Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployed rate decreases to 5.3 percent

01.28.15

FEBRUARY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployed rate decreases to 5.3 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 14th- 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 5.3 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest it has been since May 2008 when it was also at 5.3 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 7.3 percent.

There are fourteen MSA’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.0 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, and the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.9 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the third lowest at 4.1 percent. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.1 percent, dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, and decreasing by one and eight-tenths percentage points from twelve months before.

There are 323,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs and the state has a civilian labor-force of 6,368,000 with 6,045,000 employed.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 5.8 percent, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 5.9 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the month before. Carbon County has a labor-force of 31,500 civilians with 1,900 unemployed.

Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.2 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two full percentage points from one year before. Northampton County has a labor-force of 153,200 civilians with 7,900 not employed.

Lehigh County has a unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, rising by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Lehigh County has a labor-force of 183,600 with 9,800 unemployed.

Yuengling Brewery products not welcomed at Tom Wolf’s Inauguration in Harrisburg

01.28.15

FEBRUARY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Yuengling Brewery products not welcomed at Tom Wolf’s Inauguration in Harrisburg

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 23rd- Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg, told the newspaper that while he supports the decision to not serve beverages manufactured by Pottsville based Yuengling Brewery at Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s inauguration recently held in Harrisburg, he did not request the action and doesn’t know who did.

Pennsylvania House of Representative Mike Vereb (Republican-150th Legislative District) complained that he was made aware that Yuengling Brewery products were not to be served at Mr. Wolf’s inauguration party and suggested that it was not a accident that Pennsylvania’s largest nonunion brewery was left-off the list of beverage suppliers.

“If Mr. Wolf or someone within his inner circle deliberately left Yuengling off the list of beer suppliers, good for them, but I did not request it. However, I like the decision,” stated Mr. Bloomingdale when contacted by the newspaper. Several other Pennsylvania beverage companies participated in the post inauguration parties.

Dick Yuengling Jr., the leader of D.G. Yuengling, in 2014 stated that he supports legislation that would eliminate union security clauses in labor agreements in Pennsylvania, often called ‘right-to-work’ laws. The labor community refers to the legislation as ‘no-rights-at-work’ laws.

Currently, any new hire by a employer in Pennsylvania that is unionized, it is required for the employee to become a member of the bargaining unit after serving a probationary period. Also, an employee to continue to work at a unionized employer that has a union security clause in their collective bargaining agreement and working within the unions jurisdiction must be a member of the union.

Mr. Yuengling stated at a Pennsylvania Press Club appearance last year that Pennsylvania would attrack more businesses if there was a “right-to-work” law on the books. Also he added that former Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett was a “great man”.

Forges Magazine estimates that Mr. Yuengling’s worth is more than $1.3 billion and Mr. Bloomingdale said with that wealth he supports legislation that if passed would result in a decrease of wages for workers.

The labor community held a rally in Pottsville on November 9th, 2014 to protest Mr. Yuenglings remarks and show the public-at-large and Harrisburg political leaders that they will fight against legislation that removes union security clauses from labor agreements in the state.

“I don’t know who got in Wolf’s people ear about not having Yuengling products there, but I support it,” Mr. Bloomingdale said.

TPP Trickery

01.22.15

TPP Trickery

So-called “free trade” deals have a long history associated with the tricky ways they have been sold to the American public. The very term “free trade” itself is word trickery. They are not really free at all.

First of all, they have a cost in terms of American jobs, damage to our environment, undermining our democratic form of government, income inequality effects and much more. Secondly, they still manage trade but in a very complex and opaque way. They tend to very, very long complicated agreements. They manage trade often in ways that reward certain corporation and punish others.

If they really were designed to benefit the general public in the nations involved, they would be publicly negotiated with full input from all the stakeholders to the agreement. This means labor leaders, consumer advocates, small businesspersons, family farmers, food safety advocates, health care experts, environmentalists and average taxpayers would be fully involved from the beginning of the processes in every such trade deal. They are not! Only government officials (mostly from Wall Street) and representatives of large international corporations are involved in drafting these so-called “free trade” deals.

The American people have been promised huge benefits from every deal passed for decades. None of those deals produced the promised benefits in terms of jobs or impacts on our trade deficits. Environmental and labor protection provisions promised were largely ignored in reality. Our manufacturing base and our middle class has been devastated by those so-called Free trade” deals.

Decades of broken so-called “free trade” deals leaves the American public highly distrustful of even more deals with non-specific lofty promises. Where are the specific terms in advance of our support of a fast track process?

The way they are negotiated and passed are inherently dishonest. These deals are really treaties between national governments but are never passed by congress on that legal basis. Treaties are required to be passed by votes much larger than simple one vote majorities. Because these deals are not supported by large majorities of the American public, they are not called treaties when presented to Congress for passage. If the treaties were in reality highly beneficial to most Americans, they would command massive public support and could be passed into law as treaties.

