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Annual NALC Food Drive to be held on this year on May 10th

02.25.14

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

Annual NALC Food Drive to be held on this year on May 10th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 29th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union, which represents the letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), excluding rural delivery, and their participating partners have begun to get ready for the one-day annual food drive throughout the United States.

Each year since 1991, when the NALC with the support of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the USPS, conducted the first food drive in a 10-city pilot program, has collected non-perishable food for the needy.

In 2013, the drive collected more than 74.5 million pounds of food, which was the tenth consecutive year above the 70 million. The food is donated to local community food banks, pantries, and shelters throughout the United States and the jurisdictions. The event is the world’s largest one-day food drive and is held on the second Saturday in May each year.

In 1991 over 290 tons of food was collected in those 10 cities and the drive was not held in 1992 as plans were being developed to expand the effort nationwide. Since 1993, the food drive has been held annually.

The food drive is held in over 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Fredric Rolando stated, President of the NALC.

The results of the food drive enable the food pantries to help feed more than 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food.

The 200,000 members of the NALC pick-up non-perishable food that residents leave near their mailboxes throughou the nation. This years event will be held on May 10th.

The United Way of America and Feeding America will be primed co-sponsors of the drive with over 1,500 NALC local branches participating.

Pam Donato, Community Services and membership Outreach Coordinator for the NALC, stated the simplicity and efficiency of the drive are what makes it work, along with the promated flyers, press conferences, and various media.

Food-stamp recipients in Pennsylvania begin getting cuts

12.15.13

DECEMBER 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Food-stamp recipients in Pennsylvania begin getting cuts

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 2nd- Recipients in Pennsylvania of food-stamps have begun receiving notices of how much their benefits will be slashed because of cuts made to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by the Republican controlled United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

The Republican’s agenda included cutting taxes for what they call the “job creators” but 48 million Americans, and around 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, took a cut in federal food-stamp benefit beginning November 1st.

Enrollment in the food-stamp program surged since more Americans have qualified for the benefits because of the recession and the pro-business political agenda which has seen workers wages not keep up with inflation due to economic policies that included the elimination of union represented workers.

The federal goverment stimulus program increased the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in 2009, however, the temporary increase expired on November 1st, dropping the amount allotment by around 5.4 percent.

SNAP benefits were increased under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRAct) of 2009, which was a federal stimulus package passed in response to the 2007- 2009 recession.

The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is administered by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare.

According to Department of Agriculture, the cuts will result in taking a estimated $16 billion out of grocery spending over the next three years.

With Democratic party opposition the Republican controlled Congress passed a bill in September curtailing spending on the federal food-stamp program by 5 percent, or approximately $40 billion over the next decade. The Democratic controlled United States Senate passed legislation calling for a cut of about $4 billion.

In the budget battle in Washington, Senate Democrats wanted to reduce federal food-stamp spending by $4.5 billion over 10 years, however, Republicans want to cut $40 billion.

According to Department of Agriculture, more than 90 percent of food-stamp benefits go to families living below the poverty line, and almost two-thirds of the program recipients are children, the elderly or the disabled.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress appear ready to implement even more cuts in the food-stamp program as lawmakers have resumed talks over a new farm bill, which the federal food-stamp program is funded. The farm bill also provides subsidies not for just farmers but to 50 billionaires to not grow crops on their land throughout the nation including states that have very little farms and land good for farming.

Republicans often attempt to cast the reason for the food-stampt cuts on wanting to slash fraud within the program. However, in Pennsylvania according to data released by the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General, program fraud is a fifth of the United States average.

The office, which investigates fraud in the food stamp program and public programs, through the Department of Public Welfare, showed from 2010 to 2012 the annual average food stamp violation was $1.9 million, a fraction of the nation’s 1.3 percent fraud rate. Total state food stamp benefits during 2010 to 2012 averaged approximately $2.57 billion each year.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, which provides the funding for the food stamp program, the fraud amount throughout the nation averaged around $858 million each year.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania denied applications of more than 111,200 households between August 2011 and February 2013 because the applicants failed to submit the proper paperwork.

Republicans in Washington have also pushed as part of the farm bill, on making qualifications tougher.

Wyoming Valley labor community to conduct holiday events

12.10.13

NOVEMBER 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Wyoming Valley labor community to conduct holiday events

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 29th- The labor community in the Wyoming Valley has volunteered to ring holiday bells for the Salvation Army on Wednesday, November 27th in Wilkes-Barre.

At the October meeting of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council (GWLC) labor federation held at the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776 building on route 315 in Pittston, federation President Edward Harry stated while several union members have signed-up to participate in the event more volunteers are still needed.

