Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Joe Sestak Wins Pennsylvania Primary, with Plenty of Labor Support on His Side

05.21.10

Joe Sestak Wins Pennsylvania Primary, with Plenty of Labor Support on His Side

UFCW members of UFCW Locals 23 and 1776 celebrated last night as the candidate that they worked for, Joe Sestak, surged to victory against incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter.

The New York Times reports that organized labor suffered a defeat when Sestak won last night, but for Pennsylvania UFCW members, BAC Local 1-PA members, USW 10-1 members, three APWU locals’ members, and other labor groups and organizations, that’s just plain wrong. Sure, some labor organizations endorsed Senator Specter, but others knew all along that Sestak was their man## the candidate for working families in Pennsylvania.

Kevin Kilroy, Political Director of UFCW Local 23, had this to say about the UFCW’s decision to endorse Sestak:

“Voters are tired of lukewarm politicians who are unresponsive to the needs of working families. Sestak has a proven record of getting things done in the House of Representatives. He seems to come down on the side of the average work a day person who is struggling to make ends meet. I think that the voters responded to him in kind.”

And UFCW Local 1776 put out this statement:

“Last night’s win by Joe Sestak was a great victory for the working men and women of Pennsylvania. Local 1776 and the entire UFCW family are proud to be a large part of his victory.

Our members told us loudly and clearly that it was time for a change in the US Senate. They know Joe Sestak. They like him and they trust him. They know that he shares our values and that we can count on him to stand up for what he believes in.

We decided to stand with Joe early in his campaign, and our membership supported us every step of the way. He’s going to be a great candidate in November against the anti-labor Pat Toomey. We look forward to working with Joe on a working families agenda that includes job creation and the Employee Free Choice Act.’

According to many UFCW, BAC, USW, and APWU members, other labor supporters, and working families across Pennsylvania, the right person for the job won last night. Now all of labor will certainly get behind him and help him win that Senate seat this fall.

Posted by Amber Sparks, UFCW on their Blog http://ufcw.blogspot.com/2010/05/ufcw-endorsed-candidate-joe-sestak-wins.html

## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## -
EDITOR’S NOTE: I highly encourage readers to visit the UFCW website and sign up for their newsletter. It is very well done and is full of useful information!

Nurses may strike operator of the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital

05.21.10

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

Nurses may strike operator of the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- Negotiations between the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Professionals (PASNAP) Union and Community Health Systems (CHS) Inc., which owns and operates the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital located on North River Street in Wilkes-Barre, for a new agreement agreement is moving slowly and the union is considering a job action which includes possibly going on strike.

PASNAP, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, represents approximately 440 nurses employed at the medical center. The Union also represents nurses employed at the Community Medical Center (CMC) on Mulberry Street in Scranton.

The union and the employer have been negotiating for more than twelve months attempting to gain a successor contract agreement. The previous pact expired on August 30th, 2009. The two sides agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while negotiations continue for a new pact.

The Tennessee based CHS Inc. is the largest owner of for-profit hospitals in the United States and also operates a facility in Pottsville.

Several of the main issues prohibiting the two sides from reaching an agreement is changes to employee healthcare insurance and staffing levels.

On March 11th, 2010, the Union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Philadelphia alleging CHS Inc. is negotiating in bad faith and violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

“Since on or about September 20th, 2009 and all times thereafter, the above-named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, has failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with WVNA/PASNAP, a labor organization, designated or selected by a majority of the employees of said employer in an appropriate unit for the purpose of collective bargaining with respect to rates of pay, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment. Since on or about September 20th, 2009, the above-named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, has interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the NLRAct.

According to Terry Marcavage, PASNAP Staff Representative, negotiations between the parties are not going well. “It was just the one year anniversary of the takeover of the hosptial by CHS. The relationship between the nurses and the hospital is not good,” said Ms. Marcavage. The company has operated the hospital since May 2009 after purchasing the medical facility for $271 million.

Ms. Marcavage stated it is very possible the only alternative the nurses may have to get a contract is to go on strike. “While patient care comes first, to gain a new contract we may need to go out on strike.”

She stated the union believes CHS contract proposals show the employer is more interested is making more profits than operating a patient caring medical center.

