Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Endorses Senator Arlen Specter in the May 18th Primary Election

03.31.10

For Immediate Release:
Contact: William M. George, 717-215-4313

James Deegan 717-580-1615

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Endorses Senator Arlen Specter in the May 18th Primary Election

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George today announced the endorsement of Democratic U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in the upcoming May 18th Primary Election. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the state representing over 900,000 union members represented by unions affiliated with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

“In our opinion Senator Arlen Specter is the strongest advocate and supporter for good jobs, fair trade policies, workers’ rights and quality affordable health care for all. He is a proven leader who has stood with working families when the chips are down, especially his key role in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment of 2009 which has protected jobs, helped unemployed workers, and prevented this nation from sinking into another great depression,” Pennsylvania

AFL-CIO President Bill George said.

“Throughout his career in the U. S. Senate, he has stood with Pennsylvania’s working families fighting against unfair trade policies that destroy good jobs, fighting for workers’ rights and equal opportunity, and fighting to protect Pennsylvania communities and workers against unfair budget cuts during the Bush Administration,” George said.

It’s for these reasons that the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Executive Council endorses Senator Specter for election in the May 18th Primary. It’s the third time that Senator Specter has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO which requires two-thirds majority of the State Labor Federation’s Executive Council. Senator Specter was endorsed in the 1998 and 2004 General Elections.

“We will conduct an energetic and aggressive education and mobilization campaign of union families throughout Pennsylvania in support of Senator Specter’s nomination by voters on the Democratic ballot. Our principle obligation will be in helping share his record and message of support for all of Pennsylvania’s workers,” Rick Bloomingdale, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer said.

Endorsements were also made for several of Pennsylvania’s contested U.S. House of Representatives races in the May 18th Primary Election. The full list of these endorsements will be provided later today.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Region’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.6 percent

03.29.10

APRIL 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Region’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.6 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, March 17th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.6 percent. 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 7.2 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area is tied with the Reading MSA and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA for the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 8.8 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 564,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,421,000 and 5,856,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.7 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. However, the rate does not include workers who benefits have been exhausted and have stopped looking for work. There are 14,837,000 residents nationally unemployed which also does not include workers who benefits have been exhausted.

The data shows the Williamsport MSA has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.9 percent. The Erie MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.8 percent, with the the Johnstown MSA the third highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.7 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.3 percent, with the Lebanon MSA second at 7.5 percent and the Altoona MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.9 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 427,100, rising by 5,000 during the past twelve months. There are 41,000 residents in the MSA without jobs, rising by 10,600 during the past twelve months. Those numbers does not include workers who have exhausted their benefits.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest civilian labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,996,900 with 269,500 residents not working. The Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest civilian labor force at 1,240,100, with 100,000 residents unemployed. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the state at 288,700, with 22,800 residents unemployed. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 278,800 with 27,300 residents not working.

Candidate for Governor Wagner once represented by IBEW Union

03.29.10

APRIL 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Candidate for Governor Wagner once represented by IBEW Union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, March 18th- Pennsylvania Auditor General and Democratic party candidate for Pennsylvania Governor Jack Wagner is a former union member and is requesting the labor community support him in the May 18th election. Mr. Wagner is one of four Democrats seeking to become their party nominee and challenge the Republican Party candidate in November for Governor. The candidates want to replace out-going Democratic Governor Edward Rendell.

Mr. Wagner during a interview by the newspaper stated he was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electricial Workers (IBEW) Union Local 29 in Pittsburgh for five years while in College. “I walked the picket line while on strike when I was a meter reader in the Pittsburgh area,” said Mr. Wagner.

He stated if elected, he would not support legislation that bans the signing of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) with construction trade unions but believes all state building projects should be put out to bid. “Putting out contracts to bid will save taxpayers money,” said Mr. Wagner. “The current system on bidding must be changed.”

In October 2009 Republican House of Representative John Bear (97th Legislative District) introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of PLA’s on public projects in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2010 biggest supporter is the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) construction group. The ABCis made-up of nonunion contractors and builders and often lobbies for anti-union legislation.

Also, Mr. Wagner told the newspaper he would not sign any legislation that would ban unions from gaining union security clauses in Pennsylvania.

In November 2009, legislation was referred to the Committee on Labor Relations of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that if passed would ban labor organizations and employers from entering into agreements that make joining a union part of a compulsory condition of work or employment. Such legislation is often referred to as “right-to-work.”

The lead sponsor of House Bill 50 was Republican Representative Daryl Metcalf (12th Legislative District).

Legislation to make Pennsylvania a “Right-to-Work” state has been discussed in Harrisburg in the past, however, the legislation had never gain as many co-signers, 32, as House Bill 50 received.

Mr. Wagner when asked whether he supports the closing of the Allentown State Hospital, which the Rendell administration announced in January would be close by the end of 2010, said he was unfamiliar with the situation and could not make any comments.

Mr. Wagner said closing and selling Commonwealth properties has gain popularity by both Democratic and Republican administrations over the past several decades. “This is the worst time to be selling real estate. But, I’m not familiar with the situation at the Allentown State Hospital.”

Healthcare Reform Voting Record on the House bill

03.22.10

ALABAMA

Democrats ## Bright, N; Davis, N.

Republicans ## Aderholt, N; Bachus, N; Bonner, N; Griffith, N; Rogers, N.

