Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Report finds changes needed in Economic Development loans

05.21.10

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

Report finds changes needed in Economic Development loans

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 24th- Legislation now before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate would implement accountability and transparency reforms of the economic development spending in the state.

According to a report released by the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, the level of transparency in economic development programs is better in Pennsylvania than most states, but it is not strong enough to answer such basic questions as do companies receiving subsidies actually create jobs, where do the subsidies go, what industries are subsidized, and what kind of wages do subsidized jobs pay?

“With the sharp economic downturn, now is the time to rethink how the state promotes economic development. These investments should be focuses on growing and developing innovative clusters of Pennsylvania businesses, rather than harvesting companies from other states,” said Stephen Herzenberg, PhD, and Keystone Research Executive Director.

The report also determined that the state’s economic development efforts rely too heavily on handing out checks to companies for locating or remaining in Pennsylvania. Instead, the state should rely more on helping create and expand homegrown businesses. Pennsylvania has been a leader in such “grow-your-own” programs since the 1980’s, but their funding has been slashed nearly in half since 2008-2009, stated Mr. Herzenberg.

The report recommendations include:

• Target traditional business subsidies to companies with good jobs, in industries that make sense for Pennsylvania, and to places with existing infrastructure near areas with high unemployment.
• Improve transparency and public disclosure by making Pennsylvania’s inline subsidy database a more complete and usable tool, with information on jobs created, wages and health care benefits provided, and the street address of business sites where subsidies are used.
• Create a unified development budget that provides an annual report to the state legislature cataloging and analyzing all state spending for economic development, including tax breaks.
• Enact economic development accountabilty legislation to require better public disclosure, strengthen job quality standards, and recapture subsides when companies don’t create jobs.

Candidate for Senate Joe Sestak supported by UFCW Union

05.21.10

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

Candidate for Senate Joe Sestak supported by UFCW Union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 26th- Wendell Young, President of the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, which has approximately 25,000 members throughout Southeastern, Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania, believes United States House of Representative Joe Sestak (Democrat-7th Legislative District) would be better for the labor community than incumbent United States Senator Arlen Specter. Mr. Sestak is challenging Mr. Specter in the May 18th Primary Election for the Democratic Party nomination. The winner will likely face former conservative Republican House of Representative (15th Legislative District) Pat Toomey in the fall election.

“Joe Sestak would be a better Senator for us than Arlen Specter. While a member of the Republican party, Mr. Specter voted 85 percent of the time with George Bush,” said Mr. Young.

Mr. Young told the newspaper he lives within the 7th Legislative District and has known Mr. Sestak for many years and he has supported the labor community while serving in Washington. “Local 1776 plus the International Union has endorsed Joe Sestak.”

“During his time in Congress he has one of the highest labor voting records. He supported the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct) before most Democrats did. I’m calling on labor people to support Mr. Sestak. He did not support the bad trade deals that have cost millions of Americans their jobs,” said Mr. Young.

According to information provided by Mr. Young, Mr. Sestak was an original co-sponsor of EFCAct that will safeguard the right to organize, protect workers from intimidation, and ensure the ability to secure a fair and timely contract. Mr. Specter opposes the legislation.

Mr. Sestak states he believes stronger worker health and welfare laws are needed that protect employees from unsafe conditions. He cited 5,800 died in the workplace in 2006, 16 every day and Pennsylvania is one of 26 states in the nation with no state Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg announced on March 30th, Mr. Specter has been endorsed over Mr. Sestak.

“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 (ARRAct) of 2009 which has protected jobs, helped unemployed workers, and prevented this nation from sinking into another great depression,” stated Bill George, President of the labor organization.

It was the third time Senator Specter was endorsed by the labor federation which requires two-thirds majority of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Executive Council.

Incoming Bishop has yet to respond to Union’s letter

05.21.10

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

Incoming Bishop has yet to respond to Union’s letter

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 26th- Mike Milz, the President of the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) Union which once represented teachers of the Scranton Diocese, told the newspaper Scranton’s next Bishop Joseph Bambera has not yet responded to his correspondence requesting a meeting to discuss the return of the union as the bargaining representative of the teachers.

“I’m not really surprised I haven’t heard from him. He can’t do anything until he officially takes over in April,” said Mr. Milz, who currently works as a field representative for the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) in the Lehigh Valley. Monsignor Bambera will assume the leadership of the 11 county Diocese in late April.

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 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 teachers.

In a article published in the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported Mr. Milz 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 he believes the termination was because of his union activity and his attempt to keep SDACT the bargaining representative of the Diocesan teachers.

“We are willing and able to sit down with the incoming Bishop to discuss the labor situation with him. I know we can work things out. We have stayed in contact with the teachers and they want us back,” said Mr. Milz.

Senator Specter introduces legislation that would fight against bad trade practices

05.21.10

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

Senator Specter introduces legislation that would fight against bad trade practices

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 17th- 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.

