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Teamsters Union Local 773 files additional complaint against Bethlehem employer

09.26.09

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

Teamsters Union Local 773 files additional complaint against Bethlehem employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed another complaint against a Lehigh Valley employer alleging the company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

In April and then again in June, Local 773 filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Americold on Brodhead Road in Bethlehem alleging the employer violated the NLRAct during the unions’ organizing campaign it was conducting.

The newspaper has learned the union filed another ULP against the employer with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Region Four in Philadelphia on August 19th alleging the company threatened employees with loss of jobs if they selected the Union during the NLRB Representation Election conducted by the agency at the employers facility in Bethlehem.

The workers voted 118 against unionizing to 70 for on March 31st. However, the union believed company officials violated the NLRAct during the compaign.

On February 20th, Teamsters Local 773 filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if approximately 215 full-time and regular part-time forklift operators, cleaners, maintenance, inventory control, cycle counter, and line leaders workers of the food products warehouse operated by the company wanted to be union represented.

The August 19th complaint states the employer in a leaflet distributed to employees during the campaign threatened the workers jobs should they support unionization.

Department of Labor gives Trade Assistance to state workers

09.26.09

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

Department of Labor gives Trade Assistance to state workers

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The United States Department of Labor announced that approximately 3,200 workers from specific companies in 14 states including Pennsylvania are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

The other states that received Trade Adjustment Assistance are: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Winconsin.

Workers covered by the lastest Trade Adjustment Assistance certifications will be contacted by their respective states with instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services. Those who apply may receive case management and re-employment services, training in new occupational skills and trade readjustment allowances that provide income support for workers enrolled in training. Some workers may also receive job search and relocation allowances, and the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC).

TAA provides training and employment services for workers who have lost their jobs due to competitive foreign trade. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients.

“American workers within a number of industries are being impacted by direct foreign competition. Trade Adjustment Assistance is one way we can help these individuals re-enter the workforce in promising industries that pay good wages,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on the Department of Labor (DOL) web-site.

Under the program, workers 50 years old and older may elect to receive Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA). If a worker obtains new employment at wages less than $55,000 and less than those earned in adversely affected employment, the RTAA program will pay 50 percent of the difference between the old wage and the new wage, up to $12,000 over a two-year period. Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance participants may also be eligible for retraining and the HCTC.

For more information on Trade Adjustment Assistance and the range of DOL employment and training services visit the agencies web-site at: http://www.doleta.gov.

Allentown Morning Call worker files labor complaint

09.26.09

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

Allentown Morning Call worker files labor complaint

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

ALLENTOWN, September 11th- A member of the Graphic Communications Conference Union (GCU), formerly the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU) which merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in 2005, Local 4-C filed a complaint against her union which represents some of the employees of the Allentown Morning Call newspaper, North Sixth Street in Allentown.

The majority of the Allentown Morning Call employees are nonunion. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local 773 in Allentown was removed as the bargaining representative of the daily newspaper drivers around fifteen years ago and the Communications Workers of America/Newspaper Guild has not represented the newsroom employees for several years after failing to reach an labor agreement with the previous owners of the Morning Call.

Local 4-C represents pressroom personnel of the Allentown Morning Call.

On September 8th, Jean Haskins, West Union Street in Allentown, a union member, filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Local 4-C alleging the labor organization violated Section 8 (b) and subsections (1)(A) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct). The complaint was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia.

A review by this newspaper of complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB Region Four office discovered the ULP filed by the union member against her union. The Union News reviews the complaints and petitions every four to six weeks.

According to the Unfair Labor Practice, “The Union has violated the duty of fair representation by failing to pursue a grievance about the Employer’s violation of provisions in the collective bargaining agreement related to overtime.”

The complaint alleges and states, “The Union threatened employees that they could lose their jobs if they filed grievances related to overtime.”

The union representative indentified to be contacted is Wayne Cox in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania while the employer representative named on the complaint to be contacted by the NLRB is Sarah Long, indentified as the Allentown Morning Call, Human Resources representative.

