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Leisure and Hospitality jobs increase in the Lehigh Valley

10.11.15

SEPTEMBER 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Leisure and Hospitality jobs increase in the Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 22nd- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DOL), Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), non-farm jobs have increased by 1,500 from the previous reporting period, which was approximately released four-weeks before. Non-farm jobs have rose by 3,800 from twelve months before to 361,000, the DOL data indicates.

The MSA includes Lehigh County, Northampton County and Carbon County of Pennsylvania.

Many within the MSA’s industry employment sectors have increased from the previous report with Leisure & Hospitality jobs reaching a new record high level. There are 41,200 jobs within the sector, increasing by 2,000 from the previous report and rising by 3,600 during the last twelve months.

Within that sector, Accommodation and Food Services jobs gained 2,000 from the previous report and rose by 1,100 from twelve months ago to 30,600. Also, Food Services and Drinking Places jobs increased by 800 from the previous report and increased by 1,500 jobs from this time last year to 26,200.

Government jobs have continued to lose jobs in the Lehigh Valley over the past twelve months dropping by 800 to 39,600.

Local Government jobs lost 1,000 jobs during the past month and dropped by 800 jobs from twelve months ago to 34,600. Federal Government jobs dropped by 100 during the past year but was unchanged from the previous report at 2,200. There are 2,800 State Government jobs within the MSA, decreasing by 100 from the previous report and from one year ago.

Overall jobs within the MSA were up 0.7 percent or 2,600, over the past twelve months.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 6.3 percent

10.11.15

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

MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 6.3 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 4th- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, (DOL) Center of Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report to 6.3 percent. Twelve months ago the region’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the third highest unemployment rate among the eight-teen in Pennsylvania.

The Johnstown MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.9 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and the East Stroudsburg MSA has the second highest rate at 6.7 percent. The Johnstown MSA surpassed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA for the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania around six months ago. The Scranton/Wilkes-barre/Hazleton MSA had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than five years before being surpassed by the Johnstown MSA.

The Williamsport MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate at 6.2 percent while the Philadelphia MSA has the fifth highest at 5.6 percent followed by the Erie MSA at 5.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.4 percent, unchanged from the previous three months. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,426,000 with 349,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,077,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point over the past twelve months.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.3 percent, also unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The national unemployment rate decreased by nine-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.8 percent, the same as the month before. The Gettysburg MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.2 percent while the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth lowest rate at 4.5 percent followed by the Lebanon MSA for the fifth lowest at 4.9 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 284,800 civilians, rising by 2,000 from the month before and increasing by 6,300 during the past twelve months. There are 18,100 civilians without employment, decreasing by 1,200 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 3,040,400 with 169,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,225,500 with 64,100 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,500 with 23,800 not
working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.9 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report but dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 109,000 with 6,400 without employment.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.4 percent, rising by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Luzerne County has the largest labor force within the MSA at 161,900 and 10,400 of them have no jobs.

Wyoming County’s unemployment rate is 6.0 percent, dropping by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,500 with 900 unemployed.

USPS changes of mail delivery standards effecting mail

10.11.15

AUGUST 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

USPS changes of mail delivery standards effecting mail

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 18th- Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, which represents mail clerks, maintenance workers and conducts clerical work, told the newspaper that the union was told by management of the United States Postal Service (USPS) that the Scranton Processing Center will not be consolidated until at least after April 30th, 2016.

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

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

The Scranton mail processing center was scheduled to be consolidated with the Lehigh Valley facility on July 15th. However, the USPS delayed that action and has since notified the labor organization’s involved that the Scranton facility would remain operational until next year.

Mr. Gallagher previously told the newspaper that his members were getting adjusted the best they could with their jobs being eliminated and many of them would need to do other USPS work to continue working with the agency. Local 268 represents the APWU members that are employed at the Lehigh Valley facility.

APWU members will be the most effected by the merger. Mr. Gallagher stated more than half of his 180 members will need to be re-located or be re-assigned to other postal duties, such as becoming mail delivery carriers. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS an effected employee could be placed within 50 miles of their current workplace.

Mr. Gallagher stated he has talked to mail customers that have noticed that it often now takes longer for mail to reach its designation because of the USPS changing the mail delivery standards. Mr. Gallagher said what the management of the USPS is doing by lowering the mail standards is to fit with their decision of closing plants and making other anti-customer changes to the agency. He added that since the USPS changed mail delivery standards, customer complaints have increased because it now takes longer for letters and other correspondence to reach their destination.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 6.1 percent

10.11.15

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

MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 6.1 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 3rd- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, (DOL) Center of Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rate dropped by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report to 6.1 percent. Twelve months ago the region’s unemployment rate was 7.0 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the third highest unemployment rate among the eight-teen in Pennsylvania.