The labor union members will stand in front of the Scheils Market on George Avenue in the Parson Section of Wilkes-Barre on November 27th between 10am and 9pm ringing holiday bells with coin drop containers.

The union member volunteers will work one hour shifts and they would like to have enough participates to have two individuals working each hour during the eleven hours of the event.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federations in Washington DC and Harrisburg.

Mr. Harry also announced the labor federation’s annual Christmas stocking stuffing event will be held on December 10th at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 building, 401 South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Each holiday season union member volunteers along with their families gather to help pack 500 candy-filled stockings for special needs children in the Wyoming Valley.

The candy for the stockings is donated by labor organizations affiliated with the labor federatrion.

Food-stamp recipients receive cuts in federal program

12.10.13

NOVEMBER 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Food-stamp recipients receive cuts in federal program

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, November 1st- While the Republican controlled United States House of Representatives agenda includes cutting taxes for what they call the “job creators” more than 48 million Americans, around 1.8 million Pennsylvanians, took a cut in federal food-stamp benefit beginning November 1st.

Enrollment in the food-stamp program surged since more Americans have qualified for the benefits because of the recession and the pro-business political agenda which has seen workers wages not keep up with inflation due to economic policies that included the elimination of union represented workers.

The federal goverment stimulus program increased the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in 2009, however, the temporary increase expired on November 1st, dropping the amount allotment by around 5.4 percent.

SNAP benefits were increased under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRAct) of 2009, which was a federal stimulus package passed in response to the 2007- 2009 recession.

The program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is administered by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare.

According to Department of Agriculture, the cuts will result in taking a estimated $16 billion out of grocery spending over the next three years.

With democratic party opposition the Republican controlled Congress passed a bill in September curtailing spending on the federal food-stamp program by 5 percent, or approximately $40 billion over the next decade. The Democratic controlled United States Senate passed legislation calling for a cut of about $4 billion.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress appear ready to implement even more cuts in the food-stamp program as lawmakers have resumed talks over a new farm bill.

Walter Klepaski retires from Wyoming Valley United Way

08.28.13

AUGUST 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Walter Klepaski retires from Wyoming Valley United Way

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 4th- Walter Klepaski, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation United Way of the Wyoming Valley Community Services Labor Liason, the go-between the labor community and the United Way, has retired after more than 33 years on the job.

Mr. Klepaski, 66 years old, last day at the United Way was August 2nd. He started as the Labor Liaison in 1979 and is a member of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 130 in Scranton.

Mr. Klepaski replaced Rose Brader in 1979 when she retired after serving 31 years as the Labor Liaison of the 29 agency affiliated United Way of the Wyoming Valley. The community based organization was created in 1921 and serves in helping people in need throughout Luzerne County excluding the Hazleton area which has their own United Way chapter. The United Way of the Wyoming Valley has had a Labor Liaison since 1948.

“I plan to do some travelling in my retirement. I’m going to join the American Red Cross Disaster Program as a volunteer,” Mr. Klepaski told the newspaper. He also wants to spend more time with his wife Grace and his eight grandchildren.

Prior to becoming the Labor Liaison Mr. Klepaski was a working member of the Laborers Union Local 215 in Wilkes-Barre. Local 215 is now part of Local 130 in Scranton.

Ms. Brader was a member of the United Textile Workers (UTW) Union.

Mr. Klepaski stated the late legendary labor leader Sam Bianco and Gil Cooney were his mentors after taking the position of labor liaison. “I was blessed over the years to be surrounded by great labor people, which made my job a lot easier,” Mr. Klepaski stated.

Marley’s Mission opens new facility with help of union tradespeople

08.28.13

AUGUST 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Marley’s Mission opens new facility with help of union tradespeople

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 2nd- Much of the recently opened Marley’s Mission near Ranson Township in Lackawanna County, just a few miles from the Clarks-Summit State Hospital, was constructed by volunteer tradespeople of the building and construction trades including members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81 in Scranton.

Marley’s Mission was created after a 5 year old girl was brutally attacked in her own room by a complete stranger. Police captured the girl’s attacker and was prosecuted and is serving a life sentence.

A outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming and a fund was established for the benefit of the little girl. With these funds the family moved from their home to try to start a new life and they bought the little girl a horse.

After limited success with traditional therapy, a horse was infused into her therapy regimen and immediately a recognizable change was witnessed. For the first time since the attack, the mother of the little girl saw a glimmer of her daughter that had not been seen since July 2009, when the brutal attack occurred.

It was at this time that April Loposky realized that if a horse can have such a dramatic and positive impact on the healing process of her daughter, why couldn’t it help other childhood victims of abuse. Marley’s Mission was then created to help those victims.

