Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Congressional candidate Sam Bennett receiving labor support

09.26.08

October 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Congressional candidate Sam Bennett receiving labor support

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

REGION, September 21st- Sam Bennett, Democratic United States House of Representatives 15th District candidate stated if elected on November 4th she would support the labor community better than incumbent Republican Congressman Charlie Dent.

Ms. Bennett, interviewed by the newspaper on September 18th, stated Mr. Dent’s labor voting record is terrible which includes voting in 2007 against the labor supported Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and raising the minimum wage.

EFCA passed the House of Representatives in March 2007, 241-185. However, Mr. Dent voted against the legislation that would replace how union elections are conducted in workplaces with a card check system. Despite being passed by the House of Representatives it failed to become law when the Senate refused to vote on the legislation. Organized labor has made the passage of the law a priority for the 2009 legislative session.

Ms. Bennett stated she supports the rescinding of the Executive Order signed by President Bush in 2001 banning the signing of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) for construction projects being funded by federal monies. Under a PLA, unionized workers are almost assured be be hired for construction projects.

According to Bill Newhard, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley, many of the 20 affiliated building trades unions of the labor federation have contributed funds to Sam Bennett’s campaign and are asking their members to vote for her.

Ms. Bennett has received endorsements from 29 local and international unions and the building trade unions have contributed the most to her campaign, donating $64,000. Overall, the labor community has donated more than $100,000 to the Sam Bennett for Congress Committee.

“My opponent didn’t even support raising the federal minimum wage,” said Ms. Bennett.

In January 2007 the House of Representatives voted to raise the minimum wage by $2.10 an hour to $7.25 an hour over a two year period.

Mr. Dent wants a third two-year term representing the 15th District which includes Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

Victaulic union employees ratify new five-year contract

09.26.08

October 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Victaulic union employees ratify new five-year contract

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

REGION, September 17th- Employees of the Victaulic Company facility in Alburtis represented by the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union Local 2599 in Bethlehem, ratified a new five-year contract agreement with the company on September 15th.

According to Local 2599 President Jerry Green the previous agreement expired on September 8th, 2008. The parties agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while contract negotiations continued.

The United Steel Workers Union have two contracts with the Victaulic Company. Local 2599 also represents approximately 550 workers employed at the company’s Forks Township facility, which manufactures pipefitting systems. That unit of employees are working under a three-year agreement and ratified the contract in August 2007. The Forks Township contract will not expire until January 2010.

Mr. Green told the newspaper the Victaulic Company contract in Alburtis includes a 60 cents an hour wage increase each year for all union workers and other contract language inprovements including:

• Accident and sickness pay increases of $10.00 each year of the pact.

• New overtime language was added.

• No additional cost for health insurance for the first three years of the contract with workers paying an average of an $5.00 a week in the fourth and fifth year.

• Pension multiplier was increased by $2.00 in the first, second and third year; increasing by $1.00 in the fourth and fifth year of the pact.

Local 2599 has approximately 123 members employed at the Alburtis facility.

Local 2599 represents approximately 1,600 active USW members throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Mr. Green told the newspaper the Victaulic Company facility in Forks Township is the largest unit of employees the union represents.

The previous contract at the Forks Township plant expired on December 10th, 2006. The two sides agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while negotiations continued.

The main issue that got in the way of reaching a new pact was health insurance benefit costs. The company wanted the employees to contribute more toward the cost of their health insurance. However, Mr. Green told the newspaper the union was successful in negotiating that the workers will not pay more than $15 a week that they paid under the previous pact.

Mailhandlers Union amends charge filed against the United States Postal Service in Lehigh Valley

09.26.08

October 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Mailhandlers Union amends charge filed against the United States Postal Service in Lehigh Valley

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

LEHIGH VALLEY, September 17th- The National Postal Mailhandlers Union (NPMHU) Lehigh Valley Branch amended their complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia against the United States Postal Service (USPS) Lehigh Valley facility, that alleges the postal service violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper exclusively reported in the August edition, the union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the NLRB on July 1st, 2008 alleging the NLRAct was violated at the employers mail processing plant located on Commerce Way in Bethlehem.

The complaint, obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, stated between March 8th, 2008 through June 6th, 2008 and many dates in between, management attempted to direct the Union in its choice of Shop Stewards. The union alleges the USPS violated Section 8(a), subsections (1) and subsections 8(a)2, and 8(a)3 of the NLRAct.

The NPMHU alleges in the complaint management has discriminated against a Shop Steward by issuing excessive discipline and wrongful removel, the same Shop Steward that they had asked the Union not to use.

The amended complaint states, “Between the dates of March 20th, 2008 through June 25th, 2008 management has discriminated against Shop Steward Isabel Sandoval by issuing excessive discipline to her. Management has refused to bargain in good faith. The Employer has refused to provide needed information numerous times.”

The July 1st compliant stated, “Management has refused to bargain in good faith. They have refused to allow interviews necessary to the investigation of this discipline. They have refused and/or delayed information needed for grievances. Management at several levels have met and conferred over discipline for this Shop Steward while maintaining that each was making their own independent evaluation of discipline.”

The employer representative named on both the July 1st complaint and the amended ULP is Neil Heller, identified as the Plant Manager of the USPS, Lehigh Valley facility. The union representative that filed the complaint is Pamela Baum, identified as the NPMHU Contract Administrator Manager, Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

Under NLRB rules, after receiving a charge the agency will conduct a investigation into whether there is merit in the complaint.

