How Many More Times? Democrats Side with Bosses Over Rail Workers!

Enough 14

Statement of Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen:

  • Democratic Party Fucks Over Rail Workers!
  • Rail Workers To Receive ZERO Paid Sick Days!
  • Rail’s Right To Strike Outlawed For This Contract Cycle!

 

U.S. Rail Unions went into this bargaining season with not a single day of paid sick leave in their Contract. Achieving paid sick leave was the top priority of Union members. And today, because of an act of Congress and because of the latest Democratic Party betrayal (the latest in a long line of betrayals), they still have no sick leave.

Every Union member and working class man and woman and child in the United States of America should be livid right now. President Joe Biden (a Democrat), the Democratic Party leadership in the House and Senate, and the vast majority of Democratic (& Republican) Party politicians in the Capital just fucked over Rail workers and sided with the billionaire bosses again. The Rail corporations, after years of record profits, shall not be required to pay workers if they have to miss a day of work due to illness. This is bullshit.

No matter how the Democratic Party apologists try to spin it, Congress had the power to grant Unionized Rail workers paid sick leave, willfully chose to not do so, and then imposed a contract which was voted DOWN by the rank & file of four Unions representing a majority of Rail workers in this country. The Democrats in the House chose to send TWO bills to the Senate (instead of tying the sick leave to the TA), and it was the Democrats again in the Senate who REFUSED to abolish the filibuster (which takes a simple majority) and instead agreed to a 60 vote threshold to pass the sick leave bill. And even after the sick leave bill failed to get the 60 votes, the great majority Democrats still voted to impose the TA. And in so doing, Congress also effectively outlawed strike activity in the Rail sector for this contract cycle. Thus the betrayal of Labor falls on the Democrats.

This is a huge win for the billionaire railroad owners, CEOs, investors, and the capitalist ruling class of the USA. And given that the two major political parties on the national stage are both firmly supported by the elite (and side with the elite at every crucial juncture), this was also a predictable outcome from the start (as was the failure of the Democrats to pass the PRO Act last year). As sad and sickening as this may be, it is a truth we must reckon with.

The national Democratic Party is NOT the friend of Labor. They are a capitalist party organized to represent the interests of the bosses. And even while they lack degrees of evil exhibited by the increasingly fascist Republican Party, we must not be so confused as to think them allies. They, like the Republicans, are a force we must struggle against (not within). If our collective aspirations as a Labor Movement is to see an empowerment of working people, these are realities we must come to grips with.

So long as the two major national parties are the Democrats (big capitalists) and the Republicans (capitalists with a fascist trajectory), we would be wise to soberly understand that the true power of workers will never be realized through supporting the better of two bad candidates in an election or spending tens of millions of dollars of PAC money to prop up a party which does not support us.

No, my friends, our true power can only be found in our labor, through our solidarity, in the factories, on the job sites, in our shops, in our communities, and by way of those actions we collectively choose to take outside bounds of the preferred limits of engagement set forth by the rigged system created by our class enemies. President Joe Biden is NOT pro-Union (even if he displays less visceral hatred of us than did Donald Trump). Congress is not pro-Union. And neither party will do the right thing unless and until they fear us.

So, let us channel our anger and put our focus and attention towards the hard task of organizing, let us be unafraid to call out and name our enemies, and let us build our Labor Movement into a force which puts the Fear of God into the hearts of those who would side with billionaires and millionaires over the people. And should the Rail Unions and their members choose to withhold their labor (act of Congress be damned), let us stand side by side with them as Brothers and Sisters, come what may, until victory, unbowed!

David Van Deusen

President of The Vermont AFL-CIO

Work coaches confirm harsher new DWP jobcentre tactics

Disability news service

By John Pring on 17th March 2022 Category: Benefits and Poverty

New disturbing evidence has emerged that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has introduced harsher rules designed to force more disabled people with significant mental distress to attend frequent face-to-face jobcentre meetings.

Last week, a work coach told Disability News Service (DNS) that she and her colleagues were being “bullied and harassed” into forcing claimants with significant mental distress into attending work-related meetings.

Many have been waiting months for a work capability assessment (WCA) but in the meantime are being forced to make regular trips to the jobcentre so work coaches can meet their targets for face-to-face appointments.

After the story was published last Thursday, DNS received an anonymous phone message – apparently from another work coach – who said the harsher new approach “was definitely happening”, although DNS has been unable to confirm that they work for DWP.

The Benefits and Work website has also reported hearing from someone who claimed to be a former DWP employee and who said that work coaches were being “named and shamed” by their bosses for not pushing enough claimants out of the support group* of employment and support allowance (ESA) and onto universal credit.

They also claimed

View post.

Discrimination in Bournemouth update: ELT institutions shirk their responsibility

Watch this space for another TEFL dispute in Bournemouth, they don’t like it up ’em!