The TPP is no exception to the above general statements on so-called “free trade” deals. In fact, it is much worse. The very name Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is kind of dishonest. Real partnerships are not formed in secret. They are not negotiated in secret from the parties involved. This one has been done so. The citizens of the nations involved are the real parties involved. The government officials are only acting as our agents. As our agents, they should be telling us everything about this proposed deal as the negotiations proceed. Instead, the process has been secret.

This writer calls the TPP by a more honest name. It is in reality the Trans Pacific Pact and has nothing to do with a partnership of the citizenry of the nations involved. Secret negotiators from the corporate world cannot enter me into a partnership agreement that I do not know the terms of and that I cannot through my elected representatives modify the terms.

This TPP pact is falsely named and completely anti-democratic from top to bottom. We cannot let it be fast-tracked into passage. The fast track process means we have no say through our elected representatives in Congress to modify the secret terms negotiated. We cannot even fully know what those terms are in advance of granting fast track authorization.

Nobody in their right mind would agree to this kind of business contact in their personal finances. Why is it acceptable in our government? The answer is that it is not acceptable. These so-called “free trade” deals are contracts that bind us as American citizens to bear the costs in terms of jobs, and in the case of the TPP, as taxpayers from lawsuits by international corporations. The TPP will primarily benefit international corporations and the global financial elite at our expense.

As a nation, we need a full say in the passage or rejection of the TPP through our democratic election process in the 2016 elections after the complete text of the deal has been made public.

Written by Stephen Crockett :

(Stephen Crockett is the founder & former Host of Democratic Talk Radio www.DemocraticTalkRadio, a small business owner, College Marketing. com www.CollegeMarketing.com, and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor. com www.midatlanticlabor.com. He can be reached by email at demlabor@aol.com.)

NLRB files complaints against McDonalds Restaurants

01.15.15

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

NLRB files complaints against McDonalds Restaurants

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced it had brought multiple charges against McDonald’s Restaurants alleging they violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) when some of their franchise owners retaliated and threatened workers for protesting low pay.

The national campaign by fast-food workers, mostly at McDonald’s Restaurants, to push for higher wages has gained momentum during 2014 with protest and strikes by workers in cities across the nation, however, the newspaper is not aware of any action taken by workers employed by regional McDonald’s franchise operators.

In the spring, a new labor organization was formed to attempt to organize fast-food workers throughout the United States.

The New York City based “Fast Food Workers Committee” Union filed with the United States Department of Labor (DOL), in Washington DC to be recognized as a labor organization that wants to represent workers employed within the fast-food industry including those working for McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.

The NLRB complaints allege McDonald’s and some franchise operators illegally retaliated against their workers and threatened firing them for joining the national campaign to raise wages to $15.00 an hour for fast-food workers.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is supporting a national campaign called “Fast Food Forward” which includes calling for McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants to pay their workers a “living wage.”

Several other unions, including the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union is also supporting the unionization of the workers and their attempt to earn a higher living wage.

McDonald’s, many of their franchise owners, and other business groups have challenged the NLRB’s complaints stating that the agency was wrong to consider the company a “joint employer” and hold McDonald’s Restaurants responsible for the action of some of their franchise owners and operators.

According to McDonald’s, approximately 90 percent of the stores with the McDonald’s name in the nation are operated by franchise owners.

The NLRB alleges the company violated the NLRAct by disciplining workers who protested their low wages, spied on them and attempted to restrict them from contacting or speaking to representatives of anyone associated with an labor organization.

Fast-food franchise operators fearful of worker protest and calling for wage increases and possible unionization

01.15.15

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

Fast-food franchise operators fearful of worker protest and calling for wage increases and possible unionization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- Fast-food franchise owners lead by the International Franchise Association, a group of approximately 17,000 fast-food restaurant owners and operators, have began to release information and business profits hoping to convince their employees and the public at-large that most of the franchise owners which includes McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Subway and others are just small business-people and can not afford to pay their workers much above the federal minimum wage.

The national campaign by fast-food workers, mostly at McDonald’s Restaurants, to push for higher wages is continuing.

Recent worker protests throughout the nation, including in Philadelphia, marked the one-year anniversary of the fast-food workers effort to raise their wages. Organizers stated that the protests were held in more than 150 cities throughout the nation.

In the spring of 2014, a new labor organization was formed to attempt to organize fast-food workers throughout the United States.

The New York City based “Fast Food Workers Committee” Union filed with the United States Department of Labor (DOL), in Washington DC to be recognized as a labor organization that wants to represent workers employed within the fast-food industry.

The Union comes into existence after reports indicated that some McDonald’s franchise owners violated the Federal Fair Standards Act (FLSAct) or have paid their workers through debit cards, which required the employees pay bank penalties for transactions.

In February, the DOL announced that former McDonald’s franchisee Cheubg Enterprises LLC, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania, agreed to pay more than $205,900 in back wages and liquidated damages to 291 employees.

A investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSAct at the company’s six locations in central Pennsylvania.

Investigators from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division in Wilkes-Barre investigated the complaint and found the violations of the FLSAct.