Labor community divided in the Pennsylvania Senate races

05.21.10

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

Labor community divided in the Pennsylvania Senate races

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 1st- The labor community is divided with their support for the candidates seeking to replace Raphael Musto and Robert Mellow in the Pennsylvania Senate. Mr. Musto (Democrat-14th Legislative District) and Mr. Mellow (Democrat-22nd Legislative District) are retiring from the General Assembly in 2010.

There are six Democratic candidates seeking to replace Mr. Mellow including: Jim Wansacz, Chris Phillips, Charles Volpe, Joe Corcoran, John Blake and Chris Doherty.

The 22nd Legislative District includes Lackawanna, part of Monroe and part of Luzerne Counties. The 14th Legislative District includes part of Luzerne, part of Monroe and part of Carbon Counties.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District Council 21 endorsed Mr. Wansacz. John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21 told the newspaper the membership of his union believes if elected Mr. Wansacz would support the labor community. Jim Wansacz is currently the Pennsylvania House of Representative for the 114th Legislative District.

Chris Phillips, a Scranton School Director, was endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 60, which represents the Fire Department of Scranton.

Charles Volpe, a local businessman, is being supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229 in Scranton.

According to Robert Weber, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, Mr. Volpe has expressed while meeting with him a strong support of unions’ and workers’ rights. “Chuck Volpe’s support of Unions’ and Workers’ Rights will be a strong voice which is desperately needed at the State and Local political levels,” stated Mr. Weber.

Joe Corcoran was endorsed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87.

Chris Doherty is being supported by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81 in Scranton. Mr. Doherty is the Mayor of Scranton.

There are two Democratic candidates seeking to replace Mr. Musto. House of Representative John Yudichak (119th Legislative District) and Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre is supporting Mr. Leighton.

The International Association of Bridge, Structural Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 489 endorsed John Yudichak.

Unemployment rate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA rises to 9.8 percent

05.21.10

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

Unemployment rate in MSA rises to 9.8 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 8.2 percent.

The unemployment rate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is 9.0 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,458,000 with 582,000 not working and 5,876,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, unchanged from the previous report.

There are 15,005,000 civilians in the nation reported to be unemployed.

That number does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work. There are at least 21,000,000 civilians in the nation without jobs.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fouth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 286,700 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,991,500 with 275,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,128,300 with 103,600 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 426,400 with 41,600 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 286,300 with 22,900 without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton is tied with the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA and the Johnstown MSA for the second highest unemployment rate. The Erie MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 10.0 percent, with the Reading MSA third highest at 9.7 percent.

There are 28,100 residents reported to be not working in the MSA, increasing by 4,800 from twelve months before. That number also does not include civilians who unemployment benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.4 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 7.6 percent, the Altoona MSA has the third lowest rate at 7.9 percent followed by the Lancaster MSA at 8.0 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and increasing by one and five-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 108,800, decreasing by 500 civilians from the previous report and rising by 500 from one year ago. There are 10,100 Lackawanna County residents without jobs, increasing by 1,600 from twelve months ago.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and increasing by one and seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Luzerne County has a labor force of 163,200, decreasing by 800 from the previous report and increasing by 1,200 during the past year. Of the labor force 16,700 do not have a job, increasing by 100 during the past four weeks and rising by 2,900 from one year ago.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, increasing by two and two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and jumping by one and eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year ago. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,700, increasing by 300 from the previous report and dropping by 100 during the past twelve months. There are 1,500 Wyoming County residents without jobs, increasing by 400 from the previous report and increasing by 300 from one year ago.

Within the MSA, manufacturing jobs decreased by 1,200 during the past twelve months to 28,600. The labor department reported the number was the lowest ever recorded for the sector.

Goods producing jobs have decreased by 1,400 during the past twelve months to 37,300. Nonfarm jobs decreased by 3,600 during the past twelve months to 249,800 with construction jobs dropping by 200 and service-producing jobs dropping by 2,200.

Teamsters Union Local 401 and Duryea Borough still without contract agreement

05.21.10

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

Teamsters Union Local 401 and Duryea Borough still without contract agreement

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- Negotiations are continuing between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 and representatives of the Borough of Duryea for a first time collective bargaining agreement.