IWW WISE-RA

The TEFL Workers’ Union’s dispute with United World School of English in Bournemouth continues. If you don’t know about the case, it revolves around allegations that United World mistreated and discriminated against one of our members there as a result of his being disabled. The background for the dispute can be found here.

So far, the local IWW branch has held two successful pickets alongside a “Twitterstorm” targeting United World on social media. We’ve since had enquiries from local media, the TEFL press, and other Bournemouth ELT workers.

Mike, the worker at the centre of the dispute, can pick up the story from there:

The IWW has organised two pickets and they’ve been very effective. The first really struck home and brought the school back to the negotiating table. However, the owner simply repeated one of her earlier offers (offering to re-instate me), plus she added a condition. Since we’d already turned down this offer, we have no choice but to take her to tribunal.

Normally, this would probably be too difficult for me to do on my own,  but with the support of the IWW, I know we can see this through. I hope this all brings about more recognition that mental health issues need to be recognised by everyone in the workplace.

We’ve filed the paperwork for an employment tribunal and we fully intend to go all the way to a hearing if United World isn’t willing to make this right. But the IWW is a fighting union and employment tribunals are always accompanied by ongoing campaigning. Part of that campaign has been to reach out to the institutions that we’re told are there to oversee the industry and ensure language schools comply with the law.

Locally, we emailed Simon Freeman. Mr Freeman is the executive officer of RALSA, which appears to operate as the local British Council affiliate in Bournemouth. Despite the fact United World is a member of RALSA, the organisation declined to investigate the matter despite our offer of corroborating documentation. More than that, RALSA refused to put out a statement condemning discrimination in even the broadest terms. Mr Freeman only offered the following response:

While I am sorry to read about this situation, it is a legal matter that RALSA is not in a position to get involved in as the courts will decide on what is / was fair and any sanctions would follow from that decision.  I have checked the RALSA Constitution and any involvement in such matters is clearly not within RALSA’s remit.

From there, we contacted the national office of English UK, an organisation which makes a great public show of their commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. While English UK at least had the decently to claim they stood against discrimination, they too failed to take any steps to hold one of the their affiliate schools to account:

We cannot comment on individual cases where there is a legal process ongoing.

At English UK, we take equality legislation seriously. All English UK members must adhere to a code of practice (English UK Rules, Section S2, p. 4ff) which includes the following clause:

1.3 The Member will comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the UK and European Union governments. You can find a copy of the full English UK Member Rules here:

https://www.englishuk.com/uploads/assets/members/rules/English_UK_Rules.pdf

In line with their duty to comply with all applicable UK laws, English UK members must not discriminate against anyone at work because of a protected characteristic and must make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers.

This establishes, yet again, that ELT institutions will refuse to investigate their member schools regardless of the seriousness of the allegation. For English UK, it appears opposition to discrimination is merely something for lofty proclamation, not something which is to be enforced (or even investigated!) internally within the organisation.

Should Mike’s case proceed to a judgement at tribunal, we will again raise the matter with English UK to determine if, at that point, they’ll take steps to hold their members to account. We are also pursuing the matter with the British Council directly. However, given disabled workers at British Council have made allegations of discrimination while working there, it will be a welcome surprise if the British Council lives up to its responsibility as the supposed regulator of the UK ELT industry.

But this is why the TEFL Workers’ Union exists.  We’re not in the least bit surprised that bosses’ organisations like English UK or the British Council fail to hold our bosses to account. And because they won’t, we will. If you’ve been mistreated at work, the union has got your back. Whether it’s legal advice, representation in a disciplinary or grievance, or a public campaign, we’re here to hold your boss to account.

Surprise picket at United World language school in support of disabled worker.

Mike is a language teacher with 20 years service at United World school of English in Bournemouth. Language schools are notorious for exploitation and poor employment practices, hence the need for a TEFL union within the IWW. Mike is now suing them for constructive dismissal on grounds of disability discrimination under the equalities act 2010.

Thanks to those Fellow Workers who turned out at short notice to support him, it was great fun. Arriving at 9:30 we made a placard on the spot and gave out many leaflets. Reception from the public was entirely positive and it’s good to chat with people about their own work problems.

The bosses’ pathetic blithering fell on deaf ears, had we heard their side? Save it for the tribunal, mush, it’s an adversarial process. You can complain to these types till you’re blue in the face but when you take action they act all hurt. One told us our picket was illegal, which it isn’t. It never ceases to amaze us how ignorant some managers are concerning the laws made on their behalf.


If you treat your workers with disrespect we will shut you down! Have a read of our leaflet and tell ’em what you think:

United World School of English, Brandon & Clifton House, 44 – 46 St Peter’s Rd. Bournemouth, BH1 2LT
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 315166
What’s App: +44(0) 7825
https://www.unitedworldschool.co.uk/contact-us