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Pennsylvania minimum wage falls below surrounding states, raising federal level becomes unlikely

12.02.14

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

Pennsylvania minimum wage falls below surrounding states, raising federal level becomes unlikely

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, November 5th - With the election season over and the Republican party being successful in strengthening their ability to have legislation passed through both sides of the Pennsylvania General Assembly by gaining seats in both chambers of the legislature, raising the minimum wage for state workers becomes even more complicated and unlikely.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC supports increasing the federal bench-mark to $10.10 an hour, which President Obama has proposed.

The current minimum wage, which covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification, is $7.25. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009.

Some states have tired of waiting for the Republicans in Washington to support an increase and have began raising their bench-mark wage above the federal wage.

Maryland, New Jersey and New York have increased their minimum wage above the federal level, while Republicans in Harrisburg have successfully blocked raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, currently the same as the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

There are 19 state’s and the District of Columbia that have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. New Jersey’s minimum wage increased in January to $8.25 an hour.

However, in Pennsylvania raising the wage has been blocked by Republican legislators and their business supporters. Republican Governor Tom Corbett, who lost to Democrat Tom Wolf on November 4th denying him of a second four-year term, made it clear he did not support raising the benchmark. Mr. Corbett stated the higher was would harm Pennsylvania’s economy despite that the wage in surrounding states is higher.

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

Mr. Wolf made it clear he would support rasing the benchmark and before his victory stated he will push for the increase if elected.

Meanwhile, on October 10th the United States Conference of Mayors urged Congress to raise the wage to $10.10 and mobilized existing support from mayors across the county who favor the increase.

More than 70 mayors signed the a letter supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage.

Raising the wage would give approximately 28 million across the county a wage hike.

Members of the right-wing pro-business groups recently stated, without facts, that minimum wage increares are “Union lifesavers.”

They argue that raising the wage enables labor union organizers to approach a nonunion employer struggling to pay the new wage and assist them in unionizing their workers by signing a “neutrality agreement” in return for the union will then use collective bargaining waiver within the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) to allow the employer to pay less than the minimum. The action would be against the law and would subject the labor organization to legal ramifications. The measures will increase the minimum wage in San Francisco to $15 an hour by 2018.

On November 4th voters overwhelming approved raising the minimum wage for workers in the Bay Area of California. Voters passed two initiatives in Oakland and San Francisco by huge margins that will increase the wages for 190,000 workers in that area.

With the Republicans gaining enough seats in the United States Senate that will allow them to hold the majority beginning in 2015 for at least the next two years, it is extremely unlikely the federal benchmark will be increased.

Some Republicans back increasing wage in their home states

09.30.14

OCTOBER 2014, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Some Republicans back increasing wage in their home states

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 20th- During this mid-term election year some Republicans throughout the nation have backed the raising of the minimum wage while legislation supported by President Barack Obama lies in Washington likely to die because most federal members of the GOP will not support it.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, has made it clear it does support raising the federal minimum wage to the bench-mark of $10.10 an hour, which President Obama proposed in his “state-of-the-union” address earlier this year.

The current minimum wage, which covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification, is $7.25. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009.

The AFL-CIO has been lobbying Washington legislators and organizing rallies supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct).

Many states have increased their minimum wage above the federal bench-mark including New Jersey, Maryland and New York. However, anti-worker Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett has made it clear he does not support increasing the wage. He has been lobbying fellow Republicans to not support the increase of the hourly wage, stating the higher wage would harm Pennsylvania’s economy.

There are 19 state’s and the District of Columbia that have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. New Jersey’s minimum wage increased in January to $8.25 an hour.

Meanwhile, in five states that Republicans control, including Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Illinois, GOP legislators have voiced their support for raising the bench-mark in their states but not to $10.10 an hour.

Those five states have measures up for a vote and the bench-mark would be increased from their current wage between $1.25 an hour, such as South Dakota, to $2.00 an hour, such as Alaska.

In 2014, 13 states have so-far increased their bench-mark above the federal minimum wage and those states have added jobs faster than those that did not raise the wage.

A recently release report by the Congressional Budget Office projected that a higher minimum wage of $10.10 an hour would cut 500,000 jobs throughout the nation but the report also stated that more than 16.5 million American workers wages would be increased, producing an overwhelmingly positive impact for the economy.