Laborers’ Union Local 130 files complaint against employer

05.21.10

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

Laborers’ Union Local 130 files complaint against employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 25th- The Laborers’ International Union of North America Union Local 130, Wyoming Avenue in Scranton, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia against an Lackawanna County employer alleging the company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, filed by Local 130 on March 22nd, 2010, Sandvik Inc./Sandvik Materials Technology, Griffin Pond Road in South Abington Township, is allege of violating Section 8 (a)(5), subsection (d) 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.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Attorney Robert Mariani, in Scranton.

Sandvik Inc. manufactures stainless steel pipe and related products at their facility in South Abington Township. The complaint states the Sandvik employs approximately 200 Local 130 members at the manufacturing facility.

“Beginning on or about February 12th, 2010, and continuing thereafter to this present date, the Respondent Employer has violated the above cited provisions of the Act by failing and refusing to execute a written contract incorporating the agreement reached by its representatives with charging party, Laborers Local 130. The Respondent’s refusal to execute a collective bargaining agreement embodying the terms and conditions of employment agreed upon is in bad faith and continues despite repeated requests by Laborers Local 130 for execution of a collecive bargaining agreement as stated above,” states the ULP.

The employer representative identified on the complaint to be contacted is Brian Spencer.

Two local union members receive George Meany Award

05.21.10

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

Two local union members receive George Meany Award

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsswb@aol.com

REGION, December 3rd- Two local union members received the George Meany Scouting Award.

It is estimated that one out of every four top Boy Scout unit leaders, varsity scout teams and venturing crews in the United States is a union member. Thousands of other union members serve the youth through the Boy Scouts of America in local districts, councils and on the regional and national levels.

In recognition of their contributions, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in 1974 established the George Meany Award, in honor of the first AFL-CIO leader. The organization was created in 1953. The George Meany Award is the highest award that is bestowed upon a union member involved with the Boy Scouts of America. The recipients of the award is also recognized for their service to other community volunteer service activities.

Each local central labor council, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, invites all local unions to submit their candidates for the award. The central labor council makes the final selection of its recipients for the candidates submitted. The central labor council forwards the recipients completed application containing all appropriate information to the Boy Scouts of America to receive their award. Each central labor council is allowed to present one Meany Award annually.

Mike Caffrey, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre, and Dallas resident, received the award from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council in Luzerne County.

Jack Evanik, a member of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645 in Scranton, and a resident of Dickson City, received the award from the Scranton Central Labor Union in Lackawanna County.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Somehow, I missed this article back in December. My apologies!

President Obama seats Craig Becker to the NLRB

05.21.10

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

President Obama seats Craig Becker to the NLRB

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 28th- President Barack Obama announced on March 27th the recess appointments of attorneys Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to fill two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC.

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 Obama Administration sent to the United States Senate the nomination of Craig Becker to be a member of the NLRB more than seven months ago but his appointment 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 agency.

In April, 2009 President Obama announced his intention to nominate 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. Mr. Hayes appointment was approved by the Senate.

The NLRB is an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. The agency also acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by private employers and unions. Because of the two recess appointments, the NLRB will have a full complement of five members for the first time since December 16th, 2007.

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.

In February 2010 Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican led filibuster against Mr. Becker’s nomination. The key procedural vote failed 52 to 33 with two Democratic Senators voted with the Republicans.

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.

Mr. Pearce was a founding partner of the Buffalo, New York lawfirm of Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen and Giroux, where he practiced union side labor and employment law before state and federal courts and agencies. In 2008 he was appointed to the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals, an independent quasi-judicial agency responsible for review of certain rulings and compliance orders of the New York Department of Labor in matters including wage and hour law.

The United States Chamber of Commerce wasted no time denouncing the recess appointment of Mr. Becker to the NLRB.

“This recess appointment disregards the Senate’s bipartisan rejection of Craig Becker’s nomination to the NLRB. Overriding the will of the Senate and providing this special interest (organized labor) payback contradicts the President’s claim to change the tone in Washington. The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America’s job creators to compete,” said Randel Johnson, of the United State Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC. The organization is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Labor unions that are affiliated with the organization are counted within those numbers.

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

Lessons for Obama from the Arkansas and Pennsylvania Democratic Primaries

05.19.10

Lessons for Obama from the Arkansas and Pennsylvania Democratic Primaries

The Obama White House hopefully will learn something about Obama 2008 winning coalition from the 2010 Democratic Primary Elections in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. The media needs to learn this same basic lesson. The Obama Movement was never just about Obama. It was about change… real change. While Obama gives a great speech and the Obama loves to hear him talk, they want real actions that they can believe in and they want it now!

Of course, the Obama movement is not really radical. However, it does want to see fundamental reforms in our political and economic system. The Obama White House has been unwilling to get out in front of the Obama Movement on almost every issue. Conservative and corporate forces within the Obama White House have effectively held back the pace of reforms and often have completely defeated them. The Obama Movement wants more! If they do not get more and soon then Obama will no longer be the leader of the Obama Movement.