Pennsylvania lost more than 190,000 jobs during recession

09.26.09

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

Pennsylvania lost more than 190,000 jobs during recession

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 15th- According to a study released by the Keystone Research Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic research organization in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, federal polices to stimulate the economy have halted the economic freefall in Pennsylvania and the United States but policymakers need to take decisive action to strengthen the middle class.

The organization stated the recession has brought damage on the state economy and income inequality is at its highest levels since 1917. “The reforms of the New Deal established labor market conditions that produced three decades of broadly shared prosperity. Now, we need new structural reforms to reinvigorate middle-class families who have been left behind,” said Mark Price, Ph D., and Keystone Research Center economist.

Inflation adjusted wages for middle-class workers have declined over the past year, which comes on the heels of a seven-year stretch of wage stagnation for most Pennsylvania workers, the report notes. Between 2001-2002 and 2008-2009, all but the top 5 percent of earners experienced a decline in inflation adjusted wages.

Meanwhile, the incomes of the wealthiest Pennsylvanians have surged to new highs. Between 2001 and 2006, the lastest year the data are available, the top 1 percent of earners captured 68 percent of all growth in personal income.

The organizations reports because of the federal governments stimulate plan, job losses in Pennsylvania have slowed from an average of more than 31,000 per month between February and April 2009 to an average of 9,200 in the last three months. National data show that the relative improvement in the economy is thanks in large part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress.

Since the recession began in December 2007, the state has lost 192,300 jobs, a decline of 3.3 percent, and more than a half million Pennsylvania workers remain unemployed. Additionally, one in seven workers are underemployed, which are workers that lost their full-time jobs but can only find part-time jobs. In the same period the United States economy has shed 6.6 million jobs, a decline of 4.8 percent.

Between July 2008 and June 2009, inflation adjusted hourly earnings for the typical Pennsylvania worker dropped by 2 percent while during the same period, wages also fell for most Pennsylvania workers above the median level.

The data shows the average income of the bottom 90 percent of Pennsylvania workers declined by 4.5 percent between 2001 and 2006. While the average income of the top 1 percent of taxpayers rose by just over $300,000 between 2001 and 2006, an increase of 37 percent. The very wealthiest saw their incomes rise by 50 percent, from $15 million to 22.4 million during the period.

Job loss in Pennsylvania averaged 31,067 per month from February 2009 to April 2009, but it has averaged 9,200 per month in the last three months the data shows.

Also, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after falling at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of this year declined at an annual rate of 1 percent in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs and Mark Zandi of Economy.com suggest that without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act the GDP would have fallen by 3.2 percent to 4 percent in the second quarter.

Union files complaint against Hazleton medical center

09.20.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Union files complaint against Hazleton medical center

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

HAZLETON, September 1st- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 filed a complaint against Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Corporation medical center on East Broad Street in Hazleton.

On August 26th the union filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the ULP, which was reviewed by the newspaper, AFSCME alleges Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Corporation, which operates a community hospital that provides acute health care, violated section 8 and subsections (a)(3) and (5) of the NLRAct.

The union alleges the employer has interferred, restrained and or coerced employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7 of the NLRAct.

Specifically, AFSCME alleges threats were made against the union or union officials or against employees for the engagement in protected activity.

The union also states on the complaint, the employer is discriminating in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization. Specifically discriminating or retaliated against an employee whom the employer knows is engaged in protected activity.

The union also alleges the employer has refused to bargain collectively with the representatives of the employees.

The complaint states specifically the employer has direct dealing, refused to provide relevant information to the union, unlateral removal of a position from the bargaining unit and unilateral removal of bargaining unit work.

The complaint states the union represents approximately 310 employees of the medical center.

The employer representatrive identifed on the ULP to be contacted is Elizabeth Perrong, Vice-President and Human Relations of the medical center.