ALASKA

Republicans ## Young, N.

ARIZONA

Democrats ## Giffords, Y; Grijalva, Y; Kirkpatrick, Y; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, Y.

Republicans ## Flake, N; Franks, N; Shadegg, N.

ARKANSAS

Democrats ## Berry, N; Ross, N; Snyder, Y.

Republicans ## Boozman, N.

CALIFORNIA

Democrats ## Baca, Y; Becerra, Y; Berman, Y; Capps, Y; Cardoza, Y; Chu, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, Y; Farr, Y; Filner, Y; Garamendi, Y; Harman, Y; Honda, Y; Lee, Y; Lofgren, Zoe, Y; Matsui, Y; McNerney, Y; Miller, George, Y; Napolitano, Y; Pelosi, Y; Richardson, Y; Roybal-Allard, Y; Sanchez, Linda T., Y; Sanchez, Loretta, Y; Schiff, Y; Sherman, Y; Speier, Y; Stark, Y; Thompson, Y; Waters, Y; Watson, Y; Waxman, Y; Woolsey, Y.

Republicans ## Bilbray, N; Bono Mack, N; Calvert, N; Campbell, N; Dreier, N; Gallegly, N; Herger, N; Hunter, N; Issa, N; Lewis, N; Lungren, Daniel E., N; McCarthy, N; McClintock, N; McKeon, N; Miller, Gary, N; Nunes, N; Radanovich, N; Rohrabacher, N; Royce, N.

COLORADO

Democrats ## DeGette, Y; Markey, Y; Perlmutter, Y; Polis, Y; Salazar, Y.

Republicans ## Coffman, N; Lamborn, N.

CONNECTICUT

Democrats ## Courtney, Y; DeLauro, Y; Himes, Y; Larson, Y; Murphy, Y.

DELAWARE

Republicans ## Castle, N.

FLORIDA

Democrats ## Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, Y; Castor, Y; Grayson, Y; Hastings, Y; Klein, Y; Kosmas, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y.

Republicans ## Bilirakis, N; Brown-Waite, Ginny, N; Buchanan, N; Crenshaw, N; Diaz-Balart, L., N; Diaz-Balart, M., N; Mack, N; Mica, N; Miller, N; Posey, N; Putnam, N; Rooney, N; Ros-Lehtinen, N; Stearns, N; Young, N.

GEORGIA

Democrats ## Barrow, N; Bishop, Y; Johnson, Y; Lewis, Y; Marshall, N; Scott, Y.

Republicans ## Broun, N; Deal, N; Gingrey, N; Kingston, N; Linder, N; Price, N; Westmoreland, N.

HAWAII

Democrats ## Hirono, Y.

IDAHO

Democrats ## Minnick, N.

Republicans ## Simpson, N.

ILLINOIS

Democrats ## Bean, Y; Costello, Y; Davis, Y; Foster, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Halvorson, Y; Hare, Y; Jackson, Y; Lipinski, N; Quigley, Y; Rush, Y; Schakowsky, Y.

Republicans ## Biggert, N; Johnson, N; Kirk, N; Manzullo, N; Roskam, N; Schock, N; Shimkus, N.

INDIANA

Democrats ## Carson, Y; Donnelly, Y; Ellsworth, Y; Hill, Y; Visclosky, Y.

Republicans ## Burton, N; Buyer, N; Pence, N; Souder, N.

IOWA

Democrats ## Boswell, Y; Braley, Y; Loebsack, Y.

Republicans ## King, N; Latham, N.

KANSAS

Democrats ## Moore, Y.

Republicans ## Jenkins, N; Moran, N; Tiahrt, N.

KENTUCKY

Democrats ## Chandler, N; Yarmuth, Y.

Republicans ## Davis, N; Guthrie, N; Rogers, N; Whitfield, N.

LOUISIANA

Democrats ## Melancon, N.

Republicans ## Alexander, N; Boustany, N; Cao, N; Cassidy, N; Fleming, N; Scalise, N.

MAINE

Democrats ## Michaud, Y; Pingree, Y.

MARYLAND

Democrats ## Cummings, Y; Edwards, Y; Hoyer, Y; Kratovil, N; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, Y; Van Hollen, Y.

Republicans ## Bartlett, N.

MASSACHUSETTS

Democrats ## Capuano, Y; Delahunt, Y; Frank, Y; Lynch, N; Markey, Y; McGovern, Y; Neal, Y; Olver, Y; Tierney, Y; Tsongas, Y.

MICHIGAN

Democrats ## Conyers, Y; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Kilpatrick, Y; Levin, Y; Peters, Y; Schauer, Y; Stupak, Y.

Republicans ## Camp, N; Ehlers, N; Hoekstra, N; McCotter, N; Miller, N; Rogers, N; Upton, N.

MINNESOTA

Democrats ## Ellison, Y; McCollum, Y; Oberstar, Y; Peterson, N; Walz, Y.

Republicans ## Bachmann, N; Kline, N; Paulsen, N.

MISSISSIPPI

Democrats ## Childers, N; Taylor, N; Thompson, Y.

Republicans ## Harper, N.

MISSOURI

Democrats ## Carnahan, Y; Clay, Y; Cleaver, Y; Skelton, N.

Republicans ## Akin, N; Blunt, N; Emerson, N; Graves, N; Luetkemeyer, N.