Minimum wage increase fight to begin again in fall

08.23.14

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

Minimum wage increase fight to begin again in fall

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 22nd- The labor community will again continue to push for a increase in the federal minimum wage in the fall after legislators return from their summer recess.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC supports increasing the bench-mark to $10.10 an hour, which President Obama has proposed.

The current minimum wage, which covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification, is $7.25. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009.

The AFL-CIO has been lobbying Washington legislators and organizing rallies supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct).

Some states have tired of waiting for the Republicans in Washington to support an increase and have began raising their bench-mark wage above the federal wage.

Maryland, New Jersey and New York have increased their minimum wage above the federal level, while Republicans in Harrisburg have successfully blocked raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, currently the same as the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

There are 19 state’s and the District of Columbia that have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. New Jersey’s minimum wage increased in January to $8.25 an hour.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett does not support increasing the wage and has been lobbying fellow Republicans to not support the increase of the hourly wage, stating the higher wage would harm the economy.

Meanwhile, according to data released by the Department of Labor on July 18th, job growth in the 13 states that have increased their minimum wage has been more robust than states that have not. Average job growth in states that have increased the benchmark was 0.85 percent this year while in states that have not increase their wage was 0.61 percent.

Increasing the minimum wage has got a boost from a unlikely source with Wal-Mart Stores officials stating they would not oppose the increasing of the benchmark past the $7.25 an hour.

The nation’s largest retailer has 1.3 million employees and currently has 5,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage.

But, Wal-Mart officials have made it clear that while the retailer stated it would not oppose the raising of the benchmark it also does not support increasing it.

Minimum wage increase fight to begin again in fall

07.28.14

AUGUST 2014, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Minimum wage increase fight to begin again in fall

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 22nd- The labor community will again continue to push for a increase in the federal minimum wage in the fall after legislators return from their summer recess.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC supports increasing the bench-mark to $10.10 an hour, which President Obama has proposed.

The current minimum wage, which covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification, is $7.25.

The AFL-CIO has been lobbying Washington legislators and organizing rallies supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct).

Some states have tired of waiting for the Republicans in Washington to support an increase and have began raising their bench-mark wage above the federal wage.

Maryland, New Jersey and New York have increased their minimum wage above the federal level, while Republicans in Harrisburg have successfully blocked raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, currently the same as the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

There are 19 state’s and the District of Columbia that have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. New Jersey’s minimum wage increased in January to $8.25 an hour.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett does not support increasing the wage and has been lobbying fellow Republicans to not support the increase of the hourly wage, stating the higher wage would harm the economy.

Meanwhile, according to data released by the Department of Labor on July 18th, job growth in the 13 states that have increased their minimum wage has been more robust than states that have not. Average job growth in states that have increased the benchmark was 0.85 percent this year while in states that have not increase their wage was 0.61 percent.

Increasing the mimimum wage has got a boost from a unlikely source with Wal-Mart Stores officials stating they would not oppose the increasing of the benchmark past the $7.25 an hour.

The nation’s largest retailer has 1.3 million employees and currently has 5,000 workers earning the federal minimum wage.

But, WalMart officials have made it clear that while the retailer stated it would not oppose the raising of the benchmark it also does not support increasing it.

The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009.

Organized labor supporting raising federal minimum wage

05.19.14

MAY 2014, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Organized labor supporting raising federal minimum wage

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 16th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, have began to rally support for the raising of the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct).

The current minimum wage, which covers most workers employed within many industries excluding some retail and service establishments and farms and also employ students at wages of no more than 15 percent below the minimum with proper certification from the Department of Labor, is $7.25.

The AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently attended a pro-minimum wage increase rally in New Jersey, and Philadelphia stating that increasing the federal minimum wage would be good for workers and the community where they work. The AFL-CIO has participated in rallies with a bus with the slogan painted in blue with the words on its side “Give America a Raise.”

Meanwhile, New Jersey and New York have increased their minimum wage above the federal level, in Pennsylvania the wage remains at $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. President Obama wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

On April 7th, Pennsylvania neighboring state Maryland voted to raise their minimum wage above the federal standard. Maryland lawmakers voted to gradually raise the wage to $10.10 an hour. The pro-business, anti-worker Maryland legislators were able to delay the full phase-in of the $10.10 minimum wage until 2018. Pennsylvania will have a lower minimum wage than three of it’s neighboring states, Maryland, New York and New Jersey. Maryland was the fourth state in the nation to approve wage increases above the federal standard in 2014.

