Flight Attendant Union Criticizes CDC For Decision

Flight Attendant union president and labor leader Sara Nelson is criticizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for changing its guidance on quarantining for COVID-19 after business leaders asked the agency to cut its recommendations by half, potentially at the cost of public health.

Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International, accused the CDC in a statement of making its decision to benefit businesses that may be experiencing staffing issues, rather than stemming the spread of the virus.

“We said we wanted to hear from medical professionals on the best guidance for quarantine, not from corporate America advocating for a shortened period due to staffing shortages,” Nelson said.

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Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos is a Cuban truck driver who was sentenced for 110 years in prison because of a vehicle accident on the I-70 in Denver in 2019. The brakes of the semi-truck failed and he crashed into traffic, causing a 28-car pile up, killing four people, and injuring several others. The accident occurred because the company Aguilar-Mederos worked for at the time did not properly maintain their equipment and permitted a driver to use a truck with faulty brakes. 

“I ask God too many times why them and not me? Why did I survive that accident?” Aguilera-Mederos said to the court. “I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. When I look at my charges, we are talking about a murderer, which is not me.

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Why America’s ‘Shipping Crisis’ Will Not End

I have a simple question for every ‘expert’ who thinks they understand the root causes of the shipping crisis:

Why is there only one crane for every 50–100 trucks at every port in America?

No ‘expert’ will answer this question.

I’m a Class A truck driver with experience in nearly every aspect of freight. My experience in the trucking industry of 20 years tells me that nothing is going to change in the shipping industry.

Let’s start with understanding some things about ports. Outside of dedicated port trucking companies, most trucking companies won’t touch shipping containers. There is a reason for that.

Think of going to the port as going to WalMart on Black Friday, but imagine only ONE cashier for thousands of customers.

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How NYC Taxi Drivers Took On Predatory Lenders And Won

On November 3, New York City reached an agreement with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), the union fighting to relieve drivers of thousands of dollars in debt they owe for medallions, the physical permits to operate taxis. According to the NYTWA, the average debt owed on medallions by taxi drivers is $600,000.

“Today marks a new dawn, a new beginning for a workforce that has struggled through so much crisis and loss,” said Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of NYTWA, in a statement. “Today, we can say owner-drivers have won real debt relief and can begin to get their lives back. Drivers will no longer be at risk of losing their homes, and no longer be held captive to debt beyond their lifetime.”

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SEPTA Workers Vote To Authorize Strike

SEPTA’s transit union has taken another step towards a potential work stoppage, as workers voted unanimously Sunday to authorize a strike if a new contract can’t be agreed upon over the next week.

More than 1,000 members of Transport Workers Union Local 234 gathered Sunday for the vote at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall in South Philly, according to KYW Newsradio.

A vote to authorize a strike doesn’t guarantee that all 5,000 members of SEPTA’s transit union will be walking off the job. Rather, it gives union leadership the power to call for a work stoppage if a new deal can’t be reached with SEPTA by the end of the month.

“Our members are essential workers who have risked their lives and put their own families at risk during this pandemic,” Local 234 President Willie Brown said this week.

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Take This Job And Love It

In the six years that Michael Ugwu has worked as an Uber driver in New York City, he’s seen a growing share of his earnings diverted into venture capitalists’ pockets. Uber and Lyft require workers to assume a myriad of expenses that can quickly trap drivers like Ugwu into debt and poverty.

“Currently, they’re taking out between 35 to 40 percent, when you add up all the deductions,” Ugwu says. “You end up not having enough to pay rent, maintain the car, pay the car loan, and buy gas. They’re continuously ripping us off.”

By 2017, rideshare drivers were earning less than half what they made just four years earlier, a study found. Meanwhile, executives at Lyft and Uber have raked in tens of millions of dollars in compensation.

