Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

May Day March and Rally in Philadelphia, by John O. Mason

05.04.15

May Day March and Rally in Philadelphia, by John O. Mason

Members of the Labor movement and allied causes in Philadelphia joined in the May Day March and rally on Friday, May 1, 2015.
The events were sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH) and the May Day USA Education Committee.
The march started at the McDonald’s restaurant on 40th and Walnut streets, to emphasize the movement for supporting fast-food workers’ right to a living wage and to organize. State Senator Daylin Leach spoke to reporters of a bill he introduced in the General Assembly that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.
The bill, said Leach, would help low income workers “who have been left behind I this economy, and it’s time that stopped.” Also, the bill, added Leach, “would eliminate the tip minimum wage, which hasn’t gone up in twenty-one years. It’s $2.83 an hour in Pennsylvania, if you have a job where you supposedly get tips. Often tipped workers don’t even make close to the $7.25 an hour minimum wage.”
The problem with the current minimum wage, said Leach, is “if you work full-time in hard back-breaking work, often you live in poverty, and that’s not what the minimum wage was designed to do, and in a time of the greatest income inequality in a hundred years, it’s just not an appropriate way to be…In Seattle, they raised (the minimum wage) to $15.00, which is what (his bill) proposes to do, and they’re doing great in Seattle.”

The march went south on 40th Street to Baltimore Avenue, then to Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore Avenue, for the rally. Literature tables were set up such groups as the Green Party, Socialist Party USA, Socialist Alternative, the Philadelphia chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), and the Socialist Workers Party. Chapter 31 of the Veterans for Peace had their “Precision Grill Team” provide food for participants.
Paul Grubb, one of the co-chairs of the May Day committee, welcomed people to the rally and introduced Evette Jones, a staff member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT). “The PFT,” said Jones, “believes in and supports our brothers and sisters who are out there fighting to get a fifteen dollar minimum wage…As educators, we have the great responsibility of preparing our school children for the future, whether that means college or joining the work force.”
The fight for the fifteen-dollar minimum wage, said Jones, “is not only for future generations, but is for today’s working parents of our Philadelphia school children. It is proven, that children from more economically stable homes do better school. Raising the standard of living in Philadelphia means raising the achievement levels for our students. And when we raise the achievement level of our students, we can stop the hedge-funders and the fat cats from trying to close our schools (and from) trying to close public education.”
Jim Moran, veteran Labor activist and co-chair of the May Day Committee, introduced Cheri Honkala, veteran homeless activist and a leading figure in the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. “I bring you greetings,” she began,” from the poor and homeless brothers and sisters” in Philadelphia, and added, “I’ve been working with other poor and homeless families in the last twenty-five years in this city.
“People have always said” added Honkala, “that homeless people are lazy, they don’t have a work ethic. They are some of the hardest working brothers and sisters I’ve ever met in my life. Every day, they lay down on a couch, a sidewalk, in a car, wherever in this city because you can’t get a place, a room or a shelter, and you haven’t been able to in five years, and when they lay down at night, they know the next morning they’re going to get up and (work) at McDonald’s or Wendy’s or wherever. And they’re going to continue to live in homelessness working in that poverty wage job.”
Jim Moran presented the Aggie Moran Human Rights Award to Books through Bars, an organization that supplies prison libraries with books for inmates to read; Cathy Brady, an activist for SEIU Health Care PA and Vice Presidetn of Friends of Elmwood Park, for her work in developing the Labor Monument at Elmwood Park, 71st Street and Buist Avenue, which honors the struggles of Organized Labor; and 15 Now and Fight for 15, groups advocating for the $15.00 an hour minimum wage.
Music before the rally and in intermission was provided by DJ Raul. ON the stage performing were singer-guitarist Shanta Bristow, folk singer Andi Antipin, hip-hop artist Joie Kathos, soloist Dina Yarmus, and folk singer Dave Marley.

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

05.04.15

MAY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 20th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous report at 5.5 percent. There are eight-teen MSA’s within the state and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fifth highest unemployment rate.

The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was at 5.5 percent.

The East Stroudsburg MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.6 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest at 6.5 percent, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the third highest unemployment in the state at 6.2 percent, and the Philadelphia MSA and the Williamsport MSA are tied for the fourth highest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.9 percent. The State College MSA traditionally has the lowest unemployment within the state, however, the MSA also has one of the smallest workforces with 76,300 civilians. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, while the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA and the Gettysburg MSA are tied for the third lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the fourth lowest rate in Pennsylvania at 4.5 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was reported to be at 5.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, while decreasing by one full percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 329,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,372,000 and 6,044,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 5.5 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The national unemployment rate was down one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before, partly because of workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits. After workers exhaust their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted within the civilian labor-force.