The trade group recently released information that stated only six percent of their affiliated members operate or own more than 100 separate franchise businesses. Also, the organization stated almost fifty percent operate just one. However, fewer than fifty percent of all franchise owners are affiliated with the organization and the trade group did not include nonaffiliated franchise owners in their data.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is supporting a national campaign called “Fast Food Forward” which includes calling for McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants to pay their workers a “living wage.”

The “Fast Food Forward” stepped-up their campaign to raise the wages of fast-food workers and other employees of companies that pay their workers the minimum wage or just above, during the last quarter of 2014.

The workers pay and benefits, or lack of it, has turned into a national news story with worker strikes and protests, often resulting in fast-food workers being threatened or disciplined for their legally protected activity.

The nationwide worker protest at fast-food restaurants and demonstrations have resulted in workers and protesters also being arrested.

“Fast Food Forward” is being supported and sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and has provided manpower and financial help to the organization in its quest to raise the workers wages and become represented by an labor organization.

The International Franchise Association has created a web-site and hotline phone number to help counter the worker protest and wage increases demands.

A review of the web-site by the newspaper indicated that the trade group is fearful and warns their members because of the escalating worker protest, labor union involvement it the employees cause, state minimum wage law increases clearly made to target their affiliated members, and the attempt of the newly formed labor organization to organize their workforce which would likely increase wages and create new working conditions under a collective bargaining agreement for their workers.

Scranton USPS processing center still scheduled for closure

01.15.15

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

Scranton USPS processing center still scheduled for closure

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- As of press time the United States Postal Service (USPS) was still going ahead with moving the mail processing work currently being done at their facility in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The union that represents the workers that will be mostly effected was hoping the agency would at least delay the action.

Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, which represents the majority of the USPA most effected by the distribution center’s closing, failed to return the newspapers phone message requesting the status of the situation.

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 agency first announced it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented.

The USPS stated around 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. However, no lay-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreements 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, along with other officials of other postal service labor organizations, have been meeting with federal and state elected representatives hoping to get them to recommend to the USPS not to move the processing work to the Lehigh Valley, or at least delay the action.

However, several members of the APWU have been reasigned to other duties including becoming mail delivery carriers. The National Letter Carriers Union (NALC) represents the mail delivery carriers of the USPS. The USPS has scheduled to consolidated their Scranton, Lancaster and Erie facilities around January 14th.

The APWU Local 101 represents the majority of the workers that will be effected by the USPS action at the Scranton processing center.

Because of the job bidding requirement under the collective bargaining agreement’s (CBA’s) with the APWU, the NALC, and the other labor organizations that represent the USPS employees, some of the APWU members will end-up delivering mail or conducting other duties and may need to transfer to other USPS facilities to remain workers of the postal service.

Due to the closing of the Scranton based processing center, although the building will remain open but not process in-coming or out-coming mail, all mail and packages will now be rerounted from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley. The USPS closed the Wilkes-Barre processing center around seven year ago moving the work to the Scranton facility.

Under the new system, after a customer mails a letter in the region, it must be sent to the Lehigh Valley for processing before being brought back to the region for delivery.

Teamsters Local 229 continues to monitor FedEx facility

01.15.15

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

Teamsters Local 229 continues to monitor FedEx facility

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- Craig Pawlik, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, O’Neill Highway in Dunmore, which represents IBT members in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties and part of Monroe County of Northern Pennsylvania, told the newspaper his union withdrew the Representation Petition filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia in December because some of the union supporters employed at the FedEx facility in Monroe County changed their minds about being represented by the IBT.

In previous editions of the newspaper it was exclusively reported that Local 229 was attempting to represent FedEx workers employed at the company’s facility in Mount Pocono Township and the union filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the workers wanted to be represented by the IBT for the purpose of collective bargaining after more than 65 percent of the workforce signed union authorization cards.

The IBT in Washington DC, has began to attempt to organize FedEx Ground Freight employees. The workers haul packages throughout the FedEx system. They do not deliver packages to customers homes and businesses.

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.

IBT Local 229 and workers of the Pocono facility of FedEx had met over several months and each time more workers signed authorization cards that requested the NLRB conduct a election. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), at least 30 percent of the workforce unit must sign the cards before they can request a election. A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employees in a NLRB election to become their bargaining representative.

However, after conducting a campaign leading-up to the NLRB scheduled election for December 11th, both Mr. Pawlik and Charlie Miller, Vice President and Business Representative of Local 229, determined that if the election was conducted on December 11th, the union would lose in the balloting count. Mr. Pawlik and Mr. Miller jointly were conducting the union campaign. Mr. Pawlik stated FedEx conducted a very anti-union campaign against the IBT, both he and Mr. Miller, and against Local 229. “Employees received a lot of negative information, some just made-up, about the union,” stated Mr. Pawlik.

