Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Pennsylvania workers losing employer paid health coverage

10.30.08

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

Pennsylvania workers losing employer paid health coverage

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 13th- According to a study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington DC and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center in Harrisburg, only the state of Michigan saw a larger decline than Pennsylvania in the number of people covered by employers paid health insurance over the past six years. The organization released the study the same week the Pennsylvania Senate left Harrisburg without acting on a plan to expand options for the uninsured.

According to the the study, “The Erosion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance,” 70.2 percent of Pennsylvanians had employer provided coverage in 2006-2007, down 5.7 percentage points from six years ago. Nationally, the decline in employer coverage was 4.7 percentage points.

The study compared health insurance coverage rates in 2001, the peek of the last business cycle, to 2007 which is likely to be the peak of the most current expansion.

“The Senate walked away from a chance to solve what is clearly a deeping health care problem,” said Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Pennsylvania is second to only Michigan in the loss of residents with health care coverge provided by an employer during the six-year period with 560,945 fewer state residents under employer policies in 2006 to 2007.

Pennsylvania also exceeded the national average of children losing employer provided health care coverage. Over the past six years 201,956 fewer children are receiving employer health care in the state, a drop of 7.0 percentage points, faster than the 5.6 percentage point national decline.

EPI economist Elise Gould concluded the decline of employer health care is likely to continue in 2008 with the downturn and faster than inflation health care cost increases continuing to drive up insurance rates and squeeze small businesses. “The health care problem has reached a critical level. Bold new solutions need to be considered to address the growing crisis,” Ms. Gould stated.

The EPI study found about 62.9 percent of Americans under age 65 were covered by employer provided insurance in 2007, which is more than 3 million fewer than in 2000. Also, since 2000, the number of uninsured workers has grown by 4.1 million workers. Around 45 million people under 65 are without health insurance coverage.

Between 2000-2001 and 2006-2007 the number of Pennsylvanians receiving employer provided coverage went from 7,929,984 to 7,369,039, a decline of 560,945. That was a decline of 5.7 percentage points among total number of workers receiving health care, from 75.9 percent in 2000-2001 to 70.2 percent in 2006-2007. Nationally, the decline of employer provided health care during that period was 4.7 percentage points among all workers, from 67.6 percent to 62.9 percent.

In 2001-2001, 82.5 percent of Pennsylvania workers were insured by their one employer, and in 2006-2007 it declined to 79.1 percent. The national average went from 74.4 percent in 2000-2001 to 70.9 percent.

In Pennsylvania the percentage of children under 18 obtaining their health care from their parents’ employers dropped by 7.0 percentage points between 2000-2001 and 2006-2007, from 74.3 percent to 67.4 percent. Nationally, there was a decline of 5.6 percentage points.

Overall among the 50 states and Washington, DC, Pennsylvania ranked 16th in terms of the percentage loss in employer provided health insurance, at 5.7 percentage points over the six year period.

The EPI critized the Pennsylvania Senate for not acting on a comprehensive plan to offer low-cost insurance to small businesses and individuals before they recessed to campaign for the November 4th election.

The proposal known as the Pennsylvania Access to Basic Care (PA ABC), would have offered a low-cost insurance option for small businesses not currently offering insurance to their employees and individuals who aren’t covered by an employer. The House of Representatives passed the legislation in March and had the support of Governor Edward Rendell.

Pipefitters Union Local 524 unsuccessful in NLRB election

10.30.08

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

Pipefitters Union Local 524 unsuccessful in NLRB election

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 14th- On October 10th the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia conducted a Representation Election at National H.V.A.C. Service, Pethick Drive in Wilkes-Barre, and the employees rejected bring members of the Pipefitters and Plumbers United Association Union Local 524, Corey Avenue in Scranton.

It was exclusively reported in the previous edition of the newspaper, Local 523 filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if employees of National H.V.A.C. Service want to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

According to the petition filed on August 28th, that was later amended by Local 524 on September 9th, the union wanted all employees who perform service, installation, maintenance on H.V.A.C. equipment and pipefitting systems to participate in the election. The employer provides heating and air conditioning services. The newspaper obtained both petitions filed by the union through the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the NLRB, the workers voted three for to five against being represented by Local 524. Under NLRB rules, a labor organization must receive at least 50 percent plus one of votes of the participating employees in the election to become their bargaining representative.

Jack Greenwood, Business Manager and Principal Officer of Local 524 signed the petition on behalf of the union and told the newspaper prior to the election, the employees went to the union asking to become members. “They came to us. We didn’t go looking for them,” Mr. Greenwood told the newspaper.

According to a source at the NLRB, the agency agreed to a stipulation agreement reached between the parties that eliminated the necessity of a hearing on which employees would be eligible to vote. An hearing would delay when the election would have been conducted.

Legislation banning forced overtime on nurses signed by Governor Rendell

10.30.08

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

Legislation banning forced overtime on nurses signed by Governor Rendell

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 9th- Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed the bill that will ban mandatory overtime for nurses and other caregivers except in cases of emergency. The legislation will protect Registered Nurses (RN’s), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s), Respiratory Therapists, and other caregivers from being forced to stay at their job beyond the shift for which they were scheduled.

The Pennsylvania Senate approved the bill on October 7th and the House of Representatives concured on October 8th the compromise changes made to the legislation they passed on May 21st, 2007.

The legislation was supported by unions that represent nurses throughout the state including the Service Employees International Union/Healthcare Pennsylvania Union and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union, which both represent nurses in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The compromise provision passed by the Senate allows employers to require overtime in the event of a natural disaster, widespread disease outbreak and in cases in which unexpected absences or work call-outs discovered before a work shift could affect patient safety.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the number of hours worked has been identified as a contributing factor to the commission of errors by nurses, and cites one study that found that shift durations of greater than 12 hours were significantly associated with increased errors among nurses. Medical errors lead to upwards of 98,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the IOM.

Nurses unions have been pushing for legislation to ban forced overtime for more than seven years, holding rallies in Harrisburg, conducting petition drives and lobbying members of the general assembly.