First located in Lake Ariel, Marley’s Mission is a non-profit organization that provides equine-based therapy free of charge to children, and their familes, who have experienced trauma. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients who have experience abuse and now suffer with depression, anxiety and other symptoms as a result of abuse.

Marley’s Mission has horses, the use of stables and fields at the Lake Ariel location and recently opened their new site in Lackawanna County with the volunteer help of several local building and construction trade unions.

According to Rick Schraeder, Business Manager of Local 81, his members voluntarily worked more than 2,000 man hours at Marley’s Mission Ranson site including working after normal work hours, Saturdays and Sunday’s, and even on the July 4th Holiday.

The 74 IBEW Apprentices and 50 Journeymen installed 3,000 feet of conduit, 2,500 feet of wire, 12,000 feet of MC cable and placed all of the connections, couplings, straps, fasteners, and tape needed to make the electricity work throughout the facility.

Gino Arcurie Jr., Local 81 Treasurer, told the newspaper Journeyman members Mike Brust, Clint Muir, and Adam Horsky oversaw the work. Mr. Arcurie stated his members also rescured a horse that got stuck in the mud.

IBEW Local 81 has around 500 active members which includes employees of the Scranton Housing Authority.

Annual NALC Food Drive held nationally and regionally

07.30.13

JUNE 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Annual NALC Food Drive held nationally and regionally

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 29th- The annual highly successful nationwide food drive conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers and other members of the labor community was held on Saturday May 11th throughout the nation and Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The NALC’s annual one-day food drive is the largest in the nation and is held each year on the second Saturday in May in more than 10,000 cities and towns in all fifty states of the union, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. This was the 21st annual NALC Food Drive to help “stamp” out hunger.

“The results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food.

Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” stated NALC International President Fredric Rolando.

This year could have been the last food drive conducted on a Saturday because of the United States Postal Service (USPS) plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery to American homes and businesses throughout the nation. However, the agency at the very least postponed the elimination of six-day a week mail delivery because the United States House of Representatives passed legislation to force the USPS to continue the Saturday mail delivery, which was wrapped into a government spending bill.

Approximately 50 union members in the Wyoming Valley volunteered to participate in the May 11th event including twenty-six who spent four hours at the Pittston Meals on Wheels Food Bank.

NALC Branch 115 in Wilkes-Barre and Branch 162 in Pittston helped collect food for over 30 local food banks in the Wyoming Valley. The NALC Food Drive represents approximately one-third of the food they will distribute throughout the year, stated Walter Klepaski, the America Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation United Way of the Wyoming Valley Community Services Labor Liaison.

The largest union member group outside of the NALC to participate in the this years event were apprentices of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre. Approximately 20 Local 163 members volunteered.

IBEW Local 81 conducts annual Bowling Tournament

05.16.13

MAY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 81 conducts annual Bowling Tournament

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 15th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81, Wyoming Avenue in Scranton, recently held the 11th annual Toby Joyce Memorial No-Tap Doubles Bowling Tournament at South Side Bowl in South Scranton.

According to Geno Arcurie Jr., IBEW Local 81 Membership Development Representative, the bowling tournament is held for two reasons.

The first is to keep the memory of a good friend and member of Local 81, who participated in the event right-up to the time he passed away from cancer, and the second is eleven years ago the Union looked for a worthy cause that they could donate proceeds made from the tournament to. The proceeds benefit the Friendship House.

“Each year this tournament continues to grow, allowing us to give the Friendship House a sizable donation.

We have bowlers come from near and far such as areas of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Ashley, Pittsburgh, Binghamton and Syracuse,” stated Mr. Arcurie.

Mr. Arcurie added that other labor organizations, electrical contractors, local banks, and businesses participate by sponsoring bowling lanes, in which there name is placed on a 2 foot by 4 foot sign which is hung on the top of the lane the day of the tournament. The sponsorship is a major factor in helping Local 81 raise the much needed money for the Friendship House.

In this years event 149 bowlers participated, which was the most ever and there were 36 lane sponsors.

“Once the tournament concluded we all headed to the Waldork Park where we enjoyed a wonderful hot buffet,” added Mr. Arcurie.

The tournament raised $4,600 for the Friendship House.

Cutting Saturday mail service will impact annual food drive

03.13.13

MARCH 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Cutting Saturday mail service will impact annual food drive

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- This year could be the last National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union annual food drive to be held on a Saturday if in fact the United States Postal Service (USPS) cuts mail delivery to five days a week.

The USPS announced in February it wants to end Saturday mail service to save money. Mail delivery will be from Monday to Friday.

The NALC with support from the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation have conducted the annual food drive, which customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail, since 1992.