Teamsters Union Local 773 wants to represent Kraft workers

09.26.08

October 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union Local 773 wants to represent Kraft workers

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

ALLENTOWN, September 16th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct a Representation Election to determine if employees of the Kraft Foods facility in Allentown want to be represented by the union.

According to the petition, filed with the NLRB on September 15th and obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the petition is supported by at least 30 percent of the workers at the Kraft Foods facility located at 7352 Industrial Boulevard in Allentown. Kraft operates a warehouse and distribution center at the location.

Under NLRB rules, a labor organization must have the signitures of at least 30 percent of the workers before they can request the agency conduct a election to determine if they want to be represented by a union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

According to information listed on the petition, there are presently 35 employees in the unit of workers. Local 773 stated a request was made to the company for the voluntary recognition of the union as the employees bargaining representative but they did not reply.

The petition was filed on behalf of Local 773 by Attorney Cassie Ehrenberg who address is listed as 1650 Market Street in Philadelphia.

According to the petition, the union wants all full-time and regular part-time drivers, mechanics and miscellaneous labor personnel to participate in the election.

The union wants all other employees, guards and supervisors as defined in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) excluded from participating in the election.

The person named on the petition as the employer representative to contact is Sandy Demasko indentified as the Kraft Foods Human Resources Officer.

Labor Federation holds Community Services Institute in Wilkes-Barre

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor Federation holds Community Services Institute in Wilkes-Barre

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, August 18th- The 49th annual Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Community Services Institute was held in Wilkes-Barre from August 10th to the 15th at the Woodlands Inn & Resort.

Labor representatives from across the commonwealth, including throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, were in attendence along with concerned individuals, groups, workshop instructors and special resource people to participate in the learning experience. It was the first time Wilkes-Barre served as the host city for the event.

According to Carl Dillinger, Staff Representative of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the Wilkes-Barre region has a strong labor heritage, including a tributary statue on the grounds of the Lackawanna County Courthouse dedicated to the legendary United Mine Workers Union (UMWU) labor leader John Mitchell.

Mr. Dillinger told the newspaper ninety-four union leaders and members attended the institute over the five days.

At the Community Services Institute each day there was a general session attended by everyone, followed by a specific workshop addressing a variety of key and contemporary working family issues, which tie into economic and social justice concerns.

On August 17th, 1942, an agreement on cooperation was signed between organized labor and the Community Chest, now the United Way of America, to encourage labor representation on their boards. The agreement sought cooperation between employee solicitation organized by employers and union representatives who jointly stressed voluntary contributions without coercion.

According to Walter Klepaski, the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, one of the institute highlights was a special project conducted at the Veterans Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. Union delegates of the institute had an opportunity to visit with the patients of the medical facility.

According to William Cockerill, the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison for the United Way of Lackawanna County, the group also visited the Gino Merli Veterans’ Center in Scranton. The union members during their visit to the medical center in Wilkes-Barre and the nursing home in Scranton gave a variety of union hats, shirts, travel bags, diabetic socks and a juke box to the military veterans. The items were donated by local unions from throughout the region. The estimated value of the donated items at both facilities was approximately $16,000.

Some of the labor representatives that attended the institute included the presidents of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council labor federations from Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Sam Bianco, President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council; Nancy Krake, President of the Scranton Central Labor Union; and Gregg Potter, President of the Lehigh Valley Labor Council were in attendance at the institute.

Event to be held for miners stamp in Wilkes-Barre

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Event to be held for miners stamp in Wilkes-Barre

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 6th- For more than fifteen years individuals andgroups including the United Mine Workers of America Union (UMWA) have tied to presuade the United States Postal Service (USPS) to issue a stamp, or series of commemorative stamps, recognizing and honoring the coal miners of the nation. So far, these efforts have not resulting with success.

Those wishing for the USPS to issue a stamp have made their case to the postal authorities of the historical and industrial national significance of the contribution of coal miners to the industrial might of this nation. Coal mining along with railroads, steel, oil, have been pillars of the industrial revolution of the nation, supporters have stated.

Citizens, many who are descended from coal mining families, and would wish to see the hard and dangerous work of their ancestors memorialized in the form of a stamp, have help rallies and conducted petition signing events to attempt to convince the USPS to issue a stamp recognizing coal miners.

According to Wayne Namey, a member of the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, and a member of the Community Services Committee of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation, a rally to show support for a coal miners stamp will be held on Public Square in Downtown Wilkes-Barre on October 25th.

Mr. Namey, who works as a clerk at a Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Store in Luzerne County, told the newspaper the event will be held between 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with speakers beginning at 10:00 am. “We are hoping to have live music. Food venders will be available. Coffee and donuts also with balloons for kids,” said Mr. Namey.

Mr. Namey stated six groups have announced they will be involved with the October 25th event including: the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council, UFCW Local 1776, the Red Hat Society, the Wilkes-Barre Kiwana’s Club, the Anthracite Living History Group and the Huber Breaker Society. “We need more groups to become involved with their presence at this event and petition drives to bombard the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee with hundreds or a thousand letters.”

The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee is tasked with evaluating the merits of all stamp proposals. The committee’s primary goal is to select subjects for recommendation to the postmaster general. For more than fifteen years the UMWA have petitioned the USPS to issue a stamp.

Mr. Namey can be contacted at: 570.466.3385.

Local Representative introduces “Buy American” resolution

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Local Representative introduces “Buy American” resolution

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, August 27th- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives have adopted a resolution urging Pennsylvanians to purchase United States saving bonds and to buy products made in the United States and in the Commonwealth.