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Reno Transit Workers Holding Firm In Second Strike Since August

Reno, Nevada, – Workers for the Washoe County Regional Transit Commission (RTC) went out on strike against the RTC’s contractor, Keolis North America — a division of a notoriously anti-union company based in France that manages bus and rail operations in several U.S. cities, including Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles. The strikers — around 200 workers in all, including drivers, mechanics, and cleaners —  were provoked by Keolis proposing a new health plan for the workers — one that would replace their existing coverage with what’s known as Health Plan of Nevada.

That’s a plan offered to low-income families,” Michael Lansborough explained. “It’s a travesty for those who need that insurance when we can afford what we already have.”

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World’s First Battery-Powered Freight Train Unveiled In Pittsburgh

The world’s first ever battery-electric freight train was unveiled in Pittsburgh on Friday.

The train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, was built by rail-freight company Wabtec and showcased at Carnegie Mellon University as part of a bid by the two organizations to decarbonize rail freight transport in the U.S., The Guardian reported.

“A bolder, cleaner, more efficient transportation system is in our grasp,” Wabtec chief executive Raphael Santana said, as The Guardian reported. “This is just the beginning.”

In addition to partnering with Carnegie Mellon on this venture, Wabtec is also working with fellow freight company Genesee & Wyoming, according to Railway Age.

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Demonstrations In Bloomington During 300-Mile ‘Walk For Licenses’

Undocumented immigrants, immigrants and allies of the community passed through Bloomington Thursday on day six of their seven-day, 300-mile “Walk for Licenses” through Indiana, according to a press release from Cosecha Indiana.

The goal of the walk, which started Saturday in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago, is to bring attention to the need for drivers licenses for undocumented Indiana residents, according to the release. The walk will end in Indianapolis on Saturday.

Cosecha Indiana, which organized the walk, is a part of a national movement, working towards permanent protection, dignity and respect for all immigrant workers, according to their Facebook page

The group started in Switchyard Park before marching to Sample Gates and then to the Islamic Center of Bloomington.

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Here’s Where People Of Color Can’t Access Opportunity Without A Car

Even the most transit-rich cities in America are failing to connect people without cars — who tend to be disproportionately low-income or people of color — to job opportunities, a new analysis finds.

Analysts at TransitCenter comprehensively measured disparities in public transportation access among demographic groups in six major cities between February 2020 and February 2021, a period during which some of society’s most enduring inequities were only magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All six of the cities analyzed in the group’s new Transit Equity Dashboard — Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington — rank in the top 10 largest transit systems in the United States by ridership (a seventh portal for the Boston region is forthcoming).

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With Greyhound Gone, Let’s Replace It With A National Public Operator

A national public intercity service, especially if supported by regional public services, would make for a welcome system dedicated to the public interest rather than the profit motive. Image by Canadian Dimension

After serving Canadians with varying degrees of success for the better part of a century, Greyhound Canada has elected to cease serving them at all. On May 13, the intercity coach service ended its routes in the country for good. The national press release discussed the “decision rationale” for closing up shop. The company looked back to 2018 and its suspended services in the west, citing “years of declining ridership and the impact of a changing and increasingly challenging transportation environment, including de-regulation and subsidized competition such as VIA Rail and publicly owned bus systems.” Then, it pointed the finger at the pandemic and a 95 percent drop in ridership along with “negligible” support from the public purse. In short, the private market space was untenable.

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Virginia Finalizes $3.7 Billion Deal To Acquire Train Tracks

Virginia officials and freight railroad company CSX have signed a $525 million deal to transfer 223 miles of track and 386 miles of right-of-way to the commonwealth, a key part of a larger $3.7 billion program announced in 2019 to increase Amtrak passenger service and VRE commuter rail service in Virginia over the next decade.

“Today, we’re celebrating a major, major milestone in our work to make it easier for people and goods to move around Virginia and up and down our East Coast,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, who stood alongside officials from CSX, Amtrak and VRE during a signing ceremony at a VRE station in Alexandria on Tuesday.

Tracks in America are almost universally owned by freight railroads, which allow passenger service like Amtrak and VRE to operate.

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