The data indicates that there are 8,705,000 civilians nationwide without employment, but that number also does not include workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 424,300 civilians, rising by 700 from the previous report and decreasing by 2,800 during the past twelve months. There are 23,400 civilians without employment within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, increasing by 200 from the month before and dropping by 4,900 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest seasonally adjusted labor force in Pennsylvania at 3,042,200 with 170,200 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,207,800 with 62,300 without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 290,500 and 12,500 are jobless while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA is fifth at 282,700 civilians and 17,500 are unemployment.

Within the MSA, all three counties have the same unemployment rate at 5.4 percent. Carbon County’s unemployment rate dropped by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreased by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,300, the smallest within the MSA, with 1,700 without employment, decreasing by 500 from twelve months ago.

Lehigh County has the largest civilian labor-force within the MSA at 180,800, increasing by 200 from the previous report. The unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropped by one full percentage point from one year before. There are 9,800 civilians in the county without jobs, decreasing by 100 from the previous report.

Northampton County’s unemployment rate was unchanged from the month before and dropped by one and four-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 154,500, increasing by 300 from the previous report and also rising by 300 during the past twelve months. There are 8,300 without jobs, the same as the month before and dropping by 2,200 during the past twelve months.

There are 348,200 nonfarm jobs within the MSA, increasing by 5,300 during the past twelve months.

USW Local 2599 to hold annual Ed O’Brien Dinner on May 8th

05.04.15

MAY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

USW Local 2599 to hold annual Ed O’Brien Dinner on May 8th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 24th- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union 2599, East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, will hold their annual Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner/Dance on Friday May 8th at the USW building.

The cost of a ticket to the event is $50.00, with cocktails starting at 5:30 pm and dinner at 6:30 pm. Beverages will be served throughout the event.

Local 2599 is one of the largest labor organizations in the Lehigh Valley and is the largest USW Union. Local 2599 has fifteen seperate bargaining units throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Jerry Green is President of Local 2599 and just recently the membership voted to give him a sixth consecutive three-year term, breaking the previous record held by Louis Schrenko of five terms. Mr. Schrenko served as President from 1964 to 1979.

Local 2599, along with several other USW local unions, once represented workers employed at Bethlehem Steel, just several blocks away from the union hall. The site of the steel mill is now the location of the Sands Casino. After Bethlehem Steel closed the mill in 2000 the USW merged the four unions that represented the workers into Local 2599.

During last years Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner, former United States Navy 3-star Admiral and current candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 United States Senatorial seat from Pennsylvania Joe Sestak addressed the events guest. Allentown Mayor Edward Pawlowski is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination. The seat is currently held by Lehigh Valley resident Republican Pat Toomey. Mr. Toomey represented the 15th Legislative District, which represents most of the Lehigh Valley in Washington DC, before defeating Mr. Sestak five years ago. Mr. Sestak is seeking a “rematch” against Mr. Toomey next year.

Mr. Green stated that this year Pennsylvania Democratic Lieutenant Governor Michael Stack will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Stack was previously a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.

Mr. Green was the lead organizer when the USW was successful in organizing Registered Nurses and Social Workers employed at Gracedale Nursing Home in Northampton County in 2003.

Also, nearly eight years later headed-up the group that wanted to defeat Northampton County’s plan to sell the Gracedale Nursing Home in 2011. Mr. Green was very instrumental, along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union, which also represents Gracedale workers, in helping to convince Northampton County voters to reject the plan to sell the nursing home.

The USW selected Mr. Green as their 15th congressional legislative district Rapid Response Co-ordinator and serves on the Pennsylvania State Workers Compensation Advisory Board, being appointed by former House Speaker Keith McCall.

“I am very honored that the membership has given me the opportunity to serve them for more than 15 years. I will continue to do my very best to lead this great union forward,” stated Mr. Green.

Bob Sheridan wants labor member support in election

04.18.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Bob Sheridan wants labor member support in election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 2nd- Bob Sheridan, Scranton School Board member and former police officer of the Scranton Police Department is requesting members of the labor community vote for him in the May primary election to become the Democratic party nominee for Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records beginning in 2016.

The winner of the primary election will likley be successful gaining the seat because there were no Republicans filing. However, there are six Democratic candidates seeking the position.

Mr. Sheridan attended the March delegate assembly of the Scranton Central Labor Union (SCLU) labor federation held at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore.

Mr. Sheridan stated that he was always a supporter of the labor community and once was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Union Lodge Number 2, which represents the police officers of the Scranton Police Department. “Many of you know me. You know that I have always supported the labor community. While serving on the Scranton School Board, I many times spoke-up on behalf of the unions,” Mr. Sheridan told those attending the meeting.