The food collected each year is used to replenish food banks which helps feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them childeren, who live in families that lack sufficient food.

In 2012, more than 70 million pounds of food was collected by members of the NALC.

However, the elimination of Saturday mail service could decrease the amount of food collected and volunteers needed for the event. Thousands of volunteers from labor organizations participate in the one-day food drive.

Moving the event to another day of the week could prove costly because many of the volunteers work during the week and will be unavailable or be forced to take a day-off from their regular job.

Approximately 1,600 NLAC Braches nationwide are involved in the food drive, which is held on the first Saturday of each May.

The elimination of Saturday mail delivery adds to the impact of the USPS actions of closing of 13,000 post offices, cutting hours of operation, shuttering hundreds of mail processing centers, and lowering the standards for mail delivery to the country’s homes and businesses.

Awards presented to labor community members by United Way

11.11.12

NOVEMBER 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Awards presented to labor community members by United Way

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 19th- The United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Labor Participation Department presented the “Unsung Labor Hero Awards” at their recently held annual United Way Kick-Off event. The award is the way the organization recognizes those union members who provides special assistance in a vaiety of ways to the agencies of the Wyoming Valley United Way and the community at-large.

According to Walter Klepaski, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) United Way of Wyoming Valley Community Services Liaison, this years three recipients of the Unsung Labor Hero Award personify and serve as an example of the great monetary and voluntary work humbly being done throughout the area by the labor community.

Mr. Klepaski added he hopes that the award serves as a way to show that the time and effort being put forth by members of organized labor in supporting their community is not going unnoticed by him and the United Way.

This year’s recipients were Gil Cooney, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1776 Union retiree and President of the NEPA Retirees Alliance District 3; James Murphy, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163.

Thomas Raub, President of IBEW Local 163 and Michael Kwashnik, Business Manager of IBEW Local 163, represented their union and received the award at the event.

Mr. Cooney has been a supporter of the United Way since 1947, going back to the time when he first represented the Boot & Shoe Workers Union and solicited funds for the community organization. He currently is a generous donor and is serving as a co-chair for a special fund raising campaign among union retirees.

Mr. Murphy has also been a generous donor and is part of the Labor Leadership Giving Society, at the Platinum Level, which is $1,000 or more. He helps annually toward the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council/United Way Christmas project, soliciting for donations from IBT shops to fill 500 stockings for needing kids.

Local 163 Apprenticeship Program for the past 5 years has provided members to help with the annual NALC Food Drive each May. Also, each year IBEW volunteers help postal carriers unload donated food collected by NALC members.

Hurricane Sandy message from Richard Trumka- President, AFL-CIO

10.29.12

I’m in Washington, D.C., right now and conditions are getting progressively worse.

I hope you and your family are staying safe. We wanted to share with you some resources and tips for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

Click here to check out this information now.

I also wanted to take a minute to thank all the workers who began preparing for the storm early, will be working through it and will keep up their work long after it passes to help repair and rebuild our communities.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said it best in a statement yesterday:

We’re hopeful that preparations will prove unnecessary, but we have peace of mind knowing that union workers–public sector, private sector and building trades–will be there for us: supermarket and retail workers making sure that supplies are available; utility and communication workers laboring day and night to keep the lights and phones on; police officers, firefighters and EMS professionals maintaining our safety; transportation workers preserving our subway, commuter rail and bus infrastructure; state, county and municipal employees keeping the roads clear; construction workers repairing our homes, businesses and communities; hospital workers providing care to our family, friends and neighbors; teachers and child care workers keeping our children safe until we can be with them; and hotel workers making sure there is a place to stay for those who cannot remain home.

Their work and the work of others will get our communities back up and running.

Find important resources and information for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath at the link below:

http://go.aflcio.org/Stay-Safe

We hope you and your family and friends stay safe. Thanks for all you do.

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

”Sam Bianco Labor Award” recipient is Kerri Gallagher

08.16.12

AUGUST 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

”Sam Bianco Labor Award” recipient is Kerri Gallagher

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 30th- This year’s recipient of the “United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Sam Bianco Labor Award” is American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 Staff Representative Kerri Gallagher.

The award was originally created in 1977 to recognize either a union member or labor organization for their monetary or voluntary support to the United Way, their member agencies or community in general.

After the legendary labor leader Sam Bianco died in 2010, the United Way of the Wyoming Valley changed the name of the award to honor Mr. Bianco for his more than 55 years of volunteer service to the community based organization.

Mrs. Gallagher received the award on May 30th at the annual meeting of the organization, which was held a the Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs. She was presented with the award by the United Way of the Wyoming Valley President Bill Jones.