MONTANA

Republicans ## Rehberg, N.

NEBRASKA

Republicans ## Fortenberry, N; Smith, N; Terry, N.

NEVADA

Democrats ## Berkley, Y; Titus, Y.

Republicans ## Heller, N.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Democrats ## Hodes, Y; Shea-Porter, Y.

NEW JERSEY

Democrats ## Adler, N; Andrews, Y; Holt, Y; Pallone, Y; Pascrell, Y; Payne, Y; Rothman, Y; Sires, Y.

Republicans ## Frelinghuysen, N; Garrett, N; Lance, N; LoBiondo, N; Smith, N.

NEW MEXICO

Democrats ## Heinrich, Y; Lujan, Y; Teague, N.

NEW YORK

Democrats ## Ackerman, Y; Arcuri, N; Bishop, Y; Clarke, Y; Crowley, Y; Engel, Y; Hall, Y; Higgins, Y; Hinchey, Y; Israel, Y; Lowey, Y; Maffei, Y; Maloney, Y; McCarthy, Y; McMahon, N; Meeks, Y; Murphy, Y; Nadler, Y; Owens, Y; Rangel, Y; Serrano, Y; Slaughter, Y; Tonko, Y; Towns, Y; Velazquez, Y; Weiner, Y.

Republicans ## King, N; Lee, N.

NORTH CAROLINA

Democrats ## Butterfield, Y; Etheridge, Y; Kissell, N; McIntyre, N; Miller, Y; Price, Y; Shuler, N; Watt, Y.

Republicans ## Coble, N; Foxx, N; Jones, N; McHenry, N; Myrick, N.

NORTH DAKOTA

Democrats ## Pomeroy, Y.

OHIO

Democrats ## Boccieri, Y; Driehaus, Y; Fudge, Y; Kaptur, Y; Kilroy, Y; Kucinich, Y; Ryan, Y; Space, N; Sutton, Y; Wilson, Y.

Republicans ## Austria, N; Boehner, N; Jordan, N; LaTourette, N; Latta, N; Schmidt, N; Tiberi, N; Turner, N.

OKLAHOMA

Democrats ## Boren, N.

Republicans ## Cole, N; Fallin, N; Lucas, N; Sullivan, N.

OREGON

Democrats ## Blumenauer, Y; DeFazio, Y; Schrader, Y; Wu, Y.

Republicans ## Walden, N.

PENNSYLVANIA

Democrats ## Altmire, N; Brady, Y; Carney, Y; Dahlkemper, Y; Doyle, Y; Fattah, Y; Holden, N; Kanjorski, Y; Murphy, Patrick, Y; Schwartz, Y; Sestak, Y.

Republicans ## Dent, N; Gerlach, N; Murphy, Tim, N; Pitts, N; Platts, N; Shuster, N; Thompson, N.

RHODE ISLAND

Democrats ## Kennedy, Y; Langevin, Y.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Democrats ## Clyburn, Y; Spratt, Y.

Republicans ## Barrett, N; Brown, N; Inglis, N; Wilson, N.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Democrats ## Herseth Sandlin, N.

TENNESSEE

Democrats ## Cohen, Y; Cooper, Y; Davis, N; Gordon, Y; Tanner, N.

Republicans ## Blackburn, N; Duncan, N; Roe, N; Wamp, N.

TEXAS

Democrats ## Cuellar, Y; Doggett, Y; Edwards, N; Gonzalez, Y; Green, Al, Y; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson Lee, Y; Johnson, E. B., Y; Ortiz, Y; Reyes, Y; Rodriguez, Y.

Republicans ## Barton, N; Brady, N; Burgess, N; Carter, N; Conaway, N; Culberson, N; Gohmert, N; Granger, N; Hall, N; Hensarling, N; Johnson, Sam, N; Marchant, N; McCaul, N; Neugebauer, N; Olson, N; Paul, N; Poe, N; Sessions, N; Smith, N; Thornberry, N.

UTAH

Democrats ## Matheson, N.

Republicans ## Bishop, N; Chaffetz, N.

VERMONT

Democrats ## Welch, Y.

VIRGINIA

Democrats ## Boucher, N; Connolly, Y; Moran, Y; Nye, N; Perriello, Y; Scott, Y.

Republicans ## Cantor, N; Forbes, N; Goodlatte, N; Wittman, N; Wolf, N.

WASHINGTON

Democrats ## Baird, Y; Dicks, Y; Inslee, Y; Larsen, Y; McDermott, Y; Smith, Y.

Republicans ## Hastings, N; McMorris Rodgers, N; Reichert, N.

WEST VIRGINIA

Democrats ## Mollohan, Y; Rahall, Y.

Republicans ## Capito, N.

WISCONSIN

Democrats ## Baldwin, Y; Kagen, Y; Kind, Y; Moore, Y; Obey, Y.

Republicans ## Petri, N; Ryan, N; Sensenbrenner, N.

WYOMING

Republicans ## Lummis, N.

Union members speak out on heathcare reform.

03.18.10


Report shows state construction hardest hit because of recession

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Report shows state construction hardest hit because of recession

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- The unemployment rate in the United States dipped below 10 percent last month but workers in the building and construction trades have yet to feel any improvement. According to the Department of Labor the jobless rate among construction workers in the nation actually jumped to nearly 25 percent. Total construction payroll employment has fallen by 2.1 million jobs since 2006, with employment in residential construction shedding 38 percent of those jobs.

According to a report released by the Center for American Progress and the Home Performance Resource Center, construction jobs can be saved through energy efficiency programs. The Center for American Progress is a economic research and educational institute in Washington, DC. The Home Performance Resource Center is a nonprofit organizatrion formed to conduct public policy and market research in support of the home performance industry, also located in Washington, DC.

“With demand for construction jobs at near depression levels, stimulating consumer demand for residential energy efficiency is smart business. It creates high-paying jobs for idled construction workers, boosts sales of American’ made building materials, and saves consumers money. American companies are ready to hire back crews if we can jumpstart demand for projects. Home performance contracting for energy efficiency is one bright spot on the horizon for the building trades today,” said Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress.

The report’s authors, Mr. Hendricks and Matt Golden, call on federal policymakers to launch a national HOME STAR program which includes incentives for homebuyers to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes, which will jumpstart demand for labor. They believe that the United States Congress could quickly act to create jobs with policies to expand investment in commercial and industrial energy efficiency and financing for retrofit jobs.

“The tool belt recession is devastating. There is an urgent need in every state in the union to generate skilled, high-paying, long-term construction and manufacturing jobs to grow our economy. But there is hope. As an employer in the hard-hit state of California, I have seen my efficiency business grow by 70 percent, even as the construction industry has lost over 35 percent of construction jobs,” said Mr. Golden, President of Recurve, a home performance retrofit contractor.

Mr. Golden said the home performance builders’ Efficiency First Industry Association brought together more than 500 constractors from around the United States to educate lawmakers on how they are creating jobs today through energy efficiency.

The authors of the study stated the “tool belt recession” has a deep and far-reaching impact on communities. Many factories are running at only half capacity, while unemployment in manufacturing industries tied to construction is higher than manufacturing as a whole, with unemployment rates often running from 20 percent to 30 percent.

Jobs in the construction sector and related industries are suffering more compared to other parts of the economy.

Data on construction jobs follows:

• The unemployment rate for experienced workers in construction was 24.7 percent in January 2010.
• Total construction payroll employment has dropped by 2.1 million jobs since 2006, with residential construction down by 1.3 million, or 38 percent.
• For 2009, 12.4 percent of all unemployed workers were previously employed in the construction industry.
• There have been 134,000 jobs lost (10 percent) in construction related retail, such as building supply stores and lumber yards, since December 2007, with 186,000 lost (14 percent) since July 2006.

Union wants to represent workers in Wilkes-Barre

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Union wants to represent workers in Wilkes-Barre

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- The International Union of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Union Local 506, Roseville, Michigan, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if workers in Wilkes-Barre want to be union represented.

According to the petition, the union wants to represent all armed and unarmed security officers employed by Southeastern Paragon, Inc. The company provides security for the Social Security Administration in Wilkes-Barre. The security services of the facility is provided under contract by Southeastern Paragon Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland.

The union wants all security guard services employees to participate in the election and requests all office clericals, managerial personnel, confidential personnel, and supervisors be excluded from voting. According to information on the petition there are 44 employees that will particpate in the election.

Under NLRB rules, before the agency will conduct an election the petition must be supported by at least 30 percent of the employees.

The union must receive at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible employees that cast ballots to be the representative of the employees for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The petition was filed on behalf of the union by Attorney Richardson Todd Eagen of Harrisburg on February 8th, 2010.

The National Labor Relations Board decided not to conduct a secret ballot election at the employer rather ballots were mailed to eligible to vote employees homes. Ballots must be returned to the NLRB by the employees before March 24th, 2010 to count.

The newspaper discovered the petition while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the agency office. The newspaper is the only media in Northeastern Pennsylvania that routinely reviews complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office.

Obama fails to seat NLRB nominee via recess appointment

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Obama fails to seat NLRB nominee via recess appointment

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- More than seven months after the Obama Administration sent to the United States Senate the nomination of Craig Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican led filibuster against his nomination. The key procedural vote failed 52 to 33 with two Democratic Senators voted with the Republicans.

Mr. Becker’s nomination was blocked after the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington heavily lobbied the business organization supporters in the Senate to not support his seat on the NLRB.

In April, 2009 President Obama announced his intention to nominate labor law attorneys Mr. Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce for the two vacant Democratic seats on the NLRB. Brian Hayes was nominated by Mr. Obama to be the Republican member of the NLRB. If Mr. Obama’s nominees were confirmed by the Senate the NLRB would have a full complement of five members for the first time since December 16th, 2007. The NLRB oversees the enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Senate in December returned the nomination of Mr. Becker back to the White House, however the Obama Administration resubmitted his name on Janaury 19th.

Mr. Becker’s seat on the NLRB had been blocked by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain for months by calling for hearings before proceeding to full committee consideration of his nomination.

The Chamber of Commerce stated Mr. McCain had a legislative hold on the Becker nomination because it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture on the nomination before it can proceed to an up-or-down vote and all of the Democrats in the Senate did not agreed to support cloture. Because of the Massachusetts election the Democratic party now has 59 seats in the Senate but they were unable to seat Mr. Becker when the party held 60 seats.

Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted with 31 Republicans to block Mr. Becker’s nomination. No Republicans voted to support cloture.

Mr. Becker is Associate General Counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington DC.

The sitting members of the NLRB are Chairman Wilma Liebman and member Peter Schaumber.

Mr. Hayes was in private legal practice for more than twenty-five years devoted exclusively to representing management clients in all aspects of labor and employment law. He has represented employers in scores of cases before the NLRB, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and various state fair employment practice agencies.

The Chamber of Commerce stated Mr. Becker was blocked because of his view that employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives. Also, Mr. Becker’s ties to the SEIU, an avid proponent of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct) legislation could lead him to advance “Card Check” organizing through administrative action of the NLRB.

Despite the blocked attempt President Obama could have still seated Mr. Becker to the NLRB. Mr. Becker could have been seated via “recess appointment” by the administration before the President Day’s recess on February 12th and could have served until the conclusion of the next session in late 2011. However, Mr. Obama failed to do so.

Local AAA Baseball Umpires vote to join larger union

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Local AAA Baseball Umpires vote to join larger union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- Minor league umpires of International League Baseball, which the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees is affiliated, voted to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). The union is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Members of the Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU), a non AFL-CIO affiliated union, voted by more than 90 percent in favor of affiliation with OPEIU. The AMLU will now be known as AMLU/OPEIU Guild 322.

“Our affiliation with OPEIU is the next step in a progression toward improving the lives and working conditions of some of the hardest working and most underappreciated people in the game. We evaluated the pros and cons of affiliation with a variety of different unions and OPEIU was head and shoulders about the rest. OPEIU’s size, diversity of membership in a wide range of industries, as well as the quality of staff made them a perfect fit for our group,” said AMLU President Shaun Francis.

OPEIU represents more than 125,000 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. The union represents employees and independent contractors in banking and credit unions, insurance, higher education, shopping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels and administrative offices.

The newspaper contacted Nicole Korkolis, OPEIU Director of Communication, Education and Research, and she comfirmed the local umpires that will umpire at PNC Stadium in Lackawanna County will be represented by the union.

According to Ms. Korkolis, prior to AMLU’s formation in 2000, minor league umpires had been working with no union representation. The goals of the AMLU’s organizers was to secure health insurance, as well as a ranking and promotion system to standardize movement up through the various leagues.

Minor league umpires also work regularly in Major League Baseball, filling in for sick, injured or vacationing full-time umpires. More than 1,300 regular season MLB games had at least one AMLU member on the field in the 2009 season.

Salary for a minor league umpire starts at $1,800 per month, and is only paid during the season.

Penn Foster selected for union workers online college

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Penn Foster selected for union workers online college

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC recently announced that along with the National Labor College and the Princeton Review an online college for union members and their families will be created and it will result in hiring at a local employer.

The new online college, called the “College for Working Families,” is intended to expand job opportunities for union members by providing education and job training.

According to Antoinette Yachna, a steward and member of the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union Local 5652, which represents employees of Penn Foster on Oak Street in Scranton, a subsidiary of the Princeton Review, her employer will receive work because of the online college, and the employer will hire more workers because of the AFL-CIO agreement with the National Labor College.

The college will be the first and only accredited degree-granting online institution devoted exclusively to educating union members. Courses will be offered beginning this fall including those in criminal justice, health sciences, education, and business.

Ms. Yachna told the newspaper the USW represents approximately 210 workers of Penn Foster at the Oak Street facility and around 55 workers at their warehouse in Ransom Township.

She has been employed by the correspondence course school for more than 26 years and stated they are a good employer that treats their employees withrespect. “Our four-year contract with Penn Foster will expire in July,” said Ms. Yachna.

Bob English, USW District 10 Staff Representative, told the newspaper Penn Foster was chosen among around six to become partners with Princeton Review to provide online courses for union members. “The main thing is union members will benefit from the relationship,” said Mr. English after being contacted by the newspaper.

Mr. English stated he has been involved with contract negotiations with the employer for more than 15 years. He said negotiations for a successor agreement will soon begin to replace the current three-year pact.

“For the most part they are a good employer. And when it was narrowed down to only two, we believed Penn Foster should get the contract because the other company was nonunion.”

Penn Foster got its start in 1890 when the company first provided correspondence courses by mail on coal mining safety. Currently the company provides online courses to 220,000 students. The company for many decades was known as ICS but the name has changed several times over the past ten years because it has been sold four times.

According to a letter sent to employees of Penn Foster by Michael Perik, the President of Penn Foster, it is great news the company was selected by the National Labor College as its partner in a joint online education venture.

“The College for Working Families is perfectly aligned with our mission of helping people achieve their educational goals in an affordable and accessible manner. It will enable working adults to build on their prior training and experience, to ensure that their skills will match employers’ requirements in an evolving job market. Moreover, it is backed by the power of the AFL-CIO, who will be critical in ensuring that the couses meet students’ real-world needs,” states Mr. Perik.

Mr. English stated there is much yet to be done before the courses will be available. He said the company and AFL-CIO will need to work together to market the course availablity to the 11.5 million union members and their families that are affiliated with the labor federation. “Counting family members, you are talking about more than 30 million people that can receive the courses,” said Mr. English.