In fact in 2013, Mr. Sheridan, while serving as the Vice-President of the Scranton School District, made a public issue of the hiring of non-union construction workers for a senior housing building project in Scranton after the developers requested tax breaks for the project. At the time Mr. Sheridan stated he was “disappointed that local union members were not hired” for the project.

Teamsters looking to organize Mt. Pocono FedEx workers

04.18.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Teamsters looking to organize Mt. Pocono FedEx workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 1st- Representatives of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in Washington, DC are scheduled to begin meeting with FedEx workers employed at the company’s facility in Mount Pocono Township in Monroe County, to determine if they would like to become union members.

In previous editions of the newspaper it was exclusively reported that IBT Local 229 in Dunmore was attempting to organize the FedEx workers employed at the Mount Pocono facility. The workers haul packages throughout the FedEx system, not deliver packages.

The IBT in Washington DC, announced in 2014 they plan to attempt to organize FedEx Ground Freight employees.

FedEx is a competitor of UPS, which employees are represented by the IBT. The Union represents all drivers and warehouse workers.

The majority of FedEx workers are currently nonunion. The pilots of the company voted to be represented by the Airline Pilots Association (APA) International Union several years ago. The IBT has had some success in gaining the right to represent FedEx workers for the purpose of collective bargaining by winning representation elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

IBT Local 107 in Philadelphia won the right to represent 47 drivers at FedEx East Philadelphia terminal in Croydon, after workers voted 26 for to 18 against being represented by Local 107 on October 14th. Also, in November, approximately 222 drivers of FedEx at their Charlotte, North Carolina facility voted to become members of IBT Local 71 in a NLRB conducted election.

Last fall Local 229 petitioned with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the workers wanted to be represented by the IBT after more than 65 percent of the workforce signed union authorization cards. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), at least 30 percent of an workforce unit must sign the cards before they can request a election.

However, according to Craig Pawlik, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, which represents IBT members in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties and part of Monroe County, after conducting a campaign leading-up to the NLRB scheduled election for December 11th, the union withdrew their petition. By withdrawing the petition the union can request the agency conduct a election after six months from the date the petition was withdrawn, meaning early this summer.

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

04.18.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 30th- This month the anti-union Wal-Mart Inc. will begin raising the starting wage of their workers. The nation’s largest retailer announced in February it would increase their starting wage to around $10.00 an hour, well above the federal minimum wage but will not raise the top level wages of their current workforce.

Wal-Mart Inc. is known to be extremely anti-union but they will increase the starting wage of workers while the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.

However, current Wal-Mart workers wages “top-out” around $11.00 an hour no matter how long they are employed by the company. Meaning, while new and recent hires will receive a higher wage than previously, long-time employees wages will not increase and see new workers wages be close to their’s despite only recently being hired.

Also, Wal-Mart makes their employees purchase the clothing they must wear while working in their stores and has faced protest by union activist and their own workers for poor treatment by management .

Target Corporation also announced in mid-March that they would boost their workers pay to no less than $9.00 an hour, beginning this month.

Unlike Wal-Mart’s big announcement and media release, Target Corporation officials mainly announced to their employees of the wage increase.

TJX Inc. also stated they would raise the wages for all of their hourly workers to no less than $9.00 an hour this year and up to $10.00 an hour in 2016. TJX Inc. operates T.J. Maxx stores, Marshalls stores, and HomeGoods stores throughout the United States. The company will begin to raise their workers wages starting in June.

Target, the nation’s second largest retailer, has 347,000 workers and pays all of them within their 1,800 stores more than the federal minimum wage.

Wal-Mart stated the new wage package will cost them approximately $1 billion. The company plans to raise the minimum wage for workers to $9.00 an hour this April and continue to raise the wage until reaching $10.00 an hour by February 2016.

The increase will effect around 500,000 employees which work for Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club stores or around 1.4 million employees.

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

04.18.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- April 2nd- According to Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 In Scranton, his members are preparing for the moving of the processing work currently be done at the United States Postal Service (USPS) facility in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley, but there are still many unanswered questions regarding the action.

The USPS announced in 2012 it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including their operations in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The USPS stated the plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The USPS stated around 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. However, no lays-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreement’s with the USPS and workers is some cases would need to either relocate or travel to other postal service facilities to continue to be employed by the USPS.

Mr. Gallagher stated the merging of the Scranton mail processing center with the Lehigh Valley has been delayed several times in the past and it could be postponed again, but his members must be ready for the possiblity of the closure.

APWU members will be the most effected by the merger. Mr. Gallagher stated more than half of his 180 members will need to be re-located or be re-assigned to other postal duties, such as becoming mail delivery carriers.