Walter Klepaski, the United Way of the Wyoming Valley’s American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Community Services Liason, the go-beteen the labor community and the United Way, stated Mrs. Gallagher deserved the award because of her wide variety of volunteer activities, as well as her generous financial support to the organization over the years.

She is a current United Way board member and Labor Participation Committee member and chairs the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council (GWLC) labor federation Community Services Committee and their Workers Memorial Day Program.

Also, Mrs. Gallagher volunteers for the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Annual Food Drive in May, and the GWBLC’s Labor Christmas Stocking Project in December.

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

07.15.12

JULY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- REGION, June 14th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union collected more than 70.5 million pounds of food in this years nationwide food drive, at a time when hunger is a major problem because of the weak economy and workers exhausting their unemployment benefits.

According to Linda Giordano, NALC Food Drive Coordinator, the NALC annual one-day drive, the largest in the nation, was conducted in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The event was held throughout the Lehigh Valley. Ms. Giordano stated the NALC, which represents letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), celebrated the 20 th year of the annual food drive in 2012.

“These results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Mr. Rolando added.

Each year customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail.

“This drive allows letter carriers to help replenish food banks during difficult summer months when millions of children have no school breakfast or lunch programs to count on,” Ms. Giordano told the newspaper.

This was the ninth consecutive NALC food drive surpassing 70 million pounds of food collected. Several NALC Branches were still compiling their figures as of June 15th, however already this year’s total tops 2011’s 70.2 million pounds.

Ms. Giordano stated the good 2012 results were achieved despite the continuing tough economy, which made the drive all the more important.

“We could not achieve these results without the contributions of our national and local sponsors, the assistance of those groups that help our branches collect the food, and the generosity of our postal customers,” stated NALC Assistant to the President Pam Donato.

NALC members brought the food collected to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting approximately 1,600 NALC Branches nationwide were rural letter carriers, other USPS employees, civic volunteers and other members of the labor community, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union member truck drivers.

Other national partners were Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation.

Walter Klepaski, the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, the go-between the community based organization and the labor community, stated the food drive is helping to meet a critical need in communities across America.

“Most of the general public feel this is a United States Postal Service project and do not realize that it is a project that was started by and conducted by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers union. NALC members are not mandated to pick up food in addition to delivering the mail on Letter Carriers Food Drive Day, but rather volunteer to do so on one of their busiest mail delivery days of the year, the day before Mother’s Day,” said Mr. Klepaski.

How to help UAW Local 1183 keep their community food bank running

06.26.12

UAW Local 1183 once represented thousands of active Chrysler auto workers in the now closed Newark, Delaware assembly plant. The plant has been torn down and the local has only a few hundred actively working members althoughthere are thousands and thousands of retirees. Exceptional management by the union leaders have kept the local active in helping the community in these difficult times.

The local somehow has managed to stay open. Hats off to their elected leaders for this accomplishment!

One of their greatest services to residents in northern Delaware along with those in nearby counties in Maryland and Pennsylvania is their community food bank. It is serving up to 10 times as many people or more than before the Great Recession hit. Thanks to the tireless work of UAW Local 1183 Financial Secretary Alena Bandy, they are helping the poor and hungry feed their families. This is being done with only a small fraction of dues paying members as before the Chrysler plant closed!

They need financial help. They need your help. You or your union can send donation checks if that is possible to: UAW Local 1183, attention: Alena Bandy, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702.

Or you can support the weekly Flea Market fundraiser by shopping it or setting up to sell your unwanted items. All the table rents go to the UAW Local 1183 Food Bank. If you can, please help us spread the word about this worthy cause as widely as possible.

UAW 1183 “Food Bank Fund Day” every Sunday this summer

Flea Market Fundraiser- Weekly all Summer

When: every Sunday –weather permitting

Where: UAW 1183 (union hall parking lot) at : 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702

Space rental is $15 (cash only) -
Bring your own tables

Time: 8am until 2pm (seller set-up time starts at 7am)
Additional Contributions: UAW 1183 Food Bank, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702

UAW 1183 phone number is 302-738-4500.

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

06.26.12

JULY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June14th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union collected more than 70.5 million pounds of food in this years nationwide food drive, at a time when hunger is a major problem because of the weak economy and workers exhausting their unemployment benefits.

According to Linda Giordano, NALC Food Drive Coordinator, the NALC annual one-day drive, the largest in the nation, was conducted in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The event was held throughout the Lehigh Valley. Ms. Giordano stated the NALC, which represents letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), celebrated the 20 th year of the annual food drive in 2012.

“These results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Mr. Rolando added.

Each year customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail.