Currently, there are more than 20 state’s and the District of Columbia that have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. New Jersey’s minimum wage increased in January to $8.25 an hour.

Several legislative bills have emerged that would increase the Pennsylvania minimum wage in 2014 but the bills will likely not see any action because Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett does not support increasing the wage. Pennsylvania Senator Christine Tartaglione (Democrat-2nd Legislative District) and Minority Caucus Secretary, has introduced a bill that would increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

The United States economy has lost almost 6 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 while the American worker productivity increased during the time and many of the lowest paid workers are employed by large companies that have given huge raises to their executives after they recovered from the great recession but most have been reluctant to increase their workers wages.

__________________

EDITOR’S NOTE: Delaware has increased the state minimum wage above the Federal rate this year with the strong support of organized labor.

Most food service workers lack access to paid sick days

03.25.14

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

Most food service workers lack access to paid sick days

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 3rd- According to a new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), that conducts research to address women needs and families, less than twenty-four percent of employees in food preparation and serving related occupations have access to paid sick days while on their job.

Also, the IWPR findings indicate that less than thirty-one percent of workers in personal care and service providing occupations have access to sick days with pay.

“Workers who have close contact with the public, such as home care aides and restraurant workers, rarely have access to paid sick days. Expanding access to this important benefit is in everyone’s interest,” stated Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR.

The analysis found that access to paid days at work is unequally distributed across the population, with substantial differences by race/ethnicity, occupation, earnings, and employment status.

The organization reviewed the National Health Interview Survey, finding that sixty-one percent of private sector employees had access to paid sick days in 2012, up from fifty-seven percent in 2009, however more than forty-one million workers lacked access.

The study found that American hispanic workers are less likely to have paid sick days than black, white, and asian workers. Only forty-seven percent of hispanic workers have paid sick days, compared with sixty-four percent of white workers, sixty-two percent of black workers, and sixty-six percent of asian workers.

Connecticut in 2011 passed a state-wide paid sick days law and currently, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Oregon, New Jersey, California, and Illinois legislatures are contemplating similar bills.

How FirstEnergy CEO Is a ‘Poster Child for What Is Wrong in Our Country Today’

12.13.13

How FirstEnergy CEO Is a ‘Poster Child for What Is Wrong in Our Country Today’

FirstEnergy Corp.’s lockout of 150 utility workers in central Pennsylvania has stirred up a hornet’s nest that CEO Anthony Alexander already regrets.

Throwing workers off their jobs right before the holidays has energized working families in four states and focused negative international attention on the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility company. As a result, Alexander has made himself the poster child for what is wrong in our country today.

“Our members were exercising their legal right to collectively bargain, something FirstEnergy obviously does not respect,” Utility Workers (UWUA) President D. Michael Langford said Nov. 25, the day the company locked out UWUA Local 180 members employed by the company’s Penelec utility in central Pennsylvania…

(read more of this article by clicking on the link below)

http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Organizing-Bargaining/How-FirstEnergy-CEO-Is-a-Poster-Child-for-What-Is-Wrong-in-Our-Country-Today

Rally today with AFGE Local 331 against the Shutdown of the American Government

10.01.13

I am passing on this message from our federal government union friends. I will be there. Please pass the word.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Crockett
_____________

No deal: Government agencies shut down The first federal shutdown in 17 years has officially begun as a deadlocked Congress failed to reach an agreement on a short-term funding measure.

Please join me and other federal employees for an informational rally at the front entrance to the Perry Point site of the VAMHCS. The rally will be held at 12 Noon at the entrance to the Perry Point VA Medical Center in the town of Perryville, Maryland next to Rogers Historic Tavern Center, 259 Broad St Perryville, MD 21903.

The local media will be covering the events, so please make every effort to attend. “We need Congress to do what they were elected to do and pass a budget that allows the federal government to function.

Debates over raising the debt ceiling and implementing the Affordable Care Act should not jeopardize federal programs and services that millions of Americans depend on.” Congress also must avoid using an future continuing resolution to gut benefit programs affecting working class men and women. Anything that would cut entitlement benefits like Social Security and Medicare or change how pensions are calculated for federal employees has no place in a continuing resolution. This issue is about all federal employees.