Democratic State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, 121st Legislative District, a union member, introduced the resolution to draw attention to how Pennsylvanians can improve the value of the dollar and the economy by investing in the state and the country. Mr. Pashinski feels an injection of capital by residents into the national and state economies could help restore our previous level of financial health.

“Whenever social crises have threatened this country and state, it has been the groundswell of public support that allowed us too overcome them. People rallying to each other’s aid does more for the morale of their communities than government actions can. That’s why I’m urging to take a more active part in the financial distress our nation is in today by buying American and buying Pennsylvanian,” said Mr. Pashinski, who was elected to represent the 121st Legislative District in Harrisburg in 2006.

Mr. Pashinski added global expansion over the last decade has resulted in the loss of jobs for millions of Pennsylvanias and Americans. And consumers buying American made products can help the country and fellow Americans.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA unemployment rate increases to 6.1 percent

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

MSA unemployment rate increases to 6.1 percent

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, August 28th- According to labor data provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 4.9 percent.

The MSA’s unemployment rate continues to remain higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. The unemployment rate in the state is 5.4 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,365,000 with 341,000 not working and 6,024,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. There are 8,784,000 civilians in the nation without employment.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA civilian labor force, workers between eighteen and sixty-five years old, decreased by 200 from the previous month to 281,800 and increased by 4,200 during the previous twelve months. There are 17,100 civilians not working within the MSA, increasing by 400 from the previous month, and increasing by 2,500 from twelve months before.

The MSA has the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,978,400 with 154,900 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,209,100 with 61,400 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 415,600 with 22,800 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 286,200 with 13,000 without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the second highest unemployment rate with only the much smaller Johnstown MSA the only region with a higher unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the month before. The Johnstown MSA only has a civilian labor force of 69,300, with only the Altoona MSA and the Williamsport MSA with a smaller civilian labor force. The Williamsport MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.8 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the month before.

The Lebanon MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.0 percent. The Lancaster MSA is second at 4.1 percent with the State College MSA third at 4.2 percent.

Within the MSA, Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and one and one-tenth of a percentage point from twleve months before. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 107,300 with 6,300 residents without employment, increasing by 200 from the previous month.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 6.3 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by one and three-tenths of a percentage point from one year before. Luzerne County has a labor force of 160,000, the largest in the MSA, with 10,100 residents not working, the most in the MSA.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 6.0 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by nine-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,500, the smallest in the MSA, with 900 without jobs, unchanged from the month before and increasing by 200 from twelve months ago.

OSHA proposes changing rulemaking for job risk assessement

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

OSHA proposes changing rulemaking for job risk assessement

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 2nd- The United States Department of Labor (DOL) proposes to establish procedures to allow the public to see exactly what goes into risk assessments for health standards for regulating occupational exposure to toxins.

The DOL proposal will ensure that the best and latest available evidence and scientific data are used when conducting risk assessments in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.

According to information provided by OSHA, the department currently does not have comprehensive regulations or formal internal guidance outlining consistent risk assessment procedures. The proposed regulation implements recommendations of a 1997 presidential/congressional commission that criticized the department for relying on “a case-by-case approach for performing risk assessment and risk characterization,” and recommended that the department explain its scientific and policy defaults with regard to risk assessment.

The agency believes the proposal will compile the DOL existing practices into a single, easy to reference public regulation and includes:

• Issuance of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in order to cast a wide net for available information from the public.

• Collection of the best available scientific data for the agency to consider, including industry-by-industry exposure data where available.

• Electronic posting of all documents related to a health standard rulemaking to promote greater public input, awareness and transparency of the information underlying the department’s health rulemakings.

The DOL stated the proposal gives the department’s scientists and technical experts the necessary latitude to exercise their professional discretion and to modify their assessments as science evolves, while ensuring that the department’s process is fully accountable and transparent to the public.

The ANPRM process is not new to the agency. OSHA has included an ANPRM in the last three health standards it promulgated, including two that were started more than 20 years ago. DOL said this important process ensures that those responsible for drafting the standards have the best available scientific information to produce a thorough and accurate risk assessment that effectively protests workers.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.

According to OSHA, the agency’s role is to promote the safety and health of workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training; outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in work place safety and health.

OSHA’s area office is located in Wilkes-Barre and David Martin, Assistant Area Director can be contacted at: 570.826.6538, extension 18.

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Religious school employees legislation hearing held

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Religious school employees legislation hearing held

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 2nd- Democratic Pennsylvania Representative 121st Legislative District, Eddie Day Pashinski of Luzerne County, announced the State House of Representatives Labor Relations Committee conducted a public hearing on August 18th that would give teachers and other employees in the Catholic school system more rights under state labor laws in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Pashinski introduced House Bill 2626, which has support of more than 50 legislators from across the state. The bill would allow lay teachers, support staff and other religious education workers the opportunity to seek employment representation and membership through labor organizations.

The right to unionized became a major issue in 2008 after the Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino refused to recognize the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) as the bargaining representative of Diocesan teachers.

The union represented the teachers of ten of the fourty-two grade schools and nine of the ten high schools of the Scranton Diocese until Bishop Martino restructured the system in 2007. The new system eliminated the small school boards and created four regional boards. SDACT previously had contracts with each Board of Pastors that represented each school. Bishop Martino implemented a “Employee Relations Program” and eliminated the union.

Michael Milz, SDACT President and a 33 year employee of the Scranton Diocese who worked as a science teacher and later a social studies teacher at Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, now called Holly Redemmer, and a vocal critic against the elimination of the union, was laid-off by the Scranton Diocese during the summer.

Mr. Milz stated SDACT has not represented the workers since August 2007, when their previous contract expired. SDACT now has 22 active members employed by the Diocese at St. Michael’s School in Tunkhannock. The current five year contract agreement with the Scranton Diocese will expire in August 2009.