AFSCME District Council 87 Staff Representative Kerri Gallagher filed the complaint on behalf of the union. District Council 87 represents AFSCME members throughout nine counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania including Luzerne and Lackawanna. The union office is located in the Borough of Dunmore in Lackawanna County. AFSCME District Council 87 is affiliated with AFSCME Council 13 in Harrisburg.

Catholic teachers union eager to meet with Scranton Diocese to discuss union issue

09.20.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Catholic teachers union eager to meet with Scranton Diocese to discuss union issue

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 6th- The President of the union that once represented the teachers of the Scranton Diocese is hopeful now that Bishop Joseph Martino has retired, the labor organization can again represent the employees.

On August 31st, the Diocese of Scranton held a press conference to announce Bishop Martino’s retirement effective on September 1st ending his 6-year tenure during which he eliminated the union.

The Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) Union represented the teachers of seventeen of the fourty-two grade schools and nine of the ten high schools of the Scranton Diocese until Bishop Martino restructured the school system in 2007. The new system eliminated the small school boards and created four regional boards. SDACT previously had contracts with each Board of Pastors that represented each school. Bishop Martino implemented a “Employee Relations Program,” after he told the union they no longer represented the employees.

SDACT has not represented the workers since August 2007 when the previous contracts expired and Bishop Martino refused to negotiate for a new contract agreement.

Mike Milz, President of SDACT, told the newspaper his union is eager to meet with the Scranton Diocese and discuss the union situation with them. Mr. Milz believes the Scranton Diocese can not expect to move forward without “fixing” the labor issue. “Organized labor has always been part of the church. If there is a real interest in fixing the situation, we are ready to sit down with them at anytime,” said Mr. Milz. He believes the labor community will not support the church unless they repair the relationship and regain trust with them and the only way that can happen is to negotiate with the SDACT.

Bishop Martino promised the union if a majority of the employees signed union authorization cards, he would recoginize the SDACT as their bargaining representative. However, Mr. Milz said Bishop Martino went back on his word and refused to discuss the issue and went ahead and busted the union.

Under current Pennsylvania labor law the union can not file Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the Diocese for not negotiating with the union. However, House Bill 26 has been introduced that would amend the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act (PLRAct) to cover religious school employees under the law.

Mr. Milz stated the union has authorization cards that were signed by the teachers showing they would like to be represented by the union. “We are willing to meet and resolve our differences,” said Mr. Milz.

DOL to releases report showing workers cheated wages

09.17.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

DOL to releases report showing workers cheated wages

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 5th - The United States Department of Labor (DOL) in Washington, DC released the findings of a survey of 4,387 workers in low-wage industries across the three largest United States cities and found that the core workplace protections many Americans take for granted are failing significant number of workers.

The three cities were: Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

The report issued on September 2nd, just days before Labor Day, and jointly funded by the Ford, Joyce, Hayes and Russell Sage Foundations, examines the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, the right to be paid for overtime hours, the right to take meal breaks, access to workers’ compensation when injured and the right to advocate for better working conditions.

“There is no excuse for the disregard of federal labor standards, expecially those that are designed to protect the neediest among us. As secretary of labor, I am committed to the vigorous enforcement of our laws and will make use of the full weight of my authority to find and prosecute violators,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in a press released e-mailed to the newspaper regarding the survey.

Secretary Solis stated she was concerned that labor law is so often violated and disregarded.

“I am especially troubled by the report’s findings that employment and labor laws are regularly and systematically violated. Our workers deserve, and need, far better than that. In fact, it’s precisely why stronger enforcement remains at the top of my agenda,” said Ms. Solis.

Because of the violations and the disregard for labor laws, DOL will be hiring more personnel to investigate whether employees are paid the proper wages by employers.

“Beginning this year and into 2010, I am hiring an additional 250 new wage and hour investigators so we can continue to effectively monitor wage and hour violations. During the first six months of this year, the Department of Labor already has recovered more than $82 million in back wages for nearly 107,000 minimum wage workers,” stated Ms. Solis.

She added the report clearly shows DOL still has a major task before them, but America’s workers should feel assured that the agency is committed to the protection of their rights.

Pennsylvania State budget impasse effecting agencies that help citizens

09.17.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

State budget impasse effecting agencies that help citizens

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 8th- Every Tuesday union workers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania rally across the state protesting the lack of a new state budget. The state legislators and Governor Edward Rendell have gone more than two and a half months without agreeing on a new budget and state employees jobs and vulnerable citizens services are in harms way.

Members of the two unions that represent that majority share of Pennsylvania state employees, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union participate with conducting peaceful protests held at worksites all across the commonwealth and at the capital every Tuesday. The state has not gone this long without a budget in its history.

Meanwhile, vulnerable citizens and noprofit organizations that are needed of state funding are feeling the effect of the budget impasse.

“We want to remind the legislators that their failure to pass an adequate budget is having a direct effect on Pennsylvania’s citizens. Not only is this impasse having a negative impact on the Pennsylvania economy as a whole, it is devastating for the thousands of people who depend on nonprofit services on a daily basis,” said Jennine Miller, Coordinator of the Education and Advocacy for Project H.O.M.E.

The goal of the rally’s is to urge Governor Rendell and the members of the General Assembly to work together to pass a budget. The lack of a budget is also hurting the funding of programs that help Pennsylvania’s children, families, counties, seniors, schools, people with mental illnesses and disabilities, institutions of higher learning, and child and foster care providers.

AFSCME stated you can’t cure the symptoms and not cure the problem. Pennsylvania is operating without a balanced budget and thousands of jobs are at stake if no new revenues are considered.

Because of the impasse, agencies are not being reimbursed for services already delivered with many of them reporting that they had no sources of money remaining to help them through the crisis period. Also, agencies reported that the lack of government reimbursement for services has hindered their ability to provide regular paychecks to their employees.

More than a third of the agencies reported that they have initiated staff layoffs because of the budget impasse.

Union files complaint against Hazleton employer

09.15.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Union files complaint against Hazleton employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 15th- The Glass, Molder, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union Local 237, 224 North Appian Way in Hazle Township in Luzerne County, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging a employer in Hazleton violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Silgan Whitecap Americas LLC, Jaycee Drive, Valmont Industrial Drive in Hazleton, alleging through the employers officers, agents, directors, adminstrators and employees have violated the NLRAct by refusing to supply requested information.

According to the complaint, reviewed by the newspaper, on or about July 14th, 2009, “the Union had requested information concerning the disciplinary files of four bargaining unit employees. The Employer has indicated that since the Union receives discipinary notices at the time the disipline is issued they do not need to supply the information at this time,” states the ULP.

“The request for relevant information was made in order for the Union to properly perform its duties as the employees’ representative,” the ULP continued.

The complaint states Local 237 represents 170 Silgan White Cap Americas employees. The employer operates a factory at the Hazleton facility, which manufacturers metal enclosures.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Region’s unemployment rate remains high at 8.9 percent

09.15.09

September 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Region’s unemployment rate remains high at 8.9 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- According to labor data provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.
The unemployment rate is two and eight-tenths of a percentage points higher than a year ago.

The MSA’s unemployment rate continues to remain higher than the state percentage. The unemployment rate in the state is 8.5 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,388,000 with 540,000 not working and 5,848,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. There are 14,462,000 civilians in the nation without employment. The number does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA civilian labor force decreased by 1,700 from the previous report to 282,200. The decrease in the labor force was the main reason the unemployment rate did not increase from the previous report. There are 25,200 civilians not working in the MSA, increasing by 100 from the previous report, and increasing by a whopping 8,000 from one year ago. The number would be even higher if the residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits were part of the percentage.

The MSA has the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,977,600 with 253,100 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,217,300 with 93,700 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 421,400 with 38,100 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 284,200 with 21,500 without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth highest unemployment rate. The Erie MSA has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.7 percent. The Reading MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.2 percent with the Williamsport MSA and the Johnstown tied for third at 9.1 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.8 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.9 percent with the Altoona MSA and the Lancaster MSA tied for the third lowest at 7.4 percent. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and jumping two and four-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 107,000, decreasing by 700 from the last report. There are 8,800 Lackawanna County residents without jobs, decreasing by 200 from the previous report and increasing by a whopping 2,500 from twelve months ago.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.5 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The unemployment rate is three and two-tenths of a percentage points higher from one year ago. Luzerne County has a labor force of 161,000, the largest in the MSA. The labor force decreased by 500 from the previous report and increased by 400 from twelve months ago. Of the labor force 15,200 do not have a job, increasing by 300 from the previous report and increasing by a whopping 5,100 from one year ago.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the report before and increasing by two and six-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,400, decreasing by 200 from the previous report and dropping by 100 from twelve months ago. There are 1,300 Wyoming County residents without jobs, unchanged from the previous report and jumping by 400 from twelve months ago.

Georgetown University Grants Highest Honor to President John Sweeney

09.05.09

Georgetown University Grants Highest Honor to President John Sweeney

by Tula Connell, Sep 4, 2009

http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/09/04/georgetown-university-grants-highest-honor-to-president-john-sweeney/

Georgetown University President John DeGioia (right) awarded AFL-CIO President John Sweeney the university’s highest honor.

It’s rare for a major university like Georgetown to grant honorary degrees. But rare are individuals like AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Last night in a formal robe and gown ceremony followed by a celebration with Archbishop Donald Wuerl in Georgetown’s elegant Riggs Library, Georgetown University President John DeGioia conferred upon Sweeney the degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Sweeney has dedicated his life to improving the lives of America’s working families, motivated in large part by his religious faith, one infused with the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church. Recognizing how Catholic doctrine influenced Sweeney’s life-long quest for justice and fairness for working people, DeGioia explained the importance of honoring Sweeney:

For many years, John Sweeney has worked to champion the dignity of workers—and work. And we at Georgetown take seriously the Catholic commitment to social justice for working people that has inspired John Sweeney’s remarkable career. That commitment has recently led us, with the help of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, to inaugurate a new effort here, the “Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor,” which we will formally inaugurate later this fall—and in whose work we hope to engage many of you in the years to come. Through its work, we hope to contribute, in our own way, to the tradition that John Sweeney has so well exemplified.

Throughout Sweeney’s more than 50 years of serving those who toil to earn their pay, he has joined his work in the labor movement with dedication to the faith community. He was an original member of the Catholic Common Ground Project, formed by the late Cardinal Bernardin. He participated in an a Vatican Social Justice conference and has been honored by Catholic Charities of Washington, and by Catholic universities such as his alma mater, Iona College in New York, and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Noted labor historian and Georgetown professor Joseph McCartin, who was instrumental in the process which led Georgetown to recognize Sweeney, read the degree citation, which states in part:

Driven by family, faith, and a profound sense of justice, John J. Sweeney has had an indelible impact on the struggle for workers’ rights in this country and around the world. His efforts, as president of the AFL-CIO and with the many other organizations he has served, have always championed the right of all people to be able to live and work with dignity.

From an early age, John Sweeney understood the importance of worker solidarity and its role in Catholic social teaching. He credits his beliefs to the values and ethics instilled in him by his parents, to his father’s participation in the local transit worker’s union in New York City, and to his Catholic education at Cardinal Hayes High School, Iona College, and Xavier Labor School. Taken together, this formative upbringing instilled in Mr. Sweeney a sense of purpose that he has carried with him throughout his whole life.

Sweeney, who has been president of the AFL-CIO for 14 years, will retire at our convention in Pittsburgh that begins September 13. The degree citation further describes his dedication, fueled by his faith, to achieving justice for working families:

Imbued with an understanding of social justice and the dignity of work that was informed by his Catholic faith, Mr. Sweeney took his first position as a labor organizer with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers—an organization that later merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. From there, he joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), eventually becoming its president in 1980.

During his 15 years of leadership, Mr. Sweeney increased membership by 75 percent, despite an extremely challenging political environment for unions at the time. In 1995, pledging a ‘New Voice,’ John Sweeney was elected President of the AFL-CIO.

Under Sweeney’s leadership, the AFL-CIO became the nation’s strongest grassroots political action movement to work for progressive change. He enlarged the labor movement by founding Working America, an affiliate for people without a union on the job that now has 3 million members. He forged new alliances with communities of faith, academics, students and more—and through new partnerships with worker centers and workers who are doing groundbreaking organizing on their own.

As Sweeney said in speech at Georgetown:

The American labor movement has been working fiercely to stop [our nation’s] slide into inequality and we are gaining traction in our struggle to turn around our economy and make it work for the many, instead of the privileged few… Our values call us to bring even greater good to society with universal health care, job creation, stewardship of our planet’s resources, stronger regulations governing our financial industry, trade laws respecting workers rights’ around the globe, new protections for today’s immigrants and federal legislation to restore workers’ freedom to form unions.

Saying faith “has been the bedrock of my life,” Sweeney said at the ceremony that the “Holy Father [the Pope] reaffirms our belief in government as a legitimate tool for correcting injustice and inequality, and for regulating business. He writes: ‘The market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak.’

He also reinforces the spiritual teaching that society should honor work—work is a way of worshipping God and participating in God’s ongoing act of creation. Honoring the dignity of work is the core of our shared support for free labor unions, for the absolute right of workers to join together and bargain collectively, and the absolute obligation of corporations to honor those rights and hold themselves to higher standards of social responsibility.

As someone who has had the honor of working with President Sweeney for more than 18 years, it is my turn to recognize AFL-CIO President John Sweeney for holding me, and many of us in the labor movement, to these higher standards of social responsibility.

Pennsylvania Labor Day Events

09.03.09

Subject: Labor Day Events

Hi All

Here is a list of Labor Day events taking place across the state. We hope to see you there!

Labor Day Mass and Parade (Biggest Event in U.S.A.)
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Labor Day Mass
TIME: 8:00 AM
PLACE: St. Benedict the Moor Roman Catholic Church
91 Crawford St
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

EVENT: Annual Labor Day Parade
TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: Begins at Mellon Arena and concludes at the Steelworkers Building on the Boulevard of the Allies
CONTACT: Jack Shea, President, Allegheny County Labor Council
412-281-7450

Blair/Bedford & Johnstown/Cambria/Somerset
Central Labor Councils Labor Day Parade and Celebration
DATE: Saturday, September 5th, 2009
EVENT: Labor Day Parade
TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: Green Ave. and Ninth Streets, Altoona, PA

EVENT: Labor Day Party
TIME: Conclusion of parade, between 11:15 and 11:30 AM
PLACE: Blair/Bedford Central Labor Council
302 Wopsononock Ave., Altoona, PA
CONTACT: Bob Kutz, Jr., President, Blair/Bedford Central Labor Council
814-941-2776

DATES: Sunday, September 6th through Saturday, September 12th, 2009
EVENT: Labor Booth
PLACE: Cambria County Fair, Ebensburg, PA 15931
CONTACT: Ernie Esposito, President, Johnstown/Cambria/Somerset Labor
Council 814-535-7621 or Joe Oliver, Exec V.P. 814-244-6470

Harrisburg Region Central Labor Council
Labor Day Breakfast
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
TIME: 9:00 AM through 12:00 Noon
PLACE: AFSCME Conference Center
150 S. 43rd Street, Harrisburg PA
COST: $7 per person, children 12 and under free
CONTACTS: Dave Gash, President, Harrisburg Region Central Labor Council
717-564-5123 or Lawrence Funck, Treasurer, 717-813-7495, cell

Greater Westmoreland Central Labor Council
DATE: Sunday, September 6th through Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Labor United Celebration (biggest celebration east of the
Mississippi. Includes entertainment, amusement rides, arts, crafts and a flea market)
TIMES: 11:00 AM through 7:00 PM
PLACE: Northmoreland Park
CONTACT: Bob Lavely, Jr., President, Greater Westmoreland Labor Council
724-238-7406

Lancaster Labor Council
Picnic and a Ballgame with the Barnstormers
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Picnic and a Ballgame with the Barnstormers
TIME: Picnic - 12:30 PM - included in price
Game Starts - 1:30 PM
PLACE: Clipper Stadium, Prince Street, Lancaster PA.
COST: Cost of Admission $25 per person
CONTACT: Jean Martin, President, Lancaster Labor Council
717-392-2518

Lehigh Valley Labor Council Labor Day Picnic
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Labor Day Picnic
TIME: 12:00 to 6:00, rain or shine!
PLACE: Bethlehem Township Municipal Park, Farmersville Road, between Freemansburg Ave. and William Penn Hwy.
TICKETS: $10 per person, children under ten - free
CONTACT: Gregg Potter, President, Lehigh Valley Labor Council
610-360-9491, e-mail: potterfb@msn.com

Mercer County Central Labor Council
Buhl Day/Labor Day Parade
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Labor Float in Buhl Parade
TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: Hickory Plaza, State Street, Hermitage, PA
CONTACT: Dom Vadala, President, Mercer County Labor Council
724-962-0333

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
22nd Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Festival
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENTS: Tri-State Labor Day Parade
TIME: 9:00 AM
PLACE: Begins at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall on South Columbus
Boulevard at Washington Avenue and proceeds to Columbus
Boulevard to the Great Plaza at Penn?s Landing where the Family Festival takes place.

EVENT: Annual Family Festival
TIME: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
PLACE: Penn’s Landing, Great Plaza, (food, refreshments, activities for kids and entertainment)
CONTACTS: Patrick Eiding, President, Philadelphia Council, AFL-CIO or
Joni Bernard, Facilities and events coord. 215-665-9800 x206

United Labor Council of Reading and Berks County AFL-CIO
22nd Annual Labor Day Parade and Celebration
DATE: Monday, September 7, 2009
EVENT: Annual Labor Day Parade
TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: 8th and Penn Streets, Reading, PA

EVENT: Labor Day Celebration
TIME: At conclusion of the Parade
PLACE: First Energy Stadium
CONTACT: Fred Schaeff, Jr., President, United Labor Council Reading/Berks
610-374-2725 or Lynne Reinert 610-775-2321

York-Adams Central Labor Council Fishing Derby and Labor Day Parade
DATE: Monday, September 7th, 2009
EVENT: Fishing Derby
TIME: Registration: 7:00-7:30AM
Orientation: 7:30-8:00 AM
Fishing: 8:00-12:00 (Noon)
PLACE: Kiwanis Lake, York
CONTACT: Linwood McGowin, Coordinator, 717-771-3806

EVENT: Annual Labor Day Parade
TIME: 10:00 AM
PLACE: Begins at Smalls Athletic Field and ends at Kiwanis Lake.
CONTACT: Kittie Hake, Committee Chair, 717-843-8911
Washington-Greene Central Labor Council

2009 Labor Day Picnic
DATE: Sunday, September 6th, 2009
EVENT: Annual Labor Day Picnic
TIME: 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM
SPEAKERS: 2:00 PM
PLACE: South Strabane Social Hall, 1696 E. Maiden Street Washington, PA 15301
CONTACT: Wayne Watson, President, Washington-Greene Labor Council
724-678-2229 or Clemmy Allen, Picnic Coordinator 724-223-9332

Be sure to send information about your local Labor Day events to Jim Deegan of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO so that they can be included on this list:
Jim Deegan
E-mail: editor@paaflcio.org
Fax: 717-238-8541
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Steelworkers & Friends

Bethlehem Labor Day Parade & Picnic

Sunday September 6th

Parade starts 11am under the Hill to Hill bridge in the parking lot at

Spring and Main Sts., Bethlehem.

Parade will end back at lot.

Picnic will follow the parade at the Steelworkers building. Tix for the picnic are on sale for $10.00.Call 610-867-3772

“Hurry & call. No tix sold at the picnic”

Unions wear your colors and bring flag.