Mr. Gallagher told the newspaper that should the processing work be moved to the Lehigh Valley most effected workers will most likley become letter carriers and they will be represented by another union.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the USPS an effected employee could be placed within 50 miles of their current workplace. APWU members are mail clerks, maintenance workers, and conduct clerical work.

There are approximately 25 mail delivery positions currently unfiled in Scranton that the APWU members could be transferred to, around 21 available in Wilkes-Barre, and 17 in Pittston, Mr. Gallagher stated.

However, there would still be around 30 more people that the USPS would need to find jobs for that would be affected by the processing center consolidation.

Mr. Gallagher added that USPS management officials in Pittsburgh indicated to him that those employees without job placement could end-up just sitting in the “lunch-room” during work hours with nothing to do.

Business groups do not like new NLRB conducted election rules beginning this month

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Business groups do not like new NLRB conducted election rules beginning this month

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 4th- The labor community is applauding President Barack Obama’s veto of a Republican led resolution that would have overturned a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that will help expedite representation elections through the agency.

Mr. Obama vetoed the Republican attempt to overturn the NLRB rule that wil take effect on April 14th. The veto was seen as a victory for the labor community, and the Democrats in the United States Congress. The resolution was passed by both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate in March. The legislation was supported and passed by mainly members of the Republican party .

The new rules, which was created by the five-member NLRB in Washington in December, is entended to streamline NLRB conducted Representation Elections. The labor community has complained for years that the current process favors companies, mainly larger employers, that have used the procedures of the current system to often delay, sometimes for months or years, of having the election conducted by the NLRB, which oversees the election. The tactic often is used to stall NLRB elections, especially when it appears the union would likely win.

Republicans were unable to override President O’Bama’s vteo because there was not enough Senate Republicans in the chamber. There are 54 Republican seats in the Senate and 67 is needed to override a presidential veto.

Some trade groups waisted little time and have already filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia attempting to block the new rules. The groups are claiming the election rule violates law by not allowing enough time with employees to communicate with them is hoping to change their minds about voting for union representation for the purpose of collective bargaining. As expected, the United States Chamber of Commerence joined the law-suit.

Under NLRB rules, at least 30 percent of a unit of workers must request the agency conduct an election. During the election at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible to participate employees must vote to be represented by a labor organization to become their bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC stated the changes are very modest to the election rules but will make it easier for workers to vote on forming a labor union in a timely manner.

Employers will be required to post an “NLRB Notice of Election,” which contains information about the representation petition that was filed, and advises the two parties their rights and obligations. A “Statement of Position” form will need to be submitted by the employer to the NLRB within seven days after the receipt of the petition.

The document must include a list of eligible voters, their job classifications, their shift schedules, and work locations. However, the employer can not present any opinion or evidence on the issue of the representation election or request a delay in the vote.

Under the rules, employers can not challenge voter eligibility before the election, often used to delay elections, and must wait for the post-election hearing. Also, pre-election hearings will be limited to ‘Statement of Position’ the employer submitted not questioning the election merit.

The eligible to participate employees list must be filed electronically two days after the election notice was filed and must include employees names, home addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

The new rule has also been criticized by the anti-union Associated Building and Contractors (ABC) group, a nonunion contractors trade association. According to the ABC, shortening elections denies employers their rights to free speech and employees the opportunity to make a fully informed decision. However, the organization did not state why having a election several weeks after a petition was filed would be anti-free speech.

IUPAT members protest not being hired for U of S project

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IUPAT members protest not being hired for U of S project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 31st - As promised, members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 conducted several days of public protest at the site of the new University of Scranton $47 million eight-story rehabiliation building on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Scranton, which included a ten-foot high inflatable rat.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, told the newspaper that a IUPAT signatory contractor was not hired for the painting of the new building which is more than 60 percent finished.

The rehabilitation center under construction is where the former Scranton YWCA building was located.

Members of IUPAT several months ago protested against the hiring of the nonunion painting contractor for the project and gave-out leaflets stating that the school of higher education lied about hiring union painters.

Mr. Gatto stated that University of Scranton officials previously told a reporter of the Scranton Times-Tribune in April 2014 they would hire a signatory contractor of District Council 21. However, Mr. Gatto told the Union News when contacted, that they now claim they never made no such promise.

During the March protest of the IUPAT members, other members of the building and construction trades unions working on the job site would not cross the picket-line, causing the shut-down of the project for several days. The general contractor created two gates into the project, one for unionized workers, and one for nonunion construction workers.

Labor community getting ready for NALC National Food Drive

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Labor community getting ready for NALC National Food Drive

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 3rd- The labor community throughout the nation and the region is getting ready for the largest food drive held in the United States by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union.