On September 11th, 2009, Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the workers want to be represented by Local 401 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

On January 29, 2010, the parties filed a Joint Request for Certification with the PLRB.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, the union represents all full-time and regular part-time blue collar nonprofessional employees including Public Works employees.

Patrick Connors, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 401, told the newspaper the two parties met for a first negotiating meeting on March 2nd. The Borough of Duryea labor negotiator is Scranton labor attorney Robert Ufberg.

Mr. Murphy told the newspaper the parties have now met four times and negotiations are moving “slowly.”

“We are still on contract language. I really don’t know when we will get to wages,” said Mr. Murphy.

Unions sponsor project that benefits 500 local children

05.21.10

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

Unions sponsor project that benefits 500 local children

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- The United Way of Wyoming Valley and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation recently recognized the major donors and sponsors of the annual project which benefits 500 local children with special needs. Special certificates of appreciation were distributed at the conclusion of the Wilkes-Barre Labor Council meeting. The organization meets on the third Thursday of the month.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Union Local 44 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local 401 were Gold Sponsors.

The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union Local 38 and the Labor Council were Bronze Sponsors.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union Local 1699, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Local 2585, the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union Local 13000, Ed Harry, IUE/CWA Union Local 88177, the National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Branch 115, the United Steelworkers (USW) Union Local 5652, Utility Workers Union Local 406, and PASNAP Union, the Wyoming Valley Nurses Association Charter, were Bronze Sponsors.

“I would like to extend a special note of thanks to all the unions and individual union members who donated to this special labor community services project,” stated Walter Klepaski, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Community Services Liaison of the Wyoming Valley United Way, the go-between the labor community and the community organization.

AFGE supporting legislation to expand bargaining rights

05.21.10

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

AFGE supporting legislation to expand bargaining rights

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 26th- The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union and its National Veterans Association Council (NVAC) urged the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to support legislation which would provide full collective bargaining rights for physicans, dentists, registered nurses, and other Veterans Administration health care professionals covered by the Title 38 personnel system. The legislation could pave the way for current non-bargaining unit employees at the Veterans Hospital in Wilkes-Barre Township in Luzerne County to become union members. AFGE Local 1699 represents employees at the medical center.

In a statement to the House Veterans Subcommittee on Health, the union complimented the Veterans Affairs for changing its stance of opposition of the legislation and urged the Committee to capitalize on the change in momentum.

“The deep desire of Veterans Administation health care professionals to care for veterans is undermined by personnel policies that deny Veterans Administration professionals basic rights and dignity provided to their federal counterparts outside of the Veterans Administration with full Title 5 bargaining rights. When this legislation was initially proposed two years ago, the Veterans Affairs opposition was based entirely on fear and distortion,” stated Alma Lee, President of the National Veterans Association Council.

The most recent example of that transformation came after the White House issued an Executive Order, creating labor-management forums. In its response the Executive Order 13522, which was signed by President Obama, the Veterans Administration’s implementation plan recognizes that “cooperative, constructive working relations between labor and management are essential to achieving common labor-management goals and objectives,” said Alma Lee.

The Veterans Administration’s implementation plan also specifically addresses bargaining and negotiation rights.

The plan states the Department of Defense is committed to pre-decisional involvement in workplace matters, without regard to whether those matters are negotiable subjects of bargaining. The Department is committed, wherever appropriate, to engage the labor partners on issues that historically have been outside the scope of bargaining.

The American Federation of Government Employees stated in light of this of heart by the Veterans Affairs the union is urging the House Veterans Administration Committee to seize the momentum and enact this deeply important legislation.

“It’s time to put into place policies that can bridge the unfair, arbitary disparities that exist between Title 38 Veterans Administration health care professionals and their counterparts in their own agency, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Prisons who use their Title 5 rights to speak up for safe patient care and working conditions. The Veterans Administration faces too many challenges to allow this legislation to languish any further. Now is the time to act,” said J. David Cox, AFGE national secretary-treasurer and former nurse for 23 years.

The American Federation of Government Employees is the nation’s largest federal employee union, representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia including nearly 200,000 in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Besides locally representing employees at the Veterans Hospital, AFGE Local 1647 represents employees at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Monroe County.