Sestak won in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate race because labor activists and the local Democratic Party leaders did not follow Obama’s endorsement of Specter although their top leadership did. The grassroots refused. They were joined by some unions and essentially all progressive organizations at every level. Minority voters simply did not vote in large numbers. The Obama Movement effectively backed Sestak or stayed home for the most part. Obama cannot take the Obama Movement down paths outside their core values.

Specter was not the kind of leader the Obama Movement wanted. Sestak was and is a different story.

Sestak loves labor. Specter needed labor. The grassroots of the labor movement understood the difference.

Sestak wants to end needless wars and wants to curb excessive corporate power. He is certainly not anti-business but he does seem more focused on Main Street than serving Wall Street. The Republican in the race, Pat Toomey, is widely considered a complete tool of Wall Street and with good reason. Toomey effectively ran the Right Wing billionaires political entity known as the Club for Growth. He will not look good running against a tough military man with a devotion to mainstream middle class values.

I believe that Specter would have lost to Toomey. I believe Sestak will soundly defeat Toomey! Sestak is both a realist and an economic populist. He is honest and hardworking almost to a fault. The contrast with Toomey will be very clear in November.

Blanche Lincoln has voted with the Republicans often. She has blocked important legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act. Only since getting an effective Democratic challenger did she start voting more often for the kind of change desired by the Obama Movement.

Lincoln did not deserve the support of Obama based on her voting record. She still does not deserve his support in the run-off. Obama’s core supporters will hold this misplaced support against Obama for a long time to come.

Obama should have stayed out of the race in both Pennsylvania and Arkansas. The American people like and respect Obama but want Obama to act more aggressively to check excessive corporate power. Opposing progressive or reform Democratic challengers only makes Obama weaker.

The Obama Movement activists want Obama to aggressively push legislation to limit the damage from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Obama should push legislation requiring that all shareholders should have to approve in a vote before any money from the corporate treasury gets spent on elections or politics. Corporate executives should not be able spend corporate funds on politics if even one shareholder disagrees. The executives are spending other people’s money.

All publicly traded corporations should be required to give at least 20% of the Board of Director seats to elected representatives of their employees. Obama should push that legislation.

Obama should get out and start a nationwide voter education effort to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. It is time to make unionization elections truly democratic instead of jokes rigged in favor of corporations. Workers need a much bigger say in the economy and a bigger slice of the economic pie. Obama should support legislative limits on corporate executive salaries. Corporate executives should be removed completely from the election process for members of the Board of Directors.

Obama should push legislation to break up the largest banks, modify or repeal unfair “so-called free trade deals”, hold oil companies fully responsible for economic damages from oil spills without financial limits, appoint more aggressive regulators and judges, tax imports and start repealing decades of tax breaks for international corporations.

Every hint of going “corporate Republican-lite” upsets the Obama Movement. Obama needs to remember his base. Obama should look hard at making some staff changes and policy shifts in a more Democratic reform direction. He should compromise less with his enemies and remember his real friends.

The media should stop drinking the Republican Right “tea” kool-aid! The Tea Party Republicans are not economic populists nor anti-corporate. If Obama learns the lesson of these two elections, he can lead the Democratic Party in a real economic populist reform direction. This is what the Obama Movement wants and is the key to victory in 2010.

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

Feel free to publish or reprint at no charge without prior approval.

Airlines Against Democracy

05.18.10

Airlines Against Democracy

by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Pat Garofalo, and Alex Seitz-Wald

Last week, the National Mediation Board (NMB) ## which is tasked with overseeing labor-management relations under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) ## issued a ruling making elections for union representation more democratic. Previously, under the RLA (which governs railroads and airlines), workers who did not cast votes in an election were counted as having voted against unionization. Now, however, they will simply not be counted at all, like non-voters in any election for political office. The change brings the RLA’s process into line with elections held under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which covers most workplaces. The NMB said that the change “will provide a more reliable measure/indicator of employee sentiment in representation disputes and provide employees with clear choices in representation matters.” “The board will no longer presume that the failure or refusal of an eligible employee to vote is a vote against representation,” it added. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said that the NMB’s ruling represents “a new era of democracy.” “For far too long, flight attendants and other aviation and railway employees have faced significant obstacles in their quest for collective bargaining rights,” it said. However, since the ruling came down, the affected companies and their pro-corporate allies have been in an uproar, defending the antiquated previous rule, which unfairly tilted the playing field against workers trying to organize.