Mr. Pashinski, a member of the American Federation of Musicians and former President of the Nanticoke Area Education Association, said the proposed change in Pennsylvania labor law would force dioceses to recognize and bargain collectively with its teachers union. “My bill does not have anything to do with the religious doctrine but instead, gives workers in the religious education system the right to accept and join unions,” said Mr. Pashinski.

On August 18th, the State House of Representatives held a public hearing on H.B. 2626 that would also allow unions in religious schools to bring grievances to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg.

Mr. Milz told the newspaper he will provide testimony on the unionization issue at future public hearings on the legislation. Mr. Milz is currently employed by the Northeastern Area Labor Federation in Dunmore.

Labor union leaders believe some Democrats unsupportive

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor union leaders believe some Democrats unsupportive

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 4th- Rosmary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers (SFT) Union Local 1147, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) International Union, stated on August 17th, she is tired of supporting Democratic Party members running for local political office to only have them not support her members and organized labor.

On September 2nd it was announced Local 1147 had reached a agreement for a new contract with the Scranton School District. The agreement was reached just before mid-night on September 2nd, avoiding a possible strike on September 3rd, the first day fall classes began in Scranton.

Local 1147 represents 880 teachers and para-professionals of the Scranton School District. There are approximately 10,000 students enrolled in the Scranton School District.

Mrs. Boland is also the Recording/Secretary of the Scranton Central Labor Union (SCLU) labor federation in Dunmore. The labor organizrion is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington DC. The labor organization meets every third Wednesday of the month.

The SFT contract with the Scranton School District expired on August 31st. The union members voted to give the unions bargaining committee the authorization to call for a strike if negotiations failed.

Under the previous contract, not negotiated by the current Local 1147 leadership, teachers paid as much as $8,100 out-of-pocket annually for family health care coverage. On September 7th, the membership ratified the three year agreement that will provide wage increases each year of the pact and will reduce the teachers health insurance costs considerably.

On August 17th, Mrs. Boland stated of the 501 school districts in Pennsylvania, Scranton teachers paid the highest health care premiums, around $312.00 per pay period, which is every two-weeks.

Mrs. Boland stated all nine members of the Scranton School Board are members of the Democratic party, but she believes many of them only talk of supporting labor around election time. “I’m personally sick and tired of working and asking my members to work for Democrats that won’t support us when we need them,” said Mrs. Boland.

She pointed out the Scranton School District Solicitor and Chief Negotiator is Attorney Harry McGrath, who is also the Chairman of the Lackawanna County Democratic Committee. “We have to sit across from a man that is also the party chairman,” stated Mrs. Boland. “I’ve often wonder, who’s side is Mr. McGrath on. The working people or management.”

Nancy Krake, President of the SCLU and President of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 2462, agrees with Mrs. Boland’s opinion that Democrats often receive labor support during elections and then they won’t help union people when they are in need.

“All to often Democrats play us for idiots. We work for them to get elected and then they forget about us,” said Mrs. Krake.

Keystone Research Center releases economic study

09.23.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Keystone Research Center releases economic study

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, August 29th- The Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, released their annual report of the Pennsylvania economy and is urging voters to rate Presidential candidates Senator Obama and Senator McCain by their economic plans.

The Pennsylvania economic report, released on August 27th, shows stagnant wages, tumbling home prices, and skyrocketing income increases for the wealthiest Commonwealth residents. The Keystone Research Center hopes voters will use their information to better make informed choices about the economic plans of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. “With polls finding the economy the number one issue across the land, voters are starved for a convincing story about how each candidate would restore broadly shared prosperity. Voters don’t want a laundry list. They do want some specifics about how each candidate would make a real difference, plus they want an overall vision that restores confidence in the possibility of a better future,” said Keystone Research Center economist Stephen Herzenberg.

The group also released a document which is a scorecard with ten criteria for rating the candidates’ own economic plans. The criteria are drawn from the organizations economic analysis and vision, and can be used to assess Mr. Obama’s and Mr. McCain’s understanding of the economic realities facing working families and to improve those realities. Individual criteria address wages, benefits, worker training, green jobs, unionization rights, trade policies, and the need for economic stimulus that would kick-start a transition to a more moral economy. The scorecard is available online at http://www.keystonerearch.org. “We think our scorecard criteria provide a solid basis on which the average voter can evaluate both candidates,” added Mr. Herzenberg.

Mr. Herzenberg said providing the voter scorecard is a logical extension of what the Keystone Research Center does. “Since our founding in 1996, our mission has always been highly practical and pragmatic promoting solutions that will actually work to improve the lives of Pennsylvania workers and families. In our recent report, we’ve pinpointed the current problems. Now we’re presenting the solutions in a form that we hope will reach some new audiences.”

The group believes with the change in the presidency at hand, now is the perfect time to offer a vision to both campaigns. “Our proposal is simple and workable, and we would be thrilled to have it ‘plagiarized’ by Senator Obama or Senator McCain,” said Mr. Herzenberg.

The report found that the year-old national economic crisis, with rising mortage foreclosurers, falling home prices, and severely stressed financial institutions, has already damaged the Pennsylvania economy. The wages of most Pennsylvania workers are stagnant, and the concentration of income among the richest 1 percent of earners is approaching the level of the 1920’s. The report was writen by Mr. Herzenberg and fellow Keystone Research Center economist Mark Price, PhD.