“This drive allows letter carriers to help replenish food banks during difficult summer months when millions of children have no school breakfast or lunch programs to count on,” Ms. Giordano told the newspaper.

This was the ninth consecutive NALC food drive surpassing 70 million pounds of food collected. Several NALC Branches were still compiling their figures as of June 10th, however already this year’s total tops 2011’s 70.2 million pounds.

Ms. Giordano stated the good 2012 results were achieved despite the continuing tough economy, which made the drive all the more important.

“We could not achieve these results without the contributions of our national and local sponsors, the assistance of those groups that help our branches collect the food, and the generosity of our postal customers,” stated NALC Assistant to the President Pam Donato.

NALC members brought the food collected to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting approximately 1,600 NALC Branches nationwide were rural letter carriers, other USPS employees, civic volunteers and other members of the labor community, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union member truck drivers.

Other national partners were Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation.

UAW Local 1183 begins weekly Sunday summer flea market to help fund their community food bank

06.11.12

UAW 1183 “Food Bank Fund Day”

Fundraiser- Weekly all Summer

Flea Market

When: every Sunday –weather permitting

Where: UAW 1183 (union hall parking lot) at : 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702

Space rental is $15 (cash only) -
Bring your own tables

Time: 8am until 2pm (seller set-up time starts at 7am)

Additional Contributions: UAW 1183 Food Bank, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702

First annual Sam Bianco Golf Tournament to be held on May 19th

03.04.12

FEBRUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

First annual Sam Bianco Golf Tournament to be held on May 19th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- February 4th- The “Sam Bianco Bianco Memorial Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament” will be held on Saturday, May 19th, 2012 at the Sugarloaf Golf Club in Sugarloaf Township, Luzerne County.

According to John Rusak, Business Representative of the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, the cost to participate in the day of golfing is $75.00 per golfer. The funds raised will go to the scholarship fund named after the legendary labor leader.

“We need golfers. We have sponsors, but the course will not tie-up the club unless there are enough participants,” stated Mr. Rusak. He added at least 128 golfers are needed.

“I encourage union’s that are affiliated with the labor council to buy tickets to participate in the golf,” Mr. Rusak said.

Mr. Bianco served as President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington, DC, from 1978 to September 28th, 2010 when he passed away from complications related to cancer at the age of 88.

Mr. Bianco on the weekend before he died participated in helping pro-labor political candidates get elected during 2010 election campaign.

He was a retired District Manager of the International Ladies Garment Workers (ILGWU). The ILGWU once represented thousands of workers, mostly women, and garment shops throughout the region. Only a hand-full of shops remain today.

Also, Mr. Bianco represented the labor community on numerous boards and committees throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania including: Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Management Council, which recently folded; the United Rehabilitation Services; the United Way of the Wyoming Valley; St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen; and the American Red Cross Wyoming Valley Chapter.

Mr. Rusak stated the golf tournament will begin at 12 noon with registration and the cost includes golf, food and prizes.

“For all the things Sam did for the labor community and political leaders, there should be a lot of golfers at the event,” stated Gilbert Cooney, a long-time friend of Mr. Bianco and has been a member of the labor community for more than six decades.

Current Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council President Edward Harry, stated Sam Bianco made sure the labor federation was involved with not only the labor community but also the community at-large. “Lets hope that the labor community really comes out and supports Sam,” said Mr. Harry.

In April, 2010 the labor federation held a dinner to honor Mr. Bianco at the Genetti’s Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Approximately 300 people attended, which included members of the labor community, political officials and other dignitaries.

Mr. Rusak stated anyone wanting to participate or sponsor a hole they can contact him at (800) 635-6994, extension 305.

IBT Union Local 229 member receives help from flooding

12.29.11

DECEMBER 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

IBT Union Local 229 member receives help from flooding

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 5th- A member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, Main Avenue in Scranton, received a check in the amount of $500.00 to help her recover from the floods in the region.

“It is impossible to forget the disastrous effects from the tropical storms which ravaged areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania during September 2011. Unfortunately every family was affected, either directly or indirectly. One such family was that of Teamsters Local 229 member Bernadine Hoover, a member of 229 for 21 years, she is employed by the Topps Company,” Craig Pawlik, Local 229 Secretary/Treasurer and Principle Officer told the newspaper.

Ms. Hoover resides in Duryea, which was badly damaged by the September flooding.

“Almost immediately the Disasters Relief Fund from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters swung into action offering assistance to all Teamsters in the effected areas,” added Mr. Pawlik.

Mr. Pawlik said Ms. Hoover contacted the IBT Disaster Relief Fund and on November 15th, he presented her with the check of $500.00. “Knowing that this assistance is another step in the long road that her family must travel to get their life back she smiled and thanked her Teamster family for this support when she thought all was lost,” added Mr. Pawlik.