We need to stand united with our brothers and sisters who are again having their pay attacked. Many of the federal employees have already been furloughed six (6) days. Enough! In contrast, contractors who operate outside federal facilities will be able to continue to work and be paid. This double standard is outrageous and shows how phony this political stunt is. The two government shutdowns in fiscal 1996, totaling 26 days, cost taxpayers $1.4 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Why Rally: Now that the Government is shut down, there are a number of representatives that want to settle this shutdown on the backs of working federal employees. Two ideas floating is to extend the pay freeze for (5) five years, and require federal employees to pay an additional five (5) percent more into federal employees retirement plans. Federal employees will pay 4.4 percent more toward their health insurance premiums in 2014, the Office of Personnel Management announced last week.

Are you going to stand silent, or are you going to help your Union get out the message that you have had enough. If you cannot make the event, please contact your representative and make your position known. Call your Representative toll free at 1-888-775-3148. Follow the instructions to be connected directly to your Representative’s office.

Deliver this simple message: I’m calling to urge the Representative to Stop the Lockout and Stop the Sequester”. It’s that simple!

United we stand, or divided we beg! PLEASE HELP US TO HELP EACH OTHER!

Thank You,

Wayne Marion
President, AFGE Local 331

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

Is Union Busting to Blame for Power Outages in DC?

07.07.12

Is Union Busting to Blame for Power Outages in DC?

By Mike Elk, In These Times

On Thursday, 15,091 Washington, D.C.-area residents were without power for the sixth day in a row, according to utility company Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal. As D.C. residents face record heat waves, many are upset and attribute the lack of power to incompetence on Pepco’s end. However, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1900 members claim the failure to restore power outages is due to chronic understaffing and Pepco’s shift from hiring union utility workers to non-union temporary contractors.

“We have half the linemen we had 15 years ago,” says IBEW Local 1900 Business Agent Jim Griffin, whose union represents 1,150 Pepco workers. “We have been complaining for a very long time. They have relied for a long time on contractors. They are transients, they don’t know our system, and we typically have to go behind them to fix their mistakes. It’s very frustrating. We take ownership in our work, we make careers out of this.”

Griffin says that starting 15 years ago, Pepco stopped hiring workers to replace retiring electrical workers and offered incentive-laden buyout deals to get electricians to retire. In order to address understaffing problems, Pepco has at times hired non-union temporary contractors, instead of hiring new workers. Griffin estimates that Pepco currently employs 1,150 union workers and approximately 400 non-union contractors. The understaffing has led to problems that the IBEW warned about years ago…..

Read the rest of this article at http://truth-out.org/news/item/10206-is-union-busting-to-blame-for-power-outages-in-dc?

MIKULSKI STATEMENT ON REPUBLICAN VOTE TO HIKE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN RATES ON JULY 1

05.29.12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2012

CONTACT:

Rachel MacKnight

Matt Jorgenson

202-228-1122

MIKULSKI STATEMENT ON REPUBLICAN VOTE TO HIKE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN RATES ON JULY 1

Senate Republicans Continue Filibuster of Bill to Prevent Doubling of Student Loan Rates for 103,000 Maryland Students

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today expressed her strong disappointment that Senate Republicans continued their filibuster of the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012. Senator Mikulski cosponsored the legislation to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling for more than 103,000 Maryland students on July 1st.

“I believe in America’s opportunity ladder, and higher education is an important rung on that ladder,” Senator Mikulski said. “It’s outrageous that Senate Republicans continue to stand in the way of much needed relief for middle-class families being squeezed by rising tuition costs.”

Republicans have repeated their demand that tax cuts for billionaires do not need to be paid for, while insisting that this bill to prevent a $1,000 a year rate hike for students be paid for by stripping away access to health care.

“I’m appalled that while Senate Republicans protect tax breaks and loopholes for billionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas, their take it or leave it approach today would have stripped millions of Americans of life-saving preventive healthcare,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’ll continue to fight so that every student has access to the American dream and ensure that when they graduate, their first mortgage isn’t their student debt.”

As the cost of a college education continues to rise, this increase will add $1,000 to the cost of these loans for millions of Americans and will further squeeze middle class families already fighting to afford college. Without this legislation, interest rates on federal student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Republicans voted against the legislation in order to protect a tax loophole that allows the wealthy to avoid paying employment taxes on a significant portion of their income.

###

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

10.13.11

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, issues the followings statement on the Senate approval of bilateral trade agreement with Korea, Panama and Colombia:

“I strongly believe that international trade is good for America, but it must be done properly. Such international agreements can boost our country’s ties with like-minded nations that share our values, helping to strengthen alliances and advancing American interests abroad. American workers can compete with any other workers in the world, but the playing field must be fair and have enforceable rules. Formal trade agreements between nations must be based international standards and protect workers, both at home and with our trading partners. Trade must not reduce us all to the lowest common-denominator.

“I am disappointed by the passage of the Colombia-U.S. bilateral trade agreement. Colombia’s human rights abuses, as well as intimidation and violence against labor leaders, have been documented by the U.S. State Department as recently as 2010. Trade with America is a benefit for deserving nations that share our values, especially with respect to labor rights. Given Colombia’s history and the weakness of enforcement provisions in this specific agreement, I could not support its approval. As a nation, we cannot condone sacrificing the rights of workers in the name of trade.”

CARDIN HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK JOB-BUILDING ANTI-CURRENCY MANIPULATION LEGISLATION

10.12.11

CARDIN HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK JOB-BUILDING ANTI-CURRENCY MANIPULATION LEGISLATION

Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement following the passage of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act (S. 1619), of which he is an original cosponsor.

“As our economy recovers from the most devastating economic recession since the Great Depression and we work to create good-paying, high-quality jobs for Americans, we cannot ignore countries like China that engage in clearly unfair trading practices. America cannot stand alone while our competitors break the rules - American companies and American workers depend on a level playing field when it comes to international trade and that is why it’s important that we move aggressively to counter any threat to our economy or our workers who may be harmed from clearly unfair trading practices.

“This bill gives us a powerful tool to address currency manipulation by any country – manipulation that reduces the price of imported goods, while raising the price of American made goods internationally. This legislation will help reduce our trade imbalances and, most importantly, create American jobs. I call on Speaker Boehner and the House of Representatives to quickly pass this critically important bill.”

CARDIN SAYS CALL TO REBUILD AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP GET MARYLANDERS BACK TO WORK

09.26.11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 2011

CARDIN SAYS CALL TO REBUILD AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP GET MARYLANDERS BACK TO WORK

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued the following statement on President Obama’s call for rebuilding America’s infrastructure:

“It makes no sense that America’s infrastructure is crumbling while we have record unemployment in the construction industry. We have to make a change and we have to do it soon. And we have to stop talking and start doing because gridlock does not create jobs, it only worsens the problem. When our country faced economic challenges in the past, we overcame our problems by putting people back to work — rebuilding America’s bridges and roads, schools and airports, and everywhere updated infrastructure can help better our communities for business, tourism and even daily commutes. Investing in infrastructure jumpstarts our economy now while providing a literal foundation for long-term jobs. Like the President, I know there is much work to be done and so many people willing and able to do it.

“Improvements to Maryland’s transportation infrastructure are at a critical point. Freight movement through Maryland is critical to commerce along the entire Eastern Seaboard and BRAC is bringing hundreds of defense personnel, their families and support services to the state. Compounding these challenges is some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. Fortunately, Maryland Department of Transportation has made addressing all of these issues a top priority. Now they need active partners in the Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the resources necessary to help get Maryland’s more than 10,000 transportation professionals on the job working on these critical transportation initiatives. The President’s American Jobs Act is a sound vehicle to help get hard-working Marylanders to work on critical infrastructure projects that repair and maintain our existing infrastructure, enhance the safety and efficiency of our transportation network and improve U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. Congress needs to act.”

CWA Targets Rep. Harris and Other Members in House Battleground Districts over Their Role in FAA Shutdown

08.30.11

CWA Targets Rep. Harris and Other Members in House Battleground Districts over Their Role in FAA Shutdown

25 House Districts Targeted in New Component of “Countdown to Shutdown” Campaign

Washington – Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced a new campaign to target two dozen House Republicans, including Rep. Andrew Harris (R-MD-01), for their willingness to shut down the Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) over a union-busting provision inserted into the House version of the multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill. CWA calls on Rep. Harris and other targeted House members to deliver the benefits of a FAA bill without the contentious and unrelated union elections provision.

With less than 30 days until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) faces another potential shutdown due to the union-busting ideology of Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee John Mica (R-FL) and many of his Republican House colleagues like Rep. Harris, CWA’s “Countdown to Shutdown” campaign is spending over half a million dollars on efforts to educate voters about the causes and consequences of the FAA shutdown. Included in this effort is the new direct mail effort, which will target over 600,000 voters in key battleground House districts.

The direct mailing highlights that “Americans are losing jobs because Congress is playing politics. Call Congress now and tell them to stop grounding our economy. Pass the FAA Reauthorization Bill.”

The mailing explains that “the FAA got shut down because Chairman John Mica and some Republicans would rather play politics with real people’s lives and the FAA Reauthorization bill. At the request of their big corporate airline donors, like Delta, Republicans snuck unrelated union provisions into this critical legislation. Then Congress took off on vacation and shut down the FAA. The result of their political games…”

100,000 hard working employees out of work
$400 million in taxpayer money pocketed by airline executives
$11 billion in stalled construction projects
“Another shutdown could happen Sept. 16 because of their political games. Tell them no more FAA shutdowns and to pass a clean FAA Reauthorization bill free of special interest provisions.”

The announcement of the targeted mailings follows after the announcement of a new MicaWatch website, highlighting the union-busting ideology of Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee John Mica (R-FL). In conjunction with Delta Air Lines, Rep. Mica was the lead driver behind the recent FAA shutdown that put nearly 100,000 people out of work and cost the U.S. government $400 million. Instead of forging a bi-partisan solution that would deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs and aviation infrastructure upgrades through the long-term FAA bill, Rep. Mica and Rep. Harris continue to insist that the legislation include an unrelated union-busting provision requested by Delta. This provision would change the rules for union elections overseen by the National Mediation Board (NMB) and seeks to count ballots not actually cast – in violation of democratic principles and the rules of every other type of American election.

In addition to Rep. Mica, some of his Republican colleagues in the House, including Rep. Harris, have been all too willing to go along with Rep. Mica’s ideological intransigence and insistence that the unrelated union provision be included in the FAA Reauthorization bill. In addition to Rep. Harris, Republican targets of the mailing include: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-01), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-05), Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA-03), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA-45), Rep. Thomas Latham (R-IA-04), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03), Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN-08), Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH-01), Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH-02), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07), Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-03), Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY-24), Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-29), Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA-06), Rep, Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA-11), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA-15), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27), Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA-03), and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI-07). All Democratic and independent households in Rep. Mica’s district (FL-07) also will receive a mailing highlighting their Member’s lead role in blocking hundreds of thousands of new jobs and aviation infrastructure upgrades that would be generated by the FAA Reauthorization bill.

The targeted mailings are part of the larger CWA “Countdown to Shutdown” campaign, which, among other components, features a petition highlighting Delta’s role in pushing the union-busting provision; flyering and events at airports throughout the nation; the MicaWatch website; and other targeted district events such as phone calls and picketing.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Receives Early Endorsement of Maryland state and d.c. AFL-CIO

03.10.11

Press Release: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Receives Early Endorsement of Maryland state and d.c. AFL-CIO

Baltimore, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has received the unanimous endorsement of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE), which represents over 300,000 union members and more than 500 local unions.

“Ben Cardin is a champion in the U.S. Senate for working families not just in Maryland but across the nation,” said Fred Mason, president of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO. “An early endorsement means local unions can begin to educate their members on why it is important to support Ben Cardin.”

“I have worked hard in the Senate and throughout my career to protect working men and women and their families. My priority, particularly during these tough economic times, is to help create and sustain quality job growth while solving the problems facing middle class families,” said Senator Cardin. “Unions have been a key part of protecting America’s shrinking middle class and have helped to lift up all workers. I will continue to actively support the rights of workers to collectively bargain and I am honored to receive this early endorsement from my friends in labor.

“We need to stop blaming hardworking teachers, nurses, firefighters, and other public sector workers who are essential to the safety and future of our communities. As leaders, we should be working together toward common solutions to the problems hurting American families, rather than placing blame or making scapegoats. We need to restore a sense of balance and civility to the debate, as well as our economy.”

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STATEMENT BY U.S. SENATOR BENJAMIN L. CARDIN ON PROPOSAL TO FREEZE FEDERAL CIVILIAN PAY

11.30.10

STATEMENT BY U.S. SENATOR BENJAMIN L. CARDIN ON PROPOSAL TO FREEZE FEDERAL CIVILIAN PAY

“Our nation is recovering from the most serious recession since the 1930s. Today we face continuing high unemployment and a $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit that threatens our economic security. All Americans have a stake in our economic recovery. President Obama has proposed a two-year pay freeze for federal employees to help address the deficit. I believe any federal employee pay freeze should only be considered as part of an overall deficit reduction package. This is particularly relevant as Congress considers tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which would add more than 10 times to the federal deficit than the President’s proposed civilian pay freeze.”

FORMER DELAWARE UNION PRESIDENT SEEKS MARYLAND JUDGESHIP

10.29.10

Press Release: FORMER DELAWARE UNION PRESIDENT SEEKS MARYLAND JUDGESHIP

For more information contact: Herbert Welch 410-920-4011

A former union President at the General Motors Boxwood plant near Wilmington and child advocate with deep ties to Delaware is seeking a Judgeship position in nearby Cecil County. Herbert “Herb” W. Welch is running for Cecil County Judge of the Orphans’ Court. He served in this position 32 years ago.

Welch served as President of UAW Local 435 in the 1970’s. At the time, he was the youngest union local president ever elected. He had only been working in the factory for 7 years when elected.

Since retiring, Welch has been very active in his community. Among the groups he has been very active with are the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Moose Lodge 851 and the Cecil County Democratic Party. He has served as manager of the Kiwanis Little League team. Recently, Welch was elected to the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee.

Welch is a well known as an advocate in Annapolis for children’s rights. One of the main themes in his campaign has been to “eliminate inheritance taxes for children.”

Welch stated, “I will use my position to lobby in Annapolis to change inheritance tax laws. The State of Maryland needs to help preserve the inheritance of children in order to take care of their material and educational needs.”

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

10.28.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 13th- Legislation was signed into law by Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Edward Rendell that was praised by members of the Building and Construction Trades Unions. The law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as well as county district attorneys and the State Attorney General, to crack down on construction firms that classify their employees as “Independent contractors,” thereby avoiding responsibility to pay Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation and Workers Compensation taxes.

House Bill No. 400 was amended by the Pennsylvania Senate on September 21st, and was signed by Mr. Rendell on October 13th.

Under the legislation, no employer shall require or demand that an individual enter into an agreement or sign a document which results in the improper classification of that individual as an independent contractor.

A violation shall be punishable by an administrative fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,500. Each violation shall be considered a separate offense under the law.

“It shall be unlawful for an employer, or an officer or agent of an employer, to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under this act. Rights protected under this act include, but are not limited to, the right to file a complaint or inform any person about an employer’s noncompliance with this act,” states the legislation.

Twenty other states, including Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, have passed similar laws in the past eighteen months.

“For too long, the state was powerless to act against these fly-by-night firms that skirted Pennsylvania law to the detriment of everyone else. With the governor’s signature on House Bill 400, honest firms will no longer be outbid and undercut simply because they obey the law and pay their taxes,” stated Jack Brooks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Council of Carpenters.

AFL-CIO DAY AT THE RACES- Maryland State Fair/Timonium Racetrack

08.28.10

AFL-CIO DAY AT THE RACES

Maryland State Fair/Timonium Racetrack

Saturday, August 28, 2010

12 noon to 10:00 pm - Post time 1:00 pm

Timonium, MD

Admission to the Timonium Racetrack

and/or the Maryland State Fair

Cost: $6.00

(normally $8.00 - valid for Aug. 28, 2010 only)

Each race on Saturday, August 28 will be named for a local union. Come out to the Fair, visit the Baltimore AFL-CIO Booth (near the 4-H Building) and then go enjoy a “DAY at the RACES.”

Tickets are $6.00 per person and will admit you to the Maryland State Fair and the Timonium Racetrack. The tickets at the gate are $8.00.

All proceeds to benefit AFL-CIO Community Services of Maryland Food Pantry project and other programs to help people during these hard economic times. This event is sponsored by Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO Unions

Contact Ernie Grecco or Bea Harris, 410-242-1300 for tickets. This offer is for Saturday, August 28 ONLY!

See you at the Fair!

Ernie Grecco, President, Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO