Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Steelworkers Standing Strong for “Buy American”

03.01.09

Steelworkers Standing Strong for “Buy American”

Sisters and Brothers,

One month ago this week our union launched the “Make Our Future Work” campaign. To date, over 300 Buy American resolutions have been introduced! Click HERE to find out if one has been passed in your city/county/State.

The goal of this campaign is to have our State and Local Legislators, Policy Makers, and Elected Officials commit, in writing, to the following in regards to their oversight of the monies allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Resolution Commitments, in Brief:

Work to maximize the creation of American jobs and restoring economic growth and opportunity by spending economic recovery plan funds on products and services that both create jobs and help keep Americans employed; to
Commit to purchasing only products and services that are made or performed in the United States of America whenever and wherever possible with any economic recovery monies provided by the American people; and,
Commit to publish any requests to waive these procurement priorities so as to give American workers and producers the opportunity to identify and provide the American products and services that will maximize the success of our nation’s economic recovery program.
While the Reinvestment Act does include a “Buy American” clause, it does not require a public registry of how these monies are spent. This means that your tax dollars could be spent on Chinese steel to build the new bridge in your community, and you wouldn’t even know it.

Join the USW’s “Make Our Future Work” campaign, and make sure that your tax dollars are not spent overseas!

CLICK HERE to download a legal-sized version of the MOFW Resolution, OR,
CLICK HERE for a standard 8.5×11-sized, two-page version

CLICK HERE for the Resolution Action Steps, and HERE for the Tracking Form.

If you have any questions about the MOFW campaign or the Resolution, call 1-866-836-5103 or email warroom@usw.org

http://www.makeourfuturework.org
http://www.usw.org/buyamerican

Vice President Biden Commends the Reopening of a Chicago Window Factory Thanks to Recovery Act Funding; Company Will Rehire Laid-off Workers for Green Jobs

03.01.09

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President

_________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2009

Vice President Biden Commends the Reopening of a Chicago Window Factory Thanks to Recovery Act Funding; Company Will Rehire Laid-off Workers for Green Jobs

The Vice President and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Note that $16 Billion for Weatherization Projects Will Save or Create Good-Paying Jobs in Illinois and Across the Country

(Washington, DC) The Vice President today commended the new owners of Republic Windows and Doors, a Chicago window manufacturing plant that was shuttered late last year, resulting in the lay-off of its 250 union workers. Republic was purchased in bankruptcy court last week by Serious Materials, a California-based company that makes energy efficient windows. Serious Materials has announced plans to reopen the Republic factory and to eventually rehire all 250 of its laid-off workers at their former pay levels. Serious Materials said it purchased Republic because the Recovery Act will increase demand for its products.

“The reopening of this factory and the rehiring of these workers provide an excellent example of how the money in the Recovery Act is targeted to spur job creation quickly,” said Vice President Biden. “These workers will not only earn a paycheck again; they will go back to work creating products that will benefit America’s long-term economic future.”

At the request of President Obama, Vice President Biden is overseeing the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, working with federal, state and local officials to ensure that money moves quickly and is spent appropriately so that the President’s goal of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs is achieved.

“When Republic shut its doors in December, the jobs Illinois lost were not only good paying jobs, they were good for the environment too,” said Senator Durbin. “Those are the very jobs we need to preserve in order to put our economy back on track. The economic recovery package has recreated a market for energy efficient materials that virtually disappeared as our economic crisis deepened. With $16 billion available for weatherization programs, companies like Republic will be able to reopen their doors and put people back to work.”

Last Friday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Energy announced an historic partnership to streamline and better coordinate federal weatherization efforts to make it much easier for families to weatherize their homes and spur a new home energy efficiency industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs.

HUD and DOE have created a high level interagency task force to coordinate home weatherization efforts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and to leverage those funds to build a home energy efficiency industry in the U.S. that will: create or retain tens of thousands of jobs, lower energy costs of vulnerable low-income households, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. HUD and DOE will allocate $16 billion in economic recovery funds to retrofit existing homes.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union files complaint against Allentown employer

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union files complaint against Allentown employer

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

ALLENTOWN- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging Supreme Delivery Service violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge filed on January 22nd, 2009, and obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the union alleges Supreme Delivery Service, Marcon Boulevard in Allentown which delivers letters and packages, has violated the NLRAct by not providing information requested by Local 773 “necessary to investigate and prepare for a grievance filed by a member employed by the employer,” states the ULP.

“Several follow-up requests by US mail and e-mail have gone unanswered. The employer has provided some information but the information provided was not requested by the Union nor does the provided information suffice to fullfill the request,” the complaint continued.

The charge was filed on behalf of the Union by Darrin Fry, indentified on the complaint as a Local 773 Business Agent. The IBT represents approximately six Supreme Delivery Service workers employed at the Allentown facility.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA’s unemployment rate highest since January 1993

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate highest since January 1993

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

LEHIGH VALLEY, February 9th- According to labor data provided by the Department of Labor and Industry, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by six-tenths of a percentage point to 7.1 percent, the highest rate for the region since January 1993. The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 4.7 percent.

Of the fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area has the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 6.7 percent, increasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. There are 434,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,442,000 with 6,009,000 employed. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the month before. There are 11,108,000 residents nationally unemployed.

The Johnstown MSA has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.9 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.7 percent, with the Williamsport MSA having the third highest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent.

The Lebanon MSA and the State College MSA are tied for the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.5 percent, with the Harrisburg/Carlisie MSA having the third lowest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest civilian labor force, workers between eighteen and sixty-five years old, in Pennsylvania at 420,300, increasing by 6,500 from twelve months ago. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,997,200 with 201,200 residents not working. The Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest civilian labor force in the state at 1,219,400, with 76,200 residents unemployed. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 285,600, with 16,500 residents unemployed.

Within the MSA, Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate at 8.6 percent, increasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by three and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has 2,700 civilians not working, increasing by 300 from the month before and increasing by 1,000 from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a labor force of 31,300 the smallest civilian labor force in the MSA.

Lehigh County and Northampton County are tied for the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 6.9 percent.

Lehigh County has 12,200 civilians without jobs, the most within the MSA, increasing by 1,000 from the month before and increasing by 4,000 from a year ago. Lehigh County has a labor force of 176,400, the largest in the MSA. Lehigh County’s unemployment rate is eight-tenths of a percentage point higher than the previous month and two and two-tenths percentage points higher than twelve months ago.

Northampton County’s unemployment rate is five-tenths of a percentage point higher from the month before and one and nine-tenths of a percentage point higher from twelve months before.

Nonfarm jobs have decreased by 1,100 from the month before and increased by 4,700 during the past twelve months for a total of 341,700 jobs.

Manufacturing jobs and service providing jobs lead the decline during the past twelve months, decreasing by 2,100. There are 288,300 service-providing jobs and 37,200 manufacturing jobs in the MSA, decreasing by 300, down 0.3 percent, from the month before. The amount of manufacturing jobs was a record low for the MSA.

Unionization rate among workers increases to 12.4 percent

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Unionization rate among workers increases to 12.4 percent

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

LEHIGH VALLEY- February 10th- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in Washington, DC, union membership increased in 2008. The unionized share of the United States workforce rose to 12.4 percent last year from 12.1 percent in 2007 with membership rising by more than 420,000 members.

According to the BLS, the gains were shared across demographic lines and occupations, growth was strongest in the public sector, among hispanics, and in the western United States, driving the largest membership increase in more than a quarter of a century.

The bulk of the overall membership rise in 2008 orginated in public sector unions, which added members faster than government employment expanded. Public sector unionization last year grew to 36.8 percent from 35.9 percent in 2007. This increase of about 275,000 members came largely through gains in local and state government, where unionization in 2008 reached 42.2 percent and 31.6 percent respectively.

According to the labor statistics, while overall employment in the private sector shrank in 2008, few major industries or occupations saw unionization rates decline. Small drops in unionization in financial and business services and in mining were more than offset by membership gains in education, health and hospitality services. As a result, private sector unionization rose from 7.5 percent in 2007 to 7.6 percent in 2008.

Since the 1970’s, labor unions have consistently represented more than one-third of the public sector workforce, but over the same period private sector union membership has been falling sharply. About one in five private sector workers were union members in the late 1970’s, compared to about one in thirteen in 2008.

Union membership in manufacturing remained almost unchanged at 11.4 percent in 2008, compared to 11.3 percent in 2007. Manufacturing workers are now less likely than workers in the rest of the economy to be a union member. A “union job” in the private sector is most likely to be in transportation and utilities, 22.2 percent, or telecommunications, 19.3 percent, today.

The union membership rate in construction rose to 15.6 percent in 2008 from 13.9 percent in 2007, but the rise primarily reflects the industry’s massive contraction over 2008. As the housing crisis increased sharp declines in the largely non-union residential construction sector occured with the level of union membership within the overall construction industry remained the same at about 1.2 million workers.

In 2008, more than 120,000 hispanics became union members with the membership rate rising to 10.6 percent from 9.9 percent in 2007. Membership among black workers increased from 14.3 percent to 14.5 percent. Among white workers, unionization rose from 11.8 percent to 12.2 percent. The female and male membership rates rose by less than half a percentage point each, to 11.4 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.

Unionization rates increased in mid-western states from 13.8 percent in 2007 to 14.3 percent in 2008 but failed to match the pace of expansion in the west, where unionization grew from 14.7 percent in 2007 to 15.7 percent in 2008. Since 2006, unionization has increased in western states with California alone adding about 266,000 union members in 2007, rising its union rate to 18.4 percent in 2008 from 16.7 percent in 2007. Over the past three years, union membership in the southern states has remained at 5.9 percent, less than half of the national average.

Congressman Charlie Dent votes against the economic stimulus bill citing it did not focus on job creation

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Congressman Charlie Dent votes against the economic stimulus bill citing it did not focus on job creation

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

LEHIGH VALLEY- Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, 15th Legislative District, voted against the “economic stimulus” bill passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th.

Mr. Dent said he voted against the legislation because it didn’t focus most resources on the immediate need for job creation.

“The concept of an economic stimulus bill is that it should be “timely,” targeted and temporary. This legislation, overall, fails those three tests,” said Mr. Dent.

However, Mr. Dent also voted against the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act that provided a “bridge loan” to the American automakers even though a study showed the loss of the big three automakers would cost Pennsylvania 120,000 jobs.

According to a study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington, DC and the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ranks ninth among the 50 states in potential job loss as a result of one or all of the big three automakers shutting down.

Also, up to 120,100 jobs would disappear in Pennsylvania within a year if General Motors (GM), Ford and Chrysler were allowed to fall into bankruptcy. The loss of GM, the company must at risk of entering bankruptcy, would jeopardize up to 33,200 jobs in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Dent blamed the House of Representatives Speaker for his failure to support the legislation.

“Speaker Pelosi lost sight of the President’s goal when drafting the bill. Many of the programs and priorities that are funded and established in this bill are efforts that I strongly support. I support increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I support strengthening the federal commitment to children with disabilities under IDEA. I support expanding research under the National Science Foundation (NSF). These programs are important but they should be considered through the normal appropriations process,” added Mr. Dent.

CWA withdraws complaint against T-Mobile Communications

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

CWA withdraws complaint against T-Mobile Communications

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

ALLENTOWN, February 10th- The newspaper has learned the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union District 13, Parkway Center in Pittsburgh, withdrew a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging company representatives of T-Mobile Communications in Allentown violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), but the agency is still investigating a second complaint filed by the CWA.

In the February 2009 edition of the newspaper it was exclusively reported the CWA filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the NLRB on January 8th, 2009 alleging the company violated Section 7 of the NLRAct. Also the newspaper reported in the November 2008 edition the CWA filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging the company violated the NLRAct for terminating the employment of Sandra Bradley because of her activities on behalf of the Union.

According to the NLRB, the CWA withdrew the ULP pertaining to Ms. Bradley’s termination several weeks ago. The ULP was obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, and the union alleged she was fired to discourage union membership by other employees after she provided mutual on-the-job aid to the CWA.

According to the complaint filed on Janaury 8th, 2009, also obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the company employs 1400 workers at their facility at 794 Roble Road in Allentown. T-Mobile is a communications company which provides wireless phone service.

“Since on or about July 15th, 2008 the above named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives engaged in surveillance and other acts and conduct, interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act,” the charge states.

The newspaper has learned the NLRB is investigating the January 8th, 2009 complaint. The NLRB after receiving a complaint will investigate the charge(s) and if they find merit in the ULP(s), a hearing will be scheduled. Should it be found the NLRAct was violated the agency could seek monetary fines or other remedies to rectify the situation.

IBEW Local 1600 files multible complaints against PPL

03.01.09

March 2009, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 1600 files multible complaints against PPL

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

LEHIGH VALLEY, January 15th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1600, Grange Road in Trexlertown, filed multible complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging PPL Corporation violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper learned the union filed three Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges in January with the NLRB alleging the Allentown based electric utility company violated the NLRAct.

According to a complaint filed on January 2nd, 2009, and obtained by the newspaper through the Freedom of Information Act, the Union alleges the company violated Section 8, subsections (1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act.

“On or about October 9th, 2008 and thereafter, the above named Employer has refused to bargain collectively with IBEW 1600. The unilateral implementation of a new Tailboard Sheet is a change in wages, hours and working conditions. The subject matter on the Tailboard Sheet was a mandatory subject of bargaining,” states the ULP.

The employer represenative named to be contacted on the Unfair Labor Practice charge is John A. Fogarty, indentified as the Vice President of Distribution Operations. Attorney Ira Weinstock filed the charge on behalf of the union.

On January 5th, 2009, a union member of Local 1600 filed two ULP’s with the NLRB alleging the company violated the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

Unfair Labor Practice case number 36518 states the “Employer failed to provide requested information needed by a representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1600 to investigate grievance number 08LE043. The original request was made in writing on September 12th, 2008. A second request was made on November 18th, 2008. Several verbal reminders were provided in between written requests,” states the complaint.

The employer representative to contact on the ULP is Kent Senior, however his position is not indentified. James T. Caffrey filed the complaint on behalf of Local 1600 and his position is also not indentified.

According to the two complaints filed on January 5th, 2009, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 1600 represents 3,535 employees of PPL.

ULP case number 36519 was also filed by James T. Caffrey. The complaint alleges PPL management personnel is proforming union bargaining unit work.

The “Employer is assigning management personnel to proform bargaining unit work. Employer has failed to provide information to an IBEW Local 1600 representative for complaints and grievances pertaining to that work. The requested information is needed to investigate the complaints and grievances,” states the Unfair Labor Practice charge.

The National Labor Relations Board after receiving a complaint will investigate the charge(s) and if they find merit in the ULP(s), a hearing will be scheduled.

Should it be found the National Labor Relations Act was violated the agency could seek monetary fines or other remedies to rectify the situation and make any employee whole for his/her loss of wages and or benefits.

A employee does not need to be a union member or be represented by a labor organization to file a complaint against his/her employer with the NLRB.