Under NLRB rules should a labor organization lose a election one year must past before being able to file again requesting the agency conduct another election. Mr. Pawlik told the newspaper that they are continuing to monitor the situation at FedEx and should it appear the employees would be more likely to vote in favor of the IBT, they will refile the petition and request a election. By withdrawing the petition the union can request the agency conduct a election after six months from the date the petition was withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the IBT Local 107 in Philadelphia won the right to represent 47 drivers at FedEx East Philadelphia terminal in Croydon, Pennsylvania after the workers voted 26 for to 18 against being represented by Local 107 on October 14th in a NLRB conducted election.

Also, on November 19th, approximately 222 drivers of FedEx at their Charlotte, North Carolina facility voted to become members of IBT Local 71 in a NLRB conducted election.

NLRB overturns 2007 ruling regarding workers e-mail use

01.15.15

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

NLRB overturns 2007 ruling regarding workers e-mail use

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- Often short of victories in the federal court system, a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington DC., will help the labor community in union organizing through employers e-mail system.

The NLRB ruled that workers with access to their employers internet e-mail system have the right to use it for a union organizing campaign and other communications regarding wages earned and working conditions. However, the workers can only use the e-mail system during nonworking time, not while being paid by the employer.

The labor community anticipated the ruling for several months and it reverses a 2007 ruling that stated employers had the right to restrict employees from using their internet e-mail system for union organizing campaigns.

However, since that ruling of 2007, the five-member counsel of the NLRB has changed under President Obama. All five members of the NLRB in Washington have been appointed by Mr. Obama. The NLRB General Counsel was also appointed by the President and has pushed for the reversal of the 2007 ruling, stating the rule was too restrictive because it was the way today that employees communicate with each other.

The NLRB is made-up of five members. Three from the party of the president, and two from the other, meaning there are currently three Democrats and two Republicans serving.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) which represents workers employed in the broadcast industry, print media and telecommunications industry, challenged the 2007 ruling after being unsuccessful in organizing workers in 2012 that provided services to deaf people and the e-mail rule interferred with the elections.

The company’s rule forbid workers from using their e-mail system for anything else but conducting company business, meaning since many of the workers were themselves deaf or hard of hearing, the CWA had little opportunity to communicate with them.

The CWA and other labor unions believe workplace e-mail is the modern-day way workers conduct workplace discussions and conversations. The latest NLRB ruling agreed with that conclusion.

Both Republican NLRB members dissented.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage earners fall further behind

01.15.15

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

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage earners fall further behind

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 2nd- On Thursday January 2015 twenty states in the nation increased their minimum wage law however, workers in Pennsylvania are still receiving the federal wage of $7.25 an hour. And most likely, the federal wage will not be increased over the next two years, while the Republican party holds the majority in both chambers of the Congress in Washington DC.

With the election season over and the Republican party being successful in strengthening their ability to have legislation passed through both sides of the Pennsylvania General Assembly by gaining seats in both chambers of the legislature, raising the minimum wage for state workers becomes even more complicated and unlikely.

The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009 and some states have tired of waiting for the Republicans in Washington to support an increase and have began raising their bench-mark wage above the federal wage.

The minimum wage covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is now lower than every neighboring state. Overall, approximately 26 states now have a higher minimum wage than Pennsylvania.

New Jersey’s minimum wage increased January 1st to $8.38 an hour. New Jersey voters approved a automatic annual cost-of-living increase in 2013.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC supports increasing the federal bench-mark to $10.10 an hour, which President Obama had proposed in his last two State of the Union addresses. However, Republicans in Washington, including incoming majority Leader Mitch McConnell, opposes an increase.

The Republicans and their business supporters continue to claim that raising the wage would kill between 500 thousand and one million jobs if the wage was increased.

But, according to data by the Department of Labor, job growth in the 13 states in 2014 that have increased their minimum wage was more robust than states that did not. Average job growth in states that increased the benchmark was 0.85 percent this year while in states that have not increase their wage was 0.61 percent.

Mr. Obama will veto Keystone XL pipeline legislation

01.15.15

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

Mr. Obama will veto Keystone XL pipeline legislation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- President Barack Obama made it clear that he will not sign legislation that would pave the way of the construction completion of the building trades supported Keystone XL pipeline on January 6th. Mr. Obama stated that he would veto the legislation should it be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In December before their annual Christmas recess, the Senate narrowly defeated legislation that would have approved the pipeline construction. The legislation needed 60 votes for approval and it received only 59. Most Democrats voted against the bill while all 45 Republicans voted in favor.

However, Senate Republicans will bring the pipeline construction legislation up for another vote during the second week of January. In November the party won enough seats in the November election to gain control. They hold a 54 to 46 majority and need 60 votes to over-ride a Presidential veto.

President Obama has not supported the XL Keystone pipeline construction, which the administration has reviewed for six years. The majority of the pipeline construction will be built with American taxpayers money. Mr. Obama stated that he wanted a State Department review of the pipeline to be completed before his would support its construction.

On January 31st, a President Obama Administration analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline stated it wouldn’t likely alter the amount of oil removed from the Canadian oil sands, suggesting it would have little impact on any future climate change. The report at the time was considered to be one of the last steps before a up-or-down decision by Mr. Obama on the pipeline construction.

