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W.Va. Coal Mine Blast Kills 6, 21 Miners Missing

04.05.10

W.Va. Coal Mine Blast Kills 6, 21 Miners Missing

by Mike Hall, Apr 5, 2010

http://blog.aflcio.org/2010/04/05/wva-coal-mine-blast-kills-6-21-miners-missing/#more-27732

An explosion at a Raleigh County, W.Va., coal mine late this afternoon killed six miners and 21 other coal miners remain unaccounted for, according to news reports. The Associated Press reports that the blast occurred at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine

Mine rescue crews, including those from the Mine Workers (UMWA), were dispatched to the mine. There are no further reports about the missing miners.

The non-union mine is operated by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. In a statement, UMWA Workers President Cecil Roberts says “hearts and prayers of all UMWA members are with the families of those lost today. “

He says the mine rescue teams are “putting their lives on the line, entering a highly dangerous mine to bring any survivors to safety.”

As a mine operated by a subsidiary of Massey Energy, the Upper Big Branch mine is a nonunion mine. Nevertheless, I have dispatched highly trained and skilled UMWA personnel to the immediate vicinity of the mine, and they stand ready to offer any assistance they can to the families and the rescuers at this terrible and anxious time. We are all brothers and sisters in the coalfields at times like this.

The AP reports that three miners have been killed at the mine since 1998, the most recent in 2003 when an electrician died after being electrocuted while repairing a shuttle car there

We will follow the rescue efforts and bring you updates.

Local AAA Baseball Umpires vote to join larger union

04.05.10

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

Local AAA Baseball Umpires vote to join larger union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- Minor league umpires of International League Baseball, which the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are 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 Coca-Cola Park in Lehigh 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.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files complaint against vending service company

04.05.10

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

Teamsters Union Local 773 files complaint against vending service company

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, March 9th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office. The newspaper is the only member of the Lehigh Valley media that routinely reviews ULP’s and representation petitions.

The ULP was filed on February 22nd, 2010, and Local 773 alleges Canteen Covenco, Penn Drive in Allentown, violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

“Since on or around February 8th, 2010 and continuing, the Employer (Canteen Covenco) cancelled collective bargaining negotiations and refuses to negotiate with the Union,” states the complaint.

The company provides vending machine services throughout the Lehigh Valley. The complaint states the IBT represents approximately 25 employees of the company.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the Union by Attorney Robert Henninger, Market Street in Philadelphia.

Senator Specter introduces legislation that would fight against bad trade practices

04.05.10

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

Senator Specter introduces legislation that would fight against bad trade practices

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, March 15th- Pennsylvania Democratic United States Senator Arlen Specter has introduced legislation that seeks to help domestic manufacturers by enforcing trade remedy laws. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

“The Unfair Foreign Competition Act of 2010″ provides a private right to action for domestic manufacturers injured by illegal subsidization or dumping of foreign products into the United States. Bob Casey, (Democrat-Pennsylvania) and Sherrod Brown (Democrat-Ohio) are cosponsors.

“Joe creation and job retention in this country depend, in large part, on our ability to enforce existing trade laws. This legislation would give an injured industry the opportunity to seek reliable enforcement in federal court so that we can stop anticompetitive, predatory trade practices which steal jobs from our workers, profits from our companies, and growth from our economy,” said Mr. Specter.

The legislation would allow petitioning parties to bring a civil action in a United States district court for an injury finding in lieu of a determination by the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The legislation comes as China continues to engage in trade and market-distorting practices in violation of WTO rules and United States laws. Counties like China have ignored international trade rules, and the nation has lost countless manufacturing jobs and has a skyrocketing trade deficit.

Road Sprinkler Fitters Union files complaint against employer

04.05.10

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

Road Sprinkler Fitters Union files complaint against employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, March 9th- The Road Sprinkler Fitters Union Local 669 filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia against an Lehigh Valley employer alleging the company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

Local 669 in affiliated with the United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry and with the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley.

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, filed by Local 669 on February 25th, 2010, Deja Vu Mechanicals Inc., Seifert Road in Nazareth, is alleged of violating Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (3) of the NLRAct.

The newspaper discovered the ULP 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 materials.

Deja Vu Mechanicals Inc. is an sprinkler systems installer.

“The above named employer has violated the Act by: 1) threatening an employee with discharge if the employee concertedly asserted rights under the prevailing wage law; 2) telling an employee that the employee’s layoff was because the employee concertedly filed a prevailing wage lawsuit; and 3) accelerating the layoff of Glenn Minnick for seeking employee support to assert their rights under the prevailing wage law and filing a prevailing wage lawsuit,” states the complaint.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Attorney Jason Valtos, Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC.

The employer representative identified on the complaint to be contacted is Edward Schenck. According to the ULP, Deja Vu Mechanicals employs approximately 6 workers.

The NLRB stated the complaint is being investigated and if the agency finds merit in the charge an hearing can be scheduled.