The NALC represents mail carriers, excluding rural delivery, of the United States Postal Service (USPS) throughout the nation.

The 2015 ‘Letters Carriers Stamp out Hunger Food Drive’ will be held on Saturday May 9th in which postal service customers are requested to place non-perishable food items near their mail boxes to be pick-up by the NALC members.

Each year since 1991 the NALC members, with the support of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, conducts the food drive that helps feed the needy throughout the nation. Last years food drive was the tenth consecutive year in which at least 70 million pounds of food was collected.

The United Way of America and Feeding America will again sporsor the food drive with other organizations providing volunteers or financial support for the event. Those organizations provide flyers, bags, and postcards.

The food drive is held in more than 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Last year almost 73 million pounds of food was collected in the one day event for people in need throughout the United States.

Regionally, union members affiliated with the Scranton Central Labor Union and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation’s, which are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, will again participate in the annual event.

Labor volunteers are needed to sort food items donated by mail costumers that will be picked-up by NALC members in the Wyoming Valley and Lackawanna Valley and brought to area food banks and pantries.

Sandra Moosic, the AFL-CIO Labor Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, the go-between the labor community and the agencies affiliated with the community based organization throughout the Wyoming Valley, and a member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation Community Services Committee, stated members of the labor comunity are needed as volunteers for the May 9th day- long event.

Anyone wanting to volunteer their time to help sort and deliver food items to area food banks can contact Ms. Moosic at: (570) 829-6711.

NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 4th- The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest labor organization that represents teachers and education support staff and other educational professionals with more than 3 million members, released a report that finds fault with one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is affiliated with the NEA. The report analyzed a key tax provision, the excise tax on high-cost health plans.

The NEA stated that the report finds that although the excise tax is often referred to as a tax on overgenerous health benefits, it’s likely to be a tax driven by other things, including where health plan members live, employees and workers in high-cost insurance markets.

“We continue to support the Affordable Care Act because it already has strengthened health benefits for kids and families and provided an opportunity for millions of Americans to obtain quality, affordable care. This new report however, highlights a significant and damaging flaw in the excise tax. The excise tax on high-cost plans can randomly and unfairly cause hardship to American workers and their families. In fact, the excise tax will disproportionately hurt women and older workers,” stated Kim Anderson, senior director of the NEA’s Center for Advocacy and Outreach.

The NEA report stated the excise tax wrongly equates high premiums with overly generous health benefits. It is flawed that some plans offering moderate benefits will face a steep tax, while plans with better benefits may not face any tax at all.

Employers are already preparing to shift health care costs to workers by cutting benefits or passing the tax liability to employees even though the law doesn’t hold employees responsible for paying the tax.

“We believe that it’s more accurate to call the excise tax on high-cost plans an ‘Age Sex-Geography Tax,’ added Ms. Anderson.

Poll indicates the selling of state stores is minor priority

04.15.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Poll indicates the selling of state stores is minor priority

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 5th- While some members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, mainly pro-business Republicans, continue to press for the selling-off of the State Wine and Spirits Stores, a new poll conducted and released by Franklin & Marshall College, indicates that Pennsylvanians really believe there are bigger issues facing the state than privatizing the system.

Again this legislative season has seen another attempt to pass legislation that would allow the selling-off of the around 600-plus wine and spirits stores currently operated by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). The selling of the system will put more than 5,000 mostly union family sustaining jobs in harms way.

The United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union represents the majority of the stores employees, including clerks and shelve stockers. UFCW Local 1776 represents the workers within the eastern part of Pennsylvania while UFCW Local 23 represents the western part.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represents mainly the office employees of the system including the PLCB auditors, which operates the stores.

According to the March 26th released Franklin & Marshall College poll only one percent of respondents believe selling of the system should be a “priority” of state lawmakers.

Also, only thirty percent feel the system should be sold. The majority of respondents would rather see the system modernized, as Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has proposed, or allow the stores to remain owned by the taxpayers.

Governor Wolf promises to veto any legislation that would lead to the privatization of the store system. He has proposed a plan for the PLCB, which operates the system, to “modernized” the system by extending Sunday hours and Holiday sales, improve store locations, having more flexible pricing, create a system of competitive pricing, and more customer engagement.

Net profits of the latest reporting period under current system was $123.68 million on gross revenue of $2.27 billion, amounting to a net profit margin of 5.44 percent. Under Mr. Wolf’s proposal he estimates the system would be even more profitable creating an additional annual profit of $185 million by fiscal 2018.

The survey was conducted between March 17th to 23rd. The poll involved 597 Pennsylvania registered to vote citizens.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 6.2 percent

04.15.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 6.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 1st- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, (DOL) Center of Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.2 percent. Twelve months ago the region’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.

The MSA has the sixtieth highest unemployment rate among the eighteen in Pennsylvania. The newspaper previously reported the DOL added four more MSA’s in January. Now included within the DOL’s data of MSA’s are: Chamberburg/Waynesboro; Bloomsburg/Berwick; East Stroudsburg; and Gettysburg.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,372,000 with 329,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,044,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one full percentage point over the past twelve months. Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.5 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

The East Stroudsburg MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.6 percent, the Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.5 percent while the Williamsport MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.9 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA and the Gettysburg MSA are tied with the third lowest in Pennsylvania at 4.3 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 282,700 civilians, increasing by 4,100 during the past twelve months. There are 17,500 civilians without employment, increasing by 500 from the previous report and dropping by 4,600 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 3,042,200 with 170,200 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,207,800 with 62,300 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 424,300 with 23,400 not working.

The Bloomsburg/Berwick MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 43,600 civilians and 2,200 of them have no jobs. The Gettysburg MSA has the second smallest civilian labor-force at 55,600 and 2,400 of them are jobless. The Williamsport MSA has the third smallest labor-force with 60,900 civilians with 3,400 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is fourth with a labor-force of 63,000 and 4,100 of them are not working.

Wyoming County has the lowest unemployment in the MSA at 5.3 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two and six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Wyoming County has 700 civilians of their work-force without jobs.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.4 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Luzerne County has 10,200 civilians without employment, dropping by 2,700 during the past year.

Lackawanna County’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. There are 6,400 Lackawanna County residents reported to be unemployed.

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

04.03.15

APRIL 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, March 20th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is tied with the Williamsport MSA and the Erie MSA for the fourth highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania at 5.4 percent.

The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was at 6.4 percent.

There are eight-teen MSA’s in Pennsylvania, increasing by four since the previous report. The Department of Labor and Industry added the Bloomsburg/Berwick MSA; the Chamberburg/Waynesboro MSA; the East Stroudsburg MSA; and the Gettysburg MSA since their previous reporting period.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the third highest unemployment in the state at 6.0 percent, the first time in nearly five years the region has not had the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. The newly created East Stroudsburg MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.5 percent while the Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent. The Philadelphia MSA has the fifth highest unemployment within Pennsylvania at 5.7 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.9 percent. The State College MSA traditionally has the lowest unemployment within the state, however, the MSA also has one of the smallest workforces with 76,600 civilians.

The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, while the Lebanon MSA and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA are tied with the third lowest at 4.5 percent followed by the newly created Bloomsburg/Berwick MSA at 4.7 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was reported to be at 5.1 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, while decreasing by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 322,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,365,000 and 6,043,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 5.7 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The national unemployment rate was down nine-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before, partly because of workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits. After workers exhaust their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted within the civilian labor-force.

There are 8,979,000 civilians nationwide without employment, but that number also does not include workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 424,400 civilians, rising by 100 from the previous report and decreasing by 1,400 during the past twelve months. There are 22,900 civilians without employment within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, increasing by 100 from the month before and decreasing by 4,400 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest seasonally adjusted labor force in Pennsylvania at 3,032,300 with 171,500 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,206,100 with 62,500 without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 291,300 and 13,000 are jobless while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA is fifth at 281,000 civilians and 16,900 are unemployment.

Within the MSA, Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent, dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by one and five-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,500, the smallest within the MSA, with 1,800 without employment, decreasing by 500 from twelve months ago.

Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.3 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from the twelve months ago. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 154,500 with 8,200 jobless.

Lehigh County’s unemployment rate is 5.4 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 180,900, the most within the MSA, with 9,800 without jobs, the highest within the MSA.

Pennsylvania liquor store system again facing privatization

04.03.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Pennsylvania liquor store system again facing privatization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 5th- The pro-business anti-union Republican members of Pennsylvania General Assembly have yet again proposed the selling-off of the State Wine and Spirits Stores.

Their latest measure passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives last month that would sell licenses to sell booze which they estimated would bring in $1 billion.

Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf promises to veto the legislation should it reach his desk. He has proposed a plan for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which operates the system, to “modernized” the system by extending Sunday hours and Holiday sales, improve store locations, having more flexible pricing, create a system of competitive pricing, and more customer engagement.

However, as expected Mr. Wolf’s plan was greeted was skepticism by Republicans, business-people that want to purchase a license, and some within the media, including Times-Shamrock Communications, the parent publishers of the Scranton Times-Tribune, the Citizens’ Voice, and the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.

The newspapers’ would benefit financially should the stores be privatized by creating advertising competition between license owners and perhaps even the publishers plan to purchase one of the licenses and go into the booze business. Recently, several family members of the publishers of Times-Shamrock became part owners of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Railriders baseball team, breaking away from the media business.

Net profits of the latest reporting period under current system was $123.68 million on gross revenue of $2.27 billion, amounting to a net profit margin of 5.44 percent. Under Mr. Wolf’s proposal he estimates the system would be even more profitable creating an additional annual profit of $185 million by fiscal 2018.

The selling of the system will put more than 5,000 family sustaining jobs in harms way. The United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union represents the majority of the stores employees, including clerks and shelve stockers. UFCW Local 1776 represents the workers within the eastern part of Pennsylvania while UFCW Local 23 represents the western part.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represents mainly the office employees of the system including the PLCB auditors, which operates the stores.

There are currently 600-plus wine and spirit stores within the current system statewide.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s retail jobs decreases from the previous year

04.03.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

MSA’s retail jobs decreases from the previous year

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM
REGION, March 4th- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, (DOL) Center of Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, within the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the retail trade sector lost more jobs in 2014 from the year before than any other job sector.

The DOL 2014 job report indicated that the retail job sector decreased by 600 jobs during that period with general merchandise stores leading the way with a net job loss of 300 from the previous year. Also, grocery store jobs dropped by 200 during the period.

The DOL also reported that the MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania. However, the current unemployment rate of 5.9 percent is the lowest it has been since May 2008 when it was at 5.8 percent. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania consecutively for more than six and half years. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 8.4 percent.

The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 4.8 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,367,000 with 309,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,058,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by two full percentage points over the past twelve month.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.5 percent while the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.2 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.8 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest at 3.9 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.2 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 274,200 civilians. There are 16,100 civilians without employment, decreasing by 400 from the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,974,900 with 163,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,241,700 with 57,500 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 426,300 with 22,300 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,100 civilians and 3,200 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,100 civilians with 2,900 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,200 and 3,700 of them are not working.

Meanwhile, transportation, warehousing and utilities jobs showed the largest gain within the MSA during 2014, increasing by 1,700 jobs overall. The mining, logging and construction sector gained 900 jobs during the period while professional and business services jobs dropped by 1,100 combined together.

According to the data, there were 22,400 leisure and hospitality jobs in the MSA in 2014, increasing by 200 from 2013. Hospital jobs dropped by 100 in 2014 to 9,100. Also, there were 65,200 trade, transportation, and utilities jobs within the MSA during the period. The number of jobs within the sector were the highest ever reported for the MSA.

Government jobs overall decreased by 100 in 2014 from 2013. However, federal jobs did increase during the year by 200 to 4,200 while state government jobs dropped by 200 to 19,000. Also, local government jobs decreased by 100 to 6,300.

Manufacturing jobs during 2014 decreased by 100 to 27,400.

Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation hires new Staff Representative

04.03.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation hires new Staff Representative

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 5th - The Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation (NEPA-ALF), O’Neill Highway in Dunmore, a labor federation with approximately seventy-five labor organizations from throughout Northeast Pennsylvania are affiliated, named David Carey Jr. of Nanticoke, Luzerne County, as their next Staff Representative. Mr. Carey is a member of the United Steel Workers (USW) Union Local 5652, Union Street in Wilkes-Barre. The previous Staff Representative resigned in August 2014.

Mr. Carey will be the fourth Staff Representative since the Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation was created approximately 12 years ago.

There are six Central Labor Council’s (CLC’s) and one Labor Chapter affiliated with the NEPA-ALF including: the Five-County CLC; the Northern Tied CLC; the Lehigh Valley CLC; the Schuylkill CLC; the Greater Wilkes-Barre CLC; and the Scranton Central Labor Union. The Carbon County Labor Chapter is also affiliated with the NEPA-ALF. The labor federation is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The labor federations are made-up of unions that represent workers employed in Lehigh, Northampton, Schuylkill, Union, Snyder, Montour, Clinton, Bradford, Lycoming, Columbia, Northumberland, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wyoming, Wayne, Sullivan, and Susquehanna Counties of Pennsylvania.

Corey Lockard, Chairperson of the NEPA-ALF, who is also the Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 86, New Columbia, which represents AFSCME members throughout north-central Pennsylvania including the Williamsport region, stated after conducting interviews with more than ten applicants for the position, Mr. Carey was selected by the organizations’ executive board, which is made-up of members affiliated with the NEPA-ALF.

The NEPA-ALF Staff Representative is a full-time paid position that is the go-between the labor federation and their affiliated labor organizations. The person meets with elected political officials to better communicate on issues that are important to the labor community. Also, the Staff Representative is there to assist the labor community in organizing campaigns, protests, public at-large events, community projects and overall helps mobilize the labor community.

Mr. Lockard became the third Chairperson of the NEPA-ALF mid-summer 2014.

Verizon selling part of hardline phone business to Frontier

04.03.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Verizon selling part of hardline phone business to Frontier

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- The once very profitable copper wire land-line telephone business, which most was operated by Verizon Communications, still makes money but has seen the use of the wireline decreased by around twenty-five percent over the past several decades because of the increase of wireless services.

Recently it was announced that Verizon Communications Inc., a mostly unionized company, has agreed to sell about a quarter of its hardline telephone business to Frontier Communications Corporation.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union represent thousands of Verizon Communications workers.

Verizon Communications stated that they will sell part of their system to Frontier Communications. After the deal is completed Verizon will not operate wireline telephone service in three states, Texas, California and Florida. The remaining phone business of Verizon Communications will be mostly in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The deal must still be approved by federal regulators.

The selling of the assets to Frontier Communications will continue what Verizon began several years ago, selling off much of their land-line telephone business that they received in 2000 after Bell Atlantic merged with GTE, forming Verizon Communications.

According to Verizon, sixty-nine percent of the $127 billion of annual revenue is created through their wireless business. However, despite the need of more infrastructure in the hard-line telephone business, it still makes money.

Verizon Communications landline business is unionized. Throughout the region CWA Local 13000 represents line-repair workers while CWA Local 13500 represents mostly office workers.

Meanwhile, the CWA does represent some of the Frontier Communications Corporation workers, depending on where the employees work.

Approximately 11,000 current Verizon Communications Inc. employees will become Frontier Communications employees after the deal is completed. The majority are represented by the CWA.

Verizon Communications and Frontier Communications stated the purchase price of the network is around $10.5 billion.

Current Verizon Communications Chief Executive Lowell McAdam is the first non-hardline phone business person to lead the company. He worked within the cellular phone business.

“Right-to-work” legislation becomes law in Wisconsin

03.31.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

“Right-to-work” legislation becomes law in Wisconsin

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 3rd- The State of Wisconsin legislature passed and the Republican Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation that will make the badger state the twenty-fifth in the nation to ban employers and labor organizations from agreeing to union security language within their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the two parties. The legislation is commonly known as “right-to-work”.

A new wave of legislative bills that are intended to weaken the numbers of members of labor unions is expected this year after the pro-business Republican party gaining seats in legislatures across the United States.

New right-to-work legislation is expected to be proposed by anti-union pro-business Republican statehouses across the nation including the pro-union state of Maine and Pennsylvania.

Democratic Pennsylvania first-term Governor Tom Wolf made it clear during last years political campaign that he would veto any right-to-work legislation that passes the Republican controlled General Assembly. Mr. Wolf has been called the “fire-wall” between the anti-union members of the Republican party and the labor community. Should have Republican Tom Corbett regained the governors seat, most if not all anti-union legislation would have become the law of Pennsylvania.

Recently union workers held a “right-to-work” legislation protest at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison. Media reports indicated that only several thousand union members participated in the event because it is believed legislation banning the mandatory payment of union dues in Wisconsin will likely pass and be signed into law by the anti-union Walker, a possible Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2016.

In Pennsylvania the issue of banning union security clauses in labor agreements, or what the labor community often calls “no-rights-at-work,” was front and center during 2013 after billionair Dick Yuengling Jr., leader of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. brewery, said Pennsylvania should become a right-to-work state.

Before Wisconsin legislation was signed into law, there were 24 states that banned union security clauses, which makes workers join the union after working a probationary period. The clause is a term of collective bargaining and must first be agreed to by the union and the employer and ratified by the membership.

IBEW Local 81 bowling tournament raises funds

03.31.15

MARCH 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 81 bowling tournament raises funds

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 4th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81 in Scranton conducted their annual Toby Joyce Memorial Bowling Tournament on Saturday February 21st at the South Side Bowling lanes in South Scranton. It was the 13th consecutive year the event has been held.

The event benefits the Friendship House, the region’s only provider of care and mental health treatment for boys and girls with emotional difficulties from toddlers to adolescents.

The Friendship House serves 750 children daily through a full range of programs including, day, evening, and weekend partial hospitalization programs, residential care and tratment, foster care and adoption, outpatient program and services in the home and community.

The organization is also home to the Northeast Regional Canter for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

According to Geno Arcurie Jr., Local 81 Membership Development Representative, this years event was the largest ever with 145 bowlers participating and 50 sponsors of bowling lanes, which he said provides the most funds.

The event raised around $5,500.00 that was donated to the Friendship House. This years amount was the also the most ever, and $1,000.00 more than last years event.

“We hired Jaworski Sign Company to make all of the lane sponsor signs, a unionized company,” said Mr. Arcurie.

Mr. Arcurie stated several lane sponsors have indicated they want to sign-up for next year already.