However, President Obama last spring extended his decision of whether to construct the pipeline until January 6th when made it clear he planned to veto the legislation when it reached his desk.

The proposed pipeline would be 1,179 miles long, 329 miles in Canada, and 850 miles in the United States. The pipeline would cross the United States border in Montana and travel through the midwest to Texas. It will be 36 inches in diameter with a total daily oil capacity of 830,000 barrels of oil. The lower portion of the pipeline has already been built and transports oil from Oklahoma to Texas.

The Building and Construction Trades unions support the pipeline construction because with federal money being used for its construction, the project would be built under the provisions of the David-Bacon Act, meaning better paying wages would be earned and most likely union members would be hired.

While construction unions and pro-oil business leaders support the development of the pipeline, most environmental groups and ranchers in the region oppose it.

The majority of the labor organizations that represent workers employed within the building trades are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

The support of the building trades unions of the pipeline is problematic for the AFL-CIO because federation President Richard Trumka was successful in getting affiliated member unions approval to let nonunion groups to join the consortium, including the Sierra Club, a environmental organization that opposes the pipeline construction.

Terry O’Sullivan, Internationl President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) in Washington DC, has been critical of Mr. Obama for not supporting the pipeline construction. Mr. O’Sullivan called President Obama “gutless” in the spring of 2014 after Mr. Obama extended the decision of whether to construct the pipeline.

Presidential press secretary Josh Earnest stated on January 6th that should the legislation pass Congress, Mr. Obama will not sign it, stating the bill would undermine a pipeline review process underway by the administration.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.0 percent, remains highest

01.15.15

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

MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.0 percent, remains highest

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) decreased by three-tenths of a percentage point to 6.0 percent. The MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania but according to the recently released data the current unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since June 2008 when it was also at 6.0 percent. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than six consecutive years.

The last report was released approximately one month before. The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 8.5 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment has decreased during the past year is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved much. The MSA’s civilian labor-force was 279,400 twelve months ago but currently the labor-force is at 273,600. One year ago there were 255,500 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 257,100 employed within the civilian workforce.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.1 percent, also decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,368,000 with 323,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,045,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and eight-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve month. Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.8 percent, unchanged from the previous report but dropping by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent while the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.3 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.9 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest at 4.1 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 273,600 civilians. There are 16,500 civilians without employment, decreasing by 800 from the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,973,600 with 167,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,242,000 with 59,200 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,000 with 22,800 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,000 civilians and 3,300 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,100 civilians with 3,000 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,300 and 3,800 of them are not working.

Wyoming County has the lowest unemployment in the MSA at 5.4 percent, decreasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two and two-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 6.2 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two and five-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Luzerne County has 9,700 civilians without employment.

Lackawanna County’s unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, unchanged from the previous report. There are 6,000 Lackawanna County residents reported to be unemployed.

Voters not Congress should decide TPP trade pact

01.11.15

Voters not Congress should decide TPP trade pact

We need to slow the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval process down until after the 2016 elections. After the final full terms are made public, the voters should decide this issue using our democratic electoral processes. We need this to be a campaign issue in the Senate, House and Presidential elections. It will increase voter turnout (which is good for American democracy) and give the decision real legitimacy.

There are many stakeholders in this deal. Large international corporations, domestic corporations, small businesses, American workers, farmers, consumers, citizens who care about the environment, those with intellectual property, citizens concerned with food safety, those concerned with preserving control of our economy as expressed via our democratic elections, taxpayers and many more elements of our society are stakeholders. Most of these stakeholders have been largely left out of the secretive process of drafting the TPP trade pact.

It seems that large international corporations were the only stakeholders who had a major role in the drafting the trade deal. There is no way that fast tracking approval of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) should be under serious consideration. Fast tracking this trade deal is being pushed by those who are politically under the control of large corporate interests.

Regardless of which political party controls the US House of Representatives, the Senate or the White House, they should defer to the will of the American people on an issue as important as the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) because the deal impacts the role of our democratically controlled government in our economy and many other parts of our economic future. The TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) is widely seen as a massive international power grab based on the leaks pushed in the press from these secretive negotiations.

Few Americans have a deep understanding of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) terms. This includes most members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Our corporate controlled press has not given the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) the kind of serious, extensive reporting that previous trade deals like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) received. The public has not been effectively informed on the terms of the deal. There has not been enough time for stakeholders to examine the potential impacts of the terms on the American nation.

American democracy has not been served. American democracy has been ignored. Obviously, the will of the American people should have the final say on the fate of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact).
We need a long, vigorous public debate and a full election cycle in 2016 fought in part on this issue so the American people can be heard before TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval decision by a newly elected Congress and President.

Written by Stephen Crockett -

(Stephen Crockett is the founder & former Host of Democratic Talk Radio www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com, a small business owner, College Marketing.com www.CollegeMarketing.com, and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com www.midatlanticlabor.com. He can be reached by email at demlabor@aol.com.)

