firm that brags about their ability to bust-unions. They have impressive clients, including Donald J Trump, a list of union hating corporations, anti-union politicians and Sean O’Brien and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Nixon Peabody on behalf of the IBT is claiming ownership of the word Teamster and virtually any extension of that word. On behalf of the IBT their demanding teamsterlink cease and desist, threatening legal action knowing we could never match the resources of the IBT. This claim is being made now even though there are literally dozens of examples of the word “Teamster” and the teamster logo being use for decades throughout the US and Canada.

Case in point. Teamsters for a Democratic Union for decades and until they endorsed Sean O’Brien for President was considered the conscience of the labor movement and the watchdog of the IBT. How things have changed. As one Teamsterlink poster said, “there has never been a time in my membership where there is less accountability to the membership of the union then right now.” Teamsters for a Democratic Union, once considered the watchdog is now the propaganda wing of the O’Brien IBT. Ignoring any controversies and apologizing for everything from O’Brien’s “mistake” in taking credit for 206,000 nonexistent new members to justifying the $2.9 million settlement of a racial discrimination case involving 13 fired organizers of color. Has TDU been threatened for use of the word “Teamsters” in Teamsters for a Democratic Union? They’ve used the word and logo for decades, as have many other entities. Yet only teamsterlink has been singled out demanding we cease and desist.

For more, check out Counterpunch. 

500,000 Healthcare Workers Strike in Argentina 

Today, over 500,000 healthcare workers went on strike in Argentina to demand a pay raise. They said their pay has not kept up with annual inflation of 210%. 

“We have not yet been able to close the salary update for the year 2023 and the inflation rates recorded in January definitively pulverized the purchasing power of the salaries of the entire operation,” said the Federation of Argentine Health Workers Associations (FATSA) in a statement. “We have held countless joint meetings at the Ministry of Labour, and privately, looking for alternatives to reach an agreement…We are not willing to tolerate employers which finance themselves with the low salaries of workers.”

For more, check out the UNI Global Union website. 

20,000 Undergraduate Employees at Cal State Vote to Unionize

Today, over 20,000 undergraduate employees in the Cal State University system have voted to unionize, creating the largest undergraduate employee union in the country. 

“The CSU says that their goal is to help the student body to make sure they’re set up for success. But it’s kind of hypocritical in a way because they’re not paying many of the student assistants enough to even support themselves, to pay their rent, pay for food, pay for bills,” Emilio Carrasco, a junior, who works 20 hours a week in the Dean’s Office told CBS San Francisco. 

For more, check out CBS San Francisco. 

Congressional Democrats Waver in Supporting Key Union Drives 

While many Democrats have taken on high-profile roles in supporting union drives, some Democrats in Congress are wavering in their support of organizing. 

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, refuses to publicly support a groundbreaking effort by Dartmouth basketball players to unionize. 

“I generally support efforts to unionize but I do know that there are some unique aspects of this particular case. So, I think it is going to be important for the process to play out here,” Hassan told WCAX this week. 

In Georgia, some Congressional Democrats are refusing to get involved in helping workers to unionize at Delta, which is based in Atlanta. 

“I’ve taken a position of neutrality,” Congressman Hank Johnson told Bloomberg this week.  “Delta is trying to prevent unionization and unions are trying to organize. I’m a friend to both.”

For more, check out Bloomberg.

Is Hollywood Sleepwalking into Another Strike

With the IATSE contract set to expire this July, many Hollywood studio executives are quietly assuring themselves that another strike is unlikely to happen after last year’s Hollywood strikes. 

However, many workers are saying otherwise. The Hollywood Reporter has more: 

IATSE VP Michael Miller maintains that his members are determined to make significant gains this cycle despite the odds. “The idea that somehow the membership resolve is significantly weakened by the strikes, I think it’s potentially the opposite. I think [members] have seen that the strikes brought strength to the industry and the expectation is that if the companies come in and treat the members respectfully and pay for a fair contract, that a contract can absolutely be reached without a labor dispute,” he says.

Adds Lindsay Dougherty, the lead negotiator for the Teamsters and the Hollywood Basic Crafts: “We’re going to have issues that need to be dealt with. And I think if you tell our members, ‘Hey, the companies wanted to cut your benefits, cut your wages,’ you think they’re going to be OK with that? No.” She adds, “It’s really about talking about [members’] issues and ensuring that we get a fair deal.” The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which will represent studios and streamers in these talks, said in a statement that it looks forward to “productive negotiations” that will yield an agreement ensuring “an active year ahead for the industry” and recognizing crewmembers’ contributions.

For more, check out the Hollywood Reporter. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

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Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]