Published on July 15th, 2014 | by Reporters Desk
RL NEWS of the Week: July 15, 2014
Teamsters Agree to Cooling Off Period
SAN PEDRO — On July 12, Teamsters agreed to pull down their pickets and enter a cooling off period to allow the Harbor Commission time to investigate worker safety, poor working conditions and unfair practices allegations.
On July 6, the Teamsters union set up pickets against three drayage companies operating at Los Angeles and Long Beach. More than 100 drivers who haul goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their supporters protested.
The union has been trying to organize port truck drivers. The group of protesters rallied against Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services Inc. and Pacific 9 Transportation Inc. Protestors say the drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees, which allows the companies to skirt labor laws and avoid paying fair wages.
The vast majority of truck drivers at U.S. container ports are owner-operators, who contract with trucking companies to haul containers to and from the ports. Since they are considered independent contractors, federal law bars them from joining unions, but the Teamsters contend that truckers at these companies are in fact employees. Drivers are demanding an end to wage theft and retaliation for trying to form a union.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union may choose to honor Teamsters’ pickets. On July 1, The ILWU and PMA announced “cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached.”
About 400 truckers were unable to drive to the ports fearing, that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which has vowed not to cross picket lines, would have to honor the picket line.
The pickets come during contract negotiations for a new West Coast longshore agreement. The contract covers nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports. Negotiations continued between the ILWU and port employers that Pacific Maritime Association represented to replace the six-year collective bargaining agreement, which expired on July 1.
Without a contract with the PMA, ILWU workers have no grievance procedure through which an arbitrator could determine whether the Teamsters’ picket is legitimate and should be honored, or whether a picket line constitutes a health and safety risk to the longshoremen. If the longshoremen at Los Angeles or Long Beach refuse to cross a picket line, they will not get paid.
In April, an ILWU arbitrator determined that a protest established by independent truck drivers at the Port of Long Beach was not a bona fide picket, and told the longshoremen to report to work. The dockworkers followed the arbitrator’s instructions and went to work; the protests thus had minimal impact, even though the dockworkers briefly honored the picket until the arbitrator could rule.
On July 8, the Teamsters – the union behind port truck organizing efforts – began soliciting donations for the Justice for Port Drivers Hardship Fund, an unofficial strike fund intended to support the port truckers until they return to work.
“Business at the Port is back to normal and the City will facilitate a dialog among the parties in the weeks ahead,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a released statement about the Teamsters agreement to a cooling off period.
Lacey Seeks Development of Mental Health Diversion Programs.
LOS ANGELES — On July 15, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey updated the Board of Supervisors in regard to the development of mental health diversion programs in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles jails have a large population of people with mental health issues..
The ACLU and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health recently issued reports underscoring the need to work with experts in the field to develop enhanced strategies to safely divert individuals who end up in our jail system due to mental illness.
As noted in the report by the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence on which I sat, Sheriff’s Department personnel also need enhanced training and supervision to understand how to interact safely and appropriately with individuals suffering from mental illness.
d’Arcy Accused of Wasting Money
LOS ANGELES — On July 9, Controller Ron Galperin said he would not authorize a $4 million payment to the Joint Safety and Joint Training institutes.
Galperin said that these nonprofits have refused to disclose how they spent more than $40 million in the past 14 years. Also on that day, City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit requesting that the court appoint a overseer for the trusts’ activities because the entities were under the control of Brian d’Arcy, the business manager of IBEW Local 18, the Department of Water and Power’s union.
Lieu Calls on Fox TV Host Bob Beckel to Resign
LOS ANGELES – On July 12, California Sen. Ted Lieu, called on Fox News host Bob Beckel to resign immediately after statements the Fox TV host made about Chinese people.
Beckel said during a broadcast July 10 of “The Five” that “Chinese are the single biggest threat to the national security of the U.S. … Do you know what we just did? As usual, we bring them over here and teach a bunch of Chinamen – err, Chinese people – how to do computers and then they go back to China and hack into us.”
“His comments have no place in America and this is at least the second time he has used racial slurs,” said Lieu in a released statement. “He must resign immediately.”
This past year, Mr. Beckel said that after he went swimming, his “eyes blew up, and it made me look Oriental.”
“I am one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes that immigrated to America and majored in computer science,” Lieu said. “I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves. And today, as an American and as a California State Senator, I call on Mr. Beckel to resign.
Literary LA is Back
LOS ANGELES — Literary LA has been expanded from the original classic. It now is featuring the coffeehouse scene then and now.
Literary LA was originally published in 1981 by Chronicle Books in San Francisco. A revised edition, In Search of Literary LA, appeared 10 years later. To mark the millennium, California Classics expanded the study, with new emphasis on the bohemian and apocalyptic streams in Los Angeles writing, including additional chapters by John Ahouse and Julia Stein.
This is the full text of that expanded edition, released under the imprint of Boryanabooks.
Journalist and author Lionel Rolfe grew up in European-influenced surroundings in Los Angeles. Through the early postwar years, his mother, the late pianist Yaltah Menuhin, hosted an at-home salon that offered a solace for musicians and other creative artists-in-exile. Much of what Rolfe writes has its roots in his own childhood impressions or the recollections of family members and visitors to his boyhood home.
Literary LA is available at http://tinyurl.com/LiteraryLALionelRolfe. The ISBN number is 9781500455071.
Two Men Plead Guilty in Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
SANTA ANA – On July 11, two Long Beach men pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges from a sex trafficking scheme that exploited adult women for prostitution.
Roshaun Nakia Porter, 39, and Marquis Monte Horn, 35, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion. Sentencing has been set for Oct. 24. Each defendant faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment.
According to documents filed in court, from October 2009 through April 2012, Porter and Horn conspired together and with others to recruit, entice, harbor, transport and provide women to engage in commercial sex acts, using various coercive means to compel the women to engage in prostitution. Porter and Horn’s scheme of force, fraud and coercion included deceptive Internet advertisements to lure the victims into romantic relationships with the defendants. They then would use psychological manipulation and control to cause the victims to engage in commercial sex acts.