OCCUPY WALL STREET: Separating Fact from Media

10.14.11

By WALTER BRASCH

Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter, spreading the lies of the extreme right wing, called the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “tattooed, body-pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun.” She claimed the protestors, now in the thousands in New York, are “directionless losers [who] pose for cameras while uttering random liberal clichés lacking any reason or coherence.” (Several hundred thousand of these “directionless losers” are expected to attend rallies in more than 650 cities, Oct. 15.)

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House majority leader, called the protest nothing more than “growing mobs,” completely oblivious to his myriad statements that he supports “mobs” when they are from the Tea Party. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, tacking as far right as possible to avoid anyone thinking he was once a moderate, called the protest “dangerous.”

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, in a moment that demonstrated how out of touch he is with the economic reality of the five-year recession, argued, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks; if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

Glenn Beck, too irrational even for Fox News, which terminated him less than two years after it tried to make him a TV superstar, told his radio audience, the protestors “will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you.”

Lauren Ellis of Mother Jones, at one time a cutting edge magazine for social justice, believed that the protestors have a “lack of focus.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, wrote, “A protest without an objective is like a party or a picnic of the unemployed and the indolent. Unless you have an objective, what are you doing out there?”

First, let’s see just who these protestors really are. And then, let’s see what they stand for, since the mainstream media, of which Fox News is an entrenched part, don’t seem to be getting the message from the people.

The protestors rightly say they are part of the 99 percent; the other one percent have 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, the top 20 percent have more than 85 percent of the nation’s wealth, the highest accumulation since 1928, the year before the Great Depression. Even the most oblivious recognize the protestors as a large cross-section of America. They are students and teachers; housewives, plumbers, and physicians; combat veterans from every war from World War II to the present. They are young, middle-aged, and elderly. They are high school dropouts and Ph.D.s. They are from all religions and no religion, and a broad spectrum of political views.

Support has come from senior politicians with very different philosophies. Vice President Joe Biden believes the protests are because “In the minds of the vast majority of the American–the middle class is being screwed.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), unlike a vast majority of Republican politicians, stated, “If they were demonstrating peacefully, and making a point, and arguing our case, and drawing attention to the Fed—I would say, ‘good!’”

Second, like all protests, there are different opinions within the ranks. But, there is a core of beliefs. The protestors are fed up with corporate greed that has a base of corporate welfare and special tax benefits for the rich. They support the trade union movement, Medicare and Social Security, affordable health care for all citizens, and programs to assist the unemployed, disenfranchised, and underclass. A nation that cannot take care of the least among us doesn’t deserve to be called the best of us.

They’re mad that the home mortgage crisis, begun when greed overcame ethics and was then magnified by the failure of regulatory agencies and the Congress to provide adequate oversight, robbed all of America of its financial security. During the first half of this year alone, banks and lending agencies have sent notices to more than 1.2 million homeowners whose loans and mortgages are in default status, according to RealtyTrak. Of course, less regulation is just what conservatives want—after all, their mantra has become, “no government in our lives.”

The protestors are mad that the wealthiest corporations pay little or no taxes. They point to the Bank of America, part of the mortgage crisis problem, which earned a $4.4 billion profit last year, but received a $1.9 billion tax refund on top of a bailout of about $1 trillion. They look at ExxonMobil, which earned more than $19 billion profit in 2009, paid no taxes and received a $156 million federal rebate. Its profit for the first half of 2011 is about $ 21.3 billion.

They rightfully note that it is slimy when General Electric, whose CEO is a close Obama advisor, earned a $26 billion profit during the past five years, but still received a $4.1 billion refund.

They’re mad that the federal government has given the oil industry more than $4 billion in subsidy, although the industry earned more than $1 trillion in profits the past decade.

They’re mad that Goldman Sachs, after receiving a $10 billion government bailout, and a $2.7 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011, shipped about 1,000 jobs overseas. During the past decade, corporations, which have paid little or no federal taxes, have outsourced at least 2.4 million jobs and are hoarding trillions which could be used to spur job growth and the economy.

They’re mad that corporations that took federal bailout money gave seven-figure bonuses to their executives.

They’re mad that the U.S., of all industrialized countries, has the highest ratio of executive pay to that of the average worker. The U.S. average is about 300 to 475 times that of the average worker. In Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and England, the average CEO earns between 10 and 20 times what the average worker earns, and no one in those countries believes the CEOs are underpaid.