Former union member Jack Loscombe named to serve on Scranton Council

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Former union member Jack Loscombe named to serve on Scranton Council

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 4th- Jack Loscombe Jr., was named to replace Bill Courtright on Scranton City Council and is a retired member of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Union Local 60, which represents the 142 members of the Scranton Fire Department.

Mr. Loscombe told the newspaper one thing he hopes to accomplish as a council member is the restoration of the EMT emergency reponders in Scranton. The service was eliminated in 1986.

“When I served in the fire department and we had EMT’s, special training was needed and only a few got it. I was one of them. Now, every member of the department is trained as a EMT. Therefore it will be easy to restore the service,” said Mr. Loscombe.

Mr. Loscombe was a member of the Scranton Fire Department from 1983 to July 2001. He was permanently injured after being electrocuted while fighting a fire on Luzerne Street in West Scranton in 1996. Mr. Loscombe returned after the injury despite his hand being permanently injuried from the accident.

“Scranton’s budget is out of control because of the spending of Mr. Doherty,” said Mr. Loscombe.

Scranton Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty won a third four-year term as Scranton Mayor in 2009.

Mr. Loscombe believes it is unfair to Scranton residents that more than 30 percent of properties in the municipality is tax exempt. “More must be done to get funds from them to help with the city finances.”

Debate on TSA collective bargaining rights March 31

03.15.10

Frends, Brothers and Sisters:

I will be debating the Executive Director of an anti-union group in the Senate Dirksen Building at 2:00 p.m. on the issue of collective bargaining rights for TSA officers. For those not familiar with my history I’ve included a couple of links below.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41820-2004Dec6.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/22/AR2006042201016.html

Please spread the word!

In Solidarity,

Ron Moore
301-495-7832
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EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who do not already know, Ron Moore is a great pro-union writer and union activist. This going to be a great event. I urge all who can attend make an effort to do so.

Union sends letter to incoming Scranton Diocese Bishop

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Union sends letter to incoming Scranton Diocese Bishop

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 5th- Mike Milz, the President of the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) Union, which once represented teachers of the Scranton Diocese, is anxious to met and discuss labor matters with Scranton’s next Bishop Joseph Bambera. Monsignor Bambera will assume the leadership of the 11 county Diocese.

The SDACT represented the teachers until August 2007 when the previous contracts expired and then Scranton Diocese Bishop Joseph Martino refused to negotiate for a successor agreement.

The union represented the teachers of 17 of the 42 grade schools and 9 of 10 high schools of the Scranton Diocese.

Mr. Martino implemented a new system that eliminated the small school boards and created 4 regional boards. SDACT previously had contract 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 teachers.

Mr. Milz told the newspaper he has sent a letter to Monsignor Bambera requesting the two sides sit down and discuss the returning of the union. The union president was a 33 year employee of the Scranton Diocese working as a science teacher and later a social studies teacher at Bishop Hoban in Wilkes-Barre. The school remained open after many were closed throughout the Diocese and is now called Holy Redemmer.

Mr. Milz was laid-off by the Diocese of Scranton in 2008 and is now employed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union in the Lehigh Valley.

He has critized the Employee Relations Program claiming it is nothing but a “company union” similar to what the coal barons did in the early 1900’s in a attempt to stop the United Mine Workers Union (UMWU) from organizing their miners.

Mr. Milz told the newspaper the union has authorization cards signed by the teachers indicating they would like to be represented by the SDACT.

“We stand willing and able to sit down and discuss the return of the union. The teachers want us back and the labor community throughout the region has shown they disapprove of the way we were treated,” said Mr. Milz.

The cards were signed after Bishop Martino agreed to allow the union to represent the workers providing SDACT got a clear majority of the teachers to sign authorization cards. “Martino went back on his word and even later refused to discuss the union issue with us,” added Mr. Milz.

Job losses from recession higher than previously estimated

03.15.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Job losses from recession higher than previously estimated

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- High job losses during the recession continues to overshadow any economic recovery. The employment figures released by the Department of Labor showed mixed news for workers. The unemployment rate has fallen from 10.0 percent in December 2009 with a strong Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures show reasonably strong signs that the economy is starting to recover.

However, the bad news is that the same figures show that the economy lost over 1 million more jobs during the recession than previously estimated and the unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, remains at troublingly high levels. More than 14 million Americans are out of work, there are six job seekers for every available job, and 4 in 10 unemployed workers have been pounding the pavement searching for a new job for at least six months, a record level.

The Labor Department’s revisions of employment figures show that the economy shed 8.4 million jobs during the recession, instead of the 7.2 million as previously estimated. To give a sense of how big this jobs hole is, the nation would need to create 350,000 jobs per month for the next 24 months just to recover what was lost since the recession began, and that’s not even compensating for population increases. The United States has sometimes been able to create such high levels of job growth after a recession, it took several years before the nation saw consistent job growth and 350,000 were created in only two months of the entire economic cycle.

The news from the job’s report shows the overall direction of the labor market is trending up however, the employment-to-population ratio rose slightly to 58.4 in February from 58.2 the previous month. The ratio is an indication of the total labor market strength.

The average workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 33.9 hours for the month, indicating that companies are starting to need additional labor. And temporary help increased by 52,000 in January and has averaged nearly that level for the past four months.