The Johnstown MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.8 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and the East Stroudsburg MSA has the second highest rate at 6.5 percent. The Williamsport MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate at 6.0 percent with the Philadelphia MSA and the Erie MSA tied with the fifth highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.4 percent, unchanged from the month before. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,423,000 with 345,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,078,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by three-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.3 percent, dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The national unemployment rate decreased by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.8 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The Lancaster MSA and the Gettysburg MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, while Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the third lowest at 4.4 percent and the Lebanon MSA has the fourth lowest in Pennsylvania at 4.6 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 282,500 civilians, dropping by 500 from the month before and increasing by 3,400 during the past twelve months. There are 17,300 civilians without employment, dropping by 2,200 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 3,038,600 with 165,700 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,222,400 with 62,300 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 426,100 with 23,000 not
working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.5 percent, decreasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 107,700 with 6,000 without employment, dropping by 700 from twelve months before.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.2 percent, dropping by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Luzerne County has the largest labor force within the MSA at 160,000 and 9,900 of them have no jobs, decreasing by 1,100 during the past twelve months.

Wyoming County’s unemployment rate is 6.0 percent, dropping by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point from one year before.

Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,300 with 900 unemployed, unchanged from the month before and also unchanged from twelve months before.

Food services and drinking places jobs in the MSA most ever

10.11.15

AUGUST 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Food services and drinking places jobs in the MSA most ever

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 22nd- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DOL), Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), non-farm jobs have increased by 4,900 from the previous reporting period, which was approximately released four-week before. Non-farm jobs have rose by 3,400 from twelve months before to 360,200, the DOL data indicates.

The MSA includes Lehigh County, Northampton County and Carbon County of Pennsylvania.

Most industry sectors within the MSA gained jobs during the past twelve months with Leisure and Hospitality gaining the most increasing by 3,000 during the period. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities jobs have increased by 1,200, the second largest job gainer.

Government jobs have continued to lose jobs in the Lehigh Valley over the past twelve months with Local Government jobs losing the most by declining by 600 to 35,600. Federal Government jobs dropped by 100 during the period while Local Government Educational Services decreasing by 500 jobs over the past twelve months to 22,600.

Overall, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has a labor-force of 427,000 with 24,200 without employment. There are 403,600 MSA civilians with employment, improving by 4,000 from twelve months before.

There are 36,700 manufacturing jobs within the MSA, rising by 1,100 from the previous report and increasing by 400 from this time last year. Within the sector there are 21,800 durable goods jobs and 13,900 non-durable jobs.

Food services and drinking places posted a large gain over the previous report, gaining a new record high level.

As promised, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoes Liquor Stores privatization

10.11.15

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

As promised, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoes Liquor Stores privatization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 5th- Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf rejected the pro-business anti-union Republican plan in the General Assembly to privatize the state liquor stores by vetoing their plan. Mr. Wolf days earlier vetoed the Republicans state budget with no Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The budget passed both sides of the Republican controlled legislature leaving the state currently without a spending plan to begin the fiscal year.

Mr. Wolf last year while campaigning for governor made it clear he would not support the privatization of the State Wine and Spirits Stores, which are unionized. Also, the Republican legislature wants to privatize the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) which oversees the selling of the wine and liquor in Pennsylvania.

The Republican members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly have been pushing for the selling-off of the system, which provides millions of dollars of profits for Pennsylvania, for several terms of the legislature. However, this is the first time a privatization proposal has reached any governors desk. When the Republican’s controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate and fellow Republican Tom Corbett was Pennsylvania Governor last year no privatization legislation passed both sides of the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, net profits of the latest reporting period under the current system was $123.68 million on gross revenue of $2.27 billion, amounting to a net profit margin of 5.44 percent.

Mr. Wolf campaigned during his attempt to unseat Incumbent anti-union Republican Governor Tom Corbett in 2014 against the privatization of the 600-plus wine and spirit store system. Mr. Wolf made it clear he would veto any legislation that would sell-off the stores should it reach his desk wanting instead to modernized the system.

He has proposed a plan for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which operates the system, to “modernized” the system by extending Sunday hours and Holiday sales, improve store locations, having more flexible pricing, create a system of competitive pricing, and more customer engagement. Under Mr. Wolf’s proposal he estimates the system would be even more profitable creating an additional annual profit of $185 million by fiscal 2018. However, as expected Mr. Wolf’s plan was greeted was skepticism by Republicans, and they have not taken any action on his proposal.