The report revealed that even before the economy began to falter, Pennsylvania workers were not doing well. Between 2001 and 2005, the richest 1 percent of Pennsylvania families captured nearly 80 percent of all the growth in personal income in the state.

Trumka: Obama Strong on Guns, Conservation Issues

09.23.08

Trumka: Obama Strong on Guns, Conservation Issues

by Seth Michaels, Sep 19, 2008

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/19/trumka-obama-strong-on-guns-conservation-issues/

At a union roundtable discussion in Johnstown, Pa., yesterday, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka met with a panel of 15 union sportsmen from 12 different western Pennsylvania unions to discuss Sen. Barack Obama’s positions on issues ranging from trade to guns.

Trumka says Obama is offering the right solutions for what’s wrong with our economy. He told the assembled union members that talking with their friends and neighbors about Obama and the important issues is the best way to make sure we have a pro-worker president next year.

This election is going to decide the direction of the economy, where we go. Whether the economy is going to help you, or hurt you. Whether it’s going to be changed or it isn’t going to be changed. It’s up to you, it’s very, very important for you and for your future, the future of our communities and our children, to know the facts, where the candidates stand on the issues and then vote what’s best for the country.

Trumka, an avid hunter and fisher, says corporate interests will again seek to exploit the issue of gun ownership this year, hoping to distract gun-owning voters from real issues like jobs, health care and retirement security. This election is too important to let distortions and falsehood affect it, Trumka says.

Obama gets it. Not only is he crystal clear in his support of the Second Amendment, he is light years ahead of John McCain on habitat conservation and hunting and fishing access issues important to sportsmen. Attacks on Sen. Obama’s position on guns are nothing more than right-wing rhetoric meant to distract working people from the critical pocketbook issues that affect our daily lives.

Participants at the roundtable said that while protecting the traditions of sportsmen is important, the focus of this election is squarely on the economy.

Kenneth Peterson, president of IBEW Local 459 in Johnstown, said trade tops the issues leading him to vote for Obama this fall.

There is a lot of nonsense out there about Barack Obama taking our guns. Workers from our area are more worried about John McCain exporting our jobs.

Lisa Stark, a National Rifle Association member and organizer for the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), says the real threat to responsible gun ownership comes from the stagnation of workers’ paychecks.

The truth of the matter is that George W. Bush and his failed economic policies have taken away more guns from average Americans than any gun control law ever passed in the history of the United States. The economic policies of George Bush—which McCain supported 90 percent of the time—have turned pawn shops into gun shops because struggling workers have to hock their guns to pay their mortgages.

Michael Fedore, a member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers who grew up in New Castle, Pa., says he’s voting for Obama because all workers’ rights deserve respect.

We come from an area where schools close on the opening day of deer season. Hunting is a way of life for us and Barack Obama respects that. Sen. Obama also respects our rights to decent jobs that pay fair wages, health care and pension protection.

Pennsylvania will be a decisive state in this fall’s election, and union volunteers will be working hard to make sure every union member knows what issues are really at stake this year.

DC area labor daily news from Union City

09.23.08

Monday, September 22, 2008

LABOR UPDATES: Dairy Workers Beat Unionbusting at Quickway: Dairy workers at Quickway Transportation won a major legal fight last Monday when an NLRB judge ruled against Quickway’s unionbusting tactics during contract negotiations in 2007. This is “a stunning and complete victory for our members,” says Teamsters Local 639 Recording Secretary Phil Giles. Workers – who deliver Marva Maid dairy products to Giant stores in the Metro DC area - stuck Quickway in January 2007 after the company locked out workers and refused to bargain in good faith (Dairy Workers Still on Strike 1/18/07 UC). The NLRB ruling orders Quickway to reinstate locked out drivers with full back pay, benefits and interest. Giles said he hoped the ruling would send a warning other employers that would think about using the same tactics and added that Local 639 “will do whatever it takes to make Quickway comply with their legal obligations.”

NEW TRADES LEADER A FIGHTER: Vance Ayres has been standing up to bullies since he was a kid. “I always stood up for the kids being picked on,” Ayres told Union City, “and I always picked them for my team because they fought harder and we won!” These days Ayres is taking the fight for justice to a bigger sandbox as the new Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington Building and Construction Trades Council, the umbrella organization for over a dozen area construction trades locals. The 42-year-old’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and he seems hard-put to sit still for an interview. Though most folks these days know him as an Elevator Constructor – his home local for the last 11 years (he’s still Recording Secretary) – he began his union career in 1990 as an organizer for UFCW after a brief stint playing semi-pro football. “Organizing really woke me up to poverty and why people needed a union,” Ayres says, “I’d go into rowhouses there were huge holes in the walls and the people had no food, in stark contrast with my neighborhood, where families had plenty of food, pensions and health care.” Click here for the rest of the interview.
- report by Chris Garlock

HEALTH CARE SQUAD TO QUARANTINE INSURANCE CONFAB: Warning that “The health insurance industry is hazardous to your health,” uniformed nurses and doctors will stage a protest at an insurance industry conference today. Area activists are urged to join the healthcare professionals as they attempt to quarantine the Capitol Hilton hotel at 12:45P when Newt Gingrich is scheduled to address the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Conference on Medicare and Medicaid. “Despite spending twice as much as other industrialized nations, our mostly private health insurance system performs poorly,” says the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, which is coordinating the protest. “One third of every health care dollar is taken up by paperwork and other administrative costs of private insurance that have little to do with addressing disease or injury. Poor health and poor health care hold down the U.S. economy and reduce productivity. A guaranteed health care program patterned after Medicare can provide coverage for all, while at the same time saving close to $300 billion per year.”