According to David Madland, a economist with the Center for American Progress, a economic and educational research institute in Washington, DC, what the economy and workers need now is another boost in spending to ensure that job growth is faster and more widespread throughout the economy. A few sectors of the economy are creating jobs, but most businesses are not hiring because they do not see sufficient demand for their goods and services.

“A basic step to boosting demand is to get the unemployed back to work. Employing more people doesn’t just get those workers back on the job, it affects the momentum of the economy, which ultimately creates the cycle of private sector job creation that we need. Unemployed workers have few dollars with which to purchase goods and services, and giving them a job injects an immediate boosts to their family budget and our national economy. We need to build on the successes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRRAct) and use scarce federal dollars in the efficient way to boost demand and get the unemployed back to work,” said Mr. Madland.

The Center for American Progress stated they have put out such a plan, which calls for infrastructure investment and aid to state and local governments, along with direct investments in job creation through initiatives such as expanding our national service programs. And there is growing momentum in the White House and on Capital Hill for these types of job creation policies, the organization states.

The House of Representatives has already passed a jobs bill that would redirect $75 billion of TARP funds toward infrastructure investment and aid to state and local governments.

In the United States Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a package of job creation bills. The bills are set to include improved access to credit for small businesses, investments in infrastructure and energy efficiency, aid to local governments, increases in youth summer job programs, and targeted tax incentives to spur immediate job growth.

“Congress is taking action on job creation legislation. And this months’ jobs numbers are a stark reminder that they need to do so quickly. The recovery is just starting to take hold, but we are in much a more massive jobs hole than previously through and need rapid job creation to get out of it,” added Mr. Madland.

Why Republicans should support health care reform

03.14.10

Why Republicans should support health care reform

by Ray LaHood

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-perspec-0314-lahood-20100314,0,3364029.story

I’ve been a Republican all my life, when I served in the Illinois legislature, when I worked for members of Congress and when I served in Congress. During the 2008 presidential election, I supported Republican Sen. John McCain. I have always been — and still am — a fiscal conservative, an advocate for a smart, but restrained, government.

For those reasons and others, most people wouldn’t expect me to be an advocate for comprehensive health care reform. But the truth is, I believe there is no bigger issue to solve and no better chance to solve it than now.

If I were still a member of Congress, I would proudly vote for the bill that President Barack Obama is championing and I would urge my colleagues to do the same, not because I don’t believe in fiscal discipline, but because I do.

We do not need to look that far down the road to see the pain that failure to pass health care reform will cause. Americans of every background, class, race and political persuasion are suffering. We have the best health care system in the world, yet more than 40 million Americans lack access to it, a reality that is morally reprehensible. Health care is an essential, as important as food, water and shelter. Those who don’t have it are left without the tools to survive.

In the coming days, Congress has a chance to change that. The bill that will be voted on will reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion over the next two decades, and will reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system. It will slow the rate of growth in health care costs and put America back on the path toward fiscal sustainability.

The bill will give families and small business owners greater control over their own health care. It will expand coverage to more than 31 million Americans and will include tax credits to individuals, families and small businesses, giving them the same choices that members of Congress have to purchase private coverage. It will create state-based exchanges that will bring competition and transparency to insurance markets. And it will put in place common-sense rules of the road to hold insurance companies accountable and end some of the most outrageous practices of the insurance industry.

Never again will people be denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. Never again will insurance companies be able to raise rates unfairly — like the 60 percent hikes expected in Illinois.

While the ultimate vote on health care may not be bipartisan, the ultimate bill certainly is.

There are several Republican ideas in the bill. It allows Americans to buy health insurance across state lines. It increases the bargaining power of small businesses by allowing them to pool together — much like large corporations or labor unions — to bargain for a better insurance rate. It gives states the flexibility to come up with an alternate health care plan, and it gives them resources to reform our tort system by developing new ways to deal with medical malpractice.

I also feel compelled to remind my former colleagues that contrary to what many people have been saying, the bill explicitly prevents federal dollars from being used to fund abortion. It ensures not only that those seeking abortion coverage will be required to pay for it with their own money, but also that their personal money will never be commingled with federal funds. As a former congressman with a 100 percent pro-life voting record, I’m comfortable supporting this bill.

There isn’t one member of Congress who represents a district that is without a health care crisis. There are good, hardworking men and women in every part of this country who work for a living, but not at a business that offers the opportunity to purchase health insurance. On their own, the cost of insurance is just plain out of reach.

During my time in Congress, I was known for reaching across the aisle. I did it not for the sake of bipartisanship alone, but in order to get important things done.

Now, my former colleagues have the opportunity to change the lives of their friends and neighbors for the better by voting for health care reform.

Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, is secretary of transportation in the Obama administration.

Currency Imbalances: China’s Problem or Ours?

03.13.10

Currency Imbalances: China’s Problem or Ours?

By Susan Ozawa

Leading economists gathered at an EPI event today to discuss our trade deficit and labor problems caused by our imbalance with China. The conversation centered around how this imbalance can be solved by compelling China to appreciate its currency. Leo Gerard, the President of the United Steelworkers, did address domestic strategies to approach these problems, however, the central perspective of the panel appeared to view structural imbalances as a bilateral problem to be addressed through foreign policy.

