NBA Leaving Charlotte Over Discriminatory Law

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards at Verizon Center Nov. 21, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Creative Commons by Keith Allison.)

By Mitch Lawrence

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Well, first Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in North Carolina to protest that state passing anti-discrimination-protection for the LGBT community. And now another boss with an equally powerful voice is also speaking up. The boss we’re talking about is the commissioner for the National Basketball Association, Adam Silver, who is moving toward taking next year’s All-Star Game in Charlotte and moving it elsewhere because of North Carolina’s so-called transgender bathroom law.

This would be a major blow to the Charlotte economy, which would stand to lose 100 million dollars in revenue if the NBA pulls out of the home of the Hornets. Silver knows something about North Carolina, spending his college days at Duke University. These days he’s also a member of the Duke board of trustees. He usually makes the right calls on these kinds of issues.  Remember, it was only two years ago, when, relatively new to his position, he ousted longtime Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he was found to have made racist comments about Magic Johnson and other African-American people. Although the league should have acted sooner to force Sterling to sell the team, Silver’s move to impose a lifetime ban was universally held. Now he’ll no doubt have the backing of his thirty owners, including Charlotte Order Michael Jordan, if there is no change in North Carolina’s law. The NBA has always had a track record of being the most progressive of all major sports leagues.  Leaving Charlotte is the right thing to do. Adam Silver knows it, and he will act on it accordingly.

UPS Pilots Prepare for Possible Strike

By Doug Cunningham

UPS and the Independent Pilots Association are presenting final bargaining positions this week as federal mediation comes to an end.  The pilots’ union is preparing for a strike after five years of trying to negotiate a new labor agreement with UPS.  Pilots’ Union spokesman Brian Gaudet lays out the issues that are important to UPS pilots:

“The number one goal of this contract is improving safety, and the way that we want to improve safety is by better schedules. Fatigue is a huge issue for the pilots at UPS.  The FAA has instituted new flight and duty rules for passenger pilots, but unfortunately cargo pilots were carved out of that.  So, improving our schedules, better safety, mitigating fatigue is basically job one.”

Gaudet says pilots have opened a new strategic strike center in Louisville, Kentucky to better coordinate strike action if needed, but the pilots are hoping they can come to an agreement with UPS without a strike.  Gaudet says the pilots are overdue for improvements at UPS.

“We want improved wages. We haven’t seen a pay raise since Jan. 1 of 2012. We want to improve pensions. The average pilot is in his or her early 50s, so we’re starting to pay attention to that.  And obviously like everyone else, we want to keep an eye on health care.”