WILLIAMS CHAIRS UNITED WAY LABOR DIV: Metro Washington Council President Jos Williams has been tapped to chair this year’s United Way Labor Division. “The United Way has long been a great partner for our own Community Services Agency,” Williams said, “and this year’s campaign slogan – “Live United” – is completely consistent with the union movement’s commitment to working together to change the world.” With the Community Services Agency launching its workplace giving campaign this week, Williams urged area union members to “Give generously this year; times are tough but the labor movement is tougher!” The CSA’s United Way designation number is 8253.

LABOR PHOTO: Protest Against Colombian Prez Draws Huge Lunchtime Crowd: Over 100 activists rallied outside the National Press Club Friday to protest the visit of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Uribe and 80 other Colombian government officials were in town to lobby for passage of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which critics argue should not be passed until the Colombian government addresses the increasing violence against workers and activists and the agreement includes significant labor, human and environment rights. “In the past eight months, 41 Colombian trade union members have been murdered, more than in all of last year,” reports James Parks on AFL-CIO Now Weblog. “Nearly 2,700 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia since 1986, including some 471 during the Uribe administration. And the killers are getting away with it. The impunity rate for murdering a trade unionist in Colombia remains at more than 96 percent.” Click here to read Parks’ full report.

UNION CITY VOICE: Readers Write: The Real Battle in Seattle: “I saw that [last Wednesday’s] Union City reviewed the new movie Battle in Seattle,” writes Georgetown Solidarity Committee activist Sarah Heydemann. “Here at Georgetown, we’ve been debating whether this movie is a positive or negative force! I’m not against the Hollywood version per se, I just worry that those who know nothing about the issue or the event before they see the movie will think that’s the only version out there.” For activists’ accounts of the historic 1999 protests, check out the Real Battle in Seattle website and the documentary This is what Democracy Looks Like, which uses actual footage shot by hundreds of activists on the ground during the protests. Click here for a debate on the film, which aired on Democracy Now! last Thursday, with Director Stuart Townsend and David Solnit, a key organizer of the shutdown of the WTO in Seattle and creator of The Real Battle in Seattle website. Battle in Seattle continues this week at the E Street Cinema; click here for details on showtimes and tickets.

TODAY’S LABOR HISTORY: Emancipation Proclamation passes (1862); Great Steel Strike begins; 350,000 workers demand union recognition. The AFL Iron and Steel Organizing Committee calls off the strike, their goal unmet, 108 days later (1919); Martial law rescinded in Mingo County, WV after police, US troops and hired goons finally quell coal miners’ strike (1922); US Steel announces it will cut the wages of 220,000 workers by 10 percent (1931); United Textile Workers strike committee order strikers back to work after 22 days out, ending what was at that point the greatest single industrial conflict in the history of American organized labor. The strike involved some 400,000 workers in New England, the mid-Atlantic states and the South (1934); Some 400,000 coal miners strike for higher wages in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois and Ohio (1935); The AFL expels the International Longshoremen’s Association for racketeering; the union was readmitted to the then-AFL-CIO six years later (1953); OSHA reaches its largest ever settlement agreement, $21 million, with BP Products North America following an explosion at BP’s Texas City, Texas plant earlier in the year that killed 15 and injured 170 (2005); Eleven Domino’s employees in Pensacola, FL form the nation’s first union of pizza delivery drivers (2006); San Francisco hotel workers end a two-year contract fight, ratify a new five-year pact with their employers (2006); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.

Material published in UNION CITY may be freely reproduced by any recipient; please credit the Council as the source.

Published by the Metropolitan Washington Council, an AFL-CIO “Union City” Central Labor Council whose 200 affiliated union locals represent 150,000 area union members. JOSLYN N. WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT.

Story suggestions, event announcements, campaign reports, Letters to the Editor and other material are welcome, subject to editing for clarity and space, and should be directed to:

Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Andy Richards
streetheat@dclabor.org
Voice: 202-974-8153
Fax: 202-974-8152

Labor Events in the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania

09.23.08

Good evening!

I wanted to bring some important events to your attention and ask for your support.

(1) Tuesday, September 23, 2008, there will be a Town Hall Meeting to discuss Green Jobs at 6:30 P.M. at the Allentown Public Library, 1210 Hamilton St. in the large conference room. Lehigh County Executive, Don Cunningham, Allentown Mayor, Ed Pawlowski, Allentown City Council President, Mike D’Amore are the featured speakers on New Solutions to Create Good paying, family sustaining jobs and a clean energy future. This event is hosted by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Lehigh Valley Labor Council. Admission is free and your attendance is requested.

(2) Mrs. Obama & Mrs. Biden will be visiting Cedar Crest College in Allentown on Wednesday September 24, 2008. There are a limited number of tickets available for this event. The speakers are scheduled to be on stage at 1:00 p.m. There is no charge for this event, but you must contact me directly at 610 360-9491 for tickets.

(3) The next event is Thursday evening September 25, 2008. The Allentown School District teachers will be assembling at the PPL Plaza at 9th & Hamilton Streets and marching to the School Board meeting to protest abuses by the School District. One example of this behavior; one first grade schoolteacher has 38 children in her class!! The teachers are tied up filling out intricate lesson plans when they could be teaching children. Obviously, we cannot all fit in the School Board meeting, however we plan on making a dramatic entrance. Please plan to attend.

(4) Thursday, October 2, 2008, Pa. AFl-CIO President Bill George and the Billy Bus will be traveling to the Lehigh Valley. We have tentatively scheduled a worksite leafleting at UPS, which are represented by Teamsters Local 773 at approximately 8:00. We will then proceed to the IBEW Local 1600, 540 Grange Rd. Wescosville for a breakfast/press conference. Also scheduled, is a worksite leafleting at the PPL call center on Hausman Rd at approximately 2:00. Your attendance is requested and appreciated.