I would broaden the conversation to consider this problem a historically multilateral problem of currency coordination, exacerbated by the neoliberal model of development and highlight our role in addressing these long-standing issues in both foreign and domestic policy. The dollar has fallen significantly since the recession began however, there are different domestic strategies we should pursue to address our structural trade deficit and lack of competitiveness. Looking forward, a new Bretton Woods, particularly the establishment of an International Clearing Union should be reconsidered alongside the neoliberal model of growth and development to address the international issues underlying these imbalances.

Post continues here: http://www.ourfuture.org/stories/2010031012/currency-imbalances-china-s-problem-or-ours

Building Trades Unions leader supports ARRAct legislation

03.12.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Building Trades Unions leader supports ARRAct legislation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 26th- February 17th was the first anniversary of the signing by President Obama of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRAct) and the legislation has helped workers employed in the construction industry, according to Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department in Washington, DC.

The Building and Construction Trades Department is an alliance of 13 national and international unions that collectively represent 2.5 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. The council is an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Nationwide, more than 80 billion dollars was pumped into the United States economy during the third quarter of 2009 alone. As that money made its was to Main Street, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), after four quarters in the negative column, began to grow again.

According to Stephen Herzenberg, an Economist and Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center (KRC), “absent that action, unemployment today could easily be fifteen percent on its way to twenty percent, and we’d find ourselves in the grips of another Depression.”

KRC is a nonprofit economic research organization in Harrisburg.

Mr. Ayers stated at the outset of 2009, the American economy was in serious trouble and it was battered and bruised by the collapsing housing and credit bubbles, and the resulted was massive job losses in every sector of the economy, especially the United States constuction industry.

“Despite its detractors, the evidence is clear, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working and has helped our nation turn a corner through sound investments that are creating jobs, tax cuts for the middle class, and much-needed CORBA and unemployment insurance benefits for working Americans. However, we must continue efforts to fundamentally strengthen our economy, as we know there is no such thing as a jobless recovery,” said Mr. Ayers.

Mr. Ayers added that working people expect the United States Congress and the Obama Administration to address the concerns of the American people and the Building Trades Unions stand ready to assist them in any meaningful efforts to put Americans back to work.

Corey O’Brien receives endorsement of construction unions federation’s

03.12.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Corey O’Brien receives endorsement of construction unions federation’s

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 3rd- Lackawanna County Mayority Democratic Commissioner Corey O’Brien is challenging incumbent United States House of Representative Paul Kanjorski (Democrat-11th Legislative District) in the May 18th Primary Election and recently received the endorsement of the two building and construction trades labor federations in the region.

On March 3rd, Mr. O’Brien’s campaign announced the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council in Lackawanna County and the Northeastern Building and Construction Trades Council in Luzerne County voted to support his attempt to defeat Mr. Kanjorski. Mr. Kanjorski is seeking a 14th two-year term as the Representative from the 11th Legislative District in Washington. The district includes the three major cities of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.

The President of the Scranton Building Trades Council is Drew Simpson, an Officer of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union, and the President of the Northeastern Building and Construction Trades Council is Mike Rozitski, a retired Officer of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT).

The majority of unions affiliated with the two labor federations have not endorsed either candidate.

Bakery Workers Union rejected by employees in Hazleton

03.12.10

MARCH 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Bakery Workers Union rejected by employees in Hazleton

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- Employees of Archer Daniels Midland Company in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton rejected being represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 492 of Philadelphia.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia conducted an Representation Election at the company’s facility on February 25th. The company operates a factory in Hazleton and the principal product manufactured is cocoa.

On January 13th, 2010 the union filed with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the employees wanted to be union represented for the purpose of collective bargaining. The NLRB scheduled the election to be held on the site of the factory for February 25th.

The newspaper discovered the petition while reviewing petitions and complaints filed at the NLRB office in Philadelphia. The newspaper is the only member of the local media that routinely reviews the material.

According to the NLRB, there was 80 eligible to vote Archer Daniels Midland employees and only 20 voted to be represented by the union and 59 voted against representation.

According to the petition, the union wanted to represented all full-time and regular part-time production and maintenance employees along with warehousemen employed by the employer at the Hazleton facility.

The petition was filed on behalf of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union by John Joseph Lazar. Mr. Lazar is identifiedon the petition as the President of Local 492.

Before the NLRB will conduct an election a petition must be filed with the agency and be supported by at least 30 percent of the unit of employees. Under NLRB rules, the union must receive at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible to participate workers votes in the election to become their representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.

MARYLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY EMPLOYEES FIGHT FOR CHOICE FOR A VOICE

03.10.10

MARYLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY EMPLOYEES FIGHT FOR CHOICE FOR A VOICE

Library workers from across Maryland went to Annapolis yesterday to protest the hiring of “union avoidance” and lobby firm of Alexander & Cleaver by several Maryland counties to oppose legislation granting collective bargaining rights to county library systems. The librarians, represented by UFCW Local 1994, testified in Annapolis on Tuesday in support of the bill.

Click here http://www.dclabor.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/83874 for more on this issue, including why Del. Tom Hucker (D, Maryland Dist. 20), called it “ironic” that “at a time of tremendous pressure on county budgets and serious budget cuts, the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators has found enough discretionary revenue to hire one of the most expensive firms in Annapolis to deny librarians the basic right to association and free speech.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: First published by the Metropolitan Washington Council, an AFL-CIO “Union City” Central Labor Council whose 200 affiliated union locals represent 150,000 area union members. JOSLYN N. WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT.