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Carpenters Union proud of training and education center

07.11.10

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

Carpenters Union proud of training and education center

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 29th- The Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters Union which is affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America International Union, is proud of their training and educational center in North Lebanon Township and continues to expand the center and the programs.

Robert Zukovich, Coordinator/Instructor of the Carpenters Training and Educational Fund of Greater Pennsylvania, told the newspaper the center first opened in 1988. Mr. Zukovich stated the facility is equipped with the highest quality of materials and machinery needed to educate union apprentices the skills of carpentry.

“The facility is designed to prepare the next generation of carpenters,” said Mr. Zukovich. The facility is also used by journeyman members to expand their skills in the trade.

According to Vern Johnson, Northeast Manager of the Council Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters and Vice President of Carpenters Union Local 645 in Scranton, which represents Carpenters Union members throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, the training center is a state-of-art facility and has expanded since 1988 from 7,800 square feet to more than 35,000 square feet today.

Local 645 is affiliated with the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters. Local 261 in Scranton had their own training center before the union merged with Carpenters Union Local 514 in Wilkes-Barre approximately seven years ago creating Local 645.

Under the apprentice program applicates must complete a four-year training program which requires classroom teaching and on-the-job training.

Working apprentices wage rates will increase every six months until reaching journeyman status at the end of the four-year program.

Under the millwrights training program, apprentices and journeymen who wish to continue their training, learn to install, maintain, diagnose and repair machines like compressors, pumps, conveyors, monorails, extruders, gas and steam turbines, and mining equipment.

Under the carpenters training program, apprentices learn the carpentry trade which includes working with building materials made with wood, installing tile and insulation, acoustical ceilings, cabinets, and siding.

Gary Ford, President/Organizer of Local 645 and an instructor at the training center stated the Carpenters Training and Educational Fund of Greater Pennsylvania has partnered with the Harrisburg Community College to provide the apprentices with the opportunity to receive college credits.

Mr. Johnson said the rewards of apprenticeship training through the Carpenters are the good wages and benefits received as a skilled craftsperson. He said a unionized carpenter will be working for a union contractor under the protection of a union contract.

Apprentice applicants must reside in twenty-seven counties of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania which includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming and Monroe Counties.

The United Brothershood of Carpenters has around 500,000 union members throughout the United States and Canada.

Representative requesting coal miners should be honored on postage stamp

07.11.10

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

Representative requesting coal miners should be honored on postage stamp

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 29th- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives adopted union member Eddie Day Pashinski (Democrat-121st Legislative District) resolution offering condolences to the families of the 29 miners who died in a coal explosion in the Upper Branch Mine-South in Raleigh County, West Virginia in April.

Mr. Pashinski also announced he is urging the United States Postal Service (USPS) to honor the efforts of the American coal miner and issue a United States postage stamp honoring coal miners and their families.

Mr. Pashinski is requesting that Congress recognize the sacrifice of the more than 100,000 miners who have died in the course of coal mining in the United States by placing the image of the American coal miner on the face of a stamp.

“The time has come to honor the exhausting and dangerous work performed by generations of coal miners who have powered the past and continue to power the future of this great nation,” Mr. Pashinski stated.

He stated the resolution recommends that states, including Pennsylvania, review their coal mine safety rules.

Pennsylvania Teachers Union’s support pension legislation

07.11.10

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

Pennsylvania Teachers Union’s support pension legislation

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 16th- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a comprehensive pension reform bill on June 16th that tempers the dramatic spike in pension costs faced by the state and school districts and creates new rules for future employees in an effort to stabilize the finances of public pension funds in future decades.

House Bill number 2497 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 192 to 6 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The measure includes two key elements: mitigating the skyrocketing employer contribution costs faced by the state and school districts by changing the systems’ funding methodologies, and reducing benefits for future state and public school employees.

Under the plan, increased costs to the state and school districts would be capped by a set percentage that increases each year for four years up to 4.5 percent. The increase for subsequent years would remain at 4.5 percent until such a time as the increased costs borne by the state and school districts are less than what is required.

Once that level of payment is reached, neither the state nor the school districts would be permitted to contribute less than the “normal cost” to maintain benefits as determined by actuaries. Meanwhile the state’s two school employees unions, the American Federation of Teachers of Pennsylvania (AFT) and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), are supporting the legislation.

“Our organization supports the legislation as a balanced solution to address pension concerns, while preserving the defined benefits pension system for current and future school employees and reducing costs to taxpayers in 2011 and beyond,” said James Testerman, President of the PSEA.

“This bill helps preserve and protect jobs and quality education now, and keeps the promise of a secure retirement in the future,” stated Ted Kirsch, President of the AFT of Pennsylvania.

The PSEA is not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) in Washington while the AFT is affiliated with the labor federation.

Under the amendment, new public school employees will contribute 7.5 percent of their pay to their pension, currently they pay 6.25 percent.

NALC Union members collect a record amount of food

07.11.10

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

NALC Union members collect a record amount of food

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 5th- Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union collected a record amount of food during their national food drive held across the nation on May 8th.

Americans donated 77.1 million pounds of nonperishable food to help stamp out hunger in their communities this year in the annual Letter Carriers National Food Drive.

NALC President Fredric Rolando stated 77,132,180 pounds of food were collected in the drive and delivered to local food banks, pantries and shelter to help needy families. It is the nation’s largest one-day effort to combat hunger. “The results of the May 8 effort easily eclipsed the previous record, set last year of 73.4 million pounds,” said Mr. Rolando.

The 18th annual food drive boosted the total donations collected since the drive began in 1993 to more than 1 billion pounds.

“Despite the lingering effects of the recession, postal customers came through again this year in the continuing fight against hunger in America. Our members and the thousands of rural letter carriers and other volunteers were proud to deliver the generous donations from millions of caring citizens who wanted to help needy families in their communities,” added Mr. Rolando.NALC members in the Lehigh Valley are represented by Local Branch 389 in Easton, Local Branch 274 in Bethlehem and Local Branch 254 in Allentown.

The food drive is held in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. It is the largest one-day food drive in the nation.

The effort by the union began in 1991 with a 10-city pilot program. The union members colllected 290 tons of food that year.

NALC members collect the food as they deliver mail along their postal routes. The NALC represents mail delivery employees of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Tampa, Florida, NALC Branch 599 members collected 2,062,529 pounds, the most food in the nation. West Coast Florida, Branch 1477 was second and Buffalo/Western New York, Branch 3 was third.

NALC has 295,000 active and retired members throughout the nation.