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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.

The International Association of Machinists Union files three ULP charges against Tobyhanna Depot contractor

09.16.08

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

The International Association of Machinists Union files three ULP charges against Tobyhanna Depot contractor

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 3rd- The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union District Lodge 1, filed three Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging a contractor at the Tobyhanna Army Depot violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the three charges, obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, all where filed on August 19th, 2008 by Brian Bryant, identified as IAM Grand Lodge Representative of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The charges state “since on or about July 17th, 2008 and times thereafter, the employer, Defense Support Systems of Greenville, South Carolina, a defense systems contractor at Tobyhanna Army Depot, by its officers, agents and representatives, has refused to bargain in good faith with the IAM, a labor organization chosen by a majority of its employees in an appropriate unit for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment.”

According to the ULP’s, the IAM represents approximately 900 workers employed by Defense Support Systems.

The union alleges on one of the charges the employer has not executed an agreement that was entered into by them and the union in regard to the grievance procedure.

In the second charge, the union alleges Defense Support Systems has refused to bargain over a mandatory subject of bargaining in that employees are being mandated to use their personal vehicles for the performance of their jobs.

According to the third charge, the IAM alleges Defense Support Sytems has refused to supply requested information in regard to the discharge of a bargaining unit member so the IAM may process the member’s grievance under the contract.

Change-to-Win labor federation criticizes McCain’s campaign

09.16.08

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

Change-to-Win labor federation criticizes McCain’s campaign

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 4th- The Change-to-Win (CtW) labor federation executive director Chris Chafe stated Republican candidate for President Senator John McCain showed how out of touch he is with working people issues because of statements made at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Top Senator McCain campaign advisors Rick Davis and Phil Gramm both made remarks about their views of the November 4th election at the Republican National Convention on September 2nd.

Mr. Davis told the Washington Post editors that “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates,” said Mr. Davis.

Phil Gramm said while speaking to the delegates at the Republican National Convention, “If you’re sitting here today, you’re not economically illiterate and you’re not a whiner, so I’m worrier about who you’re going to vote for.”

Chris Chafe said the labor federation believes the remarks made by top McCain advisors Rick Davis and Phil Gramm shows just how out of touch the McCain campaign is with working America.

“As workers watch their wages erode and health and retirement benefits disappear, the best the McCain campaign can do is coin them whiners and tell them their issues don’t matter. But personality and name-calling won’t help the 37 million Americans currently living in poverty,” said Mr. Chafe.

There are seven national unions affiliated with the Change-to-Win labor federation which represents around six million workers throughout North America. The seven unions are: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union, The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), the United Farm Workers Union, The Services Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union, UNITE HERE Union and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Union.

CtW and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federations have pledged to work together to elect Democratic candidate for President, Senator Barack Obama. The AFL-CIO political program is intended to get out the union vote on November 4th and help Mr. Obama defeat Senator John McCain.

On September 4th, the AFL-CIOheld a national evening of labor walks including in Northeastern Pennsylvania. According to Rod Muchnok, AFL-CIO Field Representative who is the coordinator for the political program in Northeastern Pennsylvania, members of unions affiliated with both the AFL-CIO and CtW participated with the event including the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, UNITE HERE, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81 and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The labor walks were held from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME ) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 building in Wilkes-Barre.

Mr. Muchnok stated the political program includes contacting union members at their homes and by phone and through worksite leafleting. Mr. Muchnok can be reached at 304.549.6964.