AIRLINES LAUNCH LAWSUIT: After the NMB announced the rule change, the Air Transport Association (ATA), an industry trade group, said it would be launching a lawsuit on behalf of several airlines. “It is quite clear to us that the NMB was determined to proceed despite the proposed rule’s substantive and procedural flaws, leaving us no choice but to seek judicial review,” the ATA said. The airlines joining the lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., yesterday include Jet Blue, AirTran Airways, and Delta Airlines, which arguably has the most to gain by preventing the rule change as its labor force is largely non-union. Delta has been trying to fend off unionization since it acquired largely unionized Northwest Airlines in 2008. “We believe that Delta and Delta people have been singled out for this rule change,” Mike Campbell, Delta executive vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in a memo yesterday. But as United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard noted, the old rule provided a huge incentive for airlines like Delta to inflate the size of their workforce in order to garner more automatic votes against unionization. “This created an incentive for employers to ‘accidentally’ include the names of workers who’d quit or retired,” he wrote. “Writing about losing an election in 2008, Delta flight attendant Linda Sorenson said airline officials released [their] list after the balloting. Among other problems, it included the name of a deceased worker.” This is not the first time that Delta has engaged in anti-union activity. In 2005, Delta attempted to void pilot contracts in bankruptcy court, but Judge Prudence Beatty said “one can talk about union busting and that is precisely what this kind of motion has the taint of.”

GOP DISAPPROVAL: Several Republican lawmakers immediately criticized the NMB’s decision…….

Read the rest of this article at http://pr.thinkprogress.org/2010/05/pr20100518/index.html

Richard Korn for Delaware State Auditor Announcement Tour

05.18.10

Please join Richard, Maggie and Alexandra on Richard’s Three County Announcement Tour for State Auditor

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Sussex)

Saturday, May 22nd 12:00 noon

The Brick Hotel on the Circle

Eighteen The Circle

Georgetown, Delaware 19947

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Kent)

Saturday, May 22nd 2:30pm

Belmont Hall State Conference Center‎
512 South Dupont Boulevard (new Route 13)
Smyrna, DE 19977

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (New Castle)

Sunday, May 23rd 4:00pm

Sheetmetal Workers Local 19 Union Hall

911 New Road (Next to Corpus Christi Elementary School in Elsmere)

Wilmington, DE 19805

Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

05.16.10

Published by AlterNet / Written By Mike Elk

Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

Labor unions need to start fighting their battles in the workplace, not on Capitol Hill.
May 13, 2010 |

As president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka is emerging as the voice of an increasingly irrelevant labor movement. As unionized work sinks to only 7 percent of the private sector, the labor movement is losing its influence within the Democratic Party. To revitalize labor, Trumka must not only challenge Democratic leaders, but wage political battles outside the bounds of party politics by bringing labor back to its working-class activist roots.

The failure of President Barack Obama to make a major push on the Employee Free Choice Act ## let alone give even a single speech dedicated to the topic ## is a telling sign of organized labor’s declining momentum inside the Beltway. As Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson noted in February, “For American labor, year one of Barack Obama’s presidency has been close to an unmitigated disaster.” Labor ranks so low on the president’s list of priorities that a new generation of Obama activists is now planning for a political environment altogether devoid of the labor movement….

Read more at:

AlterNet article link
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Mike Elk is a third-generation union organizer who writes for Campaign for America’s Future. He previously worked for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE).

Philadelphia Unionists Commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day

05.15.10

Workers’ Memorial Day Held in Philadelphia
by John O. Mason

Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor in charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was the keynote speaker at the 22nd Annual Workers Memorial Day breakfast and march, held at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 Hall, 1301 South Columbus Boulevard, on Friday, April 30, 2010.

The event was co-sponsored by Philadelphia AFL-CIO and the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH).

The event began with the playing of a video, produced by Brave New Films, titled “16 Deaths a Day,” about the number of workplace deaths that take place each day. The invocation was given by the Reverend Colleen M. Butler, of Campbell AME Church.

Tables were reserved for the families of workers in the Philadelphia area killed on the job-Kevin Sparks, Richie Brady, Thomas Hetrick, George Hamner, Fred Ware, Charles John McKelvey, Jeff Davis, Scott Shaw, William Palmer, Jeffery Martin.

Terry Gallagher, President of PHILPOSH, welcomed those who attended, and he recognized PHILAPOSH board members and staff-Director Barbara Rahke, Nicole Charles, and Bonnie Logue.

Patrick Eiding, President of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, greeted the families of deceased workers, saying, “We welcome you here. I wish it was on some other occasion, but we’re (happy to ) stand with you and recognize those folks you lost. “ Eiding also recognized Holly, Shaw, wife to Scott Shaw and head of a support committee for workers killed on the job.

“As always,” added Eiding, “Workers Memorial Day is supported my workers in Philadelphia, in a very strong and emotional way at many times. Today, there are over fifty local unions here, and councils representing twenty-two different national unions.” Eiding recognized such public officials at US Congressman Pat Murphy, Pennsylvania State Senator Tina Tartaglione and State Representative LeAnna Washington, Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenley, and students of Mercy Vocational High School.

“We went through eight terrible years” of the Bush administration, said Eiding, “ and we have a President right now who has shown more courage for working people, and will show more affiliation for working people, than any President we’ve had since Franklin Roosevelt. We need to stand up and cheer (Obama), and we need to work in 2010 (In the congressional races), to make sure we don’t lose the people who supported him.” Eiding urged participants to work to elect pro-labor candidates to support Obama’s agenda, such as tightening OSHA rules to better protect workers from fatalities. Eiding stated the purpose of the Workers Memorial Day event, “to recognize the name of one hundred and thirty workers who have died from work related injuries and illnesses in the past twelve months in the tri-state area.”

Barab recalled the time he sat down with AFSCME members, to “listen to them, to listen to the kind of work they do, (what) they have to face every day…(T)hat is the basis of” his work in Washington, to help workers.

Occupational safety, added Barab, is a “very difficult (topic) for American workers,” and he mentioned the deaths of the workers in the Big Branch mine in West Virginia and in the off-shore oil rig off the Gulf Coast. The news media, he added, does not mention the workers’ “friends, their families, and their coworkers,” along with workers who have died from diseases from their worksites and received injuries from their jobs; “Their lives are irrevocably changed,” he said, and he commended the families of workers killed on the job for meeting with US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

Barab cited “a disturbing pattern of deadly neglect in this country” among corporations in terms of worker safety, adding “Paying fines and penalties is just the cost of doing business, but it’s really the cost of putting profits before people. Today we’re here to say that price is too high.” Workers getting killed on the job, added Barab, “get forgotten, they get neglected, and that’s why we have such a fight to get through legislation in Congress, to make sure everybody notices and knows what happens to workers in a dangerous workplace, and how many lose their lives.”

America has, Barab added, “a workplace safety and health crisis,” and he called for revising the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA); “We have heard stories about how the appeals process has been log-jammed, how justice has been delayed, how tougher enforcement has been blocked, how workers continue to be exposed to potentially lethal hazards.” Penalties for violating OSHA regulations, said Barab, “are barely noticeable, they’re so low.” Employers, he added, “are basically gambling with their workers’ lives, and we know what happens when someone gambles, someone always loses.”

Sean Gerie, General Chairman of the Commuter Rail System division of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, spoke of the work his union’s members do: “We build, maintain and inspect the nation’s railroads-the tracks, the buildings, and the bridges,” he said, “we represent workers throughout the country on railroads. We have done so since 1887. Our members work in the most grueling conditions, extreme heat and humidity, bone-chilling cold, rain, sleet. Snow and ice create added responsibilities for us. While the riding public sleeps, we clear the snow and ice from railroad switches, station platforms, and parking lots. In order to meet the physical and mental demands of the job, it takes a certain kind of person.

“On November fifth, 2009,” added Gerie, “I received news that hit home. Kevin Leroy Sparks was the kind of person who gave of himself…He was a man who served his country in the United States Marine Corps, prior to his career in the railroad. He gave every day to provide for his family, in a job, as I stated, is not for the faint of heart.” Kevin Sparks, a member of Local 2910 of BMWE, performed track inspection duties when he was struck and killed by a SEPTA train, “carrying passengers to their jobs and schools,” said Gerie, “during the morning rush hour…It was characteristic of Kevin to perish while he himself ensured the safety of others.”

Jim Savage, President of Local 10-1 of the United Steel Workers, spoke of the explosion at the Tesoro refinery Washington State on Good Friday, “which immediately killed three workers and sent four more to the hospital with severe burns over the majority of their bodies. All four of those workers eventually died of their injuries…Within hours of the explosion, the oil industry, through their mouthpiece the American Petroleum Institute, put out a statement applauding their safety record. OF course their were talking about personal safety, not process safety.”

After the explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, said Savage, USW conducted a survey in all the refinery workers they represent in the US; “One or more of the root causes,” he said, “that lead to the tragedy in Texas City existed in over ninety percent of the facilities we represent.” OSHA also conducted a study of safety in refineries, and, said Savage, “the results were deplorable. More recently, our union began tracking every process safety incident in every facility we represent… a grassroots effort, operators, maintenance employees, writing it down when they see something, and we would gather all that information and get it to our safety department,” and the results were “shocking, stunning.”

Martin Brigham, an labor attorney in Philadelphia, spoke of the passing of attorney Robert Sloan, from cancer. “Our community,” said Brigham, “lost a famous advocate.” Twenty-five years earlier, said Brigham, “Bob Sloan and I first met, and we started working on the very first edition of Injured On The Job (a handbook published by PHILAPOSH for workers on their rights if they are injured). Over those twenty-nine years, Bob donated hundreds, if not thousands of hours to PHILAPOSH, giving advice to injured workers, and working constantly on revising (the handbook).” Bob Sloan, added Brigham, dedicated such work to the rights of injured workers.