PASNAP and the SEIU/Healthcare Pennsylvania Unions believe too often hospital managers substitute a lack of recruitment for more nurses with the quick fix of mandatory overtime, which has been cited in numerous studies as a primary cause of nurse burn-out and nurses leaving hospital work.

PASNAP represents nurses at the Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre and the Community Medical Center in Scranton. The SEIU represents nurses at the Scranton Mercy Hospital and the Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

Fifteen other states have passed laws banning mandatory overtime.

Union officer criminal convictions includes two from state of Pennsylvania

10.30.08

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

Union officer criminal convictions includes two from state

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 13th- The United States Department of Labor’s Office of
Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) announced the agency has obtained 889
criminal convictions since 2001. The bulk of the cases have involved the embezzlement
of union funds.

OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The agency’s criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members’ rights by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections.

The agency’s civil program receives and publicly discloses unions’ annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of officer election procedures. In some cases, the Office of Labor-Management Standards conducts joint investigations with other Department of Labor agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General, as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The agency announce its criminal enforcement data for July, 2008. During the month OLMS obtained 10 convictions, eight indictments and court orders of restitution totaling more than $500,000 including a former United Steelworkers (USW) Union officer from Western Pennsylvania and a former teachers union officer from Philadelphia.

According to information provided by OLMS and reviewed by the newspaper, on July 22nd, 2008, Deborah Anthony, a former financial secretary of the United Steelworkers Union Local 1196, located in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to serve one year home detention and pay restitution in the amount of $34,134.47.

On March 14th, 2008, Ms. Anthony pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $1,245.45. The sentencing follows an investigation of the OLMS Pittsburgh District Office.

On July 9th, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Grace Gaines, a former treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Union Local 4973 in Philadelphia was charged with 43 individual counts of embezzling union funds totaling $15,597.99. Ms. Grace is alleged to have issued unauthorized checks from the union’s account payable to herself and cashed checks made payable to the local union. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.

Enforcement actions in July by the OLMS also includes a former union officer sentenced for embezzling more than $147,000 in union funds in Ohio. On July 10th, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Betty Illig, a former Secretary-Treasurer of the Graphic Communications Workers (GCW), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 638-S and the Tri-State District Joint Council in Poland, Ohio, was sentenced to five years supervised release to include one year home confinement with electronic monitoring, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay restitution in the amount of $145,675. On February 8th, 2008, Ms. Illig pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the same amount and submitting false government required reports.

“Criminal activity in the labor movement seriously affects union members, and OLMS mission is to prevent it. Our cases demonstrate the continued importance of our investigation to thwart those who abuse their positions. OLMS protects union members, and we are proud to have secured orders of restitution of more than $90 million since 2001,” said Don Todd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor-Mangement Standards.

Republican Operatives Step Up Attempts to Purge Voters

10.30.08

Republican Operatives Step Up Attempts to Purge Voters

by James Parks, Oct 27, 2008

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/10/27/republican-operatives-step-up-attempts-to-purge-voters/

Seems like every day, we hear about more efforts by Republican operatives to suppress the vote. Kyla Berry, a college senior in Georgia, received a letter three weeks ago telling her that she is not a U.S. citizen and is not eligible to vote.

That came as a surprise to Berry, who was born in Boston and has a U.S. passport and birth certificate to prove it. The letter, dated Oct. 2, gave her a week from the time it was dated to prove her citizenship. One big problem: The letter was postmarked Oct. 9.

Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters whose names have come up as a mismatch when checked against state computer records. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned, and the burden is on them to prove they are eligible to vote. Check out the video of CNN’s interview with Berry here.

An African American college student, Berry represents the kind of voter Republican operatives often have sought to purge from the rolls before elections. Millions of new voters—many of them from groups that usually vote for Democrats—have registered, making it likely that next week’s vote will smash all previous records.

Republicans across the country are pulling out all the stops to keep the new voters and Democratic voters at home on Election Day. One of their biggest tools is the computer matching system in which registered voters’ names are cross-checked with state and federal databases. The databases are notorious for errors and typos, which means legitimate voters could be “flagged” and possibly purged from the rolls for no good reason.

A report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that states are secretly purging roles with no supervision or national standards. As a result, efforts to clean up voter rolls are not as precise as they should be and eligible voters often are wrongly removed.

But that didn’t stop Colorado Secretary of State Michael Coffman, a Republican. The voter advocacy group, Advancement Project, has filed suit against Coffman challenging illegal purges and cancellation practices that have removed between 16,000 and 30,000 voters from Colorado’s rolls.

The suit alleges, among other things, that Coffman has removed tens of thousands of voters from the official voter rolls after Aug. 4, 2008, in violation of federal law, which bans systematic removal of voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election.

Here are other examples of Republican determination to purge legal voters from the rolls:

Even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against them, Ohio Republicans still are trying to use computer mismatches to challenge voter registrations. At the request of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the White House asked the Department of Justice to look into whether 200,000 new Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration information before Nov. 4.

In Florida, election officials found that 75 percent of some 20,000 voter registration applications from a three-week period in September were mismatched due to typographical and administrative errors. Florida’s Republican secretary of state ordered the computer match system implemented in early September. Also in Florida, according to Ari at Oxdown Gazette, some officials are planning to challenge the vote of anyone whose name is on a home foreclosure list—a move that has been successfully challenged in Michigan and Ohio.

In Wisconsin, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen sued the state’s election board after it voted against a proposal to implement a “no-match” policy. The board conducted an audit of its voter rolls and found a 22 percent match failure rate—including for four of the six members of the board. Van Hollen’s lawsuit was dismissed late last week.

In Montana earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy issued a scathing ruling denouncing the state Republican Party’s effort to challenge the registration of 6,000 voters. “The timing of the challenges is so transparent it defies common sense to believe the purpose is anything but political chicanery,” Molloy said. The Montana Republican Party and its leaders, he wrote, “are abusing the process.”

IAM Union request NLRB to conduct election at Sun Buick

10.27.08

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

IAM Union request NLRB to conduct election at Sun Buick

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 18th- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Union, District Lodge 15 in Cincinnati, Ohio, filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadlephia requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if workers at Sun Buick Pontiac GMC on Birney Avenue in Moosic want to be represented by the union.

According to the petition filed by the IAM with the NLRB on October 14th, and obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the union wants to represent all full-time and regular part-time flat rate and hourly service department technicians, new car service technicians, and used car technicians.

The union is requesting all parts department employees, service salesmen, lubricators, washers, polishers, lot men, office clerical employees, professional employees, guards and supervisors to be excluded from participating in the election.

Under NLRB rules, the petition requesting for the agency to conduct a election must have the support of at least 30 percent of the unit of employees. According to the petition, the IAM stated at least 30 percent of the employees want the NLRB to conduct an election.

The petition was signed by Brian Bryant, recognized as a IAM Grand Lodge Representative from Cincinnati, Ohio.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 2244 wants to represent UGI Energy workers

10.27.08

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

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 2244 wants to represent UGI Energy workers

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 10th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 2244, North Lincoln Avenue in Scranton, filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if workers employed by UGI Penn Natural Gas want to be represented by the union.

According to the petition, obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the union is requesting all full-time and regular part-time utility specialist workers employed by UGI at its Honesdale and Milford Pennsylvania locations participate in the NLRB Representation Election.

The petition states, at least 30 percent of the workers support the agency conducting an election to determine if they want to be represented by the union. IBEW Local 2244 currently represents workers employed by UGI in and around the Scranton region.

The Utility Workers Union Local 406 represents workers employed by the utility company in and around the Wilkes-Barre region.

Philadelphia Attorney David Gaudioso signed the petition on behalf of Local 2244 requesting for the NLRB to conduct a election. The petition was filed on October 8th, 2008.

Unions conducting Get-Out-To-Vote (GOTV) program locally in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area of Pennsylvania

10.27.08

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

Unions conducting Get-Out-To-Vote (GOTV) program locally

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 20th- Organized labor is conducting a get-out-to-vote (GOTV) program by contacting their members by mail, phone, and at worksites asking them to be sure to get to the polls on November 4th and support Illinois Senator Barack Obama for President.

Since mid-summer the labor community has been active throughout the nation and Northeastern Pennsylvania with a political program that is intended to better educate union members about issues pertaining to the November election and how it will effect them and the working people.

In the region, the political program is being conducted out of 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.

Unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Change-to-Win (CtW) labor federations are working together through the political program to better educate union members and their households about how presidential candidate Arizona Republican Senator John McCain hasn’t supported the labor community while in Washington and will oppose labor legislation if elected President in November.

Mr. McCain voted to prohibit application of Davis-Bacon laws in federal disaster areas, and repeatedly supported exceptions to Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rules. He opposed a resolution that would have expressed support for Davis-Bacon and opposition to its repeal. Also, Mr. McCain on March 15th, 1995 voted to block President Bill Clinton’s order banning federal contractors from hiring permanent scabs to replace construction workers on strike.

Senator McCain opposes the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and on June 26th, 2007 voted against the legislation. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in March 2007, 241-185 but it failed in the Senate. Organized labor has made the passage of the law a priority for the 2009 legislative session.

Under the legislation, employers would be required to recoginize unions that receive majority support by employees through a card-check program. EFCA would sometimes replace government overseen elections in the workplace which are held following a sometimes lengthy campaign and after an employer hires consultants that specializes in keeping unions from winning representation elections. Workers could still request for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an election.

The unions effort includes members that are released from their regular jobs to campaign each day for labor supported candidates. They knock on doors of union members working from lists provided by their unions.

NALC Branch 17 charges Postal Service with violating NLRAct

10.27.08

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

NALC Branch 17 charges Postal Service with violating NLRAct

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 20th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union Branch 17 in Scranton filed multiple charges against the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office in Scranton.

Branch 17 represents 174 employees that deliver United States Mail to customers homes and businesses throughout Lackawanna County.

The union filed three Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges on October 9th, 2008 and one on October 10th alleging management of the Scranton Post Ofice on Stafford Avenue violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the charges, all obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, Branch 17 President Thomas Gavin filed the Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board Region Four office in Philadelphia on behalf of the union.

Linda Shall, Postmaster of the Main Post Office in Scranton, is the employer representative named to contact on the complaints and several charges were filed against Ms. Shall directly.

According to the charge filed on October 10th, the union alleges the Scranton Post Office Management is disregarding the agreement by not allowing open vacation weeks to be filled, not allowing incidental annual leave and not giving Brach 17 President, Mr. Gavin, two hours union time daily.

In one of the three complaints filed on October 9th, the union alleges the Postmaster, Ms. Shall, is not allowing the union time to process and investigate grievances at the Main Post Office.

The charge alleges management is not giving the union any time to investigate and process the grievances against the Postal Service. “There is a backlog of grievances and more grievances everyday,” states the ULP.

“Management defies the National Agreement on a daily basis and then denies the stewards time to investigate and process these grievances. The union is not given any time to conduct interviews and investigations. Management will not allow carriers to talk to union stewards,” the ULP charge adds.

In the second complaint filed on October 10th, the union alleges the Scranton Postal Office management is targeting union officials with constant harassment on the workroom floor. “Management is standing behind union officials and telling them “I am watching you.” The stewards are being isolated by management by not being allowed to talk to carriers of the floor,” states the complaint.

The the final complaint filed by Branch 17, the union alleges the Scranton Post Office Postmaster, Linda Shall, is breaking the National Memorandum of Understanding by using unverified data to intimidate and harass letter carriers by ordering supervisors to claim data is valid thereby cheating carriers out of adequate time to complete assignments. “These actions are creating a hostile work environment,” states the NLRB charge.

Under NLRB rules, the complaints will be investigated by the agency and if they find merit in the charges a hearing(s) will be conducted. Should the employer be found to have violated the NLRAct, the agency could seek monetary fines or other remedies to rectify the situation.

During first two years in Congress Chris Carney supports labor

10.27.08

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

During first two years in Congress Chris Carney supports labor

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 22nd- Christopher Carney, incumbent Democratic United States Representative in the 10th Congressional District in the first two years in Washington voted to support legislation important to organize labor.

The newspaper review of the 2007 House of Representatives scorecard of Mr. Carney’s labor voting record, prepared by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation, indicates he voted to support legislation important to the AFL-CIO ninety-two percent of the time.

Mr. Carney is being challenged by Republican candidate Chris Hackett in the November 4th election. He is seeking a second term as the Representative from the 10th Congressional District.

Mr. Carney voted for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) H.R. 800 that would change how union elections are conducted in workplaces by allowing employees to sign authorization cards seeking union representation and recognizing the union when a majority of cards are signed. It would also establish a system of mediation and arbitration that would apply to an employer and union that are unable to agree on their first contract. The legislation passed in the House of Representatives on March 1st, 2007, but failed in the Senate. Labor has made the passage of the law a priority for the 2009 legislative session.

Mr. Carney voted to raise the minimum wage in January 2007, his first month in Washington. Voting for the increase was the first opportunity for him to vote in favor of labor legislation.

In July, 2008 he introduced the bipartisan “Made in America Act,” which cuts taxes for American companies that keep their jobs and businesses in the United States.

Mr. Carney said for America to stay competitive in the global market, tax cuts for businesses that keep jobs in America are needed.

Mr. Carney received most of the labor organizations endorsements during the 2006 campaign when he defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Don Sherwood. He promised during the campaign to support labor’s agenda while serving in
the House of Representatives.

More arbitration victories expected by Catholic teachers union

10.27.08

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

More arbitration victories expected by Catholic teachers union

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 14th- Michael Milz, President of the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) Union estimates the overall costs to the Scranton Diocese for their failure to pay union teachers what was owed to them under the previous contract agreement could be more than $2 million.

The union that represented most of the teachers of the Diocese of Scranton recently won a major arbitration award that could cost them nearly $725,000. The union received the arbitrator award that will require the Scranton Diocese to pay the teachers the money owed to them for accumulated sick leave and severance pay when their employment with the smaller school system was terminated.

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 Joseph Martino implemented a “Employee Relations Program,” which busted the union. Mr. Milz told the newspaper the Scranton Diocese teachers now have what could be called a “company union,” similar to what the coal barons had throughout the region before the United Mine Workers Union became the miners bargaining representative.

In May, 2008 arbitration hearings were conducted and on September 3rd, the first arbitration award was handed down that affected the teachers once employed at Bishop Hoban in Wilkes-Barre. The arbitration ruling ordered the employer to pay $725,000 in back payment for the sick leave and severance pay days not used by fourty SDACT members employed at Bishop Hoban which includes Mr. Milz. He was 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 Redeemer, has been a vocal critic against the elimination of the union, and was laid-off by the Scranton Diocese during the summer.

Mr. Milz told the newspaper since the $725,000 award more arbitration hearings have been held that will likely result in the same findings and cost the Diocese of Scranton $1.3 million more. “The Diocese refusal to discuss the situation will cost them. But, I’m sure they will blame the union,” stated Mr. Milz.

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. Milz, is currently employed by the Northeastern Area Labor Federation (ALF) in Dunmore, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). He told the newspaper his brother, who was also a long-time teacher for the Scranton Diocese has retired.

The Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers represented the teachers of the Scranton Diocese since 1978 when Scranton Bishop James McCormick recognized the union.

Labor organizations seeking job applicants are invited to use this site

10.22.08

Any union or allied organization seeking potential new employees are invited to send the job notice and related documents to demlabor@aol.com for publication on this site. There is no charge for this service. Plain text or Word files are best. Please do not send PDF files.

You can post the information directly if you so desire by registering for an account. Once approved, you will be able to post directly to the site. It might be a good idea to give me a call at 443-907-2367 to speed things up.

Stephen Crockett

Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com

Republican Leaders Who Participate in Attacks on ACORN Could be Prosecuted as Part of a Criminal Conspiracy

10.20.08

Republican Leaders Who Participate in Attacks on ACORN Could be Prosecuted as Part of a Criminal Conspiracy

http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/editorblog/131

MARK KARLIN’S EDITOR’S BLOG

October 20

Let the GOP muck-a-mucks across the nation who are participating in a nationwide RNC/McCain diversionary campaign against ACORN be warned: In a new administration of light and truth – instead of Cheney’s dark shadows and Bush’s lies – you may be subject to prosecution for participating in a criminal conspiracy to suppress votes and violate the Voting Rights Act.

We do not exaggerate.

The unrelenting and profoundly dishonest and misleading attempt to brand a national community organizing group as some sort of minority enterprise of ghetto thieves is nothing more than a GOP tradition of using ACORN as a scapegoat to justify voter suppression. And organized voter suppression is a crime. In fact, a creative prosecutor under Obama could apply the RICO Act to the RNC/McCain daily deluge of attempts to get voters to believe that ACORN is engaged in voter fraud and then using that cover to disenfranchise voters.

As most BuzzFlash readers know, voter registration errors and voter fraud are two entirely different issues. If you register to vote as Mickey Mouse, it doesn’t mean you vote as Mickey Mouse. Does anyone believe that Mickey Mouse will show up to vote, except at Disneyworld? Republican voter drives regularly yield tons of false registrants, as do petition drives in states like California. But very few individuals commit actual voter fraud, the casting of a ballot during an election.

In fact, in the last five years the DOJ own’s statistics indicate that there have been way less than 20 people in the entire United States convicted of voter fraud, and none of them were connected with an ACORN registration drive. You read that right, less than 20, according to a Washington Post analysis. In fact, the LA Times announced the only actual arrest we have read of this year for voter registration fraud (not voter fraud), and that’s of a Republican in California!