As you can see, there is a lot going on. We will also be walking every Saturday until Election Day and some evenings in the very near future.

I understand that EVERYONE has a very busy schedule. Try and keep in mind how important this election cycle is to the future of Organized Labor and working families.
This is our time!

Gregg Potter
President, Lehigh Valley Labor Council

Greater Philadelphia Labor Day Parade

09.22.08

Labor Day Parade in Philadelphia
September 15, 2007
By John Oliver Mason

The Labor community in the Philadelphia area celebrated its accomplishments and made plans for the future at the Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Festival, on Labor Day, Monday September 1, 2008.
The Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO and the Tri-State Labor Day Parade Committee sponsored the event.
The event began with a rally at the Sheet Medal Workers Hall, 1301 Christopher Columbus Boulevard at 9:00 AM. Unions represented included AFSCME, CWA, Teamsters (who provided trucks for the parade), along with a bagpipe band from Elevator Constructors Locals 1 (from New York) and 5 (from Philadelphia); the drill teams Command Performance, Eastwick Commandos, Germantown Exclusive, Harris Steppers II, Unique Imperial Perfection, Unique Miracles Youth Program, Untouchable Unity, West Philadelphia Conestoga Angels, West Powelton Steppers, and Youth of east Logan. And such union-affiliated groups as PHILAPOSH (Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health), CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women), and JLC (Jewish Labor Committee).
John Greer, co-chair of the Tri-State labor day Parade Committee, opened the program by asking those gathered to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and to take a moment of silence “for all our troops that are in harm’s way, who are prisoners of war, who are killed in action or missing in action, and all the people who are suffering unjustly, not only in the United States, but all over this globe.”
Patrick Eiding, president of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, spoke next and commended Greer “and all the committee members who do a great job all year to put this together, and of course my staff over at the AFL-CIO.”
A musical performance was made by Daniel Rudholme, who performed at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival a play, Sweet Bye and Bye, on the life of Joe Hill, the labor singer who helped build up the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the era before the First World War.
Eiding spoke next of the Labor movement’s theme for 2008, “Turn Around America:” “We’ve got to take America back,” he said “for working people.” The proposed Employee Free Choice Act, he added, “give people a chance to belong to a union, who want to belong. We’ve got to get that passed” in Congress. Eiding spoke if his meeting with Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden, and said, “if (Barack) Obama is elected, (signing the bill) is the first thing on the agenda. The Employee Free Choice Act allows us to do what we do best, organize people who want representation.”
Health care, added Eiding, is another important issue for the Labor movement: “We need health care for the fifty million people who don’t have it…when they talk about the Right to Life, what right do the kids who are dying because they can’t go to the hospital have?” Another concern, said Eiding, was the “Free Trade agreements” such countries as Columbia, where labor organizers have been killed for their work.
Eiding and Greer presented Kenny Washington of the Laborer’s District Council for his work as a marshal for the parade and festival.
Greer spoke of the work of Dan Ezzio, an activist with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), who passed away recently. Ezzio, said Greer, “was known as Mister Labor Day in the PFT, and he was involved in making sure that the schools got the information to get their children involved in the art contest,” for buttons and posters for the Labor day event; “These buttons,” added Greer, “were created by children from high schools” in the Philadelphia School District. Greer presented awards to the students who won the art contest.
The winners of the 2008 Labor Art Work:
In the button competition, fist place went to Jacky Yang, second place to Linda Mak, third place to Brittany Davis. In the poster competition, the first prize went to John Khvang, the second prize to Madaline Ballard, and the third prize to Lauren Sandler.
Jerry Jordon, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said commemorating Ezzio, “We have wonderful memories of Dan and his work, and his work will continue. You were able to meet the young men who won the art contest award, and we make the commitment in the federation, that that tribute to Dan will continue each year.” Jordan added that the PFT executive board will award a scholarship for a graduating senior.
Rick Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, said to the crowd, “We’ve got sixty-four days before the election, and there could not be a more important election for working families than this one. This should not be about race, it should be about your pocketbooks. Every one of you here is a union member, or a family member of a union member, and we all have health care. The other side wants to tax your health care and income, which means that all those benefits you negotiate is going to be taxed as income, if John McCain and his crowd get elected. And that’s why we have to elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden … in order to make the economy fair to all workers.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter led the crowd in a chant for Obama, and referred to the devastation by Hurricane Katrina : “You saw three years ago,” he said, “of the incompetence of the current (Bush) administration, and the difficulties in dealing with the Republican party. We certainly know now that we need a Democrat in the White House.” Nutter also urged people to send their thoughts and prayers to current hurricane victims.
At Ten O’clock the parade started, down Christopher Columbus boulevard north to the festival area of Penn’s Landing, where there were performances by the Urban Guerrilla Band and Jimmy and the Parrots. Food and beverages were also served, and labor organizations set up tables of literature at a huge tent pavilion.

AFL-CIO: Mortgage Bailout Needed, Plus New Stimulus Package

09.17.08

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/08/afl-cio-mortgage-bailout-needed-plus-new-stimulus-package/

AFL-CIO: Mortgage Bailout Needed, Plus New Stimulus Package

by James Parks, Sep 8, 2008

The federal bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—institutions pivotal to middle class home ownership—was clearly necessary. But the government needs to go further and provide a second economic stimulus package to spark the struggling economy, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says.