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

On July 2nd Mr. Wolf vetoed the privatization plan that would have allowed private retailers to sell wine and liquor, and lease the PLCB’s wholesale operations which will result in the closing of the State Stores. As more licenses are purchased to sell booze any state store in that area would be closed and the employees would be fired.

General Dynamics plants have many workers on lay-off

10.11.15

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

General Dynamics plants have many workers on lay-off

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- June 2nd- The two General Dynamics operated plants in Northeastern Pennsylvania are operating with a unprecedented low number of employees.

The company operates the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems plant on Cedar Avenue in South Scranton employs only a handful of workers, approximately 35 unionized, after the company laid-off twenty-nine additional workers in February. That followed the fifty-six workers that were laid-off in December 2014.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847 represents the non-management hourly employees of the company. The plant, which mostly produced military projectiles for the United States Department of Defense including the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, for a short time had no active Department of Defense work and survived by commercial contracts.

In 2012 the IAM represented approximately 236 workers at the plant.

The company several years ago began bidding on other work out-side of projectiles and was able to also begin the production of elbows for the natural gas industry. The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the IAM and the company expires on October 17th, 2015.

During the Vietnam War in the 1960’s the plant employed more than 600 workers, with the plant operating three shifts a day to keep-up with demand.

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded the plant to produce new projectiles shells for the Navy earlier this year. The plant is expected to produce between 4,800 to 5,000 shells a month, which will result in some workers being recalled.

Meanwhile, the General Dynamics Land System plant on East Street in Eynon has only a hand-full of workers currently employed.

The United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 1193 represents the hourly workers at the plant. The plant refurbishes, rebuilds and heat treats parts for military ground combat vehicles, mainly the Army’s main battle tank.

Ken Klinkel, President of Local 1193, stated that around 70 workers are employed at the plant, with around 156 workers on lay-off. In 2010 the plant employed around 300 workers. Mr. Klinkel stated that General Dynamics wants to do everything they can to keep the plant opened, while waiting for more work to return to the facility.

Under the CBA between the parties, union members could be recalled from being laid-off for more than a decade.

Nonfarm jobs increase by 4,800 in MSA from one year ago

05.29.15

JUNE 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Nonfarm jobs increase by 4,800 in MSA from one year ago

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 15th- According to 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) has gained 4,800 nonfarm jobs during the past twelve months to 351,100.

The data indicates that total private jobs increased within the MSA, which includes Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey, by 5,800 during the period.

There are 35,600 manufacturing jobs within the MSA, unchanged from one year before. Within the nonfarm sector, The data states there are 12,600, rising by 300 during the past twelve months, mining, logging and construction, jobs within the MSA.

According to the data, there are 39,900 government jobs in the MSA. Local government employs the most in the sector with 35,000 jobs, decreasing by 900 over the past twelve months. State government jobs have dropped by 100 from twelve months ago to 2,700. The Federal government employs 2,200, unchanged from twelve months before.

Most sectors within the MSA gained jobs during the past twelve months. The Leisure and Hospitally sector gained the most rising by 2,400 jobs, with Accommodation and Food Service jobs gaining by 1,100 within the sector.

There are 71,800 Education and Health Services jobs in the MSA with 18,900 of them being hospital jobs. There are 58,900 Healthcare and Social Assistance jobs in the MSA, dropping by 600 from twelve months ago.

According to the data there are 12,600 mining, logging and construction jobs, with the majority being in the construction industry, in the MSA. The sector gained 900 jobs during the past year.

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 5.7 percent

05.29.15

JUNE 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 5.7 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 20th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report at 5.7 percent. There are eight-teen MSA’s within the state and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was at 6.8 percent.

The East Stroudsburg MSA and the Johnstown MSA are tied for the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.6 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the second highest unemployment in the state at 6.2 percent, the Williamsport MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent, while the Philadelphia MSA has the fifth highest rate at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.7 percent. The State College MSA traditionally has the lowest unemployment within the state, however, the MSA also has one of the smallest workforces with 77,600 civilians. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, the Gettysburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent while the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth lowest at 4.5 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the fifth lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.7 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was reported to be at 5.3 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, while decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 336,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,375,000 and 6,030,000 of them have employment.

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

The data indicates that there are 8,575,000 civilians nationwide without employment, but that number also does not include workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 425,700 civilians, increasing by 1,200 from the previous report but decreasing by 1,600 during the past twelve months. There are 24,200 civilians without employment within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, increasing by 800 from the month before and dropping by 5,800 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest seasonally adjusted labor force in Pennsylvania at 3,033,900 with 171,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,205,600 with 64,100 without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 288,900 and 12,900 are jobless while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA is fifth at 283,100 civilians and 17,600 are unemployment.