Legislation introduced to help in construction and renovation of medical schools

05.21.10

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

Legislation introduced to help in construction and renovation of medical schools

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 17th- Legislation was introduced by companion bills in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate respectively, which would help to construct new medical school facilities or renovate and improve existing facilities like the Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton.

The Medical School Construction Grant Act would help ensure that more physicians receive the education and training that they need to aid our country’s health care system at a time when more health care workers are desperately needed to address the high demands on the system.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator and Scranton resident Robert Casey Jr. introduced the legislation in the Senate while House of Representative (Democrat-11th Legislative District) Paul Kanjorski introduced the legislation in the House.

“Countless reports in recent years have found that our country needs to educate and train more physicians in order to meet growing need for medical services. One of the key components of this task is ensuring there are enough medical schools to educate individuals to meet this need. In order to prevent predicted physician shortages, Congress must take action to help bolster medical school construction to spur job creation in the construction industry and increase the number of physicans,” said Mr. Casey.

The Commonwealth Medical College is currently under construction and being built with mostly unionized construction workers.

SDACT Union waiting to hear from Bishop Bambera

05.21.10

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

SDACT Union waiting to hear from Bishop Bambera

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 29th- According to Mike Milz, the President of the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers (SDACT) Union, no meetings or discussions have been held between any union official and Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera about returning the union as the bargaining representative of the Diocesan teachers.

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.

Mr. Martino stated the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) had no jurisdition and therefore the Diocese of Scranton could simply ignore labor law and not bargain with SDACT, despite Bishop Martino’s stance clearly violated Pennsylvania labor law.

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.

Mr. Milz, who currently works as a field representative for the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) in the Lehigh Valley, told the newspaper his union is “willing and able” to sit down with Bishop Bambera at any time to discuss the labor issue with him.

“The one thing that is obvious, the teachers would like to be unionized.” Hopefully, sometime soon we could sit down and work this thing out,” said Mr. Milz.

Monsignor Bambera became the 10th Bishop of Scranton on April 26th. The Diocese covers eleven Counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

SEIU amends complaint filed against nursing home operators

05.21.10

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

SEIU amends complaint filed against nursing home operators

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- The complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, alleging an employer in Lackawanna County violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) is still pending and the agency is investigating the merit of the charge.

On March 19th, 2010, the Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the Lackawanna Healthcare Center, Sturges Road in Olyphant, alleging the Employer violated Section 8(a) and 5 of the NLRAct.

However, the newspaper has learned the Union has amended their complaint and instead of Union Organizer Carlos Rivera being the name that filed the ULP on behalf of the SEIU, the amended charge was filed by Attorney Bruce Ludwig of Philadelphia.

The Lackawanna Healthcare Center is a nursing home and is owned and operated by Millenium Management LLCof Miami Florida.

Lackawanna County owned and operated the facility until March 2010 when a sale was approved to Millenium Management for $13.4 million. Funds from the sale will be used to fill a projected hole in Lackawanna County’s 2010 budget.

Lackawanna County will use approximately $6 million of the sale to pay the outstanding dept and around $1 million will be used to pay employees accrued benefits including vacation days.

After the Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Mike Washo announced their intention to sell the 272 bed facility in March 2009, bids were accepted to purchase the nursing home.

According to the complaint there are approximately 295 workers employed at the facility.

“Since or about March 1st, 2010, the above-named employer became the perfectly clear successor to the County of Lackawanna County with regard to this nursing home and assumed the existing collective bargaining agreement covering the bargaining unit. However, since that date, the employer has failed and refused to recognize the Union and to bargain collectively over terms and conditions of employment. In addition, the employer has refused to process grievances or provide information requested by the Union with respect to grievances and other collective bargaining matters. The employer has changed terms and conditions of employment without bargaining,” the amended ULP states, filed on March 26th.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania also represents nurses employed at the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

The NLRB told the newspaper the agency is investigating the complaint and if found the operator of the Lackawanna Healthcare Center violated the NLRAct a hearing will be scheduled.

Before Millenium took over the operation of the nursing home company officials stated the company would honor the terms and conditions of the bargaining agreement signed by the SEIU and Lackawanna County. However, according to the union, company officials have made unilateral changes to the bargaining agreement without meeting with them. Under the NLRAct, an employer must negotiate with a union before making changes regarding working conditions.

