Greetings from Rio, where I am slowly getting back on my feet after dealing with a respiratory infection last week.
$340 to Payroll Goal with 48 Hours to Go – Lula T-Shirts Still Available
Because I was sick last week, I am now behind on fundraising. Our payroll is due in 48 hours, and we hope to raise the remaining $340.
Good news, if you donate $50 today, you can still get a Lula 2022 T-shirt.
Unions Representing Majority of Railroad Workers Reject Deal
Today, the two largest rail unions split on whether their unions would accept the deal to avert a railroad strike.
BLET, a division of the Teamsters and the largest union, narrowly voted to accept the deal. Meanwhile, SMART-TD, the second-largest rail union, narrowly voted to reject the railroad deal.
SMART joins three other unions, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE), Brotherhood-Railroad Signalmen (BRS), and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB), who represent the majority of the nation’s 115,000 rail union members, in rejecting the railroad union deal. Railroad Workers United (RWU), a rank-and-file group of union members from 13 different unions, applauded the decision.
With the union deadline for strike action set to expire on December 5, rail carriers are putting pressure on the unions to accept the deal.
“Despite being straight-jacketed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), starved into submission, and facing intense political and economic pressure to accept the contract and move on, more than half of railroad workers have had the strength to reject the contract,” RWU co-chair Gabe Christenson said in a statement.
However, it’s unclear if the unions will strike as they are still seeking a tentative agreement.
“It’s now back to the bargaining table for our operating craft members,” Jeremy Ferguson, president of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division, said in a statement. “This can all be settled through negotiations and without a strike. A settlement would be in the best interests of the workers, the railroads, shippers and the American people.”
Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Hosed in FTX Cryptocurrency Scam
The collapse of the cryptocurrency juggernaut FTX has sent shockwaves throughout the financial industry community. Still, one group that got hosed more than most is the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan which invested $95 million in the cryptocurrency plan.
Bloomberg has more on how it happened:
Ontario’s process seemed to have missed red flags — including FTX’s conflicts of interest with Alameda Research and its lack of a proper board of directors.
The latter is a particularly strange miss for Teachers, an early adopter of the view that pension funds should pay close attention to the boards and governance of their investments and disclose their voting on public companies. The fund and its first CEO, Claude Lamoureux, were central to the founding of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an alliance of institutional investors, two decades ago.
Ontario Teachers said the FTX position accounted for less than 0.05% of the fund’s assets, “small-scale exposure to an emerging area in the financial technology sector.”
Some experts defend the approach. “We need to realize that the growth of cryptocurrencies over the past five, six, seven years has been tremendous,” Sebastien Betermier, an associate professor of finance at McGill University, said in a phone interview. “From the perspective of a long-term investor like a pension fund, it raises the question, should we invest a piece of our wealth in crypto?”
Union of Southern Service Workers Launched
In a sign of growing union support in the South, SEIU launched a new union this Saturday called the Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW). The group hopes to initially focus on organizing just in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
“With eyes wide open to the past and immense hope for a better future, we are building a union to fight for living wages, fair working conditions, and a voice on the job,” Brandon Beachum, a Panera Bread worker from Atlanta, told Common Dreams. “We’re coming together and digging in for the long haul as a union because collective action is the best solution to improve our lives and support our families.”
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- MLB prepares to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with 5,000 minor league baseball players.
- 15,000 Minnesota nurses to vote on striking again.
- Largest private-sector nurses strike averted as 21,000 Northern California Kaiser nurses reach a tentative agreement.
- The University of Kansas moves to unionize.
- St. Louis Apple store employees file for election to join Machinists Union.
- Finally, legendary labor activist and author Staughton Lynd dies at 102.
Alright, folks that’s all for today. Donate $50 to help us meet this week’s payroll and get a free Lula t-shirt. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 736 recurring donors today.
Love & Solidarity,