Within the MSA, Northampton County has the lowest unemployment at 5.6 percent, rising by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months before. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 155,100, increasing by 500 from the previous report and also rising by 500 during the past twelve months. There are 8,700 without jobs, increasing by 400 from the month before and dropping by 1,700 during the past twelve months in Northampton County.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.0 percent, increasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the month before and dropping by two full percentage points from twelve months before. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,500, the smallest within the MSA, with 1,900 without employment, decreasing by 600 from twelve months ago.

Lehigh County has the largest civilian labor-force within the MSA at 181,600, increasing by 700 from the previous report and dropping by 900 from one year before.

Lehigh County’s unemployment rate rose by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report but dropped by nine-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. There are 10,300 civilians in Lehigh County without jobs, increasing by 500 from the previous report and dropping by 2,100 during the past twelve months.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged at 6.2 percent

05.25.15

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

MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged at 6.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 3rd- According to data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, (DOL) Center of Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous report at 6.2 percent. Twelve months ago the region’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

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

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

The Johnstown MSA and the East Stroudsburg MSA are tied for the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.3 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,375,000 with 336,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,039,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by eight-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months. Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 5.5 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approxiamtely four weeks before. The national unemployment rate decreased by one and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

The Williamsport MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.8 percent, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent while the Philadelphia MSA has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 3.7 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, the Gettysburg MSA has the third lowest and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth lowest in Pennsylvania at 4.5 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 283,100 civilians, increasing by 1,500 during the past twelve months. There are 17,600 civilians without employment, dropping by 4,400 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 3,033,900 with 171,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,205,600 with 64,100 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 425,700 with 24,200 not working.

The Bloomsburg/Berwick MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 43,400 civilians and 2,200 of them have no jobs. The Gettysburg MSA has the second smallest civilian labor-force at 55,500 and 2,400 of them are jobless. The Williamsport MSA has the third smallest labor-force with 61,100 civilians with 3,600 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is fourth with a labor-force of 62,900 and 4,200 of them are not working.

Wyoming County and Lackawanna County are tied for the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.8 percent. Wyoming County’s unemployment rate rose by six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County has 800 civilians of their work-force without jobs.

Lackawanna County’s unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. There are 6,300 Lackawanna County residents unemployed. Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.5 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

USPS again delays moving mail processing from Scranton

05.25.15

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

USPS again delays moving mail processing from Scranton

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 4th- Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, told the newspaper his union has been notified by officials of the United States Postal Service (USPS) that they have again delayed the consolidation of the Scranton processing center with the Lehigh Valley facility.

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

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

The Scranton mail processing center was scheduled to be consolidated with the Lehigh Valley facility on July 15th. However, Mr. Gallagher stated the USPS has put the action on delay until likely until the spring of 2016 or possibly later.

“We just don’t know. All we now know is it will not happen this July,” added Mr. Gallagher.

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

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

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

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

Mr. Gallagher told the newspaper that since the USPS changed mail delivery standards several months ago, customer complaints have increased because it now takes longer for letters and other correspondence to reach their destignation.

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

05.04.15

MAY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

04.18.15

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

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

04.18.15

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

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poll indicates the selling of state stores is minor priority

04.15.15

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

Poll indicates the selling of state stores is minor priority

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04.15.15

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

MSA’s unemployment rate increases to 6.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

04.03.15

APRIL 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate unchanged from previous report

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pennsylvania liquor store system again facing privatization

04.03.15

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

Pennsylvania liquor store system again facing privatization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04.03.15

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

MSA’s retail jobs decreases from the previous year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USPS employees told their jobs will be eliminated in July

03.31.15

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

USPS employees told their jobs will be eliminated in July

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 4th- According to Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 In Scranton, the union has been told by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that most of the mail processing being done at the South Scranton facility will be moved to the Lehigh Valley on July 25th.

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 lays-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreement’s with the USPS and workers is some cases would need to either relocate or travel to other postal service facilities to continue to be employed by the USPS.

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

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

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

Recently, the agency changed their mail delivery standards that will effect how soon customers mail is received at its designation.

Mr. Gallagher stated he has talked to mail customers that have noticed that it takes longer for mail to reach its designation because of the USPS changing the mail standard.

“What they are doing is lowering the mail standards to fit what they are doing by closing plants and making other changes to the agency,” stated Mr. Gallagher.

Under the plan all processing of in-coming or out-coming mail and packages will be rerounted from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley and brought back to that region for delivery. The USPS plans to consolidated their Scranton, Lancaster and Erie facilities.