A.J. Munchak, Republican Minority Commissioner, told the newspaper he believes the labor situation will be worked-out. However, he stated union officials have not requested for him to get involved with the situation.

Laborers’ Union withdraws complaint against employer

05.21.10

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

Laborers’ Union withdraws complaint against employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 29th- The complaint filed by the Laborers’ International Union Local 130, Wyoming Avenue in Scranton, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia, alleging an Lackawanna County employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) has been withdrawn.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was exclusively reported that Local 130 filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge on March 22nd, 2010 against Sandvik Inc./Sandvik Materials Technology, Griffin Pond Road in South Abington Township, alleging the employer violated Section 8 (a)(5), subsection (d) of the NLRAct.

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice 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 stated 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,” the complaint stated.

According to the NLRB, the ULP has been withdrawn by the union because Sandvik management signed the contract agreement with Local 130.

The employees were represented by a Laborers’ local union in New Jersey until several years ago when Local 130 took over representation

SEIU amends complaint filed against nursing home operators

05.21.10

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

SEIU amends complaint filed against nursing home operators

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 30th- The complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, alleging an employer in Lackawanna County violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) is still pending and the agency is investigating the merit of the charge.

On March 19th, 2010, the Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the Lackawanna Healthcare Center, Sturges Road in Olyphant, alleging the Employer violated Section 8(a) and 5 of the NLRAct.

However, the newspaper has learned the Union has amended their complaint and instead of Union Organizer Carlos Rivera being the name that filed the ULP on behalf of the SEIU, the amended charge was filed by Attorney Bruce Ludwig of Philadelphia.

The Lackawanna Healthcare Center is a nursing home and is owned and operated by Millenium Management LLCof Miami Florida.

Lackawanna County owned and operated the facility until March 2010 when a sale was approved to Millenium Management for $13.4 million. Funds from the sale will be used to fill a projected hole in Lackawanna County’s 2010 budget.

Lackawanna County will use approximately $6 million of the sale to pay the outstanding dept and around $1 million will be used to pay employees accrued benefits including vacation days.

After the Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Mike Washo announced their intention to sell the 272 bed facility in March 2009, bids were accepted to purchase the nursing home.

According to the complaint there are approximately 295 workers employed at the facility.

“Since or about March 1st, 2010, the above-named employer became the perfectly clear successor to the County of Lackawanna County with regard to this nursing home and assumed the existing collective bargaining agreement covering the bargaining unit. However, since that date, the employer has failed and refused to recognize the Union and to bargain collectively over terms and conditions of employment. In addition, the employer has refused to process grievances or provide information requested by the Union with respect to grievances and other collective bargaining matters. The employer has changed terms and conditions of employment without bargaining,” the amended ULP states, filed on March 26th.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania also represents nurses employed at the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

The NLRB told the newspaper the agency is investigating the complaint and if found the operator of the Lackawanna Healthcare Center violated the NLRAct a hearing will be scheduled.

Before Millenium took over the operation of the nursing home company officials stated the company would honor the terms and conditions of the bargaining agreement signed by the SEIU and Lackawanna County. However, according to the union, company officials have made unilateral changes to the bargaining agreement without meeting with them. Under the NLRAct, an employer must negotiate with a union before making changes regarding working conditions.

A.J. Munchak, Republican Minority Commissioner, told the newspaper he believes the labor situation will be worked-out. However, he stated union officials have not requested for him to get involved with the situation.

Nurses Union files complaint against Medical Center

05.21.10

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

Nurses Union files complaint against Medical Center

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 27th- Informational picketing, petitions signed by the public to show support for the nurses, and political leaders letters to company officials, have not resulted in the union representing nurses at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital from gaining a new contract agreement for their members.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Professionals (PASNAP) Union and Community Health Systems (CHS) Inc., which owns and operates the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital located on North River Street in Wilkes-Barre, have been negotiating for more than eleven months attempting to gain a successor contract agreement. The previous pact expired on August 30th, 2009.

PASNAP, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, represents approximately 440 nurses employed at the medical center. The Union also represents nurses employed at the Community Medical Center (CMC) on Mulberry Street in Scranton.

PASNAP is affiliated with the California Nurses Association (CNA).

The two sides agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while negotiations continued for a new pact.

CHS Inc. is the largest owner of for-profit hospitals in the United States including a facility in Pottsville.

Several of the main issues prohibiting the two sides from reaching agreement is changes to employee healthcare insurance and staffing levels.

On March 11th, 2010, the Union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Philadelphia alleging CHS Inc. is negotiating in bad faith and violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

“Since on or about September 20th, 2009 and all times thereafter, the above-named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, has failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with WVNA/PASNAP, a labor organization, designated or selected by a majority of the employees of said employer in an appropriate unit for the purpose of collective bargaining with respect to rates of pay, hours of employment, and other terms and conditions of employment. Since on or about September 20th, 2009, the above-named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, has interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the NLRAct.

Specifically, the employer has instituted unilateral changes to employees’ terms and conditions of employment without providing notice and an opportunity to bargain,” states the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge.

Union successfully organizes workers in Wilkes-Barre

05.21.10

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

Union successfully organizes workers in Wilkes-Barre

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 29th- The International Union of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Union Local 506, Roseville, Michigan, was successful in organizing employees that 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.

A petition was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia on February 8th, 2010 requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if approximately 44 workers of the company wanted to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by the union.

The union wanted all security guard services employees to participate in the election and requested all office clericals, managerial personnel, confidential personnel, and supervisors be excluded from voting.

The NLRB decided not to conduct a secret ballot election at the employer rather ballots were mailed to eligible to vote employees homes. Ballots needed to be returned to the NLRB by the employees before March 24th, 2010 have counted.

The employees voted 31 for union representation to 9 against with no challenges. The union needed 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees to support the union to become their bargaining representative.

The newspaper discovered the petition while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the agency office. The newspaper routinely reviews complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office.

SEIU files complaint against Lackawanna County employer

05.21.10

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

SEIU files complaint against Lackawanna County employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 28th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging a employer in Lackawanna County violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

On March 19th, 2010, the Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against the Lackawanna Healthcare Center, Sturges Road in Olyphant, alleging the Employer violated Section 8(a) and 5 of the NLRAct.

The Lackawanna Healthcare Center is a nursing home and is owned and operated by Millenium Management LLCof Miami Florida.

Lackawanna County owned and operated the facility until March 2010 when a sale was approved to Millenium Management for $13.4 million. Funds from the sale will be used to fill a projected hole in Lackawanna County’s 2010 budget.

Lackawanna County will use approximately $6 million of the sale to pay the outstanding dept and around $1 million will be used to pay employees accrued benefits including vacation days.

After the Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Mike Washo announced their intention to sell the 272 bed facility in March 2009, bids were accepted to purchase the nursing home.

According to the complaint there are approximately 295 workers employed at the facility.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania also represents nurses employed at the Mercy Hospital in Scranton and Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.

“Since on or about March 1st, 2010, and at all times thereafter, the above named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, failed and refused to bargain collectively in regards to hours of employment and other conditions of employment.

The employer, Millennium has refused to talk to the union, process grievances or meet with the union to discuss charges in the employees working conditions. Such as changing members’s job, changing medical plan, assigning union jobs to managers (erosion of the bargaining unit), failure to provide information requested in the attempt to investigate a possible grievance and change direct deposit procedure without discussing with the union,” states the complaint.

The Employer Representative to be contacted on the complaint is Teresa Viscardia, indentified as the Lackawanna Healthcare Center Vice President of Operations.

The Unfair Labor Practice charge was filed on behalf of the Union by Carlos Rivera, indentified as Organizer of SEIU Health Pennsylvania.

The SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Union for many years was called SEIU 1199P but changed the name several years ago.

The NLRB told the newspaper the agency is investigating the complaint and if found the operator of the Lackawanna Healthcare Center violated the NLRAct a hearing will be scheduled.

Before Millenium took over the operation of the nursing home company officials stated the company would honor the terms and conditions of the bargaining agreement signed by the SEIU and Lackawanna County. However, according to the union, company officials have made unilateral changes to the bargaining agreement without meeting with them. Under the NLRAct, an employer must negotiate with a union before making changes regarding working conditions.

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.