They’re mad that 47 percent of all persons who earned at least $250,000 last year, including about 1,500 millionaires, paid no taxes, according to Newsmax. If you’re a Republican member of Congress, that’s perfectly acceptable. They’re the ones who thought President Obama was launching class warfare against the rich by trying to restore the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans. They succeeded in blocking tax reform and a jobs bill, but failed to understand the simple reality—if there is class warfare, it is being waged by the elite greedy and their Congressional lackeys.

Herman Cain, Fox TV pundit Sean Hannity, and others from the extreme right wing said the protestors are un-American, apparently for protesting corporate greed. The Occupy Wall Street protestors aren’t un-American; those who defend the destruction of the middle class by defending greed, and unethical and illegal behavior, are.

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 17 books. His latest book is Before the First Snow, a social issues mystery set in rural Pennsylvania.]

President Obama: MIA

03.17.11

by Walter Brasch

As expected, Michael Moore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka were in Madison, Wisc., to support and rally the workers in their fight against the union-busting governor and Republican-dominated state legislature.

But, so were union members Bradley Whitfield, Susan Sarandon, Tony Shaloub, and dozens of musicians and singers, including Peter Yarrow who, as part of Peter, Paul, and Mary, was at almost every major social protest for more than 40 years.

“This is not merely a protest on the steps of the Capitol here in Madison,” said Shalhoub, “this is the birth of . . . a nationwide movement destined to restore the rights of workers, to safeguard quality education for our children and to reassemble and reconstitute the fragmented and wounded middle class.” Shalhoub, who won three Emmys, was born in Green Bay; his sister is a Wisconsin teacher.

“Workers,” Sarandon told a crowd of almost 100,000, “had to organize, go on strike, defy the law, defy the courts to create a movement which won the eight-hour workday and caused such a commotion that Congress was forced to pass a minimum wage law, Social Security, unemployment insurance and the right to assemble in collective bargaining.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told thousands of cheering protestors they had to “reclaim the essence of economic justice before it is lost on the corporate scaffold.” Former senator Russ Feingold, the only senator brave enough to oppose the PATRIOT Act when it was created, said the actions of the governor and legislature were “an outrageous assault on working people.”

The people, the workers, were there when newly-elected Gov. Scott Walker first announced, Feb. 11, he was going to demand hard concessions from the public sector unions. They were there when he lied about the budget and his intentions. They were there when the truth came out that at the same time Walker and his Republican cabal were taking away worker rights and demanding more wage and pension sacrifices, they were also assuring significant tax rebates and making innumerable promises to Big Business. They were there when a Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll revealed that in less than a month Walker’s approval rate had plunged to only 43 percent. And they were there after he signed a bill, March 13, deviously manipulated through the Senate in the middle of the night, to strip collective bargaining rights of public employees.

But, while the masses protested the shredding of their rights, not at any rally anywhere in Wisconsin were several people who should have been there. Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.), Vice-President Joe Biden, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis have been conspicuously absent. So are almost all major national Democratic political leaders, obviously afraid to publicly support their largest constituency, the American working class.

One person, more than any other, needed to be there, if only to prove that campaign rhetoric and one’s promises mean something after the election.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama told energized and reinvigorated crowds, both small and large, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself [and] I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

As president, Obama may be wearing comfortable shoes, but he hasn’t gone to Wisconsin to stand by the workers, nor has he ever walked a picket line at least in the past two years. His only public comments, and even then weak ones, were to call the actions in Wisconsin an “assault upon the workers,” and several days later to add, “I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified, or their rights are infringed upon.” It was a statement that could have been said by any Democratic president—and most Republican ones as well.

There are dozens of reasons and excuses why President Obama is not in Wisconsin. The one that seems to be most probable is that going into a re-election campaign he doesn’t want to alienate any of his constituencies. It’s doubtful, however, that anyone on the extreme right wing will vote for him, no matter what he does or doesn’t do. It’s also probable that the core of the Democratic party—the unions and workers, the youth, the alienated and disenfranchised, and those who believe in social justice, who awakened in 2008 to give him a mandate for change—may give him only lukewarm approval or, worse, be silent in 2012. They have every reason to believe they had been betrayed.

Good presidents do what is best for the country. Great presidents, however, do not only what is best for the people, but are also willing to speak to the courage of their beliefs, of their principles, even if it may be unpopular among many of their constituencies. They don’t put their “finger in the air” to judge what’s popular. Republican Theodore Roosevelt, and Democrats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and “Give ’em Hell, Harry” Truman were among the great presidents. If Barack Obama doesn’t soon speak out on behalf of the working class, he may find his legacy mired in the struggle to become even a good president.

[Assisting on this column was Brian LeCloux of Sun Prairie, Wisc. Walter Brasch is an award-winning columnist, and the author of 16 books. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]