The federal government announced Sunday that it is taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the companies will be placed into conservatorship under government control. The Treasury also will invest up to $100 billion to each company over time and lend them money as needed.

But part of the bailout grants executive severance packages totaling more than $21 million—and that portion of the bailout should be frozen pending a full review of their conduct, Sweeney said in a statement.

With the unemployment rate at 6.1 percent—the worst in five years—Sweeney says Washington must be just as aggressive in enacting a stimulus package “that will quickly stabilize and spur our nation’s entire sinking economy.”

Congress must pass a stimulus package that focuses on fiscal relief for states and cities and extends unemployment benefits to cover those still without work. It should include funding for food stamps to make sure that all Americans can provide for their families. Finally, it must provide funding for ready-to-go construction to repair schools, roads and bridges—construction that will help create good, family-supporting jobs in many communities where there are currently none.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama agrees and has called for a second stimulus package for the nation’s working people. He also says the bailout

must not focus on the whims of lobbyists and special interests worried about their bonuses and hourly fees, but instead on strengthening our economy and helping struggling homeowners who are also being hit by lost jobs, stagnant wages and spiraling costs of everything from gas to groceries.

Despite the jobless figures, which include eight consecutive months of job losses, a Bush administration spokesman said there was no need for a second stimulus package because the first stimulus plan was having the intended impact.

Machinists Endorse Obama

09.17.08

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/09/09/machinists-endorse-obama/

Machinists Endorse Obama

by Seth Michaels, Sep 9, 2008

The Machinists (IAM) union has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president.

The more than 2,600 delegates who met in Florida for the IAM national convention yesterday heard a personal appeal from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to back Obama and later voted to endorse Obama and put the full force of the IAM’s political efforts behind him.

IAM President Thomas Buffenbarger says the union will mobilize members across the nation to educate the union’s 700,000 members on the issues and get them out to the polls to elect Obama.

This union is not half-hearted with its endorsements. When we go in, we go all in. We will have boots on the ground in every state to make sure our members understand that Barack Obama is the best chance in a generation to reclaim the American Dream for working families.

The AFL-CIO has endorsed Obama and launched a website, Meet Barack Obama, to educate and mobilize union members. This fall, the AFL-CIO is carrying out an unprecedented grassroots mobilization to elect a working family-friendly Congress and president.

Pennsylvania Builders Association provides restitution

09.16.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Pennsylvania Builders Association provides restitution

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, August 28th- The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has obtained a consent judgement in which the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA), its wholly owned subsidiary and its trustees agree to provide $5 million in restitution for the groups health plan and reforms plan operations.

According to the DOL, the PBA will restore $5 million to the fund and pay a civil penalty of $500,000. The judgement also permanently bars the trustees from using plan assets to pay royalties and/or licensing fees to the association, prevents the trustees from contracting with the subsidiary for administrative services in exchange for fees, and prohibits the use of trust assests for lobbying purposes. In addition, current and future trustees must receive eight hours of fiduciary training annually over the next five years.

The DOL alleged that the Pennsylvania Builders Association of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, its wholly-owned subsidiary Builders Services Inc, and trustees Robert Basile, Patrick Brewer, Dennis Brislin, Scott Cannon, James Conner, Brad Elliott, Charles Farrell, Chuck Hamilton, David Knipe, Gene Kreitzer, Gary Naeser, Michael Rodino, Toni Rogan, Mack Smith, Chauncey Wirsing, Clarence Yeagley, Jack Zimmer and Roger Zimmer violated their fiduciary duties to the Pennsylvania Builders Association Benefits Trust. PBA sponsored the trust, and the Builders Services Inc. was administrator of the trust.

The suit alleges that PBA received royalty payments and BSI received administrative fees under arrangements with BSI and the trust’s third party administrators. The royalties paid to the PBA represented a percentage of the administrative fees paid by contributing employers. The DOL alleged that these royalty payments were prohibited because the sponsor had provided its name and endorsement to the trust when it created and named the trust. The trustees allegedly misused plan assets to pay royalties to PBA from 2000 to 2007, administrative fees to BSI from 2000 to 2007 and for political lobbying from 2002 through 2004.

New Jobfox report states slow economy is causing flat wages

09.16.08

September 2008 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

New Jobfox report states slow economy is causing flat wages

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 4th- Jobfox.com, a internet career site located in McLean, Virginia for working professionals with corporate recruiters, stated on August 29th the slow national economy is causing flat or lower salary expectations for job seekers.
A new Jobfox report finds bottom line employers challenges is rubbing off on job seekers salary negotiation strategies.

In addition to creating higher unemployment and job-loss fears among working professionals, the weakened United States economy is also casting a shadow on the psyches of job candidates and how aggressively they bargain for starting salaries when seeking new employment opportunities, Jobfox reported.

The August 29th released report finds that job seekers salary expectations across 25 of the most in-demand professions, have remained flat or have decreased over a five-month period, March through July 2008.

The study found none of the 25 professions had increasing median salary range expectations among job candidates.

Also sixteen of the 25 professions (64 percent) recorded flat job seeker salary expectations.

Nine professions (36 percent) recorded decreasing salary expectations at some point over the five-month period.

“It’s an employer’s market right when it comes to salaries. Companies are concerned about budgets and corporate bottom-line challenges have rubbed off on job seekers salary negotiations,” said Jobfox CEO Rob McGovern.

Mr. McGovern stated in addition to feeling the pain of companies, job seekers are also forced to adjust salary requirments in light of growing employer cost-control strategies. One of those strategies is greater reliance on bonus programs and other pay-for-performance compensation models.