Celeste Monforton, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at George Washington University, declared “Philadelphia rocks!”, showing her appreciation for the city’s Labor movement. “I never had the privilege to have a union in any of my workplaces,” she added, “but I found the spirit of solidarity through two organizations; one is the American Public Health Association, (particularly) its health and safety section, which is a seven-hundred person strong organization of advocates, physicians, nurses, educators.” Her other “sisterhood of support and collective action,” said Monforton, “is the United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities, an organization founded by Tammy Miser, who lost her brother in an aluminum dust explosion…I’m proud that two of our organization’s members, Holly Shaw and Tonya Ford, testified in the House and Senate earlier this week” in support of the Protecting America’s Workers Act.

Peggy Cohen spoke about her father-in-law, Fred Ware, 59 years old, who was killed in the Sago mine explosion in West Virginia in 2006. “My husband lost his father,” she said, “my children lost their grandfather, and my uncle lost his brother.” She spoke about the continuing accidents that have killed mine workers, adding, “our miners deserve better than this,” and how mine owners “have unpaid fines while miners continue to lose their lives.”

After the presentation, participants joined in a funeral procession in honor of workers killed on the job, led by Brian Widelitz playing the bagpipes. The procession ended at the Grand Plaza of Penn’s Landing, where Rabbi Mordechai Liebling read prayers and the 23rd Psalm. At the end of the program, participants lined up by the Delaware River and read the names of workers killed on the job in the Philadelphia area and threw roses into the river while Widelitz played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

Netroots Nation Scholarship voting

05.12.10

I would like to attend this event but cannot afford all the costs. I applied for one of the scholarships.

Would you be willing to vote for me online to receive one of these scholarships? Would you ask some of your friends to join in this effort?

I am hoping that this event will help expand and improve our show.

You can vote at http://www.democracyforamerica.com/netroots_nation_scholarships/ or http://www.democracyforamerica.com/netroots_nation_scholarships/844-stephen-crockett

Thanks for your time and consideration.

In solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Host, Democratic Talk Radio
Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com

UAW Pancake Breakfast & Flea Market in Delaware on Saturday, May 15th

05.11.10

FLEA MARKET

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2010
7AM – 2PM

SPACE WITH TABLE RENTAL $ 15.00
SPACE – WITH YOUR TABLE $ 10.00

Pancake Breakfast 8-11am $ 6.00

Contact: UAW Local 1183
302-738-4500 x 11 – Alena Bandy
To Reserve your Space!
Reserved Spaces must be paid for in Advance!

698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702.

DEMOCRATIC FRONTRUNNER FOR LT. GOVERNOR IN SCRANTON TO TAKE ISSUE WITH CORBETT’S STAND AGAINST ACCEPTING STIMULUS MONEY

05.11.10

Media Advisory

Saidel for Lt. Governor Campaign

May 11, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marty Marks 412.352.0317

DEMOCRATIC FRONTRUNNER FOR LT. GOVERNOR IN SCRANTON TO TAKE ISSUE WITH CORBETT’S STAND AGAINST ACCEPTING STIMULUS MONEY

Former Philadelphia Controller Jonathan Saidel to Speak at Labor Rally on Republican Governor Candidate’s Tea Party Pandering

Scranton, Pa – On Wednesday, May 12 at 5:00pm, Democratic Candidate Jonathan A. Saidel will appear at a labor rally at the Lackawanna County Courthouse to take on Republican Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett for pandering to the right and putting Pennsylvania jobs at risk.

“First he joined the tea baggers opposing healthcare reform and now he is pushing their bitter brew against federal stimulus assistance”, Saidel said. “Clearly this guy will say anything the rightwing of his party wants to hear, even it means giving up millions of dollars intended to put Pennsylvanian’s back to work,” according to Saidel.

Saidel will be joining workers from a variety of labor unions for the rally. He is endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council and the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters.

Jonathan Saidel will be available for interviews before and after the event, on site and remotely. To arrange an interview, call Marty Marks at 412.3562.0317.

Who: Jonathan A. Saidel, Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor; local labor leaders and members; local elected Democratic officials.

What: Labor Rally

Where: In front of John Mitchell Labor Memorial Statue, Lackawanna County Courthouse, Scranton, PA

When: Wednesday, May 12th at 5:00pm

SEIU Local 32BJ conducts rally, files labor complaint

05.11.10

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

SEIU Local 32BJ conducts rally, files labor complaint

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, April 17th- On April 15th food service workers marched in downtown Allentown alleging Sodexo, Inc. is anti-union and is using intimidation to keep them from unionizing.

The protest held near Sacred Heart Hospital was attended by employees of the medical centers kitchen and college cafeteria. The event was one of a ten-state protest against Sodexo Inc., which is a food service provider contractor headquartered in France.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ of New York, New York, is attempting to organize workers employed by Sodexo Inc. throughout the 10-states.

The Union filed on March 3rd, 2010 a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging Sodexo Inc. violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the complaint, the employer violated the NLRAct with respect to the food service workers employed at Lafayette College, 317 Hamilton Street in Easton. The company provides food service at Lafayette College.

A review by the newspaper of ULP’s filed at the NLRB revealed that no complaint was filed against Sodexo Inc. by the SEIU regarding Sacred Heart Hospital.

According to the Unfair Labor Practice charge Sodexo Inc. at Lafayette College:

• interrogated workers about their union activity;
• on February 18th, 2010 issued a written disciplinary warning to a worker in retaliation for her concerted protected activity, including organizing with Local 32BJ; and
• on february 24th, 2010, surveiling workers’ concerted protected activity and telling workers they are not allowed to talk about the Union.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files several complaints against two employers

05.11.10

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

Teamsters Union Local 773 files several complaints against two employers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, April 14th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed several complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging two Lehigh Valley employers violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

On April 1st, Local 773 filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Coca-Cola Bottling of the Lehigh Valley, 2150 Industrial Drive in Bethlehem Township alleging the company violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (3) of the NLRAct.

The Union alleges the “Employer through its agents has violated the above referenced provisions of the Act by failing and refusing to promote a member of Teamsters Local 773 to a supervisory position because of his union activity.”

Meanwhile, the union also filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging First Student East Penn, 3130 Route 100 in Macungie Township, violated the NLRAct.

“Since in or around March 2010, and continuing thereafter, the above named Employer, by its representative Garth Dunphy, has harassed, threatened and intimidated the Union’s Shop Steward because of her activities on behalf of the Union,” states the complaint

Group suggest changes to Workforce Development System

05.11.10

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

Group suggest changes to Workforce Development System

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, April 13th- According to four researchers there is a need for the “re-imagining” of the Workforce Development Act (WIA) to promote the creation of talent development systems that foster regional cooperation and prepare workers not only for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow.

The four researchers; the Public Policy Associates Inc., Berkeley Policy Associates; the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; and the Unversity of California-San Diego, are calling for changes to WIA.

The report comes at a critical moment as the United States Congress debates reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act which was enacted in 1998.

The researchers recently presented the findings of their research at a briefing that was held at the Department of Labor in Washington DC.

The report, “Strategic Workforce Development as a Catalyst for Economic Growth; Lessons and Insights from the Field and Implications for the Future of WIA,” indicates the need to develop integrated workforce development systems that thrive on collaboration across functional and jurisdictional boundaries.

The researchers who have vast experience in evaluating workforce development initiatives recommend that the WIA be re-characterized and christened as the “Strategic Workforce Development Act.” The change would reflect the need to develop integrated workforce development systems that thrive on collaboration across functional and jurisdictional boundaries.

The researchers concluded too often, various workforce development entities work in their own silos. In some cases, that can result in training workers for jobs that do not match the current or future needs of employees and fail to retool America’s workforce in alignment with long-term economic goals.

By thinking and acting more strategically, workforce development leaders can work to ensure that the various stakeholders, employers, economic development and workforce development boards, community colleges, and others collaborate to create effective approaches to transforming their regional economies and providing high-wage jobs for workers.

One of the recommended changes to WIA is a new system of measurement and accountability.

Unionization improves wages for immigrant workers

05.11.10

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

Unionization improves wages for immigrant workers

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 14th- According to a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, an Washington DC based independent economic think tank, there is a large wage and benefit advantage for immigrant workers if they are represented by a labor union relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, “Unions and Upward Mobility for Immigrant Workers,” analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), and found that unionization raises the pay of immigrant workers about $2.00 per hour. According to the report, immigrant workers in unions were also 50 percent more likly to have employer-provided pension plan than immigrant workers who where not in unions.

The report found that unionized immigrant workers earned, on average, 17 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, immigrant workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan.

“It is the labor market, not the border that is broken. Unionization raises wages and benefits and substantially for both United States born and immigrant workers,” said John Schmitt, a Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of the study. Mr. Schmitt was responding to common thinking that immigration is highly responsible for the high unemployment rate in the nation.

The study also shows that unionization benefited immigrant workers in otherwise low-wage occupations. Among immigrant workers in the 15 lowest paying occupations, union members earned almost 20 percent more per hour than those workers who were not in labor unions.

In the same low-wage occupations, unionized immigrants were more than twice as likely to have employer provided health insurance and almost three times as likely to have a pension plan than their nonunion counterparts.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research advisory board includes: Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Janet Gornick, Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University.

The Great Divide

05.11.10

The Great Divide

by LORENZO A. CANIZARES FOR BUZZFLASH

http://blog.buzzflash.com/contributors/3194

Several weeks ago, Paul Krugman, in an article entitled “Senator Bunning’s Universe,” said that “Democrats and Republicans live in different universes, both intellectually and morally.” I wholeheartedly agree with him. This statement, on the face of it, should shape how we view our future as a nation.

In this article, Krugman states that Republicans are unable to feel the pain of those that are suffering economically. It has been my opinion, from the time of the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000, that the combinations of greed and racism have been intertwined by the Republicans into a political view that have received the veneer of mainstream acceptance. This magic combo has provided Republicans the ideological cover for all the pain that they have inflicted on the middle/working class. That the majority of the recipients of this economic pain are white people is of no consequence for these Republicans. They have been able to create a mantra of themselves as protectors of white peoples’ interests in defense against the inordinate attacks to their livelihood by systemic demands coming from entitlement programs directed to keep lazy minorities happy. They also call their posture fighting encroaching socialism in their attempt to eliminate any possible empathy. They rationalize their anti-worker stand, which, again, affects mostly white people, by posing to be concerned with negative behavior from those they claim are amongst the unemployed and lack incentive to find jobs ## the welfare queen syndrome. Republican Party leaders no longer seem to be inclined to take racism seriously, unless they can twist it around as “reverse racism.”

The legend says, “A wounded beast is the fiercest.” Now, those ideologically guided by Greed and Racism have received a big blow with the victory of Obama and Pelosi in the Healthcare Reform Bill. In spite of the fact that the Bill has glaring weaknesses, the national perception is that the forces of fairness and inclusion has won a major battle; that the social movement that is behind Obama and Pelosi is very much alive and well and empowered to tackle other major reforms that are needed to sustain our democratic system. Republican plans for a cake-walk electoral victory in November are turning sour. Consequently, gun shops are selling weapons and ammunition briskly. A recent Harris poll shows that as many as one in four Republicans believe that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ!

Charles M. Blow in a NYT op-ed article “A Mighty Pale Tea” (4/17/10) does a survey of Tea Party members, and as the title of the article reveals, what he saw at a Tea Party rally in Dallas conforms to a NYT/CBS News poll released on 4/14/10, that Tea-Party affiliation is 1% Afro-American and 1% Hispanic. Unless your level of gullibility has risen to become a risk to your daily living, you will agree that the Tea Party is the militant street component of the Republican Party (I recognize that there are many Republicans still left in the Party that do not share these views, but in the main, the party has been taken by those of the Cheney/Rove ilk). Also, it is important to point out that the extreme views of the Tea Party members are not shared by the majority of whites, including many white Republicans. The Tea Party has been crafted to give it semblances of populism to fool regular, common folks about where their allegiances lie. Let’s not forget the Nazis real name was National Socialist Party.

When the Tea Party movement talks about the threat of socialism, and call for “a new revolution,” and vow to “take our country back” or cheer loudly when Sarah Palin says “reload,” it is time for regular, common folks to be concerned. After all, what we have seen of the Tea Party Movement membership is that they are capable of taking all those slogans literally. The good thing in all this is that we have seen the Democrats have been able to muster the courage to fight back. Kudos to Obama and Pelosi for steering the Party away from the perfect storm! Obama’s strategy of relying in Congressional leadership has been vindicated. Progressive Democrats that had supported Obama enjoyed a victory that could give strength to other necessary changes in the nation as we are beginning to see with the Financial Reform Bill. Of course, it remains to be seen how long this entente will last. Let’s not forget House Minority leader John Boehner’s rhetoric after the passage of the healthcare bill referring to its passage as “Armageddon.” And the picture of Nancy Pelosi in a fundraising appeal by the Republican National Committee surrounded by flames with the Committee’s chairman comment that it was time to put Pelosi on the firing line. They hide behind the first amendment to mouth all their poison, but we can never allow again their thugs to walk away from criminal behavior without severe penalty for their actions. Liberals tend to be nice people, but the biggest mistake that can be made with thugs is being perceived as weak.

Nonetheless, the healthcare victory and student financial-aid victory has provided Obama the opportunity to start seriously working on creating jobs. This past week it was announced that 290,000 jobs were created. But we need millions more! The Obama Administration needs to force those banks that have received public monies to behave responsibly and start lending their government-backed loan monies, especially to small businesses. President Obama, put on the call, and the American people will make sure that they comply!

Gene Lyons reports in an article in the 4/7/10 edition of Liberal Opinion that Bruce Bartlett, a conservative thinker, cites a survey of Tea Partiers at a recent Washington demonstration that shows most know nothing about the policies they so noisily abhor. Bartlett cites as an example that almost none of the Tea Partiers realize that Obama job stimulus plan gave “90 percent of all taxpayers…a tax cut last year and almost 100 percent to those in the $50,000 income range.” Our great divide is being defined as a war against the racism-fueled ignorance masterminded by Unbridled Greed’s Greed Machine. We can win, but we can’t let our guard down, and least of all believe for a second that these people are of the same ilk as we are.

LORENZO A. CANIZARES FOR BUZZFLASH