Related articles:

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster (by Robert Reich)
www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-the-transpacific-part_b_6422088.html

Bernie Sanders’ Brutal Letter On Obama’s Trade Pact Foreshadows 2016 Democratic Clash (by Zach Carter)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/05/bernie-sanders-michael-froman-tpp_n_6419874.html

Democrats Slam Obama Over Secretive Trade Deals, Say He Needs Economics ‘Refresher’ (by Dana Liebelson and Jennifer Bendery)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/08/trade-deal_n_6438288.html

Mitch McConnell Pledges Fast Action For Secretive Trade Deals (by Michael McAuliff)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/mcconnell-fast-track_n_6432118.html

Will Fast-Track/TPP Warnings Reach The Public? It’s Up To You.
(by Dave Johnson)
ourfuture.org/20150107/will-fast-tracktpp-warnings-reach-the-public-its-up-to-you

Obama’s Covert Trade Deal (by Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy)
www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/obamas-covert-trade-deal.html?_r=0

Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda (by Julie Hirschfeld Davis)
www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/business/democrats-step-up-efforts-to-block-obama-on-trade-promotion-authority.html

Bernie Sanders Slams The Trans-Pacific Partnership As A Disaster For Workers (by Jason Easley)
www.politicususa.com/2014/12/29/bernie-sanders-trans-pacific-partnership-disaster-workers.html

Tell Congress to Vote NO on TPP and Fast Track Authority for Trade Deals (Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund)
www.farmtoconsumer.org/news_wp/?p=17355

National Survey on Fast-Track Authority for TPP Trade Pact
fasttrackpoll.info/docs/Fast-Track-Survey_Memo.pdf

AFSCME leader states union members must mobilize against conservative agenda

01.02.15

JANUARY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

AFSCME leader states union members must mobilize against conservative agenda

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 23rd- David Fillman, Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13 in Harrisburg, told the newspaper that the next Pennsylvania General Assembly of Pennsylvania will be more conservative and more likely be more anti-union than the previous legislative body. However, like Pennsylvania House of Representative Mike Carroll (Democrat-118th Legislative District) believes incoming Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will be the “fire-wall” in Harrisburg that will hopefully stop any anti-union legislation from becoming law. Mr. Wolf will be sworn-in as Pennsylvania Governor on January 20th. AFSCME represents more workers employed by the state than any other labor organization. There are eight statewide AFSCME District Council’s affiliated with Council 13.

With bigger Republican party majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, even more anti-union legislation is likely than the previous General Assembly. The Republicans raised their Senate majority from twenty-seven to thirty seats in 2015. The Democrats previously had twenty-three seats and will hold only twenty seats beginning in 2015.

Mr. Fillman told the newspaper that Council 13 has spend time and funds educating their members on why being politically involve and aware is so neccessary to preserve their jobs and livelihoods.

“Whether we are talking about prevailing wage laws, the privatization of the state stores, right-to-work laws, or paycheck protection legislation, the membership must understand the neccessity of being involved and mobilized,” stated Mr. Fillman. “There is no question the next General Assembly will be more conservative than the previous one.”

Because of the majority gains of the Republicans, relationships with moderate members of the party will be very important for the labor community Mr. Fillman added. Should Mr. Wolf veto any anti-union legislation, which he has stated he would, a two-thirds majority vote by both sides of the legislature will be needed to over-ride his veto for the legislation to become law, making the pro-worker Republicans important. Those legislators and Mr. Wolf are the only way the labor community can defeat any anti-worker, anti-union legislation over at least the next two years, Mr. Fillman told the newspaper.

Mr. Wolf easily defeated incumbent anti-union Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in the November election.

“Without him, labor will be in huge trouble,” said Mr. Carroll. He pointed out that Mr. Corbett was generally unsuccessful in getting most of the anti-union legislation through the Pennsylvania General Assembly the past four years because there were enough Democrats and pro-worker Republicans to stop most of it. Mr. Carroll, is the Chairman of the Northeast Pennsylvania Democratic delegation.

AFSCME represents both state and nonstate workers in Pennsylvania including those employed in nursing homes, the Pennsylvania Lottery system, corrections, and public services.

Keystone XL pipeline construction to be a issue in 2015

12.19.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Keystone XL pipeline construction to be a issue in 2015

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- The United States Senate recently narrowly defeated legislation that would have approved the building trades supported Keystone XL pipeline. The legislation needed 60 votes for approval and it received only 59. Most Democrats voted against the bill while all 45 Republicans voted in favor.

However, Senate Republicans plan to bring the pipeline construction legislation up for another vote in January, 2015 after they take over control of the chamber. In November the party won enough seats in the November election to gain control.

President Obama has not supported the XL Keystone pipeline construction, which the administration has reviewed for six years. The majority of the pipeline construction will be built with American taxpayers money.

On January 31st, a President Obama Administration analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline stated it wouldn’t likely alter the amount of oil removed from the Canadian oil sands, suggesting it would have little impact on any future climate change. The report at the time was considered to be one of the last steps before a up-or-down decision by Mr. Obama on the pipeline construction.

However, President Obama in April extended his decision of whether to construct the pipeline project until at least after the mid-term November elections. He has since not pushed for the construction of the pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would be 1,179 miles long, 329 miles in Canada, and 850 miles in the United States. The pipeline would cross the United States border in Montana and travel through the midwest to Texas. It will be 36 inches in diameter with a total daily oil capacity of 830,000 barrels of oil. The lower portion of the pipeline has already been built and transports oil from Oklahoma to Texas.

The Building and Construction Trades unions support the pipeline construction because with federal money being used for its construction, the project would be built under the provisions of the David-Bacon Act, meaning better paying wages would be earned and most likely union members would be hired.

While construction unions and pro-oil business leaders support the development of the pipeline, most environmental groups and reachers in the region oppose it.

Not all building trade workers excluded in building project

12.19.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Not all building trade workers excluded in building project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- While it appears painters that are members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 in Drums, which represents painters, glazing/glass workers, and drywall finishers of the building trades industry, will not be hired for the new University of Scranton building under construction on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton, some of the labor organizations that represent construction workers are working or will be working in the new building construction.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, previously told the newspaper that a IUPAT signatory contractor was not hired for the painting contracting for the new University of Scranton $47 million eight-story rehabiliation building on Jefferson Avenue. The rehabilitation center under construction is where the former Scranton YWCA building was located.

Affiliated members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 489 erected the steel for the building. Other union building tradespeople have also worked at the construction site.

Ray Sajone, Business Manager of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 524, Corey Avenue in the Minooka section of Scranton, stated signatory contractors of Local 524 were hired for all aspects of the construction work his members perform, which includes plumbing and piping installation.

Mr. Gatto told the newspaper a ten-foot high inflatable rat will be used when his members protest next year for not being hired for the project.

Fast-food workers hold protest requesting better wages

12.19.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Fast-food workers hold protest requesting better wages

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- The national campaign by fast-food workers, mostly at McDonald’s Restaurants, to push for higher wages has yet to reach Northeastern Pennsylvania. Recent worker protests throughout the nation including in Philadelphia marked the one-year anniversary of the fast-food workers effort to raise their wages. Organizers stated that the recent protests were held in more than 150 cities throughout the nation.

In the spring, a new labor organization was formed to attempt to organize fast-food workers throughout the United States.

The New York City based “Fast Food Workers Committee” Union filed with the United States Department of Labor (DOL), in Washington DC to be recognized as a labor organization that wants to represent workers employed within the fast-food industry including those working for McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.

The Union comes into existence after reports indicated that some McDonald’s franchise owners violated the Federal Fair Standards Act (FLSAct) or have paid their workers through debit cards, which required the employees pay bank penalties for transactions.

In February, the DOL announced that former McDonald’s franchisee Cheubg Enterprises LLC, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania, agreed to pay more than $205,900 in back wages and liquidated damages to 291 employees.

A investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company violated the minimum wage and overtime provisions of FLSAct at the company’s six locations in central Pennsylvania.

Investigators from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division in Wilkes-Barre investigated the complaint and found the violations of the FLSAct.

In Philadelphia, several hundred union members of labor organizations from the region joined the fast-food workers protest.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is supporting a national campaign called “Fast Food Forward” which includes calling for McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants to pay their workers a “living wage.”

The newspaper is not aware of any participation of any fast-food worker in the protests in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Several other unions, including the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union is also supporting the unionization of the workers and their attempt to earn a higher living wage.

APWU defends postal service calling for mail standard delay

12.19.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

APWU defends postal service calling for mail standard delay

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 2nd- Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, is defending the United States Postal Service (USPS) calling the agency the “least costly mail service in the industrial world” and stated the newest plan by the USPS would further degrade and reduce the mail service nationwide.

The labor organizations that represent workers of the USPS distribution center in Scranton have been meeting with federal elected representatives hoping they will support not changing mail delivery standards and moving their processing work to the Lehigh Valley that is currently scheduled for early 2015.

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 agency first announced it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented.

The USPS and stated around 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. However, no lay-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreements 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.

The change of delivery standards means that any overnite mail delivery will be done away with and a two-day delivery time will take effect. Under the current plan the Scranton, Lancaster and Erie facilities will be consolidated around January 10th.

The APWU Local 101 represents the majority of the workers that will be effected by the USPS action at the Scranton processing center. However, because of the job bidding requirement under the collective bargaining agreement’s (CBA’s) with the APWU and the other postal unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union, some of the APWU members could end-up delivering mail.

The APWU held a “public meeting” on November 14th at the Greenwood Hose Company facility in Moosic in Lackawanna County to inform the public about how changing the delivery standards would effect postal customers.

Mr. Gallagher stated bill payment remittances will take much longer creating cash flow problems, and other payments and invoices will be delayed resulting in extra costs if the delivery standards are implemented.