What the RNC and McCain campaigns are doing is complementing their racist campaign against “the other,” the so-called “non-American,” and the candidate known as “that one” with a criminal conspiracy to scapegoat a minority community empowerment group that is helping people to obtain their voting rights (1.3 million new registrants for this election, which scares the heck out of the Republican Party). That is what we are supposed to be doing in a democracy; enfranchising people, not disenfranchising people.

We watched a review copy of a just released documentary, “Boogie Man,” last night on the infamous Strom-Thurmond-groomed Lee Atwater. There are many of Atwater’s despicable legacies apparent in McCain’s campaign. But one particular tactic and comment he made are relevant to the criminal GOP assault on ACORN’s voter registration drive. When confronted about the racist Willie Horton add of 1988, which helped mine the subconscious bigotry in America and propel George Herbert Walker Bush to victory, Atwater brazenly lied and said that the Horton ad (featuring a photo of a scary black male killer) was not about race, but about a prison furlough program that allowed Horton back on the streets.

But, of course, it was indeed about kindling racism and the fear that Democrats “coddle” black criminals and let them prey on whites. (Although in the true Republican tradition of hypocrisy, the furlough program concept was initiated by Ronald Reagan when he was governor of California.)

Meanwhile, the mainstream media has conveniently forgotten about the essence of “ProsecutorGate”: the Bush Administration firing of U.S. prosecutors who would not initiate sham voter registration and fraud indictments just before the 2004 and 2006 elections. David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico, recently spoke out strongly on how the coordinated attack on ACORN – including the involvement of the FBI in violation of their own guidelines regarding such “investigations” so close to an election – reminded him of why he was fired for not participating in a criminal conspiracy to influence the elections.

Most ominously, remember that most of the U.S. Attorneys who did go along with sham pre-election “voter fraud investigations” (how could it be voter fraud if the election hadn’t been held yet) are still in their positions!

A recent New York Times editorial noted: “Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t saying anything about another more serious voter-registration scandal: the fact that about one-third of eligible voters are not registered. The racial gaps are significant and particularly disturbing. According to a study by Project Vote, a voting-rights group, in 2006, 71 percent of eligible whites were registered, compared with 61 percent of blacks, 54 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.”

Nor is the Republican Party talking about their multi-faceted approach – largely crafted by Karl Rove – to keep Democratic votes – particularly those of minorities and students – from being counted. They want to have as many new registrants as possible technically disqualified, grant them provisional ballots, and then have McCain declared the winner before the provisional ballots are counted, which they rarely are. The media, in 2000, due to a “turn-around” Florida “Bush victory” call by Bush’s cousin on national television gave the Bush campaign the foundation to declare that they had “won” Florida and that Gore was trying to “steal” it from them. From then on, Gore was on the defensive, until the Supreme Court “felonious five” legitimatized the theft of the presidency.

For eight years we have lived with the disastrous consequences of the Republican disenfranchisement strategy that got Bush close enough (remember that he lost the popular vote in 2000 by more than 540,000 votes) to steal the election.

The Washington Post quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’s claim that reports of investigations into ACORN have suggested “rampant voter fraud as it relates to voter registration.” But the Post did not point out that actual instances of illegal votes cast as a result of registration fraud, e.g., using false names, are extremely rare. Federal statistics show that between October 2002 and September 2005, the Justice Department charged 95 people with “election fraud” and convicted 55, of whom only 17 were convicted for casting fraudulent ballots. (The rest were election judges and the like.) Remember that hundreds of millions of votes were caste over these years, and only 17 persons in the United States were convicted of illegally casting ballots in a federal election.

Media Matters has noted how the constant RNC/McCain felonious campaign against ACORN performing a just service for democracy affects the gullible and willing corporate media:

CNN reports leave out relevant facts on ACORN voter registration allegations

Summary: From October 6 through October 15, CNN aired at least 54 segments mentioning allegations that ACORN submitted allegedly false or duplicate voter registration applications this year in a number of states. However, only one of those segments mentioned both of the following two relevant points: 1) that the statutes of most of those states require third parties registering prospective voters to submit all registration forms they receive; and 2) that actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of registration fraud are extremely rare. Of the 54 CNN segments addressing the allegations against ACORN, two mentioned only the former of those two points, while one mentioned just the latter.

For those Republican politicians who engage in the unjustified slander of ACORN, which is meant to justify the GOP trying to disenfranchise Americans who have a right to vote for their government, let these enablers of this 8 year assault on democracy (which is just really the new face of “Jim Crow” and poll taxes in another form) know that in an Obama administration, some files (most will have been shredded and the incriminating computer hard drives dumped in the Potomac) will remain that prove the Republican criminal assault on voting rights, and the truth will emerge.

And the soon-to-be former Bush Administration, DOJ, McCain Campaign and RNC officials who played roles in planning and enabling this effort to limit the right of Americans to vote (the poor, minorities and students, in particular) will have to comply with subpoenas to testify before Congress.

If Obama wins by a landslide – which is a possibility – and the election is not close enough to steal for the GOP, many Republicans participating in this assault might rue the day that they participated in ProsecutorGate II, which really was itself only the diabolical extension of the Rove/Jeb Bush Florida campaign of 2000 and Ohio campaign of 2004.

Maybe it is just a dream of those who yearn for the free air of liberty and the rule of law, but perhaps yet the masterminds of the ferocious two-step assault on ACORN’s right to enfranchise voters ( 1) make the organization into an image of black hustlers and link it to Obama, thus inciting a racist image; and 2) then take steps to keep Democrats from voting by making technical challenges to disqualify voters, requiring “Jim Crow” voter identification, and using other more nefarious means to confuse registered voters about their polling places and right to vote) will eventually have their day in court: as defendants charged with the felony of interfering with the right to vote and using intimidation to keep American citizens from electing their government as guaranteed by the Constitution.

MARK KARLIN’S EDITOR’S BLOG

Battle Intensifies Over Bill to Expedite Union Organizing

10.19.08

Battle Intensifies Over Bill to Expedite Union Organizing

By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 18, 2008; 10:40 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/18/AR2008101802370.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Organized labor and business groups are facing off in an increasingly intense battle over legislation that would make it easier to organize unions, as labor seeks to bolster its dwindling ranks and propel its agenda for working Americans.

The Employee Free Choice Act ## which would require employers to recognize unions once a majority of workers sign cards of support ## would be perhaps the most significant change in federal labor law in six decades. Currently, employers can demand that workers hold secret-ballot elections on whether to organize; labor organizers say that method allows companies to pressure workers through a formal campaign.

The union proposal is strongly endorsed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and a bevy of congressional Democrats, who see it as a way to increase the clout of workers who have been losing economic ground over the past three decades. The effort is fueled by an estimated $300 million political war chest and a massive grass-roots mobilization effort.

Thea M. Lee, policy director of the AFL-CIO, said the proposed legislation would return some leverage to workers.

“The destruction of unions and the attack on unions have been a major contributor to the growing income inequality in the country and erosion of the middle class,” Lee said. “We look at the financial crisis, and it certainly seems to us that you can’t build a thriving consumer economy on debt and low wages.”

Fierce opposition to the measure has emerged from a coalition of business groups, which describe the proposed legislation as a power grab by struggling unions, whose membership has dropped from 20 percent of all workers to 12 percent in the past 25 years. The groups also say the measure would result in workers being pressured into joining unions.

“It changes the balance of power that is struck in labor law,” said Richard Berman, a labor lawyer and executive director of the Employee Freedom Action Committee, a nonprofit organization that officials said has raised $25 million to oppose the measure. The proposal is also opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and a long roster of congressional Republicans.

The so-called card-check proposal passed the House in early 2007 but was defeated in the Senate by a GOP filibuster. In any event, the bill faced a certain veto from President Bush.

Now, however, the battle is surfacing anew ahead of the elections, and both sides are investing more than ever in making their respective cases, with television ads and grass-roots organizing. Opponents of the measure are focusing their efforts on states with competitive Senate races ## including Minnesota, Maine, Mississippi and Colorado ## on the theory that even if Obama becomes president, they can continue to block the union effort in the Senate.

“In 2007, it was almost an artificial exercise that no one figured would pass,” said Steven J. Law, general counsel of the chamber. “Now all of a sudden there is a realization that there may be a president in the White House who would sign it. And there is a growing realization that this is just one of a long list of bills that would be coming that could completely change the labor-management relationship in this country.”

Besides saying it would be a boon to unions, opponents charge that the “card check” system is fundamentally undemocratic. They say that if workers do not have access to a private ballot, they easily can be coerced into supporting union organizing efforts. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has raised $30 million to derail the proposal.

Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, normally an ally of organized labor, has been featured in campaigns against the effort. McGovern has called the proposal a “disturbing and undemocratic overreach not in the interest of either management or labor.”

Aside from the card-check proposal, organized labor leaders say they plan to soon pursue measures that would result in expanded paid leave and health-care benefits, which small-business advocates say could cripple some struggling firms. With allies in Congress and the White House, union officials would also likely push for tougher workplace safety laws and enforcement, tighter restrictions on trade agreements and increases in the minimum wage.

“This issue has caught fire on the ground in a way that exceeded my expectations,” Law said. “Small businesses have been prodded by what they see as a resurgent organized labor movement with an aggressive policy agenda.”

Though unions have been weakened in recent decades, they have become more focused in their political advocacy and demands, business leaders say. One example is the walkout by 27,000 union members against Boeing, which began in early September. The biggest sticking point was whether Boeing would limit the amount of work that it sends to outside contractors.

“That did not used to be a major demand in union negotiations,” Berman said. “There are some seismic shifts going on in the relationship between management and labor.”

Underlying the union push is a decline in inflation-adjusted wages that has gripped most working Americans over the past eight years, even as a shrinking percentage of workers receive benefits such as paid sick leave, paid vacation and retirement coverage.

“We see the Employee Free Choice Act as part of a broader-based economic reform agenda that would basically reverse the decline in wages, health-care coverage and pension coverage” that U.S. workers have experienced since the 1970s, said Greg Denier, communications director for Change to Win, a union coalition.

Breaking: Obama Demands Special Prosecutor Investigate GOP Voter Fraud Activities

10.17.08

Breaking: Obama Demands Special Prosecutor Investigate GOP Voter Fraud Activities
By Ari Melber 10/17/08 3:13 PM

http://washingtonindependent.com/13548/breaking-obama-demands-special-prosecutor-investigate-gop-voter-fraud

Charging that the FBI probe of ACORN represents an “unholy alliance” between Republican operatives and potentially illegal conduct by law enforcement targeting voter fraud, the Obama campaign demanded Friday that the U.S. special prosecutor looking into the U.S. attorneys scandal investigate the matter.

General counsel Bob Bauer sent a letter to Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey charging that coordinated “misconduct” by McCain campaign representatives and GOP officials were relevant to the special prosecutor’s work, because the activities may relate to the dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys in late 2006.

The letter requests that the special prosecutor’s inquiry “include a review of any involvement by Justice Dept. and White House officials in supporting the McCain-Palin campaign [and RNC’s] systematic development and dissemination of unsupported, spurious allegations of vote fraud.”

To advance the effort, the Obama campaign convened a conference call with national reporters, though Friday afternoon is not a time that campaigns usually push priority messages

Biden Helping A Working Family: An Untold Story

10.15.08

Biden Helping A Working Family: An Untold Story

Very early on the morning that Senator Biden flew to the nation of Georgia as the Russian-Georgian war was cooling down, I received a phone call from a labor activist friend of mine from the Eastern Region of the Laborers (LIUNA) union. The caller was Brian McGlinchey. He asked me if I could get in touch with a certain Laborers Local 199 member who was facing foreclosure and was trying to support a family of ten (now eleven as a new son was born two weeks ago). McGlinchey explained that the Senator Biden personally wanted to discuss the difficulty facing this working family to see if he could be of assistance.

I immediately called the wife of James Yetman, the union construction worker whose family was facing the loss of their home, at their house. She explained that James was already on the job. She gave me his cell phone number. As I fired up my coffee pot and started dialing James Yetman, I looked at my clock. It was 6:45am. I thought to myself, “How can a working man already on the job at this hour be facing foreclosure?”

I already knew the answer. James had a wife who was unable to work because of a uncurable serious chronic health condition and because she was nearly 8 months pregnant. She had 5 children from a previous marriage when she married James. They had 3 more together (not counting the one on the way at that time). James had been out of work for an extended length of time during the winter. Fuel, food, medical, insurance and heating expenses had exploded during the past year. They were being squeezed from every direction.

They had been victims of a mortgage that I had viewed as predatory when I examined it. It was certainly more than they could afford on their income. They had not had many options other than agreeing to the lenders terms since it is almost impossible to find landlords willing to rent to such a large family. Section 8 housing had been severely underfunded by the Bush White House and their Republican allies in Congress. They were going to get no help from the Bush Administration. Maybe, just maybe, Biden might be able to help.

I managed to get James on the phone as I sipped on my first cup of coffee. I had great difficulty getting him to agree to meet Senator Biden. James did not want to miss the hours of work. He needed the money. This was before Senator Biden had been selected as the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate. James finally relented when I told him that Biden was on a banking committee in the US Senate and was his best chance of keeping his home.

James checked with his boss and called me back after getting approval to leave for the meeting with Biden. I picked him up from his job site in Newark, Delaware. We drove to Wilmington, Delaware to meet Biden at Angelo’s Luncheonette. We arrived a little early.

Angelo’s is a really small, working class neighborhood establishment with excellent and inexpensive food. I was surprised that the Senator would pick a place like this to meet. It had no reporters hanging around nor the usual political crowd that frequent the kind of public places where I had normally met other political figures in the past. I liked it immediately.

I had ordered lunch for James and myself when three of the leaders of Laborers Local 199 walked in the door. They were Business Manager William Carter, Vice President James Maravelias and Business Agent Toby Lamb. They explained that they were there to show their support for the union member facing foreclosure.

They were very concerned about the plight of the family. I understood their position. Non-union members often do not understand that members of the union movement really do consider each other as members of the same union “family.” We call each other brothers and sisters. The really active members and the leaders really mean it!

We were all finishing our lunch together when Biden arrived. He had his sister Valerie with him and several staff members. I was really surprised that no press were in attendance although one of the staffers had a camera. We persuaded the staffer to take some photos. I am really glad they did since many friends of the Yetman family refused to believe the story about the meeting without the photos.

There were maybe another ten customers and workers in Angelo’s Luncheonette besides the five of us from labor. Biden gave everyone considerable personal time and attention before talking to us. Everyone wanted their photo taken with Biden. Most had personal stories to share or previous personal meetings to discuss with the Senator. It was easy to see that Biden was at home in this middle class and working class neighborhood. He was one of them who had made good and not forgotten them.

Eventually, Biden made it to the back of the establishment where we were sitting. He remembered the local union leaders and talked with them briefly. They introduced James Yetman to Senator Biden. James was visibly nervious at first but the Senator quickly put him at ease. Soon they were deeply involved in conversation.

You could see the deep concern on Biden’s face as Yetman started giving the Senator the details of the problem. I did not hear much of the conversation except when Biden exclaimed at one point “nine children!” and when he called to his staff for a pen and paper to take notes.

A few minutes longer into the conversation, I saw Biden get out his cell phone to start making calls on behalf of the Yetman family. I was shocked. I have been a political activist for nearly 40 years and had never seen a sitting US Senator make calls on behalf of a voter immediately at any meeting or event. His cell phone could not get a signal so Biden called for his staff to get him one that worked in Angelo’s. They passed him one and he started making calls on the spot.

Later, I learned that Biden knew the Yetman’s currently lived in Oxford, Pennsylvania and could not even vote for the Senator in Delaware. James Yetman had once been a Delaware resident but now voted in Pennsylvania. Remember this meeting happened before Biden was selected by Obama as the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. Biden was doing the right thing for this working family even when there were no votes to be gained or reporters present. He was just being Biden.

As we were leaving Angelo’s Luncheonette, Biden noticed my union pins.I was wearing my UAW, USW, OPEIU and Delaware AFL-CIO ones. Biden told me how much he appreciated the support the workers of Delaware have given him over his career.

The last person Biden spoke with was James Yetman. He called James by name. Biden promised him that he would continue looking into his mortgage foreclosure problem. The last thing I heard Biden say was “you have my word.”

As I was driving James Yetman back to his job site, his cell phone rang. It was the first of many calls from Washington, D.C. and Biden’s Delaware Senate office. Every few days, Biden’s Senate office called or wrote the Yetman family. The contacts continue to this day. The Yetman’s have even received calls from the Biden family about their foreclosure problem. Biden has certainly kept his word.

The Yetman family is still facing foreclosure. This family may yet be out on the streets if their mortgage company will not cooperate. It will not be because Senator Joe Biden did not intervene on their behalf. It will not be because Biden does not care.

Biden is a real friend of working families even when there is absolutely nothing in it for him politically. Biden truly cares and truly understands working Americans. We need him as a leading voice in the Executive Branch of the federal government. We need him as Vice President. If he had been setting government policies and priorities in the White House during the past 8 years, millions of working families might not be facing foreclosure today.

Written by Stephen Crockett (Host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com ). Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702. Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish without prior approval.

Employer-Provided Health Care Coverage Falls for Seventh Year

10.14.08

Employer-Provided Health Care Coverage Falls for Seventh Year

http://blog.aflcio.org/2008/10/10/employer-provided-health-care-coverage-falls-for-seventh-year/

by Mike Hall, Oct 10, 2008

For the seventh year in a row, the number of people in the United States who receive their health care coverage through employer-provided plans declined.

With the nation’s economic outlook growing increasingly bleak, those numbers are likely to slide even further, says Economic Policy Institute (EPI) economist Elise Gould:

The health care problem has reached a critical level. Bold new solutions need to be considered to address the growing crisis.

A new EPI report authored by Gould, The Erosion of Employer Sponsored Health Insurance, shows that since 2000 the percentage of U.S. workers with employer-sponsored insurance dropped form 68.3 percent to 62.9 percent. There were 4.1 million more uninsured workers in 2007 than in 2000.

The report says:

Uninsured workers are disproportionately young, non-white, less educated and low wage; however, workers across the socio-economic spectrum experienced losses in coverage over the 2000–07 period. Even the most highly educated and highest wage workers had lower rates of insurance coverage in 2007 than in 2000.

Under Sen. John McCain’s health care tax proposal, millions more workers could lose their employer-provided coverage. Newsweek economics correspondent Jane Bryant Quinn writes that if McCain’s health care plan was put into effect, it would drop 20 million people from employer coverage and throw them into the shark tank of the private insurance world, and “will raise your costs without changing the game.”

The EPI report looked at employer-sponsored coverage in each state and found that it had fallen significantly in 41 states. The biggest declines since 2000—slightly more than 7 percent in each state—were in Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina and South Carolina.

States with the lowest percentage of workers under age 65 who got their coverage through their jobs are New Mexico (50.7 percent), Texas (53.3 percent) and Mississippi (53.7 percent.). New Hampshire (75.4), Hawaii (7.2.5 percent) and Connecticut (72.3 percent) have the highest rates of employer-paid coverage.

When workers lose their employer-sponsored coverage, so do their children. The report shows 3.4 million fewer children today get health coverage through their parent’s workplace than in 2000.

Coverage by publicly provided health insurance like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Coverage Program (SCHIP) has increased to take up the slack. Says Gould:

It is only the strength of government programs, particularly those aimed at children, that has insulated many from losses in coverage. The trends indicate a significant shift from private to public coverage, especially among children.

McCain has backed President Bush’s opposition to expanding SCHIP—even as the number of children without health coverage grows—by voting against bills to expands coverage.

Sen. Barack Obama fought to cover more children through SCHIP. He also has proposed a health care plan that cuts costs for families, gives more people access to affordable, high-quality coverage, does not tax health care benefits and allows workers to maintain their employer-provided coverage.

McCain Hearts ACORN! Was Keynote Speaker at Group’s 2006 Rally!

10.14.08

McCain Hearts ACORN! Was Keynote Speaker at Group’s 2006 Rally!
(Were There Any Preconditions?)

Golly, for a group that’s committed so much “voter fraud” for so long (if you’re gullible enough to believe the lies that RNC/FNC has been telling you) it’s mighty strange that, as News One notes, “McCain attended an ACORN convention just two years ago.”

The once-honorable Republican’s campaign has even seen fit to produce a video smear ad, attempting to tar Obama with “associations” to ACORN, and alleging the group has committed “massive voter fraud” to boot! (They’ve yet to produce any actual evidence for that, unfortunately.)

But more than just attending the ACORN-sponsored February 2006 rally, ACORN confirms in a statement today that McCain was actually the keynote speaker!…

FULL STORY: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6508

See also…
SPECIAL BRAD BLOG COVERAGE PAGE FOR
THE GOP’S ACORN ‘VOTER FRAUD’ LIE:
http://www.bradblog.com/ACORN

Made in America group to hold town hall meeting

10.12.08

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

Made in America group to hold town hall meeting

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, October 1st- The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), Washington, DC, which describes their organization as a non-partisan partnership of leading United States manufacturers and the United Steelworkers Union (USW), will hold a town hall meeting in Wilkes-Barre on October 23rd.

According to Mark Musho, a Alliance for American Manufacturing Field Staff member, the town hall meeting will be attended by various guest panelists in which the importance of United States manufacturing and the need to save American manufacturing jobs will be discussed. Mr. Musho is a member of the United Steelworkers Union.

The October 23rd event will be held at the Gus Genetti Hotel and Conference Center on Market Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Admission is free with a complimentary dinner being served at 5 pm and the meeting beginning at 6:30 pm.

Mr. Musho stated the reason for the event is to encourage the working people to call their lawmakers to grow good American manufacturing jobs by stopping China’s cheating in trade. The United States has lost 2.3 million jobs to China since 2001. “Everyone is invited to attend,” said Mr. Musho.

AAM Executive Director Scott Paul will be moderator of the town hall meeting. Local Congressional candidates have been invited to attend

DOL official testifies on fee disclosures for 401(k) type plans

10.12.08

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

DOL official testifies on fee disclosures for 401(k) type plans

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, September 25th- Bradford Campbell, Assistant Secretary of Labor for the United States Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on initiatives to expand disclosure of fees and expenses in 401(k)-type plans to an estimated 65 million workers, employee benefit plan fiduciaries and the government. Mr. Campbell’s testimony focused on three regulatory initiatives to improve fee disclosure and transparency in a manner that is appropriate and cost effective for workers and plan fiduciaries.

Mr. Campbell discussed key elements of EBSA’s regulatory initiatives to improve plan fee disclosure. These include a proposed rule that will make it easier for workers covered by 401(k)-type plans to make informed retirement saving decisions by providing them with useful summary information, including fee and expense information, for investment options available under their plans. The centerpiece of the July 23rd, 2008, proposal is a model chart that can be used to provide investment-related information to workers in an easy to read, comparative format.

A regulation proposed for plan fiduciaries on December 13th, 2007, that would require service providers to disclose specific and detailed fee and conflict of interest information when they enter into contracts with plans.

The proposal requires service providers to disclose in writing the services they will provide to the plan and all compensation, direct and indirect, they will receive for providing those services. This information will assist plan fiduciaries in deciding whether the compensation to be received by the service provider is reasonable and whether any conflicts of interest exist that may affect the performance of plan services.

“Together these rules will ensure that millions of American workers and plan officials get the information thay need to make informed decisions about plan services and investments,” said Mr. Campbell.