Staples store boycott continues into sixth month

12.18.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Staples store boycott continues into sixth month

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 5th- The national boycott by many labor organizations of Staples office supply stores is continuing.

In June the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, announced a boycott of all Staples Inc. stores throughout the nation.

The APWU is boycotting all Staples office supply stores in the United States, Staples.com and Staples Advantage. The boycott also covers all Staples branded proprietary products.

In 2013 the United States Postal Service (USPS) entered into an agreement with Staples to establish a ‘pilot program’ that placed knock-off ‘post offices’ in 82 Staples stores nationwide. The APWU stated the office supplier chain was utilizing nonunion, low-paid Staples employees instead of unionized, and well-trained USPS employees. The APWU represents mail processing employees of the USPS throughout the nation.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO labor federation in Harrisburg supports the boycott and has called on for their affiliated labor organizations to not purchase office supplies from the retailer.

On July 21st, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, which approximately 800,000 union members from throughout the state are affiliated through their local labor organizations, endorsed the Staples boycott.

The labor unions’ want Staples to stop selling postage unless they hire APWU members.

Northeastern Chapter of the Coalition of Union Women application to be sent

12.18.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Northeastern Chapter of the Coalition of Union Women application to be sent

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 5th- Melissa Matoushek, a Staff Representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87, O’Neill Highway in Dunmore, which represents AFSCME members throughout nine counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and who is working to form a regional Chapter of the Coalition of Union Women (CLUW), stated the application to the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation will be sent by the end of 2014.

The newspaper has exclusively published several news articles in previous editions on Ms. Matoushek attempt to form a local chapter of CLUW.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported that enough people have signed-up to become members of CLUW, which is sanctioned by the AFL-CIO. Before a chapter could be awarded enough people must become members of the organization. The minimum amount needed before a chapter would be awarded is 25.

Ms. Matoushek told the newspaper that approximately 27 people have become members of CLUW, including several men. At least 24 of the people that have signed-up to join the organization are women, mostly members of labor organizations throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The first meeting of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter was held in August at the AFSCME District Council 87 building, 1258 O’Neill Highway in Dunmore, Lackawanna County.

CLUW is a organization within the labor movement that is sanctioned by the AFL-CIO. The organization was formed in 1974 and currently has more than 75 chapters throughout the nation and a membership of approxiamtely 20,000 women and men.

CLUW’s primary goal is to be a resource to all union represented women to develop action programs within the framework of the labor community to deal with women objectives in the workplace.

The basic objective of CLUW is to promote affirmative action in the workplace, increase participation of women in their labor unions, organize the unrepresented, and engage women in the political and legislative process.

Anyone wanting to join the organization or needs more information can contact Ms. Matoushek at (570) 352-8006. Her e-mail address is: nepacluw@gmail.com.

Right-to-work passage would have been likely in 2015 if not for Tom Wolf election

12.17.14

DECEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Right-to-work passage would have been likely in 2015 if not for Tom Wolf election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Carroll (Democrat-118th Legislative District) believes the only thing standing it the way of Pennsylvania becoming the twenty-fifth state in the nation to be a right-to-work state is incoming Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. Mr. Wolf easily defeated incumbent anti-union Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in the November election.

“Without him, labor will be in huge trouble,” said Mr. Carroll. He pointed out that Mr. Corbett was generally unsuccessful in getting most of the anti-union legislation through the Pennsylvania General Assembly the past four years because there were enough Democrats and pro-worker Republicans to stop most of it.

However, the Republican party were successful is gaining seats to their majority in November and come January 2015 they will have a ten seat majority in the State Senate.

Mr. Carroll, the Chairman of the Northeast Pennsylvania Democratic delegation, expressed to the newspaper that Mr. Wolf will be the only “fire-wall” the labor community will have over at least the next two years.

But, the labor community will have to work even harder to put the brakes on the anti-union bills that will surely by pushed by the pro-business legislature in Harrisburg the next two years, Mr. Carroll stated.

Labor community political candidates were generally successful in Northeastern Pennsylvania that faced an opponent for the November 4th election. However, one labor endorsed candidate seeking to replace retiring Pennsylvania House of Representative Phyllis Mundy (Democrat-120th Legislative District) was defeated. Eileen Cipriani, easily defeated her Democratic party challenger in the May Primary Election but was defeated by Republican Aaron Kaufer.

With other the losses across the state, the Democratic party will be outnumber in the State House beginning in January by more than 30 votes. Also, several labor supported political candidates running for state senate seats also loss and the Republican party, who have many members that are anti-union, will hold a 30 to 20 majority.

The issue of pushing legislation in Harrisburg to ban union security clauses in labor bargaining agreements was “front and center” during 2013 after billionaire Dick Yuengling Jr., leader of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. brewery, said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett should push for legislation banning union security clauses in labor contracts.

Mr. Carroll, who now represents citizens’ in Lackawanna and Monroe Counties because of re-districting due to the 2010 census, stated anti-union legislation will be on the Republican menu in 2015 but, Mr. Wolf will be there to at least slow it down or stop it.